Every Thumb's Width


For whatever reasons, and I think by God’s grace there are probably many, the Christians I spend most of my time with are not trying to be woke. My impression is that many of them don’t even know that being woke is a thing, to pursue or to avoid. Yet I do read about it, have watched a pretty poignant documentary about its effects on business, and like many of the worst parts in our culture at large, have concerns about how the squeaky wheel demands to be praised.

Take for instance this article about “woke interlopers” (which sounds like a bad band name) who are “transforming” Christian higher education. It lists a number of (so-called) Christian colleges/universities that are working hard, apparently, to play the placating game. If only it were a game, not a power grab. By woke rules, there must be acceptance of the message (no matter how irrational) and acknowledgement of wrong (no matter how unprovable). Maybe there will even be the making of an Office of Diversity.

Our early, little, local higher ed effort doesn’t have these problems and may the Lord protect us from ever promoting such envious wokedness.

The End of Many Books

Life after Google

by George Gilder

George Gilder is a character. He is much more curious and smart than me, and this is a benefit to me in reading him. I’ve already benefited from a book of his about economics and one about marriage.

This book is about technology, especially related to data and the internet, and the trajectory against centralized servers, as modeled mainly by Google.

I’m glad I read this, but even now I’m still not sure if Gilder has canceled his Google account and has gone all in on the blockchain, let alone if he’s transferred his funds to bitcoin (or another of the cryptocurrencies). Though there may be other books (and videos) that explain the math that (supposedly) protects the chain, Gilder explains some of the philosophy and value created by it.

4 of 5 stars

The End of Many Books

Watership Down

by Richard Adams

I read this final “curse” from this post a few months ago:

“May all of your rabbits die, and may you be unable to sell the hutch.”

I thought that sounded good, but I had no idea what the hutch part was all about. Ha!

My wife told me it was a reference to Watership Down, a novel about…rabbits. I was intrigued, plus I had been looking for my next fiction book to plod through.

I really enjoyed it, and recommend it, even if you don’t immediately push it to the top of your queue. It’s a good story with an unexpected leader, a strong sacrificer, a troubled oracle, and a ruthless (and virtually unbeatable) tyrant.

4 of 5 stars

Every Thumb's Width

Together 4 Dualism

This article, No Longer Together 4 the Gospel, is a few weeks old. The problem is even older than that.

I’ve traveled with a dozen or so men from our church to a couple T4G conferences. We always had a great time together. It is also true that the Reformed-ish, conservative theological perspective is often very narrow, and I’d agree that it applies to the T4G gist.

I don’t agree with Mr. Sandlin that worldview is more important than theology, but that could be just an apparent disagreement. I’m sure he believes that God’s revelation is the source, and the authority, for shaping weltanschauung. But I would say that the problem is a theology problem. The problem is a misunderstanding of God proper, and especially of God’s interests.

The problem is at least implicitly denying that the Creator-Theos cares about time and space, and behaving as if God changed His mind about all the goods in Genesis 1. It ignores the first great commission to man for relationships (be fruitful and multiply) and responsibilities (fill the earth, subdue it, have dominion) on the earth, here and now (Genesis 1:28). That’s at bottom a Bible-reading issue, a doctrinal issue, not a philosophical one, as if worldview came apart from God’s revelation.

While such a limited worldview could be connected to one’s eschatology, I believe that the theological error leading to the dilution in T4G circles is a form of dualism. All of the headlining T4G speakers act and teach as if what God cares about the most and, therefore, what all of us should care about the most, are “spiritual” things. But, ironically, spiritual fruit is earthy. Spiritual people are husbands and fathers (Ephesians 5:18 then look at the family responsibilities that flow out of the Spirit’s filling), not just pastors and missionaries. Spiritual men serve and lead. They redeem the time (5:15), they don’t only work on their sentences about eternity.

It is the Christian confession that Jesus is Lord. It is the Calvinist who (most consistently) acknowledges that God is sovereign. It is a Kuyperian who grasps that the lordship of Christ applies to the rest of the day after our “quiet time” in the Word, and that the sovereignty of God in science and history and families and businesses and education is more than just a token pointing to heaven’s throne.

T4G does exalt Jesus and does preach the Word. And also they do so with a limited expectation of where the incarnate Word and inspired Word apply. Seek the things that are above with the things of earth.

Anyway, read the original article and let’s work to believe bigger than just defending a “privat(ized) theology limited to soteriology.”

Lord's Day Liturgy

Manger Ministries

The good news of great joy is not that God is satisfied with you, but that He sent a Savior for you. The good news of great joy is not that you have produced enough, finally, for Him to accept you, but that He has accepted you in Christ, with grace and peace to you. Rejoice! Rejoice!

There is a helpful distinction, perhaps even a tension, that is worth maintaining even at the Lord’s Table. Our heavenly Father is pleased with us and still not satisfied. He loves us; in one sense He could not love us more, and in His love, He renews and refines us because we are not yet complete in Christ. He is pleased with us in Christ even as He is pleased to conform us more and more into His Son’s glorious image. There is true peace, even though we have not been made perfect yet.

The meal in front of us bears great similarity to the peace offering in the OT. It was a shared meal that recognized peace between God and men (and those men with each other) based on the sacrifices. The fellowship, the communion, was in God’s pleasure, which didn’t mean that all His purposes were perfected yet.

Consider this alt-view of the angel’s glory shown to the shepherds:

“Fear more, for behold, I bring you true news of great import, that I saw how you treated your wife before you left for work today, and this is the latest in a long line of disappointments to God. He wants you to clean it up.”

That is not evangel. Nor does Luke have any critical word that that the shepherds didn’t all quit their jobs and start a missionary effort under the brand: Manger Ministries.

Were they deserving? Was Mary? Was God satisfied with them? But was God pleased to share His blessings, favor, grace, and peace? Yes! Glory to God in the highest! There’s great joy for all the people in the Savior, Christ the Lord. (And as you have received, so give.)

Lord's Day Liturgy

An Irritated Puddle of Retaliatory Goo

We are well into advent now, rounding third and headed home. Yet because of how the days fall on the calendar this year, the fourth advent Sunday is still six long days from Christmas. A lot of events are done, but there are more on your schedule, especially ones with the people who tend to get on your nerves the most…family. That presents a significant challenge, because with strangers, you can’t predict as well what they’ll argue about, and you may never see them again. With the ones God has chosen for your permanent “neighbors,” you’ve seen the show a thousand times.

In a week of final preparations and feasting, even for a week with siblings at home from school all day every day, Solomon provides some counsel for the prudent.

The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.
(Proverbs 12:16)

Vexation refers to the spleen in the pot, foolishness is like the fire that makes the complaints simmer. Vexation is what pets your feathers backward, what puts salt in your tea. It could be about the state of democracy, it could be about the state of dinner. It could be about the commute, it could be about your comment. And because of how the proverb runs, vexation isn’t only generic grumbling in your presence, vexation may be insulting to your person.

I have said much about not being angry or ungrateful, this is about how to absorb it.

But…she’s wrong! But…others will get the wrong impression if I don’t make a public correction! But…you don’t know how insulting my brother has been for years!

The New Testament version goes even further: love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), which Peter uses as prep for the following imperative: “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9).

Prudence and love like this are not pushovers, just the opposite. This sort of wisdom and care is unable to be pushed over into an irritated puddle of retaliatory goo.

Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
(Proverbs 19:11)

Every Thumb's Width

Est. 2020

A little over two years ago I wrote that we were starting a college in Marysville. At the time, we had just decided on our name: Comeford College, but the image I found to use was just of a plain, navy pennant with the word “college” on it.

Thanks to one of our students (who is also my oldest daughter), I’ve got my very own Comeford pennant!

It. Must. Be. Official.

Lord's Day Liturgy

Following the First

Jesus is called the “firstborn son” of Mary (Luke 2:7). He’s called that because He wasn’t Joseph’s biological son, and because Mary did have other biological children afterward. The emphasis here is on His being born.

Jesus is also called “the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15). Such a firstborn wasn’t a material question but a positional one. He created all things, all creation is by Him and through Him and to Him (1:16). The emphasis here is on His being highest.

Jesus is called “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18). This is physical; He did rise in body on the third day. The emphasis here is on His being alive. It is also positional; related to His character and His crucifixion.

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:18–20 ESV)

And it is numerical; more will follow. He is the “firstborn of many brothers” (Romans 8:29). The emphasis here is on His being first; there is more than one, more to follow.

We celebrate His coming as a son of Mary, God clothed in flesh. We worship Him as unsurpassed, God as Creator and God in Christ. And we wait for His coming again, when we will be raised in flesh to follow in His train (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).

Every Thumb's Width

Gas for the Guitar

I like guitar, I like “Classical Gas,” and I like this edition (which I saw because Mike Rowe shared it):

Every Thumb's Width

Tackling Virgil

We’ve made the call that our 2022 Raggant Fiction Festival will cover some of the epics. The festival’s title is: Monumental Myths – Lit That Made Western Man. When talking about which epic I wanted to cover my first response was anything except for the Aeneid. Ha. Turns out, due to a number of variables, that I am now very excited about tackling Virgil. As I get going, I found this fantastic looking resource that I’ll be trying for doing some work in the original Latin text. I told my Latin students in class today that they can help keep me accountable.