Thursday, February 15, 2007


Hey y'all, I've been converted: I'm moving over to Wordpress, it's the exact same deal, just better functionality. my new webpage is Check it out and i hope to see y'all there...


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Faith and Nostalgia

I long for the days when it didn’t feel like my faith was contingent upon exhaustively understanding the deep intricacies of presuppositional apologetics or reformed systematic theology. I long for the days when I was content to read my Bible IN ENGLISH (including the parts I didn’t understand) and not worry about who the real author of Exodus was or when it was written, or how evidence should be used as an apologetic tool (if at all), or what the hell happened to the Septuagint and why anyone would ever want to base a translation on it, or…I could go on for hours. I guess in a nutshell, I’m saying I long for the days when ignorance was bliss, but my faith was bliss too.

Yet, I can recall days back then when I knew there was so much behind what I was reading that could and should be explored, and it was such a compelling force to begin that adventure. But now I feel my faith has been relegated to an academic exercise, something that might only be worth a ‘C’ if that’s what I happen to get on my next paper or exam. I can honestly only blame myself for allowing this situation to occur. On the one hand Westminster is an academic institution and has made no secret of that. But on the other hand attempts are made daily to remind me, the student, of the proper, God-glorifying end which we pursue. But for me, there is currently a disconnect between the wealth of information I receive in my ears and the amount of spiritual sustenance it delivers to my soul. When done correctly the two should inform and sustain each other. But as it is, my head is filling up with knowledge while my soul withers in the sun.

I have felt this to a certain degree for some time. Yet today marked a culmination of feelings of helplessness, homelessness, emptiness, waywardness, and a whole host of other “nesses” that I find to be more than coincidental. Let me explain: I try not to chalk too much up to spiritual warfare, because it can easily become a copout: I don’t like to shift responsibility from myself. But the timing of this “crisis” leads me to at least consider the possibility that part of what I’m experiencing is from the enemy. This past Saturday afternoon was the memorial service of a beloved professor at Westminster, Dr. Al Groves. During the service, as I listened to various people reflect upon the servant-heart of this man, I realized I despised who I had become. Later that evening I confessed to a dear friend of mine that I had allowed myself to become very self-centered in recent months, and I felt my faith was suffering because of it. That night I felt a turning of the tide, an opportunity to rediscover the joys of Christian service. But just over 24 hours later, I could hear whispers of discouragement and malice, doubt and fear, rage…it was all so tangible this morning.

On the one hand, it could be Satan trying to thwart God’s plan to call me back to repentance. On the other hand, it could be that in order for me to truly repent, I need to be absolutely torn down to nothing, and that the pain I’m feeling is akin to the pain one might feel after having a cancerous tumor removed. Or, I guess it could be both, Satan intending it for one purpose and God for His own. And finally, to be fair, it could just be me…sinful, wretched me trying desperately to hold on to the sin I love so much.

Reading back through this post, I’m tempted to see two distinct issues at work here. No doubt there are several others, but these are prevalent: my disenchantment with theological education, and the spiritual pain I’m experiencing in the deepest parts of my soul. But perhaps they aren’t as distinct as they appear. Since they inform and sustain each other (as I mentioned above), it would follow that a detriment in one would lead to a detriment in the other, which is exactly what I feel at the moment. Do I, then, actually long for the days of ignorance? I suppose not. I just wish my “education” didn’t come at the expense of my joy. It shouldn’t, and it doesn’t have to, but as it is related to a deeply spiritual issue of mine, I imagine it will require some deep spiritual pain for me to once again see those two in harmony.

For those of you who read this who are believers, I write this so that you might pray for me: that God would be faithful in tearing me to pieces with the end that my faith might be stronger and my commitment to service to Him and death to self might persevere. For anyone who reads this who is not a believer, I hope you do not understand this struggle as an indicator of a lack of God’s faithfulness, but rather mine. And as such, this process is a greater indication of God’s faithfulness, because no matter how much I writhe and scream, He refuses to let me, His child, go.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Paradox of Snow

"Baptism by Snow"

Crystalline spectrums of liquid light and life
Descend upon a lifeless but wanting face
Like messengers of so sweet a song,
Reminding with each kiss of icy breath that
The wintry dust promises a new day and a new me.

~Michael P. Van Gilst

I find snow to be a startling paradox of life and death. Water has, for all of time, been a symbol of life and renewal. Plants grow with water, humans are sustained by it, and Christians everywhere view baptism by water as a sign (or more than a sign) of covenantal rebirth…life. Yet snow arrives during a frigid time of the year that is symbolized by death with the hope of spring and new life just around the corner. And so we have snow, the birth child of water and freezing temperatures, a union of life and death.

They say there are no two snowflakes alike. I have no idea how anyone could ever prove that, but I can fathom it and I’m willing to concede the argument for the sake of this point: God’s majesty overwhelms me by the thought of something so paradoxical yielding something so intricately unique and beautiful. It encourages me when I think of all the times that God does things that don’t make sense to me, which is often. I remember the snowflake, the union that doesn’t make sense yet which is able, like no other aspect of creation, to scream aloud God’s creative genius by descending silently to the earth in subtle glory. And then I think of the fact that most of the snow in this world is never witnessed by human eyes. It’s almost as if God did it just to marvel at His own artistry and didn’t need us to validate it…imagine that.

I wouldn’t want snowflakes to make sense; if they did, they’d lose their wonder. As for God? Well, I may say I want God to make sense to me, but I don’t think that’s always true. If He always did, would I realize my need for Him? Would I realize my place in this world? Would I be forced to recon with the immeasurable distance between Him and me? Snowflakes make sense to God, and God makes sense to God. So, for now, I’m content to marvel at them both, not in spite of their mystery, but rather because of it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

My Roomate Dave

This is Dave. Isn't he precious? I don't know if I'd be as trusting as he is of the cleanliness of that couch cusion, but it doesn't look like he minds too much. Dave is an interesting person. He has an uncanny ability to turn the most mundane things into profound theological premises. Take the other night, for example: in no fewer than 2,000 words he described to me his most recent endeavor to relate the Smurfs to the New Testament's use of 2nd Temple Judaic terminology. So, for instance, instead of saying, "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, not by works so that no one can boast," one could just as easily say, "It is by grace you have been smurfed, through smurf, not by works so that no smurf can smurf." I'm sure you see the connection. If not, don't come to seminary; this is all we do here.

Now, as you can tell from the photo, all this thinking really tuckers the poor guy out. But so strong is his conviction that these questions need to be answered that he is willing to brave even the sanitary dangers of the couch so long as it affords him the mental energy to forge ahead. That's dedication, ladies and gentlemen.

Basing his diet completely on raw vegetables and turkey sandwiches keeps him from wasting time cooking, which means more invaluable insights from the mind-o-dave, and thusly a better world.

Here are some little known facts about Dave:
1. He pronounces "cognac" phonetically.
2. He's secretly vying with Tanner Capps and Andy Coleman to be the beard-successor to Dr. Dan McCartney. He's losing.
3. He doesn't sleep, he waits...oh wait, nevermind, that's Chuck Norris. Which brings me to number four:
4. Chuck Norris is afraid of Dave.
5. His life's passion is to one day become a bicycle cop BUT...
6. ...contrary to popular belief, Dave is not the short shorts guy from Reno 911.
7. His favorite color is whatever the color is of the current book he's reading.
8. "Ontological" is his favorite word, followed closely by "twitterpated"
9. His greatest role model is Justin Timberlake as can be noted from this file photo of Westminster's boyband "Machen's Warrior Children"
10. Dave's favorite drink is: Scotch, scotch, scotch. I love scotch. Down it goes...into my belly. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

So I hope you all have a greater appreciation for our friend Dave, the intricacies of whom approach unfathomability. But still, he's no Sam Boyd. (see