Tuesday, May 27, 2008


You betcha!

What you see in this picture is my family. They are perhaps the greatest set of friends a father has had in the history of Western Civ. Other fathers may feel free to think it of their own overweening storge but I, he who has post-Enlightenment Rationalism as his middle name, I have checked.

Let me introduce you to the moment. We, last weekend, had flown to the East to pay homage to my eldest child's (Lincoln Davis, second from left) success at Seton Hall Law School. We, of course, spent our days wandering Manhattan and this shot is in the graveyard of a church next to Ground Zero. It has become a shrine, not for the death and resurrection of Christ, but a shrine for the rescuers of 9/11. Nifty old church but "next to Ground Zero" is uniquely apt.

To Lincoln Davis' right (the furthest left as you look at this picture) is Graeme Stanford. He is my gift to the expansion of The Empire and serves in the U.S. Army. To Davis' left, that good looking honey is Michalangela, jazz singer of Portland, Oregon. Marching further right down the ranks we have Evan Gunn, a senior in high school who could order a beer anywhere in the United States and not get carded. In fact, Friday night we dined at Del Frisco's Rockefeller Center and the uber-confident staff offered him wine. In keeping with the theme we next meet she who will continue to be carded though aged to five decades. The wife, Leslie Ann, the Amazing Missus, fit in easily to Neuva York. I had a flare up of a heel problem and so as we marched Manhattan, I shuffled along as the grey bearded gimp to the rear of the party, head down and muttering. The Missus consequently was mistaken for my daughter.

What's not to be proud of? They are a good lookin' batch of humanity. I was proud to have shuffled along after them.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I Don't Make the Rules, I Just Apply Them.

Back in my youth it was always said, "Just because you were born in a garage, it don't make you a Volkswagen." The truth bearing nature of aphorisms notwithstanding I always took that to mean (in the creedal sophistication of the Jesus Freaks) that being born in a Christian home did not make you a Christian. In fact the term "Christian home" itself is slightly silly, like those that think they feel a spirit of oppression when they drive into Utah. An institution has actual regeneracy? The mind fogs. Back to the point.
As the Baby Boom reaches past its midlife crisis and into a heightened religious sense and they pull up heaving at the near side of the Tiber or the Golden Horn, more credit is given by them to the contrary of this "saying". The adjustment of the residual evangelical faith they once held has them amend the saying thus, "Unless of course you always believed that you were a Volkswagen and committed yourself to the Chilton's manual of Volkswagen repair and subscribed rather strictly to all things relevant in the storied history of VW" Of course we cannot allow the illustration to get away from us by suggesting that this claimant to VW-ness had a Beetle and Jetta for parents at which the "please-save-my-kid-by-church-magic" set says validly, "Aha!" I pause before I say "Aha!" back at them. Don't want this to turn into a shoving match.
"Aha! Not only did I refrain from pushing the metaphor further then it could communicate but never, I repeat, never has a single Volkswagen in the history of the Cosmos been brought into being by a Beetle sharing a night of passion with a Jetta (I don't care how smokin' hot she was). So it is with Christians. The genetics and the period of incarceration make nothing of a man except perhaps peer status with the demons. But you have always believed and ..and...sola fide, faith alone.
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe -- and shudder.
James 2:19
The catechism of the First Church of Pandemonium is solid on the doctrine of God. Not only does the creed of that institution affirm it, they individually claim the belief. How long have they believed? They can't remember a time when they did not know that this was true.
Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren?
James 2:20
James has been on this topic a bit by the time he gets to verses 19 & 20. He seems to think that belief that matters to God (not a dead faith) is that which has promoted an action. And what form would the action take in those that believe the claims the Jesus died for sinners?
Romans 10:8-14 has an idea.
The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?

The verbal confession includes more than saying the great creedal truths. It involves calling on the Name of the Lord. How can they call without belief? The demons believe and don't call. Is their faith not true? The Bible says that their faith is true about these things but it is silent about another belief which genetic "Christians" with them might not affirm at a level which would bring about a saving faith. They don't believe that they need to. Not sinners or not sinful enough. Regenerate from the womb, always a Christian, never unconverted. Only the sinner cries out to God, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"

I John 1:8-10 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

This is the upshot. St. Paul lets us know in Romans 7 that, yes he was born alive spiritually but as the law entered his life, sin came to life and he died. This is the death from which the work of Christ on the cross came to redeem us. The child of Christian parents is certainly benefited by the presence of the truth surrounding them but the truth is this: by the time a mind is capable of even understanding the articles of the Faith (which they will naturally believe as some naturally believe in Santa Claus) they will have fallen to the sins that come to life as they encounter the moral law. They must believe that Christ died to save sinners but they must come to also believe that they are precisely that, sinners. Those two beliefs, the need and the answer, bring about the the work of a real faith, calling on the name of the Lord to be saved. God's grace is to sinners and those who think they can just grow up knowing the truth and learning to be obedient are denying that grace.
I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law,
then Christ died to no purpose.
Galatians 2:21

Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Galatians 4:16

This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
Galatians 5:8

Monday, May 05, 2008


Do you want to understand The Big Haus Society?
Go here.
Do you want to help offer The Big Haus to others?
Go here.
Do you want to visit The Big Haus to gain what it is we offer?
Go here.

At the Big Haus,
It's the Thought That Counts.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pastoral Bestiary

I ran across this old cartoon today cleaning out my files.