I've been wanting to host the Christian Carnival for about three months now, but I'd made a commitment not to do it during the semester while teaching an 8:30 am class, which gives no time for assembling the posts the night before due to prep work or the morning of due to teaching, so I've been putting if off. Well, the semester proper is over (though I've still got grading to do), and here we are.
Our party this week's Carnival has thirteen dwarves entries, including my own, and following the advice of Gandalf I've decided to pull rank as this week's heir to the title King Under the Mountain host. I've sought out a burglar Hobbit fourteenth entry to increase the size of our expedition the Carnival past such an unlucky unpopular number.
Brand new blogger Brey King Live offers us some words of comfort and encouragement to live a life according to God's plans, reminding us of the way Jeremiah's words in Jer 29:11 comforted and encouraged the exiles to Babylon to whom they were originally addressed.
Enoch at Medmusings muses on his evening devotional turned to his childhood (Psalm 100). His being reminded that he has a lot to be thankful for reminds me that thankfulness is often a discipline, requiring us to be deliberate in bringing to mind things to be thankful for.
I ask some questions about forgiveness and justice. How are they related? Does forgiveness cancel justice, or does it enthrone it, as Miroslav Volf claims? How does this affect our view of God and the common defense of Christianity (and in particular of the doctrine of hell) based on justice needing to be satisfied?
DawnXianaMoon of Randomness gives us De la danse swing et l'�vasion: "During the last months, lindy hop has become more than just fun -- it's a way to unwind, to de-stress. But I wonder sometimes if I use dancing as an escape, especially when I'm feeling down...." I wonder if the same can be true of virtually any activity, that we can use it as an escape from God or from things we don't want to think about or deal with, even by participating in activities we consider to be very spiritual.
Is it okay to represent Jesus in artwork? Fringe utilizes Scripture and Plato to answer that question. I'm tempted to link to two other discussions to supplement this, but I'll refrain and post a comment for that.
Messy Christian meets up in New York with Adrian Warnock, Happy Husband, and Vessel of Honour. "There's something really surreal and also amazing about meeting the face behind the blog for the first time. However, it made us realise how God works in such strange ways, bringing bloggers who never thought that their words will be read by a person halfway across the world ... let alone meet them in real life."
Jollyblogger has an analysis of some comments on Dick Staub's weblog to the effect that Christians are winning, or have won, the culture war. He takes the position that "maybe we have, maybe we haven't," while pointing out that it seems that every generation of Christians likes to imagine its generation as the worst ever.
Rebecca Writes has Finding God's Will for Your Life in 3 Easy Steps, a look at where our focus ought to be in answering the "What is God's will for my life?" question. Hint: it's a biblical focus, in more ways than one.
Songstress7 of News from the Great Beyond muses on a loss of focus and ponders the point of our daily Christian walk with Cutting Through the Confusion. Even though we can't love God without being committed to our own spiritual growth while loving our brother and sister and being committed to God's glory in sharing our faith with those who don't believe, we sometimes forget who it's really all about while focusing on the human side.
View From the Pew has a discussion of the responses that he's seen about the PBS show "The Jesus Factor" -- especially about whether faith should influence real life. I've been wanting to post something myself on President Bush's faith and the silliness I keep hearing from people who think he's Tim LaHaye (who also don't even understand LaHaye's dispensationalism to begin with), so I say that it's worth checking out Warren has to say.
And now ... "burglar, go burgle something!":
Challies.com reflects on the nature of Christian stewardship, with reference to Tolkien's illustration of the same principles in his stewards of Gondor, contrasting Denethor with his younger son Faramir. I think Tim's a little harsher on Denethor than Tolkien would have been. Denethor at the end of his life seems to me to be more of an unfortunate corruption of a somewhat decent man with important character flaws amplified through his use of the Palantir. Of course, Tim's fairer to Denethor than Peter Jackson was (and I won't even touch the issue of how the honorable younger son Faramir came out worse than his older brother Boromir in the movies!) Still, it's a vivid picture of what stewardship amounts to and how easy it is to pretend stewardship is ownership.