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Friday
Sep242010

The "D" Word

On Facebook recently, a young father posted a status which gave details about some intestinal problems his child went through.  Now, this little tot has absolutely no idea what Facebook is, and is not old enough to understand that we don't go around telling stories about our bowel habits.  Well, that principle seems to be on the way out these days, so maybe that's not entirely correct.  I think it's bad manners, anyway.  Can you imagine being in a business meeting or out with friends for a social event and all of a sudden, one of them goes into a story about his adventures in the bathroom?  Our 16 year old son might laugh, but he's foolish and needs to get over that.

Cute stories are one thing, but revealing personal details about one's toddler isn't cute.  Would the parent get on Facebook and say, "Oh, wow, I was in the bathroom for an hour and it wasn't pretty."  A mature, discreet adult wouldn't.  This kind of "transparency" about a child could quite possibly be the seed of becoming the kind of parent who loves to embarrass his child in public.  I know kids who had parents like that, and it isn't fun.  There are ways in which our children will find us embarrassing that are more their issue than ours (like how none of my children want to be seen in public when hubby wears socks and sandals with his shorts), but there are some parents who love to take a moment and embarrass their child, and it's more about getting attention themselves than anything.

It's funny, because some of the same parents who will tell inappropriate things about their children in public are the first to express shock and dismay at teenagers whose status line are "Oh wow, I was rip roaring drunk last night."

Discretion; it's a worthwhile principle to develop.  Just because our toddlers are little and unaware doesn't mean we don't have to guard their privacy.

Friday
Sep242010

Readable, but lacking meaning

Moises Silva, in God, Language and Scripture, ends the book with a note about translations.  He makes this interesting comment:

... recent advances in linguistics places much emphasis on the context of speech.  The admirable desire to produce translations that do not sound like translations and are thus clearer and more accessible to the modern reader must be accompanied by the reminder that the biblical stories took place in the Middle East rather than the Western World, in ancient times rather than in the twentieth century.  To the extent that "readable" translations indirectly encourage modern readers to forget such a setting, to that extent they also fail to capture part of the meaning of the text. 

My 18 year old son has great disdain for The Message, and gets really irritated when it is used in Sunday School.  Recently, he was subjected to a reading of the account of David and Goliath by a Sunday School teacher using that version.  He was most annoyed by the use of "ring-side seat" and "road kill."  He said, "Roadkill?  On a camel?"  In his mind, "roadkill" is created by fast moving motorized vehicles.  The lovers of these modern "translations" are simply demonstrating that they believe the primacy is placed on the text alone, and that the context in which it is is written is not important.

Thursday
Sep232010

More theology for girls

Looking for another theologically minded blog for women?  Look no further.  Check out Theology for Girls.  Thanks to Tried With Fire for recommending it.

Wednesday
Sep222010

Warfield Wednesday

B.B. Warfield points out the mystery of the doctrine of the Trinity:

... the doctrine of the Trinity is purely a revealed doctrine.  That is to say, it embodies a truth which has never been discovered, and is indiscoverable, by natural reason.  With all his searching, man has not been able to find out for himself the deepest things of God.  Accordingly, ethnic thought has never attained a Trinitarian conception of God, nor does any ethnic religion present in its representations of the Divine Being any analogy to the doctrine of the Trinity.

People certainly make attempts at analogies, but none of them really suffice.  In teaching this topic, I think the wisest course of action is to try and avoid analogies, or at best, explain how crude they really are.

Tuesday
Sep212010

Revival and Book Learning

Iain Murray, in his book Revival and Revivalism discusses the Great Revival which took place in Virginia and North Carolina from 1789-90.  It was a time when some denominations which were previously stale and dying, became alive once more.  One of the things he says was crucial for the revival was the return to "experimental religion."  Simply put, pastors in churches, especially Presbyterian churches, came to see that faith had to make a difference in the lives of people.  Pastors stopped taking for granted that one's attendance in church indicated faith.  It became the practice to be more discerning about who was allowed into church membership.  A "more faithful examination of candidates" was given when allowing participation in membership and participation in church ordinances.

Something I found quite interesting, was the comments Murray makes with regard to the different experiences between denominations at that time.  The Baptists also benefitted from the revival at that time, but Murray points out a difference between their experience and that of Presbyterians:

As we have seen, all the evangelical denominaions in Virginia benefited largely from the revival of 1789-90, but in certain respects the Presbyterians had particular advantages.  Before the revival they already had in the South a degree of organization, a policy of planting schools and colleges to gain the yough, and an inheritance of spiritual literature, which were all major assets.  These things alone, however could not bring spiritual advance, but wedded to new life and to renewed evangelistic passion they became powerful advantages.  Thus, while the Baptists of Virginia faced a lack of procedures to bring candidates forward for the gospel ministry, the Presbyterians had structures ready to hand.  And whereas the Baptists were still cautious of "book learning," the old Puritan literature became an invaluable school of instruction for a whole new generation of resbyterian ministers.  Authors long dead - Alleine, Flavel, Owen, Baxter, Bates, and others - became again a living force as there developed a "new taste" for their writings.

I thought that was rather interesting.  In the church circles in which I travel, the tradition is definitely Baptistic, and I have seen even today a bit of suspicion of intellectual pursuits.  For example, I know a woman whose father was an independent, fundamentalist Baptist pastor.  When her son was going to bible school, she was rather displeased, because it was her contention that pastors needed neither to learn biblical languages like Hebrew and Greek, nor did they even really need to attend a bible school.  After all, her father didn't.  But then, her father was apparently very gifted, because she told me how quite often, despite being prepared to speak about a particular passage of Scripture on a given occasion, he would be moved by the Spirit at the last minute, and would end up preaching about something for which he had not prepared.

I think intellectualism can be a bad thing, but study and learning can be a huge blessing.  I have often found it rather ironic that those who protest against "book learning" because it is worldly, are often the same people who sit in front of Opray Winfrey every day, and don't see anything wrong with the health and wealth type preachers like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.  I know for myself, that as I have take advantage of the writings of the Puritans and have pursued "book learning" alongside my study of the bible, I have only benefitted.