Thursday, March 26, 2009

Epistemic Humility

If you can't imagine how anyone could hold the view you are attacking, you just don't understand it yet.
Anthony Weston, A Rulebook for Argument

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Melbourne and Sydney, a bit like England and the USA

SamR made some points about what he noticed about Melbourne and why he thinks it's a pretty cool place. I went to Melbourne once, and these are the four things I remember:

1) A dirty river
2) A homeless guy asking me for money, and when offering to take him for a meal at Burger King, him replying "Can we go somewhere a bit healthier?"
3) A 12,000 dollar handbag in a window
4) Sitting on the steps of Rod Laver arena consoling myself after Radiohead had just cancelled their concert there that night, the reason for which I came to Melbourne

So I didn't like it, but I think my decision was entirely influenced by point 4, and I was only there 2 nights so it's not much of a judgement. But what do I think of Melbourne, especially in comparison to Sydney? Is it better? To me the decision is a bit like choosing to travel to England or the USA. If you want big, flashy, and pretty, come to Sydney. It looks good, and has the "wow" factor, but if you go any deeper than the bright lights all you'll find are poker machines, awful public transport and too much cluster. If you prefer a little more culture and sophistication, you'll want to go to Melbourne to enjoy the Cafes, art and architecture, the great live music scene, and as Sam says, the less "booby" fashion.

Is my diagnosis correct?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Schisms: Why didn't we go to Lambeth?

It's a genuine question. Is there a statement where I can find this out? The reason I ask is because I'm reading Oliver O'Donovan's Church In Crisis: The Gay Controversy and The Anglican Communion, and he is clearly in favour of a conciliar approach to the current crisis over encouraging a split. He closes a chapter with this;

Schisms may come, but woe to that church through whom they come! There is no right, or duty, of schism. As unity is given to the church as a gift, so it is taken away as a judgement. But on no account can disunity be a course of action that the church may embrace in pursuit of its mission or identity. The only justified breach is the one we have taken every possible step to avert, the one that lies on the far side of every conciliar process that can be devised.

O'Donovan is evangelical, and he's well respected by a lot of Moore students and lecturers. I always assumed it was a Evangelicals v Liberals, good guys vs the the bad thing, but turns out it isn't.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Will

Hauntingly beautiful...

Listen to the lyrics. It's about the gulf war I think, a Mother's anguish over a lost child

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why I don’t believe in mission strategy

Mission can’t be planned beyond the next step because people are unpredictable. We don’t know who will respond or how. In many industries you can match inputs and outputs. But in Christian ministry there’s never a neat correlation between inputs and outputs. You can’t say, ‘If I do these Bible studies with these people then I can guarantee that this is what they’ll be like at the end.’ Mission can’t be planned beyond the next step because people are unpredictable.

And mission can’t be planned beyond the next step because God is sovereign. It’s God who opens hearts to the gospel. We can’t know or predict ahead of time who will become Christians. It’s God’s work to grant faith and repentance. And often he surprises us.

A gret reminder for all servants of the gospel by Tim Chester. Read the entire blog post in full. It's the first in a series on mission planning. Great title.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Did you know that Missy Higgins has a bum chin?

You probably didn't. But then again, your new-born daughter probably wasn't born on Thursday with a dimple on her chin, so you'd most likely find it boring. Not me. The ol' cleft chin has kept me busy with interest on the web for hours...

I'm quite fond of it.

You also may not have known that it is hereditary, or that it is an inherited trait in humans, where the dominant gene causes the cleft chin while the recessive genotype presents without a cleft. (taken from wiki)

I bet you also didn't know that in Egypt it is called the "Impress of Charm"

Now, back to writing that CCDP report due several hours ago...

A Conservative Christian Case for Civil Same-Sex Marriage

Abraham Piper linked me to Misty Irons, and I found this article by her, A Conservative Christian Case for Civil Same-Sex Marriage saying things I've wanted to articulate before. Not that I agree with her position and it seems she uses some caricatures for her arguments, but she raises some really good points worth thinking about.

Concerning the political strategy, she writes:
The problem is, our political aim was not simply to protect the rights of Christians. It was to enact moral change in society that would affect everyone regardless of whether they agreed with our views. We have sought to push a moral agenda instead of lobbying for civil liberties as we should have. If we had focused on civil liberties, we would have made progress in securing the rights we wanted for ourselves, and made a valuable contribution to securing the rights of our fellow Americans in the process. We could have still taken on abortion and concentrated primarily on defending the rights of the unborn child...

Anyway, read the article. Let me know your thoughts if you have any.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Couch Surfing for the gospel

Have you heard of couch surfing? Their motto is Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch At A Time. It's basically a network of travellers from all over the world of people who are willing to offer a couch or bedroom for free to anyone passing through or visiting that area. So for example say you wanted to go to New York but couldn't afford the accomodation? You would just go to the website and see if there is anyone who is willing to let you sleep on their couch for a few days, or even longer.

I found out about it because my good friends Josh and Nay are doing it. They don't travel, but they open up their home to let travellers use their spare room. Through doing this they've been able to demonstrate Christlike hospitality and it has led to loads of gospel opportunities.

For Nay and Josh it's all about preparing for the future, as they plan to be missionaries in India to the myriad of travellers searching for 'sprituality' in their lives (Why India? Simple: The Beatles). They intend to be opening up their home for the rest of their lives for the sake of the gospel

What about you? Would you open up your house for travellers? how are you opening up your house for the gospel?

I know their example has put me to shame...

Amelie Grace

and her big bro!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turns out a woman is writing my blog

We guess is written by a woman (51%), however it's quite gender neutral.

It's time to for me to man up obviously. Anyone want to grab a beer over the footy this week?

Check out here to see what gender your blog is

h/t Vanishing point

Monday, March 9, 2009

Church Music that glorifies God

According to CS Lewis;
There are two musical situations on which I think we can be confident that a blessing rests. One is where a priest or an organist, himself a man of trained and delicate taste, humbly and charitable sacrifices his own (aesthetically right) desires and gives the people humbler and coarser fare than we would wish, in a belief (even, as it may be, the erroneous belief) that he can thus bring them to God. The other where the stupid and unmusical layman humbly and patiently, and above all silently, listens to music which he cannot, or cannot fully, appreciate, in the belief that it somehow glorifies God, and that if it does not edify him this must be his own defect. Neither such a High Brow nor such a Low Brow can be far out of the way. To both, Church Music will have been a means of grace; not the music they have liked, but the music they have disliked.
Christian Reflections, pg 96-97

Lewis then goes on to point out the opposite situation results in pride, contempt and resentful hostility. A lot of churches have musical problems, and while I don't want to downplay the importance of a good music ministry, Lewis is helpful here in pointing out that the problem is not always a musical one. His situation is not completely analogous to today's, but so often our attitudes can be similar when we feel music is not done to our own personal taste or professionalism. I know I have been incredibly guilty of such a sin.

Microsoft Word

My Microsoft Word 2000 is frustrating me, it seems it is outdated. Should I update and get volume 9, or is there a cheaper or better option?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Revelation is salvation, it does not merely contain salvation

The authority of Scripture is its Spirit-bestowed capacity to quicken the church to truthful speech and righteous action. Confession of Scripture's authority is avowal by the hearing church of that which the Spirit undertakes through Scripture's service of the Word, and its proper context is therefore soteriological (italics mine). From this primary definition flow all other aspects of Scripture's authority, such as its role in theological or moral argument, its place in proclamation, or its liturgical presence.
John Webster, Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch. pg 52

The prime argument of Webster's Holy Scipture is that the bible is a servant of the revelation of God. For Webster, he argues, revelation means God's reconciliation with his people, the establishment of fellowship. Therefore when we speak of a doctrine scripture, it is in fact a doctrine of salvation. This is a great truth to remember. I think we can often act as though the only place to speak of God's reconciliation with the world is in an evangelistic sermon or conversation, as though it is one part of many in the Bible. I hope that whenever I preach, argue, meditate on, listen or merely speak about God's word, it will always be clear it is in the context of the saving work of God. Though practically I'm not so sure how...

Edit: I originally had the title as "Scripture is salvation...", and then walked away realising that is not what Webster thinks. Scripture points to revelation, it is a servant of it, it is not salvation itself. Whoops...