The 58th Christian Carnival is at Wallo World. I count 56 entries, not quite enough to equal the number of this edition of the carnival. It includes my Mark Tidbits 4: Mark's High Christology. Also, I've been working on a series on slavery spurred on by Back of the Envelope's two posts on slavery and Christianity, so I'll say no more about that here.
Catholics in the Public Square lists six items the courts are ignoring in their push to starve Terri Shiavo. The first three are particularly shameful, given that they're evidence against all the major claims Michael Schiavo is making in favor of killing his wife. The other three are controversial ethical claims that I'm not sure will convince everyone as much as the first three, which are just plain facts.
The bloke in the outer gives a good example from his own life of when it's hard to bless those who curse you. It's only when you see such really hard cases that you see how truly radical this statement of Jesus really is.
The list of tips for resisting the redecorating craze at promptings is pretty funny, but somehow I think Sam would be immune to these.
Marriages Restored does some myth-busting with the idea that men just want to use their wives' bodies for physical pleasure, tying it to deeper notions of male self-worth in their wives' desire for them in sex, and even concluding with some practical advice, of all things.
Rebecca Writes looks at the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity, most particularly the claim that nonbelievers have a total inability to believe without God's grace. I believe her defense is consistent with my statements that compatibilism about human freedom is true, because the compatibilism I hold is that our language (and this goes also for the ancient languages the Bible was written in) have different ways words like 'can', 'able', 'possible', and 'free' can be used. In one sense, no one is free without God's grace, and the Bible explicitly says this, as she argues in the post. In another sense, what's keeping people from responding to the gospel without God's grace is their own state, which is primarily a fact about their own character. Therefore, it's of their own self that they're not freely choosing. In that sense, they could freely choose if only their character were such that it would do so. It's just not, since no one's is without God's grace.
Messy Christian wonders why so many people have a convert them then leave 'em attitude yet think they're fulfilling the Great Commission. It's as if they don't know the difference between converting and making disciples. In many cases, they probably don't. Still, there are people who are really gifted at evangelism and should focus on that. I'm certainly not one of them, so this isn't something I need to be working on for myself, but this is a good call for those especially gifted at evangelism to continue in the lives of their converts or to find others who can do so if that's not possible.
Crossroads traces many of the problems of the self-esteem generation to the self-esteem movement of the 70s and 80s. I recognize these problems, and I do think they're particularly worse since self-esteem became the favored solution to all problems kids might have, but I'm not entirely sure there's a causal relation here. One reason is that the self-esteem movement has largely calmed down, and the problems continue. It's a worthwhile thesis to consider, though, since there might be some connection.
Wittingshire raises an interesting question about the morality of playing evil characters, given that it requires putting yourself into their mind day in and day out. I think it's a real worry, especially given a virtue conception of ethics, which I think has got to be at least part of the correct ethical view. On the other hand, I can think of a number of reasons why it might be worth it to have evil characters, and thus someone's got to do it if it's going to be done. I really do think Vincent Furnier's regular playing of the evil Alive Cooper character at all his concerts is a good thing, because of his commitment to demonstrating the evilness of evil from a Christian perspective. It's the kind of issue I haven't thought enough about to have solid views on, though.