Friday, May 30, 2003

 
I just can't quite picture this...a tree that grows meat. I can't see myself going out in the backyard to pick off enough to make some hamburgers for the family.

Link via Jason

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

 
George Grant posted some logomorphs on his blog. My favorite of which is:

HOMEPHOBIA (home-uh-foe-bee-uh) n. 1. An irrational fear of all things domestic. 2. A prejudicial bias against intact families and their ordinary lives. 3. The only practical way to get ahead in this world.

Of course, this phobia can be found nearly anywhere you turn -- especially at the office. On the other hand, I'll coin a logomorph of my own...one that is quite appropriate for the Mary Pride crowd:

HOMEPHILIAC (home-uh-feel-ee-ak) n. 1. One who REALLY loves all things domestic, especially when accompanied by a strong fear and suspicion of all things that are not domestic. 2. One who enjoys both looking like and living like a character right out of Little House on the Prairie. In extreme cases, the degree to which one embraces homephilia comes to be the measure and criterion for judging the depth and maturity of others' Christian faith.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

 
Wish I could write like Roberto Rivera -- penetrating analysis, good sense of humor, familiar and profound at the same time, all in two pages. Here's a link to one of his articles from Touchstone Magazine on marriage in which he shares this anecdote regarding the Eucharist (which will go in my sermon illustration file):

Flannery O’Connor once wrote a friend about a meeting she had attended with "big intellectuals." One of these big intellectuals was the lapsed Catholic writer Mary McCarthy. The subject turned to the Eucharist, whereupon McCarthy said that "she thought of [the Eucharist] as a symbol and implied it was a pretty good one." To which O’Connor replied, "Well, if it is a symbol, to hell with it." As she told her friend, what McCarthy regarded as a mere symbol "is the center of existence for me. All the rest of life is expendable."

Monday, May 26, 2003

 
Another quotable excerpt from Mars Hill Audio Journal (Vol. 57). Ken Myers was once asked what he thought of seeker-friendly worship services and, playing the comedian, he replied, "As long as they're part of martyr-friendly churches, I'm quite sympathetic with them."

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

 
I thought this was a rather insightful comment by Steve Bruce, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen, from a recent Mars Hill Audio Journal (Vol. 57) interview:

When people get to invent their own gods they invent easy gods that demand very little of them.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

 
It's probably a little early to be struttin' and boastin' and talkin' trash (especially if it will all result in larger portions of crowthat I'll have to eat later on), but I can't help myself. Athlon Sports, publisher of college football preview guides, is daily revealing and then previewing their picks for the top 25 teams in the country. Well they've got Purdue as #19. They make a pretty good case that would seem impressive even to an unbiased fan.

For instance Athlon points out that Purdue joins Michigan as the only Big Ten team to compete in a bowl in each of the last six seasons -- not too shabby considering the likes of Big Ten powers like Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin who failed to achieve such consistency. Purdue also led the Big Ten in both Total Offense and Total Defense last year.

On offense Purdue has two fine quarterbacks in Kyle Orton & Brandon Kirsch who both took a significant number of snaps last season. John Standeford & Taylor Stubblefield were the Big Ten's top two receivers last season and they're both back. Last season Standeford and running back Joey Harris became the first tandem in Purdue history to produce over 1,000 yards receiving & rushing, respectively, in the same season (though, notably in Purdue's most recent trip to the Rose Bowl [2001], Purdue had a 1,000 yard receiver in Vinny Sutherland while running back Montrell Lowe wound up only two yards short of a thousand).

On defense the Boilers return their top three tacklers, their top two pass defenders and their whole front four on the defensive line -- including All-American candidate and Purdue career interception leader Stu Schweigert.

On the downside Purdue led the Big Ten in turnovers and lost several very close games. Possibly most important of all, Purdue's FG kicking was atrocious last season and would have put several of those close games on ice. If this isn't solved come fall--and it's not looking too good after spring practice--I'm afraid we'll continue to lose some more close ones this season.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

 
Brian's back, Mark's back...I guess I'll start blogging regularly again. Those last two entries made me realize I miss blogging.

 
Roberto Rivera's excellent article drew my attention to a disturbing and disappointing piece by Daniel Harrell in Regeneration Quarterly called There's No Such Thing as Premarital Sex. In that article Harrell, an Associate Minister at Park Street Church in Boston, reveals that whereas ten years ago he would refuse to marry a couple who was sleeping together, today when he discovers a couple is living together he says, "I'm glad you're getting married. Let's set the date."

There are a number of problems with Harrell's reasons for his position most of which are ably handled by Rivera and by a response in RQ by Rachel Schuchardt, the latter is followed by response from Harrell.

I'm very concerned about this teaching and after doing a very minimal amount of poking around the Park Street Chuch website, it looks as though this teaching is based on Gordon Hugenberger's views as at least partly spelled out here. The thing that I think is so screwy here is the idea articulated both by Harrell & Hugenberger that goes like this...

Hugenberger: "How exactly can the same act be disgusting yesterday, moments before the wedding, but beautiful and God-pleasing today?"

Harrell: "It was as if some sort of magical transformation was going take place at the altar whereby all that I was now declaring bad about sex would suddenly—seconds later—be virtuous."

Maybe I'm just dense or missing the point, but it seems rather simple to me. The same act--sexual intercourse--that is a good (in fact, I think it's a marvelous!) creation of God, is sinful and harmful and unfaithful when it is abused. This is no slam on sex, as if it points out a defect or insufficiency in God's creation of it. Fermented drink is a good creation of God. Wine & beer can be consumed and enjoyed to the glory of God, but the same creationally good alcohol can become disgusting, harmful, sinful when it is consumed unto drunkenness, for that is an abuse of God's good gift.

I get their point about the potency of sex, which I largely agree with, that sex creates marital bonds or marital-like bonds--Hugenberger says all sex is marital sex, premarital sex is a misnomer, sex (I'm assuming he means sexual intercourse) constitutes a husband wife relationship, period, "you touch it, you bought it". However, I'm a little uncomfortable in saying that sexual intercourse constitutes marriage, in that I think that is a little too reductionistic. I do believe that the unmarried couple who engages in sexual intercourse and then does not follow through with marriage experiences a "little divorce" or a divorce-like experience, because they "played married."

Granted I've only read a couple short statements by these two, but I think Hugenberger & Harrell are mistaken here, and though they've tried to qualify and limit their position, I think it's fundamentally problematic and departs from sound biblical teaching. Hugenberger is a good scholar and I'm a little surprise to find him committing what seems to me to be a silly error. If anyone wants to point out how I've not sized this up properly or present a fuller or more nuanced presentation of this position I would appreciate it--I want to be fair--but at this point I'm not seein' it.

 
I have tremendous admiration for Peter Leithart and always benefit from what he has to say on nearly any topic. Leithart has written a wonderful little article for the brand spankin' new Meshereth Magazine. Leithart cuts through much of the fluff surrounding the emphasis on community by pointing out that what is often the result of an emphasis on community actually ends up being quite self-serving and indeed a denial of the nature of Christ's church:

We can hole up in our little ghettos and wait for the storm to pass. We can nurture community life on a small scale, and leave the world to do what it likes, which is mainly to go to hell.

This is a snare, and a foolish, dangerous one. It is foolish because it perpetuates the modern heresy that confines the church to a private sphere. When we act as if Christian community is a "safe haven" in a heartless world, we are making common cause with the secularists, who are only too delighted to let us indulge our infantile communal fantasies in private, so long as we leave the public world to the (inevitably secular) grownups.


To the extent that retreat and withdrawal are seen as part and parcel of the nature of the church and its koinonia, the church departs from the biblical understanding of and vision for the church. Engagement, which is not of the world, but is most certainly in it, is absolutely necessary and that engagement will, at times, be quite costly:

This makes it impossible for us to think of Christian community as a calm harbor protected from the raging sea of secularism. On the contrary, it forces on the church and her members perspectives on world politics that will frequently be at variance with dominant political perspectives -- sometimes so much at variance that Christians will have to pay with their blood.

Leithart at this point steers toward the implications of this kind of an understanding for our political thinking and action--which is a legitimate and necessary application of the nature of the church that he's laying out here. Without neglecting this, I think it is just as important, if not more so, for the church to recover a biblical mind and a biblically faithful practice of mercy and compassion. The way the church often does community ends up being more of a withdrawal from the world in order to protect our own interests, which renders the church basically irrelevant. I don't mean irrelevant in the sense of not winding up on the NY Times besteller list or the Billboard charts or even the Fortune 500. Instead I mean irrelevant more in terms of unneccessary. Generally I don't think our neighbors (my neighbors included) see the church as having anything to do with their plight. Much as the first two passersby who retreated to the other side of the road and left their beaten and bloodied neighbor in the ditch, I'm afraid we don't offer much to our beaten and bloodied neighbors who are desperately in need of our care. There's an irreducible Samaritan element that ought to be exemplified by Christ's followers, that is to live on behalf of their neighbors, to put their neighbors' interests ahead of their own. This Samaritan (read Christlike) element must be part of our understanding and practice of community or it is to the extent that this is lacking misshapen and in need of biblical correction.

If Meshereth can maintain the standard of excellence set by their first offering then I'm indeed excited to see them enter the webzine fray.

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