April 25, 2015

Saturday Ramblings, April 25, 2015: Drafting Mike Edition

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready to Ramble?

Then hop in the '62 convertible

Then hop in the ’62 convertible

The World Happiness Report for 2015 was released this week.  The report identifies the countries with the highest levels of happiness:
Switzerland
Iceland
Denmark
Norway
Canada

Apparently the colder you are the happier you are.  That’s my main take-away from this.

The list of people running for president keeps on growing, a full year and a half before the actual election.  Ted Cruz was first in. Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul announced last week.  Jeb Bush, Mike Hucklebee, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and  Lindsey Graham are expected to join in the next week or two, and Chris Christie and Scott Walker are lingering in the wings.  Even Hulk Hogan is running.

And I am asking President Putin to settle this with me mano a mano. We will be armed with one folding chair apiece.

And I am asking President Putin to settle this with me mano a mano. We will be armed with one folding chair apiece.

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Blogging through The Lost World of Adam and Eve (1)

Blogging through “The Lost World of Adam and Eve”
• Propositions 1-5

I’d like to take some time during the near future to blog through John Walton’s important book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate.

Those familiar with Walton’s earlier work know that he writes on this subject by setting forth propositions, then explaining and defending them. This book contains 21 propositions that focus mostly on the text of Genesis 2-3 and the questions it raises in the origins debates.

The focus is not on concordism, that is, trying to show compatibility between the biblical accounts and scientific findings, but rather on understanding the text of Scripture itself. The primary focus is on the meaning and significance of these OT texts and what they communicate in their Ancient Near Eastern context.

Walton says:

In this book, I will contend that the perceived threat posed by the current consensus about human origins is overblown. That consensus accepts the principles of common ancestry and evolutionary theory as the explanation for the existence of all life. Though we should not blindly accept the scientific consensus if its results are questionable on scientific principles, we can reach an understanding that regardless of whether the the scientific principles stand the test of time or not, they pose no threat to biblical belief. Admittedly, however, a perception of conflict is not uncommon.

With that in mind, I will not give very much attention to the question of the legitimacy of the scientific claims. Instead I will be conducting a close reading of the Bible as an ancient document to explore the claims it makes. (p. 13)

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Faith in the system, or faith in Jesus?

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I am going to try and make sense with this post, but please bear with me. I just got home late from being on call, and have given myself a one-hour time limit to put this post together. I’ll try to make my point concise, but I’m not sure I will be able to give a full analysis or present everything I want to say.

The other day I watched the HBO documentary Questioning Darwin (2014). The film portrays two “sides” in the creation/evolution debate. On the one hand they interview proponents of Young Earth Creationism, such as Ken Ham, Pastor Joe Coffey, and others. On the other hand, they have scientists speak on behalf of evolutionary science while at the same time telling Charles Darwin’s story about his discoveries, how he came to write The Origin of the Species, and the impact his journey had on his own faith. I’m going to try and watch it again sometime soon, because I want to be able to analyze it more carefully.

I just want to make one observation at this point, because a particular thought struck me with new impact while watching this film.

That observation is this:

I was impressed anew at how evangelical Christianity comes across as faith in a system rather than faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

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Christian Wiman on religious despair

Religious despair is often a defense against boredom and the daily grind of existence. Lacking intensity in our lives, we say that we are distant from God and then seek to make that distance into an intense experience. It is among … [Continue reading...]

Ron Rolheiser: A Jewish folk tale

A Jewish folk tale talks of a young man who aspired to great holiness. After some time at working to achieve it, he went to see his rabbi. "Rabbi," he announced, "I think I have achieved sanctity." "Why do you think that?" asked … [Continue reading...]

Emerging from Gethsemani: What I did and what I read

I spent Monday through Friday last week at one of my favorite places in the world: The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky. This was my third retreat at Gethsemani, and each of them has had a different … [Continue reading...]

Sundays with Michael Spencer: April 19, 2015

Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, "He is out of his mind."...And his mother and his brothers came, … [Continue reading...]

Saturday Ramblings, April 18, 2014, The Pissing Off Putin Edition

Hello, all, and welcome to the weekend.  Ready to Ramble? We're going to start with news from Russia that memes are now illegal. Well, not all memes, just those that feature a public character.  Gee, I wonder what powerful … [Continue reading...]

Why People Move Between Different Church Traditions – A Hypothesis

  I was wondering a few weeks back, if perhaps people's worship style preference could be directly correlated to their personality type.  I found this article that seemed to affirm that belief.  I asked our readers to … [Continue reading...]

Easter: do we just not “get” it?

Do we "get" Easter? This year, I've had this sneaking suspicion that I don't really "get" Easter, and maybe a lot of the churches and Christians I've been around don't either. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! (Repeat 3x.) … [Continue reading...]