Proverbs 21:23 – Troublesome tongues

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

(Pro 21:23 ESV)

This seems to fit pretty squarely in the “self-evident” category. How many times have we blurted out exactly what we were thinking at a particular moment (of brutal honesty) and then immediately wished we could pull everything we just said right back into our mouths? If you haven’t been there then I’d like to shake your hand and be your friend!

The fine art of pausing, thinking and considering whether or not to say what’s on our mind is something that takes practice. Unfortunately there are all too many adults who still haven’t mastered the skill.

Keep yourself out of trouble; learn to place thinking one step ahead of speaking. It’s a tough habit to form, but a discipline well worth learning!

Taking a break from blogging

I have been learning something about myself through this process of writing a book and blogging. I prefer writing a book to blogging. I see merit in both and I wish I were equally capable and excited about both, but the truth of the matter is that I think I do better with long-term projects where I get to really develop a theme for a period of time and mull it over at length than I do with the fast-paced world of blogging.

Perhaps I set false expectations for myself as a blogger. That’s certainly possible and wouldn’t be the first time I aimed too high in life.

At any rate, I’m just feeling like I’m drying up on this blogging thing. So when you combine that with the fact that I have a number of other life responsibilities right now that need a little more attention it brings me to one conclusion; I need a break from blogging at Arguing with Friends. I intend to continue my weekly little blurbs on the “Proverbs” theme,  and if there is any news about the book or interesting links I come across I’ll probably blast out a quick entry, but any writing of real substance related to my book will need to take a back seat. I will probably still tweet every once in a while if you’ve been following my twitter account (@ArguingWFriends).

So I guess I won’t be completely dead in the water, just idling for a while.

I’m not sure when or how I will jump back in the game (or maybe I’ll just write another book instead) but for the next while it’ll get a lot quieter around here. Thanks for reading; I hope you have found some rewarding nuggets in all this. Perhaps consider purchasing the book if you did!

God bless, and may your arguments be friendly!

Celebrity or Truth?

Kony who? You may remember that massive campaign last year that went absolutely viral because of a promo video. It was called Kony 2012. It had something to do with some African guy in… where was that? Anyway, there is this African nation where kids are taken from the homes and forced to fight in the army of a militia lead by some guy names Kony. At least, I think that’s the right cause. I only remember it because the video went viral and since EVERYBODY was watching it, well I just HAD to watch it. And, of course, EVERYBODY was getting involved, so I got involved too.

Then there was that whole weird thing about the guy who made the video (Russel something?) running around the street naked and drunk and yelling at people. It was on video. Then I SO didn’t want anything to do with Kony 2012; that went uncool really quickly. Continue reading

Proverbs 20:15 – Valuable knowledge

There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

(Pro 20:15 ESV)

This verse utilizes irony to make its point. By seemingly dismissing rare and precious things (gold, costly stones) as though they were common and insignificant the author emphasizes the true value of “lips of knowledge.” Two observations are in order. First observation: the value of knowledge itself. Education, study, research – all forms of enhancing our intellectual capacities – are worthwhile goals. Continue reading

Mature, gracious debater

Debates are inherently confrontational, right? The entire point is to make your opponent look like an idiot by puffing yourself up, isn’t it? Debates certainly do serve a different purpose than run-of-the-mill conversations, but even within a debate setting it is certainly possible to engage in a reasoned and compelling defence of one’s own perspective without denigrating one’s opponent. This was recently exemplified by Dr. Craig.

I should offer a quick disclaimer. I have not watched this debate (I had other plans that evening) so I am trusting the following report. The source is reliable, though, and what he says is consistent with what I have seen of Craig in the past so I have every reason to believe that what follows is spot on. However, even if he is dead wrong in his assessment (that’s unlikely) we should strive to exemplify what he describes.

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How should we disagree with each other?

Here’s a nice little article sharing a very similar story to my own. You learn a bunch of useful stuff and when you try to share it with others you suddenly find yourself hot under the collar. How is one to avoid that apparent inevitability? He shares some general guidelines from Greg Koukl’s Tactics, which are similar to what I lay out in Arguing with Friends.

My only clarification on his comments would be that I still believe we should avoid having these conversations online, if possible. If only we spent as much time in cafes as we do in discussion forums and twitter “debates.”

Proverbs 20:3 – Honorable or quarrelsome?

Avoiding strife brings a man honor, but every fool is quarrelsome.  (Pro 20:3 ISV)

Interesting how it is not an inherently honorable nature that leads one to avoid strife, but rather it is the choice to avoid strife (fight, quarrel, etc in other translations) that brings honor. Sometimes it may not be our natural inclination to do the right thing and walk away from petty fights, but if we make the effort to behave in an “unnatural” way that brings about a change in our nature.

Or, we can remain fools and keep blindly following our instincts. After all, quarrels do seem to be natural for humans.

Art of Reason – those poor horses

This is my second attempt at an “art of reason” article. The hope is to help people think through the truth claims they are presented with. We get hundreds of them a day so this is an important skill to develop. I hope this is helpful; let me know.

My wife and I enjoyed a nice getaway at a cabin in the woods. Around the property it is not uncommon to see wild animals, including wild horses. We didn’t see any while we were there, but I did notice that the home owners had put a pile of postcards on the kitchen counter. The postcards were meant to raise awareness about a government policy with respect to rounding up and domesticating wild horses every year. The postcard is designed to be sent to government officials as a message that the signator would like to see changes to the legislation in this respect.

The message on the postcard is intended to persuade us to let the wild horses remain wild. See if you can spot all the logical problems with the message of the postcard. Here it is,

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