Monday, January 24, 2011

On music...and old folks.

From generation to generation, our musical styles differ. Our parents don't fully appreciate the music to which my generation listens, as their parents did not fully appreciate the music to which our parents listened. I don't fully appreciate much of the new music out there, and feel the quality has dropped in a short time, even over the last five to ten years.
Over at the Challies.com blog, Tim notes "The Strange Phenomenon of White Middle-Aged Pastors Listening to Rap Music".
He lists several factors for this, but the one that seems the best to me is what he calls, The Depth Factor
I remember an old friend who used to tease me about the rock music I listened to, saying that every song is the same: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, done One thing we find in rap music is that the word count tends to be much, much higher than in the average pop or rock or country song. Many of these rap songs have word counts in the hundreds. That kind of word count allows a kind of theological depth and engagement that simply cannot be squeezed into two verses a chorus and a bridge. And in this way a lot of these rappers are leading their listeners into deep theological waters.

I think it is a very encouraging trend. Also, I wanted to share this video.

On Calvinism

So, I have been exploring theology lately, in no small part thanks to John Piper. I am not ready 100% to say I am a Calvinist, but I do admit I am leaning that direction. I stole this from his blog, since it explains it better than I can without all the baggage of saying you are a Calvinist.

We are Christians. Radical, full-blooded, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered, mission-advancing, soul-winning, church-loving, holiness-pursing, sovereignty-savoring, grace-besotted, broken-hearted, happy followers of the omnipotent, crucified Christ. At least that’s our imperfect commitment.

In other words, we are Calvinists. But that label is not nearly as useful as telling people what you actually believe! So forget the label, if it helps, and tell them clearly, without evasion or ambiguity, what you believe about salvation.

If they say, “Are you a Calvinist?” say, “You decide. Here is what I believe . . .”

I believe I am so spiritually corrupt and prideful and rebellious that I would never have come to faith in Jesus without God’s merciful, sovereign victory over the last vestiges of my rebellion. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 3:1–4; Romans 8:7).

I believe that God chose me to be his child before the foundation of the world, on the basis of nothing in me, foreknown or otherwise. (Ephesians 1:4–6; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29–30; 11:5–7)

I believe Christ died as a substitute for sinners to provide a bona fide offer of salvation to all people, and that he had an invincible design in his death to obtain his chosen bride, namely, the assembly of all believers, whose names were eternally written in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. (John 3:16; John 10:15; Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 13:8)

When I was dead in my trespasses, and blind to the beauty of Christ, God made me alive, opened the eyes of my heart, granted me to believe, and united me to Jesus, with all the benefits of forgiveness and justification and eternal life. (Ephesians 2:4–5; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Philippians 2:29; Ephesians 2:8–9; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 3:9)

I am eternally secure not mainly because of anything I did in the past, but decisively because God is faithful to complete the work he began—to sustain my faith, and to keep me from apostasy, and to hold me back from sin that leads to death. (1 Corinthians 1:8–9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:25; John 10:28–29; 1 John 5:16)


Call it what you will, this is my life. I believe it because I see it in the Bible. And because I have experienced it. Everlasting praise to the greatness of the glory of the grace of God!

I prefer to use the term "Reformed," which, if my understanding is correct, is essentially the same thing. When I hear "Calvinist" it makes me think of following the doctrines of a man, rather than of Jesus.
The original Christians were Catholics, but I believe the Catholic faith got very corrupted between Peter and the Protestant Reformation. It has since gotten better, but since I do not believe that the Eucharist is the actual physical body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation), I am a Protestant.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

On abortion

abor·tion (ə-bôr'shən) noun
The termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus; especially: the medical procedure of inducing expulsion of a human fetus to terminate a pregnancy.(Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.)

This is the 38th anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision. Since then, there has been a holocaust of approximately 50 million unborn babies legally killed.

Recently, Rick Santorum made headlines with his statements relating this genocide to the civil rights movement. He followed up with the following:
"For decades, certain human beings were wrongly treated as property and denied liberty in America because they were not considered persons under the Constitution. Today, other human beings, the unborn of all races, are also wrongly treated as property and denied the right to life for the same reason; because they are not considered persons under the Constitution."

I believe this is a tragedy. The only valid reason I see for voluntarily ending a pregnancy is if the mother's life is in danger. All people have a right to self-defense.

Here are some abortion related websites you should check out.

ABORT 73


CareNet


Something else you can do is urge your Congressional representative to support and co-sponsor H.R. 3
More info, including current co-sponsors, can be found here
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

I am sad to say that I do not see my Congressional rep listed here. Mac Thornberry, please co-sponsor the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act !

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Genius Business Idea?

A few seemingly unrelated facts:

1. Our family is a big fan of Netflix. If, for some reason, you don't know what it is, I will explain:
You pay a monthly subscription fee (between 8-30 dollars, depending) and they mail you DVDs. You get one, two, three, etc; based on the plan you choose. You can keep the movie as long as you want, with no late fees. When you want a new movie, you mail that one back in. Pretty simple, right? Now of course, also available is Netflix Instant (which is movies and TV shows streamed from the Internet, no limits), and Blu-Ray discs, but neither are not relevant to this post.

2. The number one item sold on Amazon.com is the Kindle. I got one for Christmas - my wife was tired of me constantly buying books that clutter up our house!

3. More ebooks have been sold on Amazon than physical books. Wow!

So, here is my idea: Netflix for ebooks! Of course, it would be called something different. But basically, you would pay a monthly subscription fee, and you get an ebook for your Kindle or Nook, or whatever ebook reader you prefer. You can keep it on there as long as you like, and when you are done with it, you electronically swap it out for another ebook.

Thoughts? Would you be interested in something like this?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

President Obama - Muslim, Communist, Nazi, AND Hippie?



Get real, folks.
A lot of people, myself included, have legitimate issues with the policies, leadership, experience, or judgment of our President...this happens with every President. I would like people to focus on those things. If you don't like a decision the President makes, or a position he takes, that is fine. Counter those things. Making ad hominem attacks, that are misinformed at best, or downright lies at worst, is not going to win you any points.
I am one of the more opinionated people I know, and of course I would like to convince everyone to believe the same way I do and have my worldview. That won't happen by criticizing every decision the President makes just because he is the one making that decision. Criticize it because it is a bad choice. On the other hand, make sure to give him credit when he does something you agree with.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mark Driscoll on biblical manhood



Long, but worth it.

Wild at Heart book review


This post originally appeared on my wife's blog on August 15, 2010 as a guest post by me. We signed up at BookSneeze to get free books sent to us, and then we have to put a review of the book online.

Wild at Heart is the author’s attempt to define, create, and inspire a new generation of “Real Men™.” At the beginning of Wild at Heart, John Eldredge declares that “in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” This is the central theme of this over-200 page book. I believe that almost everyone should read this book. It is definitely geared toward men, but I think women would gain an important understanding of men from it as well. Eldredge does a good job referencing movies, poetry, songs, and books to draw his portrait of an ideal man. This turns out to be the main flaw in the book. Eldredge, rightly or wrongly, seems to be projecting his personal concepts of masculinity onto God. He refers to the Scriptures, but as maybe only 40% of his examples of true masculinity. This is fine with me, as long as people are not reading Wild at Heart expecting a theological masterpiece. John Eldredge is no Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, or C.S. Lewis. This is a self-help/motivational book at its core, painted with rather broad brush strokes. Read it, learn from it, but don’t take it as the Gospel truth. I suggest also reading Eric Ludy’s “God’s Gift to Women” as a companion to Wild at Heart.
Disclaimer: I received Wild at Heart – Revised and Expanded for free from the publisher for the purposes of writing a review.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Covenant

Definition of COVENANT

1 : a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement :

Instead  of a New Year's Resolution, this year I am doing a New Year's Covenant. It is to work on becoming the man described below...


If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.  He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Titus 1:6-9 ESV

…Be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive
1 Timothy 3:2-4 ESV

Feel free to hold me to this, if you see me not holding up my end of it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!