There are a few topics I have collected over the past week that do not merit an article of their own. So I thought I would compile a few of those into a single article today.
Blue Like Jazz: Matt Redmond sent me an email letting me know that he had reviewed Blue Like Jazz . One particular thing caught my eye in his review. He asked, “Since when is autobiography an acceptable genre for Christian Spirituality? This may be the most distrurbing and dengerous part of the book. It only makes sense that a book on Christian Spirituality would look closely at the best resource for such a subject…the Bible. Whip me, beat me and call me a fundamentalist but I am stickler for looking to the Bible for help in these matters. Anecdotes of a personal nature might be helpful but they are shifting sand. Perhaps it would be easier to understand this book as one Christian’s Spirituality instead of Christian Spirtuality.”
I think that is a good point, though one that merits further reflection. I know that biographies can be presented as Christian Spirituality and I have greatly benefitted in my Christian walk by reading about the lives of other great believers. But it seems that perhaps autobiography is not the best genre for this type of writing. What say you?
ASSIST News on Brian McLaren: I posted in A La Carte this morning about an article  dealing with Brian McLaren that was published by ASSIST News Service. McLaren made some comments about Christians who disagree with the Emerging movement:
It’s true there has been a lot of criticism. And, of course, when a group like this is raising very deep questions, such as do we have the Gospel right? - and you don’t get much deeper than that - people who feel we do have it right already have to criticise what we’re doing.
And we have to listen, because maybe they’re right. So for people who feel, for example, that the Westminster Confession perfectly contains Christian theology the kind of conversation we’re having is a waste of time.
But for people who feel that the Westminster Confession arose at a certain time, addressed certain concerns of that time, then we have to be as faithful to our time as the framers of the confession were to their time.
In the US you see a very strong polarisation, where the religious right has had a strong monologue, and it’s been a kind of retreat, a feeling that the good old days are back in the 1940s or 50s or 70s.
One of the effects of this emerging church conversation is a sense of hope and enthusiasm about the future and the need to engage, and less of a feeling of defeatism and retreat and nostalgia.
I don’t know of anyone, Presbyterian or otherwise, who believes that the Westminster Confession perfectly contains Christian theology. I do know of many who feel that it is a sound, Scriptural understanding of particular points of Christian theology, but none who believe it is inerrant. McLaren often engages in this type of senseless attack, throwing out barbs of this nature. It goes without saying that a person who believes Christian theology has been perfectly encapsulated by the Westminster Confession would reject the Emerging movement. But since nobody actually does, this is little more than a red herring. People who love and respect the Confession reject the Emerging movement because it tampers with the very gospel, which is contained not in the Confession but in the Scriptures.
Allah Junk: It seems that Christians do not have the market cornered on ridiculous products designed to somehow enhance our spirituality. A company  in Italy has now designed a pair of jeans created specifically for Muslims.
I am AL QUDS jeans, the jeans of choice for Islam as the inspiration comes from here and it is to this world that they refer.
The precious stimuli and suggestions that come from the sacred Arab World and from ordinary, every day life are captured and brought to fruition in AL QUDS jeans satisfying the needs of a couture fashion line which arises from the most “cultural” gesture of the street: jeans made to pray in, jeans for those who choose a different path. It is a wider concept because it is a step made for the World, seductive original and distinguished.
This line is therefore serious, looked for with discretion, natural elegant and not ostentatious. This is reflected in the care and attention to detail, from the denim material to the design which offers the comfort necessary for everyday wear.
A new expression for an old tradition; a way to express your origins and show them.
I wonder if they make them for women…
Jesus Junk: And while we are on the topic of junk, Slice of Laodicea  points to a new product by Zondervan. WorldNetDaily  describes True Images Bible, a Bible created specifically for teenage girls. It includes "profiles of fictional teenagers discussing oral sex, lesbianism and 'dream' guys. The publisher insists that the Bible merely deals with issues that teens face on a near-daily basis. Those who disagree with the product feel that it introduces topics that are unsuitable for young girls. It seems to me that many girls do face these issues, and parents do need to deal with them, but that a Bible is not the appropriate way of doing so. Unlike what the article suggests, though, homeschooling is not the final solution for dealing with this kind of issue. We can and should have this type of discussion and deal with how we will equip teens to deal with issues they will face at some point in life. Not every child can or will be schooled at home.