The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: July 7, 2018
From AOL: Who says this isn’t a great country? What could be better than a 104 year-old WWII veteran throwing out the first pitch for the Memphis Redbirds, triple-A affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals.
From the New York Times: For many reasons we’ve been hearing a lot about China lately. But how about some pictures displaying a happy USA/China partnership? Here are some photos of Shanghai Disneyland by Reagan Louie. The park opened in 2016.
A dispute in North Providence led to a man hiring an artist to paint a less-than-flattering portrait of the mayor on a big building wall.
“I think it’s funny,” said Paul Morse, the artist commissioned to do the mural.
But it’s raising questions about whether the drawing is free speech, civil disobedience, or simply disrespectful.
Regardless of the split opinion from people passing by, it still is a depiction of North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi as a king on the porcelain throne.
“That’s how politics have turned into in this town,” said a driver who asked to speak anonymously, saying it was too small of a town for him to be known.
Morse said Dr. Anthony Farina, who owns the property, and was also told by the city to tear the building down, hired and paid him to paint the wall.
From USA Today: Yet another great rock band name: The Parachuting Spiders.
Research published Thursday ended the long running debate if spiders can use the silk they weave as a parachute to fly through the wind or if flight is powered by static electricity reacting with silk.
A study by University of Bristol sensory biophysicist Erica Morley confirmed what Charles Darwin notably observed watching hundred of spiders fly 60 miles across the ocean and land on his ship, the HMS Beagle.
Darwin thought electrostatic force was somehow involved. Morley and researchers backed this up by demonstrating for the first time in a lab how spiders use electrostatic forces to balloon.
When spiders launch off from the ground and float through the sky, sometimes for thousands of miles, it’s due to a “ballooning process” where spiders raise their abdomen to the sky, spin 7- to 13-foot-long silk parachutes and fly away. A previous study confirmed that spiders fly by checking the wind and throwing out their silk parachutes at the right time. The study, however, could not account for why the multiple silk threads spiders use to balloon don’t tangle in the wind.
Morley’s research accounts for the lack of tangles and explains why spiders can fly thousands of miles even when it’s not windy outside. The strands don’t tangle because each strand is repelling off another in an electrostatic force. Their study also concluded that the weather conditions are not the primary driver of when a spider balloons, but rather if an electric field is present in the atmosphere.
Wayne Grudem taught at the seminary I attended when I was there. He wrote a systematic theology that has become a standard in many evangelical circles. This is a bright guy who is training tomorrow’s pastors and church leaders. But let me show you why I think he exemplifies a way of reading the Bible that is suspect at best, and frankly, a little crazy when you actually stop to think about it. Yet it is as common as grass in many churches.
Here is an article in which Grudem argues that President Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall is not only a good idea but a biblical one that is moral and legitimate because the teaching of the Bible supports it. He says:
My conclusion from this overview is that the Bible views border walls as a morally good thing, something for which to thank God. Walls on a border are a major deterrent to evil and they provide clear visible evidence that a city or nation has control over who enters it, something absolutely essential if a government is going to prevent a nation from devolving into more and more anarchy.
So in other words, here is how we reason from the Bible:
- The Bible describes cities in the ancient world.
- Cities in the ancient world had walls.
- Some Bible passages speak favorably about those city walls.
- Therefore, it would be a morally good thing for the US to build a wall between us and Mexico.
Warren Throckmorton summarizes the rationale in his critique of Grudem: We should build a wall because the Bible has walls. This is what I call “Bible-for-brains” reasoning. I used to practice it all the time. Here’s how you “develop a biblical conviction” about an issue:
- Identify the issue: in this case, building a wall.
- Get out your Strong’s Concordance and look up every instance of the word “wall” in the Bible.
- Do an in-depth word study on the word “wall.” When you are done, you will find out that in Hebrew and Greek, the word means “wall.”
- From collating and analyzing the verses, come up with a systematic statement of what the Bible says about walls.
- Conclusion: this is the Bible’s teaching about walls.
- Apply your “biblical” position to a contemporary question such as “Should we build a border wall on our southern border?”
CONGRATULATIONS ARE DUE! I JUST GOTTA BRAG!
I can’t end this brunch without bragging about one of my best friend’s sons. Jeff Mercer, who coached Wright State into this year’s NCAA baseball tournament, has been named the head coach of Indiana University’s baseball team.
Jeffrey is only 32 years old. He played and coached when my son played ball at our local high school and his dad, who used to be an assistant at IU, was the head coach. I have written about his brother Daniel here at the blog, and the book their dad wrote about Daniel’s battle with a brain tumor and death in 2006. Young Jeff showed himself to be one amazing older brother through that ordeal, wise and faithful far beyond his age. I had the privilege of officiating his wedding, and I’m looking forward to meeting his first little baby boy, who will born this summer.
Since Jeff left town, we all have been watching his career with interest, knowing that the sky is the limit. In fact, in the article about his hiring, Fred Glass, the athletic director at IU, called him “the Brad Stevens of collegiate baseball.” If you know anything about Coach Stevens, now with the Boston Celtics, your mouth would drop at a compliment like that.
Jeff takes over the Big Ten’s premier baseball program. Since 2008, Indiana leads the Big Ten in total wins, conference wins and NCAA tournament appearances. The Hoosiers have appeared in the tournament in five of the last six seasons.
Here’s what he said about the opportunity:
“I have loved baseball and the state of Indiana my whole life and it is an honor to be the head baseball coach of the state’s flagship institution. With the talent that the Midwest is producing, top notch facilities, the commitment of the school, and our ability to recruit and develop players at the highest level, the sky is the limit for IU baseball. I cannot wait to get to work.”
Jeffrey, you are the best. God bless you in your new endeavor. You will have a wonderful impact on many, many young people. And you will bring a lot of us great joy as we watch your teams on the ball field.