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A minor


Sunday, August 31, 2003

Rus & Muller, Sabbath & Bread

I just followed a link to the blog of a fellow named Rus (who left a comment at Christin's) and, from there, a link to a book he's reading by Wayne Muller, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (Doubleday, 2000). Since one of my weird hobbies is reading Sabbath theology, I was and am very curious about this book. Have any of you read it or anything about it? I did a Google search on Wayne Muller, from which I learned that he's a Harvard Divinity grad and the founder of Bread for the Journey International, an organization devoted to "nurturing neighborhood philanthropy." All in all, some interesting looking stuff.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Sydney/Hard Eight Story Ending

For those of you who have seen Sydney/Hard Eight, do you find the end of the film to be a satisfying conclusion to the story? If so, how do you see it?

Note: Spoilers below; highlight to read.

Just to refresh your memory if it's a been a while, Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) kills Jimmy (Samuel L Jackson). Then, the last time we see him, Sydney is at the Atlantic City café, where he met John in the beginning. I assume the significance of his return to Atlantic City is simply that he is finally able to go home, now that [a] (Jimmy's) knowledge of his past no longer poses a threat and [b] John (John C Reilly) is on his own, married and all grown up. Surely Sydney hasn't resumed his former life as an Atlantic City gangster (has he?); he's too old and wise for that now (isn't he?).

I love this film, but I'm not entirely sure what to make of the ending. Any thoughts?

More spoilers:

An interesting thing I noticed while watching it this time is that $6,000 creates the narrative bookends. In the beginning, John needs $6,000 to bury his mother, and in the end, Sydney pays Jimmy $6,000 in blackmail money.

Could it be...a chiastic structure?

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Warning: Infrequent Posting Ahead

My apologies to all of you who read this blog faithfully, expecting us to have something smart to say each and every day. I always hate to let you down, but I simply haven't had time this week, and I probably won't have much more time next week. But we'll see. We can always hope.

I've had many recent adventures I could relate to you - like Monday's, when Tim and I drove Emeth to the airport in Seattle and Tim skipped out on the ride home, but not before stealing my (borrowed) cell phone so that I'd have no means of communication when I pulled over at a rest area after midnight, exhausted, to take a short nap and kill my battery while I rested. Okay...I wasn't planning on telling that much, but you know Jack Kerouac's rule, "Don't Backspace"...or something like that. Anyway, I'll have to relate my other adventures later because I just got home from work and I'm tired. I think I'll go watch Hard Eight, a PT Anderson film I haven't seen in a while. Until next time, I remain


jon :: link :: comment ::

Sunday, August 24, 2003

"You Are My Sunshine" or "Give Me Louisiana"

I haven't spent much time in Baton Rouge itself, but this great post of Shannon's makes me miss home. A few years ago I never thought I'd say this, but I look forward to the day I live in Louisiana again.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, August 23, 2003


I recently found a good deal on domains (from VoxDomains.com), so I bought Aminor.us, which is currently set to forward to this Blog*Spot blog. However, I'm not sure it's working consistently. Sometimes it forwards; sometimes it doesn't. Feedback?

jon :: link :: comment ::


Matt Wilkins called tonight, and we talked about this and that for well over an hour. At one point in the conversation, his brother Bray came up, and I asked him how Bray's summer opera internship in Boston went; Matt said fine, and mentioned something about Bray's time in Falmouth (pronounced "FOUL-muth"). Being familiar with British and New England pronunciation - and not being familiar with Cape Cod geography or opera workshops - I supposed that, here, we were actually talking about a real live place spelled, "Foulmouth."

"FOUL-muth? As in...Foul-MOUTH?" I laughed.

"Uh, yeah, that's what it's called," Matt said, but with a sudden hint of doubt in his voice.

I let it go, thinking that maybe someone was playing a joke on him, or that maybe some artsy-punk students had decided to name their own "new school," but nope, Matt was right. I did some Googling, and came up with this article and this article, which led me to the College Light Opera Company in - lo and behold - Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA.

Well, I'll be.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

David Bahnsen on the AAPC "Heresy"

Here's an interesting piece from the Covenant Media Foundation website.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Bledsoe's Eccesiological Vision

Below are the first two paragraphs of a "Vision Statement" that Pastor Rich Bledsoe has written for his church in Boulder:

About every 500 years, the church undergoes a radical paradigm shift. Almost 500 years ago, Martin Luther sparked the Reformation in reaction to the Roman Catholic Church. This spawned numerous denominations, and split the church asunder. We are now near the end of that era, and God is beginning to do something new. The church, which has been split in order to preserve the truth, is now being re-united in order to restore universality. What was gained in the Reformation is now being taken up into a larger covenant renewal. It appears that the means whereby God is recreating His church is as a METROPOLITIAN CHURCH as opposed to a DENOMINATIONAL church. This is closer to original New Testament picture. In the New Testament, the church is referred to as "the church at Ephesus," or "the church at Rome," or "the church at Corinth," even though it may have been comprised of many individual congregations. Likewise, the church is once again moving toward becoming a metropolitan church. We must begin to view the church as "the true city within the city" and the leadership of the church are the true bishops of the whole city.

A thousand years ago, St. Patrick, and many other missionaries entered demon infested lands populated by pagans who animistically worshipped the gods of the forest. The missionaries offered protection against the fierce and terrible gods that enslaved the people. Today, the bishops of each city must offer protection against the new gods. The background is no longer the dark forest or jungle, but the jungle of modern city. Demons no longer inhabit rocks and trees, but the "works of our own hands," our modern technology and our rational constructs. Modern people, both the man on the street and the leader of the city, need new spiritual protection, orientation and direction, and the church and its leaders are those who offer all of this now, just as the early missionaries did in their own context. We do not believe that denominations are going to disappear, but that they are going to become less significant as God does a new thing in the city with the metropolitan church.
For what it's worth, this is identical to my own ecclesiological vision.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, August 18, 2003

Must Be Spoiled

I remember my dad working an 80-hour week from time to time, and not all that long ago. Last week I worked about 45 hours, and (granted, 90% of those hours were stress-filled) I can't imagine having worked much more. It's a busy time of year at Kinko's - but I'm sure my dad's pharmacies were busy, too. I must be a wimp. In the perks department, though, I got a $25 gift certificate. I also went back to the full beard because being at work all the time requires shaving every day. Yep...must be spoiled.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Sweet Baby James

Tonight, we had the pleasure of meeting little Madeline James. Deacon may try to tell you what a beautiful baby he has. Well, he ain't lying. She has long delicate fingers, lots of dark hair, and the cutest nose. I held her in my arms and watched as she slowly drifted off to sleep. For a fleeting moment, I wanted to run out of the room and take her home with me. I guess that's why the hospital placed a small alarm on her ankle. It's people like me that make these things a necessity.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Braaten Quote 3

After delineating George Lindbeck's "two camps on how to read Luther and the Reformation" - the constitutive and the corrective (the constitutive camp saying, "If there is a Lutheran question, there must also be a Lutheran answer, and where better to look for the authentic word than in the writings of Luther himself?" and "Didn't Lutheranism begin with Luther?" while the corrective camp "assumes continuity with the mainstream of Western Catholic tradition, except where Luther indicates certain doctrinal and institutional developments are in open conflict with Scripture.") - Braaten writes:

The difference between the constitutive and corrective views underlies the pronounced disagreements among Lutheran theologians in America today. The evangelical catholic movement is clearly on the corrective side of the debate. The Reformers were not Protestants and did not, in any way, resemble modern Protestantism. Modern Protestantism is largely the outcome of the various reducing diets administered by four hundred years of scholasticism, pietism, rationalism, revivalism, romanticism, idealism, and historicism. Barth called modern Protestantism a heresy. It is not the legitimate heir of the Reformation. Ecclesiologically it has become the illegitimate offspring that, by almost every criterion of church doctrine and practice, exists in betrayal of the founding confessions and catechisms of the Reformation.
And, in the next paragraph, he continues:

The term evangelical catholic is itself not new. I do not know with whom it originated. Söderblom used it when he recommended that the three main blocs of world Christianity be called Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Evangelical Catholic. The word catholic, he argued, should not be reserved for any one church. After all, the word appears for a reason in the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed that all orthodox Christians and churches confess. (Mother Church, pp 86-7)
Yeah, there's more where that came from.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Episcopal Threshold

Sorry for my recent posts' overwhelming "Episcopal controversy" theme...but, hey, who asked you to read this blog anyway? I see that we now have a banner ad for www.AnglicanGrapevine.org/Episcopal Shield.org's "Schism" pages. Here's what I want to know: Why are all these "traditional" Episcopalians just now (if I may use the vernacular) getting pissed?! How long did they complacently permit the ordination of openly gay priests and tolerate the consecration of closet gay bishops? "These pretzels are making me thirsty!"

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Return of the Geek

Once again I am succumbing to the allure of school supplies. This happens every year around this time. The stores bring out the cute new notebooks, pencils, and binders and I am sucked right in. I'm particularly drawn to anything with bright stripes or mod flowers. It doesn't matter that I have been out of school for years. Seriously, how many iridescent pencil cases and glue sticks am I going to use these days? You know, I think this is why I always liked school so much. There is something to be said for a clean virgin notebook. Opening it for the first time, carefully marking in it with a sharp new pencil (no pens please - they bleed onto the other side of the sheet), never ever crossing the margin on either side, and of course only writing on the front of each sheet. Do you see what forces I'm dealing with here? To satisfy myself (somewhat), I settled for a bold striped ironing board that was in the school section. Baby steps, baby steps.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, August 11, 2003

Leithart's Exhortation

At the beginning of the worship service at Trinity Reformed Church, Dr Peter Leithart gives an exhortation. Here is yesterday's:

This week, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) confirmed Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual priest, as New Hampshire's bishop. In a separate measure, the bishops also affirmed that ceremonies blessing homosexual and lesbian unions were "an acceptable practice within the church."

The magnitude of these events for the Anglican churches is incalculable. From all over the world, Anglican archbishops, bishops, priests, and theologians condemned the action as unbiblical, contrary to the historic teaching of the church, and even contrary to recent decisions of the Anglican churches. Even within the US, many of the bishops refused to return to the meeting of the house of bishops after the vote was taken. Though some are diplomatically talking about "realignment," the reality is that schism threatens the Anglican churches.

It is easy for us to dismiss these events from our concerns. It's not our problem, we think. We are not Episcopalians, and we are in a church and in a denomination that would never countenance sodomy. Some of us left liberal denominations, and think that in doing so we left these problems behind. That is not a Christian response, that is a sectarian response. It is our problem. Many congregations of ECUSA may be synagogues of Satan, and many may be rapidly becoming so. But the churches of the Anglican communions are churches of Jesus Christ, the members wear the same baptism as you do, they are brothers and sisters, members of the same visible body of Christ. We can't pretend to have nothing to do with them, for when one member of the body suffers, we all suffer.

The Bishops' decision, and similar events in other churches, show us just how desperate the church's situation is in our day. Large segments of the church in America and in other parts of the world are ruled by men who lack the most elementary moral discernment, who refuse to submit to the clear teaching of Scripture, and who have deliberately placed themselves at odds with the catholic witness of the church throughout the centuries. A large segment of the church is ruled by people who hearing cannot hear, who seeing cannot see.

What can we do? One obvious thing is to join in prayer with faithful brothers and sisters in the Anglican churches - and there are millions around the world. And Mary's song in Luke 1 gives us some hints about what to pray for. Mary lived in a time when Israel was ruled by Romans, and, even worse, by the Idumean King Herod and wicked priests. When she heard that the Lord was giving her a son who would take David's throne, she rejoiced not only for her good fortune, but for the good fortune of Israel. She rejoiced because the Lord was beginning to scatter the proud, to put down the mighty from their thrones, to send the rich empty away. We can make that our prayer for the whole church, that the Lord would throw down the proud from their high places and exalt the humble poor. We should pray for God to act, and to judge.

On the other hand, the fact that such men rule a portion of Christ's church is itself a judgment of God. God often judges His people by giving them wicked rulers. And it is a judgment on the whole body of Christ, not merely on ECUSA. So, our prayers should not only be prayers that God would act and judge, but prayers of confession and penitence. When we model our prayers on Mary's song, we must do so in sackcloth and ashes.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Sunday, August 10, 2003

ECUSA and Denominationalism
Is it just me, or does it seem odd, historically speaking, that the delegates to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) had the final say in the election of Gene Robinson? I don't know enough about the history of episcopal elections, but I tend to think it would be better if it were A) solely a diocesan or presbyterial or local regional matter, B) a matter for the archbishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion, or even C) ultimately a matter of state, as with the Church of England. As it is, ECUSA's procedure looks more like American denominationism than historic episcopacy to me.

Of course, by option A, New Hampshire would still have a bishop who's just as gay - and that would be too bad - but I seriously doubt I'll ever live in New Hampshire. Option A might, however, mitigate against the tendency of many fellow conservative evangelicals to scorn all ECUSA churches across the board - even the orthodox parishes in ECUSA, some of which are farther from New Hampshire than Greece is from China.

As for option B, ECUSA couldn't care less about the other archbishops, or so it seems.

And we all know that option C just isn't an option in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. And that's cool with me because I don't think national churches fit with the biblical ideal (the Westminster Assembly notwithstanding). However, at least in theory, national churches don't bother me as much as national denominations that pretend to be churches. To explain why, I'll copy a comment I recently wrote on Shawn Roberson's blog:

I find it interesting that the Bible does not use the word "church" singular to refer to regional or national bodies. (Of course, there is the bride of Christ, the church throughout the world and throughout history that will be spotless at the last day, but she transcends regions and nations.) Throughout the NT, the usage is consistent: there is one church per city (e.g. the church at Corinth, at Ephesus, etc), which is made up of smaller churches, "from house to house." Any geographical unit larger than a city is spoken of in terms of "churches" plural (e.g. the churches in Galatia, in Asia Minor, etc).

So, when denominations or church bodies refer to themselves with the word "church" singular, they miss the biblical pattern. Based on this, I maintain that the ECUSA, despite its name, is not a church, but an association of churches - i.e. a sort of club. And for that reason I would judge churches/dioceses in the ECUSA, even now, on a case by case basis.
John Frame, in his book, Evangelical Reunion (Baker, 1991), makes the same point in the last paragraphs of chapter three.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Braaten Quote 2

Here's the conclusion to the lengthy quote I posted previously from Carl Braaten's Mother Church:

The Holy Spirit is the personal presence in the church of God's eschatological future in Christ. He is the Paraclete, the promised comforter. Can we deny that Christians have often appropriated the Paraclete to keep themselves comfortable in the establishment - as long as it favors them? The Spirit has often been invoked as a nonrevolutionary principle in the church, keeping it quiet and submissive. The church must be on guard lest the appeal to the Spirit becomes a way to keep Christians warm inside their ecclesiastical huddles.

The Spirit, rightly understood, is not a principle of comfort for those who have it made. He is the fire of the spiritual movement that is spreading around the world in the name of Christ and the chief source of inspiration in the advocacy of a world-transforming truth. Literally, parakaleo means "called to the side of." This suggests that we can think of the Spirit as the principle of one-sidedness, not the presider over the lukewarm middle. The Spirit calls people to one side, to take a side; this call can very well spell offense to the trustees of the establishment. In the history of the church, the Spirit has not only been the comfort of the conservatives but also the fire of the radicals. In retaliation, the ruling classes always erect a cross for those who threaten their positions of power and prestige. The Spirit is the defender of those who take up the cause of the Man who died on the cross outside the gate. Thus he became an outsider so that all those outside may be given a place inside the kingdom of God. (pp 57-8)
At least one more Braaten quote to come. Stay tuned.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Episcopal Sermon

A couple weeks ago, John Carswell blogged, "anyone interested in the current controversy(ies?) in the episcopal church should read this sermon by our rector, rick belser...."

I just read it, and John is right: If you're interested, you should read it (especially if you read the article George Grant linked, "Are the Good Times Really Over?" by Bruce Green).

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

"The Pelagian Drinking Song"

I had never seen read this great song until my friend from Monroe, Rob Maddox, M.D., forwarded it to me. By the way, I haven't read much else by Hilaire Belloc. Any suggestions on where to start?

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, August 4, 2003

I'm Spain

Go take the Country Quiz (via Shannon and Micah), which is exceptionally well designed. Or maybe it's just that I like the results. I played classical guitar pretty seriously when I was younger, and I can at least say I developed a taste for Spanish music that will never die.

You're Spain!

You like rain on the plain, as well as interesting architecture and a diverse number of races and religions. You like to explore a lot [...].

jon :: link :: comment ::

The Independent Roomies

No sooner does Rick quit than Tim comes back.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Rethinking Ovulation

Here's an article worth reading (via Berek): "No 'safe' time to avoid pregnancy: 'Flabbergasted' scientists find they've been all wrong on ovulation."

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, August 2, 2003

"Louisiana Black Church Will Pay Whites To Attend"

Jeremy Sexton sent me this link to a story in USA Today. (I see that Aaron blogged another version of the same story.)

I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing. On the one hand, I am extremely sympathetic with Bishop Caldwell's cause. On the other hand, his means seem pretty base. Regardless, I'll have to go check it out one day when we're in Shreveport having dinner at the casino. A nice match, don't you think?

I don't want to offend anyone, but I wonder how this would be received if the ethnicities were reversed. Wouldn't it hearken back to the days of slavery, days that are still a little too close for comfort? If so, this just goes to show that notions of ethnic equality must be nuanced, taking a variety of factors into account. If our thinking is too black & white when it comes to cross-ethnic relations, we are bound to fail in considering one another more highly than ourselves. For instance, if I'm white and it bothers me that black churches can do this but white churches can't, I'm barking up the wrong tree altogether.

jon :: link :: comment ::

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