Of course, the rest of the internet has seen this video already.

The psycho-caffeinated squeal at 1:48 gets me every time.

When did this guy think this was a good rhetorical device? Also, this is kind of scary: “If nominated tonight, I can promise with 100% certainty that what you are seeing from me tonight is what everyone outside these doors is going to get over the next eight weeks.”

Sadly, he did not win.

Does anybody else feel kind of sad watching this video?

The good, the bad, and the elect

I’m all for New Calvinism. I think it’s healthy to have a new generation of Christians passionate about God’s glory, committed to his meticulous sovereignty, and quite willing to allow for diversity in minor doctrines (like worship style and sign gifts) as long as they are complimentarian and five-point, Piperian Calvinists. I’m certainly a member of their group — I’d die for penal substitution and I can defend particular redemption with the best of them (you think we’re limiting the atonement?! I know you are, but what am I?).

But for all the good in the Together for the Gospel, Young Reformed movement, elitism and a “Cool Calvinist” attitude can creep in pretty easily. Elitism isn’t new to people with Reformed soteriological tenancies; there is some intellectual nuance to the doctrines of grace, and it tickles the ego-bone to explain them in conversation. And the coolness factor is easily explainable too — the new-found diversity in the Reformed camp has created a weird marriage of the intellectual seminarian and Christian hipster. Mark Driscoll is undeniably cool, and he makes preaching about election look awesome. Matt Chandler even turns his defense of Calvinism into a clever one-liner: “I looked up ‘predestined’ in the Greek and guess what it meant? Predestined.”

But bedfellows with this otherwise wonderful “Young, Restless and Reformed” movement is the ugly pride of an I’m-better-than-you-are Christianity. Again, this is not new to Christian intellectualism, and I want to be sure to emphasize that. But we Reformed folk need a reminder of the danger of what we believe (as biblically correct as we believe it to be). Our conviction about the “elect” can be extremely easily misunderstood as “the Christian Caste system ” simply because it’s easy for those who are “chosen” to feel superior to those who are not.

I met this girl in college during one of my writing classes. We kind of became friends, and on occasion we would talk about books and writing life and mutual love of T.S. Eliot. One time she said, “You’re a Calvinist, aren’t you?” It’s not the first time that’s happened to me; people talk I suppose. Her dad was a Free Will Baptist pastor, which if you’re denomination thinks so highly of a doctrine that they decide to put it in their title, it’s probably a pretty big deal to them.

So we argued. We went through most of the typical questions (“What about John 3:16?”; “Didn’t Jesus die for everyone?”; “You probably don’t believe in sending missionaries, do you?”) before we both had to go to class. Later she told me I was the nicest Calvinist she had ever met, and by that she meant: the only nice Calvinist that she had ever met.

We need a fresh reminder of our own doctrine — before we smash semi-Pelagianism with a five-point counterpoint in our freshman-level Bible classes, and certainly before start wearing “Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy” t-shirts (yes, they’re for real). We need to be reminded that “by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your won doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). We need to enter these discussions knowing that our Christian opponents are elect even if they don’t think they are (which, ha…but seriously). And we need to realize that God is not honored when we debate people so we might look really smart.

‘Inception’ stuff

Note: This is an old movie review-ish thing that I never got around to posting. Also, I haven’t written anything in a long time so this is a way to get content out. Baby steps, man.

I’ve had some pretty weird dreams in my life. A couple examples, both fairly recent:

(1) I’m sitting in this giant room with walls made of glass. Outside the room, it’s like Mordor — a volcano coughing up lava, a black sky, red lightning, flaming rocks falling from the sky, the whole deal. Inside, I’m sitting and the front of a room filled with long, black tables. Men in grey robes are sitting behind the tables, and before each of them lies a beaker of steaming liquid. In some demented religious-y rite, they lift their beakers as I life mine, and we all drink together. Instantly, the men’s hair thins and turns grey, their hands shrivel up and their faces turn discolored. The run screaming through the back of the room, shattering the wall of glass.

(2) I’m in this white room, which pretty closely resembles my sister’s bedroom from when I was 12, except there isn’t any furniture in it. Bare white walls, floors and ceiling. An open closet on one end of the rectangular room, a window on the other and a white door on one of the sides. I’m standing by the door. The weird thing: I know I’m in a dream. Like, I know I’m asleep, I know this is just like my sister’s old room, and I know I’m dreaming the whole thing. I pinch myself and nothing happens. I start banging on the walls and yelling, trying to wake myself up. I’ve had this dream a couple times…I think.

And then WHOOSH I’m suddenly on a camping trip with the girl I happened to like at the time, my childhood babysitter and high school Spanish teacher, trying to figure out how to order a pizza using smoke signals.

My biggest complaint about the dreamworlds in Inception is that they didn’t resemble real dreamworlds at all. They were too structured, they had too many rules, and the characters had too much control over them. The dreams were entirely built on Christopher Nolan’s own ideas about dreams masquerading as scientific fact. And most egregiously, (1) there was no space warp, which happens in my dreams all the time and (2) there was very little mention of a false sense of deja vu. Dreams are incredibly random, often defying known laws of science (how many times have you had a flying dream?), and usually inexplicably feature people from varying stages of the dreamer’s life. As enjoyable and unpredictable as the movie was, these were glaring weaknesses.

What kinds of dreams do you have?

Self-expression as narcissism or just a convenient outlet?

I first started using Twitter during my semester in Israel in the spring of 2009. I thought it was so cool that you could follow famous people like Rich Rodriguez and John Piper (interesting combo, huh?) and get their tweets sent straight to your phone. Back when I followed like five people, I used to have Twitter send all their tweets to my phone, which of course got super annoying after about two weeks.

The I actually started tweeting myself. It didn’t really make much sense at first because no one followed me, and my initial tweets were parts of T.S. Eliot poetry and twitter glitches that ended up looking like this: ??I7?,/??i?%DG

But once I figured out that you could like your Twitter account to your Facebook status, I started taking it a lot more seriously. Then I read this piece by John Piper about why he started tweeting. I was intrigued by the idea of Twitter as a worship tool. So I tried it. My tweets looked like this for a while:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure in a field, which a man found and covered. Then in his joy he sells all he has and buys that field 7:07 AM Jun 16th, 2009 via web

interesting thought: “You probably aren’t evangelizing correctly if your gospel presentation doesn’t prompt the Rom. 6:1 question” 1:30 PM Jun 22nd, 2009 via web

Since by man came death, by man came also the Resurrection. For as in Adam all DIE, so also in Christ shall all be made ALIVE. 1:53 PM Jul 8th, 2009 via txt

I tweeted about ten times that whole summer. Then I got to school in the fall and my grandpa died. I started a string of tweets about that, some of which found their meaning carefully hidden:

is praying very hard for his family Tue Sep 08 2009 11:43:43 (Eastern Daylight Time) via API

loves metaphors Tue Sep 08 2009 20:18:48 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web

It had just rained harder than I’d ever seen in my life. Water was literally waist-high in the road between dorms. It was dark outside and the world seemed to be weeping. It was like how I felt.

I Cor. 15:20, 26 Thu Sep 10 2009 17:43:34 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web

it’s bittersweet to consider all the beautiful memories of Grandpa. We love you and miss you and can’t wait to see you again. Sat Sep 12 2009 02:07:41 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web

On my way to the viewing. We have hope in our sovereign God! Mon Sep 14 2009 15:57:33 (Eastern Daylight Time) via txt

Funeral was beautiful and encouraging. Now headed back to school… Wed Sep 16 2009 07:51:32 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web

Twitter was suddenly more than a cool social networking tool. If you’ve ever gone through a difficult thing like a family member’s death, you know how awkward it is to insert “my Grandpa is probably going to pass away soon” into conversation. But I likewise didn’t want to be one of those people who put something like “wants to cry into a pillow” as my Facebook status. Twitter became the perfect outlet. It’s simple, understated; elegant in it’s minimalism. You can’t post videos or stupid pictures directly; the best you can do is link to them. It’s only 140 characters long. It forces you to make the words mean something. It allows you to point to other people’s thoughts when they express them better than you can.

But it also gives you a chance to say anything you want to. And so my last several tweets are all about a silly football player:

Denard Robinson’s first two starts at quarterback rank Nos. 1 & 2 in individual total offense in Michigan history. Sat Sep 11 2010 21:50:56 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web

@TimCary That might be the dumbest thing Lou Holtz has ever said. Sat Sep 11 2010 21:51:43 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web in reply to TimCary

@JasonAGrier interestingly, Newsome committed to Michigan, but decided to go to PSU instead, forcing UM to recruit…Denard Robinson #thanks Sat Sep 11 2010 22:07:05 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web in reply to JasonAGrier

@TimCary gotta go with Denard, 87 yard TD. I know, bias and all, but man. Sat Sep 11 2010 23:29:14 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web in reply to TimCary

@TimCary He outran two defensive backs who seemed to have angles. it was insane. Sat Sep 11 2010 23:54:01 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web in reply to TimCary

RT @SPORTSbyBROOKS Student shoots epic photo of Denard Robinson in Heisman pose warding off ND defender Sep 12 2010 01:01:29 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web

I’ve now tweeted 595 times (including the one linking to this post). They’ve created a narrative of my life; you can read my tweets and start to understand me. Old tweets remind me of the context in which I wrote them, the unspoken things that happened to drive me to Twitter and offer a 140-letter window into my life.

I’m torn on this, really. Part of my thinks it’s wrong to display things to the world, just because you think they should have to listen. Are self-gratification and self-expression really all that different? The other part of me says, yeah but it’s beautiful that the technology god has given us a channel through which we can communicate our deepest and purest emotions. Sorrow, remorse, ambivalence, joy, excitement. Maybe Twitter (and really all the social networking sites) is really just what you make it.

Do you use Twitter or Facebook? What do you use it for?