Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Seven Songs

Allie tagged me on Seven Songs I Have Been Enjoying This Week. This is good timing, for (as you may have noticed) I am a little short on material lately.

Long Distance Call by Phoenix: If Kings of Leon were on tranquilizers, from Paris, and yet somehow spoke better English, you'd probably have something like Phoenix.

The 80's by Denison Witmer: That melancholy little tune makes me want to wear my Reebok Pumps, watch Ghostbusters, and whip out a slap bracelet or two (which I am pretty sure I left in my Trapper Keeper). Things were simpler then.

Personal Jesus by Depreche Mode: Pick up the reciever - I'll make you a believer.

A New Law by Derek Webb: I haven't taken this song off my play list since I first heard it. Don't teach me about politics and government/Just tell me who to vote for/Don't teach me about truth and beauty/Just label my music/Don't teach me how to live like a free man/Just give me a new law/Don't teach me about moderation and liberty/I prefer a shot of grape juice/And don't teach me about loving my enemies/Don't teach me how to listen to the Spirit/Just give me a new law/I don't want to know if the answers aren't easy

Easy by Dave Whitfield: You don't know Dave, but he knows you. And he knows you will dig this catchy little tune. You can scroll around in his MySpace player to ch-ch-ch-check it out. This kid could go somewhere if he'd just take my advice and use more cowbell.

Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch: Classic Gillian right here. Oh mercy yes.

How to Save a Life by The Fray: Say it with me; "O-V-E-R-P-L-A-Y-E-D." I knew you could do it. Anyway, it's true, and I admit it. But I'm not tired of it yet. Yet.

Monsters by Band of Horses: Band of Horses is a new find for me. In fact, I heard them for the first time this very morning. I like this song mucho. I am really just a sucker for a good banjo lick.

That is eight songs. This is why I will never be an accountant.
You're it: Graham, Matt, Will, and Diddy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Athiest's My Nightmare

I found two things today that make me embarrassed to be associated with certain aspects of Christian culture. Permit me, friends, a brief rant on said dos cosas:

1.) The first is a "Christian video sharing website" called GodTube. There have been points in history where the Church lead society (in a good way) in innovation and trend-setting ideas. Now we just follow it. Nigh everywhere, apparently. Okay, maybe GodTube is not that big of a thing to get worked up about, but I think it is symptomatic of the Christians' tendency to pull out of society and make our own exclusive clubs on the fringes. When I was in college, there was a particular Christian organization that had its own building on campus all to itself. I was involved with a different organization, and I remarked one day to a friend that I wished we had our own building too. I thought his answer profound: "The thing about building walls is that people tend to stay behind them."

2.) The second thing I found was a particular video on the aforementioned website. It is the only time in my life I have ever heard the sentence "Behold - the atheist's nightmare!" immediately followed by "Now, if you study a well-made banana..." As if this dynamite wordplay weren't enough, you get some questionable visual aid, as well. Worst. Apologetic. Ever.

My rant is over.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Intellectually Credible & Existentially Satisfying

Here is an excellent lecture by Tim Keller on how Jesus Christ is "intellectually credible and existentially satisfying." That is to say, Jesus (and thus biblical Christianity) is rational and coherent, while at the same time relevant to the current needs of all people.

Free Mp3 Download

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Down With Hymnns Organs Drums Rap

Last fall, I remember seeing a video of Curtis "Voice" Allen, an independent Christian rap artist, perform at John Piper's church. If you've ever been to Bethlehem Baptist, you know it is probably one of the last places you'd expect to hear rap. I remember thinking "good for Piper for stepping out of his norm."

As a result of his performance, however, Allen - and the rap genre as a whole - was harshly criticized in Christian blog circles as being "un-Christian."

Allen writes about his experience in dealing with that criticism and his humble response in An Emcee's Gentle Word.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Of Pigs, Puppies, and Political Correctness

An elementary school in England recently changed the name of its school play from "The Three Little Pigs" to "The Three Little Puppies" in an effort to be sensitive to Muslims, who are forbidden to eat pork.

Even though this is an isolated incident, it is certainly indicative of trend toward hyper-sensitive, all-inclusive political correctness that continues to emerge and express itself in absurd ways. I suspect we will continue to see more and more instances of this sort of idealism taken to extremes in our society, government, and churches.

Interestingly enough, the Muslim Council of Britain referred to the school's name-changing hiijink as "bizarre."

The contenders for next year's school play include The Ugly Duckling The Duckling That Was Judged on Its Personal Merits and Not on Its Physical Appearance (HT: James Finn Garner), The Princess & The Pauper The Equally-Able Non-Gender-Specific-But-Fashionably-Effeminate Individual & The Economically-Marginalized Individual With Deferred Success, or Snow White & The Seven Dwarves Lakeisha and the Shorties.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


"Unlove is deadly. It is a cancer. It may kill slowly but it always kills in the end. Let us fear it, fear to give room to it as we should fear to nurse a cobra. It is deadlier than any cobra. And just as one minute drop of the almost invisible cobra venom spreads swiftly all over the body of one into whom it has been injected, so one drop of the gall of unlove into my heart or yours, however unseen, has a terrible power of spreading all though our Family, for we are one body - we are parts of one another.

If unlove be discovered anywhere, stop everything and put it right, if possible at once."

- Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Knowledge Without Love

People relate to God in different ways. Myself, I generally tend to relate to God through theological study. I love me some systematic theology, and I find great value in being able to articulate and teach doctrine. I have a distaste for doctrinal wishy-washiness, so I seek knowledge. The downside of knowledge, however - even biblical knowledge (maybe especially biblical knowledge) - is that knowledge can easily feed the flames of pride. I read the following this morning from Alexander Strauch's Leading With Love. In this section, Strauch is discussing 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:3. It was a good reminder for people like me:

"Paul... speaks of himself hypothetically as possessing the gift of prophecy in such full measure that he would know "all" mysteries and "all" knowledge. He would thus have the theological answers to all the mysteries of God that people crave to understand. He would be a walking, talking, encyclopedia of knowledge.

Some people love to display their intellect and theological superiority. They are proud of their learning and speaking ability. Such pride had become a serious problem at Corinth. Some people were arrogant because of their knowledge and puffed up with self-importance. They wanted recognition for their prophetic insights and superior wisdom, and they looked down on others with lesser knowledge and giftedness. As as result of their arrogant misuse of knowledge, they harmed the church body (1 Cor. 8).

Knowledge without love inflates the ego and deceives the mind. It can lead to intellectual snobbery, an attitude of mockery and making fun of others' views, a spirit of contempt for those with lesser knowledge, and a demeaning way of dealing with people who disagree. I know of a pastor who had a phenomenal knowledge of the Bible but who hurt many people with his doctrinal scrutiny and divided his own congregation repeatedly until there was no one left but himself. He had a big head but a little heart. His theology was as clear as ice and twice as cold. Such is the path of one who has knowledge without love."
Lord, keep my theology from being cold and unloving.