Thursday, August 30, 2007

A true martyr for Korea

An old homie named Jennifer found a list of the most unusual deaths in history from 538 BC to the present. Luckily, I detected among them a story that needs to be told.

A 28-year-old South Korean man who collapsed of fatigue and died after playing
Starcraft for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet café.

Cannonization inquiry will begin next month.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Me and Andy... classic somehow

A: hahahahah I asked that to a bunch of 45+ yr olds... only one of them knew... and he wouldnt say it out loud

R: that's when you've formed the perfect question

R: the grail of all teachers

R: the question so gosu, that even the informed dare not say it aloud


R: (I even typed that in a hushed way)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Equality of soul

No matter what I might like to think, there are times when I meet someone of particular quality and my body quivers with the desire to bring them to Christ. It's difficult to get all of the motivations, but I have the sneaky suspicion it's because I want my club grown with my choice members.

Yeah, I know, egotistical, not the gospel, and all of that good stuff.

But it's hard for me. It's not that I would fail to encourage anyone to seek - i'm certainly evangelistic in my own way - but it's only natural to think that some people have earned a Christian identity. Like wow... he/she's really worthy of Christ!

I even get the passing feeling now and again that I can become fixated on someone's spiritual life. It's not unlike elementary school when there was that one person who you were drawn to, and the rest of the world disappeared as you thought of gaining their approval. I wasn't ever bad in that regard, but we all had the impulse, and sometimes it overtakes the young without their understand what's happened, or even that it has occurred. And yes, it continues into adulthood for many of us, although hormones have often put perspective on other infatuations by that time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Two and a half of the best songs you've probably never heard

Man I'm loving this youtube thing. It's allowing me to watch videos and live performances of so many bands that I would otherwise have no access to outside of outdated LP's, 8-tracks and reel-to-reels that my dad once collected.

Today I have two recommendations, and I would love to hear feedback. First, check out the live version of the Wishbone Ash song Warrior. I think Bush missed this as the Republican hardliner theme for the past election. Perhaps Romney should consider it? anyhow, great song. And while you're at it, you need to see this video titled "Joey" from the best band you have probably never heard of, Concrete Blonde. It's cc. 1989-1990. Superb music. I remember my uncle Tim gave dad Concrete Blonde's Bloodletting at the same time as the Black Crowes' Shake Your Money Maker. Both are excellent, but in terms of their other releases, the Crowes gained more popularity, while Concrete Blonde released far better music. If you like what you hear of them, do yourself a favor and purchase Bloodletting, followed quickly by Mexican Moon and Walking in London. You'll thank me.

Also, not on quite as high a caliber, but still of interest to smaller label rock fans, is Melissa Auf Der Maur's video for her 2003 single Followed the Waves (she is the former bassist for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins... not bad for a Canuck).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Por Andy

This one's for Andy, on his soon-to-be move to North Carolina.

And remember what Petey says:

I'm a superstar, bought me a big ol' carFour-point-six, seen it 'cause
Black with the bars on the front and backand got a button in the middle, make
the trunk go eh-eh

- Petey Pablo "Raise Up"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Can't we all just not get along?

So I'm reading this collection of essays on the doctrine of Deification called Theosis: Deification in Christian Theology. It was published by Princeton and was edited by Vladimir Kharlamov and Stephen Finlan.

Generally speaking I find it a solid collection of essays. Kharlamov does a nice job of synopsizing the first two major stages of the doctrine (apostolic writers and the early apologists), while Finlan once again shows his prowess as a researcher/writer (his book The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors is pure class. Grade-A work that should be read by everyone who's interested in the literary connectivity of the OT and NT.) This guy strikes me as peculiarly gifted, and I'm not exactly sure why he isn't on the short list of Who's Who in theology circles at the moment.

However, one thing got under my skin: the insistence that Orthodox are not unique in this "doctrine of theosis". I find this annoying on two levels:

Level 1: While yes, everyone has some form of the imitatio christi in their tradition, it is only a living, breathing, factor in the consciousness of Orthodoxy. I dislike the religion of scholars as it tends to measure reality by published works and linguistic debates rather than by the lived reality of a community. Sure, Luther or Calvin might have given a glancing nudge to theosis in some bastardized way. Does this mean that they had any comparable concept to what Orthodox are typically referring to? No. Does this mean that any Lutherans or Calvinists except the foundational writers picked up on these strands of thought? No. Most importantly, have I ever met a single serious Lutheran or Calvinist who had this doctrine as a category of thought which they were willing to discuss? No.

So let's stop the trendy wavering. Reformation theology by and large has not been open to the idea of theosis, and on the level of praxis, it still resembles the remarks of arrogant old Germans like Adolf Von Harnack, who wrote that the Orthodox churches don't have any trace of authentic Christianity whatsoever. Practically speaking, that is the consensus conclusion of Calvinism and Lutheranism, and the fact is that Reformed theology and Orthodox theology are competitors who are (essentially) professing different religions.

Level 2: There is too much presumption of theosis as a doctrine commonly understood and clearly articulated within contemporary Orthodoxy. In truth, it's difficult to speak of this "doctrine of salvation" in the same way that Lutherans can speak of salvation "by faith alone", or Calvin's TULIP. If anything, theosis was latched onto in the Western diaspora in order to say something in the foreign category of "soteriology", which in my reading had always had a more organic up until that point. Now this isn't to say that we didn't have the idea of theosis, but I don't think it was necessarily "the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of salvation" in the sense that it is now understood. Certainly there is little to no liturgical reflection on this idea, and I'm interested to track where the language first pops up in the 19th and 20th century. also, depending on who one reads, the "doctrine" looks very different.

Given these two hangups, I find Myk Habels' article, which tries to link REformation ideas of indwelling of Christ with "the Eastern Orthodox Doctrine of theosis" (as if such a thing is commonly understood and easily referenced) to be simultaneously thin and wishful. Especially the idea of "the three great streams to which all Christians ultimately appeal". Define... "great"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

unclear writing fostering unclear thinking

A good article from Dr. Gregory Pence. I do have 'a bone to pick' with his focus on cliches themselves rather than the problems associated with an expressive matrix formed around cliches. But that has already been better expressed by Harold Bloom (posted a couple of weeks ago).