Quodlibet (Whatever): Miscellaneous

An Imperfect Metaphor, A Perfect God

When I was about nine years old, a young boy, I went with my parents, younger sister, and older cousin to a national park in the mountains.  As a boy, I loved maps.  I plotted out where we would go, told my Dad the direction and what roads to take, and when we arrived found a short trail on a map of the park that I wanted to hike along with my sister and cousin.  My parents said they were tired and decided to stay in the car and wait for us, maybe take a nap.

We set off.  I led the way, switchbacking up the mountain, periodically stepping over little rivulets of water trickling down the mountain face.  After about 20 minutes, I realized that we had taken the wrong trail, as it was missing all the interpretive signs of the nature trail I planned on.  I told my sister and cousin that we should go back before we became lost.  My cousin, two years older and a girl, refused.  My sister, aligned with gender before blood, also refused.  After trying to persuade them, I returned to the car to tell my parents.  My Mom was a little upset with me for leaving them on the trail.

My Dad took me and we returned to the trail to look for my sister sand cousin.  After we reached the place where I left them, they were not there.  I knew we were near a trail that was very long, the Appalachian Trail, one that stretched a then inconceivable hundreds of miles across the mountains.  I had quite an imagination.  I envisioned my sister and cousin lost on that trail, unable to find their way home, hungry, thirsty, beset by bears and other wild animals I had read about, and I felt like I was responsible --- just me --- and that I had to find them.  But I did not know where to start.  I started crying, and my Dad did not get upset but hugged me and told me not to worry, that we would find them.  And I believed he would.  I was confident that my father would find them.  I felt a great weight lifted from me knowing that he would find them, that he would know what to do.

It's not difficult to picture God's care through my father's love.  It's probably the most prevalent of scriptural metaphors and has been massaged to the point of cliche.  However, my father, though good,  was an imperfect metaphor for God.  He was not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent, much less all-wise, and he certainly was not immortal.  He had no power to protect me from most of the difficulties I would face in life, foresee future peril, or be with me at all times.  But I did not know that then, and I did not need to.  

We walked for over two hours, calling their names.  We never saw them.  We made it over the mountain and to the access road, my Dad doubtless weighed down by the burden of two lost children.  A park ranger picked us up and carried us back to our car.  They were there.

There is no perfect metaphor for the One who finds lost children.  But I had a father who did what he could and pointed beyond himself to an ever-present guide, who reminds me even now that someone more able than me leads.  

I can't disparage the metaphor even as I realize its limitations.  If, as Dorothy Sayers once said, all thinking is analogical, then it is impossible not to think in metaphors when considering the nature of a God whose self-disclosure is limited if sufficient.  Forgive me then when I double the metaphors: I am out walking.  I am sometimes lost.  But my Father will always find me.  His business is bringing lost children home.

For Rumination

book While on occasion I find it helpful when blogs I read cite other blogs, usually I prefer something more substantive from the blogs I read.  But then, on occasion I violate that rule.  I'm doing that now, and yet I hope that it's more than just a collection of cites, as I give it some content.

  • In light of my recent trilogy of posts paying tribute to vinyl records (see Vinyl Pleasures Parts 1, 2, and 3), Kristin Chapman cites a recent Pew study that says that 82% of consumers still prefer old-fashioned CDs.  Her own post indicates that she prefers downloading because "it’s fast, easy, and I only have to purchase the songs I like rather than getting stuck with all the songs on a CD."  Just my point!  How do you know what you like unless you listen more deeply and patiently?  Songs in major keys with bright, sunny chorus are ear candy --- they immediately captivate us.  Other songs that are denser, more complex, or in minor keys do not usually have such immediate magnetism and yet may hold greater treasure.  Technology is shaping our listening habits and not for the better.  She's asking for comments, so give her one here.
  • In "Creative Collaboration," Jill Carattini gives us a meditation on the communal nature of the creative process, noting that "creativity in all its forms--even in the simplest acts of living and acting--is inherently an interactive process."  She links that observed truth to the doctrine of the trinity, in that the act of creation was, for God, a communal project --- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  For more on this, read Dorothy Sayers' Mind of the Maker, and consider the great songwriting partnerships which have existed, like Rogers and Hammerstein, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Lennon and McCartney, and the Sherman Brothers.  The Sherman Brothers?  Yes.  Two very funny guys who wrote the memorable songs from Mary Poppins and other Disney movies.  A very funny and enlightening insight into their creative process is contained in an interview at the end of the soundtrack for the movie, in its 2004 enhanced, special edition reissue.  Wouldn't you like to know how they came up with "Supercalifragilisticexpealidotious?"  It's like listening to the Car Talk brothers.  I will say that the most creative times I have enjoyed when writing have been when I had a nice balance of reflection and interaction, of being alone and of being with people.  But this just isn't for creative people (for artists) but is an idea that carries over to all of life.  We need both solitude and community.  And by the latter I mean face time, not virtual interaction.  Somehow, in these times, we have ended up with a dearth of both.
  • Max McLean writes about how much fun it was to play the devil in the dramatic adaptation of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, which has played in both Washington, DC and New York.  The inverted world of the book takes some getting used to, but this literary strategy helps, us does all good art, in telling the truth in a subtle, indirect way and thereby sharpening our understanding of it.  As McLean summarizes: "The Screwtape Letters is a metaphor for one of Lewis’s basic theological ideas. As described in Mere Christianity, this world is “enemy-occupied territory.” Screwtape may be the ruling demon in one district. He has ruled effectively for many centuries with “unbroken success.” By exposing him, Lewis hopes to free other would-be patients from his grasp by escaping into the loving arms of the demon’s “Enemy.” The most recent run of the play was sold out, but you can see a video segment of the performance.  Let's hope it has another run.
  • It's Bob Dylan's 67th birthday today, and Craig Burrell offers a little tribute here with a video of his 1964 performance of "Chimes of Freedom" at the Newport Folk Festival.  This reminds me that I have bootleg recordings of a concert he did in Toronto during his "gospel period," with gospel singers, preaching, and more.  Wow.  Can you imagine how fans would have felt?  They often booed him.  Listen to what he said about that: "Years ago they... said I was a prophet. I used to say, 'No I'm not a prophet' and they'd say 'Yes you are, you're a prophet.' I said, 'No it's not me.' They used to say 'You sure are a prophet.' They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say 'Jesus Christ is the answer.' And they say, 'Bob Dylan's no prophet.' They just can't handle it.By the way, I'm not one to question whether he is still a Christian.  I think the "gospel period," when his songs were more blatantly spiritual, was just a confessional phase he passed through.  He's never disavowed his faith.  Perhaps the second volume of his autobiography, Chronicles, to be released later this year, will enlighten us.  But don't count on it.
  • In a recent post, I told you about an upcoming missions trip I am taking with my family to Kaihura, Uganda.  The mission, called Embrace Uganda, now has a blog.  I'm not sure how active the blog will be, as I did not create it, but at least it will provide some basic information about the trip.  You can access the website or blog to keep up with planning for our trip.  And you can (please) pray for us!

Well, enough ruminations!  Maybe some of the above will give you food for thought or action.  Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, and yet remember that the day is a memorial.  Perhaps these words of Abraham Lincoln, part of his Gettsburg Address, will help you: 

Washington_DC_D1-61 "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

What I Read Over Christmas Break

MagazineAfter Christmas, my family and I retired to a condo at the coast for some much needed rest.  I picked up 35 to 40 magazines that had been accumulating, unread, since earlier in the Fall when, after the relative calm of Summer, life became hectic.  I was determined to get through them, reading at least one substantive article from each, and not to return with any of them in tow.  I just about succeeded.

What I am reminded of in this process is how accumulating magazines really feeds by petty ego.  I guess I think that I must be thinking important thoughts if I have so many journals and magazines.  But  having looked through them, I realize that a good book is far more valuable than most magazines.  That being said, there are exceptions, and I note a few articles that I picked up on here:

Two Christmas-themed articles inspired me.  In Wilfred McClay's God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: On Celebrating the Darker Meaning of Christmas (Touchstone, Dec. 2006), he commends the wonderful lyrics of traditional carols, songs we often know by heart but need to stop and really listen to.  I can identify, as I remember the words of a traditional hymn striking me anew at an office party once, making me want to shout "Do you know what you're singing?" to revelers.  And Richard Phillips' From Heaven to Earth (byFaith, Dec. 2006) is a great reminder that the Incarnation is about God coming to restore the earth, take rescue us from the earth, giving significance and value to the place in which we find ourselves.

I finally subscribed to Consumer Reports, and I immediately found an article, Stuffy Nose: How to Ease the Congestion, (Jan. 2007) of great help in navigating the panoply of cures lining the shelves of the drugstore (I am suffering from a walloping head cold!).  No magic bullet.  Rest, liquids, chicken soup, and judiciously applied medicines.  And while I was suffering I read about the origin and history of Lionel Trains in American Heritage (Lionel, Dec. 2006).  Just a bit of nostalgia for my childhood and my son's childhood, I guess, but an interesting story of entrepreneurial quick-steps and mis-steps in a business dating back to the turn of the century (1900, that is.)

Then it was back to matters of faith.  Matthew Cable had a helpful summary of what to say and what not to say at funerals, with the helpful and biblical theological point that we do not get resurrection bodies immediately at death but on Christ's Second coming.  The point: Be comforting, but be true. (Funeral Faux Pas: Avoiding Misstatements About Death, Christian Research Journal, Vol. 29. No. 2, 2006).  And although I know little about science and depend on others to lead me into all truth here, I appreciated the helpful critique of Francis Collin's The Language of God, an attempt to ground evolution in a theistic and Christian framework, by Jonathan Witt (Random Acts of Design: Francis Collins Sees Evidence That God Made the Cosmos - But Life Is Another Matter, Touchstone, Oct. 2006 [my behindness, if you pardon the expression, is showing here]).  Witt demonstrates the inherit contradictions in Collin's theory.  And then there's global warming, which there is large agreement on but disagreement on its cause and what we should do about it.  In a couple of different articles in Faith & Freedom, a publication of The Institute on Religion and Democracy, writers take issue with the Evangelical Climate Initiative.  I can only conclude that it's so difficult as a layperson to reach a thoughtful position on this issue.

Finally, I appreciated Denny Burk's summary and critique of UNC-CH Prof Bart Ehrman's popular Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. (Much Ado About Typos, Touchstone, Dec. 2006).  (Sorry, that one's not online.)  It's a bit I felt challenged to read but did not want to read, as I knew I would not have the time to read other books critiquing it!  Bottom line:  Nothing new.  We know there are typos in copying Scripture texts, but most are inconsequential.  Ehrman just taps into the cynicism and mistrust of religion and the church that is already out there to sell old news.

And so, there you have it, some fairly decent if scattered magazine reading from my holiday break.  My resolution: quit at least half these publications next year.  Read more books.  And question the value of such reading all the time until I figure out what really bears fruit.

Now, where's the recycle bin. . .

Christmas Miscellany

  • Candycane Sufjan Stevens has a very nice animated Christmas music video posted on YouTube here.  Give it a look.
  • Though I did not think I would enjoy it, I am in fact enjoying the new Christmas album by Clannad singer and elder sister of Enya, Moya Brennan, entitled (what else) An Irish Christmas.  I was surprised because I find most Irish music on the dark side, and some of the Irish Christmas albums I have heard are not of good cheer.  This one is.
  • Another Christmas record I have enjoyed is Wintersong, by Sarah McLachlan.  It's a mixed bag of seasonal tunes and a couple originals and one not so Christmasy song by Joni Mitchell ("River"), but it's quite good.  And there's that ubiquitous and one and only John Lennon Christmas song, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," that shows up just about everywhere.  I prefer the original.
  • I'm enjoying reading a bit of WinterSong, an older book by Luci Shaw and Madeleine L'Engle.  It's a collection of meditations and poems on Advent.  It's a welcome contrast to the Advent collection entitled Watch for the Light, much of which was not very helpful.  I like the personal feel of this collection, and its consistency.

Ubiquity, Darlene, Campaign Signs & Nakedness (But Not Necessarily in That Order)

ThinkerI haven't been able to hold a thought for more than 5 minutes today, so you get my ramblings:

  • In addition to propinquity, another word I like and seem to find many uses for is "ubiquitous."  Now that one is much easier to find a place for than "propinquity."  Starbucks are ubiquitous.  So are politicians this time of year.  Those annoying people that keep turning up around every corner are ubiquitous.  Anything existing or being anywhere and everywhere is ubiquitous.  You might say God is the big Ubiquity, as He is omnipresent.  But that might sound too casual.
  • My daughter, who is 12, asked why we wear clothes.  All I did to deserve this was ask her to pick up some clothes before going to bed.  She commented that she wished Adam and Eve hadn't messed up, because they were the reason we had to wear clothes.  It was too late for theology.  But at least she kept her clothes on.  It's more than I can say for some people.
  • I called my mother tonight and my stepfather answered.  I said Bill what did you do today?  He said nothing.  I said what are you going to do tomorrow.  He said he was going to finish what he  was doing today.  Burns my Mom up.  He's 84 and she thinks he needs to be working full-time.
  • Darlene (See "1-800-FINANCIALBLESSING," post of Oct. 11, 2006) left e a message today and said she had an answer to prayer.  Her lot rent has been paid.  Now she needs a job.  Well, I'm glad.  I still wonder who she thinks she is calling.  So who needs Benny Hinn? I'm still considering writing a story about Darlene.
  • Elections are over.  Where do old election signs go?  I'm frustrated.  It's too big for the garbage can.  Are these things recycled?  Anybody know?

I really like the title of this post.  Now that would make an interesting story: Ubiquity, Darlene, Campaign Signs, and Nakedness.  Lots of possibilities there.

Birds. Bees. Calvinists.

Ct_1Of late, I have not had a lot of time for magazine reading, something I regret, and the stack of magazines beside the sofa is precarious and ridiculously high.  I did however read three articles recently that were intriguing enough to mention.

The September issue of Christianity Today includes an article on the resurgence of Calvinism among the young.  Entitled "Young, Restless, Reformed," the author profiles two pastors: John Piper, of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and author of the bestseller, Desiring God, and Joshua Harris, the youthful pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  It also looks at the change in seminaries, like Southern Baptist Seminary, which is now headed by Al Mohler, a Calvinist.  It's a sympathetic portrayal of the movement toward the Reformed faith.  A text-box features a helpful explanation of the key doctrines summarized in the acrostic "TULIP."  (If you haven't an idea what that means, see the text-box!)  Mostly, reading it made me want one of the t-shirts on the CT cover with a picture of Jonathan Edwards and the words "Jonathan Edwards Is My Homeboy."

Bc_1And then, there's birds, and bees.  The latest issue of Books and Culture includes an article, entitled "The Bird Man," surveying several biographies of John James Audubon, the naturalist painter of birds who lived in the first half of the 19th century.  Audubon was a "character," to say the least --- all the biographers documenting his consummate lying, his brilliant mind and yet death of dementia, his aversion to discussing religion and yet confidence in his calling (how can you use the word calling without belief in Someone who calls?), and his flirtatious nature yet devotion to family.  His passion was birds, and how amazingly he painted them, 435 contained in his massive Birds of America, still unrivaled.  How a man who could be so absorbed in the study of birds, noting their diversity, their coloring, the attention to detail, and yet not speak of their Creator, is unfathomable.  Even now, as I write this, a red male cardinal eats beneath the bird feeder, casting wary looks my way, below a bright yellow goldfinch perched higher up on the feeder, and I marvel at their construction and their color, the evidence of design.

Finally, in the most interesting article of all, Eric Miller tells us of the much maligned honey bee, a non-being to most, an annoyance to others ("Shock and Awe," in Books and Culture).  Indeed, honey bees are fascinating and critical to life in ways most do not appreciate, and he surveys several books, all of which hold dire warnings about the decline of the bees and the effect on civilization.  No bees, no flowers.  No flowers, less food (1/3 of our food supply is dependent on pollinating bees).  But, after this survey, he notes the emptiness of the writers' arguments for restoring wonder and amazement and protection to the bees, asking "How far can secular awe take us toward the spiritual and moral renewal to which these authors call us."  She contrasts their vacuous rationales with the God-centered faith of Jan Swammerdam, a Dutch scientist with a passion for bees who lived in the late 1600s.  "Sir," he once wrote to a friend, "I present you with the omnipotent finger of God in the anatomy of a louse."  Swammerdam knew that, as the author concludes, the "way to devotion to God leads through that which is made."  Surely it does.  Surely every tree, flower, bee, giraffe, cat, ridge line, stream, and cloud leads us back to God, but man's capacity for unbelief and self-deception is well-attested.  I'm reminded of an article I read in the Amicus Journal, a secular environmental periodical, nearly two decades ago, which sought to lay a spiritual rationale for environmental protection, and yet which failed, ultimately, for it had no authority for truth to which it would appeal.  The arguments are pragmatic, not spiritual, and pragmatism only goes so far. (I suggest reading Francis Schaeffer's Pollution and the Death of Man, for a proper basis for environmental preservation.)

Bees.  Birds.  The TULIP.  Stare at them long enough and their meanings become rich and ultimately unfathomable.  They all lead to worship.  The road to God is through what is made.

What I Read on Vacation

Between my wife and I we probably subscribe to about 20 magazines or journals, and that's on top of impulse buys and the daily newspaper.  I know this is ridiculous, as I cannot read all this material, but I love magazines almost as much as I love books.  So, anyway, when vacations roll round (like this past week), I try to catch up a bit with all this reading.  It's sometimes better this way, reading several at once, because on occasion there are some helpful coincidences -- articles that complement one another. 

Such a coincidence happened when I read Steven Garber's review of Tom Wolfe's novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, called "I Am Charlotte Simmons: 3 Sentences, 1 Chapter, 1 Sad Conclusion," published in Critique, Issue #2, 2006, a publication of Ransom Fellowship.  (not online but I will send it to you by pdf if you email me).  I was aware of Tom Wolfe, but not the novel, which is an account of a young, smart, and rather innocent woman who leaves the rural mountains of North Carolina for an Ivy League school, where she is introduced to the sexualized (and very real) college culture, where sex is simply "hooking up" and carries no emotional commitment.  Wolfe apparently does a good job of showing how the logic of this lifestyle leads to a loathing of self and offers no basis on which to build a life, but he has little to offer in the way of a solution.  Then, thank God, I read an article by Terrence Moore, "Not Harvard Bound," in Touchstone, May 2006, which profiles college bound seniors in a charter school in Colorado who are quite different than those you find in Wolfe's book -- students who are bright, moral, faithful, energetic, and hardworking.  So, there are two stories here, and Wolfe has one story right, but there's another group of students, students that might even help a Charlotte Simmons out there.  There's hope.

I read yet another article on global warming, an issue I would really like to come to a conclusion on, and yet I cannot.  This one in Christianity Today's April issue, "Looking After Creation,"  was an interview with Christian physicist Sir John Houghton, an advocate for greenhouse gas reduction, who says that the whole scientific community is settled that on the conclusion that global warming is really occurring.  His confident assertions aside, I continue to read articles about the uncertainties that remain and the very high cost of tackling a problem we aren't sure is due to human activity or, at least, aren't sure we can control.  I think back to that book The Population Bomb, published by Paul Ehrlich back in the early Seventies.  His argument (in which he was not alone) was that population growth would doom the world to disaster by the turn of the century.  Oh yeah?  There is a population problem -- depopulation  -- in Europe and Russia.  Just about everything Ehrlich predicted was wrong.  Could climate change be another one of those doomsday scenarios?  God grant us wisdom.

Speaking of God, I read an article in that same issue of Touchstone about the recent meeting of the World Council of Churches.  [Insert the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard here.]  What a misnomer.  They do not represent the church.  The whole meeting was a litany of indictments of the United States, led by the "confessions" of our corporate sins by churchmen (yuch!) from our shores.  And then, finally, this statement by the beloved Desmond Tutu: "God is not a Christian." What?  He then went on to thank the churches represented for their support of the African National Congress in South Africa (you know, the ones who tied burning tires around the necks of whites and uncooperative blacks in their armed struggle against apartheid) and let them know that "God is allowing any and everybody into heaven."  Even Bin Laden and George Bush.  When I read such things I am simply incredulous; it reads like fiction.

On to lighter topics.  I enjoyed "Loving Christ While I Cheer for the Yankees," in ByFaith, January/February 2006, wherein Peter Enns calls for some theological reflection on the sports that he so loves along with many others.  I also appreciated David Delk's "Parenting the Heart: Helping Your Children Get Their Story Straight," also in ByFaith, May/June 2005 (see what I mean about getting behind?), which is a creative way to get at what is or should motivate our children -- stories like "The American Dream" or "Technological Paradise" or the Gospel story in their own life and part of the culture.

I've already blogged a bit from the excellent Spring 2005 issue of Christian History and Biography devoted to George McDonald.  I commend reading that entire issue.  McDonald is a treat to read and read about.  And finally, I read about Beatle Paul McCartney, who just turned 64.  Where did I read it?  In my wife's AARP Magazine.  Don't tell her I told you we receive that, but we do get discounts with it.  And if you don't know what AARP is, don't worry -- you'll find out one day.  Now, back to my rocker. . .

Quod-li-bet: Whatever (II)

Some items to consider:

  • Thinker_1 After yesterday's post on towns in Northern California, I was surprised to see that Bridgeville, one of those towns, and the first entire town to be sold on ebay, is up for sale again.  Check out the promo here.  What kind of people buy towns?  I guess it can be the nasty kind, like Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life," but it can also be the chaitable kind, like Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos Pizza, who is bankrolling a Catholic utopia called Ave Maria near Naples, Florida.  A daunting challenge.  Read about it here.  Heck, I just want one named after me; I don't want to buy one or create a utopia.  The problem with utopias is that people have to live in them.
  • I'm quite blown away by the Wes King Tribute, Life is Precious, especially Paul Coleman's take on "Holy Ghost," or Jane Kelly William's version of "The Love of Christ," a song Wes penned with Michael Card.  Listen to some MP3 samples here, and make a donation in order to receive the record -- it'll help Wes and his family as they battle his illness and its toll on their finances.
  • "Time" is the whole subject of a recent special issue of Scientific American magazine.  The authors ask "what is time? Physicists and philosophers have grappled with the question. So, too, have biologists and anthropologists. This special issue explores their musings."  Given my recent posts about time (gross speculations or maybe just, as they say, "musings"), I immediately picked it up.  Right now I'm reading an article about how the passing of time is just an illusion.  Right.  I guess this will be good news for the over 40 crowd.  I'll be reacting more to the articles therein later, but read it for yourself if you like.
  • Ha!  Check out this oh so true exchange between man and woman as contained on the blog site of The Crux Project:

    Holy Smokes, They ARE From Mars!

    by Kate Bluett

    ME: So how are you doing?

    HUSBAND: Huh?

    ME: What are you thinking about?

    HUSBAND: About what?

    ME: No, I want to know your position.

    HUSBAND: Spooning.

    ME: Your metaphysical position.

    HUSBAND: My metaphys... What?

    ME: I want to know where you are in life, and in relation to your goals, and what your feelings are.

    (pause for thought)

    HUSBAND: What?

And on that note of humor, we end, for now.

Quod-li-bet: Whatever (I)

Thinker Some items to consider:

  • One of the teachers at my children's school, Craig Doerksen, has migrated to Eugene, Oregon, where he is now the Director at Blue Tower Arts Center, an artist-in-residence program which "encourages, educates, and guides artists who desire to explore the claims and relevancy of Christianity in the vital calling of art production as they understand, respond and contribute to our contemporary world."  Most interesting to me is their one-year informal study program for artists beginning in Fall 2006.  Both Craig and co-founder Wesley Hurd have much to offer, and I encourage you to check out their website and support this much needed work.
  • If you recall my post of on "The Reformation of Athletics"(Feb. 21, 2006) you might check out this article by Dr. Peter Enns on "Loving Christ While I Cheer for the Yankees."  Enns explores why we love sports so much and how to know when our love for them has gone too far.  He ends with a commendable point: "As Christians we need to cultivate an attitude of theological reflection about those very things that fill up our daily hours [like sports].  Very often it is the mundane, everyday things that most persistently -- and subtly -- affect us in our Christian walk, for good or ill."
  • If you'd like to do something constructive about the passing of the CD or long form album as an art form (see my post of January 12, 2006), visit my friend Tony Shore's website Save the CD and purchase a cool t-shirt.  Tony has posted articles regarding the histroy of the CD, why its format should be preserved in some way, and more.  It's a cool site, a labor of love, and your help getting the word out about it and purchasing a t-shirt will help.
  • Finally, and along the lines of reflecting theologically about everything, an article by Christian mathematician Charles Edward White helps us do so about numbers in an article called "God By the Numbers."  many Christian mathematicians think that numbers point to God, specifically, three numbers: 1 in 10 to the 10 to the 123; 1 in 10 to the 162; and finally, Euler's number, which is "e" to the "ni."  Is that a provocative enough statement?  Wondering what all this means?  That's a bit more sophisticated than my conclusion that the only two numbers that meant anything before Creation were 1 and 3.  If you're like me, you don't reflect theologically on numbers that much.  Enns makes me think we should.

Do you think I think about such things while I'm out walking?  Not much, really.  It's usually less profound, like "Did I eat at Taco Bell twice yesterday?" I'm serious.