Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer Reading List

I am now done with all assignments of my undergraduate degree, which means that I can start working on.... my summer reading list!

The abridged version includes:

G.K. Chesterton Orthodoxy
Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra
J.I. Packer Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God
Karl Barth Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Andrew Mango The Turks Today
John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath

As always expect interaction and interesting quotations.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Steinbeck on Sin, Virtue, and Spirit

I just started reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I found this bit of dialogue between protagonist Tom Joad and a burned-out country preacher to be interesting.

"There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stiff people do. It's all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got a right to say."

The former preacher continues,

"It's love. I love people so much I'm fit to bust,sometimes. An' I says, 'don't you love Jesus?' Well, I though an' thought' an finally I says, 'No, I don't know anybody name' Jesus. I know a bunch of stories, but I only love people."

Interestingly, The preacher's epiphany came when wrestling with his own hypocrisy. Failing to achieve victory over sin in his life, the former minister opts to deny sin's existence. With this framework it is only possible to view the gospel as an inspirational story. Genuine relationship with a character from a story is not possible.

Steinbeck's humanism is most explicitly stated later in the same conversation,

"I figgered, 'Why do we got to hang it on God or Jesus? Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we love; maybe that's the Holy Sperit - the human sperit- the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of."

You will find similar lines of thinking in Genesis 3.
I recently re-posted a Thomas Brooks quote I read on Christians in Context.

Well has issued a response that is worth reading. Always interesting to get a non-evangelical perspective.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


The cast is off. I now have a walking cast, which looks something like what Neil Armstrong wore on the moon. It certainly would be much easier to walk in it with reduced gravity. Regardless, I am just happy to be able to move without crutches.

Right now as I type this post I have the "boot" off. My leg, which has shrunk to the size of my arm, fills naked and exposed. It's almost like that gazelle in the nature specials that is separated from its herd and susceptible to harm. Entire layers of skin are randomly coming off- kind of gross.

Still, this is a pretty major step in my recovery and I feel very blessed to have come this far.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BMX As a Legitimate Art Form?

I've never really have been into BMXing, but this video is dope to fresh. No doubt about it. As much as it pains me to say it, I've yet to see anyone do something this awesome on a fixie.

*Edit: My friend Ethan informed me that the rider is actually riding a trials bike. Not a BMX bike.

Friday, April 17, 2009


“Suppose a man should come to his dinner table, and there should be a knife laid down, and it should be told him, ‘This is the very knife that cut the throat of your child!’ If the man would use this knife as a common knife, would not everyone say, ‘Surely this man had but very little love to his child, who can use this bloody knife as a common knife!’

Look upon the cross on which Christ was crucified, and the pains He suffered thereon—and the seeming sweetness which is in sin, will quickly vanish. When you are solicited to sin, cast your eye upon Christ’s cross; remember His astonishing sufferings for your sin, and sin will soon grow distasteful to your soul. How can sin not be hateful to us—if we seriously consider how hurtful it was to Jesus Christ?”

—Thomas Brooks, “The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Art of Tim Lowly

Anathallo is playing a concert at the 930 in a few days in support of their album Canopy Glow. Incidentally, the cover of that album is a painting by Tim Lowly, an artist from Chicago that had an exhibit at the 930 last year.

Lowly employs a photo-realist approach that coerces the viewer into seeing beauty in unexpected places. His favorite subject is his daughter Temma, who is severely handicap, both mentally and physically. The following quote by Lowly I think captures why I love his work so much.

"[W]e should advocate for eyes of compassion that see human beings as human beings, rather than separating them into the beautiful, the ugly, the normal, the freak.”

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sojournings: Deuteronomy 21

I was recently reading through one of my favorite Old Testament books and discovered an interesting text that I had never really noticed before. Deuteronomy 21:1-9 says,

1 If in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess someone is found slain, lying in the open country, and it is not known who killed him, 2 then your elders and your judges shall come out, and they shall measure the distance to the surrounding cities. 3 And the elders of the city that is nearest to the slain man shall take a heifer that has never been worked and that has not pulled in a yoke. 4 And the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him and to bless in the name of the Lord, and by their word every dispute and every assault shall be settled. 6 And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, 7 and they shall testify, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. 8 Accept atonement, O Lord, for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not set the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel, so that their blood guilt be atoned for.’ 9 So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord."

Here in this passage we see the people of God take a corporate responsibility for injustice, particularly the taking of life. Even though the elders are innocent of actively participating in violence, they are still obligated to offer a sacrifice, to prove their innocence and atone for the sin committed.

This text immediately brought to mind the string of shootings that have occurred recently in Louisville, especially the murder that took place in Shelby Park, one block from where my older brother lives. In Deuteronomy 21 there are no bystanders, the Priests and the city elders are responsible to investigate injustice and atone for it. As far as physically possible, they are to make things right. Notice that innocence isn't passive, it is active.

I can not help but think that the church as a covenant community still bears a similar responsibility. While recognizing that murder, violence, and other sins will exist until Christ consummates his kingdom, we as Christians cannot simply wash our hands like Pilate. Jesus' death and resurrection has atoned for the sin of all who believe and brought them into right relationship with God. We have a message of peace and reconciliation to declare in a world marked by violence and oppression.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Death Cab Live Blog.

Tonight I live blogged for the first time about the Death Cab for Cutie show at The Palace via my Twitter. While my sentence summaries could not possibly communicate how great of a show Death Cab for Cutie and Ra Ra Riot put on, it was a fun way to chronicle an amazing concert.

I was very pleased to hear a lot of material from older albums such as We have the Fact and Weare Voting Yes and Transalanticism- they even ended their encore with the title track of the latter. DCFC had an amazing energy and stage present throughout the whole; it was quite apparent this band has been doing this for a long time.

Sans when a drunk kid who threw up on Fletcher's jacket, it was a great night.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I am predicting that this will last less than 31 days from today.

If I am correct, Darren Jennings owes me 1 iced mielle.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


At the risk of sounding like the boy who cried wolf, I am very pleased to announce that Quills Coffee will be re-opening this Saturday. The so called "Season 2" will feature a new location (930 Baxter AVE), a mostly-new cast (fortunately with the return of personal favorite veterans Eric Bray and Tyler Deeb), and hopefully the same great coffee. I doubt that my time in Sunergos will decrease, but it will certainly be great to have some variety.

See you there.

Monday, April 06, 2009

God-Ordained Genocide?

This Sunday at Sojourn Daniel Montgomery preached on the incredibly difficult subject of genocide in the Old Testament, specifically in Deuteronomy 7. The sermon was a beautiful example of gospel-centered exegesis. Believers and skeptics alike should appreciate Daniel's straight forward explanation of the text, refusing to neither avoid or explain away difficult passages.