the boat and the anchor

My article on Christian apologetics is now available on The Briefing website. For free.

It’s called ‘The Boat and The Anchor’ — in the spirit of Matthias Media’s ‘The Blah and The Blah’ series. You know, The Trellis and The Vine? Or The Archer and The Arrow?

Love to hear what you make of it.

You can read it HERE.

NTE Missions 2010 — resources round-up

canberra sunset

Canberra Sunset (on Flickr)

I’ve been in our nation’s capital for National Training Event (NTE) since late last week. NTE is the annual end of year conference for all the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students university Christian groups around the country.

It’s been a terrific time!

A bunch of us are heading off on mission today, pitching in with local churches and other ministries in different places. So I thought it’d be worth putting up a few links to some great resources:

  • Free sermon audio from Timothy Keller about exclusivity, absolutism, hell, literalism, suffering, injustice and doubt (available under the Resources for Individuals > The Reason For God tab).
  • My friend Andrew has made some excellent short essays and Bible studies available as resources on his blog.
  • The Centre for Public Christianity has a great collection of clips and articles on a bunch of different topics — they put out a series of 7 short clips about some common Christmas themes which are definitely worth a look.
  • And, of course, tackles a bunch of common questions about Christianity in crisp, short Q & A format.

(Depending on how your Christmas unfolds, you may also find some useful stuff here for lazy conversations while watching the cricket.)

science, religion, atheism and violence

I’ve been given a copy of a new volume of essays, The Future of Atheism.

I’m planning to read it over summer — although, no doubt it will cover a lot of by now fairly familiar ground:

Has science ‘disproved’ God (whatever that means)? Do we need religion to ground morality or does it simply foster intolerance, bigotry and violence? Is there any future for the traditional theistic ‘proofs’ of God’s existence (or something that resembles them)? Might religion itself be explicable scientifically? Etc, etc…

I’ve culled a sample of recent ‘takes’ on some of these issue  from around the web dealing:

  • On The Stone Frans De Waal published this follow-up to his earlier article, in which he argued that (monotheistic) faith provides no basis for morality — although he allows that it may provide compelling after-the-fact rationalisation. Amusingly, he seems genuinely surprised to have stirred up a hornets’ nest.
  • Sarah Coakley serves up a fascinating pair of articles that propose a more constructive way of configuring the relationship between science and faith — HERE and HERE.
  • Michael has apparently put together some material on the ‘myth of religious violence’ — although he hasn’t posted it online yet (it will presumably have a lot to do with this review he posted earlier in the year)
  • For the visual learners among us, you can watch Miroslav Volf offer some preliminary comments about violence in the name of faith (h/t Steve).
  • And while we’re on the topic of violence, Stanley Hauerwas takes to task the Pacifism Is An Unrealistic Luxury Parasitic On Those Who Are Less Squeamish About Violence argument: Part One and Part Two. Provocatively, he concludes the second piece by insisting that the church is the alternative to war — would that it were so!

somebody drag me into the 21st century!

I have a confession to make: I’m not an Early Uptaker.

Shocking, I know. I own a Macbook but have never stood in line overnight awaiting the release of the latest product Steve Jobs has dreamed up. I don’t own an iPhone. In fact, I didn’t get a mobile phone until 2003 — and when I did it was a friend’s old handset with the cheapest possible pre-paid SIM! And … I don’t watch stuff on YouTube.

So I need your help.

A bit of context first: People keep telling me that the new generation doesn’t read books (although I know a few Luddites like me who still do). But I want to be able to help people reflect on life and God in light of the story of Jesus.

What I’d like is for you all to help drag me into the 21st century and tell me your Top 3 (or 5 or 10) video clips for helping people do this — reflect on life in light of the Christian good news. I don’t care whether it’s music videos, talking heads, interviews, testimonies, snippets of talks. You name it, I need to get across it.

So, please: the comments are yours. Have at it!

everyone needs a little (link) lovin’

seven of the best (doing what they do best)

It’s been a while since I gave over an entire post to who I’ve been reading online lately. This one’s got seven of the best — all of them doing what they do best!

  1. Slavoj Zizek offers a provocative Marxist reading of who’s really to blame for the Gulf of Mexico oilspill disaster
  2. Richard Hays ‘waxes narratival’ (if anyone can do it, it’s Hays!) about God’s reconciliation of the world in Christ from 2 Corinthians 5.
  3. Tim Keller extensively documents the case for Redeemer’s integrated approach to urban ministry, Christ-centred preaching, cultural renewal, and church planting.
  4. Christopher J. H. Wright tackles the often-overlooked problem of the righteous rich in the Old Testament.
  5. Dan talks about something apparently mundane — germinating seeds on top of his fridge — in tones of such rapt wonder that you can’t help wanting to germinate your own seeds too!
  6. John explains how to pick good sermon title (and so avoid sabotaging your preaching at the most basic level).
  7. Alison wraps up her moving series of three reflections on reconciliation, land and place in Australia

Go nuts.

that’s a wrap!

You’ve probably noticed that Natalie and I have (finally) wrapped up a couple of different lines of thought we’ve been pursuing for some time now.

We flick back and forth between different topics so often — and so erratically — that we thought it’d be worth gathering them in one location…

some things of beauty

Here are some things I’ve found particularly arresting and uplifting lately. I hope you do too:

Beautiful. Right?

things that have got me thinking

I’ve got a bunch of things on the boil right now. Like reading Oliver Crisp’s Divinity and Humanity (yeah, I know I’m behind the times; but my copy of god Incarnate is still in volcanic ash-delayed transit).

NASA'S Terra Satellite Captures Ash Plume of Icelandic Volcano

Satellite view of the Icelandic volcano's ash plume by NASA (on Flickr)

But here are a few things — from some members of the Moore College faculty and one or two others — that have got me thinking lately:

catching up (and moving forward)

Well, Natalie and I have finished our trip and arrived in Melbourne — and we hardly even broke our blogging stride! But what we didn’t manage to do so well overseas was keep up with reading. We packed way more novels than we got through (even with all the long haul flights, etc). And the angrily high number of unread posts in my RSS reader is kind of frightening…

That being said, we’re doing our best to catch up. Here are some of the standouts of my catch up reading so far:

  • In keeping with the first topic I’ve tackled in the ‘confessional turn’ I’m making here, Andrew has launched into a personal series grappling with election in Romans 9-11. The Intro as well as Parts I and II are up.
  • Steve has some timely (and provocative) words on leading Christian communities — Parts I, II and III.
  • My friend Jenny has started a new blog — Embracing Earth — to help her think through issues of art, work and beauty. This is a conversation we need to have. I’m excited.
  • Although I’m even more excited (sorry Jenny) about the prospect of an affordable reprint of Barth’s Church Dogmatics — h/t Ben Myers. $99. Seriously? Even if that’s USD, the exchange rate right now makes this so awesome!
  • Byron explains why being ‘freed to love’ means that rich Christians can’t avoid confronting climate change, drawing together a bunch of his blogging threads over the last little while.
  • And Mike Bird’s commentary on the recent resignations of Bruce Waltke and Tremper Longman from major Reformed seminaries in the US stirred an appalled fascination in me.

In terms of moving forward, Natalie and I are on the hunt for a place to live, I’m psyching myself up to make a bunch of fundraising calls, and Natalie’s dipping her toe in the water at Melbourne Uni. In short, it’s on!