Thursday, August 28, 2008

Luther on the first commandment

"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."

That is: Thou shalt have and worship Me alone as thy God. What is the force of this, and how is it to be understood? What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the whole heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together, faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.

Therefore it is the intent of this commandment to require true faith and trust of the heart which settles upon the only true God, and clings to Him alone. That is as much as to say: "See to it that you let Me alone be your God, and never seek another," i.e.: Whatever you lack of good things, expect it of Me, and look to Me for it, and whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, creep and cling to Me. I, yes, I, will give you enough and help you out of every need; only let not your heart cleave to or rest in any other." ...

(--Martin Luther in The Large Catechism)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Technocratic barbarians...

The Christian heirs to the classical tradition gave their own distinctive expression to the ultimate human need toward which all profitable human inquiry is directed: It is the need to know God.

The consequence of forgetting this need and the world of questions arising from it—of replacing these questions with the acquisition of technical competence or job training—is brutally clear. It is to risk producing computer programmers, scientists, business managers, doctors, and lawyers, who are at best technocratic barbarians. It is to place in the hands of succeeding generations ever greater power over their world and their fellow human beings, and to fail to teach them the ends to which this awesome power is to be used.

However much America—and the world—needs technically skilled workers and professionals, there can be no doubt of the critically greater need for liberally educated citizens and human beings, who can distinguish good from evil, justice from injustice, what is noble and beautiful from what is base and degrading.

--Christopher Flannery, “Liberal Arts and Liberal Education” (1998).

Friday, August 22, 2008

first the law, then gospel

"The road to the promised land runs past Sinai." (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

Above, Mt. Sinai behind St. Catherine's monastery. Below: the summit of Sinai.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Buddha and Christ

"In the course of my travels I have entered a number of Buddhist temples in different Asian countries. I have stood respectfully before a statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing around his mouth, serene and silent, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time, after a while, I have had to turn away. And in my imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness.

"The crucified one is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us, dying in our place in order that we might be forgiven. Our sufferings become more manageable in light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross, which symbolizes divine suffering.”

(John Stott, Why I Am a Christian, p. 63)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

1000 lost golf balls

Funny the things we remember. Some of the few lines of poetry I remember from junior high era were these in commentary on modern culture, from T S Eliot's "The Rock"...

"Here were a decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Parker Striped Duofold

One of my favorite, and nicest writing, pens is a Parker Striped Duofold, made between 1942 and 1948. I have the green and gold version (celluloid).

International week

Great week meeting our international students. Picnic on Thursday, furniture giveaway and delivery today. Met and talked with new students from:

  • China (Nan Jing, inner Mongolia, Hong Kong)
  • India (Mumbai, Ahmadabad)
  • Turkey (Istanbul)
  • Ghana (Volta region)
  • France (Nice)
  • Belarus
  • Finland

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Epitaph upon a Tyrant

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

(W. H. Auden, 1940)

There are respectable tyrants still today, and children are still dying in the streets.

Monday, August 11, 2008

No Time for Chance to Matter

Once upon a point of infinite density, Nothing that was Something went boom. Then there was Everything. Everything eventually named something 'Matter', the tragic character in our story. Sadly, Matter had no mind, yet this makes our tale or the more amazing!

Now matter had only one companion, the hero of our fable, a mysterious stranger of unknown origin called 'Chance'. Chance, though blind, was a brilliant artist. Chance taught mindless matter to paint and paint our pupil did. Matter painted a universe from centre to rim on the canvas of a vacuum. And lo, innumerable galaxies emerged filled with infinite wonders, beauty, order and life. The inspired brush strokes of ignorant matter, guided by the hands of blind Chance, created together a cosmic masterpiece. But as matter and chance were working away they failed to spot out villain called Time. Time crept in unnoticed back at the boom and was extremely wound up about being stirred from his sleep. Time determined there and then to 'wind down' again and thus rub the masterpiece out – as soon as he got hold of that chance! Chance, being blind, didn't see time coming and mindless matter was helpless to intervene.

Now, time ruins the painting little by little and brags that by Chance its just a matter of Time before the canvas is blank and the boom will swoon and everything that was Something will be Nothing again. Once more upon a pointless point of infinite nothingness, with no Time for Chance to Matter anymore.

(Joe Boot, from "Searching for Truth, Discovering the Meaning and Purpose of Life")

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 ESV)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hillsongs Live, "Healer"

This Hillsongs singer, Mike Guglielmucci, had just found out that he was suffering from cancer. He sat down and in tears with God, sang out this song from start to finish...

Friday, August 1, 2008

mlj on mp3

Finally!! Martyn Lloyd-Jones on mp3 download here.

Check out the daily reading here.

Here's the man... no, here's "the Doctor"...