Friday, April 20, 2007

Where Our Tax Dollars Go

Check out this great interactive chart detailing how U. S. tax dollars are divvied up.

I think I need a refund.


An Interesting Experiment on Gun Control

I am not normally interested in political debate, simply because it turns ugly too fast. I would prefer to discuss topics in a civil manner. That being said, I just found an interesting article that seems to give some interesting evidence to support the peoples' right to bear arms.

The article compares two cities in the U. S. One city, Kennesaw, GA, requires "each head of household to own and maintain a gun." The other city, Morton Grove, IL, banned all firearms in the city except for police officers.

You will have to read the article for the results of the experiment.

Thinking about moving to Kennesaw...


Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Most Influential Books" -- Russell Moore

Recently I had the opportunity to communicate with Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute, and a former professor:

Me: "Dr. Moore, what books would you consider most influential in your life?"

Dr. Moore:
Thank you Dr. Moore; we look forward to reading these!

"Top Ten Great Christian Biographies"

I recently posted the book list Dr. Michael Haykin sent me in response to my question, "Which books have been most influential in your life?" Dr. Mohler has recently posted ten of the top great Christian Biographies on his blog, including biographies on the lives of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Lloyd-Jones.

In addition, I recently received book recommendations from several of my professors, and I plan to post these soon.

Looks like it's time to get reading...


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Disgusting Media

So, am I the only one who feels disgusted at how the media is handling this Virginia Tech shooting? Part of me feels like I did when the WTC towers were destroyed, starving for more information, trying to understand why and how such a thing might happen, but the media is constantly forcing my attention to how the campus authorities should have handled the situation better, or how this shooting might impact gun control laws. It makes me sick! They are like attack dogs, trying to find the slightest angle to accuse someone for wrong-doing, placing blame on someone for such a terrible crime.

How about we place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the murderer? Of course he was troubled, and I'm sure he was terribly impacted by his environment, but why do we think we must blame all this on anything else but the person who committed the crime?

I personally see quite clearly the logic behind the decisions of the campus authorities to not shut down the school; murders happen (grievously) on a regular basis, and when they are tied to a domestic disturbance, there is usually not additional aftermath like the VT shootings. I read the VT description of the events and decisions as they took place, and I don't think I have any criticisms.

But then I wouldn't be a very good reporter, would I?

Grieving the loss of invaluable lives,


Monday, April 16, 2007

Christ-Centered Bioethics

So, last night at church, we were planning to dive back into a study on the book of Kings, but due to technical difficulties we decided to have an "Ask Anything Sunday" service (kinda like Dr. Mohler's "Ask Anything Wednesday" radio show, only not on the radio, and not with Dr. Mohler).

One question that caused many of us to stop and think was, "Is it right to use birth control to decide how many and when we have children, or should we simply trust God with the number and timing?" This question hit home with me because recently my wife asked me the same question after reading a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. In the book entitled Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free!, DeMoss claims that one lie women believe is that they should have any deciding role in family planning. She argues that family planning should be God's prerogative.

So, I was thankful that we were able to approach this question thoughtfully last night. No one, however, had solid logical, fully biblical, and convincing arguments for or against non-abortive birth control. We moved on from the question leaving the choice up to the personal conviction of the family.

Thankfully, brother Justin found this great article on John Piper's web site. "John Piper and most of the pastors on staff believe that non-abortive forms of birth control are permissible," and they make several great points to support their position. First, they argue that just because children are good gifts from the Lord we should not necessarily seek as many of these good gifts as possible, just like a wife is a good gift from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22), but it is not necessarily wrong to stay single. If we are focused on kingdom purposes, we are free to manage the resources God gives us.

Second, they argue, birth control is no guarantee that a couple will not have a child. We don't shun haircuts so God can determine the length of our hair, and farmers don't necessarily cultivate every acre of land that they own (especially if they have lots of land). God actually desires for us to manage his creation for his glory. "God very often causes us to plan as the means towards improving our lives and advancing His kingdom purposes."

There are other very good arguments in this article that support the view that birth control is permissible and may even be considered a blessing from God if used for the right reasons.

Thankful for freedom in Christ and God's sovereign rule over this world,


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Book Recommendations by Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin

I recently requested a list of books from my current professor of Personal Spiritual Disciplines, and he provided me the following list:
15 Key Books in Christian Spirituality
(arranged chronologically)
  • The Letter to Diognetus
  • Augustine's Confessions
  • Confession of St. Patrick
  • On Spiritual Friendship by Ailred of Rievaulx
  • The Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer
  • On the Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen
  • On Religious Affections by Jonathon Edwards
  • The Hymns of Charles Wesley
  • The Olney Hymns by John Newton and William Cowper
  • Letters by John Newton
  • The Hymns and Letters of Ann Griffiths
  • The Memoirs of Samuel Pearce by Andrew Fuller
  • Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis
  • Desiring God by John Piper

Monday, April 09, 2007

Puritan Interpretation - Six Questions to Ask of the Text

J. I. Packer, in his book A Quest for Godliness, suggests six questions one must ask the text in order to interpret the text faithfully (like the Puritans):
  1. What do these words actually mean?
  2. What light do other Scriptures throw on this text? Where and how does it fit into the total biblical revelation?
  3. What truths does it teach about God, and about man in relation to God?
  4. How are these truths related to the saving work of Christ, and what light does the gospel of Christ throw upon them?
  5. What experiences do these truths delineate, or explain, or seek to create or cure? For what practical purpose do they stand in Scripture?
  6. How do they apply to myself and others in our own actual situation? To what present human condition do they speak, and what are they telling us to believe and do?
These are important questions for the faithful preacher or teacher to answer; may God grant us to be more like the redwoods.

May we all be more influenced by the Puritans,