Sneaking a peek at friends’ bookshelves is always telling. But even more telling would be to see what’s on their nightstand. In lieu of real book reviews today, consider this a peek at my bedside table (which is straining under the guilty weight of unread or half-read books). Here are some books I’ve been reading and even some I’ve even been enjoying.
John Dick, regarding the zealots who took a vow not to eat or drink until they could snuff out Paul’s life:
From this transaction we learn how much conscience may be debauched by the principles of a false religion.
In his book The Shallows, Nicholas Carr makes this observation:
The intellectual ethic of a technology is rarely recognized by its inventors…Ultimately, it’s an invention’s intellectual ethic that has the most profound effect upon us.
In preparing for an online seminar through RPTS on technology and social media, I’ve become even more convinced of the necessity of interrogating (roughly, if necessary) our technology. Authors I’ve read on the subject all agree: the inventors of technology cannot be counted on to subject their inventions to a Biblical, discerning screening.
There once was in man a true happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace
[Note: I’m sure there’s a spiritual application to this story. But I haven’t found it yet; feel free to supply one.]
CNN has asked the question, “Is it morally right to celebrate bin Laden’s death?” It is a good question, even if CNN doesn’t answer it well. How should we respond to the death of an enemy? Specifically, how should those who love and follow Christ respond to justice?
This is the best and most useful exercise in humility, when (God) accustoms us to obey his Word, even though it be preached through men like us and sometimes even by those of lower worth than we. If he spoke from heaven, it would not be surprising if his sacred oracles were to be reverently received without delay by the ears and minds of all. For who would not dread the presence of His power? Who would not be stricken down at the sight of such great majesty? Who would not be confounded at such boundless splendor? But when a puny man risen from the dust speaks in God’s name, at this point we best evidence our piety and obedience toward God if we show ourselves teachable toward his minister, although he excels us in nothing.
–John Calvin (Institutes 4.3.1)
Like many parents, I am regularly rebuked of how greatly I underestimate my children. How often something slips from their lips and Lisa and I look at each other with eyes that say, “wow, they were actually paying attention” or “wow, we need to watch what we say!” But rarely have I been so encouraged and exhilarated as I was after last Sunday’s service.
It is an observation worthy of attention, that false religions have commonly been more successful than the true one, in persuading men to devote their substance to sacred uses; not surely because error is, in its own nature, more efficacious than truth, but because the former accords better with the vanity and corrupt propensities of mankind. –John Dick, Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles, 306