Friday, January 29, 2010

Quick Hits #3

1. What's your take on the iPad? I think it looks pretty cool, but I have no idea why someone would need one. But then again, I'm the guy who doesn't have an iPhone or a PDA of any kind. (I do, on the other hand, have a cellular telephone that allows me to make telephone calls from virtually anywhere, which is pretty awesome when you think about it.) I have my phone for calls and my laptop for portable computing. I don't think I really need something in my pocket (or, given its size, in my shoulder sling?) that keeps me that connected. I'm cool with having nothing diversionary to do while waiting in lines.

2. The furor over the proposed Tim Tebow pro-life Super Bowl commercial is interesting. Free speech would seem to apply, especially since it's not obscene material. But in general, I think the sort of approach the Tebow ad is said to take is problematic. Abortion's potential to deprive us of a Beethoven (or a great college quarterback), I think, is a losing argument anyway, following the logic. How many aborted babies would have grown up to be deadbeat dads, child abusers, drunk drivers, or even serial killers? The point of the pro-life movement shouldn't be protecting potential VIP's and superpeople, but protecting lives because lives are precious.

3. The best blogger you're (probably) not reading is Bob Spencer.

4. Please continue to pray for Michael Spencer. If you are able, I know he and his wife would appreciate your donation (click on the PayPal Donate link at his site). He has lost his job now, having exceeded approved FMLA leave, and it's not like he was bankin' anyway. His medical bills will be killer.

5. Buy Trevin Wax's book. And Joe Thorn's, when it comes out. Support the next generation of gospel-centered writers.

6. Speaking of supporting "young" gospel-centered writers . . . :-) My gospel-driven spiritual formation study Abide: Practicing Kingdom Rhythms in a Consumer Culture is releasing April 1. It will be given away at some key events in the coming months, so keep an eye peeled, if you're a conference junkie. Brandon Smith interviewed me recently, and there's some news there about my next book, as well.

7. Pastor Tony McCollum has some hard and thoughtful words on the ongoing ecclesiological fiasco that is Gary Lamb's desire to plant a church 9 months after his firing for an affair and while still dating the woman who helped him break up his marriage. I think it's good that prominent pastors who are intimately familiar with the situation are speaking up about this; it is -- and I don't say this lightly -- a spiritually dangerous situation. Look, at the risk of offending you, if you think it's a good idea to join a church plant led by a guy and his girlfriend, much less a guy and the girlfriend who was his mistress, you are either a shallow-end-of-the-pool Christian or, honestly, perhaps not a Christian at all. This isn't about forgiveness. It's about restoration and the basic biblical qualifications for pastoring. I look at this situation and it has (alleged) Collapse of the Bible Belt written all over it. Narcissistic, vision-idolatrous, pastorpreneur-centered church, you are reaping the whirlwind.

8. On a lighter note, did Conan get fired or something?

9. I am quite proud of being the one guy in America who's never seen an episode of ER. Now my goal is to be the only person in the civilized world not to have seen Avatar. Just. Don't. Care.

10. Two goals of proclamational preaching: Firstly, "to glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God" (Rom. 15:17 NIV), and secondly, to do so that you, the hearer, might join me in fellowship with God in Christ, completing my joy (1 Jn. 1:3-4), or your joy, depending on the mss. your translation favors.

11. If you can track down Eric Mason's sermon on Brokenness preached at The Village Church (yes, Chandler's place), you should do so. I'd give you a link but it's reporting a 404 error right now.

12. Dwell in the gospel daily, friends.


Daniel said...

I've not seen Avatar either. Same reason as you.

Suprisingly enough, I'm also with you on the iPad (though I do have an iPhone because I don't have to pay for it - part of my benefits at work).

Jared said...

Oh yeah, if someone wanted to give me a free one, I wouldn't turn my nose up at it. :-)

Although I think I'd use it wifi style and avoid the AT&T sell-my-soul plans. :-)

Brandon said...

1. Yeah, the iPad seems a little gimmicky... mostly useless if you already have a notebook. I think integrating a touch screen into a macbook, or even a folding macbook that can convert from a traditional notebook to a tablet would have been far more impressive and useful.
2. Interestingly enough, there was a book out a few years ago called "Freakonomics" and one of the chapters explained why the crime rate began to drop during the 90's: abortion. Many of those who opt for abortion come from communities where a life of crime is more likely than less-aborting communities.

8. I'm inclined to think this is a joke because as much as they've talked about that big tragedy in haiti, I'm pretty sure that Jay and Conan have gotten more press in the past couple of weeks.

9. I've never seen ER. But I have seen Avatar in 3d, and regardless of the fact that it was a futuristic Dances with Wolves, I very much enjoyed it.

David Rudd said...

I will stand in the way of your Avatar goal.

I also did not see Titanic.

but, I don't have a James Cameron aversion...

on a more serious note, your words on the Gary Lamb thing are spot on.

JMJ said...

Love #2. All I wanted to say.

Keep up the good blog. :-)

sonneta said...

I'm with David - I've never seen Titanic, and will probably never see Avatar. Although I think I may, in fact, have something against James Cameron at this point - Just that I don't like that he keeps making really expensive, crowed-loved movies that I have no interest in or am even turned off by. And every once in a while someone will say I "really should see Titanic" and it's annoying.

Greg Verrall said...

9. I have seen Avatar. At first glance it looks to be very pagan in it's approach. But at a deeper level, it is a story about a world that was in shalom - all of the creatures and trees are connected in some spiritual way, although there is still death, it is a paradise of sorts. Then along comes the other-worldly enemy to steal (natural resources) and destroy (their home world), through lies and deception for his own personal gain. Then comes the "chosen one", attested to by the spiritual higher power, who becomes one of the humanoids in order the save them. He gives himself to the cause of their salvation from this undefeatable enemy by putting his life on the line, and almost dies as a result. Finally he does die voluntarily, and is re-born into the restored shalom that could not have come about apart from his intervention.

So, although it is not a perfect story of the gospel, it is very useful for helping people to see our need for a savior, and the effects that our sin is having on God's creation, and to show that the reason why we are drawn to these types of movies is our desire for a larger-than-life hero to come and save us, and eventually restore shalom, opening the way to share Christ in a new and culturally relevant way.

Greg Verrall

Anonymous said...

I'm unsure about the iPad. I want to see what Northrup's looks like when he gets one. I had initially thought I might get one and sell the MacBook. Then I found out the iPad requires a connection to a computer w/ iTunes to function. It also has no usb ports. So it really is a glorified iPod touch.

Totally agree w/ your comment on the Gary Lamb jankyness (I'm using the 1st part of the 3rd Urban Dictionary entry,
"adjective used to describe a person, place or thing which is questionable.... wrong, strange, broken down, undesirable, and/or just some thing you can't think of another word for." I did edit a slight bit of janky language).

I will also stand in the gap w/ you regarding ER and Avatar. I have never seen either, and do not see myself changing that.

Michael said...

I've been to the ER a few times... does that count. And one day I will watch the Wizard of Oz too. My family and friends think I am crazy so I just keep holding out!!

Bob said...

Jared, I loveya dude. Thanks for the props. Also, I have not seen Avatar, or a single episode of ER, or 24, or Lost. I have watched American Idol from time to time, so I'm not a complete pop-culture know-nothing. I've also heard of a band named after a 50s spy plane or something, they seem to be making some waves, but I've never owned one of their albums.

I also concur with your thoughts on the Gary Lamb thing. Sheesh.

Mike Leake said...


2 things...Absolutely love your second point. Wonderful, splendid, and I'll probably use it at some point.

Secondly, if you refer to your new book by using the words "spiritual formation" even if you put the word gospel-centered in front of it you are going to get flamed by those that have "discernment" ministries. Just giving you a heads up, though I'm sure you are aware of this....I'll be praying for you and your new book. Loved the last one...keep up the Christ-honoring work!!!

Jared said...

Mike, yep. There's even a quote or two from Dallas Willard in there.
Flame on!

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

I went and saw Avatar because someone else paid for my ticket and because it wasn't a fictional story based on an actual event. I am not convinced that James Cameron is the same sort of director as Michael Bay but with bigger delusions of grandeur (or what you would get if Michael Bay were born in an earlier life in Canada and with a dislike of the military and Republicans). Ten years ago I was hearing Christians hold forth about Braveheart and the Matrix as films with deep spiritual content (you know just enough about me to guess which Christian I'm referring to, Jared. ;-) ) I have since become skeptical about American evangelicals baptising whatever they happen to look as "missional outreach" material.

Travis Penn said...

Have you ever seen an episode of LOST? I'm trying to decide if I want to be the only guy in America who has never seen LOST. But if you haven't either, then maybe I'll watch one.

Jared said...

Travis, yep. I'm a big LOST fan.

Spike said...

I enjoy you "Quick Hits".

Took my boys to Avatar. The nauseating liberal "green" agenda stuff is nicely canceled out by the spiritual metaphor, especially the god induced happy ending. A real odd combination for Hollywood. I was suprised because the spiritual metaphor was absent from any preview publicity. worth seeing.

If you get an iPhone you won't believe you ever lived without it. The browsing is unreal and worth the extra 30 a month on my ATT plan. I'm submitting this comment from my phone, and do all my online banking from it, as well as most of my web surfing, where ever I happen to be. Now when I'm at home I'm in the living room with the kids instead of at my desk.

Mike said...

I also have never seen ER, Titanic, or Avatar. My own little way of sticking it to the hypothetical man.

Jason said...

Have room on that "haven't seen Avatar, don't want to" bandwagon? ;)

Thanks for the good links.

Anonymous said...

On #2...I believe you're missing a key component on your argument. No one thinks...I'm going to keep this child because they may one day be a murderer, drug dealer, or rapist. We want to think the best of our child. Hopefully, they will subscribe to Calvinism. So the VIP approach if that is the premise of the Tebow ad is valid. It does not take away from the need to protect encourages it.

Jared said...

Anonymous, it doesn't have anything to do with Calvinism (I don't think).

I don't think it's a helpful track, regardless. If we are to say "Don't abort, because you could be killing the next Beethoven" or what have you, we will have to switch gears suddenly in the near future when prenatal genetic testing lets us know which babies have "VIP" potential and which ones don't.

We're already seeing the abortion of babies diagnosed in utero with Down's syndrome or other disabilities. If Christians are going to start treasuring the VIPs as more special, we're going to have to figure out how to then argue against aborting the potential non-VIPs

The thrust of believing that all life is made in the image of God is essence to say that all babies are VIP's, actually. And the Sermon on the Mount (for example) would seem to indicate blessings on the meek and lowly, not the famous and accomplished.

I'm glad Tebow's mom did not abort him, btw. I just want Christians to think less about what's expedient, marketable, and culturally attractive and more about what's counter-cultural and right.