Monday, October 12, 2009

Blog Tour: 10/4 - 10/10

Wherein I look around the web - hopefully once a week - and draw some attention to things I see there that interest me.

If you want to know where I go, look at the links on the left of my blog under "Places I Frequent". From there, I will go places those places may point me. Typically, I will also list up to three of my favorite posts from the current Christian Carnival - and may go somewhere those blogs take me.

Sometimes they will be topically organized, and sometimes just in order of the links I visited. Enjoy:

  • Christian Carnival posts:
    • Allen Scott writes at Journey Across the Sky about scapegoating and "The Scapegoat" - Christ.
      In Leviticus God instructs Aaron on how to observe this most Holy of Holy days. He was to select two goats and present them at the door to the temple of the Lord and one will be sacrificed to the Lord and the other will be released as a symbolic carrier of the people’s sins. The scapegoat was to be released into the wilderness and left there to die.

      Since this goat, carrying the sins of the people placed on it, is sent away to perish, the word “scapegoat” has come to mean a person, often innocent, who is blamed and punished for the sins, crimes, or sufferings of others, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.

    • There are two posts at the Carnival that focus on forgiveness
      • Michael at Chasing the Wind offers "Forgiveness" - a study of Psalm 32
        Charles Roberts was a troubled man. On the morning of October 2, 2006, at 8:45am, Charles and his wife walked their three children to the school bus stop. When Mrs. Roberts returned home a little before 11:00am, she discovered four suicide notes, one each for her and their three children.

        Charles continued to his job as a milk truck driver. At 10:25am, Charles entered the West Nickel Mines School, a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster Pennsylvania . . .

      • Jeremy at Parableman looks at "The Signs of Forgiveness"
        In a conversation this evening about the call to forgive in such passages as Matthew 5:21-26; 6:14-15; 18:21-35, one of the participants raised some good questions about what exactly forgiveness requires. My initial thought was to make a bunch of distinctions between things in the neighborhood of forgiveness that might be easily confused with it and then make it clear that not all of them are presumed under the command to forgive . . .

    • Rey at the The Bible Archive looks at the corporate validation of the work of the Spirit the New Testiment with ". . . And Christians Aren't Jedi Knights"
      So beyond the case that Scripture doesn’t really speak of internal nudging as the normative activity of the Spirit of God in promoting action; Scriptures do speak positively of seeing the Spirit of God at work as a community which then examines the evidence based on what has been (and is being) revealed and authenticated by God.

  • There is an ongoing story on Honduras - and the coup/non-coup that occurred there. There have been a number of reports that have said that the Honduran Supreme Court and other branches of the Honduran government acted within the Constitution of Honduras in removing President Zelaya from office. James Kirchick writing in the New Republic covers this history [HT: The Volokh Conspiracy
    In the immediate wake of Honduras’s constitutional crisis, it was understandable that the administration, caught by surprise, might jump the gun in its denunciation of the military action as a “coup.” Now, three months later and with legal repudiation from within its own government, U.S. policy has become a mistake in search of a rationale . . .

    . . .according to a recently released and widely overlooked report drafted by the Library of Congress, the actions the Honduran government took in removing Zelaya were consistent with that country’s constitutional procedures . . .

    . . . In other words, far from fitting the administration’s description as a “coup d’├ętat,” the report paints Zelaya’s removal as remarkably orderly and legalistic, especially in a region where the rule of law is so tenuous. The Obama administration’s position, predicated on its hasty conclusion that Zelaya’s removal was illegal, now appears squarely contradicted by the only known official analysis of the constitutional issues involved.

    Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy points out
    This last bit may need to be revised, as there appears to be another “official analysis” of the relevant legal issues, albeit one that has yet to be released. According to an op-ed by Senator Jim DeMint, who just returned from a trip to Honduras, there is a State Department report authored by State Department legal advisor Harold Koh . . .

    . . . If this report is indeed the basis for the Administration’s insistence that there was a “coup” in Honduras, and its decision not to recognize the pending November elections in which Zelaya could not be a candidate even were he to be reinstated, it should be released to Congress and the public. In the unlikely event that the legal analysis depends upon sensitive classified information, such material could easily be redacted.

    Jonathan updated his post with this
    For a legal analysis that supports the Administration’s position, see this article by Douglass Cassel of the University of Notre Dame Law School. Harold Koh’s memo may well make similar arguments, but we can’t know for sure unless and until the memo is released.
  • Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse posted number 4 in a series of 5 on "Intellectual Conservatism Isn't Dead: . . . [fill in the blank]". The blank this time is ". . . It's on the Margin"
    I believe it inevitable that even if the GOP mounts some kind of comeback in 2010, it will be shortlived. The systemic contradictions inherent in the movement as well as a continued disconnect with the concerns of ordinary voters will spell defeat of what will almost certainly be a movement candidate for president in 2012. Then, the excuse that their candidate wasn’t “conservative enough” will ring hollow and they will be faced with the yawning chasm opening beneath their feet that their angry, paranoid, illogical worldview is not shared with many outside of the cocoon they have created for themselves
    The first three are:
    1. " . . . It's Resting"
    2. " . . . Would You Buy a Used Car From a Liberal"
    3. " . . . Channel Your Inner Elder"

  • Jeremy Berg guest posting at The Jesus Creed points out "The Dark Side of Bible Reading" (at least one of them):
    I have long been irritated by a common critique or complaint people have after listening to a biblical exposition of a passage. This is especially true of teenagers after hearing their youth pastor unpack a dense portion of, say, Romans. "How does this apply to my life?" "What does this have to do with me?" I believe this simple request, which sounds so reasonable and innocent on the surface, has a darker side that has should at least be considered.
  • Tom at Thinking Christian points out another - Jennifer Fulwiler - at Conversion Diary. Jennifer posts this self-description:
    Five years ago I had never once believed in God, not even as a child. I was a content atheist and thought it was simply obvious that God did not exist. I thought that religion and reason were incompatible, and eventually became vocally anti-Christian. Imagine my surprise to find myself today, just a few years later, a convert to Christianity who loves her faith (my husband and I both entered the Catholic Church in 2007). This is the chronicle of my journey.
    She has a post where she quotes Francis de Sales:
    God's servants who have had the highest and most exalted inspirations have been the gentlest and most peaceable men in all the world. Such were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses is called "a man exceedingly meek above all men." David is praised for his mildness.

    On the contrary, the evil spirit is turbulent, bitter, and restless. Those who follow his hellish suggestions in the belief that they are heavenly inspirations can usually be recognized because they are unsettled, headstrong, haughty, and ready to undertake or meddle in affairs. Under the pretext of zeal, they subvert everything, criticize everyone, rebuke everyone, and find fault with everything. They are men without self-control and without consideration, who put up with nothing. In the name of zeal for God's honor, they indulge in the passions of self-love.

    and applies it to Christian bloggers:
    Unfortunately, the kind of behavior that reflects a soul in tune with the Holy Spirit is rarely what brings large amounts of traffic to a blog. Being "unsettled, headstrong, haughty, and ready to undertake or meddle in affairs" while "subverting everything, criticizing everyone, rebuking everyone, and finding fault with everything" is pretty much a recipe for how to have a popular website.

    Also, the internet gives us unprecedented opportunities to express our opinions in a relatively consequence-free environment -- and, unlike face-to-face communication, it's surprisingly easy to fall into self-indulgent, careless speech when the only repercussions you'll face are words on a screen.

  • David Nilsen at The Evangelical Outpost answers a non-theological case for egalitarianism made by Dr. Allen Yeh at The Scriptorium . David in this post - "In Defense of Complementarianism: A Response to Allen Yeh (Part 1)" - gives his non-theological answer. A couple of points catch my eye:
    The issue is whether she serves in the specific role of exercising authority over men. Remember that the New Testament only mentions two offices, Elder and Deacon. Any other unofficial offices that we create to meet needs in the church (youth group, women’s group, etc) should not be closed to women unless it serves the same function as Elder (it is not at all clear to me that women should be excluded from serving as Deacons).
    it confuses the office of church elder with that of seminary (or college) professor, which is not even a New Testament category. I am a complementarian, yet I have no scruples about female professors because I do not believe that the Bible prohibits women from teaching in such a capacity. According to complementarianism, the Bible’s restriction of female service in the church is actually an extremely limited one, and thus any honest debate must be equally limited.
    What of my church? We are elder-led with a number of pastors. Indeed, our teaching pastor is not the pastor who oversees the pastoral staff - that is the lead pastor. So - Biblically - would our teaching pastor have to be a man by this narrow scriptural argument? She would have no "authority over men" except in a teacher/student sense - which I do not see as being the sense of scripture on the definition of "authority". Certainly, far less real authority over men than a college professor who can flunk you if you do not get it right - and impact significant parts of your life.

    Or, in the sense of guest speakers, would a woman pastor be restricted from addressing the entire congregation with a message; or would she have to stick to preaching to women and children?

    My wife would say no. She would also oppose a woman with "authority over men" in the Elders Board, or as the pastor in charge of the other pastors; and would not oppose women teaching men as being an improper authority.

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly