Archive - 2006

Saddam Hussein Obituary

The Times Online provides this unflinching obituary of Saddam Hussein, walking us through from his troubled childhood, to his violent ascension to his power, and finally to his downfall.
(HT: Hot Air)

Saddam Hussein Executed

From the BBC:

“Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging at an unspecified location in Baghdad.
Iraqi TV said the execution took place just before 0600 local time (0300GMT). It was witnessed by a doctor, lawyer and officials. It was also filmed.
Two co-defendants, Saddam Hussein’s half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former Iraqi chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were also expected to be executed.
A US statement is expected.”

May the Lord grant peace and harmony among the Sunni and Shia in Iraq.

Sunni and Shia Muslims

Joe Carter provides a helpful distillation of some of the key distinguishing features between these two groups of Muslims. Quotable quote:
“Is Al Qaeda Sunni or Shi’a? If you don’t have clue you’re not alone. Jeff Stein, the National Security editor for Congressional Quarterly, posed that simple question to two Republicans on the Intelligence Committee, a Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, and several top counter-terrorism officials at the FBI. None of them knew the answer.”

C.S. Lewis – The Weight of Glory

Given its significance, I am very grateful that Denny Burk has pointed to an online version of The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis wrote some wonderful fiction, such as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy. Lewis is perhaps less well known for his shorter writings, many of which are loaded with outstanding insights expressed with lucidity and incision. The Weight of Glory is one such work. This nine-page essay (originally given as a sermon) has been influential in the lives of many, including John Piper, who quotes from it several times in his first major book, Desiring God. By the way, I previously posted a primer on Desiring God, in case you are unfamiliar with it.
Happy Reading!
P.S. Kudos to C.S. Lewis notwithstanding, as I argued in my response to Desiring God (which I hope to post soon), the foundation of Christian hedonism indeed predates Lewis.

Desiring God Essay – Response to Peter Masters

I previously mentioned the assignment we were given to write a response to Peter Masters’ concerns with the book Desiring God by John Piper. I plan to post my paper soon. I have turned it in to Pastor Piper, and I’ve also sent it to Dr. Masters to make sure that I am representing him fairly. I would be most grateful for any feedback from anyone once I post it.

Two Very Busy Months

Dear Readers,
I want to apologize for the extremely light blogging of late. These last two months have been unusually busy. Over the month of November, I was asked to preach at a local church in the Minneapolis area that recently found themselves without a pastor. This was a stretching experience for me, as I had not done much preaching before (just a handful of painful Wednesday nights at Grace Community Church in Gardnerville, NV). The invitation was particularly timely in that I am taking a course in Preaching from Pastor John Piper over this Fall 2006 – Spring 2007 timeframe. I gave one message on Hebrews 12:1-2, another on Titus 1, a third on Titus 2 (particularly verses 11-14), and my last on Psalm 32. I will give a 20-minute version of this Psalm 32 message on February 15, 2007 for Preaching class. And I am turning in a manuscript of my Titus 2 message (with some modifications) for Pastor John’s class by tomorrow night (it is almost done!).
December included some travel (to the IEDM Conference in San Francisco) and some illness. I am now cramming through my final assignments for The Bethlehem Institute as well as helping my students get through their finals.
I am a third of the way through my next article for (for whom I previously published this essay). I hope to get it done in the next month. We look forward to catching up with my family in Chicago next week, and some much needed rest.
Thank you for the chance to get to know you by means of this blog. May God bless you and yours with a Christ-centered Christmas season.
Alex Chediak

Primer to Desiring God

I’m finishing up a paper on Desiring God by John Piper. Our assignment is to respond to this critique published by Rev. Peter Masters in 2002. I learned that the audience for my essay is one who has already read Desiring God, such that I am not supposed to spend a great deal of time explaining the book’s thesis. Since I had to pull that material from my paper, I thought I’d post it here for the benefit of any who may not have yet read Desiring God. Here it is.

Justification by faith alone

“Disaster will surely result from denying or obscuring faith as the alone instrument of justification, both present and future.”
– Richard Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight (Waynesboro, Georgia: Paternoster Press, 2006), page 105.
John Piper recently gave this strong sermon, and published this incisive essay on matters pertaining to justification, faith, and Christian obedience.
To both of which I say a hearty Amen!

Update: Albert Mohler on Charity in America

It turns out that Dr. Albert Mohler interviewed Arthur Brooks yesterday about his book, which I previously mentioned.

Americans: Cheap or Charitable?

ABC News just ran a very interesting news broadcast called “Are Americans Cheap? Or Charitable?” There was extended discussion with Arthur Brooks, a professor of public administration at Syracuse University. Brooks struck me as a very reasonable man. He has just published a book called Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism. Some of the findings:
1. Working poor conservatives, on a percentage basis, give more than the average middle class American and far more than those of liberal persuasion (who are more likely to think it’s the government’s job to redistribute wealth).
2. The most likely indicator of a person’s generosity is the degree to which they are religious.
3. No other country comes close to the private giving by Americans on a whole. The fact that most of America’s charitable gifts come from volunteers, not government, demonstrates that Americans are different from people in every other country.
“The fact is that Americans give more than the citizens of any other country. … They also volunteer more,” Brooks said. “Americans per capita individually give about three and a half times more money per year, than the French per capita. … Seven times more than the Germans and 14 times more than the Italians.”
You can read about ABC’s investigation here.
(HT: Jacob)

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