Weekly Meanderings

No surprise here.

But last Saturday was a super-soaker, almost 7 inches of rain: “At O’Hare International Airport, 6.86 inches of rain had fallen as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday, the highest single-day total in Chicago since records were first kept in 1871, according to the National Weather Service. The city’s previous single-day record was set Sept. 13, 2008, when 6.64 inches fell, according to the weather service.”

Good post on evangelicals and missional by Dave Dunbar. And John Piper sings about John Stott’s expositions.

He makes all things new. Thanks Ann.

Todd Littleton has a post about irruptions of the real in church life today. Sometimes Kurt Willem likes to stir it up; this one is a very serious confession. Messianic Judaism and advocacy for Israel, and Derek’s right that many pro-Palestinian today have become anti-Israel … why not justice for both? Speaking of Israel, bravo!

Good post on Muslims, terrorists, and the ordinary Muslim.

We shaved his head — you gotta love this one.

He should shave his head.

Speaking of music, I knew exactly four of these.

Meanderings in the News

1. If you’ve got the time, here is a good place for a discussion about logic and heaven.

2. 75%? Really? “Fully 75% of the workforce will be mobile by 2012, the research firm IDC predicted in 2008. Not to be outdone, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation predicted in 2009 that the number of jobs filled by telecommuters would grow nearly four-fold before 2020. Other studies hold that half of all jobs are receptive to telework, including the vast majority of information technology positions. That’s a lot of stats. In a nutshell: Half of us could work remotely if we wanted. Far less do. Why?”

3. This is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen, ranking even below the microfiche revolution: “THESE are dark days for the book business. Borders, a once-huge bookseller, announced on July 18th that it will liquidate its remaining stores, leaving nearly 10,700 staff jobless. Publishers will lose a showcase for their wares, which could mean more laid-off editors. Yet the problem is not the supply: writers will still scribble for scraps. Nor demand: American book publishers reported growth across all platforms in 2010. It is just that no one is making money. The business needs fresh ideas. Enter Unbound, a British effort to “crowd-fund” books. Visitors to its website can pledge money for a book that is only part-written. If enough money is raised, the author can afford to finish it—and the pledgers will get a copy.”

4. John Gruber: “As I wrote when the story broke, to say that the timing of the publication was suspicious is an understatement. Everyone knows the question of succeeding Jobs is attached to dynamite. He cannot be replaced, but, inevitably, someday will be. If Jobs steps down as CEO at any point in the foreseeable future, the company’s stock price is almost certain to take some sort of hit. I can’t see how a speculative and sketchily-sourced story such as this, published 30 minutes before Apple announced overwhelmingly positive financial results, was not intended to dampen, to some degree, the positive effect of those results on Apple’s stock.” [Replacing Jobs is like replacing, well, Michael Jordan, Mariano Rivera, Babe Ruth, and Sandy Koufax.]

5. I hope 30 first year students in my Honors Bible class don’t read this or, if they do, don’t get any fuzzy ideas: “Vagueness is hard to defend. To be vague is to be imprecise, unclear, ambiguous. In an age that worships precise information, vagueness feels like willfull laziness. And yet, as William James pointed out, vagueness is not without virtues. Sometimes, precision is dangerous, a closed door keeping us from imagining new possibilities. Vagueness is that door flung wide open, a reminder that we don’t yet know the answer, that we might still get better, that we have yet to fail. James would be delighted by a new study, led by Himanshu Mishra at the University of Utah and Baba Shiv at Stanford, which outlines the cognitive benefits of the vague and inarticulate….”

6. The war on drugs: “In 1979, when the nation’s population totaled around 225 million, government surveys showed that 25.4 million were regular users of illegal drugs. In 2009, when the U.S. population was 305 million, data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy showed that 21.8 million people were using drugs illegally. He also noted that Chicago’s decreasing crime is an important indicator that the so-called War on Drugs is working. About 70 percent of all crime can be traced to drugs, he said, and crime in the city is at its lowest in years, even though Chicago is home to about 100,000 “die-hard gang members,” and gangs’ biggest source of money is drug trafficking, he said.”

7. Rare gold bell found in Jerusalem: “A rare gold bell with a small loop at its end was discovered during an archaeological excavation in the drainage channel that begins in the Shiloah Pool and continues from the City of David to the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden, near the Western Wall. The excavations are being conducted at the site on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority and underwritten by Ir David Foundation. According to the excavation directors, archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, “It seems the bell was sewn on the garment worn by a high official in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period (first century CE). The bell was exposed inside Jerusalem’s main drainage channel at that time, among the layers of earth that had accumulated along the bottom of it. This drainage channel was built and hewn the length of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, on the bottom of the slope descending to the Tyropoeon Valley. This drainage channel conveyed rainwater from different parts of the city, by way of the City of David and the Shiloah Pool, to Nahal Kidron.”

8. Restoring a Torah scroll: “New York (CNN) – Help wanted: Someone who can sit in one place for hours on end, has the hand-eye coordination of a brain surgeon, a yogi’s power of concentration, a linguist’s knack for languages – especially ancient Hebrew – and a monk’s ability to work alone in contemplative silence, all while avoiding impure thoughts. The hypothetical job posting, which you’re not likely to see in the classifieds, is for a sofer, or Torah scribe.”

9. Housing costs in Tel Aviv create protests: “It happened almost overnight: Friday morning a week ago, walking near Habima Square in central Tel Aviv, I saw only a handful of tents, with no more than a few dozen Israelis who answered an internet call for an ongoing protest against rising rent costs. On Saturday evening the tents covered an entire block on Rothschild Boulevard, and protesters threw cottage cheese containers on the Likud HQ on nearby King George Street. A couple of days later, the tent protests came to dominate the news cycle. Housing minister Ariel Attias (Shas) argued that the protesters were spoiled kids that refuse to leave the fashionable center of the country, but by Tuesday there were tents in Jerusalem, the southern city of Beer Sheva and as far north as Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanon border (see a map of all the protests here). By Wednesday protesters tried to break into empty apartments in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; the tents on Rothschild Boulevard stretched several blocks, all the way from Habimah Square to Shenkin Street, and marches and rallies were scheduled for the weekend. The Friday papers declared that Binyamin Netanyahu sees the tent protest as the greatest potential political threat to his governing coalition. Throughout the week the prime minister conducted ongoing meetings in attempts to bring the protest to an end.”

10. More problems in Israel; Israelis want to leave: “The problem is that the vision that characterized Israel when it was created in 1948 is rapidly disappearing. Israel today is more isolated than ever in the international arena, with friends and allies dwindling amid rising anti-Semitism. The idea of creative and bold leadership that enhances diversity even within the Jewish community has become, sadly, laughable. Rather than uphold democratic values in shaping a bright future for all its citizens, Israeli leaders are more apt to promote ideologically charged legislation like the recently passed anti-boycott law and pending legislation to investigate the funding of left-wing NGOs. Meanwhile, despite the repeated criticism of the prime minister by over a dozen ex-chiefs of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Mossad, Netanyahu has failed to advance a compelling peace initiative. He and his coalition partners remain obstinate, and alarmingly clueless. As a result, many Israelis feel caged in a small, increasingly isolated country, surrounded by enemies and led by people more interested in advancing warped ideologies than a secure and prosperous future. The economic conditions today may be bright, but the future looks uncertain and even bleak. It should be no surprise that many Israelis want out. THE STATISTICS are plentiful, and worrying. Some already estimate the number of Israelis living abroad at nearly one million. A study by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in 2008 indicated more than 30 percent of Israelis had applied for a second passport or intended to do so, but some have put the number as high as 60%.”

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  • “The anti-Israel spirit in the world looks remarkably to me like Revelation 12. It is demonic and blind. Of course, advocacy for Israel can err as well, for no government or army or people will pursue biblical justice and goodness wholeheartedly. But the facts continually elude Israel’s enemies.”

    I resonated with this statement from Derek’s blog. I feel like I’ve seen this too.

  • Phillip

    I knew 7 of the videos, mostly from the 80s. The dropoff coincides with about the time I stopped listening to pop music, and perhpas to when MTV stopped being a primarily music video channel.

  • Nothing like starting the morning with a little music. You got me 🙂

  • On Derek’s post: I think he has an important point. But justice needs to be for all. It is so complex, because while I believe there is not justice for many Palestinians on the west bank, their advocates are certainly not helping their cause. The solution needed just seems bigger than what is in this world now.

    Surely no matter what theological position you hold, you should see God’s love for all. But given the history of the church, I can see why there are yellow lights everywhere, if not red. We should try to get a balanced picture, but just as advocates for the Palestinians don’t help their just cause, neither does Israel always help their just cause, either.

  • Susan N.

    re: ‘Speaking of Israel, Bravo!’ — “Why not justice for both?” Yes! and Amen!! I believe I will quit meandering the news right there, and gratefully savor that story for this day.

    Coincidentally, this week I began pre-reading a book for my small group’s fall discussion titled ‘The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew — Three Women Search for Understanding’ by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner (published 2006). Website with add’l info here:


    Having read through one-third of the book, it is both humbling to be confronted with how much I do not know of the cultural/religious differences among these three groups (I’m learning so much!) and inspiring to learn of a “shalom…ubuntu” success story.

  • EricW

    The “crowd-funding” book writing/publishing idea sounds a lot like the way Logos Bible Software promoted and sold their new Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series:


    Only the first of 44 volumes exists in complete form (Ezea/Nehemiah), yet even that wasn’t previewable to potential subscribers until a few weeks before the $699.95 low price join-by date went up to $749.95. Not exactly buying a pig in a poke, but definitely buying and paying for the making of a book.

    Is this much different, though, from the way many now-famous artists were commissioned to do a painting?

  • Pat Pope

    I HATE being rick-roll’d! Grrr……

  • On “crowd funding” — that is a return to an old practice. In the 18th century most books, especially books of sermons, were published by subscription. You got your subscribers and then wrote your book! Not sure how that works today.

  • DRT

    75% seems high, but for those not in companies doing it that probably seems insane too. But it is not.

    I work with a really big employer who is going to have all those pesky people you call into with a problem go mobile in the not to distant future. I have been mobile for quite some time.

    I usually start the day getting ready to go to work, but then log in from home and start working (I do get dressed in work clothes). Then, only if I need to, I go in. Lately that has been most days, but that keeps changing.

    I was a hold out thinking that I needed an office and desk. What I have found is that I absolutely love being mobile. Many things change once entire organizatons go mobile, for instance, it used to be that I would go to meetings that had a defined beginning and end, I still do that but now the meeting is over when everyone gets immersed in their own business around the table and everyone just stops talking. Then someone will say, I guess the meeting is over, and everyone just keeps on working right where they are. Location is much less important.

    Try it, get rid of the office, tether your iphone to your computer, vpn in to the office, get a good headset, learn to use live meeting and go for it. Its great.