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Marysville Sun

In the spirit of starting somewhere, I finally followed up on this post. Instead of Standard I decided to go with Sun, because it has obvious metaphorical value AND because it seems like a playful acknowledgment that in Marysville’s geographical/meteorological condition, we really would like more sun.

I now own the digital property at marysvillesun.com but there’s no building there yet.

And actually, I decided to try Substack for a 1.0 version. A weekly newsletter seems right, and Substack makes subscribing and eventual paid subscriptions easy. There’s just a Coming soon there now, but nothing is stopping you from subscribing today. 🙂

Subscribe here!

There’s also a new Twitter account if that’s your thing.

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Establish the Work

The following are notes from my quick talk at tonight’s Comeford College Information Night.


The Lord will return and we want to have our lamps filled with oil. The foolish virgins took their lamps to meet the bridegroom, but they brought no extra oil, and as the bridegroom delayed, their oil ran out and their lamps went out. The door was shut and they missed out on the marriage feast (Matthew 25:1-13).

The Lord will return and we will give an account for the talents He has given us. That happens to be the very next parable (Matthew 25:14-30). Not all the servants were given the same capital to start with, but they were all expected to invest and give a return to their returning master. The one who buried his talent had his one and only talent taken from him. Each of the servants who had made more talents were told, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21 and 23).

The Lord will return, and Jesus is Lord. That is the minimum confession of every Christian disciple (per Romans 10:9), but it is a minimum with no bottom, or top, or sides for that matter. It’s really less a minimum and more a maximum, even more, it’s a maxim. Maxim comes from maxima in Latin, the “largest or most important proposition.” What covers and touches more than all the things that Jesus created and cares about (John 1:3)? That’s the kind of confession that really keeps our lamps burning.

Because He is Lord He sets the cosmic curriculum for what we must learn and because He is Lord we are to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). In short order we’ve got the what, the how, and the why. Because He is Lord He also tells us where.

And where we are is here. Jesus is Lord in and of Marysville no matter how many recognize it. This is our home, this is where we want to “take root downward and bear fruit upward” (see Isaiah 37:31, ESV).

It’s why we named this college Comeford), after James P. Comeford, who set up shop around two miles from this very spot, literally, in 1872. History records that he was a Catholic, and a capitalist. We are at least his geographical descendants, loving Marysville into greater loveliness by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ our Lord alone.

We want Marysville to be a destination for learning how to take dominion (Genesis 1:28) as men and women, and what God hath gendered asunder, let not man color light purple. We want so much more for our kids and grandkids, for our neighbors, and for our city, than the crippling crap spewing out of so many colleges and the mala fides credentials given with decades of debt.

As Abraham Kuyper put it in his inaugural address to the Free University of Amsterdam:

“To put it mildly, our undertaking bears a protest against the present environment and suggests that something better is possible.”

This isn’t just because of what we’re fearful of, but because we fear the Lord who gives wisdom and understanding and joy and fruit.

Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
(Psalm 90:16–17, ESV)

May the Lord bless us with good sense and with strength. May we be faithful in this little place with the little we’ve started with, so that when He returns we will be ready for our larger responsibilities and enter into His joy.

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A Fun Conniption Fit

I think it’s fun that Elon Musk bought Twitter.

I’ve always preferred Twitter more than Facebook. In the early days, the most that someone could waste my time on Twitter was limited to 140 characters. Plus there were a variety of apps to choose from, the timeline was chronological not algorithmic, replies were more limited (and also limited to 140 characters), there weren’t long tweetstorms/threads, and again, a tweet was just a tweet and not a treatise.

I signed up for Facebook a few years ago because it seems to be the preferred place of communication for a lot of the people in our church and school. Fine. I decided it was important to carry my own digital man-purse. I’ve never had FB installed on my phone, though, and still don’t enjoy the experience of using the service (let alone being used by the service).

As for Twitter, it has gradually become more fussy and less fun. I actually thought Trump’s tweets were entertaining, not least because his tweets clearly weren’t run through any White House PR person. Banning him seemed wrong, and later suspending The Babylon Bee was petty.

So I’ll admit that it’s fun to see someone effectively hassle the expurgators. “Free speech” requires a definition, and, at least at the moment, I wouldn’t say I’m for absolute free speech, but I certainly think that political (and medical, which was obviously political these past couple years) disagreements should be uncensored. Let the best arguments and ideas and data fight it out. But don’t put your thumb on the scale and call that democracy (though we don’t live in a democracy anyway).

I’ve already seen some “Elon isn’t the savior” church-lady scolding. Who knows for sure what, if any, changes (or Twitter prison breaks) there will be? I don’t think Musk is a social media messiah, but I can appreciate watching the conniption fit being thrown by at least some of the corrupt/censor-happy liberals who wouldn’t know true liberty if a bird bit them in the face.

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Killing Is Not a Constitutional Right

For a number of years I have talked about making Marysville a destination. I’ve thought about it in terms of being the kind of people with a gravity that could be an encouragement, and maybe even a sort of mini-haven, to Christians in an otherwise leftist (political/moral) state. In fact, ours is already one of the few sane cities on the I-5 corridor, which goes up and down the furthest left (geographical) part of WA State if you’re looking at a map.

Our legislature and governor are trying to make WA a destination for different reasons. They’ve put forward a bill to invite more abortions.

Here’s the news article, including this quote from the governor:

“We know this bill is necessary because this is a perilous time for the ability of people to have the freedom of choice that they have enjoyed for decades. To the citizens of Idaho, if Idaho will not stand up for your constitutional rights, we will.”

But killing is not a constitutional right.

If you do click through and read the article, note that immediately following the governor’s quote, our state is also abandoning words like “woman” and “mother” for “pregnant individual.”

We are lost. And while it isn’t surprising, it is sinful, depraved, evil, and worth doing something about.

If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?
(Proverbs 24:10–12, ESV)

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Grease All Over the Kitchen

I committed at the beginning of the year that I would not read any new-to-me books in 2022 about productivity or getting things done. I’ve already read a bunch in this genre, the grist is largely the same, and so it seemed reasonable to work on remembering and doing instead of searching for the next hack. So I choose twelve previously read books to review, one for each month.

In March I’m reviewing my highlights for The Supper of the Lamb. Capon’s book isn’t a self-help or to-do book, in fact, it’s actually a cook book. But it does an excellent job of helping one to see the world, to be thankful for it, and to be fruitful in it.

A common temptation for “truth lovers” (as David Wells labels in The Courage to Be Protestant) is to get stuck loving truth in two-dimensions. We get stuck at the sentence level rather than caring for propositions and also embodying their truth. Capon stirs the pot:

Every time he diagrams something instead of looking at it, every time he regards not what a thing is but what it can be made to mean to him—every time he substitutes a conceit for a fact—he gets grease all over the kitchen of the world.

(Loc. 299)

I still don’t know that I have any book with more highlights than this one, and would highly recommend that you read it, or review it.

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Theonomic Terms

C. S. Lewis argued that God doesn’t find man’s desire for pleasure too strong, but too weak. I think it’s also true that God doesn’t find the Christian man’s interest in politics too powerful, but too pathetic.

I know that the “Idol of Politics” is a favorite model of rented car for preachers to abuse who say that Christians act like politics and politicians can save them. Recently the beat-sticks have come out against so-called Christian Nationalists. But I have never met a Christian who actually thinks that the government is the Savior.

Most of the preachers who fear some Inevitable Compromise from Christians who spend too much time talking about politics are not more spiritual, they are ignorant. They may know how to speak accurately about the gospel, but they do not know how to disciple their people to obey all the Jesus commanded, which is the Great Commission, which includes how to obey Jesus when we live together with our neighbors in a city, state, and nation. I’ve had to repent from this sort of naivety and ignorance myself.

Jesus is Lord. We should believe it, and we should live by faith like it. And, what is surprisingly controversial question, shouldn’t we want the laws in our land to honor Him as Lord?

Here is a 17 minute video by Douglas Wilson on General Equity Theonomy. He’ll define theonomy, but it basically combines theos-God and nomos-law, and there is always a God/god of every law. He asks and answers some plain questions, and it’s really valuable whether or not you’ve asked the Westminster Confession of Faith into your heart.

A couple years ago I took a stab at explaining why Christians are allowed to, and should be expected to, think in theonomic terms. My notes for that talk are here, but there’s video, too.

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Local News

A friend of mine shared this video with me a while ago, and it only makes me more excited about the idea of getting a local newspaper going in Marysville. As Glen Morgan says near the end, “The future belongs to those who show up.”

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The River of Knowledge

I came across this pic in an article about keeping a digital commonplace book and wanted to save/share it here. At our school we talk about how We stand downstream in the river of Western civilization, and the Omnibus curriculum is one attempt to swim in waters.

The river of knowledge is as broad and fertile as the Nile, which is to say, full of nuggets of excrement, viral diseases, and the occasional crocodile. We don’t want most of this stuff to stick….

But the valuable concepts, ideas, and stories that drift our way are worth retaining. If we want to get compound interest on our knowledge, we have to stop all these precious ideas from draining straight back out the holes in our colander-brains.

How to Get Compound Interest on Your Ideas, Richard Meadows

There’s junk and treasure in the river. I thought the image above was worth collecting.

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WokEd

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.

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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.”