Category Archives: Uncategorized

WHY I’M NOT ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

Along with all the triviality (hey, “look at my pizza” posts) and stupidity (everyone is an expert), Alan Jacobs adds further reasons:

“I have come to believe that it is impossible for anyone who is regularly on social media to have a balanced and accurate understanding of what is happening in the world. To follow a minute-by-minute cycle of news is to be constantly threatened by illusion. So I’m not just staying off Twitter, I’m cutting back on the news sites in my RSS feed, and deleting browser bookmarks to newspapers. Instead, I am turning more of my attention to monthly magazines, quarterly journals, and books. I’m trying to get a somewhat longer view of things — trying to start thinking about issues one when some of the basic facts about them have been sorted out. Taking the short view has burned me far too many times; I’m going to try to prevent that from happening ever again (even if I will sometimes fail). And if once in a while I end up fighting a battle in a war that has already ended … I can live with that.”

http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2017/01/recency-illusions.html

TWO PRAYERS

About ten years ago I noticed that two things spontaneously dominated my prayers.  And they continue to do so to this day.

The first is a “Lord Jesus come” prayer for God to set everything right.

The second is a sort of lament/complaint to God “reminding” Him how difficult it is to live the Christian life.

CRUELTY OF OUR CULTURAL HEALERS

There are many ironies to be found among the fruited plains of America.

The marketing on airwaves wants us to imbibe in all kinds of things, including of course, sex and alcohol.  Then the media loves to mock those who get addicted to such things.  Think Charlie Sheen or Brittany Spears.

The person who indulges in the thing marketed is now the object of scorn and ridicule.  And they have little possibility of redemption. 

Our culture has no real sense of sin and no real possibility of true redemption. 

The Christian faith offers both honesty and healing.  Sin is addressed in all its ugliness, yet no matter the depth of sin, all can be objects of God’s mercy.

Jer. 6:13-16 is worth pondering in this regard.

RATE MY PROFESSOR

Every now and then I will check out Rate My Professor.  It is flawed like any human assessment.  One disgruntled student can dramatically change the professor’s teaching effectiveness number (highest is 5.0).  Along with a numerical rank there is room for students to give short descriptions.  Here is one of my favorites.  I interviewed RJ on one of his terrific books.

“If you fear confronting the questions that undergird your existence, then do us all a favor and don’t take Dr. Snell. Also, if you’re apathetic towards life in general, you might want to steer clear. But, if you’re willing to be challenged and hoping to engage in rigorous, substantial thinking, then take Dr. Snell.”

WHAT HITLER READ

One of Hitler’s favorite books was Don Quixote, which Professor Jonathan Rose says is “telling.”

From The Literary Churchill, p. 239-40

Interview with Professor Rose in the upcoming weeks…

FUNNIEST SUPREME COURT JUDGE

It can be scientifically proved that, at least while they’re listening to cases, Scalia is the funniest of the justices. As recently as 2004, the official court reporter identifies the justices’ remarks, questions, and comments; using the notation “(laughter),” it also notes any justice-induced jocularity. After mining the transcripts from the 2004-2005 session, Boston University law Prof. Jay Wexler determined that Scalia was the funniest justice by a landslide, “instigating 77 laughing episodes.”

Source: http://www.usnews.com/news/national/articles/2007/10/02/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-justice-antonin-scalia

THE AX IS FALLING!

I am 55.  My lovely wife is 53.  And she is lovely so many ways, not the least of which she loves to read (more below).

We have a very good library: diverse and some of the best books in their respective categories.  It was put together over a lifetime.  Our library did not cost a lot because we have gone to library sales, used bookstores, received books from friends and family, and get many wonderful books to review from publishers.

I read on Scot McKnight’s blog that Michael Quicke is “retiring” from teaching at Northern.  In one of Quicke’s posts about his move back to England, he talks about the painful process of downsizing his library.  Quicke has about ten years on me, but for years I’ve been whittling a little bit every month to make the process a bit easier.  Not easy to be sure.  For the foreseeable future our library will most likely hover around 2500-3000 books.  Without my regular whittling it might be twice that size by now, and much more painful to address.

As I get older, I find myself rereading more frequently, especially the books which have truly formed my convictions.  And the books which showcase a craftsman at work.

So I will keep chopping up our library with my metaphorical ax.

Here is Quicke’s wonderful, but poignant piece:

http://michaelquicke.blogspot.com/2013/11/changing-life-4.html

If you don’t want have time to read the entire piece, consider these words of wisdom:

“And saying goodbye sometimes comes with cruel reality checks as I realize I cannot possibly read all that I once hoped to delive into.  For example, I have collected books on particular subjects that I was going to dive into,  that I even imagined that I could write books about, but I now realize time is running out! I remember an athletic deacon in my first church saying that he had suddenly realized that certain things would never happen for him, like playing cricket for England. I remember being amused, but then realizing he was being serious.  (I appreciate US friends would not likely take this seriously anyway!)   Yes, what once seemed limitless pastures are now ring-fenced.  I am grateful that I shall still be able to graze but I can see a fence.”