Friday, October 29, 2010

Some Interesting Facts About Coke

"A billion hours ago, human life appeared on earth.
A billion minutes ago, Christianity emerged.
A billion seconds ago, the Beatles changed music.
A billion Coca-Colas ago was yesterday morning."
- Robert Goizueta, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, April 1997
From A History of the World in Six Glasses:
  1. Coca-Cola got its name from two of its main ingredients, the South American coca plant (known as "the divine plant of the Incas) and nuts from the West African kola plant.
  2. In the late 1800s, John Pemberton was a maker of patent medicines who combined the coca and kola plants with sugar to make a new medicine that was meant to cure ailments.
  3. Pemberton created the drink in 1886, when Atlanta voted to prohibit the sale of alcohol for two years. Coca-Cola became popular as a temperance drink and was well established once the ban was lifted.
  4. Asa Candler secured the rights to Coca-Cola after Pemberton's death in 1888 for $2,300. By the end of 1895, annual sales exceeded 76,000 gallons as it was being sold in every state in America to pharmacists.
  5. In 1899, Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead were granted rights to bottle and sell Coca-Cola which led to it being drunk by the everyday consumer, being made available in every town in America.
  6. Coca-Cola became a global brand as America emerged as a global superpower through WWI and WWII. During these wars, it was sent with the troops and was considered a great morale booster, both as a refreshment and reminding them of home.
  7. Many parts of the world boycotted Coca-Cola because it's association with American values. The Arab world had a boycott until the late 1980s because of Coke's entry into Israel in the 1950s.
  8. Today, Coca-Cola is said to be the second most commonly understood phrase in the world, after "OK". Globally it supplies 3% of humanity's total liquid intake.
In a series
1. Beer
2. Wine
5. Tea
6. Coke

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

From Illegimate Child to Beloved Son

My good friend Jeff Dunbar was recently given the opportunity to share a bit of his life story in this video. It is a moving story of redemption and was made by another good friend and talented videographer, James. I thank God for Jeff as he has selflessly given himself to me over the last few years, teaching me much about forgiveness, redemption, and the love of the heavenly Father for me. I hope you are encouraged by the story:

Jeff Dunbar from James Christerson on Vimeo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some Interesting Facts About Tea

From A History of the World in Six Glasses:
  1. Tea originated in the jungles of the eastern Himalayas and was found to valuable to Buddhist and Taoist monks in China as early as the sixth century BC.
  2. Green tea was the kind of tea that had always been consumed by the Chinese. It made it to Europe in 1610, France in the 1630s, and England in the 1650s.
  3. In Britain, almost no one drank tea at the beginning of the 17th century and almost everyone did by the end of it. Black tea became popular during this time, partly because it was safer to drink.
  4. At the end of the 17th century, a cup of tea was about five times more expensive than a cup of coffee. By the mid-eighteenth century, tea was becoming the cheapest drink outside of water.
  5. In 1787, a tea merchant named Richard Twining put a specially designed sign over his door as well as a label on his tea with the same design. This is though to be the oldest commercial logo in continuous use in the world.
  6. In the early 1800s, the British East India Company, the supplier of Britain's tea, started trading large amounts of opium from India to the Chinese in exchange for tea. In 1838, the Chinese emperor put an end to the opium trade which led to the Opium War of 1839-42. Britain defeated China and took control of Hong Kong.
  7. By the end of the nineteenth century, India took over China as Britain's main supplier of tea after it was discovered a certain type of tea shrub was indigenous to India. India is now the world's largest producer and consumer of tea.
In a series
1. Beer
2. Wine
5. Tea
6. Coke

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What does a man gain from Facebook friends?

Jeffrey Overstreet offers his review of The Social Network as well as some comments on Facebook itself. Very intriguing. Here's a few paragraphs that stood out to me:
When I hear people scorning Facebook as a total waste of time, my response is this: Facebook is what you make it. If we fill it with thoughtless words, trivialities, and self-absorption, we’ll waste each other’s time. But if we use it to cultivate substantial conversation, treating people generously, we may be surprised at what grows there...


This desire to remake the world to satisfy ourselves is as old as the oldest story. When the serpent in the garden appealed to our vanity, inviting us to become “like God,” we became insecure. We doubted our worthiness. We accepted a poisonous vision of power games and competition.

For our sins, God revoked our access to the garden. He offered us grace and reconciliation, but what have we done? We’ve gone about building gardens of our own design, setting ourselves up and judge and jury.

The conclusion of Christ’s parable of the prodigal son is revelatory. Who is the only one absent from the feast? The prodigal’s older brother. He has access to all of his father’s blessings, but he can’t enjoy them because he is upset that blessings aren’t being dealt out to his liking.

In his commentary on The Social Network, David Brooks writes, “I was reminded of the famous last scene in The Searchers, in which the John Wayne character is unable to join the social bliss he has created. The character gaps that propel some people to do something remarkable can’t be overcome simply because they have managed to change the world.”

Despite his grand achievements and their rewards—money, fame, power—Zuckerberg ends up lonely and dissatisfied. His pride has cost him his only friends. Demanding love on his own terms, he’s made meaningful relationship impossible.

If you build it, they will come. And they may even find blessings in your work. But will you? What does it gain a man if he wins a world of Facebook friends but loses his soul?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lecrae - Rehab

In 2008, Lecrae released his third studio album entitled Rebel. It was ground-breaking and definitely put him on the map as the most talented Christian hip-hop artist. Musically and lyrically the album is phenomenal.

A couple of weeks ago, he released another highly anticipated album called Rehab. At first listen I thought it was good, but felt it lacked a lot of the instant hits of Rebel (songs like "Don't Waste Your Life" & "Got Paper"). However, after a few more listens I have become hooked. It really is a fun album that both gets my body moving and encourages me with thoughtful, gospel-centered lyrics.

Check out this video for his song "Background":

And here's the song "Just Like You".I love the way it ends:
You said you came for the lame, I’m the lamest
I made a mess you say you’ll erase it, I’ll take it...
You said you came for the lame, I’m the lamest
I broke my life, but you say you’ll replace it, I’ll take it...

Monday, October 18, 2010

How sitcoms lead to loneliness

David Foster Wallace:
And to the extent that [TV] can train viewers to laugh at characters’ unending put-downs of one another, to view ridicule as both the mode of social intercourse and the ultimate art-form, television can reinforce its own queer ontology of appearance: the most frightening prospect, for the well-conditioned viewer, becomes leaving oneself open to others’ ridicule by betraying passé expressions of value, emotion, or vulnerability. Other people become judges; the crime is naiveté. The well-trained viewer becomes even more allergic to people. Lonelier.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is the Sabbath still required for Christians?

Justin Taylor has been posting some interesting excerpts from Thomas Schreiner's upcoming book, 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law. The latest selection is on the subject of the Sabbath. I think Schreiner makes a compelling case and one that I have begun to agree with the last couple of years. Here's the summary:
Believers are not obligated to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the sign of the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant and the Sabbath as the covenant sign are no longer applicable now that the new covenant of Jesus Christ has come. Believers are called upon to honor and respect those who think the Sabbath is still mandatory for believers. But if one argues that the Sabbath is required for salvation, such a teaching is contrary to the gospel and should be resisted forcefully. In any case, Paul makes it clear in both Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16–17 that the Sabbath has passed away now that Christ has come. It is wise naturally for believers to rest, and hence one principle that could be derived from the Sabbath is that believers should regularly rest. But the New Testament does not specify when that rest should take place, nor does it set forth a period of time when that rest should occur. We must remember that the early Christians were required to work on Sundays. They worshiped the Lord on the Lord’s Day, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, but the early Christians did not believe the Lord’s Day fulfilled or replaced the Sabbath. The Sabbath pointed toward eschatological rest in Christ, which believers enjoy in part now and will enjoy fully on the Last Day.
You can read the whole argument here

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some Interesting Facts About Coffee

When a seventeenth-century European businessman wanted to hear the latest business news, follow commodity prices, keep up with political gossip, find out what other people thought of a new book, or stay abreast of the latest scientific developments, all he had to do was walk into a coffeehouse" - p.151, A History of the World in 6 Glasses
From A History of the World in Six Glasses:
  1. Coffee originated in the Arab world, first becoming popular in Yemen in the mid-fifteenth century.
  2. The first coffeehouse opened in London in 1652, and by 1663 there were already eighty-three.
  3. Arabia was the only supplier of coffee until the Dutch started coffee plantations in the 1690s in Java (in modern day Indonesia).
  4. In January of 1684, a conversation took place in a coffeeshop about the theory of gravity. Edmond Halley, one of three discussing the matter, visited Isaac Newton a few months later to ask him about the idea. Newton had done some work previously but decided to devote himself to the subject. In 1687 he published The Principia which outlines the principle of universal gravitation.
  5. The world's leading insurance market, Lloyd's of London, was birthed out of a coffeeshop opened by Edward Lloyd in the late 1680s.
  6. There was only one coffee tree in Paris in 1723 and was a gift from the Dutch to Louis XIV in 1714. A French naval officer named Gabriel de Clieu was able to obtain the tree and take it to the French West Indies. A few years after harvesting the plant, descendants of that original plant could be found in many other countries, which began to overtake the Arabian coffee market.
  7. The coffeehouses of Paris in the mid-eighteenth century were centers of philosophical and political discussion that produced the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
In a series
1. Beer
2. Wine
4. Coffee
5. Tea
6. Coke

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Looking at The Social Network

I saw The Social Network early last week. It is definitely worth seeing, both for the fast paced, intriguing plot line as well as for the deeper messages being conveyed. I won't ruin anything, but it's amazing to watch how utterly inept Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerburg is at connecting with real people. He is so consumed with being part of exclusive groups and being successful that he is unable to make and keep real friends.

There is so much in the film that should cause us all to reflect on the ways we engage in community today. With the world of Facebook and social media only growing stronger, we ought to be considering how to keep fostering face to face interactions with our friends, as opposed to merely scanning statuses and pictures with an occasional note or comment.

I like the way Brett McCracken said it in the conclusion of his recent review of the film. He basically gives a summary of why Facebook is so dominant:
In this new age, punk geniuses like Mark Zuckerberg come out on top because they’ve learned how to use technology to break down the previously impenetrable boundaries of class and power. They’ve learned how to take the aristocrat’s most prized possession–networking, exclusive connections–and make it an accessible, populist pastime for the masses. Facebook is a revolution because it harnesses the universal human longing to know and be known, while slowly eroding the old guard’s stratified systems of cultural hierarchy and power. Facebook is about leveling. Ironically, anyone can be a part of it, even while it feeds on our desire for exclusive membership and the performance/proclamation of unique identity. The paradox of this is why 600 million people are on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s youngest billionaire.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Some Interesting Facts about Spirits

"Spirits played a role in the enslavement and displacement of millions of people, the establishment of new nations, and the subjugation of indigenous cultures." - p. 129, A History of the World in Six Glasses
From A History of the World in Six Glasses:
  1. The modern form of distillation began in the Arab world around 970 AD and was routinely applied to wine at this time.
  2. For many centuries, distilled wine was called 'aqua vitae" (water of life) because it was thought to preserve youth, improve memory, cure blindness, and treat diseases.
  3. With the invention of the printing press during the 1430s, distilled drinks became more of a recreational drink.
  4. The sugar production and trade during the fifteenth and sixteenth century, unfortunately using millions of slaves, was highly influenced by the demand for spirits such as brandy and rum.
  5. Since rum results from the waste product of sugar production, molasses, it has to be made in coastal towns.
  6. In the second half of the seventeenth century, rum was becoming the colonists' new favorite drink and it soon became the most profitable manufactured item in New England.
  7. Whiskey was the drink of the American settlers moving westward, since it was made from cereal grains, and quickly became associated with independence and the American pioneer spirit.
In a series
1. Beer
2. Wine
3. Spirits
4. Coffee
5. Tea
6. Coke

Monday, October 04, 2010

Baptism as a gift of God to His people

My friend and coworker Jason posted some good thoughts on paedobaptism (infant baptism). He points out a few different arguments for paedobaptism, as well as a couple of good resources, for those of you that are confused or wrestling through this issue. I encourage you to read his post.

Personally, I have grown more convinced that this is the biblical understanding of baptism. It really clicked for me last spring as I was studying the theology of the church and the sacraments in my RTS class. Besides the normal arguments, the following idea did it for me. Circumcision for the Jews was a sign that they ought to be circumcised of the heart (Jer. 9:25-26). In the same way, baptism is now a sign that points the people of God towards His covenant love and reveals the need to receive a baptism of the heart (See Colossians 2:11-12). Baptism is a sign of entrance into the visible covenant community.

Jason took the following quote from Robert Booth's book, Children of the Promise. I think it wonderfully sums up the point of the sacrament of baptism:
“Baptism, as circumcision, is a gift of God to his people, not of his people to God. Abraham did not bring circumcision to God; he ‘received’ it from God. God gave it to him as a ‘sign’ and a ‘seal,’ not to others but to himself. It is inadequate, therefore, to speak of baptism as ‘the badge of a Christian man’s profession.'...The witness of baptism is not to others but to ourselves; and it is not by us but by God that the witness is borne.”

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Problem With Attraction

Ed Welch:

Attraction is fun, and in Western systems of courtship and marriage, it is the way couples get started, but attraction is about me. It’s about how someone makes me feel. In that sense, attraction is rubbish. It gets people together but it is powerless to keep them together. Even more, attraction, without the addition of other forms of love, promises to separate marriages and any once-close relationship.

What must supplant attraction goes by different names – commitment, faithfulness, love that only death separates, covenantal love and others. Those are all good, and I am sure they guide many people, but they all fall short for me. Commitment seems sterile, so does faithfulness – dogs can do that. Covenantal love sounds too legal.

“I love you because I love you.” That is a great one. God spoke it to the Israelites and he continues to speak love to those who are with Jesus.
The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)
But this sets the bar too high. God loves because he is love; I am not love. So I have to search for other ways to describe this different-than-attraction love.

Servant-love? No, that is an important expression of love, but servants don’t share their hearts with the one they serve. They just do what they are supposed to do. The New Testament injects servant-love with new meaning and vitality, but there are times when it feels too impersonal.

“Admire” or “enjoy” are better than attraction. They are less self-referential. They suggest that there are praise worthy features in the other person. These, however, take time. When the thrill is gone in a relationship, admiration and enjoyment won’t offer any new power to love.

What we need is something that captures the imbalanced nature of the love of Jesus for us. He loved us first and he loved us more than we will ever love him in return. In response, we too want to love others first and more. That’s the way to be fully human.

The idea of debt captures it.
Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:7-8)
When we owe someone, there is a slight imbalance in the relationship. This is what “I do” means. We commit ourselves to give more than we receive.

Sample vows could go like this.
There are a number of reasons why I am attracted to you.
Now I will move on to better things.
I am committed to learn how to love you
more than I love me and
more than I want to be loved by you.
I want this to be obvious to you.
I want this to imitate the unity we can have with Jesus.
I want this to please God.
May God show me grace and mercy.
This vow aims to do at least two things. It dethrones the usurper Attraction, separates it from Jesus’ style of love, and re-establishes the imbalanced nature of Christian love. Unity shows up, as it should. Unity reminds us that real love is not silent when the other spouse is loveless. We can and should speak out when the other person is aiming for lesser things, such as mere attraction. For example, when the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he loved them more than they loved him, but he also pleaded with them to open their hearts and love him in return. In this, Paul was not saying, “I need love.” He was saying, “As members of Christ we are called to love one another. When we don’t, someone gets hurt and the glory of God becomes veiled to the world.”

For the next generation to get it right, we must loose our infatuation with attraction. We must prefer arguments about who is in debt to whom. “No, I owe you love, and I’m not listening to one more word of your protests.” I owe you more than you owe me – that’s where we go when we meditate on the love of Jesus. Then we can know exactly what we are doing when we say “I do.”

Friday, October 01, 2010

History of Hip Hop Duet

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon recently performed a 3 minute duet of the history of hip hop that was pretty creative. Check it out: