Hello, imonks, and welcome to the weekend. Let’s do some rambling!
NFL wisdom: “It’s like you look at a girl who looks like you, and you find out it’s your cousin, so you can’t go on a date with her even though you’d like to, because she looks like you. But then you see her friend, and her friend’s really hot, and you’re like, ‘that’s not my cousin,’ so it’s good.” This from Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennet explaining his…ummm…mixed feelings for the Carolina Panthers. He likes them, you see, but can’t really like them, cuz they’re … cousins. Attractive cousins. REALLY attractive cousins. I’m still not sure who the hot friend is.
Potholes bad in your city this winter?
Terror in Paris. First, a shout-out to First Things for publishing (before the Paris attacks) the most balanced and insightful article on the challenge of Islamic extremism that I have seen. I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here is the synopsis:
- Islam is not mono-lithic. There are five main schools of thought. Unlike in Christianity, the differences are not doctrinal, but reflect differences in jurisprudence, authority and tradition.
- Wahhabism (the source of the jihadism and terrorism) is the most literalist and iconoclastic branch of Hanbalism, which itself is the most conservative of the five main schools.
- While the jihadists can quote their interpretation of sharia law, they without question violate that law by taking jihad in their own hands and by how they implement jihad.
- “In other words, while it is neither true nor fair to argue that Islam is the problem, there is no doubt that Islam has a problem.”
- A battle for the soul of Islam is earnestly underway among Muslims worldwide. We need to do what we can to strengthen those versions of Islam opposed to the jihadists.
Tolerance or cowardice? That’s what many people wondered after the Associated Press refused to print the cartoon produced by those who died in Paris: “It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images.” Yep. That’s why (until bloggers pointed out the hypocrisy yesterday) you could buy a copy of Piss Christ on their website. Politico notes that many other news organizations refused to print the cartoons. Commenters quickly noted that Politico was one of them. What do you think imonks? Is printing the cartoons striking a blow for free speech, or needless provocation?
I’m not saying it’s cold here in the midwest; I’m just saying there are parts of Mars that are warmer. Really.
Andrae Crouch, who penned songs like “My Tribute, [To God be the glory]”, “Soon and Very Soon,” “Jesus Is the Answer” and “Through It All” , passed away this week. He was 72.
Hoping to witness? Wanna engage the culture? Not sure how to get started? Take a clue from this guy. Smooth as silk.
I’m sure this was Mark Zuckerberg’s goal all along. A Tennessee couple faced a dilemma after their in vitro fertilization was successful. Perhaps too successful, actually: two sets of twins. The dilemma? What to do with six unused, frozen embryos? The answer? Facebook, of course.
From the YIKES department: Stephanie Lucas of San Diego just wanted to take a bathroom break at work. But isn’t it annoying when the toilet seems clogged, and you have to “hold it in” while you search for a plunger, and then do your little hydraulic surgery on the porcelain throne? You know what would be more annoying? Realizing the blockage was caused by a snake. A live snake. A live, five-foot Colombian Boa. That starts heading toward you. Wouldn’t that be awful?
The Good News Club, a project of Child Evangelism Fellowship, is a voluntary, after-school club that is allowed to meet in public schools. The Supremes have given their blessing, but only if the school involved is willing to be the venue for other groups. Thus we now have the first atheist after-school program: the Better News Club.
Absurd Creature of the Week is an ongoing feature from Wired. The pick yesterday? A Tarsier, a tree-dweller that can rotate its head like an owl, speaks in ultrasound, and is the only primate to feed exclusively on meat. Oh, and it is believed to be the inspiration for Yoda.
The Fermi Paradox is the contradiction between the high probability of extraterrestrial civilizations’ existence and the lack of contact with such civilizations. Why should we expect to be contacted by alien life (or at least see its effects)? Well, just by sheer probability, based on the incredible number of stars.
- There are There are between 1022 and 1024 total stars in the visible universe [which means that for every grain of sand on Earth, there are 10,000 stars out there].
- How many of those are like the sun? The conservative estimate is 500 quintillion [500 billion billion].
- How many with planets like ours? The conservative estimate is 100 billion billion [100 Earth-like planets for every grain of sand in the world].
- If only 1 percent of those developed life, that would mean there were 10 quadrillion, or 10 million billion intelligent civilizations in the observable universe.
- Even if we limit the calculations to our galaxy, we should expect that there are 1 billion Earth-like planets and 100,000 intelligent civilizations in our galaxy.
I point all this out because of the announcement this week that another 8 planets have been discovered in the goldilocks zone; that is, they are at just the right distance from a sun to make water (and life) possible. Oh you didn’t hear about the announcement? Perhaps because the discovery of new planets is so commonplace now. The Kepler spacecraft alone has discovered over 4,000 in just five years of operation. Still no E.T., however.
New England Brewing has apologized, but has not yanked its controversial beer brand: Ghandi-bot. The cans feature a robotic Ghandi [why???] and the claim: “an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love.” Of course, brewers, like most of us, are not immune to making some dough from religious branding. Guess which one of these beers and slogans I just made up: [The answer will be in the comments]
- Rapture Red Hop Ale (Offers your taste buds redemption)
- Polygamy Porter (Why have just one?)
- Pentecostal Punch (There’s more than one way to be spirit-filled)
- Repent Rye (Grants you full absolution)
- He’Brew (The Chosen Beer)
- 666, the Devil’s Pale Ale (The devil made me brew it)
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting (but sad) article on what to do with all the empty church buildings in Europe. One solution: an indoor skate park.
It’s Bambo, not Bambi. A Wisconsin hunter was attacked by the deer he wounded last weekend. The wounded doe “leaped out and went after him” while he was amidst tracking her among “some thick brush” Sheriff’s Officer Jeff Bonack said. The feisty deer then head-butted his leg and fled the scene. The article notes, “This is only the latest incident of deer revolting against their human oppressors. In the past two months, deer have busted into homes in New York and New Jersey, in one case wreaking havoc in a bathroom. And in 2013, a buck jumped through the window of a minivan and out the other, shattering glass over a terrified family.” Yep, the deer are definitely out of control. They’re even being a bad influence on the moose:
Tozer quote of the week:
“It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.”
― A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God