Malware May Knock You Off the Internet Monday — The FBI estimates that tens of thousands of Americans will lose Internet service on Monday due to a malicious computer infection. And unlike many similar warnings that appear on Facebook all the time, this one’s legitimate… it’s Snopes verified! Hopefully you haven’t been affected (NEVER download “free” programs off the Internet!), but you can check to be sure by clicking over to this website set up by the FBI. If it comes up green, you’re good to go.
The Awfulness of Classical Music Explained — I can’t tell you how much I love this article! The Managing Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic says that classical music concerts are too boring… and he’s right! With all the “‘clap here, not there’ cloak-and-dagger protocols to abide by” is it any wonder that orchestras have a difficult time attracting new audiences? He argues compellingly that the problem isn’t the music itself; people listen to orchestra music today more than ever… they just don’t enjoy the theater experience. Besides… music is intended to provoke a response in the listener. Why stifle that response?
I don’t think classical music was intended to be listened to in this way. And I don’t think it honors the art form for us to maintain such a cadaverous body of rules… One step therefore we might take to make classical music less boring again is simply for audiences to quit being so blasted reverential.
He Never Said That — One of my biggest pet peeves is the use of “apocryphal” quotes, which are sayings commonly attributed to someone who never actually said them. One of the most famous are variations on “Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words“, usually attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. This article looks at a fake C.S. Lewis quotation: “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” You might also like to click over to this Mere Orthodoxy article which goes in to more detail.
Every year on July 4, the Internet is filled with patriotic/nationalistic posts. I made a point not to read any of them yesterday (one of the reasons I skipped making a “Combing the Net” post), but did want to highlight a few that stood out as being exceptional:
The Idea of America — Kevin DeYoung on why the ideas upon which America was founded are worth celebrating:
I understand the dangers of an unthinking “God and country” mentality, let alone a gospel-less civil religion. But I also think love of country–like love of family or love of work–is a proximate good. Patriotism is not beneath the Christian, even for citizens of a superpower.
Should Churches Display the American Flag in Their Sanctuaries? — Three views on a sometimes touchy subject. While I have strong sympathy for Douglas Wilson’s position (“No”), I probably resonate more with Russell Moore’s (“Fly It Responsibly”):
Removing a flag doesn’t remove the tendency to idolatry or triumphalism; it just leaves such things unaddressed and untroubled. If a congregation already has a flag in the sanctuary, the first step might be for the pastor to use it as an object lesson in a right-ordered patriotism.
The flag can prompt the church to pray for and honor leaders. The flag can prompt us to remember that national identity is important but transitory. There will come a day when Old Glory yields to an older glory, when the new republic succumbs to a new creation. Until then, let’s reorder all our affections, including our flag-waving. But let’s do so maintaining the paradoxical tension of “resident aliens.” There is no need to play “Rapture the Flag.”
Patriotism is a good thing. It’s the natural emotional connection we have with place. We’re wired to ache for this notion of “home.” It’s what the Israelites longed for in the Sinai. It’s what the Hobbits longed for (the Shire) during their Middle Earth adventures. It’s what constitutes part of C.S. Lewis’sSehnsucht: a nostalgic longing for the “Green Hills” of his Belfast childhood, “the low line of the Castlereagh Hills which we saw from the nursery windows.”
…Ultimately my fondness for “home” and all of its nostalgic resonances–Gettysburg, Old Faithful, college football tailgating, Norman Rockwell, Kansas City barbecue, cherry cobbler–should point me heavenward, stirring my heart but not satisfying it, stoking the fires of Sehnsucht just as the Irish green hills did for Lewis.
Did You Hear What Happened in San Diego Last Night? — Last, but not least, some fun (at others’ expense) is in order! Everyone complaining about a lack of fireworks due to the drought should get a good laugh out of this SNAFU from the San Diego fireworks show, which inadvertently set off ALL the fireworks at once, condensing an 18-minute show into a 15-second fireball: