Thursday, March 31, 2005

Stub'd Ub Nose

Yup, I godt a stub'd up nose, sinus, backackes and a severe lack of energy! Why, it takes all my concentration just to type this far....
Of course, when I take something like Theraflu (the generic brand of course) then I am completely useless. Reading takes effort. Answering homework takes more effort. Well, just thinking takes effort!
I got this sickness from the friendly neighborhood library--you know, the place were everything is free and people treat it accordingly; where proper hygiene is defenestrated (one of my favorite words--"thrown out the window"); where typing on the free-access internet machine is a risky enterprise. Well, one of these days I'll get DSL and will never use the library computer again!
I'm off to take a nap. Maybe the sickness will go away, my stub'd ub nose will function and it will take me shorter than 30 minutes to write a post!


Friday, March 25, 2005

A Short Review 1: Where in the World is the Church?

Where in the World is the Church? A Christian View of Culture and Your Role in It Michael S. Horton
A Short Book Review 1

This thought-provoking introduction to a Reformed understanding of culture is a helpful cure to the typical Evangelical fare. Bringing the issues home to the average Christian, the author begins a brief history of the rise of the arts, science and culture through the power of the Reformation. Then he explains sphere sovereignty and the Lord’s control over all of life as the foundation of any culture. The remainder of the book explains the relationship of the Christian—individually and corporately—to intellectual endeavors, the arts, the sciences and even leisure time.

By removing the misunderstandings that permeate modern conservative Christendom (either escapism or absorption of culture), Horton walks the tight rope of “in the world but not of it.” He gives encouragement to believers to work hard at their job and not to worry about scalping unbelievers for the latest “ministerial” work of mass conversions. He also challenges the “Christian ghetto” mentality (separate music, art, clothes, movies, etc) of many Evangelicals. Although the author tends to quote many secular sources (which can be very interesting)—and some may not agree with all that is written—this is still a recommended book to challenge those who do not realize they have “become worldly when ‘Phil Donahue’ pep talks replace sermons, worship is transformed for market-driven consumerism and therapeutic or political categories begin to replace the solid emphasis in our churches” (p.179).


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The "Other" Government

I recently recieved a State Legislative Survey from my (I use my loosely) State Representative, Judy Solano . It is a simple folded card with seven questions. The first question states: "Which two of the following issues would you like to see the Legislature make its top priority?" I suppose at one level this is an innocent, if not useful, question. In classical American (as opposed to today's modern or post-modern American) politics, the Representatives were interested in what their constituants had to say, but they were more interested in what was right and wrong.
However, this was a multiple choice question! (how thoughtful):

1. Jobs/economy
2. Education/schools
3. Auto Insurence
4. Taxes
5. Roads
6. Health care
7. Protecting water access
8. Other (please specify)

In reality, this is actually not a questionaire, but an open-ended question. Simply forget about the other choices right now. My Representative is so concerned about my opinion that the strictures and limitations placed upon her office and the governmental powers are completely ignored. They are so power hungry that they are willing to bring any issue as a top priority (just check out the Baseball drug debacle in Congress). My government is no longer concerned about right and wrong; it is not even concerned about pressing issues in general--what they really want you to choose is "other (please specify)"!
So I could choose toys. I think that all children should have toys. They need toys to develop psychologically, physically and emotionally. It gives them eye-hand coordination. It gives them a sense of imagination. These things are indeed necessary for children to grow up. Imagine the stunted emotional growth they aquire when they grow up without toys!
Our government is no longer "by the people". It is not even for the special interest group. It is the Other government. It is open to all ideas, concerns and priorities. "We'll take any issue," they say, "and 'make it our top priority.'"
So, I'll fill it out. And I'll check "other". And I'll write: "Down with the Other Government--please, stay away from other peoples' business, stick with the Constitution.

(Which of these options best describes this essay?
1. Great 2. Get a Life 3. Other (please specify) )


Friday, March 18, 2005

Live & Learn & Lollygagging

Slowly my fog-infested mind pieced the clues together--the Reformed League was not recieving my feed; they reinserted it...nothing. I waited. Still the bigger picture eluded me. Eventually, I decided to change my feed to RSS format through feedburner, but it rejected my feed!
Oh the pain and agony! Feedburner nicely suggested that I try validating my Atom feed. Totally unaware of such an approach to blogging and with a tired and wandering mind, I clicked "OK"
My feed was invalid.
But why?? Bloggin' is supposed to be easy--especially with! "Come, come," I admonished myself, "you have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering--figure it out!" "Stop being so pushy," I replied (then quickly ceased all discussion lest I end my life in a padded cell...).
Well, technology is grand. The validator site actually pointed to an error in my code--isn't that special. It turned out that my posting of Calvin's biography had text inbedded in the wrong part of the code. I use the wysiwyg interface (who wants to read code) and sometimes it acts up. No, really--it had nothin' to do with me! Firefox webbrowser has known issues (well, now I know).
The lesson? Patience. And stop wait'n to fix the problem. I'm still alive and learning.
I still use Firefox.
And I'm still work'n on the lollygagging...


The Five Dubyas of Calvin

Intro: The Five Dubyas
(info mainly from Professor Bahnsen's class; this is a background for the rest of the posting summarizing highlights from his Institutes)

The five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. To know about someone, these questions are usually answered. Hopefully, this short outline will answer the five dubyas and bring you closer to ecclesiastical enlightenment!

Calvin was born in Noyon, France, July 10th, 1509, less than a decade before Luther wrote his ninety-five theses. His family was Roman Catholic and his father a lawyer. At age eleven, through the astoundingly corrupt church, he was made a chaplain! His father put him into the lawyer school, but after his father’s death, he went into seminary. Eventually, through the influence of his brother, cousin, and even Greek instructor, he surrendered his easy job and money in the crooked Roman Church, becoming a Protestant.

However, while focused on his studies he traveled various cities until he settled at Basil, Switzerland, where at age 27 (!) he wrote the first edition of the Institutes. While traveling, he providentially detoured at Geneva where the courageous Farell attempted to persuade Calvin to move beyond his bookish studies and actively participate in the Reformation. Calvin would not budge. In response, Farell thundered: “may God curse your studies!” for leaving the defense of the Church. He stayed!

In less than two years, the authority of the City Counsel to discipline church members and control worship was transferred to the consistory (session consisting of ministers and lay-leaders (ruling elders)). Farell and Calvin were so dedicated to the separation of Church and State with respect to duties and responsibilities, that when confronted by the hostility over their reforms from the Counsel, Calvin and his mentor dared the City to physically take them out of the Church! The City did not take this well; he and Farell were kicked out.

Eventually, the people could not stand the City Counsel and asked Calvin back to restore ecclesiastical order. Even so, it was evident that Calvin did not run the city as is commonly misunderstood. This is graphically illustrated in the Servetus incident in which this anti-Trinitarian heretic ignored the written pleas of Calvin to avoid the city; he came anyway only to be captured by the City of Geneva. Calvin had no legal hand in the matter other than a theological witness to the heresies in question. As a matter of fact, Calvin was on the bad side of the City Counsel at the time. Calvin pleaded for a merciful death (by swift sword instead of slow burning).

He lead an active life, preaching almost every day, writing letters to persons over the face of Europe and writing a commentary on almost every book in the Bible. He established a first-of-its-kind Academy in Geneva as well. In his personal life, he lost a child and his wife died after eight-years; his sister-in-law was an adulterer; and he lost friends through martyrdom (especially in France).

So, the who, what, when, and where have been answered. The final dubya of Calvin’s life remains: why? He was a private man in many ways and his conversion is briefly mentioned in his Commentary on the Psalms. However, the greatest evidence of the why of his life is etched on his coat-of-arms: “my heart for thy cause I offer thee, promptly and sincerely.”

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Descending Away from Debut Downers

I believe the problem is fixed. I checked out blogdigger and my posts came up (which they had not before). It looks like about a 3-4 hour lag time before the posts are seen at the Reformed League (Apologia was kind enough to independently verify my feed problem--he has about a 2-3 hour lag time).

The Lord indeed is gracious.

Now I have to tackle our church website upgrades!

And I'm done with the alliterations for the titles.
(I have not forgotten the questions re: predestination and the Constitution)

To quote a popular radio host: "onward and upward"


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Debut Downer Destination

Well, it appears the Lord wants me to have more patience. After the comment issue was resolved (server problems) my feeder may not be working. The feeder takes my posts and converts them into a readable format for other websites or devices (i.e. PDAs, etc.). I am on the Reformed League Aggregator which takes all the feeds from different blogs and displays them on a website--sort of like going to a one-stop blog shop. My blog never showed up! This was independently verified. So, they reinstated my feed. Will I stay at the Debut Downer Destination?

If I were pagan I'd cross my fingers :-)

But, I'll wait and see and take it one step at a time. And I'll think of another alliteration in case I need it!


Monday, March 14, 2005

Did You Know...

...that : Europe really loves mankind! International war crimes tribunals give a maximum of 25 years for genocide! Life w/out parole is “unthinkable” in Europe-“That’s because the American justice system does not believe in rehabilitation. It is based on 'barbaric vindictiveness (I'm sorry, would that be to vindicate God's justice? What a radical idea!).'" [(p.15, March 18, 2005, The Week) Overseas columnists]

...that: China could get a military boost for cheap! “There’s nothing worse than a pacifist [Europeans] that sells arms” (p.14, qtd. Friedman, NYTimes).

...that: There is a Christian diet! "
The Hallelujah Diet, What Would Jesus Eat" (they even changed some of the recipes to reflect modern science--how thoughtful!)

...that: Americans are smarter! In 2003, 47% of American high schoolers got A averages; 1968, 17% did (Sept. 10, 2004, The Week)

Why do they pick on me?

"Why? I try to be nice and write nice posts. But they still come after me..."
It is tempting to whine. But I think I know who is the comment culprit (like the alliteration?). If they're having fun, then so am I! :-)
***I have a Calvin Corner coming up--someone suggest I talk about my class on Calvin; so, I'll summarize some of the highlighted sections of my book. One of the comments talked about predestination and the Constitution and how they fit; that is a good question, and I'll bring that up too.
***Right now, I need to hit the books!

***PS. I also uploaded another sermon from my church.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Debut downer

My first day blog’n and the servers are wacky! Comments are working intermittently and editing is slow. But the Lord knows what He’s doing!

As a debut it’s a downer, but in God’s scheme it’s perfect timing! In my old charismatic days I might have been tempted to think that God was trying to tell me not to blog—or, if I was particularly proud, I would have surmised that He wanted me to blog but the Devil was trying to stop me. Being Reformed, I chalk it up to patience.

To blog or not to blog—that question is adiophra—it is a thing indifferent and left to our better judgment (Christian liberty WCF XX ). However, patience in God’s timing is not a thing of indifference! Debut downers come and go, but God’s Debut is good and forever.

Soli Deo Gloria (SDG

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Willing to Gab

Greetings one and all.

As you may quickly find out, I am not a true polymath (hence, aspiring), but a wannabe (besides, the word fit so well with my last name!). Publishing a blog is my way of gabbing with you and forcing myself to learn more about God's creation as well. I hope to bring a plethora of articles on various topics to the forefront--recommendations are welcomed (which I may or may not follow through with!).

As I write this I am in the midst of finishing up my class on Calvin's insitutes, reading "Lest We Forget" (history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church), organizing class notes on Worship, thinking about how to blog and how to connect with the Reformed aggregate, and planning on picking up my wife (who, by the way, is closer to being a polymath since her B.S. is in math!).
(P.S. I think I fixed the comment problem)

Soli Deo Gloria (SDG)