Friday, March 25, 2005


Not withstanding an admittedly rudimentary knowledge of this jolly old pagan, I must give my judgment that he is perhaps one of history's greatest conspiracy theorists. To have grasped the breadth and depth of the radical and subversive work of Christ and to conclude that its fundamental traits are a sham and a farce is an accomplishment that no ordinary conspiracy theorist is capable. I raise my glass to you Friedrich on this Good Friday, the day in which we celebrate the death of all natural nobility and greatness because our hunger for joy is not so easily assuaged.



Edmund Clowney (1917-2005): one of the Church's great generals.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

That Jolly Old Pagan

In C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves he, on several occasions, refers to Ovid as that "jolly old pagan". It's not just once mind you, but at least two or three times. Lewis' remark is striking in a couple of ways not the least of which is the fact that in all my reading of Ovid which admittedly is on the lesser side of a tad, I don't recall Ovid being all that jolly. Old? Yes. Pagan? Obviously. Jolly? I'm not so sure, but that's Lewis' point. Secondly, although jolly may be meant in a rather ironic or facetious way in regards to Ovid's actual personality, Lewis surely means that he is jolly for our purposes.

Along those lies, I would commend to you The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. That jolly old pagan fought in the civil war, took up journalism, and when he had had enough of that, took for the deserts of Mexico and was never heard from again. But his dictionary is a handy dandy reference guide for anything remotely useful or not. In addition to the aforementioned desk tool, I might also recommend the H.L. Mencken. Another jolly old pagan who has written prolificly on nearly everything. I might also add that these last two authors are not only amusing and witty, but if you've ever wondered where Douglas Wilson gets his sense of humor, you might start here.

Go. Run along now. You've got more useful things to do. ttfn.


Learning Life

I'm no expert, I assure you. But life is for living. Here I am, Holy Week is coming to its climax, and I'm doing lesson plans.

I believe in the resurrection, ergo I believe in living.

I've decided to give my students assignments in living. I would feel embarassed and ashamed if I allowed any student to finish their studies at Atlas having not been taught to live: sort of like a traveling circus without any elephants. I would gladly take suggestions you might have but the following is the beginning of my so-called 'assignments in living' list: Climb a tree, examine the underside of a rather large rock, fly a kite, play with a small animal, tiptoe through tulips, watch a sunset & a sunrise, smell the flowers, learn a dance, meet a stranger, whistle.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Nominalism and Logic

In The Shape of Sola Scriptura, Keith Mathison quotes John F. Johnson in his description of the late medieval philosophy scene: "The realist school of thought, with its belief in universals, did not challenge the authority of the Church. Realists treated logic and dialectic as useful but clearly subordinate tools. The nominalists, on the other hand, were inclined to give a very important place to human reason."

This emphasis initially seemed almost backwards to me. But it makes sense. In pursuing order and meaning, realists found it outside the material and created world, whereas nominalists located it within human thought and language. Thus, nominalists might be more apt to place trust in a system of thought (e.g. dialectic) because that is the very organization of the world. While, realists might be more cautious, recognizing that the order and meaning of the world transcend what we may rationally conceive.

And if this be so, both seem inadequate. A blog post I read (dated two years ago), suggested that the best realists and nominalists realized that a marriage or fusion was necessary of the two extremes. The scholastic dichotomy was in the end false. It was suggested that Wittgenstein is a modern example of the merger between the two views. However that may be, the creation account seems to suggest some sort of merger of its own. Whereas form and meaning are assigned and given in the initial creation of the cosmos by God himself, man's initial task is that of naming the animals. And whatever the man called the animal, that was its name. Mankind shares in the creation process. We share in the gift of meaning, this is something of what it means to be created in the image of God.

Thus we might heartily agree with the realists that meaning does transcend us in that God is Creator and Lord, and at the same time we might recognize that the nominalists are right, in that we are co-creators and lords.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Trinitarian Gospel

And this is the gospel: that God is three in one. It is only with this God that humans may have any direct dealings. It is only with a God who can reveal Himself to and in us that we have any hope. We can only come to know a God who is simultaneously the Revealer, the Revelation, and the Assurance of receiving the Revelation. This is true monotheism; all other attempts are polytheistic and idolatrous.

This must be so because any attempt at knowing a Unitarian god must have some mediator. And this mediator must either a) be another divine being or b) a human being who is by nature incapable of revealing God truly and in enough fullness to be of any help. In which case we are left with worshipping a god unknown, as in the latter case, which is blind idolatry. Or, we are faced with another god altogether, in which case we are not really Unitarian but polytheistic, and we are no closer to knowing the original God we sought. Thus God is Trinity: three in one.

And this is the gospel: that we know God, or rather, we are known by God. And this Revelation of God is Jesus.