New recommended blog for dads

As you’ll note in the list to the side, I read very few serious blogs. But I’ve recently added another: The Responsible Father. Jamsco is a father of 7 kids 11 and under, and writes for dads who want to execute well their God-given role as the head of their household. (I love the tag-line: “When Jesus visits your home, he’ll ask for you, dads.”)

There are lots of mom-blogs and not many dad-blogs. This one is great, and has made me want to write on that topic more often.

Good reading on Calvin

From Between Two Worlds:

Timothy George has the cover story in CT: John Calvin: The Comeback Kid. See also his two sidebar/mini-articles: The Reluctant Reformer and Calvin’s Biggest Mistake.

These are all great. In 20 minutes you can get a very good overview on Calvin’s life and thought.

Why calling “racism” in political debate is unhelpful.

Abraham at 22 Words had a post this weekend on the kerfuffle over the President’s speech to schoolchildren. (I agreed with it.) It only took 2 anti-Obama commenters for the first accusation of racism to come out.

This is now standard in public and private discourse. Criticize Obama or his policies and you will be labeled racist, Nazi, anti-American, etc– whether by a blog commenter or a member of Congress.

There are at least three reasons not to bring up the charge of racism when you’re in an argument. (I mean argument in the technical sense– when you’re presenting and defending your point of view.)

  1. It’s an attempt to end debate, rather than respond to the claims of your opponent. That suggests that you are unable to respond to the claims of your opponent.
  2. It’s seldom based on evidence, making it both an unforgivable and an unprovable offense.
  3. It suggests that you, the accuser, are more preoccupied with race than the accused.

Probably the best response to “You’re just saying that because you’re a racist” is “Well, OK, but you’re just saying that because you’re an idiot.”

Piper, the tornado, and the aftermath

Last week a tornado struck downtown Minneapolis. John Piper wrote an article about it on the Desiring God blog, with specific reference to a meeting the same day of the ELCA, a Lutheran denomination, in which they approved a document that spoke approvingly of homosexual relationships.

At that point, all hell broke loose. The post now has over 700 comments, which might have the DG staff regretting their recent decision to have a commenting feature in the first place. I saw several references to it on Facebook, often with disapproving comments. A guy on Twitter said “It’s official: John Piper is bat-shit crazy.”

What Piper did not say, and what seemingly most of the people who read it thought he said, was that the tornado was definitively God’s judgment on the Lutherans. What he did say is this: in Luke 13:4-5, Jesus is asked about a seemingly random catastrophe that killed 18 people, and his response is that all people should repent. This means, says Piper (and I think he’s right), that catastrophes in general are a reminder of God’s sovereignty, his coming judgment, and a call to repent and believe. He then applies that warning to the specific situation of the Lutherans.

I know it’s controversial, but it’s really only as controversial as the Bible. Seriously, the Bible casually talks about storms and other natural phenomena as being sent by God all the time. And the parallel with the Luke 13 passage is pretty much a 1:1. Seemingly random event –> application: people should repent.

I thought it was a good, pastoral article. Here’s something that happened in the world, here’s what the Bible says, here’s what we should do. He includes himself in the warning too: “The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin.”

The most you could say, I think, is that Piper should have had a paragraph that started “Here’s what I’m not saying.” Or that a blog post that’s going to be quickly skimmed is not a good format for making a closely-nuanced argument. But it’s not Piper’s fault if people skim him and get the wrong idea, and if we always qualify everything to make sure we’re not misunderstood, we’ll end up never really saying anything. (Link via Abraham Piper.)

It does seem mean, and insensitive, and pompous to our culture’s ears. But, and this is my big point, so does the Bible. I don’t think Piper went anywhere the Bible doesn’t.

Calvin at 500

My pastor is working on a PhD on Calvin. One time he heard about a Calvin conference going on just a couple of hours away, so he signed up. He was excited to hear about new developments in Calvin studies, probably learn some things he didn’t know that would help with his research. Instead, the big items of discussion were things like petitioning the government for a John Calvin postage stamp. He left early. He told us “I felt like I was at a Star Wars convention or something.”

That’s the wrong way to honor somebody like Calvin. The right way is to be thankful for how he served God, and to continue to learn from him. Calvin was one of the most brilliant minds in church history, uniquely used of God to strip away a lot of the unbiblical baggage the church had accumulated by the Middle Ages. Whether you’re a Presbyterian or a Methodist or a Pentecostal or whatever, it’s unlikely you would have heard the gospel, the real gospel, if it weren’t for Calvin.

Today is the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. I’m putting some links below to stuff I’ve done before, stuff people are posting today that I run across, and some places for general info on him. The point is not to say “Calvin is great,” but to say “Thank you, God, for servants like Calvin who help us understand your Word better.”

Earlier posts here on Calvin:

Posts from elsewhere:

Honduras From the Inside

As you may have read, there’s been some political unrest in Honduras. Actually, there’s been a peaceful, constitutional proceeding to remove a wannabe dictator. Our president, who hasn’t been able to bring himself to say or do much on the Iran front, was quick to take the side of said wannabe dictator (joining Chavez and Castro). So much for not meddling in other countries’ affairs.

At any rate, our friends Sean and Lindsey are missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras. They have a couple of blog posts with an insider’s take on the action this week– they even attended a peaceful demonstration and have pictures. Check it out.