Sunday, April 27, 2003
And once again, I'm left as the sole remaining non-drinker in the horn section. Let me clarify. All of the other horns who aren't legally able to drink do so, and all of the ones who are legal drink in front of those who aren't. Before it sounds like I'm trying to act high and mighty, let me say that not only have I drank and even been drunk before (it was in England, so I was legal, but that's no excuse), but I've helped other people drink by either acting as though I was fine with it or even by actively helping. I'm not sinless. Furthermore, I don't condemn all drinking. I do think that Christians should not get drunk (or help others do so), should wait until they're of legal age to drink before drinking, and should not drink in the presence of those who should not be, such as the underaged and problem drinkers.
I would say that I don't know why people drink, but that's not true. A beer or two can provide a nice buzz, and help you relax after a lot of stress. People also drink to be popular, and because getting flat-out drunk can be cathartic. Catharsis isn't a justification, but merely a reason. I'm not listing here people who get drunk so they can try and take advantage of other people by getting them drunk or by deliberately lowering their own inhibitions.
A lack of self-esteem is one of the biggest reasons, and I think it's getting to be extremely prevalent in America. On the other hand, loneliness may well be the way human life has been since we first walked the planet, and I'm just noticing it now. I have noticed, however, that those with very strong faith don't need the self-assurance provided by alcohol, as they know where they stand. It may be a sign of my own spiritual state that I do often feel lonely. I'm also not entirely sure why I don't drink. I think it's because it's illegal for me for about two more months. I don't completely understand it, and no else who knows my reason understands it either, though they all say that they respect it. In fact, a lot of people have told me that they respect me for not drinking. In each of the several times where I've been weak and decided that I wanted to drink (I'm excluding Britain and Europe, where I was legal), something always came up at the last second that prevented me. I attribute this to God's grace. In any case, I'm off on a tangent, as important as it may be.
I don't really know what I'm trying to say. It hurts me to see so many of my friends making fools of themselves just for fleeting popularity. I make a fool of myself enough as it is; I don't need alcohol to help me with it. I just wish my Christian friends would consider whether getting drunk is a good way of honoring God and being a light to others.
Thursday, April 24, 2003
I know this is supposed to be a Thursday Blog, and I know I provided a list of things I had been planning to blog, but that's going to have to wait a short while. I'm doing something (something good) in my life that's very scary, and I'm not into blogging today. Again, you have my apologies, but don't give up on me yet!
I recently learned that one horse can pull up to about three tons on a sled. The question is, how much could two horses pull? Your first thought would probably be six. If you were clever, you might square the amount for one horse and get nine. It turns out that the pair can pull up to twenty-three tons! Now, for those of you good with Scripture memory, think of Matthew 18:20. For those of you (us...we...me...) that aren't so good with all that, it says “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” One person's prayer may be answered by God. However, think of how much more powerful it is when two or more Christians pray together!
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
2. My Easter at UVA
3. Essay on either Baptism or the Resurrection, either posted or co-posted at the Department of Theology.
4. Linky goodness.
5. [suggestions welcomed]
6. What I Did over My Spring Break
7. Something I tried and failed to post at Louder Fenn
Now that the war's basically over, non-conservatives seem to have taken their pent-up liberalism out for a spin. Bigwig has designed a pro-abortion bumper sticker and is accusing Creationist doctors of incompetence. Meanwhile, James Lileks has gone into hysterics over Sen. Santorum's comments. There's been more, but I can't bear to look at it right now. Opposition to certain views just boggles my mind, and I hate even having to discuss them; it makes me feel dirty. Abortion is probably the one issue where I might get into a screaming match with someone. It may be time to stop dialoguing about certain issues and just go and lead a good Christian life as an example to others. Dialogue is important, but I grow increasingly frustrated by certain issues.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Looking for a debate on grammar? I knew you were.
Monday, April 21, 2003
As long-time readers of this site may know, I consider myself an evangelical Anglican. I was baptized into the Episcopal Church, and it is in services in accordance with the Anglican Book of Common Prayer that I feel most at home, though I do enjoy contemporary services as well, particularly those of NLCF here at Virginia Tech (unless you go to Tech or Radford, you don't have NLCF, but it's similar to Campus Crusade for Christ). I call myself an Anglican rather than an Episcopalian because the Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA) has a very poor record of following Anglican doctrine, especially on matters such as ordination of practicing homosexuals, allowing remarriage for those divorced, entering into reciprocal clergy agreements with denominations not believing in apostolic succession, and harassing priests (and bishops) who attempt to correct this drift [links will come later today]. The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Virginia is an open supporter of Planned Parenthood and has harassed evangelical congregations, including inviting his third largest church to leave ECUSA, causing them to join up with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a mission co-sponsored by the dioceses of Rwanda and Southeast Asia. This situation is prevalent in all the English-speaking nations, with the Anglican provinces (the Anglican Communion is a confederation of usually national autonomous provinces each headed by an archbishop or presiding bishop) tending to be more conservative and condemning the liberal tendencies of ECUSA, the Church of England, and those in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. I fully expect that there will be a major schism between the evangelical/conservative and liberal wings, with it more likely that the evangelicals will walk out and form their own denomination and leave the church buildings to the liberals and Anglo-Catholics (though not necessarily).
In any case, Anglicanism is somewhat distinct on the landscape of Christian denominations. Its foundations were laid prior to receiving missionaries from Rome, and while it was later incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church, it had a strong tendency to act independently. Thus, when Henry VIII declared that the Church of England no longer owed allegiance to the Pope (whom Anglicans consider to merely be the [arch]Bishop of Rome), it wasn't part of the Reformation which led to Luther and Calvin's schisms, though it was influenced by them. Later, the Wesley brothers' very-Protestant strain of Anglicanism broke off, so that Wesleyanism (the United Methodist Church in the US) should properly be considered a Reformation denomination. While having strong influences from each, Anglicanism is neither a branch of Roman Catholicism nor of Reformed Protestantism. Historically, it might therefore be considered to be more of an Orthodox church, like the Russian, Greek, and Coptic churches, but is different enough theologically that it shouldn't really be considered as such. Thus, those who study denominations usually list the four major strains of Christianity as Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, and Orthodox (sometimes varying the order to suit personal preference, though I like the acronym CAPO). If you're familiar with the World's Smallest Political Quiz, you could superimpose the four strains on there, with it being possible to link any two together in closeness depending on the criteria used.
If you asked my (Southern Baptist) Bible study leader, Kyle, what I am, he'd tell you that I'm a Catholic. If you asked another member of our study, (Roman Catholic) John, he'd tell you that I'm a Protestant. Liberal Protestants and Roman Catholics will tell you that Anglicans are Protestants, while evangelical Protestants will describe them as Catholics. Anglicans variously describe themselves as Catholic, Protestant, or neither (any of which could be true, since many matters of theology, such as transubstantiation, are open to interpretation by Anglicans: if you think that the Eucharist is literally the body and blood of Christ, then for you it is, and if you don't, then it isn't). I maintain that Anglicanism should be described either as both Catholic and Protestant or neither (at least in Virginia, Orthodoxy has such a small presence that it's rarely considered, and thus I'll leave it out in the rest of this post).
Why is it both? It's Protestant in that it rejects the infallibility of the Pope and thus allegiance ot Rome, doesn't recognize activities outside of Communion and Baptism as sacraments, and generally recognizes all other Christian denominations as valid professions of the faith (this doesn't mean that their ministers ought to administer the sacraments to Anglicans, though). It's Catholic in that it maintains apostolic succession with a heirarchical organization, that there are actual sacraments as opposed to just traditional practices, and is strongly liturgical. These are just samples; there are many issues where the Anglican Communion aligns with Protestants on one issue and Catholics on the next (often, it is simply left up to the individual to decide). Thus, John looks at me and sees that I don't follow the Pope or believe in the Immaculate Conception and concludes that I'm a Protestant (heretic!), while Kyle sees that I believe in infant baptism and apostolic succession and decides that I'm a Catholic (papist!). Both have a case, but both have an incomplete view.
My views have been shifting slightly more towards Catholicism on the continuum lately, though I'm certainly nowhere near embracing Roman Catholicism. According to the SelectSmart Religion Selector, I match 100% with the views of the Orthodox and Catholics, and only 94% with conservative Protestants (the differences probably came from my views on science and on salvation solely by a believer's belief). Coming next, after I add links to many concepts listed here, I will enumerate my beliefs. I base my theology on a combination of logic, observation, and the Bible, which will be explained in the upcoming post.
Saturday, April 19, 2003
...I've noticed that Joyful Christian has returned!
Jeffrey's right about the members of the Department of Theology at the University of Blogistan doing a poor job of updating, but hopefully that'll change in the near future.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
I've got three papers due today, an exam, a meeting, and then a Passover seder today. However, this is a Thursday blog, meaning that there will be new content on Thursdays. Thus, I ask your patience until at least this afternoon.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
In case you haven't visited him, Charles Murtaugh is a very thoughtful and reasonable liberal. I don't agree with him on a lot of issues, but it's nice when you see that he calls out the people on the Left as well as those on the Right. He's been posting a lot on Creationism vs. Evolution[ism] lately, and I would attempt a rebuttal except that I'm a little rusty on my apologetics and zoology right now, having instead crammed in the history of England from 1688-1933, the history of Russia from 1703-1900, Marcus Aurelius, thoughts on baptism, arguments on Iraq, and the three main methods of regime change and their associated virtues and pitfalls. I've got a paper due and a test today, a concert tomorrow, another test on Thursday, a friend's baptism on Sunday, and a book report due next Tuesday, along with various final papers and exams soon. Still, I intend to return to my theological studies soon, and then it'll be time to break out that 20oz. bottle of [donkey]-whoopin' and twist off the cap in such a way as to not spill it all over my hand and new class ring.
Speaking of which, having maple syrup residue on my ring from a breakfast mishap is getting on my nerves. It's mostly off, but now I've got soap residue in the crevices. Meanwhile, children are starving in Bangladesh. I know I've got it good, and I think that when having a sticky ring is one of my biggest problems, I ought to simply get down on my knees and be thankful.
Man, it's amazing where posts can end up if let them...
Sunday, April 13, 2003
You know, it's hard to think up snappy titles when you're just passing on interesting links, but such is life.
In any case, a great apologetics site I've found recently is Bible Bell. They've got an awful lot of good stuff, including a history of Satan which fascinated me. I'm not sure I agree with their take that America is the "sixth angel" from Revelation and that we're just about to the end times, but it's interesting to consider.
Expect some theological musings in the not-too-distant future, most likely on infant vs. adult baptism.
What kind of band geek are you?
Saturday, April 12, 2003
To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla
(via Dispatches from Outland)
But...how does it all work?!?
Mark Byron has a good take on Easter (link doesn't work; scroll down to the 12:04 post for April 11th), noting that the empty tomb is a lot scarier to non-Christians than the manger.
Also, it's old, but it's still worth reading: Ben Domenech's Pilate on the Beach.
Okay, as the semester winds down, I've got a fair amount of work to do for my classes, for my own edification, and for the summer internship where I'm applying. Thus:
Meditations -Marcus Aurelius
Justice and Reconciliation: After the Violence -Andrew Rigby
Out of Ashes -Keith Phillips
The Making of a Disciple -Keith Phillips
Hard Times -Charles Dickens
Those, along with a fair amount of Bible reading and completing a Bible study guide (The Highest Education: Becoming a Godly Man by Gregg Matte).
Inspired by Louder Fenn's idea, this will henceforth be a "Thursday Blog." This means that if you come here on a Thursday, there will definitely be new content. There may be some earlier, but not necessarily (offer suspended if I don't have computer access for a week). Blogging takes a fair amount of time, but perhaps the idea of having a deadline is a good one. Also, instead of having to search most blogs I visit daily, I can just look, see that it's Monday, and thus Louder Fenn, Blog X, Blog Y, and Blog Z have all been updated. I'd encourage anyone who visits to try the same thing. I'll begin readjusting the blogroll to reflect blogs which have declared a day, and I'll try to adjust the bar on the top of the browser to say "HokiePundit: a Thursday Blog," though with my knowledge of HTML, the latter may not happen. In any case, I'm tentatively back, after a nice hiatus.