A collection of random links & thoughts on this Monday morning:
~ The always excellent Thomas Sowell on Shepherds and Sheep:
Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.
Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger and more catastrophic mistakes?
Think about the First World War, from which nations on both sides ended up worse off than before, after an unprecedented carnage that killed substantial fractions of whole younger generations and left millions starving amid the rubble of war.
Think about the Holocaust, and about other government slaughters of even more millions of innocent men, women and children under Communist governments in the Soviet Union and China.
Even in the United States, government policies in the 1930s led to crops being plowed under, thousands of little pigs being slaughtered and buried, and milk being poured down sewers, at a time when many Americans were suffering from hunger and diseases caused by malnutrition.
The Great Depression of the 1930s, in which millions of people were plunged into poverty in even the most prosperous nations, was needlessly prolonged by government policies now recognized in retrospect as foolish and irresponsible.
One of the key differences between mistakes that we make in our own lives and mistakes made by governments is that bad consequences force us to correct our own mistakes. But government officials cannot admit to making a mistake without jeopardizing their whole careers.
~ How Christians prepare for suffering — a peek: (Read the whole thing!)
In the 1992 sermon “Called to Suffer and Rejoice: That We Might Gain Christ,” John Piper unfolds the significance of Paul counting his gain as loss. Basically, the apostle took a long look at his life apart from Christ. All the things that he valued — his Jewish pedigree, his place in the upper echelon of religious society, his law-keeping — he took a long look at this list and wrote “LOSS” over it with a giant Sharpie.
And then he went a step further.
It wasn’t just the past values of his personal life. It wasn’t just “whatever gain he had.” Paul looks out into the future and declares everything as loss. Everything out there that could pass as positive. Everything good that he has yet to experience and everything which he will never experience. Compared to Jesus, everything is loss.
And lest we think this puts Paul on a pious pedestal, that he is at a spiritual level we’d never reach, Piper reminds us that this sort of reckoning is normal Christianity (Matthew 13:44; Luke 14:33). To consider Jesus better than everything else in the world is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.
~ My photographer son recommends 500px instead of flickr, but I don’t know if I can muster up the energy to figure it all out. I’ve lost interest in flickr and haven’t posted there in ages. You can check out Will’s photos here.
~ ‘Tis the season to post this photo that never fails to crack me up:
~ An excellent article on “culture creep”. Words matter.
~ I’m itching to do some spring cleaning, but now with a full time job and my master’s class, it’s going to look quite different than it usually does for me. I think I’m going to aim for do-able: one drawer or small area every day. That may well take me into summer before I’m finished, but that’s okay.
~ I love this quote Ali shared.
~ Lars Walker on diversity is worth a read. Here’s a bit:
If there’s any word that’s been abused in our time (and there are plenty) it’s “diversity.” Whenever a contemporary American hears the word diversity, he tenses up, figuring some bureaucrat is about to impose another form of uniformity on him. We’ve made diversity about race, and that’s just stupid.
Snatch up a dozen people from random spots around the world, and set them down together in a room. It’s my certain conviction that the least important thing about any person in that group will be his or her race (their views on race may have significance, though). Gender will matter. Politics and religion will matter, as will cultural tradition. I don’t know for a fact whether general racial traits actually exist in people (apart from physical appearance), but if there are such traits they will have little or no significance, except in terms of how people respond to them.
And yet we talk as if diversity were just about race. A university proudly points to its multi-racial faculty, calling it diverse, even though every single member of that faculty holds ideas and beliefs almost indistinguishable from any of the others.
~ I’ve told y’all how I’m drawn to old, weathered objects, so I really love these photos of verdigris.
~ Molly recently shared a great quote on teachability.
May your week start — and finish — well!