Saturday, April 26, 2008

Angels In the Architecture

On Beauty:

"Instinctively we do know that true beauty proceeds only from Deity. Our problem is that we have deified ourselves and have assumed, contrary to the visible results, that whatever proceeds from us must be beautiful."

"Sound theology always leads to the love of beauty. When there is no love of beauty, we may say, reasoning modus tollens, that there is no sound theology."

This book is worth reading the way that eyes are worth opening.

My Declamation; Written By Dunnett

Jesse Broussard
Westminster Term Rhetoric
250 Words

Excerpt From Dorothy Dunnett’s Queens Play: Wolfhound (Luadhas) Verses Cheetah

She was a noble bitch, high in heart and honest after her calling. She could overthrow a wolf, but the alien, wicked beauty slipping through the grasses ahead was of an element she had never known. She raced uphill, tail streaming, rough hair blown and parted with her speed, loping high on her long legs; and fast as the gap was closing between cheetah and hare, the gap between dog and cat began to close faster still…

There was never a doubt as to its end…the dog had no chance. Hound and cheetah rolled over and over, compacted silk hair and rough, mean, triangular head and long-nosed Byzantine; then Luadhas, lips bared, would seek a grip on the spotted spine and the sinuous snakelike fur would unroll and untwine; the heavy soft paw would flash, and on the skull of the dog the brindled hair sank, wet and dark, as the deep lifeblood welled.

She was a brave dog. As she bled she bit, her strong teeth sunk again and again in the dirty yellow-white plush. She shook her head and the cat, blood-spotted and scarred, wrenched free and staggered a pace: a dancer tripped, inelegant and baleful. There was a pause. Then, his haunches tightened, the cheetah called on the great muscles of thigh and hock and with all his power sprang quiet, curved and deadly into the sunlit air. The soft body fell and its great paws, needle-sharp and fatal, sank into the great cords and vessels of Luadhas’s neck and spine. The bitch screamed, rolling over; and on the squeaking, flattened grass her great body opened and shut, the soft fur like a woman’s twined about it, the cat’s claws deep in her back.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rhetoric Declamations: Last of our Lives

I am actually seriously depressed to be done with Rhetoric. I could easily spend the rest of my life taking that class, writing and listening to things that others have written. Oh well. I think we get to do more stuff like that later.

Anyway, enjoy these. They're some of the best that we've ever done (though there are more coming, and the last of these is a touch risky).

Rhetoric - Westminster Term ’08 – Week 6
Timothy van den Broek
Word count: 260

I Am a Man

11pm. Tuesday night. Main Street. One male, three females and all very drunk. They were approaching the Third and Main St crossing from the other direction than I was.

5,000 miles is a long way to travel and set up a new home. But a long way can suddenly become very well worth the trouble. “Hello man” one of the girls said. “Yes!” I yelled inwardly. Having a beard has paid off! It is clear to women on the street that I am man! My measured “why, hello” did not even vaguely reflect my inner excitement. She retorted back “Hello man!” God is indeed playful: who would have expected Him to encourage this wandering saint by means of a girl plastered by alcohol?

Such unqualified confirmation of my manhood was what my soul needed. God is not just playful though, he is generous. Just after passing, “hello man” became no more than a shadow, a type. “He looks,” she said, “very intelligent.” And I wasn’t even wearing a tie!

Should I hug her? I’ve hugged girls at the rate of roughly one per two and a half months since arriving in America, and surely this was a significant enough event for the fourth hug. But remember the time you last tried to drink the just the “O”s from a glass of H2O? Same problem. She was so glued to the side of the one man in the group that it would have been impossible to both hug and maintain my moral scruples. So I just laughed out loud. And why not? I am, after all, a very intelligent looking man.

Gwen M. Burrow
Creative Sketch
April 23, 2008
Word Count: 252

What Shall We Do With a Drunken Roommate?

Before coming to NSA, I never knew you could get drunk overnight without stepping a foot out of bed. This particular phenomenon becomes apparent as soon as you roll out from under the covers and attempt to walk upright. Balance is an issue. However, you can still manage. It is possible, I find, to remain in a fetal position while walking across the room; your legs don’t really need to uncurl until the tenth step or so. But I never would have known this except my roommate Rosalie does it every morning.
After hitting her alarm, she lies in bed for at least fifteen minutes. I suppose this is to allow the worst of the hangover to subside. Then she sits up and peers around the room, wearing a sleep-happy smile that looks like it leapt straight off the face of the Grinch. Once she’s confirmed that the floor and walls are still there, she crawls out of bed and endeavors to walk. This is a very dangerous idea. Bent over at the waist, she tips and staggers towards the door, flailing both arms for balance and at last reaching the bathroom, which she enters at half-height. There she holds onto the counter and looks in the mirror, blinking, and gives her typical objection to the morning: “Mwah.”
Since I’ve never been able to find an empty bottle of booze under her bed, I’ve started blaming this morning ritual on all her dreams about being brainwashed and giving birth to baby pigs.

Desmond Jones
RHT-01/Westminster ‘08
Word count: 254

Creative Sketch:

The R

One time I tried to count the number of engines that my father-in-law has on the farm. There are the cars, the old farm truck, the new farm truck, the lawn mowers and weed whackers and chainsaws, the grain truck with brakes and the one without, several tractors and swathers, the quads and ski-doo, and at about that point I lost track. This time of year is when most of them shake off their dusty hibernation and cough out lungs full of carbon and spew mouse nests that were built in feasible, if not strategic locations. The cars are well behaved, especially the Hondas. They speak in graceful, urbane voices and keep the burnt-oil halitosis to a minimum. The equipment, on the other hand, makes no pretense at social graces. The grain augers will hack and sneeze right in your face, and then act as if nothing happened. The Volvo growls his complaints that his front-end loader looks like headgear. The hippie-era John Deere model 95 screams like an angry, toothless reminiscing army General who thinks his grandkids aren’t listening. And the 5010 chafes against all attempts to get him into gear. But there is one machine whose sweet voice is your pack-a-day grandma, recounting the good ol’ days while she blows smoke rings in the air. Without pomp, the ’51 John Deere R is awoken. Her confident and merry chugging echoes across the valley as her boots trod familiar fields, grinning farmer at the helm. Spring is here; dad’s on the R.

Stephen Sampson
Westminster Term Rhetoric
250 Words

This lady had one thick five o'clock shadow, the kind of thing that grows on rocks in rainforests. Post-op, pre-op, whatever op it was, I couldn't tell which side of the Y chromosome she was shooting for. A she waddled to the counter of the burrito stand that has now become my special circle of hell she sports a pink clutch purse, Coke bottle glasses, and a belly that could, if I had known the gender, have been bringing life into this world, but the fungus sprouting from her feminine face wasn't helping me.

For many, life is filled with questions: why are we here? Who put us here? What is the meaning behind all of this? These questions escaped me as the only thing I could question was, why me? And why here, with me trapped behind this counter, does God hate me this much? I mean, I know I faked being sick that one Sunday because I didn't want to deal with that old lady who used to always ask me if I was doing drugs, and sure, I used to swipe change from my brothers desk, but I was five then! I didn't know any better!

Luckily all the dude wanted was a glass of water and I never had to find out whether she-males prefer black or pinto beans. She slinked off to the bathroom and I heaved a momentary sigh of relief till my mind went to the only place it could.

This place has two bathrooms.

What is the criteria for legal she-male bathroom use?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Answer To A Friend

A friend just asked me how I would respond to the question "Does God Exist." Here's my spur of the moment response:


Just kidding.

The short answer is yes, God exists. I assume you are curious as to my reasoning.

The only way that I will ever debate this is roughly as follows (and remember--pick your audience. Whom are you talking to--the guy across from you? The crowd? Then tailor your argument to their needs--this one is made for the audience):

1). Make circular argument: "God exists because He says in His Word that He exists."

2). Wait for screaming to start: "Petitio Principii!! Petitio Principii!! Circular reasoning! You're an idiot!"

3). Look bemused (give it a second, wait for the volume to die down).

4). Affirm that it is circular reasoning, and state that God cannot be rationally proved apart from circular reasoning, and you're not interested in trying--He commands us to accept Him on faith, and you're going to. After all, He Is God. Then,

5). Comment that you also believe in God because of the impossibility of the contrary--without God, it is impossible to prove anything.

6). Wait for the rabid denial to die down (always look amused, never, ever, ever be threatened or shrill--the moment you argue, you've lost. Don't argue, simply illustrate--you are the long-suffering teacher, and the atheist is your bitter, angry, rebellious and slightly dense pupil. God is in control, so act like you actually believe it, as your demeanor does more to the crowd than your logic ever will). When the denial has died down, ask them

7). Do you believe in reason? Get them to say yes--if they aren't an idiot, they will.

8). Then say, "Can you give me a reason to believe in reason? Oh, actually wait--can you give me a reason without using reason? Don't want you to be guilty of petitio principii (peh-tit-eey-oh prin-kip-eey-eey: this is an obvious humor and ethos card to drop--1, it shows that yes, you do know this logic stuff, and 2, you find this whole thing kind of funny. Grin at some friendly face in the audience, chuckle a bit).

9). Then, deal lightly with their response (some variation of "Nuh-uh! Is not circular reasoning!) by 1), patiently making the point over as if they just aren't seeing it (which is usually true), or 2), sidestep and hit this point from as many angles as you can--show how reason has to be assumed for them to prove anything, then comment that you believe in reason because it reflects the Nature and Character of God--why do they? Because it works? Well, they might want to practice using it a bit more, as they still don't seem to be able to see where they were just blithely assuming enormous leaps of logic (say this in an almost concerned fashion, make sure to sound sincere, or you sound like an ass).

That's about it. But I only ever debate to affect an audience, as debates never change the minds of those debating. Those, you invite over for dinner, dessert and a movie, and you demonstrate the love and life of Christ to them. After all, they are depressed, bitter, lonely and very, very scared--to them, be a haven and a blessing. Be courteous, be loving, and always be two steps ahead--God is Wisdom, we have no excuse for not using it.

Jesse B


Becky gets extra credit and brownie points.  She got a sixty percent, a minime, but on the curve, it became one hundred percent, Summa Cum Laude.  The rest of you are condemned to the outer darkness where there shall be weeping and reading of Dickens.

1).  Augustine, Confessions

2). Bierce, Devil's Dictionary

3). Wilde, Importance of Being Earnest

4). Wodehouse, Jeeves and Wooster

5). Chesterton, Orthodoxy

6). Lewis, Abolition of Man

7). Austen, Emma (spoken by Churchill of Mr. Knightley)

8). Dillard, Holy the Firm

9). Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

10). St. Brendan (quoted by Dorothy Dunnett in Checkmate)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bible in Ninety Days

There is a group of students and other church members up here that, on Sunday, are starting to read the Bible through in ninety days, taking one week off.  Should any of you be interested, let me know, and I'll forward the schedule to you.

Jesse Broussard

Descarte's Cogito

Descarte's cogito, "Cogito, ergo sum--I think, therefore I am," can be and should be severely criticized.  It places man at the foundation of all things, and our reason as the method for deriving all (other) knowledge.  (Side note: reason has to be assumed, obviously--we cannot prove it rationally without engaging in circular reasoning, which is a rational fallacy, and we cannot irrationally prove it without simultaneously disproving it.)

However, his derivation of his cogito came about as a result of his "Evil Deceiver" theory--he could not know anything for certain, because there might be an "Evil Deceiver" that led him to hold whatever belief it might have been.  However, he doubted those beliefs, and did not believe that an Evil Deceiver would try to convince him of something and then try to make him doubt it.  His cogito might as well have been a dubito--"Dubito, ergo sum."  I doubt, therefore I am.

It doesn't really matter--this is still just as flawed as his initial cogito.  If there were an Evil Deceiver, then making him doubt his beliefs may well have been his initial intent, and we're back at the beginning.  

A great book that has a tangent related to this can be found by clicking on my title.

Jesse Broussard

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why can't I be kidding?

The cold wetness in the self-conscious form of billions of individually unique water crystals still falleth from the sky, but sticketh not upon the ground.  Long and the short of it is, it's snowing without the opportunities for sledding, snowball fights, or even accidentally sending a small child off a hill into a snowbank.  Now they land in bushes or on rocks, and their parents are less understanding.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hell and Repentance

In Rhetoric class, we were asked a hypothetical question: "If someone in hell truly repented, would they be freed?"

Obviously, we all believe in the eternality of hell, and none of us are saying that it would be possible.  But hypothetically, were a person in hell to truly repent, yes, they would be freed.  Hell is not an eternal punishment for a lifetime of sins, but an eternal punishment for an eternity of sins.  And it is what is desired by those who go there.


How Long O Lord? Will You Forget Us Forever?

It is still, even now, at this late hour, snowing.  Aqua qui cadit ex caelum nix est.  Sic, veras.  Valete.

Wodehousian Fun