Thursday, December 31, 2009


This post is in anticipation of dancing tomorrow night away.

Previously I have only made fairly arbitrary New Year's Resolutions, like not drink soda pop for a year. Seeing as I should be putting off childish ways by now I'm going to make some real resolutions.

5. Get physically fit again. I used to be in pretty good shape, then I got hit by a car and have been using that as an excuse to be fat and lazy ever sense. Starting January 2010, not anymore.
4. Translate a book of the New Testament. I've spent a lot of time learning Greek and want to put it to good use. I'm think Ephesians right now, but that's still open to suggestion. Suggestions?
3. Become more financially disciplined. I don't really care for money that much. I really don't have any ambitions of being wealthy or acquiring material goods. However, I've often used this disinterest as an excuse to being irresponsible. Frugality and contentment: two words I hope describe my financial planning in 2010.
2. Learn Turkish. It's pretty pathetic I can only converse in one language. I mean really, how narcissistic is it that I expect everyone to speak my language?
1. Memorize more Scripture. The last year I've really focused on learning biblical theology, that is focusing on the big picture: typology, plot movements, developing themes, and so forth. This year I want to hide God's word in my heart, and not just proof texts but chunks of it!

Hopefully these resolutions will not be goals of self glorification but acts of worship in service of a holy God.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Newbigin on Contextualization

"The Gospel is addressed to human beings, to their minds and hearts and consciences, and calls for response. Human beings only exist as members of communities which share a common language, customs, ways of ordering economic and social life, ways of understanding and coping with their world. If the gospel is to be understood, if it is to be received as something which communicates truth about the real human situation, if it is as we say, to "make sense" it has to be communicated in the language of those to whom it is addressed and has to be clothed in symbols which are meaningful to them."
-Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 141.

Hometown Homiletic

When Jesus returned to his hometown to teach in the synagogue, they tried to throw him over a cliff after his message. Well I got to preach at my parents church this morning, and thankfully no one tried to toss me over the Mogollon Rim.

Preaching is something that I am still quite inexperienced in, and I was thankful to get a lot of constructive feedback from my brothers. Illustrations and application are challenging for me, and I still feel overly dependent on my manuscript, but I absolutely love digging into the Bible. Few things are as exciting to me as tracing theological themes and investigating how the New Testament writers use and develop the Old Testament. Preparing a sermon allows me to investigate the text much more extensively than I typically do in my personal devotions.

The more I learn about the Bible, the more I realize I don't know, which is both humbling and encouraging. It's humbling, because there are so many areas where I still need to grow. It's encouraging because I know there will always be something more to investigate.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I remember when I used to be into nostalgia

Amazingly, I'm back in Arizona for the first time in 2009.

I am hoping this homecoming will be an opportunity to find quiet and solitude for spiritual contemplation and reflection. I am preparing to enter to a very new stage of life in 2010 and it has never seemed as imperative to seek the Lord while he can be found.

Now that I am five years out from high school graduation there is less and less to be nostalgic about anyway.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Integrity as a Barista

There's a customer at my coffee shop who has got the system beat. She always gets a small coffee in a medium cup, which puzzled me until I noticed her at the condiment stand, topping off her cup with cream and sugar. It's a clever tactic to be sure: save a devastating 26 cents while lavishing yourself with four ounces of free product.

At first I was pretty angry, but now I am mostly just saddened this individual places such a low price on her integrity. 26 cents? Heck, I would be happy to buy you a coffee if your finances are that tight.

But it would be hypocritical if I judged this customer's deception without examining my own life. As a barista, am I consistently giving each customer the highest quality beverage possible? What about shots of espresso? Even just plus or minus a few seconds makes a huge difference in taste. How about milk? Motivation to steam microfoam is definitely dampened when it is just going to be smothered by whipped cream, but that doesn't mean I should compromise a single component of the drink.

Perhaps there are implications not pertaining to coffee.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Plausibility Structures and the Gospel

"As a Christian I seek so to live within the biblical tradition, using its language as my language, its models as the models through which I make sense of my experience, its story as the clue to my story, that I help to strengthen and carry forward this tradition of rationality. But as a member of contemporary British society I am all the time living in, or at least sharing my life with, those who live in the other tradition. What they call self-evident truths are not self-evident to me, and vice versa. When they speak of reason they mean what is reasonable within their plausibility structure. I do not live in that plausibility, but I know what it feels like to live in it. Within my own mind there is a continuing dialogue between the two. Insofar as my own participation in the Christian tradition is healthy and vigorous, both in thought and in practice, I shall be equipped for the external dialogue with the other tradition. There is no external criterion above us both to which I and my opposite number can appeal for a decision."
-Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 65.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pigeon Holes

I just took a mandatory personality test. For the record, I think they're shallow and generally unhelpful. Take for instance this actual question:

At parties do you:
#1. Sometimes get bored.
#2. Always have a good time.

If anyone chooses answer #2. it means they either (a) are in frat-boy denial, or (b) only go to select parties and not the obligatory ones that most of us have to attend. I personally don't see how the quality of one's friends parties has anything to do with said person fitting into one of several preconceived categories. The spirit of the question seems to be getting at whether the test-taker is an introvert or an extravert, which evidently can be scientifically determined. The irony here is that I almost always have a good time at parties, but on occasion have found myself disinterested. Seeing as I neither fit into scenario (a) or (b), as well as have a predisposition to despise modernistic attempts to label me, I choose the only intellectually possible answer, which may or may not reflect well on my personality.

Friday, December 11, 2009

WRL: Resurrection of the Son of God by Wright

Having polished off my first semester at SBTS, I now am free to pursue my now annual tradition of the Winter Reading List (WRL).

First up is finishing The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright. I started this book some time ago, but sadly required reading invariably eclipses elective reading, at least when there's a grade involved, and Southern's work load doesn't permit a lot of spare time for further theological study.

Anyway, I am excited to dig back into this book, as the first 300 pages were very compelling, and I'm very interested to see what the remaining 450 pages have in store. The following quote on resurrection in 1 & 2 Corinthians is an excellent sound bite:

"Paul seldom addresses ... the question of what precisely happened at Easter, of what Jesus' own resurrection actually consisted in. However, since he uses Jesus' resurrection again and again as the model both for the ultimate future, and for the present anticipation of the future, we can conclude that, as far as he was concerned, Jesus' resurrection consisted in a new bodily life which was more than mere resuscitation. It was a life in which the corruptibility of the flesh had been left behind; a life in which Jesus would now be equally at home in both dimensions of the good creation, in 'heaven' and 'earth'." 310.

Gluten Free Food Review: Opera Cake by Cake Flour

I have some pretty exciting news for celiacs in the Louisville area. My place of employment, Java Brewing Company, is now carrying a monthly gluten-free pastry, which for December is an opera cake by local bakery Cake Flour.

"Decadent" is a word that gets thrown around a lot with chocolate, but I don't think it's cliche in this case. It's just a really convenient one word description of everything delicious going on with this treat. Even though I haven't had a glutenous dessert for over a decade, I feel pretty confident that this one will be enjoyed by even those without intolerances.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Newbigin on Community and Hermenuetics

"The Bible is not a collection of documents recently dug up in the sands of Egypt. It is quite "unscientific" to treat it is it were. The Bible comes into our hands as the book of a community, and neither the book nor the community are properly understood except in their reciprocal relationship with each other. Quite clearly, the community as it now exists is being continuously shaped by the attention it gives to the Bible. Equally clearly, the community's reading of the Bible is shaped by a tradition that has been developed through the experience of previous generations of believers seeking to understand and put into practice the meaning of the book... This is the hermeneutical circle operating within the believing community."

-Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks, p. 55.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


The clean aesthetic of this cappuccino cup is almost as delightful as the delicious contents. And the feel? "Balanced" is putting it lightly.

Good job Intelli.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Blood, Sweat, and Tears of Academia

I turned in the final paper of my first masters class yesterday. The joyous occasion was slightly denigrated when I pricked my thumb on the staple and bled all over my title page. The irony is that I had already invested much sweat and a few tears into it.

One more paper and one exam and I will have 9 credits. Only 79 more to go after that.
I don't think I'll mind putting this whole masters thing on hold at all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


My dear friend Michael Scott Daniel got married Saturday. Lang Thomas Photography shot some amazing pictures of the ceremony and reception. Yours truly even pops up in a couple pics, showing off some moves on the dance floor.

Scott, we're all very proud of you and Maria, we're still blown away you agreed to marry him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Authentic & Delicious

"The defining characteristic of coffees grown on the slopes of Mt. Kenya is known in the coffee trade as "the blackcurrant taste." Absolutely unique to Kenya, this savory, fragrent, mouthwatering fruitiness has captivated generations of coffee tasters, and these coffees are known among coffee cognoscenti as the best of the best."
- Tasting notes of Counter Culture Coffee's Kenya Ndaroini-Nyeri

Couldn't agree more.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Regina Spektor

About a year ago, I was terrified that after releasing "Begin To Hope" Regina Spektor was going to slip into female singer-song writer obscurity. Thankfully, my fears were fallacious as her third LP, "So Far", is a remarkably mature album that has been well received by a wide audience.

Amazingly, Regina decided to finish her North American tour in Louisville, and I was fortunate enough to see her perform tonight at The Palace with a few friends. Granted, we had to brave an onslaught of adolescent girls whose existence is somehow given meaning by Regina's quirky lyrical imagery and wistful-yet-optimistic arrangements, but it was an obstacle/annoyance we were willing to face.

The set list:

The Calculation
Folding Chair
Ode to Divorce
Laughing With
One More Time With Feeling
Blue Lips
On The Radio
Dance Anthem of the 80's
Silly Eye-Color Generalizations
Bobbing for Apples
That Time
Apres Moi
Poor Little Rich Boy
Man of A Thousand Faces

Sailor Song
Hotel Song
Love You're A Whore

Sans "Musicbox", the concert was everything I expected and hoped. In fact, I think I would have been happy with just the encores. I was also glad to discover Regina spent most of the day exploring Louisville and informed us that is was a "$@*&ing awesome city."

That it is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Installment Plan

Often people become hipsters/scenesters in increments, as their wardrobe and aesthetic sensibilities slowly shift one article of clothing at a time...

It's quite unfortunate when the first step is skinny low-rise chick jeans. Sometimes it's got to be all or nothing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ville Be Jammin

Tonight was the first ever Louisville Barista Jam hosted by Java's own Sarah W (of Cabin fame). Toto brought over his syphon/siphon set up and gave a very educational and tasty demonstration. Kenny gave some pointers for aspiring latte artists which led to a throw-down, which I believe was won by a well-infused rossetta poured by Darren Jennings, Sunergos's newest employee. Chuck led a blind taste testing which included local roasts and beans from leading shops all across the U.S., notably Intelligentsia and Velton. At least five shops were represented and clearly everyone had a great time.

Hopefully the first of many more to come!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holiday at Sea

One of my favorite songs is "Holiday at the Sea" by Anathallo. The lyrics are as follows.

I looked down at my shoes, because I felt the drip

of blood fall from my hammer to the leather

through my socks. The knots kept tightening their

grip. The cords (chords) ring out the history, and

time is a mocker as a remedy. The preacher wore a suit,

I knew he would. The tiny print rice paper

books, I hated how they saw me so transparently.

This heart, my thread, I tried so hard. The best

that I could sew was death, no matter how I

covered it with deeds. What's there left to do?

Because the mud only covers up the stains... who

could imagine a holiday at the sea? Down there, in

the sea, I should hold my breath 'til this other

person's blood is washing off of me. Down there,

in the sea, I should hold my breath 'til this

other person's blood is washing over me.

It's difficult to trace the structure of the fragmented, stream-of-concious lyrics, but musically there's three movements. The song begins in solemn lament. At the beckoning of a pastor, the singer contemplates the crucifixion, and, rather graphically, takes personal responsibility. Acts 2:23 seems to be in view here.

His response is to try to make up for his crime through good works, which only yields futility and further despair.

The second movement is abrupt and unexpected. The pensive dirge erupts into a jubilant chorus, filled with horns, shout-outs, and all of Anathallo's other glorious peculiarities. This is salvation, redemption, regeneration. Having reached the end of himself, the singer experiences divine grace. Musically, the sheer magnitude clearly makes this the focal point of the song, as further evidence by appearance of the song's title, which is a quote from C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity:

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

The third movement settles into what is a best understood as the synthesis of the first two movements. The broodiness has returned, but is decidedly optimistic. Having experienced divine grace in movement two, the singer now struggles with the application of his new faith. Although he is is still conflicted, he is trusting in Jesus' atoning sacrifice for his salvation.

In recent years, Anathallo has incorporated lyrics from Hannah Marcus's song "Laos" in their live performance of "Holiday at the Sea", which form an inclusio to the original lyrics. This additional element creates a brilliant juxtaposition.

he was a pretty boy

stayed at our house

he took his girlfriend and

they went off to Laos

they took a photo there

of his heart

somethings you should never see

somethings you should never see

somethings you should never see

but there they are

there they are

at the last supper sits

jesus christ

neath his disciples fits

some device

holding double A batteries

on the side

and make the halo

circling round his head

twinkle on and off in red

as he holds up a piece of bread

and rolls his eyes

rolls his eyes

how could that poet stay

such a phrase

never look an angel straight

in the face

he knows they like to wait in the strangest places

motel rooms pharmacies

photographs batteries

some things you should never see

some things you should never see

but hey

you see them anyway


This song seems to be a personal struggle with the problem of evil and suffering. When faced with the tragedy of a close friend's brutal death, the songwriter seeks some sort of rational or meaning, but reaches no conclusion. The commercial, electronic Jesus the singer knows (most likely in American evangelicalism) is disinterested and offers no consolation.

While I am uneasy with such imagery, I can concur. An etheral, disinterested savior offers no solution to our sin (movement one) or suffering (Laos). However, the biblical Jesus took on real flesh and blood and lived among us, bore our sins on the cross and conquered death in the resurrection. This Jesus, the real Jesus, freely offers true grace and authentic comfort.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I don't know if panel discussions are ever helpful."
-Aaron Hung

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

"There is an indeterminacy on the level of our conscious experience irrespective of any indeterminacy at the level of the brian."
-Donald Mackay

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Bitter Irony of the Service Industry

Proposition 1: The more people that come into my coffee shop at once, the longer it is going to take to get each person their drink.

Proposition 2: The more people I make drinks for at once, the harder I have to work.

Proposition 3: The longer it takes to be served, the less American consumers are willing to tip for services (beverage quality is largely irrelevant).

Conclusion: The harder I have to work, the less I will be tipped, as evidenced by today's shift.

In other words, worst shift ever.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Osso and the BQE at 21c

Brooklyn-based string quartet Osso performed a selection of songs from their album Run Rabbit Run at 21c last night. The album is a re-envisioning of Sufjan's obscure second album, Enjoy Your Rabbit, an advent garde instrumental electronica project which has eluded the mainstream success of his other albums.
If it sounds just crazy enough to work, it's because it does. The exceptional musicianship and clever arranging of each song captured my attention immediately and almost made me forget that Sufjan didn't show up like he was suppose it. The chaotic dissonance of "Year of the Monkey" was a befitting foil to the delicate aura of "Year of Our Lord". "Year of the Dragon" was as imaginative as it was energetic and "Year of the Boar" was a compelling climax to the set. Osso's musical flexibility was beautifully demonstrated by the accompaniment of opener DM Stith.
The BQE was a fascinating but frustrating film. Visually and musically it encapsulated Sufjan's meticulous attention to detail in the midst of lavish grandeur. The continual use of mirrored images towards the end felt repetitive, but the rather absurd (and completely unexpected) electronic overture reminded me why I feel in love with Sufjan's music in the first place.
However, many fans will be left hypothesizing about how many states he could have covered in the year and a half he spent on this film.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Evangelical Mavericks

Our old friends at Carver 319 have out grown their dormitory days and are now blogging as Evangelical Mavericks, an apt moniker to be sure. It hasn't even been a week and they already have put out some stimulating material. Keep up the good work guys.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

John Sanders on Simple Foreknowledge

"Once God has foreknowledge that Lincoln will be assassinated, God can do nothing to prevent it."
-John Sanders, in "Be Wary of Ware: A Reply to Bruce Ware."

This is a really good point, and beautifully illustrates why I don't believe in simple foreknowledge. However, contra Sanders, I believe in meticulous sovereignty, thus God's knowledge of future events includes his exhaustive control of everything that happens.

I would be interested to hear an Arminian response that doesn't appeal to middle knowledge. Any takers?


Although I was successful in beating the rain to Quills, I was not as successful in waiting the storm out at Quills, so it was a very wet ride home.

Thankfully I always keep a back fender on my bike. Also, fixed gear bikes are actually practical for riding in the rain, since I can control my speed without relying on moisture-impaired calipers.

My Seagull messenger bag passed it's most rigorous test yet, as evidenced by the fact I'm updating my blog with my completely dry MacBook. When they say waterproof they mean waterproof!

Oh, trackstand in the pouring rain waiting at the CSX? You better believe it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moore on Communion

"The common cup is, well, gross to many Christians because they don't like the idea of drinking after strangers. That's just the point. You're not drinking after strangers. You're drinking after your own flesh and blood, your family. And the offense is precisely the issue. You're recognizing Christ Jesus, discerning his Body, in the 'flesh' of his Body the church around you. If drinking after your brothers is 'disgusting,' then how much more eating Jesus' flesh and drinking his blood. That was disgusting to an assembly a while back as well."

- Russel Moore. Read the rest here.


I recently found out that Tom Schreiner, a renown New Testament scholar and professor at SBTS, reserves superlatives like "extraordinary" and "astonishing" exclusively to talk about Jesus Christ and the gospel. This makes a lot of sense. The good news that peace with God is made possible through Jesus' atoning sacrifice is truly astonishing.

This forms a stark juxtaposition with my own parlance. Hyperbole and embellishment are tools in my repertoire which I routinely use to make my conversations seem interesting , no matter how trivial or commonplace. This begs the question, once the mundane has devalued our superlatives, what words will be left to encapsulate the phenomenal?

In a sense, careful word usage is stewardship. We have been given the gift of language (cf. Gen. 11 to see the converse) and are entrusted with the task of clearly communicating the gospel (1 Peter 3:15). The gospel, though simple enough for a child to understand, defies human wisdom. It is so counter-intuitive it requires conscientious and diligent effort on the part of the Christian in evangelism.

I think Tom Schreiner's practice is a good example for us all.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I've split the last 3 weeks between 4 cities... I'm starting to feel like a professional vagabond, perhaps of the traveling Bible salesman variety (cf. O'Conner and O'Neal.).

Makes me sort of glad the whole professional musician thing never really went anywhere- probably don't have what it takes to tour.

Anyway, for some reason it makes me think of this Dylan song... so applicable.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Fourth M

Three obvious mistakes that made what should have been an easy, delicious coffee beverage barely drinkable.

1. Pre-ground espresso. This causes all sorts of problems, the release of co2 being one of them (i.e. no crema!)
2. Too light of tamp/not enough volume. Way too fast of a pull means tons of extraction not taking place.
3. Letting the espresso sit attached to the group head before extraction. Burning the grounds does not taste good!

Sadly, it is usually the fourth "m" that causes bad coffee in Louisville.

Friday, October 16, 2009


"The weight of gold and silver will capture even the passage of time herself. So one could find, within the visual space created by gold and silver, a moment of eternity."
-Matazo Kayama

"The problem that I could not overcome with Art being religion is that the more I focused on myself, the less I could find myself. A schism grew inside between who I wanted to be and what I did...Finding beauty in nature and art, I did not have a 'shelf' to place that beauty inside my heart."
-Makoto Fujimura, Refractions

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Name the City

hFirst person to identify every city gets a prize. Partial credit for each right answer. Some cities appear more than once.

Fall Reading Daze

I acquired several books over Fall Reading Days (which is ironic considering we are supposed to be reading assigned reading during our break). Perhaps the book I am most excited about is Refractions, which is a collection of essays on art and faith by Japanese Christian artist Makoto Fujimura. Tim Keller wrote the forward.

I also bought and finished Flannery O'Conn0r's first novel, Wise Blood. The book's skeleton is a collage of various short stories she had previously written, which admittedly feels a little disjointed at times, but I do not think that it detracts from the thrust of the book. If anything, it was interesting to see how she developed the characters from their embryonic versions. As always, it was especially interesting to see O'Connor's perspective on God, depravity, and divine grace in her native South. As a southerner by birth, I completely concur with O'Connor's commentary:

"anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic."

Friday, October 09, 2009

Quote of the Day

"American Apparel ruined onesies for me. Now I think all babies look like slutty teenage girls."

-Nedelle Torrisi in an interview with Sufjan Stevens

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Best Coffee In Boston... that I have personally tasted anyway.

The greater Boston area has a great selection of independent coffee shops. Here are the best ones I visited.

Barismo. Walk into this Arlington shop and you won't find a lot of peripherals, whether it be chocolate, blenders, or even table & chairs. The focus is solely on the coffee, which is roasted exclusively in small batches on the premises. The crew shared a traditional cap, a siphon, and a pour-over, all which were delicious. This shop far exceeded my expectations and ranks among one of my favorite coffee experiences.

Diesel Cafe. Davis Square has become the "it" place in Somerville, MA and this ultra-mod coffee shop fits seamlessly into this post-Bohemian community. Diesel, which has the largest floor I have ever seen in a shop, serves Intelligentsia, and faithfully follows the Chicago style.

Epresso Royale. Official winners of the Most Pretentious Baristas Ever Award (MPBEA). However, they serve Barismo's Sonato 3 espresso- which is quite delicious in an iced latte.

Crema Cafe. Only a block from Harvard University, this shop is a fitting counterpart to its prestigious Ivy League neighbor. Both times I came here my cappuccino was too wet but was still a tasty, pleasant beverage, largely due to beans from acclaimed local roaster, Terroir. It's hard to find a table that isn't occupied, usually by students with a misplaced air of superiority.

High Rise Bakery. This Cambridge shop is just as serious about coffee as they are about their freshly baked bread products. Unfortunately I got there after they ran out of gluten-free pastries.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Blowin' up Beantown

For the last four days I have been in Boston/Cambirdge, MA with my roommate Matt and my little brother David. Here is the abridge, non-chronological list of things we have done:

Coffee: Barismo, Cafe Crema, Diesel Cafe, High-Rise, Espresso Royale, and Flour (which had some delish gluten free options)

Campuses: Harvard, MIT, Boston University

Pubs: The Burren, The Druid,

Shops: The Coop, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel

Churches: Christ the King (Redeemer Pres. church plant), Hope Fellowship (where we have been sleeping in the balcony)

Oh, throw in Fenway for a Red Sox game (they won!), the Museum of Fine Arts, Quincy Market, the Harbor, and an absurd amount of sight-seeing.

Pictures and legitimate commentary coming soon.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Birthday Blog

Today I turned 22 years old. I worked a shift at Java Brewing Company, ate some delicious Thai food with a few friends, and studied at Quills for my exam tomorrow. A good day to be sure.

Man, life is moving pretty quickly. It's been a year since this, and two years since this.

Perhaps it was because I was in a collision with car just over six months ago, but the brevity of life has really been impressed on me as of late. Well more accurately, the fact that I live as though life isn't transient has been impressed upon me.

Take for instance this exert from Psalm 139:

... in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me...

The Psalmist seems to be suggesting that God has already predetermined every single day of our lives. Like this Psalmist I see God as the great author who wrote me into existence; a God who has a purpose for my life that he will accomplish. For some reason this plan included me being born on September 30th, 1987.

I love that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sufjan unveils new song!

Is this Sufjan's new direction? Not his most accessible work ever, but seems to be part of a discernible trajectory in light of his previous work. Can't wait to hear about what LP this might be part of.

G.K. Beale on Christ and the Church as the True Temple

"To see Christ and the church as the true end-time temple is neither an allegorical spiritualization of the Old Testament temple nor of prophecies of an eschatological temple, but is an identification of the temple's real meaning. While it is true that Christ fulfills what the temple stands for, it is better to say 'Christ is the meaning for which the temple existed' (Clowney 1972:177). This is well expressed by Jesus himself when he says 'something greater than the temple is here.' (Matt. 12:6)"
- G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission 374-375.

Quote of the Day

"It comes from espresso plants... I think."
-Starbucks barista to J. Badgley, when asked about the origin of their 'Spro.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Birthday List

The anniversary of my birth is approaching, and some of my readers might be interested in buying me a present to commemorate the occasion. So as a service to you I thought I might compile some items that I would like to be possessions.
Traditional Caps are my favorite espresso beverage and this cappuccino cup from espresso parts would be a fitting vessel.

The Arizona Cardinals have been my favorite football team since I understood what football was, which was approximately around age six. This retro shirt, though anachronistic (the Cardinals were in St. Louis if not Chicago around the vintage this shirt imitates), is very cool.
Eckhard J. Schnabel is one of my favorite scholars, and his two volume set Early Christian Mission is a magisterial work. I feel embarrassed that it is not on my book shelf.
And as long as my library keeps on expanding, this customizable stamp would be exceedingly useful. Not only do I loan out quite a few books (many of which do not make it back to me), but my flatmates and I have a very similar book collection, largely because 3 out of the 4 of us went to the same college. Anyway, I can just picture this gorgeous fluer de lis surrounded by "from the library of M. J. Butterworth" on each title page.

So in conclusion, I would like to thank you in advance for the gift(s).

Friday, September 18, 2009


I drink a lot of coffee. I talk a lot about coffee. And the fact that I used to work in an independent coffee shop gives me some cred among the caffeinated proletariat, but my more informed aficionado friends are not as easily impressed- for good reason. I'm mostly talk. Name drop James Hoffmann or mention how natural process is overrated, insert appropriate nods and sighs during responding banter, and its easy to find acceptance among the aspiring elitists at your local pseudo-Bohemian cafe.

That being said, I do want to learn more about coffee.

Yesterday was my first day on bar at Java Brewing Company and it was a very informative experience. Most of the shift was spent pulling shots, which resulted in a lot of espresso to sip/slurp. I knew that espresso is a finicky beverage, but it wasn't until I started tasting my under/over extracted shots that I realized how critical each step of the process actually is. The fruit flavors I discovered in the properly pulled shots were painfully absent in the failed attempts. It is amazing how three plus/minus seconds of extraction can have such a profound impact on the taste.

As part of my training, I am now reading The Professional Barista Handbook by Scott Rao, which so far as shown to be a very helpful little book. It's fairly technical but still accessible. Should be a fun read.

Also, my coworker Sarah just started a collaborative barista blog. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Terry Wright on the Johannine Prologue

"If the opening verses of the Prologue allude to its Genesis counterparts, then its latter section, 1:14-18, may be said to find its antecedent in Exodus 33-34, where Moses met with God's presence insight the tent of meeting and there beheld God's glory (Ex. 33:9, 11a, 18-20, 34:29, 33-35). John suggests that Jesus, the Word made flesh, has surpasses and superseded Moses and all that he represented: Jesus himself is the 'place' where God's people meet with him (cf. John 1:14); Jesus himself is 'full of grace and truth', whereas only the law was given through Moses (John 1:14, 17); Jesus himself is the one facing (pros) God the the father as his Son, making him known, whereas Moses could only see God's back (John 1:18, Exodus 33:23).

Terry J. Wright, "How is Christ Present in the World?"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Christian Scenesters

Even if you have never heard the term before, those of you with similar cultural backgrounds as me (i.e. went through a period of white middle class alternative music angst) will probably instantly understand the term "christcore." Well for those of you who don't our friendly neighborhood cultural deconstructionist bloggers at yourscenesucks have pigeon-holed Christian scenesters and just about every other counter-culture/subculture you can imagine. Definitely worth visiting if you don't think you can handle seeing one more kid with sideways hair or a deep-v (shirt or rims for that manner).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quote of the Day?

"A meaning means something for somebody in a given situation."
-Charles Sanders Pierce, pragmatist philosopher.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Space is Cool

The English language doesn't have a superlative for these pictures. They makes me miss living in a small mountain town with no light pollution. They also make me glad I am a creationist; I have someone to thank when I see them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shoes Tied Tight

Toms has released a shoe with laces. We all knew this was inevitable after seeing Blake Mycoskie on an AT&T commercial. Not everyone can be convinced to pay $50 for a slipper. It looks good, but I feel it would just serve to replace my Sperrys... and I don't want to replace my Sperrys.

It was some time ago now that my friend Peter pointed out to me that shoes were a reoccurring image in many songs by Sufjan Stevens. I have begun compiling a list of songs that reference shoes, any assistance in this project would be appreciated. So far I have:

"Happy Birthday" from A Sun Came
"Worried Shoes" (with Danielson)
"To Be Alone With You" from Seven Swans
"Vito's Ordination Song" from Michigan
"Casimir Pulaski Day" from Illinois
"That Was the Worst Christmas Ever" from Songs For Christmas

In non-shoe related news, I am starting a new job at Java Brewing Company on Monday. I am very excited to get this job and I am looking forward to being part of the team.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Providence: Framing the Discussion

While discussing the Arminian view of providence in class Dr. Ware raised an interesting point. Traditionally, Arminian theologians (or Arminian Christians in general) tend to find Limited Atonement the greatest fault in the Reformed model of providence. Understandably, they are very offended by the idea of suggesting that Jesus died for some people as compared to others. It doesn't really seem fair.

However, Dr. Ware pointed out there is nothing exclusively Calvinist about Limited Atonement. Jacob Arminius suggested that election is simply God's foreknowledge of the free choices of his creatures; he chose to save those he knew would choose him. Philosophically speaking, the atonement could simply be the out working of this election. It is not fundamentally necessary in the Arminian model of providence that Jesus died for all of humanity.

The real issue is grace. Can humans choose to believe in Christ apart from God grace? Can humans reject God's grace? This is where the discussion belongs.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

El Salvador

El Salvador Cup of Excellence brewed in a Chemex. Delicious and ironic considering the U.S's victory over the El Salvador national team yesterday.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Random Reflection

I finished my first thought-flow diagram on 1 John today (which I keep wanting to call a "flought throw diagram"). Time-consuming, tedious, and challenging work, but very edifying.

I am proposing we change the name of Club 2029 to the Speakeasy. It's catchier.

Tonight I was on my front porch in gym shorts while shirtless. I felt like it was a Schnitzelburg/Germantown rite of passage.

I had a job interview today and I feel it went very well. I will know tomorrow if I got the job... more on that later.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Shook Foil

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil."
-G.M. Hopkins, God's Grandeur

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sojournings: Reflections on Communion

Exodus 24:9-11

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

This is an intriguing passage. Right after Moses and the Israelites enter into a covenant with YHWH the elders sit down and eat a meal in his presence. The ESV Study Bible notes on this passages add some interesting insight as to what is happening.
"Ex. 24:9–11 Moses, Aaron and his sons, and 70 of the elders partake in what the peace offering (v. 5) signifies: fellowship and communion in the presence of God. The description focuses on the fact that the men saw the God of Israel (vv. 9–11) and remained unharmed. According to 33:20 “man shall not see me and live,” so the “seeing” here in 24:10 was something different from that of 33:20; cf. 33:23, which perhaps denotes a partial, as opposed to a full and complete, vision of God (see notes on Matt. 5:8;John 1:18; Rev. 22:4). The description of the clear surface they saw under his feet may indicate that this is all they saw of God."

I was thinking of this passage at Sojourn gathered tonight as I was administering communion, a meal done in observance of the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus. This was the third straight week I was involved in giving communion, and it struck me this time how edifying it was for me to serve communion and not just receive it, which is obviously an enormous blessing in its own right.
It's very easy to concentrate on how Jesus' blood covers my sin. But to repeat, "The Blood of Christ, shed for you, Brooks, Lauren, Tyler, Jack,...." This transposes the whole thing to a higher key.
It's joyous to remember that "He bore the sin of the many". (Is. 53:11)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Abram or Abraham?

Abraham, worth a righteous one.
Take up on the wood,
put it on your son.
Lake or lamb.
There is none to harm.
When the angel came,
you had raised your arm.

Abraham, put off on your son.
Take instead the ram
until Jesus comes
-Sufjan Stevens, "Abraham"

Abram, either wake up or go to bed
You're sleepwalking with a delirious head
You were programmed a long, long, long time ago
Your stories are old, old and your acclimation is slow
Oh, go to sleep
Not much of what you say makes any sense
Cook up some myths then ask for obedience
Even though you mean well, well most of the time
You've aided delusions and created bias in our minds
Oh, go to sleep
-Jose Gonzalez, "Abram"