Archive for November, 2008

Of all the “New Atheists” out there, Christopher Hitchens is by far the most fun to listen to.  Though nothing is new about his arguments, his quick wit and sharp tongue make him easy listening. I also admire the brutal honesty that he assesses the actual (not confessed) morality of religious people as well as the moral logic of the atheist. As for Doug Wilson, I know little of him but I must say I was dissapointed by some of his opening statement where he seemed to restate Lewis’ argument against naturalism which has more holes than a block of swiss cheese. He did eventually make somewhat of a recovery and showed quite well on certain points.  Below is a preview of the debate taken from youtube.  The full debate, a whopping 1hr 52min, is well worth your time.  The link is just below the youtube video.

For the full debate click here

I have said in the past that science could neither prove nor disprove God, since the supernatural could never be subject to the scientific method. However, science could point towards God, as a reasonable conclusion of scientific discovery.

If you want to know why atheists seem to have given up the scientific card, the current issue of Discover magazine provides part of the answer. The magazine has an interesting story by Tim Folger which is titled “Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator.” The article begins by noting “an extraordinary fact about the universe: its basic properties are uncannily suited for life.” As physicist Andrei Linde puts it, “We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible.”

Too many “coincidences,” however, imply a plot. Folger’s article shows that if the numerical values of the universe, from the speed of light to the strength of gravity, were even slightly different, there would be no universe and no life. Recently scientists have discovered that most of the matter and energy in the universe is made up of so-called “dark” matter and “dark” energy. It turns out that the quantity of dark energy seems precisely calibrated to make possible not only our universe but observers like us who can comprehend that universe.

Even Steven Weinberg, the Nobel laureate in physics and an outspoken atheist, remarks that “this is fine-tuning that seems to be extreme, far beyond what you could imagine just having to accept as a mere accident.” And physicist Freeman Dyson draws the appropriate conclusion from the scientific evidence to date: “The universe in some sense knew we were coming.”

Folger then admits that this line of reasoning makes a number of scientists very uncomfortable. “Physicists don’t like coincidences.” “They like even less the notion that life is somehow central to the universe, and yet recent discoveries are forcing them to confront that very idea.”

read the whole thing here

hat tip to standfirm for digging this up

The first in our new series on Revelation.  In the future, these notes can be found under “Book of Revelation” under categories.

“To inspire all people, through the power of the Gospel, to become living members of the body of Christ”

Revelation 1.1-3

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near (more…)

well worth your time

“to whom does God tell us to look for salvation? O, does it not lower the pride of man, when we hear the Lord say, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth?” It is not. “Look to your priest, and be ye saved:” if you did, there would be another god, and beside him there would be some one else. It is not “Look to yourself;” if so, then there would be a being who might arrogate some of the praise of salvation. But it is “Look unto me.” How frequently you who are coming to Christ look to yourselves. “O!” you say, “I do not repent enough.” That is looking to yourself. “I do not believe enough.” That is looking to yourself. “I am too unworthy.” That is looking to yourself. “I cannot discover,” says another, “that I have any righteousness.” It is quite right to say that you have not any righteousness; but it is quite wrong to look for any. It is, “Look unto me.” God will have you turn your eye off yourself and look unto him. The hardest thing in the world is to turn a man’s eye off himself; as long as he lives, he always has a predilection to turn his eyes inside, and look at himself; whereas God says, “Look unto me.” From the cross of Calvary, where the bleeding hands of Jesus drop mercy; from the Garden of Gethsemane, where the bleeding pores of the Saviour sweat pardons, the cry comes, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” From Calvary’s summit, where Jesus cries, “It is finished,” I hear a shout, “Look, and be saved.” But there comes a vile cry from our soul, “Nay, look to yourself! look to yourself!” Ah, my hearer, look to yourself, and you will be damned. That certainly will come of it. As long as you look to yourself there is no hope for you. It is not a consideration of what you are, but a consideration of what God is, and what Christ is, that can save you.”

read it all here

This is the text that I spoke from at Sunday School on Nov 23.  These notes are not the full talk.  If you were there, you will notice much new material and much left out.  I write this out in full so that I can internalize and deliver it without being too dependent on a “script”.  Nevertheless, the substance is still here.  Enjoy!

Thy Will be Done!

“To Inspire All People, Through the Power of the Gospel, to Become Living Members of the Body of Christ”

Sunday School

Nov 23, 2008

 

This morning we will examine the second petition of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”  It is important before we begin for me to state clearly what it is that I hope we will accomplish this morning.  What we will not be doing this morning is a systematic look at the nature of God’s will as it is revealed in the Bible.  Rather, what I hope to do this morning is to help us understand what it means to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  I hope that as we present the Gospel as it applies to this portion of the Lord’s prayer, it will affect your heart in such a way that you will be inspired to come more alive to God, as is our stated purpose in all that we do here at Trinity Church. 

Let us begin with a brief examination of God’s will. (more…)

New York University professor of psychiatry Judith Brook explains that the issue for parents is one of credibility. “Praise is important, but not vacuous praise,” she says. “It has to be based on a real thing–some skill or talent they have.” Once children hear praise they interpret as meritless, they discount not just the insincere praise, but sincere praise as well.

Scholars from Reed College and Stanford reviewed over 150 praise studies. Their meta-analysis determined that praised students become risk-averse and lack perceived autonomy. The scholars found consistent correlations between a liberal use of praise and students’ “shorter task persistence, more eye-checking with the teacher, and inflected speech such that answers have the intonation of questions.”

Dweck’s research on overpraised kids strongly suggests that image maintenance becomes their primary concern–they are more competitive and more interested in tearing others down. A raft of very alarming studies illustrate this.

The article indicates that older children and teenagers learn to become cynical about the undeserved praise they receive from parents, teachers, and others. They actually perform better if they receive serious and skilled criticism, rather than empty praise.

The article is a must-read for parents, teachers, and all concerned with the culture around us. The article is devastating to the self-esteem movement, but encouraging to all who hope for a recovery of cultural sanity — at least on this one significant point. Praising effort and achievement yields positive results. Praising for the sake of praising hurts far more than it helps. It is a recipe for individual and social disaster.

you really should check it all out here

Resonet in Laudibus
A weekly newsletter for the Music Ministry of
Trinity Episcopal Church

…to inspire all people through the power of the Gospel
to become living members of the Body of Christ

November 23, 2008
Christ the King
This Week’s Lessons
Ezekiel 34:11-17
Psalm 95:1-7 (Anglican Chant: Hurd)
Luke 23:32-43
Most of the feast days on our calendar commutate some event: Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Epiphany, the Transfiguration, and so forth.  A few feasts, like The Holy Trinity or All Saints, remind us of some doctrine or teaching of the church.  Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church year, is unique among all of these observances in that it commemorates something that has not yet happened; that is, Christ’s coming in final victory to gather his people unto himself and to reign over them as King.  The context for this celebration is that the passion and death of Christ on the cross seals this victory for him and for us, and that we have a King who reigns from the Cross. (more…)