Hangar 24 -- Essence
Buy if: you want to try a DIPA, and enjoy citrus.
Overall: I'm not generally a fan of DIPA's, but Hangar 24 has sold me. Bitter nectar of the gods.
4.5 out of 5.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Brooks doesn’t believe that a Romney candidacy will eliminate the serious theological distinctions between evangelicals and Mormons, but she does expect we’ll see fewer Christians willing to label Mormonism as a “cult” as the mainstream media and many Americans now interpret the use of the phrase as an expression of bigotry.For the rest, click HERE.
Last October, Christian columnist Rod Dreher wrote in The American Conservative that it's "offensive" to him when Christians speak of Mormonism as a cult. His words echo the sentiments of Richard Mouw, prominent evangelical scholar and president of Fuller Theological Seminary, who penned “My Take: This evangelical says Mormonism isn’t a cult” on CNN's Belief blog.
“While I am not prepared to reclassify Mormonism as possessing undeniably Christian theology,” Mouw wrote, “I do accept many of my Mormon friends as genuine followers of the Jesus whom I worship as the divine Savior.”
Even Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. seems to have softened his family's hard-line stance as Liberty welcomed Romney as its commencement speaker in May. "Liberty has no official position on Mormonism,” Falwell told CNN’s Kyra Phillips. “Our statement does not define Mormonism as a cult. ... That’s not part of our doctrinal position and not our official position.”
Robert Jones, president of the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute, sees parallels to the warming thaw between evangelicals and Catholics in the 1980s and 1990s -- a pragmatic political alliance that grew out of shared opposition to abortion.
“It was really political affinities that began to break down that wall between Catholics and evangelicals,” Jones said.
More recently, evangelicals have been more than willing to work with Mormons in the fight against gay marriage. The growing Mormon-evangelical political alliance could have real religious (and political) implications: Recent PRRI polls of white evangelicals show that as the group’s awareness of Romney’s Mormon faith increases, his favorability among the group also rises.
In short, what was once a liability might now be seen as a political asset – especially in the GOP's crucial base of conservative Christian culture warriors.
Still, not all evangelicals seem to be softening their stance. Southern Baptist researcher Ed Stetzer defines Mormonism as a “theological cult,” not the classic “sociological cult.” His research shows that a full 75 percent of Protestant pastors believe that Mormonism is either a cult or simply a different religion.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Lienenkugel -- Sunset Wheat
Buy if: You want a light beer that tastes like a breakfast cereal.
Overall: I got the Fruity Pebbles aspect, but once I got past that, there wasn't much to it.
2.5 out of 5.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The recent “dust up” over possible semi-Pelagianism among certain Baptists has given rise to the usual confusion about terms like “heresy” and “heretic.” So let’s clear things up a little (hopefully).For the rest, click HERE.
What makes a belief “heresy?” Well, there’s no easy answer to that unless it is within a church or denomination that has a formal magisterium. Such as the Roman Catholic Church. Some beliefs have been formally “anathematized” by a council or a pope. Then they are heresies. Somewhere, several times over the centuries, what we have been calling “semi-Pelagianism” here has been declared heresy by that Church. Some Protestant churches have also declared it heresy. Not all. If a belief has been formally declared anathema or heresy by a church magisterium, then, within that church or denomination it is heresy–there. Whether it is heresy outside that church or denomination is a difficult question. For example, what sense would it make to say that a Buddhist is teaching the “Nestorian heresy?” However, a Catholic, for example, might say that a certain Protestant is teaching that heresy. But “heresy” has somewhat different meanings even there–inside and outside that church.
Many “free churches” have no magisterium or even formal, written statement of faith. For example, the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. is a denomination without a magisterium or formal, written statement of faith that could be used as an instrument of doctrinal accountability. So “heresy” is a very problematic concept there. Still, an ABCUSA leader or theologians might say that a person within the denomination is teaching heresy. That’s meaningless unless they explain what they mean by “heresy.” Usually in such a context it means a belief believed to be seriously contrary to the gospel or Baptist practice. For example, a conservative ABCUSA person might say “Such-and-such a pastor is teaching the heresy of universalism.” But since there’s no agreed on list of heresies in that denomination, the person using the term can only mean ‘I think that pastor is teaching a doctrine contrary to the gospel” or to Baptist practice. In other words, in that context, “heresy” has no teeth other than the damage that might be done to a person’s reputation.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Notice I put “inerrancy” in “scare quotes.” That’s to indicate that what I am talking about is the term, not precisely the concept. Or, to put it another way, my concern is that the term is used for many different concepts and therefore, without definition, is virtually meaningless.For the rest, click HERE.
Now I am going to quote a leading evangelical theologian’s definition of biblical inerrancy. I’m not revealing his name first; his identity as the definition’s author is below it. I challenge you to read the definition first and only then see who wrote it. And before peeking at the author’s name, formulate an opinion about it. Is the definition what you thought “inerrancy” means? Is it what leading conservative evangelical inerrantist theologians mean? How many would agree with it?
Here is the definition which is copyrighted, but the author’s web site gives permission to disseminate it with the copyright line following. I also provide, as requested, a link to the source of the definition at the author’s web site. (However, I first encountered it elsewhere; it was given to me by a colleague many years ago.)
“I. The Word of God
“The Bible is…without error in the original manuscripts…” Since there is a wide diversity of opinions on the meaning of “error” in such an affirmation, it is appropriate that I give my understanding of the word in this context so that you know what I am affirming.
I will suggest two definitions of “error”, the first of which I consider proper for judging the reliability of any literature including the Bible and the second of which I consider improper. According to the first I believe the Bible is “without error”.
1) A writer is in error when the basic intention in his statements and admonitions, properly understood in their nearer and wider context, is not true. (In reference to indicative statements, “true” means they correspond to reality; in reference to admonitions “true” means that obedience of these admonitions is in harmony with reality, i.e., it accords with the will of God.)
2) A writer is in error if any of his individual statements are not literally true.
The difference between these two definitions and my own understanding of the truth of the Bible may be clarified by three illustrations from Scripture. (To many of my fellow theologians the following would sound elementary to the point of being superfluous. But in my tradition it is a necessary starting point if we are to come to properly understand our affirmation on Scripture.)
A) God says against Jerusalem through Jeremiah (15:8), “I have made their widows more in number than the sand of the sea.” This statement is “literally” false. But according to definition 1 above, it is not false since the basic intention of Jeremiah is to press home (by an exaggeration which had become a commonplace analogy in the Old Testament) the tragically large number of widows as a sign of God’s judgment.
B) Jesus says in Mark 4:31 that the Kingdom of God “is like a grain of mustard seed which when sown upon the ground is the smallest of all the seeds on earth…” According to definition 2 above, Jesus erred here because the mustard seed is not the smallest seed on the earth. But according to the first definition he did not err because his basic intention was not in the least botanical. The point is the great contrast between the smallness of the seed and the largeness of the full-grown shrub. Jesus capitalized on the proverbial smallness of the mustard seed (TWNT, VII, p. 288) to make a perfect, inerrant point about the Kingdom of God.
C) If we used definition 2 above the Gospel writers would have to be accused of error in their chronology of events of Jesus’ life. Just one illustration: The story of the healing of the paralytic (Mt. 9:1-8 = Mk 2:1-12 = Lk 5:17-26), the call of Levi (Mt 9:9-13 = Mk 2:13-17 = Lk 5:27-32), and the question about fasting (Mt 9:14-47 = Mk 2:18-22 = Lk 5:33-39) follow back to back in all three Synoptics and so refer to the same events. Again, the stilling of the storm (Mt 8:23-27 = Mk 4:35-41 = Lk 8:22-25) and the Gesarene demoniac (Mt 8:28 = Mk 5:1-20 = Lk 8:26-39) follow back to back in all three Synoptics so that with the verbal parallels one can see that the same sequence of events is being referred to in each Gospel. But Matthew has these last two events before the three cited above. While Mark and Luke have them after these three events. It cannot be both ways.
|Credit on the bottom of the photo. Epic.|
Even self-identified evangelicals, who tend to read the Bible more conservatively than most other groups, do not speak with a unified voice regarding the process of creation. Clearly, young-earth creationism, which argues that the world was created in six 24-hour days, is widely promoted on a popular level. Less publicized is that a large number of evangelical thinkers prefer a different range of options. Let me briefly survey some options before turning to Genesis.For the rest, click HERE.
For example, like many other evangelical scientists, Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome project, affirms evolution. A 2009 Pew Forum poll suggests that roughly a third of evangelical Protestants agree. More surprisingly, this approach among some evangelicals did not originate recently. For example, one of Darwin's leading U.S. defenders in the 19th century was a committed evangelical. Harvard biologist Asa Gray, featured on a U.S. postal stamp in 2011, never persuaded his friend Darwin that evolution displayed divine design, but Gray defended evolution.
Some prominent evangelical theologians today (such as Alister McGrath) support evolution, but even late 19th- and early 20th-century conservative theologians such as Calvinist B. B. Warfield and Baptist A. H. Strong allowed that God could have used evolution as a mechanism of creation.
Touted as a "prequel" to Ridley Scott's classic Alien, Prometheus follows a group of archeologists and scientists to discover the origins of humanity. This leads them across the universe in pursuit of the world's oldest and most daunting question: who made us?
As with last time, my review will focus on three major aspects of the film, with allowance for expansion in needed areas.
And away we go.
The film is technical perfection.
Shot by Dariusz Wolski, Prometheus is fat out gorgeous. From the opening five minutes of Iceland Soaring, we are treated to primordial glaciers and looming bacteria-infested mountains. Everything is in a state of glistening decay, and Wolski captures this primeval paradise with precision and perfection.
Watching Prometheus in 3D with ETX sound was a symphony. The elemental decay of both worlds and individuals is captured with enhanced design, looming into the human body and even to our DNA. The editing is flawless for the first half, allowing silent scenes to speak louder than most of Lindelof's writing (which we will get to eventually). Watching the actors work within odd and violent atmospheres was a treat, and Scott as usual is a master of lens and epic scope.
Scalia's and Scott's handling of the much-touted C-Section sequence is both terrifying and agonizing. That scene alone, though I think it could've had more impact, was the singular moment where I forgot I was sitting in a dark room. Well done, Misters Scott and Scalia.
During the first half of the film, I was genuinely confused. Why? Because I wasn't sure where things were going. Watching Fassbender's David ride a bicycle and play basketball was the most interesting part of the movie for me. The relationship between Shaw and Holloway worked rather well in my opinion, considering that they really only shared one scene together.
Solid first half. Palpable buildup. Some intriguing character development.
This is where things get contentious for me, and where my thoughts have both been challenged and affirmed. Simply put, I think the film suffers from the same problems that Lost did. Namely, it follows a formula of putting forth philosophy as icing when we really want discussion and practical application. We know that they are in pursuit of the world's most distressing and intriguing question, but we are rarely given any reason to care why. Shaw's child-like innocence is both plausible and child-like, though rightly maligned in certain instances.
The second half is where the film falls apart. Questions proposed at the beginning are not answered. I understand Roger Ebert's comment about good science fiction being about the question, but I contend that there is a profound difference between asking questions and using questions as filler. In short, I'm not entirely convinced that the questions asked in Prometheus are true questions. Because, to propose such questions then follow them up with a highly odd sequence where a zombie-like creature (looking more like the Elephant Man) throws crew members around like paper strikes me more as filler to get us to spectacle. The concept of rebirth being followed by death is indeed interesting, but the execution is poorly done.
I love spectacle, but it sounds like the writer's came up with set-pieces and shoe-horned ideas around them to compensate for a lackluster narrative. Considering that Prometheus suddenly has very smart people act in such thoroughly stupid ways doesn't help their case about smart people asking smart questions. To go from them creating technology that can outline entire caverns to being upstaged by horror cliches had me screaming, "don't touch the angry looking serpentine phallus!" Seriously. Bad form.
Also, it strikes me as very odd to have a crew member who has gone on such a long journey with a woman he loves suddenly beg to be torched. The scene is cumbersome and not set-up well, especially considering the intimacy that said characters experienced together.
I know I'm griping, but these things legitimately bothered me.
God and evolution are not exclusive terms. As someone who sees little reason to not accept theistic evolution, I found the "tension" in the film laughable. Science and religion are not shown in conflict as much as you have immature sniping and childish innuendo being championed as "conflict." Shaw's comment in response to a question about Darwinism provoked the sole laugh from that theater, and I was the only one laughing. "I choose to believe." This is not tension, it is better satire.
Shaw shows no loss of faith, and any comment about God from crew members or androids is misused and bulky. Since her faith is touted, it would make sense to show her religious conflict in realizing that their "engineer" could indeed be evil. There is no pondering such a heavy idea. It is used to keep us interested until something explodes out of someone's chest. Which does happen. And it's kinda cool.
In short, I'm not convinced that Prometheus has sold me. The ideas that stand alone are indeed interesting and worth pursuing. The film is gorgeous, well acted and MUST be seen in 3D and ETX. The set-up for a sequel is indeed palpable and the sole question, which wasn't answered at all, is still fresh.
However, the narrative is clunky, most of the crew members ought to be wearing red (nerd joke), and the questions share the same qualities as Lost and an emergency glassed-in hammer:
break open in case of uncertain narrative, use once and disregard.
3 out of 5.
*review open to rewriting
Monday, June 11, 2012
I am always amazed at how quick we often are to sound the “The Gospel is at Stake” alarm. We evangelicals sometimes act like a flock of Chicken Littles, running around like we’ve lost our heads squawking, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The gospel’s at stake! The sky is falling!” at even the slightest rattling of our little hen-house of a subculture. We could save ourselves a lot of grief by remembering the centrality and priority of the resurrection and by putting everything else in (that) perspective.For the entire link, click HERE.
I am reminded of George W. Ramsey’s question, “If Jericho Was Not Razed, Is Our Faith in Vain?” The fact that the archaeological evidence in Palestine does not match up well with the narrative of the conquest in the Book of Joshua (which itself does not match up well with the Book of Judges) has been an endless source of anxiety for evangelicals who have kept up with such issues. I think one of the most salubrious theological habits I have adopted over the last few years while engaging these sorts of issues has been that of always asking myself, “Whichever way this question shakes out, will it change the fact that Jesus is risen?” If not, then I can calm down, take a deep breath, and move forward with openness and honesty in the confidence that the gospel itself is just not at stake here. To my mind, there’s simply no reason to think that if Joshua’s narrative of the destruction of Jericho is somewhat unhistorical, then Jesus must therefore be moldering in His tomb. And if it is still the case that Jesus is risen, then our hope is intact, whatever the case may be with Jericho. So, to Ramsey’s question we may resolutely, confidently, and even lightheartedly answer “No!”
So ask yourself: If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Darwin was right about human origins after all, would you give up your faith? If it turned out that Jesus was risen but Protestantism was wrong and Catholicism or Orthodoxy was right (or the other way around), would you opt to become an atheist? If it turned out that Jesus is risen and that the New Perspective is more right than wrong about Paul, would that be grounds to abandon Christianity altogether? If it turned out that Jesus is risen but the doctrine of predestination is true (or false!), would you see no more point in following Christ? If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Genesis 1-11 is ancient Near Eastern mythology, would you apostasy? If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Mark and Luke made historical slips here and there and Jonah was actually a non-historical children’s story, would your faith be in vain?
Here’s the kicker: If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, not only are you needlessly worrying yourself over secondary matters, you may have adopted “another gospel.”
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Why are some tweets more popular than others?
When a Twitter staff member set out to answer that question 10 months ago, he thought the answer would emerge among posts from N.B.A. players, politicians or actors. Instead, he found a mystery: a set of messages that were ricocheting around Twitter, being forwarded and responded to at a rate that was off the charts.“They were punching way above their weight,” said Robin Sloan, who discovered the anomaly but did not recognize the names behind the tweets.Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado and Andy Stanley were not well known inside Twitter’s offices. But they had all built loyal ranks of followers well beyond their social networks — they were evangelical Christian leaders whose inspirational messages of God’s love perform about 30 times as well as Twitter messages from pop culture powerhouses like Lady Gaga.Fifteen percent of adult Internet users in the United States are on Twitter, and about half of those use the network every day, according to a report published this week by the Pew Research Center. But Twitter is always looking for ways to add new users. And so, with this new insight, the company sent a senior executive, Claire Díaz-Ortiz, on a mission:
To bring more religious leaders into the Twitter fold.“We had looked at different groups, like C.E.O.’s and high-level executives, thinking, oh, do we need to spend more time with them?” she said. “And then this religion thing popped up.”
For the entire article, click HERE.