I’ve been listening to some lectures from the Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Orlando, Florida recently. They provide all of their lectures free through iTunesU which is pretty decent of them. Frank James III on The history of Christianity II is especially good and works through reformation church history from Luther to the enlightenment. Church history done well is incredibly engaging and James does it well. He tells the story of the reformation and beyond in a very engaging way.
One thing that surprised me when listening to these talks was how some godly men in church history had good marriages and how some had very bad marriages. I’ve always assumed that godly men will always work hard at having good marriages. And that’s definitely true for people like Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards. Their marriages are a great template for other ministers of God’s Word to base their lives on. But by contrast John Wesley and George Whitfield had very bad marriages and their preaching tours gradually became longer and longer as they tried to stay away from home! This definitely shows that there are many men of God with fairly large blind spots. We’re not to idolise anyone or we’ll be very disappointed.
Connected with all this is the recent news that John Piper is taking a sabbatical because of “several species of pride in [the] soul“. He also explains the other reason he’d like to step aside from public ministry; to work on his marriage. I quote:
No marriage is an island. For us this is true in two senses. One is that Noël and I are known inside-out by a few friends at Bethlehem—most closely by our long-time colleagues and friends David and Karin Livingston, and then by a cluster of trusted women with Noël and men with me. We are accountable, known, counseled, and prayed for. I am deeply thankful for a gracious culture of transparency and trust among the leadership at Bethlehem.
The other way that our marriage is not an island is that its strengths and defects have consequences for others. No one in the orbit of our family and friends remains unaffected by our flaws. My prayer is that this leave will prove to be healing from the inside of my soul, through Noël’s heart, and out to our children and their families, and beyond to anyone who may have been hurt by my failures.
Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments. (John Piper’s Upcoming leave)
Having spent last week listening to the successes and failures of men of God throughout church history to get their marriages right, I can’t help but be incredibly impressed by John Piper’s attitude. Most good marriages aren’t good without hard work and also without a realisation of the problems you need to work through. As well as learning from church history about what makes a good marriage, we can also learn from godly ministers like John Piper.
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Really think about this! It took us two decades or more of Internet advertising to finally come to ads that can do more than dancing monkeys or whcak this mole or whisk us away to another website.
At least I don’t click on Banner ads and display ads when I am doing something. The reason is that it takes me away from my current attention or focus!
Of course, it is silly since we always have the Back button to get back to where left off. But psychologically, it just doesn’t work.
Add to this the fact that I, like a trained monkey, know that if I click on the link all it will do for me is to take me to another site where they will surely sell me something. Pavlovian memory keeps me away from that dang display ad!
Maybe I am not in the mood for being sold. May be for ……about 99.99% of the time!
On the other hand, if the ad becomes interactive and seamlessly does a lot more than just hawk me stuff, I will be more interested in interacting with brands, movies, or in other words, the guys who spend the big bucks on advertising – Soap, Shampoo, Beer and Automobiles.
Google Search Ads never made sense for Dove Shampoo or Soap for example or banner ads so far! The iAd technology includes built-in support in the iphone OS for streaming video, shaking, location based calls, etc making it a truly interactive. personalized experience.
For example, a Toyota or a Ford ad for a car will recommend dealers near you since they already can get your location!
Mobile advertising is going to leapfrog over Internet advertising and bring in the big spenders!
In about two years time we will be talking about how Apple completely changed advertising. Mark my words!
“During [the twentieth] century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport—the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.
I expect that history will show “normal” mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’
“Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.”
“What was the Restoration again, please, miss?”
“The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.”
– Douglas Adams – 1999 – How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet.
Great article about Apple iAds. The article comes from this blog post. Forgot to link to that in the original post.
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Christian apologetics has always really interested me. While to a certain extent, no-one is going to be convinced into the Kingdom, apologetics does have a very important role to play in explaining that believing in the God of the Bible does make sense of our universe. There have been some great apologetic material produced recently too. Tim Keller’s Reason for God is available in most book shops and does a great job at answering critical questions such as Why does God allow suffering in the world? and How could a loving God send people to Hell?
There have also been lots of good debates between atheists and Christians but none have really caught my attention, mainly because they all seem a bit rigged. However Collision, the Movie sounds very different. Christopher Hitchens has been labelled one of the four hoursemen of Atheism along with Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. A militant atheist who has written a book entitled God is not great: How religion poisons everything. You don’t write a book with a title like that unless you want to attract attention! Doug Wilson is a reformed American pastor and apologist who’s also written many books.
Why is this debate so interesting? Well first off the movie isn’t just a debate, it’s a documentary. You actually see how each of these guys live and find out a little bit more about them other than just their debating skills. Secondly, it’s about a tour of debates and not just one debate. Neither had met each other before the tour even though they’d both contributed to a book debating atheism/the existence of God together before. And thirdly, they actually respect each other and have a laugh together. The film shows them laughing together in the pub. It all makes for a very interesting film. The film is only available to buy at the moment. I’m hoping that someone like the BBC buy it so that more people can see it.
Here’s a 13 minute clip from it.
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