brian's blog

CT & Movie Reviews

Have We Lost Our Minds? | Christianity Today Movies

I'm not a moviegoer.  I have my reasons: in a nutshell, I live out what I watch.  Thus, I have to be careful about whose head I enter, whose life I live for a couple of hours.  Movies impact me very deeply, perhaps more deeply than the average person.

In spite of this, I wholeheartedly endorse this essay on Christianity Today, which describes the philosophy of one of their movie critics.  The critics who write for CT are striving to be good Christians and good movie reviewers.  What this looks (reads) like sometimes surprises both other Christians and other movie reviewers.

Tiny Homes in the Times

Think Small - New York Times

This is an interesting concept--"tiny homes" covers the spectrum from simple, inexpensive dwellings to high-design, shrunk-down versions of McMansions.  What they all have in common are a rather small size, usually 500 square feet or less.  Maybe they're intended to be temporary homes until something larger can be built; maybe they're intended as a more permanent, eco-friendly, simpler-living option.  But it strikes me as the kind of "small thinking" that our culture needs.

Fighting Slavery in Today's World

On a Justice Mission | Christianity Today

You can give all kinds of goods and services to the poor in the name of Christ—but if you have not restrained the hand of the oppressor from simply taking these things away, you have not done much that is significant or sustainable.

Polyamory: the wave of the future

When I can't put my own thoughts into any better words than others already have, I just blog about and link to them...

FIRST THINGS: The Fear of Being Viewed as Insufficiently Progressive

People who are not intimidated by the fear of being thought insufficiently progressive can also consult their common sense. They may even be so bold as to protest that it is morally repugnant to subject children to a social experiment that is manifestly driven by the desire of adults to satisfy their disordered emotional and erotic appetites.

A new documentary on evangelicals

FIRST THINGS: Friends of God

This is a review and commentary on the Alexandra Pelosi (yes, that Pelosi, daughter of the Speaker of the House) titled "Friends of God," about Evangelicals in America.  Michael Linton describes the movie itself (which plays on HBO throughout February) as well as comments from various media outlets.  In the end, he feels it does a much fairer job of representing Evangelicals than, say, Focus on the Family thinks it does.

Praise: Effort Trumps Intelligence

The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids -- New York Magazine

This is, for me, a stunning article.  I have a hunch it will take me a while to really process it.  See, the basic point of the article--supported in very powerful and conclusive fashion by repeated studies--is that it is worse, even destructive, to praise a child for his/her intelligence.  Those who are praised for their effort learn to respond to failure by trying harder.  Those who are praised for their intelligence are praised for something apparently beyond their control; I'm thinking it's like praising someone for the weather today.  So when a child runs into failure, they believe they have no recourse.  If all they have is their intelligence, and that's failed them, what can they do about it?  Nothing, they think.

Biblical Theology of Hell

Three Models of Hell | Christianity Today

This seems to be a succinct overview of the biblically-based views of hell in the history of Christian theology.  A good starting point for those with questions about this issue.

Adoption, Marriage, & Religious Rights in an Era of Gay Rights

Banned in Boston

"How much of the coming threat to religious liberty actually stems from same-sex marriage? These experts' comments make clear that it is not only gay marriage, but also the set of ideas that leads to gay marriage--the insistence on one specific vision of gay rights--that has placed church and state on a collision course. Once sexual orientation is conceptualized as a protected status on a par with race, traditional religions that condemn homosexual conduct will face increasing legal pressures regardless of what courts and Congress do about marriage itself."

Life, Death, and Authority

FIRST THINGS: On the Square » Blog Archive » Death on Demand

A number of months ago, as the small group I'm in was reading an article about the biblical basis for opposing animal cruelty, we read about how Sweden banned confinement in animal production.  Some people in the group tried to argue that this is an example of how Europe has a better society than America because they don't have the death penalty, they have universal health care, etc.

I tried to point out that insofar as any of these things is desirable, we should notice that they are not arriving at these conclusions by biblical logic that acknowledges the existence of God and takes its cues from the way He created the world and still sees the world today.  Instead, Europe's current culture has derived the logical basis for its choices primarily from an atheistic viewpoint that has elevated the value of animals (largely a good thing) as it has lowered the inherent value of human beings (a very bad thing).

The High Cost of Justice & Peace

This is a helpful article about the struggles of Protestant pastors and workers in Colombia.

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