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Showing posts from July, 2009

The Usefulness of Biblical Narrative

Peter Mead has some helpful words on preaching narrative, part of the problem is that we tend not to preach it at all, but if we do we tend to mine it for meaning and nice phrases rather than read it as a text...

"the greater challenges involved in telling a story effectively such as vivid description, maintaining tension, etc. Thus it may be slightly harder to preach well in this way. However, the strengths of this approach are significant. The original force of the passage can be recreated for listeners, whether or not they already know the end of the story. The inherent tensions and intrigue in a narrative can become strengths of the message..." Which presupposes that we're looking at narrative in the first place (it is most of the Bible). Probably we get stuck in the same mindset as Tom Gledhill's angle on The Song of Songs: "It is far safer to look for spiritual stimulus, encouragement and rebuke concerning the spiritual life in the straightfoward and exp…

The Unquenchable Flame

Marcus is reading Mike Reeves first book, The Unquenchable Flame. I'm really hoping my copy arrives soon. Of Mike, Marcus says...

"A brilliant mind combined with a zest for accessible story-telling, with a gentle, kind wit and affections keenly set on God. I don't think Mike would describe himself as a Reformed Charismatic (correct me if I am wrong, Mike), but he ought to be well-known and read and liked in that constituency. "

Buy The Unquenchable Flame from IVP
Mike is the boss man of Theology Network

Mike is my top choice preacher for our regional Transformission student conference. In 2007 he spoke on The Glory of the Cross, in 2008 on The Word of God and on 17th October 2009 he'll be with us again on Union with Christ. Some of the best doctrine teaching I've ever had the priviledge of hearing.

Straw men are easy, talking to people takes more

Robert Wright:
When you view people or ideas as your adversaries—view them in zero-sum terms—your unconscious mind does the rest of the work, making you conceive them and depict them in less flattering terms than is objectively warranted.  ht: ZoomtardApplies to all kinds of disagreements methinks. How different the argument might look if I view people as friends, or just human beings. People with feelings, relationships and lives to live.

Along a similar line Don Carson cites Bryan Magee on Karl Popper:
I had always loved argument, and over the years I had become quite good at identifying weak points in an opponent’s defense and bringing concentrated fire to bear on them. This is what virtually all polemicists have sought to do since ancient times, even the most famous of them. But Popper did the opposite. He sought out his opponents’ case at its strongest and attacked that. Indeed, he would improve it, if he possibly could, before attacking it. . . . Over several pages of prior discus…

A Proverbial Drama

Peter Leithart on the dramatic structure of Proverbs
The first nine chapters are full of references to two women who compete for the prince’s attention and affection. Lady Wisdom is introduced in chapter 1, in the street exhorting the simpletons to abandon their folly and warning them of the consequences if they refuse to hear (1:20-33). Chapter 2 introduces the second woman, the adulteress, Dame Folly (9:13); her ways are the ways of death (2:16-18). She is a loud and boisterous woman who preys on the simple (9:13).

Throughout the early chapters, the father alternately encourages his son to pursue Lady Wisdom (3:13ff.; 4:1-9; 8:1-36; 9:1-6) and warns him about the dangers of following Dame Folly (5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:6-27; 9:13-18). Wisdom brings life, riches, and honor. Folly bring poverty, shame, and ultimately death; her house is a highway to the grave. The Proverbs begin, then with the son confronted by a choice of two women who are bound up with two divergent destinies.

It should b…

Can we preach [the gospel] please? My soul needs it and I am not alone.

iMonk: Law/Gospel Rant is brilliant.... Yes that subject again but it's important. Here's a taste but you should read the whole thing methinks:
"Remember this: Discipleship will put you in despair without the Gospel. Discipleship that’s rooted in law will just drive you into despair or Pharisaism. Discipleship needs to grow out of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit magnifying Jesus and the love of God. You can recognize law preaching because it’s always full of references to the Bible being a “handbook for life,” full of principles for a successful life. If your Bible is just a handbook for life, throw it away.
The Bible is the story that delivers us the Gospel. It’s point is to get you to Jesus, the one mediator between God and man. It’s a big book to get you to a short message. You buy the whole field, but the treasure is the Gospel, not the book of Judges or financial principles from Proverbs. Once you have the Gospel right and you know what preaching is all abo…

Preaching the gospel to yourself

Andrew Bonar hit me between the eyes this morning, when reading his Geneva Commentary on Leviticus...
"...ministers must themselves set an example to their people of constant dependence on Jesus, and unceasing application of his death. In proportion as they who lead others do themselves make use of atonement, will their people also be convinced of their need of it" p167-168. Which makes reading John Calvin's preface to Olivetan's translation of the New Testament unmissable. Go read it! 

It is of course worth asking what does 'unceasing application of his death' mean... what is it to 'make use of atonement'? Surely firstly it is to die with Christ. As John Kent puts it:

Hail, sacred union, firm and strong
How great thy grace, how sweet the song,
That rebel worms should ever be
One with incarnate Deity!
One in the tomb, one when He rose,
One when he triumphed o'er His foes
One when in heav'n He took His seat,
While seraphs sung at hell's def…

CS Lewis on Persuasive and Effortless Preaching

CS Lewis was a great communicator and apologist. He presented difficult and high subjects with sublime simplicity and rigorous argument. He introduces his academic subject in his book The Discard Image, a fascinating introduction to the Ptolomaic Model of the Universe, one hard-wired with significance, which seems to have been part of the attraction to it for Lewis, a man who loved the idea of "a meaning-drenched universe"Lewis' observations on the vice and virtues of medieval writers make fascinating reflections for the contemporary Christian apologist or preacher. A vice to avoid, a virtue to aspire to.

"Poets and other artists have depicted these things because their minds loved to dwell on them. Other ages have not had a Model so universally accepted as theirs, so imaginable and so satisfying to the imagination. Marcus Aurelius wished that men would love the universe as a man can love his own city. I believe that something like this was really possible in the p…

The Gospel according to Leviticus

Charles Simeon:
"In Passion Week [the week up to and including Easter], as I was reading Bishop Wilson on the Lord’s Supper, I met with an expression to this effect—“That the Jews knew what they did, when they transferred their sin to the head of their offering.” The thought came into my mind, What, may I transfer all my guilt to another? Has God provided an Offering for me, that I may lay my sins on His head? Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment longer. Accordingly I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus; and on the Wednesday began to have a hope of mercy; on the Thursday that hope increased; on the Friday and Saturday it became more strong; and on the Sunday morning, Easter-day, April 4, I awoke early with those words upon my heart and lips, “Jesus Christ is risen to-day! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” From that hour peace flowed in rich abundance into my soul; and at the Lord’s Table in our Chapel I had the sweetest access to God through my…

Totally like whatever, you know?

By Taylor Mali, cited by Mark Dever in a sermon on final judgement, ht: Colin Adams.  Listen to the poet reading it at npr

In case you hadn't noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you're talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you're saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)'s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren't, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences -- so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not -
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don't think I'm uncool just because I've noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It's like what I've heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I'm just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our…

Horoscopes for the People of God?

This lunchtime I almost vomitted.
"You must confront your giant head-on. The Bible says: "As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran... to meet him" Don't run away, don't try to negotiate, don't compromise and don't excuse. Force your giant out into the light and don't let him back into your life. Establish boundaries and make yourself accountable. Stay out of the wrong company. Above all, don't look at God in the light of your giant, look at your giant in the light of God"

"We think our current sizzle-free status is proof that romantic love is dead and the dream forever lost. That's because we confuse romance with love. Romance brings people together, but love keeps them together. People who love each other can make romance live again- at any age or stage. "You have left behind your first love" (Rev 2:4). It didn't leave you. It didn't die. A new partner is not the s…

Unstoppable progress and recurring frustration

Seems to me church history is at least two stories, probably more.

On the one hand there is the unstoppable progress of the gospel to all people groups, the word increases and the number of disicples multiplies, the word does everything. This story is exciting as new frontiers are crossed and churches established where before there were none, this is a story of ordinary people serving God, one frustrated by unbelief and driven forward by God's saving electing grace.

Another thread is perhaps more frustrating, everything has been before and perversion of the truth is the great repeater that seeks to frustrate the church again and again. This is a story of confession of truth and confrontation. It meets the missional story at many points, for the gospel defended is one meant for all peoples. Such as Andrew Fuller who refuted the anti-missional hypercalvinists to lay the foundation for William Carey's move to India.

Phil Johnson is immensely helpful in identifying the five main he…

Your Jesus Is Too Safe

I'm enjoying reading Your Jesus Is Too Safe at the moment, review to follow next month. Stetzer interviews the author Jared Wilson:

Ed Stetzer: You survey quite a few false Jesuses from contemporary culture in the Introduction--Grammy Award Speech Jesus, Hippie Jesus, ATM Jesus, etc. Which one do you think is most prevalent in the church right now? And what is the book's response to it?

Jared Wilson: I don't have the research resources that you do, so I can't put a figure on this, but I can tell you that my biggest concern is actually about an Invisible Jesus. Jesus, the Best Supporting Actor. Cameo Appearance Jesus. The "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain" Jesus.

In way too many churches - just one would be too many, but I know this is a larger problem than that because I have experienced it myself and I hear from many others across the country who have as well - Jesus barely or rarely shows up. He may make an appearance in an illustration or someth…

Seven aspects of Burnt Offering (Lev 1:3-9).

A burnt offering isn't part of the normal pattern of our lives, but we can consider and understand it. This comes with much help from Andrew Bonar's Geneva Commentary on Leviticus:
1. Male animal without blemish - We’re all stained by the rebellion of our first parents, Adam & Eve, and by our own rebellion against God. All humanity is marred and corrupted – not necessarily as bad as we might be, but marred in every part, opposed + unwilling to turn back to God. An unblemished sacrifice dies in the place of the guilty.
2. Before the LORD - Sacrifice given to God, because God has a problem. His anger must be turned asider, or we perish. 3. Leans on it - Jethro identifies himself with this substitute – it represents him. Neil Armstrong represented us all as he took a giant leap for mankind 40 years ago - "we went to the moon". Jethro leans on “It will be accepted in my place”. But can the blood of an animal take away sin? 4. It is killed - The life is laid down, helple…

Turning things inside out (Exodus 18)

MP3: Exodus 18 - Turning things inside out, 43mins, Frontiers Church Exeter
“One day whilst out enjoying the sunshine Narcissus came upon a pool of water. As he gazed into it he caught a glimpse of what he thought was a beautiful water spirit. He did not recognise his own reflection and was immediately enamoured. Narcissus bent down his head to kiss the vision. As he did so the reflection mimicked his actions. Taking this as a sign of reciprocation Narcissus reached into the pool to draw the water spirit to him. The water displaced and the vision was gone. He panicked, where had his love gone?...Frightened to touch the water Narcissus lay still by the pool gazing in to the eyes of his vision. He cried in frustration. He did not move, he did not eat or drink, he only suffered. As he pined he became gaunt loosing his beauty. “What an echo of our culture?! Perfect self-obsession. Planet Facebook: no-one picks out a bad photo for their profile… maybe you’ve even googled yourself – the mod…

Amazon unshops George Orwell Books

Interesting and ironic story about one of my favourite books.
Amazon remotely deletes Orwell e-books from Kindles, unpersons reportedly unhappy

Macho-Christianity, or being a pretty princess?

"It is a documented fact that evangelical Christianity struggles to attract blokes, and does much better with women. Various theories have been advanced as to why this might be. Probably the most popular one is that we're just not doing church right - our songs are overly sentimental, our preaching isn't action-packed enough, our vision of Jesus isn't macho enough. Church doesn't feel very blokey...ome of those things might be valid concerns, to a certain extent. But I've been wondering whether the Christian message is stucturally anti-male, and I suspect it is - and I suspect that isn't a problem. Psalm 45 is my jumping-off point here...."Go and read more by Daniel Blanche on Jesus and Gender

Can we handle being the bride?
Can we handle the God who goes for the weak and the small and the insignificant and unimpressive things of this world?

How to find God - Documentary on The Alpha Course

Available for another 12 days on 4OD, Revelations: How to find God? a documentary on the Alpha Course at St Aldates Oxford, watching agnostics think things through. A fair-minded and interesting observation of Christians doing evangelism by Jon Ronson. There are some uncomfortable moments for the Christian but worth being aware of how we look.

Pulitzer Preaching

"Put it before them briefly so that they will read it,
clearly so they will appreciate it,
picturesquely so they will remember it
and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by it's light"

Matt Blick applies this quote from Mr Pulitzer to writing worship songs, should also apply to most other forms of communication. Be brief, clear, picturesque and accurate.

Worship Matters: Don't put trivia in the mouths of God's people

"It's no light thing singing doctrinally accurate & 'sharp-edged' songs. I am singing & writing the very truths that got my brothers like Athanasius exiled or killed. I must not cheapen their memory & the freedom they won by putting trivia in the mouths of God's people. Nobody was ever burnt at the stake for saying "God is nice & He likes you"
Matt Blick

Which is the equivalent of what John Piper writes of Athanasius:

What was clear to Athanasius was that propositions about Christ carried convictions that could send you to heaven or to hell. There were propositions like: “There was a time when the Son of God was not,” and, “He was not before he was made,” and, “the Son of God is created.” These propositions were strictly damnable. If they were spread and believed they would damn the souls which embraced them. And therefore Athanasius labored with all his might to formulate propositions that would conform to reality and lead the soul to fait…

Newfrontiers - Past, Present and Future (Terry Virgo)

Has Christianity become Islamic? (Mike Reeves with Keith Small)

Theology Network: Mike Reeves interviews Keith Small, about the contrasts between Islam and Christianity- and how Christians can slip into thinking Islamicly.

This is a subject Mike is particularly interested in, perceiving that Islamic notions of creation, sin and God etc. may have pervaded evangelical thought.

Standing by the blood of Jesus

A few days ago Dr Ken MacLeod died of a heart-attack, survived by his wife and children. Ken was a church warden at Trinity Exeter and Associate Dean of Exeter and Director of Clinical Studies for the Peninsula Medical School.

I'd not seen him for 18 months and couldn't claim to have known him particularly well though we were for a while in the homegroup that met at his home. My abiding memory of this warm-hearted and generous father is his passion and tears when preaching on Revelation 12 one evening in Autumn 2007. Ken MacLeod - Revelation 12(mp3)

Death is always tragic. We drove past the five hearses carrying fallen soldiers on the M4 last Friday, a sobering moment. The for the Christian at least death has lost it's sting but it still proclaims the frustration of this age. Nonetheless, we shall overcome! The Lamb wins! 

Jesus has won and Ken now rests happy with him.

Torchwood: Children of Earth

I wasn't overly impressed with earlier seasons of Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off, from the occasional episodes I'd seem. The latest season was a slight reinvention - giving us a five part miniseries, screened through the week, though watched on iPlayer in our house.The format works well and added depth to the story. 

Aliens are coming, speaking through children and they've come to take our children or destroy us all. An exploration of family and of ethics via the medium of entertaining pacey drama. Plenty of spoilers here.

Our place in the universe. Fleetingly we hear that a Christian gives up her faith because science made her feel too insignificant in the universe. Torchwood exists in a godless universe where there are aliens who challenge our place. Does a big universe make us big or small? Does the scale of things tell us about us or about something else?  

This is about children. Along the way we find that Captain Jack has a daughter, and a grandson, and Gwen is preg…

Of Apostolic Spheres, the methodology of movements (Thanks, but no thanks Mark Driscoll)

Last year Mark Driscoll spoke at the Newfrontiers leaders conference, he made brilliant contributions about the need to be missional and get moving with more church planting, he was outstanding on engaging with culture and he made some penetrating insights into movements in his final session 'movements are messy' (mp3). Driscoll noted that many movements become institutions or museums, memorials to the way things have been done and the way they used to be.

From which he concluded that Newfrontiers is a movement led by an old man that needs to think about it's future, finding a successor to marry the movement he birthed to. How you evaluate that depends on how the movement works in the first place. Terry Virgo,69, observes that Driscoll, 38, hadn't quite understood us. Newfrontiers is a name that has been given to Terry Virgo's apostolic sphere of influence.

Here Newfrontiers is making at least two claims which shape the movement (alongside being reformed & char…

What is a reformed charismatic?

Terry Virgo gave three sessions at our leaders conference last week that captured the essence of newfrontiers. We are a people of the word and the Spirit (reformed and charismatic), a people who love the church, and a people gathered within apostolic spheres of influence (more on that sometime soon).

I was very struck during the church history track on Calvin by the explicit doctrinal foundations of the movement. Andy Johnston, Greg 'Banner of Truth' Haslam and Lex Loizides were all very strong on our emphasis on the authority of Scripture. We are Bible people who love the sovereign rule of God, especially in saving his people.

When we speak of ourselves as reformed we speak of the God of the Scriptures to whom salvation belongs. There is a lot more that could be said about being reformed which flows from this foundation regarding sin, grace, and indeed a deep valuing of all of life. David Stroud's session on the need and value of Christians in the workplace and all of lif…

How to make coffee #4 Enjoy life

I'm known for my love of coffee and for making it strong, I don't make it that strong it's just that most people make it very weak! Like I say, it's not about the caffeine but about the flavour, and a small mug of well made coffee is exquisite with breakfast, mid-morning, or after a meal. A well made coffee goes well with a good book or a newspaper, but it's just as good served with good friends and interesting conversation.

Mark Driscoll says Starbucks is "Where lonely people gather together to drink burnt coffee and ignore one another in community." Which is only true because we all buy into that social convention, why not be sociable - look up and say hello. The modern Espresso Bar has the potential to be a social hub though Driscoll's observation is largely true. It's horrendously expensive to drink good coffee outside your own home, and yet something is appealing about being in a room with others, with the mug, and having a trained barista …

How to make coffee #3 French Press (Cafetiere)

This has to be my favourite way to make coffee. It's simple, quick and always tasty if done correctly.

You can buy a French Press in any number of sizes, I have a four cup and a one cup. Let's run with the one cup. The general rule is one spoon of coffee per cup plus one for the pot. Place the coffee in the bottom of the Caffetiere and boil the kettle.

When the water has boiled wait for it to go off boiling. If you pour it in when its too hot it'll burn the coffee which wont taste good.

Then pour in the water, not too fast but not too slow, you'll see it rise and foam a little. The temptation now is to leave it to stew for a while. Instead take the press and insert immediately, pushing down quickly to the top of the coffee, this traps in the steam and gives some pressure. Now leave it for 2-3 minutes before slowly pressing down. An Espresso-style Crema begins to appear and will transfer into the cup, giving a tasty golden layer on top of the coffee..Failing to use enou…

How to make coffee #2 Espresso and Filter

The High Streets of most towns and cities are now littered with charity shops, former estate agents and chain coffee shops. Most of those coffee shops are part of chains and really should be called espresso bars, since that's the main drink on offer at your local Starbucks, Costa or Caffe Nero.

The Espresso is made by the Barista and is at its purest form a concentrated coffee hit. It'll be pretty much the cheapest item on a crowded menu of favoured and diluted derivatives which are worth experimenting with. Most commonly the Espresso becomes an Americano, by diluting with hot water. If you ask for a black coffee that's what you're getting. In most cases an Americano is what the white-coffee drinker also wants when they end up ordering a Latte. The Americano comes black but room for milk is an option. A good tasty coffee has a Crèma, a tasty golden layer, on top, contrast that with the thin film around the edges of an instant coffee. The quality of this is a co…

How to make coffee #1 Raw ingredients

Kenco promise that they use the same coffee beans for their instant and ground coffee products. That may be true enough, but that's more of an insult to the name of coffee than an enhancement of their instant brand. Instant coffee is to ground coffee what a McDonalds burger is to a steak. It makes a lot of difference.

Once you have binned all your instant coffee the next step is to acquire some ground coffee. This takes a bit of experimenting. To be honest most of the quality of a good cup is to do with the making more than the coffee, but there is some variation in the market.

It's fairly standardly sold by strength of coffee on a scale of 1-5, three is fine though the occasional 4-5 is worth it especially after dinner with some dark chocolate.

I drink for the taste more than the caffeine so you can go for decaf if you want. Grounds like Tesco's own brand are perfectly fine. A bag of Starbuck's Verona will serve you well. A good coffee drinker will get through bags of…

Then satisfied always, and yet be ever bewildered by the love of Christ

Andrew Bonar reflects on the Day of Atonement:

There is a yearning in the heart of God towards this happy time [the day of Jubilee]. Jesus Himself is He who says in the Song, "Till the day break and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense" (Song iv.6); and these repeated types, at every new period of time, days, months, and years, intimate the same desire. Oh, how should we long for that day of God - for what Paul calls, in 2 Thess. i.7, "rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven!" - Andrew Bonar, Leviticus, p444.

I love the way he captures the heart of God and sees it elucidated in Leviticus and The Song. The Day of Jubilee is a highlight in the book of Leviticus along with The Day of Atonement, but I've been turning to Bonar to better understand Burnt Offerings, something that Noah, Abraham and Jethro all make before we get told what they're for.

All the offerings area  means to an…

Song of Songs - can you read it this way?

I have advocated reading the Song of Songs first as about Christ and the church (corporate not individual), and then to secondly for marriage. In this 'She' is the church the bride, and He is Christ, who loves her.

Darrin Patrick notes: The transfer of the role of the bride from the community to the individual is one of the main theological errors that promotes consumerism.
And a whole lot of other problems!

Tom Gledhill, author of the BST Song of Songs and the article on it in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology is not so keen on this Christ-Church approach:
"Whilst the NT never quotes or alludes to the Song, it is nevertheless true that the OT uses the love and loyalty of the lover-beloved relationship as an illustration of the relationship between God and his people...  (citing Ezekiel, Hosea, Jeremiah and then Ephesians and Revelation) ...thus there is some biblical justification for a moderate typological approach. But the danger of this hermeneutic is that of th…

Newfrontiers Bloggers at Together on a Mission

It's our church family conference next week, bloggers welcome to an informal hello on Thursday, 1pm in the Main Hall, right hand side.

MP3s: Love the church

The MP3 and PDF resources from the Love the church weekend I spoke at for Reading Family Church are now online.

I love them as a local church and it was a real highlight to serve them last month particular on a subject so close to my heart as this

Centrality of the church68mins (Dave Bish) -
I belong to the church (Richard Walker)
Ambition for the church54mins (Dave Bish)
PDF sessions 1-3 outline
The Wedding Day 39mins (Dave Bish)
PDF homegroup notes

The content of these sessions captures part of a larger writing project I'm working on at the moment. I'm looking forward to developing this further in written form and teaching on the subject a number of times later this year.

Further thinking on Exodus 18...

Most of my 'heroes' seem to skip Exodus 18 which has left me with a small selection of commentaries to turn to for assistance as I prepare to preach this chapter in a couple of weeks...   Thus far:

v1-12, A God shaped mission. Moses tells Jethro about the LORD's salvation, and Jethro belives in the Triune God. We're on mission because he is. Jethro the Gentile comes because he's heard, hears and becomes a friend of God (Jethro is later called Reuel = friend of God, Numbers 10v29)

Why wouldn't we see this or do this? Have we forgotten his great salvation... having sojourned in a foreign land (Gershom), the LORD has helped us and delivered us (Eliezer). Hear again, rejoice with Jethro! Celebrate the LORD, greater than all 'gods' - Matthew Henry: "The magicians were baffled, the idols shaken, Pharaoh humbled, his powers broken, and God's Israel was rescued.... God will show himself above those that by their proud dealings contest with him. He that …

Wiki News: When a famous person dies

The Audacity of Hope (Barack Obama)

Sat in the garden this morning I finished reading Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope. It's a relatively easy read that lays out his thoughts on the American Dream.

I found it a refreshing insight into US politics. Having enjoyed The West Wing and visited the centre of Washington DC last year it's good to hear from someone at the heart of it all. Obama comes across as a thoughtful man who looks at things carefully. On page 59 he comments:

"Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question."

I don't think that's a bad summary of where he's trying to come from. The downside is it makes him feel a bit slippery and middling because he can see both sides of every argument. I sympathise with a lot of what he's saying. I appreciate his differentiation between saying something is wrong and the question of whether to legislate that. I'm refreshed by his honesty about mistakes and his …