Quiet

Below is a repost of a book I briefly reviewed on being an introvert in today’s world. There is a great Ted Talk at the end delivered by the author Susan Cain, but I also discovered this fascinating long-form interview by Lex Fridman with Susan Cain here.

Book Review:  ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain

A few years ago I was in a bookshop and stumbled upon this book as I was browsing.  I picked it up and was hooked immediately.  I think I read the first chapter before paying for it.  What follows is my review that I’ve recently rediscovered, and I offer it here.

The sub-title of the book reads: ‘The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’.  And although this book is secular, the author not only accesses her biblically Jewish roots, but what she says is as relevant to Christian ministry as it is to industry chiefs and educators.  

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Matchless Beauty: How the Bible Speaks to Itself

This is how the Bible speaks to itself – or the textual cross-references within it. The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible.

Books alternate between white and light gray and the length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a singular arc – the colour corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.

Photograph: Christoph Romhild and Chris Harrison

Watch a short explanatory video here

Rev Ethelstan Cheese: ‘No aim in life but to serve God’

One of my favourite stories involves an eccentric English missionary priest with an equally eccentric name, possibly the most majestic name you’ll ever hear?

The Reverend Ethelsten Cheese (b. 19/11/1877 – d. 5/6/1959)

Reverend Cheese was walking through the wilderness in the middle of no where.

A British Army soldier was passing in a car, and offered him a lift.

And it is precisely at this point that uncertainty and certainty meet.

The driver asking,

“What would you have done if I hadn’t come along?”

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How Tyrannies Come In

Rev Dr William Philip has written a great piece in Evangelicals Now about the rise of the veneration of the scientist in our day as that which uses elected figures as puppets and assumes themselves to be the source of all guidance and authority in all matters of public and private life.

I have written several posts over the years denouncing and exposing this mode that functions as science, but is in fact the illigitimate disordered version of it, namely scientism, see here for an example.

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The Daily Slaughter

550 so secret, so nifty,

Per day in the UK? Yeah I suppose, is that OK?

Never heard, never seen;

But Oh my God, those called into being but have never been.

My body, my choice;

Their body, no choice.

The human is sacred,

So why do we degrade it?

We think we’re just material and matter;

But live and let live, it doesn’t matter.

It does matter, that’s why it matters.

We fight for our rights, as we deny their lives matter.

“All men are created equal”

But that’s not true, abortion’s the sequel.

So riddle me this:

How can bacteria be life on Mars?

When a heart beat isn’t life on Earth?*

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BONUS: The Dragon EXPOSED in The System

The previous four posts have attempted to articulate the what and how of the principalities and powers – those often unseen but felt realities that play out behind the things and events and experiences of human history – and I have enjoyed the chattering behind the scenes with those from all over the world who have been engaged and written in. The insights and dialogue have been amazing.

It is a happy day when a tuned in member of the pop-culture world can articulate what is so complicated to say in polite society. Having said that, the video by Tom MacDonald is very powerful as are the lyrics, but even at this point it must be pointed out that MacDonald is an outsider to the music and entertainment establishment. And yet, he has stuck it to the Man by becoming a massive star in his own right, and on his own terms. Like Bob Dylan in the ’60’s, he is becoming a poet of his generation, writing what is called the poetry of our age, and Oh! BTW – all the Old Testament Prophets were poets…. and were rejected to their great cost and the cost of those to whom they spoke, therefore: LISTEN TO THE POETS.

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Principalities and Powers: The Dragon’s Strategy (4/4)

Notes from Walter Wink’s award winning 1993 book ‘Engaging the Powers – Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination‘.

(Pg. 98-100). “The Czech platwright (and later president) Vaclav Havel wrote, while the communist regime was still in power:

“Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

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Principalities & Powers: In Thrall to the Dragon (3/4)

Notes from Walter Wink’s award winning 1993 book ‘Engaging the Powers – Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination‘.

(Pg. 96-98). Liberation from the Delusional System

The perception that the delusional system runs deeper than propaganda leads to a further important insight: those who are victims of the delusional system are nevertheless responsible for how they have been shaped (emphasis mine). And if they are responsible, then they can choose to be liberated from it.

People are socialized into their roles by means of the delusional assumptions from the earliest age – and this includes oppressors as well as the oppressed. They will further have learned to deny to themselves and others the fact that this misinformation causes them pain. We can hold out hope for the transformation of oppressors because to some degree they too are victims of the system and at some level have felt conflicted, as in the case of white boys in South Africa when they discover that they must kill the love they had for the black maids who cared for them since birth. (Some of those who have refused conscription have actually given this as a reason: they could not go into black townships and shoot at those who had nursed them.)

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Principalities and Powers: The Dragon’s Game (2/4)

Notes from Walter Wink’s award winning 1993 book ‘Engaging the Powers – Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination‘.

(P.95-96) “Propaganda (“is not merely deception . . . it is the manufacture of idolatry” see pg. 94) is only the tip of the delusional iceberg, however. Other nations or disaffected internal critics can easily spot and expose it. Propaganda is ad hoc; it responds to short-term needs; it changes to fit every situation. But the basic delusional system has altered little since the ascendancy of the Domination System some five thousand years ago. It has successfully held the vast majority of humanity in thrall by means of a series of largely unexamined assumptions that go far deeper than propaganda.

These delusional assumptions are what Colossians 2:8, 20 call the stoicheia tou kosmou: the fundamental assumptions of the Domination System. Not all of these hold true for all countries in all times, and some would be held by only a minority of people in a given country. But over the five millenia that the delusional game has been playing, these assumptions have continually reasserted themselves. Here are some of them:

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