No moral compass

That’s basically what this Abacus survey of Canadians on issues of morality seems to suggest, for the vast majority of Canadians. This presents a challenge for evangelism (so many false values to get past) and an opportunity (Christianity is clearly different). May we be bold and call men from darkness to light!

interesting–a papist on dance and music

It’s my day for finding interesting videos. Check out this African Cardinal on ‘liturgical dance’ and secular music:

If he can ‘get it’, why are his points so lost on so many???

HT: ‘danofsteel’, a commenter at Remonstrans

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items of interest

Some very interesting articles over the last few days, impossible to really absorb them all, but thought I’d pass them on for the interest of others:

* An amazing editorial over at CT regarding the Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy – they don’t get everything right, but make this amazing admission:

The lesson is that our attempts to find and exploit a point of cultural contact inevitably end in bankruptcy.

This does not deny the need to talk about the gospel in language and thought forms that a culture understands. In fact, we cannot avoid doing this—we are culturally and linguistically bound, ultimately unable to get out of our own skin and see the world in any other way. But we must repress every fearful thought that suggests that making the gospel relevant and meaningful rests on our shoulders.

* On the subject of music, several articles out about a new study published at McGill University (Montreal) – when a musical piece builds tension, then resolves it, the brain releases dopamine, the ‘pleasure juice’ that is also stimulated by things like food, drugs, and sex.

Some quotes from the Gazette article:

…the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine is released when people listen to their favourite music, be it rock, jazz or classical.

"Because it [music] gives us pleasure, we can use it to our advantage to modulate our state of mind."

The music that generated dopamine release depended on the listeners’ tastes and preferences.

"All types of music activated the same part of the brain," Zatorre says. "It doesn’t matter if it’s punk, classical, tango or even bagpipes."

Very interesting stuff. I sent the links to Scott Aniol. I wonder what he’ll make of all that.

* Don’t miss the audio files and most of the notes for the Preserving the Truth Conference. I’m reading Mike Riley right now. Very interesting.

* And last, for Bibleworks users, a recent announcement tells us of a partnership between WORDsearch and BW. You can now buy some pretty interesting titles to add on to BW. This could be a welcome gift for someone. (No idea who that could be…)

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does your philosophy of education include rules?

An astonishing discussion is happening here, here, and here concerning Christian schools and rules. Dave Doran comments on it here and offers a two part article on legalism as a partial response. The article is well worth reading (follow the links at Dave’s site), although I don’t entirely accept his conclusions about Pharisaism at the end of the article. The bulk of the argument against the verbal hand grenade, ‘legalism’, is excellent.

The author of the SI articles sums up his thesis this way:

While there are doubtless many fine Christian schools which do not operate in a legalistic fashion, I believe the majority of Christian schools operate with these three fallacious legalistic premises prominent in their thinking.

  1. Man-made rules that prevent violations of God’s rules have inherent spiritual value (which I will address here in Part 1).
  2. Rules promote godliness, in that behavior change leads to heart change.
  3. Enforcement of righteousness is valid and valuable as a first step to sanctification.

This thesis can be summed up like this: The majority of Christian schools use rules illegitimately as a means for achieving the spiritual goal of sanctification.

Is this true? Is sanctification the rationale behind the ‘code of conduct’ in any school? Should it be?

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a Mohler interview worth reading

Hugh Hewitt is a talk-show host who I can’t get on my radio anymore. His show used to be available by a distant and scratchy signal from Seattle, but the station changed formats on him and he is no longer carried in the Seattle market (as far as I know). I keep up with his thinking by regular visits to his blog.

The other day, he interviewed Al Mohler on the subject of the changing views of young evangelical types. I think the whole transcript is worth reading, but a few highlights follow:

HH: As you talk with two distinct cohorts, the leadership elites in the Evangelical, with whom you are in daily contact, and your students, what are the reactions in those two groups to the events of November?

AM: Well, I’ll tell you, the older Evangelical leadership is in danger right now of looking really old, and old not just in chronological terms, but more or less, kind of acting as if the game hasn’t changed, as if we’re not looking at a brand new cultural challenge, and a new political reality. And so I would say that the younger Evangelicals that I look at every single day, and they are so deeply committed, so convictional, they’re basically wondering if a lot of the older Evangelical leaders are really looking to the future, or are really just kind of living in the 80s while the 80s are long gone. So I think there’s a crucial credibility issue there.

Hmmm… sound familiar?

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state of the Canadian church

canadianchristianity.com is publishing a series of articles describing the state of the Canadian church. This must be an annual thing, because they published a series of seven articles last year. Today’s article is called "Protestant realignment". I thought I’d highlight a few paragraphs that struck me.

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persecution or good governance?

In Canada today, the biggest news story of the day is the arrest of two Mormons for polygamy. These men are the heads of rival factions among a Mormon sect in Bountiful, BC. There have been numerous stories about these men, their wives, their children, their feud, and on and on over the last few years. With the arrest of two of the principles yesterday, our news media has exploded with stories and opinion articles concerning the matter.

Google.ca news says there are 599 related articles when I clicked on this link, but once you arrive at the link, it says 89 related articles. I am not quite sure how that works, but the story is undeniably a big story here in Canada and is surely of interest around the world, especially in places where there are many Mormons.

One of the men arrested yesterday was on TV today claiming religious persecution. Now… is this religious persecution, or is this a matter of good governance?

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a few snippets

A couple of recent articles of interest to me… on science and a startling admission, on culture, politics, Steynism, and a parallel in church circles, and on an interview with an alleged Anglican ‘conservative’.

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from the dept. of you thought you’ve heard everything…

Now, via, the Christian Post, comes this:

The Italian city of Naples has for centuries made big profits through the sale of nativity scene figurines. It is home to some of the finest displays of the nativity scene in the world.

And each year, craftsmen in Naples come up with figurines of some of today’s best known public figures, which are often added to traditional displays.

This year, most likely to be standing alongside Mary and Joseph, or perhaps the three wise men, will be another heralded couple – the Obamas.

It’s a sad sad crazy world out there…

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interesting

I am working on a major series of posts, but thought I’d give you a link to an article I found today.

The article comes from the Associated Baptist Press. This is the more left wing news service connected to Southern Baptist types, at least as I understand it.

The article points to a generational change where the younger set is at odds with the values of the older set.

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