Friday, June 10, 2011

Morning Coffee - June 10, 2011

Some stimulating links to start the day:

Baptist Press Sports: Tim Tebow Memoir Released
"It’s about my life, from before I was born, all the way up to my first year in the NFL and everything in between," Tebow said in a Florida Times-Union story. "It’s a lot of cool stuff. Some of it is stories that have been told, but also what isn’t told. There’s a lot of stuff in there that ESPN doesn’t report, just thoughts of mine before big games and different stories that people wouldn’t know unless they were right there with me."

Jhumpa Lahiri: Trading Stories: Notes from an Apprenticeship
For much of my life, I wanted to be other people; here was the central dilemma, the reason, I believe, for my creative stasis. I was always falling short of people’s expectations: my immigrant parents’, my Indian relatives’, my American peers’, above all my own. The writer in me wanted to edit myself. If only there was a little more this, a little less that, depending on the circumstances: then the asterisk that accompanied me would be removed. My upbringing, an amalgam of two hemispheres, was heterodox and complicated; I wanted it to be conventional and contained. I wanted to be anonymous and ordinary, to look like other people, to behave as others did. To anticipate an alternate future, having sprung from a different past. This had been the lure of acting—the comfort of erasing my identity and adopting another. How could I want to be a writer, to articulate what was within me, when I did not wish to be myself?

Jonathan Leeman: How Not to Grow a Healthy Church
Just about every church leader and Christian I know would affirm the doctrine of the sufficiency of God’s Word. But this is an easy box to check in the morning and forget in the afternoon, particularly when you’re sitting in Tuesday’s church staff meeting making decisions about next Sunday. One of the legacies of Mark Dever in my life is the lesson that growing as both a Christian and as a pastor means growing continually in my understanding of the Bible’s sufficiency and power. Believing in this is a faith proposition that needs feeding and nurturing, just like a belief in God and the gospel.

This is especially important for church leaders, who are going to build their congregations on one thing or another. Your beliefs about the Bible are not a box to check. The faithful pastors whom many of us admire are the men who, over the years, grow and grow and grow in knowing the Bible’s power.

NYT Book Review: Books About Bob Dylan
[Greil Marcus'] recent scrapbook compilation, “Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968-2010,” shows him in a decades-long game of chess against the man who is his favorite subject, bugaboo, muse, hobbyhorse and intellectual crush object. Dylan will try to pull a fast one, and Marcus will usually catch him in the act and call him on it. Amusingly enough, he cannot stand one of Dylan’s most beloved songs. “Line by line,” Marcus writes, “ ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ is pious, or falsely innocent — isn’t it obvious whoever wrote ‘Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail / Before she sleeps in the sand?’ already knows the answer, assuming he or anyone can actually bring him or herself to care about such a precious question?” Neither does he care for “The Times They Are A-Changin.’ ” Or Dylan’s religious period. Or most of his 1980s output. Same with a lot of his 1970s material. He takes special glee in pointing out the horridness of a little-heard Dylan composition, from 1963, called “You’ve Been Hiding Too Long.” After quoting a few of its stilted lines, Marcus reports that it “is so awful it’s been erased from Dylan’s published song collections.” He piles on, calling it “self-congratulatory spew” and “the deformed spawn of the impulses behind ‘Masters of War.’ ”

On My Shelf Interview: Mark Dever
Any advice on how to read for comprehension?
This is the order I read nonfiction books: 1) table of contents; 2) prefatory material; 3) intro and conclusion; 4) chapter titles to figure out what the author is trying to do throughout the book; 5) rest of the book.
What book has been best adapted to the movie screen? Worst movie adaptation?
Best = “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Lord of the Rings”; Worst = Prince of Egypt (yes, the Disney animated film).

Wired: How Facebook Got an 'F' for Facial Recognition
It’s a pretty common-sense feature and examined coldly, really not very invasive and perhaps not even that useful. Similar features are baked into Apple’s iPhoto and Google’s Picasa client software. (For my money, the creepiest features of Google and Facebook are Google’s default-on Web History recording and Facebook’s behind-the-scenes ranking of the strength of your friendship with each of your friends.)

But the backlash is really about two things: 1) the fateful combination of the words “Facial Recognition” and “Facebook” and 2) Facebook’s tone-deaf handling of the feature.

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