November 20, 2004

Ah, that time of year again. Procrastination. Yesterday I was scheduled to research for my 10-page US History paper on the anti-Federalists and run errands. I ended up going to the mall with Katie and buying a much-needed second sweater (that's right, I only owned one sweater that actually fit me), going to Swiss Chalet for supper with Adrienne, Claire, Tal and Ryan Jones, and spending the evening being distracted by the twin vices of the poker game downstairs and the internet in my room.

Today I spent more time on the internet and hanging out at Alaina and Sandra's dorm before finally going to check out my books for US History.

I'm pretty sure I didn't procrastinate this much in high school. On the other hand we didn't have to do 10 page papers so much.

I have to say, this is probably the least interesting blog I've ever written. I'm pretty sure everyone reading this is sleeping by now.

Hmm... sleeping... nap. Maybe I'll do that before I get started working....

Posted by Tim at 05:34 PM | Comments (10)

November 11, 2004

Remembrance Day / Veterans' Day.

GOD of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pineó
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forgetólest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart;
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forgetólest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire;
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forgetólest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Lawó
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forgetólest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shardó
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

--Rudyard Kipling

Posted by Tim at 07:36 PM | Comments (14)

November 04, 2004

(warning: this post may contain philosophical and/or theological dialogue. may not be appropriate for readers who run out of the room screaming when Kuyper or CRC politics comes up. reader discretion is advised. but you should really read it, especially if you're CRC)

Tonight I went to Kuyper's Cafe at Prof. Bartholomew's house for the first time. I was expecting an interesting discussion on the assigned reading, an N.T. Wright article about the new heavens and the new earth. I didn't expect to end the evening quite so... furious. But I am.

After the discussion of the reading, which was pretty uncontroversial in our heavily neo-calvinist, anti-dualist group, Albert Postma reported on a seminar he'd attended over the weekend at the Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) in Toronto, a post-graduate school which is at least partially funded by individual CRCs. Apparently this was a pretty alarming experience because there were a lot of vocal liberals who called on the ICS to stay on "the cutting edge of relevance", but no one was willing to stand up for the Gospel. Albert related how he was frustrated that there were no orthodox neo-cals going up to the (open) mike to defend our tradition, but that he hadn't felt confident enough in his knowledge of theology and philosophy to speak there.

Professor Bartholomew backed up Albert's testimony; he spent a year at the ICS and was similarly disturbed by the liberalism at the ICS and the lacklustre orthodox response to it. He told us about the senior philosopher who was given an award by the gay-friendly MCC denomination and who then preached a sermon looking forward to the day when gays would be accepted as gays in his church (that is, OUR church, the Christian Reformed Church!); about the conservative students like himself who were forced to stand up to the liberal profs at school meetings because the conservative profs wouldn't for some reason; about the fact that two liberal profs who have retired were replaced by new profs with exactly the same liberal views. As an Anglican, he wondered why conservative neo-cals in the CRC are so reluctant to stand and fight for the Gospel, for Christ and His Church.

I wonder the same thing.

We talked about Redeemer as well. Redeemer was founded along the same Canadian neo-cal, Dooyeweerdian lines as the ICS, though it has retained much more of the Tradition. The question now, raised also in an article by Daniel Silliman in the latest Comment magazine (edited by Gideon Strauss), is how to pass the Tradition on to our generation and from the intellectuals to those who really want to confront and critique our culture but who are not philosophically and theologically minded. Neo-calvinism is a dead movement walking unless the average-joe CRC member in the pew becomes passionate about re-ordering every inch of this sin-broken world around Jesus Christ, who is the Word made flesh, the Redeemer of the whole creation, the Lord over the whole universe.

In the next year, I think Redeemer will become a major spiritual skirmish in the larger battle for the Christian Reformed Church. Our denomination is being called by God to point the way forward for the remnants of the Kingdom of God in North America, to show the Church how to engage our post-modern culture with the Gospel. As a result the evil one is trying to dilute our proclamation of the Bible both at Calvin College and the ICS, and even in the CRC Home Office itself. The Banner can also be quite worrying. Redeemer is the stronghold of orthodox neo-Calvinism in the English-speaking world, and it is definitely beginning to come under fire. We are the next generation of leaders in our church. If we do not stand up for her, there will be no Christian Reformed Church in fifty years: well, there might be a CRC, but it will be neither a Reformed nor a Christian church.

This year, Kuyper's Cafe is getting into full swing and there are worship nights in the Rec Centre every Wednesday. But I think the real battles are going to be fought over Church in the Box. At least three people involved in CITB, including me, felt darkness at the last CITB, especially during the offering. We weren't together and expressed these feelings to others independently of each other (in fact, I didn't find out that other people were getting these feelings until tonight). This is the real thing.

Next CITB is on, that's right, spiritual warfare. This is going to be a crucial moment. Keep it in your prayers.

I would be pretty frustrated by now, except for one thing--we will not be fighting this battle alone:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amidst the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing.
Doth ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name, from age to age the same;
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
we shall not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers--no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
the body they may kill: God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!

Posted by Tim at 01:07 AM | Comments (32)