Archive for November, 2006|Monthly archive page

Desiring God, 9: Missions

Chapter Nine is about Frontier Missions. The story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10 has two incentives for frontier missions: 1) every impossibility with men is possible with God, and 2) Christ will pay back our sacrifice so much that we will be unable to say we have sacrificed at all.

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Galatians 5:1-15

This passage talks about Freedom. Freedom is one of the key elements of the whole book.
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Galatians 4:21-31

21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written:
   “Be glad, O barren woman,
      who bears no children;
   break forth and cry aloud,
      you who have no labor pains;
   because more are the children of the desolate woman
      than of her who has a husband.”[a] 28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”[b] 31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

We are going through Galatians in our Adult Bible Fellowship. Gal 4:21-31 contains a somewhat strange analogy.

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Desiring God, 8: Marriage


For discussion of marriage and the Christian hedonist, Piper turns primarily to Ephesians 5:25-30.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

Piper again presents Christian Hedonism as the Christian truly seeking his or her best: “The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not  that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses.” (205) It is in our own best interest to love our spouse as we ought. One might argue that this seems selfish. Piper answers that self-interest is not the same thing as selfishness. Selfishness pursues its own pleasure at the expense of others; love pursues its own pleasure in the joy of the other. Quotes from various philosophers remind us that people cannot help but seek happiness.

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White Fang

I am reading a children’s version of White Fang with my seven-year-old son. Last night we read that White Fang did not like hands. The only action hands had ever done to him were to throw things, hit, and club him. He had never seen hands used for kindness. How sad. May my hands be used for kindness today.

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Foreward

Orwell wrote about Big Brother. He feared those who would imprison us and burn our books.

Aldous Huxley (is this the same Huxley who was convicted as a spy?), however, wrote Brave New World. He feared that books would not need to be banned because no one would read them. He did not fear the concealment of truth, he feared its burial in a sea of irrelevance. 

In 1984 … people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

I have long wanted to read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. I recently stole it from our pastor but promise to return it!  I will try to summarize each chapter succintly and fairly.

Stranger than Fiction

Spoiler warning: I might give details away below. Watch the movie first. It’s worth seeing. More than once.  (As always in movies, a couple of sensual scenes and some rough language exist.)

Once in a while, a movie will hit me in a deep and depressing way. Stranger than Fiction tells an interesting story with smart dialogue. Emma Thompson was also involved in Wit. She seems to be attracted to, or perhaps she brings, a smart literary sense to movies. I wish I were educated enough to catch all the symbolism of Stranger. I saw an apple several times, baptism (swimming pool), crucifixion (title of book), redemption, and a watch.  Harold Crick runs down a tunnel with the sign, “The way out.” Greek mythology and various story genres are discussed. Crick concludes he is in a tragedy, not a comedy.
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Desiring God: Chapter Seven

Piper finds in Paul a Christian hedonist when it comes to money. First, I will summarize the content of the chapter. Second, I will comment.

1 Timothy 6:4-19 (New International Version);&version=31;

4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

 6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Paul’s Charge to Timothy

 11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. 17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

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My First Blog

My first blog. I would like to blog about both technology and theology. When I was in school for my B.S. Comp. Sci., I was given the nickname Howdy. (Convenient: you can say my nickname and “hi” all in one word 🙂 ) I always seemed to have a theory about something. The many theories became known as “Howdy’s Theories.”

 I am currently reading Desiring God by John Piper. I am not as Calvinist as he but I appreciate his message that when we love God, we do it for our own good. I will pick up with chapter seven.