Monday, September 28, 2009

Perspicacity for the Day: Robert Burton (1577-1640)

So I haven't done many series of posts in a while. I have a couple of new pictures of Nacho that may make it on here, as well as a few allusions. I thought it might be fun, though, to make a series of posts on Mondays to provide some insights on life, taken from a wide array of people and places. So for a few weeks, I'll pick a person, and give a few of what I consider their best quotes.

I'm going to call this series "Perspicacity for the Day". Perspicacity is a noun form of the adjective perspicacious, which means "having a ready insight into and understanding of things." I hope these morsels will offer some valuable insights, that will help motivate us to live each week with a sense of purpose and empowerment.

Robert Burton (1577-1640)
- Old friends become bitter enemies on a sudden for toys and small offenses.
- Idleness is an appendix to nobility.
- We can make mayors and officers every year, but not scholars.
- A mere madness, to live like a wretch and die rich.
- Birds of a feather will gather together.
- For "ignorance is the mother of devotion," as all the world knows.
- A good conscience is a continual feast.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's Nacho Cat On Me

When Nacho feels like being petted, nothing else is a higher priority for her. This can make reading and compiling research for my papers rather challenging. She will often move the book out of my hand, or at least bite the edges of the pages until I release the book and start scratching her head. In this case, she just hopped on top of my lap desk and sat on what I was reading.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Sermon You Should Go Hear

I'm very excited about October 8th. At the Hermitage, historic home of President Andrew Jackson, they have been having a series of local ministers come to their chapel and present classic sermons by important figures during the Jacksonian era. They're calling it Faiths of the Frontier. On October 8th, from 6:30-8:00pm, David Fleer will be presenting one of Alexander Campbell's sermons titled "The Fearful Curse".

If you've never heard Dr. Fleer, he's an incredible speaker with a lively personality and an endearing, gravely voice. I took him for a preaching course at Lipscomb last semester that might well be the single best class I've ever had.

I plan to be there, and I want to encourage you to mark you calendar if you're in the Nashville area to come and hear Dr. Fleer; especially if you have an interest in the American Restoration Movement.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Awakening the Christ Asleep In You

Augustine of Hippo is one of my favorite people. I love the story of his life, I love his writings, and I love the way he thought. One thing I find very interesting about reading Christian thinkers from different time periods is seeing how their presuppositions determined their conclusions. We're certainly no different.

During the time when Regula Fidei was more in effect, since everyone agreed on what the correct beliefs were supposed to be, they felt free to do some creative allegorical interpretations of Scripture, as long as their conclusions remained within the boundaries of orthodoxy.

I just completed a paper on the function of the Sea of Galilee in Mark, and in researching, I came across a sermon that Augustine preached on the passage about Jesus calming the storm. He took an angle I would have never considered, and though it might not have been Mark's original intended purpose for including this story, I think his thoughts are beneficial.

I have been pondering the role of allegorical applications in preaching. On the one hand, I am very much a student of the mentality that it is our job to understand the text exactly as it was intended to be understood. On the other hand, in churches of Christ, though we don't have an official Regula Fidei for all of us, most of us know pretty well within our congregations what views are considered the orthodox ones and which would be considered heretical. I wonder if it would be helpful or hurtful to make some Scriptural applications that take more liberty with allegorical interpretations--remaining within the boundaries of orthodoxy, in the spirit of writers such as Augustine, or even philosophers like Philo, who has some fascinating ideas about the meaning of Genesis (which I may blog about at some point). I see both potential and peril. It is at least something different.

At any rate, here is part of Augustine's sermon about Matthew 8:23.

When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind. When your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the ship is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune--shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him....A temptation arises; it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the sea. This is the moment to awaken Christ and let him remind you of these words: "Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him."

Clearly, this story was not written as an allegory. Christ is revealing his divine nature so that the disciples will gain a deeper understanding of who he is. But the storm situation with the sleeping Christ does make a nice metaphor for relying on Christ for aid in having self-control.

What do you think?

Friday, September 11, 2009

What The Heavens Declare

I think the recent new pictures by the Hubble Space Telescope are astonishing, and worthy of some reflection. Embedded in creation are so many wonderful things to be discovered. Some of them escape our view from their smallness, such as atoms. Others have escaped our view by their vastness, such as the universe. I believe that whenever we encounter something new and astounding in creation, we should take it as a gift from God, and be grateful that his creation is such a wonderful place to explore.

Just imagine what is out there, still remaining to be found and admired.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
-Proverbs 25:2

Though a starry sky was already beautiful to be sure...

...there is so much more hidden beyond our sight.

Monday, September 07, 2009

We were on TV!

Carolina and I just returned today from our 5th anniversary New York City! We did a lot of touristy stuff, which I'm sure I'll blog about soon. But a highlight for us was getting to go to the US Open on Friday. What made us even happier was finding on our DVR that we succeeded in getting our faces on TV! Here is proof...