30 October 2010

October snippets

  • A few days ago I saw a parhelion in the evening sky, commonly known as a sun dog. Apparently they are more frequent on the Canadian prairies and less so in Ontario. The ancient Greeks must have known it too, judging from its name.

  • Though I have lived most of my life in the Great Lakes region of North America, I had not known until recently that, from an hydrological point of view, Lakes Michigan and Huron are a single lake, with water levels rising and falling together. The "two" lakes come together at the Mackinac Bridge, which opened in 1957 and connects the two peninsulas of Michigan.

  • The Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology has posted several interviews "on Christian political responsibility and the significance (or lack thereof!) of various biblical texts." Among those interviewed are James W. Skillen, yours truly, Stanley Hauerwas, Richard Land and Oliver O'Donovan, with more coming from Amy Sherman, William Willimon and John Frame.

  • Tolerance, like inclusivity, is one of those buzz words used in some circles as an unmitigated good, but generally without much reflection on its implications for specific communities. I have just posted something on the topic at First Things: Evangel: Normed tolerance, which is an expansion of something I posted here a few years ago.

  • I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this:

  • Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the luminaries of the Social Gospel movement of a century ago. While we might justifiably applaud the Social Gospel's emphasis on the corporate character of redemption, we should certainly disagree with its tendency to identify redemption with social reform. My own thesis is that the Social Gospel, liberation theology and similar movements are rooted in a conflation of the cultural mandate, given to man at creation (Genesis 1:28), with the redemptive focus of history as accomplished in Jesus Christ. In short, it improperly makes us our own redeemers. I hope to expand on this thesis at some point.

  • Municipal elections were held across Ontario this past week. Hamilton's new mayor, Bob Bratina, won the election with only 37.3% of the vote. With only 39.9% turnout, that means he received the support of a grand total of 14.9% of eligible voters. Am I the only one to think something's badly amiss here? A runoff election or instant runoff voting would be more appropriate than simply relying on such a small plurality to fill the mayoral spot.
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