Thursday, February 22, 2007

More on Baptism, from Oak Hill

The human mind explaining Baptism is like a harmonica interpreting Beethoven: the music is too majestic for the instrument. No scholar or saint can fully appreciate what this means in heaven. Any words on baptism, including these, must be seen as human efforts to understand a holy event. Our danger is to swing to one of two extremes: we make baptism either too important or too commonplace. Either we deify it or we trivialize it. One can see baptism as either the essence of the gospel or as irrelevant to the gospel. Both sides are equally perilous. One person says, "I am saved because I was baptized." The other says, "I'm saved so I don't need to be baptized." The challenge is to let the pendulum stop somewhere between the two viewpoints. This is done by placing the issue where it shoud be -- at the foot of the cross.
Later the statement notes that there are no examples of unbaptized believers in the New Testament, except for...
The thief on the cross, however, is a crucial exception. His conversion drives dogmatists crazy. It is no accident that the first one to accept the invitation of the crucified Christ has no creed, confirmation, christening, or catechism. How disturbing to theologians to ascend the mountain of doctrine only to be greeted by an uneducated thief who cast his lot with Christ. Here is a man who never went to church, never gave an offering, never was baptized, and said only one prayer. But that prayer was enough. He has a crucial role in the gospel drama. The thief reminds us that though our dogma may be airtight and our doctrine dead center, in the end it is Jesus who saves. [emphasis mine]
Another interesting section is in answer to the question "How much do I need to know to be baptized?" This is interesting to me because the churches I've belonged to generally follow the pattern of a) someone walks down the aisle, or otherwise makes known a decision for Christ, b) the person meets with an eldor/deacon/minister and they talk -- I don't know for certain about what because I haven't been a part of that, at least not since I was seven when the preacher came to my house to talk to me , c) the person is baptized...with what time lag I'm not sure, but probably no more than a few weeks. I was surprised to visit Richland Hills Church of Christ in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and see someone come down the aisle and be baptized in the same service! I didn't know quite what to think of it because I see both sides: we don't want to be dunking people who have no idea what they're actually doing, as that cheapens baptism and may create an assurance of salvation in one who has not been saved, but if someone has been saved and is excited and eager to follow Christ's command to be baptized, who am I to say "no, you cannot, I must first deem you truly worthy"?

Oak Hill's answer is grounded in an analysis of each of the NT's baptism narratives. Who was baptized and what did they understand/know prior to baptism? Oak Hill's conclusion is
The message and the response are consistent. The message is Jesus and the response is voluntary--a simple faith in Christ and an immediate response of faith to be baptized.
Interesting food for thought!

The concluding statement is "For all we may not understand about baptism, we can be sure of one thing: it is a holy moment." I'm not sure if I really thought about my baptism as a holy moment before. I think this emphasis on the holiness of baptism comes from the influence of the teaching of baptism as part of a process of salvation (though Oak Hill apparently doesn't teach that view at all). I appreciate the contribution that teaching has given me in a better appreciation of baptism. I have been known to tear up (frequently!) while witnessing a baptism, but more as a result of joy over someone's brand new commitment to Christ. I'm pretty sure I'll still feel that joy, but I think I'll also feel more of a sense of holiness about the event as well now.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Weather Woes

It's cold, I'm snowed/iced in, and I haven't been able to go to the grocery store. It's the perfect night to order a pizza...but I'd be out a million bucks or more after the delivery boy broke his neck trying to get up my sidewalk.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Update on Dave Barry's 24 Commentary

I'm reading "Steve the 24 Guy"' s minute-by-minute comentary, a comment on Dave's blog (scroll down maybe 90% to the bottom) and it's so cleverly funny I'm about to have a little accident in the chair if I don't make a strategic retreat to the restroom.

Did I just post that on a blog...????? =)

Update to the update: I think simply being familiar with 24 will be enough to find Steve's "comment" gut-bustingly funny.

Update to the update to the update: My favorite quip so far...

Bill is going to send Milo out into the field with Jack! Milo is in the background kicking and screaming, because he’s heard what happens to “people out in the field with Jack” before. Some of the CTU extras try to give him a going away cake, but he doesn’t even look at it.
Just to be certain to avoid plagiarism, the link is in the previous post!

24 Running Commentary ala Dave Barry

OK, dumb me, I forgot that 24 was a two-parter starting at 8, so while I recorded it, I didn't start recording until like 8:45 and missed the first 45 minutes. Drat! Jack probably tortured a few more family members during that time and I missed it!

The funniest thing I've ever seen, ever, ever! on 24 was on Dave Barry's blog--does he do it every week? It's kind of a running commentary, Dave Barry style, very funny! And the comments -- uh, yeah, 890 of them at the time of this writing -- are really funny too. There are some witty people out there! I don't think you'll get much out of it if you don't watch 24, or if you didn't specifically watch those episodes of 24 -- I definitely found it way funnier when it reached the part I had seen. (Incidentally, I'm fond of the actress playing "Mrs. Baldy" and I think she's a pretty good actress. Rena Sofer started [that I know of] on General Hospital back in the day when I watched it, and she really stood out in that way that talented actors do on soap operas.)

I especially loved the bit about Jack being caught in a nuclear blast and then molecularly reassembled, because no way such a little thing as a nuclear bomb could stop Jack! Dave even comments on the commercials! Good stuff.

More on PNRD = 1

I was lying awake in bed the other night contemplating the fact (that's right, "fact," I give in) that .9-repeating-decimal equals 1, and thought of another way to conceptualize it, a way that actually makes it somehow make sense to me. Why do I care?

What do you add to PNRD to make it equal 1?

Think about this for a moment.

You know that eventually you have to add a "1"...but when do you add it? The "9" repeats into, again, when would you add the "1"? After how many "point-zero's"?

The answer is, of course, that since the 9's stretch into infinity, you can never add the 1, because you never reach the infinity. That's pretty much what infinity means, as I understand it. And if you can never add anything to it to make it equal to 1 (and there's nothing else you can do to it to make it equal 1), must already equal 1.

This is probably the simplest way to think about it (to my mind), even simpler than the 1/3 vs. .3-repeating-decimal. And somehow less mind-blowing, but perhaps that's just because it's had a few months to slosh around and sink in.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Musings on Tim Tebow

Find out all about how Tim Tebow is going to make it three more years when it's great to be a Florida Gator.

My favorite? "Tim Tebow can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves."

Scroll down to PJ Harrison's posts. But actually, this is a really entertaining blog post, again from Nathan Finn (new site location).

I laughed so hard my chest hurt and I could only breathe in gasps.

Laughed...and rejoiced to be a Gator. Keep the sackcloth handy, Nathan!

Grab the Closest Book...

I'm not sure why I'm doing this, but I read the following, some kind of blog chain letter or something, on Nathan Finn's blog (which focuses on Southern Baptists).

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123; go down to the fourth sentence.
3. Post the text of the following three sentences.
4. Name the author and book title.
5. Tag three people to do the same.

Well, I don't even know what "tagging" is, and I'm still trying to figure out what exactly this "RSS feed" thing is and how it works--I may not even the initials right--that a friend from work told me about and I've since seen everywhere.

But doggone, I know how to open a book!

But in the Rhineland it was different. The emporer there ruled only by virtue of his election. When at Cologne on November 12 Aleander tried to have a bonfire, though the archbishop had given his consent, the executioner refused to proceed without an express imperial mandate.

--Roland H. Bainton's "Here I Stand" on Martin Luther, this section on the beginnings of the Counterreformation and book burnings

(This is the closest book, the only book in my office, because I've been intending to post a book review on Amazon...yeah, for a few months now.)

As for tagging three people, yeah, well, maybe if I knew that meant. I'm not sure there are even three people looking at this blog, but if anyone does, it might be a fun little experiment.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

General Paulus's Sharp Wit

General Lucius Aemilius Paulus wielded a clever pen back in B.C. Rome that has not dulled with time. Definitely worth a read. My eye was initially drawn to it because of the "Come with me to Macedonia" -- happily! (Well, maybe depends what part.)

(No, this doesn't count as substantive.)

Welcome Back Borat...Not

My good friend "Lantana" will be so happy! Sacha Baron Cohen has signed on to make "Borat 2." Saw this while, ahem, checking TV Guide to see what's on tonight. I'm beat, long workdays all week, debating whether I have the energy to fix supper or just order pizza. It's a good TV/do the laundry night regardless.

Hopefully I will post something substantive before next year....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

No Vitriol, Please

Sometimes I would like to blog more about my opinions on various matters, political, theological, linguistic, what have you, but I've seen far too much vitriol flung out there to want to get too much into that. (Not that there's more than a [small] handful of people reading this anyway, none of whom are likely to sling vitriol, but there's at least a tiny chance that someday hordes of people will descend on my humble little blog...okay, very tiny!)

And it seems to not necessarily have anything to do with the tone of the original post. Today while randomly hopping around various blogs (I don't have any I read daily, or even weekly for that matter) I came across what I thought was an incredibly thoughtful, insightful post on the issue. It was on Cerulean Sanctum -- Cerulean of "Blue...cerulean blue" X-files fame that often makes me think twice before pulling into an intersection -- I blog I hadn't seen before. The comments were interesting, too, with no vitriol in sight, thank goodness.

Came across some other things, too, but I'm tired of being on the internet and will post some more later.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Five Guys -- Finally Washington Recognized for Cuisine

After being on another blog where Five Guys came up, I had to post. Yummy, yummy, yummy hamburgers, and you can be as picky as you want. Everything you want on it (bell pepper! mushroom! A-1 sauce!) and nothing you don't (onion, tomato, mustard...yuck!). There's a long list of ingredients and you just start from the bare burger and say what you want on it. The fries are good too -- very greasy, but good. They're fried in peanut oil, which I guess is what gives them their unusual flavor. Did I mention the hamburgers are yummy?

The Guys are Washington-based but rapidly expanding amidst rave reviews -- keep an eye out, they may be coming to city near you!

Can I get paid for this?

Michelle Malkin's Comments on Iraq Visit

Click here to read about the conservative commentator's recent visit to Iraq. I thought it was pretty balanced, conveying some of the soldiers' frustration with those on both the left and the right.