Monday, November 23, 2015

Pope Francis' Encyclical - "on Care for our Common Home"

Augustine Warning of Foolishness

Augustine warning Christians about talking nonsense on topics they don't understand and deterring people from wanting to come talk to them with their questions about "resurrection, eternal life, etc."   This is from his work on the literal meaning of Genesis, which can be read on Google books.
“Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn (…) If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?"

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Read The Fathers

Here is a great find on the inter webs,, a blog that has put together a reading plan of the church fathers. It is a 7-year plan through the patristics while reading 7 pages a day at most, it started with Clement of Rome and over three years has gotten to Jerome.

I signed up for the daily email on the blog and am really enjoying getting an email from them everyday with a link to the reading for that day. They also do a few things other than the daily reading, like blogs on different figures in the church.

Anyways, check it out, its a really great resource.

Monday, September 21, 2015

“Faith” from Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft (pg.72-73)

"Faith is first. But what is it? It is not mere belief, or mere trust, though it includes both. Belief is an intellectual matter (I believe the sun will shine tomorrow; I believe I am in good health; I believe the textbooks). Trust is an emotional matter (I trust my psychiatrist, or my surgeon, or my architect). Faith is more. It flows from the heart, the center of the person, the prefunctional root out of which both the intellectual and the emotional branches grow. Faith is the yea-saying of the I, the commitment of the person. 

The object of faith is God, not ideas about God. It is essential to know things about God, but it is more essential to know God. Saint Thomas Aquinas, that most rational (not the same as rationalistic) of theologians, insists that ‘the primary object of the act of faith is not a proposition but a reality’, God himself…. The creedal truths about him are a description of faith, a defining, a statement of structure. The creeds are like accounting books, God is like the actual money. 

Though the root of faith is not intellectual, its fruit is. ‘Faith seeing understanding’, fides quarens intellectum - this was the operative slogan for a thousand years of Christian philosophy. ‘Unless you believe, you will not understand’ - faith first. But ‘in they light we see light’ - understanding follows. How accurately the saints knew God; how mistaken all the unbelieving geniuses were!

Faith is more active than reason. Faith runs ahead of reason. Reason reports, like a camera. Faith takes a stand, like an army. Faith is saying Yes to God’s marriage proposal. Faith is extremely simple. Saying anything ore would probably confuse it. Most of what is written about faith is needlessly complex. The word yes is the simplest word there is. "

Timothy George on Karl Barth as a "church theologian"

I enjoyed this article by Timothy George on Karl Barth. The whole article is good and worth reading, I especially enjoyed the beginning note about Harvey Cox smuggling Barth's Dogmatics into the Soviet Union. Below is an excerpt from the article about Barth as a "church theologian": 

"Karl Barth was a churchly theologian. What does this mean? In the first place, it refers to the fact that, unlike the majority of professional theologians, both in his day and in ours, Barth did not possess an earned doctorate. This was obviously not from any lack of scholarly ability on his part, but rather from his prior decision to pursue pastoral ministry rather than an academic career. For twelve years Barth served as a pastor, first as a pastoral assistant at a German-speaking congregation in Geneva and then as pastor of the Swiss Reformed Church in Safenwil, a small industrial town in the Aargau. Barth’s distinctive theology emerged out of his pastoral struggles. What does the preacher say to the waiting congregation every Sunday morning? How dare he say anything at all? This tension between the preacher’s duty to speak for God, on behalf of God, and the enormous presumption, indeed the impossibility, of doing so is at the very root of Barth’s theological discovery. He once put it like this: “We ought to speak of God. We are human, however, and so cannot speak of God. We ought therefore to recognize both our obligation and our inability and by that very recognition give God the glory.”
Barth’s theological training in the great liberal tradition of Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Harnack, and Hermann had not prepared him to deal with this dilemma, nor had his immersion in the Swiss version of the social gospel movement, an involvement which earned him the title “red pastor” for a while. Barth was haunted by the question King Zedekiah posed to Jeremiah long ago: “Is there any word from the Lord?” (Jer. 37:17). This question, which is every preacher’s question, propelled Barth back to the Holy Scriptures, where he discovered a new orientation for preaching and a new basis for theology.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bauchkham on Moltmann's Eschatology

Jurgen Moltmann  is a german reformed theologian at Tubingen who in a way is carrying on the theological legacy of Barth. He is known for his "theology of hope" which centers around resurrection and eschatology. Here are some quotes by Richard Bauckham explaining Jurgen Moltmann’s Eschatology taken from Alister Mcgrath’s Christian Theology Reader (3rd ed. - pg.671-672).

“the eschatological orientation of biblical Christian faith towards the future of the world requires the church to engage with the possibilities for change in the modern world, to promote them against all tendencies to stagnation, and to give them eschatological direction towards the future of the Kingdom of God. The gospel proves relevant and credible today precisely through the eschatological faith that truth lies in the future and proves itself in changing the present int he direction of the future.” 

“Authentic Christian hope is not that purely other-worldly expectation which is resigned to the unalterability of affairs in this world. Rather, because it is hope for the future of the world, its effect is to show present reality to be not yet what it can be and will be. The world is seen as transformable in the direction of the promised future. In this way believers are liberated from accommodation to the status quo and set critically against it. They suffer the contradiction between what is and what is promised. But this critical distance also enables them to seek and activate those present possibilities of world history which lead in the direction of the eschatological future. Thus by arousing active hope the promise creates anticipations of the future kingdom within history. The transcendence of the kingdom itself beyond all its anticipations keeps believers always unreconciled to present conditions, the source of continual new impulses for change.” 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Slow Reading

In the past I have practiced speed reading and greatly benefited from it. Besides increasing my reading speed about 3 times my beginning rate it has also taught me is to be a disciplined, focused reader with goals for how I read. But recently I have come across another style of reading and one that is just as important of a skill as speed reading : SLOW READING. 

The below two resources, an MP3 from regent summer program and an article from…., describe what I mean by “slow reading”. What I mean by slow reading is: meditative, reflective, thoughtful, critical reading. In the 21st century their are copious amount of written material in the form of blogs, published books, articles, tweets, etc., that can end up being superfluous and overwhelming. Speed reading is certainly helpful when dealing with so much information; but “slow reading” is also important. This looks like setting aside time to not just devour a book, but to slowly read and take stops to contemplate, write questions in the margins, respond in prayer, formulate a discussion question and talk about it… etc. Don’t just read alot, read well! Read in a way that shapes you, that gets deep into your inner man and allows the words to become powerful. 

Slow-reading is reminiscent of the ancient practice of “lectio divina” and fits well in the stream of the biblical tradition that places a high value on the spoken and written word. God created through speaking, gave man the role of “naming” animals, sin and pride divided languages at Babel, when Israel needed to be warned and restored God said prophets to speak the prophetic word, Christ is the incarnate word of God, the gospel as a verbal proclamation has the power to raise people from death to life, early church ministry was built on “word-based ministry” of preaching, teaching, prophesying, evangelizing (Eph.4), throughout all church history the people of God have read the book of God and still today discuss the depths and riches of meaning in the text that have not been completely mined for thousands of years. SO… the christian tradition is a tradition that values spoken and written word, we as christians should be good readers… both fast and slow! 

Here is a good talk on “slow reading”, it describes its importance as well as gives a small insightful history of reading:

Here is an article on Slow Reading:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Notes on N.T.Wrights Christian Origin series vol.1-3 by Andrew Perriman

In a Previous post I mentioned Andrew Perriman's notes on N.T. Wright's Christian Origin Series. I struggled to post a pdf of them last time, but was able to now. Here they are below. And the link to the original as well as some other good resources by Perriman is:

Great Video Resource for Philosophy (Wi-Phi)

I recently found this great website,,  that has short videos explaining important concepts in philosophy similar to the way "the khan academy" teaches all their subjects. Wi-Phi and Khan Academy are actually partnering together to bring some of WiPhi's videos onto Khan academy.

The subject list of Wi-Phi is impressive and the videos are fun and packed full of good info.

Probably one of the best things about Wi-Phi is their page of resources that brings together some of the best free and basic resources for philosophy on the web. I copy and pasted it below and had a fun time checking out some of these links.


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP): The SEP is an excellent free online encyclopedia of philosophy with each entry created by experts in the field.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP) : The IEP is a non-profit organization that provides open access to detailed, scholarly information on key topics and philosophers in all areas of philosophy.
Philosophy Talk: Ken Taylor and John Perry create incredible podcasts on a wide range of philosophical questions.  It's a perfect resource for a beginner in philosophy.      
Philosophy Bites: A set of podcasts where hosts interview top philosophers on bite sized topics.
Open Yale Courses in Philosophy: A free resource of classes at Yale University in philosophy.
History of Philosophy (without any gaps): Peter Adamson, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King's College London, takes listeners through the history of Western philosophy, "without any gaps." Beginning with the earliest ancient thinkers, the series will look at the ideas and lives of the major philosophers (eventually covering in detail such giants as Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Aquinas, Descartes, and Kant) as well as the lesser-known figures of the tradition.
Philosopher's Zone: A radio program that works through issues in ethics, metaphysics, and logic.
Philosophy Now: Philosophy Now is a newsstand magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It aims to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics.
Philosophy for Children: Philosophy for Children's primary purpose is to introduce philosophy into the lives of young people. One of their principal activities are the "Philosophers in the Schools" program, which brings people trained in philosophy into K-12 classrooms to do philosophy sessions with students, our teacher-education workshops, and our parent-education project. Be sure to check out their excellent blog as well. 

Online Learning:

Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers a constantly growing library of free videos that covers K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics and even a few videos on history.
Smart History: Smart History at Khan Academy is the leading open educational resource for art history. They make high-quality introductory art history content freely available to anyone, anywhere.
EdX: EdX is a non-profit created by founding partners Harvard and MIT. EdX offers MOOCs and interactive online classes in subjects including law, history, science, engineering, business, social sciences, computer science, public health, and artificial intelligence (AI). 
Open Culture: Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community.
MIT+K12: An amazing resource that aims to promote STEM education where MIT students create videos that teach basic scientific and engineering concepts to primary school students in an entertaining fashion.
LearnOutLoud: LearnOutLoud is an organization that offers high-quality podcasts and radio shows on a wide variety of subjects, including philosophy, psychology, economics, and history. 

Other Interesting Links:

Open University 60-Second Adventures in Thought: These fast-paced animations explain six famous thought experiments, from the ancient Greeks to Albert Einstein, that have changed the way we see the world.
Brila Youth Projects: Brila is a Philosophy for Children charity that supports youth through educational programming that challenges their assumptions about art, ethics, and human connectivity.
Squire Family Foundation: The Squire Family Foundation supports various efforts that are trying to make philosophy more accessible.  The site has an excellent set of resources on pre-college philosophy.
PLATO (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization): PLATO advocates and supports introducing philosophy to K-12 students through programs, resource-sharing and the development of a national network of those working in pre-college philosophy. They have gathered an excellent set of resources on teaching philosophy at K-12 level.
SAPERE (Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education): SAPERE advocates ‘the advancement of education for the public benefit, in particular amongst those young persons up to the age of 16 years, by the promotion of the development of their skills in logical thinking and other philosophical techniques so that their personal and social lives are enriched.
Ask Philosopher: You ask. Philosophers answer.
Teaching Children Philosophy: this organization helps adults conduct philosophical discussion with and among elementary school children.
The Information Philosopher (I-Phi): I-Phi is a new philosophical method grounded in science, especially modern physics, biology, neuroscience, and the science of information. It offers novel solutions to classical problems in philosophy, notably freedom of the will, the objective foundation of values, and the problem of knowledge (epistemology).
Mel Thompson: Philosophy and Ethics: Mel writes introductory and popular books on philosophy, ethics and religion and believes that everything should be explored with an open mind.

H. Orton Wiley Lecture Series Archive

Here is a great resource!

Pointloma University in Sandiego runs a yearly conference titled "H.Orton Wiley lectures in Theology". This conference has brought in some great speakers and covered some great topics. The two I have listened to are:

James K.A Smith - Whose Afraid of Relativism?

John Polkinghorne - Science and Theology

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bulletin of Biblical Research

Here is a link for the archives for the "Bulletin of Biblical Research", an evangelical scholarly journal covering a wide range of topics in biblical studies and theology. The archive goes back to 1991 and contains articles by Gordon Fee, Michael Bird, John Collins, Douglas Moo and a few other recognizable names in biblical scholarship. I looked at a few years and some of the articles look great. I will try and post some of the good articles that I find.