Your predictions for 2011

So, what do you predict will happen in 2011?  The more specific you are, you more amazed we will be if you are right.   Around this time next year, we will check the results to praise you for your foresight, or not.  (See below.) Read more

Checking your predictions for last year

It’s time to revisit the predictions some of you made last year around this time. The big winner:  Chryst, who predicted that Matt Harrison would be elected LCMS president on the first ballot with 54% of the vote.  He actually received 54.95%, but that is close enough and an amazing feat of prediction, especially for last January when Harrison’s prospects seemed dim. Dan Kempin also nailed the political developments, though he squandered his prophetic title by predicting the dominance of… Read more

Top religious developments of 2010

What do you think were the major developments in the world of religion for 2010?  I think we can do better than the lists from religious journalists that I’ve seen.  Look not only for events but also for trends that came into view in the preceding year but that might have a longer lasting effect. I’ll go first: –With the election of Matthew Harrison to the presidency, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod made a U-turn in direction, from a church… Read more

Top cultural developments of 2010

What do you think were the most notable cultural events, trends, or developments of the fast-fading year? By “culture,” I mean any combination of “high culture” (notable novels, works of art), “pop culture” (mass produced work such as movies and popular music) and sociological culture (develops in our society, such as the new and increasing social acceptance of homosexuality). Read more

In defense of Christmas “materialism”

[It’s still Christmas. . . .] I keep reading articles and posts complaining about Christmas being too materialistic, criticizing all of the shopping and gift-giving.  Many Christians are indignant that non-believers have the presumption to celebrate our holiday.  Some are saying that we should just have two separate holidays, a spiritual one for Christians marking Christ’s birth and a materialistic Winter holiday for everyone else. I reject that!  I take the highest satisfaction when non-believers glorify Christ, even against their… Read more

The top news stories of 2010

The week before New Year’s Day is always a time of retrospection for me, in which I look back on the soon-to-pass year and contemplate what it means, from a number of different perspectives.  I invite you to help me do that.  In the days leading up to New Year’s, we’ll discuss different facets of 2010. First, let’s see what we can come up with in journalism’s annual wrap-up of the top news stories of 2010.  But with a twist: … Read more

Vocation vs. Churchianity

I love to see what happens when people discover Luther’s  doctrine of vocation.  Here Chaplain Mike at Internetmonk looks at St. Paul’s exhortation for the Christian life and contrasts it with what we hear from most pulpits today: Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to… Read more

Ngrams

You’ve got to check out the Google Ngram Viewer.  It allows you to tabulate, in the form of a graph, the number of times a word or phrase is mentioned in the vast number of titles in Google Books, from 1500-2000.   Those periods of time are statistically evened out, so that the far greater number of titles available in the last few decades does not overwhelm the relatively fewer number of titles in earlier centuries. This allows users to explore… Read more

The Christmas story in Revelation

[It’s still Christmas. . . .] Ray Hartwig, who holds the office of the Secretary of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, draws attention to a Christmas account in the Bible that gets hardly any notice.  It’s in the Book of Revelation: And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and… Read more

A great new drug called “placebo”

This reminds me of an old Steve Martin routine, when he played a “wild and crazy guy” in a white suit with a fake arrow through his head.  He was going on about how he found this new drug that gave a mind-blowing high.  It’s called “placebo.” Imagine your doctor gives you fake medication and tells you it’s nothing more than a sugar pill. Would it still work? Incredibly, according to a new study of patients with irritable bowel syndrome,… Read more

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