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A prayer for Sunday – Ephrem the Syrian

The feast day of your birth resembles You, Lord
Because it brings joy to all humanity.
Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.
Your day is celebrated
from generation to generation.
Kings and emperors may pass away,
And the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse.
But your festival
will be remembered until the end of time.

Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.
At Your birth heaven and earth were reconciled,
Since you came from heaven to earth on that day
You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt.

You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:
A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick;
Spiritual light for the blind;
The cup of salvation for the thirsty;
The bread of life for the hungry.

In the winter when trees are bare,
You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit.
In the frost when the earth is barren,
You bring new hope to our souls.
In December when seeds are hidden in the soil,
The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.

~Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306-373)

Roger Nicole (1915-2010)

Roger Nicole – one of the most influential if lesser known evangelical theologians of the twentieth century – passed away yesterday at the age of 95. Justin Taylor has a very nice obituary today with links to reflections from D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, and Mark Dever. Check it out for more information on this important evangelical leader. It really does seem recently that we are seeing the passing of a generation.

Some Saturday fun: Simon’s cat in ‘Santa Claws’

This video seemed timely given the fact that the cat that lives at my house is walking on very thin ice after angering my wife (badly) this morning. I’m really hoping he does it again tomorrow (please, oh please).


Would you go on an Answers in Genesis trip to the Grand Canyon?

Every year, Answers in Genesis sponsors a trip to the Grand Canyon and invites people from around the country to attend. I’ve been invited for this next summer and I need to decide if I’m going to go.

The point of the trip, of course, is to present data from the Grand Canyon that ostensibly supports a “young earth” understanding of creation. But, you don’t have to be a young earth creationist to attend. As I understand from people who have gone on previous trips, at least half of the group tends to be either undecided or openly in the “old earth” camp. So, it’s a good chance to interact with people from a variety of perspectives, even though the purpose of the trip is to provide arguments in favor of one particular perspective.

The bonus is that the trips are heavily subsidized. So, at the very least you end up with a pretty cheap river-rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. And, you get to hang out with professors from schools around the country at the same time.

So, what do you think? Would you go on a trip like this? Why or why not? Should I go?  I haven’t really commented much about creation issues on this blog, but I’m not a “young earth” guy. A trip down the Grand Canyon would be pretty amazing. I’m just trying to decide if this is the way I want to do it.

20 obsolete English words that should make a comeback

I just ran across this list of 20 obsolete English words that should make a comeback. I’m not entirely sure that all of them are worth resurrecting, but I’m definitely going to try and work the following into my writing, lecturing, and student-mocking:

  • Jargogle: “to jumble or confuse” (this one just sounds cool, and I can think of all sorts of ways to use it when commenting on papers)
  • Deliciate: “To take one’s pleasure, enjoy oneself, revel, luxuriate” (for those times when you need a word better than “enjoy”)
  • Ludibrious: “Apt to be a subject of jest or mockery” (do I even need to comment on how this could be used?)
  • Brabble: “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” (this could be helpful for talking about theological arguments in general)
  • Freck: “To move swiftly or nimbly” (when combined with “Frack” from Battlestar Gallactica, this could be fun)
  • Widdendream: “A state of mental disturbance or confusion” (yet another helpful paper-marking term)

There are others, but these are the ones that seemed most useful to me. Now, I think I will deliciate in my new knowledge by frecking to use these words and see if I can’t jargogle a few people into a little widdendream so we can brabble for a while and demonstrate how ludibrious we all are.

Types of graders: optimist, pessimist, and realist

Flotsam and jetsam (12/10)

  • Craig Carter offers a post In Praise of the Lecture, arguing that the lecture is a moral event, a personal act, and a tribute to metaphysical truth. HT

Today, the lecture is out of favor in politically-correct circles. Like dead white males, high academic standards and absolute truth, it has been consigned to the dustbin of history by enlightened, late-modern, progressives who do not quite believe that God grades on the curve, but who do hold it against Him that He does not.

To all Christians and other lovers of Lewis I would say this—- please during this Christmas season come out and support this film, not least so we may see more of Narnia in the future.  This is certainly a film appropriate for families to see, though a couple of the scenes in 3D with the big sea monster may be a little too intense for wee bairns as small as Reepicheep.  Be that as it may,  we must say— Well done good and faithful servants at Walden.   Inherit the Kingdom yourselves.

But our longing for “authenticity” also bears a suspicious resemblance to the latest plot twist in the story of consumer culture: the tendency to rapidly replace the squeaky-clean franchise with the “authentic” franchise.

Hearing what he called “the still, small voice of love” amid the cacophony of secular voices calling for attention needs special effort: “It requires solitude, silence and a strong determination to listen.” The Internet has not made the spiritual life any easier.

Kathryn Tanner and Gregory of Nyssa on the mystery of the human person

Whatever the knowable dimensions of human nature, its apophatic ones are what count here for imaging of God. An apophatically-focused anthropology forms the natural consequences of an apophatic theology. If humans are the image of God they must be, as Gregory of Nyssa affirms, an incomprehensible image of the incomprehensible: ‘If, while the archetype transcends comprehension, the nature of the image were comprehended, the contrary character of the attributes…would prove the defect of th eimage….Since the nature of our mind…evades our knowledge, it has an accurate resemblance to the superior nature, figuring by its unkowableness the incomprehensible nature.”

Kathryn Tanner, Christ the Key (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 53-54

Sacramento is dead to me

Once again I sit in the Sacramento airport. Once again my flight is delayed. It should only be 20 minutes this time. But still, this is the last straw. Sacramento is dead to me.

What the internet killed

According to a Newsweek slideshow, the internet is singlehandedly responsible for killing off each of the following (HT):

  • The 9 to 5 workday
  • Video rental stores
  • Concentration
  • Civility
  • The CD
  • The telephone book
  • Letter writing
  • Vacations
  • Privacy
  • Facts
  • Polaroids and other film
  • Reference books
  • The yearbook
  • The peep show

I think some of these were dead or dying before the internet really got up to seed (e.g., the 9 to 5 workday) and others have always been a problem (e.g., concentration and civility). But still, this was interesting.