Challenging The Zeitgeist:
what societal sphere sovereignty really means

So I've been really busy with trying to finish my short paper, so I can get started on my thesis. For a long time I was hung up on a few passages, and it took way longer to write than it should have. But I'm done now, and I am grateful to the Lord for His tender mercy. Your prayers for me were effectual, and I appreciate them.

I still have to add the footnotes and other references, but you can read my short paper here. Please do comment or ask questions!

I believe that Dooyeweerd's conception of societal sphere sovereignty is an essential key to faithful Christian living. Of course, not every one can grasp the theoretical details of this view. But in its basic outline this view is essential to a genuine Christian worldview. Every Christian --but especially those who already understand that culture is not optional, that cultural life is the shape of human life, and therefore of the Christian life-- should carefully consider these ideas as best they can, whatever their vocation.


What Home Tastes Like

Many thanks to my friends who have sent me care-packages while I've been here. I do feel cared for. Today I was so pleased to find a can of Old Bay in my mailbox. I suppose this means nothing to most of you, but to me it's comfort in salty form.

Now for all you LOVERS out there, here's a whole bunch of great audio stories to enjoy from ThisAmericanLife:
Love Thy Neighbor, people trying to love their neighbors... and failing.
What Is This Thing?, they call it love.
So Beautiful... To Me, about love, and what people mean when they use the word.
How To Win Friends, highly recommended fourth act: Jonathan Goldstein on what it's like to date Lois Lane when she's on the rebound from Superman.
Star-Crossed Love, how love blossoms, even when (perhaps) it shouldn't.
The Big Day, all that takes place decades after the moment your eyes meet.
Impossible Love and Heartbreak, need we explain?
And a special from Hearing Voices.


The Glory Of Kings
: a meditation on the calling of Christian scholarship

Even before the fall, Adam was dependent upon God to know how he ought to serve God in the dominion which God granted him over all the earth. There is a passage of Scripture in which we learn about a certain way that man is called to cultivate and keep, to fill, subdue and rule the creation. It is the passage that tells us about the naming of animals. “So out of the ground Yahweh-God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” Genesis 2:19. So God reveals to man that part of his calling to rule involves naming things.

But do we find it strange that the man does not inquire of God concerning their names? And might we find it even stranger to begin with that God brings the animals to the man to see what their names are? In the calling of scholarship --itself a form of naming the creation-- some would have us look to Scripture to provide specific criteria for every field of study. But this is not the example we have in the Scripture itself. Rather, man calls out the names that he reads upon the "book of nature," God's general revelation in the creation. This is also the meaning of that ancient proverb concerning the glory of man's kingly dominion over the world's treasures: “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search them out” Proverbs 25:2.


Don't Lose My Number

Several international friends, who were only studying here for six months, have left. ...And they left behind a lot of stuff. It's like Xmas all over again. One dear friend gave me her cell phone! So, feel free to "SMS" me (abbr. "short message service," European for the verb text).

# 064-854-3296

If you're calling from the U.S., drop the zero, and first dial 011-31 (the intl & NL codes).
I also skype and googletalk.

In other news, the Reformational Philosophy Club of Amsterdam is set to have the next meeting on Monday (13 Feb).


I Break For History

Darryl Hart and John Muether have given us a wonderful treat in their continuing series of historical vignettes. They write, "...this series is designed to interpret [the] significance [of the American Presbyterian tradition] for Orthodox Presbyterians. Our aim is less to win readers over to our interpretation of these events (although that would be nice), than to get [you] to focus more carefully on [your] history... we want to make a case for memory and not nostalgia... what will unfold is three centuries of Presbyterian struggles over strikingly familiar issues."

Take a moment, now and then, to be enriched by these essays.

01 -- Introduction
02 -- Origins and Identity, 1706–1729
03 -- Old Side versus New Side, 1741–1758
04 -- A National Presbyterian Church, 1789
05 -- The Plan of Union, 1801
06 -- Old School Presbyterianism, 1838
07 -- The Reunion of 1869
08 -- Confessional Revision in 1903
09 -- The Special Commission of 1925
10 -- 1936: A Continuing Presbyterian Church
11 -- The Confession of 1967
12 -- 1973: The Presbyterian Church in America
13 -- Liberal Reunion in 1983
14 -- Conclusion

update April 2007 : the index above now available on OPC homepage.
See also Presby & DutchRef family trees and a list of "P&R" churches.