Some quotations to help you understand me

“The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right. Half-buried in the contradiction is the distressing idea that nobody is in charge, or nobody with any moral authority. The call to prayer is self-cancelling.” —Christopher Hitchens

“There are two governments: the one religious, by which the conscience is trained to piety and divine worship; the other civil, by which the individual is instructed in those duties which, as men and citizens, we are bound to perform. To these two forms are commonly given the not inappropriate names of spiritual and temporal jurisdiction, intimating that the former species has reference to the life of the soul, while the latter relates to matters of the present life, not only to food and clothing, but to the enacting of laws which require a man to live among his fellows purely honorably, and modestly. The former has its seat within the soul, the latter only regulates the external conduct. We may call the one the religious, the other the civil kingdom. Now, these two, as we have divided them, are always to be viewed apart from each other. Let us now return to human laws. If they are imposed for the purpose of forming a religious obligation, as if the observance of them was in itself necessary, we say that the restraint thus laid on the conscience is unlawful. Our consciences have not to do with men but with God only.” —John Calvin

“I think that if the data is overwhelming in favor, in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult, some odd group that’s not really interacting with the real world.” —Dr. Bruce Waltke

“Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.” —Isaac Asimov


Piper/Meyer transition timeline

Due to sub-par search engine optimization on the part of Bethlehem Baptist’s own website, my blog has somehow become the source for all things John Piper—at least when it relates to the subject of his retirement from pastoral ministry. So I’ve gone ahead and found a copy of Bethlehem’s transition timeline so I could place a link here where it would be easier for people to find it.

According to the timeline, Jason Meyer would have preached the recent advent series before the holiday break, and starting yesterday has taken up regular preaching duties until his installation in April 2013.

(Also see Piper’s blog post at Desiring God from last April.)

Family, Parenthood, politics, Science, Scripture

The Ten Commandments of the Late Mr. Hitchens

It has been said, “Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right, whereas morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told.” As an acquaintance of the Schatz family this truth is hugely important to me. Christopher Hitchens produced the following for Vanity Fair:

  1. Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color.
  2. Do not ever use people as private property.
  3. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
  4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
  5. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature.
  6. Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly.
  7. Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
  8. Turn off that fucking cell phone—you have no idea how unimportant your call is to us.
  9. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions.
  10. Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above. In short: Do not swallow your moral code in tablet form.

See the whole article/video on Vanity Fair.

Depression, Family, Parenthood, politics

Eleven facts about guns in the U.S.

Ezra Klein writes:

If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.

Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. But that’s unacceptable. As others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t “too soon.” It’s much too late.

Read more: Eleven facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States.


My 2012 Top Tracks

According to Last.fm, these were my top tracks of 2012. Most of these are from my Paxil playlist, and obviously I had some favorite albums that I listened to a lot.

(I thought I’d publish it before New Years to avoid contaminating the results with Sufjan Christmas tunes…)

  1. “Making Mirrors” Gotye
  2. “Easy Way Out” Gotye
  3. “Somebody That I Used To Know” Gotye · Kimbra
  4. “Pumped Up Kicks” Foster The People
  5. “Eyes Wide Open” Gotye
  6. “Shuffle” Bombay Bicycle Club (thanks Gabe!)
  7. “Smoke And Mirrors” Gotye
  8. “Crooked Teeth” Death Cab for Cutie
  9. “Highway 101” Social Distortion
  10. “You Me And The Bourgeoisie” Submarines
  11. “Shake It Out” Florence + The Machine
  12. “Better Than Wine” Derek Webb
  13. “One More” Jimmy Cliff
  14. “Children’s Bread” Jimmy Cliff
  15. “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! etc.” Sufjan Stevens
  16. “Let’s hear that string part again, etc.” Sufjan Stevens
  17. “Cry No More” Jimmy Cliff
  18. “Dog Days Are Over” Florence + The Machine
  19. “Charlie Brown” Coldplay
  20. “What The Water Gave Me” Florence + The Machine
  21. “Bang” Jimmy Cliff
  22. “Swimming Pool” Submarines