Weekly Roundup (Shutdown Edition)

If the cover image worried you for a moment, fear not, faithful readers.  The Evangelical Outpost did not shut down this week.  We’re an essential service!

Politico takes us on a photo tour of the previous 17 federal government shutdowns.  (What might be most surprising to many people, given the current level of rhetoric in the media, is just how many times the government shut down during the Reagan administration with a Democrat-controlled House).

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Matt Welch writes at CNN that, while the shutdown is bad politics (especially for Republicans), it’s ultimately nothing to worry about.

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In the midst of all the budget battles raging these days, with frequent calls from Republicans to lower taxes and cut entitlement spending, Andrew Quinn argues that it’s time for conservatives to make explicit what is already implicit in their economic goals: championing the poor.

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Not only is the world still spinning during the federal government shutdown, but worlds beyond our solar system are too.  Here’s the first cloud map of one such exoplanet.

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Warning: This article is graphic and not for those with sensitive consciences, but it is a must read (especially for those with children):  Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today.

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From r/atheism to the Richard Dawkins Foundation’s Facebook page, online atheists love their memes, especially the ones that are “devastating” to religon as well as being humorous.  Here are few such Devastating Arguments Against Christianity (Courtesy of the Internet).  As it turns out, the arguments are indeed devastating…just not to religion.

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Stanford Team Sheds Light on the Medieval Foundations of Modern Science.

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Desiring God’s 2013 National Conference was all about C. S. Lewis, with some fascinating topics and a stellar speaker lineup (including Phil Ryken and Kevin Vanhoozer).  The free video and audio is availabe here.

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When creativity and love meets technology, magic happens:  Creative Dad Takes Crazy Photos Of Daughters.

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Essayist and programmer Paul Graham has written a brief and helpful article on How to Disagree.  For the visually inclined, here is a an image based on his essay ranking the 7 types of disagreement.

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33 Of The Most Hilariously Terrible First Sentences In Literature History:

Betty had eyes that said come here, lips that said kiss me, arms and torso that said hold me all night long, but the rest of her body said, “Fillet me, cover me in cornmeal, and fry me in peanut oil”; romance wasn’t easy for a mermaid.

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Part two of the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is going to be a massive hit at the box office, despite the underwhelming first installment.  How do I know?  Two words:  The ‘Batch (just listen to the final moments of the new trailer):

Weekly Roundup

UPDATE:  “Where’s the outrage?”  Christians are being singled out and massacred from Pakistan to Syria to the Nairobi shopping mall. Kirsten Powers on the deafening silence from U.S. pews and pulpits:  A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent

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Far from a ‘ridiculous pursuit’, philosophy underpins reading, writing and arithmatic. It should be taught as a basic skill, says Emma Worley:  The first R: why we need to teach philosophy in the classroom. 

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There are now more administrators in the CSU system than there are full-time faculty.  A must read from Victor Davis Hanson:  The Decline of College

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There can be no doubt (according to Telegraph writer and atheist Matthew Norman), after his latest outburst, that the arch-atheist (Richard Dawkins) is doing the Lord’s work:  Come In, Agent Dawkins, Your Job Is Done.

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Every Sci-Fi Starship Ever*, In One Mindblowing Comparison Chart.

Every Sci-Fi Starship Ever, In One Mindblowing Comparison Chart 

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An open letter from a game store owner to parents:  I Sold Too Many Copies of GTA V To Parents Who Didn’t Give a Damn.

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Peter Enns provides an interesting perspective that most evangelicals will disagree with, but should take seriously:  Rob Bell, Oprah, and N. T. Wright. Yeah, you heard me.

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What is the most screwed up thing about your state?  Check this chart

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If You’ve Ever Wondered What Happens To Kids After They’re Rescued From Sex Trafficking, Watch This.

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This week Senator Ted Cruz gave a 21 hour, 19 minute speech on the Senate floor, in which he layed out the case against the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare).  According to Politico, regardless of the immediate outcome of the Senate bill, after talking the talk, Ted Cruz wins

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Biola University recently launched the Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts.  In honor of this acheivement, Biola’s President, Dr. Barry Corey, reflects on Art in the Now and the Not Yet.

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Pictures of space are usually stunning and beautiful.  Here are the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year for 2013

Weekly Roundup

UPDATE:  In case you missed it, Vladimir Putin recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he offers counsel to the United States.  Yesterday “President Obama” responded with his own op-ed for the Huffington Post

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Katelyn Beaty writes at Christianity Today about our Hunger for Outrage (specifically on the internet):

Outrage begins to eat us alive when it is not channeled into creative love. It does not produce the righteousness we rightly seek (James 1:20). And there is only so much love you can demonstrate in 140 characters on a glowing screen.

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Wednesday was the twelfth anniversary of 9/11.  Here are 9 Things You Should Know About the 9/11 Attack Aftermath.

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From National Journal:  Syria Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Barack Obama.

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Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal on Syria and Why America is Saying ‘No’:  “There is something going on here, a new distance between DC and America that the Syria debate has forced into focus.”

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Our fearless leader James Arnold has written an article for Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts on Giving Grace to “Crossover” Artists.

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John Mark Reynolds responds to a friend’s question about Vocation and Money.

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Digital Times argues that Part 2 of the Hobbit trilogy will be better than part 1 (but not by much).  The article is short, snarky and repetitive, so here’s the only paragraph you really need to read:

No, seriously. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is going to be the best part because hello, all the best stuff happens in it. “The Hobbit” Part Three-ie (out on December 17, 2014) is going to be the worst snooze cruise since Helm’s Deep. That’s because certain dragons are going to get whacked in the first of many hours and the rest is just going to be a big battle and then a long walk home.

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Speaking of The Hobbit, here is JRR Tolkien singing “Chip The Glasses And Crack The Plates”:

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One should always be careful about giving too much weight to “scientific journalism.”  Still, these developments are worth noting:  Global warming? No, actually we’re cooling, claim scientists.

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Love it or hate it, the very colorful (and very plastic) new iPhone 5c is probably here to stay:  Forget “Cheap”, The iPhone 5c Is Clearly The iPhone Jony Ive Wanted For iOS 7.

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Book nerds, time to geek out!  “Harry Potter” Gets Seven New Illustrated Covers.

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From The Atlantic:  Why Sequels Will Never Die: Hollywood’s Summer of ‘Flops’ Was Actually Its Best Year Ever.

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Mali, Syria, Obamacare, Detroit;  2013 has seen many debacles…all of which Mitt Romney warned us about during his 2012 presidential campaign.  This recently prompted Buzzfeed to ask:  Was Mitt Romney Right About Everything?  (The truth, of course, is that this is not about Romney.  He was not a visionary or a genius.  He was just saying what conservatives have been saying since long before 2012).

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If World War One Was a Bar Fight…

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Help Kickstart World War III!  Why?  Because Obama:

Weekly Roundup

A good friend of the EO and Biola graduate Renee Bolinger was recently featured on The Huffington Post’s website for her fantastic series of paintings that depict famous philosophers in the style of a famous artist (let’s hope all the fame and riches don’t go to her head):  10 Unexpected Philosopher Portraits In The Styles Of Famous Artists.

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If you’re having trouble following all the debate surrounding a possible US military strike against the Assad regime in Syria, the always dependable wordsmith Doug Wilson has described the whole situation in a single sentence.

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College Crunch recently put together a list of 20 brilliant college professors.  Among the ranks are distinguished, award-winning, internationally recognized scientists, lawyers, writers and philosophers.  The one common factor?  They are all Christians.

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From Christianity Today:  “Many forces can prevent outsiders from seeing what God is doing in New York. The city’s booming media industry, from television to film, to fashion and music, has reinforced for many non–New Yorkers an image of sophistication on one hand or urban grit on the other. But rarely does pop culture capture the religious ferment going on underneath.”  Continue reading Christ in the Capitol of the World.

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In honor of Labor Day:  Disagreeing with Bill Watterson, illustrated in the style of Bill Watterson.

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 Also from Christianity Today:  Why Intelligent People Are Less Likely to Be Religious.

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If you were the CEO of Nintendo, how would you respond to the rapidly shifting landscape of gaming?  The Death Of Nintendo Has Been Greatly Under-Exaggerated.

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If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, sue it. Here’s a story from WSJ about an entrepreneurship-killing new precedent being established by big government bureaucrats.  The bigger the government, the smaller the people.

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 Dr. John Mark Reynolds On Your Little Pony.

“I am told that there may be as many as twelve million adult males who watch the animated children’s show “My Little Pony.”

Really?”

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Kimberly Hall, director of a women’s ministry at a PCA church in Texas, recently posted a blog entitled FYI (if you’re a teenage girl), in which she calls on young women who post provocative pictures of themselves on Facebook and other social networking sites to consider the impact they are having on friends and family (especially boys).  Her post has elicited a lot of reaction, much of it negative.    A few noteworthy responses can be found here, here, and here.

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The Map That Lincoln Used to See the Reach of Slavery.

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What If I Told You that “Flat Earth” Was A Myth of Secularism? 

“It’s taught in school textbooks, it’s a favorite citation of New Atheism, and it’s been referenced by no less than the President himself — Medieval Europe believed the Earth was Flat.  And so it’s fact!  –  Except that they believed no such thing.”

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This Guinness commercial might just melt your heart:

Weekly Roundup

Note from the editor:  Evangelical Outpost has nothing to say or share about Miley Cyrus or “twerking.”  That is all.

 

From First Things:  Buzzfeed as a Cultural Battleground.

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A startling (to some) new development in the Syria affair: U.K. Parliament Votes Against Syria Resolution as U.S. Ponders Going Solo.

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Gay marriage activists have long mocked the silly, reactionary notion of a “slippery slope” from their position towards an acceptance of other formerly “taboo” relationships.  They have assured opponents that there is absolutely no connection between acceptance of gay marriage and, for example, acceptance of polyamory.

In a totally unrelated story, BBC asks (non-judgmentally, of course): How does a polyamorous relationship between four people work?

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Wise words from Pastor Kevin DeYoung:  The Preacher at His Best.

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Everyone In The TV Industry Is Passing Around This Speech By Kevin Spacey:  “It’s all content. It’s just story”

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Matt Walsh has some advice for young people:  Kids, go to college or you’ll die alone in misery.  #BlatantSarcasm

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In light of all the recent hullabaloo over “Millennials” leaving the church, here’s an interesting (and overlooked) question:  Why Aren’t Black Millennials Leaving the Church?

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Bonhoeffer saw a fierce battle in his time between Christianity & “Germanism”.  Are we approaching a similar point in America?: America’s Good Servant, But God’s First?

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A friendly rejoinder to Thabiti Anyabwile’s recent article at The Gospel Coalition from Ron Belgau at First Things:  The Problem with the “Gag Reflex.”

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Behold, the greatest Kitchen appliance of all time:

han fridge

 

 

Weekly Roundup

From Kirsten Powers at The Daily Beast: The Muslim Brotherhood’s War on Coptic Christians.

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And from First Things: The Persecution of Egypt’s Christians.

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Doug Wilson has been engaged in some friendly sparring with Carl Trueman over the issues of “Transformationalism” and “Christian Worldview.”  Here’s the latest entry

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And here’s Anthony Bradley’s take:  Much Ado About a ‘Transformationalist’ Nothing.

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Matthew Barrett at The Gospel Coalition suggests that there may be unintended negative consequences when Pastors ditch their physical, paper Bibles in favor of iPads in the pulpit:  Dear Pastor, Bring Your Bible to Church

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Think the above article is a bit of stretch?  Here’s a friendly parody:  Dear Presbyter, Bring Your Scroll to Church.

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From Time Magazine: School Has Become Too Hostile to Boys.

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Are you turned off by the insufferable, condescending tone and aggressively hostile attitude of Richard Dawkins and his “new atheist” followers?  This atheist agrees with you:   How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet.

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From Salon: What if the President Lied to Us?

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As the wise Queen Amidala once put it, let’s bring sanity and compassion back to the Senate: Mark Steyn for Senate.

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Do you support Conservative economics but sympathize with Liberal social values?  That probably makes you a “Libertarian populist.”  Ross Douthat opines on Libertarian Populism and Its Critics.

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From Christianity Today: Why We Call God Father.

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U2’s Bono has come out in support of Capitalism as the best means for helping the poor, rather than direct aid:  Pro Bono Capitalism.

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Warner Brothers announced this week that they are determined to turn their new Superman/Batman film into a disaster of Green Lantern proportions, ensuring Marvel’s continued box office domination over DC.

…Well, ok, they didn’t put it quite like that.  Here’s what they actually said: Ben Affleck is the New Batman.

UPDATE:  I’m not happy about Ben Affleck being cast as Batman, but this is just ridiculous:  Petition Filed On White House Website to Recast Batman.

 

Weekly Roundup

Apparently, pornography is the new normal. Iceland brought the idea to our attention earlier this year, but now the UK is forcing us all to ask questions about liberty, personal freedom, and harmful dispositions of the soul.

Fred Sanders argues at Christianity Today that anyone who suggests that the Trinity has a lot to do with gender probably doesn’t understand either too well. Actually, he’s a lot more charitable than that, but no one is surprised.

Speaking of the Trinity, this video by The Lutheran Satire is brilliant.  You should watch it now.  Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Brett McCracken has a new book out, called Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty. We’ll be reviewing the book pretty soon, but in the mean time, you can read a sample chapter here; he’s even got a way for you to get his first book for free.

Poetry can be beautiful, but it can also be scathing. There’s even a poet you can hire on Craigslist to write poems about you. See one such experience here.

Matthew Tuininga thinks that America’s abortion laws are quickly becoming more liberal.  And that’s a good thing!

It’s a strange new world we live in when Russian leader Vladimir Putin is calling on the US and Europe to unite to end anti-Christian persecution.  More than that, he thinks the Russian church and state must unite to show moral leadership in the face of a secularizing West.  Is this good for Russia, or just a sad commentary on the state of the US and Europe?

At last, that fateful moment in world history has arrived.  Meet the Twelfth Doctor!

Weekly Roundup: Millennials And The Church

Rachel Held Evans has inspired some great insights on “Millennials” and their relationship to the church this week.

Her own thoughts, in her recent CNN piece on the subject, were mostly the same tired assertions of the liberal Christians of previous generations.  However, they prompted some excellent responses from around the web, the best of which came from Brett McCracken at the Washington Post.  Anthony Bradley makes an insightful observation at The Acton Institute, and Jake Meador takes the prize for best one-liner with his response at Mere Orthodoxy:

14 years ago John Shelby Spong said “Christianity must change or die.” Episcopalians have been doing both ever since.

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Jake Tapper on CNN’s The Lead has breaking news on the Benghazi scandal:  Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack.

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What is the greatest food in human history?  Find out here.

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Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?  (I bet you didn’t know!)

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What English Sounds Like to People Who Don’t Speak It:

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According to “Science!” I’m smarter than you because I stay up way too late writing blog posts.  Or something like that.

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The United States Marine Corps Officially Declares ‘Lack of Spiritual Faith’ as a Sign of Instability.

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Was Jesus a Pacifist? (Part 1)

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What Would Satan Think About Restricting Internet Porn?

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Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say.  This statement is absolutely true, and you might think that the pro-life movement would be excited to see such a headline.  Unfortunately, it represents a new level of unashamed, utterly damnable evil.  In some corners of Western Academia, Molech lives.

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Beautiful poem gives hopeful voice to post-abortive suffering and shame.

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The Disgusting Side of Space: What Happens to Dead Skin in Microgravity

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Batman and Superman discuss possible titles for their new movie (as well as how it will end):

Weekly Roundup

The Downfall of Detroit (and what it means for the rest of us).

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In the wake of Detroit’s downfall, Prager University presents a new 5-minute course,  “The Public Unions vs. The Public”:

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The biggest (and awesomest) news from this year’s Comic Con:  Zack Snyder announces that his sequel to Man of Steel will be the first Superman/Batman team-up film.  And there was much rejoicing.

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J.K. Rowling recently made headlines (again) after it was revealed that she was actually the author of the novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, originally published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.  Here’s a better story than J.K. Rowling’s.

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Book nerds, guard your wallets!  An illustrated guide to buying the classics.

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Apparently all Christians need to do to win back the culture for Christ is become hipsters:  A Hipster For King’s College.

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The future King George of England arrived this week.  For once, the entire world knows a baby is a baby.

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From the Washington Post:  Obama’s race speech offered few good solutions.

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How German sounds compared to other languages:

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“When I sat down in that chair at 3 p.m. I was an atheist and a Communist. When I got up at 11 p.m. I was not.”  From Mad Marxist to Compassionate Conservative.

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First Iceland and now the UK:  Prime Minister David Cameron Declares War on Online Porn.

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President Obama just gave a major speech at Knox College that was touted as a fresh start for the White House’s economic policies.  A centerpiece of the speech was a call to end economic inequality.  Here are 6 bad arguments about income inequality.

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America’s Pathetic Support of Muslim Oppression.

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The Lord of the Rings is a masterful work and already a cinema classic.  But some (philistines) have complained that the films were far too long.  Here are 8 Lines That Would Have Ended The Lord of the Rings Real Fast.

LOTR_funny

Weekly Roundup (Or: How Sherlock Survived His Deadly Fall)

A young writer has some advice for church leaders trying desperately to attract and retain young people: change carefully and wisely. What young people say they want in their 20s is not necessarily what they want 10 years later.

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Keeping up with the times: Pope Francis to Offer Plenary Indulgences via Twitter.

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Just because: This Is What It Would Look Like If You Dropped Manhattan Into the Grand Canyon.

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Behold, The Six Types of Atheists (or, how Social Scientists make obvious observations and try to pass it off as actual work).

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Matthew Tuininga asks, What if our Grandmothers were actually right?:

There is a story that plays itself out over and over in American culture. Progressive activists proclaim that a particular element of traditional wisdom about the family and parenting is the residue of old-fashioned religious convictions, with little relation to reality or to human flourishing. Invariably, social scientists lend their voices and expertise to the cause, insisting that there is no scientific evidence for the legitimacy of the older norms; surely, it is assumed, research will show that liberty and tolerance is the appropriate way forward. Eventually the activists and the academics find the support of the media and other cultural elites, who call for an end to the stigmatization of those who violate the old norms and mores.

As the decades pass however, a host of new problems arise, problems that society has never had to face. The abandonment of older assumptions about the family, it turns out, has a tremendous social cost after all. Research in the social sciences begins to suggest that even if the older ideals were rooted in religion and tradition, they make a whole lot of sense scientifically as well. We’re not sure why, but it turns out that our grandmothers really did have some wisdom.

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Doug Wilson offers some clear-headed advice for social conservatives frustrated by the tactics of the opposition and their allies in the Media Industrial Complex.

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In the wake of the Texas abortion bill and the nausiating attempts at a “Stand with Wendy” campaign,  Democrats for Life are asking us to Stand with Kirsten Powers instead.

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The perception among non-Calvinists is often that Reformed folk are arrogant, argumentative, and downright rude.  Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California points out that every individual is unique; there are rude Arminians and grumpy Baptists, just as there are kindly Calvinists.  Still, he admits, the perception is not without foundation, and so he attempts to offer some reasons why (some) Reformed people are such jerks.

Some, when they first discover “the doctrines of grace” (code for unconditional predestination and justification by grace alone, through faith alone) can actually become angry that they’ve been denied these truths for so long. It’s as if one grew up in England (pay attention Carl) and suddenly discovers that food can be pleasant, that just a few miles to the southeast there is a people of strange tongues and marvelous food beyond one’s wildest dreams! Gaining this knowledge can produce genuine frustration. Having tasted French food, our Englishman is beside himself. It’s all he can talk about. It’s all he wants to read about. It’s all he cooks. The first time his Mum brings out the usual Thursday night dinner, he rages at her, but she doesn’t know any better. She’s never been to France and wouldn’t know pain au chocolate if it hit her on the head.

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Speaking of raucous Reformed folk, many young evangelicals are breaking from their fundamentalist roots and embracing “Christian liberty” when it comes to alcoholic beverages.  I for one enjoy craft beer immensely, even dabbling in a bit of home brewing.  But is this liberty, fueled as it so often is by a reaction to legalism, becoming its own kind of legalism?  Brett McCracken at Mere Orthodoxy probes: Are you free to NOT drink?

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The New Theist himself (William Lane Craig) debates Sam Harris on the possibility of objective morality without God:

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Jon Negroni has discovered a grand secret hidden in plain sight, what he calls “The Pixar Theory”:  Every single Pixar film is directly connected to all the others, creating the biggest and most complex narrative in film history.  (Well…maybe).

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And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  Last year, in the final moments of series 2 of BBC’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular character plummeted off a rooftop to his death…only he somehow survived.  Fans have been baffled, to say the least.  Finally, Cumberbatch himself has decided to break the silence and explain how Sherlock survived.  Using stuffed animals.