American Thanksgiving

During this annual feast I like to reflect on Washington's proclamation. It is not a particular temptation of mine to mistakenly identify God's Kingdom and this nation, or even "western civilization," however, it is genuinely humbling to acknowledge the transgressions of the these communities to which I also belong.

On a more trivial note, I was hoping for a goose this year. Alas. The meal (nonetheless delicious and bountiful) was a small "only-part-of-the-family" affair. Afterwards I went up to my sister's in Northumberland, PA. I played a lot of Nintendo with brother Jeff.


Evening's Aesthetic Discussion

The question(s) at the end of the evening was:

"What work induced your most intense response?"
(& did this occur in your childhood or more recently?)


The Unknowing God

A few friends have returned from the latest Evangelical Theological Society conference. I had heard that Clark Pinnock and John Sanders, advocates of "Open Theism," were up on charges.

Their memberships were retained, perhaps rendering the word "evangelical" even more ambiguous than it already is in popular usage. It's not like ETS required anyone to be a professing Christian to begin with, which is fine. But it's sad to see practically useless doctrinal requirements.


Even Tastier Pancakes?

At Betsy's recommendation, I got a copy of Nourishing Traditions for my mother. Now all I have to do is find out where they still sell real organic lard.

Give this book to your mother for Christmas. Next time you visit for a meal, you won't be sorry. This book also makes a good gift for all your poor, misinformed vegan friends.


The Little Things

I finally got my driver's license renewed... after four trips to the MVA, many phone calls, checks sent, receipts received and faxed, etc., etc. I feel like a free man again --not that I actually own a vehicle, mind you.


Religion And Theology

In an earlier post (Why I Am A Dooyeweerdian) I confessed to being a former “embryonic rationalist.” However, I came to believe that rationalism is at odds with true religion. Some thoughts (provoked by a recent conversation) may elucidate this further.

There is perhaps a sort of rational-theoretical certitude (in "analytical" statements. eg., all bachelors are unmarried). And there is a kind of psychological conviction and feeling of assurance.

But I think faith has its own confidence, and it can only come from God's Spirit witnessing with&by the Word. In matters of biblical teaching (in addition to the life-or-death message of salvation) regenerate persons can have the confidence of faith in those teachings which God may illumine their hearts to see are truly taught in the Scripture. And this sort of faith can have no other object than God as He has revealed Himself, and truths of His Word.

There is a crucial distinction here between (faith-) confession and theology (which is a scientific-theoretical affair). This distinction is too often unappreciated, even within covenantal-reformed circles. However, this distinction does not diminish the importance of theology, rather it gives it a proper place and keeps us from holding theoretical thought as autonomous… even when it addresses Scriptural doctrine.


Saevio Adversus Machina
a confessional moment

Today was a day for contemplating Self-Actualization.

When I feel like I'm failing, I want to blame the System. "Sane people should find themselves completely at odds with life in a dsytopia. Success is really a sign that you've lost your humanity."

Then the character on the other shoulder says something about taking personal responsibility, facing the absurd, being the sum of my choices.

Which voice do you suppose is the devil's?


American Veterans Day

Previously called Armistice Day, commemorating the signing of the armistice that ended the first world war on this day in 1918 at 11am. In the United States it was proclaimed as an annual day of mourning by president Wilson in 1919. The name was then changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all U.S. Veterans, especially those who died in battle.

You may find this summary of just war principles of interest.

It is also noteworthy that the Mayflower Compact was signed on this day in 1620.


The Continuing Un-reformed Episcopals

The Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America are now betrothed, the wedding is set for sometime around 2008. One wonders how this is happening, since the REC (historically) stands on one side concerning the romanizing Oxford Movement, and the APA stands on the other.

But an REC friend tells me the prevailing attitude is: "who cares about the vestments debate in the face of overwhelming modernistic liberalism?" They are willing to sacrifice their calvinistic distinctives in hopes of maintaining their "conservatism," forgetting that it was the "re-catholicized" church that went liberal.
Back In Bloom County

From about 1983 to 1989 I clipped it each week from the Sunday paper and taped it to my bedroom wall. I wasn't such a devotee of Outland, but read it frequently until the end, circa 1995.

Rumor has it that Opus has returned.


Grad Zine

The graduate students in philosophy at Villanova, with the editorial advisement of Caputo, have begun an academic journal. There's postmodern gobbledygook galore, but I figure I better start getting used to it.

I mean, if secularistic naiveté is wearing-off... that's great. We should do our best to take advantage of the times.


Here's To The Humanities

The "human sciences" have a general bum rap in our society. This is typically exemplified in the reaction I get when someone discovers I'm a philosophy student. It comes across as a mix of pity and fear. No one seems quite sure what philosophy is, what it's good for, or why anyone would care. Many seem suspicious that whatever philosophy may be (other than totally boring and irrelevant) it is most likely bizarre or dangerous.

Well, thanks to the Kluge Center, we now have our own version of the "nobel prize." The first recipient is Leszek Kolakowski. One can only hope that this may contribute to a broader societal appreciation of philosophy and the other "human and social" sciences.


All In The Family

As a sort of postscript to "Reformation Day," I thought I would mention a few resources for your historical education: a Dutch Reformed Timeline, an Overview of U.S. Presbyterianism, a History of the Reformed Church, and a Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America.


One For Sorrow, Two For Joy

Friday afternoon I rode with Jason, Betsy, and young Eli to Lancaster, PA for the weekend. We stayed with our friends Keith, Debbie, and little Jonathan (who had an ear infection, poor kid). That night we dressed-up and handed out treats. We watched the crowds build outside a church down the street. "You've been to the haunted houses," a sign read, "...but have you ever seen HELL?"
Keith remarked that there was a long line waiting to get into hell.

Later that evening after the kids were in bed, not being able to find Luther at the local video store, we opted for "The Hours" instead. I think Betsy summed up our collective response when she said, "I didn't suppose that each minute would be as unbearable as it was."

Saturday morning the boys went to Market, while the girls went thrift shopping. Nearby, I visited the Oldest Tobacco Shop in the U.S. for a few necessities. That afternoon we all went to the Greek Fest at Keith's church. I was happy to get some good coffee. The highlight of the weekend was a concert that evening with The Innocence Mission. It's difficult to overstate how melodiously wonderful their music is.

On the Lord's Day we visited Westminster PCA, where Debbie is considering membership. I noticed the church is studying Hart&Muether's With Reverence And Awe. We had a very tasty lunch, then I fell asleep on the couch before the ride home again.