- N.T. Wright
My wife is a stay-at-home mom and she is also pregnant. She was not always a SAHM (or pregnant for that matter). She used to work in a hospital and still does every now and then for extra money. She happens to be working this week which means that some of here co-workers are seeing her for the first time since her pregnancy. She has heard a whole range of strange comments this week which prompted me to make a list of some things that you should never say to a pregnant woman. You see, it seems that for some, the sight of a pregnant woman is a sign that "all bets are off" so to speak, as if anything goes. That is not the case and so, in case you didn't know, here are some things you should never say to a pregnant woman:
1. "My Gosh you are getting big/huge!" Listen, if you say this, you deserve whatever you get.
2. "Wow, you are seven months pregnant, you are really small." She has heard this a lot this week because, well, she is a small pregnant woman. Her response is outrage because she still FEELS pregnant. She still doesn't sleep at night, smells still make her sick, and she still swells up. If you think you are paying a pregnant woman a complement by saying this to her, you are not.
3. "Wow, looks like you need to find a different hobby." This is the standard joke and the typical "all bets are off" comment. This person thinks that because a woman is pregnant, her personal life is now everyones business. The same person apparently also assumes that a pregant woman and her husband must always be, well, you know. It only takes one time folks and it is not your business so don't say that.
Lastly, don't touch a pregnant woman's belly. Who among us would walk up to a woman who is not pregnant and touch her stomach? No one. Why then is a pregnant woman's belly suddenly free to rub and ogle and touch?
Hopefully this will help save some sore jaws or bruised ego's out there. It's only because I care.
Last week we had an election.
Referendum: What to do with Shrode?And the people have spoken:
I am asking you, dear reader, to vote on my nickname. All I am asking from you is that, under comments, you vote by answering the below questions. My committment to you:
I will abide by your vote. I will have no veto power on question 1. Whatever you, the readers, decide in this little exercise in democracy is what I will do. And that's a promise. I will abide by the will of the people.
1. Which name should I start posting and commenting under? Shrode, Phil or something else?
2. Do you have suggestions for a new nickname? (I'm reserving veto power on this one.) If I adopt your suggestion for a nickname, should I also post and comment under it? Or just list it as a nickname, and post with my real name as my fellow thinklings do?
Exercise your Thinklings priviledges: VOTE!!!!!
I tallied the votes. Or at least I tried. (I?d like to see you try!) It?s hard to tell what people are voting for. But the best I could tell, the vote looks like this:
Question 1- What name should I post under?
And the tally is ? Shrode ? 12, Phil ? 2
Question 2 ? What should my new nickname be? Here it?s sketchy. Because I couldn?t tell when people said ?Shrode? if they were talking about a nickname or about what name I should post under. But again, Shrode was the clear winner.
Shrode ? 9
Bam, DK, and Pedro each got one vote.
If you tally it, your numbers will probably come out different. But I think it?s clear that the people like Shrode (the name. The jury?s still out on the person. )
And so I?ll honor your vote. I?ll stick with it. I also understand and agree with many of you who said that you just can?t pick your own nickname?but I did think of one yesterday. And I?m quite proud of it, though I know I can?t use it. (The people have spoken, after all.)
My idea: Spoke
Why? Well, I got to thinking of the Thinklings as a wheel. (Jared (Rod) has often been spoken of as the hub of the Thinkling wheel.) And that got me thinking, if Rod?s the hub, what am I? Then it hit me ? a spoke of the wheel.
Another one for Spoke: ...Plus it rhymes with Stroke, the nickname of honorary Thinkling, Stroke (AKA Jeremy, Jared?s brother)And it's sort-of similar to "Shrode."
Yet another one for Spoke: It?s the past tense of the verb ?speak? which I do plenty of. (Some would say too much)
But now I?m digressing?
Shrode (the name) is here to stay!
From N.T. Wright's The Lord and His Prayer:
The word "Father," then, concentrates our attention on the doubly revolutionary message and mission of Jesus. It is the Exodus-message, the message that tyrants and oppressors rightly fear. But it isn't a message of simple human revolution. Most revolutions breed new tyrannies; not this one. This is the Father's revolution. It comes through the suffering and death of the Son. That's why, at the end of the Lord's Prayer, we pray to be delivered from the great tribulation; which is, not surprisingly, what Jesus told his disciples to pray for in the garden. This revolution comes about through the Messiah, and his people, sharing and bearing the pain of the world, that the world may be healed. This is the kingdom-message, the Advent-message.
But if we in turn are to be the messengers, we need to learn to pray this prayer. We, too, need to learn what it means to call God "Father," and we mustn't be surprised when we find ourselves startled by what it means. The one thing you can be sure of with God is that you can't predict what he's going to do next. That's why calling God "Father" is the great act of faith, of holy boldness, of risk. Saying "our father" isn't just the boldness, the sheer cheek, of walking into the presence of the living and almighty God and saying "Hi, Dad." It is the boldness, the sheer total risk, of saying quietly, "Please may I, too, be considered an apprentice son." It means signing on for the Kingdom of God.
"Oh!" saith the Arminian, "men may be saved if they will." We reply, "My dear sir, we all believe that; but it is just the if they will that is the difficulty. We assert that no man will come to Christ unless he be drawn; nay, we do not assert it, but Christ himself declares it--"Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life;' and as long as that "ye will not come' stands on record in Holy Scripture, we shall not be brought to believe in any doctrine of the freedom of the human will." It is strange how people, when talking about free-will, talk of things which they do not at all understand. "Now," says one, "I believe men can be saved if they will." My dear sir, that is not the question at all. The question is, are men ever found naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ? We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ. You reply, that men sometimes are willing, without the help of the Holy Spirit. I answer--Did you ever meet with any person who was? Scores and hundreds, nay, thousands of Christians have I conversed with, of different opinions, young and old, but it has never been my lot to meet with one who could affirm that he came to Christ of himself, without being drawn. The universal confession of all true believers is this--"I know that unless Jesus Christ had sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God, I would to this very hour have been wandering far from him, at a distance from him, and loving that distance well." With common consent, all believers affirm the truth, that men will not come to Christ till the Father who hath sent Christ doth draw them.
from Charles Spurgeon's sermon "Human Inability"
This passage from Ben Witherington?s Jesus, Paul, and the End of the World is long, but I encourage you to read it, as it applies the work of science to the wonder of theology in a pretty neat way.
While eschatology is a concept that definitely involves the matter of time, it does not always involve the matter of timing or the calculation of time. It is striking, at least to this observer, that some who confidently reject New Testament eschatology as no longer valid often do so because they assume that the issues of time and timing are, if not one and the same, so interdependent as to be indistinguishable.
The problem with this sort of approach is that it does not sufficiently take into account what we have been learning from scientists in the twentieth century about the space-time continuum. Einstein had some remarkable things to say about time in his theory of relativity, but some biblical scholars and laypersons have apparently ignored this data and continue to operate with a pre-Einsteinian theory of time. I am suggesting that for some the real impediment to thinking that the New Testament eschatology can be affirmed in the twentieth century is not that the schema is too old and represents a discredited worldview, but that a modern way of thinking about time and timing has not been incorporated into their world view.
Many scientists point out that ?time is, in fact, elastic and can be stretched and shrunk by motion.? Not only so, but ?time really does run faster in space, where the Earth?s gravity is weaker.? In short, time, space, and gravity are interrelated and interdependent matters. P. Davies has stressed that in some eighty years of testing, not one experiment ?has marred the flawless predictions of the theory of relativity.? Now this in itself ought to give us all pause. Our own perception of time lapse or the calculation of time is hardly a very firm or reliable basis to make a confident judgment about the validity of the eschatological concepts Jesus and Paul taught, whatever one may think about how they viewed the timing of such events . . .
Another related and equally complex matter is the relationship of time to eternity. What we have learned about time from the theory of relativity coupled with space exploration suggests that since time, space, and gravity are interdependent, whatever else one can say, eternity or heaven must be very different from earth in regard to the whole matter of time. It may also indeed prove to be the case that the biblical author said more than he understood when he pointed out, ?With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day? (2 Pet. 3:8). As little as we understand about time, we understand even less about the relationship of time to eternity. Is eternity just time infinitely extended? Is there in fact time in eternity? The answer to this last question would presumably depend on whether there is gravity and space as we know it in eternity. Is God?s perspective that of an eternal present?
N.T. Wright talks about ?heaven? being ?where God lives? in the sense that it is the God-dimension. That offers a unique theological wrinkle to the notion of parallel universes. Perhaps in the God-dimension, where Jesus literally is present with the Father and all the saints awaiting the resurrection, time runs shorter (or not at all) compared to time on this side. A thousand years here may be literally like one day there.
A possible illustration of this concept is in Lewis?s Narnia stories, where large chunks of time may pass inside the wardrobed world while only an hour or so passes outside of it.
Nine years ago today, Becky made me the happiest man in the world.
We've actually been an "item" for twelve years, as we got married on the third anniversary of the day we began dating.
It is so hard to put my thoughts on a day like this together, because nothing I can say, even if I were to write the best thing I have ever written, could even approach expressing the blessedness, the joy, the gratitude, the bewilderment (knowing what I know about me) I feel knowing God has given someone as incredible as Becky to someone like me.
So we've been in love for basically twelve years, and I say this without exaggeration at all -- every day I cannot help but love her, because every day brings with it an exponential increase in her beauty, wisdom, and loveliness. She gets smarter, godlier, funnier, sexier, more selfless and more merciful every day. She is an amazing demonstration daily of God's grace to me. She has made me a better man, a better father, and a better follower of Jesus.
You know that inner inexpressible something parents feel when they are suddenly struck by the specialness and the beauty and the weight of what it means to have kids? That comes close. Hardly a day goes by that I am not zapped by that overwhelming sense of . . . oomph! when I think about her. It's a transcendent thing, something too big for my brain and body. Twelve years later, I'm still head over heels, beyond all reason in love with my wife. She's Proverbs 31, 1 Corinthians 13, and the Song of Solomon all rolled into one!
Thanks for an unbelievable nine (twelve!) years, baby. I love you.
This past Saturday I was doing my weekly head shave and my wife was taking a much-deserved siesta on the couch. Our almost-3-month-old was also asleep. Our two-year-old was happily engaged in an episode of Mya & Miguel on PBS as well as playing with her Barney and Elmo stuffed dolls. I thought all was well with the world. However, things were soon too quiet and i suspected that the two-year-old was involved in some activity that was against our wishes. I entered the kitchen to find ?
Head to toe.
White clothes covered in brown goo.
A white refrigerator door with brown fingerpainting patterns. (a fine modern art piece) ;-)
And a child with a huge smile on her face.
The hard part was that I knew she had to be disciplined. She was, but I wish I had a picture of her in that state so I could see it years from now when I wish she didn't have to leave the nest.
Swamphopper of The Rough Woodsman asks: "Outdoor free-play: A thing of the past?"
My answer: Absolutely.
Read his posts for details and personal experience, but at the end, Swamphopper asks, "Do you believe you had more outside free-play time as a child than your children (or children in general) have today?"
Here's the response I left:
I absolutely did.
The oldest I could have been was 6 or 7, and my mom let me wander all over the neighborhood, including across the ditch and into the woods a way's from our backyard and all the way out of the neighborhood to the corner market. I spent most of my day outside by myself, wandering or riding my bike all over.
And this was in Brownsville, TX, right on the Mexican border, so it's not like we lived in Mayberry.
I sort of live in Mayberry now, but I would never let my young daughters wander around unsupervised all day like my parents let me. It's a different time even from a mere 20-something years ago.
Update: Oh, this isn't going the way I thought it would . . .
You may have noticed that the nebulous group known as "The Thinklings" is really a sham. The Thinklings is primarily one guy (Jared Wilson) who is currently on "hiatus" and thus posting like a crazed banshee.
I hardly ever post, and when I do I generally craft idiotic posts which are purposed solely for generating lots of filler commentary (by the way, Word Tag Memers, keep up the great work! We're almost there!!!).
Phil posts thoughtfully and well, albeit in waves.
There are several honorary Thinklings who do their part, laboring in obscurity like the "featured" members of the SNL cast.
There is Kenny, who checks in periodically, but is too busy losing weight and fathering children to post much. He does, however, claim one or two top ten posts as his own.
Asbell remains our wise patriarch. Descending from on high to post something would sully his shining robes.
Bird is on a true hiatus, and is much missed, but will never lose his Thinklinghood (in no small part because of his award-winning Gatorade post)
Then there's Blo. He never posts. We're not even sure he's real for crying out loud!
I've been waiting, hoping, dreaming of the day when Blo becomes re-engaged in the Thinklings blogotorium. But, alas, I've had it. I am therefore opening up the comments thread on this post as a vote for the continued Thinklingdom of Blo. Do we de-Thinkling him? Leave your vote in the comments thread.
Original Update: We're going to do this vote like Blo's in the coliseum, surrounded by snarling lions and dressed in a smashing leather sarong that compliments his girlish figure:
Make your vote count. A "thumbs down" vote means Blo is history (or legend, depending upon your view of the corporeal reality of Blo). A "thumbs up" vote means that he retains his Thinkling status.
Blo - if the comments start going against you, the only way you can stay the swift hand of justice is to come up with a substantive post. Godspeed.
Please welcome Intellectuelle to the blogosphere! The brainchild of Thinkling blog-o-friend Marla Swoffer, this all-lady group blog is supposedly partly inspired by us.
Despite such a disreputable origin, Intellectuelle looks to be a great, unique, and important addition to the God-blogosphere.
But I give them two months before they all just start blogging about recipes and homeschooling and what-not. ;-)
Get Religion has an interesting report suggesting Tom Cruise's bizarre behavior of late is due to his reaching the high Scientology level of "Operating Thetan" (or OT-VII), which is "the penultimate tier in the church?s spiritual hierarchy ? the exact details of which are fiercely guarded and forbidden to be discussed even among top members":
It is where a Scientologist learns how to become free of the mortal confines of the body and is let into the last of the mysteries of the cosmology developed by the church?s longtime leader, science fiction novelist and ?Dianetics? author L. Ron Hubbard. This cosmology also famously holds that humans bear the noxious traces of an annihilated alien civilization that was brought to Earth by an intergalactic warlord millions of years ago.
Lee Anne De Vette, Cruise?s publicist and sister, refused requests to comment for this article. And when asked about Cruise, Ed Parkin, vice president of cultural affairs for the Church of Scientology, said only, ?We do not discuss the personal religious experiences of our members with the press.? Parkin also would not confirm or deny details of the OT teachings. Responding to questions about them, he wrote: ?Scientology, which means ?knowing how to know,? is a religion based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). Scientology addresses people as immortal spiritual beings. It gives them tools they can apply to their lives to improve conditions.?
But one Scientologist who left the church in 2003 after 30 years ? and who had reached the OT-VII level and become a member of the church?s governing Sea Org ? said it was his understanding that Cruise was very near completing, if he had not already completed, the OT-VII level. The former Scientologist would speak to Salon only on the condition of anonymity.
A current Scientologist who has reached the level OT-V, and who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that considering the amount of time Cruise has been in the church, an OT-VII status seems probable. And Stephen Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta who has published articles on Scientology and Hollywood, also said that Cruise?s behavior strongly suggests OT-VII.
Cruise is acting as though he ?feels he?s more in control over his environment and can convince more people to look into the organization,? Kent said. ?In the high OT levels one supposedly gains the skills to master one?s universe. One is removing countless entities that have been holding people back. Cruise feels that he has freed himself from thousands of errant thetans, and he seems to be in a kind of euphoria he hasn?t experienced before.?
Interesting. And just flat-out weird.
Just a tip: It might be time for a new religion if yours was founded by a science fiction writer fifty years ago. You know, maybe.
Yes, another round of red hot links fer yer surfing pleasure. (WARNING: Inordinate use of the word "butt," and variations of said word, follow. Not for the faint of butt-- er, I mean, heart.)
Darren weighs in on the Supreme Court's Ten Commandments ruling.
Susan B. examines the right/left divide in the high Court's recent property rights decision.
Jim at "serotoninrain" presents his personal Top Ten Movies list. (HT: Eric S.) Jim's list is mostly "modern oldies," if that makes sense.
And if you're interested, here's my top films list.
A word from on high (actually, from a prayer breakfast speaker at the recent Nashville SBC): "Anyone who is serious about the Bible will be a Baptist, and anyone who loves the gospel will be a Southern Baptist."
Well, I'm glad we've got that settled. ;-)
Dan Edelen: "Words and Phrases We Must Ensure Live On"
I'll take responsibility for the descriptive noun "buttload" -- as in, Man, I've got a buttload of books. Or, Bill really, really hates the word "buttload."
Speaking of loads, Phil Johnson has added The Thinklings to the Egomaniac blogroll. And we actually merited the category "Entertaining"! So I guess he can distinguish us from our friends at the Buttheads' Tavern, whom Phil has categorized as merely "Irritating." Take that, BHT femininas!
If you were like me in school, you hated group projects because you (like I) had to do all the work to make sure the project was passable. My cousin feels our pain and offers up a decent rant on the subject.
A really good post from Michael Spencer: "When Loving You is Killing Me: Thoughts on Pastoring the Small Church".
This is funny. But also sorta sad (if you know what I mean).
If it doesn't sound rude, inappropriate, or prideful to say so, I am very thankful (blessed!) to have a wife who is not only willing, but also eager (again, if you know what I mean).
Wink wink. Nudge nudge.
There are too many individual posts that are incredibly link-worthy to list them all here, so you should just start reading The Broken Messenger all the live long day (to borrow a favorite phrase of Macy's).
Poor ol' widdle Benny Hinn.
Sven's a witch! Buuuuuuurn him!
Finally, I think Jen is getting married, but I'm not sure.
Do you know PHP? Even better, have you ever modified or customized WordPress?
I'm looking for someone to do some PHP coding in a WordPress implementation for a blog that I webmaster. I have been their PHP developer for quite awhile, but my schedule just isn't allowing me to do much good for them these days. Some details:
- It pays! Not much, but it does pay. I will give you the hourly rate via email if you're interested.
- You have to either be a-political or OK with Texas conservatives because this blog has a pretty strong political bent.
- It's just part-time. If you know what you're doing it's probably just a few hours a week.
- I'm really looking for someone who's pretty good at PHP - you have to know how to program, and preferably you've implemented a PHP-based blog before.
- The blog is run by a radio station here in Houston. It's relatively high-profile and can be fun to work on.
- You wouldn't work for me, although we'd probably work together for awhile. I'd put you in contact with the blog's managing editor. You would work for him.
- Did I mention it pays?
So, anyone interested? If so, please email me at bill [at] billjill [dot] org.
In Ben Witherington's excellent eschatological work Jesus, Paul, and the End of the World, he briefly examines the traditional "three-story" cosmos blindly accepted by most Christians (heaven is above (up in outer space?) and hell is below (in the bowels of the earth?)). The following passage reminded me a bit of N.T. Wright speaking of heaven as "where God is," the God-dimension present and around us, because in it Witherington argues that the three-story concept -- more specifically, our commonest idea of Heaven -- is actually foreign to the teachings of Jesus and Paul.
What is most striking in the teaching of both Jesus and Paul is how they envision the ultimate future as happening in this world, not in heaven. Jesus barely mentions heaven (see the . . . material in Lk. 16:19-31; 23:43), and Paul sees it as a state of nakedness, an interim condition that is less desirable than experiencing the resurrection body here on earth. For both founders of Christianity, redemption was only final and fully complete if it entailed the human body and the space-time world in which we live. In short, neither of these early Jews had an essentially otherworldly view of eternal life or salvation, if by that we mean a schema in which things are only finally set right in some realm other than this world. I suspect that ?pie in the sky by and by? would hardly have been a complete vision of redemption to either Jesus or Paul.
Btw, just in case anybody's wondering, I haven't forgotten the next and final installment in the Book Club. I hope to have it up by tomorrow, but things are pretty busy around the homestead right now, the girls and I are getting ready to go out of town in a few days, and I also think I might be getting sick. So I'm gonna play it by ear. Thanks ahead of time for understanding.
I was talking to Dad on our drives to our respective homes and he mentioned that he forgot to ask Beau the all important third question. This when Beau asked him for permission to marry me. Dad had two questions: 1) are you a Christian and 2) do you love my daughter. So what?s the third question, you ask?I think I will add this to my big three questions to couples who come to me and want to get married:
What Color is this Liquid? WAIT!!!
1- Do you both know and love Jesus personally?
2- Why do you want to get married?
3- What color is Gatorade?
When I was dating my wife, I made her several compilation albums "O' Love" on cassette. They're all gone now...except one she made me which I ran across in my car yesterday. It has all kinds of Love songs from the 70's and 80's...and it made me think, "Hey, we could do that again...only we can burn CD's now and now instead of trying to find the song on someone's tape or off the radio, we can legally download almost any song we want!" AND "What a great idea for a Thinklings post!"
Here's my question:
If you could make your spouse a CD O' Love right now, what songs would you include?
I was just about to post something else here and was looking at the latest catalogue from Christian Book Distributors (CBD) at the same time. Before Amazon, CBD was pretty much the only place serious readers of Christian books could get anything. So even now I stay pretty loyal. They were my source for theological and reference books back before the internet. They carry a lot of solid stuff, and are still a decent resource. So can you imagine my chagrin when, flipping through the pages, I ran across aHebrew Prayer Shawl with the Prayer of Jabez?
White prayer shawl with woven bands of blue and gold. The prayer appears in the weave pattern.And yes...it appears on the same page as Prayer of Jabez books. Oh, brother.
OK, so Tom Cruise is cruising every interviewer publicizing his new movie...normal, right? Yes. But man, the dude has an agenda. Everywhere he goes he talks about Scientology and Katie Holmes.
Which brings me from a possibly serious post, to one that is filed as "Just Goofin' Off"...
Has anyone else noticed that Tom Cruise's bride-to-be is the female lead in the latest Batman movie? And that he was married to Nicole Kidman...who was also once the female lead in a Batman movie?
What's up Tom? Did you want the role or something?
"You can't please all the people all the time."
Nope. That's not it. When we say that to our pastors, what we really mean is, "I know so and so is ticked off at you. But don't worry about it. I support you right now...because I'm not ticked off at you."
That's a problem because ticked off so and so has also said, "You can't please all the people all the time" before. In fact, so and so has probably also said, "You do what's right preacher. Don't worry about what other people think." Until...the preacher does something so and so doesn't like. Then that same so and so starts attacking...with criticism both public and private.
We say "You can't please all the people all the time" and what we really mean is "You can't please everybody else all the time, which is fine, because you'll have my support... as long as you're pleasing me."
It's similar to what we say after our pastor preaches a smokin' sermon. "Boy. That was a good sermon today, Preacher. You really got all those other people."
We tell our preachers to stand up and do what's right, and not worry when they are opposed...until we happen to be the ones who oppose him.
What you should say to your pastor:
"Preacher, I have struggled with that sin you talked about. This will help me. Thank you for being honest and courageous enough to tell me the truth."
"Pastor, it's true what they say, 'You can't please all the people all the time.' And so I realize that I'm not always going to agree with you and what you say. But I believe in you. And I believe that you are trying to do what's best, the best way that you know how under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and by the authority of the Word of God. I commit to pray for you and support you. I will support you with my words both publicly and privately...even if I happen to disagree with what you are doing at that moment. And I will support you with my actions... What can I do to help you today?"
I suppose it might be OK to say "Don't worry about it. After all, you can't please everybody" on two conditions.
1. You really mean it when you say it.
2. You only say it when you are the one not pleased, because after all...
everybody includes you. :)
Well, the University of Texas at Austin is back in the College World Series Championship for the thrid time in four years. They are pretty much the only thing close to a dynasty in College baseball.
The first game in the best-of-three series begins tonight at 6 pm Central. I am thinking that UT is going to take the National Championship in two. Last year, they got to the final weekend, but blew it to Cal St. Fullerton - but not this year, my friends.
So - turn on ESPN, kick up your feet, and watch the Longhorns beat up on the lowly Gators of Florida.
HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!