Six years ago, when I matriculated into Grove City College, I took all my notes by hand with a blue Pentel 0.5mm twist-erase mechanical pencil. I wrote in small sloppy print, but it was legible. I soon found that taking notes that way was not enjoyable and it was a pain to go back and reread my notes. So I did what any self-respecting millennial would do – I began taking notes on my computer for three years. However, spring semester senior year I went back to taking notes by hand for a very important reason: the Christmas before the semester started I asked for a fountain pen and ink because I had been convinced that handwriting my notes was better for my retention. I chose to write with a fountain pen mainly for two reasons, it looked cool and I found the rich saturated color of the ink very appealing. I am now in my third year of seminary and continue to use a fountain pen for all my note taking – tens of hours every week and hundreds of hours every year. Below are eight reasons why I continue to use a fountain pen and encourage others to consider it.Continue reading “8 Reasons to Use a Fountain Pen”
Technology is a tool and as with any other tool the saying is true, “We make our tools and our tools make us.” Man makes hammers and hammers make callouses on man’s hand. Use a hammer too much and you’ll have blisters instead. We use our brains to create digital media and digital media shapes how our brains think.
French philosopher Jacques Ellul recognized the powerful effect of technology on the individual and the community and proposed 77 questions we should ask before adopting any given technology into our lives. If we were to answer these questions before accepting the use of a given technology into our lives…well it might have the potential to change our lives. At the very least we would be conscious of what kind of live we are choosing to live. As Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Continue reading “77 Questions to ask about Technology”
T. G. Drummond
A few months ago I heard of a certain young gentleman, we shall call him “Sam”, who has advocated for 8 minute sermons in church, because that is the average attention span of Americans today. I have not heard Sam’s arguments personally, but I imagine they go along the lines of this: the average American attention span is 8 minutes (or less), therefore any part of a sermon that goes beyond 8 minutes will fall on inattentive ears and be useless, so why even preach it? It will do no good and might do much harm in frustrating the congregation by making them sit on uncomfortable pews for longer than they can pay attention to, and will ultimately turn people away from the church. Continue reading “Short Sermons?”
This question was posed to Ken Myers at the Edwards Institute 2011 Conference on Apologetics and the Arts. It is the subject of his fourth and last lecture, all of which can be listened to and downloaded here. Myers poses 16 further questions that need to be asked in order to answer the original question. I encourage any who listen to music to go through and ask themselves these questions (it will be helpful to listen to his lectures given at the conference first): Continue reading “Does God Care What Kind of Music I Like?”
In my previous post, I outlined the rules for analytical reading of expository literature that Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren give in their book, “How to Read a Book.” In this post, I will outline the rules that they give for analytical reading of imaginative literature. Imaginative literature encompasses some of “easiest” (e.g. novels) and “hardest” (e.g. epic poems) literature to read. I put those descriptors in quotes because the genres assumed “easy” are often harder than they appear, and the ones assumed “hard” are often easier than they appear. Without further ado, here are the rules: Continue reading “Let the Reader Understand, Part 2”
“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
– Francis Bacon
Reading is perhaps one of the most significant activities a human can do. The capacities for language, rationality, and imagination are some of the characteristics that set mankind apart from other animals, and reading is one of the best way to cultivate those characteristics. It is even more important for Christians, because we believe that God wrote a book, thereby endowing the activities of reading and writing with a certain dignity and seriousness, and placing any who read that book under an obligation to understand it correctly. Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren have written a great book entitled, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading. In it they give 15 rules for analytical reading of Expository books to help readers answer the four basic questions that all demanding readers must ask. Expository books are books written to communicate knowledge primarily in a propositional way; these rules do not apply directly to imaginative literature, however there are some equivalent rules for that genre as well which will take form the substance of a later post. Before proceeding to the rules, two qualifications must be made, first, many books are not worthy of this level of reading, the reader must read each book according to its merits; second, these rules describe an ideal performance of analytical reading which is the measure of achievement, such an ideal cannot always be reached but gives readers a goal to strive for and directions on how to proceed.
It is an interesting exercise to think about what you would say if you were given the opportunity to speak at a graduation ceremony. Of course I have not been given that opportunity at Grove City, nor am sure that I would want it if it was offered. But if I was speaking at graduation this Saturday, I think this is what I would say: Continue reading ““My” Graduation Speech”