Meta-Blogging: August 2004 Archives

Christian Carnival XXXII

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The 32nd Christian Carnival is at Patriot Paradox. There's my account of why I got kicked out of a church youth group, right at the top.

The very next entry is from The Crusty Curmudgeon, a blog I don't think I've seen before. It goes back to the God's will discussions we had a while back (primarily) among the Blogdom of God. There was always something that I wasn't satisfied with about how most of us were expressing the view we were disagreeing with. Scott does that perfectly, and then he goes on to show how insanely ridiculous the view is. His step-by-step journey through Romans 12 and the following chapters is excellent in explaining exactly what sorts of things Paul had in mind when talking about the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Also, Rebecca Writes has a good discussion of God's immutability.

Christian Carnival plug

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I never linked to the last Christian Carnival, because I didn't have time to read more than two entries before leaving for a retreat this weekend, so here it is. I hope to read through the entries and indicate any posts I want to highlight before the next one is published.

In case I don't get to that, I want to thank Nick for including my entry at the last minute, especially when he had to add it twice (both times after he had finished and posted the Carnival). I forgot to post a plug for it this week, but I also forgot to send something in until he notified everyone on the list that it was up. Fortunately for me, there was a hidden loophole. His announcement of the submission requirements specifically said that he'd be accepting late entries well beyond the deadline and until 1pm the next day. I assume he meant 1am, but I called his attention to it when I sent my entry in at noon after the Carnival had already been posted, and he allowed it and told me he'd added it. Hours later, it wasn't there, so I emailed him back, and this time he really added it and gave it prime place at the top of the Carnival!

For my struggle with the wrongness of my initial reaction to what I could have seen as a sense of being robbed of justice due to a late submission to a different carnival, which was really just my attempt to see myself as nicer than someone else who was really just seeing a deadline as a real deadline, see this post. I thought it was a nice lesson on how mercy and grace are so fully noticeable in the face of real justice, which was in fact what I got in that case, but how I didn't have any right to expect anything else. That's why situations like this one with Nick are so poignant in their reflection of the grace of God, even if they're necessarily going to be ultimately inadequate in that role.

Anyway, this was supposed to be about the next Christian Carnival, so here we go: This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted at Trommetter Times. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

The Doctor Is In

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I found a new blog through my referrals, called The Doctor Is In. It's by a medical doctor who seems to have an interest in some things that are genuinely interesting and therefore worthy of having an interest in. He doesn't post very often, but his posts can be unusual enough to be worth checking in on him every now and then.

His post on myths points out a number of liberal narratives based on falsehoods that get perpetuated regularly. I don't like the modern notion that a myth involves falsehood, since a myth is just a story under which we think about ourselves and our lives, and those can be entirely based in truth, and he ignores right myths such as questioning the patriotism of people who disagree with their country's current policies or framing the abortion issue as being only about life (as if other issues are irrelevant and unimportant even to abortion rights advocates) rather than as being decided by conservatives on the issue because the issue of life is more important than liberals on the issue think. Still, his main point here seems right to me.

Also, see his provocative post on what he sees in common between contemporary liberalism and ancient gnosticism. I'm not quite sure what I think about this. For example, his claim that gnosticism predates Christianity seems really suspect to me. The biblical scholars I trust most have argued that there was no such thing as full-blown gnosticism until well after the New Testament was completed, though there were earlier movements whose elements were combined in gnosticism. Also, I can see examples of people (e.g. John Kerry) who seem thoroughly uninterested in things they've said in the past compared to what they're now saying (the case of pulling troops out of Europe and Korea comes to mind, since he thought it was essential when Bush wasn't expected to do it and then thought it was absolutely terrible once Bush announced that he would do it). The NOW case he mentions is another that really bothered me. Still, it seems to me that hypocrisy is the last sin for a thoroughgoing liberal of the secular mindset. If you don't believe in moral principles, then you don't have to follow them, but surely those who believe in them should! That's why hypocrisy is the most common complaint of secularists against conservative and/or Christian leaders. In the end, I think the surface similarities between liberalism and gnosticism are just happenstance, the coming together of an interesting set of features in two very different worldviews for completely different reasons in each case. Still, it's an interesting topic.

The latest Best of My Symphony is online. For those unfamiliar with this particular blog carnival, it takes the best posts of blogs, with one requirement -- that any post submitted is at least two months old. This week's episode has a Babylon 5 theme, and since that's the best TV show ever made I had to submit something. My A Deeper Notion of Marriage got associated with Vir Cotto, the lowly servant to Ambassador Londo Mollari of Centauri Prime, the servant who became Ambassador to Babylon 5 himself and later ended up leading a revolt against the Drakh occupation of the Centauri homeworld and eventually becoming emperor. He was one of the few Centauri characters in the whole series to have even an ounce of moral decency, though he himself had it in spades, much to the chagrin of Ambassador Mollari. I guess that's not a bad association.

You've got to love some of these quotes. The Ranger Marcus Cole always had a strange combination of smooth charm and dour pessimism. "You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." There's something dreadfully right about that. J. Michael Strascznski, at times, shows great philosophical insight, particularly when it comes to human nature, though I think whenever he settles on any answeres to the questions he raises I end up being repulsed by his moral outlook.

A View From the Pew has a wonderful reflection on how much Christians today (and he uses 'we' to include himself) are like Jonah. We all have someone we'll call those people, at least in our hearts if not in our actual words. We might preach the call to repentance that Jonah did. Do we really want those people to respond with repentance? Jonah didn't, even once he was willing to deliver that message. He didn't want to welcome those people into his circle of us. It's not as often along national lines as it was in Jonah's day, where the nation of those people was the conquering and oppressing empire of the known world (though keep al Qaeda in mind!), but Warren suggests some other ways that we do this quite regularly.

I've Won a Jolly

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Now joining the Grammies, Emmies, Oscars, Tonies, etc. are the Jolly Awards. My post on lying has won the first Jolly ever given. I suspect I won't be receiving a figurine of a jolly little blogger to put on my shelf, but it's nice to win an electronic award nonetheless.

Best of Me Symphony plug

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The Best of Me Symphony collects older posts (at least two months old) that people consider some of their best work. This week it will be having a Babylon 5 theme, so I couldn't resist plugging it (and submitting something myself). That's almost as good as basing a carnival on a Kansas theme. See here for more info. It will be appearing on Monday, so get your entry in soon if you want to submit something.

The Carnival of the Vanities has its 100th episode today. If you can find a link to it, check it out. Since I'm usually in it and usually link to it, I decided it was important to explain why I'm not doing so this time, even with such an important anniversary. I will say this: if I had been in it, I would have linked to it. If you want more details, read on.

Philosophers' Carnival

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The first Philosophers' Carnival will be posted next Monday. You don't have to have a philosophy blog to submit something, just a post that you think would be interesting to other people who are philosophically-minded. Check out the writeup here for more information.

I stole my theme idea for this week's Christian Carnival from a Carnival of the Vanities that did something similar. Instead of Rush, we're going with Kansas, who are in my opinion the best band ever to have existed. They took classical, rock, jazz, blues, and even country, along with some Middle-Eastern and Indian influences, and produced something that many progressive rock fans thought they'd just taken from British prog groups like Yes and Genesis, but early recordings released a few years ago show that they had been working on material like what King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Genesis, and Yes had done around the same time. It's just that their recording contract was later and their commercial success even later. They're musically brilliant, and the lyrics are often more carefully chosen and provocatively philosophical than even most progressive rock groups. Kerry Livgren wrote the largest part of their more thoughtful lyrics and complex music, and he became a Christian a couple years into their period of more commercial success, leaving the group a few years later and pursuing a solo career, with a short stint in a (reluctantly) CCM band called AD, then at times working with the band on albums and live while pursuing solo projects and also now resurrecting an earlier lineup of the band under the name Proto-Kaw. This week's Christian Carnival entries are organized by the Kansas or Kansas-related albums or songs I associate them with.

This week marks the second-to-last Carnival of the Vanities of the first century of COTVs. (Keep in mind that it starts at 1.) This installment is at The Smallest Minority. Next week Fringe gets to host the centenary.

My submission was White Liberal Racism. The entry that stands out to me as most intereting is from The Flaven Experience. It's one of the best presentations of the reasons why voting for a third party candidate isn't always in some way immoral for supporting the wrong candidate (e.g. a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush). Some of what he says is great in terms of identifying which situations make this true. One of his arguments really worries me, though, because it reminds of the guy in the firing squad who says he didn't have anything to do with killing someone because the other ones would have killed the person anyway.

The next Christian Carnival will be hosted here at Parableman next Wednesday. It's a great way to get recognition for your blog. Submit your best post from the past week (i.e. since the time of post submissions for the previous Christian Carnival) on a Christian-related theme (including politics but only if it's close enough to being an issue relevant to Christianity). We've been getting enough submissions lately that we can afford to deny people's submissions if they're not Christian-related or not from within the last week.

Then submit the following information:

Christian Carnival XXX

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Beyond the Rim... had the honor of hosting the 30th Christian Carnival this week. My post on lying is in it.

I also highly recommend Miss O'Hara's post on why God hates sin and La Shawn Barber's post on why Jesse Jackson is at least misleading people when he claims Jesus was a liberal. I would have framed the discussion quite differently by presenting many different liberal conservative axes and finding that Jesus is in different places on them, but her emphasis on the spiritual mission of Jesus vs. the political look of what he did is one of the more important of those axes. You might also want to check out the other posts that didn't happen to strike my fancy as much as these two did.

The Conservative Brotherhood, a loose federation of black moderate to conservative bloggers, including my wife, has made it into a major publication. The National Review has an article on them. Thanks to King of Fools for pointing this out.

Blogdom of God Interview

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Army of One has posted the latest Blogdom of God interview with ... me! He asked me these questions months ago, and I did about half of them within a week or so afterward and just got the rest answered and back to him maybe a week ago. It was fun answering most of his questions, so go ahead and check it out to see if it's as fun reading my answers. Also, at the bottom of the post is a list of the first nine Army of One Blogdom of God interviews. If you read any of those blogs and haven't read the intereviews, it's worth doing so to get some more background on the blogger. Someone always presents a different side of themselves when someone else determines the topics and questions than when they can just blog about what they want.

The next Christian Carnival is at Beyond the Rim... The lucky dog gets #30. (I guess I'll have to do more jokes about the significance of a prime number with little innate interest when I host #31 the following week.) So be thinking this week about submitting a post or getting your blogging friends to submit a post. Email William either by using the button on his sidebar or sending a message to beyondtherim at and including Christian Carnival in the subject line. Also include the following information:

Blog name
Blog URL
post name
post URL
brief description of post

If you have a mail client with a receipt request, William requests that you use it to request a reciept. If you don't receive such a receipt or a message from him, assume he hasn't gotten your sumission.

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate -- the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is:


The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for any sites that contain this GUID.

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above). (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is at seldom sober. My national sales tax post is there. Four posts struck me as thoughtful, provocative, interesting, and fuel for pet points of my own.

Christian Carnival XXIX

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This week's Christian Carnival is at Digitus, Finger & Co, including my post on eschatology. Rebecca Writes continues her series on God's attributes with God's Eternity. Reasons Why has a great satire: The Prayer of Samson!

Next week's host: Beyond the Rim...

Digitus, Finger, and Co will host the Christian Carnival for the first time this Wednesday. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read and possibly pick up a few readers. Read on for details.

Theology Posts

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Here's one more Favorite Posts filter. This time I'm collecting theology posts. I think some of these are among my all-time best.

Apologetics Posts

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To clean out my favorite posts list in the sidebar, I'm removing five apologetics posts and then adding this post. Two of these are in my top 15 list, so I don't think entries shunted to being linked from posts that are themselves in the list of favorite posts are necessarily not as good as the ones in the sidebar list directly. It reflects more which of the older posts can easily be grouped.

So here are six of my favorite posts on apologetics.



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