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jon p. amos, hollie's
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Why "A minor"?
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A minor


Tuesday, September 30, 2003

We're Here

We're in Monroe.
We're glad.
We're tired.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Still Packing It In

Yesterday began with a role in "Amos & Sons Furniture Co." It's a part I've played before, but this was the real deal. You see, to keep our load more manageable, about a week ago we sold a lot of our furniture to church folks via the church email list. Berta (Lucy and Doug Jones' sister) bought a couple of our bigger items, but she hadn't been able to find anyone with a vehicle large enough to move them. However, since we picked up our 15-foot rental truck yesterday morning, and since my dad and a couple of my brothers were helping me all day, we were able to throw in a residential delivery at no extra cost!

Thanks to my dad, we now have most of our stuff loaded in the rental truck. Like I said about Hollie's dad, I don't know what we would have done without him. (By the way, Ethan and Granddaddy made it home to Grammie safe & sound; Ethan was good on the flight, and he's having a great time with Hollie's parents and siblings.)

Tuesday night, thanks to Johnny, we had something of a Lounge reunion for (yet another) going away party. The Lounge, for those of you who don't know, is what we call(ed) the house where, back in the day, several guys lived and paid rent (including The Booth, Robbie, Toby, Remy, Dave N, et al) and several other guys just hung out a lot but didn't pay rent (including Matthew, Dave K, Aaron Tripp, Gibbs, Johnny & Guido, Ethan Atwood, Paul, Deacon, myself, et al). Anyway, we - the local remnant of The Lounge (viz, Johnny, Ethan, Gibbs, Toby, Paul, and me; unfortunately, everyone assumed Deacon knew about the get-together, but he didn't, or so he claims) - met at The Garden for a drink and a game of pool, then went to the cemetery with beer and Mad Dog, and finally wrapped up the night reminiscing in the Mormon church parking lot, adjacent to the backyard of The Lounge. All told, we shared an evening of good times, great oldies.

I'm posting this in the wee hours, so I need to either get back to work or go to bed. Tomorrow's gonna be a long day. We hope to pull out by 1pm, but I have my doubts...so many little loose ends remain untied.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Packing It In

Thanks to Hollie's dad, we have most of our stuff packed. He started in the kitchen this morning, worked his way through Ethan's room, and just finished up the hall closets. I don't know what we would have done without him. He flew in Saturday night and leaves tomorrow, along with Ethan, the main reason for his trip. Ethan loves Granddaddy, so they should have a good day of flying tomorrow; plus, Grammie will be waiting for them when they arrive in Monroe. It will kill Hollie and me to be away from our little guy for the next four or five days, but he'll be better off skipping the cross-country drive this time around.

Yesterday, my parents had a going away party for us, which also turned into a birthday party for me. The Jameses, Leitharts, and Sumpters were all there to share the delicious coconut cake my sister made for me. Plus, I received some cool gifts: a bottle of Hog Heaven Red from the local winery, The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack, and a set of Calvin's Commentaries. We're really going to miss our family and friends in Moscow. Thankfully, though, the Jameses are planning a trip to the Monroe area for Thanksgiving and my family is planning an extended Christmas vacation in Monroe, so we'll get to see them again soon.

Going from one going away party to another, last night the whole (small) crew from work got together for drinks and dinner at El Mercado, the Mexican restaurant next door to Kinko's, and we had a great time. I've been blessed with some really good coworkers in Moscow. I'm glad I'll be working with a good crew in Monroe, too - a crew that includes (Hollie's brother) Reuben and, most recently, Bart.

We pick up our rental truck on Wednesday and will pull out sometime Thursday. Hopefully we'll make it to Monroe by Saturday or Sunday. We'd be grateful for your prayers.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, September 18, 2003

View from Peniel
Some of you have asked about getting tapes of Dr Leithart's sermons. Well, he doesn't record them, but guess what? He has a blog, where he posts his thorough sermon outlines/notes, as well as tons of other cool stuff. He hasn't publicized his blog yet because he has a new and better one on the way. But I can't keep this a secret any longer - it's just too good. (Don't worry; I got his permission first.) The man is a writing machine; check out those archives! By the way, Peniel Hall is the name of the Leitharts' home.

jon :: link :: comment ::

"Receiving Community"

- via Daniel Silliman

This article by Eric Jacobsen, associate pastor of First Prebyterian Church, Missoula, Montana, begins with somewhat of a travelogue from his visit to the New Urbanist town of Seaside, Florida (incidentally, where The Truman Show was filmed), which he compares to his home in paleo-urbanist Missoula. He then proceeds to offer a fascinating series of "observations about faith, relationships, and how urbanism looks from a Christian perspective." Here is a lengthy but great quote:

Since the Christian Church has retained a vocabulary adequate to handle this particular aspect of our human existence [sin], it has the capability to track more precisely the impact that sin can have on our communities. A popular caricature of the church is that of a community of people who see themselves as righteous while viewing everyone on the outside as sinners. However, a more accurate portrayal of the Christian Church is, first of all, a community of sinners. The church is not a hall of fame for the most holy people in our society, nor is it a museum celebrating greatness in our past, but it is a hospital where broken people gather to be healed by grace. People who encounter the church on this basis—as sinners in need of grace—tend to find what they are looking for. People unwilling to acknowledge their own sin invariably miss the very thing that the church has to offer.

In Life Together, the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer has poignantly described the process by which people cheat themselves out of a true experience of community. He uses the term, serious Christian, ironically to describe persons who are more serious than truly Christian because they come to the church, trying to realize some kind of idealized vision of human community rather than trying first of all to find grace for themselves.

“The serious Christian,” Bonhoeffer declares “set down for the first time in a Christian community is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it.” However, in the actual experience of Christian community, that ideal is quickly shattered. The Christian community never lives up to the expectations that people bring to it.

This presents the person seeking Christian community with a crisis. Will she choose to love this actual human community into which she has found herself or will she choose to love her ideal vision? The difference depends upon whether she can see in this imperfect community sinners like herself in need of grace. If she does so, she will find, first of all the reality of grace as the foundation of this community, and this foundation will hold her up as she encounters her own sinfulness in the particularities of her day-to-day life.

On the other hand, if the Christian decides to love her ideal of Christian community more than the actual Christian community in which he or she has been placed, a predictable cycle of rejection ensues. First, the Christian becomes “the despising accuser of his brethren, then of God and finally of himself.” In my experience, this does happen in the lives of many people. Often they will reject not one but a number of Christian communities before they start accusing God and then self, but in time, the result is the same. In fact, when people come to join our church because of perceived shortcomings of their former church, I have come to expect that such people will be rejecting us in the near future as well.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

What's Your Soul Worth?

Apparently I could sell my soul for £40,115, which converts to around $63,685. To find out the current monetary value of your soul, click here (via Davey).

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Peter Leithart's Exhortation, Sunday, September 14

Jesus knew that His teaching differed from the teaching of others in Israel and especially from the Pharisees, and His warnings at the end of the sermon show that He wanted to distinguish His teaching from others. He gives a quick succession of “cartoons” that describe the dangers of false teachers. He says that the Pharisees are like blind men who are trying to lead other blind men, and points out that when the blind lead the blind, all of them eventually topple over into the ditch. He warns that disciples become like their teachers; following Pharisees means becoming a Pharisee, and who wants that?

One sort of blindness that Jesus condemns is the kind that comes from focusing on the small errors of others while ignoring your own large and blatant errors and sins. He describes a man with a tree trunk in his eye offering to remove a small speck of dust from his brother’s eye. The picture is absurd, and the significance is deepened when we look at it in larger biblical perspective. Throughout Scripture, eyes are organs of judgment. From the first chapter of Genesis, God sees and evaluates the world He makes; He “sees” and pronounces it good. The man with the speck in his eye has his judgment impaired, but not nearly so much as the man with the tree trunk in his eye.

Jesus is not saying that passing judgment is wrong. In fact, we are redeemed, Paul tells us, so that our eyes may be opened and we can share in God’s evaluations and judgments. It is a great privilege to be able to discern and pass judgment. Our brothers and sisters may indeed have specks in their eyes, which cloud their judgments, and it is an act of Christian love to help remove the speck. But Jesus warns that we need to take heed to ourselves first. Before we have offer our services as ophthalmologists, we should check our own qualifications, because our eyesight may be faulty. Paul made this very same point when he encouraged the Galatians: “if a man is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

We in Moscow especially need to take Jesus’ warning to heart. We are frequently critical of other Christians for their goofiness and their trashiness. We condemn Christian kitsch and Jesus junk and the me-tooism that characterizes evangelicalism. Making these kinds of judgments is not wrong. These are genuine errors and flaws, and serious ones, in the contemporary church, and they are obstacles to discernment.

But we are qualified for this only insofar as we are regularly removing the logs from our own eyes, and making sure that our judgment is not impaired by some massive sin. One of the great dangers is that an attitude of pride and self-congratulation can come into this, even if we state our criticisms with a degree of humility. We don’t profess to be perfect, but at least we don’t sing praise songs. We may not have arrived, but at least we don’t like Thomas Kincaid. We may not have it all together, but at least we don’t buy cheesy Bibles. At least we’re superior to our brothers in THOSE respects. At least we are not like that pathetic Evangelical in the corner.

That kind of smug self-satisfaction would be a log, a monstrous beam in our eye, and as long as it’s there we have no business trying to perform cataract surgery on our brothers. Remove the log, and THEN help your brother with his speck. For remember the words of Jesus: “by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return.”

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, September 15, 2003

Truth and Ritual

The beauty of truth is that it's true whether we agree with it or not. Likewise, the beauty of our Lord's rituals: they enact truth whether we like it or not - whether we like them or not. Our beliefs don't affect what is ontologically true, and in that sense, teleologically, they don't matter. There is an important sense in which it doesn't matter who's right in any given theological debate. "God is in His heaven - All's right with the world." Call me a liberal, and I'll tell you to read Lindbeck on postliberalism.

However, our rituals do matter, because they speak of Him who is ontologically true and who reigns over teleology. As the proverbial saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Or, in the words of James, we are "justified by works and not by faith alone" (for context, see 2:14-26). Again, actions - rituals - matter. Call me a sacerdotalist, and I'll tell you to read Leithart against sacraments; and, to complete the circle, you can start by reading Leithart on Lindbeck.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Load 'Em Up

I am in the midst of packing hell. Who would have thought that stuffing various objects in cardboard boxes and slapping tape on top could be such a chore? It is mentally, as well as physically, harrowing. When I grow up and get rich, I'm getting the maid to do all my packing. And while she's at it, I need a pedicure and back massage. And bon bons, lots of bon bons.

jon :: link :: comment ::


Since I don't have time to post much else right now, here's this: I recently updated my Amazon Wish List and blog roll. That counts for something, doesn't it?

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, September 6, 2003

Reorganizing Meshereth

I just accepted the position of Editor at Meshereth Magazine, where Rick Capezza will be taking the position of Publishing Director (we just haven't changed the About page yet). We will be resurfacing soon (as will Chasing Hats, we hear), so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you'd like to write something for us, or know someone who might, please either leave a comment, send me an email, or use our Submissions page. Thanks!

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

"Mama, I'm Coming Home"

Jon may use Live for his theme music. As for me, I hearken back to good old Ozzy.

jon :: link :: comment ::

"Gotta Live, Gotta Live, Gotta Live / In Our Town"*

For those of you who don't already know, we have decided to move back to Monroe, LA, where I will be working at Kinko's and studying at the university. We had been planning to move back in December or January, but within the last week or so, our plans were moved up. I start work there in early October, so we have a lot to do in the next few weeks (hence my recent bet-hedging on posting frequency).

In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." In this transition of ours, there's cause for both - ie, you can rejoice with us and weep with my mother. No, seriously, we are very sad about leaving our family and friends in Moscow. But of course, because we are in Christ, rejoicing predominates - even for my mother. And, since Hollie and I love home and greatly miss our family and friends there, we are naturally very happy.

* If you can't quite place the source of the title, it's from a song on Live's album, Throwing Copper (which, incidentally, ranked #9 in Toby's Top 10 Things of the Summer - right after a book by NT Wright, no less).

jon :: link :: comment ::

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