Friday, January 15, 2010

The Folly of Dismissing the Mainstream and Popular in Music
Let me begin this by saying that I despise musical snobbery. By this, I do not mean an appreciation for the high art involved in constructing music, nor an understanding of the language of music, nor a dogged appreciation of one style or genre of music. Rather, I mean an a priori rejection of a musical form or performer simply because it/he/she is popular. I do not say that popularity equates with quality, nor do I deny the possibility (cherished by music snobs) that truly great music is buried underneath piles of mindless dreck. But I do say that even buried within the art of those whose music we revile, the music which zooms up the charts inexplicably like funky swamp gas into your nostrils, is gold waiting to be mined. Maybe it's just a song that needed to bake in the oven of the AC charts for a time; maybe they wait while we mature, leaving the petty cliques of our youth (and their distinct sonic identities) behind. In at least one case, it's happened to me.
I hate the music of Celine Dion. Or at least I thought I did. She sang melodramatically, her lyrics usually don't make sense, (or too much sense) she's vaguely French, she married a (seemingly) creepy old guy, and you couldn't entirely be male and like Celine unless you were a foreigner (non-American). Most of her songs tempt me to throw away the supernatural virtue of hope. "Titanic" theme, I am looking squarely in your direction. Anyway, deep in my Celine closet, there are the 3 exceptions. Songs I like so much that it cancels out the other 20 or so that make me have ill will toward women. I really need to admit this. I'm not going to say all three. But this is the main one. I'm still not sure what this song is about, but I can say I adore this song. I keep waiting for one of today's stars to remake it. There's probably some poor fool who didn't know it was her, and I ruined it for him. Ah, well.
Dear Celine: most of your songs sound like rejects for a horrid "Beaches 2" soundtrack, with Renee Zellweger and Rosie O'Donnell in the lead roles for the movie. But those three I cherish are so great that I forgive you, I really do.
With Appreciation,
Jason Kettinger
Pete's sake, I need a drink, before I start liking Coldplay and Nickelback.
5 Thoughts On My Hebrew Final Exam

5. "What is the root of this word?"

4. "What if this word isn't in my lexicon? Not in BDB, my ginormous $30 lexicon."

3. "This is a horribly hard text."

2. "I want to punch someone in the face."

1. "I wish my name was C. John Collins."

P.S. It ain't over.
5 Thoughts For The Moment

5. Babyface is like a gateway drug; I'll bet on being a fan of Ken Hirai on the strength of this song.

4. Finish the post; you need sleep.

3. If you can be the best quarterback in football and the most overrated at the same time, Peyton Manning is it.

2. God bless the inventor(s) of Coca-Cola.

1. Happy Birthday, "JB." May your next 25 years be as criminally good-looking as these have been.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

5 Inconvenient Dangerous Thoughts I Had During A Hermeneutics/Scripture Discussion

5. "Maybe Scripture isn't perspicuous."

4. "What is the 'gospel'"?

3. "That hermeneutical spiral thing you keep mentioning is a load of crap, and too much a concession to the postmodernists anyway."

2. "Maybe there's so many denominations because our final authority was not intended to be used for that purpose."

1. "Maybe there's so many denominations because we are angry malcontents and schism-artists." [So are you ready to submit to the infalliable Roman Catholic Church, and the successor to St. Peter?--ed.] No. But I salute them for provoking the question, and for providing a semi-palatable, alluring answer, even if it is highly convenient. Sola Ecclesia is better than No Ecclesia. Which is really what you've left us with, "Uncle Marty." That's another thing--James White, are you listening?--You're darn skippy I'll believe something just because the church says so. How else do we know anything? I'm super-gratified that the Trinity can be found in Scripture, but I didn't see it until someone, sometime, pointed it out. Furthermore, since someone added that firm law at some point that believing that God is a Trinity is a necessary condition of our fellowship as Christians, every one of us will see it when we read Scripture, or the ignorant will be instructed. But don't vainly tell me it's plainly in there, like we're not implicitly standing on the shoulders of giants (the ones who taught us to believe it!) when we affirm it. There was a time when that wasn't obvious, wasn't clear, wasn't "plainly in the Scriptures." We say Sola Scriptura isn't "Scripture only," and that is wise, right, and noble. But what we fail to answer is, "Where does the tradition we are explicitly or implicitly using come from?" The corollary question is nearly as interesting: "What is the consistent standard we use to reject practices we find unscriptural?" I'd say the denomination question (aside from a sinful inability to love and get along) is because we are individually relying on different streams of tradition to augment our interpretations of Scripture--which in themselves are different enough to make things interesting, BTW--and so it goes. The great Timothy Butler says essentially that the Catholic notions of authority and submission, encapsulated in an infalliable Magisterium and Church, don't solve the hermeneutical wars, but rather move their locality from the exclusive realm of Scripture to the interpretation of Scripture and Tradition, or (if we shall grant our Romish bretheren's insistence that there is one source of revelation) Sacred Tradition. If we factor out all those Catholics willfully defying a dogma or moral teaching of the Church as those needing to repent, (though we won't always know) if we should find observable variance of opinion among them AND historical evidence of standards inconsistently applied, or completely unknown even in seed form, Protestants can legitimately lay the charge of ecclesial deism right back at the feet of the Catholic, because he is idealizing a form that has no real-time referrent, and no plausible explanation of organic development. Mathison, in "The Shape of Sola Scriptura," is making this claim, the opposite of Newman's famous word on history, that history requires a denial of certain Catholic dogmas as ahistorical. For my part, that question is open. But at the moment, church history looks more than a bit Catholic. There may well be ad hoc justifications of strange doctrines, contradictions, and other problems, but I am only beginning to ask seemingly important questions, and my theology to this point answers other questions. [Wow, point #1 turned into a tome--ed.] I never claimed I was economical with words!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dangerous Jamie is at it again. Seriously, stop waiting around to read Bryan's essay on ecclesial deism; No, I don't care if you don't think Catholics are saved. You're wrong, anyway. The ecclesial infalliability claim bothers me too, but alas, I haven't read through Newman, so I reserve judgment at this time. This is THE question of the new decade: Is it time to go home? Co-belligerence is a failure; I'm telling you, non-Christians see right through it, and they wonder if it's just a ploy for a political program to "save America from the heathen" [read: Democrats, socialists, gays, peaceniks, and college professors. Yes, I know I repeat myself. Granted, in all seriousness, the only group I'd have no gripe with is the peaceniks, but the point is, "How's licking the boots of the GOP working out for you?" But I digress.]. The giant elephant in the room is: Can we sustain a protest on points of doctrine which we cannot verify, even among ourselves? The elephant's name is Unfalsifiable. The other elephant in the room, the Catholic one, is named Unfalsifiable (By Reason Of Undue Deference). In other words, what I'm still saying to the friendly neighborhood Catholic apologist re: papal and ecclesial infalliability is, "Prove it, Sparky." Since I have experienced Jesus Christ personally, the agnostic option isn't available in response to all this unfalsifiability. No, I don't care that this is not a word. If 'W' and Woodrow Wilson can make up words, so can I, by golly. Note to my readers: "Normalcy" is not a word; it wasn't until 1915, and I will not recognize it as such. What are you going to do, Woodrow, invade my house? Ha! I digress. I punt for right now, until such time as I can give due consideration to Newman's essay on doctrinal development, with the attendant ability (allegedly) to tell an accretion from organic development in a Catholic context. In case anybody wants my opinion, I don't think justification would be the only hurdle to reunion. A Protestant Reformer transplanted to the late 19th-early 20th century might well view (the good ones, Luther or Calvin) the papal definitions as simply convenient means to codify some fairly controversial Marian doctrine. (No offense "Mom," in case I am completely wrong, and you can hear me.) Ahem. Anyway, Jamie, you are crazy in a good way. You know, you don't have to follow me down the path of complete lunacy. I am enjoying the side benefit along with Jamie of helping to cure God's people of their neo-Gnostic anti-sacramentalism and our position as men with profound physical disabilities. Poetic, ain't it?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

5 Thoughts On The Day In Football

5. Fear the Ravens.

4. The most important player on the Patriots is...Wes Welker? Who knew?

3. Good job remaining composed, Aaron Rodgers. I was wrong about you.

2. Ray Lewis is still the best linebacker in football.

1. Blitzing Kurt Warner is like wiping your buns and having a movement; just not smart.