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Friday Miscellania

It’s Friday and that’s a good day to ramble. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share just a couple of items of “miscellania.”

Personal Updates

I’ve had a couple of people ask for updates as to what I’m up to these days. So here goes. My fall travel schedule is very light, for which I’m grateful. In a couple of weeks I’ll be heading to Chicago to blog the True Woman conference. Yes, feel free to make fun of me for it. It is going to be a huge conference with over 6000 women in attendance. Speakers include John Piper, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Joni Eareckson Tada, Janet Parshall, Mary Kassian, Fern Nichols and Karen Loritts. It’s hardly my usual live-blogging gig, but it should be fun nonetheless. The week after that I’ll be speaking at Chinese Gospel Church here in Toronto. Beyond that, I don’t have a lot on my schedule. And, of course, in early November I’ll be heading to Dominican Republic with Compassion International to see what they are up to over there.

I’m currently putting my spring schedule together. I’ll be teaching at a youth retreat in Michigan for a weekend in February. When conference season begins (typically March, April and May) I’ll be heading to The Gospel Coalition and, in all probability, the Moody Pastors Conference (in both cases to blog about them). In March I’ll be reading a paper at the Toronto Pastors Fellowship. And I’m evaluating a few other opportunities.

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment continues to sell, I guess. It has just gone to a third printing which is a great encouragement. To be honest, I do not have much of a sense of what that translates to in numbers, so don’t ask! I am not yet working on my next book, at least beyond the “gathering ideas” stage. I just haven’t quite found that idea yet—the one I can spend a year writing about.

Incognito

It’s not like we really need proof of the increasing prevalence of pornography in our society, but if we did we could look to the newest crop of web browsers. The browser that has made the greatest splash in recent days is Google’s Chrome; it overshadowed the release of a beta version of Internet Explorer 8. And, of course, a new version of Firefox is coming soon (a minor update—3.1). One feature of all of these new browsers (and a feature Safari has had for some time) is what is known as “private browsing” or, more commonly, “porn mode.”

Porn mode allows a user to browse the internet without the browser maintaining a history. Google describes it this way when you open an “incognito window:” “You’ve gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.” In other words, you can browse the web without leaving on your computer any trace of what you’ve done or where you’ve been. I’ll grant that there are useful applications of this technology beyond pornography—it may be useful if you are using a computer in a public library or if you have logged onto a friend’s computer to do some quick banking. But the most obvious application and the one it will undoubtedly be used for most, is finding and viewing pornography. I’m quite convinced that this is yet another example of pornography driving technology. This presents a bit of a conundrum to parents who may be accustomed to keeping tabs on their children’s browsing habits. So parents, be warned; your kids may be going incognito.

The Solas

The SolasA little while ago I was asked to collaborate on an interesting project—writing a curriculum on the five solas appropriate for teens. So I worked with InQuest Ministries and together we came up with The Solas. “When only the best will do, then the best is all you need. The 5 Solas of the reformation that make up this study are the best means for understanding the basic theological foundation on which our faith rests. By engaging with and applying the principles covered in this 5 session study we will gain an understanding of the uniqueness of our faith and why it is the best to build our life on.” In five sessions it leads students through each of the five solas. It is available online as a downloadable product. You can find information about it at InQuest Ministries.