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A minor


Thursday, July 31, 2003

Anglican Rosaries?

So I've got two rosary banner ads right now...how 'bout that? I've never been part of a High Church (despite what some in Moscow or Monroe may think of themselves), and I've never had anything to do with a rosary. I'm not necessarily against them, but I always associated them with Roman Catholics (who, by the way, I assume are real Christians - so much so that I'm almost ashamed to even add such a clarification). Anyway, if I may borrow Seinfeld's phrase: What is the deal with Anglican rosaries?

jon :: link :: comment ::

Bay or Key?

Have any of you bought an external Zip drive or a USB memory key lately? I'd like to buy one or the other, and I was hoping maybe someone's recently done the price shopping for me.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The High-Tech Savvy Traveler

I finally got my first laptop on this trip. Now I'm not only "the savvy traveler," I'm the high-tech savvy traveler (back and forth from Moscow and Monroe over and over, LOL). Anyway, this laptop has made my day even more productive than a usual day of flying. Not only have I re-read a section in Leithart's Against Christianity, started Rosenstock-Huessy's The Origin of Speech, and read a couple articles in Southwest Airlines' Spirit magazine (one on business networking and one on Hep C) - I checked my email in Houston and wrote a blog tome, which I'm now posting in Sacramento!

I need a nap.

jon :: link :: comment ::

An Open Letter To My Friend, Ed Lang*
Although you did not address either of your comments to me, please allow me to reply to you anyway. At the outset, I apologize for the length of this post, but I have time to kill on the plane, I seem to have some explainin' to do in the wake of my Law and Love post, and after all it is my blog. :-P

First of all, I am in complete agreement with you about Mr Wilson's faithfulness in family life and kingdom building. Moreover, I'm not sure how you read my post as a personal attack on him. I did not call him an infidel; I merely stated that some of his publications - not all or even most - embarrass me.

Second, I should make explicit that embarrassment does not necessarily imply a lack of love or respect. Some of the people we love the most also embarrass us the most. (Think about family members.) Also, I agree with many of Mr Wilson's criticisms in Law and Love of Gary North's rhetoric, all the while maintaining a great deal of respect for Dr North. Both are men whose brilliance, faithfulness, and accomplishments have far exceeded my own. And, the publications of both men still embarrass me at times.

Third, I realize that criticizing Mr Wilson hits close to home since many of us are indebted to his teaching and pastoring. I also realize that my public criticisms of Mr Wilson may seem inappropriate, coming as they do from a young man to his elder. Just so you know, though, Mr Wilson and I have discussed these matters at great length in private, and he knows that he has not answered all of my objections in a way that has satisfied me. Faced with this impasse, he has suggested that I am morally obligated to simply side with him despite my disagreement; and yet, the main reason I am not Roman Catholic is that I do not embrace the doctrine of the infallibility of the magisterium, so why would I go a step further and embrace some sort of Protestant super-magisterium? What ever happened to being a Berean?

Fourth, if anyone were to insist that I write a fuller critique of Mr Wilson's rhetoric, two things would come to mind: 1) Law and Love is fourteen pages long, and its treatment of Jim Jordan's hermeneutic is, objectively speaking, some of the worst criticism I've ever read. Mr Wilson quotes no more than a few sentences from Jordan's commentary on Judges, and proceeds to misinterpret Jordan and build a two-page straw man. 2) How long did Credenda readers complain before Mr Wilson promised A Serrated Edge? Then, once it was promised, how long was it before the book was actually published? I suppose I could refer any naysayers to "my forthcoming book," A Sharp, Double, Plain Edge, and then, a year later, publish 100-some pages with conspicuously few footnotes. But I'm not going to do that. Both of these points are just to say that, in all of this, I am not going to be held to a publishing standard or schedule that Mr Wilson himself has not even met.

Fifth and finally, I do not intend to start a lengthy debate, either public or private. I am only making a simple observation and comparison: Mr Wilson's rhetorical stance, in my opinion, has a lot in common with Dr North's. And, in the next breath, despite some definite disagreements, I have tons of respect and affection for both Mr Wilson and Dr North.

* Ed Lang is headmaster of Auburn Avenue's Geneva Academy in Monroe, LA. He is married to my old friend, Heidi, and together they have two daughters and a child on the way. Ed and Heidi are both graduates of New St Andrews College.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Last Night

Pint nighters and karaoke crowd, sorry I didn't make it last night. I had to get ready to leave town - and Hollie & Ethan, who are staying another week. I know I missed a good time.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, July 28, 2003


For those who don't know, my comments are working - it's just that the number of comments isn't showing on the front page. I'm sure Barlow will have it fixed soon.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Law and Love Quote
Now that I have an occasional banner ad from Still Waters Revival advertising a Gary North book (strangely enough), here's a quote from Doug Wilson's booklet Law and Love: Constructive Criticism for Reconstructionists (Moscow: Ransom Press, no date, p 7), which I finally saw for the first time today, thanks to my father-in-law's extensive Reconstructionist library:

In his essay "Confrontation With Bureaucracy," Mr North concludes an otherwise admirable paragraph with a strange version of Christian exhortation - "Sue the bastards!"

Confronted with this, Gary North could no doubt reply that the individuals to whom he was referring were not legitimate sons of God, and were in fact bastards. Fine. True enough. But this just demonstrates further his difficulty in carrying a biblical tune - and also demonstrates that he may in fact be tone deaf.
And here's the kicker:

I do not say this because I disagree with Gary North (although I frequently do), but because it is an embarrassment to agree with him. And because Gary North has a good theological mind, it not uncommon for Christians to find themselves in frequent agreement with the content of what he says. They therefore find themselves frequently embarrassed by the way he carries on. [Emphasis original]
You know, I've been pretty embarassed by some of the things Doug Wilson has published over the last year or so (e.g. the familiar jabs in Credenda and a "Short Credo" or two on the Christ Church website), and A Serrated Edge hasn't suddenly made it all better. I wonder if Mr Wilson would (or could) write Law and Love again today?

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Conference Social Highlights

At some point during the long, lone drive back to Monroe today, I began a mental list of my conference highlights:

  • driving down with Nehemiah Shade, despite (or perhaps because of) our delayed departure, the torrential downpour from around Hattiesburg all the way to Niceville, etc
  • spending time with the Joel, Laurel & Claire
  • the lunch with Peter Leithart that became lunch with Peter Leithart, Rich Bledsoe, Jim Jordan, and John Barach
  • smoking a couple cigarettes with one of the speakers, whom we will call "Dill JeBong" (not to be confused with occasional blogger, The Rt Rev Bill DeJong)
  • catching up with good ol' Chris Nix, who was kind enough to let me stay with him
(Note that this is a list of social highlights. The lectures and liturgy were splendid, of course; I'm just not talking about them here.)

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Rich Bledsoe Stories
After the wonderful Vespers service last night at the conference (yes, I finally made it, thankfully), Rich Bledsoe was to give the evening talk. (Rich pastors Tree of Life Presbyterian Church in Boulder, CO, where he is also practically a chaplain to the city.) Tipping his hat to Joel's lectures on postmodernism, Rich decided to tell a few stories - stories from his work in Boulder. He talked about being "one of the pastors of Boulder" and what that means, and about how - together - they serve the city by ministering to, eg, their police chief, district attorney, and homeless shelter. I had heard about this ministry before, but it was great to hear more, as they say, from the horse's mouth. If you know of my own vision for citywide churches, you can imagine what an encouragement this was to me. I would highly recommend ordering the tape of this lecture from Biblical Horizons.

First, here's a link to my old post containing a lengthy Bledsoe quote that deals with stories - larger stories, in this case. Second, here's a link (actually another re-link) to a good article, "Is Your Church a Good Neighbor?" by Eric Swanson (CT Leadership Journal XXIV.2, 78), which mentions and quotes Bledsoe; scroll about two-thirds of the way down to the section heading, "The city is my parish." This article also happens to have been republished in the most recent Auburn Analecta, the newsletter of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, July 21, 2003


The first lecture of the BH conference is about to start, and I'm stuck in Monroe. I'm supposed to drive one of my in-laws' cars, which they put in the shop for some minor work before the trip. The mechanics said they would have it ready Saturday, but they didn't. The last word was tomorrow afternoon. What's worse, I offered to give Nehemiah Shade (Burke's son) a ride, so he's stranded here, too.

Ah well, it's the story of my life. (And people wonder why I'm always late....)

jon :: link :: comment ::

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Canon/Chaplain at Grace

Interestingly, Canon Gregg Riley, the rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Monroe, LA, is also an Army chaplain in the Kansas National Guard. I plan to worship at Grace this morning before services at Auburn Avenue, and I hope I will have opportunity to meet Father Riley. Though never a member of Grace, I grew up around it; in fact, I went to preschool there many moons ago, back in the days of St Christopher's. I am encouraged by the introductory statement on Grace's website:

Grace Episcopal Church is a traditional Anglican parish committed to the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Holy Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer. We are a family-oriented congregation which includes a Pre-K through Eighth Grade day school. As a diverse Christian family we strive to share Christ's love and teachings with all people by increasing our outreach to the community, fulfilling our baptismal vows, and strengthening our spiritual growth and commitment to each other.
The phrase "traditional Anglican" is significant, as are the emphases on Jesus, Scripture, and the prayer book. This makes me wonder if the Diocese of Western Louisiana might be, overall, a comparatively faithful diocese in the ECUSA. I can only hope so.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Braaten Quote 1

Here's a long quote from Carl Braaten, Mother Church (Fortress, 1998), pp 56-7, under the heading, "The Eschatological Horizon on the Church in History," in the chapter, "The Kingdom of God and the Church" [emphases mine]:

The church needs servants and signs of the union Christians have with Christ and the unity they hope to have with all humanity. The episcopal and Petrine offices, for example, can be affirmed by Lutherans under certain conditions [a note here points to his chapter, "The Episcopate and the Petrine Offices as Expressions of Unity," in Spirit, Unity, and the Church, by Wolfhart Pannenberg, Avery Dulles, Carl Braaten (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970), 89ff]. Lutherans can even highly appreciate them for the services they have traditionally rendered in calling attention to the importance of apostolic succession, in caring for the unity of the church, and in symbolizing the catholicity of the vision. These offices remind the church of its historicality; it must not let its eschatological vision make it a fugitive from history. The church is called by the gospel to the front line of world history, to bring light to the nations, and, always, to seek better social embodiment of the coming kingdom. The church needs the kinds of offices that are a force for unity among believers, that send them forward into world mission, that tie their memories to the holy events on which the church is founded, and that signal a wonderful future in which all the separated believers on this wretched planet will enjoy a rendezvous in the kingdom of God. If the episcopacy and the Petrine office have been betrayed into captivity, causing them to no longer function in these many respects, then the thing to do is to liberate them. I think that is all that Luther wanted. He did not want to forget about those in captivity but to free them for effective service under the gospel. The matter, in this regard, is not different for all the other structures of the church. The process of reform and renewal is continually needed to reorient them away from their authoritarian features and, instead, reorient them toward the image of the servant and an evangelical concept of leadership. "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all (Mark 10: 43b-44)."

The unity of the church can only be forged anew by putting the concern for the truth of the gospel ahead of the institutional structure of the church. A reunited church of the future, which would subordinate concern for a true preaching of the gospel to a form of organizational unity, could easily become the temple of Baal or the throne of the antichrist. The unity of the church cannot be guaranteed by the ecclesiastical office but only through sharing in the movement of faith that was inaugurated by the history of Jesus Christ. The norm of truth that counts in the church is the scriptural witness to God's revelation in the person of Jesus Christ.

If the kingdom of God is the starting point for the church's self-definition, the church will not withdraw behind a wall of privatized religion, sealing itself off from the social and political realms of life. The question about the political relevance of the kingdom and the mission of the church in the social realm is very much disputed today in many churches. There has been a tendency for the church to involve itself in the public sphere at the upper levels, lobbying for special privileges and immunities. This alliance of the church with the upper crust of society, or at least with the relatively advantaged middle class, is having bad repercussions on the church's mission to minorities and subcultures. The church tends to be part of the established order, joining the fight for the status quo against the struggle for a new order. Where should the church stand in the polarization that sometimes occurs between tradition and innovation? Again, the perspective of the kingdom offers a guideline.
I have more Braaten quotes to post over the next few days, so stay tuned.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Friday, July 18, 2003

"It's About Life"

I just read an article at CCL by Shawn Roberson, who happens to be in my blog roll. His article is about the life of the covenant in communion with God, which is so much richer than just rules and doctrine. Good stuff.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, July 17, 2003


Yikes! As of today, my baby is no longer a baby. Thankfully, we have another one on the way. Ready for round two.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

From Russia, With Disco

A couple links, just so I don't lose them:

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Five Years At Kinko's, Or, A New Bag

(How's that for a Puritan title?)

Yesterday I got a nice new Travelpro portfolio tote, courtesy of Kinko's for my fifth anniversary with them. Five years...that's hard to believe. Most of it has been part-time, but still, that's a long time. I started working at Kinko's in Monroe and then transferred to Moscow. Since then, at various times I've also worked in Pullman, in Spokane on a few occasions, and even back in Monroe during a summer or two.

Anway, they sent me a letter a few weeks ago with an address for a website from which I was to choose one of several gifts. I was impressed with the quality of all the gifts (a Bulova clock, a Coach leather CD case, a portable CD player, etc.). But I've been wanting a new carry-on/multi-purpose bag to replace the well-worn one I've been using (actually a camera bag that's been in my family for years now), and I'm quite pleased with this new one.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Friday, July 11, 2003

Happy Birthday!

Today is my sister's 20th birthday. You would be hard-pressed to find a sweeter, dearer girl than Annie. She is such a great person...and so fun to shop with :) I look forward to when we live nearby again. If any of you happen to see her today, be sure to give her a big hug for me. I hope you have a great day, Annie-boo!

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Sense of Place

Here are a couple interesting items on the feelings, attachments, etc., that have been collectively termed the "sense of place." First, "A Sense of Place" by William Ferris, former NEH chairman and director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. Second, a "sense of place" bibliography, prepared in conjunction with the Northwest Environmental History Symposium held in Pullman, Washington, August 1-4, 1996. I am primarily posting these so that I can find them later, but of course you can check them out, too.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Citywide Church
Today I was reminded of a provocative quote from "Post-Reformation Church" by Andrew Jones (the only one of my BlogTree parents with whom I have never even corresponded):

The City Church. Is God introducing a new chapter in Church History? Imagine Christians meeting in your area or city again in two places, just like in New Testament days: 1. "from house to house", decentralized in many housechurches, and 2. meeting repeatedly at a real big and central place, a modern version of "Solomons Colonade"; a big hall or stadium. In the houses they would authentically share lives together, live organic fellowship and thus be a true shopping window of God for their neighborhood. In the large citywide celebrations they would mark their unity in Christ, express the fact that they belong together, have a big festival together and allow as many housechurches as possible to click together for the big vision and take on the shape of a regional transdenominational gospel movement. That would, just like it did before, truly transform whole cities and regions through the gospel of the Kingdom of God. And nobody could deny that "you have filled Jerusalem with this teaching" (Acts 5:28).
Now I'm not a housechurcher. I don't think there's anything wrong with meeting for church in houses, but I don't think it's ideal for all situations, and I certainly don't think it's an any sort of NT obligation. I have appreciated the signature of Denver church planter, John White, especially the last part: "Every believer a church planter. Every home a church. Every church building a training center" [emphasis mine].

Back to Jones' quote, I think everything he says about "housechurches" can be applied to congregations. Try reading the paragraph again, substituting the word "congregation" for "house."

Wow. That's quite a vision.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Hittin' Where It Hurts

After rummaging through our closets and gathering stuff for a yard sale this weekend, I have come to the realization that we have a lot of junk and it comes with its own baggage. Every worn-out shirt holds special memories. Each scuffed shoe has a story to tell. I even came across notebooks and tests from high school (ok, so I might be a bit of a pack rat). It's hard but I am making myself part with the cherished items of my past. Goodbye, Tinkerbell tee. Goodbye, shiny purple purse. It's time to move on. *sob* Just think, for 25 cents, this could all be yours.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

"Now Gimme Some Candy!"

From Hilary Liftin, Candy and Me:
I like to believe the inventor of hard candies said, "Let's produce a candy for people to give away." Hard candies are for banks, real estate agencies, anywhere you want to offer candy but don't want people to be greedy. Put out Hershey's Hugs; they'll last a day. Line your lobby with Lemon Drops and you'll refill once a month. (Exceptions: butterscotches and root-beer barrels).

jon :: link :: comment ::


I finally registered at BlogTree. If you have a blog, go register; it's easy. I know that seven parents seems like a lot, but I was trying to be honest and thorough. Besides, seven is a number of completeness, so don't give me any reductionistic crap.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Sunday, July 6, 2003

Equilibrium and the Christian Polis

At church today, Canon Press gave out copies of Peter Leithart's new book, Against Christianity, which settled my afternoon plans: to devour as much of the book as possible.

On a related note, last night we watched Equilibrium, a fascinating, subversive film. The only puzzling thing is that I have not yet been able to nail down exactly what it is attempting to subvert. This came to mind while reading Against Christianity because the regime in Equilibrium is an all-encompassing, radical, and apparently global polis (albeit a frighteningly evil one). It can easily be seen as a counterfeit Church or people of God. But in the end, the counterfeit is revealed and destroyed, and so I am left asking questions: Why is the evil "emperor," to whom all must submit in blind faith, named "the Tetragrammaton" and called "Father"? Also, with the regime's persecution of "sense offenders," is the film trying to say that religion, or even the Christian faith, suppresses sense and emotion (a notion that is clearly false)?

Other things in the film are clearer. For instance, "Prozium," the emotion-neutralizing drug that everyone must take by law, is just too close to "Prozac" to miss. Also, the Grammaton Cleric is obviously the savior; he is even dressed in white garments when he goes to kill Father.

Ultimately, I am left wanting to see a sequel. I want to know how the ending plays out. I want to know what the true global polis, ushered in by the Grammaton Cleric, looks like. And I want to know if it would be more or less like the Christian polis.

Oh, and if you like martial arts action, the gun katas are awesome.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Here's Callie!

My quirky little sis has started a blog. Y'all should check it out.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Gene Rivers Interview

I have always admired Rev Gene Rivers, at least what I've seen of his work from afar. He seems to be a sort of Christian Godfather for his Boston area neighborhood. I recently found a provocative February 1998 interview with Rivers on the church in the inner city.

jon :: link :: comment ::

"The Preacher's Own Story"

I took Kristen's suggestion and started reading Real Live Preacher. (I also added him to my blog roll.) If nothing else, go read "The Preacher's Own Story." As Kristen warned, "the author uses profanity, so it might not be suitable for reading when your six-year-old is on your lap." Just a thought, but it also might not be suitable reading when your preacher is on your lap. I hope that's not the case, though (in more ways than one).

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Ho-hum Days

Things have been incredibly slow this week. In fact, the boredom was so bad that Ethan and I were nearly jumping out of our pants when Jon took us to Quiznos for a Tuscan chicken sub (which is delicious, by the way). I'd say one is pretty darn bored when a sandwich can elicit such excitement. Things might pick up tomorrow since we're having a BBQ with Jon's family and then enjoying the local fireworks show. If all else fails, we can always load up in the ol' Volvo and head out to Quiznos again.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Which Blog System?

A friend of mine has asked me to help him set up a blog. He wants something simple, so that all he has to do is write stuff and paste it on the web. Any recommendations on what system to use? I'd especially appreciate input from those of you who have experience with more than one system, whether Blogger, MoveableType, or something else.

jon :: link :: comment ::

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