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Showing posts from June, 2013

Worldview as Redemption

Steve Wilkens and Mark Sanford in Hidden Worldviews: Eight Cultural Stories That Shape Our Lives argue that all worldviews are ultimately about salvation, even if those worldviews don't use that vocabulary.All worldviews offer definitions of the man's fundamental problem and provide solutions on how we might fix it. When you get right down to it, every worldview attempts to answer the question, "What must we do to be saved?". Here is a helpful chart from the book that summarises how each worldview answers this question:

The problem with each of these models of salvation is that their redemption offer is only for a portion of life. They envision the individual in need of redemption as a spiritual self, an economic self, a political self, a psychological self, a cultural self, an individual self, a moral self or a rational self. Because their understanding of the person is partial their plan of redemption is necessary partial. It fails to embrace all of life.
In co…

What Our Words Tell Us

David Brooks draws on what the search of frequently used words from Google's book database of 5.2 million books published between 2008 and 2015 tells about changing culture : Over the past half-century, society has become more individualistic. As it has become more individualistic, it has also become less morally aware, because social and moral fabrics are inextricably linked. The atomization and demoralization of society have led to certain forms of social breakdown, which government has tried to address, sometimes successfully and often impotently.
This story, if true, should cause discomfort on right and left. Conservatives sometimes argue that if we could just reduce government to the size it was back in, say, the 1950s, then America would be vibrant and free again. But the underlying sociology and moral culture is just not there anymore. Government could be smaller when the social fabric was more tightly knit, but small government will have different and more cataclysmic effec…

Love

On 22 July 2011, Anders Behring Brevik bombed Norway’s government buildings in Oslo killing 8 people. He then proceeded to undertake a mass shooting in Ut√łya Island  where 69 people perished. The court sentence came down to a single question: was Brevik mentally healthy enough to be held responsible for his atrocities? Some of the Court appointed psychiatrists diagnosed him withparanoid schizophrenia and criminally insane. 
If that diagnosis had stood Anders Breivik would not have gone to prison. He would have had to be detained in a psychiatric hospital. In the end he was found sane and sentenced to 21 years in prison. The trial sparked debate. What is normal healthy mind? What behaviour does it portray? Opinion was divided, but one thing everyone agreed on: the state of mind is reflected in our behaviours! Actions reflect mind!
The Bible says that all true Christians have a new healthy mind. Apostle Paul writing to Christians in Corinth said,  “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor…

13 Email Tips to Keep Your Inbox Under Control

Eric McKiddie provides the following helpful tips to help deal with the deluge of emails. I found number 12 surprisingly useful! 
1. It’s an inbox, not a staybox. Don’t store email in your inbox. It is a good place to receive information, but a bad place to keep it. Delete old emails that don’t matter, and file ones that do.
2. Zero is not the goal. Don’t try to keep your inbox at zero. That is a sign of unproductivity, not productivity. Check it several times a day, not continuously throughout the day.
3. Silence. Turn off notifications for your email, whether audible, visual, or both. This will prevent you from being tempted to dive back into your inbox.
4. Separate quick replies from long ones. Batch process your emails based on how long they take to reply to. First, go through your inbox and reply to everything that requires only a quick response. Then go back through and reply to emails that require more thought.

Eight questions on worldview

I recent enjoyed reading James W. Sire's classic book The Universe Next Door. It turns out that I am the only who has never read this book! But better late than never! Every chapter is a gold mine, especially the chapters of eastern and new age worldviews. But without doubt the most useful part of the book are these eight questions he provides that helps us unpack any worldview (and how different worldviews may answer) :

1) What is the prime reality - the really real? To this different worldviews give different answers e.g.  God, or the gods, or the material cosmos.The answer here is the most fundamental.
2) What is the nature of the external reality, that is the world around us? The answers point to whether the worldview sees the world as created or autonomous, as chaotic or orderly, as matter or spirit, etc. 
3) What is a human being? To this different worldviews may answer : a highly complex machine, a sleeping god, a person made in the imade of God, a naked ape. 

Using social media responsibly

I recently read an interesting article in the UK's Grace Magazine by Pastor Andrew King on christians and social media. The article identifies three dangers of social media to Christians and six opportunities that we should embrace to help us use social media responsiby. 
Three dangers :
1) The danger of being shallow rather wise. The vast amount of information that is generated by social media means that that there's a real danger that we waste our time updating or reading trivia. Most of what we read is not important. 
2) The danger of being selfish rather than serving. Whether it is carefully constructing my comments to attract a person's attention, or regularly checking for their replies, social media runs the risk of making an idol out of our own significance.
3) The danger of being connected rather than communal. Social media has the danger of removing our minds to 'somewhere else' rather than where we are.  With our phones and tablets on, social media escap…

Price Tag By Jessie J

I recently had an opportunity to discuss music with a group of young people at church. For some unexplained reason I chose Price Tag by Jessie J (2011). The song consists of two verses by Jessie J, a chorus and a  final "rap" by B.o.B that more or less restates Jessie J's  two verses! Jessie J's first verse: Seems like everybody’s got a price / I wonder how they sleep at night / When the sale comes first / And the truth comes second / Just stop for a minute and smile / Why is everybody so serious? / Acting so damn mysterious? / Got shades on your eyes / And your heels so high that you can’t even have a good time The verse is a statement of the main problem under examination. The singer believs that "everybody's got a price”. And though her immediate target may be the music industry, her statement relates to everyone. Everyone is up for sale. In short, we have become "commodified" and for the right price we are easily morally trafficked to the highe…

Reforming the Unreformable, By Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (A Review)

In 2003 Nigerian President Olusengun Obasanjo invited Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to return to Nigeria from the World Bank and become the country’s Finance Minister. Her primary task was to sort out Nigeria’s economic mess which had been inherited from previous successive military regimes. The country was practically on its knees after years of rampant inequality, pervasive corruption and power struggles at the top. What was previously a diversified economy had increasingly become a mono economy perpetually dependent on a poorly run oil sector. Economic growth was excessively volatile, with spending largely tracking changes in oil prices. The Obasanjo administration was saddled with inefficient state-owned enterprises crippled by rising debts and pension liabilities. Political patronage was rife, with over 5,000 boards’ seats in state enterprises maintained purely for political expedience. Nigeria was virtually bankrupt.
Okonjo-Iweala’s Reforming the Unreformable is a narrative of how she as…

Limits of Digital Fellowship

Lindsey Carlson has an excellent piece on The Plastic Fruit of Online Livingwhere she makes the following observation :
Avoiding real-life connections—the ones you see every Sunday morning—to unpack your heart in the digital community doesn’t only set you up for a delusional view of self, disappointment with your physical community, and social isolation; it also breeds spiritual stagnancy.
No matter how great your internet friends are, they aren’t standing beside you, sensing your suffocating self-absorption. They don’t see you at your worst or notice when you’re avoiding fellowship or suffering from spiritual depression. They won’t pick up on your dissatisfaction with your spouse, your constant bitterness or negativity, or your refusal to forgive the friend who hurt you. But real-life friends, the ones who can drive to your doorstep when you call, will.
I need friends who will get in my grill, iron sharpening iron, and help me to conquer sin head-on. I may turn a blind eye to my own …

Equality in Addiction

The way of the hedonist fails. The tragedy is this : since we do not find lasting pleasures, and do not discover lasting satisfaction in them, our ability to find any satisfaction begins to disappear. The satisfaction addict is no more able to say 'I have had enough, I am satisfied' than is the drug addict. There is never enough in this world to satisfy us. From a recent book I read by Sinclair Ferguson on The Pundit's Folly : Chronicles of An Empty Life. The book provides important reflections from the book of Ecclessiastes.  The quote is particularly incisive in noting that really at the core we are all no different from porn or drug addicts. We all have addicitions which cannot never be satisfied by the material things we crave. Needs which can only be satisfied by God himself. In the words of the Preacher, God has "set eternity in the hearts of men" with the consequential result that nothing in this life will truly satisfy us.

King Solomon said, "just a…