17 March 2009

john wesley & unconditional election

“With regard to…Unconditional Election, I believe, That God, before the foundation of the world, did unconditionally elect certain persons to do certain works, as Paul to preach the gospel: that He has unconditionally elected some nations to receive peculiar privileges, the Jewish nation in particular: that He has unconditionally elected some nations to hear the gospel…that He has unconditionally elected some persons to peculiar advantages, both with regard to temporal and spiritual things: And I do not deny (though I cannot prove that it is so), that He has unconditionally elected some persons [thence eminently styled ‘the Elect’] to eternal glory. But I cannot believe, That all those who are not thus elected to glory must perish everlastingly; or That there is one soul on earth who has not, [nor] ever had a possibility of escaping eternal damnation.”

From a 1743 exchange with George Whitefield, as quoted in John Wesley's Scriptural Christianity, by Thomas C. Oden

13 March 2009

tulsa islamic adventures

In my Humanities I class at TCC, we spend a week covering Islam (we also go over Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity), and today we spent two hours at the Islamic Society of Tulsa, with a tour of the mosque, a Powerpoint presentation and lots of questions and answers. They were very gracious, even bringing in pizza and drinks (we met at 11am). When I asked the woman guiding us about recommending a good translation of the Qur'an with commentary, she disappeared into the back and brought me out a 2000+ page hardback Qur'an with the Arabic, English translation, and explanatory notes, and gave it to me-wow.

It seems that one thing they are very interested in is combating mass media coverage of Islam, and they answer all the Jihad and terrorism questions with a bit of a smile. In fact, my favorite story from today is that one of my students came in 30 minutes late--he had apparently got lost in the neighborhood, finally found the Center, but went into the school connected to the mosque (a Muslim school, Peace Academy). When he asked about our group, the man responded that he would take him to the building where they were holding us hostage!

An 8th century critique of Islam, by St John of Damascus.

07 March 2009

russian media teases clinton over "reset" button

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian media has been poking fun at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she gave her Russian counterpart a "reset" button with an ironic misspelling.

Clinton's gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at their meeting in Geneva on Friday evening was meant to underscore the Obama administration's readiness to "to press the reset button" in ties with Moscow.

But instead of the Russian word for "reset" (perezagruzka) it featured a slightly different word meaning "overload" or "overcharged" (peregruzka)...


03 March 2009

st athanasius

"[I]t was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us."

--On the Incarnation