Thursday, December 31, 2009

ST AUGUSTiNE LiKES MY BEARD [this life is but a fragmentary solace]

In one of his discourses about beauty [bk 22, ch 24 of "The City of God"], he says:
Of course, some parts of the human body appear to have no other purpose than to add beauty, as the mamillae on a man's chest or the beard on his face. Certainly if the beard were meant for protection rather than for beauty, it would have served a better purpose for the weaker sex, whose face remains uncovered... I think, that in the creation of the human body, God put form before function.

All of this is Augustine articulating the intricate beauties that we get to partake in. He also talks about architecture, agriculture, navigation, language, rhythm, poise, symmetry, etc, etc. He closes this chapter by saying:
Remember, all these favors taken together are but the fragmentary solace allowed us in a life condemned to misery. What, then, must be the consolations of the blessed, seeing that men on earth enjoy so much of so many and of such marvelous blessings? What good will God not give to those predestined to eternal life, if He gives so much to those who are doomed to death?

James, soaking up some Florida sun

CA 10 [part 1]

We left Christmas night about 8:00 pm and drove 17 hours straight to Austin, TX.

After Austin, we drove through west Texas. I guess "everything is bigger in Texas" also means that everything is faster in Texas.

The barrenness of west Texas provided a nice salt flat to drive on. The back roads of New Mexico and Arizona were not that much more lively.

Our two consecutive nights on the road took us to Las Vegas. This was our hotel. The light that comes out of the top of it can be seen with the naked eye from space. Impressive.

We then tracked through the lowest point of elevation in North America - Death Valley, CA.

This brings us to the west coast. We shall see what awaits.


Aside from being overwhelmingly needed, Chan's book is a great combination of devotional and theological. It's almost Puritanical in that you can't divorce the two in nearly every chapter.

He writes with relevance, awareness, and pastoral sensitivity. He also includes examples from the lives of other believers that are encouraging and hope-giving.

Chapter 1 begins by citing Tozer:
We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone. We have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord, and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.
By grace, Chan remedies this challenge in his book. It is even seen in the book's summary subtitle: "Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

i love my son [ontological goodness]

I listen to my own music way more than I should. In a totally unarrogant way, I might be one of my favorite musicians. It's kind of like your opinions. Your opinions are always right, because that's the definition of opinion. Better yet, the composer or creator of a thing always enjoys that which he creates or else the created entity would never come to be.

The past six months of my life have been beautiful for this precise reason. I love my son because he is our son. That is why I have a strange, yet persistent delight in him even if I can't explain it and even if I should be frustrated because he didn't sleep the night before.

Why does this happen? What is the source of this creator/created relationship? How can this relationship be explained?

I'm helped here by our friend Augustine. In Book 11 of City of God, he writes:
The only meaning we can give to the constant refrain "God saw that it was good" is God's approval of a work as having been fashioned in accordance with that art which is His own wisdom.

There is no Creator higher than God, no art more efficacious than the Word of God, no better reason why something should be created than that the God who creates is good.

The explanation, then, of the goodness of creation is the goodness of God. It is a reasonable and sufficient explanation whether considered in the light of philosophy or of faith.

For, God is the kind of artist whose greatness in His masterpieces is not lessened in His minor works - which, of course, are not significant by reason of any sublimity in themselves, since they have none, but only by reason of the wisdom of their Designer.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.
I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I never read in either of them: "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden."

Monday, December 14, 2009


Does the gospel you believe include "a God without wrath bringing men and women without sin into a kingdom without judgment through a Christ without a cross"? [H. Richard Niebuhr]

It's happening.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

what i thought about while falling asleep last night:

That every Christian is a catholic and a baptist... technically speaking, of course. Every believer is a catholic without a capital C and a baptist without a capital B. "Catholic" simply means "universal." And a baptist is someone who maintains that baptism should be practiced.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Here. And here.

Galatians 6 - St Paul and the Three Bears

Wow. That is immensely cheesy. It was even kind of embarrassing to type. But I can't lie. That's how I remember Paul's train of thought in Galatians 6.

Paul says that if there is a brother in Christ caught in a deliberate sin, those who are living according to the Spirit should restore him [6.1].
BEAR one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ [6.2].
But there is also a warning attached to this restoration process. If those doing the restoring aren't careful, they might slip in temptation [6.2]. Paul says that if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing he deceives himself [6.3]. He says that everyone must test their own work [6.4] because
Each must BEAR his own load [6.5].
Then Paul humbly says that he will not even boast, except in Jesus [6.14]. Bad boasting and deception and pride are not part of the new creation that we are now apart of [6.13-16]. The false teachers in Galatia have caused him trouble. He could be boasting because he is preaching the true gospel [1.6-10]. Instead, he accepts the persecution of the gospel to attest to its glorious veracity.
I BEAR on my body the marks of Jesus [6.17].
These Three Bears are all the same in Greek [βαστάζω]. In this, he leaves the Galatians with something tangible. It was in bearing that they boasted in Jesus [6.14] and experienced peace and mercy [6.16]. May it be the same for us.

he is growing up so fast [true, but with a sarcastic tone for the below photographs]

This past week at work felt like an eternity. So James and I decided to hit the links. I got him a new hat :)

After a grueling round of golf, we thought it would be nice to have a pipe together. It was priceless father-son bonding time.

Galatians 5 - Am I as spiritual as the Galatians were told to be?

Paul is really ticked off in his letter to his friends in Galatia. They are starting to give in to another gospel that's really not the gospel [1.6-10]. After personal testimony, calling out the false teachers, and some poignant questions, Paul goes on to describe what faithful Christian living looks like.

Paul lists characteristics of what this life is like. For example, it is about freedom [5.1, 5.13]. It is about hope [5.5]. It is about faith working through love [5.6]. It is about serving one another [5.13-15]. It is NOT about a huge list of things in 5.19-21.

But what makes all of the above things make sense?

The source of all of these things for Paul is living by the Spirit. The way that the real gospel is really lived out is by the individual believer and the corporate community of faith living according to the Spirit's lead.

Paul even uses four different and powerful Greek verbs to depict how the Spirit should be our Guide and we should be His dependents.
In 5.16, Paul says we must WALK by/in/with the Spirit. This verb is περιπατέω.

In 5.18, Paul says that we must be LED by the Spirit. This verb is ἄγω.

In 5.25, Paul says that we LIVE by the Spirit. This verb is ζάω.

In 5.25, Paul says that we must KEEP IN STEP with the Spirit. This verb is στοιχέω.
Paul desires his friends in Galatia to have such a relationship with the Spirit of God that the Spirit's power and presence are lucid to all. He hints at this further in 3.2-5 and in 5.22-23.

So, is my life being lived by/in/with the Spirit in such a manner that it can be described as such? Am I merely giving the Holy Spirit a theoretical and theological head nod? How is this kind of living done? Does anyone live this way? Can I get their number?