Interest or the Lack of It

“One conclusion I have reached after a year here in my cell is that the only emotion people feel nowadays is interest or the lack of it. Curiosity and interest and boredom have replaced the so-called emotions we used to read about in novels or see registered on actors’ faces. Even the horrors of the age translate into interest. Did you ever watch anybody pick up a newspaper and read the headline PLANE CRASH KILLS THREE HUNDRED? How horrible! says the reader. But look at him when he hands you the paper. Is he horrified? No, he is interested. When was the last time you saw anybody horrified?”

-Lancelot Andrewes Lamar in Walker Percy’s Lancelot (Picador, 1999/1977), pp. 21-22
Advertisements

Information Overload

Kevin DeYoung on the glory of plodding – a fantastic read. “What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.”

The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brain. If you’re familiar with my previous posts on media ecology, this won’t come as a surprise. Media ecologists have been saying similar things for years. But it’s great to see some more scientific inquiry into the fact that we use our tools, but our tools also change us. (ht:challies)

Introducing Hymns to a Contemporary Congregation. I’m slightly sad that a post like this is necessary, but it is good nonetheless.

Foxy News. Doug Wilson in the Washington Post writing about the pornification of Fox News. “A number of evangelicals are up in arms about President Obama himself, and Obamacare, and Obama-other-things, and Obama-anything-else, and are warning us in dire tones about the impending slavery that is involved in all this ‘socialism.’ And–full disclosure here–I am economically pretty conservative myself, just slightly to the left of King Arthur, so I am not pointing out this part of it to differ with any of it. But what I am noticing in this discussion is a striking public tolerance for right-wing skankyness. When I am cruising around for my Internet news, I am far more likely to run into Moabite women at Fox News than anywhere else.”

Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook. I haven’t quit Facebook, but I’ve limited my information, guarded my privacy settings, and don’t use it as much.

Flip Flop Fly Ball. Some humorous and well-designed graphs for the baseball geeks.

Grateful Dead Jumps the Shark?

“Revolutionaries get vilified, and then, once they get older, they just become cute…Think of Oscar Wilde. Once they’re not dangerous anymore, it’s okay to discuss them in serious ways.”
-Philosophy professor quoted in The Atlantic‘s “Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead.”

This is a thought provoking article that points out many areas in which the Grateful Dead were ahead of their time – not just in musical improvisation, but in business savvy, social networking, and customer value. My question is, with this permanent Dead archive at the University of California Santa Cruz, does this mean that Grateful Dead has jumped the shark (sold out), serious academic study has gone down the toilet, we are showing our true obsession with the exaltation of pop culture, or are the Dead really a valid subject to be researched by a wide variety of scholars (to the chagrin of many of their antiestablishment, hippie fans)?

Earthquake Thoughts

I don’t really have much to say in light of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but I found these writings to be interesting, comforting, and thought-provoking. No inane Pat Robertson comments for you here.

John Piper tries to find meaning in earthquakes (written in 1999 after the Turkey earthquake, but still relevant).

Tim Challies on Neil Postman and the earthquake.

Al Mohler asking if God hates Haiti.

A thousand 9/11s in one day.

Hmm. Just realized that all my links are from Baptists. That can’t be good. To balance it out, here are a couple from the OPC: Steve Igo on God rolling the stone away in Haiti and my dad on the OPC’s relief plan.

Information Overload

Church/theology

The conference talks from our church’s Calvin For Today conference have been posted online for your listening enjoyment (stream online or download). I highly recommend them.

The Potency of Right Worship. An exposition of Psalm 97 from Credenda|Agenda, showing its importance for gaining an understanding of right worship. “Right worship occurs when a congregation of God approaches Him, sees Him as He is, and responds rightly, as He has commanded – in joy and glad submission.”

Good reading
Friend, pastor, and former blogging partner Ken has started a new blog with a seminary friend of his (Jeff): The Moose are in Need of Reproof. Some great installments thus far.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised that Dr. Gordon’s book, Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers has found its way onto several best-book lists this year, including Challies’ and Monergism’s. No, I shamefully haven’t read (or even purchased) this book yet.

Technology

The Hypersocialized Generation. “There is no going back – at least not in terms of retreat. The social universe is a fact of life, and a missiological challenge for the Christian church. We are all Facebookers now.”

News
Just when you thought Lancaster was filled with peaceful, earth-loving Amish folk, this comes along. (Thanks, Mom and Dad Steele for passing this on)
National Geographic’s International Photography Contest. Some breathtaking shots here. My favourites are 7, 10, 11, and 18.

Information Overload

Church/theology:

Pray the Bible, based on Matthew Henry’s method for prayer. Passed along from my former elder. Looking forward to getting into it and learning from it. Thanks, Ed.

The Church of the Highest Common Denominator. Fantastic article about seeker sensitive theology v. true Reformed theology, and how they play out. “The theology of the church of the lowest common denominator is utterly man-centered…In a God-centered church of the highest common denominator, God is the evangelist, not the minister, and where every member is an ambassador of Christ…The church of the highest common denominator will not downplay its doctrinal distinctives, but will shout them from the rooftop. Such a church will stand for something and be willing to teach and defend those things it regards as precious. Instead of telling people that doctrine doesn’t matter-which only plants the seed that Christianity doesn’t matter-the church of the highest common denominator will tell everyone who will listen the truth in love.”


Books:

John Frame recently wrote a scathing and unfair review of Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity. There have been many responses to it on the blogosphere, but I found D.G. Hart’s response to be one of the best.

Culture:

We’re a little behind, but the White Horse Inn broadcast with Professor Richard Winter (author of Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment) was excellent and just what we needed to hear this weekend. Titled “Boredom & Entertainment,” it was especially in provoking thought on how the discussed ideas applied to how Christians view worship/the church/the Christian life/vocation. Download here and Horton’s introductory remarks here.


News:

You may have heard of NASA’s new rocket launched last week, the Ares I-X. A good friend, Blair, works for NASA and got to witness the launch first-hand. For those of us not so privileged, Big Picture has some great shots of the launch.

Sports:

Those long suffering Yankee fans.

Informing Ourselves to Death

This sporadically-regular feature is renamed in honor of Neil Postman’s speech by the same name delivered on October 11, 1990 in Stuttgart, Germany. You can read the text of this excellent speech here. Without further ado, here are some headlines from the Internets that aren’t worth your time (listed headlines are from the homepages; actual headlines on story pages might differ).

Bad news for Palin in poll (CNN)
Boys who took on pit bull called heroes (CNN)
Crash director splits with scientology (MSNBC)
Colorado workers to take more furloughs (MSNBC)
Off the curb and into the gutter? (Lead story on Fox News)
Report: Pirates threaten to burn bones of couple (Fox; also in bold-face; does including “Report:” make it more legitimate?)
Cats take over house (Drudge)