Were Not The Right Man On Our Side

Old school Calvinists, such as myself, don't observe an ecclesiastical calendar and we don't celebrate any day as "holy" aside from the Lordsday. However, we do acknowledge special providences as occasions for thanksgiving. (Not a widely understood distinction).

That God used Luther's mailing (yes, that's an 'm') of the 95 theses to bring about eventual reform in His church is certainly a “former mercy and deliverance” for which I find occasion to give thanks.

If you are also thanking the Lord on this occasion, I think you will enjoy the entertaining Reformation film series and (if you can play mp3s) the educational audio series "Married To Another" (on the relation of law & gospel).


72 Hours Later...

So after days and nights of too much coffee and a lot of tobacco, I finally completed my second report (and just in time to go to the concert too). I'm happy to say that I also did very well on my exam. God is good to me.

Be sure to stop by and browse through the latest post on Reformatorischeblog. It contains notes on about 10 different readings, mostly concerning the philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd.
Shaking Pom-Poms In Heaven

I was in a high balcony, to the far side. Singular beams of light cast upon the stage. And I noticed the words in stone relief arched above the window: soli deo gloria. "Because He is the Lord..." in haunting falsetto harmonies the voices rang out upon a hushed and still crowd.

This was the scene towards the end of the Sufjan and the Illinoise-makers show on Thursday night. It opened with the gorgeous Shara Worden and My Brightest Diamond. When S.S. and his band came out it was like a fourthajuly pep-rally parade. And somehow it evolved on a path through the streets of middle America into an apocalyptic vision of the Seven-fold Spirit of the Swan Lord bursting forth in his solar glory. It all took place in an old church building, now a concert hall called "Paradiso."

I really enjoyed it.


Trying To Get Heard

The American Public Media program, Speaking of Faith, interviews Jamie Smith. He tries to help "the other half" of America understand that a good number of bible-believers are not what many assume them to be (anti-intellectual, socially unconcerned).

The title is "Evangelicals Out Of The Box." The host, Krista Tippet, writes in her journal: "Jamie Smith himself, as you'll hear in this program, defies every stereotype at play in our culture now --especially in "blue [leftist] America"-- about who evangelical Christians are, what motivates them, and how they might change America."

I'm not entirely on the same page with Jamie on all the issues, but he is a Dooyeweerd fan, and he's out there speaking up and making a difference.

If what Jamie has to say sounds interesting to you, and you like that sort of program, check out Mars Hill Audio which thoughtfully engages cultural issues from a Christian perspective. See too, the audio resource, thINK, from the Work Research Foundation addressing issues of faith in the marketplace. And for the best in engaging, intelligent theological radio, visit the White Horse Inn.


125 Years On Our Knees

Today is the hundred-twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Free University of Amsterdam. There was a special ceremony with various speakers, a video presentation, a brass quartet (very nice!), and bestowal of honorary degrees. It was, of course, mostly in Dutch, but I still enjoyed it.

Tomorrow there will be a special conference in honor of the retirement of my favorite professor, Dr. Henk Geertsema.

"One sole desire rules my life, a single urge drives soul and will:
to re-establish God’s holy ordinances in church and home, in state and school...
to engrave those divine ordinances, to which Word and Creation witness, so clearly on the nation that once again we bow the knee to God.
--Abraham Kuyper


Tell Me Everything

I recently finished one of two first-unit reports. I have an exam tomorrow and a second one next week, after my second report is due. Right now I'm not too worried. Happily, I feel prepared. So, sooner than later, I'll have some good material to post over at Reformatorischeblog.
In the meantime, if you hadn't yet noticed, there's a reading assignment waiting there for you.

In other news, we've had some gorgeous weather the past few days. This is not to be taken for granted in Amsterdam.


Where's The Beef?

This evening, Peter Berger gave what I can only call a mere "homily" at the University with the Society for International Development. I was hoping for an involved lecture; a serious theoretical discourse. In any case, what he did say was interesting enough.

He touched on the resurgence of religion in the world (minus Europe), and its impact on international socio-economic development. Taking his cue from Weber (and borrowing from someone else, I think), Berger spoke of contemporary "functional equivalents" to the Protestant ethic among various traditions. He spoke about vangaurds, economic discipline, the advantages of arriving late, the slow death of LatinAmerican machismo, and "new" (borrowed or latent) values and institutions that foster sustainable growth.

He didn't go into much detail about how various religious beliefs specifically produced an equivalent culture or ethos for economy. But I got the basic idea.


A Soundtrack For The Transcendental Critique

Besides occasional news about my brother, I don't often mention music I've been listening to. But here goes. Before I left Charm City, I was surprised by having a taste for the I'm Wide Awake ditties of young Conor Oberst. Lately, I've been pleased to listen to Slowblow, and my new very favorite band: The Baptist Generals. TBGs are not as hard to pin-down as their press would indicate. I liken them to Violent Femmes meets early R.E.M. meets a Texas lo-fi sensibility. It's what I like.

And somehow I got roped into going to see this strange fellow on the 27th here in Amsterdam.


When He's Not On The Sax

From time to time I like to update you jazz fans on the illustrious career of my youngest brother, Gary. Here he is spinning for his regular swing nite "Doubletime" [thanks Donal!] at Spailpin. And here are the kids diggin' it. I was told by several musicians in Cork that they thought ole Garçon was the hardest working musician in town.


News From Out West

Well, Orange County (and our nation) should be so lucky.

[you've got to read that with a Yiddish accent to get my meaning]