Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Archive for December 2009

Thoughts on Economics and Investment, Part 1: Prolegomena

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So, the subtitle of this blog says: “Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics.” I figured it was time to address some economic matters. We are fast approaching 2010 and so I will write some (very much in-process) thoughts concerning the U.S. economy and globalization, as well as, challenge many entrenched investment maxims.

Initial Caveats

1. I am not an expert in economics, just an interested observer.

2. The content of these posts are not to constitute investment advice.

3. I make no money off of this site, am not paid to write here, and have no form of advertisement here.

4. Despite my leanings towards the Austrian School of Economics (see links below), I am not a libertarian. I am most closely a paleoconservative. I am sympathetic to the libertarians (in an era of silly neo-conservativism) as I feel they are some of the few who stick to any of the classical conservative ideologies.

Stated Goals

My hope is that these posts would:

1. Create substantive dialogue

2. Discuss sound economic principles

3. Insight some forward-thinking analysis

Suggested Initial Reading

Before going forward, I would strongly commend reading some of these summaries of the technical terms, various schools of economics, and notable figures:

Key Ideas to understand: Supply and Demand, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Invisible Hand, Globalization, Fiat Money, Central Banking, and Value Theory.

General Schools of Economic Thought

Austrian School of Economics

Primer on Austrian School of Economics

Notable figures in the Austrian school: Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, and F. A. Hayek

Monetarism

Keynesian School of Economics

Up first is challenging the underlying assumptions of the buy and hold philosophy of investment.

Some Excellent Puritan Works on Sale…

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…from Reformation Heritage Books.

Written by Michael Graham

December 22, 2009 at 9:20 am

3 Month Introspective

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Introspective

So, I’ve been blogging consistently for three months.  This is the week of Christmas and I’ll be all over the place.  I thought I would briefly summarize the 3 months of blog series on here:

Blaise Pascal:  We took a look at Blaise Pascal’s thinking, its use of aphorism and its relationship to both tri-perspectivalism and presuppositionalism.  We also looked at his use of aphorism and his warnings against deism and atheism.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Past, Present, and Future, Parts 1-7:  We defined the term evangelical.  We looked at its historical roots in the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and its ties to celebrity culture, democritization of knowledge, and modernism.  Then we looked at the roots of liberalism, the Protestant split and suburbanization, and defined and outlined evangelical populism and their game plan for reaching America.  Finally we assessed the current status of American evangelicalism and then made some predictions of future trends.

Introduction to Apologetics, Parts 1-7:  We looked in broad strokes at the various schools of apologetics.  We then took a more in-depth look at:  Classical Apologetics, Evidentialist Apologetics, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the specific apologetics of Blaise Pascal and Alvin Plantinga.  Finally, we employed the three phases football as an analogy for the different apologetic schools and I likened Tim Tebow to the presuppositionalists.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Parts 1-10:  We looked at some analysis of some shifts evangelicalism will need to make moving forward:  Doctrine, Worldview, Urbanization, Globality/Mobility, “Post-Modernism,” American Culture(s), Contextualization, Balance, and Final Analysis.

Top ~10 Books by Topic:

Top 10 Systematic Theology Texts

Top 10 Devotional Classics

Top 10 Books on the Church

Top 10 Books on Science and Christianity

Top 10 Books on Christian Biography

Top 10 Books on Culture

Top 10 Books on Eschatology

Top 5 Books on Worldview

Top 15 Books on Status of American Evangelicalism

Top 10 Books on Church History

Top 40 Books to Read While in College

Top 10 Books on Missions, Discipleship, and Evangelism

The 25 Most Destructive Books Ever Written…

Top 10 Apologetic Works

Top 10 Books on Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Top 10 Books by John Piper

Top 5 Children’s Books

Best Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms of the Christian Church

A Comprehensive List of Top 10 Book Lists of 2009

Up Next:  We will be looking at some thoughts on the economy and investment and then delve into the mind of Friedrich Nietzsche…

Written by Michael Graham

December 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

A Comprehensive List of Top 10 Book Lists of 2009

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Let me know if I have missed anyone (or yours) in the comments section.

Kevin DeYoung

Russell Moore

Keith Mathison

Tim Challies

Trevin Wax

Derek Thomas

Thabiti Anyabwile

Sam Storms

Best Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms of the Christian Church

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Trinity Shield from Athanasian Creed

Our faith is 2000 years old.  We have a long obedience in the same direction, affirming the same truths.  We are wise to be familiar with the many wonderful orthodox creeds, confessions, and catechisms of the Christian church.

Apostles Creed (~2nd century)

Nicene Creed (325)

Athanasian Creed (5th century)

Definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451)

The Canons of the Council of Orange (529)

London Baptist Confession (1689)

Westminster Standards:  Westminster Confession of Faith, Westminster Shorter Catechism, and Westminster Larger Catechism (1646)

Heidelberg Catechism (1563) – Note:  Kevin DeYoung has a book coming out on the HC next year entitled The Good News We Almost Forgot.  I would be surprised if it was not excellent.  CJ Mahaney says, “Doubtless this will be the finest book I will have ever read on the Heidelberg Catechism. It will certainly be the first.”

Belgic Confession (1618)

Canons of Dordt (1618)

Second Helvetic Confession (1536)

Genevan Catechism (1536)

The Thirty Nine Articles (Anglican, 1572) and Augsburg Confession (Lutheran) are not bad and worth familiarizing oneself.

Also of note is the Westminster Shorter Catechism for kids – the entire list of questions and answers can be found here for free.

Top 5 Childrens Books

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The Jesus Storybook Bible

Someone asked for this list.  I have no children and am not very knowledgeable here.  Hence, someone who has children and better resources please post books that should be listed here.

1.  The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

This book is a monumental achievement.  I really don’t know what parents did for their children before this book.  I have heard that The Big Picture Story Bible is also good.

2.  Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

These are classic books and solid Christian allegory.  When they get older, have them read the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien

3.  The Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul

Yes, R.C. Sproul has written some children’s books.  The Poison Cup is the only one I am familiar with, but I have heard that The Lightlings and The King Without a Shadow are also good.

4.  Window on the World by Daphne Spraggett and Jill Johnstone

This is like Operation World for kids.  It will introduce them to world missions and prayer for other people groups.

5.  First Catechism

This is the Westminster Shorter Catechism for Children.  Also, the entire list of questions and answers can be found here for free.

Top 10 Books by John Piper

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Desiring God by John Piper

This list is what I think are the 10 best books that I have read from John Piper.  I haven’t read some of the more recent ones, but have heard good things about This Momentary Marriage (a book on marriage apparently).

1.  Desiring God [y, l, e, p, s]

This classic is what introduced me to a sovereign God and the doctrines of grace.  It also taught me that my pursuit of joy and my pursuit of God were one and the same pursuit.  If you cannot get through it or are intimidated by its size, try The Dangerous Duty of Delight, he essentially says the same things, just more concisely.

2.  Don’t Waste Your Life [y, l, e, p, s]

Quite simply this book needs to be read (and can be) by everyone.  The title says it all.  His passion for living a worthy life is infectious.

3.  Let the Nations Be Glad [y, l, e, p, s]

This is his book on missions.  It is excellent.  Reading this book is what compelled me to spend time overseas investing the Gospel into people.

4.  Brothers We are NOT Professionals [l, e, p, s]

Just as relevant in 2009 than it was in 2002.  I agree with my friend James W. that this book ought to be read by every seminarian before and after seminary.  Piper takes aim at the professionalization of the ministry.  We are not professionals, we are shepherds.

5.  The 5 Book Biography Set [y, l, e, p, s]

Each book has three or so vignette-length biographies.  They are all good and the link above takes you to DG’s Christmas sale.

6.  Finally Alive [l, e, p, s]

This book may prove to be one of Piper’s most important contributions.  The book concerns the rarely written on, doctrine of regeneration.  Definitely one of the best books of 2009.

7.  Battling Unbelief [y, l, e, p, s]

This book gives you tools to fight for your joy in Christ when you don’t feel it.  Also, I am told that, When I Don’t Desire God, and When the Darkness Will not Lift are both quite good and in the same vein.

8.  The Supremacy of God in Preaching [e, p, s]

One of the best books on preaching.  Period.

9.  Future Grace [l, e, p, s]

The superior pleasure of Christ and the hope of future grace are our tools in fighting against sin.

10.  God’s Passion for His Glory [y, l, e, p, s]

This books is Piper channeling Jonathan Edwards thoughts (which is much of what Piper has done his entire ministry… and that is a good thing).  We would be wise to listen to Edwards and his vision for a God who is passionate for His own glory.

Honorable Mentions:

What’s the Difference – book on Biblical manhood and womanhood.

Counted Righteous in Christ – book defending the doctrine of Christ’s imputed righteousness.  A critical doctrine and a solid book on the matter.

The Justification of God – rock solid exegesis of Romans 9.  If you have ever had questions about Romans 9, this book will answer them.

(c=children; y=young adult; l=lay leader; e=elder; p=pastor; s=scholar)

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