Tuesday 31 May, 02005
Thursday 26 May, 02005
Dr Bill Romanowksi from Calvin College is speaking at Wellington Central Baptist this coming Thursday (02/06/05) at 2-5pm and 7-9:30pm. The cost for each session is $20. Email Becky to register.
From the blurb:
Popular art and culture shapes the way we think about ourselves, about others, and about our place in society. It cannot be avoided. We are swimming in it. Movies, television, advertising, music… All of them are expressing ideas and beliefs about God, humanity, evil, and redemption. They offer a stream of attitudes and values regarding power, relationships, gender, sex, violence, and materialism. And the Christian response? There is everything from soap-box condemnation to uncritical acceptance, with so much of it ineffective and unsatisfying.
Christians can be poor at identifying the positive redemptive aspects of popular culture. This then impairs both their participation in that culture and their constructive critique of it. So, in calling his book Eyes Wide Open he deliberately plays off the title of the Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut. His point is that Christians need to have their eyes open when they take in this popular culture. There will be good things to preserve, bad things to improve, and ugly things to delete. And so they need to have a worldview that allows them to see, as Paul expresses it in Ephesians, with the ‘eyes of the heart’ – or, from the perspective of faith. Bill takes issue with Christians who draw lines between religious and non-religious aspects of life, an attitude that ultimately confines faith to the merely personal and private. This will not do and this visit to NZ by Bill will explore an alternative way forward.
Wednesday 25 May, 02005
Monday 23 May, 02005
Sunday 22 May, 02005
I’ma listening to Air/Talkie Walkie. It’s a keeper. I’ve had it for a few months now, and tonight I’m listening to it on headphones for the first time. It’s full of neat tunes, crazy frenglish lyrics (“Holy girl/don’t get up/for running. Stay with me/I feel sad/when you run”), good songs that would work on AM radio, but if you can listen to it like this, there are textures, crazy noises, a new beat vocabulary, beautiful little details like sonic serifs and the nicest production, the elements laid out so carefully and seamlessly across the left-right spectrum. And the very last track ‘Alone in Kyoto’ is still for me the emotional distillation of that movie.
Saturday 21 May, 02005
North Korean labour camps in Siberia
July 2004 Kim Stanley Robinson interview [QT]
Terry Pratchet interview [QT]
Robert Jordan interview [QT]
More SF interviews
James Kalb on Liberalism
Moby Dick, American progressives and conservatives
In his second lecture on following Jesus [streaming video], Wright says:
I was talking with somebody earlier today about the tsunami and all of that, and I have to say, the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane is as close as we get in the New Testament, I think, to understandinging – if we can understand – what on earth is going on with the strange purposes of God in the world. Because you know we are taught as Christians to pray for things, we are taught to pray in faith, we are taught to pray in the name of Jesus and again and again in Scripture – not least in John’s Gospel – we’re told that what we ask for in faith we will receive, if we really believe it. And the strange thing is that in the Garden of Gethsemane the incarnate son of God said to his father, “Please isn’t there another way?” and the answer was “No.” And if you can understand what is going on there, good luck to you because I can’t. It’s deep and it’s dark and it’s mysterious and it’s divine. And it tells us something about the darkness which is at the heart of the cosmos, and about the fact that God did not come into the world to give us a theory about why it would be so, so that we could sit back in our philosophers’ armchairs and think, “O, that’s alright then.” Because it isn’t alright then! The world is still full of pain and sorrow and anguish, and evil, radical evil. And the message of the gospel is not that God has given us a theory by which we can understand it. But God has given us himself in the person of his son to be plunged down in the middle of it. To drown under the waters of evil. He says in the garden, “This is your hour;” the power of darkness. He knew he was going into the middle of that darkness.
Many Jews of Jesus’ day had talked about a time of great suffering which would come upon Israel. They talked about it as a period of great testing, great tribulation, great trial and torture and sorrow. Some of them saw it as happening to lots of Jewish people, some just a few. Jesus believed that it was coming, and that he had to go out front and take it on himself, solo. What did he say in the garden? He said to his friends, “Watch and pray so that you may not enter into the testing.” Many translations of the Bible call that ‘enter into temptation’, as though Jesus was just saying, “say your prayers lest Satan tempt you to do some trivial sin or other.” No, Jesus is seeing the tidal wave of evil rushing towards him. The tidal wave called the testing, the tribulation, which so many of the prophets and other Jewish writers had spoken about. And Jesus realises that this is going to engulf all of them. And he realises that the only way for them to avoid that is for him to go and stand with his arms outstretched and take it, draw it onto himself, so that the others may escape.
Friday 20 May, 02005
Wednesday 18 May, 02005
Clay Shirky: Ontology is Overrated
Peter Leithart’s translation of 1 Kings 22:41 – 2 Kings 1:18
NZ Families Commission online survey
Al Wolters’ ten favourite Bible passages
Christian Faith & Action Trust’s bibliographies
Jewish ideas about Resurrection, Messiah, Jesus
Andrew Basden on the Greens
We rarely get our questions answered.
Occasionally, though, we do find better questions to ask.
Sunday 15 May, 02005
Saturday 14 May, 02005
Friday 13 May, 02005
I’ve read two books this week: Slowness by Milan Kundera, and Sweet Dreams by Michael Frayn. They were both a good ride while they lasted. To varying extents they both I felt pinned me, like J Alfred Prufrock, forumlated, sprawling on a pin, wriggling on the wall. In fact Slowness lept out of my hands and slapped me across the face more than once. I turned the other cheek, but you probably shouldn’t read it if you don’t like the word ‘asshole’. Frayn’s book, like The Office is a sort of via negativa on the good life. It does get a bit lost towards the end.