Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Reformation Day!

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, impeaching the Catholic practice of selling indulgences, to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. This was the spark that led to what we now refer to as the Protestant Reformation.

The Lutheran Church sprang up following the excommunication of Luther and his supporters from the Roman Catholic Church in 1520. Ultimately, the Reformed (Calvinist) and Anabaptist traditions also emerged from this quiet beginning, though some modern Baptists claim the practice of baptism by immersion continued unabated in Anabaptist sects from the times described in the book of Acts, right through to the Reformation and on to today.

At any rate, if you consider yourself saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, then it is a good day to thank the Lord for that Grace and remember Martin Luther's life and work to free the truth of the Gospel from the tyranny of ancient Roman Catholic tradition of salvation by works.

Now, isn't that better than dressing up like deamons and other baddies, and knocking on strangers' doors to beg for candy?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A.Word.A.Day Keeps the Boredom Away

Since I'm already on a roll today of recommending other websites, I'd like to commend to you A.Word.A.Day. A.W.A.D. is the creation of Anu Garg and has been around for ages (in Internet years). In fact, I originally subscribed to their mailing list back around 1995! Thankfully the list has matured along with the Net, and Anu is now broadcasting in RSS as well as email. That's where I learned the funny sounding, but absolutely appropriate for conversation word fard.

Each week A.W.A.D. sends out a group of oddball, obscure, or highbrow words on a particular theme. Many of them are not really made for normal, day-to-day conversation, unless your friends are all linguaphiles, though periodically, he features series of words intended for daily discussions. But, they're all bona fide words from the English dictionary that might just help you work through some wordy prose and definitely will stretch your brain.

Though I do not agree with Anu's worldview (which he shares in drips & drabs in his introductory comments each week, and via the attached quotations), I applaud his dedication to this project over the last fourteen-plus years. If you're on the hunt for quick ways to increase your brain power, give A.W.A.D. a try.

Think-A-Minute: What is Responsibility?

It's a good question, and one you're likely to get wildly varying answers to in this day of moral relativism, where everyone determines his own moral truth. The Responsibility Project, by Liberty Mutual, is a series of fun and thought provoking short films that explore this question and try to get the viewers to work out an answer.

From the site:
It all began when we ran a TV commercial about people doing things for strangers. The response was truly overwhelming. Thousands of emails and letters from people all over the country thanking us.

We thought, if one TV spot from Liberty Mutual can get people thinking and talking about responsibility, imagine what could happen if we went a step further? So we created a series of short films, and this website, as an exploration of what it means to do the right thing.

We believe that the more people think and talk about responsibility, and even debate what it means, the more it can affect how we live our daily lives. And perhaps, in this small way, together, we can make the world just a little better.

The way I see it, the Responsibility Project is morally & intellectually superior to the campaign Starbucks started a couple years back. Here's why: the Responsibility Project seems to start from the premise that morality is a good thing, and deep down inside, we all know it. Starbucks campaign, on the other hand, seems to be aimed much more solidly at promoting moral relativism, the notion that all ideas are equal (ie. responsibility and selfishness are equal, depending on one's personal moral opinions). Stand to Reason has a very good take on the Starbucks campaign that we can put to use to further the truth.

Now that I have successfully segued to coffee shop talk, why don't you take a few minutes to check out the video below, from the Responsibility Project, then, Oh, I don't know, maybe talk to someone about it.