Grenz Ricoeur Shelf

Grenz Ricoeur Shelf

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Weekly Reads - 16 January 2016

Roger Olson - Advice I Will Give My Grandson When He Is Twelve (Like Tamir Rice Was) (Imagine having to have this talk with your child/grandchild and then tell me concerns over racism in the USA are overblown.)

So, I've very proud of the fact that, due to living in the UK presently and an earlier release time over here, I was able to see the new Star Wars movie with my family before it was released in the USA (I will rub that in if given the chance). I thought it was well done. But then again, I don't especially hate the prequels either. In fact, I kind of like them - yes, even episode one. (I hope that means we can still be friends.) In the case of The Force Awakens, some of the critiques I've seen make me wonder if some folks aren't over analyzing and doesn't reveal something of a certain level of misplaced hope. As this piece alludes, sometimes we can invest in that movie we are just dying to see (and we could probably extend this to music, art, culture, etc) a level of identity formation, anticipation, and hope that should only be reserved for Jesus Christ. A Jesus-juke perhaps, but a necessary one IMO. Not only may the hermeneutical posture and subjective expectation one brings to their cinematic experience goes a long way to determining whether someone judges a movie 'good' or 'not good' - it may also reveal our misplaced and malformed hopes.

Alan Rickman passed this last week. You probably remember him as Snape from the Harry Potter movies, but this link reminds us that his career extended far beyond that. Still, I can't help but notice it left off one of my favorites that Rickman was in - Quigley Down Under!

Alan Jacobs - I'm Thinking it Over

I think Jacobs' eight points of social media wisdom are spot on...
  • I don’t have to say something just because everyone around me is.
  • I don’t have to speak about things I know little or nothing about. 
  • I don’t have to speak about issues that will be totally forgotten in a few weeks or months by the people who at this moment are most strenuously demanding a response. 
  • I don’t have to spend my time in environments that press me to speak without knowledge. 
  • If I can bring to an issue heat, but no light, it is probably best that I remain silent. 
  • Private communication can be more valuable than public. 
  • Delayed communication, made when people have had time to think and to calm their emotions, is almost always more valuable than immediate reaction. 
  • Some conversations are be more meaningful and effective in living rooms, or at dinner tables, than in the middle of Main Street.

A general question: If this is true, at what point can we conclude that the level of trust of the general public is so low that it places in doubt their ability to place an informed and reasonable vote (because no one is telling the truth)? At what point does voting become a meaningless act under these conditions?

A more specific question: If this is true, what does it tell us about the general public that they continue to vote for people who they can be reasonably sure have lied (in some way) at some point to secure that vote?

A final question: If this is true, when will Christians (and I have in mind here especially my fellow evangelicals in particular) give witness to the value of truth telling by ceasing to support candidates who lie (regardless of charisma, platform, and whether or not "the other side did it too")? Does not the fact that Christians (both liberal and conservative) largely fail to give this witness indicate misplaced hopes/fears and political and ideological entanglements which subvert the gospel?

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are great together as Holmes and Watson. No doubt about that. But while I've been on the fence for awhile, after this rather odd (even for Sherlock) installment, I have to agree with Witherington and say that I prefer the US based Elementary

We could have hit the ER at an opportune time, but ... I’ve also asked many people about their medical care while I’ve been in the UK. Not one person wanted to abandon the NHS. I’ve heard of excellent care and some care that was lacking, but the bad care has nothing to do with the “national” part. Rather it was diagnostic errors or a full hospice unit, things that I hear about with the same incidence back in the world of commercial insurance. Take away the accents and I could easily have been listening to a group of Americans discussing their care. With one exception, no one in the UK is left wondering what the price will be or gets an egregious bill. 
It makes you wonder exactly what frightens Americans about the NHS?
The Almons are thankful for the NHS and Scottish generosity. Those who know our story will know why.

The latest bombshell in theology and biblical studies is John Barclay's Paul and the Gift. Below are some related links if you haven't had the chance to make it through all 672 pages yet. I especially found Scot McKnight's offerings helpful.
Jesus Creed (Scot McNight): John Barclay’s Grace in the Church
Books and Culture (Scot McKnight): The Unexamined Grace: What God's Gift Entails
Books and Culture (Wesley Hill): Grace Redefined: The Disruptive Christ-event
Internet Monk (Chaplain Mike): John Barclay on “Dangerous Grace”
What’s So Dangerous About Grace? - A Christianity Today interview with Barclay by Wesley Hill.

Apparently, this is what a thesis/dissertation defense is like:

[HT: Michael Bird]

And these are the options afterwards as a professor:

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