Update on “Why Calvinist Baptists but not Lutheran Baptists?”

That post we had the other day about why there can be Calvinist Baptists but not Lutheran Baptists turned out to be part of a very interesting discussion in the Christian blogosphere.  Superblogger Joe Carter wrote a post summarizing the various points in the debate.  (He scored us the winner.) [Read more…]

Cicadas and Resurrection

Our pastor had some good reflections in our church newsletter on the 17-year locusts (a.k.a. “cicadas”) coming out of the ground around these parts.  He manages to connect cicadas to people, sin, the church, death, resurrection, and baptism! [Read more…]

How Gallup blew the presidential election polling

On the eve of the last election, the venerable polling firm Gallup predicted that Mitt Romney would beat Obama 49% to 48%.  Actually, Obama won, 52%-48%.  The company has been studying what went wrong.  Despite Republican complaints that pollsters were using methods that were undercounting conservatives, in fact, Gallup, at least, was over-counting them.  After the jump, the mistakes Gallup researchers have identified. [Read more…]

The best book on classical education?

One of the best books I have ever read on classical education is the just-released title Simply Classical:  A Beautiful Education for Any Child  (Memoria Press).  It’s by my friend and colleague on the board of the Consortium for Classical & Lutheran Education, Cheryl Swope.  Classical education is best-known for its powerful academic chops, for its cultural richness, and for its compatibility with the Christian view of the world.  But Cheryl’s book chronicles what it did for her two special needs children, both with severe mental and emotional handicaps, whom she homeschooled with, yes, a classical education, complete with Latin, classical music, and great literature.  This book not only gives an unusually lucid explanation of what classical education is and how to teach with it, whether in a school or at home, it reminds us of classical education’s most important quality:  how human it is and how it connects with the humanness of its students, including those whose humanness is often overlooked. [Read more…]

A Christian physicist, the Higgs particle, and an anthropic multiverse

Christian physicist Stephen M. Barr, of the University of Deleware and a frequent contributor to  First Things, wrote with some other scientists a paper on the Higgs field–an aspect of the so-called “God particle”–that is getting new attention in light of the collider that has recently assembled evidence about this mysterious yet fundamental entity.  See The Large Hadron Collider, the Multiverse, and Me (and my friends) » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.  After the jump, a sample and a link to a very lucid popularized explanation from Dr. Barr about his findings, having to do with both the multiverse and the anthropic principle (the notion that the laws of physics are what they are in order to make possible human life). [Read more…]

The tornado set a record

One of the tornadoes that hit the Oklahoma City area on Friday was the widest ever recorded at 2.6 miles.  It was rated an EF5, which is the very top of the tornado scale.  Nine days earlier, another EF5 had hit Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb.  And in 1999, Moore had another of the rare EF5’s.  That twister featured winds at 302 m.p.h., the strongest winds ever recorded.  On Friday, the extra-wide tornado had winds just short of that, at 300 m.p.h.   Good thing it struck out in the country or Oklahoma City would have been blown off the map, with untold numbers of casualties.  As it was, 18 people were killed, including two tornado chasers.  The three tornadoes that we endured that night paled by comparison. [Read more…]