Monday, December 27, 2004


A tsunami is reported to have killed thousands in southeast Asia. MSNBC reports that the death toll is at around 22,000 and climbing. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake several miles below the ocean surface, caused (apparently) by the shifting one of the earth's plates, sent tidal waves speeding across the Indian Ocean in a number of different directions. At least nine countries have reported deaths, but Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and India report deaths in the thousands.

This seems like something out of history, out of an old book, the Bible perhaps, from a long time ago at any rate. Don't we have scientists that study these things and warn us when they're about to happen? Don't we have 'teams of experts'? Mass graves of children, bodies-bloated and floating through the streets, and muslim men trying to find dry ground to bury their loved ones all contend otherwise. If a calamity befalls a city is it not the Lord who has done it?

The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. We seldom realize what a violent proposition that could be for some. How do the waters cover the sea? Sometimes tsunamis send tens of thousands to their grave, mass baptisms, mini floods destroying all the sacred cows.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Deacon Ivan James

At around 8:15 this morning I became an uncle again. My nephew, Ivan, weighed in at around 8lbs 4oz. He, being male, was a bit sluggish upon exiting the womb and thus procured for himself a ride in an airplane at a mere 7 hours old. He's crafty like his dad, I say. At any rate, please rejoice with us at Ivan's birth, but do pray that Christmas would be on time. That is, pray that mom and baby would be vigorous enough to be released from the hospital soon.


Friday, December 17, 2004

Blood of the Covenant

The Old Covenant proceded through generations by blood. Fathers bore sons, sons bore grandsons, and the blood of Abraham ran in their veins. There were the commands, yes. There was the law. There was circumcision. There were the sacrifices. But we know that ultimately it was faith in the promises of God to Abraham and to his seed, his offspring born, he was explicitly told, from his own loins. The blood of Abraham was in an important sense the blood of the Old Covenant. Covenant succession was through this blood. Having lineage and descent from the patriarchs was God's pledge and promise to fulfill his covenant to every Israelite.

But in Christ an important change took place. The blood of the Old Covenant was spilled. Christ, being a descendent of Abraham, had within himself the blood of the Old Covenant. But that blood has been shed for all men. The blood of the New Covenant is the cup of blessing in the Eucharist. Thus the lineage and descent of the New Covenant is no less by blood. We are all blood relatives in the lineage of Christ as we drink in faith. The procession of the New Covenant is no less bloody, but it has been exported. No longer bound to one human body, it has been spilled, and it is now the Church that is the body with the blood of the covenant coursing through its veins. Covenant succession is through this blood, the blood of the new covenant, shed for many. Therefore, all of you, drink of it.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Luke's Genealogy of Christ

Luke begins his record in chapter 3 with Jesus and works backwards all the way to “Adam, the son of God”. Luke’s record gives us 77 names beginning with Jesus and ending with the ‘first father’ God himself. The number is of course significant indicating the fullness or completeness of Jesus twice over. Jesus is Son of God and Son of Man. The placement of the genealogy indicates this further. Luke records the lineage of Jesus right after Jesus’ baptism and right before his temptation in the wilderness. God declares of Jesus at his baptism, “You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” Then, to show how this is true also by physical descent, Luke traces his family back to God through Adam. Finally, it is also important to note that chapter 3 ends with ‘Adam, the son of God’ and chapter 4 begins with the temptation in the wilderness by the devil. Jesus is the new Adam being tempted by the devil.

Also, the movement from Trinity at the baptism backwards through history back to Adam in the garden and finally picking up again with Christ being tempted in the desert is spectacular. Luke puts the Trinity (in Christ) in the garden that has become a desert to be tempted. God does battle with the devil on our behalf and on behalf of all those generations that were between.


Saturday, December 11, 2004


Falling with form through the air
curled—back out, toes pointed,
glimmering—I’m inside, peering out.
The world is coming so fast.
An elevator unleashed.
And I, I lean back from the glass.
Steam rising from my cup,
aroma in flight, riding in a rain drop.


Monday, November 29, 2004

A Brother for Adam

Genesis 3 and 4 serve as an introduction to the book of Genesis as well as the rest of Scripture. Throughout the book of Genesis we read stories where the antithesis between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman plays itself out. This is the story of Cain and Abel. There is certainly much to be gleaned from this story, but one important principle is the antithesis that already shows up in Adam’s family. Sin brings enmity, and Cain kills Abel. But how will the seed continue? Will God’s promise become void? Abel seemed so faithful. But God is faithful and he gives Seth to Eve, giving her a younger son who will be blessed and will carry on the blessing of God instead of the older. Interestingly, this theme does not end here. The theme of struggle between older and younger brothers continues. Cain, Abel, and Seth; Shem, Ham, and Japheth; Ishmael and Isaac; Esau and Jacob; Joseph and his eleven brothers; Ephraim and Manasseh are all stories of the triumph and blessing of the younger brother. The antithesis is between offspring. There is enmity in the family line, but God continues to prove his promise sure by raising up younger brothers. There is story after story of the victory of the younger over the older and salvation from the younger brother. What does this mean?

If we think back on the fall, having outlined the rest of the book of Genesis as a complex collection of stories about the need for a faithful descendent and the struggle between younger and older brothers, we realize that there is something missing. God gave Seth to carry on the blessing when Cain murdered Abel. God raised up Jacob when it was clear that Esau would not be the bearer of God’s covenant blessing and promise. God gave Joseph to Jacob’s house when there was a famine, raising him to the highest place in the kingdom of Egypt. Having read all these stories (and the others) we ought to reach the end of the book of Genesis and realize that Adam needs a younger brother. These other younger brothers are small pictures, but there needs to be younger brother to Adam, a man who can stand in our place, like Adam, a man who could keep the covenant that Adam broke. But alas, Adam has no siblings. If we read the rest of the Genesis we see salvation coming from younger brothers and our immediate thought should be: If only Adam had a younger brother! And we would have to realize that this younger brother would have to be like Adam, having God for a father, because a physical father would carry Adam’s curse. But the man couldn’t be simply made from the ground again, because it too is cursed. Therefore, keeping his promise, God determined to bring forth Adam’s younger brother from the womb of a virgin. The Holy Spirit "overshadows" Mary, as He has once done in the beginnning, and brings forth a new man. Adam’s younger brother is the Lord Jesus Christ who was conceived like Adam without a natural father. In the mystery of God, the seed of the Woman is Adam’s little brother. Mary, in a glorious way, is the new ground from which the new Adam was formed. This is the glory of God and the wonder of Christmas that God not only created a new man, a brother for Adam, but that God himself became this man for us, God gave himself to be Adam’s younger brother, the seed of the woman who would bruise the head of the serpent.


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Genesis 3

Notice in Genesis 3 that the serpent is ‘Aroom’ which means crafty or prudent. After Adam and Eve eat of the tree they know they are ‘Aroomim’ which means naked. Surely this is a pun. The serpent said they would become like God, but they have actually become like the serpent.

Also, God is walking in the garden 'in the cool of the day' or (woodenly) ‘to the spirit in the day’. The word ‘spirit’ is often translated ‘cool’ or ‘breeze’ because it is ‘ruach’ meaning spirit or wind. However, in the context, the only other use of the word is in 1:2 where the ‘ruach’ of God hovers over the waters. It seems strange to have this referring to a time of day. Rather, like its first use, it is referring to a quality in God, or more specifically, the person of God that prepares to create. Now God is commencing a new creation, even as his creatures have fallen and sinned.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Incredibles

Perhaps the most incredible thing about the Incredibles is that fact that Disney allowed its name on the latest Pixar production. Not because the film was once again quite a bit better than anything Disney has produced in a while, although that is true. But the incredible thing is what the movie was all about.

Though not a laugh out loud comedy, The Incredibles was a genuinely enjoyable movie that tried to tell an interesting story. And perhaps the most interesting bit was the attempt at saying something somewhat unique. "If everyone is special no one is special". Coming out of the jaws of the egalitarian shrine of Disney that's pretty impressive. The good guys are trying to preserve inequality and the bad guy is an ungrateful kid who tried to be more than he was. His goal is now to level everyone so that no one can be special. But the super heroes win. Inequality reigns.

The moral of the story: be the very best you can be where ever you have been placed. If you're normal be the best normal person you can be. If you're super be the best super you can be. And even more important: be thankful. Be thankful that you are where you are and that other people are different. And some of them are even better than you at some things. That's true, and that's decent stuff.



It seems like the doctrine of Creation does a lot more than we give it credit for.

If God created everything and out of nothing, then we didn't. And if we didn't everything is grace. Everything comes to us a gift, undeserved favor in every nook and cranny. But this also means that salvation is necessarily a gift also. Not that we don't think that already. But we often put a lot of our effort into showing that we are unable to save ourselves (total depravity, irrisistable grace...) all that stuff. I'm of course in basic agreement with the point of it all. But it seems like Creation already affirms that nothing is ours to take credit for ultimately.

In the story of history we do things, we have things, we use things, and in so far as Creation is real, we really act, do, have, and use things. No problem. But in so far as God created it all, it's all from Him and for Him. We're not gnostics: faith has a body. But the body was created. So when it comes to salvation of course we're saved by grace and that not of ourselves: it was a gift. "Not of works so that no man can boast" seems like another way of saying... you didn't make yourself, silly.

Pelagianism and anyone else wanting to give some credit to man must be at their foundations creational heresies. A denial of sola gratia is an attempt at retelling the creation story. So also with every form of ingratitude. We'd have made it better, we grumble to ourselves.

This is why salvation is rightly described as re-creation.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Drama in the Lab

I'm teaching high school Chemistry this year, something for which I am utterly unqualified. I took Chemistry in high school. That's one credential. I remember some of it. That's the other. But I'm thankful for the opportunity. I'm thankful for Chemistry and Chemists, and scientific endeavors in general.

It's the way God made the world to see life out of our head. He gave us certain eyes through which we see everything. And everything we see has a way of bleeding into everything else we see. And this applies to the rest of our bodies. There's a sense in which we are always leaving vestiges of ourselves everywhere we go, and at the same time, there's a sense in which we are dragging our past with us into the future. But I was talking about Chemistry.

That is to say, I'm an actor. Or more truly, I've occasionally had the opportunity to take part in some drama. But everyone acts. But that's not my point. It's the Chemists that I'm actually thinking about and the computer programmers and the all the other scientists out there. Yeah, you. You are acting. You pretend the world is perfect. You, geometricians and engineers, you act as though the world contains circles and straight lines. You pantomime the world with equalities and perfect symmetries. And that's fine. I love suspension bridges; we're grateful for our cars.

I just wanted to point out that every science has to isolate whatever it studies for just a moment. It's impossible to study something without imagining it by itself. But of course nothing ever occurs in absolute isolation. Science is dramatic art. It puts its object of study on a stage, places certain props around it, and tells a story through it. If the scientist tells a good story, his findings will benefit the real world. But the scientist must always remember that he's pretending in the lab. In real life, chemical equations and reactions are never balanced and circles do not exist.


War: Catholic and Schismatic

War divides. It cuts nations and people apart; it tears and rips like a terrible machine devouring families and churches and faces. War stings. It burns fissures through communities and cultures. It rumbles below in the deeps and swallows brothers and fathers and mothers. War separates friends. It severs loyalties; it bursts old wine skins. It dislocates limbs. War divides.

War unites. Where men refused to look in one anothers' eyes; they unblinkly charge eachother to the death. War brings nations crashing against eachother like opposing tides: rushing, roaring together to mingle and mix. War brings brothers together; it puts them face to face, hand to hand. It makes them bleed for eachother. War is reunion. It reunites friends, families, and communities. Where life could not help, death provides the calm. The field is the table where all are one.


Saturday, October 09, 2004


Fall is dripping out of the sky this morning, making the streets shiny and pristine.


Friday, August 06, 2004

the high post

I'm a little slow on the uptake, but the fellows over at the high post look as through they're having a swell time. Friends of mine, I commend their thoughts, and yes, their words to you. One of these days someone needs to make a complete list of all the possible meanings of their title. Or perhaps it's already been done.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Strong by Use

In the eleventh canto of Book II of Spenser's Faerie Queene, Prince Arthur defends Alma's castle from hoardes assaulting its five major forts. This castle represents the human body, and there are a number of allegorical points that Spenser makes from this. But what is particularly interesting is that the five major defenses of the "body" are the five senses. We are often taught to distrust our senses, but Spenser shows them as particular points of protection from the attacks of evil. Of course these defenses are in need of a savior, Prince Arthur in this case, but they are our defenses none the less. Our task then in "mortifying the flesh" and "casting aside everything that entangles" is not ignoring, or worse, fleeing from our senses. Rather as believers, who have been raised to new life by faith in Christ through baptism (Rom. 6), our duty is to fortify and use our senses as they were designed to be used, seeking out what is truly good. And this fortification does not come about through strenous mental excersize. It comes about through lawful enjoyment and celebration of the tastes and smells of food, listening to symphonies and jam sessions, touching friends and lovers, and watching waterfalls, trees, and tornadoes. And this is what the writer of Hebrews says: "Solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Why didn't you lie?

In Genesis 20 Abraham lies concerning Sarah, his wife, when they travel through Gerar to live in the land of King Abimelech. In Genesis 26, Isaac, when confronted with a famine in the land, goes down to dwell in Gerar, and he, like his father, lies to King Abimelech concerning Rebeccah, his wife, likewise saying that she is his sister.

So when Jacob sends his sons down to Egypt when there is a famine in the land of Canaan, and they return with the news that the ruler of the land (Joseph) has accused them of being spies and are required to bring their youngest brother to him. It should not come as too great of a surprise that part of Jacob's response is the question: "Why did you deal so wrongfully with me as to tell the man whether you had still another brother?" That is, 'Why didn't you lie?' Why were you so free with information about your family? The family custom seems to have been protection of family through deception. Of course these deceptions were always found out, but they always resulted in great blessing for Abraham and Isaac.

The concern of Abraham and Isaac had been for their wives, that the ruler of the land (Abimelech) would take them. Now the ruler of Egypt has demanded that the youngest son of Jacob be brought to him to prove their innocence. The tables have been turned. Perhaps Joseph knew these customs of his family and for this reason asked very pointed questions, as the brothers relate that he did (Gen. 43:7). Notice now, it is Joseph who is doing the deceiving. He is the righteous deceiver, but his family well receive great blessing nevertheless.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Comments Back
So Blogger has been revamping their s


em and I don't know how it works.
    1. But I have comments now
  1. (again).


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Saracen

I saw his fiercesome face
beleaguered by a daily-hourly bending
sun, the flash and grin of his dreadful blade
borne aloft and gripped with concrete fingers.

His eyes like daggers mocking with heat,
sped storied curses through the victim’s throat,
and I saw them turn and latching hold,
defy his arms’ attempts to lift aught
with which to defend from the flying foe.

The quiet paces sent up swirling spits of dust
like Edenic mists, a slice of space
unheeding the rush and roar, and headless
stood the curse-bound corpse, a mast-less
bark—toyed by torque, then bidden sink.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Ten Spies

It cannot be a coincidence that in Genesis 42 and Numbers 13 both tell stories of ten spies. In Genesis 42, the ten sons of Jacob are accused by Joseph (in disguise) as being spies of the land of Egypt. In Numbers 13, the ten spies return from the promise land, decide that it is inaccessible (based on the stature of its inhabitants), and begin making plans to return to Egypt. Of course in Gen. 42, the ten men are not really spies, they are merely looking for food in the wake of a famine. In Num. 13, the men are spies, but the fact that they find plenty of food, does not secure their interest in the land.

--there are ten ‘spies’ in both stories
--there are two ‘others’ in both: (Joseph/Benjamin) and (Joshua/Caleb)
--Joseph is the vice-ruler of over all of Egypt/Joshua is the vice-ruler over all of Israel
--In Gen. 42, the ten end up in Egypt via Joseph. In Num 13, the ten make plans to return to Egypt, but die by a plague before the Lord.
--In Gen. 42, the famine is in Canaan. In Num 13, Israel is in the barren wilderness.
--In Gen 42, Egypt is the land with plenty to eat. In Num 13, Canaan is flowing with milk and honey. Both lands have good things flowing out of them.
--Both groups of ‘spies’ return with bundles/clusters: money bundles/grape clusters

What does this all mean? The story of Joseph and his brothers is clearly a story of Joseph testing his brothers. Joseph is testing his brothers to see if they have learned to give themselves up for others, rather than sacrificing others for themselves. And this theme of service is connected with the greater story of Egypt. God placed Joseph at the head of Egypt in order to preserve life (Gen. 45:5), using his influence and power as an instrument of salvation to the nations. Without Egypt (& Joseph), the famine would have swallowed up the nations surrounding Egypt. But Egypt is, in this story, a type of the Canaan to come. It is also, in light of the book of Genesis a picture of a transfigured Eden. It is a garden in the midst of a wilderness. Rivers flow out of this land giving life to the nations. Joseph is a new Adam ruling and tending the land in righteousness. The story of Joseph and Egypt is a story of patience and the reality that greatness is found in giving up one’s life, laying down one’s life for another. This story closes Genesis, placing it as the bookend opposite the Garden of Eden at the beginning. This is a shadowy picture of what that garden should have become, but for Adam’s sin. Egypt pictures the good life.

Joseph finds through testing his brothers, that they too have learned this lesson. Judah, in particular, the brother who had organized the selling of Joseph into slavery, is willing to stand in Benjamin’s place if he cannot return to his father. They are willing to give up their own lives for others.

This is the larger context of Numbers 13-14. Now, God himself is testing his people to see if they have learned this lesson. What is the lesson? Israel is now a corporate “Joseph”. They, like Joseph were sold into slavery and made to labor for the Egyptians. As Joseph was delivered from the dungeons through miracles and wonders (interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams), God delivered Israel from Egypt by performing signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. God has destroyed the greatest civilization in the world, leveling its military, its economy, and slaying all of its first born sons. Because Egypt had forgotten the God of Joseph and Pharaoh did not know the Lord, God cast that nation down. That great nation had been the source of life to the world, but now God has chosen Israel to be his chosen nation. Israel is to be a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:5-6). And God is testing them. Will Israel be a priestly nation, giving life to the nations around her, being an Eden in the midst of wilderness and famine? Will Israel now be what Egypt had been? God tests the children of Israel, and they fail miserably. Instead of seeing Canaan as a rich and good land capable of giving life, they see the land as a ‘devouring’ land. Instead of seeing the promise land as an opportunity to give and to serve, they see the land as overbearing and they complain. Instead of being willing to give themselves up for their wives and children, they want to return to slavery.

Therefore they will not be given the land. They will not be placed like Joseph as head over the nations. They are selfish, conceited, and fearful, and God will wait until they are ready to give themselves up as living sacrifices. He will send them back down into the dungeon of the wilderness. God will wait until there are Josephs who will rule the land with wisdom. He will wait until there are Judahs willing and ready to give themselves up for their brothers. He will wait until Israel is prepared to be a priestly nation, a nation that serves the nations of the world, teaching and instructing them to fear and serve the true God. Then God will lead them into the land and give them victory. He will make them to be salvation for the world, the life of the world.


Friday, July 02, 2004

The Icon of God

What is the difference between man and animal? Genesis seems to answer the question as 'the image of God'. We are given a stamp and a seal of the Triune God, and more than that, we are that stamp and seal for the world. The imago dei means that we are supposed to be imitators of God. We are to be artisans and scientists and poets, creators of worlds, workers, and people who take rest after work is completed.

Rationality is often listed as one of the first characteristics that separate man and animals. The ability to think is said to be one of our defining characteristics. But we do not see this in the Scriptures. Genesis in particular shows a God who speaks, creates, evaluates, divides, names, blesses, organizes, delegates, and finally rests. These are the things that make us image bearers. The image of God is, for the most part, something visible and tangible. It can be seen and evaluated. And as God created a son (Adam) to pass responsibilities on to, so we too are given the opportunity to be fruitful even as God was fruitful. Thus even the commands that God gave to our first parents were the means by which we show and effect God's image on the world. Being an image bearer means being an image bestower. As we rule, fill, and adorn the earth we emboss it more and more with the Creator's image.

That is the difference between man and animal. We do certain things. We act in certain ways. We perform specific tasks in specific ways, putting our image which is the Triune image, on our acts. I have a dog and I believe that at this point, he is far more sentient than my son. But my son is nevertheless an image bearer. He acts in ways that imitate his Maker. And this means that he, at 4wks., is not only an image bearer but an image bestower. We are the image of God in and on the world. We are the icons of God, impressing His life on the world.


Shot of Spenser

Wrath, jealousy, grief, love do thus expel:
Wrath is a fire, and jealousy a weed,
Grief is a flood, and love a monster fell;
The fire of sparks, the weed of little seed,
The flood of drops, the monster filth did breed:
But sparks, seed, drops, and filth do thus delay;
The sparks soon quench, the springing seed outweed,
The drops dry up, and filth wipe clean away:
So shall wrath, jealousy, grief, love die and decay

-Faerie Queene Book II, Canto IV, Stanza 35


Wednesday, June 30, 2004


River was baptized this last Sunday. Below I've posted the prayers and exhortation from the rite.

(Before the Baptism)
Almighty and eternal God, who through the flood, according to your righteous judgment, condemned the unfaithful world, and according to your great mercy, saved faithful Noah, even eight persons, and has drowned hard-hearted Pharaoh with all his army in the Red Sea, and has led your people Israel dry through it, thereby prefiguring this bath of your holy baptism, and through the baptism of your dear child, our Lord Jesus Christ, has sanctified and set apart the Jordan and all water for a saving flood, and an ample washing away of sins: we pray that through your same infinite mercy you would graciously look down upon this your child, and bless him with a right faith in the spirit, so that through this saving flood all that was born in him from Adam and all which he has added thereto might be drowned and submerged; and that he may be separated from the unfaithful, and preserved in the holy ark of Christendom dry and safe, and may be ever fervent in spirit and joyful in hope to serve your name, so that he with all the faithful may be worthy to inherit your promise of eternal life, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

In this morning's sermon, we considered the continuities and discontinuities between the Old and New Covenant with regard to liturgy. Contrary to some Protestant traditions, Jesus did not teach that the New Covenant would dispense with rites, signs, material substances, and physical actions in worship. That is not what Jesus meant when He spoke of "Spiritual" worship. And one great sign of that, as I suggested, is that we do perform rites using material substances and physical actions - the rites of baptism and the Supper. Every time we baptize, we are declaring our continuity with Israel of the Old Testament.
Paedobaptism says even more, and says it more emphatically. Baptizing babies says that the boundaries of the church are in the same place as the boundaries of ancient Israel, the people of Abraham. We are saying that we are still the same people, and the same kind of people, as Israel was.
But baptism also declares our differences from the Old Covenant. In the Old Covenant, the mark of inclusion was a cut in the flesh - the foreskin of the child was cut off. The rite of entry into Israel was a rite of severing, and this not only pointed to the threat of being "cut off" for covenant unfaithfulness, but also pointed to the fact that Israel was herself "severed" from the rest of the world, distinguished by clothing, food, and other customs from the Gentiles. Further, circumcision was a kind of sacrificial rite, in which a body was cut into two pieces and blood was shed. That was fulfilled in Jesus, and we no longer perform a rite of separation, a rite of cutting, a rite of severing, a sacrificial entry into the church. We instead perform a rite that symbolizes the inclusion of Jew, Gentile, slave, free, man, woman, white, black, Hispanic, and whoever in one body in Christ. A child entered Israel through shedding blood; blood is a sign of life, but pouring out blood is a sign of death. But in the NC, we no longer live under the ministry of condemnation and death; we live in the covenant of life, symbolized by the living and life-giving water of baptism.
For you, Toby and Jenny, this means that River's baptism should be a constant reminder that you live under the New Covenant, not the Old. The Old Covenant came with great promises, the promise that Yahweh would dwell among His people and be the God of His people. But Hebrews tells us that the second covenant comes with better promises. The second covenant declares that the Son has come to tabernacle among us in human flesh. The second covenant announces that the Father is seeking worshipers to worship Him in Spirit and truth. And the second covenant comes with the promise of the Spirit, as Peter said at Pentecost: the promise is for you and for your children, and to all who are far off. Toby and Jenny, remind yourselves often of the meaning of baptism as God's pledge to you and to River; and teach him to trust this promise of God, the promise of the new covenant, the better covenant, the covenant of water not the covenant of blood.

(After the Baptism)
Almighty God, heavenly Father, we give you eternal praise and thanks, that you have granted and bestowed upon this child your fellowship, that he has been engrafted into the new life of the church through your holy baptism, that he has now been incorporated into your beloved Son, our only Savior, and is now your child and heir. Grant, most loving and faithful Father, that Toby and Jenny might prove our thankfulness for your great grace, faithfully bringing up this your child through all the situations of life and that we with this child as well, might more and more die to the world and be joined to the life of your Son, our Lord Jesus, and daily grow in grace, that we might ever praise you and be a blessing to our neighbor. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and with the Holy Spirit, one God, age after age. Amen.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Ninja Creature

I look at my son. He flings his arms up and down with a knotted brow. I look at him and wonder who I am. He’s a ninja. He needs not see the world to sense the enemies at hand. I poke him in the gut, and he flashes flayed hands, ready to strike. I don’t know what to do so I just keeping poking and watching.

I know he is another person, but I somehow feel that I am looking down into an enchanted pool staring at my reflection. Who am I? I did not know three weeks ago, that I was a father of a son. I did not know this about myself. I did not know my son was named for the veins of the earth. I did not know my son was a ninja, or that his eyebrows furrowed like sand dunes. And now as a result, I feel as though I know myself even less, having learned these bits. Who knows what I might find out next? Who knows but I might do something terrible. If I might be the father of a tiny creature like this, what sorts of other powers might I have?

I stop poking him because I don’t know what I might do. I just stare, silently wondering if I might bore holes into face and make his eye brows slide across his face and sink into oblivion. I wonder who he is because I wonder who I am. I am what my son is and will be. He is who I am and will be. Do I know and live with a mountain climber? Do I change the diapers of an orator? Do the fingers of an artist grip my thumb? He arches his back and looks with wild eyes at me. Don’t you know who I am? He seems to ask. You did this, how can you not know? I can only shake my head.

All I know is that you are some part of me that I did not know existed. I try to explain this in as simple of terms as possible. But he’s looking away. He’s looking at the wall. Of course there is some sense in which everyone I know makes up who I am. But this new person lives with me. His arrival seems more dramatic than even my wife’s. Maybe that’s because I knew my wife for six years before we were married. River only gave me nine months notice. I was changing as fast as he came. I was becoming him as quickly as he was becoming me. I poke him again.

He kicks and flails. His head rolls back and forth on a universal joint. His mouth is open. I try to guess, You’re a bird! He keeps moving. He didn’t even seem to notice my guess. I’m not the father of a bird. I almost feel relieved. He threatens me again with his ninja stance. His eyebrows burry his eyes and his cheeks turn pink. There’s a moment of silence and still, broken immediately by his crackling voice.

I am the father of a crying baby. That’s who I am. I made a helpless ninja creature, who cries when I tell him he’s me.


Thursday, June 17, 2004


I generally enjoy reading World Magazine, the weekly cultural and political standard from a Biblical and conservative point of view. But the boring small mindedness of their political endorsements is regularly annoying. Admittedly, it fits hand and glove with the timid defeatism of American voters in general. I also cringe at the sputtering, red faced invocations to vote. One Southern Baptist writer wrings his hands pleading with his fellow churchmen to register to vote. Less than half of the denomination are apparently registered. He pleads with the masses. He pleads. But I hum loudly and stop my ears. Not that I don't think people should vote. Go ahead, do the deed. In fact, I think a Christian ought to. But I will not plead with you. I will not wring my hands. I will not stammer or beg. As a good friend once said, voting is like taking out the trash: it certainly needs to be done, but there are more important things to do. But this handwringing is not a little unlike someone being really concerned about a tree with poisonous apples. If we all pitch in, he says, and pick an apple, they'll all be gone and the tree will be safe. Someone ought to explain to the man how trees and fruit work. And likewise politics. Civil and familial governement are two of the trees that grow out of the soil of the Church. Economics, arts, and entertainment are other such trees. These trees ought to grow, but certain kinds of soil produce certain kinds of trees with certain kinds of fruit. And until this baptist brother and all our friends realize that the fruit is inevitable unless the soil is changed, the tree will go on producing lethal products. No amount of voting, legislating, or campaigning will change the fact that the American Church is the problem. We are the cause, we are the infection, we are the target that God is aiming at. If the Secularists were really on their toes, they'd start deporting Christians. We are the Jonahs that are causing this storm. We have run from God by offering our children to the idols of our nation often killing them in their mothers' wombs. We have bought and sold forgiveness like a comodity, we have stolen the tithe, and dishonored His day. We have not only put up with immorality, but we have condoned it by ordaining bishops and clergymen who share pasttimes with such infamous characters as Michael Jackson.

And another thing: Why do we insist on playing the media's stupid games. Why do we buy their two party system? Why do we even play by their rules? Why don't we just stop paying attention to their little gimmicks and not settle for anything less than good. We operate, as Christians, in an entirely compromised way. We are so sure of defeat, that our sole motivation is based on 'the lesser of two evils'. We do our politics on the basis of who we don't want in office. And this is usually based entirely on selfish motivations. If I have a choice between someone hitting me with a two by four and mace, which do I chose? But politics just isn't like that. We are first responsible for our vote before God. He sees our hearts, our intentions, and our faith. If we vote out of fear, worry, bitterness, or simple cowardice then we are not voting in faith. But if God is our God, then we cannot be shaken. We must vote for who we believe would actually rule in righteousness. Righteousness. Not half-hearted, plastic smiling righteousness. Real God-fearing, greed-hating righteousness. We as country do not deserve such a leader. We deserve the sadistic triumverate of Stalin, Hitler, and Nero turned lose and ticked off, nukes at their disposal. That's what we deserve, but we ought to vote in faith, praying for mercy. And if there is no worthy candidate, it's still legal to write a name in.

But for all this I've written, I assure you that I'm smiling. We are ants. We are gnats. We are warring tribes of bees buzzing in a passioned frenzy. And I smile. I smile and play frizbee. I go bowling, and I sip kool-aid with my pinky in the air. I occasionally pass the time with a good popsicle. I really like grape. We must see our sin, and we must confess and forsake it. But forgiveness is real, and the huff and puff of the World is an ice cube on the sidewalk.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Summer Reading List

While the sun is shining bright and the evenings are for sweatshirts, I hope to dive from that large, overhanging branch called Spring and find myself submerged beneath the following pages. And I will do this amazing bit of acrobatics with a cherry popsicle in my hand and red smears on my cheeks.

I'm in the middle of Light From Old Times by the Bishop JC Ryle as well as Holiness by the same. I've also started, but have neglected to finish Law and Liberty by Mr. Rushdoony. The Everlasting Man of Chesterton is bent half way, but I've not yet seen the other side. Although I cannot place the entire blame on a sometimes reading group, Barth's Doctrine of the Word of God 1.1 is patiently waiting for the resuming of said reading group. I've also been picking my way through The Letters of Tolkien, an enjoyable exercise to say the least. There are of course other books that have not been finished, but my integrity as a reader requires discretion at some point.

I also hope to read some if not all of the following: From Dawn to Decadence by a fellow named Barzuk, a history of western civilization in a more consciously journalistic vein than most histories. Undaunted Courage, a story of the Lewis and Clark expedition and exploration of the northwest is also at the top of my list. And if I have my way, several titles on the War Between the States will find their way to my desk, one somewhat related, The Real Lincoln, I have already been encouraged to read.

In the fiction department, I hope to take in a bit more of the Wodehouse, although truth be told, my wife and I are still plucking our way through Right Ho, Jeeves. But no worries, the summer is fat for the picking. I will overcome, I will conquer, or I will survive at any rate. Walker Percy has long been awaiting my perusal, The Last Gentleman and The Moviegoer are mocking me from my shelf. I also continue work on the second book of the Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, although it is difficult to construe that as 'reading'. Summer time is also the perfect setting for several Flannery O'Connor short stories. It is my goal to read a good bit of Mr. Billy Collins, a poet who from all heartell deserves my time. I read several bits of him this morning, in fact, from one of his more recent collections.

The Atlas Humanities class works through a three year cycle, and this Fall, as you may have gathered, we will be studying modern history from the Reformation to the present. Probably the toughest part of this class will be condensing the possibilities of study into the actual amount of time that we have. Not only are there innumerable books to read, but battles and philosophies and discoveries seem like a firehose and I'm the teacher who's expected to fill a Dixie cup and share a little with my students. Alas!


Noble Liturgy

Modern Christian men are the recipients of two great evils here at the beginning of the 21st century. We live in a nation that is full of effeminate churches and watered down beer. And the two are not unrelated. A friend has pin pointed the World Wars and the subsequent increase of women in the workplace as the cause of the diluted beers, and while it may have certainly contributed to the problem, the roots are a bit deeper than that. Sentimentalism and sappy piety are our plague. Scrawny pastors with broken, mournful grimaces pouring over their congregants like luke warm syrup Sunday after Sunday are the cause of our plight. When salvation became a teary-eyed, emotional roller coaster, masculinity began its exodus to Sunday football and fanatical lawn care. Obviously these alternatives have their perversions as well, but for the man, they at least have the pretense of being masculine, while Church services unabashedly demanded their men to act like craven women, sharing their feelings and pouring out their hearts, a weekly castration for any conscientious male.
Of course sin has its roots in Adam and apart from Christ is hid deep in the recesses of the human heart. But this malady like every sin finds its genesis in a perversion of worship. This emotionalism and sentimentalism were carried in parasitic fashion on the back of liturgical deformation. Revivalism swept through many churches bringing with it the free for all, spirit-lead-ism that still engorges the Church today. The bold joy of the high liturgies: confession of sin, sung creeds, chanted psalms, prescribed prayers, and Scripture lessons centered around the eucharistic meal were eclipsed by sappy choruses and chaos on the one hand and in supposed reaction: stuffy, lecture halls on the other. But the high liturgies of the Church attack both tendencies which are the same at heart: seeing true religion as a feeling or a thought (internalized in either case) instead of incarnate gratitude. Of course these emotion driven services are not true femininity any more than they are true masculinity. But the nobility of high worship is part of the answer to both deficiencies. May God be please to give us repentant hearts, courageous leaders, and thick, dark beers.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Son To Me

Well there's no doubt about it. River is the coolest kid I know. He's not real big on conversation yet. But he lets his hopes and dreams be known. His coordination is still a little flimsy, particularly in the neck and head region. He's kind of dangerous with that thing. But he's trying. He really digs the swing. He can swing for hours. And then, he can swing some more. I've given him several tours of the house, a short geography lesson on the continents and major oceans, and I introduced him to the titles that live on the top of the first book shelf. That leaves thirteen shelves to go before I've covered each one. Like every boy, he's taking to eating and sleeping with a general merriment. He even gets along with Porter, who apart from the occasional slobberfest is quite pleased with the new addition to our home. He's already concerned for the well being of River and whines whenever River is unhappy.

What about the name? Ah yes... a river is one of God's central pictures for showing his strength and might, his joy and peace, and life and salvation. Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 47, and Revelation 22 are good starts. A river is quite literally 'living water'. It is living life. It flows and whirls, sings and dances, and rushes along with wild joy and exuberance. River is our exuberance.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Paul’s explanation of our bodies as temples as related to sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6 fits nicely with the Hebrew picture of such immorality in the Old Testament and with sodomy in particular. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul lists a number of kinds of sinners who are “unrighteous” and will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Among the list are adulterers, effeminate, and sodomites. He goes on to explain that while some of the Corinthians had been these very kinds of people, Christ had died and rose again so that they might be free from those very deeds (v. 14). But Paul goes further and explains that the chief reason for the inconsistency is that their bodies are members of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. The word for sodomite in Hebrew is QODESH which literally means ‘holy’ or ‘devoted’. It is the same word used hundreds of times to describe the people of Israel, their tabernacle, and their God, Yahweh. But this word describes the necessarily religious status of homosexuals. Not that there is any human status that is truly ‘unreligious’. But this word’s particular usage makes it all the more pointy, particularly with Paul’s explanation in 1 Corinthians. While we today do not have pagan temples built with wood or stone in our lands any longer, our bodies, as Paul taught in 1 Corinthians are temples. They are necessarily temples filled with the Holy Spirit or temples filled with demons. This is of course not simply a statement about heterosexuals vs. homosexuals. This is a statement about believers and unbelievers, the faithful and the ungodly. Our bodies are holy. We are devoted. And the sodomite, the atheist, the adulterer, the thief, and the liar have devoted their bodies to the service of demons. But we were bought with a price.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

All Ryled Up

I've been reading Ryle's Light from Old Times. It's always enjoyable to read history from a pastor. The book's subtitle is Protestant Facts and Men. And the book is just that. He outlines the history of the English Reformation, the major principles, the major players, and the consequent reign of Bloody Mary which sought to undo its progress. While, Ryle is never bitter, he is unceasingly brutal to the Roman Church, holding it responsible for the judicial murder of those executed during those turbulent years. He, writing in the nineteenth century, can imagine no greater atrocity than for the English church to give any ground back to the Papists.

A couple of brief thoughts:

First, Ryle pin points the center of the English Reformation in the doctrine of the Eucharist. Ryle maintains that heart of the Roman doctrine sought to put Christ (in any way) in the bread and wine (he calls this the doctrine of the real presence), while the reformers, he contends, held that Christ was only present in His people. He calls those in the English church who he believes to be secret papists 'extreme ritualists'. He particularly condemns the 'ritualists' of his day for attempting to undo the very things that the early English reformers died for. Ryle is not willing to go anywhere near this real presence doctrine as he sees it as the heart of ritualism and ultimately the papist church. He goes so far as to condemn those who make a distinction between 'natural' and 'supernatural' presence or carnal vs. spiritual. Christ is only in the Eucharist in so far as Christ is in His people. It should be noted that this is what Ryle says concerning the early Reformers, though based upon some quotations he supplies, I'm not sure it's quite as cut and dried.

Second, nevertheless, I'm stirred by the courage and fortitude exhibited by those men who were burned at the stake for what many now consider trifles. And while I may well differ in some particulars, I am challenged. These faithful men prayed and sang psalms while flames scorched their legs and arms. Some were partially burned, when wind or rain subdued the flames, and they waited patiently for new fires to be ignited. These men stood firm while evil men did their very worst, and they blessed their executioners and forgave their enemies. That noble band of martyrs, who scorned the grave and mocked the flames, did not spill their blood in vain. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, and we are the direct descendents of the English Reformation, here in America.


Monday, June 07, 2004

River Edmond

Our first descendent was born this last Friday evening, June 4 at 8:22pm. He weighed 8lbs and was 21 3/8in long. Mom and son are doing very well. God has been very kind.


Friday, April 09, 2004


Would that I could run. You know: run. I mean really run. Run everywhere. Air in my face. Sweat on the sleeve. Run into the sun. Run for the hills, run under trees, run in front of cars and behind them and beside them. Run. I would, you know. I would run. I've been practicing. I run from the car to my house. Then I run from the car into the bakery. I don't run because I'm in a hurry. I run because I can. My legs moving, toothpicks in wrappers. But you can't see. I'm running. I like to gasp. I suck air. Some people might say its because I'm out of shape. I say it's because I like air. I love it. I can't get enough. So I run.

And when I'm not running. I'm usually reading. I'm reading the third book of the Faerie Queene. The heroine of the story is Britomart, lady knight of chastity. She's facing off with lesbians and cowards. She's an extremist, pursuing love with militance. I'm reading Ezekiel too. He's shaving his head and burning piles of hair in the middle of the city. He's eating scrolls and laying on his side laying siege to a lego castle. He's cooking dinner over cow dung.

And it's Good Friday, day of our Lord's crucifixion. How extreme. How sharp. How offensive. How daring. But I pretend to be. I imagine the fierceness of true love, the ferocity and wildness of chastity. I picture Ezekiel, that holy freak. And Jesus wears a crown of thorns. Would that I could run. Would that I would really run. Run everywhere. Run with air in my face, aching side, and sucking air. I would run. Really run. And I will. I'm practicing. I run from the car to the house and from the car to work, and I keep running.


Monday, March 08, 2004


We made it. The move is over, we're back in town, and all is right with the world. There are still a few boxes hither and thither, but for all that we're nearly settled in.


Saturday, February 28, 2004

Check it out.


Saturday, February 21, 2004

A Private Conversation

I've seen the stars every night for the last 9 months. I've watched the hunter sink and rise, and beckon to his comrades in the blackness. I've also learned the moon. I know her phases, guess her path, and miss her when she hides. I also met the fog, his blanket of wet unraveled along my path, a snug companion on many of my drives.

One morning last spring, I was on my way to school before the days of baking bread. It was the hour of the changing of the guard, the ominous nod of night in the direction of the day. I knew the moon was full, but I had not see her pearl face since leaving home and arched my neck and bent my eyes through every hill, hoping she had not yet sunk below the covers of the world. I saw the glow of her face through the trees and suspected her presence right along the edge of the earth. I knew the only chance I had of seeing her was over the first ridge, after which there would not be another clearing for several miles, and even that was doubtful. I sped up the northern face of the ridge, though fog began to mar my course in pockets every fifteen yards or so. Nearing the summit, I plunged into a foamy thickness losing sight of all but a couple of feet in front of each headlight. I was forced to slow down, and I expected the worst: I had entered a fog that I was unlikely to exit until coming down the last hill into Moscow. This was not an uncommon experience. One minute brilliant blue skies, the next buried in cloud. And while I had realized long ago that there was something incredible about driving my car through the clouds, this realization was not as exciting as I was hoping to see the face of the moon. However, seconds later, my car found the world, though I did not know then if it really was the world I had been in only moments before. There below me, stretching into the distance was a world of white, hills and plains enveloped in cloud. It was a shimmering robe and bright with pink weaving throughout. To my right I looked into the full and sorrowful face of the moon, but to the left, the piercing gaze of the sun burned across the plains.

I do not imagine that I will ever be able to forget those few moments as I drove through that enchanted land. It was as though I had come in during a private conversation between a man and his wife. I felt uncomfortable and glad all in an instant. It was then if not soon after that I began to more fully realize the fantasy of Creation. Chesterton and MacDonald were right.

After a refreshing 16 months in Potlatch, we are on our way back into Moscow. It has been a glorious time living in this community. We will miss our neighbors, the quiet streets, and yes, even the drives into town.


Monday, February 16, 2004

Taunting the Enemy

If you own the Cantus Christi and you are in any way musically inclined, I would urge you to look at the chant for Psalm 94. And if you're not musically inclined find someone who is and make them teach it to you. It's really worth it. The text was translated by Jim Jordan, and is an excellent rendition of the Hebrew as would be expected. But the music (which is by someone I don't remember at the moment) fits the text wonderfully. I've only learned 3 or 4 chants so far, but this one easily tops the charts. It is very nearly what I imagine Jordan means when he praises and encourages 'vigorous chanting'. The text and tune are bold and militant, and for a few awful moments the University Inn conference room is transfigured into a battlefield, as we sing our King's praises, taunting the enemy forces.


Sunday, February 15, 2004

Laughing and Loving

Remy posted on love scenes and laughter the other day. As it turns out his Hebrew reflexes are quite good and nearing the level of Jedi Master.

In Hebrew there are a number of kinds of verbs. One such variety is called the Piel. The Piel is usually used to intensify the meaning of a verb. So the regular form of a verb could mean "break apart" and in the Piel it might mean "shatter". Other instances of this actually change the meaning to some extent, usually revealing some hebraic understanding of the world. This is the case with the verb LAMAD which means "he learned". In the Piel, the verb becomes "he taught". A teacher then, would be the intense learner. The one who learns to the utmost, teaches by defalt.

But to the point. In Genesis 26:8, Abimelek has been entertaining Isaac, Rebeccah, and the whole patriarchal kit-n-kiboodle. Of course, being the godly patriarch that he is, Isaac and his wife lie to the pagan king telling him they are just brother and sister in order to protect themselves and set themselves up to plunder the Philistines. At any rate, Abimelek looks out his window one day and sees Isaac making melody to his wife. 'Melody' is of course the Middle English term for making love, having sex. Well the verb used to describe the action that Isaac is performing is the verb TSAKHAQ, which usually means "he laughed". In fact that's where Isaac's name came from (Isaac=YITSKHAQ). However, in this case it is the Piel Participle translated "sporting" in the KJV, "fondling", and "caressing" elsewhere. The context should guide the translation in any case. But the range of meaning is anything from caressing to making melody. Thus laughter in its most intense form is in fact in bed with one's wife.

And so I leave you with a blessing on this Lord's Day, the Sixth Sunday of Epiphany: May our Triune God manifest his playfulness in your marriage bed as it is filled with much laughter.


Saturday, February 14, 2004

The Pirates of DC

I just read Wilson's new children's book Blackthorn Winter published by Veritas Press. It's a fun read and served, in its own small way, to remind me of the current tyranny of the American government. The book isn't about our government; it's about pirates and a courageous boy's adventure with them. But it doesn't take but a couple of well worded sentences, especially in tax season, to remind the most submissive among us that someone not too long ago decided that pirates would do a lot better if they dressed well, showered and shaved, and traded their pointy pieces of steel for a pile of papers and a bureaucrat's smile.


Living Water

Leviticus 14 records the ritual for cleansing a leper and the cleansing of a house with leprosy. A couple observations after translating the passage this week particularly connected to the term "running water" or MAYEEM KHAYEEM, which literally means "living water".

First, the obvious connection to John 4, Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman. Jesus' claim to be able to give "living water" is still enigmatic, but at least on the surface it seems that the literal meaning of his claim would be that he could make Jacob's well work as a fountain. There is of course a mine of meaning in this whole area, but perhaps this offers at least one direction to head in. At least one point may be that the role of Israel is changing from that of a well (refreshment which must be sought out by the nations) to a spring or river (refreshment which seeks the nations). The symbolism is prevalent in the Old Testament particularly in the ministry of the patriarchs. Another example would be Solomon's reign which was that of a glorious well, where the nations sought wisdom and came to enjoy his glory. But the new Well of Jacob, the new Israel is a spring, a geyser that erupts and pours out into the world, an Eden transfigured.

Secondly, the ritual for cleansing a house with leprosy has been connected with Jesus' cleansing of the Temple. I haven't read Jordan on this, but I'm told that he harmonizes the gospel accounts (synoptics vs. John) with at least some reference to this ritual in Leviticus 14. The priest in the ritual, must visit the house that is unclean (or suspected to be) twice. The house is emptied on the first visit, and if upon the second visit (seven days later) the plague has spread, the house is to be broken down. I am told that Jordan posits the difference in accounts due to two cleansings by Christ. The first was an inspection, where the furniture was over turned and the house was declared unclean. The second visit, at the end of his ministry (the end of his week) was to reevaluate the house. The house was found infected again, and the pronouncement was again made concerning its uncleanness. At at this point he declares that he will destroy the house and rebuild it again in three days. This was of course the duty of the priest, to see to it that the infected house was torn down and a new one was erected in its place.

The cleansing of a house (after it had been rebuilt) required two birds: one was killed in a vessel with "living water". The living bird is dipped in the blood of the first bird and in the "living water" and finally released in order to make atonement for the house. The house is also sprinkled seven times with the blood and "living water." The actual sprinkling is done with hyssop, scarlet, and cedar wood of course.

I'm not sure what all that means, but there's obviously a death and resurrection/baptism motif going on. The House of Israel is cleansed by the death of Christ as blood and water flowed from his side. And his resurrection is his own "release" making atonement for the house. Again, atonement effects an exodus out of the city: the bird in Lev. 14, Jesus' "living water" in John 4, the early Christians in Acts, and to the ends of the earth.

Jacob's well has become a spring, and the house of Israel is cleansed.


Friday, February 06, 2004

Belly Buttons

This is of course the weekend of our expectations. The famous and infamous History Conference is finally upon us. The press have shown up to do their part, and the opposition has promised exactly that.

Early reports signal much smoke and little if any fire. In fact the only fire I've seen in the last couple of days was in the bakery this morning when a couple of pizza boxes began the exciting process of combustion. But alas the only foul play seems to have been the people who closed who accidentally put the boxes near the oven. Oh-well. Apparently there were four or five protesters last night doing their protesting thing. This morning there was one, solitary protest being accomplished by one fellow who was holding a sign that said, "History stopped when Wilson touched it." I know that really struck me as I'm sure it is you at this very moment.

Alas. The irony only grows and exponentially increases. We are maligned in the press, our businesses are boycotted, spit upon, and vandalized. We are refused service, declined business opportunities, and our tires are slashed (repeatedly). We are lied about, slandered, and libelled (with names I've never heard in the Bible). And when the lady is asked what the deal is, she says, "We know it's not about slavery, we just don't like your attitude." Obviously we have a bad attitude. They have formed coalitions and associations; they have posted signs and posters and had secret deliberations about how to get rid of us. While we went in to the university to pay an extra fee for security, the university was in the next room planning the protest. Today, the whole lot of them was to gather at five o'clock for their "we really mean it this time, not in our town" march from downtown Friendship Square to the university SUB where the conference is being held. New St. Andrews students will be on hand to give out cookies and hot coffee to the protestors.

'Not in our Town' is their motto, and 'We're too great for Hate' stands as their damning banner of tolerance, freedom, and human rights. And the incoherence of their arguments, "You have a political agenda", "What's your standard is a trick question", "We don't like your attitude" and the rest prove the very fact they so wish they could deny. They are their own reductio ad absurdum.

But we have not resisted to the point of shedding of blood. And our joy is multiplied in the presence of our enemies. Our tables are laden with blessing and gladness. We will dance, we will laugh, and though they should cry "conspiracy! conspiracy!" we will only build snow men with charcoal eyes, carrot noses, and corncob pipes; and if the glee is right, we'll spend a few extra minutes putting buttons on their bellies. And I'll name mine Bill, and you'll name yours Selena.


Monday, February 02, 2004

world eye

there’s a world in my eye
an island spinning round
you and i can’t see the lie
it’s to the mind tight bound.
Round the retina it revolves
and manufactures history
conjures and resolves
interprets imagistic mystery.
this globe in fact pours out
its life and hue and glimmer
on every point about
and cooks it to a simmer.
Then with vegetarian lite
it fills the mental frame
reorders chaos right,
awakens truth the same.
and i upon my throne
and you upon your dais
long we reign alone
and ever truth our bias.

and if you’ve got an ill
politics, culture, art
this rock will be the pill
to cure your every smart.
just lodge it in your eye
it’s christian never fear
there’s no need to die
the truth is ever dear.
there’s no need for Sacraments
hands and knees be gone
all the rest are condiments
with this eye-log on.
watch for the others
no one is without
we’re all eye-mind brothers
thinking leaves no doubt.
we play with material raw
but the forms are in our head
ideas are the law
of the living and the dead.

for as you think it so
so it is as you think
but i’ll not wear the window
nor from this well take drink.
i walk through a world
alive with life throughout
a splendid word unfurled
where even mountains shout.
Creation spurns the world eye
the Son of Mary dies
hands were meant to lift high
Creation groans and cries.
my knees i’ll teach to rule
as bent they search the ground
my hands will go to school
lifted they are crowned.
And tongue and eye and mind
all humbled to the King
minds to taste, tongues to see
and eyes to joyful sing.



I really dig this term: "suspirium". Suspirium is the rhythm and momentum of the language we speak and write about God that passes directly into language spoken and written to God.

Another bit of Barth.


Mo' Barth

A few thoughts triggered by Barth's 1.1 of Church Dogmatics:

1. While Barth isn't married to the idea, he is willing and gives slight blessing to allowing theology (ie. dogmatics) to be labeled a "science". He is sufficiently made ill by the various dangers associated with so doing. He will not afford any other realm of study the bar to which theology must be measured. The protestant liberals of Barth's day, no less than ours, were interested in having the Church and theologians in particular justify themselves before the court of human reason, materialistic science, and logic. Barth will not bow to the gods of the Englightenment Pantheon. Theology must be judged upon its own principles. The Church must study, critique, and reform itself from within.

2. That said, retaining the term "science" for all its baggage could be an insightful tool working to accomplish the very opposite of what we fear. That is, while we do not want the language of the Church (ie. theology) scrutinized by extra-ecclesiological standards, we do want every other sphere held up to the scrutiny of the Church. This is not exhaustive of course, but in general, the methodology of theology should inform the methodology of every other science.


Kah Mints

I don't know what the deal is with the comments. Apparently mine fell into a crevice from whence they are unlikely to return. If there are any other free comment systems out there let me know... I'm not allowed to spend money on this habit.


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

In Utero Toe Grab

Well, there's no doubt about it. My wife is having a baby. No, it's true. I saw pictures on Monday. This is probably a "first baby" phenomenon, but the reality of having a child is really slow in setting in, at least for me as the father. I knew that my wife was acting funny. I knew that the doctor was saying things regarding "the baby". But I didn't really know anything. But now I know. I saw that head, a couple of arms and legs, and I saw the baby move. The baby yawned or something while we were looking at it. Then it reached out and grabbed one of its feet. That's my kid doing the in utero toe grab.


Friday, January 23, 2004

Frame Jordan

Frame's Evangelical Reunion has been a good read. Published in 1991, I assume it was a bit more of a splash then than it is for me now. It's great to read someone of his caliber doing a demolition on one of the most sacred cows in the modern church. Denominations really are on their way out. People are tired of bureaucracy and faceless committees. The utilitarian gods are sad; we will not burn incense in their temples any more. The humanistic gods are irate; we don't need them to stroke our egos with international clubs full of people who agree with us.

And the other thing is Jordan's Sociology of the Church. Jordan accomplishes Frame's thesis and then for kicks writes an ecclesiology from Genesis 2. Didn't you see that coming? The Church is at the center of the universe. The world is structured such that the church cannot but be at the center. It is not whether the nations will inherit our accomplishments, it's rather: what will those accomplishments be? When churches are full of greed, the world is full of greed. When churches hire clowns to give pep talks, the world is full of clowns giving pep talks. This is because the Church is the garden transfigured on the mountain that is filling the earth. The rivers still flow out of the church and flood the world whether we know it or not. Litter costs a lot more than the sign says.

But the Church is geographical. That is the second greatest commandment.

And speaking of pep talks, it appears my comments are on hiatus, so to speak. So just to tide you over, nod your head up and down if you agree with me and shake it from side to side if you disagree. These will be our secret signs. That's all.


Sunday, January 18, 2004

In search of Hezekiah

What kind of world do we live in? This is the question surrounding the recent reformed controversies. We can and we should discuss baptism and the covenant. We can and we should pursue doctrines of the atonement, predestination, and election. It is necessary to study the doctrine of the Church, its history, and our place within the broader catholic Church. All these things are significant in these discussions and debates, and it is surely possible that some will come to different opinions through the course of their study and discussion. However, these questions are really only surface concerns, which is why so much (mis)understanding is determined by semantics, though not all of course.

The real question that is under debate has to do with the nature of the universe. It asks what kind of world do we live in? Do we live in world where animals could talk? Is it possible for water to sometimes hold the weight of man, allowing him to walk atop it? And with nothing more than a knotted staff, would a roaring sea part its waves to reveal dry ground? And if by entertaining guests, would you come to find yourself in the presence of an angel? Or would an angel and his company come down from the galaxies above and sing to a gang of white trash motorcyclists? Do we live in a world where unicorns have danced, satyrs walked, and where dragons have been fought and killed? Can water fall out of the sky? Can a panoply of colors bend in the heavens? Can old and barren women become mothers? Or could a Virgin be with child?

Logic is a bronze serpent that has become our Nahushtan. Perhaps it has done us some good in the past, but it is now leading many astray. Tear it down, tear it down, Cal Beisner. The world is not a categorical statement, but resurrection is a fallacy. What kind of world do we live in? We live in world where stars sing, lions roar, and crabs walk sideways. Let God be true and every man a liar; we live in a faerie land, where water can be turned to wine and sinners turned into saints.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Isaiah Notes

The following from:
The Literary Message of Isaiah
By Avraham Gileadi (P. 37-38)
Copyright 1994

I. Ruin and Rebirth—chapters 1-5; 34-35
II. Rebellion and Compliance—chapters 6-8; 36-40
III. Punishment and Deliverance—chapters 9-12; 41:1-46:13b
IV. Humiliation and Exaltation—chapters 13-23; 46:13c-47:15
V. Suffering and Salvation—chapters 24-27; 48-54
VI. Disloyalty and Loyalty—chapters 28-31; 55-59
VII. Disinheritance and Inheritance—chapters 32-33; 60-66

“... these categories of themes are arranged chiastically. The first pair of themes (ruin and Rebirth) parallels the seventh pair (Disinheritance and Inheritance); the second pair of themes (Rebellion and Compliance) parallels the sixth pair (Disloyalty and Loyalty); and the third pair of themes (punishment and Deliverance) parallels the fifth pair (Suffering and Salvation). The fourth pair of themes (Humiliation and Exaltation) represents the centerpiece, and as such establishes the key concept...”


Thursday, January 08, 2004

Swift Shot

Feeling rather pleased with the fact that I only made one resolution, kept it, and have since enjoyed the pleasure of a number of fine meals, several chocolates, and 18 inches of snow in my backyard, I've decided to share the following aphorisms, authored by my friend, Jonathan Swift.

The latter part of a wise man's life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this infallible sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

The Stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.

Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture as creeping.

Ill company is like a dog, who fouls those most whom he loves best.