Fallen Comrade

My brother, Jeff, who does highrise window washing in Baltimore, received a call recently about his former work&housemate, and our good friend, Brady King.

Brady is an extreme-sport sort of guy and has had accidents before. Once while working in Baltimore he fell several stories, landed on his feet, and shattered both his ankles. But this time he fell quite far and is in critical condition.

Andy M. has a report with update comments on his blog.

If you're the praying type, do pray for him. We love you, Brady. Hang in there, man.


(Re)Defining Worldview

One of the early worldview books that greatly influenced me was James Sire's "The Universe Next Door." Now in it's fourth edition, Sire revises his understanding of worldview.

I suspect that this redefinition was, at least partly, provoked by Naugle's work*. I'm looking forward to finishing Naugle and finding out more about Sire's revision in his new book "Naming the Elephant*."


Desperately Seeking The Church

We arrived early and hiked the length and breadth of Chicago. It's an architecturally stunning city. My one disappointing discovery was that it did not appear to be a "residential" downtown. I guess having a municipal economy larger than most nations requires some sacrifices.

After the conference Scott, Michael, Todd, Nicholas, and I did some official sightseeing. We were given a tour of the Moody Bible Empire, had lunch in the heights of the John Hancock Center, and explored the Art Institute. We finished the evening back at Berghoff’s, since we hadn't quite had our fill of red cabbage, speatzle, schnitzel, and bock earlier in the week. It was a really good time, and I only hope the boys found all the conversation as stimulating as I did. A thousand sincere thanks to Scott for sponsoring me.

It was a pleasure to meet fellow Kuyperians Vincent Bacote** and Hans Madueme. I hope to continue contact with them both.

I was also happy to meet up with Mark, whom I hadn't seen in way too long a time. He's finishing a pastoral internship in the area. Besides the immense personal joy of reuniting with a good friend, discussing his experience in the church was an added bonus to the conference theme.

The highlight of the conference was presentations by D.G. Hart and the keynote speaker, John Webster. We were happy to catch Hart's paper to the ISAE on his latest book* just previous to the conference.

Webster's systematic-theological construction of ecclesiology was unambiguously reformed, and placed the doctrine of the church in relation to both the doctrines of God's perfection and the visible communion of the saints. Throughout, he critically engaged current ecclesiologies and at times bordered on kerygma, articulately drawing lines through Scripture and "in the sand," as it were. He told me later that this was his first foray into these topics, not having published anything on the doctrine so far. I am glad to become acquainted with him, and look forward to seeing how his thoughts develop.

Hart cut most clearly to the chase. In sum, one might say that the scandal of evangelical ecclesiology is that they don't have much of one. Of course, it is important to understand the sort of evangelicals being discussed. And there's the rub. But perhaps the phenomenon being criticized is best understood as the advent of "churchless Christianity," or the notion that a sort of "mere" Christianity sans polity, liturgy, and confession can and ought to have primacy.

The historical and theological influences of this evangelical a-ecclesiology were helpfully discussed by some. Suggested alternatives, including Anabaptism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Radical Orthodoxy, Emergent Pomo-ism, mainline liberalism, Roman Catholicism abounded. However, biblically compelling recommendations were few. I bought a lot of books at the conference, and although addressed from a historical angle, rather than an exegetical one, I'm finding Hart's "Recovering Mother Kirk"* to articulate the sort of vision I find most biblically compelling (aside from Hart's anti-Kuyperianism particularly in chapters 8 and 12).


Life's Worth

This being my thirty-first birthday, I want to share what I consider to be my "birthday hymn."

Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me,
The changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see;
I ask Thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee.

I would not have a restless will that hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child, and guided where I go.

I ask Thee for the daily strength to none that ask denied,
A mind to blend with outward life while keeping at Thy side;
Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.

In service which Thy will appoints there are no bounds for me;
My inmost heart is taught the truth that makes Thy children free.
A life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty.

--Anna Waring, 1850. ["Trinity" edit]

Reflecting on my own birth, my thoughts turn to those whose lives are brutally cut short before birth. Although I am militantly pro-life, I do understand how some of my friends remain in favor of abortion. Some of them have had abortions, and are not emotionally prepared to accept the reality of what they've done. Others remain in ideological straitjackets that severely limit their ability to be self-critical.

But I have a difficult time stomaching the moral gymnastics and hypocrisy of those who acknowledge that preborns are persons (and hope abortions cease), yet also support abortion's legality. Granted, some of these people display tremendous naiveté about pro-abortionism. They suppose that simply making others aware that children in utero are alive will do the trick. Think again, kids.

Julia Black, a pro-abortion activist in the UK, recently produced a film which showed several abortions and displayed the shredded baby corpses. Mere empirical reality does not persuade. Gruesome holocaust can become mundane. People get used to unspeakable horror.


Dreamy Interlocution

It's been a rough two weeks. Last week I think I was suffering from a bit of post-vacation depression. After digesting the conference, I do indeed have comments to make that will appear here before too much longer. But this week has been exhausting.

I fell asleep after dinner and just woke up now. I was dreaming, and in the dream I was arguing with some unidentified person. I remember saying:

"...[in theological formulation] it is unnecessary to hold christocentrism and trinitarianism in any kind of opposition or tension because while Christ is not the Incarnate Trinity (but rather the Incarnate Son) it is precisely as such that He mediates the fullness of the Father and the Spirit (and Himself) to those who are in Him."

Or something like that.
Anyway, I have to get up early for work tomorrow. I'm going back to bed.