About Son of Man

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A bitter-sweet victory and tribute

You might remember back in the summer when I posted about the contest. Back in June, my little sister, our friend Laura, and I all bought male betta fish from Walmart. Whoever kept their guy alive the longest was the winner. I won this week. Myrna passed late in the summer and Machiavelli just last week. Great fish. Will be missed. Mauberley is still swimmin'. But for how long?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Son of Man is 1 year old

Here is the first thing I ever posted. I think my blog was called "grafted" or something at that time. I like Son of Man better. I think this was a pretty good post. This version has been minorly edited. Hit the link (post) to see the original post and its comments.

God's Grandeur
Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the gradeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
and wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And, for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
and through the last lights off the black West went
oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

This poem reminds me of Psalm 19. "The heavens declare the [grandeur] of God ." "Shaken goldfoil gives off broad glares like sheet lightning...and owning to its zig-zag dints and creasings and network of small many cornered facets, a sort of fork lightning too*." Dispite the failure of man to "reck his rod', or in other words, reckon him worthy, or heed his authority, His purpose will stand (Isaiah 46:9-10) . The wickedness of man-- their smear, smudge, and their smell-- cannot quench the "dear freshness" in what he has made that bears his witness. The last two lines could refer to the brooding like that of a dove over its nest. I like that because the spirit was compared to a dove in the gospels. It also brings to mind the action of the spirit before the creation, hovering and brooding over the waters. Praise God for his patience with a world that in its darkness did not comprehend the light. Praise him for loving his enemies.

*From Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, ed. C. C. Abbott, 1955,169.


In other news, my buddy John (meestah Pawk) has posted some great thoughts on B.S.
Be sure to check them out.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Esau and Emily Dickinson

If you don't feel like reading the whole thing, just skim some of the middle parts but read the last few sentences.
I recently found some neat applications to the story of Esau.

We all know that Esau's rejection of the birthright (Gen 25:27-34) has deeper implications which reveal his heart towards God. In Hebrews (12:16), he is called "a godless person." When he is denied the final blessing from his father (Gen 27:30-), he angrily remembers the birthright fiasco, blames it on Jacob, and desperately demands a further blessing. These actions are a picture of what John MacArthur, in his NASB Study Bible, calls "a desire for God's blessings with no desire for God." He wants God's blessings but not God.

In an essay about Emily Dickinson and her work, John Pickard wrote: "she rejected all that made man insignificant and helpless before the crushing force of God." My heart breaks when God's sovereign grace is interpreted this way. We have infinte value and worth, but not in ourselves, it is Christ and the vicariousness of his substitutionary death.

(God is not like Bell Express View's "pick what channels you want" package, or whatever. You know, old guys are always like, "I only like the discovery channel and the history channel." Blah blah blah. That's great.)

Liking God is hard because we like ourselves so much. Our pride is so great that we'll reject God because he makes us feel like we're not as important as he is. It hurts our feelings. Esau rejected God and favoured a bowl of stew. I love that, but only because it reminds me how childish it is to reject God on account my own pride. "No thanks God, if you're going to be all like that, you can keep heaven to yourself." "I didn't want to go to your stupid tea party anyway." "I'm having my own party, and God is not invited." Our parties always end up sucking. But it is the spite factor that we go for.

(By "we" and "I", I mean Humanity, not necessarily you, reader, or me.)

No Christian will spite God this way. We love him because he loves us.
I want to think of Esau the next time I feel a great temptation to sin. I want to see before me, the silliness of choosing stew over God's blessing. When we give into temptation, we grieve the spirit, don't we? Isn't the Spirit one of God's greatest gifts to us?

Monday, November 20, 2006

John Calvin's Contextualization

This is a great listen. I found it on my buddy Nick's blog.

You might have heard this before. Or you might not have. Keeners like Lowonthego will find nothing new here.

The "new wind of doctrine" that he refers to at the beginning, is the idea making the gospel revevant to the postmodern culture. This is what he refers to as contextualization.

When he says that John Calvin was a contender, he is refering to what we contend for as Christians. That is, we contend for the deity of Christ, Christ's penal substitutionary death, and his resurrection, you know, all that great stuff. Contextualization is bringing true doctrine into context.

What he means by missiology is philosophy or method of Christian missions.

I think it will encourage you. God does impossible things.

How J.C. Ryle shook my heart

J.C. Ryle, in his essay on self-inquiry, asks "whether we know anything of enjoying the means of grace." By "means of grace" he refers to reading the Bible, private prayer, public worship, the "Lord's supper," and "the rest of the Lord's day." He says:

They are means which God has graciously appointed, in order to convey grace to man's heart by the Holy Ghost, or to keep up the spiritual life after it has begun. As long as the world stands, the state of a man's soul will always depend greatly on the manner and spirit in which he uses means of grace. The manner and spirit, I say deliberately and of purpose. Many English people use the means of grace regularly and formally, but know nothing of enjoying them: they attend to them as a matter of duty, but without a jot of feeling, interest, or affection. Yet even common sense might tell us that this formal mechanical use of holy things, is utterly worthless and unprofitable. The feeling about them is just one the many tests of the state of our souls. How can that man be thought to love God who reads about him and his Christ, as a mere matter of duy, content and satisfied if he has just moved his mark onward over so many chapters?--How can that man suppose he is ready to meet Christ, who never takes any trouble to pour out his heart to Him in private as a friend, and is satisfied with saying over a string of words every morning and evening, under the name of "prayer," scarcely thinking what he is about?--How could that man be happy in heaven forever, who finds the Sunday a dull, gloomy, tiresome day,-- who knows nothing of hearty prayer and praise, and cares nothing whether he hears truth or error from the pulpit, or scarcely listens to the sermon?--What can be the spiritual condition of that man whose heart never "burns within him," when he receives the bread and wine which specially remind us of Christ's death on the cross, and the atonement for sin?

These inquiries are very serious and important. If means of grace had no other use, and were not mighty helps toward heaven, they would be useful in supplying a test of our real state in the sight of God. Tell me what a man does in the matter of Bible-reading and praying, in the matter of Sunday, public worship, and the Lord's supper, and I will soon tell you what he is, and on which road he is travelling.

How is it with ourselves? Once more let us ask,--In the matter of means of grace, "How do we do?
- Taken from Practical Religion by J. C. Ryle, 1878, pp. 13-14.

I think we need to be blunt with ourselves and with others. These days, the worst possible thing you can do is judge someone else. I love how, no matter what is said, one can always reply by saying, "it is not your place to judge." Paul and Paul reminded us on Sunday, that we must not condemn or despise, but that we MUST judge rightly. My father is a great judge of character. I think he has a gift. He has often said, "Give me an hour with some one and I will 'soon tell you what he is, and on which road he is travelling.'" The reasoning is that someone who loves the Lord, loves speaking his name, and about the forgiveness of sin, and loves meeting with God's people, and so on.

I ask, does one know, from spending time with you (me), "what you are, and on which road you travel?"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ever seen this?

I dug this out of my North Africa pictures. I'm not sure it took this one. Someone else probably

Now I know. The man behind this photo was my good friend, Selah. If you click on his name, you'll be directed to his site. There is some cool stuff there.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Narrows

This is a revised version that I think is better than the one originally posted.

You could tell he was squatting. The way his right foot was turned slightly inward, and the way the pressure of his foot against the side of his Pumas caused a bulge in the leather, gave it away. He must have walked through some wet grass; the black rubber at the heel was darkened and a bit shiny. The very bottom edges of his pants were moist as well, but only at the back where they had just begun to fray. Or maybe they came like that. The pale, straight grain jeans, crumpled into a stack, looked like they must have cost 150 dollars. The benefit, for him, of the faded form-fitting jeans, was that they didn’t touch the ground even as they were around his ankles. Only the titles were legible on the discarded newspaper lying on the floor, a short toss away. One corner of the paper was well dampened by the small translucent puddle it partially sat in. The paper’s crease was crisp like it had recently been plucked from a stand. Any item that hit the floor would most likely remain unclaimed. The speckle pattern vinyl floor tiles were a couple shades darker than the beige eggshell surface of the stall walls. The dividing wall didn’t merely facilitate privacy for the sallow stall. It provided a space for advertising personal services, initiating political forums, and showcasing galleries of crude genital portraits. Noise from the cafeteria flooded in as the main door swung open, drowning out the faint electrical hum and the self-conscious bodily sounds.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Relentless Grace

Derek Webb - I want a broken heart

i’ve traded naked and unashamed
for a better place to hide
for a righteous mask, a suit of fig leaves and lies

chorus 1
i thought the cattle on a thousand hills
was not enough to pay my bills
and i fell in love with those who proved me wrong
and now i want a broken heart

These words have meant a lot to me. I love that it is a confession but one that in each line reminds you of God's beautiful and faithful promises.

This song reminds me that I stand naked and unashamed before God because the blame for my sin was at the cross. Ephesians 1:4 says that I stand before him holy and blameless because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus. Why would we ever hide from him? A great Blindside song says, All of us are searching for an open arm/well, it's a shame how I curl up in the dark.

He leads us beside quiet waters (Psalm 23:2). Even when we're in the valley of the shadow there is no darkness (Psalm 23:4) because he is with us; in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

My grandfather used to regularly say, "my father owns the cattle on a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10). Chris Tomlin also reminds us that his grace "is enough" (Luke 12:24, Isaiah 40:11).

Isn't God's word relentless?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

For clarity

Sarcasm wasn't the best device for that last post. I found the recognition of the mother in the old Canada book beautiful. There is also great beauty in seeing a statement that defines families as made by a mother and father. It is beautiful seeing God's holy word printed inside a book put out by the government of Canada. This country will prosper or burn on account of mothers. Is there a more powerful figure than that of a mother? No national service is greater or better than the work of the mother in her own home. Isn't that lovely?

There was a day when God's words were thought to have had value for the nation.
We cannot forget to pray for ours.