Violent and Xenophobic Trash

If we are to be effective in our mission and credible, I believe North American Christians should do more to combat violent and xenophobic trash like this from the former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party:

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Books Finished in September

(3 paper books, 1 e-book, and 3 audio books)

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Two Poems at Shot Glass Journal

Shot Glass Journal #14, which features a guest editor from Haliburton, Ontario, contains two of my poems: Drought and Duel.

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A Man From Nowhere Land

My poem, A Man From Nowhere Land, has appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Caffeine Presse.

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The Image of God Recommends Them To You

Kuyperian Commentary has featured an article of mine today: The Image of God Recommends Them To You.

It addresses some facets of the ever-controversial subject of immigration.

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Out And About (2014/09/22)

Theology

  • Benjamin Shaw, a professor at Greensville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, has an excellent plan for reading the Psalms in one month.
  • As is to be expected, Paul Helm once again has some great thoughts about Reformed confessionalism.

Journalism/Media/Surveillance

  • This article lists 8 ways in which the “transparent” Obama administration is actually obstructing critical information that journalists need.
  • This article deals with the commonly repeated mantra which claims that Snowden’s revelations are helping terrorists
  • Gary McGath shows that the roots of the Surveillance State in the U.S. are found in World War I.

Foreign Policy

Reading

  • This article at the Wall Street Journal shares some benefits of reading slowly.

Research

  • At the New York Review of Books, Tim Park has some thoughts worth reading. He explores how some practices in scholarship (specifically source references) may need some updating to reflect technological changes.

Food

  • Have you ever had a collective disagreement (or moment of indecision?) about where/what to eat? Consult this article from life hacker.

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A Richard Baxter Hymn in the Trinity Hymnal

Today my church sang hymn #17 from the Trinity Hymnal.

It is written by Richard Baxter. Here is the text:

1 Ye holy angels bright,
Who wait at God’s right hand,
Or through the realms of light
Fly at your Lord’s command,
Assist our song,
For else the theme
Too high doth seem
For mortal tongue.

2 Ye blessed souls at rest,
Who ran this earthly race,
And now, from sin released,
Behold the Saviour’s face,
God’s praises sound,
As in his sight
With sweet delight
Ye do abound.

3 All nations of the earth,
Extol the world’s great King;
With melody and mirth
His glorious praises sing;
For he still reigns,
And will bring low
The proudest foe
That him disdains.

4 Sing forth Jehovah’s praise,
Ye saints, that on him call!
Him magnify always
His holy churches all!
In him rejoice,
And there proclaim
His holy Name
With sounding voice.

5 My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above;
With a well-tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love;
Thou art his own,
Whose precious blood
Shed for thy good
His love made known.

6 Away, distrustful care!
I have thy promise, Lord:
To banish all despair,
I have thine oath and word:
And therefore I
Shall see thy face
And there thy grace
Shall magnify.

7 With thy triumphant flock,
Then I shall numbered be;
Built on th’eternal Rock,
His glory we shall see.
The heav’ns so high
With praise shall ring
And all shall sing
In harmony.

Amen.

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A Review of Chance and the Sovereignty of God by Vern Poythress

chanceChance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events by Vern S. Poythress

Essentially, this book seeks to apply the Biblical worldview to topics like chance, happenstance, and probability. Poythress is fascinating thinker and really has a great way of communicating his ideas.

I began this book with a great deal of excitement, having recently listened to the author’s interview on the Reformed Forum. It’s a highly ambitious project. I would say that not only did he avoid failing, he succeeded in bringing forward a highly readable and helpful resource on the subject.

Poythress seeks to show how a proper view of chance and probability is bound up in the nature of God and the worldview which most accurately reflects the universe God created. For instance, Poythress says that “the very concept of probability depends on the relationship of God’s faithfulness to his creativity”

Poythress is relentless at bringing the Bible to bear on these topics. He reveals the breadth of Biblical revelation on the subjects and presents it all in a very digestible format, even with many helpful diagrams!

If you really dig the rest of the book, don’t forget the appendices! It’s loaded with material. The essays there, especially the one on the probabilities of gambling, are worth the price of the book. The appendices are probably almost 1/4 of the book!

One caution: If you don’t have a strong mathematical background, you may find certain parts of this book rather overwhelming and will need to skip through some parts. I found certain parts a bit “over my head”, though I generally stuck through with it. I simply don’t have a strong enough math background to be able to digest the top 1% of this book in terms of complexity. I sort of wish he simplified some of it, or perhaps pushed it into the appendix, though I must say that the appendix is so loaded that that probably wasn’t be an option. Don’t get too worried about this, though. You could basically skip half of this book and still find a ton of meat to “chew on”. There’s so much to this book beyond the most complex mathematical parts. The handling of the instances of “happenstance” in the Biblical narratives is excellent.

As one other minor critique, I feel like the “Alternatives are not really better” section in the “Disasters and Suffering” chapter could have used some further development. It seems like Poythress sort of rushed through that part.

All in all, this is a unique, momentous book, and Poythress has done a valuable service to Christians who want to think thoroughly through issues like probability and chance.

 

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