Links 14 – 8/11/13

Links for the weekend.

1. Ethics at the Beginning of Life and The Offense of Infancy

2. Masculine Feminists

3. How Many Men in Asia Admit to Rape?

4. How Romance Wrecked Traditional Marriage

5. Why Russia’s Drinkers Resist AA

6. Ten Political Assumptions

7. Son of David, Son of Abraham

8. Lords of Time

9. The End of Protestantism

10. Good News for the Poor – Daniel Silliman shares some thoughts on the prosperity gospel

11. A Theology of Rock

12. Multiple Aspects of Sexual Orientation

13. Q&A: Why Rowan Williams Loves C.S. Lewis

14. Faith For Astronauts

15. Anyone Can Learn to be a Polymath

16. The Amazingly Unlikely Story of How Minecraft Was Born

17. Do Our Bones Influence Our Minds?

18. Banksy’s Top Ten Most Creative and Controversial NYC Works

19. How to Speak and Write Postmodern

20. Christian Missionaries in North Korea

21. Google Glass: Technology as Symbol

22. Utilitarianism as ‘Moral Esperanto’

23. Colorized Historical Photos

24. Comments, Trolls, and Teaching

25. OFSTED Report: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

26. James Torrance on ‘Prayer and the Triune God of Grace’

27. Bolz-Weber’s liberal, foulmouthed articulation of Christianity speaks to fed-up believers

28. A dynamic, hip, inked leader offers salvation to the left

29. Pot and Jackpots and Is America Less Moralistic Now, or How Its Code Just Changed?

30. If All of the Ice Melted

31. Swedish Cinema Takes Aim At Gender Bias With Bechdel Test

32. Cracks of Doom: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Ideological Fissures

33. German Home-school Families Face US Deportation

34. Breakthrough: The Accidental Discovery That Revolutionized American Energy

35. When to Tell? – Peter Ould discusses the difficulties of mandatory reporting

36. Am I ‘Lord’ of My Wife? 1 Peter 3:6

37. Bible Jeopardy 1 – 100% here. How did you do?

38. The Christmas War

39. The Hyped Campus Rape That Wasn’t

40. Obsessive Thoughts: A Darker Side of OCD

41. My Lai, Sexual Assault, and the Black Blouse Girl

42. New Human Body Part Discovered

43. The Nazi Anatomists

44. Evacuated Sabbath

45. Don’t Freak Out, but the First 3D-Printed Metal Gun Totally Works

46. Cheerleader Effect: Why People Are More Beautiful in Groups

47. Listen! Beowulf’s Opening Line Misinterpreted for 200 Years

48. 5 Brain Hacks That Give You Mind-Blowing Powers

49. I Learned Everything That I Needed to Know About Marriage from Pride and Prejudice

50. Species as Relation

51. Computers Making Us Smarter

52. All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines

53. China’s Toxic Sky

54. Paul and the Faithfulness of God Review

55. Jesus’ Unique Exorcisms

56. A Digital Reconstruction of St Andrews Cathedral

57. Correlation, Causation, Families and Poverty

58. Pope Prays and Lays Hand on a Severely Disfigured Worshipper

59. This Super-Yacht Puts All Other Yachts to Shame

60. The Obedience of Reading

61. Machu Picchu: Diverse Perspectives

62. Commonly Confused Words

63. Festival of Dangerous Ideas: Questions and Answers – If you don’t watch or read the whole thing, the final question is worth watching.

64. Parallelism and Truth

65. People Who Lived Isolated From Civilization

66. The Born Friends Family Portrait: A Unique Friendship Brought Together By Skype

67. China Timelapse

68. Boy Gets Prosthetic Hand Made By 3D Printer

69. The Book of Revelation: Richard Bauckham and Ben Witherington

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Links, On the web, The Blogosphere. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Links 14 – 8/11/13

  1. Paul Baxter says:

    Bible jeopardy: I just went over these with my kids. They got 20 out of 50. They really don’t know the beatitudes at all. Other than that I thought it was a pretty good quiz for kids.

  2. DavidA says:

    Another good one —

    “We are in reality diverse beings in that a single person is genetically not a single entity — to be philosophical in ways I do not yet understand — what does it mean to be a person if we are variable within?” ~ from the article

  3. I wish those photos of the pollution in China were exaggerated, but the middle of January this year was horrible. It was at least as bad in Shenyang as in Beijing, and my lungs still haven’t completely recovered four months after leaving China. For about 10 days the PM 2.5 reading would peak at between 650 and 850, sometimes almost 1000 (the overall peak was 992 in Beijing and 986 in Shenyang). You really couldn’t see more than a few metres ahead of you some mornings and sometimes all I could see was white when I looked out the window of my apartment. I would even get asthma attacks if I tried to use an exercise machine indoors, and my asthma is pretty mild.

  4. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Since I believe you mentioned somewhere that you have a girlfriend in Cambridge, if you ever make your way down there I would urge you to look up a fellow there who is chaplain of Girton college, the poet/priest Malcolm Guite. I took a course with him this past summer, and he is a fellow well worth engaging with. Here are some interviews with him that I found illuminating:

    • The Man Who Was . . . says:

      He is an excellent poet, though obviously some of his poems are better than others. Here is his sonnet for Corpus Christi, from his book Sounding the Seasons:

      This bread is light, dissolving, almost air,
      A little visitation on my tongue,
      A wafer-thin sensation, hardly there.
      This taste of wine is brief in flavour, flung
      A moment to the palate’s roof and fled,
      Even its aftertaste a memory.
      Yet this is how He comes. Through wine and bread
      Love chooses to be emptied into me.
      He does not come in unimagined light
      Too bright to be denied, too absolute
      For consciousness, too strong for sight,
      Leaving the seer blind, the poet mute;
      Chooses instead to seep into each sense,
      To dye himself into experience.

    • The Man Who Was . . . says:

      I actually think Guite is better orally than as a prose writer. His course at Regent College was recorded and I would recommend getting ahold of it, if you can.

      His academic book is here:

      He is also working on a book on the Inklings and has four lectures on Youtube on the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield). The Barfield is here:

      The best part starts at around 12:30 and goes on for 5 or 6 min. This quote (from Guite) stands out: “We’ve started at the wrong end. We’ve started with what we think of as objectively existing tiny particles and thought out of that we can derive something as rich as mind and meaning. We might have been better to start with the prime experience of mind and meaning and then figure out where the little bits come in.”

      I agree that Barfield, despite his heretical leanings, will probably be the most important of the Inklings in the long run. Poetic Diction and Saving the Appearances are essential works. I would recommend reading him though in dialogue with the Lewis of The Abolition of Man, the preface to the book on 16th century literature, and a lot of Lewis’ other literary criticism. (I actually think that Lewis’ criticism will be his most important work.)

      • Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to check out some of his work when I have the time. I recently reread Lewis’ The Abolition of Man and was struck by the ways that it could be related to Barfield’s work. Saving the Appearances was a favourite of mine when I first read it.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        He is a very hospitable man.

    • The Man Who Was . . . says:

      His email is .

  5. Pingback: Wednesday Link List | Thinking Out Loud

  6. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Read this week:

    Peter Leithart – Against Christianity
    Not much to say, except it’s great. (Also, he actually manages to find some good in John Howard Yoder, whose readings of Biblical narrative in The Politics of Jesus I found to be patently absurd, in fact often insultingly so.)

    Sarah Bessey – Jesus Feminist
    Readable and pleasant, but this is basically just a rehashing of trajectory hermeunetics + Sarah Bessey tells random stories from her life that don’t seem have much bearing on the topic at hand. There’s not much of substance here. I’d recommend a pass. Also, I can’t help but notice that while Bessey is pleasant enough, this book is endorsed by a slew of people who aren’t always so nice.

    John Stackhouse – Finally Feminist
    GOOD: Asks some hard questions about what male leadership looks like on the ground. Definitely worth reading for this part of the book.
    1. He appears to have an extremely reductive view of the body as “biology.” He appears to have a basically materialist cosmology.
    2. He is in full flight from the imagery of the Bible. He seems to view the message of the Bible as something that can abstracted from the actual imagery used instead of viewing the message as inseparable from the imagery. It is full on Christianity in Leithart’s sense.
    3. He twists in the wind for quite a while trying to find a way to condemn homosexual activity without positing any sort of gender essentialism, which would sink the book. He talks really vaguely of some sort of creational complementarity and then falls back on a divine command “scripture is very clear” type argument.
    4. Relies heavily on appeals to meritocracy-type arguments.

    • I first read Against Christianity about a decade ago: it was actually one of the chief things that encouraged me to start blogging.

      It sounds as though the impression that I was getting about Jesus Feminist wasn’t far off. Sometimes I wish that we could move beyond the language of ‘feminism’ to some rather more precise and illuminating terminology, terminology that functioned more on the basis of clear denotations than fuzzy connotations.

      There is a need for some really serious biblical spadework on the whole gender debates, something far more extensive than the narrowly focused treatments currently out there. There is so much uninformed nonsense being written. If I ever find the time, I would like to write something more extensive on the subject. I am 30,000 words into a treatment of the exegesis of Genesis 1-3 and what it means for the gender debates and the reading of NT passages. I am not sure if and when I will have the time to finish it (I have several other uncompleted projects of similar length on the backburner), so it may never see the light of day.

      There is also a need for a detailed engagement with the concept of gender more generally, showing how the discussion has been poorly framed. I would like to shift the discussion away from secondary gender characteristics to the structural dimension of gender as distinct modes of personhood/relate-ability—despite the countless forms that these things can take, we are always ‘he’ or ‘she’—modes of personhood that can allow for considerable overlap in nature (although those pesky differences in nature can explain a lot too, especially as group dynamics will amplify general differences).

      When Scripture talks about gender it situates the differences primarily at this sort of level (e.g. the woman is ‘from the man’; the man is ‘through the woman’). As in Trinitarian theology, it is the relations that constitute the distinctions of the persons, rather than difference in nature (although such differences do exist in the case of men and women). Biology is important because it makes possible and orders us towards the distinct modes of relationality/personhood on account of the different parts that we play in procreation.

      At some point, I would also like to expand the discussion of feminism in Christian circles into a broader historical and sociological discussion of the changing socio-political forms that shaped it from its earliest history. The complementarianism-egalitarianism debates are incredibly poorly framed, typically failing to bring many key socio-political issues into the picture, and failing to realize their contingency upon these larger realities. I would then like to show that the story of feminism can in many respects also be told as a story of the rise of the state’s and the economic powers’ unmediated stake in an undifferentiated populace/workforce that they can mobilize for their ends and the erosion of the power of all agencies that would stand in their way, most particularly through stripping the family and the domestic realm of its power and independent jurisdiction.

      Unfortunately most discussions of these subjects are myopic in relation to almost every aspect of the questions that they are addressing, oblivious to the problematic dimensions of the bigger picture. This goes for complementarians as much as egalitarians much of the time too.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        There is a gigantic mass of unexamined assumptions about just about everything that is behind these disputes. We may not be able to change people’s minds about those assumptions, but we may be able to get them to realize that they are assumptions.

      • This is one of those days when I am not especially optimistic on that front.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        I think the primary reason for Bessey’s book was probably to hold her up as an examplar of a “nice” feminist. Unfortunately, the reason the word itself has taken on the negative connotations it has is that most people who actually call themselves feminists tend to be some combination of abrasive, angry and/or just plain crazy. That correlation isn’t going away anytime soon, and one book isn’t going to change that.

      • I also think that the sort of relatively inoffensive ‘feminism’ that people such as Bessey argue for serves as a Trojan Horse for far more troubling and dangerous forms. This is one of the reasons why I resist the term, or insist that it be unpacked, and packaged under other a more appropriate name.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        Bessey’s position falls quite easily within the common use of the term feminism. I can’t see any difference in substance between her and, say, Rachel Held Evans. The difference is one of style: Bessey is a very pleasant person and Evans often is not.

        I’m actually not terribly worried about the slippery slope here. The cluster of notions that constitute more radical forms of feminism cannot easily be combined with Christianity, so that marriage is just never going to happen. The people who are into that stuff either go full on secular, or have extremely dissociative thinking styles. Christian feminism is a. wrong, b. annoying, and c. perhaps a gateway to secularism, but it’s not going to be widely adopted by churches.

        I also have to say that while the trajectory reading of the Bible and the personal narratives in Jesus Feminist aren’t really integrated, the book is much less of an incoherent mess than The Year of Biblical Womanhood, which had serious problems with form and genre.

    • The Man Who Was . . . says:

      It is interesting, that people like Stackhouse or Scot McKnight seem to be at least vaguely aware of the issues around creation and sex differences. Evans and Bessey are not. I always find it interesting that a lot of the more interesting feminist books are written by men!

  7. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Yes, the essential differences between men and women are primary, and the statistical differences flow out of them, though, as you are well aware, some of those statistical differences can be pretty extreme!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.