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The problem is, there are things I want to say. Deep things. And I have a friend who will tease me endlessly about my desperation, about my forthright, candid disclosures. I've tried to remember that anyone can read this, but now I no longer care. More than anything, I hate the terrifying thought that I'm completely a mystery to every other human being on this planet. Often, I wonder: Is everyone posturing all the time? Do any of us really know each other at all? What if we know images of each other, but never the real thing? God (allegedly) knows everything about us and loves us deeply, most especially His children, who believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Fair enough. But I need some kind of an idea that I'm not entirely alone in the human sense, and/or crazy. These very moments, I feel entirely unique. Different. Strange. I feel very stupid, because I still believe that pure love exists. I'd like to think I've given it, if only for a moment, and inconsistent
5 Thoughts After A Trip To Borders 5. Books are neato. 4. The layout is perplexing. 3. I don't want to read a Christmas story by Glenn Beck . I'd probably agree with most of his politics, but Mormons aren't Christians. Sorry. 2. Some 25 years after his death, Frank Herbert's Dune is still selling, as I bought another copy. 1. What's with vampires, honestly!
Thanks first to Keane for the song. But then to Lifehouse, for capturing it so well. "O simple faith, where have you gone? I'm getting old and I need something to rely on...so why don't we go somewhere only we know?" This song still means a lot to me. I hope you can hear its depth and riches, too. If you know the wrestling with God I've been doing, the words have a special resonance. I felt this song in my heart the other day too: The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; she is his new creation by water and the Word. From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride; with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died. Elect from every nation, yet one o'er all the earth; her charter of salvation, one Lord, one faith, one birth; one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued. Though with a scornful wonder we see her sore oppressed, by schisms rent asunder, by heresies dis
5 Thoughts On The A Cappella Show, "The Sing-Off" 5. I love this show. Real talent. 4. I'm doubtful that Nicole Sherzinger can be legitimately called a vocalist, worthy of judging this show. (No offense.) 3. I was worried that Ben Folds , another judge, didn't know any pop songs. 2. But I was thrilled that Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men is also a judge, virtually guaranteeing that Boyz II Men will be performing (and I was right). 1. I'm somewhat chagrined that the best group on the show so far is called, "The Beelezebubs."
5 Thoughts On "The People Speak" on The History Channel 5. This format is awesome. How anyone could be bored with history hearing the voices of important figures is anyone's guess. 4. We need to face up to our national history, our failures (especially) with respect to black Americans, women, and Native Americans with a special courage, even if it isn't the whole story. 3. Huge failure of the presentation: No discussion of the means to acquire "justice": whether the advocated means actually achieve those ends, whether the cause (and the means) is always just, and if there is any coherent relation between the demands of the aggrieved, and our mutual continuance in liberty. In other words, is every victim of "oppression" worthy of my support? What are the goods in tension? Do you assume that your earnestness vindicates your political program automatically? 2. This history of the country is every leftist hero that they could find, read by every le
5 Complimentary Things I Have To Say About Mathison's " The Shape of Sola Scriptura " 5. It's definitely a page-turner, no matter what else we say. [Doesn't that make it sound like a seedy Dan Brown thriller?--ed.] Maybe! Still... 4. It's good enough that it deserves a book-length answer. Some people write book-length retorts when pride is at stake, but this one pushes the conversation forward. 3. Most of the circles I run in immediately recognize and deny "solo Scriptura." ("Me and my Bible") 2. I agree and affirm that Christians should be unapologetically and unflinchingly creedal. 1. I'll fight with anyone willing to dispel historical ignorance.
Spotty internet the last day or so has been mine, so I figure I owe you, me, and everyone a list. Or even two. So without further ado: 5 Lessons Learned From A Somber Day 5. Even NFL stars in the prime of life can die suddenly. RIP Chris Henry. 4. One thing I would do if I had a wife who went missing: cooperate. Cooperate with the police until they were sick of me. And do what I had to do to keep my father-in-law on my side. 3. This economy sucks, and it won't get better until we're not fighting a huge, expensive war on three fronts. 2. If I were the best in my field at something, and I were prevented from doing it for 3.5 years on trumped-up political charges--during the best years--I'd still be angry even after I had returned, earning the respect, apologies, and adulation of everyone. 1. "It's been a long December, and there's reason to believe/Maybe this year will be better than the last."
5 Random, Disconnected Humor Bites for Today 5. Despite my antipathy for adverbs, (possible rant forthcoming, once I figure out why) I like the word 'consequently.' Is it an adverb? It has the 'ly' ending. I dunno. 4. I don't need to have a movie to eat microwave popcorn. 3. Poor Fredo. Pop obviously gave the family business to Michael because Fredo is stupid. Of course, most stupid people don't think they're stupid. Fredo was in denial. But what's weird is, we get no explanation why he's stupid. We get a scene where little Fredo gets pneumonia as a baby. But he isn't mentally challenged, is he? 2. I finished off that bottle of Coke Zero like I had sorrows to drown! 1. I think the Phillies gave up too much in the trade for Roy Halladay . Cliff Lee is almost as good, and younger (though not as much as I thought). But Halladay is "BA" as my brother would say, and yes, his baseball card/stat sheet should actually say this. His nicknam
5 Thoughts After Reading Hebrews and Romans Today 5. In my opinion, Romans 3 is not speaking of an "alien righteousness" acquired by faith, (alone) but about the more full revelation of God's character in Christ, and his intent to unite the Gentiles to his people by faith in Christ. 4. Romans 1 isn't about "faith alone" either. 3. Hebrews tells us of Christ, the Mediator of a new and better covenant; I need to reflect on how blessed I am, as a Gentile, not to have to wait for something more. Eleventh-hour workers, eh? 2. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is as good a summary of God's work in redemption as you're going to get in the Bible. Also, the faith of the "heroes" is definitely mixed with hope and works, which means love can't be far away. Consequently, I wouldn't be surprised if James was the writer of Hebrews. 1. Both these books use the word "saints" in what could be termed the "Catholic" and "Pr
5 Random, Disconnected Thoughts for Today 5. Did my BSF Teaching Leader brush off claims that John 8:1-11 didn't belong in the Bible by saying that a text good enough for the Church Fathers was good enough for him? Yes, in fact, he did. 4. I don't care about the Tiger Woods thing except to say that I hope they stay married. 3. I now officially hate MySpace. You have messed with my live streaming of music, and I will ruin your company by word of mouth for the rest of my days. 2. I would appreciate reading any Black or Latino theologians you might recommend. 1. Tommy Lee Jones brings a skill and charm to all his movies, even a terrible one like " Fire Birds " (AKA Top Gun with helicopters). But, I should add, " Top Gun " rules.
5 Intemperate, Cranky Thoughts on Women Inspired By Tim Butler 5. Time sure flies when she's having fun at your expense. 4. No, I am not at all sad you are single. You probably deserve it. 3. Be honest: You're all just as shallow about looks as any man, and the fact that you go to church changes nothing. 2. No, really, I don't want to be your friend. I have many friends; they're called men. 1. The biggest lie anyone ever told was that women are more mature than men. Enjoy the steady stream of wimps and jerks that logically follow that delusion.
Before we get to the list, let me say that I think Steve Wilkins is really on to something with his version of the Federal Vision, as are most of its advocates. I recall reading a moving description of what worship is like at Auburn Avenue Pres. by my friend John Armstrong of ACT 3 several years ago, and thinking, "Wow, I want to worship there, and meet those people." When a friend of mine in a seminary class we shared defended Wilkins and the other FV advocates quite passionately, I decided to go to Auburn Avenue's website to find out what this was all about. I read the summary statement by its advocates--and Wilkins was one of the signatories--sensing nothing obviously amiss at the time, with respect to Reformed theology as I had lived it, and as one being trained in it to the present day. Many of these men have written or spoken truth into my daily life, helping me to see the act of submission to the Church (and to her life) as one and the same act as submitting to C
5 Thoughts After Reading the First 83 Pages of Mathison's "The Shape of Sola Scriptura" 5. To "win" this argument, you must prove 2 things re: Tradition; first, that the Roman Catholic use of it is not substantially of the first type, and second, that any instances of the second must be accretions. 4. I definitely want to hear more about the rebellious Franciscans who defined papal infalliability...while disobeying the pope. 3. As I understand it, finding an instance of a church leader who denied a currently defined dogma of the Catholic Church doesn't prove anything; it may have legitimately developed later, or been so defined after that person lived. (Or, of course, they were in error) 2. If you happen to win the Tradition argument, Keith, you also have to prove that your ecclesial community is part of the Church within which the Scriptures may be rightly interpreted. Boy, these Catholic apologists are clever, aren't they? 1. This is a hugely imp
5 Random, Disconnected Thoughts for Today 5. The English usage of the word "ambulance" is more than a bit unclear, given the origin of the root. 4. Maybe Brett Favre can't win road games anymore. 3. "I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that this Coke is refreshing and delicious...but after nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss." No, actually Coca-Cola is fantastic. 2. I don't actually like a good beer buzz early in the morning, but you're right, Sheryl: Peeling the labels off anything is irresistible. 1. Happy Birthday, Allison Starr Meek.
5 Random, Loosely Connected Thoughts for Today 5. If the Bush administration had been really prepared to make the argument that waterboarding wasn't torture, why did they hide the fact it was being used? 4. In my view, the warantless wiretapping program in use at the time was perfectly legal, within the war-waging authority granted the president under Article II of the Constitution. If that is even possible, why did they claim the Authorization for the Use of Military Force granted after 9/11 as the special case which grants such authority? It looked like a power-grab, and gave President Bush extra unnecessary political headaches. 3. Consequently, I do not think former Attorney General Gonzales is very politically intelligent, and he was possibly corrupt. 2. I believe President Obama is an American citizen. I also believe he's on his way to one term and one term only as president. 1. Yes, I believe waterboarding is torture.
5 Points of Random Blather for Today (how very Calvinist of me, for once) 5. I saw That One Girl and said, "Hello,"--and didn't die. 4. Everyone should be part of A Triumvirate of Awesomeness at any given time in life; that is, have two friends that with you, bring joy to all three of y'all. In all frankness, this ought to be all-male if you're a dude, as the name implies. A rant on this is forthcoming. 3. She didn't mean to do it, but she is walking heartbreak, dude. 2. Sisqo of Dru Hill can sing a song fo' real. But the "Thong Song" is the end of being taken seriously ever again. 1. Pepsi, I still revile thee, like the platform of Eugene V. Debs .
5 Random, Disconnected Thoughts for Today 5. The band Say Anything might be offensive and immoral because they, well, say anything, but they know how to make a catchy melody that one is likely to remember. 4. John Henry Cardinal Newman really knew how to write an English sentence. 3. Though I can hear a professor in counseling remind me that adultery isn't always about looks, I think adultery when your wife is a model (or something close) is mind-blowingly nonsensical. It's wrong anyway, of course, regardless. 2. I'm staring at a two-liter bottle of Pepsi on my desk that I was enjoying last night--even though I hate Pepsi--because my beloved Coke was unavailable. 1. Thank you, Bobby Bowden .
For your consideration , I am amenable to the Catholic position on justification because: [The 5 Reasons I Might Agree With the Papists On Justification] 1. Love/Charity. If you asked me, "Could a person be wholly acceptable in the sight of God, welcomed into His presence (justified) knowing truths about God, without love for Him and others?" I'd be like, "Um, no, read 1 Cor 13 and 1 John 4." We all know this. But I can totally imagine someone saying, "Synergism! Works! Papist! Arrghh! Nooooo!" at the thought of it all. :) One might try to do it systematically, but why? Why make your systematics a pretzel, when life so obviously teaches otherwise? 2. History. Noone believed Sola Fide until Luther. And I refuse to believe that the people of God were out of luck and incapable of being saved from AD 95 until 1517. 3. James 2. The Catholic way of harmonizing James with Paul is more convincing than the Protestant "What James Really Meant Was...&qu
5 Reactions To Brett Favre's 60 Minute Torturing of the Chicago Bears 5. Without the penalties, it would have been worse. 4. How many primes does this guy have? 3. Are the receivers great, or does he make them great? 2. 392 yards, and I swear he was holding back. 1. If the season ended today, Favre is your MVP, winning his fourth (surpassing his current record 3) MVP 12 years after his last.
5 Points of Truth About "The Ugly Truth" 5. Ladies: Gerard Butler 's piggish character is a caricature...but barely so. I'd say about 87 percent of what he says men think/do is accurate. 4. I thank God I don't know too many ladies who look like Katherine Heigl. That "I'm completely unattainable to you" vibe really sucks. 3. The man would be more believable as a jerk if he was American. I thought European tools acted like Hugh Grant/Colin Firth or whoever. 2. Butler's "Women only want a resume" speech in an otherwise predictable romantic comedy resonated with me more deeply than I might care to admit. 1. When I was able to tear my gaze away from the living piece of art that is Katherine Heigl, I realized that the girl who played her assistant ( Bree Turner ) is an understated beauty.
5 Random, Disconnected Thoughts for Today 5. Happy Birthday, Uncle John. 4. If I'm funny, it's because of my friends. 3. Tacos are our friends. 2. Are tacos therefore funny? 1. The Roman Catholic Church may be the theological equivalent of the Borg Collective. In a good way. I think.
I was cruising the inter-webs again, and a friend posted this: "I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish." -- Lamott I laughed out loud. And then I reflected on why that was funny to me. That would never happen; Jesus isn't driven to drink like so many of us are. He never needs to "take the edge off"; there's no need to cover up feelings; just feel them in that perfectly holy way. Furthermore, I'd say drinking out of a cat dish is sub-human in the proper sense; I laugh at the thought of Jesus doing it because he is the quintessential human, [philosophical hesitations, ahem] our goal, our path, our means. I'm certain the world itself comes apart at the thought of Jesus doing--or even considering--something sub-human. I probably scared myself because I pictured it and found it funny. And yet again, I thought of a song . And a large part of the answer to th
What is it with me and overwrought, sappy, Black vocal pop/soul? I am officially the whitest person ever. I don't even have elite snobby credibilty: I have loved its mainstream since the late 80s. Still do. Well, I was feeling a bit lonely tonight, and thinking about my one and only experience that could be considered a relationship--for the record, I screwed it up--and this tune came to mind. It's not nearly this bad, really; the title is true though; we skipped over that part. And it's kinda weird now. It is to me, anyway. And the singing from 3:20-3:45ish is the part that sucks me in every time: "I'll never, ever, find another love like you, ohhh"--even not being overdramatic, it's true. There's only one first (mutual) love that really costs you something. You know what other song reminds me of this? This one. Our friends Usher and Alicia here are doing their level-best to make sure this musical decade won't totally suck. And our colleagues fro
5 Uncomfortable Thoughts on Protestant Justification 5. Sola Scriptura ("Scripture Alone") is not sufficient to vindicate any one (Protestant) theory of justification over another. 4. "Justification by Faith Alone" in Luther's formulation was entirely novel in Christian history. 3. Penal substitutionary atonement was not believed until the Reformation, either. (Perhaps aspects of each at various points, but never to that extent) 2. "Belief in Christ" implies faith and trust. And experientially at least, trust without Love (charity, agape) seems impossible, and maybe impious. Further, some cooperation in this Love, some synergism, does not affirm semi-Pelagianism or deny grace. AT ALL. 1. If ecclesial hostility led Luther to affirm justification by faith apart from Charity, Christian living in practice seems to teach that he was wrong. (Sorry.) I don't want the faith of the demons in James 2. The debate about works is but the minor one compare
5 Semi-Connected Thoughts for Today 5. "Stokley" Williams , (sp?) I could listen to his singing for many hours. 4. Why do I love this song so much? 3. Yeah, I know he sounds like the lead from Tony! Toni! Tone! . 2. If an immersion in classical music or music education would give me a disdain for most of popular music, then I don't want it. 1. I wrote a song last night.
If you're one of those people for whom the answer to the question, "Why aren't you Catholic?" is, "Because it's indefensible heresy, and I'd fear for my soul and anyone else even considering it," then this upcoming list is NOT for you. For all the rest of us-- from those who named their cats "Benedict" (I know you're out there, stop lying) to those who have a healthy affection for the Catholic Church and its people, but will respectfully take a pass on "coming home,"--I dutifully present: (as if anyone cares/is reading this) The 5 Reasons I'm Not Catholic (At the Present Time) 5. Justification/Perseverence/Trent Though sola fide has no way of being verified historically, beyond, "Luther said so," it seems ludicrous to believe that our gracious God would make it so easy for those of us who love Christ to foul it up. Experientially: I may sense the separation that my sins create, but I cannot know that they w
What A Video Game Taught Me About Aging, Frailty, and the Fear of Death I’m OK with the fact that probably, I play too many video games, and watch too many sports. I’m not that important, and no one is relying on me for survival as of yet. But I learned something the other day from a game I was playing. Indulge me, for this requires some explanation. My favorite game is MVP Baseball 2005, from EA Sports. For one, I love baseball, and secondly, EA is justly well-known for making semi-realistic, fun sports games. The year corresponds to the upcoming season, so as far as this game is concerned, the last completed season was 2004, which featured a freakishly talented Cardinals team—winners of 105 of 162 games that season—and the surprising Red Sox, who climbed out of a three games to zero hole in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees to win in seven games. If that weren’t enough, they won the World Series in four games over the Cardinals. Even were I not a St. Louis
As one who's received his share of unlucky breaks in the game of love (it's a pity party, and you're invited) I thought the list for today might reflect that. So without further ado, I give you: 5 Amazing Brokenhearted Songs 5. "When Can I See You," Babyface. The legend. Recognize. 4. "Brokenhearted," (Soul Power Remix) Brandy. With a hand from Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men. 3. "The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind)," Dru Hill. This is a remake, but Sisqo really makes you feel it. 2. "Missing You," John Waite. Is there anyone on Earth who dislikes this song? 1. "Nobody Knows," The Tony Rich Project. Yeah, it sounds like Babyface. But it isn't. For the last time, it's not him!
5 Random, Disconnected Thoughts For Today 5. What have I done with my copy of the Westminster Standards? 4. Peter Falk is The Man. 3. My neck is still not right. 2. This one's gonna sting a little. 1. The more I read the Bible, the less perspicuous and sufficient it seems.
5 Thoughts On the Curiously High Profile Elections Last Night 5. I'll bet The Boss was mad about "Born to Run" being used as a victory song by the Republican governor-elect, Chris Christie. 4. At least Corzine, the current governor of New Jersey, used his own money. I respect that. 3. Don't be fooled: The Democrats and President Obama are justly alarmed by the VA governor's race and others (which they lost). This state had been trending toward them in national elections for several cycles. 2. Newly elected House representative Bill Owens (D-NY) will not be able to hold this seat in 2010. 1. This portends a 1994-like shift in the House of Representatives in 2010.
5 Natural Responses To Coming Upon Weingreen's Hebrew Grammar, Lesson 65 (Weak Verbs) 5. "Our Father, who art in Heaven...." 4. "What? Where? Who? What's going on here?! 3. "These verbs are seriously weak, dude." 2. "No, comparing it to the strong verb doesn't help." 1. "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You would cry too, if it happened to youuuuu!"
5 Signs You Have An Irrational Sports Hatred of Ryan Howard 5. You refer to him as Ryan "Strikeout" Howard. 4. You know that he went to Lafayette High School in St. Louis, while you attended nearby Eureka, and you hate that, though you were not especially attached to EHS at the time. 3. You improperly credit Albert Pujols with the 2006 National League Most Valuable Player award on purpose. 2. You say things like, "Ryan Howard, what a stupid name!" And, "I bet you lived on Stupid Street when you were a kid!" 1. You are rooting for the Yankees in this World Series.
5 Thoughts While Listening To A Babyface Tune 5. This cat probably writes #1 songs while humming in the shower. 4. If only I could write a song 1/10 as good as the worst he's written... 3. He looks good for 50. 2. You make it sound so easy. 1. DO NOT commit adultery , but especially not against a great singer-songwriter.
5 Possible Activites After the Most Brutal Hebrew Exam in the History of American Protestant Seminary Education 5. Read Dune. 4. Read The Andromeda Strain. 3. Read the Westminster Confession of Faith (specifically, the sections on Perseverence!). 2. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 1. Sob uncontrollably. I just realized I could some up the first part of the list as, "Read dystopic, misanthropic, sci-fi novels." Bitter much?
I have a friend who's leaving St. Louis in a couple of months who mentioned that one of the things she'd like to do before she left is karaoke. Now, if you don't know, I am in the business of shameless self-promotion, so I will do karaoke at the drop of a hat. Sounds like list grist to me! Without further ado: 5 Songs I'd Sing Without Provocation, Or Wish I Had Written 5. "Faithfully" by Journey 4. "Cherish" by Kool & the Gang 3. "What Might Have Been" by Little Texas 2. "Breathe Again" by Toni Braxton 1. "Take A Bow" by Madonna Outstanding. Yes, I am a big sap.
Why I Am Choosing 'Let's Wait Awhile' for Re-Writing (and not some other more sophisticated song in a different genre) There are several reasons why I am doing this. First, I appreciate much of what is there, but I have a stubborn committment to the idea that romantic songs should at least make a modicum of sense. They might me wildly effusive, over-the-top, and unrealistic, but people who understand the feeling don't mind that. Second, I love a lot of music from this period and genre. Third, I really appreciate Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. They gave us Mint Condition , who are obscenely underrated, even now. Fourth, popular music that lasts even 20 years has successfully straddled the boundary between accessibility and excellence, and this song could even better do that if it made sense, and reflected a meaningful moral dilemma. Fifth, this song is one of just a few by Ms. Jackson that doesn't make me want to injure someone (and still deeply flawed). Fifth, I love
Pursuant to the last post, you can read Ignatius' seven epistles by clicking on the links in sequence here. I suppose you could save yourself time by reading Bryan's selected quotations, but I'd rather read him for myself, so I did. Boy, if the Church fell into error with the establishment of the hierarchy, it happened quick. This cat died in 107. He knew John the Apostle, heard him teach. What we Protestants must explain (and our individual variations must also) is, "What is the criteria for judging truth and error?" We have to begin to see that our theological differences as Protestants are actually judgments of the Church's supposed error from distinctly different angles and emphases, (free will, sacraments, government, et al) so our actual unity consists of only one thing: anti-Catholicism, or at best, non-Catholicism. What I'm bothered by is that we presume our own ecclesiological legitimacy, wherever we are, and then, we each make arbitrary decisio
5 Thoughts When Reading the 7 Letters of St. Ignatius 5. He certainly throws in "blood" at interesting times. 4. Is this guy nuts? The man talks as if he wants to die, as if he'll be let down if he lives. 3. It takes some brass to ask your brothers and sisters to pray that you die for Christ. 2. Ignatius sure sounds Catholic to me. 1. Why don't they call him "St. Bishop"? :) I feel like asking the Bishop for permission to write this post. :)
1 Cor 11, and Its Obvious Implications, Often Overlooked I noticed the last time I celebrated the Lord's Supper that, in my best estimation, we had entirely missed the point. That is, if I had taken the pastor's words as representative of all of us, his words as a summary of what we were confessing by taking and eating, then (respectfully) we were quite far afield of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians. And that was quite alarming, given that he attempted to quote the text. [As an aside, I am sidestepping the Catholic critiques of the Protestant eucharist for the moment, despite whatever sympathies I may have toward that view.] Leaving aside the fact that, at the very least, the text here should be read or memorized and spoken liturgically at some point, apart from any interpretive comments, I was bothered first by this: "Each time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we remember the Lord's death until He comes." Following this was a fairly lengthy pronouncement t
Prompted by, I don't know, warm reflection, I thought of the movie, The Passion of the Christ. I remember thinking that it actually did sanctify me; I was glad to have watched it with a good chunk of my fellow church members. I'm sure reasonable criticisms could be made of it along many lines, but I don't blame my fellow committed Christians for praising it as they did, and being open to how God might teach them through it. I remember having several interesting thoughts at the time which I may have spoken, but never wrote down. Sounds like good material for a list o' five! And so: 5 Thoughts I Had While Watching The Passion of the Christ 5. "If this is Catholicism, sign me up." [Deeply ironic, now, perhaps.] 4. "These cut scenes to the Lord's teaching are the only thing saving me from weeping in this movie theater." 3. "I was relieved when He finally got to the cross, and I'm not sure that's how I should feel." 2. "My
5 Signs You Are Not A Calvinist 5. If you use the word, "choice," ever, at any time. 4. If you have seen Minority Report, and thought it was a good summary of the conundrum of free will vs. sovereignty. That is, that there is a conundrum. 3. If you have ever used the word, "mystery," ever, at any time. [Note however, that a Calvinist will use the word when confronted with the philosophical determinism of Calvinism, thusly: "It's a mystery!"] 2. If you have ever complimented John Wesley on anything ever, without qualification. [Calvinist example: "That's a great hymn by John Wesley...too bad he was an Arminian."] 1. If your reaction to Calvin's 500th birthday did not border on the veneration of a saint.
5 Random, Disconnected Thoughts For Today 5. I've never been this excited for a Tuesday ever, though voting for Governor Bush as president was close. 4. Even if Frank Dux is a fraud, I think Bloodsport is one of the coolest movies ever, and I'm glad to be a man, to appreciate it. 3. If you miss the eschatological thrust at the heart of the eucharistic celebration, you might as well go home. 2. I'll let you know when I figure out what a "solid evangelical church" is. 1. Go Twins!
5 Thoughts On Letterman's Confession/Legal Battle/Monologue Last Night: 5. Guess that "tower of Midwestern, Lutheran guilt" didn't kick in too fast. 4. The movie will get made. 3. Little blackmails occur every day which aren't crimes. 2. Even if Sarah Palin did cut McCain's meat/food during the campaign, there's no shame in that, and it's not funny. 1. You forgot to add "who were not my wife" onto, "I've had sex with people who work on this show." Geez, harsh-sounding, judgmental list today. What am I, the Church Lady?
The Sports Guy, Taylor Swift, and A New Song Some weeks ago, I was reading ESPN's "The Sports Guy," Bill Simmons, that hilariously insightful commentator on all things sports. He is especially good to read on New England/Boston sports (though I hate Boston) and his intimate fan's perspective is equal parts frank and loyal. Anyway, he took a break from sports to tell us about his 4oth birthday party trip to Las Vegas. In between funny takes on blackjack and casino etiquette, the fantasy football draft with his buddies punctuated by porn and drunkenness (two things I strongly discourage) he mentioned Kings of Leon's song, "Use Somebody." He said that they played it so many times that he'd physically injure the Kings for composing it. At that time, I hadn't heard it. For the sake of science, I just listened to it. My reaction is: I like it. Or, I should say, I like the balance of it--most of it--and the part I dislike is the pacing of the backg
5 Natural Questions, Following the Admission That One's Night Was Ruined By Homer Bailey 5. What is this, 'Dirty Jobs'? 4. Are you Homer's date? 3. Is that Kanye's alias? 2. Is that a horse you bet on? 1. Why didn't you re-grout the bathtub yourself?
Oddball Side Project (and a rant about the thin veneer of morality in culture) I have written approvingly of Terry Lewis and his pal James Harris, III (AKA Jimmy Jam) as two of the architects of R&B and neo-soul's crossover to whites in the '80s and '90s, and that is well-deserved. They worked much of their magic with the princess of a pop dynasty, Janet Jackson. One of the best-known (and loved) songs from her 1986 release Control is a song titled, "Let's Wait Awhile," about two young people who delay their first sexual encounter. This song has one of the prettiest melodies in a pop song I've ever heard. Part of the reason that R&B gained in stature during this period (other than Michael Jackson) is that producers and songwriters saw that electronics could be used not only in the service of upbeat dance rhythms, but ballads also, in layering lush vocals with well-mixed keyboards to till the emotional and auditory ground before lyrics are even sun
Christ Our King: 10 Years I wish I had words to express what this church, these people, mean to me. If I am walking in the light now, I walk because of them. If I have loved at all, it's because of them. If I know anything, they taught it to me. I told them that I will be walking down the street, and I'll hear our hymns in my head, and in my heart. I see their faces. There are some who are gone, but I see them, too. I wish Tim Durrett would read me some Scripture in that beautiful accent of his; I wish we were going to Marc and Debbie's after worship. I wish Martha was here to say something wise. I wish certain things were whole again. I keep hoping to see T-dog sitting in the back next to the piano. We got a letter from folks I had nearly forgotten about, until I remembered that in more certain days, I called the patriarch "Liberal Ed." I promise, not long ago, he was the only one. The Tamerius kids used to take turns holding the hymnal for me while I sang. That
5 Thoughts From The 10th Anniversary Celebration/Vespers at Christ Our King Church 5. I think I owe Evan some money. 4. I think I owe Pastor Travis money. 3. I didn't know this cost money. 2. I wasted half a beer. 1. Be a man for once, and tell the story without crying.
The GOP Nominee in 2012 Ought To Be... Let me preface this with the note that I am considering geography and battlegrounds only; that is, not necessarily the record of the person in question. With that said, the only logical choice for the 2012 GOP nomination for president is...Tim Pawlenty. The GOP must do everything in its power to avoid classification as a regional, Southern, party. In addition, to defeat Obama, they need someone with no real ties to former President G. W. Bush. It'd be moronic for the president to blame 12 years on 'W,' but he'll try if you let him. They need to put the Midwest in play while holding the South. They need someone who doesn't have a history of angering the base. A person who is relatively young will take away perhaps Obama's biggest unacknowledged advantage from 2008, age. Pawlenty is the governor of Minnesota, and this executive experience will likely contrast favorably with Obama, who is already vulnerable on this point and
5 Ways To Tell You Are A Vainglorious Extrovert 5. You have a burning urge to be a Wikipedia editor. 4. Does the word 'karaoke' mean anything to you? 3. Trivial Pursuit. Full volume. No mercy. 2. You would totally pull a 'Commodores'--start a band and write songs to impress girls. 1. You own a blog.
5 Thoughts When Realizing One Has an E-mail From Dr. Bill Frist, MD 5. "Are you gonna watch the 'Grey's Anatomy' premiere tonight?" 4. "I'm not really prepared to go to Africa right now, sir." 3. "No 'nuclear option'? No votes for you, come back, 4 years!" 2. "How did you get this e-mail? What does the GOP know, and when did they know it?" 1. "Do you listen to 'Please Come To Boston' like a thousand times a day?"
5 Random, Perhaps Disconnected Thoughts for Today 5. There are a lot of good teams in the National League this year, most of whom (grammar error?) will be playing golf in about a week and a half. 4. The creators of "Grey's Anatomy" must have thought, "Hey, let's do a serious version of 'Scrubs'!" And it works. 3. So glad to find out that small, yet significant piece of information. Will I do anything about it? 2. I doubt catching the garter means anything, but if it does, I'm not complaining. 1. Someone should make a movie of John 13-17. It makes me cry like a baby.
A Political Rant I see far too many Christians over-simplifying the moral imperatives of the gospel of Jesus as they attempt to apply it to the political process. They are still operating as though the stereotypes presented by political actors (especially by opponents of those various actors) are valid. Frankly, to be specific, I see too many Christians defaulting to a kind of socialism, (or at least a statism) because A) some 'progressives' make a big fuss about caring for the poor (and their myriad opponents don't, for various reasons), B) they ignore, or fail to see that state-directed 'compassion' involves coercion which, by its very nature, denies individuals their God-given status as free moral agents, or C) they are just plain ignorant. Under (C), a certain sanctified stupidity prevails, whereby intent is the only measure of a policy's desirability. Most forms of Protestant soteriology actually encourage this. Because of "the finished work of Chr
R&B At A Crossroads One thing even a casual music fan could note about the times after what I might call the "LaFace Era"--so named after the co-founders of LaFace Records, Antonio "LA" Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds from about 1988-2000--is the seeming omnipresence of hip-hop/rap as the face (pardon the pun) of Black music. I recall anecdotally that rap, R&B, and even soul could be distinguished. If you wanted rap, you consumed radio that provided it. If you wanted soul, you got soul, and that alone. "R&B" (which used to stand for 'rhythm and blues') was and is an ambiguous term, because it denotes both the fast and the slow, percussive and vocal. It isn't that hip-hop and soul are inherently hostile and opposed, but it seemed until very recently that the forms respected the distinct but occasionally overlapping audiences. I think certainly what we see today is hip-hop entirely subsuming R&B and soul. The crossov
Top 5 Rejected Presbyterian Slogans 5. "We're Predestined To Look Down on You." 4. "We're Like Politicians; It's All About Election." 3. "We Love Everyone--In A General, Non-Efficacious Sense." 2. "Form A Committee With Us Today!" 1. "Dry Theology--In A Good Martini Sort Of Way."
Decorum is Decorum The unfortunately named Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC (you'll recall a famous liar by that name a few years back) yelled, "You lie!" at President Obama during his speech to the joint session last week. I say it was a most unpatriotic and disruptive action, worthy of a severe reprimand by the House of Representatives. I am unmoved by the recall of the abuse heaped on President Bush; when we are discussing the dignity of our institutions, and of the occasions of their use, we have no place for this kind of thing. The only ground we have to stand on in our moral outrage is simply, We wouldn't do that if the roles were reversed . It saddens me that this guy is some conservative hero now. Is the only thing left in our politics a hatred for the opposition? In my America, you don't put an unpatriotic cad's words on a T-shirt, celebrating like you "stuck it to The Man." I didn't watch the speech, and I don't support the president's he
I was brushing my teeth. 10:15 Central Time. The bathroom closest to the front desk in my university residence hall. Some guy ran in. This is (approximately) what followed: "Dude, someone attacked the World Trade Center. They think 50,000 people might be dead." "C'mon, man, that's not funny." "No, I'm serious. I wouldn't joke about that." I finished brushing, and went to the desk. We had a whiteboard that had all the day's news, sports, and weather. Understandably on this day, it had only one item. In a big box underneath everything was a message: "In spite of everything that has happened, we are not going to judge anyone by his or her skin color, religion, or national origin." Or something like that. I have never been so glad to see such a statement ever before. I guess I'm supposed to hate such spasms of political correctness. But there is nothing more conservative than holding individuals (and them alone) responsibl
5 Curious Facts/Opinions About the 2009 St. Louis Cardinals 5. Their NL Central division lead hasn't decreased since July 30. 4. If the Cardinals lost every game for the rest of the season, they would finish with the same number of wins as their 2006 World Championship team. 3. The Cardinals thought that Kyle Lohse would be the team's third-best starting pitcher, (and paid him accordingly) but it has actually been Joel Pineiro. 2. Things are good when your team's fourth-best starter is future Hall of Fame member John Smoltz. 1. The NL Cy Young Award winner will not be a Cardinal, because Chris Carpenter (16-3, 2.16 ERA) will split the vote with his teammate Adam Wainwright (17-7, 2.68 ERA).
5 Things To Do On Labor Day, 2009 5. Count the hours to the Cards-Brewers matchup, lamenting the soul-crushing loss in Pittsburgh yesterday. 4. Wonder what whitewashed, commie-free version of Labor Day the History Channel will present. 3. Paranoidly wonder what collectivist inanity the government is planning. 2. Recall amusedly that the collectivist plots will likely be undone by Joe Biden's big mouth. 1. Trust in Jesus, whose labor gives my labor meaning on this, and every, day.
5 Ways To Tell You Are, Or Have Been, A Calvinist: 5. You have two dogs...you know the rest. 4. Your favorite word is "decree." 3. You refer to your backyard as "New Geneva." 2. During your last fight with a family member, you felt the most guilty for screaming, "You Arminian!" in the heat of it. 1. While not knowing exactly how your free will was involved, you KNOW you were predestined to read this post.
5 More Ways to Tell You Are Jason Kettinger 5. Your theology is one long, extended baseball metaphor. 4. You like Babyface's music more than Babyface does. 3. Your first celebrity crush was Barbara Hershey. 2. You mix your mother's birthday up with the Kennedy assassination. 1. You know "The Cutting Edge" is the greatest chick-flick of all time.
Five Brett Favre Questions: 5. Can he hack it still? This is the same man who threw 2 TD and 9 INT in the final 5 games for the Jets, who were 1-4 in those games and missed the playoffs. 4. Is he trustworthy? He didn’t tell the Jets he was hurt. Eric Mangini was fired because of Favre. 3. Is he healthy? He’s no use to the Vikings hurt. 2. Why did he lie? He could have told us all on July 30 that he’d return. No problem there. I’m not mad like most people that we get constant Favre “Will he retire/come back?” coverage. I love Brett Favre. I’m just saying. 1. Will I watch every second possible of the Vikings this season? Absolutely.
Top 5 Things To Do While Your Internet Is Down: 5. Catch up on your Tom Clancy. 4. Whine like you are 3 years old. 3. Blame Joe Biden. 2. Blame Obama. 1. Say you will write posts for later, while not writing a thing.
5 Reactions To Last Night's All-Star Game in St. Louis: 5. The National League apparently sucks. They haven't won since the summer of the Atlanta Olympic Games. Carl Lewis won gold there. Yes, it was a long time ago. 4. If Sara Evans can sing that well, I want to ask her why she mailed it in on the night of her guest appearance on Nashville Star . 3. Geez, Albert Pujols is good. He didn't even get a hit, and he was still memorable. 2. Ichiro Suzuki might have been the most talented guy in the park that night, a park that contained Musial, Brock, Smith, Gibson, and Schoendienst. 1. Don't quit your day job, President Obama. That was a terrible first pitch.
Mindless Musical Blather of the Day I have this playlist of 180 songs, eclectic enough to make me look open-minded, and mainstream enough to make critics and snobs throw up. Anyway, I'm listening to Ashlee Simpson's song "Pieces Of Me," a guilty pleasure to be sure, and trying to figure out why I like it so much. I figured it out: she reminds me of Anna Nalick. Ms. Nalick had a couple radio hits awhile back, if you recall. In any case, my list took me next to Bryan White , which, if you don't know Bryan White, you should. If people were imprisoned for having too much talent, White would be sharing a cell in the Pop Music Wing (all genres) with Glen Campbell and Michael Jackson. I heard a country music legend (can't remember which one) say he couldn't believe all that talent was contained in one person, that of Campbell, and a critic described White as a "90s Glen Campbell." [Side Rant: If you refuse to consider country music real music, I don&#
Bad internet has kept me from posting, but it's that time again! Oh, yes. A snarky top 5 list! And so: Still Five More Ways To Tell You've Spent Too Much Time at Christ Our King in Columbia, MO: 5. You think Israel was formed into the twelve tribes somewhere in West Virginia. 4. You wear a clerical robe while grilling hamburgers. 3. "This IS your grandmother's church!" and you are happy about that. 2. You hear a story about the nightlife of Copenhagen, Denmark...and it's not a joke. 1. You sing the three-fold Amen after changing the oil on your car. (Thanks, Jamie.)
A Protestant Reflection On The Catholic Eucharist I molest him not Whose pious senses Incline him to destroy The skeptic’s errand-boy, Rationalism. And no more just occasion For this noble refutation Doth time and grace afford Than at the Table, The Table of the Lord. Ah, noble Mystery The fulcrum of History Finished there Present here “Proclaim!” doth it declare. A danger it is not A snare it is not. Though such Faith, not all queries Doth it deflect, To receive Our Lord, who can object?
I have a confession to make. You know that show on the Catholic network (EWTN) called The Journey Home? I often watch it. I like it. I have for quite some time. Somewhat more scandalously, I've wanted to be a guest on the show. It's a show about former Protestants (I think also wayward "cradle Catholics") who come back to the Catholic Church. Even were I not considering such a move--which I cannot deny--it would be enjoyable for two reasons: 1. If you want to see passionate, Christ-like Catholics, watch this show. 2. If you've ever suspected that your Protestant church's theology is a bunch of convenient, anti-intellectual, fundamentalist nonsense, watch this show. [Sidebar rant: If you equate "fundamentalist" with voting Republican and/or being a moral traditionalist, I am NOT on your side.] The subtitle of the show could be "Pesky, Inconvenient Truths From Sane Christian People." In defense of non-loony Protestantism, many of these people
For your enjoyment, a poker haiku, more specifically, one devoted to the popular game Texas Hold 'Em: You Cracked My Aces You cracked my Aces With a river spade flush King You lucky donkey.
Five More Ways To Tell You’ve Spent Too Much Time At Christ Our King In Columbia, MO 5. You think pie-eating is a sacrament. 4. The words, “beer,” “hot tub,” and “politics” sound like a good idea for a men’s retreat. 3. Drinking beer and talking theology is a given, not a cutting-edge ministry outreach. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) 2. You are convinced that Mark Twain is a saint (in the Catholic sense). 1. You say, “Thanks be to God” after reading a passage of Scripture in your personal devotions.
5 Ways To Tell You’ve Spent Too Much Time At Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Columbia, MO 5. At dinner, you mistakenly recite the Words of Institution upon touching a piece of bread. 4. You intentionally try to pronounce words like “sit” and “being” with that Hannibal accent to sound cooler. 3. It is probable that you know the exact hymn number of at least 35 hymns in the PCA’s Trinity Hymnal. 2. You call up the radio station to request the Gloria Patri, hymn #732. 1. You’ve heard the phrase “large and startling figures” in a sermon at least 15 times. (And still haven’t read the book.) I just realized I could do three more lists like this easy, and I probably will.
I'm angry today. Have you seen these Scientology commercials? "You're not your fears, you're not your failures..." Or something like, "Everyone feels that void they can't explain...and it can only be filled by one thing: the truth." Do you know why I'm angry? Two reasons: 1. They're effective; and 2. They use "evangelical-speak." Watch one; you'll see that it's hard to disagree with any of the sentiments in them. Of course, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) so that's infuriating. This all says to me that we evangelicals need to stop evangelizing in the manner where feelings are the primary measurement of spiritual need. Or spiritual anything. Because if the language of feelings can be so easily co-opted as we see here, we might convince someone [Crap, it's on again!] of his need, but we won't persuade anyone in terms of the objective Kingdom reality wrought by God in Jesus Christ. I suppose