Posts from — October 2006
October 31, 2006 5 Comments
Adam points me to an mp3 of a radio debate between Richard Dawkins and a Catholic theologian, David Quinn. I haven’t yet listened to it, but from comments about it, Dawkins is certainly not the winner.
I’m especially interested because I’ll be hearing Dawkins speak on Monday, at Randolph-Macon Women’s College. If you’re in town, you ought to come with.
October 20, 2006 No Comments
Joost Nixon’s introductory editorial for the Fatherhood issue of St. Anne’s Pub is simply fantastic. I listened to it three times back to back over my lunch break today. It is so good, in fact, that I have to quote part of it here…
In God’s economy, He serves up our parental dinners in reverse order, with dessert first, and the other courses following. All the courses are smashing, and in ways as different as a grilled ribeye is from fresh sour dough. But nothing that follows is as sweet and fleeting as infancy. Fearing that if I am a moment distracted, God will carry off my dessert half-eaten, I am greedily savouring Judah’s infancy.
October 20, 2006 No Comments
I got a bill a while back for some of Phinehas’ medical services when he was born. There was a bit of mixup with him getting on my health insurance, and so no payment was made. I called today to ask them to resubmit the claim, and they did and everything should be fine.
But in the process, I said to the lady, “Treatment was for my son, Phinehas”. And I would be lying if I said a huge smile didn’t come across my face at the phrase coming out of my mouth. My son, Phinehas.
Which isn’t to discredit at all the joy I had the first time I spoke about having a daughter. But… It’s my boy. I’m a proud papa.
October 20, 2006 1 Comment
Mark recently posted about hermeneutics, and how it isn’t always the case that the ‘plain reading’ isn’t always the correct reading. I agree with that principle, but in part of the post he says the following…
Indeed one must concede that if someone opened a Bible for the first time and read through Genesis 1 they would most likely assume that the author was using “day” just as we would normally use it in English, to refer to one 24-hour period. However, as the supporters of the other two views covered in the book (day age and framework) point out, the ‘plain reading’ faces some very significant problems if one pays attention to the ‘œillogical’ ordering of creation events as recorded in the text (such as light and vegetation existing before light sources were created). These difficulties raise the possibility that something other that literal 24-hour days were intended by the author of Genesis 1.
Because my comments don’t really have anything to do with his main point, I’m not leaving this as a comment. But I was irked enough to say something. Also, I haven’t read The Genesis Debate, so I can’t comment on the book at all.
I don’t think the “problem” suggested (light before light source) is at all “significant”. In fact, I donâ’t even consider it a problem.
The text is quite clear, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Whatever someone may think about logic, the Bible is explicitly clear that there was light before the sun. And the sun (and moon) were then created to rule the day (and the night). The light existed, and then the sun and moon were made for the light that was already present.
The only reason this question would be a “significant problem” is if someone first brings a skeptical eye to the text, judging (with their own reason conviently being the standard) whether or not it can be true and accurate. The question that those author’s bring to the table is not ‘what does the text say’, but rather, ‘can we really believe what the text says?’
There is no hermenutical or logical error present in the literal interpretation.
October 19, 2006 7 Comments
I actually don’t know if it really qualifies as an omission or not, but I was just leafing through my copy of The Case for Covenant Communion, and it dawned on me that there is no chapter by Peter Leithart. Curious.
Of course, it could be that the books’ companion, The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism, already has Dr. Leithart’s chapter on paedocommunion.
October 16, 2006 2 Comments
Once upon a time, last summer, I had several free online music downloads. I decided that Iâ€™d use them to check out something totally unfamiliar, and asked around on the internet for recommendations. One suggestion that came in was The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us! by Sufjan (pronounced soof-yon) Stevens. One thing youâ€™ll notice at this point is that Sufjan Stevensâ€™ song titles are not common or conventional. This is a good indicator of his music.
After listening to the sample of the recommended song my immediate response was, â€œThis is like playtime music for three year olds.â€ Two days later I came crawling back in sackcloth and ashes, both feet firmly in my mouth. Thanks to two free downloads from amazon.com (http://artist.amazon.com/illinois), I was hooked. I remember quite clearly the moment I was converted. I was listening to one of the songs (Casmir Pulaski Day) and said to my wife, â€œWhat do you think of this?â€ My question was admission of defeat.
Let me pause for a moment to offer a warning. This is not simple, cotton candy music. It requires you, the listener, to give something of yourself in order to appreciate and enjoy it. If you arenâ€™t willing to give it a chance, and listen to several of the songs two or three times, then save yourself the time and effort; donâ€™t listen even once. Youâ€™ll only walk away thinking itâ€™s weird music, and make a mental note to take IQ reviews with a nice sized grain of salt.
Sonically speaking, I find it very difficult to fit Illinois into any single genre. There are elements of folk music, with acoustic guitar and banjo leading some songs. Others have more of a modern rock flair, with distorted electric guitar. Thereâ€™s even a touch of classical music, with choral arrangements over layers of strings and horns. Then thereâ€™s the droll description one friend shared with my wife, â€œIt sounds like a carnivalâ€. It really is a mixed bag, which defies categorization.
If forced to describe Sufjan Stevensâ€™ sound I would use the single phrase, â€œunsettlingly beautifulâ€. The artful, often complex arrangements coupled with the unique, ethereal vocal stylings form a dissonance (which Stevens confesses is intentional) that makes you ask yourself, â€œIs this good, quality songwriting? Or is it just silly?â€ My initial reaction, it turns out, isnâ€™t entirely in left field. This tension, which is only intensified by the lyrical content, causes us to examine the music and ask if it is any good. And upon such examination, we discover that it is quite good, and worthy of yet more attention.
Sufjan is a Christian, but his music is not what can be classified as Contemporary Christian Music. You wonâ€™t find any Christian radio stations playing his songs, for instance. But, if youâ€™re at all like me, youâ€™ll take that as a compliment. This absence from the CCM scene isnâ€™t due to a lack of Christian themes and imagery, though. From the depraved nature of man in the haunting John Wayne Gacy, Jr., to our recreation in Chicago; from our need for a Savior in The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts, to a celebration of Pentecost in Predatory Wasp, Illinois is chock full of elements of the Christian Faith. But it is not explicit. Like I said, it isnâ€™t classified as CCM. Stevens is much more subtle and organic than to whack you upside the head with these things. Some may question whether they are even present, suggesting instead that I have pulled them, like a rabbit, from my hat. I can only suggest that you find a copy of Illinois, settle down for an hour and a quarter of active listening, and judge for yourself.
October 16, 2006 3 Comments
The girls were out playing in the front yard. Megan was getting some work done inside. Suddenly, she hears Geneva and Ashley screaming and soon sees them through a window running towards the back door. “Brandy is in our yard!”
Brandy is our neighbor’s German Shepherd. She’s a nice dog, but too often comes into our yard for… business. The girls know I don’t like her in our yard, and were doing their best to inform Megan of her presence, so she could be scooted along. However, their excitement had unintended consequences.
As the girls reached the back door, crying was heard from the front door. Megan went to check on it, and saw Fiona crying as she scurried up the front steps as fast as she could, shouting “Wy-on! Wy-on!“.
October 13, 2006 3 Comments
eMusic gave me a free month, so I rejoined them. I will be posting good finds as I come across them. Here, though, I will start things off with ‘must haves’. These are genuinely good, high quality records that are worth every penny for a cd, so $0.25 a track is definitely worth it.
Sufjan Stevens. They have all his records. Illinois is simply amazing, and no one that appreciates music should be without this record. It’s worth joining just to get this record. After that, I personally recommend Seven Swans. Good, good stuff. I will post a review I wrote for Illinois some time (unless I’ve already posted it… I don’t recall).
Glen Phillips. They have his latest album, Mr. Lemons. While not as impressive as the release before that (Winter Pays For Summer), it is still an excellent album. Don’t pass it up.
Pedro the Lion/David Bazan. They have all his records. My favorite, I think, is It’s Hard to Find a Friend, but they’re all pretty good.
Pierce Pettis They have all his In Print cds, which are all I’ve heard. It’s excellent folky music. My favorite is Making Light of It, but I think more people like the more recent ones better.
The Decemberists I’ll put their album Picaresque on this list, but all their others are also very worth checking out. Unfortunately, their newest album (The Crane Wife, which released today) is not available due to their being signed to Capitol records.
**I just noticed they have an offer where you get 25 free downloads and I get 50, if you join through a link in an email I send, so ifyou’re curious, and want to give me some free downloads, I’ll send you an email. Just let me know.
October 4, 2006 No Comments
Geneva is five today.
I can’t believe it. Five is not a small number! While tucking her in last night, tears welled up as I told her it was the last hug she would get as a four year old.
October 2, 2006 1 Comment