The Accidental BAUS

There are several persons on the web with the last name Baus. Most are native Germans, some are German-Spaniards, some are German-northAmericans, some are German-LatinoAmericans. Sadly, I'm not aware of my exact genealogical relation to any of these persons.

As Dr. Koyzis noticed, b.a.u.s. is also an occasional acronym. Here are a few favorites:

British Association of Urological Surgeons
Buddhist Association of the United States
Blindern Akademiske UndervannssaelSkab


Linus, Last Of The Believers

It's getting fairly autumny, and I'm enjoying the perfume of dead leaves in the cool, damp air. Tonight I watched Charlie Brown's "It’s The Great Pumpkin." Strange how different the sensibilities of children's entertainment were back-in-the-day. Of course the soundtrack is superb. And the theme of the film is religious sincerity in the face of disappointed eschatology in a hedonistic society with reference to the first World War. Can you imagine anything approaching this being produced these days?

Anyway, here are a few favorite Harvest Songs for your edification:

For The Beauty Of The Earth
Let All Things Now Living
Come, Ye Thankful People
Now Thank We All Our God
Our Redeemer-Creator / We Gather Together
Jazz And All That

So brother Gary just finished playing in his second Cork Jazz Fest... this year with Fusty and his VS&B trio. He says it went well, except that Guinness made all the performers sign a contract stipulating that during the festival they would only drink Guinness products. Gary says that in southern Ireland, Murphy's is a staple.

Supposedly, he's taking a class or two at some music school and he's been DJ-ing classic swing nights at a pub. But I'm sure le garçon is still busking when he can.


Holy Culture

In their lastest issue, Catapult magazine (the online publication of *cino) posted a brief article I wrote last year.

And keep an eye on Neocalvinism Today. We expect 2004 to bring new things.


To The Nth Degree

I don't much care for certain peculiarities of the internet, like instant messaging or chat rooms. However, I am now on the "Friendster" network. It works on a 4 "degrees of separation" model (I think). Anyway, if we're friends and you're also on Friendster, you can add me to your group. If you'd like to join in, send an email to [my alternate address] ideologAThotmailDOTcom and I'll add you.

It's easy, free, and harmless. What more (or less) could you want?


Self Medicating

I've experienced a little insomnia lately, so I took Melatonin for a few nights. Instead of helping me get a good night's rest, I've been waking up in a cold sweat. These dreams are disturbing... but they're so interesting that I am forced to get out of bed and write them down.

I've had enough adventure for one week. I'm switching back to Vodka.


Drumroll Please

And did I forget to mention... Ladies and Gentlemen... the annual event cellulophiles have been waiting for?


Brother Luther

So I finally saw the Luther film. I heartily recommend it. The criticisms I read that accused Fiennes of "underplaying" the character were unwarranted. And various commentators' complaints about "not enough passion" between Luther and Katie I now see to have been mere prurience.

When I first heard about the film a year ago, I had supposed it was Osborne's play (of which I am a great fan). But I'm glad it turned out to be a new telling. Of course, there are things I would have done differently. Passage of time was not well articulated in parts. And I would have added about 15 to 30 minutes of Luther's "conversion" to a biblical understanding of salvation by grace, particularly as he learned it from his study of the Scriptures. But this was not entirely unrepresented in the film.

Every "Reformation Day" I like to dress up like Satan, eat too many candy corns, and do a little public reading from Luther's writings. From now on I may be adding a film-viewing to the party.


"Vigilantes" of Love, Labor, and Justice

The Ontario Student Solidarity Local (a university chapter of CLAC) is sponsoring an event called Live Justice this Friday. Bill Mallonee is playing... for which I'll happily take some credit, since no one else had heard of him and I insisted like a whining baby that they book him.

Also see Gideon's "Cuba" post of 13 October.
Being Polish

My brother, Jeffrey, and I are planning on reading and discussing Norman Davies' "God's Playground" together. It's part of our attempt to learn more about our Polish heritage. Fortunately, there's a decent Polish community in Baltimore for us to engage.

There are quite a few Poles in the U.S. From Pulaski to the PAC, our influence is ubiquitous... which is good for everybody, because who doesn't love Polka? Listen to the world's favorite music right now.


Raised In A Barn

New York writer friends from college are calling for contributions for an up-coming publication of contemporary "religious" sonnets. I hope Aaron Belz (also a writer friend from college) will have something represented.

From Weeping Rivet :
“We hope that by juxtaposing 40 modern writers working in an antiquated literary form we can create a forum for exploring whether religion itself has become an antiquated form.... Both sonnets and religions are necessarily restrictive and dogmatic to a degree; will our modern writers be able to wear these forms gracefully, annunciating something living and active within?”

Now, I don't pretend to be a John Donne or anything. But here's my honest contribution.

The rebel-creature does the truth suppress
exchanging knowledge for a foolish lie
denying Me in his unrighteousness
I give him over to his lust to die
Although he knew the penalty for this
his conscience bearing witness to his guilt
he thought himself to be autonomous
inventing his own law: "do what thou wilt"
And so do all before me stand condemned
for no one can their own selves vindicate
who then are you to cry this does offend
that I each sinner would predestinate
I hated Esau, Jacob loved have I
to demonstrate both grace and wrath are mine.

Some poets may think commenting on one's own work is somehow inauthentic, but I don't think it necessarily takes away from a poem to "explain" it. It all depends on how you explain it, I guess. Anyway, here is something of an explanation: The theme is, obviously, "predestination" --being a conspicuous element of Calvinism. I drew heavily upon the Apostle Paul's language in Romans***, reflecting the pauline orientation of much calvinistic theology. I cast it in "first-person divine," indicating that the Scriptures are the very Word of God. While some might derogate calvinism as a peculiar species of the religious humanism of late medievalism (when sonnets originated), the final couplet (but a near-rhyme) is chiasmic (both in the first line of the couplet, and in the couplet itself), which is characteristic of Hebrew poetry --a subtle statement of calvinism's biblical character.


On Doubt

A few friends recently mentioned struggling with doubt. Of course, there are many kinds of doubt. Some doubts constitute certifiable existential crises. Often, one can become profoundly inconsolable in doubt. Paradoxically, we begin to take comfort in our uncertainties. We can become attached to our doubts and fearful of what their assuagement might imply. Worse, we might try to rationalize irresponsibility and sin by appealing to overwhelming doubt.

When I was a second-year college student in 1993, I read Os Guinness' "Faith In Two Minds: The Dilemma of Doubt." It has since been re-published (and revised, I think) as "God In The Dark." I appreciated most things he had to say in the book, and I recommend it to you all. I found it helpful in thinking through the issue in general, and my own doubts in particular. I also refer you back to my post on assurance, of 24 September.

Doubt is not, in every case, a bad thing. It largely depends on what is being doubted, and what effect this doubting has. When it concerns God and Scripture, we must keep in mind that "whatever is not of faith is sin."

It may be helpful to consider that doubting may be based in opinion. That is, sometimes we confuse doubt with not having an opinion on a matter. And, I think, doubt is often related to probability. That may be obvious, but it may be helpful to seek resolution to doubts in terms of examining "relative likelihood." And remember that God never doubts because, in the most ultimate sense, there are no probabilities.


Je Suis Un Vagabond

So my time in northern Virginia has come to an end. I will be heading back to Baltimore at the end of this week. There are things I'll miss about being closer to Washington, DC. and friends down here. But I suppose it will be nice to enjoy familiar charms.

"He was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God."*


Sine Qua Non

The biblical teaching of Sola Scriptura is perhaps the most central pillar of the Christian religion to be rejected and/or misunderstood (after the proper worship of God and the gospel) by "professing-Christians." There also appears to be a tragic lack of informed appreciation of this teaching in various reformed communities. Indeed we have been like Esau, selling our birthright for a bit of bloody stew. Let's consider our way and seek repentance while we may.

Here are several resources one might find helpful in understanding Sola Scriptura: several articles and books are linked here. Also consider the Cambridge Declaration, and additional articles by Warren, Bennett, and Webster. For more academic readers, Kline's "Structure of Biblical Authority," and Ridderbos' "Redemptive History and The New Testament Scriptures" are especially helpful in connecting canonics and hermeneutics.

Certainly broad cultural renewal will only come with a deepened comprehension of this teaching, for only by Holy Scripture does the Spirit bring genuine reformation in the spectrum of cultural affairs. Needless to say, there is a tremendous disdain of this foundational teaching in the "new ecumenicism."


Denying the Good News

Of course, the most common way (among so-called "professing Christians") of rejecting the true gospel is believing that Christ's atonement was not 100% efficacious. That is, many say they believe Jesus "died for everyone" and that His death did not guarantee salvation. This is a false gospel.

The true gospel is that Jesus did everything necessary to secure the salvation of His people. All those for whom Jesus died will be saved. God's Spirit will grant genuine faith and repentance to all those whom Jesus represented.


My Only Hope

Not only is there much ignorance of the proper worship of God in communities that claim a reformational heritage, but there has also been an abandonment of the essential gospel. Among some, "what the gospel is" has been exchanged for "what the gospel does," if you will. Stripped of the gospel's actual content, the gospel as “the power of God” becomes nothing more than Man's action and glory. Among others, the meaning of the gospel has been exchanged for a mere narrative. But, stripped of their God-given meaning, those events would mean nothing, no matter what supposed "meanings" some might imagine for themselves.

The true gospel is God's promise to completely save His people. This salvation is conditioned exclusively on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, and is given to those whom He represented, totally apart from their action. The gospel is not God's power or the fact that Jesus lived, died, and rose again, considered apart from the meaning of these truths.

Here are various articles on this gospel for your edification: Everlasting Life, Essential Gospel Doctrine, The Gospel --What It Is, True and False Gospel.


I Was A Teen-Age Übermensch

This evening was the 3rd season premierer of the one TV show I try to watch regularly. Why do I enjoy Smallville? Based on my admittedly limited experience of other contemporary programs (particularly on the WB), I think it possess a rare artistic irony about its own conventions. More than that, the (post)modern legend this show re-tells is a classic expression of the Freedom / Determinism dialectical religious ground-motive.