November 2007

Sing the Messiah!

Messiahbanner_3 Here's a sample of what you'll be missing if you don't attend Christ the Word's Messiah Sing-Along this Sunday evening at 7:00 P.M. More information, including directions, available here.

The voice on the audio file is that of soprano Sarah Dionne singing at the 2005 dress-rehearsal.

Tossing fuel on the fire...

(Tim) There's a parable in this blog post by the Atlantic's star correspondent, James Fallows, and I'm foolish enough to hope others see it...

<em>Messiah Sing-Along</em> this Sunday at Christ the Word

Messiahlogo(David) If you live in the Toledo area--a chunk of real estate ranging from Ann Arbor in the north to Findlay in the south--join us for Christ the Word's fourth annual Messiah Sing-Along this Sunday evening, December 2, at 7 PM.

Christ the Word's Associate Pastor, Andrew Dionne, along with his team of musicians, are building a Sing to rival the best between Chicago and New York--and it's unique in that its accomplished performers are all professing believers in Christ.

Each year has seen an advance in the Messiah. This year an audience support chorus will be added. Next year, who knows? Perhaps an instrumental ensemble to complement the piano and organ.

For more information on the Messiah Sing-Along see the web site here. For those planning to attend, scores are available free of charge for the use of those who don't own a score.

Soloists for the Messiah Sing include:

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The Galatian Heresy

(David) I just finished teaching Luther on Galatians for the second time at the Reformed Evangelical Pastor's College. And again I've concluded that although it's possible to disagree with Luther on many discrete points along the way, his argument as a whole is unassailable and of the essence of Reformed soteriology.

Nor is this the first time I've said this. I wrote this post two years ago after first teaching Luther's Galatians. I remind our good readers of Tim's and my rock-ribbed commitment to a Lutheran reading of Galatians to emphasize our commitments in these areas as we comment on Federal Vision-related matters on this blog.

Wooing as Warfare, part 4: triangulation

(David) Okay, a couple assumptions at the outset.

First, a father has authority over the marriage of a daughter living in his home. This is demonstrated in Scripture by the father’s right to negate a marriage occasioned by a man’s seduction of his virgin daughter.

Second, nowhere ever is sex permitted outside marriage. However, it’s also the case that sex between unmarried adults establishes marriage when promises are exchanged and a father doesn’t veto.

Third, respect for authority is vital. But respect doesn’t require agreement. Nor does it necessitate absolute, unwavering, slavish obedience. Abigail respected Nabal by going to David with her caravan of goods, thus saving Nabal’s life—though he may not have seen it as respectful submission in the midst of his drunken stupor. Authentic authority is not always wise or godly authority. And just as we seek to change the hearts and minds of earthly rulers, so a suitor’s attempts to win a wife don’t necessarily have to come to a clanging stop at a father’s no, though the heart of the father’s authority over his daughter’s marriage must be respected.

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A great article on praising God...

(David) This is a wonderful piece on thanksgiving and praise by Richard Bledsoe, a PCA pastor in Boulder. Read it all, but especially parts 3 and 4. (HT Mark Horne)

Anacortes, Washington...

(Tim) Noting that someone in Anacortes, Washington, is reading the blog through Verizon, I'm guessing he's sitting waiting for the ferry to take him somewhere in the San Juans, or over to Victoria. Is that you, Don?

And while we're talking about identities, let's do a little housekeeping.

A few minutes ago, I noticed someone was reading David's post, "Is it enough...," through an anonymizer. While recognizing there are some extraordinary circumstances when anonymizers serve a legitimate function, I suspect this is not such a case. So I repeat myself.

Brothers, I appeal to each of you to make your internet activity as public as possible. The Holy Spirit warns us that evil men shoot from the shadows, love darkness, and refuse to come into the light where their deeds may be seen and judged. So then, it's sanctifying to allow others to see our IP address.

Also to sign comments with our full names.

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"Here comes Nurse Kevorkian"

(David) The last paragraph of this article in the New York Times on patients living longer in hospice care (thus costing hospices large sums of money) is an unfortunate reminder of the warped incentive hospices have: 1) to diagnose patients as terminally ill, and then; 2) to have them die within a relatively short period of time.

Wooing as Warfare, part 3: strategy

(David) In warfare it's essential not to confuse primary and secondary objectives. Stalin's son was captured by the Wehrmacht in World War II. Stalin refused every rescue plan, unwilling in any way to take the focus off the invading Germans.

The primary objective in the war of love is the heart of the potential bride. A suitor can win a father's approval but that's not the ultimate objective. A young man can win all sorts of hearts--his beloved's mother's, sisters', brothers', dog's, even her third-grade teacher's--but if he fails to claim hers, he loses the battle.

One might hope that by winning the daughter the suitor will gain the embrace of her family. But it doesn't always work that way. David gained Michal without ever winning her father's heart; Jacob never truly brought Leah and Rachel's family on board.

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Wooing as Warfare, part 2: examples

  1. Christus Victor. Victor? Over what? In what? For what? For a friend? In a game? Over Himself?
  2. David with Michal. Too literal, perhaps, to be seen by some, but obvious.
  3. Jacob with Rachel. Seven years hard labor.
  4. Jacob with Leah. Why Leah? Well, what exactly was that thing that took place between Leah and Rachel post-marriage? And where exactly did Jacob fit in that equation? Some victories are pyrrhic....
  5. David with Abigail. Obvious again.
  6. David with Bathsheba. Nor are all wars fought fairly.
  7. Tamar. The whole ugly, glorious mess.
  8. Boaz with Ruth. Strategies, plans, obstacles, and...victory.
  9. Esther. Some wars are prosecuted by the weaker vessel.
  10. Gomer. Hosea 2:14-17

The state of comedy in France...

(Tim) Several years ago, I was talking with Doug Wilson about race relations and Doug said he feared racism was about to return, with a vengeance. At the time, I wasn't as inclined to pessimism as he was, but now I'm not so sure.

A recent New Yorker article on black French comedian, Dieudonné ("Letter from Paris: Laugh Riots" 11/19/07), recounts what Dieudonné referred to during several 2002 interviews as his "conversion." Since then, Dieudonné’s routines have had a virulent anti-Semitism at their center. Now Dieudonné considers Judaism to be "a scam. It's one of the worst because it's the first."

Some speculate that Dieudonné’s strategy is to ride the crest of a wave of racism taking western Europe, particularly France. According to the article's author, Tom Reiss...

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Wooing as warfare, part 1...

Three things are too wonderful for me;
        four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
        the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
        and the way of a man with a virgin.

(David) The way of a man with a woman is one of life’s great mysteries. From every perspective the process is mysterious, resembling a blindfolded sabre dance on uneven ground. The young man who pursues marriage enters a foreign land where he wages war. On the hinges of that battle lie happiness or shame.

But though a potential bride may be deeply loved, she’s also at some level the foe. To achieve victory the young man must not only win her, he must defeat her and her family, snatching her from their bosom, converting her to himself, breaking her natural bonds with father and mother, brother and sister, nurse and friend, dog and home. There’s little that’s tender about it. At funerals we cloak harsh reality in kind words and soft colors. So too, at weddings soft words and vibrant colors disguise a bloody truth. The wedding ceremony is really a mini-Versailles, an Appomattox-in-a-nutshell of capitulation and triumph, the surrender of one woman to one man, the victory song of groom over both bride and family.

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