Combing the Net – Trying Something New

With seminary classes beginning in two weeks, and a new 32-week worldview & philosophy class that I’ll be teaching starting up around the same time, I’m having to scale back my time commitment on some other things. One of those things is the blog.

As a result, the “Combing the Net” posts are going to go on another hiatus, BUT…. I’m still going to share links. Instead of compiling them on a daily blog post, I’ll now share them on the Honey & Locusts Twitter account and Facebook page. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow and “like” them, respectively, and you won’t miss a thing!

Thanks to the Hootlet App for Google Chrome, I’m now able to post links on Twitter and Facebook at the touch of a single button, which is going to be a much more efficient use of my time. Be sure to let me know what you think of the change! See you on social media…

Combing the Net – 7/25/2012

The Nicest Cease-and-Desist Letter Ever Written — Even the lawyers at Jack Daniels Distillery exude Southern gentility!

The Desk Jockey Workout: 8 Ways to Stay in Shape at the Office — Some of these tips are things I should probably incorporate into my day a little more than I do…

Is Gun Control a Pro-Life Issue? — In the wake of last week’s shooting in Colorado, the gun control debate has flared up, as vitriolic as ever. Russell Moore’s contribution to this discussion is excellent, interacting with Christians who advocate increased gun control on the grounds that a consistently pro-life stance requires one to oppose gun ownership.

The gun control debate isn’t between people who support the right to shoot innocent people and those who don’t. It’s instead a debate about what’s prudent, and what’s not, in solving the common goal of ending criminal violent behavior. That’s why orange-vested NRA members and vegan gun-control advocates can co-exist, as the Body of Christ, in the same church, without excommunicating one another.

A Smiling Providence in Aurora, Colorado — There haven’t been many good stories coming out of Aurora, but this one is definitely great! Read the story of a 22-year old who miraculously took a shot gun bullet to the head and survived with virtually no damage due to a previously undiscovered birth “defect” which created a channel of fluid in her brain through which the bullet passed. Amazing!

Four Great Motives for Writing — George Orwell on why writers write. I certainly am influenced by all four of these motives in my own writing.

This is an interesting perspective on “the path of history”:

Combing the Net – 7/24/2012

Mounting Cars on Rocks — This new art form (called “tahjir”) seems pretty bizarre to me, but is drawing crowds in Saudi Arabia! (HT: 22Words)

The Dickensian Aspects of The Dark Knight Rises — I haven’t seen the movie yet, but this makes me want to more than anything else has. This article reveals the ways in which Christopher and Jonathan Nolan were influenced by A Tale of Two Cities as they wrote and directed the latest Batman movie.

Parents, Why Are You Pushing Your Kids? — This is a great article about the importance of play for our kids. While I do think it is important for parents to help their children identify and foster their gifts, many parents go too far. I see this at the School of Performing Arts with kids who are over-involved; they become mediocre at many things and never learn to be excellent at anything. We need a better definition of “success”.

Why Should a Pastor Preach Through Whole Books of the Bible? — While expository preaching isn’t the only way for a pastor to faithfully preach the Word (see next article), I firmly believe that it is the best way, and it is certainly my personal preference. I’m very thankful that our new pastor preaches this way. His first sermon series at Stevens Street will be on the book of Jonah, and it begins this Sunday!

3 Faithful Ways to Preach Jesus — Given what I just said, I also believe (as does the author of the previous article) that there is an appropriate place for occasional textual and topical sermons. Here Mark Driscoll weighs the advantages of each type of preaching.

Should Baptism Be Spontaneous? — While there is precedent in Scripture for folks being baptized immediately upon conversion, that practice can be problematic when viewed as normative for all circumstances. In this video, three Baptist pastors (Mark Dever, Matt Chandler, and Darrin Patrick) discuss the question of when to baptize converts, as well as the issue of false converts:

Combing the Net – 7/23/2012

Watching Pornography in Public — With the widespread availability of wi-fi in public places and more digital devices with Internet access has come a disturbing trend of people viewing pornographic material in libraries, cafes, gyms, airplanes, etc. You can also check out this “60 Second Summary” of the article, which includes some brief commentary from a Christian perspective:

Chick-Fil-A and the Irony of the Tolerance Police — The mayor of Boston has threatened a ban on Chick-Fil-A restaurants as part of the dust-up over CEO Dan Cathy’s recent personal remarks about traditional marriage.

Apparently, Christian business owners are no longer allowed to express religious opinions in Boston if they run crosswise with the Mayor’s views on marriage. If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, I don’t know what will. Again, the irony appears to be lost on the good mayor, who also fails to recognize that nothing Dan Cathy says indicates that homosexual persons will in any way be discriminated against at Chick-fil-a.

The Future of Print — I enjoyed this short documentary film about the value and the future of physical books.

Don’t Let Pre-Teens Mentally “Check Out” in Your Ministry — For the last couple years I have directed the 4-6 grade choir at our church, and have probably learned more from the kids than they’ve learned from me. I never cease to be amazed at that age group’s ability to “wrestle with the tough stuff”, as this article puts it. We don’t give them nearly enough credit!

The Shoes That Made Michael Jackson’s Anti-Gravity Lean Possible — This was a pretty ingenious idea, and just added to Michael Jackson’s legend. You can see the famous “lean” at about 8:10 into this epic (yes, the word is overused, but how else to describe this?) music video, though my favorite part is the kid who breaks down MJ’s moves about thirty seconds later:

Combing the Net – 7/21/2012

The Dark Night in Denver: Groping for Answers — Al Mohler on the reality of human evil, and how to begin to make sense of yesterday’s shooting in Colorado.

Was the Batman Shooting Imitating a 1986 Comic? — This is a search for a different sort of answer. Not the most important question to be asking, but still curious.

Aspiring Sportscaster Among the Casualties — In what might be one of the saddest stories from Colorado, here is the story of a young journalist who was one of the 12 people killed in the movie theater shooting. The last entry in her blog was the account of her escape from a shooting at a shopping mall in Toronto last month. What are the chances?

Why Calvinism Should Not Divide the SBC — Paige Patterson and Al Mohler on cooperation among Southern Baptists with different understandings of the doctrine of election.

Ramadan FAQ’s — The Islamic holy month has just begun. Here are some of the main points for understanding what Ramadan is all about.

Nashville Symphony Chorus Auditions — I really wish I could sing in this chorus, if only just to be part of the “Symphony of a Thousand!” If anyone is interested in singing some really challenging literature with a great ensemble, you might want to look into this. Here’s a clip of the finale of Mahler’s 8th Symphony, which the NSO will be performing in September:

Combing the Net – 7/19/2012

Why Did Wheaton College Sue the Obama Administration? — A very good interview with college president Philip Ryken about the school’s lawsuit against the Health & Human Services contraception mandate. This will be something to watch closely.

A Man Is Punctual: The Reasons You’re Late and How to Always Be on Time — This is the sequel to an article I linked to a couple days ago. As someone who has grown increasingly prone to lateness over the last couple years (especially about getting home from work), this was helpful to read. I think the first five tendencies he lists describe me pretty well… but hopefully not for long! I’m a work in progress.

Fight for the Time to Read! — This post is addressed to pastors, but it really applies to everyone. Reading is critically important! And doubly so for “people of the Book”.

Why Creativity Is Important for Ministry, and How to Do It — Part of being made in the image of God means that, like our Creator, people are creative. That said, creativity is something which much be cultivated. This article gives some good suggestions for becoming more creative, and thus, more Christ-like.

Look for more about creativity on the blog later today, but for now, here’s a pretty creative new video from The Piano Guys:

This, of course, brings back memories of this viral video, mentioned a few days ago by blog reader Enoch in a comment on another post:

Combing the Net – 7/18/2012

 40 Things Girls Should Know About Guys — The results of a survey given to a bunch of teenage boys by David Murray at a Youth Camp. Some very introspective things here, with quite a bit of cheek mixed in!

50 Things Guys Should Know About Girls — This is the reverse version that the girls made for the guys. Obviously, girls are at least 25% more complicated than boys.

Why Poor Tipping Compromises the Gospel — I became keenly aware of the importance of tipping when I was working as a waiter at Outback during college. I also noticed that Christians were both the best and worst tippers; understanding what Raymond Johnson writes in the article makes all the difference.

When a Christian determines the tip percentage of the bill based on quality of service or uniqueness of the dining experience, he or she contradicts grace and flirts dangerously with greed. It is flirting with greed because it forgets, at least momentarily, that underserved grace is shown to us every day.

Evangelical Tracts and Real Art — Part an album review of Gungor’s “Ghosts Upon the Earth” and part commentary on the state of cultural cultivation within evangelicalism, this article by Chris Krycho is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. I heartily affirm his thoughts on how important it is for Christians to create good art, and to worship vocationally.

That Güngör’s music is not an evangelistic tract, not readily turned into yet one more worship anthem, is in fact one measure of its real artistic quality. That alone does not qualify it to be good art, but it is a prerequisite. Until we grasp that, we will be left making gospel tracts into movies and songs and novels, and wondering why our art is so terrible.

Now: evangelicals have one other terrible tendency. We criticize far more than we do the hard work of solving problems. The solution to this problem is simple and hard: go make some good art. The kind that is nuanced, interesting, saturated with biblical truth and with its eyes wide open to all the beauty and all the horror of the world as it is; that doesn’t feel the need to teach a lesson or explicate a message; that simply revels in and shakes at the world God has made for us.

Here’s the first track from the Gungor album, which I bought yesterday (after reading this article) and REALLY enjoyed!