Weekend Reading: September 24, 2016

Good morning and welcome to your weekend reading, a summing up of my favorite blogs, stories, videos and books from the past week.

NOTE: There are newer weekend readers, and by way of explanation, I don’t always just post the big stories from the week here. That does seem to work out most of the time, but I sort of assume that you’ve seen or heard some of the obvious stuff.  So if I post something its because I felt it relevant to comment on, or worthy of your attention.  Many stories happened in the last week that everyone heard about (i.e. Brad and Angelina breaking up) but I don’t really care about all of them (i.e. Brad and Angelina breaking up).

Let’s start on the lighter side.  Challies reposted something from a popular grammar blog exploring the origin of the phrase “Roger That”.  I really enjoyed it because its a phrase I use pretty much every week.

And I finally got a chance to read ‘Dilbert Explains Donald Trump’ (h/t Dave B.) and enjoyed it.  Pretty funny stuff. If you’ve ever read Dave Barry, I read this interview in the same was I would if I were reading a Barry column. You pick up its flavors here and there.  Like when Adams (the Dilbert writer) says that he endorsed Hillary out of safety concerns:

He notes that detractors “have literally been comparing Trump to Hitler—an actual comparison to Hitler. . . . That is a call for assassination. There’s no other way you can [expletive] interpret that. . . . And you’ve seen how many Trump people have been beaten by crowbars for wearing his shirt, or beaten up [outside a rally] in San Jose, my backyard.”

Next up is a story sent to me by my Kate from the New York Post: It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies.  This was a pretty startling, yet completely believable, article. Worth the read parents.

And a nasty little segue here: A Family Affair: How Incest will Expose the Philosophical Inadequacy of Contemporary Sexual Ethics.  I don’t care about the story itself, but rather wanted you to check out Trueman’s point about how the word/concept of “consent” isn’t strong enough to bear the weight of an entire county’s law on marriage and sexual relationships.

Candice Millard’s new book about Winston Churchill is out (my copy arrived this week!). The link above is to the Wall Street Journal book review.

Speaking of WSJ weekend reads, they had one that I have not yet read but intend to because it appeals to my sense of rebellion against the new normal: Get Your Children Good and Dirty.

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a Presidential Debate on Monday evening. National Review’s Rich Lowry thinks that the Dems have set themselves up for failure.  Maybe he’s right.  All I know is that it ought to be most entertaining…

Maybe I read too many alarmist kinds of stories this week, but this one simply confirmed why its good to have a water filter – from CNN: New report finds ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical in US drinking water. From the story:

“Whether it is chromium-6, PFOA or lead, the public is looking down the barrel of a serious water crisis across the country that has been building for decades,” Brockovich said in a written statement Tuesday, blaming it on “corruption, complacency and utter incompetence.”

Incompetence, corruption, complacency…yup, sounds like the government to me.

And in another h/t to Challies for the able curation of cool content: Collecting the World: Inside the Smithsonian. 

Switching Gears: Has Rome Really Changed Its Tune?  This is a slightly long post from a former professor of mine about the Catholic Church, and whether they’ve really changed since the Reformation. It’s the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next year, and Allison (the author) looks at several key points where reformers had taken exception to the church’s teaching…have they changed?  Unfortunately, I think the answer is clearly “no”.  This is the kind of thing that I think is worth really pondering for my Catholic friends.  I understand the draw of the church, I really do.  Stability, beauty, community – and the knowledge that its not simply local but worldwide community. You can step into a parish anywhere in the world and hear the same mass, and feel at home. You’re part of a worldwide community.  The issue is that at its core, the Catholic Faith is broken, and broken badly. We see the results of this every day as the Pope flails about as he deals with the culture – sometimes adeptly, and sometimes very poorly.  The problem is there is no anchor to his teaching – the Bible, the truth of God’s Word, is no longer the only thing he must contend with. The church has elevated church leader’s words to the authoritative level of the Scripture, and now these Popes must navigate a hundred differing and evolving opinions from past ages. Therefore, the church has abandoned the fundamental principles which made it Christian years ago. The outward beauty and its forms of community remain, but they are a shell which covers a rotten core – a core without the gospel, and the absolute truth of the Word to govern everyday life.

My heart aches as I write this because I know how difficult it is to leave a church. To leave friends and familiarity and the warmth of community isn’t an etherial concept to me. But when the core principles which bond that community together are perverted beyond recognition, and men’s writing and traditions have stollen away all semblance of cogency from the initial Biblical designs, then a break must occur. Community and fellowship can only go so far when not rooted in absolute truth. As our Lord said the night before He died on our behalf:

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:14-17 ESV)

This sanctifying Word is no longer taught as singularly authoritative in the Catholic Church. It’s power has been covertly denied when the church subverts its authority with its’ own traditions, councils, and writings.

They say that people hate congress and yet love their congressman. I can equally say that I detest the Catholic Church, while loving my Catholic friends – each emotion strongly springing from a worldview shaped by Scripture, and a sinful heart transformed by Grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone, and for God’s glory.

Along similar lines, R.C. Sproul and Al Mohler did a question and answer session about the nature of Luther’s conversion, his affect on the church, and the coming anniversary of the Reformation.

This was pretty nifty: Archeologists are virtually unraveling ancient hidden texts that could rewrite biblical history. NOTE: I published this having read the story without seriously considering the headline. The headline is a bit deceptive. This story isn’t about re-writing Biblical history, its about technology. I’ve read enough to know that archeology has time and again proven, rather than disproven the history we’ve read about in Scripture. So don’t get the wrong idea!

The Chinese may hate individual liberty and freedom, but they love wine: The red planet: China sends vines into space in quest for perfect wine.

You can form your own opinion about Donald Trump, but Erick Erickson has lost his marbles...have others?

War Zone Chicago: Homicides are spiking again in some big U.S. cities. Chicago has seen nearly half the increase.

Olive Oil can come in handy when your beach trip goes south…

The Daily Signal has a story on how more people are using medical sharing plans to take care of catastrophic health care coverage while avoiding Obamacare penalties. I can attest that this works pretty darn well if you don’t have a lot of reoccurring medical costs and simply need catastrophic coverage.

Sinclair Ferguson from a few weeks back: Endless, Bottomless, Boundless Grace and Compassion.

Books: This past week or so, I read: The Prince (old Niccolo) , Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings: A Guide to Middle Earth (Duriez), True Community (Bridges), Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl).   I’m almost done with Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’ which has taken up a lot of my time, and have been enjoying a dozen other books, including the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  Last night Chloe and I read ‘The Ancient Mariner’ and found it a little creepy, and yet still enjoyable!

That’s it!  I am especially thankful for the gospel this morning, and the fact that no confirmation or sunday school class, no sprinkling, no works, no words of mine will save me. Only the grace of God working through faith He gave me will save me and keep me. I am thankful that the Bible is both available for me to read, and transformative when I do read it. I’m glad it serves as a solid truth upon which I can base my morals, ethics, and daily decisions. These are reassurances which I treasure as we head into another crazy election season!

Go enjoy your weekend!

PJW

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