On Predestination

“Through mortal sins the elect may altogether lose and banish the Holy Ghost, faith and the grace of God, and thus for a time become subjects of condemnation, yet they cannot be wanting to the end, and perish eternally. Total loss of grace is one thing, final loss of grace is another. That is total, by which any one is entirely deprived of the grace of God; that is final, by which any one, shortly before death, departs from the faith, and dies in unbelief.” — Johannes Quenstedt

The Bee Stings Zuckerbergism

Giving his arms and legs a nice little stretch while reclining in his office chair Thursday afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, confirmed that he had successfully completed another long day of deciding what people around the world should believe.

“We’ve got two billion users now, so it’s never been more important to show them only what we want them to see, while throttling to death of all content that we don’t think they should be consuming for whatever reason,” the Facebook chief said. “My days are longer than ever.”

The tech titan, worth $62 billion, went on to describe the weight that comes along with being the arbiter of moral fitness and objective truth, able to make or break nearly any website on the internet by lowering the organic reach of their posts or outright banning them, based upon Facebook’s opinion of the views expressed in their content.

“It’s hard work, dictating which worldviews are acceptable and which are not. But someone has to do it,” he said. “We can’t just let people consume whatever they want.”

At publishing time, Zuckerberg confirmed that he was smothering the reach of this very article.

Pretty much.

OK This is A Very, Very Cool App

The ‘From’ App

Die App ist für iOS Nutzer im Apple iTunes Shop kostenlos erhältlich – Stichwort: Reformierter Bund.

Die from…- App für reformierte Frömmigkeit ist ein Projekt des Reformierten Bundes e.V. in Zusammenarbeit mit der Reformierten Kirche Zürich. Das Projekt wurde im Dezember 2015 initiiert. Im Januar/Februar 2017 soll die App zur Verfügung stehen – zunächst in der iOS-Version und dann in der Android-Version. Projektzeitraum ist 2016 bis 2019.

It has numerous fantastic functions including Scripture readings, prayers, hymns (actual hymns and not rubbish ‘praise songs’), and a bunch of other cool things.

Als Name der App wurde »from… – App für reformierte Frömmigkeit« gewählt. Das Kürzel »from…« spielt auf das zentrale Thema der App an: »reformiert fromm sein« und steht für »faith – reformed – online – materials«. Zugleich steckt darin die englische Präposition »from«, die zahlreiche Assoziationen weckt: z.B. »from day to day«, »from… with love«, »from faith to faith« etc.

Für die Startseite sind folgende anwählbare Rubriken vorgesehen: Bild, Bibel, Psalm, Frage, Impuls, Chronik, Gebet, Provokation. Diese können – im Sinne eines ›liturgischen‹ Verlaufs – der Reihe nach angeklickt werden, aber auch je nach Interesse und Lust ausgewählt werden. Die einzelnen Rubriken bieten entweder täglich oder wöchentlich neue Inhalte.

I’ve only been using it half an hour and I feel more pious already!

‘The 10 Plagues’ Thrill Ride!!!

Now THAT’S a fantastic idea!

The 65-year-old Australian [Ken Ham] and his partners, Mike Zovath and Mark Looy, have launched an ambitious 10-to-12-year plan to re-create a walled city from the time of Noah and a 1st-century village from the time of Jesus.

Also, a Tower of Babel, concept snack shacks, a 3,200-seat amphitheater and a 10-plagues-of-Egypt thrill ride. Frogs! Fiery hail! Locusts!

Instead of building a church, Answers in Genesis is sharing its teachings through a controversial biblical theme park designed to attract believers and nonbelievers alike.

“How do you reach the general public in a bigger way?” Ham muses rhetorically, sitting in his expansive corner office at the Creation Museum, his first, more sober foray into the family entertainment business, which celebrates its 10th anniversary on Memorial Day. “Why not attractions that people will come to the way they go to Disney or Universal or the Smithsonian?”

Man! I hope the plagues are realistic! And that Noah’s village actually floods!!! Now THAT would be brilliant.

He’s Right, There’s No Such Thing As A Literal Translation

There are just translations that are faithful to their source and translations that are not.  So he’s right when he writes

A few days ago, I came across a blog post which was making a valid point about the differences in meaning of two Greek words which are usually translated “go” in English. The post made an interesting point, but I did have one significant problem which rather distracted from what would, otherwise, have been a good read.

“Go therefore” from Matthew 28:19. “πορεύω poreuō” literally translates as “to pursue on a journey”, “continue with commitment” and “become an adherent”.

My problem is with the word “literally”. The Cambridge dictionary gives the primary definition of literally as:

using the real or original meaning of a word or a phrase.

The problem with this is that in the example above we have three “literal” English meanings of one Greek phrase, all with different senses. Does poreuo mean “pursue on a journey”, “continue with commitment” or “become an adherent”? These are all very different concepts; there is a link between them, but they are not “literally” the same.

Etc.  Right.

RefoThursday

“War is sweet to those who have not experienced it.” ― Quoted by Erasmus in his Adages

While in college in the early 2000’s I worked at a grocery store with a rather rough, calloused, and quiet individual.  He had every habit that a good Christian college student was told to avoid.  I tried to strike up conversation with him, but to no avail.  My only clue to his backstory was his black leather jacket with the POW/MIA emblem on the back.  One day I stopped him and timidly said “I want to thank you for your service in Vietnam.”  I stood amazed as he told me through tears that in the 30 years since he came home from Vietnam, I was the first person to ever say that to him.  He immediately added, “The ones who really deserve your thanks never came home.”

Read the rest.

She Should Have Gotten Jail Time

Dani Mathers earned fame posing as a nude model. She gained notoriety on the other side of the camera when she snapped a photo of an unwitting and unwilling subject — a naked 71-year-old woman in a gym locker room.

The firestorm of criticism that erupted after the Playboy model posted the pic online to mock the woman’s body drew more attention than any centerfold of Mathers and led a judge Wednesday to order her to spend 30 days cleaning up graffiti on Los Angeles streets as punishment.

Mathers, 30, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor invasion of privacy in Los Angeles County Superior Court for the so-called body shaming case. Although she didn’t admit guilt, the plea is recorded as a conviction.

The victim, who was not in court, was humiliated by the cruel act, prosecutors said.

“Body shaming can devastate its subject,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “People are mocked, they’re humiliated and in ways they can never fully get back.”

Mathers, a petite blonde, had apologized for taking the photo at an LA Fitness club in July and posting it on Snapchat with the caption: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

Your apology is meaningless.  You’re an ugly person.