Wednesday, October 29, 2008

the american reality?

There are times when one feels broken, or I should say that there are times when one becomes aware of the fact that they are broken. I would argue that we are all broken constantly, from day one. The original sin that sets us climbing up that ladder from day one. I remember when my mom had me take swimming lessons, I can't recall how old I was, it must of been that foggy age where I can remember certain days or moments that could very well be inaccurate, and that only exists isolated from any contexts, they simply float idle in my memory. The swimming instructor told me to swim towards him, and as I started to swim, he proceeded to walk slowly away from me, forcing me to swim further than I originally thought I had to. The metaphor is screaming. There is always some frustrating phantom sweeping through my fragments. One could optimistically call it God, or one could, in a paranoid fit, call it the Devil, or one could merely call it the reactions of a sober mind to the insane juxtapositions of the human spirit, which is in a constant flux of giving me hope and also reminding me of the constant failure we display to reconcile what living demands of us vs what the human spirit needs in order to breath. All of this political drama is reminding me that the American Dream is no longer a dream at all, I suppose there is an American ideal which needs the awareness of the whole world to be realized, but the American Dream is now merely the American reality. The American Dream, or as I've been reading about lately, John Winthrop's ideal of a "city upon a hill" which calls for a very ideal sense of community in which we rejoice and suffer together (sounds suspiciously socialistic!!), it now exists as a historic sermon, nothing more. Now, all we feel we have a responsibility for is ourselves, our own self interest, and who can blame us!! We can barely keep our own heads above water, lest we worry about others who we've been poisoned to think "leach off of the system"...we've become a cold cold country, which views anyone in need of help as a lazy failure who didn't work hard enough. This nation is void of Christian ideals, and from day one, this country has made God it's own whore. I get tired of myself, just as you get tired of reading me bitch. I'm exhausted of all this talk, the joke will never cease because we will never grasp what it is we are supposed to grasp. We face trials as one, and we face trials as a nation, and the two are incommensurable. The will of the individual is constantly at odds with what one feels to be the will of the collective, and when one enters into the will of God, all falls to the side and merely adds to the internal riot. There is always reason to be constantly in awe. We are shaped, and our ethics are defined by our experience, our God is defined by our experience and is funneled down that narrow road of what our eyes and ears have seen, of what our heart has experienced. My fragments are being agitated and they are screaming for me to move them in one direction.

Hey Chris, Chris from Punchline. Hey man..what's up. This blog's for you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Senator Biden is now my homeboy

Friday, October 24, 2008

nothing much going on, aside from playing shows.

I'm reading a book by Sarah Vowell called, "The Wordy Shipmates", and so far it's mainly about John Winthrop and how he led the birth of settlements in New England, sailing from England on the Arabella. It's interesting so far, talking about the difference between separatists and the "non-separatists", the birth of the Church of England, religious splits that led to such expeditions and the founding of new colonies based on protestant theology, the influence of Calvinism in this movement as well, and the general history of the events. It's good, and I could go into a very long diatribe about how the founding philosophies of what became America aren't too closely lined with the "American pride" I see displayed today.. Anyway, the book also talks about the constant bickering that went on when trying to establish rules, church officials, laws, etc. One of the tense exchanges that the books talks about is one that occurred between John Williams and John Cotton. I thought one of the excerpts from a letter written by John Williams was interesting.

"In 'The Bloudy Tenent', Williams points out the Constantine 'did more to hurt Christ Jesus than the raging fury of the most bloody Neros'. At least under the Christian persecutor Nero was rumored to have had the Apostle Paul beheaded and Saint Peter crucified upside down, Christianity was a pure (if hazardous) way of life. But when Constantine himself converted to Christianity, that's when the Church was corrupted and perverted by the state. Williams explains that under Constantine, 'the gardens of Christ's churches turned into the wilderness of natural religion, and the world (under Constantine's dominion) to the most unchristian Christendom.' Legalizing, legitimizing the Church turned Christianity into just another branch of government enforced by 'the sword of civil power,' i.e., through state-sponsored violence"

my throat is sore.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm going to see GWAR tonight, it'll be my 2nd time!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

irritated and heart broken

I just wrote a large post about God and how we've dissected and polluted him so deeply that he ceases to exist. Although, I accidentally deleted the post, so now I have nothing (there has to be a metaphor in there somewhere!) , and I will not attempt to write it again...right now anyway. Instead, watch this. It's one of my favorite songs of his.

honest and sad, it's funny how those two words exist so closely together

Monday, October 13, 2008

just a quote

Apparently this is from John Calvin's last will and testament. I think it's pretty remarkable, for a few reasons. John Calvin was, without, doubt, one of the most influential theological thinkers of the 16th century. I have not read the rest of this piece, I've only seen this excerpt, but it's endearing and depressing all at once.

"The will I have had, and the zeal, if it can be called that, have been so cold and sluggish that I feel deficient in everything and everywhere....Truly, even the grace of forgiveness [God] has given me only renders me all the more guilty, so that my only recourse can be this, that being the father of mercy, he will show himself and father of so miserable a sinner"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I had to do it...

Hey everyone, I couldn't resist posting this entry I found on another blog. It's a theoretical point obviously, but I would like to see what you people want to say about it. Read more posts of this kind at

Sotereology and the Kill All the Babies Problem
By Daniel
Who is saved and how are they saved? What needs to be true in order for a certain person to be saved? These are the central questions that need by answered by any soteriology--that is, questions that need to be answered by a doctrine of salvation.

One of the most significant differences between soteriological systems is how they deal with the salvation of children. One common position is that children who have not reached the "age of accountability'' are not capable of doing either right or wrong--they simply don't have the cognitive machinery necessary for either immoral or moral action. As such, they have no sin and there is nothing that they need to be saved from.

Another similar position is that while young children are sinful and need to be saved, they are incapable of making the decision to accepting God's gift of forgiveness. As such, they are exempt from the requirement of accepting this gift and are saved automatically.

The problem is that on both of these views, killing babies turns out to be an enormously effective way of saving souls. I refer to this as the Kill All the Babies Problem. If Billy dies before the age of accountability, then he is guaranteed to spend eternity in heaven. However, if Billy survives to the age of accountability, then there is a reasonable chance that he will fail to accept God's gift of forgiveness and will consequently spend eternity in hell experiencing suffering of the worst kind. Since spending an eternity in hell is far worse than missing out on a few decades of earthly existence, it is a good thing if Billy dies in childhood before he reaches the age of accountability.

One odd implication is that abortion--a practice opposed by most conservative Christians--turns out to be an incredibly effective way of saving souls. Suppose that a woman who is a devout atheist has an abortion. If she would have given birth to the child, he very likely would have grown past the age of accountability and failed to accept God's gift of forgiveness. But since the child was aborted before he reached the age of accountability, he is safe from the fires of hell and will spend eternity in heaven. Thus, legalized abortion has had the wonderful effect of saving millions of people who otherwise would not have been saved.

Soteriological systems in which infant baptism is a means of saving children are not in a much better position than the other views we have looked at. Suppose that infant baptism does in fact guarantee that Billy will spend eternity in heaven unless he later decides to reject his faith. Then it turns out to be a really good thing if Billy dies after his baptism but before he is old enough to reject his faith. After all, if Billy had grown up, he might have decided to reject his baptism and the salvation that comes with it. And that would have led to spending an eternity in hell.

What is the best way to deal with the Kill All the Babies Problem?

Two systems that clearly avoid the problem are universalism and traditional Calvinism. Suppose that some form of Christian universalism is true. Then there is no danger that child who grows up will do something to endanger her salvation. She may at some point reject her faith, but God will eventually find a way to bring her back to faith (if not in this life, then the next).

Similarly, suppose that traditional Calvinism is true. Then a child will be saved regardless of what she does when she grows up. If she is elect, then nothing she will do in the future will endanger her salvation. And if she is not elect, then nothing she will do in the future will bring about her salvation.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Guns N' Roses, $850 billion dollar bailout, and Paul Begala!

I went to Buffalo Wild Wings last night to meet my friend Josh. It was 40 cent wing night, but I didn't have any, but what I did have was a debate which I am proud to say I clearly won. It wasn't even a matter of me executing "debate tactics" which would trick the observers into thinking I was fairly objective, not a hard a opinion to back up at all. As it went, my friend Josh claimed that Guns N' Roses, as famous and influential as they were, "had no more than 4 or 5 good songs". What? My mind was blown at that moment. While I do think it becomes harder to justify Axl Rose's antics as the bands career evolved into the 90's, that is not the argument. I am not here to back up Axl, he's an egomaniacal pre-madonna who definitely had a hard time retaining his "Appetite for Destruction" badass-ness as their fame continued to skyrocket. I don't think anyone would disagree with me on the point that "Appetite" era GnR remains to be their apex, but come on! Use Your Illusions 1 and 2 were great! Even after losing Steven Adler and replacing him with the major, chump of a drummer Matt Sorum, Duff and Slash still held it down, Gilby Clark was alright too, Axl just became erratic, paranoid or something. But the songs are still there, just listen to Garden of Eden! "Proof is in the Pudding" the colloquialism proclaims. Although this debate is obviously subjective, I will venture beyond the diplomacy of rational debate and be so bold as to claim that my friend Josh is objectively wrong!! He asked me to list more than five songs by GnR that are good songs...and I easily did so, as you see below.

1. Night Train
2. You Could Be Mine
3. Sweet Child o' Mine
4. Get In the Ring
5. Civil War
6. Garden of Eden
7. Paradise City
8. Welcome to the Jungle
9. Rocket Queen
10. My Michelle
11. November Rain
13. Mr. Brownstone
14. It's So Easy
15. Don't Cry

further evidence:

Also, this bailout bill that has now somehow reached 850 billion dollars...ugh. Apparently, there is overwhelming negative reaction coming from constituents and citizens, but I guess it still has a possibility of passing? Government working for the people eh? Well, maybe it won't pass, who knows? But both McCain and Obama support it, I don't believe I do. Crazy times. Jacob and I are in Fayetville Arkansas watching CNN....Lou Dobbs is not stoked, it's cute. While Jacob and I were in the St. Louis airport today, we met Paul Begala!! We gave him a CD, he gave us his new book entitled, "Third Term"...ha! There is a picture of him and I above.