Archive for June, 2012

Another Theory on Education

June 26, 2012

Why do people seem willing to keep paying more and more for college education, in the midst of at least an impression that its rigor has been reduced? Here’s a new theory. It has a feel of plausibility, at least. Worth thinking about, anyway.

On the Land

June 25, 2012

Here’s a post about a recent discussion about Israel and the land. For what it’s worth, here’s a partial response as I see things (and probably wrong in some ways I’ll be embarrassed about someday!):

1) I am not a supercessionist, so I believe Israel will untimately receive the promised land; God keeps his promises. (Not trying to start a debate, just context for the rest of what I say…)

2) The current state of Israel is in unbelief, so there is a significant disconnect; the promise of return in the prophets (and in the NT, in my estimation as in Rom 11:26) is a return in belief.

3) The current state of Israel may or may not retain possession in the land – but regardless no theological issues are significantly at stake. Granted, the reappearance of the state of Israel was a real problem for many amillennialists in the past (because of things they had said about its impossibility), but later many premillennialists have trapped themselves by foolishly assuming 1948 kicked off the generation that wouldn’t pass away (we don’t talk about that one so much any more….). OK – mistakes were made, but I can believe if a redeemed nation of Israel in the land of promise regardless of the political outcome of the next 10 or 20 or 100 years.

4) One could support Israel (as a flawed, fallen and very human state) for many reasons without invoking theology. One could view them as a strategic ally, a fellow democracy (surely an imperfect one), the best of a mixed lot in the region, a stabilizing or balancing force, one necessary to shore up domestic political alliances, and so on. In fact, some mix of a few of those factors probably describes my stance. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t criticize some things (e.g., some treatment of Arab Christians – though it’s worse in most of the surrounding states as best as I can tell) nor that I don’t recognize complexities in the area.

In other words, I think I agree with Piper on the practical political stance (as best as I can tell) even while disagreeing with him on the theology (at least on some of the key issues). I’m not entirely sure where I disagree with Brickner on the political end (if I do). Politics makes for strange theological bedfellows I guess…

Some Meeting Advice

June 24, 2012

Tips on what to do during a boring meeting. So often useful.

Is the B.A. the work of the devil?

June 24, 2012

Charles Murray thinks it might be, and the story he relays is evidence that something is amiss. From the comments this adds further evidence:

In a seminar to learn about online instruction, we at our community college were informed that 46% of students who sign up for the online class we teach will not be able to complete the course. We should not be discouraged nor think that the college will consider us inept teachers if our class attrition rate is as high or is even higher than that. It is what is expected. Online courses are far less expensive than regular lecture courses. The college looks on them as a cash cow; the tuition is the same as for a lecture course, but the expenses are much less so that overall tuition can be somewhat lower. In addition, no one expects an online course to be as good as a regular course. I had to ask if this didn’t imply a degradation of the degree — putting it in college terms, was it fair to the students? The response was that students of online courses can make of them what they will and with effort beyond expectations could conceivably gain an equivalent education.

Faculty and Online Education

June 23, 2012

An interesting report on faculty attitudes.

On art

June 21, 2012

I think this captures at least part of what makes art truly Christian – and suggests something that more Christian artists should aspire to. Marilynne Robinson is the inspiration. And a great model. Try asking yourself if you could say something like this about much of so-called “Christian art.” Not that it is evil or should be avoided at all costs – but there is a perhaps a higher ideal.

It’s as if Robinson’s work, on its own, is an apologetic. A proof for a world that is rich, transcendent, mysterious, welcoming and healing. A world that feels like the Kingdom.

Advice on the Ph.D.

June 21, 2012

Pete Enns provides some generally useful advice for students contemplating a Ph.D. in biblical studies. I wish it weren’t so accurate, but we need to live in a reality based world.


June 20, 2012

An interesting book review of Twilight of the Elites. You don’t have to agree with the thesis or with the proposed solutions (book or review) to benefit from thinking about this problem.

Rising College Costs

June 19, 2012

Here’s Richard Vedder’s list of 12 reasons why college costs are rising.

The Bible as Story

June 19, 2012

Here’s an interesting discussion of the Bible as Story. I think the author misses the way many of us think about Systematic Theology; I think systematic theology can incorporate and interact with the kind of perspective he describes. I think understanding the story helps us do systematic better, so I still appreciate the focus.