wisdom

Proverbs about Fools

There are many proverbs about fools in the Book of Proverbs, but the largest consecutive chunk of them is found in Prov. 26:1-12.  It’s useful considering the first eleven verses together, and then the twelfth as a capstone: (more…)

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Gay Marriage Debates: Fallacious Arguments

The US Supreme Court has announced it will finally decide the question of gay marriage for the whole country.  This promises to be a landmark case as significant, and as controversial, as the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade.  Both liberals and conservatives reportedly cheered the decision, and are readying their best arguments.  Some might call me a cynic, but I’d be a whole lot happier if I thought any of the arguments on either side might be anything other than fallacious preaching to the choir, and each of the justices already knows where they sing.  (If the justices on the Supreme Court are supposed to be non-partisan, why do they almost always divide the same way along the same partisan issues?)  Here I present a couple common arguments on both sides, and why they don’t work. (more…)

The Golden Rule for Eggheads?

I should start this post with the caveat that I am not anti-intellectual, and don’t think I ever could be.  I’m an academic, after all; I live by thinking about things (okay, and to teach things).  On the other hand, I reject the intellectual idolatry of much of academia.  So don’t read this post, or the previous post about how God chooses the foolish things to put the wise to shame, as taking a stand against intellectual pursuits.  They are merely reminders that thinking about things, while important, is not most important.

My wife, after reading that earlier post, reminded me of an amusing and oddly appropriate memory lapse I made as a brand new convert to Christianity: (more…)

Dumb Enough for Jesus

I became a Christian over a decade ago.  It was a surprise to me and to all who knew me.  After all, I am a nerd, of an intellectual bent, and the prevailing wisdom of my friends and acquaintances was that only stupid people were Christian.  The notion, despite abundant counter-examples both historically and locally, was that any sufficiently intelligent or sufficiently educated person would leave behind such medieval superstitions as Christianity.  When I became a Christian, I learned to praise God that I was dumb enough for Jesus, and I found biblical support for that view. (more…)

A Starting Point for Practical Ecumenism

In response to my long essay about the similarity, or lack thereof, between the earliest Christians and various denominations today, one commentator, Anna, offered insights which can jump-start practical ecumenical discussion among Christians.  In her first comment, she opened the door to a principled ecumenism with a rejection of the extremes, both of judgmental conservatism and of mindless liberalism:

But I would like to suggest that there is a middle ground in between “you’re going to hell” and “all paths are equal”. The middle route says, “Yes, it does matter; but you’re not screwed if you get it wrong.”

She then established the value of ecumenical contact among Christians by pointing out how great it would be if we all took upon ourselves what each denomination does well: (more…)