Friday, December 28, 2001

OK, we're back finally. Man is there a lot to catch up on. Have lots of nice presents to put away, have to update here, have some work to do, and not least of all, have to read all of your silly blogs that I missed last week. This was the fisrt time I was thankful that Joel hadn't updated his in a while. One less thing for me to read. Speaking of reading, got a good ways into The Count of Monte Cristo on my trip. Not deep, but a great adventure story. Also finished An Instance of the Fingerpost which is one of the most unusual mystery novels I've ever read. Four different narrators tell their recollection of the events with an actually suprising ending.


Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Leaving on vacation this morning. We're heading to Cleveland tonight to drop off a kitten for my sister-in-law, then on to Westland, MI---my home town and also the only city in the US named after a shopping mall. May or may not have any blogs til I get back. Just check back here every hour or so just to be sure :)
How does one family produce two such smart men? This word from Jaysuprised me with that simple ring of truth. I guess there's probably much to explore here. There are a few things in scripture about private meditation, but we should compare them by volume with the "public" things Jay mentions.
How does one family produce two such smart men? This word from Jaysuprised me with that simple ring of truth. I guess there's probably much to explore here. There are a few things in scripture about private meditation, but we should compare them by volume with the "public" things Jay mentions.

Monday, December 17, 2001

Thanks to Mark for this link:N.T. WRIGHT ON JUSTIFICATION. A few poorly thought out points from me (if you haven't read Wright and don't feel like reading the linked article just bail out now).

First, Hill seems to do Wright injustice regarding the definition of justification. Wright clearly says (somewhere) that justification is a judicial declaration by God. Obviously, Wright feels that the justification talked about by Paul declares those who believe in Jesus to be members in good standing of the true people of God. Undoubtedly Hill's thoughts and Wright's thoughts on justification are not completely identical, but I think they are much closer than Hill thinks they are.

Second, Hill doesn't say enough about historical context to justify criticism of Wright in that regard. Since my knowledge of first century historical context is extremely poor, I'll say no more.

Third, and lastly for me here, is that Hill seems to want to draw a sharp distiction between "righteousness before God" and "covenant membership". Without dwelling on the subject, it seems to me at least that Wright and many others don't see that distinction so sharply. I'll leave exposition of covenant membership to the more qualified.

I will certainly agree with Hill that Wright probably needs to make more explicit where he does and does not differ with the mainstream of protestant theology. Most of the criticisms of Wright I've seen deal more with what he doesn't say, e.g. the second coming, than what he does say.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

I just love this one fromJohn Derbyshire. Here's a snippet:
What do I think about all this? Well, first I think that the directors of the Tate Gallery, which receives funding from general taxation, should be locked up in prison and made to do hard labor scraping the rust off bolts for 20 years or so with nothing to eat but cold oatmeal porridge. Then I think Mr. Creed should be stripped naked, sprayed all over with bright blue paint, and made to run round and round Piccadilly Circus until he drops from exhaustion, after which he should be killed by some not-very-humane method. Then the Tate Gallery should be reduced to rubble by aerial bombardment, the rubble carted away to be used as landfill, and the ground sown with salt. Then the fools who pay good money to look at this "art" should be packed into boxcars and tipped off the white cliffs of Dover, and their mangled corpses left to be feasted on by dogs, crows and crabs.

Sorry, comments are down for now. Apparently no one like giving away large amounts of server space for free for these things.
Props out to Joel and ladydusk for having the good sense to link to my site :) Of course Mark was the leader of the pack. If anyone else has linked to me and I haven't noticed, feel free to give me a shout.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Sunday afternoon we went to an organ concert in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Flentrop organ at Duke chapel. Quite satisfying. We heard a Bach prelude and fugue, a piece by Cesar Franck, and a new composition by the organist, David Arcus. All were performed flawlessly. Interesting thing about an organ concert in a cathedral type setting, as a couple of people noted, is that you don't get to look at the performer (or even the instrument unless you put yourself in an uncomfortable position). I found that this actually helped me listen more to the music, rather than noting the peculiarities of the performer.

Monday, December 10, 2001

Today at the post office I saw the following:

Letters to Santa

Letters to Santa should be addressed to:

Santa Claus

P.O. Box xxxxx

Greensboro, NC
I've come up with a puzzle that is both long, difficult, musical, mathematical and, I think, soluble given some patience. Here goes:

Answer each of the folowing clues, then find the 2 patterns that emerge, one mathematical, one musical.

  1. Square, or H
  2. Sweet (or Candles?)
  3. A cold month in a year that doesn't hop
  4. North Dallas
  5. A Pack of fun, no joke
  6. Commander of a fleet (of old computers?)
  7. Meditate on the flag
  8. The end of my job, in a sense

The first person to come up with the full answer gets a BIG prize, which I'll think up later :)

Thursday, December 06, 2001

I've already read two Roosevelt Biographies, but I may need to read a third. NR has a review this month of Edmund Morris' Theodore Rex, and I'm captivated. From his first speech to congress as president (on foreign terrorists):
The wind is sowed by the men who preach such doctrines, and they cannot escape their responsibility for the whirlwind that is reaped. . . . They and those like them should be kept out of this country; and if found here they should be promptly deported to the country whence they came; and far-reaching provision should be made for the punishment of those who stay.

Can you name me a past president you would rather have in office today??

I suppose my favorite quality of TR's was his astonishing breadth of learning. Someone wote to him in 1903 asking what he head read in the first two years of his administration. His answer, in part:
Parts of Herodotus; the first and seventh books of Thucydides; all of Polybius; a little of Plutarch; Aeschylus' Orestean Trilogy; Sophocles' Seven Against Thebes; Euripides' Hippolytus and Bacchae; and Aristophanes' Frogs. . . . [biographies, in French, of Prince Eugene, Adm. de Ruyter, Turenne, and Sobieski]. . . Macbeth; Twelfth Night; Henry the Fouth; Henry the Fifth; Richard the Second . . . Church's Beowulf; Morris' translation of the Heimskringla . . . Sienkiewicz's Fire and Sword . . . Rob Roy; Waverly . . . Pickwick Papers; Nicholas Nickleby; Vanity Fair.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Several months ago I found, on the free or very cheap rack at a used book store, Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, published bak in '67. Lots of great words you can't find elswhere. For instance:

1. a small stuffed puppet set up to be pelted as a sport in Lent

2. a simple or insignificant person

Or just weird definitions:

To hunt or fish at night with a jacklight

Makes you think twice about saying you are "jacked".
Attention all bloggers! Don't forget to sign up for Secret Santa.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Hooray!! Comments are up and my words aren't on top of each other any more. I'll edit the links soon. The current ones are just ones I knew off the top of my head. I do find the fact cat amusing though.
If there were a "sermon on the net", it should read, in part:
And do not criticize your brother for not updating his blog for a couple of days when you update yours every six weeks on average. First update your own blog, then flame your brother.

BTW Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is very entertaining. Give it to someone you like for Christmas.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

Mark---or anyone else interested, just wondering if you've heard of this book. Seems to be a dispensational critique of modern studies on Jesus, including N.T. Wright. Saw it on sale, but upon further review, it didn't look as appealing as the title suggested.

Saturday, December 01, 2001

I am really thinking now about this. Mark, of course, is always bringing up something to think about. I'm off to a "retro" Christmas party. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Saw this on the back of a semi-trailer the other day: "God's last name ain't damn." Not sure how to react to that one.

Friday, November 23, 2001

So my observation yesterday was this: lawn darts are illegal, but blow guns are fine. The kids made a turkey out of balloons and we shot them up with the blow darts. I guess weapons have constitutional protection. If we could only get lawn darts classified as weapon.....
Had a wonderful thanksgiving yesterday. We went to Kirk Nelson's house, thus making the total there 18 (of which half were young children). I think it's wonderful to have at least some people you don't know well yet at your thanksgiving dinner. At the end of the evening we watched a video called The Miracle Maker which is a claymation version of the life of Christ. It was actually one of the best Jesus films I've seen. It made no effort to be comprehensive, but did a very good job of "animating", so to speak, the gospel characters.

Thursday, November 22, 2001

If you have ever thought about owning/managing a baseball team, go right now over to smallball and start a team. Very fun without being a huge time commitment. My team is the "Alamonsters", if you feel like losing some games to me.
Just finished reading Gaffin's Resurrection and Redemption last night. I enjoyed it, but I think I was already convinced before I started. The real question is how does the centrality of the resurrection in Paul's writings affect the way we live and think. If I figure that one out, I'll let you know.
Ok, its been way too long, but I PROMISE to blog more in the future. I've been learning some HTML lately, so I hope to update the look of my site a bit. Hang in there loyal readers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

I love this section from the very last page of Bonhoeffer's Ethics:

I have been thinking about the problem of talking about one's own fear (in air raids), a problem I wrote to you about quite recently. I believe that under the guise of "honesty" something is here presented as being "natural' which is really fundamentally a symtom of sin; it is really exactly like talking in public about sexual matters. The point is precisely that "truthfulness" soes not mean the disclosure of everything that exists. God Himself made clothes for man (Gen 3:21); and this means that in statu corruptionis many things in man are to remain concealed, and that if it is too late to eradicate evil, it is at least to be kept hidden. Exposure is cynical; and even if the cynic appears to himself be specially honest, or if he sets himself up to be a fanatical devotee of truth, he nevertheless fails to acheive the truth which is of decisive importance, namely, the truth that since the Fall there has been a need also for concealment and secrecy . . . In my view "telling the truth" means saying how something is in reality, i.e. respect for secrecy, confidence and concealment. "Betrayal", for example, is not truth; nor are frivolity, cynicism, etc. What is concealed must be disclosed only at confession, i.e., before God.
Okay, so I'm WAAYYY behind on my writing schedule. I was due to write last on Sept 11 actually, but found myself quite speechless that day and the next. Then I just got out of the habit. I will try to get back on track here. Thanks for your patience (if there are any you's out there to be patient).

Tuesday, September 04, 2001

Sometime very early in my life my parents (ever the cynics) must have warned me about things that claim to be "free". I didn't realize until sometime late in my thirties that the warning should go both ways. This article reminded me of a valuable lesson. I had been working for a company called Chambermaids, trying to decide if I wanted to pursue a business in the cleaning industry. Chambermaids had a fairly large and fairly affluent client base in the Detroit area. On one occasion, however, they had run a radio promotion in which they gave away one (or was it two) year of free home cleaning. As it turned out, the winners a) lived about 45-50 minutes away from the office, and b) were so slobby that it was hard to find the floor of their house. I'm not exactly known as a neat freak, but these people were out of control, as they say.

I suppose the real lesson is, beware of the sort of people attracted by things that are free. Or, conversely, your best customers are those who are willing and able to pay you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

OK all you loyal fans out there (I beleive that would just be me right now). I am going to commit to post something here at least once a week. I need to exercise my writing muscles at least a little bit.

Current readings. It'e BIG BOOK time for me now. The lightest at the moment is a theology book by Stanley Hauerwas entitled Christian Existence Today. I'm pretty proud of myself for finding this one for $2 on the sale table of a local Christian bookstore. The book is a set of essays, most or all of whih were previously published in journals and such. They fall under three categories: "The Practice of the Church's Story"- dealing with the nature of the church, "The Ministry of the Church"-deals somewhat with pastoral roles, and "Serving in the World"-which contains a priceless essay title, "How Christian Universities Contribute to the Corruption of Youth".

I have been greatly enjoying these essays, though the work is somewhat less substantial than his earlier book A Community of Character.

I'm also reading Carol Quigley's Tragedy and Hope now. This is a 1300 page history of the world from 1914-1965. It is a fine example both of "macro history", that is theories about the waxing and waning of whole civilizations, as well as "conspiracy history", which is to say he takes a look at small groups of powerful people and thier effects on the course of large events. Because of this latter element this book is something of a bible to conspiracy nuts as you can see if you peek at the amazon reviews. All that aside, Mr Quigley was a very learned man and I'm enjoying his insights. It does read fairly quickly for the 300 pages I've read so far.

As for fiction, at the moment I'm working on Crime and Punishment. I'll reserve comment on that til I've finished it.

In other news, I spent most of the afternoon on Sunday hanging out with the founder and director of the Durham Rescue Mission , Ernie Mills. What a wondeful man! Perhaps as much as anything else, I was impressed by the fact that the mission from the beginning has consistently refused to accept government money so that there would be nothing to interfere with the ministry of the gospel. I'm planning to visit and tour their facility in the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout for my report on that.

Thursday, January 18, 2001

Just to let you see some of my favorite people-

My wife works at BlueCross/BlueShield

One of my favorite friends from college (who introduced me to blogging, in addition to many other things) is Mark Horne

And here is my church
more to come...
My very first blog post right here. Let me tell you just a bit about myself. First of all I am a Christian (as you may have guessed from the title I used for myself). Second, I have a wife, the lovely Lenise, who tries to keep me out of trouble.

Other items of note. I am a professional piano tuner, and semi-retired cleaning service owner/operator. I like to read just about anything that gets in front of my face. I tend to be a conservative, both politically and religiously, but I like to think I am just following my biblically guided conscience on such issues. I enjoy using my meagre musical gifts: singing, playing piano and french horn. I enjoy wasting time on my computer, either surfing or playing games. And, of course, I enjoy my activities and friendships through my church. Enough for intro I think.