wanting the familiar even if it hurts

Here are two interesting items that I ran across and emailed to a few folks toward the end of June. The first is a series of youtube videos with Adrian Warnock interviewing Ed Stetzer about missional church planting etc that I got from this Timmy Brister post.

If you don’t have time to watch them all right now, then cut to the first four minutes of the number 6 video.

The second is an entry off of National Review’s “the Corner” about Anglicans. Isn’t the bit about the hangover headache so very true to life? Doesn’t it match what Ed says about the things that regular church members get passionate about?

Food for Thought, from the Anglicans [Mike Potemra]
Even those who don’t follow religious news closely know it’s tough to be an Anglican these days. The 77-million-member Church’s assembly of bishops—the Lambeth Conference—meets next month, amid fears of radical ruptures and even schism; conservative Anglicans angry about gay issues are now holding their own counter-conference in Jerusalem. The website Anglicans Online is an extremely valuable and well-designed resource for all things Anglican, including many of the numerous versions of the venerable Book of Common Prayer. Every week or so, Anglicans Online posts an editorial on its homepage. This week’s is thought-provoking, offering as it does a bit of information about booze I’d never heard before:

The Anglican events in the Middle East this week caused us to recall [a story] from long ago. . . .

Towards the end of Harold Wilson’s first term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, we recall attending a lecture by the head of the Beverage Chemistry division of one of the world’s largest liquor firms. This man was responsible for the formulation and quality control of many famous brands of alcoholic beverages, shipped and served all over the world. He told us that it was very important, after making the whisky or gin or strong ale or whatever it might be, to add small amounts of unpleasant chemicals to them. He explained:

“People have come to expect that if they spend a lot of money on a fifth of premium whiskey, and they drink a good bit of it on a Friday night, that they ought to feel terrible on Saturday morning. The most important part of my job is to see to it that just the right amount of fusel is added to the beverage so that their headache the next morning will meet their expectations. If we make our beverages too pure, too free of impurities, then our customers will feel cheated when they hardly have any headache at all the next morning, and they’ll start to think that we’re watering it down. They want their pain, so we add enough amyl alcohol to ensure that they get what they expect. The morning-after aches and pains are a key part of our brand identity.”

We were speechless, but, as you can tell, we remembered and internalized what the good chemist told us: people want what’s familiar, even if it hurts them needlessly.

This is a fascinating story, though the point it makes is rather familiar, and very close to the standard liberal critique of small-C conservatism: They want you to have a headache because, darn it, Grandpa had a headache and if it was good enough for Grandpa it better be good enough for you. (In reality, though, I know precious few conservatives who would not welcome hangover-free Wild Turkey.)

06/22 11:21 PM


blaming others

Ben at Desiring God blog posted 12 sins we blame on others. Here are the first few:

1) Anger

I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate.

2) Impatience

I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have so many things to do, and if the people around me weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient!

3) Lust

I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many sensual images in our culture.

4) Anxiety

I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were just a little more secure—if I had more money, and no health problems.

Take a little time and go read the rest of them. Do you agree that we have a tendency to blame some sins on others?

Hat tip to Adrian Warnock

acceptable words

I have long tried to use Ephesians 4:29 to guide my speech, written and verbal. Sometimes with more success than others. I have tried to explain to my kids why we use certain words and not others in our communication based on this verse.

So I can identify with the family discussion described by Paul Tripp in the following video. It is hilarious. As Steve McCoy says, “Paul Tripp has a potty mouth and he’s right on the money”. If mild expletives of a scatological nature offend your ears, then don’t play this clip. If you want to hear a funny and excellent explication of Ephesians 4:29, please go ahead.

a musical interlude

Thanks to the Justin Cofield Band I am obsessing over this song. I just can’t get enough of it. I haven’t obsessed over a song like this since this one and this one. I can’t link to the other song I have been obsessing over because it isn’t for sale anymore, but you folks who downloaded the recorded version of David Cook singing Eleanor Rigby know what I’m talking about.

change the world?

Brad Abare has an article on Catalyst about why changing the world disturbs him. It is titled, reasonably enough, “Changing the World Disturbs Me”. In the article he makes this statement, “Lately, I’m beginning to think that this inclination for world changing is not only unhealthy, it’s also counter-productive. Perhaps the idea of “changing the world” has derailed a generation from actually accomplishing it.”

Turn that thought over in your mind a few times and chew on it a bit. What do you think? Is he on to something or has he lost his mind? Read the rest of his article and see how well he supports this thesis.

Yesterday morning in bible study we we made it up to Hebrews 13:4. That led to discussion of the fact that marriage is not held in honor by much of anyone in this culture and is under assault legally and culturally. The question then arose as to what we can do about this sad fact.

We talked about several things, but the conclusion was that mostly what we can do is hold our own individual marriages in honor. That we can keep our own marriage bed undefiled and we can “Occupy” till he comes. The word translated “occupy” in the KJV is pragmateuomai and it means to carry on with business.

the parable of the minas in Luke 19:11-27 is a very useful antidote to the “change the world” virus. Jesus told his disciples that their job was to do business with what he gave them until He returns to claim his kingdom. That is what we are supposed to do. Every single one of us can do that. We can be faithful to use diligently, practically, and constantly the resources that Jesus entrusted to us where we are in life.

Individually we are called to be faithful stewards. Collectively, christians who get a hold of and live that principle have the capacity to change the world, perhaps even to turn the world upside down.


Instapundit gave a link to an article about Randy Pausch and his last lecture.

In the article, Charles Lipson talks about the fact that professor Pausch’s lecture was also a lesson in great teaching. Lipson makes the point that good teaching must impart the necessary substantive material. In addition:

The best teachers also serve as models for students. Good teachers bestow their love of learning, their willingness to work hard and their ability to think imaginatively to unravel the mysteries. Those lessons can launch students on their own paths—the real goal of any teacher.

Good teaching points students toward important questions, gives them the tools they need to inquire and inspires them to continue exploring for themselves. Ultimately, every teacher lets go and hopes the students can proceed on their own—and hopes that they will want to.

While we were in Arkansas, our church’s education staff gave teachers and wannabe teachers the opportunity to watch a video series on teaching from Seven Laws of the Teacher by Howard Hendricks. It was really very good.

Lipson’s description of a good secular teacher’s main purpose and goal in the quote above sounds almost exactly like what Howard Hendricks said as well. As a bible teacher my main goal is to assist in creating the thirst in my class members to pursue scripture on their own outside of class. To give them the tools they need to pursue their own answers with their own Bible and their own walk with God.

If you haven’t ever heard Randy Pausch’s last lecture, I encourage you to watch it. It has some mild language, but is entertaining and challenging.

I’m trying to save the planet

No room for small ambitions with Nancy Pelosi. She is justified in shutting down House debate, because she is trying to save the planet. Gives her the leeway to do some stuff doesn’t it?

With fewer than 20 legislative days before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, the entire appropriations process has largely ground to a halt because of the ham-handed fighting that followed Republican attempts to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. And after promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she says impatiently when questioned. “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.”

“I respect the office that I hold,” she says. “And when you win the election, you win the majority, and what is the power of the speaker? To set the agenda, the power of recognition, and I am not giving the gavel away to anyone.”

Let’s face it, Washington: This speaker is different. She’s the first woman ever to hold the post and a very tough one at that, with a penchant for the mystical.

everybody buckle your seatbelts, its going to be a bumpy ride.

hat tip to Byron York on the Corner

I draw your attention again to the article on Barack Obama that I mentioned a few weeks ago. Here is another clip to show how the idea of redemption through politics is in direct contravention of the idea of redemption through Jesus:

Obama has revived a cruel mirage, but the good news is that the country has defenses against his brand of redemptive politics. Some of these defenses are constitutional, others cultural. The very strength of America’s religious ideal of redemption has restrained, though it has not entirely forestalled, the development of alternative secular ideals of redemption. A religiously inspired belief in original sin has made Americans wary of succumbing to the Pelagian notion that a mere mortal, however charismatic, can build the New Jerusalem out of purely secular materials. The country’s constitutional system, itself founded on the theory of original sin, has created a perpetual conflict of factions and interests that so far has prevented any single party from imposing a monolithic unity from above, such as Europe’s collectivists were able to do.

Nancy Pelosi may be a very good politician, but she does not possess the means to “save the planet”. The fact that she thinks she might is frankly frightening.