The Big V: The Memorial that Heals

You probably know this is a photo of “the wall,” the most famous section of the Viet Nam war memorial in DC. It was designed by Maya Lin, a Chinese American architect. The purpose of the design was to create the image (when seen from above) of a giant wound, not a sign of victory, but a sign of hurt, of pain. Many people objected to this “non-triumphant” design, as well as the idea of an Asian designing it  (even though Lin was Chinese and not Viet Namese, and by heritage only, having no prior allegiances to another nation). I can’t think of a more appropriate way to go about it.
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Twitter and Little Birdies

“A little birdie told me…”

Heard that colloquialism before?

Nobody knows exactly where this phrase comes from but I heard it through the grapevine that the oldest and most likely source is Ecclesiastes 10:20.

“Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing  may report what you say.”

Or it could just be a reference to carrier pigeons.  Perhaps Solomon (or whoever wrote the wisdom he collected) was also thinking of carrier pigeons.  Or parrots.  Solomon acquired a lot of exotic things.  Maybe parrots also.
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Gatsby: Now That You’ve Read the Novel…

I had the rare opportunity to teach a novel right before the movie version of the novel is released.  I became totally immersed in the novel for the first time since I was in high school. And then I saw the movie.  If you haven’t done either yet, here’s why you might be interested:

F. Scott Fizgerald wanted to write a great novel about his time, about the 1920s, about an era that could be summarized by the symbol of a champagne bottle exploding into the night emptying itself hollow with intoxication.  You like that?  Well, he didn’t use that, but what he did use was a giant, haunting billboard for a long-forgotten oculist (aka eye doctor).
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J Marshall on Elder Qualifications: Checklist? Or Portrait?

Jeremy Marshall asks us how we treat the “elder qualifications” passage in Titus and what kind of leaders we appoint as a result.

via Re-thinking the “qualifications” of elders: Thoughts on Titus 1.6-9 and elsewhere.

  1. The husband of one wife. This means that he has to be a dude, first. Beyond that, we tend to quibble over the meaning of “the husband of one wife.” Does this mean not divorced? Not divorced and remarried? Not polygamous? If his wife dies, he has to quit being an elder? If he was widowed and then remarried, does this “disqualify” him? But assuming that it is a dude and the particular church has a working definition of “husband of one wife,” they move on to the next checkmark.
  2. Having children that believe, who are not accused of riot or unruly. In practice this typically means that all his young ‘uns are baptized and aren’t as bad heathens as the preacher’s kids. Unless of course you’re “installing” your preacher as an elder.
  3. Not self-willed. This one seems to conflict too much with American boot-strapsism, so we sort of nod and chuckle and check this one off with our fingers crossed behind our backs, which is typically a source of grief and strife later on.
  4. No brawler, no striker … a lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled. We tend to lump these all together into one category. Assuming Joe Bob meets qualifications 1 and 2 and hasn’t been in a fistfight since at least the early 1980s, and he’s a pretty good old boy, we’ll go ahead and give him a pass here, too.
  5. Not greedy of filthy lucre. But it helps if he is a successful businessman. 
  6. Given to hospitality. Is he apt to throw a good barbecue? Does his wife serve a mean casserole? Hospitality so defined is generally treated as a plus rather than a necessity. Check.
  7. Holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers. In practice this often means that he is capable of conducting a Bible class with Gospel Advocate Quarterlies.

I Still Have the Same Advice as I Did Graduating FHU

When I graduated college for the first time I made a list of advice for people attending or graduating from Freedom Hardly Man.  This advice could also apply to other Christian schools, and even any other university to a degree.  After 5 years away, I dispense with this advice once again.
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Testimony of Farea Al-Muslimi on the US bombing of innocent civilians

Testimony of Farea Al-Muslimi on the US bombing of innocent civilians

Press release: [WASHINGTON, DC] Farea Al-Muslimi, a Yemeni youth activist and writer, testified today at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the moral, legal and constitutional issues surrounding targeted killings and the use of drones.

It is a lie to say “they” hate us for our freedom.  The US is committing war crimes against humanity.  The Pentagon harbors terrorists.  Who’s going to invade us?