A Quick Word

"In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." -Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

16 March 2011

Serious concerns, our future.

"Trying to place the situation on the INES scale is premature, said David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University.

'I've been asked to put a number on it a few times and I've resisted,' he said.

Cochran said his concerns transcend nuclear power. 'We've watched Exxon Valdez, the BP oil spill, numerous coal mining accidents, Chernobyl, TMI, now Fukushima, slag ponds, TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) reactors giving way. You have got to ask yourself, how many wake-up calls do you need before you get serious about building a safe, renewable-energy economy?'"
 (Taken from this article.)

12 March 2011


So I finally got around to changing the motif around here. I'm not sure this is the way things are going to stay, as I'm not completely satisfied with it, but it is at least a change-- a change that, I think, better reflects where I am now, not where I was three years ago when I opened this Blogger account. I enjoyed the brooding grays and blacks of my previous design, cerebral and stark. But all that is gone now.

Instead of the Chicago skyline, we now have a whimsical painting I found in the Ashmolean during my trip to Oxford. It better captures how I live now; freer, happier, the world opened up before me with the starry sky above. Sure, it is in some ways a return to the sometimes flowery self-indulgence that marked my adolescent blogs years ago. It's perhaps less "grown-up" than my monochrome skyline and simple, streamlined design. And yet, I find a symbolic significance to the playful painting and the muted greens and creams of this blog's newest iteration.

Sometime near the end of my high school career, I made a WordPress account with the intention of keeping a blog there. It had all the right trappings: an brown, intellectual looking template, a catchy URL, etc. And yet I updated it only sporadically. I realized that it was just a slightly more thoughtful variation on my earlier Xanga account-- something I did not wish to repeat. And so it fell out of favor.

Yet I felt like I wanted some sort of online presence, a place to dump my thoughts. For while I didn't really like blogging or the concept behind it-- giving everyone a platform to whine, moan, and wax seemed dangerous to me-- I realized that my strategy of willful ignorance would not, in the long run, benefit me. Thus, because I couldn't beat 'em, I joined 'em. And now we have this Blogger account.

I have changed so much since my first attempts at keeping a blog. I stand on the cusp of a truly scary and truly exciting time of life; graduate school, vocation, marriage. The real world stands at my door. And so in many ways I feel like that little guy on the boat up there, his face to the sky, searching for the transcendent. In fact, for the brief time I kept that WordPress account, I penned a post that used a ship and sea as a metaphor for my life. Trite, to be sure, but once more pertinent as I look to this next chapter of my life.

We'll see how long this design lasts.

01 March 2011

Love may win in the end, but for now it's animosity.

Within the evangelical protestant blogospheretwitterverse this week, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Rob Bell's upcoming book Love Wins. I've kept my eye on the debate from a distance, as I have no mind to spit vitriol and Bible verses across the internet. This post will be my only observation.

I love Rob Bell. I respect him, I've paid money to see him speak. I think he's one of the greatest Christian leaders of our day, and he doesn't get enough credit for it. I've also watched the video, edited much like his popular (and brilliant) Nooma series, that discusses the premise of Love Wins. And I think it's great.

Though I have never really respected John Piper (first for his views, second for his spat with NT Wright) this has now given me a third reason not to take him seriously. His comments, as well as the comments of other prominent (and some not so prominent) figures in the evangelical world have caused me great distress. They speak to a contentment with ignorance, to the very blind acceptance and intellectual vacuity that caused me to nearly turn away from the church just over a year ago. Those wounds are still fresh. They still bleed, even as I contemplate a life in ministry to the church.

Rob Bell's intention to examine what heaven and hell really are and how they fit into the concept and assumption of a loving God is an admirable endeavor. He's taking up a deep theological question that has not only occupied the minds of some of history's greatest theologians and exegetes, but also of history's greatest skeptics. To think that we have answered the questions "What does it mean to be saved?" or "What is God like?" in some neat and tidy fashion is ridiculous.

The attitude displayed by those who denounce Bell as anti-Christian don't help anyone. An attitude like this brings to mind a few Copeland lyrics: "No one really wins this time." No one. Christians who only denounce don't answer these sorts of questions because, well, they don't ask them. But questions need to be asked, and they discussion needs to be healthy and civil. Because whether you like it or not, asking "Why can you be such a good person [like Gandhi, the example in the video] and still be damned to hell?" is a valid and pertinent question. Even CS Lewis posed it rather indirectly with his work The Great Divorce.

One has to think systematically; if you say that the only way to get to heaven is by praying a prayer to accept Christ into your heart, then what do you do with the billions throughout time who have not even heard of Christ, God, etc.? What happens to them?

I'm interested to read the book for myself. Because, unlike Justin Taylor's overblown "Rob Bell: Universalist?" post, I want to see what Bell really says. I don't think it will be a universalist claim. Rob Bell is too collected and thoughtful for that.

UPDATE: Here's an article I found on CNN's "belief" blog about the controversy surrounding Rob Bell's new book. The most embarrassing part? Justin Taylor hasn't even read the book. Seriously?