Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Links I Liked (And Several I Didn't Like)

There have been several good articles the last few weeks dealing with agricultural policy in the U.S., ground zero for mismanagement and unintended consequences. Check out The Sugar Program Is Central Planning from the CATO Institute for a glimpse into an industry that is apparently designed to inflate prices for consumers while enriching a few incredibly wealthy sugar producers. Also see Ethanol Investigation: The Secret, Dirty Cost Of Obama's Green Power Push from the Huffington Post. In fairness a lot of this started under Bush so don't let the title scare you off. We are in the midst of the largest corn harvest on record and yet we have a shortage of corn that might lead to markedly higher beef prices. Where is all of that corn going? Well a lot into Federally mandated ethanol, which has led to many farmers plowing under land that was fallow to get every last kernel of corn they can squeeze out of their property. Also see another article from the HuffPo, Will Feds Bankrupt Small Farms With Food Safety Rules?. More regulations that make life harder for small producers means more and more of our food supply being produced in the industrialized food system and that isn't health for anyone but the agribusiness giants have better lobbyists than the small family farmers.

John Piper weighs in on the much discussed Strange Fire Conference. I found his points far more thoughtful and humble than the broad-brush, or perhaps more accurately sledgehammer, methods of John MacArthur.

Tom Ascol gives a brief overview of the Threefold Imputation in Salvation. It is amazing to think that my sins are imputed to Him and His righteousness is imputed to me! Amazing grace indeed.

I agree in large part with this post from Jeremy Gardiner, An Open Letter to Complementarians about Head Covering. There are an awful lot of complementarians and very few advocate for the practice of headcovering. I hold to both a complementarian position on gender and the practice of headcovering for women, largely because the same interpretative principles hold in both cases. This is hardly the only place where the church is inconsistent, there are plenty of people who advocate for a participatory meeting based on a literal and universal application of 1 Corinthians 14:26 but then treat 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 as an embarrassing anachronism that needs to be explained away. Anyway I agree with Jeremy that losing the practice of headcovering might lead to more important truths being set aside in the church. We have already lost too many.

I found this link more disturbing and distressing than interesting: Bones of St. Peter.

I am not trying to be offensive or "anti-Catholic" but praying to or even praying before the mouldering bones attributed (with no real evidence) to Peter strikes me as macabre and creepy. Even if they were Peter's bones it would be creepy and reminiscent of medieval superstition rather than a Biblical practice. There is something jarring about Jorge Mario Bergoglio speaking about a "poor church" while simultaneously encouraging the faithful to pray in front of a pile of bones in the midst of an opulent edifice that is the epicenter of the most egregious example of the abuse of religion to have ever been associated with Christianity. 

Tim Challies ran a series on the tricky topic of modesty. It is a hard one, most people end up swinging to one extreme or the other, either legalism or license. Tim's initial post Modesty Matters: The Heart of Modesty tries to lay out a properly nuanced position but I think he missed the mark. For example:

Second, modesty takes into account the situation. What is modest in one situation may well be immodest in another. We all know we can dress modestly on the beach, but if we were to wear that very same thing to church it would be terribly immodest. Modest beachwear makes very immodest church-wear.

I think that is where a lot of people come down and I also think it is troubling. If your beachwear is too immodest for "church", it is probably just too immodest in general.It is a hard issue because swimwear is so commonplace but it also is generally awfully immodest. Without getting graphic even a one-piece ladies suit leaves very little to the imagination and I think we owe our sisters and our daughters more than that.

Another link I was not keen on was in the Washington Post and is a bio of Nadia Bolz-Weber. The title alone should give you a clue what you will find: Bolz-Weber’s liberal, foulmouthed articulation of Christianity speaks to fed-up believers. Now no one is more fed up with the state of the church than I am but this is not the right response. I can spot a schtick when I see one and from the article it sounds like a liberal female version of Mark Driscoll. Check out my #@%&a tats! Grrr, I am so authentic and real! No, you are just following a different stereotype and seeking attention. That is not "real" or "authentic" or even particularly novel. People have acted out in a bid for attention since mankind has existed.

This is kind of random but funny: NFL Player Quits Because, You Know, Noam Chomsky. Here is the opening line:

John Moffit, an American football player for the Denver Broncos, has walked away from a multi-million dollar contract after studying the works of Noam Chomsky and the Dalai Lama.

Um, Ok. Chomsky has some interesting insights but his "solutions" are pretty kooky which is too bad. Just thought that was amusing.

Anyway, there are some of the things I have read and thought you might find of interest.

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