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A minor


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Harding on Ordination
Related to some recent pintnight discussions: "Ontology vs Function."

The Rev Dr Leander Harding teaches pastoral theology and is head of the chapel at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, near Pittsburgh.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sick Day
A houseful of sniffling/sneezing/coughing boys is definitely not high on the list of fun. Having them all fall asleep at the same time...now that is sheer bliss. Please pray for us. They are bound to wake up sooner or later.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, November 28, 2005

Susan Howatch
My friend Rob Maddox recently reminded me of Susan Howatch's novels. I've been wanting to read them. I'm especially interested in her portrayal of the spiritual director in the Starbridge series. Here's an old Touchstone interview with her, by none other than David Virtue.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Oktoberfest in Advent
Now that it's after Thanksgiving and Advent has begun, I might as well post about Oktoberfest. I'm always running late anyway.

I've been enjoying Sam Adams Oktoberfest again this year. Right now it's the cheapest Sam Adams around, and you can still find it in town. I should try to stock up before it's all gone (at least until next year). From the back of a bottle:
Here are two surprising brew facts:
Oktoberfest in Germany takes place every year in September. Second, the biggest selling Oktoberfest brew in the world is not German but is the brew you hold in your hand: Samuel AdamsĀ® Oktoberfest.
By the way, I'm pleased to see that Sam Adams is still making Scotch Ale. From their "World of Beers" page, click "Beer Styles," then "Brewmaster's Collection," and scroll down.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Sunday, November 20, 2005

St Thomas Christians
Before and after a party last night, I got engrossed in some Internet research on Nestorians, Nasrani, or St Thomas Christians. It all started with a search for more information on the Nestorian Bishop Mar Johanan cited by Hodge in the previous post. I found references to a Bishop Mar Johanan in an appendix to Murdock's English translation of the Aramaic/Syriac New Testament, specifically on this site connected to the Nestorian Orthodox Church - Nasrani Church of the East & Abroad. Initially, this group looked relatively sound and even friendly toward other Christians, but the more I read, the more that illusion faded. However, not all St Thomas Christians are as schizophrenic and sectarian as this group appears to be. For instance, the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India is in full communion with the Anglican Communion.

Wikipedia's "Saint Thomas Christians" entry and Nestorian.org's "The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church Today" page seem to provide the best summary overviews.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hodge on Baptismal Unity
Someone recently reminded me of the following quote from A.A. Hodge's Evangelical Theology (Banner of Truth, 1976 [first published, 1890], p. 338):
Mar Johanan, the Nestorian bishop, when solicited by high-churchmen to separate himself from non-prelatical Christians, exclaimed, "All who love the Lord Jesus Christ are my brethren." Above all the narrow, meagre patriotism on earth is the large, free, ecumenical patriotism of those who embrace in their love and fealty the whole body of the baptized. All who are baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, recognizing the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, the incarnation of the Son and his priestly sacrifice, whether they be Greeks, or Arminians, or Romanists, or Lutherans, or Calvinists, or the simple souls who do not know what to call themselves, are our brethren. Baptism is our common countersign. It is the common rallying standard at the head of our several columns. It is our common battle-flag, which we carry forward across the enemy's line and nail aloft in the heights crowned with victory. We will be confined in our love and allegiance by no party lines. We follow and serve one common Lord. Hence there can be only "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," and hence only one indivisible, inalienable "sacramental host of God's elect."
Amen. And I like how Hodge exemplifies his point by starting off with a quote from a so-called Nestorian bishop!

jon :: link :: comment ::

Friday, November 18, 2005

Finn's Baptism
As promised, here are some pictures from Finn's baptism.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nigeria + REC (& APA)
Somehow this news makes these scholarships all the more tempting. Likewise, it makes the combination of Houston Graduate School of Theology and Cranmer House all the more appealing.

In Alister McGrath's preface to his The Future of Christianity (Blackwell, 2002), he writes that, "on any given Sunday, there are now more Anglicans attending church in the west African state of Nigeria than in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia, taken together." The worldwide Anglican Communion has some 77 million members, of which 17.5 million are in the Church of Nigeria, compared to only 2.4 million in the Episcopal Church, USA. (Note this telling article on membership statistics in the Anglican Communion.)

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, November 14, 2005

New Birth
Yesterday, my sister suddently went into early labor - seven weeks early. She was airlifted to Sacred Heart in Spokane, WA, from Enterprise, OR's Wallowa Memorial, the closest little hospital to the RimRock. This morning at 12:51, she gave birth to a healthy little girl, Mary Evelyn, who weighed 3 lbs 12 oz. Thanks be to God, she's doing great and doesn't even need a respirator. Sacred Heart's NICU has 24-hour visitation, and parents can bring one visitor in with them. My mom is actually here visiting Finn and us, and now that everything's okay, I think she's still staying until Thursday when she and my grandparents fly out. I wish we were going with them. Can't wait to see our little niece!

Finn was baptized yesterday at Auburn Avenue, and we publicly made our membership vows, having recently transferred from Grace. Pictures to follow. Between digital video and stills, we should have some good shots. (Levi was terrible, but we slipped him offstage to Hollie's family during a prayer.)

jon :: link :: comment ::

Monday, November 7, 2005

I read Real Live Preacher's "Thoughts on Depression after Five Months of Medication" after hearing an excellent sermon yesterday morning on 1 Peter 5:7 ("...casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you"). The sermon made the point that depression and anxiety are ultimately problems of pride and arrogance, as we attempt to bear burdens that are simply too heavy for us. Rather than recognizing this and casting our cares on God, we often try to shoulder the weight, thinking we can handle it in our own strength, or lacking the faith in God to actually handle it for us.

I don't think the essay and sermon are necessarily at odds with one another. Depression is a real problem and a consequence of the fall, and one thing Doug Wilson taught me was that we should not be surprised to find sin under a microscope, as it were. It's a false dilemma to say that depression results from either chemical imbalance or sin. Rather than an either/or, it can be a both/and, so medication should not be despised and rejected as a means of dealing with depression. I've often thought certain people, including myself, might really benefit from a prescription. Who knows? Maybe I'll eventually get one and see.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Defoe Quote
I've often grimaced internally at this same incongruity while kneeling for communion at Grace, where the altarpiece is a beautiful Last Supper woodcarving.

jon :: link :: comment ::

RO & Reformed + Sufjan
Amazon still hasn't shipped my birthday gifts, but here's a review of a new book co-edited by Jamie Smith - a review that just so happens to make a passing reference to Sufjan Stevens. Maybe I'll cancel my Amazon order, buy the book(s) from Hearts & Minds, and find the album some place where it's in stock.

Here's a quote from the review:
Forgive me if this shoots a bit afar from what many of you may find helpful. But I am so eager to be the first to tell sombody [sic] about this, that I have to cite it tonight. It is book which makes a connection between an obscure tradition and an even more obscure one. Nobody said this would be easy. Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition: Creation, Covenant and Participation is a dense collection of wide-ranging essays edited by Calvin College postmodern prof - say it like RoboCop, PomoProf - James K. A. Smith, and his mentor, psychotherapist and Christian philospher, emeritus at Toronto's Institute for Christian Studies, James Olthuis.
And again:
But, rather than counter the bankruptcy of theological (and classic) liberalism, et al, with conservative evangelicalism or old school orthodoxy, this largely Anglo-Catholic theological movement invites a reappropriation, a rather postmodern reappropriation of St. Augustine and - gasp! - St. Thomas Aquinas.
I really need to get this book. Here's my nagging question, though: Why wasn't Peter Leithart invited to contribute to the volume, i.e. to give a paper at the 2003 conference at Calvin? He is, after all, a Reformed academic and minister whose doctoral supervisor was Dr Radical Orthodoxy himself, John Milbank. What gives?

jon :: link :: comment ::

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Josh Melton Tagged Me
See? Okay, I'll play along:

"Hence the absurdly early Saturday morning blogging."

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

I'm reluctant to tag five others, but I guess I have to: Rick Capezza, Matt Colvin, Courtney Huntington, Paul Baxter, and Remy Wilkins.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Bledsoe Vision
All of you - yes, all of you - need to take a few minutes and read this. All of it. Trust me.

jon :: link :: comment ::

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Emerging in Moscow
So my Moscow friends have been discussing the merits and demerits of the emerging or emergent church. They even seem to be engaged in an insult match over it, but at least they're talking about it. That's a step in the right direction, I think. I remember a few years ago in Moscow when I first started reading about the emerging church - none of my friends there seemed to know or care anything about it.

Addendum: Having now read this, I'm sadly all the more inclined to think that Mr Wilson has been reading emerging authors about as thoroughly and charitably as Morecraft, Mississippi Valley, et al (scroll down to "FV, NPP, PCA, AAPC, ETC.") have read him and the other Federal Vision authors. I bet any emerging folks who read this entry of his will be certain of at least one thing: He's got them all wrong.

jon :: link :: comment ::

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