The Bible — Trailer / Video


Per YouVersion:

The Bible series, from television’s top husband-and-wife team Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, is the greatest visualization of the Bible we’ve ever seen. From Genesis to Revelation, this five-part series combines a powerful collection of stories with live action and truly amazing CGI.

We’re thrilled that the Bible App has been named the official app of The Bible series.



Calvin College: The January Series
Presentations begin 12:30 p.m. EST (11:30 a.m. CST, 10:30 a.m. MST, 9:30 a.m. PST)
NOTE: Due to contractual restrictions, a few of these presentations will not be recorded or archived.

More details here, but a listing of the speakers/topics include:

Thursday, January 3
Jeremy Courtney – “Restoring Hearts in Iraq”

Friday, January 4
Sheryl WuDunn – “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”

Monday, January 7
Roberta Green Ahmanson – “Dreams Become Reality: Inspiration through the Arts”

Tuesday, January 8
Jenny Yang – “Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate”

Wednesday, January 9
Richard J. Mouw & Robert Millet – “Evangelicals and Mormons: A Conversation and Dialogue”

Thursday, January 10
Peter Diamandis – “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think”

Friday, January 11
Captain Scotty Smiley – “Hope Unseen”

Monday, January 14
Jeff Van Duzer – “Why Business Matters to God”

Tuesday, January 15
Rebecca Skloot – “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Wednesday, January 16
Cokie Roberts – “An Insider’s View of Washington DC”

Thursday, January 17
W. Dwight Armstrong – “Feeding the World and the Future of Farming”

Friday, January 18
Garth Pauley – “Rituals of Democracy: Inaugural Addresses in American History”

Monday, January 21
Robert Robinson – “Celebration through Gospel Music” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 22
Mike Kim – “North Korea-China: A Modern Day Underground Railroad”

Wednesday, January 23
Chap Clark – “Sticky Faith”in partnership with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

To students studying Business, Economics, Religion, Political Science, and Philosophy:


Please consider — and research/define where necessary — the following items occurring in the United States today. 

The fiscal cliff.
The U.S. debt limit.
Federal spending vs. revenue.
Printing money and it’s potential impact on inflation.
Recent election results.
A global economy; global competition.
The place/role of money.
Race against the machine; also see this posting.
Matthew 6:19-34.


Then, please discuss/answer the following questions:

  1. What makes our debt risky? On a national level? On the money and banking level? On a personal level?
  2. What are your thoughts about the following items:
  3. What implications do you see in these items? Will they be impacting you and/or your future?
    • Are there political ramifications for this?
    • Are there spiritual ramifications for this?
  4. Could the U.S. be heading for trouble? If you say yes, what support do you have for this assertion? If you say no, what do you support your argument with?
  5. Do you think we are a divided nation? What support do you have for this perspective?
  6. What characteristics of leadership would you most like to see at this point in time?
  7. After reading Matthew 6:19-34:
    • If you, personally, lost everything you had, what would that do to you emotionally? Physically? Spiritually? That is, if our savings completely dried up, what would life be like for us as a society? What would that do to our hearts?  To our perspectives/worldviews/priorities? How we choose to spend our time? What would it do to our view of God?  To our view of ourselves?


Some other resources to consider:



fiscal cliff



Praying for jobs [Jaschik]

Praying for jobs — from by Scott Jaschik
Since 2008, academic job openings in religion have dropped sharply — and the positions that do exist are more likely than in the past to be non-tenure-track.


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Kuers introduces What If Learning dot com



The site presents teaching examples—for both elementary and secondary classrooms—from a range of subjects: art, cooking, dance, technology, drama, English, environment, geography, history, technology, math, foreign/second language, music, physical education, health, Bible class and science. (There are also categories titled “teacher,” “tests” and “topics.”)

Each example leads off with a question: “What if a grammar lesson challenged selfishness?” “What if success in math depended upon forgiveness?” “What if history could inspire students to love their city?” The site also provides tabs labeled “The Approach,” “Training,” “Big Picture,” and “Information,” where teachers can learn how to apply what they’ve learned in their classrooms.

“The website helps teachers ask key questions and make strategic decisions, not only about what to teach but about how to teach,” said Matt Walhout, Calvin’s dean for research and scholarship. “It relates specific topics like language, history, and math to the overarching Christian principles of faith, hope, and love.”


Also see:

Also see:


Opinion from DSC:
Technologies — by themselves — are neither good nor bad.  It’s what we do with them that makes them good or bad. The concerns I have are when people try to play God.   His ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. So when the We Robot Conference puts up a banner that would normally look like the hand of God touching a human hand — but in their case, they put a robot’s hand reaching out to touch a man’s hand — something just doesn’t set well with me re: that image.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think robotics can be very helpful — especially in manufacturing, fire safety, other.  But in some of the robotics space/spheres of work, when we think we can “do better” than the LORD — to make a better mind than what He gave us  — I get a bit nervous.



From DSC:
I couldn’t help but reflect again on the state of our hearts here in the United States when I read Greg Smith’s Op-Ed in the New York Times entitled, “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs”. It’s a depressing accounting of the rampant greed on Wall Street, with a disregard for deeper qualities and a true attention to meeting a customer’s/client’s needs and goals. It speaks to employees not giving a damn about clients, but only looking to make as much money as possible. (It’s fine to make a living, but how about sincerely trying to make a contribution to society at the same time?)

Some excerpts from Smith’s article:

And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

From DSC:
I don’t know this man and I’m sure Goldman Sachs will try to discredit him; and yes, he was part of that culture and made a serious living off of it for years.

However, my focus is not on Greg Smith but upon the type of culture he spoke of; such a culture is not only bad for relationships — and ultimately for souls — but regardless of what you believe in terms of faith-based items, it’s simply bad business and it doesn’t benefit our society. In fact, it destroys it and it’s a significant contributing factor to the anger that continues to mount in the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.

 Some relevant graphics come to my mind:




The State of the Heart



Addendum on 3/21/12:

  • This CEO should be ashamed of himself — from by Sean Williams
    CEO gets 44% pay raise while “Pfizer is in the midst of a multiyear cost-cutting campaign instituted in 2005 that includes eliminating a grand total of 55,400 jobs. That’s not a misprint — that’s 55,400 jobs gone, eliminated, axed! Pfizer announced the final phase of those jobs cuts recently, which will target 16,300 jobs and save the company a purported $1 billion in 2012. I have to wonder, how out of touch with reality do you have to be to give yourself a 44% raise as you are in the process of eliminating 16,300 jobs?”

Infographic of the day: What are the darkest parts of the Bible? — from by Suzanne LaBarre; also charts the Bible according to positive and negative sentiment–with some surprising results.



What you end up with is a snapshot of the relative cheeriness–or gloom–of different sections in the Bible. As the designer tells it:

Things start off well with creation, turn negative with Job and the patriarchs, improve again with Moses, dip with the period of the judges, recover with David, and have a mixed record (especially negative when Samaria is around) during the monarchy. The exilic period isn’t as negative as you might expect, nor the return period as positive. In the New Testament, things start off fine with Jesus, then quickly turn negative as opposition to his message grows. The story of the early church, especially in the epistles, is largely positive.

In short, it gives you a bird’s-eye view of the tone of each book, something that’s easy to miss in a line-by-line reading. You could also use it as a guide of sorts to the darkest, juiciest parts of the Bible.

If it feels right … — opinion piece from the New York Times by David Brooks


 During the summer of 2008, the eminent Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith led a research team that conducted in-depth interviews with 230 young adults from across America. The interviews were part of a larger study that Smith, Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson, Patricia Snell Herzog and others have been conducting on the state of America’s youth.

What’s disheartening is how bad they are at thinking and talking about moral issues.

But they just don’t have the categories or vocabulary to do so.

When asked to describe a moral dilemma they had faced, two-thirds of the young people either couldn’t answer the question or described problems that are not moral at all, like whether they could afford to rent a certain apartment or whether they had enough quarters to feed the meter at a parking spot.

“I don’t really deal with right and wrong that often,” is how one interviewee put it.

Also see:

Moralistic therapeutic deism
The authors find that many young people believed in several moral statutes not exclusive to any of the major world religions. It is this combination of beliefs that they label Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:

  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

These points of belief were compiled from interviews with approximately 3,000 teenagers.[4]

From DSC:
But don’t worry or lose any sleep or anything…these are the people who will be out on Wall Street or in the big banks (who are too big to fail) — and they’ll be carefully watching over the nest eggs that it took you 30-40 years to build. (Yeah, right…)

Or…these are the folks who you will be trying to do business with…where will the speed of trust be then? I don’t mean to point the finger at the youth…the problem is with us adults. We model or teach — or choose not to model and teach — the youth.


Addendum on 9-15-11:


From DSC:
Items re: The Singularity:

From DSC:

I don’t mean to suggest here that just because someone is pursuing the development of AI, robotics, etc. that their heart isn’t right — that’s just not accurate and such a perspective would be painting a broad and bogus swath across mankind.

But from some of the robotic and AI-related sites and blogs that I’ve seen (and not necessarily those listed above), I’m becoming a bit more skeptical of peoples’ motivations in this space, as many of these folks seem to be saying they can create better than God can.  Alternatively, some don’t believe in a Creator at all, and thus want to make themselves the ultimate creator.  When inventors, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, military leaders, and other relevant parties have “hearts of flesh” that are compassionate, caring, and giving…these technologies can be very useful and beneficial.  But I’m more concerned if these types of technologies are warped into a pathway for power, personal gain, military applications, etc.


The State of the Heart



Also see:



Tour of the Bible [Bible Gateway]

Tour of the Bible, part 5: the Minor Prophets — from Bible


Last month we revived our Tour of the Bible series to examine the Major Prophets. Today, we’ll take a look at the so-called Minor Prophets—and we’ll conclude our tour of the Old Testament while we’re at it. In case you missed them, here are the previous installments of our Tour of the Bible:

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Holy Week Timeline Visualization

Holy Week Timeline Visualization — from

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The Exodus — via social media — my thanks to Valerie Bock for this item


Happy Passover from



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