Open Mic Thread 34


The open mic thread is where you have the floor and can raise or discuss issues of your choice. There is no such thing as off-topic here. The comments of this thread are free for you to:

  • Discuss things that you have been reading/listening to/watching recently
  • Share interesting links
  • Share stimulating discussions in comment threads
  • Ask questions
  • Put forward a position for more general discussion
  • Tell us about yourself and your interests
  • Publicize your blog, book, conference, etc.
  • Draw our intention to worthy thinkers, charities, ministries, books, and events
  • Post reviews
  • Suggest topics for future posts
  • Use as a bulletin board
  • Etc.

Over to you!

Earlier open mic threads: 123456, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,2122,23,24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33.

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.
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32 Responses to Open Mic Thread 34

  1. I have a lot of work on my plate right now, so I probably won’t be participating much in any discussions here.

  2. Alex Sims says:

    Does God love all of his children equally?


    • I’m not sure that we could answer that without a lot of unpacking first (and, unfortunately, right now I am too pressed for time to do it justice). Neither a flat yes or no answer would be appropriate, not least because of the ambiguities of the word ‘love’.

  3. Alex Sims says:

    Meant to put that as a comment.

  4. davidrlar says:

    I have a standing invitation for those of a literary bent to submit book reviews or literary essays to be published on my blog. In my time on the internet, I’ve found a number of major secular publications that review books, and a number of minor Christian publications that review what I would describe as often mediocre Christian fiction, but not a great deal in between. Given this, I’d love to see more robust, aesthetically mature Christian readings of a variety of literature. That’s a brief summary of my rationale for the invitation.

  5. jordanrjohnson says:

    Hi Alastair,

    Your articles “Before Obergefell” and “Five Principles of the New Sexual Morality” have been enormously helpful for me in understanding the context of many of the current controversies surrounding sexuality morality. I am also, thanks to your blog and Mere Fidelity, making my way through O’Donovan’s “Begotten or Made?,” which has been very edifying. I am curious if you have any suggestions for further reading in matters of ethics and, perhaps a more open topic, understanding the philosophical underpinnings of the contemporary Western worldview and its moral thinking.

    Grace and peace,


  6. AJ says:

    I have an elder who suggests that time is not linear and that we immediately experience judgment and resurrection upon death. Is this plausible.

  7. bugizzyBryan says:


    Does anyone have a book they would recommend on the question of Christian and lending/borrowing at interest? Want something looking at both the scriptural and historic Christian position and how/if they apply to our banking system today.

  8. Chris W says:

    Hey, I posted this on the previous open mic thread, but it had long died down so I’m reposting here if that’s okay.

    Any old earth creationists here who could answer the following question?

    The genealogies in Genesis 5 & 11 suggest that 2000 years elapsed between Adam and Abraham. There are a couple of arguments I have heard from old earth creationists to rebut this point, but they don’t seem to accomplish what they set out to do. Consider Genesis 5:6 as an example:

    “When Seth had lived 105 years, he begot (yalad) Enosh.” (Genesis 5:6)

    Even if one takes “yalad” to mean “beget” in a more indirect sense (begetting a grandson/great-grandson etc.), you still have 105 years elapsing between the birth of Seth and the birth of Enosh. In this instance, the passage would look something like this:

    “When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the ancestor of Enosh”

    So when you add up the generational gaps, you still get around 2000 years elapsing between Adam and Abraham. Are there any alternative explanations for this from an old earth perspective?

  9. quinnjones2 says:

    Has anyone read ‘Saving Jesus from the Church’ by Robin R. Meyers? If so, please could you give me your thoughts on it? It was given an honourable mention by a friend at church today but it seems to me (from what I’ve heard and from one Amazon review I’ve read) that it contains heresies. The person who is so enamoured of this book is a good friend and I would like to proceed with care.

  10. quinnjones2 says:

    Thank you for replying. I don’t think I’ll buy the book – I’ll probably just listen to my friend saying why it is so important to him at this time and I’m sure that ‘all shall be well’!
    For the past 24 hours it has been on my mind that I have been on a sort of hub between ‘liberal’ and ‘orthodox’ Christians and It occurred to me that intelligence and ‘being intellectual’ may be a factor in the gulf between the two. I’m not just talking about intelligence as per IQ tests – I, for instance, came out in the top percentile in a Mensa test, but I don’t think of myself as ‘intellectual’.
    I get the impression that many people just find theology too difficult and that they get frustrated with it. I also know many people who find many passages in the letters of St. Paul too difficult. I suspect that such people may be in a majority but they know that God loves them and this may be why the hashtag #lovewins had such prominence on Twitter not so long ago.
    I don’t think I’m putting this very well, but I will keep trying.
    I have been mindful for some time of the fact that natural intelligence – high or not so high – is an attribute that we are born with, and that none of us have reason to be proud or ashamed of our attributes in this respect. I have always felt that it would be wrong for me to be intolerant towards people of lower intelligence than my own – I have also felt that it was wrong of people of lower intelligence to be intolerant towards people of higher intelligence.
    We have highly intelligent atheists and humanists in the world, and we need intelligent and informed Christians who can ‘fence’ with them intellectually. I think that our theologians do this. Our theologians also ‘fence’ intellectually amongst themselves, and I think that is good,too.
    Those of us who are not theologians have other gifts – and we all need each other.
    I suppose what I’m really saying to the #lovewins folk is ‘God loves theologians, too.’
    And what I am saying to some, but not all, theologians is:
    ‘Love covers a multitude of sins’ – don’t knock it!
    I realise that many of you who post on this page are theologians. What I have written above is not directed at you – it has just arisen from impressions I have got from Twitter and from some people known to me personally.

    • quinnjones2 says:

      I’ve just read this, which was re-tweeted by Derek Rishmawy:
      Just in case I haven’t posted the link correctly, the title is:
      ‘Three principles for cultivating an ethos of theological poise’
      I think that we non-theologians might also do well to cultivate an ethos of ‘personal poise’

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  12. quinnjones2 says:

    I have just read the post by Alan Jacobs about podcasts, and also the Twitter conversation about Mere-Fi podcasts. I know very little about podcasts as a genre and I have listened to only two in addition to the Mere-Fi podcasts I have heard. I am not very IT-savvy and I am a lay Christian, so I have listened to the podcasts as a learner, and my comments here will be more akin to a pupil’s answer to the question ‘What makes a good teacher?’ than to the answer that an Ofsted inspector might a give to the same question.
    The Mere-Fi podcasts I have heard have been thoughtful and friendly discussions between people who are clearly committed to searching for understanding and who are ready to ask and respond to challenging questions about sensitive subjects. The Mere-Fi team were aware of problems with the sound quality and made improvements with that.
    As I understand it, the podcasts are discussions, not debates, and therefore it seems to me that the relatively informal structure is appropriate. I’m not sure if the quality would be improved if the conversation were highly structured with everyone having one or two-minute slots on specific strands of specific topics. It could work well, but it all sounds a bit too business-like to me and, in a nutshell, when there is a flow of ideas and cross-fertilization of ideas, I think that to try and box it all into timeslots might result in killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    • I very much agree with you that we shouldn’t lose the relatively informal structure, as that is fairly integral to the sort of thing that the Mere Fidelity podcast is. That said, when you take the less formal route, you are exposed to the danger of a lack of structure and direction. While much of the time we may avoid these dangers, I believe we could do a lot better on this and other fronts and think it is important to think of ways to improve what we do, even those things that we do well.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        I’m sure that your self-appraisal is ongoing and that you will find ways of improving. I am the same with my piano-playing – the sound that my hands produce is never as good as the sound I ‘hear’ in my head. This is just a suggestion, and I feel a bit cheeky making it, but I wonder if it might be an idea for you to take turns at ‘chairing’ the discussion, with the chairperson not participating in the discussion other than to ask for clarification or to suggest moving on etc. At present Derek wears two hats as chairperson and participant and it might work better if the chairperson were to wear the two hats of chairperson and listener/observer.

  13. quinnjones2 says:

    This about gender, or sexuality – I’m never quite sure how I should be referring to it. I have read many tweets and blogs on this subject which were written from a theological perspective and the posts that make the most sense to me are those written by you, Alastair.
    The tweets and blogs on this subject roll on …and on. Steve Holmes has posted another one.
    I have been thinking again about my own thoughts and feelings about sexuality when , at the age of 22, I became the mother of our first child, a daughter. I was not a Christian at that time. What I have to say here will be narrative and descriptive.
    Eight weeks before our daughter was born, my maternal grandfather died. It was my first experience of the death of a close family member and I was already thinking a great deal about mortality. These thoughts were compounded by the fact that, just two weeks before our daughter was born, I watched reports of the Aberfan tragedy unfold on our little black-and-white TV.
    When I saw our little daughter, I thought ,’I will love you til death us do part.’ In the natural order of things, I knew that I was likely to die before my daughter did, but the Aberfan tragedy was a painful reminder that things can sometimes be ‘out-of-order’, and that that children sometimes predecease their parents. I became deeply aware that it is because of our very mortality that we need to procreate – if we were all immortal, there would be no need for us to reproduce ourselves to ensure the continuation of humankind. At that time sexuality, death and new birth were, for me, inseparably intertwined and they remain inseparably intertwined.
    God created man and woman and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Sometimes I wonder how so many people can spend so much time disputing something that seems to me to be so *obvious*. I know that many things can be ‘out-of-order’ with human sexuality, just as a child predeceasing a parent is out-of-order, and I have such things on my heart, but…

  14. Alex says:

    Is crying unmanly?

    • Not at all. Scripture records the fact that Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb and over Jerusalem and we have a number of other accounts of men weeping (Peter weeping after his denial, Joseph weeping when he saw his brothers, David and Jonathan weeping together, etc., etc.). The psalmist calls for God to gather up his tears in a bottle. The Preacher declares that there is a time for weeping. The Apostle charges us to weep with those who weep. The cultures described in Scripture and the practices encouraged by Scripture are far more emotionally demonstrative in certain respects than contemporary masculinity in America at least tends to be. Crying is healthy and often not just appropriate but important, for men as well as for women.

      Some cultures of masculinity may stigmatize men who weep, but the Bible definitely doesn’t support them in this. Men can and should weep on occasions. For natural and cultural reasons, men will generally weep less than women and although some extreme excesses of weeping may be unmanly, almost all of us as men could probably benefit from being much more open to crying.

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