Half Blind In Bangkok

I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but my brother is half-blind in Bangkok right now. He’s on a mission trip and got some sort of infection behind his eyeball (yuck).

It sounds like he’s going to be A-OK, but I’m sure it’s quite disturbing to fall ill in another country. Especially a non-Western one.

On the plus side, he had travel insurance and so everything is paid for. It’s far better for him financially than it would have been in America. And whatever he has isn’t something he got in Thailand–it was developing before he left.

Anyway, he should be coming back this weekend. Until then, I’ll keep thinking about Murray Head’s One Night In Bangkok.

Absolutely Amazing

I listen to MP3s when I bike to campus. Not music, as I really don’t like music all that much; rather, I soak up lecture/seminar/sermonic stuff. I get a lot of them from Discipleship Library and I’ve recently started downloading some from IT Conversations.

Anyway, I recently listened to Ben Saunders’ amazing story. He made a solo expedition to the North Pole and really knows how to spin the tale. I was agog. Highly recommended.

Campus Ministry at the Ivies

One of our alumni, Elizabeth, emailed me this fascinating NYT article: On a Christian Mission to the Top. It’s an article about ministry at the Ivy League schools focusing on a group called Christian Union

. There’s a related NPR story.

I really appreciate their vision. I’ve often thought that someone ought to establish evangelical ministry centers at the top tier universities, so I’m glad to see that they’re running with it.

Anyway, this paragraph leapt out at me:

By the 1970’s, Assemblies churches were sprouting up in affluent suburbs across the country. Recent surveys by Margaret Poloma, a historian at the University of Akron in Ohio, found Assemblies members more educated and better off than the general public.

I’m speechless.

The Assemblies of God and education are not two concepts that are often linked in the minds of the populace at large (with reason, I might add: I’ve actually heard these words uttered at a ministerial gathering with absolutely no hint of humor, “The problem with the Assemblies is all this eddikashun.” Moreover, I saw several heads nod in agreement). Perhaps that instance has unfairly tainted my perceptions of the movement as a whole, but I’ve never been particularly impressed with our intellectual prowess in the Assemblies.

On the flip side, one of our AG ministers in San Francisco is a Harvard grad who lives in a bus and ministers to the homeless. And of my three district officials (bishop-equivalents) one has his doctorate and another just needs to finish his dissertation. A pastor I know in the San Joaquin valley was once nominated for a Pulitzer. Come to think of it, I know lots of sharp, well-educated ministers and even more sharp, well-educated laypeople.

I just always assumed they were a minority. I should really rethink that.

Trailer for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Shaowei just emailed me the link for the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe trailer

pathology divx movie online

.

It was stunning. I can’t believe how good it was from a purely cinematic perspective.

And from a theological perspective it looks as though they’re keeping way more of Lewis’ symbolism than I thought possible. “In this house there are many rooms” “only one door leads to another world”… those are explicitly Biblical allusions.

The Apex of Geek Humor?

Sean Wat has emailed me what may well be the apex of geek humor: the Klein Four Group performing “Finite Simple Group (of Order Two)” (Windows media file)

I’m not sure whether it’s cooler in my context to pretend that I get the parts that I don’t or that I don’t get the parts that I do…

I think that says a lot about me, my context, and society at large.

Worship In The Emerging Church

Periodically I get a chance to sit in a live studio audience for a CCN broadcast. I’ve seen Doug Fields, George Barna, Larry Osborne, Henry Cloud, etc. The best part is I can bring students and expose them to some of these leaders.

Anyway, I was particularly excited about the recent Worship In The Emerging Church seminar with Dan Kimball (he blogs!) and Sally Morgenthaler. If you’re going to hear two folks talk about this subject it’s hard to pick a better team. You can get the notes in PDF (although there are blanks).

Some thoughts I had:

  • As I suspected, college ministry really is a behind-the-scenes driver for a lot of the “emerging church” “postmodern church” stuff. Dan launched the precursor to his current church as a college ministry. All the staff at Curtis’ church (including Curtis) are former college ministers.
  • Dan mentioned that he had done a survey and 98% of UC Santa Cruz students were not part of either a church or a campus ministry. Hurry up, Brian & Cecilee!
  • Curtis Chang was also there as an audience member. He wrote a book on methodology in apologetics (Engaging Unbelief) which I really like. He also pastors an uber-cool church in nearby San Jose. I asked what he’s been reading lately and he said Mountains Beyond Mountains and that it had really stretched his vision. I’d never heard of the book, which just shows I really do know less than other people think I do.
  • The weakest point in the seminar was a foray into the realms of multiple learning styles. I find the concept as it is usually expressed pretty bogus. I’m not sure the church should be taking its lead from America’s education system and the theories that underlie it. Let me rephrase that. I’m sure the church should not be taking its lead from America’s education system. My apologies to all the educational theorists in Chi Alpha who will now regard me as an enemy.
  • Resources that were recommended:
  • In closing, I’d never seen Dan before this but I’d heard people rip on his hair. I like his hair. It suits his nose. He also plays with his wedding ring a lot, which I do myself.

The Next Great Awakening Will Be…

David Gellertner has a great article in the Weekly Standard called Biblical Illiteracy in America. I liked the article well enough, but the last few paragraphs swept me off my feet:

My guess is that our next Great Awakening will begin among college students. College students today are (spiritually speaking) the driest timber I have ever come across. Mostly they know little or nothing about religion; little or nothing about Americanism. Mostly no one ever speaks to them about truth and beauty, or nobility or honor or greatness. They are empty–spiritually bone dry–because no one has ever bothered to give them anything spiritual that is worth having. Platitudes about diversity and tolerance and multiculturalism are thin gruel for intellectually growing young people.

Let the right person speak to them, and they will turn back to the Bible with an excitement and exhilaration that will shake the country. In reading the Bible they will feel as if they are going home–which is just what they will be doing.

via GetReligion

Dave Barry on France

I stumbled across this cheeky little observation at Glenn Vanderburg’s Quotations page:

[The French] have always hated us, of course … but now they REALLY hate us, because our culture has become so dominant that they’re having trouble completing so much as a single sentence without using American words. They’re always blurting out statements like: Le software de la hardware est un humdinger! And then they get so mad that they could spit.

I searched and discovered that it’s from one of the funniest Dave Barry columns I’ve seen.

Dana The Demander

Dana (who has new photos up on our gallery, although the one you see is from the Chi Alpha @ Stanford gallery) has been developing more and more of a demanding personality lately.

The one that amuses me the most concerns her cereal. She has a bag of Cheerios that contains some dried strawberries and blueberries. She’s decided that she likes those much more than the little toroids, and so she’s begin eating just the fruit and then screaming at us in the hopes that we will produce more dried fruit. In the event that we don’t immediately bring forth said fruit, she begins scattering her Cheerios over the floor.

She’s also very particular about when she wants to be picked up.

All in all, it’s very charming. It can get draining, but it’s really quite charming.

Truth Or Dare

I was reminded how much our ministry matters as I reflected on two very different events at Stanford: the Veritas Forum and a campus Playboy shoot. The two played out like a real-life version of truth or dare.

First, truth. We were delighted to co-sponsor The Veritas Forum at Stanford. We brought in leading Christian intellectuals such as Dallas Willard, Gary Habermas, and Michael Behe to engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ. It was incredible! The highlight for me was observing Christian philosopher Dallas Willard debate Richard Rorty, one of the most influential philosophers in America today. The whole week was a powerful reminder that the Christian faith is reasonable and worthy of careful investigation.

But we went from truth to dare as Playboy came to town and students disrobed to pose for the magazine’s annual college issue. The Stanford Daily urged readers to participate, saying that prejudice against pornography “is an unfortunate product of our society, and one that ought to be addressed.” The editorial went on to make the case that Playboy was a high-class, upstanding literary magazine. (source)

The difference between the two events was inadvertently summed up by a hopeful model. When asked by a local paper about some consequences of her decision to pose, she said, “I guess I hadn’t thought it out too thoroughly.” (source)

And so we’ll keep sponsoring events like the Veritas Forum, we’ll keep hosting Bible studies in the dorms, and we’ll keep talking about things like the reliability of the Bible, because today’s students desperately need to be challenged to think.