Treasure your parents, pastors, and good teachers
- “You don’t live long enough to learn from experience.” – Jewish proverb
- “We frequently know more, not because we have moved ahead by our own natural ability, but because we are supported by the mental strength of others, and possess riches that we have inherited from our forefathers. Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to puny dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.” – John of Salisbury
Against a mob mentality
In a recent conversation on the Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson podcast, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel made this interesting observation on a crowd’s wisdom:
THIEL: I think the Judeo-Christian [perspective] is always extremely skeptical. For a biblical scholar I would ask the question, is there a single incidence in which the unanimity of the crowd is right? I think it’s always wrong. Joseph is right, his brothers are wrong. The Tower of Babel – everybody, the global crowd is completely wrong. Christ is abandoned…
ROBINSON: Pilate begs the crowd for Christ to be freed…
THIEL: The crowd always gets it wrong. So somehow reason tells to believe in the wisdom of the crowds, Revelation tells us to be skeptical.
Thiel argues there is good reason to question the prevailing narrative. But can we think of a time in the Bible when the crowd was right? The only example that comes to my mind is that many shouted “Hosanna” for Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Mark 11… though it was only a short time later that the crowd was shouting for Jesus’ death. So, the case for skepticism remains, but it’s worth noting that the crowd isn’t so reliably wrong that we can just automatically go with the opposite of what they’re shouting. It’s also worth noting that God does speak to the wisdom of consulting others (Prov. 11:14, 12:15, 15:22, etc.). But with what we know about Man’s rebellious heart, we shouldn’t expect wisdom from the mob.
The Church and the coming Metaverse…
Many of us worship in churches with limited technology: Bibles in the pews, rather than the text projected overhead, and not a fog machine to be seen. But even our churches haven’t escaped the impact of technology. as Ian Harber and Patrick Miller explain in a recent article:
“Henry Ford didn’t set out to create megachurches. But before the advent of the personal vehicle, most Christians seeking a church faced a simple denominational decision: do you attend the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, or Catholic church around the corner? With a vehicle, Christians could suddenly attend whichever church had the best children’s ministry programming, youth activities, and rock ’n’ roll Sunday morning worship – as long as it was within 10 to 30 minutes of driving. We became consumers because we could be consumers.”
They were urging the Church to get ready for the Metaverse – the online world that Facebook is trying to create – but also noted we have some time, as it is probably years away from really coming together. But, like the car, the Internet, and the smartphone before it, this new tech will probably present us with both new opportunities, and new temptations to deal with.
In her book Highly Irregular, Arika Okrent shares a 140-year-old poem that deserves to be remembered today. I saw a version of it titled somewhere as: “I wrote it in my jolonel”:
“There was a brave soldier, a Colonel,
Who swore in a way most infolonel;
But he never once thought
As a Christian man ought
He imperiled his own life etolonel.”
SOURCE: Arika Okrent’s Highly Irregular: Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don’t Rhyme and other oddities of the English Language (H/T Douglas Wilson)
In Dating with Discernment, author Sam Andreades has an appendix full of 40 “first date questions.” He offers them as a way to calm the nerves, if you can’t think of something to talk about, so many of them are lighthearted: What animals would you like to be? SciFi or RomCom? Deep down, do you think Pluto should be recognized as a planet?
But he includes others that could be categorized as “time savers.” There are issues that divide us, and if your date thinks one way, and you know it has to be the other, you might be able to save you both a lot of time by finding that out quickly. That doesn’t mean the question can’t still be fun. It just means it isn’t just fun. So here are a few of his more pointed queries:
- Tell me about your family? Are you close with them?
- What is the most wonderful feeling in the world for you?
- What is the biggest need you see in the Church?
- What was a time when you couldn’t stop laughing?
- Can Christians believe in aliens?
- When is Jesus coming back?
- What was the subject of your last prayer?
- What do you think God has been trying to teach you recently? Are you learning it?
Women in combat
“Here’s the problem: in opening combat roles to women, we send out messages to both sexes that are either untrue, offensive or both. We are telling women that they are functionally equal to men, which everyone knows is false. And we’re telling men that the social goal of gender neutrality is more important than their own security, which is offensive and demoralizing.”
– Barbara Kay
- Edam is the only type of cheese that is made backward
- Never believe what your cheese is saying when it’s too gouda to be true!
- What did the photographer tell the Monterey Jack? “Say ‘People’!”
- What did the Mozzarella say when someone threw tomato sauce at him? “You wanna pizza me?”
Train up your kids in the Internet usage they should follow
“You need to put off foolishness and embrace responsibility. Today we are handing our children power tools and then acting shocked when they cut off their hands. This is absurd, and we should expect that our children will make serious mistakes if we do not guide them. So parent, you don’t need only to educate yourself, but also your children. You need to have a plan for introducing new technologies to your children and for monitoring them as they use them. This is your responsibility – the responsibility of having a plan.”
– Tim Challies, “Parenting well in a digital world”
Forgiving vs. excusing
“I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality…asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says ‘Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology. I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.’ But excusing says ‘I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it; you weren’t really to blame.’ If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense, forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites….When it comes to a question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different. It is the same because, here also, forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or no bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive. They keep on replying, “But I tell you the man broke a most solemn promise.” Exactly: that is precisely what you have to forgive. (This doesn’t mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise. It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart – every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.) The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.”
– C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory
10 tips to make your life (or the world!) better
On Jan. 1, 2000, and then again on the first day of 2022, the British paper The Guardian, published an article with 100 tips on “improving your life” or “making the world a better place.” Out of those 200 offerings, here’s a Top 10:
- On the fence about a purchase? Wait 72 hours before you buy it.
- Keep a book in your bag to avoid the temptation to doomscroll.
- Keep your keys in the same place.
- Be polite to rude strangers – it’s oddly thrilling.
- Don’t be weird about how to stack the dishwasher.
- If you buy something from a charity shop, consider paying double.
- Stop yourself saying “I.”
- Volunteer at your church or Christian school
- Paint the outside of your house for the pleasure of those walking past (not just the inside for you).