Archive for the 'Parnassian' Category

Christian Hedonism and Global Conjecture

While waiting for biographies of Augustine, Calvin and Tyndale to arrive from (it takes months!), I decided to spend time in John Piper’s best book, Desiring God, Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. In the introduction (of the 1996 edition), he published a poem that he wrote to his wife. Here is a sample:

Call it [Christian Hedonism] whatever name you may,
It is the truth. Shall God display
His great all-satisfying grace
In Joyless souls? And shall he trace
The outlines of his majesty
In hearts that neither taste nor see
Enough in him to comprehend
That here their quest is at an end?
No, God has made another way
To put his glory on display.


His goodness shines with brightest rays
When we delight in all his ways.
His glory overflows its rim
When we are satisfied in him.
His radiance will fill the earth
When people revel in his worth.
The beauty of God’s holy fire
Burns brightest in the heart’s desire.

Global Conjecture

On to another theme, I was disappointed to learn about the 85 evangelical leaders who decided to sign a global-warming pact. They are engaging on the wrong front, I believe, and this will surely distract those who look to them for guidance and vision.


Joe Carter, at the Evangelical Outpost wrote an excellent post about Global Cooling. In the article, he points out that global warming is merely “the scientific consensus”. It seems that the media blurs the lines between scientific method and scientific conjecture. He quotes Michael Crichton from a recent Caltech lecture:


I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it is not science. If it is science, it is not consensus. Period.

We do not know, with certainty, that GW is a real problem, and yet those 85 guys jumped onto the political bandwagon. I take my cue from Paul. I want to stay with that ‘one thing I do’ mentality (Phil 3:13), and avoid distractions; especially the silly ones.


Cold, Coffee Club and… Calvinism

The thermometer reads minus 25C. Add to that wind and humidity and you get some very unpleasant conditions. Maya came home from the ladies’ home group yesterday with a bit of frostbite on her ears; very painful!

The college home group (coffee club) starts in a few hours. I hope that the cold will not deter any from making the trip ‘up the hill’ to where we meet.

As I was reading A Quest for Godliness, The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, I ran across this famous poem that Charles Wesley penned;


Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night:

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke; the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off: my heart was free:
I rose, went forth, and followed thee


To which J.I. Packer commented, “…it was Charles Wesley who wrote this, but it is one of the many passages in his hymns that makes one ask … ‘Where’s your Arminianism now, friend?”

Doesn't that make you want to smile?

Uncommon Union

On his deathbed (and on many occasions before that), Jonathan Edwards said that he and his wife, Sarah (the lady from New Haven), shared an "uncommon union". He meant that life was so much richer and fuller and better because of their relationship, which they nurtured and enjoyed their whole 30 years of life together.


I echo that about Maya (pictured above with Hannah). She is the best for me, and I thank God every day for her love and our uncommon union. She is a stellar wife, and an outstanding mother. I love her. And I am not just writing this because she gave me an early birthday present today.



To Maya, my beautiful wife,

The fairest and precious indeed,

I will love you with all of my life,

A promise that always I’ll heed.

And thanks be to my benevolent Father,

Who granted this charity to be.

I'm grateful forever for this priceless treasure:

Maya’s uncommon union with me.

Big Foot, Home Group and Haiku

We do not often think about how big a baby's feet are, do we?



And then here is David, catching up on his reading.


We had a nice meeting tonight with the married’s home group. Only a month ago, I wondered if we would keep running this one. Now, we have a steady group coming each Sunday night. Tonight, we discussed the cultural differences of wedding ceremonies. They all brought pictures of their weddings and shared their stories. Then we played some games. Next week, we return to our principals of marriage lessons. Here is a picture I took while we were playing a game.

Haiku is always so choppy to me. Maybe it is just mine that are that way.


Little by little,

Every step so trying,

Never will we quit.


With hope in his love,

Resting in His providence,

Only He can save.


All for His glory,

We all shall stand before Him,

Life is a vapor.


A gift of cash?

Spouses often consider a gift of cash as something a little less than thoughtful. In our case, it was very practical. Maya is overdue for winter shoes and a coat and it is probably better to let her shop for those things. So as not to be totally classless, I wrote her this silly poem.

Merry Christmas my dear!
Great words you must love to hear,
That now that special time is here,
And all these silly gifts appear,

We set a limit and both agreed,
600 rubles – the max indeed,
You probably know where this will lead,
I failed I think, our limit to heed.

In just a moment, I’ll tell you why,
I broke our oath and went so high,
So hold your hums and stay your sigh,
I’ll explain, or, at least I’ll try.

The things is this, I’ll have you know,
That out the window there’s so much snow,
It makes me feel like such a schmo,
To watch you winter gear forgo,

Your shoes are fine for the spring,
Or even winter in Beijing,
But here frostbite is what they'll bring,
So in my mind came just the thing,

Take these rubles for this task,
And find some shoes, oh, find them fast,
While still cold weather here will last,
Then warmly will your cute toes bask.

That’s not all – it’s only half,
And this part might make you laugh,
The deal is this, oh, please don’t chaff,
Your winter coat is pure riffraff.

It’s time to toss it in the trash,
Or in your famous storage stash,
Here’s a sum of rubles cash,
Make sure your new coat doesn’t clash!

So now you know, oh don’t despise,
Why I your gift could not downsize,
I thought it all so very wise,
To help you finally winterize.

His Joy – My Strength

These lines came while dwelling on the limitless richness of Nehemiah’s proclamation, “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.

The brightest day, the darkest night,
The greyest valley, the grandest height,
The sweetest song, the glum melody,
The gentle breeze, the tempest sea;

In happy tidings or grief unending,
With laughter or in bitter weeping,
While sickly or in perfect health,
In rank poverty or endless wealth;

When enemies surround me,
Or trumpet sounds the victory,
When all my friends despise, abase
Or shower me with unearned praise,

In hope and in strife,
In death and in life,
In all things that befall,
Be they grand or be they small,

His joy is my constant strength!