Saturday, October 01, 2011

Talked to a depressed friend yesterday, and asked him where he thought individual human worth came from. He said
"Do you want to know the "right" answer?"
Me: "I want to hear what you think the right answer is, but I want to hear your answer."
Friend: "Well, the "right" answer, 'Jesus died for our sins & we're redeemed' - but me? I have no idea."

This followed with a little more conversation in which I mentioned that I think scripture says our worth is based on us being created in God's image-not necessarily the redemption.
I also shared that when I was in a similar spiral I prayed for God to help me to feel what I knew. I also probably kept him longer than was good for either of us.

All during that conversation, I was trying to remember when I felt the same way.

Once I did. It's been such a long time though, I don't feel that way any longer and haven't for quite a while. I don't want to forget though.
It's one thing to repeat the "right" answers, or to correct someone's "right" answers, but until you've gotten inside someone's anguish and tried to really understand the problem, I've found that people (others have done this to me and I've done it-God forgive me-to others) tend to shoot over the heads of the people they're trying to help, and after blowing the smoke from their barrels with a satisfied smile, they get irritated that their patient can't see that their problem has been neatly solved. Maybe they'll reload and try again. Maybe they'll blame the patient's obstinacy. Maybe they'll blame the patient for something else.

But maybe, just maybe, there is a God in heaven,
A God who hears prayer and does, really does, something about these things.
I have a regimen of praying - or trying to pray.

Oh God, help me to stop just talking to the ceiling & beg you with something like reality for the things only you can do.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ephesians. The "Praise of His Glory" - what does it mean?

"New Heavens and earth, where righteousness dwells.

The earth will be full of the knowledge of the glory of YHWH as the waters cover the sea.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power...The last enemy to be destroyed is death...When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."

Here are a few verses that indicate the big picture of God's plan. It becomes difficult to understand certain things (like the place & purpose of the Law) if we think that God's "endgame" is merely to have the souls of justified men & women join him in a heavenly plane. That's not the picture that we get from scripture.
Reading Romans & his other epistles, it gets confusing to hear Paul explain what the Law is all about. One minute he's saying God gave it to increase transgressions. The next He's saying that it has "righteous requirements". Then it's a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. It can't produce righteousness. And he says that Abraham was righteous before the Law came, merely by faith. So, if there was righteousness by faith apart from the law before the Law came, what was the point of it coming in the first place?!? What need for Christ?

Well, I don't know all the answers, but I think the reason this seems confusing is that we assume that God's point in this whole spread is to get people justified. If that were all there were to it, then not much of what God has done through the ages makes any sense.

But God doesn't intend to stop with our justification. Justification and restoration of right relationship with God is just the starting point. First the Jews for thousands of years are trained by the Law to know what righteousness looks like. The Law, just like the birth of Seth, the calling of Abraham, the choosing of Jacob, the anointing of David, are all stepping stones on the mysteriously gradual plan of God to redeem the entire created world. It trains them for the messiah's coming but they-and then the Gentiles-are justified by faith. Jesus Christ comes, and in Himself creates a new human nature through his Life, Death, and Resurrection. That nature is to be formed in us both through the Spirit, in the "inner man" (or woman). The Law of Christ is in us through the spirit. That's where we are now in the program.

Then at his coming our bodies will be redeemed.

Then authority will be given to the saints to rule in their redeemed bodies, indwelt by the Spirit and given eternal, spiritual, physical bodies. Under Christ they will rule.
All men will be raised, judged, separated to their eternal destinies.
Then the universe itself will be recreated, renewed, just as we were.

Then all things will have been returned to the creator, and the whole beautiful works will be filled with his glory. Every beauty & excellence in every person, mountain, food, story, blade of grass, or whatever created thing that exists, will be recognizeable as coming from God the Father.

And that's when the saints will see that it really is to the "praise of His glory" - with the glory of God shining out of every drop of water, every leaf, every eye, all will be taken in and enjoyed by the Sons and Daughters of God and result in an endless process of enjoyment and praise for that Glory.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ups and downs. School gets so wearisome past a certain point, when you've learned what you wanted to know and are then forced to read and listen to all sorts of banalities that suck the excitement out of discovery. I doubt that it's possible to be bored to death, but I don't doubt that a person's natural interests and curiosity can be kidnapped and smothered to death in some dark alley by peer-reviewed academic mob-bosses. Lord, deliver me from my enemies!

Or maybe I'm just whining because my mental exercise routine has become less like a footrace and more like a forced march - in either case, the endurance and requisite muscle groups of the mind are growing, which is one of the main reasons for the whole exercise in the first place, right?

I've been reading through Ephesians, especially chapter 1, in preparation for a home group that looks as if it won't be taking place for a while. But it's impossible to seek God in the instruction of his apostles without coming away the better for it, and one thing among many that struck me was the confidence with which Paul says "when you believed you were marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit, and that's how you know you're going to get the inheritance."

Now, to cite something that isn't visible, tangible, or otherwise immediately detectable as evidence for something in an unseen future seems odd somehow, unless the "marking" of the holy spirit isn't as ethereal and uncertain as I've often felt.

Then I came across Richard Baxter's words in his "Dying thoughts": "That this Spirit is given to all true believers is evident by the effects of His being given, They have ends, affections, and lives different from the rest of mankind; they live upon the hopes of a better life, and their heavenly interest overrules all the opposite interests of this world. In order to this they live under the conduct of divine authority, and to obey and please God is the great business of their lives. The men of the world discern this difference, and therefore hate and oppose them, because they find themselves condemned by their heavenly temper and conversation. Believers are conscious of this difference; for they desire to be better, and to trust and love God more, and to have more of the heavenly life and comforts; and when their infirmities make them doubt of their own sincerity, they would not change their Governor, rule, or hopes, for all the world; and it is never so well and pleasant with them, as when they can trust and love God most; and in their worst and weakest condition they would fain be perfect...whence are thy groanings after God, thy desires to be nearer to His glory, to know him and love Him more?...Who breathed into thee all those requests thou hast sent up to God? Overvalue not corrupt nature, it brings forth no such fruits as these...Thy holy desires are, alas! too weak, but they are holy." -

This is comforting to me, because I often wonder what real evidence there is of the Life of God in me, if there's anything that proves I've received the Holy Spirit. The things that Baxter points out I see as true in me and in the others I know who've responded to the call of God. Usually it's difficult to get anyone to say what the real change in converted persons IS, and when we read the apostle's words "Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?", we think "uhhhhh, what's the test? what are the questions? Is it multiple choice or true/false? or is it more of a feeling?" Most Christians I've met (including the one I meet in the mirror) get concerned because they don't see the holiness they want or expect in their own lives.

But, thank God, I can adapt Baxter's pronouns and say: "my hopes have been too low; but I have hoped in God, and for his heavenly glory. My prayers have been too dull and interrupted; but I have prayed for holiness and heaven. My labors have been too slothful; but I have labored for God and Christ and the good of mankind. though my motion was too weak and slow, it has been God-ward, and therefore it is from God."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just found out today that the Clinicals for the last two school years in the Nursing Program here at SPU (which I have not yet even completed prereqs for, much less been admitted to) are 15hrs per week, on top of 10 more hours of class time, not counting homework. That's 26 hrs/wk. I also work 40+ hrs/wk. Now, I know all things are possible with God, but I wonder if all things are prudent. I don't want to neglect my family any more than I already do. (Well, I'd rather not neglect them at all...)

I believed and still believe this is where the Lord's leading is, or at least that I've not had any restraint 'til now - which coupled w/ an initial desire seems to be the mechanism by which I'm normally led - so I'm going to keep going for it.

If this (Nursing) falls through I don't know what else I could really do in the way of securing solid training for future employment that would also provide me with enough free time to plant a church here. I've seen enough churches fall apart or fall on hard times not to want to rely totally on the generosity of God's flock for provision for my family, who all enjoy having roofs and beds and food and such things. At least Paul had tentmaking as a fallback or supplement, and he was single. I am not single, I'm not even double. I'm quintuple-no, Brandy's pregnant, make that sextuple. So with this small tribe relying on me for sustenance, I DO desire (and I don't think this is lack of faith) some sort of resilient qualifications of the sort that could allow me to provide said sustenance. A Classics degree doesn't exactly fit that bill.

Prayers appreciated.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Is Communion more like Prayer or like Baptism?

I've been going back and forth the past year over whether unbaptized ppl should be offered communion. For a loooooong period of Christian history this would've been a no-brainer: "no"!
Communion seems to be, in scripture, something for disciples, and disciples seem to be people who've been impressed enough by Jesus to obey him and become baptized as their entrance ceremony/sacrament into the family of believers. So to knowingly offer communion to unbaptized people seems to be a belittling of baptism - like celebrating an anniversary for a couple who refuses to be legally married.

I've grown up in more casual evangelical churches where sacraments have been observed very loosely, usually with their symbolic nature strongly emphasized. I got the idea that they were basically Jesus-instituted (and therefore important) flannelgraph presentations to illustrate a point, nothing more. Because of this, communion was no more restricted than prayer. You wouldn't deny prayer to anyone, why deny communion?

But it seems to me that Scripture and the early Christians understood communion to have a different significance than as a mere memorial (not that it's not a memorial)- as a participation in the body and blood of the Lord between baptized believers. As the question raised in my mind while reading the bible, I did some research and found that many Scripturally faithful denominations don't offer communion to the unbaptised.

This particular rubber meets the road for me regarding my kids. I've been allowing them to participate in communion without restraint, just trying to explain the meaning to them as we go along, but I've become increasingly doubtful that I'm being faithful to Scripture in doing so. My oldest, Josiah, and probably Jaelle too, are old enough to understand the gospel message and the meaning of baptism; but have told me they do not want to be baptized at this point. So, I have stopped having them participate in communion and explained why, telling them that once they decide to become disciples of Jesus and seal that commitment with baptism, then it will make sense for them to share communion as a memorial of and participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus which they will then have been baptized into.

If any of you have two cents to throw in, please do, especially if your cents make sense of Scripture.

Monday, March 28, 2011

So, media round #2, the audio portion. Audiobooks don't count, so these are all lectures/debates/sermons.

...Now that I've got all these up here, I realize that all of them have neat accents. Except Tozer, who sounds like an ornery great uncle, but even he's unique sounding enough to be interesting.

Gerald Bray's "Church History I"
You may have to create an account with BiblicalTraining to access these, but it's free and very much worth it. This is the absolute best Church History survey I've found. He's engaging, fun to listen to, makes good connections between subjects, and makes you think about how the decisions made early on affect what we believe today. He's really bright and well-respected, and also prays before every lecture. Move on to Church History II if you finish!

Ken Spiro's Crash Course of Jewish History. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom for the MP3s. They're free on this site, but they cost a pretty penny on his personal site. Really helpful for everything between the return from exile to Jesus' birth, and then for everything up to the present. I wish I'd listened to this before having gone to Israel. Ken Spiro's also fun to listen to. Caveat Auditor, he does not like Jesus or Christians, although I emailed back and forth with him for a bit and he accepted me as a friend on Facebook.

N.T. Wright audio. Especially his stuff on Jesus and the Resurrection. Scroll down to the "Audio/Video" section. Even if you don't agree with everything, you will learn a lot, and will raise your ceiling of understanding re. the significance for both Jesus and His resurrection.

A.E. Wilder Smith. Some of the audio quality is terrible, but the content is great. I definitely recommend "Cause/Cure of the Drug Epidemic", The Great Debate: "Evolution or Creation", "Time & Creation", "Logos in Biology: Introduction", and "Is Man a Machine?"

John Lennox's Conversation with Richard Dawkins Really good stuff. And they're for the most part civil. I hope to be as loving in conversations as John.

A.W. Tozer's sermons. Tozer is even better heard then read. (I would recommend Schaeffer's audio but unfortunately the opposite is true for him.) There's a sea of stuff here, so you may have to dig to find something to match your interest, but most of these are golden. Challenging, powerful, and scriptural. I can't think of any sermons I like to listen to as much as these.

Os Guinness cut his Chops at L'abri with the Schaeffers and moved on to become a sociologist. Really insightful messages and critiques on big picture issues.

Ravi Zacharias, Meaning of Life or you can wade through RZIM . There's no one like Ravi, he touches on just about everything, and manages to get you to take it all seriously.

Greg Bahnsen debate with Gordon Stein. The clearest example of the truth of presuppositional apologetics. Nothing makes sense without God.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I've been thinking about media, the good kind. Last night I was thinking about how I love to recommend books, and thinking how badly I wish certain books were required reading. So I'm going to post a short list of books that have been most helpful and formative for me:

The C.S. Lewis complex (Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, Great Divorce, Space Trilogy, Pilgrim's Regress, and Abolition of Man)
Mere Christianity was very helpful, especially the section on theories of Atonement and Toy Soldiers to real men. Screwtape letters was helpful especially in encouraging me to pray and recognize the psychological aspects of disciplines. Great Divorce was for beauty and expanded my hopes for heaven and the meaning of repentance. Space Trilogy was epic food for the imagination and taught me a lot about the meaning of gender and the methods of evil. Pilgrim's Regress was Cathartic and educational, Abolition of Man made me think about the relation of the passions and virtues to the intellect, as well as what I believe about education.

Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer (Especially the Trilogy and Church and the End of the 20th Century, as dated as the title now is.)
Francis reassured me that every human being has inherent value since they're created in God's image, even though sin has made us cruel, we're still human. He taught me Truth can be All Flame. He taught me that Christ is Lord of all creation, including beauty and art and philosophy. He helped me realize that Christianity is, in some sense, a rational system as well as a relationship with God in Christ, vocalized what I'd thought about presuppositional apologetics before I knew they had a name, and gave me a sense for the development of thought and culture. He also reminded me that the Church always seems to be half a century behind the times in addressing needs and the prevailing world spirit and prophesied about the grandchildren of postmodernism. And so much more.

Church History in Plain Language, by Bruce Shelley. Great overview of Church History. Really filled in a lot of gaps for me, as I'd previously had this naive and confusing impression that after Paul died, Christianity was lost until the reformation, and even those guys were on the fringe until our brand of Christian came along.

Sermons and Journals of John Wesley John showed me that the book of Acts is still being written, and that so much more is possible with God than the plodding indifference we usually see in ourselves and other Christians. He reassured me that it's not only OK to hunger and thirst for Righteousness, but that we must seek Holiness, for "Without Holiness no one will See the Lord". He told me it's wrong to gossip, that plain dealing is Godly, that Christians should be able to agree to disagree while still holding to their convictions, and that the New Birth is real.

Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho a Jew/Martyrdom of Justin Short early church work, reaffirmed to me that Christianity is the True philosophy, reincarnation is silly, the Prophets spoke truth, that I have brothers in the second century, and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Favorite excerpt just before his martyrdom during his examination:

The prefect spoke to Justin Martyr first. "Listen, you who are called learned and think you know true doctrines. If you are scourged and beheaded, do you believe you'll ascend to heaven?"

"That is my hope," Justin replied. "If I endure these things, I shall have his gifts. I know that for all who have lived according to our teachings, the divine favor remains on them until the completion of the whole world."

Though death is decreed against those who teach or at all confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both embrace and teach it. And if you also read these words in a hostile spirit, you can do no more … than kill us; which indeed does no harm to us, but to you and all who unjustly hate us and do not repent, brings eternal punishment by fire.

"So you suppose that you will ascend into heaven to receive some payment for your faithfulness?"

"Not suppose, I know and am fully convinced of it," Justin Martyr replied.

Augustine's Confessions. You probably could have guessed that one. "Our hearts are restless 'til they rest in You, Oh God". Part biography, part philosophy, part poetry, and all worship.

Richard Baxter's The Reformed Pastor - If only I could be like Richard Baxter! Reformed doesn't mean what you think it does (i.e. Calvinist) it means repentant and reformed in the image of Christ. I would easily take this and leave aside all other church administration/preaching/ministry type books.

Heaven By Randy Alcorn. confirmed my Eschatology and made me wonder how the Church could substitute something so pallid and unattractive for what the Scripture teaches about the Resurrection of the Body & the New Heavens and Earth. Reminded me that Spiritual does not mean non-physical. It has the cheesiest cover of any book I own, but I still recommend it rabidly, even though I know almost no one will read it (please prove me wrong!).

For a far longer and more Scholarly work I'd also recommend N.T. Wright's "Resurrection of the Son of God" which is almost an apologetic for the Resurrection of Jesus, but more so a confirmation of what Resurrection means (bodies), and that the disciples really did believe Jesus rose physically, bodily, from the dead never to die again. Also, caffienating myself through 738pp. of annotated respected scholarship gave me courage to tackle other academically oriented books. Curiously, N.T. Wright congratulated Randy Alcorn for writing "Heaven", but Randy tempered his "thank you" with "I don't agree with some of your theology". I would've just said thanks, but Oh well. Randy's a much better Christian than I overall.

Man's Origin, Man's Destiny A greatly neglected book by A.E. Wilder smith, the very respectable grandfather of Intelligent Design. Even Richard Dawkins respected him in debate back in the seventies when he was still alive. You can listen to it here. This isn't just an anti-evolution book though, the best parts in is the section on the "Destiny of Man", our metamorphosis. Wilder-Smith was the first camp-free-no-corny-insults-or-straw-man-argument piece I read against the foundations of chemical-biological evolution. Just like any other book addressing science, parts are dated, but the core is still solid.

Case For Christ, by Lee Strobel. Not a masterpiece of literature, but a really good starting place and a great help, however much I normally steer away from sensational apologetics, he's actually quite measured. Got me on the road to reading Bruce Metzger's Text of the New Testament, its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.

Thomas Wingfold, Curate- A great novel by George Macdonald. Reminded me that obedience brings certainty, and that Jesus' statements "If anyone wills to do God's will he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I'm speaking on my own authority" and "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." are foundations beyond academic evidences.

Tortured for Christ and If Prison Walls Could Speak - by Richard Wurmbrand. Helped confirm me in the desire to avoid comfort and prepare my mind for suffering, taught me to have compassion on people with heretical thoughts, forgiveness, and that our inability to grasp God with coherent thoughts doesn't mean he's not there-God is not limited by our insanity. He sobered me to the reality that torture isn't good or fun, and the blood of the martyrs ,while precious to God, isn't always the seed of the church. Always helps me remember my suffering brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Revolution in World Missions -by K.P. Yohannon. Reminded me that I'm NOT poor, no matter what my tax bracket says. Confirmed my convictions that consumerism and western luxury isn't just a passing vapor, it's bad gas. Best to breathe through a filter. Also convinced me to support native missions and to make good use of the resources God's blessed us with for the Kingdom. for these, also see Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle.

The Brother's Karamazov Dostoyevski. Who doesn't want to be Alyosha? Reminded me that we're all Karamazovs, but we can also be Alyoshas -people are very, very complex and irrational. Gave me renewed desire to be Christ for people. Made me think about redemption, the real anguish behind Theodicy questions, and that sometimes the best apologetic is a kiss from Jesus Christ.

Sadhu Sundar Singh-not a book but a man. All his biographies convinced me that apostles of sorts are still among us, and not necessarily American. Or even white.

These are bones, there's a much longer list of muscle, skin, and organ tissues attached to and contained by it, but I won't burden anyone with that. Unless you ask.

Next up, a list of Audio.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Above are the links to my two big final papers. I completed them at 4:30AM. I realized the morning after that they have several spelling and grammatical errors. I also realized I did not have any motivation left to correct them. If you'd like to read them, please do! but "Caveat Lector".

Beyond that, I'm on spring break, of sorts, so I have time to write a Blog!

I'm still in process of studying to figure out what I believe about Eschatology. I've ruled out "covenant" theology as best as I can understand it, since it's supersessionist (believes the church kicked the Jews out of the "Israel" driver's seat and are now the real Israel). There's no way I could reconcile that with Scripture. So that leaves me with Premillenialism. The main issue for me in all this is really the Rapture, as ever since I became a believer and started reading my bible, it always seemed like the rapture was referring to us meeting Jesus on his "Final descent" like fighter jets going to escort a Bomber to the landing strip. This would make the "rapture" not refer to a secret coming of Jesus to whisk us off to the balcony to watch while He throws molotov cocktails at the rebels down below, but rather it would be the same time as the second coming. There is a lot in scripture about how he'll protect us from His wrath when it comes, and a lot about how we'll face a lot of wrath and persecution from the world before that happens. These seem to me to be the plainest readings of Scripture, which don't seem to jive with the classic pre-trib rapture I've been taught.

I bought a book on early Christian Eschatology called "Hope of the Early Church" which documents through all the significant church Fathers 'til the 600's and explains their take on what happens when we die/when Jesus comes back. The author (Brian Daley) writes impartially, but confirms that the Fathers of the first two hundred years were almost without exception premillenial. None of them seem, though, seem to believe in the "rapture" as the first part in a two-part coming.

On another interesting note, seeing as how universalism's so hot right now (with the Rob Bell book), the book I'd mentioned also touches on that too. Of the church fathers who wrote about this kind of thing before 250, the following ones believed the punishment of unbelievers was "everlasting fire": Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Hippolytus and Cyprian all believed this in a "literal" way.

Clement of Alexandria (who thinks of himself as a Christian "gnostic") suggests that everyone gets saved in the end 'cause hell is remedial, and Origen follows suit. Then in the mid to late 300's Gregory of Nyssa agrees in large part with Origen. Origen often talks about how the simple majority can't handle the "higher, spiritual" meaning of these sorts of things, indicating that the majority of believers he had converse with wouldn't have agreed with him. Origen belittled literal interpretations of the Millennium, calling them "Jewish".

It seems like where a lot of these doctrinal swerves come in is by divergences from "Jewish" ways of understanding things. It makes sense, really, since the writers of Scripture were all Jewish (w/ the possible exception of Luke), to do our best to figure out how a first century Jewish person (as much as that's a generalization) would've understood what the Bible is saying.

Of course, I don't believe the final word is the Fathers. Even the Fathers would say that the final word is the Scripture, the "apostolic teaching". However I do think it's helpful to see how the early disciples read the bible and understood it, especially the first couple centuries as they were that much closer to the apostles themselves. It's also helpful to see how we got where we are today and realize which things are peculiarities of our time and place and which things are (at least nearly) universally held by Believers.

But I'm sure to most of you this is all a big fat tranquilizer, so I'll clip it off here and get on to less obscure thoughts.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Here is a crow I caught on video using what looks for all the world to me like echolocation. He makes this wierd series of clicking noises facing the ground, and then checks the area he was just clicking at for food. I've seen crows doing this on campus about ten times so far, and I don't think I've seen them do it anywhere else. Planning on showing it to the people in the Animal bio department on Monday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our glory fades with the flowers
petals wrinkle, then they fall
the colors, all the colors!
we ran once-
now see? we crawl.
The flames of time
they've bled our powers
the sun has torn apart our skin
like old newspaper in an alley
ragged, worn, and thin
full of stories
once so important
which no one wants to hear again.

Does a man end like a sunrise?
Woman fade like evening stars?

Do we end-just end, forgotten?

Or will we rise,
when we are called?

Friday, February 18, 2011

I am experiencing long periods of time without any profound reflections.

I'm guessing it's just a function of having next to no leisure time. I still haven't had time to read "Leisure, the Basis of Culture" by Josef Pieper.

I was elbowed in the lip by Josiah during a ferocious bout of MMA roughhousing. I had his left arm bent behind his back and was leaned over within range of his right elbow. The way I see it I had it coming, it was a good move, and he apologized, so no hard feelings. It was a hard enough hit where I stopped to check for chipped teeth afterwards, and put ice on my lip. Brandy made fun of me for being concerned about having a fat lip at work, so that none of the little students would see me all deformed. It's true, I am vain. I pray often enough that the Lord won't punish me for vanity by allowing me to be disfigured or hit on the head enough to consign me to janitorial work, but rather that he would remind me of my vanity enough so I can take measures to keep repenting.

China hacked my email. Don't know if it has anything to do with the new Ipod Touch I got, but I wouldn't be surprised. They sent emails selling electronics (I think) to all my contacts. Alphabetically. I would think that someone smart enough to hack my email account would be smart enough to realize that nobody buys electronics based on spam email advertisements.

Reading through Revelation + commentaries to see if I can hammer out a more solid understanding of what I believe about the "Eschaton" (smarmy academic word for "end times/things, but they don't all think it has anything to do with time.)
Some things really irritate me about academia.

1.) I think the purpose of big words is so we can use fewer of them and be more specific. Academics use big words like magicians use smoke and flash powder - to stun and mystify, and to make clear things obscure.

2.) They are extremely nearsighted. The minutia that higher level academics occupy themselves with (especially in liberal arts) are incredibly dull and subjective.

3.) Trend-driven. They all jump on the same ships of opinion. Sometimes there will be two opinions which function like the US party system (They make a lot of noise and are both wrong). If a theory isn't "in", it is almost always dismissed or ignored, usually as "outdated" (if it's ever been held before - doesn't matter if it's ever been refuted). It's as bad as fashion. And I'm not just talking about creation/evolution. They do this with everything.

Well, I could list more but that's taking a lot of space.

Brandy & I (If the Lord wills) are going to Jammu in August for about a week. I'd hoped to be there longer, but very happy to have the opportunity, we've been talking about this for years.

And to sign off, here's a video from the Ipod of us at Discovery Park beach.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Was talking to a friend about divorce, and how it "covers a man with violence like a garment" (Malachi)

It really does. Considering that according to the natural order of things the nuclear family is the basic social reality of every human being, not to have that is a serious disorientation.
You have a relationship that brought about your existence, which no longer exists. It's a lot like being orphaned, or very-late-term aborted. Every kid's existence is due to two other people coming together in at least one act of intimacy, and human societies have on the whole always recognized the need to formalize and turn into a sacred thing that bond. Children formed within it are "legitimate"; ones outside "illegitimate". Not "less human", but there really is something lost - a missing component of reality, a personal "Genesis" story that's lost. A child that has no Eden to point back to and say "that's where I came from, that's the place I was born" has a certain amount of psychological solipsism to deal with. They have no anchor, they are left floating in a sea of strangers, with whom they can form horizontal social bonds, but without a stable social foundation to rest on.
Even having one parent, or two parents separated, isn't the same. That reality which brought you into the world has been annihilated - it's like those Sci-Fi plots where Earth is destroyed and the human race is left orphaned and wandering in the galaxy, forced to make a new earth for themselves, a new home. But it will never be earth.

But with God, there is solace. It's said truly that 'Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.' (ps. 68:5)

This really works. Even a human adoption, or the striking out into the void to make a new family for oneself, doesn't provide a child of divorce with a present reality continuous with their real origins. And that's a real loss. God, on the other hand, does. The child of divorce may be physically the product of gametes from a pairing that no longer exists. However on another level, " formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb."(ps 139) is a real, true, ontological statement. By faith we know that we exist for God's pleasure and by His will, and in Him we can find an even more fundamental and solid grounding than that of a human marriage. The loss is real, yes, but so is the gift that fills the void.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The familial bonds
a smooth eggshell
split and cracked
what was one runs
and what a sour omlette
Can God make sense of a scrambled egg?
where do the pieces
of something meant to be born
Devoured at least
they are one again
in the flesh and blood
of the dining one.