If I linked everything I find interesting, my blog would look like a bad imitation of The Drudge Report. Instead, once a week or so I link to blogposts that have linked to me. (Blogrolls that include permanent links to PyroManiac are greatly appreciated, but except on rare occasions, I don't generally include them in the BlogSpotting lists.)
I do not limit these links to people who have positive things to say about PyroManiac. Lately there have been fewer critics linking here, but I don't deliberately exclude any critics. I actually look for them and use the link as an opportunity for brief interaction with their criticisms. There's only one exception to that rule: I do refuse to link to blogs with morally objectionable material or inappropriate links.
Most people appreciate the linkage, whether they are friends or critics. A few shy homeschool moms have said they aren't comfortable with the publicity and try (sometimes in vain) to disguise any reference they make to my blog. I usually link to them anyway. One guy whom I BlogSpotted wrote to say he wished he had left me alone and asked me to remove my link back to him. I did. If you feel that strongly about it, let me know. Despite what it may look like at times, it's not a goal of mine to upset as many people as possible.
So without further ado...
- Dan Burrell gives me a thumbs up on Tuesday's post.
- Daniel J. Phillips does some careful thinking about the disemvoweling of God's names and adds several good arguments I hadn't even thought of for why this practice makes no sense. He calls the practice "ostentatious," and after reading all the comments here, as well as Dani-l's post, I agree with him completely. In my opinion, the practice ought to be discontinued, relegated to the dustbin of forgotten evangelical fads, along with the PBPGINFWMY pins and "I Found It!" bumper stickers.
- Jeremy Moore can hardly contain himself. He wants to be like me when he grows up. (My mom would say that's oxymoronic. Anyone who's grown up is nothing at all like me.)
- Ian Clary links to a Christian festival where he thinks "The New Testament for Goth Girls" might seriously be a hit. He says he's not linking to me in order to be BlogSpotted, but I'm going to mention him anyway.
- Ray at "Observations and Opinions" does some serious thinking and has some edifying thoughts about the limits of our duty to be all things to all men.
- Jason Clark can appreciate the humor in some of my comic-book parodies. But he thinks too many of you people who comment here seem to enjoy being "rude, denigrating, biting, [and] cutting." (You were talking about the people who are critical of meright, Jason?)
- William Dicks unleashes his blog readers on PyroManiac.
- Jeff Jones thinks I'm "redoubtable." I think that means "capable of provoking repeated doubts"as in, "I keep getting the feeling I'm not too sure about this guy."
- Pedantic Protestant (who is that guy?) figures he's ok if I don't BlogSpot him. Busted.
- Matt Gumm has a brilliant post today dealing with the disastrous dumbing down of Bible translations. He's done some careful work to document two different approaches to translating Romans 3:23 and 1 John 2:2 and 4:10, where the concept is plainly that of "propitiation"a very specific and important ideabut some translators have deemed the expression "too technical to communicate to many modern readers."
- Michael Spencer does a riff on the tattoo-and-piercing issue and adds a helpful addendum: "What Phil Johnson is describingthe confrontation of cultureis exactly right....IF by that we mean the culture is confronted with Christ and the Gospel, and not simply another culture." I'll add an amen to thatand a big hands-in-the-air charismatic-style salute to the example he gives.
In fact, here's the kind of "Christian culture" he rightly execrates: "Visit TBN and look at the hairstyles on everyone from Benny Hinn to
Laverne Tripp to Jan Crouch. How is this different from the hair styles you would see on kids with piercings and tattoos? (It's, frankly, considerably weirder.)" Yeah, I've often wondered if Laverne Tripp really goes to Costco with his hair like that. He must get stared at and pointed at a lot, even by people who haven't a clue who he is. The rest of Michael's article is worthy of sober consideration, too.
In fact, Michael's post prompted some thoughts I'll probably eventually blog about: historically, Christianity has elevated every culture it has penetrated. Beginning sometime in the past 150 years or so, however, the visible church (and I'm speaking very broadly here) has seemed to act as an incubator to some amazingly lowbrow and even circus-style subcultures. Shouldn't that clue us that something is seriously wrong, and shouldn't the mainstream be more wary of embracing the fringe, rather than more and more willing to accept aberrant theologies, aberrant cultures, aberrant styles, aberrant worship, and aberrant philosophies into our mainstream?
- Confession time: I realize folks occasionally complain that my humor is too caustic or insufficiently considerate of the feelings of people who bear the brunt of my satire. My dear mom tells me that all the time, and she has borne the brunt of my satire more times than all my readers combined. For the record, I'm not insensitive to those concerns. I do not countenance name-calling, angry insults, or deliberate ill manners and bad behavior. And I do try to shut off the humor chip in my brain when I feel the sarcasm circuitry starting to overload. As Spurgeon once said, if you knew all the mischievous things I think about but never actually say, you would offer me hearty congratulations for my restraint.
Nonetheless, I include this next BlogSpot as a cautionary tale for all of us. Here's something that puts the dangers of careless stridency in proper perspective:
Darth Gill (aka Brandan Kraft) has some less-than-cogent and not-exactly-self-deprecating thoughts about arrogance, offensive language, pride, serious error, and theological discourse. He's "amazed at the number of people that routinely refer to [him] as mean, harsh, or arrogant." He'd really appreciate it if people would simply ignore his arrogance and listen to his opinions anyway. He does not and will not apologize "for calling others names and using derogatory terms such as stupid, idiot, ignorant fools." This memorable quip stood out especially: "Yes, I am mean harsh and arrogant. . . . If you dismiss or ignore me because of this, then it is nothing more than a pathetic exuse [sic] not to deal with the topics that I bring to you in this blog."
Unfortunately, the "topics" Brandan brings to his blog, and his web page, and his discussion forum are all part of Brandan's relentless advocacy of the most radical hyper-Calvinist opinions. And since all who offer biblical arguments against his views automatically incur name-calling and denunciation from Brandan and many others in his crew, his blog is frankly a little hard to take except in small doses. In celebration of his defense of nasty arrogance, I've given Brandan's blog a place in my blogroll under "Appalling." Hopefully, its presence there will remind me to let my own speech (and writing) be seasoned with a little more grace.
- Frank Martens tells a very poignant tale about his experience as the eldest son in a large family. Both Frank's and his sister's blogs speak well of their father's influence and the goodness of divine Providence.
- Brian Colmery found Wednesday's post enjoyable.
- Kevin Pierpont Notices the link to the "Grace to You" podcast over there in the Right-hand column.
- Pierre Benz at "Bowl of Musing" enjoyed my correspondence with "Savage Countenance."
- Jared at "The Thinklings" has been eavesdropping. De over there spotted the Biblezine parody. Here's another one: