Sundry Dinner for October 12

Technology is destroying the most important asset in your life


Related: ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Studies show that reading printed material instead of on screens helps you better retain information.


“The people who rated evangelical and fundamentalist Christians most negatively over the decades have consistently—and unsurprisingly—been politically liberal, highly educated, and less religious. But in recent years, particularly 2012 and 2016, they’ve shifted to become richer. This trend means the people pushing back against conservative Christians now have bigger budgets to bankroll their viewpoint.” CT article

Behold the Amazing Poetry-Generating Machine!



“What if His majesty is not as important to Him as His children are?”

With the news of Nabeel Qureshi’s death, I remembered one of my favorite sections from his superb book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity:

“Or are You Jesus?”

My heart froze, as if indignant at my mind for risking hell.

“Allah, I would never say that a man became equal to You! Please forgive me and have mercy on me if that’s what I said, because that’s not what I mean. No man is equal to You. You are infinitely greater than all of creation. Everything bows down before You, Allah subhanahu wa’tala.

No, what I mean to say is that You, O Allah, are all powerful. Surely You can enter into creation if You choose. Did You enter into this world? Did You become a man? And was that man Jesus?

“O Allah, the Bible couldn’t be right, could it?”

As if on parallel timelines, my lips continued to pray in sajda while my mind relentlessly fought with itself. The Arabic phrase was to be recited twice more before the sajda would be complete. Subhana Rabbi al-ala. Glorified is my Lord, the Highest.

“But how is it conceivable that Allah, the highest being of all, would enter into this world? This world is filthy and sinful, no place for the One who deserves all glory and all praise. And how could I even begin to suggest that God, the magnificent and splendid Creator, would enter into this world through the birth canal of a girl? Audhu billah, that’s disgusting! To have to eat, to grow fatigued, and to sweat and spill blood, and to be finally nailed to a cross. I cannot believe this. God deserves infinitely more. His majesty is far greater than this.

“But what if His majesty is not as important to Him as His children are?”

Sundry Dinner for Thursday, August 31


Support SBC Disaster Relief efforts at the Texas Baptist Men page.


“But you’re thankful?” The media doesn’t always know what to do with these expressions of gratitude and trust coming from those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.


“A story about an ‘uncaring’ megachurch fits the secular narrative of our ‘religion is irrelevant or dangerous’ culture.” Denison Forum


It’s Time to Ditch the Concept of the “100 Year Flood”


These are the 10 most famous film locations around Austin


Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain


Drinking four cups of coffee daily lowers risk of death


My iPhone Turned Me Into a Squirrel-Chasing Dog


“Forbearing means ‘bearing for or with,’ which suggests not just voluntary restraint but actively carrying something or someone for a time. It implies patience, mutual respect, the extension of time, a certain latitude, and perhaps some affection that motivates a person to carry the burden of disagreement. In this sense, forbearance is less a momentary cease-fire than an active extension of concern for one another.” Great article on a Christian virtue often overlooked in this age of snark and vitriol.



Sundry Dinner for Thursday, August 17

Some are wondering if conditions are ripe for another American civil war:


Robin Wright of the New Yorker: “Keith Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Special Forces, the United Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civil wars in other countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. He returned to Washington after sixteen years to find conditions that he had seen nurture conflict abroad now visible at home. It haunts him. In March, Mines was one of several national-security experts whom Foreign Policy asked to evaluate the risks of a second civil war—with percentages. Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years….Based on his experience in civil wars on three continents, Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction: entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution; increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows; weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary; a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership; and the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes.”

Ross Douthat thinks the more likely scenario before us is the civil conflicts of the 1960s, not the civil war of the 1860s.


“The wildness was what we prized about Treasure Island, what we instinctively knew to be a rare and fragile thing, all too easily destroyed. If our island was also our opponent, busily undoing our efforts to impose on it an order of our own, this was how we needed life there to be. Our labors might appear self-defeating or perverse, but they were also something else: the exertions of virtue.” Life on an island utopia


“While we are overwhelmed by digital technologies these days, there’s a striking lack of social technologies to assist people in asking for help, talking about their experiences, or sharing the methods they use to deal with the darkness. Facebook offered me the chance to ask for help, but any recovering I’ve been fortunate enough to do has been social in the original sense of the word: person-to-person, with friends, family, therapists, study groups, recovery fellowships, sympathetic employers and colleagues, with people I met randomly on trains or in rooms, always in collaboration with others. Recovery is a social exercise that can be assisted but never replaced by digital technologies.” Man down: why do so many suffer depression in silence?



Is this unearthed fishing village the birthplace of three of Jesus’ apostles?

Sundry Dinner for Thursday, August 10

A solar eclipse is coming to America Monday August 21. At this website, type in your ZIP Code and you’ll see what the eclipse will look like where you live.

“Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him.” Annie Dillard’s Classic Essay: ‘Total Eclipse’. “You have seen photographs of the sun taken during a total eclipse. The corona fills the print. All of those photographs were taken through telescopes. The lenses of telescopes and cameras can no more cover the breadth and scale of the visual array than language can cover the breadth and simultaneity of internal experience. Lenses enlarge the sight, omit its context, and make of it a pretty and sensible picture, like something on a Christmas card. I assure you, if you send any shepherds a Christmas card on which is printed a three-by-three photograph of the angel of the Lord, the glory of the Lord, and a multitude of the heavenly host, they will not be sore afraid….We had all died in our boots on the hilltops of Yakima, and were alone in eternity.”

Media Falsely Claim DNA Evidence Refutes Scripture

“God has used this crisis in our family to catalyze a significant shift in my own thinking. In all honesty, I used to view mentally ill homeless men asking for money on street corners as scary—but now I envision my husband standing in their place. Now I get how a person can end up bedraggled, smelly, penniless, and confused. I get the trauma of needing help but scaring the people you approach in search of it. I now see the image-bearing dignity of mentally ill people in a way I did not see before. My previous lack of understanding was born out of my own privilege—and it is a severe mercy that I’ve come to understand it now.” When Your Spouse Is Mentally Ill

Is “heresy” the right word to use when a Christian teacher affirms same-sex sexual relationships? This may be the best post to-date on one of the most important issues facing Western churches.

“Since the usual way to reintegrate the sexes is to have them marry one another and raise kids, what Silicon Valley probably needs right now more than either workplace anti-microaggression training or an alt-right underground is a basic friendliness to family, pregnancy and child rearing.” Ross Douthat. This is a good article reflecting on that infamous Google memo.


About Tom

ANCHOR COURSE LOGO Tom Goodman is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, and he holds a doctorate from New Orleans Seminary. He has served as pastor in Louisiana, north Texas, and overseas in Grand Cayman before becoming the pastor of Hillcrest Church in Austin, Texas. Diane and Tom have been married since their days at Baylor University, and they have two sons, Michael and Stephen. Tom enjoys scuba diving, watching the latest Netflix DVD with Diane, and chasing mis-hit golf balls.