Blog Archive


Sunday, January 30, 2011
Just when I thought I'd heard all of the most amazing stories of valor and survival from World War II, I stumble across one that blows them all away. A couple months ago, the book Unbroken was published, and it immediately jumped to the top of the New York Times' Best Sellers list, and even though it was only available the final six weeks of 2010, it was the 14th most-purchased book on Amazon for the ENTIRE year. Written by Laura Hillenbrand (the same author who brought the world the life story of Seabiscuit), Unbroken tells the unbelievable-yet-true story of Louie Zamperini, one-time Olympic star who found himself the summer of 1943 fighting for survival in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Though just over 400 pages long, the book flits the reader along at such an engaging pace that I read it all in just a few sittings. Not only is Zamperini's entire tale amazing, the spiritual redemption he finds offers a rare secular look into the freedom and forgiveness that can be found in Christ. I can't recommend this book strongly enough. Get it, read it, tell your friends about it. Then watch while its cinematic rendering takes theaters by storm in a few years.
This looks like a promising new show.
Monday, January 24, 2011
It is one of the most revealing — and tragic — statements made by any political figure in our times.
President Obama made a disturbing statement this past Saturday on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Sometimes it makes me wonder what exactly the difference is between an American leader who supports Roe v. Wade and a Nazi leader who supported the Final Solution. I mean, besides the fact that abortion in this country has killed 5 times as many babies as Jews, minorities, and Christians killed by concentration camps. Or do we not actually believe abortion to be so evil?
This is a good post about the future of the pro-life movement as we enter the 39th year since Roe v. Wade. I would say that the author overstates the case a little though. I think the Church is already doing many of these things. It has largely moved from a protest-first mentality to caring for the mothers and babies while also still protesting where appropriate and needed. It does support crisis pregnancy centers. It has mostly framed the debate away from stopping "evil moms from killing their kids" to a matter of human rights and a scientific definition of the beginning of life. But at the same time, the Church has far to go. We need to adopt more babies, bring more single mothers into our homes, and care for those in our community who need our help.
Friday, January 21, 2011
"The people made worse off by slavery were those who were enslaved. Their descendants would have been worse off today if born in Africa instead of America. Put differently, the terrible fate of their ancestors benefited them."

~ Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Doug Wilson has a great post on why the part of Obamacare that forces pre-existing conditions to be covered is wrong.
There are two ways to spread risk over a large population. The first way is Christian -- it is biblical because the risk is shared voluntarily, and without coercion. The second way is from the pit -- because it depends for its success on violence and coercion. These are the two ways -- the way of peace and the way of blood. The way of the cross or the way of the gun.

If enough people pool their resources at a rate of ten dollars a month, they can then together take care of some disastrous occurence that has befallen any one of them. In order for this to work, the disastrous occurence needs to have not already happened. If it is okay for it to "have already happened," then a bunch of people to whom it has already happened will show up tomorrow morning, applications filled out, and all of a sudden the math doesn't work any more. And after the math quits working, and ten bucks a month ain't cuttin' it, then the temptation for the other way of doing business kicks in.

This other way still talks about "contributions," a linguistic vestige of another time and era, but it is the kind of contribution which, if you fail to make, lands you in chokey. This is called strong-arming, extortion, thuggery, intimidation, or, as some brethren on the left would have it, compassion.

The logic of free market insurance is compassionate because it involves free men and women taking care of themselves by means of free transactions. But what about the people with preexisting conditions, who are in a terrible spot? The law of Christ requires compassion here too, of a different nature, but which is still voluntary. This is why Christians should overflow with charitable (and voluntary) giving to take care of such folks. We should take care of them (though they cannot pay) because Christ took care of us when we could not pay. Give. Sacrifice. Bleed. Freely we have received, freely we must give. But this text does not say, please note, that because we have freely received we must haul out the guns, and the jackets with big block letters on the back, to make sure other people are giving, sacrificing, and bleeding enough.

Coercion skews everything.
Wanting to have your insurance cover your preexisting condition (at no extra cost to you) is exactly like trying to place a bet at the Kentucky Derby after the race is over. You want to bet somebody that Miles Ahead will come in miles ahead when he already did. More than that, you want good odds in your favor. You can't get any takers for some reason, and so you call the men with guns to come and make somebody bet with you. The reason this has happened is that the human heart, which ought to be a house of prayer, has become a den of thieves.
Friday, January 14, 2011
My church is currently working through a sermon series on being the Church. The first message can be summed up by this excerpted quote:
"Bottom line: You cannot genuinely love Christ's bride, the Church, if you only love this abstract, idealized version of the universal Church while you refuse to commit and get your hands dirty and love real people - even really messy, broken people in one localized gathering of believers. The local church is a big deal to God"
That sermon message reminded me of Doug Wilson's "shacking up with Jesus" quote. Then this morning I saw this John Stott quote over on another blog, saying a very similar thing as the aforementioned:
“The church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God’s new community. For his purpose, conceived in a past eternity, being worked out in history, and to be perfected in a future eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetuate our loneliness, but rather to build his church, that is, to call out of the world a people for his own glory.”
Last night, I watched "Solitary Man", a recently released film about aging businessman Ben Kalmen (played superbly by Michael Douglas) who finds himself losing everything from his health to his friends to his business to his family, in no small part due to his terrible moral choices. The movie is a surprisingly honest and realistic (for Hollywood, at least) depiction of the carnage that a self-centered, adultery-riddled, hedonistic lifestyle can create. While focused primarily on the man's sexual lusts and proclivities, it never once glorifies his choices and is surprisingly clean of graphic content considering the subject matter. In one particularly good moment in the film, he asks his one remaining friend Jimmy Merino (played by Danny Devito) why he has remained faithful to his wife of 30+ years. The friend says, "when my father gave me this [restaurant] years ago, I used to dream about these [college] girls. Every night, dreams, all kinds of dreams about 'em. But then I'd see them coming back after graduation. They'd come to homecomings, ballgames. They'd sit at the same tables, eat the same food. And I'd look at them and I noticed, they don't stay like this. None of 'em. They put on years and pounds and wrinkles. And I got one like that at home. And we can talk to each other. I know her and I'll always know her."

What does that movie have to do with the first paragraph of this post, you ask? It's this: just as our wives will eventually put on "years and pounds and wrinkles," so can our local churches. People join the church that you may not personally find that likable, or the music begins to lose touch with your particular tastes in worship style, or a new pastor just doesn't teach very well or focus on the things that you think are important. Many people in similar situations have moved on to greener church pastures, places where the band is cool, the children's program is thriving, and good coffee is served. But such spiritual adultery comes with its costs. For one, besides being disobedient to where God has placed you, jumping around from church to church rarely breeds close community. And those popular churches will one day find themselves wrinkled and old. What are you going to do then? Being faithful to the local Bride of Christ, with all its warts... that can be hard. But as the pastors and theologians above remind us, it's what we're called to be.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
This is one of the best discussions I've heard around the topic of combating poverty.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Interesting interview...

This study of college students shows just how destructive the self-esteem cult has become in this country. These students were raised by teachers and parents who believed that the most important thing is to make kids feel good about themselves, to the point of lavishly praising them for doing nothing, giving participation awards and grades instead of alphabetical ones, and generally making them feel like they are the center of their own universes. As a result, they've grown up to believe their own hype and are addicted to the sound of their own praise. Another case where Christians haven't done a very good job of being counter-cultural.
Friday, January 07, 2011
Doug Wilson has an excellent post on the natural and Biblical progression from the freedom brought by the Spirit of God to economic freedom for all mankind.
Everything about God’s purposes and plans converge upon liberty. This is the Spirit of jubilee. Proclaim liberty throughout the land, which cannot be done apart from the gospel. And when the gospel is preached in power, men are set free.
And when these men are set free from their sins, these freed men in turn set their markets free. Slaves have never built a free economic system, and they never will. They always build tyrannies, with the people enslaved to their lusts and their masters at the bottom, and their masters enslaved to their lusts at the top.

One of the fundamental confusions that drives much of our discussion of American free markets is the confusion between businesses and markets. Being pro-free-market is not at all the same thing as being pro-General-Electric (say). Over the course of our history, American markets have only been comparatively free, but the Spirit of God is nowhere near done with us. We have been free compared to Cuba and Sweden, but we are not yet free compared to the standards of a postmill biblical republic.

The free market consists of the rules of the game. Someone who is pro-free-market thinks that clipping should be clipping for all teams, holding should be holding, and so forth. Someone who is pro-business only sees the rules of the game as one instrument among many that can be used to advance the self-interest of their favored team. Their only rule is winning. Now in the American game of free market football, our refs still make plenty of bad calls, with more than a few of them on the take. But the rules of the game are (still) somewhat recognizable.

Enter the Jim Wallis types, who point out all the cheating, and want to solve the problem by making it legal to bribe the refs and, for good measure, to make it legal for the refs to threaten the wife and children of any of the players. If pressed, he might even cite the Jubilee laws of the Old Testament, apropos of nothing.

So it is hard to determine which is sillier—professed Christians manufacturing chains with Lev. 25:10 stamped on every link, or atheistic Austrian economists pulling theories of true liberty out of the unregenerate heart of man. The former tries, using confused appeals to Augustine, to make the Spirit a slave trader, and the latter tries, using confused appeals to the Scottish Enlightenment, to make the devil the Lord of Manumission.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
John Piper, that is. One could learn a lot about humble and transparent leadership from his post on his return.
Organizations like this one and this one give me hope that Christians will finally get a clue and (hopefully) lead the West in properly attacking the problem of poverty and hunger.
Monday, January 03, 2011

And my 100 year old great grandpa Chester...

To dust they all returned...

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »