Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I love my wife. She is so purty. She is happy. She has the happiest smile of all the smiles. She is simple. She trusts. She can't do cart-wheels. She's witty and smart. And she has a big eyeball.

Friday, September 26, 2008

evil and pleasure

The problem of evil is primarily termed what it is termed because the people who promulgate it as problematic have pleasure as their subconscious and deliberate aim. Yes - there are theological, metaphysical, and ontological questions about existence and God that must dealt with in relation to the problem of evil. But what if we started from [or at least attempted to] a neutral frame of reference?

What's on the other side of the equation? Is there a "problem" of pleasure? Why does food have to taste good? Why does freshly cut grass have to smell good? Why does sex have to feel good? Why does music sound so good?!

Many of the needs of life are experientially and sensually satisfying. Why is that so? Does it have to be so? Surely not. Perhaps the rationale behind the over-obsession with the problem of evil and the minimal focus on the "problem" of pleasure is that WE have a problem. Negative focuses often come from negative sources.

What if we have a problem with evil because we are the present problem of evil?! This makes the "problem" of pleasure not only something to be considered, but pursued.

"In your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore" [Ps 16.11].

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I read this quote this morning. It reminded me of the chasm of distinction between the New Testament's meaning of the word "hope" and how we often use it. Ladies and gentlemen, Thomas Adams:
Hope is a virgin of a fair and clear countenance; her proper seat is upon the earth, her proper object is in heaven. Faith is her attorney-general, prayer her solicitor, patience her physician, charity her almoner, thankfulness her treasure, the promise of God her anchor, peace her chair of state, and eternal glory her crown.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

i love my family.

My uncle, aunt, and three lovely little ladies [cousins] came and spent the night last night. They laughed for about 10 minutes straight at how funny their faces were in Photo Booth. I thought I'd share.

Friday, September 19, 2008

email discussion on DETERMINISM

There's a pal of mine who is a sophomore in college. He's the man and has a hunger for knowledge and for the Lord. He emailed me this question this week. I was happy with the answer our Father gave me to give him. So, here's nuttin:
FRIEND: "How much of a determinist would you consider yourself? Someone told me today, in a very summarized way, what determinism is and I've just been contemplating it."

MYSELF: "Determinism is more of a scientific and philosophical [and generally post-Enlightenment] category. It is the agnostic version of fatalism. Both are non-theological categories. Some would say that people who are rigid Calvinists are merely spiritual and/or theological determinists. This is looking through a scratched lens. Knowing and cherishing God's beautiful providence and sovereignty [which transcends the puny category of Calvinism] is a relational reality. Determinism and fatalism are are merely theoretical and not relational. They have no capacity for intimacy or fellowship. However, being in love with and being bought by a God who is in control of every falling sparrow and every hair follicle - this is what we were made for and it surpasses all categories and theories. It might have to be described by categories and theology sometimes, but it is most certainly not bound by them."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

St Paul First Reformed Bapti-costal Holiness Tabernacle of the Second Coming

Here's a random list of things I believe. I think it is important try to articulate some of this stuff. I try to explain why at the bottom. And if these beliefs had a local church name, I'm hoping it would be the one above :)

Eschatologically, I'm probably an optimistic Amellinialist. People get beat up for that sometimes. But Augustine, Greg Beale, NT Wright, and Tim Keller are decent company. Moreover, we are the temple [1 Cor 3.16, 6.19]. He has made us a kingdom of priests [Rev 1.6-9]. The kingdom is here AND it is coming [Mt 4.17, 6.10].

Ecclesiastically, I am congregational and baptistic. Of course, if we are in Christ, we must all be catholic with a little "c" because this just means universal. When Paul wrote to Thessalonica, he addressed them as the church. He also said that Jesus died for the church. These aren't the same. We are part of A church local and THE church universal and eternal.

Soteriologically, I'm more Reformed. God saves people for the great glory of Jesus. Quit fighting about it already. Just believe and behave the gospel.

Spiritually and affectionately, I have a little charismatic in me. The gifts of the Spirit are still here. He Himself is still here and moving mightily! Get your head out of the theoretical and Dispensational ground. They were not just for the apostles. They are for us too [Rom 8, Gal 3, 1 Cor 12-14, Jn 14-17, 1 Ths 5, Rom 12]! If you abide by a system, you don't abide fully in Christ.

Sacramentally, I believe that baptism should follow faith and repentance. This seems to be the pattern in Acts and the NT. But as far as the weight given to the Lord's Table and Baptism, I'm somewhere between an Anglican and a Baptist [don't worry Presby friends, I understand the covenantal hermeneutic as well]. I enjoy some of the liturgy as well. I also respect how the Free Will Baptist denomination holds a third ordinance: foot-washing [Jn 13, 1 Tim 5.10].

Regarding church polity and church offices, the NT always refers to elders in the plural. I'm all for that. I believe women can and should be deacons [Rom 16.1-5]. I believe the office of elder-bishop-pastor-shepherd should only be held by a man. Call me sexist.

I say all of this for several reasons:
  1. I've been thinking for a while about what a theological mutt I am. It makes me laugh.
  2. Nobody fits a mold. Fitting a mold is arelational and not gospel-centered.
  3. I'm not trying to be Brian McLaren and throw everybody's name in the hat so I'll be loved by millions [I'm sure Brian is a nice guy, but he needs to read the pastoral epistles and get a theological backbone].
  4. I am saying this because I feel [after being with God, with His church, and in His Scriptures] that these are views that most honor Jesus in some way or another. Go ahead and shoot me for this, but this is what we're called to do - not just give a WHAT we believe, but a WHY we believe it.
SO... to Him and for Him and from Him are all things. To Him be glory in the Church both now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

JESUS is my friend

If this doesn't make you feel outrageously happy and ridiculous, then you need to wake up. It's 1970s-cheese-ska-TBN-gospel music. My favorite part is when he looks in the camera and says, "Zap!"

Or maybe, just maybe, I have a warped and dumb sense of humor. And I like it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

how to follow JESUS [the Southern Baptist preacher]

We have four gospel accounts. Three are very similar. Thus, they are called the synoptic gospels. They share many similar stories and parables, etc. Some of the details, verbiage, and language used in these are slightly different, but it is clear that each gospel writer is retelling the same story. However, there is one particular passage that each of synoptics have that has ravished my attention as of late. Here it is in all three:
  • Mt 16.24-27
  • Mk 8.34-38
  • Lk 9.23-27
Jesus is primarily defining one thing is these texts - what it looks like to come after Him. He says, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." It kind of appears that there are three parts to this thing:
  • Deny yourself. Well, that stinks. I really like feeling nice. But I don't think it means "Go Ghandi" and pleasure is for wimps. I'll go with Dr Piper and say that earthly pleasures will burn and true delight is denial of self and taking great happiness and pleasure in God. That is denial of yourself.
  • Take up your cross. Dang again. This is equivalent to "Take up your noose" or "Take up your electric chair." The cross was an instrument of execution for criminals. Also, because this imperative comes from the lips of our Lord, some think this should/could mean to "embrace your purpose" because Jesus' purpose was the cross. Whatever it implies, it most assuredly includes a furthering of self-denial, a firm grip on the reality that the road will not always be pretty, and a contrite elation that "whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well. It is well with my soul.'"
  • Follow me. St Paul said that his friends should imitate him. That Greek verb is where we get our word "mimic" from. But never could he use the word that Jesus uses here. This kind of "following" encompasses imitating, a joining with, and accompaniment with whom you are following. If we unite the self-denial with the cross-taking and the following of our Lord, we have then arrived at what discipleship looks like. Obviously, this will be easier said than done and will work so much better in theory than practice. But here it lies - true discipleship.
So, here's the really cool Southern Baptist part. Like I said, the gospel writers are pretty much united on the general details of the stories they tell. But there is something that must be brought forth from these three passages about what, how, and why Jesus says what he says.

The three verbs he uses [deny, take up, follow] are the same in all three synoptic gospels! Each gospel writer has their own flavor and writing style, but this amount of linguistic agreement is hugely exceptional! But better yet, all three verbs in Greek begin with the same letter [aparneomai, airo, akoloutheo]. All the while Jesus is dissecting for them the intensities of discipleship, he is also employing the rhetorical device of alliteration so that they can remember what he said.

So, like a good Baptist, Jesus makes each point start with the same letter. Apparently, the gospel writers left out his standard poem or tear-jerking story that goes after the three points and before "Just as I am."

At least Jesus didn't forget the invitation, "If
anyone wishes to come after me..."

Monday, September 1, 2008

way too much fun.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the appropriate way to spend your Labor Day - making yourself look like a high school junior in any year since 1950. CLICK HERE! 

My wife and I had a little too much fun with this. Here are some of the classics: