Month: October 2015

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Human Excellence: On the Cardinal Virtues

One of the most unfortunate losses during the reformation was the loss of focus on the four cardinal virtues as simple excellencies that are praiseworthy in anybody, but find their truest expression in the Christian Scriptures. I’ve written about the cardinal virtues (justice, courage, temperance, and wisdom) briefly in the past and their place in …

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Trivium 3: Rhetoric

The third art of a true liberal arts education is rhetoric. I’ve written about grammar and logic already. I’ve also written about rhetoric in the ancient world. Obviously, this post is about rhetoric. Whereas the purpose of grammar is clarity of communication and the emphasis of logic is the discovery of truth and probability through clarity of thought, the purpose of …

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Spiritual Lessons from Peter Drucker

In teaching the common topics, I’ve had my students read Managing Oneself* by Peter Drucker. The goal of the assignment is to have the students see which of Aristotle’s topics Drucker uses to make his case and to determine if his points are persuasive. For Christian readers who don’t want to learn from a secular …

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Christians and Non-Christian Literature

Some Christians feel squeamish about learning anything from non-Christian authors. This is understandable, especially in light of the fact that in the Bible there is a clear emphasis on not emulating the evil or desiring the riches of evil people or basing your life on human traditions and false philosophies (see Colossians 2:1-10). Perhaps the most …

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Don’t Retire to Watch T.V. and Wish You’d Lived Differently

Don’t retire, if you retire from your career, pursue your calling as soon as you clock out on your last day. Watch this video. This woman is 100. Proverbs 24:10 says: “If you faint in days of adversity, your strength is small.” I hope to follow this woman’s advice and I hope you do to. …

Bible, Christianity

On the Accumulation of Tradition in Christianity

Nicholas Taleb helps us understand why tradition is helpful:: Consider the role of heuristic (rule-of-thumb) knowledge embedded in traditions. Simply, just as evolution operates on individuals, so does it act on these tacit, unexplainable rules of thumb transmitted through generations— what Karl Popper has called evolutionary epistemology. But let me change Popper’s idea ever so slightly …

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How to read several books a year

I love reading and I love reading a lot. But sometimes I get depressed and don’t “feel it” or I get busy and don’t pick up a book. Author Jeff Olson, in his book The Slight Edge offers a solution to this problem: Everything you need to know to be successful—every how-to, every practical action—is already written …

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How to become a morning person

A couple of days ago my wife wrote a post about becoming a morning person. Go read it. In the first paragraph she makes this observation: I’ve always admired people who can get up and enjoy the early morning hours. I’ve admired their discipline and craved the fruits of what they enjoy–the peace and solitude …

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Translation Tuesday: Matthew 5:38-42

Writing about this passage is something I often do with great trepidation because it sounds like I’m deradicalizing it. But here I am, rock you like a hurricane, I guess. Text 38 Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη, ὀφθαλμὸν ἀντὶ ὀφθαλμοῦ καὶ ὀδόντα ἀντὶ ὀδόντος. 39 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ· ἀλλ’ ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει εἰς …

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On calling people names: Fundamentalist

Over at his blog, Mike Bird, posted this quote from Alvin Plantinga’s tome Warranted Christian Belief: We must first look into the use of this term ‘fundamentalist’. On the most common contemporary academic use of the term, it is a term of abuse or disapprobation, rather like ‘son of a bitch’, more exactly ‘sonovabitch’, or perhaps still …