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Archive for November, 2010

I watched a video today by Tim Keller called “Grace and the City”. It is a really interesting discussion of what a City is and what that means for us as Christians. He covers alot of ground in 40 minutes, from how Christians engage the culture to the basic characteristics of a City to a Biblical view of work. It’s a thoughtful look at how we as Christians relate to the City, and how we should relate to the City. At one point he points out that the population density in Manhattan is higher than almost anywhere in North America, and that therefore it has the highest concentration of the image of God! Funny, interesting, and the more you think about it the more challenging a comment it is. Here’s the link to the video:

http://vodpod.com/watch/4518579-grace-and-the-city-tim-keller

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Guilty Pleasures

Here’s a quote from an article by Jon Foreman (of Switchfoot) called “Outside the Fences” .

“Only in humility can we begin to find the beauty in everything. Do you have the
barefaced wonder to drift outside the lines? If you dare, you could rise up to be
the shameless architect of the unknown, charting new ground that the critics will
never know. For the rest of the crowd, there’s safety in numbers. But for you- you
and your brave soul, there are no guilty pleasures. Just pleasures.”

Jon Foreman

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I listened to a talk by Michael Ramsden (of Ravi Zacharias Ministries) yesterday, you can hear it at http://www.rzim.eu/confirm-newsletter-signup. He was contrasting the philosophy of morality of John Gray, a prominent atheist author, with Christianity. You’d have to listen to get the argument, I couldn’t do it justice here. In his explanation of the Christian view, he emphasized the following comment:

 “the gospel is the most powerful when we are at our most vulnerable, it usually doesn’t advance by a mighty demonstration of strength”

He tells two amazing stories to illustrate the lesson. It really is a powerful talk, and the above quote just hammered me. Most of what I think about doing as a Christian is imagined from a position of power or authority.

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Brave New World

Jason e-mailed this to me earlier in the week, and I thought it was well worth passing along. It’s important to note that this book was written in 1986 (!), long before DirecTV, reality shows, etc. and the explosion of cell phones and the internet. His comment about the truth drowning in a sea of irrelevance is frighteningly timely.

In the foreword to the book (Amusing Ourselves To Death) Postman contrasts the visions offered in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949):

Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing.

Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.

Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.

In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

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 Here’s an e-mail I received from a friend about a news service being offered by Ravi Zacharias ministries. Their website and daily podcasts are goldmines.  

RZIM Zacharias Trust and the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics are launching a ‘breaking news’ service aimed at providing up to the minute Christian responses to public challenges to the faith. Our speaking team includes John Lennox, Alister McGrath, Ravi Zacharias, Amy Orr-Ewing, Michael Ramsden and Os Guinness. We hope that their responses will benefit you in your conversations with others.

A good example of what we would include is last month’s full-page article written by Oxford Professor John Lennox in The Daily Mail responding to Stephen Hawking’s new book The Grand Design. The article entitled ‘As a scientist I’m certain Stephen Hawking is wrong. You can’t explain the universe without God’ can be viewed at http://www.rzim.eu/stephen-hawking-and-god <http://www.rzim.eu/stephen-hawking-and-god>

I thought you would be interested in this service. If so, all you need to do is go to this link http://www.rzim.eu/breaking-news-signup <http://www.rzim.eu/breaking-news-signup> <http://www.rzim.eu/breaking-news-signup <http://www.rzim.eu/breaking-news-signup> > and register. We only anticipate sending these emails from time to time as challenges arise.

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Praise Him at Macy’s

This is a “random act of culture” at Macy’s in Philadelphia. Just thought it was pretty cool.

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This is a video from the Lausanne Conference describing how God is working in the Middle East and North Africa. If you want to read more on this you can check out “Light Force” and “Secret Believers” by Brother Andrew, or “Which None Can Shut”, by Reema Goode. Brother Andrew also has a website called Secret Believers. In the words of Ravi Zacharias,””Brother Andrew and Al Janssen reveal the amazing stories of those who witness the love of One they once refused and passionately searched until they found Him, even in the face of great opposition. Theirs is a testament to meekness, grace, and triumph, and a call to every follower of Christ to mirror their example.”

Here’s the link to the video (it’s a little slow to load, but worth the wait):

http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/resources/detail/11511

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