Weekend Reading: July 23, 2016

Good morning – and welcome to the weekend reading!  It was an interesting week of news this week, with Republicans officially nominating Donald Trump as their standard bearer, and Hillary Clinton selecting Tim Kaine as her running mate.

As a sort of programing note, I don’t even try to cover all of the obvious items in this weekly wrap up. My goal is to cover what I was most interested in, and what I got around to reading. So if I missed something and you want to send it along for the greater audience to enjoy, please do so!

I’m going to reverse the order and start with the books I finished this week…

The Romanov’s, Gulliver’s Travels, Animal Farm, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, The Invisible Man. Reviews of each book can be found here.  I really enjoyed each one of these, except Gulliver and the Romanov’s, both of which I didn’t even bother finishing. The former because I was reading it to my kids and it was simply too boring to finish at the moment, and the latter because I was so disgusted by the Russian cesspool of “Great” leaders that I couldn’t hack it anymore. Americans have Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Grant, Eisenhower etc. British folks have Churchill and Victoria and Marlborough, but what do the Russians have? Peter the Great and Catherine the Great? I know they have Frederick, and others as well, but the former overshadow all the rest in this book, and they are the most disgusting creatures I’ve ever devoted time to reading about. Well – at least I learned something, right?!

This disgust with the Romanov book was contrasted neatly with my enjoyment of Animal Farm.  That was so funny, so well written and so pointed brutal in its critique of Communism, that I couldn’t help visualize Orwell’s bizarre final scene as the natural conclusion to the Romanov dynasty and the October Revolution – they all become pigs! Think about it!

Okay, on to articles…

Continuing with my theme of going completely out of order…here is a New York Times article titled ‘The Agency’ that I didn’t get to read but want to this weekend or in the week ahead (its a long one). It looks like the stuff of Bourne legend (next week the new movie comes out!) – not necessarily in topic, but in genre. Here’s the teaser:

From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia,
an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all
around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.

Thank you John Kerry and Barak Obama: AP Exclusive: Document shows less limits on Iran nuke work. There’s some rich irony that on the week Donald Trump is nominated (here’s the speech), its revealed that we’ve given Iran the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. These libs are the same one criticizing Trump for his (supposed) nuclear proclivities. Trump’s excerpt on this:

Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another. We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint.

This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us nothing – it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever made.

 

Now, concerning the nomination of Trump, I have had so many conversations about him and his amoral nature, his crazy rhetoric, and his dangerous tendencies. But I think its worth listening to, or reading his convention speech in order to get a more solidified idea of where he’s going policy-wise in the next few months. It was probably his most substantive speech to date – that’s not saying much, I know.

I actually found myself cracking up laughing a few times from his critique of Hillary Clinton. Sure, not exactly what we’d like to see from the leader of the free world, but I’ve already covered all that ground here before and you all know how I feel about the man. If you find the speech too long (because it is), then just enjoy this part (it was my favorite):

Let’s review the record. In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map.

Libya was cooperating. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was under control. After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the world. Libya is in ruins, and our Ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos.

Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

He concludes with this zinger: “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness.”

People ask me all the time why Americans would vote for this guy – this is one of the reasons. He’s absolutely savaging Hillary Clinton – on prime-time TV with all the liberal media forced to cover every minute and deal with every sentence. Even I enjoyed it immensely.

Earlier in the week Ted Cruz gave what some called a principled speech, others weren’t exactly rolling in the aisles with approbation, though. Here’s a story recapping. Before that, there was a big hubbub about Melania Trump’s speech being plagiarized. I’ve been really interested in the response from friends about this one. Because it seems like a lot of people steal quotes from other historical figures, there seems to be a ton of grace flowing into my text message app.  Maybe I’m not as well-researched on the matter, but it seemed pretty crazy to lift so much, but that is just me – apparently I’m in the minority!  Here’s the WaPo comparison, I’ll let you be the judge:

comparison

On to more fun items!  

Thanks to Marty G. for sending this little gem along: Move over, hovercraft: Bubba Watson has a jetpack for the Olympics.

Also, to keep you current on the Fox News situation, here’s the report from yesterday as written by the AP: RUPERT MURDOCH VOWS FOX NEWS WITHOUT AILES IS STILL FOX.  For those of you who missed it, Chairman of Fox News Roger Ailes has resigned in the wake of what could end up being a raft of sexual harassment claims.

Interestingly, Ailes is 76 years old and is temporarily being replaced by Richard Murdoch who is 85.  Quartz had a story this morning about how the average age of a Fox News viewer is 68!  You can come to your own conclusions on this, but it seems like they need to do some viewership studies and start going after slightly younger audiences – even if they’re just a little younger – in order to build for the future. Maybe the Ailes resignation will actually help them do that – it remains to be seen.

Speaking of Quartz, one story from them this morning is pretty interesting: Are we consuming too much? While living standards are increasing around the world, so is consumerism. Yet people’s incomes aren’t rising along with their habits – what is rising? Anxiety.  This isn’t at all surprising to me, but its an interesting thing to think about. Perhaps more than any other instruction that Jesus gave during his time on earth was “do not fret” or “don’t be anxious.” The reasoning was that God had everything taken care of because He knows our needs, that we were valuable to Him, and that our lives were not to be built upon sandy foundations of what we consume here on earth. Read Matthew 5-7 to learn more about how Jesus might respond to the Quartz story above.

VIDEO: This looks pretty cool: Lord of the Rings – the Art of Adaptation

My Most Fascinating Story of the Week came from the Wall Street Journal: The Fastest-Growing Format in Publishing: Audiobooks. Key excerpt:

Audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the book business today. Sales in the U.S. and Canada jumped 21% in 2015 from the previous year, according to the Audio Publishers Association. The format fits neatly in the sweet spot of changing technology and changing behavior. Carrying around a pocket-size entertainment center stuffed with games, news, music, videos and books has conditioned people to seek out constant entertainment, whether walking to a meeting or sitting in a doctor’s office. For more multitasking book-lovers, audiobooks are the answer.

The reason I found this fascinating is the same reason people get excited when they find out they aren’t the only ones who aren’t alone in some personal obsession. It’s the classic “I’m not a freak?! That’s wonderful news!”  For the last several years I have been steadily increasing in my voracity of consuming literature through this medium.

My method is to simultaneously read and listen at the same time – only with books I want to refer back to, or find are important in some other way (I want my kids to read them later etc.). This way I can listen while on the go, and then sit down and highlight, and make notes later on (and I do this regularly). This is how I’ve been conquering classics like The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Nicholas Nickleby, Pascal’s Penses, and Machester’s Churchill trilogy. Thousands upon thousands of pages – too many for mere mortals like me to conquer without the help of Audible, LibriVox, and my local library’s Overdrive App.

Reading is probably my favorite thing to do in life, and listening to great (and sometimes not so great) literature has been a huge blessing for me. I pass this along simply because if you’re struggling to get through the classics, want to stay current on the best literature, or maybe some required reading for a course you’re taking, then you need to check out some of the apps I mentioned above.

Okay, that’s it for today!  Another programing note – I have a stack of articles from friends and family that I’m not ignoring! ……I just haven’t finished my audiobook yet!  (:

Have a great weekend everyone!

PJ

 

Weekend Reading: July 16, 2016

Good morning and welcome to this edition of the Weekend Reading!  As you may have noticed, I’m not as consistent with this post as usual being as it summer and their are additional travel demands on the weekends for me. That being said, I’ve got some good articles, videos, and books for you. Here’s what I found most interesting…

But first, let me just say a few words in response to the many questions about the recent state of affairs. It seems like over the last few weeks/months there have been a virtual explosion of terror incidents, race riots, paid protests, police shootings, and more. This is the world we live in right now, and as someone who works every day in politics, I know there isn’t going to be a political solution – especially not by the two standard bearers for the major parties in this country (how can lawless people speak out against lawlessness?).  I am reminded (and comforted) that there is only one solution to the mess, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ – the gospel of peace. The whole world is at war with God, enemies of Him and how He wants us to live in this world. Our selfishness has led us to strive against Him and each other, and this is why Paul had this to say about the mission of the church on earth:

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21 ESV)

Notice that he says, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.” This is the result of a new perspective on life. No longer were there Romans, or Galatians, or Asians for Paul. No more Democrats, Socialists, Whites, Blacks, etc. The whole world was full of people made in God’s image who needed to be reconciled to God and to each other.

Paul saw the strife in the world, and said that Christians were God’s agents of reconciliation. There are many C4 organizations, many good things that other religions do to help feed people – Christians do this and have led in this way globally for two millennia. BUT, the driving issue, the main need of our day is still the same as it was in Paul’s. People need to be reconciled to their Creator, and to each other.  If you’re a Christian reading this, then you have a response to the crazy times we live in. God’s own son stepped down into the midst of terrorism – into the midst of enemy occupied Jerusalem.  He stepped down into the midst of violence and bigotry and racism, and his message wasn’t just “let’s all get along.” His message was “repent” – be reconciled to God, and live as members of a kingdom that doesn’t share borders with Gaza, Turkey, Iraq or the U.S.   This is a message that transcended the politics of the day, as it does yet again in our day and age. If you’re a Christian, you are “an ambassador for Christ” and its up to you to share it.

On to a few news items…

One of the interesting technological sensations of the past few weeks has been the Pokemon Go app/game that thousands (millions?) are playing. The game caught fire so quickly that it has spawned some creative pols looking to capitalize. The Wall Street Journal gives the short summary: 

The craze that is Pokémon Go—a game played through mobile-phone cameras in which you hunt and capture tiny monsters that appear near where you are playing—has swept the U.S.,Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe since it was released last week. The game is being rolled out nation by nation.

The game actually caused a stampede in Central Park.

Due to the game’s system of drawing players into real world locations to catch the various kinds of Pokémon, there have been occasions where a crowd has formed to obtain a rare part of the Pokédex. A video released Friday, which you can see above, shows trainers rushing into Central Park late Thursday night to catch the rare Eevee evolution, Vaporeon.

The game presents a lot of neat opportunities for this generation of gamers to get out into reality while completely ignoring the people around them and instead interacting with small iconic pixelated creatures. What can go wrong?

The other thing that you might have already seen was how Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made several derogatory comments about Donald Trump. The New York Times (!!!) had an extremely harsh slap down in response – and for the right reasons, I might add (h/t Mr. Clemenston).  Key graph…

There is no legal requirement that Supreme Court justices refrain from commenting on a presidential campaign. But Justice Ginsburg’s comments show why their tradition has been to keep silent.

It’s been bandied about a lot over the last few weeks, but I think that Americans were shocked at the result of James Comey’s press conference exonerating Hillary R. Clinton from any indictment.  I will give you the first (and most important) two graphs from the Wall Street Journal: 

For our money, the most revealing words in FBI Director James Comey’s statement Tuesday explaining his decision not to recommend prosecuting Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information were these: “This is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”

So there it is in the political raw: One standard exists for a Democratic candidate for President and another for the hoi polloi. We’re not sure if Mr. Comey, the erstwhile Eliot Ness, intended to be so obvious, but what a depressing moment this is for the American rule of law. No wonder so many voters think Washington is rigged for the powerful.

After this, John Piper responded by taking on several issues including this one.

Separately, and on an unrelated note, I enjoyed this post by R.C. Sproul called ‘What is the Will of God for my Life?’

Fascinating Stuff: The Grim Task Awaiting Theresa May: Preparing for Nuclear Armageddon

Speaking of world affairs, Turkey is under a military coup right now. As one NBC commentator put it, it strange to see a NATO nation going through a military coup! But Foreign Affairs.com is probably correct on this one: Erdogan Has Nobody to Blame for the Coup But Himself.

Also, this was an interesting Op-Ed from the New York Times: The Theology of Donald Trump.  Key Graph:

Whether or not he has read a word of Nietzsche (I’m guessing not), Mr. Trump embodies a Nietzschean morality rather than a Christian one. It is characterized by indifference to objective truth (there are no facts, only interpretations), the repudiation of Christian concern for the poor and the weak, and disdain for the powerless. It celebrates the “Übermensch,” or Superman, who rejects Christian morality in favor of his own. For Nietzsche, strength was intrinsically good and weakness was intrinsically bad. So, too, for Donald Trump.

On to books!

Tim Challies had this book review of ‘The Jesus Storybook Bible’ which I found really interesting. My kids have loved this book for years!

And because I often have people asking me what I’m reading these days, I’ve created a Goodreads page here (you might have to search for my name) so you can see not only what I’ve read this year, but what I thought of it.  There hasn’t been time to review every single book (even the good ones), but you can always ping me if you have particular questions.  I’ve thought about starting a page for my daughter who is close to out-reading me this year! (proud dad moment there).

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy the beautiful weather and each other – get out into your community, and try to avoid the masses of stampeding Pokemon Go’ers.

PJW

 

Weekend Reading: July 2, 2016

Welcome to a special holiday edition of the weekend reading. I’m meeting up with some gents this morning to celebrate our 2nd amendment rights, so I’ll have to keep this brief.  There definitely are some things to edify you with and inform you of this morning, and I’ll begin with this…California Bill Would Ultimately Erase Religious Schools.  The freedoms we fought to protect two centuries ago are being taken away little by little. The left has surrendered their intellectual credibility to a group of sexual deviants who will stop at nothing until Christianity (their most virulent opposition) is stomped out and America looks like ancient Rome (and we know how that turned out, don’t we).

One of the hallmarks of the early Christian church and how they interacted with the Roman Empire was their adopting of children who were left out in the streets to be “exposed” to the elements. I guess you could say this was an early form of abortion. Christians took these children in, rescuing them and raising them as their own children.  I bring that up because one of the big stories of the week was a Supreme Court Ruling overturning rules in Texas that would make abortion clinics have to meet certain hospital like standards. From the story:

By a 5-3 vote, the justices rejected the state’s arguments that its 2013 law and follow-up regulations were needed to protect women’s health. The rules required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery.

It is now safe to say that the feminist left and those populating the ranks of the sexual revolution, no longer truly care for a woman’s health. Their motto is “safe, rare and legal”, but they only truly desire “legal.”  With the vocal celebration of this decision on the left, no longer is there any pretense that they care for the health of the mother. They simply want freedom to kill. Irony: the same people against the death penalty and the right to bear arms in protection of oneself, are for taking life before it is born, and killing when societal “value” has faded.

Sorry to be so negative to start out with, but we can’t turn a blind eye to the battle raging around us – especially on the weekend we’re celebrating our freedoms and the uniqueness of this country. Every country-loving Christian ought to be praying for the preservation of freedom this weekend – freedom and liberty of even those not born.  If you are wondering how one prays against the forces of evil and whether its even right to pray against anything, then check out an older post I had here on how Jim Hamilton thinks of these things. 

Wonder where the left wants to take us?  Look at this: Russia’s Proposed Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church.  Freedom from religion in lieu of freedom of religion is not freedom at all, its tyranny at a government level, and its bondage of the soul at the individual level. 

Speaking of tyranny and tyrants, this was interesting: Money earned from US sales of “Mein Kampf” will now go to Holocaust survivors

And, in a similar topic area, I found this story FASCINATING! After Fleeing the Nazis, a Legacy That Won’t Run Dry: The frugal couple bumped into young Warren Buffett. Now they’ve left millions to Israeli water research.  You might need to have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal for that one though, which, by the way, is worth it.

Fascinating stats here: How Much Television Do You Actually Watch? Way Too Much!

A couple of Olympics stories for you…

First: Rio police protest lack of salaries, toilet paper (!!!)  From the story…

At the stations we don’t have paper or ink for the printers, there’s no one to come in to clean and some stations don’t have a water supply anymore so the toilets are not functioning

Second: When Rio fails, sister city shows sewage cleanup possible

Not to hound on the Olympics and the disaster its become, but when you boil all of this down to its root, I think you’ll find that corruption of justice and lack of human liberty is at the heart of the problem. When the government of a nation is corrupt, even the basic necessities of life for average people will suffer. The Olympics are just shining a light on this reality. Justice and liberty are key features of a successful economic society. Sure you can “manufacture” production and prosperity for a time, but eventually repression leads to revolution and reformation of government structures.  In America we are blessed that the separation of powers has hitherto checked absolute corruption of justice and economic freedom/entrepreneurship (another thing to celebrate this weekend).

Shifting topics…this post from David Mathis was powerful: Ask Your Child to Forgive You. From the beginning..

I will never forget my father asking for my forgiveness. Few moments, if any, were as arresting, as moving, and as unforgettable as when Pop admitted to me — at age five or seven or ten — that he had overreacted, and that he was sorry.

And…I didn’t even know there still was a campaign! Who knew?? Sanders national press secretary leaving campaign

On the presidential campaign front…this is going to be embarrassing: Author says Hillary Clinton is ‘two different people’

And then there was this gem from The Donald on the campaign trail:

trump

Another sort of bizarre headline this week from CNN about how James Dobson is calling Donald Trump a “baby Christian” and asking for all Christians to pray for him to grow up into his new faith.  I’d love for Dobson to be right, but I think he’s off his proverbial rocker on this one. But one has to be careful judging this kind of thing – we are not to “judge” in the ultimate sense – that is God’s place alone. But we are called to discern, and what I can discern, Dobson is lacking in discernment.

On to other goodies…

This was pretty good stuff to think through: IS YOUR WORSHIP SERVICE UPSIDE DOWN?

And the Read Scripture people have a new video out – this time on the book of Esther (I like how they did this one).

Unfortunately that’s all I have time for this morning.  If you have time, you might consider checking out Al Mohler’s dissection of the Pope’s latest controversial comments and John Piper’s 7 lessons from Europe. 

Have a great weekend!

PJ

Weekend Reading: June 25, 2016

Good morning!  I’m in the middle of a daddy-daughter campout, and being as I’m the first one up, I thought I’d send you an abbreviated version of the weekend reading.  Tons of interesting stuff this week, so let’s get going…

The big news that most folks already read about was BREXIT.  Although its a complex situation, and I can see good arguments on both sides, I’m glad that the British decided to leave.  I wouldn’t want my country beholden to the spinelessness of unelected commissioners in Brussels, no matter what the economic benefits. But that’s just me – actually its me plus 52% of Britain!

As a follow up to that: Dispensationalists Frantically Adjust End-Times Charts To Include Brexit Vote (h/t Parris and Alex W.).  Pretty darn funny.

Similarly important news: Issue Of Playboy Magazine Apologizes After Being Spotted In Picture With Jerry Falwell, Jr.

More bad news for the Olympics: Rory McIlroy Says He Won’t Attend Olympics Over Zika Concerns

On Capitol Hill this week: Escaped ISIS sex slave tells Congress of horrors – note how Liberal Dem Carper tries to put words in this young lady’s mouth…disgusting

Live Long and Prosper: Trump Is Surrounding Himself With Evangelical Pastors

This is a big problem: Donald Trump Starts Summer Push With Crippling Money Deficit

AUDIO: Post-Orlando this is a great Christian perspective from R.C. Sproul 

MORE AUDIO: This is really really interesting stuff from Al Mohler. He dives into how one of the big scholars of the Harvard Divinity school has been exposed for some major error she’s been pushing. It’s really fascinating stuff surrounding the topic of whether Jesus was married.

MORE MORE AUDIO: Powerful Stuff: Does Netflix Make Christ More Precious to You?  Tid-Bit:

Counting all things loss means that I always deal with things in the world in a way that shows the world they are not my treasure. How do you do that? Well, figure that out. The world is watching you at work for what your treasure is.

One of my favs from the week – Ray Ortland, Jr. on his father: 10 Unforgettable Lessons on Fatherhood From the post:

He was not impressed with worldly success and going to the right schools and all that pretense and bluff. He wanted something better for me, something I had to find on my own. But I never doubted how urgently he desired for me a clear call from God on my life. And I did receive it, partly because my dad didn’t intrude himself into it but cheered me on as I followed the Lord myself.

That’s all I have time for today – enjoy the weekend!

PJ

 

 

Weekend Reading: June 18, 2016

Good morning!  After a week on the road, and a little break from the weekend reading, I’m back with a few articles for you this week.

But before I go much further, I want to honor a fellow weekend reader who unexpectedly passed away this week. Andy Frank and I were not especially close, but I know his brother Ben, a great man of integrity who I admire and who is grieving for his brother. Please lift him up in your prayers. Even though Andy and I weren’t especially close, I appreciated his inquisitive mind, his good natured emails, and his kind words. Andy, you will be missed.

One of the stories I saw a few weeks back and wanted to make sure people saw was this one: Ancient teeth and bone point to the origin of our mysterious ‘hobbit’ cousins.  Now, everyone who knows me well knows I’m a HUGE fan of J.R.R. Tolkein, however, the ‘Hobbit’ moniker is not why I wanted to post this story.  Archeologists are struggling to put together the timeline of when this creature/human lived and how it came to be so small. They think it lived just thousands of years ago, but similar skeleton diggings in Africa are labeled at 2million years ago. As they say “the facts just don’t add up.”  But what is particularly instructive is the conclusion of the WaPo journalist, which goes like this:

And for all of us, it is a reminder that human evolution is not a linear march toward bigger bodies and brains. We exist as we are because that’s what turned out to be advantageous; under different conditions, we might be entirely different creatures.

The comment springs forth from certain underlying assumptions – assumptions shaped by a worldview that believes in survival of the fittest, random selection, large scale macro-environmental evolution, and especially a lack of a larger guiding hand behind the metanarrative of life (this last point would be a non-starter). Hence the comment, “We exist as we are because that’s what turned out to be advantageous.” This worldview allows for now outside direction, no God in heaven directing the symphony of life, no specific reason why anything would happen. I’m not saying that nature and environment don’t shape micro-adaptations, but I am saying that when you refuse to acknowledge the main actor behind life, then you will never find the right answers to your scientific inquiry on a macro-level.

My thoughts…Stories like this remind me of the issue with scientists today: they aren’t even intellectually honest enough to ask the right questions! This is sad, but also it is exasperating. True intellectuals would question everything, and then throw out assumptions that do not lead to viable answers. The science of observation and honest analysis has long since been abandoned for the illogical religion of Darwinism. Every discovery is checked up against the dogma of this religion, and when the “facts don’t add up” no one bothers to question the underlying assumptions. Even though the tenets of Darwinism have long since been disproven, it lives on as pure fideism in today’s scientific community and our children’s textbooks. Reading stories like this that has led me to believe that today’s scientists are the most intellectually dishonest in a generation.

Maybe you heard about this, but I found it one of the biggest stories of the year: Theft of Trump files raises eyebrows.  I’m not sure how to even add commentary to this because it really speaks for itself. We live in a dangerous world, and not much seems to have changed in our relationship with Russia since the days of the cold war.

If you’re desiring to watch the U.S. Open this weekend, its at Oakmont, and the live video can be found here. 

Eyebrows Raised: Starbucks has more customer money on cards than many banks have in deposits

I found this piece by fellow weekend reader Gregg Keller insightful: How the Insurance Market Is Responding to Obamacare.

This little ditty was making its way around social media: Canada’s Supreme Court Issues INSANE Ruling On Sex With Animals.  It might be slightly alarmist…but then again…

Post Orlando Fallout: Reddit Bans Users, Deletes Comments That Say Orlando Terrorist Was Muslim

Roger Cohen takes some stabs in the dark about the affects of Orlando on the political landscape.  I don’t totally agree, but he might be on the right track with a few items.

Blogger Stephanie Gray takes on the new movie ‘Me Before You’ and does it well (h/t my Kate).  Here’s a key quote:

 When someone is despairing so much that they can’t see they can choose their attitude, it’s the job of people who care to help them see this, not to feed into despair.

As I mentioned earlier, this week I was on the road.  I spent the week at Yale Divinity School taking a class (with my mom – we had a great time!) on Jonathan Edwards. If you’re into Edwards, or simply want to learn more, check out some of the links from our class material here.

During the week away, and in between assigned readings, I finished a few books. The first was Nathaniel Philbrik’s ‘Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex.‘  The second was C.S. Lewis’ classic allegorical work ‘The Great Divorce’.  I learned a lot about Nantucket history and whaling in the first – it was especially helpful that the my kids and I had already read about Nathaniel Bowditch.  In the second, I got new insight into people in a way only Lewis can draw out. This man knew the human mind and its’ tendency toward a works-based theology VERY well.

The ‘Read Scripture’ guys have a new video (that I haven’t watched yet), this one is on Ecclesiastes. 

Al Mohler has his summer reading list posted now. I found it a little heavy on military history. But I won’t complain too much because the last time I read a book he recommended it was REALLY good. 

Speaking of books, several people liked this article from a few days back: Read Like a Reader. Doubtless you’ve seen me post articles like this in the past, where the art of reading is extolled, and some handy tips are given. I will keep posting them because I think so many of us (at least this goes for me and others I’ve spoken to) get bogged down in our reading and need reminded of truths like this one: 

This practice also brings liberty. Not every book is a textbook. Some works are best skimmed, sampled, or (GASP) abandoned.

Finally, on the book front, my mom introduced me to P.G. Wodehouse this week and I couldn’t help by sharing the link to what we were listening to. This was hilarious…and I mean…really funny stuff. Turn of the century (the last one) English slang is pretty awesome. Someone should compile a small dictionary just for all the nonsense this guy is spitting out.

I found this fascinating: The app boom is over: Your phone is full of apps, and you’re done downloading new ones — unless they’re Snapchat or Uber.  And the more I got to think of it, the more I agreed by jove!

I don’t think I already posted this, but its really good: Humility is Not Always Nice.  Check this part out:

Humble people view other people as God’s marvelous image-bearers, windows to God’s glory, not as mirrors that enhance or diminish their own self-image. But this also means they aren’t absorbed by how others view them. So they aren’t worried about reading the “right” books, seeing the “right” movies, listening to the “right” music, living in the “right” home, having the “right” job, being seen with the “right” people, etc. That’s a mirror mindset. They view these things as windows to see and savor God’s glory.

Along with all these links, there were a few that looked really fascinating, but because I was traveling, reading them just didn’t happen. They include:

I DID watch this, and enjoyed it: Pixar – What Makes a Story Relatable 

This was interesting…‘A Bearish George Soros is Trading Again’ 

Uh Oh….Priebus probes state GOP leaders over anti-Trump push

….and finally…I know this isn’t a brand new album, but I’ve been enjoying it nonetheless and maybe you will also!

That’s it!  Have a great weekend!

PJ

Weekend Reading: June 4, 2016

Good morning – and welcome to the weekend reading!  I hope you enjoyed the short week, and are able to catch your breath a little this weekend. I didn’t read a ton of articles this week, but here’s what I found more interesting in a nutshell:

CULTURAL ALERT: Jared Diamond, history author and liberal prof, discussed religion throughout the ages, and thinks that a revival of religious sentiment could be in the offing in the near future. I link to the article because it’s a classic example of the kind of thought you find on university campuses, and its good to read and think about what these folks are saying because it keeps me sharp. Notice the title of his talk, ‘a dispassionate look at religion over the course of history’.  No one is dispassionate about religion – least of all atheists. Everyone has assumptions and baggage that they take into the great topics of life – especially religion. But professors like Diamond will claim a sort of high ground that they have no right to hold, because: 1. They likely have personal history that shaped their views and 2. They aren’t always experts on religious thought. Find their assumptions, and you’ll find their conclusions – they’re all tired and well-trodden, believe me.

I found this article from Sinclair Ferguson on the Ligonier blog pretty interesting: Satisfaction and Contentment

CHINA, CHINA, CHINA: I didn’t get a chance to link to article last week, but its amazing stuff that’s going on over in China: Decapitated Churches in China’s Christian Heartland:

On a four-day journey through this lush swath of China’s Zhejiang Province, I spoke with residents who described in new detail the breathtaking scale of an effort to remove Christianity’s most potent symbol from public view. Over the past two years, officials and residents said, the authorities have torn down crosses from 1,200 to 1,700 churches, sometimes after violent clashes with worshipers trying to stop them.

TECH: And this stuff is so fascinating (to me at least): Tech Firms Plan the Highest Capacity Atlantic Data Link.  ALSO: Jeff Bezos thinks we need to build industrial zones in space in order to save Earth

COMPETITION! Wal-Mart to test grocery delivery with Uber, Lyft — key excerpt:

The world’s largest retailer said it would begin test deliveries within the next two weeks in Denver and Phoenix. Wal-Mart’s warehouse unit Sams Club began a pilot in March with startup Deliv to dispatch groceries to business customers in Miami.

HOT WATER: Golfer Phil Mickelson’s Gambling Entanglements Put Legacy on Line

Super Cool Stuff Here: Why You Should Try That Crazy Virtual Reality Headset – try it from your phone…

HILARIOUS: Man Mistakes Indigestion For Pastoral Call

The NBA Finals are going on, and Look! Cleveland is competing! (sort of)

This is heartbreakingHundreds feared missing from capsized boat in Mediterranean

Some powerful stuff here: The Day I Dug My Daughter’s Grave

Two Items I didn’t finish:

  1. VIDEO: How Budget Airlines Work
  2. CHALLIES: The Transgender Conversation You Need to Have With Your Family

That’s all I have for you!  Have a great weekend!

PJW

Weekend Reading: May 28, 2016

Good morning, and welcome to the (holiday!!!) weekend! Here’s what I thought were the most important and relevant items to check out. It’s supposed to rain where I am (Dublin Ohio) today, so if your day is like mine, sit back and scan through some good articles!

Let’s start with some news. James Hohmann had a really helpful and interesting column about how young this electorate is.  Meaning this: there are a ton of people who will not really know much about the Clinton era and the 90’s. The youngest voters this year will have been born in 1998…does that not blow your mind?  So, what that means is that a lot of the Clinton era scandal is completely foreign to younger voters (and reporters).  I still remember where I was the morning Vince Foster was reported dead…I guess I’m getting old!  The consequences of this younger electorate having missed out on the Clinton scandals, can be seen on both sides of the aisle – that’s what Hohmann discusses. BUT – if you read that column, be sure to scroll down to see this headline ‘The superbug that doctors have been dreading has reached the U.S.‘ It’s like the fourth story down…interesting and terrifying stuff.

This was really thought-provoking:  Why I Don’t Use an Ad Blocker. 

More on where culture meets politics…Egypt: Muslim mob attacks Christians, parade naked woman…..AND, from a Weekend Reader, ‘The Spiritual Dangers of a Trump Presidency’ – this is pretty harsh stuff.  They key quote might be:

When much of the “evangelical vote” in some Republican primaries goes to a man so palpably misaligned with the character of the man we call “Savior,” it tells the world we’re not serious about holiness, or even minimal standards of civic decency. It sends the message that for us, the end justifies the means. It supports the world’s belief that hatred is a Christian value after all.

What made this an interesting column to me was that if one considers what folks in the Middle East must think of our culture here in America (if you care), then there are some relevant themes here. I think its probably a mistake to overestimate the number of evangelicals – true followers of Christ – here in America, no matter what the perspective of those around the world might be.  I’m off topic a bit from where that guy was headed – but I begin to wonder what the more global consequences of a Trump Presidency would be in terms of how America is seen in the world. Have you pondered that? Do you care? (I’m not saying you should, just asking the question…)

And…because that isn’t enough controversy for one morning, check this one out: Why Your Pastor Should Say “No More to Beth Moore”  I like to keep track of this kind of thing.  This was linked off of Challies’ blog this week, and its worth scanning. What I found interesting was the premise laid out in the second graph:

For many years, Beth Moore’s teaching has raised eyebrows among pastors and leaders in conservative circles.  Although concerns have been raised through the years, Beth Moore continues to be welcomed into the study groups within local churches where women read her books, study guides, and watch her videos with limited, if any, oversight from the pastoral staff

That is the quote that provoked me to say “umm, ya, what is the deal with that anyway?”  NOW……..I am definitely not charismatic, but I didn’t care for how the author lumped in that descriptor in his third bullet point when discussing Moore’s ecumenicalism. To lump Olsteen and Joyce Meyer in with Christians who consider themselves charismatic isn’t fair. In today’s vernacular, one can be a Bible believing evangelical Christian and consider themselves charismatic. Meyer and Olsteen aren’t really preaching the gospel, so to consider them Christians or Christian ministers is a MAJOR stretch.  That being said, the author makes many other relevant points worth considering.

Let’s keep walking down that line of difficult topics in the church: Singing Songs from Questionable Sources.  Very thoughtful blog post by Bob Kauflin about an interesting topic.

One of the big political stories of the week was that in New Mexico Donald Trump held a rally where he lambasted the popular GOP hispanic Governor. Here’s the news story on that one. That story almost overshadowed the stories about him actually clinching the GOP nomination (from a delegate count perspective).

If you haven’t been watching the NBA playoffs, then you need to speed read this one: Draymond Green fined but not suspended for kick to groin.  I was actually on the golf course this week listening to a guy use Draymond Green as an adverb(???), “I just got Draymond Greened by that (golf) hole.”  So ya, that’s when I knew the story might have taken on more than a niche audience.

This was something out of a Sean Connery flick: Best Buy Bandits hit Alabama, tunnel in like movie villains, take $100k worth of electronics.

VIDEO: Interesting perspective and insight into Calvin and Hobbes. 

Also interesting: Obama visits Vietnam, eats with the only available expert on Vietnamese food, Anthony Bourdain

Read this a finally, and thought it was really interesting: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Islamic State

Hilarious: Everything Local Man Feels Led To Do He Coincidentally Really Likes

This one is longer than it should have been, but I found myself commiserating big time with this guy: Apple Destroyed My Will to Collect Music

Some interesting stuff here – with graphics that are the main attraction of the article: The Changing American Diet…(do I really believe Americans eat so much veggies???)

And….if you haven’t seen this yet, you should.  Looks pretty incredible: Life-Size Noah’s Ark

The hits keep on rollin with Target: Target Is Suing Man After Saving A Young Girl From Being Stabbed To Death

Jon Bloom doing what he does best: Child-Like Humility Produces Peace

Thoughtful little piece from Tim Challies: 3 Priorities for Christian Parents

WHOOPS: Fitbit Trackers Are ‘Highly Inaccurate,’ Study Finds

The man who represents all the corruption of the Clinton machine is under federal investigation: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe under federal investigation for campaign contributions

Whether you agree or disagree with the conclusions here, this is a fascinating article (h/t Alex W.): This Is What the Future of American Politics Looks Like

The 2016 race is a sign that American politics is changing in profound and lasting ways; by the 2020s and 2030s, partisan platforms will have changed drastically. You may find yourself voting for a party you could never imagine supporting right now. What will that political future look like?

NEXT UP: Corruption in the NFL??? NO!!  NEVER!!!

Also – be sure to check this out.  I really found it interesting: Is Rush Limbaugh in Trouble?  Of course the mainstream media has been asking this question for a long time, and they’ve been continually, well, wrong.  But its still an interesting look into the world of big time radio – a world that has drastically shrunk!

Finally, you might enjoy: 5 Themes on Providence from the Psalms

That’s it!  Enjoy your EXTRA LONG WEEKEND!!!

PJW