Around the Horn :: 8.30.12

August 30, 2012

Around-the-Horn[1]Angry Christians
An excellent article from D.A. Carson: One of the things that troubles me about American society—about North America, and I include Canada in this, and Western European Christian society, to some extent, but it’s stronger here; it’s stronger here because of America’s particular heritage—there is a great deal of anger on the American Right at the moment. Have I thrashed this one over with you before? Let me just say a little bit about it, because it is troubling. It’s hard to know what to do.

Worshiping at the Altar of Family
From Gospel Coalition: Churches encourage our husbands daily to not make idols out of their careers, and to not look at porn. But how are we, as wives, encouraging and exhorting one another not to make idols out of perhaps our greatest gifts: our families?

Atheists in the Pulpit
From Albert Mohler: “It is hard to think of any other profession which it is so near to impossible to leave.” That is the judgment of Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world’s most famous living atheist, as he welcomes unbelieving pastors to join the Clergy Project, a group designed to help unbelieving pastors make their way out of the ministry. Apparently, some are not moving out very fast.

Joel Osteen and Family Feud
From Whitehorse: A few channels into surfing, I stumbled upon Family Feud.  I watched three or four survey questions, and five or six attempts to guess the top responses for each.  Each time, regardless of the quality of the guess, family members shouted “Good answer, good answer.”  Even when the answer was an obviously bad answer, a decidedly miserable answer, the participants wishfully chanted, “Good answer, good answer.”  And it hit me just how much like Family Feud is the spectacle of Joel Osteen and his misguided followers: “Good answer, good answer.”

The Future of Seminaries
Interesting article from the WSJ: Big-box seminaries, unanchored from any ecclesiastical tradition and from any family of churches, might suffer as costs rise and technology evolves. But that doesn’t mean the only alternative is the clickable equivalent of a mail-order divinity degree. When it comes to ministry, brick and mortar, flesh and blood, can’t be wholly replaced by pixels and bandwidth. Some seminaries will teeter, and theological education will change. But I think that finding the next generation of pastors will not mean plunging into the brave new world so much as treading good old paths with a fresh outlook.

Annotating Texts: Some Suggestions
A friend of mine who is also a doctoral student recently asked if I had any sort of system for how I annotate books, particularly primary texts.  It was an interesting question, because annotating books is certainly one of the central practices of my scholarly life–and yet it’s not something I was ever explicitly taught, nor is it something I’ve attempted to teach it to others.  I suppose I (mistakenly) thought it was somehow “natural,” or that annotation practices were so idiosyncratic that it would be presumptuous to even try.

One Giant Loss for Mankind
When Neil Armstrong died on Saturday, at the age of 82, mankind lost one of its most iconic heroes.  Armstrong represents the archetypical explorer. He was our generation’s Columbus, Scott, Hillary, Einstein, our pioneer and discoverer. And that’s what it used to take to instil awe and respect in the public. Admiration used to require obvious courage, manifest altruism, and observable success in overcoming formidable challenges.