If an Idiot Falls in a Forest

Word studies are often bad. Or done badly. Or a bad idea to begin with.

I am fond of words. The world is upheld by the word of Christ’s power (Hebrews 1:3). God created by speaking into existence (Hebrews 11:3). Jesus Himself is the Logos, the Word (John 1:1). God gave us His Word, and He gave us words, with form and function and meaning and history.

It’s easy enough to hear surface connections between words, or see simple derivatives, and make conclusions that are wrong. For example, dynamite comes from the Greek word dunamis, but when Paul said that the gospel is the power (dunamis) of God to salvation” in Romans 1:16, the apostle did not mean that the gospel will explode and blow up our sin. Or, another example, for as much as we can appreciate compound words, the English word butterfly” is neither a fly made out of butter or butter with wings.

That said, I recently came across the root of the word idiot. I have a pretty good idea of what idiot means; I have been called one, I have met more than one. It usually works fine as a synonym with fool, as one who makes it known that he is not in the know.

What I came to know is that it grew from the Greek word idios which means ones own,” or private.” It developed over time as a reference to one who couldn’t be bothered by what other people had to say, and described someone who was unskilled or inexperienced because of not being able, or willing, to learn from others.

That may seem like a lot to pin on just a word. Fine. So consider the corroboration from these inspired sentences.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)

And that really stands out after reading the previous verse.

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. (Proverbs 18:1)

Or as the NKJV translates, he rages against all wise judgment.”

One could be an idiot like this geographically, or argumentatively, or even silently, smugly judging how stupid everyone else is, just in your own head. Oh how wise it is to not be alone, and to listen to those who offer life-giving reproof (see Proverbs 6:23).

January 26, 2021 confession

Irreversible Damage

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This was one of the least enjoyable, least hopeful, more quotidian nightmarish books I’ve read (listed to) in a while. I learned some things about the transgender contagion/cult that I wish I wouldn’t need to know.

It also increased my commitment to encouraging image-bearers of God in the glory of being either male and female (Genesis 1:27), including my own son and daughters, as well as the young people in our church and school. Though the author is only conservative in comparison with the gender activist ideologues, and though she’s primarily just asking for people to slow down and ask some questions, even she has been tagged as a hater by some. There is little left to imagine how much contempt there is/will be for consistent Christians.

I do not recommend listening to this book with your young kids around. I do recommend that dads and moms do better than simply affirming every doubt and dysphoria their kids bring up, and perhaps hearing Shrier’s collected stories of loss and angst and dereliction by parents and professionals” would be a wake up call.

4 of 5 stars

January 22, 2021 Goodreads sexuality

A Heart That Is True

Psalm 119:2 states, Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.” The Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), it is His work to give new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26), and He causes His love to be poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

A great danger to a people who know that they must worship is to substitute, whether by apathy or by calculation, the motions for the motivation. The Lord warned His people over and over that heartless worship was an abomination to Him.

And the Lord said: 
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
 and honor me with their lips,
 while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
therefore, behold, I will again
 do wonderful things with this people,
 with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
 and the discernment of their discerning men 
shall be hidden.” 
(Isaiah 29:13–14)

Instead, we ought to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). We who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which [we] were committed” (Romans 6:17). We worship and we do our work not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6).

So how is your heart? Let us make sure that we draw near to God in worship with a hear that is true (see Hebrews 10:22).

January 18, 2021 confession

That Hideous Strength

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I give this book 10 out of 5 stars. It is my favorite fiction book of all that I’ve read. It is prescient, auspicious, faith-building, and fun. I had wanted to reread it when the pandemic lockdowns began last March (2020), and didn’t get around to start listening until December, but, wow, it’s still double-plus-extra good.

What’s not good are the covers. I selected a decent one to go with this post, but here is the Audible cover and then take a look at some of the craziness.

We seem to be living in a bitter mix of 1984/Brave New World, but the world is much more like Lewis’ vision, even though Orwell hated it and wrote his dystopian nostrum against it. Read THS. Listen to it. Again and again. Get yourself to St. Anne’s.

10 of 5 stars

January 14, 2021 Goodreads Lewis fiction

Pro Rege

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Pro Rege means for the king.” This is volume 1 of 3 by that title, and it includes various articles by Abraham Kuyper on the subject of The Exalted Nature of Christ’s Kingship.” These books are part of the larger series called his Collected Works in Public Theology,” and though I should have read the Common Grace volumes first, I was no less edified skipping ahead to Pro Rege. Here’s just one quote out of the 576 pages, but a relevant reminder:

Only when the anti-Christian power has exerted its greatest force and unfolded all of its unholy potential will the final battle be worthy of Christ; then He will celebrate a suitable victory after destroying that power in its full deployment.” (421)

4 of 5 stars

January 14, 2021 Goodreads Kuyper Kuyperianism public square

The Boast of a Fool

We are fools. If we do it right, being fools is more than fine. It’s something to embrace, even something to boast about.

It turns out that everyone is a fool; it’s not whether but which. It does matter significantly which sort of fool a man is. But don’t think that you can avoid being seen as a fool. That is a sign of the wrong kind of foolishness.

Paul reminded the Corinthians that the word of the cross is folly (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is folly to preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:21). All the things of the Spirit of God are folly; they are impossible to understand (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Believers are saved by that word (1 Corinthians 1:18). That crucified Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to the called (1 Corinthians 1:24). The spiritual person, the one who has received the Spirit who is from God, understands the things freely given us by God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

And that makes the natural man the eternal fool. That demonstrates how the wisdom of the world is made foolish by God (1 Corinthians 1:20). The rulers of this age,” by which I think Paul means more than just the philosophers and priests and governors of the first century, crucified the Lord of glory because they did not understand and it was their own undoing (1 Corinthians 2:8). Those who can’t understand are doomed to pass away” (1 Corinthians 2:6).

Your faith does not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5). God chose us as fools, as the low and despised, to have life in Christ Jesus whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and our sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

January 13, 2021 communion