Meta-Blogging: December 2004 Archives

Comment Spam Issue

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I've been getting lots of comment spam with no content. It's just gobbledygook, with links that don't reappear and with no consistent IP, so I can't block it with IP banning or with MT-Blacklist. I've decided to close off comments on any entries that seem to be getting this problem, since it seems to be targeted to specific entries. I had to delete hundreds of comments among the three Ektopos blogs a couple days ago. The problem resumed this morning, and I caught it before it got bad, but I've had to close more comments threads. Most of them are posts with no comments and no expected comments, but if it turns out an old post has closed comments and you'd like to commnt, let me know, and I'll open it again to allow you to comment and then close it again if it turns out the gobbledygook bots are still targeting it. I can't think of any better solution. I refuse to close off comments to all old posts, and I'm not happy about screening comments before they get posted, if I can even do that with MT (I don't know how to do it if it's possible).

Christian Carnival L Plug

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The 50th Christian Carnival is almost upon us, and it just happens that it's also the last one of 2004. Media Soul will be hosting.

To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Second, please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday). The host would like you to consider writing about one of the following themes:

A) Most wonderful gifts (in light of Christmas)
B) From Passion to Action (for those of us who have to engage the culture for Christ)
C) Thoughts on the New Year or from this year

You're welcome to write on other things, of course, but the host is calling for posts on these themes to fit with the end of the year Carnival. Then, to submit your post do the following:

Christian Carnival XLIX

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The 49th Christian Carnival is up at Patriot Paradox. We've got three special things about this Christian Carnival edition:

1. This is the Christmas edition.
2. It's the first time for the Carnival to return to the founder in 17 weeks (since early August).
3. 49 is 7 squared.

My Exaggerations & Dysphemisms, Left & Right and Sam's Pagan roots of Christmas both find their place among the posts that are actually related to Christmas. There are a number of others, a few of which are highlighted below. I've chosen eight posts to highlight this time, and I've spent more time on three of them than I normally do simply because I have a lot to say about them. For that reason, those three are last in the list, so the quicker ones can go by more quickly first.

Jollyblogger presents us with the second Carnival of the Reformation. The first five Carnivals of the Reformation will be covering what are often called the five solas of the Reformation, and this one is on Solus Christus. My Romans 10, Inclusivism, and Universalism is part of the festivities. The first one overwhelmed me with lots of stuff, and this one seems much smaller in comparison, but the overall sense of quality is perhaps a little higher as a result. I'm selecting two posts to highlight, only because these two stood out as saying things I would emphasize myself. This is more of a reflection of my own pet issues than it is of the value and quality of the other posts, so please go read the Carnival itself to see what else is there. Much of it is very good, and Jollyblogger gives more detailed and helpful comments on most of the entries than most carnivals ever do.

Wittenberg Gate explains why Solus Christus is more fundamental than Sola Fides. Without Solus Christus. Sola Fides turns out to emphasize our work of faith, which is what the reformers were trying to move away from. We are fundamentally saved by the work of Christ and not by any work or ours, including our faith. That's why, even though Paul sometimes says we're saved or justified by faith, he sometimes more carefully puts it that we're saved by grace and only through faith. Ultimately we're saved by Christ and what he has done. I've seen people of the Reformed persuasion so emphasize Sola Fides that they leave this out and thus themselves fall victim to de-emphasizing Solus Christus, which is where the New Testament places far more emphasis.

Diane at Crossroads points out that much of evangelicalism is in danger of rejecting Solus Christus in a very different way. This rejection is not in word but in deed, particularly in the seeker-sensitive churches. She gives examples of people who think they're preaching the gospel but give no content, which means people listening to them don't even know what they're responding to. What does "accept Christ" (not a biblical formulation to begin with) even mean to someone who doesn't know what it is about Christ that they're supposed to accept, and why should we think a response to such an empty call has anything to do with genuine faith?

Best of Me Symphony LV

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The 55th Best of Me Symphony is up at The Owner's Manual. My Theistic Explanations is there. In it I explain why it's fallacious to conclude that God's existence can't in principle be the conclusion of an inference to the best explanation. Some people say that since God's existence isn't already proved, you can't use it as an explanation for other things, which misunderstands the whole form of argument involved. Others say that since God is mysterious, we've just moved the mystery back and not really explained anything. If so, then the whole business of explanation is pointless, because that's what all scientific explanation is like.

Highly recommended is Miss O'Hara's Modesty (the host mistitled her). The thing I like most about Miss O'Hara's post, along with the two by Hugo Schwyzer that she links to, is that we get to see feminist arguments, or at least arguments consistent with one important version of feminism, in favor of the virtue of modesty, something many feminists will not accept as a virtue. [Update: this is modesty in dress, not modesty about one's accomplishments, which is either a different virtue entirely from what these posts are about, namely humility, or not a virtue at all, i.e. false modesty which is really a form of pride in the bad sense.]

A View From the Pew has some thoughts on how we, in the words of the BoMS host, outsource blame to God, just as the disciples did before Jesus calmed the storm.

Christian Carnival XLIX Plug

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The 49th Christian Carnival will be at Patriot Paradox. This is the Christmas Edition, so entries related to Christmas are encouraged. I know we already had a few last week. You can go ahead send your favorite post of the week either way. There's no restriction on content just because of the Christmas theme.

To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Second, please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday). Then, do the following:

Best of Me Symphony LV Plug

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The 55th Best of Me Symphony is coming up. It's going to have a Bertrand Russell theme, so I as a philosopher cannot resist contributing a post. For those unfamiliar with this particular blog carnival, the submissions information is at the bottom of Best of Me Symphony LIV. Posts must be at least 60 days old and should be what you consider to be among the best posts of the blog in question. Submissions need to be in Sunday before midnight (no time zone listed, so get it in early to be sure).

Post Tenebras Lux II Plug

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The second Carnival of the Reformation is coming up. The theme is Solus Christus. The submissions deadline is this coming Saturday. See Jollyblogger's official announcement for more.

Welcome to the 48th Christian Carnival. I'm going to do something a little different this time around and tie each post to something from the world of science fiction. I hope some of the connections aren't too much of a stretch (because I know some of them definitely are at least somewhat of a stretch). Yes, this is the official Geek Edition of the Christian Carnival. I should note that I've spent a little bit more time discussing a couple of the entries than some hosts will do, but I've tried not to go as long with it as I would if I put it in its own post. I've also tried to keep the discussions of the scifi stuff a short as possible, but sometimes it was hard to resist expounding on the virtues or themes of a particular selection. Also, I've decided to save myself a little effort on the late entries (anything I received after 9pm last night) and just include things totally unrelated to round out my favorite scifi shows the way I'd like. On to the Carnival...

Update: I forgot to mention (for those not on the Christian Carnival update email list) that someone has put together a Christian Carnival blog that links to all the Christian Carnivals of the past. Check it out.

Christian Carnival XLVII

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The 47th Christian Carnival is at The God Blog. I submitted Christian Conviction, the Law, and Real Virtue. Read on for some highlights.

The 48th Christian Carnival is going to be held right here at Parableman. I'm looking forward to doing something other than intensive grading early next week, so go ahead and send in your entries. In case you're new to the Christian Carnival, it's a weekly collection of blog posts from Christian blogs to give people a way to get their best post read by a wider audience among those who read Christian blogs. So if you have a blog, this will be a great way to highlight your favorite post from the past week and, possibly even, to pick up more permanent readers.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Second, please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. starting with posts from this past Wednesday). Then, do the following:

Carnival of the Vanities CVI

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The 116th Carnival of the Vanities is at The Big Picture. It includes my Gonzales and La Raza.

Let's Try Freedom has an excellent seven-part series on gay marriage. I agree in large measure. He's Catholic and coming from a slightly different framework on some issues, but I think I agree with all his conclusions.

The Electric Commentary gives a good example of a racist misuse of the term 'racism'. A few bars are turning people away because of how they're dressed. People are crying anti-black racism because the way of dressing that's being discriminated against is somehow Dressing While Black (when it just looks more of a Dressing as a Sports Fan look to me). While the author cites a downright awful dictionary definition that doesn't even come close to what the heart of racism is (for more on that, see here), he's right to point out that the assumption behind the charge of racism here is much closer to racism than the actual policy they're protesting as racist. Isn't it more racist to assume certain ways of dressing are black than it is to exclude people on the basis of clothing because you don't want people looking like they're coming from a baseball game?

Coyote Blog looks at some really strange criteria the NEA uses to measure school quality, e.g. teachers' salaries (not adjusted for standard of living), number of students in a state, how good a school is at getting money from the federal government, and quality of education. That's what you get when the employee union for teachers evaluates schools. They care more about teachers' salaries than students' learning.

This week's Christian Carnival is at The God Blog.

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.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Second, please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival. Then, do the following:

Christian Carnival XLVI

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The 46th Christian Carnival is at A Physicist's Perspective. My Christ's Divinity in Romans 9:5 is right below the editor's choice, which really means nothing other than that I sent my entry in earlier than most. Sam's Great is Artemis and Allah akhbar is also present.

Depending on how you count, I've been blogging for a year. I originally created my first location for this blog in September, and my actual first post was pretty lame. Three months later to the day, when I discovered that Sam had started her own blog, I was spurred on to start posting content, beginning with a criticism of the common statement from Calvinists that if you hold to any of the five points of Calvinism you must hold them all. Her bloggiversary was yesterday. [I think the double-G comes from her British-influenced spelling. I checked Google, and the single-G spelling got 16,000 hits with the double-G spelling getting only 600 or so.] My blogiversary, since I started the day after she did (not counting the officially first post), is therefore today.

Update 1:28 pm: I've changed the title. See the comments for some of the discussion leading up to that.

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