Wednesday, June 30

Christian Carnival

Go see it at Parableman.

There are 20 entries this week. Is that a record?

[Update: I've decided that after looking over the entries in the Carnival each week, I'll try to link to one that stands out for one reason or another. This week I'm pointing you to Jesus: Myth or Messiah at Another Think. It's a really thoughtful and well-written essay, and I think you'll like it.]

Must There Be Smoke?

Since last Saturday (or maybe it was Friday) we have wakened each day to more smoke in the air than the day before. Every day the news report I wake to on the radio adds new fires to the list of forest fires burning in the Yukon. Here is a map that shows all of the fires. Right now there are more than 100 burning, and the Dempster Highway that goes up to Inuvik is closed. The Alaska Highway is open again, but travellers can expect delays while they wait for a pilot car to lead them through the smokey area.

The smoke has become oppressively thick here in town, and none of the mountains that rim the valley are visible to us. There is smoke obscuring our view of homes only a few houses down the street from us.

The heat is gone, and the temperature is quite comfortable, but the smoke makes it impossible to do much outdoors anyway. The Kanoe People are no longer renting canoes for river trips from Whitehorse to Dawson, partly because of the smoke, and partly because portions of the river are dangerously high.

There are two tankers that have come to fight the fires stuck at the airport because of bad visibility due to the smoke. For over 24 hours they have just been sitting there, waiting.

Tomorrow my daughter from Vancouver is coming for a week's visit. I am worried that her flight will be cancelled. I'm also worried that she'll get here, but the smoke will stay for the whole time she's here, and we won't be able to do any of the activities we had planned.

Smoke. We could do without it.

Tuesday, June 29

Now That School's Out...

....I'm finding it much more difficult to the the serious blogging stuff--you know the stuff that requires study and thought. If you've had teens, you'll know what I mean when I say that they require a lot more attention than preteens. I hesitate to make that statement, because my 14 year old son is a great kid, trustworthy and hard working and mostly respectful. But he's also a bit restless and undirected and dissatisfied with his life. He's too old to spend his days watching kiddie T.V., too old to just play in the yard with the neighborhood kids, but too young to have a real job, and too young to drive to his friends houses to hang out.

What he's been doing are the heavy duty jobs around the house and yard that the rest of us haven't had time for. But all this requires a lot more from me than I had anticipated. I can't just say, "Go pressure wash the house this morning." He needs to be shown how to do every job, and then supervised closely while he does it. The supervision is not so much because he couldn't be trusted on his own, but because he seems to want me close by. When I leave him to do a job, I have about five or ten minutes before I hear, "Mom, could you come here for a second?" Sometimes it's because he really does need help from me, but mostly its just to show me what he's done. I suppose I could tell him I'm busy, and stop doing such close supervision, but I know that he won't want my attention in a year or so, and I figure I ought to enjoy the neediness while I've got it.

He wants a new bike. He also needs a new bike. His own bike is way too small for him, so he's been borrowing his big sister's bike, but it's not always available, and it's not really the sort he needs for the heavy duty mountain biking that he likes to do. So he's saving up to buy a bike, and that's where the work for me comes in. I'm paying him to do those big chores so he can buy himself a bike.

He's also been spending time bike shopping. All the bikes at the bike shop seem to be either too expensive for his pocket book, or too junky for his tastes, so he's spent several weeks reading the ads in the paper, looking for used bikes for sale. There have been a couple of good bikes for good prices, but they've been the wrong size, the sort of size he can't even buy to grow into, because nobody in this family can realistically plan to grow to 6' 7".

Just when he was losing hope of finding a bike this year, my older son's boss--who is also a serious mountain biker--decided that he wanted to sell his old bike and get a new one. So Daniel's been trying his old one out for a week. It's perfect for him. A really good bike--sturdy, but light, and the right size. The price is something we can swing, too. I'll be writing the check out today, and I'll still be owed enough money to get the rest of the big outside jobs completed.

Yesterday, he finally got around to cleaning out his room. He's been mentioning for several weeks that he's sick of all the clutter in his room. What he really means is that he's too old to have his baseball card collection and all his fancy techno lego vehicles displayed. So yesterday afternoon he started de-junking. He was at it for about 10 minutes when the the first call for my help came. I ended up staying there to help him for most of the rest of the afternoon, because he really hadn't a clue how to go about reorganizing a room. It turns out that all he really wants in there is his bed, his dresser, his drummer posters, and his drumset. Now all the little boy stuff is carefully packed up and stored in his closet. I guess he doesn't want to see it, but he doesn't want to part with it either. We left the bookshelf in--mostly because I don't know where else I'd put it--but there's not much on it. The room looks good, but spare.

Today we're making a dump run. We've added the garbage from his room to some other garbage we've had sitting around and filled up the old station wagon. Later, we hope to make a trip to the thrift store to donate a bag of too small clothing.

For a day or two, I think he might be content with his life.

Monday, June 28

The Most Accurate Personality Test I've Ever Taken

And only 7 questions!

Am I cool or uncool?
You are a Square!
You are a total dork. The pocket protecter and thick-lensed glasses give it away. Try watching some popular TV.. Get yourself some fashion sense already! On the plus side, no wait hang on, there is no plus side! Nerdsville, population YOU!
Cool quizzes at

Go-quiz found via Parableman.

More News On The Forest Fire Front

The Alaska Highway is closed today between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake because of the fire. (Those of you who have been planning to drive up and visit us this week might want to reconsider.)

Upcoming Christian Carnival

'Tis at Parableman.
Parableman ( will be hosting the Christian Carnival this coming Wednesday.

If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read and possibly pickup readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

To enter is simple. First your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Then do the following:

Email me at

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the Post

Cut off date is Tuesday by 6 PM EST...

...*If you wish to host the Carnival in coming weeks email Nick at
Look through the things you've posted in the past week and choose one to enter. Let's see if we can't make this the biggest carnival yet. See you there!

Sunday, June 27

The Great Heat Wave of '04, Day 9: The Smoke Thickens and The Smell Strengthens

Yep, conditions are not pleasant. I can no longer see the mountains behind the house at all. And there's no way I can continue describing the smell as faint.

A rain shower would be welcome.

A Sunday To Look At God's Holiness

Holiness is the only triply emphasised attribute of God, and both the hymn and sermon featured today are responses to the holiness of God.
Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God, Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and ever more shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Tho the darkness hide Thee,
Tho the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee;
Perfect in pow'r, in love and purity.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord, God Almighty
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and skiy and sea;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Originally written to be sung on Trinity Sunday by Reginald Heber, with music by John Bacchus Dykes.

The sermon is one by C. W. Powell, of Trinity Covenant Reformed Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. C. W. Powell's sermons were recommended for this feature by Pruitt Communications.

This sermon is one in a series of sermons on the phrases of the Lord's Prayer. The focus of this sermon is on the words "Hallowed be they name," which is the first petition of the Lord's Prayer. Here's a bit of the application portion of the sermon. This is how we can give God the glory due to Him because of His holiness:
III. May we so order our whole life, our thoughts, words and deeds, that Thy name may not be blas-phemed, but honored and praised on our account.

a. Let there be no carelessness in our lives in our duty to God. We profess great things of Him: let us live every day that He be magnified and praised on our account--that He be not diminished in the eyes of men....

d.This is the import of the text: everything that we do, even so minute a thing as eating or not eat-ing meat, is to be done in terms of the purpose and calling of our very existence. We are not to live apart from God or His glory and plan. The question is not whether or not you have a right to eat meat--you have that right without question--but you have no right to eat meat in fellowship with devils, and you have no right to eat without thanksgiving and praise to God. You have no right to teach your brothers to live apart from the glory of God. This is what you are called to: hallow of the Name of God and to magnify and praise the Name of God forever.

e. It is a great sin to take God's name in vain, for the Lord will not hold Him guiltless that takes His Name in vain. This prayer is for the opposite of the cheapening and profanation of God's name: it is the hallowing of God's Name to which we are called, and for which we pray.

f. Because we hallow the Name of God, we take the Third Commandment seriously, and it grieves us to hear His name taken in jest, in blasphemy, in coarseness, in levity.

g. So we seek to hallow the Name of God in our minds, by rejecting every false view of Him and His worship; in our lives--by living according to our confession in love and faithfulness and trust in Him; in our worship--by rejecting all vain and empty forms and silly practices that cheapen His Name and His worship; in our families--by seeking the Lord and trusting Him in all that we say and do.

h. We do this because this is what we have been created for: that we might rightly know God [our] Creator, heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.

Amen and Amen.

Saturday, June 26

The Great Heat Wave of '04, Day 8: The Smoke Cometh

Yesterday evening the smoke started blowing into the valley. Today it is pretty thick. Here was the view from my deck two weeks ago, and here is the view today:

You can barely see the mountains right behind the house. The nice thing is that the smoke has kept it a bit cooler today, although it is still hot. But the smoke is stifling in its own way. The smell is still faint, but it seems to make the air hang heavy.

(Don't worry, the fires that made this smoke are a long way off.)

Important News on the Thrift Shop Front

Yes, yesterday I made another trip to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop, the source of all good things, and I'm going to tell you about my latest find. Besides the pair of shorts for my youngest son, and a couple of plates and some coffee cups, I got this:

The Cotton Patch Version of Paul's Epistles, by Clarence Jordon.

The blurb on the cover reads like this:
A colloquial modern translation with a Southern accent, vigorous and fervent for the gospel, unsparing in earthiness, rich in humor.
I'd heard of this "version" before, but thought it was a joke. I guess it isn't. Well it is a joke, but it's a REAL joke, and sometimes an offensive one. It was done in 1968, and is very politically incorrect, at least by the standards of today. It's also pretty free with the word of God.

Philippians, for instance, is titled, The Letter to the Alabaster African Church, Smithville, Alabama. Here's an excerpt from Philippians 2:12, 13:
So then, my loved ones, just as you've always been obedient, not only when I was with you but especially now that I'm absent, I urge you to carry on with your emancipation with a deep sense of reverence and responsibility. For it is God who gives you the energy both to will and to work in his behalf.
This is really not all that bad, although I'm not sure that emancipation is all that's involved in salvation. It's probably is not a good word choice, and there are other things I'd quibble with, too.

Here's an example of where it gets offensive. Christ's death on the cross is called his lynching, and the cross is called a noose. Here's a bit from A Letter to the Christians in Atlanta, or 1 Corinthians 1:
I'm saying this, my brothers, because some friends of Clara's reported to me that there were factions springing up among you. To be specific, various ones of you are saying, "I'm on Paul's side," "I'm on Oliver's side," "I'm on Rock's side," "I'm on Jesus' side." Tell me this, since when did Christ get so split up? And was Paul lynched for you?.....The fact is, Christ didn't appoint me merely to initiate converts, but to tell the great story, simply and without display of learning, lest the noose of Christ become something to be toyed with.
I find that last line interesting. Isn't changing the cross of Christ into a noose toying with the cross?

Perhaps it's best that the book is rare and out of print. But I'm really glad I've got a copy....

A Blue Week

Six people in six days. Six tragic deaths in a town of 20,000, where we often know the people who die. My daughter's friend's mother. A 17 year old on an ATV. A girl my oldest son and daughter knew, who drowned in the river.

Now there are new signs all along the bank, warning of the danger. Beside this one, there is a flower from a friend in remembrance.

When I walked the dog down by the river last night, there was a group of her friends gathered on the bank, by a little memorial cross with a balloon tied on and flowers placed round. All together, maybe a dozen of them, standing or squatting by the river, gazing out over the water.

Just as I was writing this, my oldest daughter called from Vancouver. She was upset, because she hadn't realized until just now that it was her friend Paula who had drowned. Paula, whose borrowed by never returned shoes still sit in my daughter's closet. Somehow I had confused her when I called to break the news to her, and she had thought it was one of Paula's sisters who had drowned.

This morning we have a memorial service for my youngest daughter's friend's mother. Such difficult circumstances. Lives changed forever in a split second, in one momentary lapse. The sort of lapse we have all had, more times than we can keep track of, but we haven't had to suffer consequences.

Such is the world we live in. It won't always be like this, and that is our hope. But for now, we're stuck here in this realm with all the suffering.

[Updated to add: I learned this morning that the nice little group by the river later turned into a bit of a raucous party by the river. A party that the RCMP had to break up. More evidence, I guess, of the fallenness of our world.]

Friday, June 25

Wal-Mart R.V. Park

Why would someone drive all the way up to the Yukon, and then choose to stay in the Wal-Mart parking lot instead of a nice shady spot in a campground? Surely they didn't drive all this way just to see what our Wal-Mart parking lot looks like. Or did they?

Can you imagine how hot that pavement is when it's 33 degrees? But there they are, roasting in the hot sun, some with little folding tables and lawn chairs set up outside so they can play cards and drink coffee and shoot the breeze with their camping neighbors.

I remember once we camped in the Summit Lake campground by Muncho Lake on the Alaska Highway. It's one of the most spectacular spots in the whole world, I think, and it was a beautiful, warm, sunny evening with no bugs, but the campers next door were sitting inside their big R.V. in easy chairs watching television via the little satelite dish on the top of their vehicle. At the time, I thought that was the saddest thing I had ever seen.

Tourists! Don't understand 'em, but love 'em anyway....

Fiddling With The Links

Yes, I have taken on the template this morning and added a few links. There is a reason that I always score lowest on the clerical part of aptitude tests. I am not bad at the pure typing part. In fact, I am pretty stinkin' fast and accurate at just plain old typing, but if the typing involves a form to fill in, or using symbols, or maybe pressing that delete button, or copying and pasting, rest assured that some sort of big mistake will be made. This morning was no exception. I accidently deleted about half of my blog roll, and somehow managed to save those changes without noticing the missing members of the roll. So all had to be redone, and half of my morning is gone. But there are now new and wonderful links!

First of all, I have linked to the new page of Riverdale Baptist Church, which is my church here in Whitehorse. Of particular interest is the info on the Mexico Missions Trip, which happens next week.

Then there is Brian's Wescott and Hort Resource Centre, which is not a new link, but has some new and wonderful content. Brian's mission is to give unbiased and accurate information on Wescott and Hort, two men who are often disparaged in the KJVO debate. In the process of making arguments supporting a KJVO position, KJVO advocates often accuse these two 19th century Anglican scholars of all sorts of things. Brian tries to find the real scoop. I must say he researches this in a much more careful and unbiased way than I would be able to, and he is to be commended for that. The site is in the construction stages, and much of what is planned is not up yet, but the Frequently Assaulted Quote page has quite a bit of content already. Brian is trying to gain access to all of W & H's works (not an easy task, for many of the are rather rare), so he can check the quotes that are used by KJVO advocates to show that W & H were heretics, to see if they are quoted accurately, and also to see if the quotes are taken out of context in order to make them appear to be saying something different than what W & Hort were originally saying. If you ever engage in KJVO debate, or are just interested in it, you will find this site informative.

And there are now two new blogs on the blogroll:

Proverbial Wife, which is more of a journal type blog than I usually read, but I find myself reading hers almost every time she posts, because she takes me back to those early days of parenthood and spousehood when everything is new and challenging, and nothing is yet second nature or easy. I find the spunkiness that shows through each post inspiring. Today we find out that she is really the irrepressible Anne Shirley, of PEI fame. I could have told her that, and she wouldn't have had to take a quiz to find it out.

Check out, too, for lots of interesting content. Matt's subject matter is almost always something I'm interested in. The lastest post is one about Theodore Beza, one of the reformers, but one that I am much less familiar with than Luther and Calvin and Zwingli, etc.

The latest news from the Yukon is that the Swift River fire is threatening one of Northwestel's microwave towers. So if there comes a time when I don't post for a while, maybe that's why. Or maybe not. I could also be sitting in my lawn chair, or at the beach, sipping iced tea.

Thursday, June 24

Everything I Know About Parenting I Learned From the Mennonites

Well not quite everything, but I did learn some important things about taking care of my babies from the Mennonite mums of Thompson Manitoba, things I've been thinking of writing in a blog for a long time. This is a subject, though, that I've been a little wary of, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I have four children. They are all older than 13, so some of the final results of my mothering are out there for all to see. They aren't perfect. Each one of them has their good qualities, and they have their glaring faults. So I certainly can't say I know the method of parenting babies that produces perfect sons and daughters, or even sons and daughters that are better than everyone else's. I think I can say that every single one of them is more than willing to help when help is needed, but whether that particular good result can be tied to how they were cared for as babies, I really can't say. So, while I do think I know something about caring for babies, if someone wants to poke holes in what I write, there are four imperfect products out there for them to use as ammunition.

Then, there's the fact that I haven't read a parenting or child care book in at least 15 years. Before that I read just about everything I could get my hands on, and also took classes on early child development, and human growth and development. Somewhere along the line I realized that The Preach had been right all along--there really is nothing new under the sun. People have been raising children for thousands of years and getting imperfect results for thousands of years. I've stopped caring much about parenting theories, and so I feel a little out of my league commenting on the subject of parenting at all. However, I do care about happy and healthy babies, and harmonious families, so that's where I hope to focus in this piece, and that's where the Mennonite mums come in.

Let me give you a bit of background first. When I was 5 months pregnant with my first child, my husband and I packed everything up into the back of our pickup and travelled way up north of Winnipeg on the Thompson Highway to Thompson, Manitoba, where Keith had landed his first teaching job. Mostly because I wasn't feeling all that well, we didn't start looking for a church to attend until right after our daughter was born.

There were really only two churches in Thompson at that time that could have been called evangelical--a Baptist church, and a Mennonite one. The Baptist church was our first choice, since it was closer to what we were used to, but we quickly learned that it was much too legalistic for us. So we visited the Mennonite church.

That first Sunday, we were welcomed with open arms. It was a tiny church--maybe 12 families or so--but one of the couples happened to have been in our prenatal classes and had a baby who had been born just a couple of weeks before ours, so we felt that at least we knew someone from the start. No one seemed to care in the slightest that we were not really Mennonite; they wanted us to join them in their worship. So we stayed in that church, and felt we were a real part of it, until we left Thompson at the end of the school year.

If you count up the months, you will find that we weren't there very long. Our daughter was only 5 1/2 months old when we left. I was a new mom, inexperienced and far away from my own mother, who would have shown me the ropes if she had been there, but those mums of that church took me under their wings, and had a lasting influence on the way babies were cared for in this family. I don't think they really knew they were doing anything special, but they were. These things were never discussed--they were never pointed to as the way mothers ought to be. This was just the way those mums were, the way they lived their lives with their families. They were just doing what came naturally for them, but their examples were exactly what I needed. I didn't have to flounder in my inexperience, because I had them to show me what to do and how to be with my baby.

Babies and children were included in just about everything they did. As far as I can remember, there was never a church gathering that didn't include children. There was no children's church, maybe just because the church was too small. There were lots of children, though, since every adult in the congregation was married and between 20 and 45, just like almost everyone in the whole town of Thompson was. So there were certainly enough children to have the children separated during the worship service; but they weren't separated, they were included. We got used to listening to the sermon over the rustling and wiggling and occasional fussing from the children.

Once I made a quick trip to the mall across the road from us while the baby stayed home with her dad. When I met one of the ladies from church, she was shocked to see me without my baby. "Where's the baby?" she asked. "Don't you feel empty without her?" I had been feeling strange without a baby in my arms, but I had thought that I was being foolish! And here was a mom more experienced than I was, telling me that what I was feeling was the right and normal way to feel.

So that's the first thing I learned: young babies belong with their mothers. Moms are hard wired to want to be with the wee ones, and babies are hard wired to want to be with their moms. That's a good thing, and there is no need to fight it. That's why God made babies with chubby cheeks that call out for gentle pinching, and those soft heads that fit so nicely into the palm of our hands. Just who they are and how they look draws us to them.

And children, by and large, belong with their parents. Not that we don't need to get away from them sometimes. We need breaks for adult only things now and then, but let's not forget that the best way for children to learn how to be, and how to behave, is by seeing who we are and how we act, and the only way for them to do that is by spending lots of time with us.

The second thing I learned is that the natural way to feed babies is breastfeeding. I was already breastfeeding when we started attending that church, but the open and natural way that they breastfed their young babies, old babies, or toddlers in the middle of a church service, or church barbecue, or coffee with friends, made it seem like the only way it was done. They were modest and discreet, but always very open about what they were doing. Because of their example, I continued breastfeeding my babies long after almost everyone else I knew had stopped. I knew I wasn't really the only one--that at least back up there in Thompson Manitoba, there were other moms doing what I was doing.

The third thing I learned is that babies are to be loved for who they are. Those women (and men, too) loved all babies--fat babies, scrawny babies, crabby babies, cooing babies, freshly bathed babies and smelly babies. They loved each baby for whatever it was that made that baby different from other babies. The baby born a couple of weeks before our daughter was big and contented and a little passive. They loved him for being big and contented and a little passive, because those were the things that made him the little guy that he was. My daughter was smaller, crankier, demanding, and very active. They thought she was great, too. They loved jostling her when she was cranky. They thought petite was cute. They were amazed and delighted that whe was scooting around the floor at four months. No one ever said, "Oh boy! Now you're in trouble! You'll have to watch that one every second of the day." They said, "Isn't that wonderful! She's already curious about things." And so I learned something that anyone with more than one child already knows. We are all born with different personalities. There is no perfect cookie cutter sort of baby we need to mould ours into. The different personality traits are gifts from God--gifts that they will often use wrongly, but gifts that will be their strengths when they use them rightly.

Last, I learned is that it's fine to have a messy house and serve Kraft dinner for supper when you've got wee ones to keep you busy. Those lovely mothers never seemed to be embarassed to invite people over when the house was less than perfect. If there were piles of dirty laundry on the kitchen floor waiting to be washed, then there were piles of laundry. A bucket of ice cream was a perfectly acceptable contribution to a church potluck supper. I tended to be a bit of a neat freak, and this casual attitude toward the condition of the home was a revelation to me--a freeing revelation. I still like my house tidy, but I also know that there are other things more important. Like a home that is mostly peaceful and harmonious, because the needs of the children--for cuddling, or entertaining, or discipline, or whatever--are considered above the needs of the house.

Now that I'm thinking about these things, I wish I could thank them for what they taught me, but I'm pretty sure that they are all long gone from Thompson. Like every one else, they were there to make money in the mine, and move on to settle elsewhere. Wherever they are, this is my thank you to the Mennonite mums I knew in Thompson, Manitoba.

Wednesday, June 23

Getting Out of the Heat

The tents of the Christian Carnival are up, and they look like a pretty good place to get out of the sun. Lots of cool reading at Randomness.

Like Texans in Snow

Remember back a few days ago when I said we were going to have a spell of perfect weather? That was back when I thought a couple of 30+ degree days (90+ for you farenheit lovers) would be a whole lot of fun. Well, the couple of days have turned into 5 so far, with no end in sight, according to the weatherman. I am now officially sick of this "perfect weather". Would someone please come and take it away?

I know this sounds whiney, but let me explain a few things. We just don't have the equipment to deal with summer heat. We usually have no need for air-conditioning in house or vehicle, or even fans, so most of us just don't have them. Our decks have no shading--we don't ever need it--so they are useless to us now. I have to make sure I have shoes on when I water the flower containers on the decks so I don't burn the soles of my feet. And those flower containers need watering somewhere in the neighborhood of a million times a day.

My sons left the gear from their rafting trip in the trunk of the car. It was smelly and full of mildew when they finally got around to taking it out. They don't know about things like mildew, because it's always cool and dry here. They think I'm a little mad when I run around opening and closing doors and windows and blinds to control air flow and keep sun out so we can preserve the slightly more tolerable conditions we have in the house.

My youngest son keeps putting off his outdoor chores until late in the day, when things are their hottest. He's never needed to work around the heat before, and I can't say he's proved to be a particularly fast learner. But then his mom keeps planning things for supper that require baking or long cooking times and the plans have to be scrapped at the last minute in favor of Kraft dinner (macaroni and cheese out of a box, for you non-Canadians), or canned soup.

As for sunscreen--I've been allergic to any of it that I've ever tried, and I've tried lots. So is my oldest son. And we're very light skinned--blonde and blue-eyed--so we really need it if we're out in the direct sun without long sleeves and long pants and hats. My son went boating on Saturday. He took off his shirt. His back is not a pretty sight. "But it was only for a half an hour," he explains. He just didn't understand about sunburn and how fast the fair skinned can get one. He hasn't had to know that sort of thing before. He's probably never really had the urge to go shirtless on the water on a sunny June morning before.

I am so used to sleeping with my down quilt, year in and year out, that I can't sleep covered with something lighter. So there I am, wrapped up in my comforter, sweating as I sleep.

So, to the high that is stalled over the Yukon, I have this message, "Chicago wants you! Go there!"

Purposes of Christ's Death, Part 2 of the Summary

God intended for Christ's death to:

Tuesday, June 22

The Purposes of Christ's Death, Part 1 of Summary

What I'm going to do in the next post (Part 2 of this summary) is make a list grouping all the purpose statements we looked at in this series into appropriate categories. Before I do that, though, I have just a couple of thoughts on the subject of the purposes of Christ's death--things to keep in mind when you look at the list.

  • We have looked at only the explicit purpose statements in scripture. Any other result of Christ's death listed in scripture, however, is also an intended purpose of Christ's death, and also an important purpose of Christ's death. God has the power and wisdom to do things so that only exactly what He wishes is accomplished, so there are no unintended or tertiary results from anything God does. Since, for instance, we know that one of the results of Christ's death is that we can take the gospel to people worldwide, then we also know that is one of the things God purposed to accomplish with Christ's death. It is not a secondary or less important purpose just because it isn't listed in the list of explicit purpose statements.

  • I call them purposes of Christ's death, which makes them sound like a whole lot of different, unrelated purposes, but they really are not. They are all part of one big, multifaceted purpose, which is listed at the very end of the list. Because we have pea brains, thinking of them separately may be the only way we can manage to think about the whole in any sort of detailed way, but we ought to try to remember that they are all part of one marvelous many-sided accomplishment--a revealing of the manifold wisdom of God. Thinking of them as distinct things may help us in a certain way to understand it all better, as long as we don't see only the details to the point that we lose sight of the whole.

  • Listing them all like this show us how much we have lost to sin, and how widespread the results of sin in the world really are. It also show us how great God's wisdom is, that He could, in one perfect act, give the solution to every one of those widespread problems that result from sin. It's a bit like watching a perfectly done movie--the sort where all kinds of problems come about from one seemingly insignificant little action by one little character, and you can't see how the problems can all be solved and things all be taken care of; but then, just at the right moment, all those loose ends are all tied up perfectly in one plot twist, something you could never have predicted, but the second it occurs in the movie, you recognize it as the perfect solution to everything.

Monday, June 21

This Is Pretty Much All I Have Time For Today

What weird and inbred dog are you?

Afghan Hound

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Well, I thought everything was going along pretty well for me until the empty headed and dumb part.

From Proverbial Wife.

It is hot here. Enthusiasm sapping hot. I'm working on doing a list of all the purposes of Christ's death--a sort of summary post. Otherwise I've been occupied keeping the flowers and the vegies watered and the fans running. (Electrical fans, just to clarify. I have my own entourage, of course, but no fans yet.)

Christian Carnival's Coming Up

This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be
hosted at Randomness.

If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly
pick up readers in the process, or highlight your favorite post from
the past week.

To enter is simple. First your post should be of a Christian nature,
but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in
nature from a Christian point of view. Then do the following:

Email me (Dawn) at:

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the Post

Cut off date is Tuesday by 9 PM EST

If You've Got a Minute....

....would you remember a good friend of my daughter's in prayer? Yesterday afternoon he was driving with his mom home to Whitehorse after a trip outside when he turned left onto the Alaska highway in front of another vehicle. He was not hurt, but his mother was killed in the resulting accident. Of course he is very upset, not only because his mother died, but because the accident was his fault. He is also stuck by himself 900 miles down the highway in Dawson Creek until he can fly home this evening.

Updating to add: The son is young college age. (I'm trying to give out enough info for you to know what to pray for, but not enough to be identifying to those who live here, because I'm not sure everyone close to the family has heard the news yet.)

Sunday, June 20

It's All Down Hill From Here... least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The summer solstice is today. Actually, it's June 21st at 00:57 Universal Time, but that's 8:57PM for all of you over there on the east coast of North America and 5:57 PM for those of us on the west coast.

From Wikepedia:
The Summer Solstice is an astronomical term regarding the position of the Sun in relation to the celestial equator. The Summer Solstice is the date with the longest day and hence with the shortest night. This date usually falls near June 21 (in the Northern hemisphere) or December 21 (in the Southern hemisphere).

At the time of this solstice, the earth is in that point of its orbit at which the hemisphere in question is most tilted towards the sun, causing the sun to appear at its farthest above the celestial equator when viewed from earth.

Midsummer is the time around the summer solstice....Please note that this midsummer is not the middle of summer, if summer is defined as the warm time of year, because of delayed heating effect. Indeed, summer may be defined to begin with the summer solstice.
A diagram with more explanation can be found here.

For those more poetic than scientific, an appropriate sonnet from George Herbert.

LET forrain nations of their language boast,
What fine varietie each tongue affords:
I like our language, as our men and coast;
Who cannot dresse it well, want wit, not words.
How neatly do we give one onely name
To parents issue and the sunnes bright starre!
A sonne is light and fruit; a fruitfull flame
Chasing the fathers dimnesse, carri'd far
From the first man in th' East, to fresh and new
Western discov'ries of posteritie.
So in one word our Lords humilitie
We turn upon him in a sense most true:
For what Christ once in humblenesse began,
We him in glorie call, The Sonne of Man.

Scot Sunday

Today, let's celebrate the contributions of some historical Scotsmen, first with a hymn by Michael Bruce from Translations and Paraphrases in Verse of Several Passages of Sacred Scriptures and Prepared by a Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Order to Be Sung in Churches.
Behold! The Mountain of the Lord

Behold! the mountain of the Lord
In latter days shall rise
On mountain tops above the hills,
And draw the wondering eyes.

To this the joyful nations round,
All tribes and tongues, shall flow;
Up to the hill of God, they'll say,
And to His house we'll go.

The beam that shines from Zion hill
Shall lighten every land;
The King Who reigns in Salem's towers
Shall all the world command.

Among the nations He shall judge;
His judgments truth shall guide;
His scepter shall protect the just,
And quell the sinner's pride.

No strife shall vex Messiah's reign
Or mar the peaceful years;
To plowshares soon they beat their swords
To pruning hooks their spears.

No longer hosts encountering hosts,
Their millions slain deplore;
They hang the trumpets in the hall
And study war no more.

Come then, O house of Jacob, come
To worship at His shrine;
And, walking in the light of God,
With holy beauties shine.
This hymn was suggested for Scot Sunday by Bob from Minnesota.

The featured sermon is from Robert Murrey McCheyne, a minister of St Peter's Church Dundee from 1836-1843. He was known for his evangelistic zeal, and stands as one of Scotland's great lights--a wonderful gift of the Scots to the worldwide church--even though he died at age 29, after ministering for only 7 years. From his sermon, Adoption.
Fourthly, the blessedness of being a son of God: 'Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!' Ah! there are many things to make it a blessedness beyond compare.

The first thing that makes it a blessedness is that we get the love of the Father. The moment you become a child, the Father loves you. This is shown in what Christ said to Mary: 'I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.' - John 20:17. Christ here intimated, that we have the same love he had. We have not got so much the love of the Father as Christ, because he has got an infinite capacity; but it is the same love. The sun shines as much upon the daisy as it does upon the sunflower, though the sunflower is able to contain it more. Christ plainly shows you that in the 17th chapter of John, where he prays that the same love may be in us that was in him. O how much better is it, then, to be under the love of God, than under the wrath of God!

Let me mention to you a second part of the blessedness we get: The Spirit of the Son dwells in us. You will see this in Galatians 4:6, 'And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' Brethren, when Christ comes, the first thing he does is to redeem you from under the curse of the law, and then he makes you a son. O it is sweet to have the smile of Christ! It is sweet to get the love of Christ; but I will tell you what is equally sweet - that is to receive the spirit of Christ. Has he given you the Spirit? He will do it if you are a son, that you may be made to cry, 'Abba, Father!'

Let me mention to you a third part of the blessedness of being a son of God. You get the likeness of the Father. You know this is the case in an adopted family; an adopted child in the course of time gets the very features of the family. So you get the image of the Father, and you get the love of the Father. You are taught that in Matthew 5, where Christ says, in His sermon on the Mount, 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven' (verses 44, 45), that ye may bear the image of the Father. Have you that mark of adoption? Are you turning like God?

Let me mention a fourth part of the blessedness. Some of you may be surprised at it. We get the chastisement of the Father. If we have not chastisement, then we are bastards, and not sons, for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not (Hebrews 12:7). The world are allowed to get fat; but it is not so with those that follow God.; if they wander, he puts up a hedge, and if they fall into it, he puts up a wall.

Let me mention the last part of the blessedness. We receive the inheritance as heirs. Paul says, 'If sons, the heirs' - Romans 8:17. Every child in a rich family gets something when the father dies; often he shares his fortune equally among them, and the adopted child is not forgot. If we are Christ's we get all things with him. If we are Christ's, we share the government of the world with him. If we are his, we share the crown with him. It is called the inheritance of the saints in light. I cannot tell the blessings of being an heir of God; but I know that it is better than being an heir of hell: 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things' - Revelation 21:7, and that for eternity - it cannot fade away.

O my brethren! will you still remain heirs of hell? If you come to Christ you will be made heirs of God. Whether is it better to get the pleasure of the world, and hell at the end, or to be made a child of God, and an heir of Christ?

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:16-17)

O that God would make you like Mary, to choose that good part that shall never be taken away from you! O that God would put life into the dead stones, and from those stones raise children to Abraham! Amen
Thanks to Monica for the link to the site with this sermon.

Saturday, June 19

Everything Baseball

Today is the 14-year-old's baseball tourney. Well, the first game was Thursday night, but the others are today. So that's where we will be spending the day. It's going to be a hot one, too--just the sort of hot sunny day I associate with baseball games. Nothing is more fun than a baseball filled Saturday.

And while we're talking baseball, how about those Twins? We are big Twins fans, any anytime we're outside in the summer we try to take in a game. (Outside is Yukonese for "anywhere outside of the territory.") Unfortunately, we only get Twins games televised when they are playing the Blue Jays, or perhaps Detroit. We're hoping for the playoffs and series this year, and then we'd be able to see all those games.

Friday, June 18

Let's Meander Through the Roll

The weather was perfect yesterday. It's supposed to be perfect today. And tomorrow. And Sunday. And as far into the future as the weather man will show us. So blogging might be a bit light and/or disorganized for a bit because I'm out enjoying summer.

And my lawn and garden are calling me. Good weather means l am plagued with chickweed in the garden and dandelions in the yard. (Now I suppose Bill is going to tell me that in Texas they call dandelions yellow ball gowns, and they are the state flower. Well, even if that is so, they are still not welcome in my yard.) I have this handy dandelion destruction tool, sort of sharp metal tube on the end of a stick. I place it on top of the dandelion, right over the root, and press on it with my foot. Then I twist it a bit and pull it up. Dandelion, root and all, come out when the metal tube comes out of the ground. There the nasty thing is, trapped inside the tube until I pop it out with the handy popping-out lever. I have to say, using that tool makes dandlion destruction an irresistable chore. Press, twist, lift,, twist, lift, pop. It's strangely satisfying as I fill up my yard with the little tube shaped pieces of sod and dandelion.

Unfortunately, there is no such tool to use with chickweed, and a hoe and fingers means real work. It'll be satisfying when the garden is all weed free, but the process is not nearly as fun as the work eliminating dandelions.

I suppose by now you are wondering where this post is going. Well, I am getting to that. (There's a reason the title included the word meander.) I'm going to take a little look at some of the blogs on the blogroll and see what they are up to.

The Great Separation, whose blog I love for it's quirkiness--odd and interesting news stories that make me laugh, and stories of the persecution of Christians around the world that makes me want to cry--has a story about a scientific study on voles. Voles, for those who remain blissfully unaware, are a plague in yards; like dandelions, but worse. They can completely destroy a yard with the munching and crunching of their little rodent teeth. They are also indescribably icky. I don't like regular mice, but voles take regular mice ickiness and ratchet it up several degrees. Anyway--speaking of voles, and bringing us back to GS's post, did you know that male meadow voles are promiscuous, and male prairie voles are dutifully faithful? I wonder which one it is we have here? I hope its the meadow voles--that'll give me one more reason to feel justified in my hatred.

Next up is Tulip Girl. This is the blog to go to for info on child nurturing and breast feeding. You may not know this about me, but I am....ahem....a former marsupial mom, and only former because I found carrying a 14 year old around in my little pocket just a tad cumbersome. One day I hope to be a marsupial grandma. I am also a breastfeeding advocate, and am occasionly asked for advice on nursing, so TG helps me keep up on the lastest nursing info. Yep, she helps me in my fight to stomp out the evil effects of the misinformation that comes from detached parenting advocates. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be marsupial than reptilian. (Was that rude? And does stomping out the evil effect of misinformation qualify me for superhero status?)

And finally, J. Mark Bertrand. His blog is not like others--prolific, and with frequent updates (and also permalinks)--but what he posts is always a tightly wrapped perfect little package. As I write this, the lastest post is Are God's Hands Tied? In this piece, Mark examines the idea some have that God "made a decision early on to stay out of things and so preserve the all-important philosophical notion of libertarian free will."

(In case you don't think anyone actually believes this, I have a book in my library written by a woman I know who explains her son's devastating autism this way. She finds comfort in that notion. How that works to provide comfort is something I am unable to fathom. But let's get back to J. Mark Bertrand.)

Here are exerpts from Are God's Hand's Tied?:
Does the Bible speak of God's hands being bound? Far from it. In Scripture, God's hand is powerful. There is nowhere it cannot reach; there is no one who can force it. Far from being bound on the sidelines, God is actively engaged in the world around us. If He does not intervene in events, it is because He is already driving them to their appointed end. We are not meant to look at evil in the world and ascribe it to a lack of power on the part of God -- even if it is only a "voluntary" powerlessness -- but as a mysterious aspect of the plan by which all things work for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Yes, His actions are inscrutable and the things he permits are often past our ability to harmonize or reconcile. But in our bafflement we have no need to resort to stupid philosophical invention...

But what about human freedom? It was not necessary for God to tie His hands to make us free. Freedom is not the power to choose evil; it is the ability to do good. Being like Christ is an expression of freedom open to the sinner once God breaks his bondage to sin. According to Scripture, through the first sin we sold ourselves into slavery, and Christ has come to set us free. Far from entering the world with His hands tied behind His back, He came to bind Satan and to free His people from their sin. This is the theological view of freedom, as opposed to the philosophical. We say that we cannot be free unless God restrains Himself, but in fact, we cannot be free if He does.
That's all for now. The perfect weather and my perfect yard and garden are calling me to resume my work toward the full and final defeat of dandelions and other nasty weeds. All done, of course, while swatting bugs with my so-called free hand. Now that I think about it, defeating weeds might be another avenue to pursue in my quest for superheroism.

Later, when the mood strikes, or if sudden thunderstorm comes up, I plan to add a couple of new blogs to the blogroll. When that happens, I shall introduce them to you with suitable fanfare.

Thursday, June 17

Purposes of Christ's Death, No. 17

These are the last texts we are going to consider. There's a reason I saved them for last, and I think you'll understand when you read them.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. (Ephesians 1:7-10 NKJV)
Yep, this is a bit of a summary statement of what the purpose of Christ's death was. The purpose statement is this:
that....He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
God intended for Christ's death to restore everything that was lost in the fall. All the nasty results of the presence of sin in the world are put back into good order through the work of Christ on the cross. Colossians 1 has a couple of verses that say something similar, a parallel text that we can use to help us understand this one.
For it was the {Father's} good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, {I say,} whether things on earth or things in heaven. (vs. 19-20 NASB)
The phrase good pleasure is really equivalent to the word "purpose". It refers to what God wanted to accomplish. It was the Father's good pleasure (or purpose) to reconcile all things to Himself through Christ, and so that's what He did. The peace that comes through the sacrificial death of Christ accomplishes the reconciliation of all things to God. All was lost for us through Adam's disobedience, and all is recovered--and then some--through Christ.

Condemnation for all of us came through Adam, but our justification comes through Christ. Death for all of us came through Adam, but life comes again through Christ. Adam's disobedience makes us all sinners, but Christ's obedience makes us righteous. (Romans 5)

Christ's death is the start of a whole new creation. First of all, there's the new creation within the lives of those who are united with Christ, so that every effect of sin in them eventually will be banished. They are reconciled and adopted sons and daughers, restored to the inheritance lost in the fall.

A new sort of people has been born, a nation in which every person is a priest--they all have the direct access to their Father that Adam once had before it was lost when he disobeyed; and every one is a ruler--they are restored to the state of dominion over the earth that was lost in Adam.

All the animosity between groups of people is also done away with through Christ's reconciling work. Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free, rich and poor all are brought together into this one new people--the redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.

But "all things" being summed up in Christ reaches beyond just the human realm. His death means that He has "disarmed the rulers and authorities", and "made a public display of them, having triumphed over them...." (Colossians 2) The forces of evil that hold creation captive to the corruption that came with the fall have lost the war because of Christ's death on the cross. The forces of the dark side are put in their right place and all power is stripped from them. These "things in heaven" are restored to through Him.

And the creation itself, with all its groaning and struggling, and eager waiting and longing to be made whole again, will get its wish for restoration when the sons and daughters of God are glorified (Romans 8). It will mean there is no more death and decay, famine or natural disasters, no more diseases of the body and mind, no more dog eat dog in the animal world. All is made right; all is restored.

It will be a completely renewed sort of creation: no more cancer, no more mental illness, no more disabilities, no more bodies that grow old and infirm, no more chickweed and dandelions in the vegie garden. All the chickweed I pulled this afternoon has already lost the battle, it just doesn't know it yet. Cancer cells are history in the death and resurrection of Christ; their writing is already on the wall. We will no longer chase our coyote-bait cat back into the safety of the house several times a day, for coyote and kitty will lie down together when creation is made whole again.

All is coming right, for creation has been "set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God". The tide is turned, the battle is won. He is taking it back. The fullness of times has begun with Christ's death, and the fullness will be completely realized when we bring creation into freedom with us when we are fully and finally freed into our glory as children of God. Our glory becomes the glory of all of creation, and all of this exalts the One in whom it is all restored.

Summing everything up, gathering it all together, making things right again--this is the overarching purpose of Christ's death.

And this is what that gloriously renewed, summed up, gathered together, made exactly right creation will look like:

An exalted Christ,
given "the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
--in heaven and on earth and under the earth--
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father."

--(Phil. 2:9-11, NET)

It makes you want to sing with joy and bow down at the same time, doesn't it?

Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain...


Wednesday, June 16

The Whole Carnival Has Arrived...

....and the attractions are all set up, over at Belief Seeking Understanding. Twently entries, so there is Part One and Part Two this time. Lots of reading, several people who are new to me, and more things that I want to read than I will be able to fit in today.

Double Immutability

The Voice that calls light out of darkness,
Who is yesterday and for always the same,
Cannot speak and it be a lie.

Double immutability:
An unchangeable purpose,
Confirmed by an oath.

"I will never again curse the ground,
I will never again destroy all living things,
And I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

His uttered word:
A steadfast anchor,
Hope for my soul.

"While the earth remains,
There will be seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat.

"These will not cease:
Winter and summer,
Day and night.

"And I will never leave you."


A Check Up on the Daylight Hours

I think it's about time again, because we're less than a week away from the summer solstice.

Sunrise: 4:27 AM PDT
Sunset: 11:35 PM PDT
There is no longer any listing for the various twilight times. I suppose that's because it's twilight all through the night. This is a photo I took at 12:15 AM, just a few minutes ago.

Think you'd be able to recognize Bigfoot in this lighting?

Tuesday, June 15

Seeing Through A Glass Darkly

The glass is not opaque. We see through it. Maybe not much, and certainly not perfectly, but we see something.

There, that's my intro to this post by Jollyblogger!

Purposes of Christ's Death, No. 16

We are coming almost to the end of this series. There will be a No. 17, and then I hope to do some sort of summary post, maybe a list that shows all the purposes together. For this post's explicit purpose statement, I'm looking at 1 Peter 2:24:
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. (NET)
The purpose statement in this verse is "that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness". One of the purposes of Christ's death is that there be a change of behaviour in people--that they stop sinning and live righteously.

Christ bearing our sin upon himself when he died on the cross--another clear reference to the substitutional nature of what was done there--makes it really possible for us to behave differently. The NET says "that we may cease from sinning" when other translations say something more like "so that we might die to sin." Here is the justification given in the translator's notes for using the word "cease":
The verb ajpogivnomai (apoginomai) occurs only here in the NT. It can have a literal meaning ("to die"; L&N 74.27) and a figurative meaning ("to cease"; L&N 68.40). Because it is opposite the verb zavw (zaw, "to live"), many argue that the meaning of the verb here must be "die" (so BDAG 108 s.v.), but even so literal death would not be in view. "In place of ajpoqnh/skien, the common verb for 'die,' ajpogineqai serves Peter as a euphemism, with the meaning 'to be away' or 'to depart'" (J. R. Michaels, 1 Peter [WBC 49], 148). It is a metaphorical way to refer to the decisive separation from sin Jesus accomplished for believers through his death; the result is that believers "may cease from sinning."
Either way, the idea is that we are freed from the power sin once had over us, and a new way of righteous living is made possible to us. This freedom from sin's power that results in a new righteous way of living is called being healed, and this inner healing that works righteous behavior is one of the purposes of Christ's death.

(Some people like to use this verse to prove that Christ's death brings us physical healing, but I don't think that is the idea Peter had in mind in this verse. "By whose wounds you were healed" is sandwiched between two statements about changed behavior--a new kind of righteous living, and a turning back from straying to return to our Shepherd.)

Another purpose of Christ's death is that people will stop sinning and live righteously.

Monday, June 14

It's That Time Again

It's time to enter something in the Christian Carnival for this week.
This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted at Belief Seeking Understanding.  If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.
To enter is simple.  First, you post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view.  Then, do the following:

email Douglas at

Provide the following:
Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post
Cut off date is Tuesday by 12 Midnight EST
Don't forget to encourage a friend to contribute!
Hey there, friend! Contribute!

Doing the Tat

The boys both did the Tat this weekend. Nope, it didn't involve lace and needles, but this:

and this:

The youngest son got to go free of charge, because if there are nine paying members in your group, a tenth person can go free. The opportunity to do the Tatshenshini River free comes maybe once in a lifetime.

He had finals today, so I suppose he should have spent some time on the weekend studying, but you can take finals any old year, can't you? Thankfully, he's pretty conscientious about keeping up with things at school, so he'll do fairly well without any weekend cramming.

But he's tired....and sore....and napping on the couch. The lawn is in desperate need of mowing, and the front part is his job, but we'll let it go for today. After all, you can mow the yard just about any old day, as long as it's not raining, can't you?

Sunday, June 13

A Little Argument Inspection

I often use Daniel Wallace, who is a professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary as a source of information on translational issues. I also often use the NET Bible--especially the wonderful translation notes--for study, and the NET is a translation for which he was the senior New Testament editor. So of course I was a bit curious when someone posted a link to an article by David Cloud on the Baptist Board last week. The title of the article is Dallas Professor Denies Biblical Inspiration. Daniel Wallace is the Dallas professor referred to in the title to the article.

Now, you really can't read much Daniel Wallace and not know that he believes in biblical inspiration. His reverence for the text comes through in everything he writes. His serious study of the text attests to his belief that it is "God-breathed." So right from the get-go I was convinced that the article was wrong. (There! Now you know that I didn't come into the examination of this article unbiased.) However, since examining arguments is something I really like to do, I read the article anyway, to see what sort of proof was offered to support the statement in the title. The rest of this post is a discussion of what I found.

David Cloud gives us a nice little summary of his argument in the first paragraph.
Wallace supports the redaction approach to the Gospels, that the Gospels were written not by direct inspiration of God but by copying material from secondary sources, thereby denying the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit as taught by Christ and the Apostles.
I'll leave the accusation of redactionism alone. It's a charged word, and one I'm not sure Cloud is using correctly. Cloud tells us what how he's defining that word, so I can just lay out the argument without using that word and explaining what it really means.

Cloud's argument goes like this: Daniel Wallace believes that the authors of the synoptic gospels used sources (or a source) for information they recorded in the gospels (*see endnote), therefore he doesn't believe in the inspiration of Scripture. As you can probably see, something is missing from the argument. The conclusion doesn't follow necessarily from the first statement. There's another step in there that is alluded to, but not stated, and that's this idea: God's inspiration of the scripture precludes the uses of outside sources by the authors.

When you stick that statement in the argument, it'll look like this:
  • Daniel Wallace believes authors of scripture used outside sources.
  • God's inspiration of scripture precludes the authors' use of outside sources.
  • Therefore, Daniel Wallace doesn't believe in the inspiration of scripture.
This conclusion is a legitimate one to draw from the first two statements. If the first two statements are correct, then the conclusion is correct. I am accepting the first statement as correct on the basis of the quotes from Wallace that Cloud provides. The only questionable link in the chain is that second statement.

Is it correct to say that outside sources cannot be used to produce inspired scripture? What evidence of the truth of this statement does Cloud have? He doesn't really lay out this evidence for us, but he does give us a clue as to what sort of evidence he thinks he has in support of this statement. He says that Wallace, in arguing for the uses of sources for the gospels is "thereby denying the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit as taught by Christ and the Apostles." According to Cloud, then, there is something in what Christ and the Apostles tell us about the way scripture was inspired that precludes the use of sources. He is appealing to scripture to support the unstated second statement in his argument.

Later in the article he gives a couple of scripture references that it seems he might be using as his evidence for this statement. They are two statements by Christ about the work of the Holy Spirit after Christ leaves the disciples:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:26 NASB)

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose {it} to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose {it} to you. (John 16:13-15 NASB)
These texts really just say that the Holy Spirit will guide the apostles to the truth by disclosing the things that will happen in the future, and bringing to their minds the things that Jesus said while he was here on earth. They don't say what method the Spirit will use for either the disclosure of the future or the remembrance of the past, and they don't say anything that precludes the use of other sources as the means by which these past memories are brought to mind by the Spirit.

Cloud also says there are things taught by the apostles that prove his statement, but unfortunately he doesn't give us references for this scriptural support, so I had to go searching myself. Actually, I didn't have to search; I knew there weren't any supporting apostolic statements in scripture. We have the statement from Paul that "all scripture is God-breathed", which just tells us that it is inspired, not exactly how the inspiration process works, or whether outside sources can be used as part of the God-breathed process. We also have the statement from 2 Peter 1:
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is {a matter} of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (verses 20 and 21 NASB)
We are just told that men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, but once again, we're not told that this speaking from God means that information gathered from other sources can't be used as part of that God-spoken word.

So the second statement in the argument put forward by Cloud is unscriptural in the sense that it has no specific support in scripture. He claims that it is what Christ and the Apostles told us, but it is not. It is how David Cloud thinks it must be, I suppose, but it isn't laid out that way for us in scripture.

Moreover, not only is this statement unscriptural in the sense that it is not found in scripture, it is unscriptural in the sense that it goes against what we are told in scripture. Luke, whose gospel I assume David Cloud believes is inspired, tell us this by way of introduction to the gospel account he wrote:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write {it} out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;
so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Luke 1 NASB)
In other words, Luke used compilations done by others of accounts handed down by eyewitnesses to the events of the first advent of Christ. He used these compilations done by others as sources for the information in the God-breathed writings found in his gospel account.

Not only is it possible to believe that outside sources were used for the synoptic gospels and still believe that the scripture is inspired, but those who take the whole of scripture as inspired must believe that outside sources were used for at least some of what's found in the gospels, because inspired scripture tells us it is so.

What this is really all about is that David Cloud, who argues for a KJVOnly position, is seeking to undermine the authority of someone respected who stands on the other side of the debate. His problem, though, is a common one in KJVO circles: he is building an argument around the way he thinks things ought to be, or the way he thinks things must be. David Cloud assumes that inspired-by-God text must be produced by something that seems pretty close to dictation by God. He is making that assumption on the basis of no scriptural evidence, and against one statement we do have about how an inspired gospel account came about, simply because that's the way that seems right to him.

The rest of the article is also full fuzzy thinking, illogic, and irrelevant argument. What's really sad is that David Cloud is considered to be one of the more reasonable proponents of KJVOnlyism, and he argues quite forcefully against the use of silly arguments and ad hominem attacks by other KJVO proponents, but he doesn't seem to be able to spot the same sort of problems in his own thinking.

I have a hunch that if every believer were taught to carefully examine the arguments they come in contact with--if we all thought it was our duty to take on the role of Argument Inspector now and then in order to avoid error--then the error of KJVOnlyism would peter out for lack of followers, because the arguments in its defense all seem to boil down to these same sorts of illogical arguments and unsupported statements. It's no coincidence, I suppose, that the place where this error is prevalent is in a church culture that is suspicious of critical thinking and what they call "intellectualism". Unfortunately, given this suspicion, exercises inspecting the arguments, like the one I just went through in this post, will probably have little effect on those who already adhere to this viewpoint.


*Actually, Cloud states things in a stronger way than this, but his quotes from Wallace don't support his statement that Wallace thinks the gospels were simply copied from other sources, but rather they show that Wallace believes that at least one common source is used for the synoptic gospels, and that explains their similarities, so in my summary of Cloud's argument I've stepped back a bit from that particular statement of David Cloud's and used instead a statement that the evidence will support. The basic form and flow of the argument isn't changed.

How You Can Help Me Out...

...with this Sunday feature of hymns and sermons. As you can imagine, there is an almost unlimited supply of sermons online. This is both a blessing and a curse. It means this feature will never have to come to an end for lack of material, but it also means it can take a lot of time to wade through them all. So I'm asking for your suggestions. If you've got a favorite preacher (particularly a contemporary one) with sermons online that you would recommend, let me know. It can be your own pastor, or someone else you like, too. The only requirement is that the sermons be in text form rather than audio.

Here are a couple of more specific things I'm looking for. I want to have a Scottish Sunday (like the Canadian and Scandinavian one), and excellent Scottish preachers are plentiful, but I'm having trouble knowing whether a hymn is written by a Scotsman/woman. Do you know any Scottish hymns?

I also want to have a Mennonite Sunday, and am looking for suggestions of both Mennonite hymns and sermons.

General hymn suggestions--maybe your favorite--are welcome, too. If I use your suggestion, I'll link to you, if you have a page. If you don't, I'll give you linkless credit.

Canadian Sunday

Today's Sunday hymn and sermon feature has a Canadian theme. The hymn is written by William Featherstone, of Montreal, who was only 16 when he wrote these words:
My Jesus, I Love Thee
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I'll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I'll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
--Music by Adoniram Judson Gordon.

Instead of featuring a sermon, we're featuring a Canadian preacher--one of the founders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Albert B. Simpson.
Albert Benjamin Simpson was born on December 15, 1843, to parents of Scottish descent. He grew to be one of the most respected Christian figures in American evangelicalism. A much sought after speaker and pastor, Simpson founded a major evangelical denomination, published over 70 books, edited a weekly magazine for nearly 40 years, and wrote many gospel songs and poems.
A. B. Simpson was born, reared, and educated in Canada, but health problems led him to take a pastorate in Louisville, Kentucky.
Simpson discovered he was also developing a deep compassion for the lost. A desire to evangelize began to consume him. In his biographical article on Simpson, Daniel Evearitt wrote: "I discovered that those who knew [Simpson] paint a picture of a dynamic but humble worker for God who inspired others to total commitment to God's service and Kingdom. They portray him as a loving, caring, patient man."
He went on to become and independent evangelist in New York City, and that's where his foundational work in the Christian and Missionary Alliance took place.
Simpson helped to form and head up two evangelization societies--The Christian Alliance and The Evangelical Missionary Alliance. As thousands joined these two groups, Simpson sensed a need for the two to become one. In 1897, they became The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Simpson worked to reach the lost and hurting until his death in 1919.
On October 28, 1919, Simpson slipped into a coma from which he never recovered. Family members recall that his final words were spoken to God in prayer for all the missionaries he had helped to send throughout the world.
To the end, Simpson remained devoted first to his beloved Savior and then to all who would dare to take the gospel message to a lost and dying world. A. B. Simpson--a man of vision and faith.
And so we have two Canadian contributions to the the furtherance of the kingdom.

Saturday, June 12

I Should Have Just Been Satisfied to Be a Classic Cup of Coffee

Those of you with a high level sensibility might want to avert your eyes.

Which animal of dissection are you? [CAUTION: Graphic Images]

The Frog

The most common animal dissected in junior high schools everywhere. Very stable and someone you can depend on. You are probably a very loyal friend, honest, and quite nice. You will turn out fine in life.

Personality Test Results

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Ha! The warning came too late, didn't it?

And I'm wondering how "You will turn out fine in life" goes along with being the most commonly dissected animal in junior high schools everywhere. I don't know about you, but when I hope my kids turn out fine, I'm not thinking dissection table.

From Proverbial Wife

From the Deck

Here is the view looking out from my upstairs deck.

I like to take afternoon naps on the lawn chair out here once in a while. The dog loves to hang out here, too, but she doesn't nap. Instead, she stands spying through the railings into all the neighbor's back yards, and some front yards, too. If there's something going on in this neighborhood, she knows about it. (I will say in her defense that at least she's not a gossip.)

This One's Probably Right

Well, I might know some who would quibble with the perfect part.

You're a Classic Cup 'O' Joe.
You're a Classic Cup 'O' Joe!

What Kind of Coffee are You?
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Friday, June 11

Purposes of Christ's Death, Nos. 14 and 15

Today I'm looking at two texts with two separate purposes, but the verses are found so close together that I've decided to put them in one post. The first text is 2 Corinthians 5:14,15:
For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. (NET)
The second text is found in the same paragraph, just a few verses away from the first. Verse 21:
God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (NET)
The REAL reason I wanted to put these two texts together in one post, even though their purpose statements are different, is because I wanted to take a little digression from the discussion of the purposes of Christ's death for a paragraph or two, and venture into the subject of the nature of Christ's death. These two texts, taken together, seem to me to be our strongest scriptural evidence that's Christ's death was substitutional--that His death was not just "for us" in the sense of being in our favor, but was "for us" in the sense of being in our place. Verse 14 tells us that "Christ died for all" and then explains that this means that all have died. Christ died in our place ("for us"), and this vicarious death is counted as our own death ("therefore all died"), and this is the way that His death accomplishes something for us.

Verse 21 explains this whole idea a little more. Christ, who knew no sin was made sin for us, who did know sin. He took our sin upon Himself in His death. Christ wasn't actually sinful--He knew no sin--but He was counted as sinful (or seen as sinful by God) for us. His death accomplishes something for us, because in His death that was counted as our death (v 14), He had our sin counted as His, and our sin was in this way included in His death. He took our sin and stood in our place on the cross.

And the two purposes listed here for all of this? The first is "so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised." The NET notes tell us that this could also be translated "who died and was raised for them", and that's they way I'm going to take it, because we are told elsewhere that being included in Christ's resurrection is the force behind our new way of life. So because Christ died and was raised for us, we no longer live in the old way of live--for ourselves, but in the new way, living for the one who died for us. This is one of the purposes of Christ's death: to have people who live for Him rather than for themselves.

The second purpose, found in verse 21, is "so that in him we would become the righteousness of God". Being included with Christ (or having Him substitute for us) in His death causes us to become righteous in some way. Leon Morris, in The Atonement, describes this righteousness of God like this:
....the expression signifies the righteousness or 'right standing' that God gives....Paul is clearly referring to a legal status, a standing before God. A status can be given, and the apostle says that this status is given.
You will probably recognise the term "right-standing" before God (or the "righteousness of God") as another way of expressing our justification. In a sort of parallel (but of the opposite sort) to Christ being counted as sinful, we are counted as righteous. This is another of the purposes of Christ's death: so that we would be given justification--or a right legal status--before God.

The two purposes for Christ's death found in these texts are so that we would live for Him rather than for ourselves, and so that we would be justified.

So Talk to Me....

In the previous post, I mentioned that I have two all-time favorite passages of scripture--passages that always excite me when I look at them, passages that touch me in ways I can't really explain adequately. Those two passages are Ephesians 2:1-10 and Hebrews 11-12:3ish.

How about you? Do you have favorite passages? Would you care to share them and share a little bit of why they are your favorites either here in the comments or perhaps on your own blog?

Blogging Away the Hours

Well, I am working on two more purposes of Christ's death found in 2 Corinthians 5, and maybe I will be able to finish them today and post them, and maybe I won't. It's all Jollyblogger's fault, because he posted something on my favorite subject, the certainty of faith, and he quoted my favorite passage of all-time (well, next to Ephesians 2) in support of that idea. So, of course, I had to get my two cents in, and I spent a good portion of my blogging time commenting on that post.

So, I wouldn't take it on faith that there will be something substantial posted here today. There may be, and there may not be, and that's a level of uncertainty that doesn't exist in true faith.