Contextualization
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  • Three Kinds of Exegesis

    Why is it that churches with impeccable and tidy doctrine don’t have more influence?

    Dissertations or even volumes of ink could be spilled trying to answer this question. I would like to submit a very simple rubric for why Reformed churches are often ineffective at influencing their immediate context.

    Formally we understand the word “exegesis” to mean the interpretation of a text, particularly Scripture. For the purpose of this short piece, I am expanding the range of meaning of the word to apply to not just the interpretation of a text but also to a broader comprehension of both people and culture.I submit to you, that there is not one kind of exegesis but three kinds of exegesis: Biblical exegesis, Personal exegesis, and Cultural Exegesis. Most churches do one of the three pretty well and perhaps a second one to a serviceable level. Extremely few hit the sweet spot of all three.

    ThreeKindsOfExegesis

    Biblical exegesis is the task of accurately interpreting a text in it’s original context and making the proper adjustments to understand how the meaning to the original context (“there and then”) properly translates to our present context (“here and now”). This involves understanding the writer, the original audience, time and place in redemptive history, purpose, overarching themes, and connectivity to the larger narrative of Scripture. Heady, analytical, or truth-oriented people are drawn to churches whose primary mode of exegesis is Biblical.

    Cultural exegesis is the task of accurately translating and adapting the Gospel to a particular culture without sacrificing the essence and details of the Gospel itself. Cultural exegesis entails a comprehension of how to communicate the narrative of Scripture making appropriate adjustments taking into account the complex web of cultural beliefs (notions, worldviews…), cultural artifacts (bald eagles, cowboys, iPhones, Coca-Cola…), language (technical terms, idioms, accents, dialects, pronunciation…), special forces (therapeutic, consumerism, individualism, pluralism, secularism, technology, democritization of knowledge, globalization…), cultural institutions (political, economic, social, educational, spiritual, media, military…), cultural liturgies/rituals (4th of July, sports, Grammy’s…), and cultural elites (celebrity, media, political, athletic, cultural curators…). Cultural influencers, curators, innovators, movers and shakers, and cultural compromisers are drawn to to churches whose primary mode of exegesis is cultural.

    Personal exegesis is the task of accurately applying the narrative of Scripture to the whole individual. This kind of exegesis is somewhere in the vein of counseling and discipleship. Someone skilled in personal exegesis has a high degree of self-knowledge and is effective at helping people work through their idols, circumstances, past, and wounds from the lens of larger narrative of Scripture. Contemplative, affective, and therapeutically-inclined people are drawn to churches whose primary mode of exegesis is personal.

    Most of you probably are thinking “_______ kind of exegesis is the most important.” Well, guess what, that is your primary. Each mode of exegesis has it’s various strengths and weaknesses. If you want an excellent assessment of those strengths and weaknesses, I commend to you Collin Hansen’s excellent concise book, Blind Spots.

    Biblical Exegesis + Cultural Exegesis – Personal Exegesis = Hard-Charging Missional Church

    Biblical Exegesis + Personal Exegesis – Cultural Exegesis = Most Healthy Reformed Churches

    Cultural Exegesis + Personal Exegesis – Biblical Exegesis = Liberal Protestantism

    We all want to think we are omni-competent but we have our biases, wounds, blind spots, and immaturity. We need the benefit of having others around us to help us grow, to help us understand, to help us listen, and to help us change.

  • The 20 Most Helpful Books I’ve Ever Read

    Top 20 Most Helpful Books

     

    It has been said that you will be in a year who you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. If this be true, then what we read is of first importance.

    The following list contains the ten most helpful books I’ve ever read. They may not be the best, the most technical, or the most scholarly, but each of these books I found to be the most HELPFUL at where I was at that particular point in time. This list is in no way comprehensive and contains only non-canonical books.

    Desiring God by John PiperChristian Hedonism – If the term Christian hedonism doesn’t mean anything to you, then you need to read this book. Aside from the Scripture, no single book has had a more profound impact on my life. Desiring God was my front door to the reformed tradition. Desiring God was my back door to the Dispensational-Fundamentalist morass of my childhood. The idea that my pursuit of pleasure and my faith were not at odds radically and fundamentally changed how I saw every aspect of the world, from the loftiest matters to the most mundane minutiae.

    Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey – Worldview – Hands down the most clear summary of both the Christian worldview and the history of philosophy. Nancy’s writing is a brilliant, clear, and winsome.

    Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray – The Atonement – Murray gives a crystal clear, text-driven, thorough, and eminently faithful play-by-play of what Jesus actually accomplished in the cross and resurrection and the precise mechanics of how that work actually gets applied to His church.

    No Place for Truth by David Wells – Evangelicalism – Wells gives a clear and excellent history of evangelicals and examines some of our weaknesses as a group.

    Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington – Foreign Policy – Huntington’s thesis is that the world is broken down into 9 different civilizations that each have a different main worldview/religion and that wars are most likely to occur where several civilizations come in close contact with each other – due to the friction created by mutually exclusive ideas. Huntington’s work has proved to be a solid predictor over the last 20 years.

    The Road to Serfdom by F. A. HayekEconomics and Capitalism – If you are tired of the same old Keynesian, too big to fail, and central-planning type ideas, then Hayek’s book should come as a welcome counterpoint. Hayek presents a winsome defense of supply-side economics and capitalism.

    Let the Nations Be Glad by John PiperMissions – Piper single-handedly and radically changed how I viewed other cultures, God’s heart for the nations, and our strategic obligation as the church. A notable honorable mention would be Operation World by Jason Mandryk which provides the most helpful prayer guide for the various peoples of the world.

    Church History in Plain Language by Bruce ShelleyChurch History – Now in it’s fourth edition, Shelley has written a classic, readable, and simple, yet thorough, book on church history for everyone.

    Holiness by J. C. RyleDevotional – I’ve never read a devotional book that was so challenging to the idols of my heart. An honorable mention would be The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer which had a similar impact as Holiness at a very critical time in my life.

    Tactics by Greg KouklEvangelism – Koukl presents a very practical and helpful approach to having conversations about Jesus with the people already in your life.

    When Helping Hurts by Corbett and FikkertPoverty – Corbett and Fikkert present a more Biblical and holistic approach to poverty that avoids the over-simplistic models presented by the current political polarities. Poverty is much more than a lack of resources, a lack of education, or lack of anything – poverty is about relationships that are broken and don’t work.

    The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert ColemanDiscipleship – Coleman simply examines Jesus’ method for discipling his followers. The book is very helpful in giving categories with which to think about the disciple-making process. Justin Taylor has a solid review of the book here.

    Doctrine of the Knowledge of God by John FrameTheory of Knowledge – Before you build a worldview it would be wise to understand how to lay a foundation, frame out the house, and lay the trusses. How you arrive at “knowledge” will largely determine what “knowledge” you affirm. Frame provides very helpful categories with which we might arrive at more responsible, true, and balanced beliefs.

    Baptism and Fullness – John StottHoly Spirit – Stott examines what the Scripture has to say about the Holy Spirit and in the process helps untangle a lot of untrue and dangerous views on the Holy Spirit.

    Social and Cultural Dynamics – Pitirim SorokinSociology – I am constantly amazed at how few people, scholars included, have read this book or even know who of Pitirim Sorokin. He was a Russian thinker who founded Harvard’s sociology department. No one has more thoroughly studied the historical sociology of Western civilization. In it he outlines the pendulum swings of Western civilization back and forth from periods of idea-driven culture to sensate-driven culture.

    Adopted for Life by Russell MooreAdoption – Moore’s book kind of defies categories in many ways. It was as helpful devotionally as it was helpful in either developing a theology of spiritual adoption or legal adoption. The book expanded how I saw myself in relationship to God as Father and the priority of adoption for local churches.

    Culture Making – Andy CrouchChurch and Culture – There are quite a few good books on the subject of Christ and culture and none of them are without their weaknesses. Crouch presents a fairly even-handed model for the church’s engagement with the world. Some other helpful works are Abraham Kuyper’s, Lectures on Calvinism and James Davison Hunter’s, To Change the World.

    The Freedom of the Will – Jonathan EdwardsGod’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility – This is the most difficult book to read on this list but it is the most helpful if you can slog it through. Most other books on this subject (J. I. Packer’s included) falls deeply into over-simplified understandings of the mechanics of how God orchestrates all things yet in a manner than that doesn’t assail the will or take us off the hook for our actions.

    Pensees by Blaise PascalApologetics – This is another book that defies categories as it is equal parts apologetics, cultural analysis, philosophy, and devotional. The nice thing about the Pensees (French for “thoughts”) is that it isn’t a book you read from cover to cover. It is more a book that you read one paragraph at a time and then chew on that for awhile. I recommend reading it over a couple years versus a couple weeks.

    The M’Cheyne Bible Reading PlanOne Year Bible Reading Plan – For the majority of my Christian life I have used the M’Cheyne reading plan to read the OT once and the NT twice in the year. If you’ve never read the whole Bible before or never read it through in one year, I highly recommend this method.

    There are quite a few categories that didn’t get covered here that are worth noting so I am listing for your benefit a few “Top 10” lists that I’ve written in the past:

    Top 10 Books by John Piper

    Top 10 Books on Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

    Top 10 Books on Missions, Evangelism, and Discipleship

    Top 10 Books on Church History

    Top 10 Books on Eschatology

    Top 10 Books on Culture

    Top 10 Books on Christian Biography

    Top 10 Books on Science and Christianity

    Top 10 Books on The Church

    Top 10 Books on Apologetics

    Top 10 Books on Systematic Theology

    Top 10 Books on Christian Devotion

    Top 5 Books on Christian Worldview

    Top 15 Books on the Status of American Evangelicalism

    Top 40 Books to Read While in College

     

     

     

  • Mike Miller, Lebron James, the Apostle Paul, and Contextualization

    Mike Miller and Lebron James

    If you know me at all, I am a geek for longform articles and blog posts. I love reading them and I love writing them. Some people think they are ineffective because people in our culture have patience for only 250-500 words, and those people are probably correct. I still like them and it’s why I read ESPN’s blog Grantland so frequently. I read a piece today on NBA player Mike Miller and it was so good that it warranted me reflecting on some of the content.

    The piece was entitled Everybody Loves Mike Miller and in many ways Mike Miller’s approach to basketball should be a metaphor for the church for how we interact with culture. Here are some salient quotes:

    “He’s a chameleon — meaning he can fit in any different room,” said LeBron James’s longtime friend and business manager Maverick Carter, whose relationship with Miller began shortly after Miller and McGrady attended one of James’s high school games. “I’ve seen him with high-level businesspeople and owners, kids, people from all different backgrounds. A guy from South Dakota, he’s not from one of the coasts, he’s right in the middle of the country and I think he really can adapt to any room.

    “Plus he’s a cool guy.”   …

    “What I do is, I understand people,” Miller explained. “I understand what they’re going through. For some reason, I’m always in a good mood. It’s a blessing for me. I understand it’s a team sport and if there’s going to be individuals inside it, how do I relate to every one of those players differently? The way I do stuff with LeBron during a game is completely different than what I’m going to do with Kyrie [Irving]. Some people need to talk. Some people need to laugh. I’m always in that good mood because at the end of the day, I’m [playing basketball] for a living.”

    “What I really am is a friend first,” Miller said. “I like to be cool with people. Like Kyrie — that’s my guy. He’s a great kid, unbelievable point guard. I think I can help him be better. Not a better basketball player. Just understanding things. Dion Waiters, great kid. Sometimes he gets a bad rep. If he fits into his role here, he’s going to be really, really good. I think I can help with that. Kevin Love’s a monster. And LeBron, I’m always going to be on him with positive stuff.”

    You should read the article yourself, but because I know you won’t I will have to summarize it here for you. Mike Miller was a slashing small forward in his youth who had to reinvent his game in order to have NBA longevity, so he made a career out of doing two things – 1. 3-point shooting  2. Providing leadership in the locker room.

    A couple of principles stuck out to me from Mike’s story that we would be wise to take note of:

    Flexibility and Teachability – Mike learned early on that he needed the wisdom of NBA veterans (Ewing, Outlaw, Grant, Armstrong… ) if he was going to have long term success.

    Specified Excellence – Mike had the humility and willingness to put in the hard work to hone his craft behind the arc.

    Listening Skills – Mike learned to be humble and to listen to other people. One might argue that Mike’s ability to listen is what makes him such a close friend to so many disparate groups of people (“high-level businesspeople and owners, kids, people from all different backgrounds“). Mike’s listening skills earned for him the friendship, trust, and influence over the most revered players in the game.

    Leadership – Mike learned that the value that he had in the game of basketball was far more than just what happened on the court. He learned that his value as locker room counselor was just as valuable as his role behind the arc.

    Make others succeed – Mike made others around him succeed and took his joy from watching them succeed, even when it was to his own detriment.

    Reading the article I couldn’t help but think about Paul’s defense of his apostleship in I Corinthians 9, specifically verses 19-27:

    19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God butunder the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

    24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

    Mike, a white kid from North Dakota, was able to navigate through the social complexities of his NBA career because he learned to be humble, he learned to listen, he learned to provide timely counsel, he learned to make others successful, and he learned to be flexible. God taught the Apostle Paul this same skill set through his 14 years of discipleship at the church in Syrian Antioch and through the crucible of church planting the Mediterranean rim. Paul was a rough and violent man who needed to be humbled, bridled, and reformed.

     

    How amazing would  it be if the people around us felt heard?

    How amazing would it be if the people around us felt that we made sacrifices to make them flourish?

    How amazing would it be if the people around us felt safe because of our humility and teachability?

     

    The church could use a few more leaders like Mike Miller.

     

    Post-script – I actually met Mike Miller once while he was eating breakfast at Gator Dining with UF teammate and future NBA role player, Matt Bonner. It was a pedestrian encounter but Mike was engaging and kind and Matt Bonner was his typical shy, understated, and socially awkward self.

     

     

    December 4, 2014 • Christian Living, Contextualization, Culture, Sports • Views: 1101

  • Mid-Term Results, the Culture War, and the Kingdom of God

    Obama

    While I am admittedly relieved to see the mid-term election results this morning, I am also reluctant to feel much more than mild relief. I think much of the mid-term results are a repudiation of the last six years of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi era. However, there are several reasons why we should not be spiking the football in the endzone.

    Politics and Culture

    Politics and Culture: which is the cart and which is the horse? I would submit to you that culture is far more the horse than the cart. Certainly there is an interplay between the two but I think in our republic the culture is probably 70% horse and 30% cart.

    Ideas or Energy

    Did people in America vote for Republican Governors, congressmen, and senators because their ideas changed or because their voting base was more energized than the last election cycle? I cannot answer this question with any real data but my highly subjective opinion would be that it had much more to deal with a more motivated and energized voting base. I don’t think that Americans have all of a sudden read the Constitution, changed their mind on abortion, embraced supply-side economics, or read John Locke or the Federalist Papers. Perhaps some of those things took place in disparate circles but I am doubtful to think anything like this took place on a grand scale. I would have more cause for hope if these election results were a result in a resurgence of a Judeo-Christian worldview that provides the ideological foundations for human dignity, justice, and order.

    The Culture War and the Christian Right

    One of the big mistakes of the Christian Right is the presupposition that if you have your party in office then most things in the world will be as they ought to be. Hence, we must put a lot of faith in top down political influence. The problem with this is twofold – 1. politics follows culture more than not  2. There is no cultural center of America that all Americans can look to and identify as our common bond (perhaps with the only exception being 9/11 [for those over age 20]). I don’t mean to say that politics is irrelevant, it is relevant, but it is one piece in an incredibly complex landscape that we call “culture.” I attempt to portray the complex forces that combine to form culture here. I think in many ways the Christian Right and the Culture War has back-fired and served to exacerbate trench warfare and discourage dialogue in the few public spaces we have left. As a result, people don’t want to talk about ideas any more because ideas divide and hence should be kept private.

    Modern Day Reformation

    I have no illusion that somehow a GOP legislative majority at the federal and state levels will somehow usher in a modern day Reformation in America. There may be some dismantling of unpopular liberal policies but there will be no ushering in of golden age of American spiritual life. I am not entirely against top-down/institutional strategies – I think things like educational institutions, denominations, service organizations, the marketplace, and even political parties can make significant contributions to cultural change. That said, in an increasingly cynical, skeptical, and snarky world, we must have equal efforts from a bottom up perspective.

    Faithful Presence

    Individual humans need other individual humans who will walk humbly, lovingly, and understandingly with them. We need to be in the lives of our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. We need to be asking good questions about what they want and listening actively to what they are saying. We need to be asking them about how are the things they want working for them. Are they deeply satisfying? Are they functional? Are they just? Are they promoting human flourishing?

    As we listen to the answers to these kinds of questions, facets of the Gospel will speak to the things that are broken and in need of healing and redemption.

    Do your civic duty and vote your conscience… but…

    The kingdom of God is not ushered in through an election. The kingdom of God is ushered in as Christ’s church does her job being faithfully on mission to the corners of the Earth.

  • Best Links of the Week

    The End of Church Planting?  Interesting article that isn’t as provocative as the title.  Definitely worth a read and a place at the table for missiological theory of church planting, challenging the dominant paradigm of the entrepreneurial paid pastor/planter.

    How to use rewards/frequent-flyer credit cards to create a self-fulfilling profit loop (buy certain gold coins, get rewards/miles, deposit gold in bank, pay off credit card with gold deposited into bank).

    Third Millennium Ministries has its own iPhone and Android apps.  The content of ThirdMill is truly top shelf.  I am of the opinion that Third Mill is probably one of the most important ministries of our time and all on a shoestring budget.  If you care at all about the Gospel and the future of the church you ought to donate to them.  I am thankful that there are actually some forward thinking strategists that are creating excellent scalable content capable of penetrating that glaring lack of theological training of pastors worldwide.

    The Decline of the Nuclear Family.  Some pretty staggering statistics and commentary on the status of family in the U.S.

    Mayim Bialik (Blossom, Amy Farrah Fowler) of Big Bang Theory is actually a PhD and published in Neuroscience (HT: BL)

    Mortgage companies are still ‘robo-signing’

    Centrist Tom Coburn has an interesting debt proposal – I was definitely not expecting a proposal from one of the ‘Gang of Six’

    77 year old Congressman confronts gun wielding intruder

    An interesting piece giving some provocative thoughts regarding the Cosmological Argument

    There are several layers of awesome to this Pepsi ad (coming from a staunch Coca-Cola fan):

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8jmSdO20_s]

  • Best Links of the Week

    Click picture for higher resolution image (HT: JT)

    Parents, Don’t Dress Your Daughters Like Tramps

    Front Porch Hack – Brilliant idea about turning your garage into your front porch for the purpose of creating intentional Gospel inroads into your neighborhood (HT:  JT)

    Tax compliance costs $.30 on every taxpayer $1

    In order to balance our current budget we would have to tax at the following rates:  Corporate 88%, Highest Income 88%, Middle Bracket 63%, and Lowest 25%.  Some of our precious entitlements have to go, this is insanity.  The sad part is that this would only balance the budget for this year and not even touch the $14,000,000,000,000.00 debt and trillion in compounding annual interest.

    S+P says 33% chance they will downgrade U.S. debt from AAA

    Mubarak has a heart attack during questioning

    Wisconsin man finds live bomb in the wall of his own home

    Best University ROI – Glad to see University of Florida yielded a 14.6% ROI.

    U.S. Navy tests laser weapon on boat

    iPhone keeps log of everywhere you go

    You couldn’t pay me enough to do this job:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIMigVo1pyA&feature=player_embedded]

    RC Car powered by soda can rings:

    [vimeo http://vimeo.com/20311112]

  • Best Links of the Week

    Absolutely fascinating article inside the world of custom scholarly papers.  This is a very well-written piece that is quite controversial and provocative.  I would be curious to hear your thoughts.

    Article on the really creepy mythic creature, Lilith… anyone still want to go to the Lilith Fair?

    Disturbing implications of toll-gated internet opened up by recent FCC proposal.  This is a very very bad idea.  I already hate paying money for data movement over cell phone networks.  I cannot imagine having to pay for tiered internet.  Suffice to say I have a deep disdain for the FCC.

    Richard Cohen has a nice even-keeled op-ed piece on the whole WikiLeaks debacle.

    WSJ article on woman who has successfully staved off foreclosure for 25 years!

    Great interview with writer Scott Patterson, author of The Quants.  An excellent read for anyone interested in game theory, arbitrage, and applied mathematics intersection with economics and finance.

    Orlando International Airport is considering dumping TSA screeners.

    Pretty crazy photos of some “super-cell” storms.

    In what has to be one of the strangest ‘stories’ in a long time… it appears that some of the members of Insane Clown Posse are self-identifying as “evangelical Christians,” and say they have been that way for a long time.  This has to be some kind of PR stunt or maybe the lack of an evangelical worldview is really that bad.

    Google jumping into the foray of the ebook market.

    Widespread government cover-up over TARP fund allocation.

    Pretty cool video statistical look at life expectancy and wealth over last 200 years from the Freakonomics guys:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo&feature=player_embedded]

    NorthPoint’s iBand…

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9XNfWNooz4&feature=player_embedded#!]

  • Best Links of the Week

    Provocative piece entitled, “Artists Build the Church.”  Aesthetics without a doubt have been marginalized in the church.  Another work that should be brought into this discussion is Hans Urs von Balthasaar’s Trilogy on “The Glory of the Lord.”  Shame on Protestants for letting a Catholic write probably the best treatment of aesthetics (alongside Wolsterstorff’s work).   God’s holiness and God’s glory are at the core of God’s character.  Hence, art and aesthetics are at the very center of our Christian faith.

    4th Amendment Underclothes – metallic print protest clothing.  For those of you unaware the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution states the following:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Department of Homeland Security commandeering domain names.

    It takes Iran over 30 years to notice Star of David placed on roof of their national airline’s (Iran Air) headquarters.  The building was designed by Israeli architects.

    Which Cashback credit cards to use at which retailers/websites.  This was rather helpful.

    A number of top shelf scientists publish a cautionary letter regarding the new X-ray machines that has some good scientific concerns that dispel a lot of the misinformation regarding the safety of the new machines.   I think some more substantial science is in order here particularly for the elderly, children, pregnant, and those prone to various cancers on or close to skin (testicular, breast…).

    If you haven’t heard yet, there were more WikiLeaks documents released of roughly a quarter million wires principally between emabassies.  Of interest is a large amount of security intel, policy, military strategy, and embarassing details about world government figures.  Of interest, it seems that North Korea did in fact provide Iran with the missile vehicles to launch nuclear warheads.  This is very disconcerting as it means that North Korea likely has the nuclear bomb and rockets to launch them in.

    Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens debate whether Religion is good for the world or not.  I am inclined to think that religion, in the conventional sense of the word, is not good for the world.  I am also unsure what is meant by the word, “good” as well.  I would argue from different angles and presuppositions than Hitchens but likely arrive at similar conclusions.  I would be very happy if every religion based on human self-righteousness would permanently cease.  I don’t think anything is “good” apart from Christ, hence I think that all non-Christocentric religion is bunk.

    Flexible, Disposable E-readers?

    Should MIT Teach Poetry?”  I have already ranted on here about the affects of removing the Christian worldview on higher education (see post on UCF scandal).   The point is that our Universities have become trade schools.  Further, these trade schools are increasingly more expensive (astronomically expensive compared to inflation rates) while becoming less effective at producing marketable laborers.  For many employers experience is > or = to education.  If one’s education were limited to such a narrow sub-field of a field within a faculty within a college within a University… there is no foundation for the knowledge/building to stand.  Of course MIT should teach poetry.

    Congressman Mike Coffman (Rep. Colorado) writes a cogent piece on why not to raise taxes during a recession. (HT: SB)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-lundberg/should-mit-teach-poetry_b_782998.html
  • Best Links of the Week

    NYT infographic on reducing our nations inflated bugdet.  While we are on the subject here are two proposals that inspired the aforementioned infographic:  Fiscal Commission’s Co-Chair Proposal and Illustrative Savings.

    There is a fairly large controversy brewing over both the TSAs use of full-body scanners and their substantially more aggressive pat-downs.  I have actually had one of the full-body scans before and poked my head around to see the image (much to the dislike of TSA) and it was pretty invasive.  A man in California got a tape of his encounter with TSA after refusing the scan and getting the new ‘special’ patdown.  He gets arrested and faces substantial fines for warning the TSA employee not to “touch his junk.”

    Doug Wilson has a nice piece entitled, “Populism and Common Sense.”

    Besides the fact I think morality and atheism are completely incompatible, I like Christopher Hitchens.  Andrew Anthony has a very well-written piece on his current thoughts during his battle with stage-iv cancer.

    Most Common Causes of Death in the United States

    NY Post has an article on Hookers for Jesus, a ministry seeking to get sex-workers off the streets of Las Vegas.  An interesting read.

    Facebook jumping into the email forray.  I wonder if this will end up being part of the ever-expanding wedge between younger and older web-users where younger generations employ Facebook over email to communicate.  Maybe I am a bit out of touch but I fail to see this being very successful for Facebook for anyone older than 22.  Their current message platform is horrendous to work with and often crashes after you have composed substantial portions of text – so much so that before I hit “send” I always copy all of my composed text because I have lost it so many time.

    You Suck at PowerPoint.

    Comical video which attempts to explain quantitative easing.  I should note there is some misinformation in the video.   The Fed regularly buys/sells assets to change the amount of base money.  However, in this case the amount is specified ($600,000,000,000.00) rather than dealing with overnight interest rates.  Given there are rather alarmingly high amounts of ties between Goldman Sachs and the Fed as well as Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration, it would be an alarming precedent for the Fed to buy its own treasuries from itself.

    App of the week:  Google Voice by Google – after months of dragging its feet, apple finally let this app hit the iTunes store.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUY16CkS-k]

    Ken Block, Ford Fiesta, Awesome:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TshFWSsrn8]

  • Best Links of the Week

    Advice for Theological Students” and “More Advice for Theological Students and Pastors” are both absolutely fantastic gems gleaned from Kevin DeYoung.

    Developers Trying To Treat Houses Like Copyright; Want A Cut Of Every Future Resale” and even worse than this, the financial firm pushing this garbage is in the process of securitizing these hidden ‘resale contract covenants.’  No offense, but it is greedy morons like these guys who got us into the whole sub-prime mess.  I am all for free-market economics, but I really hope the free-market (particularly the hedge funds) decides to vote ‘no’ with their feet.

    A List of Important Sermons and Articles Worth Reading” (HT:  JT) – this is an excellent excellent list.  There are a good number of these that I have not read.  I am particularly excited about those that I have not read that have multiple commendations.

    Nancy Pearcey dissects the affect of secularism on America and its’ disability to provide a cogent response to radical Islam.

    Here is also a really good interview with Nancy Pearcey on her new book “Saving Leonardo.”  Coincidentally she also weighs in on James Daveson Hunter’s new book (see next link)

    James K. A. Smith’s review of James Daveson Hunter’s “To Change the World

    Excellent article in The Atlantic from Jeffrey Goldberg analyzing the likelihood and aftermath of an Israeli preemptive strike against the Iranian nuclear program.

    Typewriter robot art… very Philip K. Dick-esque

    Self-assembling biological photovolatics

    Canadian PhD student creates human powered aircraft with large flapping wings.  One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

    Pacman with 111 human pixels:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3D0JvYJkGc&feature=player_embedded]