Weekend Reading: March 18, 2016

Welcome to the weekend!  In the days since Tuesday’s major elections I think its fair to say that I’ve seen more ridiculous news coverage, more panic in the conservative media, and more idiotic theories on the outcome of the Presidential race than one brain is allowed to digest.  Nonetheless, there were some decent tidbits out there, and definitely some edifying non-political items I saw and read this week.  Here’s what I read – enjoy!

Let me get to this whole topic of a contested political convention because I’m getting a lot of folks asking me about it.  Yes, it’s going to happen. So who has the best chance? I think Cruz and Kasich (and no I don’t think Kasich is just blocking for Trump or being some kind of “spoiler”). Why? Well, read this story on the delegate problem Trump still has, and it will help you understand why its entirely possible – indeed probable – that either Cruz or Kasich will be the GOP nominee. Hence this story from Politico.  I won’t digress on the numbers and exasperate you, but the gist is that as much as we hear that it’s impossible for Kasich and unlikely for Cruz to get the nomination pre-convention (true), it’s equally as improbable that Trump wins at a convention – which is where we are headed. This is why: many people aren’t considering that on the 2nd or 3rd ballot, delegates to the convention will no longer be “bound” (forced by the rules) to vote for Trump. Those delegates are people – PARTY people who will likely vote for Kasich or Cruz. If Trump doesn’t do a good job getting his people sent to the convention (much of the process for delegate selection varies by state, but its organized by state parties and local parties whom Trump is apparently not working closely with from an organizational perspective), then there’s no mathematical way he will win the nomination because his high water mark will the the first ballot. This runs contrary to the media’s narrative of course – even the right wing media.

SIDE NOTE: I think its generally a good rule of thumb for pundits and journalists NOT to endorse candidates (duh). But some of those whom I’ve listened to and admired for years in the right wing media (Levin, Erickson, Beck et all) have violated that principle and with it they’ve sacrificed much of their credibility. I don’t mind promoting ideas and speaking glowingly about a particular candidate or two, but a lot of the rhetoric I’m seeing from these people (Ann Coulter doesn’t count as she’s never been part of the civil discourse) is just as vile as what we see from Donal Trump – seriously! Glenn Beck and Mark Levin are literally cursing John Kasich out for stomping on their dreams of a Cruz Presidency. They’re no longer behaving as principled thinkers commentating on the race from a conservative perspective. Instead they’ve become advocates for a particular person/candidate, with the indecent unprofessional rhetoric one might expect at a Trump rally, and not on the pages or airwaves of conservative intellectualism.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 10.18.06 PM

Team Trump is starting to realize some of this convention math (I think – at least on some level) and that’s why Trump is starting to say things like “I should just win automatically”. Of course he made MORE news by saying there will be “riots” if he doesn’t get the nomination. 

There are the facts as they stand now. It’s all math, and process at this point and it will be interesting to see how it goes down…

I could post a bunch of the outrageous stuff Trump has said this week (or done), or post stories about the close race in MO, or Kasich’s giant victory in Ohio or Cruz’s Romney endorsement ahead of the Utah caucuses, but I’m sure you’ve seen all that, right?  So on to other stuff!

This is really cool: King Tut may have shared his tomb, possibly with his stepmother

This was not:  More Ex-Gitmo detainees suspected of returning to terrorism

Okay – slight deviation into the political again…my good friend, and devoted Weekend Reading aficionado, Dave C. was interviewed last week about some research he did on the was in which Trump sells his message. I’m still reading this and pondering it, but I’m proud of Dave, he’s a brilliant guy and deserves a shout out!

Has anyone noticed that Kindle and Audible now offer this combined service where you can listen to your kindle book at the same time as you read it?  My friend Matt calls this ‘The Wenzel Method’ because I’ve been doing it for years – only with hard cover books (you know, those faithful friends who stare down at you from their lofty, and well-earned pedestals in your home).  I’m super excited to learn more about it…

Marshall Segal wrote this thoughtful article on Desiring God’s blog called ‘The Insanity of Self-Care’.  I definitely found it thought provoking.

AND!!!  The Read Scripture people have released their latest video – this one is on the book of Judges. These are so cool and I know you’ll enjoy this.

Speaking of interesting videos – I liked this one (I think Challies posted it maybe?) on where in the world Wingdings came from.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 10.17.38 PMAlso – Russell Moore tweeted (is that supposed to be in caps???) this video out about Heaven and Earth.  It dives into these two concepts – especially from a “spacial” perspective, and it explores some of the Biblical terminology involved in these concepts.  These guys have made some interesting videos – helpful for all ages I think, and worth bookmarking if you can’t watch it right away.

I meant to link to this last week, but Challies wrote a short and thought-provoking blog on the nature of justice. Mainly it was about whether it was just for a pretty decent person to spent eternity in Hell. We’re not talking about the Hitler’s of the world here, he’s talking about the average joe – a good guy/gal, yet one who never puts their faith in Christ. How are we to think of eternity as the punishment.  I don’t think Tim C. elaborates too much here, but he points in the right direction. I believe it was Anselm who originally got dove into this with gusto and gave the church the foundational reasoning that is used in this blog.

I appreciated this article on Tim Keller’s church ‘Redeemer Presbyterian’ in NYC and how they’re reaching out to religious skeptics through Q&A sessions. (h/t Olivia D.!)

BOOKS! — It’s time for an update on what I’ve been reading and can recommend to you. Here’s what I finished in the past week or so with some thoughts:

  1. The Children of Hurin – J.R.R. Tolkein – this is a wonderful story in the tragic sense. For the more learned Tolkein fan, it will really fill in gaps from the Silmarillion.
  2. Every Good Endeavor – Tim Keller – given to me by my mom, this is surely another classic! Really got at the purpose for working, and explored every facet of this topic without going too overboard. Wonderful, wonderful read.
  3. The Knight’s Map – R.C. Sproul (for the kids!) – My buddy Matt got me this wonderful book by R.C. Sproul, and I read it with the kids this week. It is Sproul’s 100th book, and it’s probably one of my favorites from his children’s selection thus far.
  4. A History of Weapons – John O’Bryan – this was a Christmas gift, and I was left laughing out loud (and nearly waking up Kate the other night) the entire time. It is…well, very crass! But if you can get past it, and if you’re interested in the history of weaponry, this is hilarious (not for kids).
  5. The 4-Hour Body – Timothy Ferris (relevant sections) – I went back and read many of the sections in this book as I have decided its time to get back into better shape. The good thing about this book is how its tailored for people who don’t have a ton of time for nonsense. The bad thing is how worldly and self-absorbed Ferris is. I am hesitant to recommend the book in its entirety, but its probably one you’d profit from checking out of the library and skimming the best parts.
  6. Do More Better – Tim Challies – A big “thank you” to Kate for this gift. Every year I try to read a book on being organized, and this book was a short primer on just that. It was enjoyable and helpful and has me tweaking my daily routine already.
  7. The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to becoming a whiskey know-it-all – Richard Betts – a great (mercifully short) tutorial on whiskeys (I’m American so that’s how I spell it!). The downside is that the “scratch and sniff” parts aren’t very scented or helpful *sigh*.
  8. Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy – J.W. Rinzler – even though this is a picture book for the most part, with constituent notes and footnotes, I studied it closely and spent a good deal of time using it to mimic the drawings, and learn more from the perspectives of the authors/artists. I really enjoyed this one!
  9. Becoming Worldly Saints – Michael Wittmer – This book was fantastic!  It was mostly review, but it was GOOD review. It has a high quality about it, and its perfect for a Christian who might be thinking “can I be a Christian and still enjoy life???”.  Well researched, well written, downright hilarious in spots, I would recommend this unabashedly to anyone looking for a good read.

That’s it!  I hope you enjoy your weekend!

PJW

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