Posts from — November 2005
Let’s see… I haven’t really posted much lately, and much has happened.
The Saturday before last (the 19th) I flew out to Houston, TX. My brother got married on the following Sunday. But, before that, I met with a few internet friends for dinner. We ate at McGonigel’s The Mucky Duck. Irish food. It was really good, and I had, for the first time, a 1554 Black Ale. Delicious.
Then I went to my brother’s wedding on Sunday. It was very nice, and I had a good time seeing him and my sister and their families, and my dad and his wife. I missed being home, though. I didn’t go to church, and it felt strange being away for so long. And, to make me miss being there even more, Fiona took Communion for the first time that Sunday. I could have had her wait to the next week, when I’d be there… but that didn’t seem right.
But, I was there for her second experience, and it was great seeing her. She didn’t realize that she could take some bread (even though she had some the week before), so I got to see her eyes light up the way they do when our kids are first told they can take a piece.
Let’s see… I came back Monday, had work Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wednesday evening we went to some friends house for Thanksgiving dinner. They were going to see some extended family on Thanksgiving, so they had us over (along with their one set of parents and a sister’s family) Wednesday. It was a really good time. We have children pretty close in age, so they all got to play together.
Thursday, our girls had a nasty cough thing going on, so we didn’t have a feast ourselves. Until Friday. That’s when I cooked a turkey and we had all the fixin’s for our Thanksgiving meal. It was just us, and it was tasty.
Finally, on Saturday, Ashley celebrated her third birthday. We were going to have some friends over for that, but with our girls recovering from their coughs, and their family being sick as well, we postponed it. So poor Ashley hasn’t had a suitable birthday party yet. But… tomorrow night we’re schedule to have one for her.
There you go. A quick update.
November 30, 2005 5 Comments
The Holiday of Stuff
This is the first Lordâ€™s Day of Advent, the year of our Lord, 2005. This is the beginning of the church year, marking annually, as we do, the beginning of our salvation in the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
We are marking our days, building up to one of the great Christian holidays. This is a potent holiday, one that secularists appear to understand better than we sometimes do. They want to stamp out any vestige of the historic Christian faith in this, and their secularist jihad is not irrational. They know how powerful this story is. This being the case, let us make a point of telling the story right, and very loudly.
In the first place, do not fall for the lie that the spirit of Christmas is an ethereal kind of thing. This is the celebration of the Incarnation, when the eternal Logos of God took on a material body, which He still has. Do not, therefore, join in the general lamentations about “materialism.” This is a celebration of God taking on a material body. It is therefore a holiday that should focus on stuff.
By stuff, I mean ribbons, decorations, fudge, wreaths, cider, presents, feasting, toasts, shopping with joy, putting up a tree, sending cards, learning a Christmas piece on the piano, and more fudge.
Of course, we all know how to sin with stuffâ€”we were living in a pretty earthy state of sin before Christ came. But He did not come to whisk us out of this world in order that we might go celebrate some kind of Gnostic holiday in heaven. We are to honor the Lord Jesus with our stuff. So do not drink too much, do not run up your credit cards, and donâ€™t try to buy friends with presents.
But Godâ€™s answer to sin begins with the Incarnation. We do not escape from sin by denying, or trying to deny, His method for saving us. Our salvation lies in receiving, resting, accepting, and imitating. And how do we imitate? One thing we must do is use stuff.
November 28, 2005 1 Comment
Ashley: Mommy, is this The Nutcracker?
Ashley: It’s like a cheese cracker.
November 22, 2005 No Comments
Is this just whacky?
In justification we are declared righteous. In definitive sanctification, we are made righteous. It isn’t just a declaration, but a true change in the individual. Of course, it isn’t an absolute change, because throughout this life we continue to sin. We are made righteous, and we grow in our righteousness, and, on the last day, we will be made completely righteous.
Analogically, I believe when we have faith, we are obedient. We aren’t perfectly obedient… we continue to sin. But having faith makes us fundamentally obedient.
These were my comments in reply to a question about David’s eternal destination had he died right when he touched Bathsheba:
He would have gone to Heaven. Because he believed and obeyed God. ‘What’s that’, you say, ‘he obeyed God? but he was in the middle of a disobedient act!’ Yes, that’s right. I believe David was a faithful servant, even in the midst of his sin. Why? Because he had faith. And faith is more than just thoughts in our heads… it is (to quote my friend Jason) ‘fundamentally, the disposition of a person to believe and obey God in all things’. Thus, I believe David was obedient, despite his disobedience. And this fundamental obedience was made manifest in his public confession of his sin. When we confess our sins to God and others, we are obeying God.
David was saved by faith alone, and so are we. I don’t want you to go away thinking I’m saying that God looks at our good works and says, “Oh, they did what I said. That means I can let them into Heaven.”, or anything along those lines. We are brought into Heaven because of Christ alone. He takes our sins and we receive His righteousness, and if it weren’t for that transaction, no one would ever be saved.
November 17, 2005 2 Comments
Bruce McCormack’s article on justification, alluded to in an earlier post, is quite good. He rightly points out that “the term ‘justification’ has its home in the judicial sphere,” but equally rightly points out that God’s judgments are different from human judgments: “God’s verdict differs in that it creates the reality it declares. God’s declaration, in other words, is itself constitutive of that which is declared. God’s word is always effective. When it goes forth, it never returns to Him void. So a judicial act for God is never merely judicial; it is itself transformative.” Faith thus does not “receive the divine verdict” but “is itself produced by that verdict. Imputation is itself regenerative.” He cites Calvin’s statement that “whomever . . . God receives into his grace, on them he at the same time bestows the gift of the spirit of adoption. . . , by whose power he remakes them in his own image,” and concludes that Calvin teaches that justification is here “logically prior to regeneration.” It is through the verdict of the divine Judge that the sinner is enabled to believe and through that verdict that the sinner is constituted as righteous.
November 17, 2005 No Comments
Opponents of Federal Vision theology often criticize FV for speaking about the necessity of covenant faithfulness. They claim that it brings works righteousness into the picture.
But covenant faithfulness ought to be understood as simple believing God with a faith that saves; a faith that, by definition, has implications in an individuals life.
And I don’t think any Reformed theologian would disagree with that.
November 17, 2005 2 Comments
Someone on a forum brought up buying a kitchen playset for his son, and asked for thoughts. Most people said it would be fine, but I said I wouldn’t buy one for my son. Someone asked why, and this is what I said…
Because I would rather have my (hypothetical) boys playing outside, doing something adventurous than playing in the kitchen.
Not that I think it unacceptable for a man to cook or be a chef… no, I think that would be very cool, actually.
But I think that what and how our children play shapes how they think about the world. I want my boys (should I be blessed with any) to be conquerors and warriors.. I want them to have a thirst and ambition for dominion. And I think giving them swords and dragons and castle playsets will shape them more in that direction that a kitchen playset.
What do you think?
edit: a few more of my posts in that thread. I think you can basically guess what type of comments I was replying to.
I want [my girls] to be home despots.
I want them to be good wives and mothers, primarily. I want them to be able to manage a home well. Of course, this is taking dominion. I want them to have a thirst and ambition for dominion just as much as any boys I may have… but their focus will be different.
A man’s focus, I believe, should be outward, to the world. And a woman’s should be towards the home, and towards her husband.
I wrote this a while back… might give some insight.
Hey, where did I say cooking is inherently feminine? Or that a kitchen set is intrinsicly feminine?
Oh, that’s right. I didn’t….
I just said that playing ‘cooking’ and playing ‘slay the giants’ will affect a child’s orientation to the world differently. And I’d rather my son have the ‘slay the giants’ orientation than the ‘cooking’ one.
Even if he grows up to be a chef.
I do believe that to be world-facing is masculine and home-facing is feminine.
However… that isn’t the same thing as saying kitchen sets are intrinsically feminine. I believe they are generally made for girls, and I believe that playing with them will lead to a more feminine outlook on the world when contrasted with, say, a castle playset. But that doesn’t say they’re intrinsically feminine, or that castle playsets are intrinsically masculine.
November 16, 2005 2 Comments
I recently requested that Fiona be admitted to the Lord’s Table. Virgil, our pastor, asked me a few questions, not so much to check for requirments, but to get an idea of where I’m coming from. I answered them, and Fiona was welcomed to the Table. Unless I’m forgetting someone, Fiona (at 14 months) is the youngest child to be brought to the Lord’s Supper at Providence.
Here’s my response…
Fiona does eat regular food at the table with us. She still sits in her high chair, of course, but she eats what we eat. She isn’t entirely weaned yet, but she eats all three meals with everyone else. She also waits while we pray, and, just recently, made clear that she wants to hold my hand while I pray. She’s also in the process of learning her first catechism question (Who made you?). I believe she has an appropriate attitude for partaking of the Lord’s Supper. I think she is able to judge the body, and recognizes that she is missing something that everyone else is receiving.
As for why I’d like her to come to the Table, I guess there are a few different answers for that. Firstly, I’d like her to participate for the same reasons that I do: to strengthen her faith, encourage her in faithfulness, receive anew (be reminded of) the promises of God (and call on God to remember His promises), to deepen the bonds with her brothers and sisters in Christ, and to receive the grace of God in a tangible way.
If you’re asking why I think she should be admitted to the Table now, as opposed to later, I’d say there are a number of reasons. First, she’s a child of God, included in His covenant dealings, and has a right to all the blessings and benefits of the covenant. Second, she recognizes that something is happening, and that she is being excluded from it. In this, I believe she is judging the body. Only, she would be judging herself outside of the body, and that is not true. And I wouldn’t want her to judge the body wrongly. Thirdly, when a person is excluded from the Table, it is an indication of their spiritual status. Admittance to the Supper discriminates those that have been brought into The Family from those that are without. This, coupled with my first and second points, leads to my conclusion that Fiona is not without, and I don’t want her to think that she is. Finally, I think she should participate now because she actively takes part in other portions of the worship service. She sings a bit, she says ‘amen’ with the rest of the congregation, and she raises her arms to the glory of God when we sing the Doxology. She wants to be a part of the celebration, and she ought to be a part of as much of it as she is capable of.
November 16, 2005 No Comments
I just read a really, really good comment on a messageboard. It was a thread about good works and obedience, and how God can require anything of us, and yet Christ still wholly fulfill the justice of God on our behalf.
The response was that our obedience is not a requirment to satisfy justice. Our obedience doesn’t have anything to do with paying God, since it was a requirment in place before The Fall. Adam was in a favorable position with God, and so his obedience was not to gain God’s favor, nor are good works/obedience made to make payment to God for wrong doing. Rather, God’s requirment of us has to do with His character, and man being made in His image, to reflect His character.
November 14, 2005 No Comments
I was just thinking… if we went with a school voucher system, and then you never used your vouchers… what would happen? As I understand it, the schools would get the money when you gave them the vouchers. But if you didn’t give the vouchers to anyone… where would that money go?
November 12, 2005 No Comments
Right now, Megan is out picking up the last few items on our Christmas shopping list for family. And, thanks to Amazon Prime, I should be getting several items in just a few days. Which will conclude our christmas shopping. Except for one another, and the girls. But… shopping for me is complete, except for a few stocking stuffers or something.
I already got my big present… a new digital camera. I got a Nikon CoolPix 8400. I’m already enjoying it, and a barely know how to use it. Look for more pics in my flickr account. I’m thinking I’ll upgrade to pro at some point in the next few months, since 20mb can be used up pretty quickly if you’re at all regular in uploading new pics.
That’s my Saturday update.
November 12, 2005 No Comments
Megan: Geneva, why do you obey Mommy and Daddy?
Geneva: Becauuuusee… I’m good.
November 11, 2005 No Comments