Monthly Archives: July 2006

Garver on Wright

When an Evangelical asks me about Wright, I usually direct them to the N. T. Wright page. However, I think that, I will now include Joel Garver’s entry about him and the controversy that has swollen around him. It is really excellent stuff.

At one point, Garver writes:

So part of the difficulty is that the biblical use of “impute” doesn’t match up exactly with how “impute” is used in our systematic theology. D.A. Carson agrees, by the way, in a recent essay where he interacts with Wright’s view, where Carson sees “imputation” (in the traditional systematic theological sense) as a theological implication of the New Testament text, a way of expressing and filling out the forensic character of justification in dogmatic language, rather than something that is directly taught by Scripture using the term in it’s lexical meaning.

I don’t know if Garver is thinking of the same source, which I have read, but his report corresponds quite well with what I read in Carson’s essay (originally a lecture) responding to Robert Gundry. What was interesting and frustrating about Carson’s argument was that it represented an excellent response to the problems raised by Gundry (and imagined to be involved in Wright) thoroughly enmeshed in a host of unnecessary and paranoid problems. The way Carson treated Don Garlington was especially horrific, worthy of any TR blog, bulletin board, or email dissing group, but beyond the pale of an academic delivering a pre-planned lecture. It really demonstrated (again) to me that what matters is not one’s confession, but one’s willingness to mistreat.

Finally, after dealing with the cause of controversy, Garver lists five reasons why Wright is poplular. The list, in my opinion, could just as easily be used to explain why their is an anti-Wright industry within the TR/RB world. A smart, gifted communicator who is both theoretically brilliant and practically helpful is a threat. One anti-Wright agitator has confessed more than once that all his brightest seminary students found Wright entirely persuasive, leaving him, apparantly, with nothing left to do but try to politicize against him so that the smarter potential students would learn not to go to his seminary.

A primal taboo has been violated:

Thou shalt admire and honor no one for their Pauline theology but us Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists.

This is apparantly the First Commandment of conservative Reformed intellectual pretention.

On hating popconservatism

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two flags of red, white, and blue. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”

I was inspired by Rick to draft this paraphrase. And now, Peter has inspired me to post it. In fact, I’m going to break with proper etiquette and quote Peter in full in case someone doesn’t want to follow the link:

According to an AOL report, Greg Boyd has lost 1000 members of his church because he has refused to promote conservative political causes.

According to the report, “he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing ‘God Bless America’ and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.” Who wouldn’t be alarmed at this Baalist conflation of God and country?

But what are the people in his church thinking? Boyd has been an advocate of open theism for some years, and apparently that bit of heresy was OK so long as he continued to endorse conservative politicians and promote a rightwing agenda. What God are these people really worshiping?

God forgive me. I was actually a member of a church at one time whose main attraction was exactly this sort of crap. I suppose I should take some comfort that these were presbyterians of some sort and not free will theists, but it really only makes me feel worse.

I hate this. I thought back in the nineties that it was dying but I keep seeing it come up.

I could go into particulars but I don’t have time. And frankly, if you claim to be ignorant of the insane nationalistic culture in American Evangelicalism, I will assume you are an apologist for it until proven otherwise.

And the accusation that unless one embraces this garbage one must be in some sort of violation of Romans 13 and honoring the government is pretty much on par with a husband accusing his wife of frigidity because she doesn’t want him to tie her up and beat her with a whip.

Patriotism is to citizenship what S&M is to sex.

Open Source Living

So, the directions for starting up an Apache server seem rather straight forward. But it didn’t work on my laptop this afternoon, despite the help of a much more techy friend. I’ll be making a second attempt some time.

At one time, the qualifications for geekdom simply involved practice with polyhedral die and general knowledge of The Monster Manual. It is going to take a lot of hard work to get back in.


OK, this may be the last real post, but I will publish links to every new blog entry.

A couple of things converged: I was losing track of my template and needed a clean sweep; I wanted categories and I wanted them to have their own identities (titles, links, etc.

So I’ll post links here to all new entries that I publish in the categories listed above. If something is too generic to be categorized, I might go ahead and publish it here.

Make sense?

QuickSilver rocks

Retraction time. These posts are inaccurate:

  1. Another Mac/Safari shortcut
  2. Redundancy app
  3. Keyboarding onto the web without using a browser

They all recommend using Spotlight, the built-in Tiger OSX search feature, rather than using QuickSilver. But all Spotlight does is search and find and open. QS, I have come to realize, does much more. Here is the video that alerted me that I was underestimating QS.

Just to give one example, my elaborate scheme for directly opening urls (by keeping a folder of shortcuts) is mostly redundant. In QuickSilver you just type the URL.

So I’m trying to learn more. Right now I’m wishing I could figure out how to command QS to open a URL with a specific browser.

What does a laptop mean?

I got a great iMac G4 for my home office. I loved it (though, of course, Apple has a way of making great machinery look old and decrepit within a year. No one told me dual core intel chips were on the horizon). It had some overheating problems but they were fixed for free.

For awhile however, I had a great deal of trouble getting stuff done. The reasons for this were nine, seven, five and two years old, juxtaposed with an office door that didn’t even latch, let alone lock. I dealt with this by acquiring an iBook (remember the iBook?) and going to the library or, if I needed internet access, to Panera. At least that was the plan, and it worked. But it also worked in a different way. My workspace became my lap. And as Jennifer took on various jobs it became sort of important for me to be flexible when I was at the house. Between times outside the home with no interruptions, and times in the home where I turned the playroom into my office and typed while Barney entertained my child, I actually got caught up on some projects. The laptop was a great blessing.

But I felt guilty.

I joked and told people that the my iMac had become essentially a wireless external hard drive. I used it for storage to back up projects on my laptop. And that seemed wrong, even though I joked about it. I had this awesome computer and I wasn’t often working on it for work.

Well, we moved and my office arrangements went through another iteration and I once again began doing a great deal of my work on the iMac. I really liked that. I still do. I probably average 65/35 iMac/iBook.

And it is a big pain. A few months ago I lost <em>three days</em> of work by backing up the wrong way. When I look at my routine the time I spend trying to sync my calendar apps or the worries I have about backing up wrong again, or the headaches I have trying to respond to that email that is on the other machine, and it is simply a lot of wasted energy.

And it occurs to me that I have no problem typing on the smaller keyboard, or reading the smaller screen. And I could always plug in the mouse if I wanted something faster than the touchpad (but the truth is I don’t use the mouse/touchpad that much anymore).

So I’m actually considering using the laptop for all my work, email, and scheduling. This would involve the ridiculous spectacle of working at my laptop at my desk with the iMac screen looming behind it.

So maybe some sense of propriety will end this experiment. Or maybe not. Sometimes realizing you don’t have to utilize an option is the key to piece of mind. Jennifer and I spent over a year in our former home trying to figure out how to make the basement work for our bedroom. How were we going to allow for the flow to the back door? We racked our brains. The perfect arrangement came when we decided we weren’t going to use that back door. Everything clicked.

I’ll use my iMac, of course. I don’t have the disk space on my laptop to not have it as part of my system. But I don’t want to have to try to remember which way to do my back ups and which calendar has the fresher data.

This means, I’m beginning to think the ideal workspace has

  • A mouse waiting to be plugged in.
  • An external harddrive waiting to be plugged in.
  • Maybe a big flatscreen.

I say “maybe” for that last one because I find the screen size fine on the laptop and I’m not sure how easy it is to use a widescreen when the laptop screen is open. Unfortunately, I understand that iBooks cool through the keyboard. If that is true, it means the laptop must stay open. Otherwise, the laptop could become a flat spread out mini.

Humility & proper confidence

John Armstrong:

… As an example, just this week I listened to a group of seminary students give their testimonies about what their school meant to them and what it had taught them during their time there. Several of the students made a point of saying that they hated this idea or that movement. One passionately declared his hope that every graduate of this seminary would be known for, “his hatred for liberalism, regardless of whether it came from the New Perspective or from the old liberalism.” After listening to this kind of rant for about an hour I grew increasingly sad as I listened to these very confident young men. Thankfully some were more gracious than others but there was a general contempt for the views of any others that they disagreed with theologically. There was also an arrogance that was striking in the way they spoke of what they believed and why they believed it. Please don’t tell me that this kind of thinking does not create tragic pastoral ministries. I have encountered this type of certitude all across the nation, churches led by these kinds of young pastors who treat kindness and civility as if they were an inherent weakness.

One area in which these students expressed strong hatred was for any type of counseling that was not “biblical” enough. The word “biblical” (in regard to counseling) has become a kind of code-word for a particular kind of counseling that openly opposes a number of practical and useful counseling procedures that help real people with issues like depression and assorted personality disorders. This approach to “biblical counseling,” learned in a particular kind of emphasis, actually damages real lives and harms hurting people. As a friend of mine once put it, “These people are one breakdown short of reality.”

There is a kind of subtle hubris in the kind of stories I heard last week. Thankfully, I seldom hear this in young seminary students, who are generally fearful and timid when they leave seminary. There was also a strident passion in the statements that I heard, a passion for the methods these students were given by their school. And this passion is strangely joined with a faulty certitude rooted in a rationalistic belief system. I thought that what was sadly lacking in the stories was obvious—a humble, deeply reflective assurance that comes from faith, hope and love held in true biblical tension. These men seemed so sure of themselves that I fear little else will ever appeal to them from outside their safe system until they suffer some intense difficulties that shake them lose from this kind of narrow training…

Except for the comment about the “New Perspective,” John could have been talking about someone he met after traveling back in time about twelve years ago (or less)–someone I used to know and who still struggles to show up no matter how much I insist that he’s not welcome here anymore.

God really does forgive our sins, thankfully.

Coming August 8, 2006

PS: I’m not surprised at the centering problems (I’ve tried both internal codes and the egually unworking {div align=”center} thing I have now). But what’s the deal with the black border? It doesn’t show up when I try it in my preview screen. Does that look like a 0 border to you?

And now four for Waters

Earlier I wrote: “I mentioned that Doug Wilson began responding to Waters. He has continued and is doing an excellent job. Here are links to the first three in order.”

But now there are four.

  1. Guy Waters
  2. Scholarship on stilts.
  3. Moses the blender.
  4. Three Extra Eggs in the Pudding

In the first three, Wilson’s humor kept me cheerful. In this one, in which he simply points out that Waters is saying things about people that are not true, I simply got mad.

And before I write more, I will stop here.