Friday, May 16, 2014

All Around the Web - May 16, 2014

Russell Moore - The Church Needs More Tattoos
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) often tells audiences, “Republican Party events need more people with tattoos.” It struck me, as I heard him say this, that this is kind of what evangelical Christians ought to be saying about our churches. It struck me further when I read this tribute my former student Spencer Harmon wrote about his new wife and her past that this is precisely the issue facing the next generation of the Bride of Christ, the church.

What Paul (the senator, not the Apostle) means, it seems, is that his party, if it is to have a future, shouldn’t count on just doing the same thing it’s always done, and it can’t rely on people who look like what people think Republicans ought to look like. The party must expand out to people whose pictures don’t currently show up in a Google image search for “Republican.” There are people, Paul says, who agree with the Republican message, in theory, but who pay no attention to it because they assume they aren’t the kind of people the party wants to talk to.

Paul isn’t alone in this. His colleague Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who disagrees sharply with Paul on foreign policy and other issues, quipped recently, “They aren’t making enough angry white men for our party to have a future,” unless the party reaches new constituencies.

Trevin Wax - Further Reflections on Younger Southern Baptists
1. Younger Southern Baptists have chastened expectations regarding political engagement.
2. Younger Southern Baptists tend to be Reformed-ish.
3. Younger Southern Baptists tend to be theologically conservative without holding to certain cultural distinctives.
4. Younger Southern Baptists are all over the spectrum when it comes to eschatology.
5. Younger Southern Baptists are focused more on local church ministry and less on Convention meetings.

The Right Scoop - George Will Mercilessly Mocks Hillary and Michelle Over #HashtagActivism

Joe Carter - What Does 1 + 1 = 2 Mean? -- Why Christianity Matters for Math (and Everything Else)

While I certainly understand their hesitation, I do in fact believe there is a Christian view of mathematics. Indeed, I believe that there is a distinctly Christian view of everything.

The reason this idea seems so foreign (if not downright absurd) is that most of our theories about the world have only a minimal pragmatic affect on how we actually live our lives. Both my neighbor and I, for example, may get sunburned even if we hold radically different beliefs about the sun. The fact that I think the sun is a ball of nuclear plasma while he believes that it is pulled across the sky in a chariot driven by the Greek god Helios doesn't change the fact that we both have to use sunscreen. It is only when we move beneath the surface concepts ("The sun is hot.") to deeper levels of explanation ("What is the essential nature of entities like the sun?") that our religious beliefs come into play.

Even the concept that 1 + 1 = 2 -- a formula which almost all people agree with on a surface level -- has different meanings based on what theories are proposed as answers. These theories, claims philosopher Roy Clouser, show that going more deeply into the concept of 1 + 1 = 2 reveals important differences in the ways it is understood, and that these differences are due to the divinity beliefs they presuppose.

But before we can see why this is true, let's review the claims made in my previous article about what constitutes a religious belief.

Canon and Culture - The Life of John Leland: Sinner Saved by Faith Alone
John Leland was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on May 14, 1754, and he died at age 86 on January 14, 1841 in Cheshire, Massachusetts.[i]

As a child he was not favored among his teachers. One teacher said this of him, “John has more knowledge than good manners.”[ii] Leland remembered the following:
In early life I had a thirst for learning. At five years old, by the instruction of a school dame, I could read the Bible currently, and afterwards, in the branches of learning, [I was] taught in common schools, I made as good proficiency as common. But what proficiency soever I made in learning (owing to a stiffness of nature and rusticity of manners) I could never gain the good will of my masters, nor was I a favorite among the scholars.[iii]
He wanted to be a lawyer, but his wishes were disappointed.[iv] Leland wrote about his lack of resources and how he read the Bible a lot as a child: “As my father had no library, and I was fond of reading, the Bible was my best companion.”[v]

"Frozen" as a horror story.

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