The #1 most popular Cranach blog post of the year

The year’s most viewed post by far was not written this year, but rather in July 2011.  And it wasn’t written by me, but by my liberal Democratic Southern Baptist musical genius brother, Jimmy.  Here it is:

The Devil’s interval.

People who google this legendary evil-sounding musical lick–and I presume most of these are heavy metal head bangers (I’m sure my terminology is out of date)– are directed to this post, and I hope they find a warm welcome and become regular readers of this blog.

My brother, very kindly, is not lording it over me for outblogging me on my own blog.  Nor do I resent it.  In fact, I am trying to get him to write more guest posts for me.  He has some very interesting ideas about music education that I’d like him to share with the general public on this blog.

He will build you a House

We are on the road for Christmas, and we worshipped on the last Sunday of Advent at the church where my son-in-law is the pastor.  (As of now, our Advent Christmas embargo is over.)   Rev. Ned Moerbe preached on the Old Testament text for the day, 2 Samuel 7, in which David had the idea of building God a house; that is, a permanent Temple to replace the Tabernacle tent that the children of Israel had used as the place of sacrifice since the Exodus.  But God, through Nathan the prophet, tells David not to build Him a house; that He would build David a house, an eternal house, prophesying the perpetual reign of  David’s descendant, the Christ.

In the course of the sermon, we were told that the custom in the ancient Biblical cultures was when a couple was betrothed, they waited to get married until the groom built his bride a house for them to live in, either a separate structure or an addition to a family home.  This would probably have been the case with Joseph–whose profession as a carpenter, in the original languages, was not so much a builder of furniture but a builder of houses–and Mary, his betrothed.  And this speaks to us of Advent. . . [Read more...]

Blog drama

In the earlier days of this blog, we were renowned for the high level of discourse and the friendliness of our commenting community.  We had lots of different opinions and different sorts of people participate–conservatives and liberals, Lutherans and Pentecostals, feminists and gays, Muslims and atheists–but with a few exceptions everybody got along.  (Remember Little Buddha–something like that–the atheist who provoked extensive, in depth discussions about God and His existence, who eventually signed off thanking everybody for the personal support he felt and for the friendships he formed on this blog!)

Well, as the number of readers has soared, that sense of community and the friendly climate isn’t the same.  People tell me that they don’t comment anymore, due to their fear of hostile retorts, or that they don’t read the comments anymore.  I have valued the openness of our discussions and I have resisted all of the recommendations to rein in some of the threads and some of the participants.  But I have now started banning people. [Read more...]

My new book on the imagination

 I have published a new book, one that I collaborated on with Matt Ristuccia, an evangelical pastor in Princeton.  It’s called Imagination Redeemed:  Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind. 

The imagination often gets mystified these days with its association with the arts and creativity.  We get into those areas in the book, but we are trying to recover a much more basic understanding of the concept.  The imagination is simply the power of our minds to conjure up mental images.  When you use your memory to recall past experiences, when you make plans for the future by visualizing what you are going to do tomorrow, when you daydream, when you dream, when you fantasize, when your consciousness is just running on neutral, you are using your imagination.

There have been quite a lot of Christian reflection on the faculty of the mind known as reason.  Other mental powers such as the emotions and the will have gotten significant attention.  But there has not been that much lately on the imagination, which, arguably we use more than any of the other mental faculties.  Older theologians, however, from Augustine to Luther, did address the imagination, as we go into.  After the jump, I will explain some of  what this book gets into and has to offer. [Read more...]

The Royals and the other playoff teams

After a thrilling 12-inning game that went back and forth all night, the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics to win the American League wild-card slot.  That’s the first time the Royals made it to the playoffs in 29 years.  They were the first team that inspired me to start following baseball seriously–back in the George Brett, Freddie Patek, Dan Quisenberry, Willie Wilson era–when I was in graduate school at the University of Kansas.  So I’m glad.  It’s hard to imagine them going very far, but I hope they do.

Anyway, the playoff lineups are now set, and the games have begun.  After the jump, the first-round matchups and how I come down on the games. [Read more...]

The abortion talk

My daughter has published a brilliant article in the Federalist!  I am so proud.  From Mary Moerbe, NPR Forced Me To Have The Talk With My Six-Year-Old:

It crept up on me, but it was suddenly time to have the talk. I switched off the radio as I was driving my oldest daughter to a lesson, and slowly let out my breath. Obviously, my daughter was feeling things she had never felt before, and a quick glance was enough to tell me that now was a time she needed me to talk. She asked, “Mommy, what were they talking about, ending pregnancies?” [Read more...]


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