In lieu of more substantive blogging…
—Lent: I managed to make it to an Ash Wednesday service at lunchtime yesterday, but I have no grandiose plans for Lenten discipline. Every year it’s tempting to think that I’ll really get back on track (after the seemingly inevitable decline in my churchgoing, prayer life, Bible reading, almsgiving, repenting, etc.). But things have been so hectic with the baby that I haven’t even really thought about it this year. I did start re-reading Matthew’s gospel last night, so maybe that’ll stick.
—Reading: My wife convinced me to start reading the Harry Potter series. I’d always resisted it for some reason or another, but some friends convinced her to start and she convinced me. And, hey, they’re really good! Just the sort of light, fun reading I’d been needing for a while. I’m about a third of the way into the third book (The Prisoner of Azkaban). So far I’ve liked each one more than the last. (I think part of my initial resistance was due to the movies I’ve seen, which never really grabbed me. But I now realize that much of the charm of Rowling’s books didn’t translate very effectively to the big screen.) I’m also still working my way through John Haught’s Making Sense of Evolution at a relatively leisurely pace.
—Politics: I’m bummed by the apparent victory of Gov. Walker and his fellow Republicans in Wisconsin and alarmed by the increased sabre-rattling for war with Libya (although NATO seems to have stepped back a bit from the brink). On the other hand, Illinois just abolished the death penalty and Maryland may yet legalize same-sex marriage, so that’s something.
—Music: I’ve been listening to the new albums from Irish folk-metal band Darkest Era and progressive metalcore outfit The Human Abstract. Very different albums, but I like them both quite a bit so far.
—Theology: The Rob Bell flare-up and the broader debate over universalism have been roiling much of the Christian blogosphere for the last couple weeks. I don’t have much to add to this beyond what I already posted. I guess at the end of the day I fall into the “hopeful universalist” rather than the “dogmatic universalist” camp. As Gerhard Forde once said, dogmatic universalism seems like an attempt to tie God’s hands with an abstraction. Much better to rest one’s hope on the concrete word of grace given in the Gospel.
—Booze: I agree with my friend Paul Smith that Bulleit bourbon is one of the best values out there–a really good, moderately priced bourbon. I’m therefore excited to learn from him that they’ve come out with a rye whiskey.