Christmas Books

I received some really good books for Christmas from various people, and I am really excited about reading this year. I also bought Courtney a couple of good books.

Here is the list:

I receive a particular satisfaction and joy when I actually do the things I say I think are valuable. Reading is one of those things where I often miss this particular satisfaction. Nevertheless, with this new selection, you should be seeing a particular kind of smile on my face.

Resident Aliens is my first read, and I am already half way through it. I'll reading Parenting Without Perfection next for Courtney. I am not sure what is next.

If you read this and see me in person, ask me about how my books are going if you want to get into a long conversation.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections for Jan 3

It was bound to happen sometime. I didn't write a reflection for yesterday, but I did read.

Matt 3

I thought it was interesting that John says,"God could raise up children of Abraham from these stones." John did not know that he was speaking prophetically. God did raise up sons of Abraham from about as unlikely of a place, the Gentiles of the Roman Empire.

Gen 3

It is interesting that Eve is so fastidious with the serpent at first, and then sees the benefits of the fruit and ignores God's command. It made me think about how Eve must have doubted that God was actually good. I recently read a review of Twilight in which the reviewer made a lot of connections between the story and the writer's Mormon background. One point he made was that Mormons believe the fall was actually good because it enabled man to be redeemed.

It is tempting to say this as the text itself says, "and their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked." We use the expression of "eyes being opened as a positive expression which reflects that we now understand the true state of affairs. We know, however, that the fall was not good. Rebellion against God is never good. What would God have done with Adam and Eve had they not fallen. We don't know, but we know that his command is always for our good, and this one must have been for Eve.

Acts 1 and Holy Spirit

Reading Acts 1, I can't help but notice Luke's emphasis on the activity of Holy Spirit. I specifically noticed two things. First, he would give power to the disciples when he came. It makes me think of Paul's comment to the Thessalonians that the Gospel came to the in power and the Holy Spirit. It is hard not to ask the questions, "Exactly what kind of power is he talking about?" and "Is that kind of power present today?" and "Is that kind of power to be the norm for Christians today?" I am really interested in BIBLICAL answers to these questions. I know I kind of danced around these specific questions in our small group's study of the Holy Spirit. I do think that people err either on the side of ignoring these questions or focusing on these questions. I'd rather be neither.

My second observation is that in Acts 1:16 Peter claims that the Psalms are a record of what Holy Spirit speaks through the mouth of the writer. I had never noticed this specific attribution of scripture to the Holy Spirit's work.

M'Cheyne Readings

Here is the Bible reading plan that I am going to try to follow this year. Some in my small group are trying to follow it with me so that we can encourage one another both in our reading scripture and with the scripture we are reading.

http://www.edginet.org/mcheyne/

It has two "family" readings and two "secret" readings per day. The "family" readings to to be read with your family, and the "secret" readings are to be part of your personal devotions. I think they are probably set up to be one of each for the morning and evening.

Our family is going to read the New Testament family reading for the day at night together before the kids go to bed. The rest we are going to read as "secret" readings for now.

I am going to be writing entries with reflections as often as possible.

Rational?

Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn't be religious people.
- Doris Egan

This was a quote on my iGoogle page today. I thought it was ironic that Doris uses an informal fallacy to comment on the irrationality of religious people.

Statistically Correct Criminal

Legocon-2

I was looking at my son's lego criminal that came with a new police lego set and noticed something interesting. Look at that dark spot in his mouth. He has a gold tooth. Do you think that is racist? Is it just a statistically correct criminal?

I wish I had some deep reflection on this, but I just thought it was funny. Some (if there is anyone at all reading this) may recognize this as my FB profile picture.

Love and Choice

"If God did not give us free will, how can it really be love that God requires. Love can only take place in an environment of free choice. Since God does demand love, he must have given each person free will so that he can exercise his will and choose to love God."

Any Calvinist has heard this argument. Hopefully, he has been somewhat frustrated as to how to respond because essentially it is an emotional argument that largely ignores scripture. Predictably a Calvinist would happily lose the argument. He would rather stand his ground on scripture rather than descend to engage in such emotional blather.

However, as we as brothers and sisters are to care for the faithful in error, we should consider how to respond to such a claim on its own terms. These brothers and sisters are eager to maintain the integrity and authenticity of our relationship to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. While they may be appealing to emotion, which is fallen like every faculty of man (including reason) our experience of emotions is part of our being in the image of God.

Recently as I was pondering the nature of love, I hit on what I believe to be a large flaw in the above stated argument. Frankly, that it does not reflect the true nature of love. From my own experience, romantic love, which God patterned after his relationship to his people, is not a relationship that is most ideally characterized by choice. I would venture to say that if one interviewed most young couples in love or old couples about their best experiences of love with a spouse is more about being internally compelled toward another rather than a pure exercise of will.

Atheistic Justice

Can an atheist legitimately say, "He'll get what's coming to him?" Is there some law that guarantees some sort of justice? What makes him think that there would be anything to correlate to his own sense of need for such a thing as justice. Not only does this necessitate a cosmic law, but it necessitates a cosmic law giver.

I just don't understand an atheism that isn't nihilism. It just isn't intellectually honest.