Wednesday, August 1, 2007

NSA update

Well, I have a place to live.

I will (most likely) be sharing a five-bedroom house with seven other masochistic, bibliophilic freaks who pay money to let people make us read lots of books in rapid succesion and start spouting Latin and Greek while inserting phrases along the lines of "the infralapsarian worldview is clearly inconsistent with the Van Tillian Transcendentalistic argumentative methods which have demonstrated that Toyota is superior to Nissan, so no, I won't take a ride, thank you", or some such rot. There are six juniors and one senior, and all are roughly my age. They have promised me enough wall space for my books. We shall see...

Apparently all are musicians, save one, who is in the process of repenting. We'll start him on an electric accordian as punishment. With headphones, of course...we only want to punish him.

I will be leaving this upcoming Monday, crashing with my brothers in Oregon, and hopefully arriving in Moscow on Tuesday night. I will be returning in nine years, give or take six hours, forty-three minutes and a bathroom break, by which time girls will have excuses to be in love with me beyond my ruggedly masculine good looks, chiseled features, staggering breath, and suave debonaire spirit, such as even cooler handwriting and being so abstract that no one can tell what I'm talking about, or if I'm actually talking at all. That will be difficult to deal with. It's already hard enough, what with all the feminine attention I've been getting as of late (except today, as Becky has a birth to go to, Brooke is at school or something, and the wee pink ones are not to be found underfoot). God will give me strength. If not, a reality check should do it.

I'm actually not yet sure about the nine year program, but the four year one is pretty definite. I do have lots of breaks, though, and should be able to inflict my presence upon some of you fairly often.

I believe that there is some sort of going-awayish thing for me at some point in the vaguely near, Aslanian soon ("I call all times soon...) time frame. It might also be this upcoming Saturday at Caleb and Missie's house, potluck style, bring your own cigars, pipes and beer, starting roughly at 6:00.

That is about it. My posting will be drastically slowing down, but I plan on posting some of my papers along with a note saying whether or not I'm dead, etc.

God Bless!

Book Review: James Jordan

Jordan has a book out called "Primeval Saints: Studies in the Patriarchs of Genesis".

It is, as might be expected, quite good. It is a small book, and portions of it are covered in his "Through New Eyes", but it is still a very worthwhile read. Took two days, but I am lazy and took several Kettle Chips breaks, as well as an Ashbach movie night. Probably would be three or four days if one was gainfully employed.

Yet More: 2001


After all is said and done,
Our battle fought, our race been run,
Each deed in life, each fear of death,
Fulfilled? Anulled? By one last breath.
Fear God.

More Old Poems: 2002


The black of night
may cause great fright,
Though night itself is not the foe,
But what the light of day would surely show.

And suns may rise
on tear-filled eyes,
But through the day, pain’s pushed inside,
As shadows from the sun will always hide.

Poor Poetry: Mine, for H, 2004

Seductive wisps of lethal fog reach out, caress with lies—
The moonlit white belies the night, veils whisp’ring Siren sighs

And songs to the Sirens, sung by the damned, who, hopeless, still would hope
For death as sweet as mortals meet: with dreamless sleeps, elope.

Now languid eternities, elaborate symphonies, a moaning, delirious moon
Chanting over, above our winter, of falling; fall—and swoon.

More Jordan: Nimrodian Spawn

"As we begin the story of the Tower of Babel we read, "Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words"...the word translated 'language' in this verse actually means 'lip'. The phrase 'same words' refers to language, but the phrase 'same lip'--literally 'one lip'--refers to religion"...

"What happened at the Tower of Babel was not first and foremost a division of languages, but rather a division of religious belief..."

Jordan makes some other excellent points in this section, equating the bricks cemented with tar with the unified rebellion of the wicked men with Nimrod (man is made of earth, as are the bricks) as well as referring to the protevangelium (religious belief is the head, the ruler, of every person, and here you have the shattering of the formerly unified "head" of the seed of the serpent), as well as a few other simply great points, but the book is only about ten bucks and takes two days (if you're lazy or gainfully employed) to read, whereas I'm supposed to be moving in a week, so I'm going to leave you to read the book.

Revamping Noah: Give Ham the Bronx Cheer

James Jordan's "Primeval Saints" has a few great points on the topic Gen. 9's account of naked Noah and Ham.

"(Ham's sin) consisted of something far more fundamental: rebellion against authority. This can be seen from the actions of Shem and Japheth. What they did was disigned to undo what Ham had done, and all they did was refuse to look upon their father's nakedness while upholding his office by robing him..."

He makes the point that Noah's robe is almost indubitably his robe of office, his mantle, his symbol of authority. Whether this is or no, clothing does represent one's vocational authority (a woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man, Elijah's mantle, David cutting the hem of Saul's robe, etc), and Shem and Japheth did cover their father with a robe in response to Ham, so his point is valid, regardless of which particular robe was used.

Jordan continues: "Ham 'saw the nakedness of his father'. How could he? His father was inside a tent--not just some little tee-pee but a real, house-sized tent. Ham had to invade Noah's privacy without permission. Ham was seeking to uncover a fault in his superior so that he could tear down his authority..."

A bit later: "Back in the garden, Satan had said to Adam and Eve, 'You can make yourselves gods by taking the forbidden fruit.' Satan now said to the heart of Ham, who repeated it to his brothers, 'You can make yourselves kings by stealing the robe of office'."

This point is dependent entirely upon the robe being the robe of office, which must be imported into the text. It is a sober importation, but not a necessary one, so I am rather hesitant to sell the house. It is an interesting point that I would hesitate to base anything on but would unhesitatingly publicize.

He makes a further comment: "Nor did they (Shem and Japheth) have to go to the trouble of putting the garment on their shoulders and walking backward. They did this for a symbolic reason. The shoulders are associated with pillars of support, and by putting the garment on their shoulders (instead of carrying it in their hands), they were symbolically upholding Noah's office. Since nakedness is associated with shame in fallen men (Gen. 2:25; 3:7), they refused to look at their father. They refused to shame or embarrass him in any way..."

All in all, pretty fascinating.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Recentish Poetry: Yet More Jack

As the Ruin Falls
--on the death of his wife

All this is flashy rhetoric about me loving you;
I never had one selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self seeking, through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Only that now you have shown me (but how late!)
My lack, I see the chasm. And everything you are
Was making my heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls:
The pains you give me are greater than all other gains.

Recentish Poetry: C. S. Lewis

Joys That Sting
--on the death of his wife

"Oh doe not die", says Donne, "for I shall hate all women so". How false the sentence rings.
Women? But in a life made desolate, it is the joys once shared that have the stings.

To take the old walks alone, or not at all, to order one pint where I ordered two;
To think of, and not to make, the small, time honoured joke, senseless to all but you.

To laugh (oh, one'll laugh), to talk upon themes that we talked upon when you were there,
To make some small pretense of going on: be kind to one's old friends, or seem to care

While no one (O God) through all the years will say
The simplest common word in just your way.

Symbolism of the Curse: Trees and Thorns

"...Remember that man himself is made of the ground. We are told this in Genesis 2:7 and again in Genesis 3:19, in the very context of the curse. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, the ground 'gave birth' to man. The first man was made a 'tree', but now, after the Fall, the ground would bring up 'thorns'...Man is made of the ground, so the offspring of men are either trees or thorns...

"In terms of this symbolism we can understand why Genesis 4 is written as it is. We aren't shown Adam laboring to pull up weeds from his field by the sweat of his brow, which is what we might expect to be shown as the fulfillment of the curse. Rather, we see a thorn (Cain) murder a tree (Abel)."

--James Jordan, Primeval Saints, Pg. 45

Recent Poetry: T. S. Elliot: Four Quartets

Excerpt from The Four Quartets:

The dove, descending, breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error;
The only hope, or else despair,
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre:
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the Hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire,
Consumed by either fire or fire.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ancient Poetry: 1503-1542: Thomas Wyatt

"The Lover Laments the Death of His Love"

The pillar perished is wherto I lent,
The strongest stay of mine unquiet mind:

The like of it no man again can finde:

From east to west still seeking though he went.

To mine unhappe for happe away hath rent,

Of all my joy the very bark and rind:

And I (alas) by chance am thus assigned

Daily to mourn till death do it relent.

But since that thus it is my destiny,

What can I more but have a woeful heart,

My pen, in plaint, my voice in carefull cry:

My mind in woe, my body full of smart.

And I my self, my self always to hate,

Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state.

Eve as Church

Please note: I approach all Scripture typologically. I also approach it as literal when the narrative calls for it, as it often does, as it definitely does here in Genesis.

Adam is a representation of Christ, so Eve is a representation of the bride of Christ, of the church. What lessons can we derive from this?

First, Eve was not created ex nihilo, but rather built out of Adam. Her existence is therefore derived from him and dependent upon him. This is a fairly obvious lesson to apply to the church; only Pelagians (who are heretics anyway: go Augustine!) would disagree.

Secondly, and somewhat speculatively, Adam was fully created before Eve was built from him. The argument could easily be made and defended (though not easily defended from this section of verses) that Eve is created in the image of Adam, and therefore in the image of God. We know that she is created in the image of God, but how dependent this is upon her husband being so created, we are not told.

Allow me to explain a bit more: had Adam been created with one leg, would the same have been true of Eve? She was, after all, taken from him, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, was she not? Would she not therefore reflect him?

The relevance of this is as follows: we are called to imitate Christ. We will inescapably imitate our perception of Him. We will be built in the image of our Adam. So, are we softening the gospel to make it more palatable? Then we have a skewed view of Christ. Are we harsh in defending orthodoxy? We have a skewed view of Christ. Whatever our view of Christ, we will imitate it. Practical application? Read the gospels repeatedly.

This also has a rather uncomfortable application to husbands. You are the image of Christ that your wife is being built into: her flaws reflect yours.

If this is not painful, you either have a sharp learning curve ahead or a wife that should most definitely not have settled for you (maybe she didn't get out much--that was the case with mine). Look at the mistakes that your wife has made (or is making), and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. They are not necessarily your fault, though that is not a far-fetched explanation, but they are necessarily your responsibility--Christ died for our sins, and we are called to imitate Him. As the head, your entire family will reflect your flaws with brutal clarity. You are the spring; do not complain about the dirty water.

The final application that I will make is the one that has nearly become trite by its many trite repetitions: Eve was taken from Adam's rib so that she would be an equal--not from the foot or the head, but the side. But let us return to our original application: Eve is the Church. We are called to be an equal of Christ.

This is the future of the church, and this needs a whole lot more sermons than it has been given.

To conclude, just note the parallels between the creation of Eve and the creation of the Church:

1. Deep sleep / Death.
2. Opened side / opened side.
3. Presented to Adam by God / will be presented faultless on the last day.

From these we can see that we are in the state of our ongoing creation.

Let us then look to Christ and search out His Nature, and apply it to our lives. Then let us TEACH IT TO OUR CHILDREN. This is always the order: Learn, apply, teach. May God give us the grace to become a fitting bride for His Son.

NSA update

All that I currently need in Idaho is a place to live.

So, since it's only a minor detail (my truck has a camper shell; strong deodorant works wonders), I plan on leaving by Tuesday the seventh.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ashbach Jokes

If you are not fortunate enough to be acquainted with the Ashbach family, kill yourself. Or repent of your sins and ask God to be gracious enough to you to let you meet them.

Jonathan Ashbach (17) writes for the Eureka Reporter on a pretty regular basis. His are the articles with humor and logic; those responding to him tend to have a plethora of the former due to a complete absence of the latter. Here are a few of the jokes I've obtained from him at church:

Racist Beer Joke:

A Frenchman, a Brit and a Scot are all sitting together in a pub (yes, suspend disbelief. Assume that they don't know each other's respective nationalities), waiting for a round of the bane of all faithful Seventh Day Adventists .

Their pints arrive, and, as it is a Brit pub, there happens to be a fly in each of their mugs.

The Frenchman, revolted, asks for a new pint in a different mug, while the Brit just spoons the fly out. The Scot, on the other hand, reaches into the mug and grabs the fly. He then starts shaking it upside down, cursing and yelling "All right you, spit it out! Give it back, I said!"

Racist Comment:

News Report: "Meanwhile, tragedy has struck France, as a factory south of Marseilles that had previously supplied the country with white flags burned to the ground just this morning, completely destroying the nations martial capabilities".

Religious Joke:

A Catholic policeman in northern Ireland came upon a traffic jam. He hopped out of his car and made his way up to see what was causing the delay, and found that a man was threatening to jump off of a building. He radioed in a brief report, and was told that help was on the way; please keep the man talking about any reasons that he might have not to jump.

So, he grabbed out his bullhorn and started talking to the man.

"Don't jump! Think of your mother!"

"She's dead."

"For your father's sake, don't jump!"

"He died of grief six months later."

"For the sake of your siblings!"

"Haven't got any."

"For the sake of your friends!"

"I only had one, and he died this morning."

"For the sake of the Virgin Mary!"

"Who's she?"

"Jump, you bloody Protestant; you're holding up traffic!"

Harry Potter is Dead!?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Finally.

Yes, I spent money on this book. Yes, even more unbelievably, I took a day-and-a-half-break from the Confessions (Augustine's, of course) to read it. there a stronger word for "anticlimactic?" I thought people were going to, well, have things happen to them. Rowling has already robbed death of the fear that it should invoke, of the rage that is proper to feel when facing it, and here she proceeds to rob life of any hope of meaning. And who on earth is Ginny? I figured that we'd get some kind of glimpse of personality or something, after all, she ends up being the main character's wife (oopsie).

Here's a hint: bad people-ish thingy's die, good people-ish thingies (save Mad-Eye and Dobby and probably a couple others that I can't be bothered to remember) live. Now you don't have to read it. Oh, and the racist house elf Kreacher is actually just misunderstood and maltreated, because we're not responsible for how we respond to our environment, remember? I'm sorry, must have missed the last twenty years of narcissistic, emotionally masturbatory self-esteem tripe necessary to make these books "truly worthwhile". And Voldemort forgot to take into account the fact that magical creatures other than wizards exist. Rowling must have missed the memo--"He's supposed have IQ greater than that of your average squid; he's supposed to be the scary bad-guy". Surprised she didn't try to make him misunderstood and maltreated--oh, that's right, SHE ALREADY DID. Isaiah 14, NIV: "And Satan rebelled, 'cause God was really mean to him, and didn't let him watch TV, or play on the computer after dinner, and Satan wanted to be God, but God was really mean, and didn't share, and..." What is this absolute crap?

Her ending (kind of a "Nineteen Years After") has all the friends happily together forever. Great. Really. But they haven't changed at all, probably still can't quite grow facial hair. This will be a very believable part of the movie--stick a couple short red-heads into the picture and don't bother changing Ron, Harry and Hermiony's clothing from the previous scene. Truly pathetic. I actually waited for this book to come out?

When the movies are gone, give it a decade or two and no one will even remember. I will re-read the Chronicles of Narnia in a vain attempt to expunge the nothingness of such an inane and passively sentamentalistic worldview from my mind before I return to the Confessions.

Other than that, though, I thought it was pretty good.

Shamelessly Pilfered Spurgeon

"Abscond: to move in a mysterious way, particularly with the posessions of another." --Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary

Here is a link to an excellent article of Wilson's on Spurgeon:

Topic title is "Spurgeon the Great"

As I do not have a sense of humor, I have to make do with the humors sensed in others. Here are a few quotes (of Spurgeon's) that seemed appropriate.

"The Christian minister should also be very cheerful. I don’t believe in going about like certain monks whom I saw in Rome, who salute each other in sepulchral tones, and convey the pleasant information, 'Brother, we must die:' to which lively salutation each lively brother of the order replies, 'Yes, brother, we must die.' I was glad to be assured upon such good authority that all these lazy fellows are about to die; upon the whole, it is about the best thing they can do; but till that event occurs, they might use some more comfortable form of salutation."

"Moreover, brethren, avoid the use of the nose as an organ of speech, for the best authorities are agreed that it is intended to smell with."

"The next best thing to the grace of God for a preacher is oxygen. Pray that the windows of heaven may be opened, but begin by opening the windows of your meeting-house."

Wodehousian Fun