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A La Carte

January 04, 2010
You Did What?
You may have heard about the ax-wielding Muslim who tried to kill infamous Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. He was at home caring for his granddaughter when a man broke in seeking to kill him. This part blew my mind: “He did not have time to collect the child from the living room before locking himself into a ‘panic room’, a specially fortified bathroom.” So he ran to the bathroom to save his life and left his five year-old grand daughter out there with a terrorist? Unbelievable!
Technologies That Will Rock 2010
TechCrunch has a roundup of ten technologies they think will rock 2010. “So many new technologies are ready to make a big impact this year. Some of them will be brand new, but many have been gestating and are now ready to hatch. If there is any theme here it is the mobile Web. As I think through the top ten technologies that will rock 2010, more than half of them are mobile. But those technologies are tied to advances in the overall Web as well.”
As the Nation’s Pulse Races
Maureen Dowd in the NYT in an article titled “As the Nation’s Pulse Races, Obama Can’t Seem to Find His.” ” Even before a Nigerian with Al Qaeda links tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet headed to Detroit, travelers could see we had made no progress toward a technologically wondrous Philip K. Dick universe. We seemed to still be behind the curve and reactive, patting down grannies and 5-year-olds, confiscating snow globes and lip glosses.”
Ephesian Terrace Houses
Ben Witherington: “Probably the most exciting of all the archaeological developments in Turkey is what has been uncovered on a hill overlooking the Celsus Library in Ephesos by the Austrians. And the Austrians are both meticulous and thorough, and their work on the terraced houses is spectacular. They have even built a state of the art roof over the hill and a walkway and stairway so one can climb around and see the site without interfering with the work. I was fortunate enough to be given a private tour of the site before it became a public tourist attraction and as the year comes to the end, I thought I would share some of my favorite shots.”
Reformation Art Moving Sale
Reformation Art is having a huge moving sale and offering up some great bargains. Take a look at the link to see what’s on sale.
December 31, 2009
How Protestant Pastors Spend Their Time
Ed Stetzer writes, “A new study coming out of Lifeway Research shows that ‘Protestant pastors in America are working long hours, sometimes at the expense of relationships with church members, prospects, family and even the Lord.’”
Sand Drawing
“Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine’s version of ‘America’s Got Talent.’ She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and ‘sand painting’ skills to interpret Germany’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.’” It is really an amazing video.
Counseling Solutions
This site, run by Rick Thomas, offers some good articles dealing with tough topics. “The Counseling Solutions Group is a worldwide non-profit organization helping people who are in situational difficulties. This is accomplished by using Christian principles to train leaders to competently counsel as well as by providing practical and compassionate counseling to individuals in need.”
What You See
What you see isn’t always what you get. This video highlights some surprising uses of green screen technology in television and movies.
December 30, 2009
Flying High
Christopher Hitchens on the latest terrorist attempt: “It’s getting to the point where the twin news stories more or less write themselves. No sooner is the fanatical and homicidal Muslim arrested than it turns out that he (it won’t be long until it is also she) has been known to the authorities for a long time. But somehow the watch list, the tipoff, the many worried reports from colleagues and relatives, the placing of the name on a “central repository of information” don’t prevent the suspect from boarding a plane, changing planes, or bringing whatever he cares to bring onto a plane.”
Christine Dente, formerly of Out of the Grey, has just released a new album that is based on The Valley of Vision. Though it looks intriguing, I haven’t been able to find it at iTunes (it is supposed to show up there in January).
The Joy of the Reformed
Anthony Selvaggio: “I did my own assessment of my Reformed experience and, I must admit, I had to agree that ‘joyful’ was not one of the first adjectives that came to my mind to describe it. Then I began to contemplate why the Reformed church seems to be lacking in the joy department.”
How To Destroy the Book
In this article Cory Doctorow writes about new realities confronting readers as books increasingly become digital. I loved this bit of it: “If you’re making a short film, and you want to illustrate a society that’s falling into tyranny, you can just cut away to a scene of a pile of books burning, and everyone will know exactly what you meant. If you want to indicate that a character in a book is very sympathetic, and you mention how much she loves reading and going to the library, then your readers will immediately show sympathy for her. Books have this penumbra of virtues, they ooze virtue, and it’s long beyond anything rational or reasonable, because all of you who are people of the book know that there are many books that are absolutely unworthy of that virtue, and yet—and yet—when I worked in a bookstore and had to strip paperbacks to send them back, it was painful to tear the covers off of books. I can barely bring myself to recycle the phone book every year.”
Virtually Divorced from Reality
From the Courant: “There are plenty of assaults on marriages these days, but the attack from cyberspace is rapidly widening. And as the prevalence of Internet obsession grows, it is turning up more and more as a factor in divorce cases.”
Deal of the Day: Sproul Commentaries
RHB has R.C. Sproul’s two new commentaries (John and Romans) at 50% off. They aren’t likely to last long at that price…
December 29, 2009
The Wonder of Apple’s Tablet
You can tell that I’m excited by this product. MG Siegler has an article explaining why the tablet is such an intriguing product and why you shouldn’t immediately write it off.
Top Theology Stories of 2009
Collin Hansen offers up his top ten theology-related stories of 2009.
Where Have All the Evangelicals Gone?
There is an interview with Guinness over at Evangel. “This foundational member of the Evangelical Manifesto was gracious enough to talk about what it truly means to be an Evangelical, the future of the church, and why styling oneself a ‘post-evangelical’ is ‘absolutely ludicrous.’”
The Times has an article about Herge, the man who created the Tintin books.
December 28, 2009
Climategate and Wikipedia
Gene Veith offers good reason to use Wikipedia only with some hesitation: “This also raises questions about the nature of Wikipedia. Yes, it assembles a vast amount of information and makes it easily accessible. But since virtually anyone can change that information, unreliability is built in. (Let all students beware.) I understand the theory behind it, how it is self-correcting by drawing on collective knowledge. But isn’t it really predicated on the assumption that knowledge is a social construction, conveniently giving a platform for that to happen?”
2010: The Year of Digital Distraction
Writing for CNN Pete Cashmore asks “Between Facebook status updates, Tweets and new mobile applications that deliver breaking news on our phones, will we be driven to distraction in 2010? ”
This little bit of satire and silliness actually raises some good points about Apple’s (supposedly) forthcoming tablet device. “You aren’t going to be buying a ‘book’ on the iTunes store. You’re going to be buying a ‘story’ one chapter at a time, whether it’s Wind in the Willows or Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, everything is going to be just a chapter in a story.” Sounds crazy…but isn’t that how we buy music today?
Snowy Scenes
Another great photo essay from Boston.com.
Monergism Year-End Sale
Monergism Books is having a year-end sale. You can get 10% off your order until Tuesday, December 29th. Place at least $30.00 in cart, type the word - end2009 - in the coupon box and click apply.
December 22, 2009
Reforming Christian Weddings
I was very interested in this article from Conrad Mbewe. It is a call for the reforming of Christian weddings within an African context and shows some of the issues they are battling on that continent.
J.C. Ryle Quotes
Erik Kowalker of J.C. Ryle Quotes: “Beginning Monday December 21st through Christmas Eve, I will provide a quote a day from J.C. Ryle regarding the example of the often overlooked wise men who came to worship the infant Christ and, how we as Christians, can emulate their humility.”
Christians and Copyright
“American retailers sell about $4.6 billion worth of Christian products annually, and some are spoofs or spinoffs of commercial logos or brand names. Many such goods are illegal, trademark attorneys say, but companies often are unaware their names are being copied or don’t put up a fight for fear of being labeled anti-faith.”
Best and Worst Brand Identities of 2009
I enjoyed this roundup of some of the best and worst brand identities of the year that was.
What People Do and Do Not Believe In
“A new Harris Poll finds that the great majority (82%) of American adults believe in God, exactly the same number as in two earlier Harris Polls in 2005 and 2007. Large majorities also believe in miracles (76%), heaven (75%), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (73%), in angels (72%), the survival of the soul after death (71%), and in the resurrection of Jesus (70%).”
Gospel on the GO Bus
My buddy Paul (you can call him P-Mac) shares an ordinary but interesting evangelistic encounter when traveling by bus from Toronto to Guelph.
What Part of the Body?
Francis Chan made me laugh.
Deals @ Heritage Books
Heritage Books has lots of really good deals on lots of really good books, including some complete sets from Puritan writers. Click the link to see what they’ve got.
December 21, 2009
Measuring Oral Roberts’ Influence
John MacArthur on the death of Oral Roberts: “One thing all the obituaries agree on is that Oral Roberts paved the way for all the charismatic televangelists and faith-healers who dominate religious television today. He did more than anyone in the early Pentecostal movement to influence mainstream evangelicalism. He parlayed his television ministry into a vast empire that has left a deep mark on the church worldwide.”
Common Search Terms
Norton has released a list of the most common search terms among teens and children. The list is very interesting, though it is disquieting to see how high “porn” and “sex” rank among teen boys, teen girls, and even children aged 7 and under.
The Truth About Lions
This article from the Smithsonian is a long and interesting look at lions. “The world’s foremost lion expert reveals the brutal, secret world of the king of beasts.”
Top Ten Goals of 2009
This video shows some almost unbelievable displays of athleticism. “FIFA announced the ten goals nominated for the Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal of the year.”
Avatar: Rambo in Reverse
Russell Moore offers a brief review of Avatar. “I just left opening night of James Cameron’s gazillion-dollar epic film Avatar. The reviews were right. The plot is laughably cliched. And the special effects are the most jaw-dropping you’ve ever seen. What I wasn’t quite ready for was the preachiness of the propaganda.”
December 18, 2009
Multi-Site Churches
USA Today has an article about multi-site churches. “This form of high-efficiency evangelism allows thousands of worshipers to hear the same message from a lead pastor or a member of his team, in person or by video at three, five, even a dozen or more locations. Meanwhile, others take over the one-to-one side of ministry — counseling, ceremonies and small-group guidance.”
Children’s Bible iPhone App
BCNmultimedia today announced the release of the ‘Children’s Bible’ iPhone and iPod Touch application, a full color comic book rendition of bible stories from the Old and New Testaments of the World English Bible.” There is only one story that is free, but it’s quite well done.
Browser Size Widget
Only web designers will care about this. But they’ll definitely want to file it away as a useful resource.
Glory to God on High
Michael Krahn has written a song for Christmas and has it free for the taking on his blog.
December 17, 2009
Significant Books of 2009
Keith Mathison, who has read every theology text and commentary ever written, provides a roundup of significant books from 2009.
Fishing: Canadian Style
A little glimpse of Canada for you. Do I need to provide the disclaimer “Don’t try this at home?”
Are You SAD?
My friend David Murray, who clearly has the best accent in the Reformed world, has released this short little video which addresses Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Matt Chandler
Matt Chandler’s church has released an update after he was told the results of the pathology tests. “On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.”
Christmas Cheer
A few goofy Christmas-themed comics.
Free Shipping @ Amazon
By way of FYI, today is the last day you can order items from Amazon and have them shipped for free with a guarantee that they will arrive by the 24th of December. Today’s deals are not all that interesting, I suppose, though a Columbia fleece throw for $11 isn’t too bad. I feel like I should apologize for all the Amazon updates lately, but I really love the place and love combing through it for deals.
December 16, 2009
Grace to You iPhone App
Grace to You is now offering a free iPhone app that allows you access to vast amounts of material from John MacArthur.
MacArthur and Pragmatism
And while we’re talking about Johnny Mac, he’s continuing his series of articles with a look at the always-important subject of pragmatism.
Fools Rush In
Carl Trueman takes the blogosphere to the woodshed and for good reason. “Some weeks ago a friend forwarded me a link to the blog of an American Christian academic. Now, at the risk of protesting too much, I must stress that I don’t read blogs - I really don’t read blogs - unless, that is, they are sent to me by someone else. Sufficient to my own life is the tedium and banality contained therein; I really have no interest in compounding such with the tedium and banality contained in the lives of other people.”
The Princess and the Frog
Russell Moore provides a review of Disney’s newest movie. “As one who grew up right across the state line from New Orleans and spent most of my young life romping through its streets and marshes, I took my family to see Disney’s latest animated film “The Princess and the Frog,” set in the Crescent City and the bayous around it.”
Deal of the Day: Flip MinoHD
Amazon’s Gold Box deal today is the Flip MinoHD, one of those products that everyone seems to want this year. And they’ve got it at a great price.