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May 10, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Best Southern Food Restaurants in Nashville, TN

Best Southern Restaurants in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin Area

1) Loveless Cafe (a little away from Downtown Nashville and the wait is kind of long, but certainly a Nashville classic)

2) Monell’s, Arnold’s, Bishop’s, etc… (I prefer Monell’s Cafe over the Manor, but the manor is certainly an experience).

3) Acme Feed & Seed (restaurant converted from old feed & seed factory)

4) Tupelo Honey (**)

5) Butcher and Bee (**)

6) The Farm House (**)

7) The Row Kitchen and Pub (brunch)

8) Martins BBQ or Edlys BBQ

9) Hot Chicken (Hattie B’s is probably better and more accessible than Pepperfire, but I’ll include the later)

10) Also any number of catfish places (Uncle Bud’s)

Probably the best way to determine “popular southern foods” is to look at what southern restaurants serve.

** I think these are all farm to table and you’re going to pay for that kind of meal. There is also Husk, which is probably ranks among the better of these.

The above is a list that happens to be numbered, its not a ranking. I’ve just divided the list by type a bit.

May 9, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Bible Verses on Christian Virtue, Leadership, and Wisdom

Here is a great list of Bible verses which highlight and speak to Christian virtues.  They would seem to make great memory verses and verses for meditating and reflecting on–and to keep one’s “eyes on the prize.”  Great jumping off points for self-reflection and a re-newal of purpose and focus.

Christian Virtue List–The Fruits of the Spirit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5: 22-23, NIV Version

Love

If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-7, NIV Version

Christian Virtue List

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4: 2-6, NIV Version

Christ-likeness

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4: 14-16, NIV Version

 

Virtue and Mindset:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4: 29-32, NIV Version

Focus, Meditate, and Dwell on What Is Right and Good:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4: 8, NIV Version

Seven Christian Virtues:

  • Prudence (Prudentia)
  • Chastity (Castitas)
  • Temperance (Temperantia)
  • Charity (Caritas)
  • Patience (Patientia)
  • Kindness (Benevolentia)
  • Humility (Humilitas)

Four Cardinal Virtues:

  • Prudence, from prudentia meaning “seeing ahead, sagacity”) is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.[4] It is called the Auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues) as it guides the other virtues.[5]
  • Justice is that virtue which regulates man in his dealings with others. Connected to justice are the virtues of religion, piety, and gratitude. [6]
  • Thomas Aquinas ranks fortitude third after prudence and justice and equates it with brave endurance.[3] Patience and perseverance are virtues related to fortitude.
  • Temperance, is that moral virtue which moderates in accordance with reason the desires and pleasures of the sensuous appetite. Related to temperance are the virtues of continence, humility, and meekness.[6]

FYI: These two lists may have more official value than it should, although these are all certainly valuable, helpful, and Christian.  Wisdom and prudence I think may be a little different, if we’re splitting hairs a bit.

Source: Wikipedia

Christian Virtue Resources:

  • The Sermon on the Mount (here)
  • The Beatitudes and Virtue (here)
  • New Testament Christian Virtues Article: (here)
  • Richard Foster author of Celebration of Disciplines
May 7, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Top Christian Philosophers, Apologists, and Public Intellectuals

The Best of the Best–the Top Christian Philosophers, Apologists, and Public Intellectuals

This quote is tounge and cheek–a bit of sarcasm, but its legitimately saying these are smart people across various disciplines including literature, philosophy, science, and art–listing 52 Christians in total.

“Some of the dullards who have believed in God are the musicians Palestrine and Johann Sebastian Back,; artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Caravaggio; writers such as Dante and J.R.R. Tolkien; philosophers such as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Rene Descartes, Alfred North Whitehead and Anthony Flew; scientists (I list more of these because antithesis often claim that religion and science are incompatible)  such as Louis Agassiz, Andre-Marie Ampere, Robert Boyle, Tyco Brahe, Nicholaus Copernicus, George Cuvier, John Ambrose Fleming, Galileo, Pierre Gassed, William Harvey, Werner Heisenberg, William Herschel, James Prescott Joule, William Kelvin, Johann Kepler, Carolus Linnaeus, Joseph Lister, Charles Lyell, James Clerk Maxwell, Gregor Mendel, Issac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Max Planck, Bernhard Riemann and Nicolaus Steno.  The antithesis retort that these people are too old and dead to have been aware that science disproves God.  But here are brilliant people who believe in God today: Stephen M. Barr, Francis S. Collins, Simon Conway Morris, William Lane Craig, Owen Gingrich, Stanley Jaki, John C. Lennox, Alister McGrath, Kenneth Miller, Alvin Platinga, John Polkinghorne, John A. people, Marilynne Robinson, Hugh Ross, Allen R. Sandage, A.N.  Wilson, and N.T. Wright.  And that’s just the portion of Christians is to be found in departments of natural science than in departments of humanities or social science.  Among the leaders of the anti-theist movement today, few are actually professional scientists.”

(Jeffrey Burton Russel, Exposing Myths about Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends, p. 131-132)

—–

Another List of the Best Christian Philosophers, Apologists, and Public Intellectuals

There is a rather dubious misconception that doesn’t fully take into account that Christians have a number of leading writers, intellectuals, and speakers. Simply because these folks don’t make the NYT doesn’t mean they aren’t articulate and incisive in their analysis of social issues.

Here are eight that are positively heavy hitters—and two that are perhaps more debateable—but certainly find themselves on the God side:

  1. Anthony Flew (Oxford, Redding, Calagary,
  2. Mortimer J Adler (University of Chicago)
  3. Alister McGrath (Oxford)
  4. William Lane Craig
  5. CS Lewis (Oxford)
  6. EF Schumacher (Small is Beautiful)
  7. Francis Bacon (founder of science)
  8. John Locke (founder of liberal social contract that became the basis of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence)
  9. Copelston (wrote multi-volume set on philosophy thats a classic. Debated Russell)
  10. Einstein believed in a kind of Deist God, and was certainly anti-atheist. Einstein argued for an integration of thinking in this regard, not the over-simplified and anti-historical conflict thesis.
  11. Even Thomas Jefferson believed in God and the value of religion, he just thought the influence of a given denomination (say a particular brand of Calvinists on government was a bad thing, not Christianity).

You can look at the Veritas Forum.

Here is another list: List of converts to Christianity from nontheism – Wikipedia

Update:

Here are nine more to add:

  1. Ravi Zacharias (spoken at all the great universities in the Western world, but actually pretty globally as well)
  2. Os Guinness
  3. Sean McDowell
  4. David Bentley Hart
  5. Ed Feser
  6. John Lennox (Philosopher & mathematician at Oxford)
  7. Martin Luther King Jr.
  8. Billy Graham
  9. Reinhold Niebuhr (public intellectual)

Finally, here are four more, all Catholic that I accidentally left off:

  1. Alvin Platinga
  2. Alisdair McIntyre
  3. Mary Ann Glendon
  4. Peter Kreeft
  5. Here is a list of all the authors from the Catholic publication First Things: Authors

You could also probably add folks like Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and perhaps Oswald Chambers to the list. And there are a number of Christian writers who fall into this category.

This shouldn’t surprise us because Jesus, Paul, and David were among the key speakers and/or writers of the Bible itself—not to mention the Gospel writers.

April 30, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

The Most Inspiring Online Commercial

 

The “original” song from the Chainsmokers–Don’t Let Me Down

April 20, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Key Christian Apologetics, Philosophy, and Worldview Questions

  1. What does it mean to be a Christian?
  2. What are Christian virtues?
  3. How does the Old Testament differ from the New Testament?
  4. How can we be sure about the credibility of the Bible?
  5. Who was Jesus?
  6. What is the evidence that Jesus was a historical figure?
  7. What evidence suggests that Jesus was divine or that the Bible is divine in source?
  8. What is the Christian worldview?
  9. What is the atheist worldview?
  10. How can Christians answer the New atheist arguments?
  11. How should Christians approach challenges to the faith?
  12. How can I learn more about Christian apologetics?
April 16, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

The Christian Values of Alexander Solzhenitzyn

“Men, in order to do evil, must first believe that what they are doing is good.”

The quote is about humility. Its not about ethics. If you read it as a rejection of ethics, I don’t think you’re thinking contextually or concretely.

Plus, this kind of thinking strikes me as a bit wrong-headed. Lets not try to be ethical, because bad people wrap what they say is good in the language of the ethical.

You don’t stop being Mother Tereasa because there are Hitlers out their who claim to be ethical. You double down on being Mother Teresa.

Jesus lived a life of love, kindness, compassion, honesty, service, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness. The historical role of these values in fostering positive relationships is hard to ignore. That’s what I will defend as the core of the ethical life. In fact, if more people did this tomorrow, 99% of the worlds problems would disappear in the twinkling of an eye. They would dissolve as the emotionally rooted problems they are.

What one needs to confront is that emotions can be good or bad, so doing away with emotions or suppressing emotions isn’t the answer. That’s how you end up like Sheldon or Spock and somewhat detatched from reality. That same detatchment from reality and empathy is what results in draconian final solutions.

Contrarily, when we apply the Golden Rule to such situations, we have a tool that has an ethical core—one in which the humanity of the other person is taken seriously. The Golden Rule is the bridge from where we are to a better world relationally and civilizationally.

In fact to return to Alexander Solzhenitzyn

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

Silence in the face of real evil is a tragedy.

Beyond that I think looking at the heart of the message provides illuminance in the face of darkness. Tim Keller highlights:

“At the heart of the Christian faith is a man dying for his enemies, praying for their forgiveness rather than retaliating. The cross reveals a God who is so committed to justice that the cross was necessary. Sin and evil cannot be overlooked—they must be judged. Yet at the same time it shows us a God who longing that he was willing to bear the cost and take the judgement himself. He refuses to chose between truth and love—he will have both, and the only way for that to happen is if he pays the price for forgiveness himself.

Keller continues:

“This becomes the Christian model of self-donation, or sacrificial love and forgiveness. But the cross doesn’t simply give us an inspiring example. Through faith in the cross we get a new foundation for an identity that both humbles us out of our egotism yet it so infallibly secure in love that we are enabled to embrace rather than exclude those who are different.” ( An Invitation to Skeptics, p. 147)

Finally, I would reference my article about the inherent contradiction between humanism and atheism. You have to pick one. You can’t have both.

Nathan Ketsdever’s answer to How are secular humanism and atheism related?

I highly recommend the above article if this is an issue that you’ve been wrestling with or that you really want answers about.

Best of luck in your search for answers, my friend.

References:

Its worth noting that elsewhere that AS highlighted this theme of humility:

“Pride grows on the human heart like lard on a pig.”

This quote which provides the basis for the ethical life is quite compelling and artful:

“… What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusionary -property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life -don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn for happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why?

He continues:

“Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart -and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted on their memory.”

Here’s another:

…. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.

…. If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

You could also read the first quote as about the heart.  I think the other quotes I point to including the one above point out the larger purpose, message, and context that Alexander Solzhenitzyn is speaking into and about.  Its only when you de-contextualize the original quote that the message is ultimately lost or rather distorted.

But more importantly, this further points to Alexander S’s alignment with Christian values and Christianity: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1319589.From_Under_the_Rubble

April 3, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Shawn Anchor on Happiness: Habits, Science, Research, Meaning, and Purpose

After his research, he was able to narrow the answer down to 5 daily habits…

1. EXERCISE: Cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of 15 mins.

2. MEDITATE: Meditate for a minimum of two minutes. He states the meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing for those two minutes, regardless of your location. You can even be sitting in a cubicle.

3. THANKS/PRAISE: Give thanks or praise. Say thank you to someone or give praise to someone for something specific. However, it must be a new person each day.

4. GRATITUDE: Write down three things that you are grateful for. However, it must be from something that occurred in the past 24 hours, and needs to be different every day.
The reason for this is because they found that most people would write a generic “health,” “family,” “God,” etc. which causes you to become desensitized. Therefore, it needs to be within the past 24 hours and different every day.

5. POSITIVE EVENT: Write down three specific details about a positive event that occurred in the past 24 hours. The more specific the better.

  • Source: Phil Michaels

Here is a summary of Shawn Anchors recent TED Talk along with a list of this authors top posts here.  Here is a comparable summary of Anchor’s book The Happiness Advantage.