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A La Carte

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.
December 15, 2009
How To Benefit from the Bible
James MacDonald has penned a good article with advice on how to benefit from reading the Bible.
The Joy and Pain of an Intergenerational Church
TripleD comes through with a poignant article about the joy and the pain of pastoring an intergenerational church.
The Size of the Stars and Planets
This little video tries to convey an idea of just how earth compares in size to many of the stars and planets.
48 by 48
This is an interesting project. Drew is traveling the US for 48 weeks, attempting to do some kind of a volunteer project in 48 different states.
What Is Reformed Theology?
This twelve-part video series from R.C. Sproul, in which he explains the basics of Reformed theology, is now freely available online.
Christmas Sale @ DG
Desiring God has some really good deals if you’re still shopping for Christmas gifts.
2009 in Pictures
The Big Picture has an amazing roundup of this year’s most notable photos.
December 14, 2009
Dockers is telling men to put on the pants. Paul shares their “man-ifesto.”
Top 10 Cultural Moments
If this is culture, I start to have more sympathy for those Christians who are always talking about redeeming culture.
Uncle Jay Explains
I enjoyed this week’s episode of Uncle Jay Explains. This guy’s got a great sense of humor…
He Had Faith in His Job
This is kind of sad: ” A reporter’s work covering church sex scandals, religious tycoons and healers tests his beliefs — and triggers a revelation.”
Charity: Who Cares?
Mint.com shares some statistics about one thing Americans do very well—give money to charity.
December 11, 2009
Ten Awful Truths About Book Publishing
This article outlines ten facts about book publishing that may be surprising. For example, over 560,000 books are published every year in the US alone. And of the books tracked, the majority sell fewer than 99 copies.
The End of Book Publishing As We Know It
Speaking of books, Michael Hyatt looks to some amazing new technology and proclaims [what people have been proclaiming for years] that this is the end of book publishing as we know it.
Overcoming A Spouse’s Sexual History
Boundless has a pair of articles that deal with a tough subject—overcoming a spouse’s sexual history. Zach Bradford: “I forced myself to wrestle with the old memories, the old emotions, to put them to rest once and for all. Through these times I had to think deeply about her past and my past. I had to fight with my theology of forgiveness and with my whole understanding of what it means to be forgiven. And I am glad to say that God was exceedingly gracious.”
Free Christmas Music from iTunes
iTunes is offering a free Christmas music album with 21 tracks. The artists are rather an electric bunch and range from Amy Grant to Weezer.
100 Billion
“The new Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken the deepest image yet of the Universe in near-infrared light. The faintest and reddest objects in the image are likely the oldest galaxies ever identified.” Filter out some of the big-bang speak from this article and film and you can see some amazing things.
34 GB Per Day
Feeling overloaded? This may be why: “The New York Times highlights a a report published by the University of California, San Diego claiming that the average American consumes 34GB of content and 100,000 words a day. How is that possible, you ask? It’s all about bathing in the data.”
It’s a Christian Man’s World
Whatever happened to Promise Keepers? This article provides some answers. “In the 1990s, the evangelical men’s ministry the Promise Keepers packed 50,000-seat football stadiums and even stuffed the Mall in Washington, D.C., with close to 600,000 sweaty, Jesus-loving males. Marshaled by Bill McCartney, a former University of Colorado football coach, the group took the evangelical world by storm. But P.K.’s star fell as rapidly as it rose, particularly after McCartney departed the organization in 2003 to establish a group that brings Christians and Messianic Jews together. Now McCartney is back, and he’s trying very hard to resurrect the Promise Keepers.”
December 10, 2009
The Year’s Best Music
CT offers a rather bizarre roundup of the year’s best music (99% of which none of us have ever heard of). Like this: “John Darnielle calls himself a ‘Catholic atheist,’ but he knows his Bible, and writes twelve songs based on specific verses here. This album, sparsely acoustic and beautiful, is neither ‘worship’ nor ‘Christian’ music per se, but it feels sacramental, with its intimate production and songs of beauty, depravity, faith, violence, love, hopelessness, hope, life, and death—kind of like, you know, the Bible.” I enjoy CT’s music reviews, but this list is a mess.
An Amazon Factoid
My buddy Jesse shares an Amazon factoid that I found really fascinating. Amazon could sell all of its product at cost and still make money. He explains how.
Deals @ ChristianAudio
If you’re into audio books you’ll want to check out the deals at ChristianAudio. Among the deals they are offering you a $10 gift certificate for every $25 gift certificate you buy for someone else.
Appalachian Conference on Theology
West Virginian’s take note: Randolph Street Baptist Church is hosting Steven Lawson for a conference on theology and the church.
Top 10 Everything
TIME offers up their top 10 of everything from 2009.
A Statement from Ligon Duncan
Ligon Duncan has issued a statement on The Manhattan Declaration. “The issue boils down to a matter of judgment, not a disagreement in principle, between those Council members who signed and didn’t sign. The non-signers believe that the content of the document and the associations of the primary authors imply an ECT-like confusion about the Gospel. The signers believe that the explicit assertions and emphasis of the documents relate only to areas of principled social-ethical agreement between evangelicals and non-evangelicals. Further, they believe that it is important for individuals from the major quadrants of the historic Christian tradition to speak on these pressing matters in solidarity.”