Here it is, Skaftna’s Doom.
And here it is listed on SF Signal!
Posted by unknowing on February 29, 2012
I am doing pretty interesting work. I study, I read, I pray, I prepare to teach three times on Sunday, also teach other times. I have a full schedule just studying, thinking, reading and writing. I can work from home, begin at the hour of the morning I please and take as long a hiatus as I please as long as I make sure I’m getting a conscientious number of hours in. In Colombia the work week is 48 hours long.
And I have to keep track of the time, to look at the clock and measure it accurately rather than work a long time and say that its enough. I have a clear conscience on that. I can say that I use my time well. And I have to do that because I’m doing what I don’t want to be doing, and every time I come back form a vacation it is harder.
It isn’t the activities I’m doing. And now that my salary is adjusted my life is comfortable, and my position is probably enviable. But this responsibility of pastoring is not one I desire, and so the thing becomes more and more difficult. Perhaps like a gradual hardening of the arteries of the soul. If it goes on, it is going to become dreadful.
Only God places pastors, for which I am very grateful. Only God gives them the desire and the supernatural graces to carry on the work.
Here is what’s lamentable: that people want to make pastors out of the people they’d like to see doing it on the preposterous notion that there aren’t enough, as if God didn’t give enough. As if the work of God depended on people being willing enough. So they try to use browbeating and guilt. Which is not how God does it, is it? There is something to be said for his placing there a desire.
Not that I think it has to start out with a desire. But for anything you’re going to do long-term, there has to be a certain joy and willingness on your part if it is going to be done well. And that is a truth hard to argue with; one of those things that rings true down in the deep heart’s core. Because nobody who of good-will desires for another the pastorate, desires for that other a mediocre pastorate.
Posted by unknowing on February 27, 2012
Best cloud I’ve ever done. New paper, new way of taping the paper down, new brush, and quite the going over. I’m awfully proud of this here cloud.
And now, the artist looking old and crooked. Apparently the Icelandic sweater is more suggestive of a space suit to certain types of people.
Thanks to David for the picture. In honor of him and fundamentalism, I’ll call the cloud David.
Posted by unknowing on February 23, 2012
It is obligatory. Whenever you can, listen to the poet reading his own work. Yeats and Pound were peculiar, and Eliot was a genius. This one has a bit of introduction, so you can contrast his speaking voice and his reading voice. Remember people used to make fun C.S. Lewis & company for chanting poetry. Idiots. It is music, of course it is chanted–though not badly, of course.
Posted by unknowing on February 23, 2012
1 Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 For knowing wisdom and instruction,
For understanding sayings of intelligence,
3 For receiving the instruction of wisdom,
Righteousness, judgment, and uprightness,
4 For giving to simple ones—prudence,
To a youth—knowledge and discretion.
5(The wise doth hear and increaseth learning,
And the intelligent doth obtain counsels.)
6 For understanding a proverb and its sweetness,
Words of the wise and their acute sayings.
7 Fear of Jehovah is a beginning of knowledge,
Wisdom and instruction fools have despised!
-Young’s Literal Translation (Pr 1:1–7).
This has been in the Bible a long time. The word of God is clear, but it is not easy. So it requires discipline, instruction, effort to understand. There is a mood of wisdom: sober, serious, earnest. The fear of the Lord ought to make us earnest, and serious and sober in our search for wisdom.
The fear of the Lord arouses a fear of ignorance, a fear of contempt of learning, a fear of laziness and lack of discipline. There are things we will miss if we will not be instructed or disciplined, if we will not attend. And if we miss them? Read on and you will notice that those who do not attend will be destroyed.
Destroyed for not paying attention–oh yes, and attend is the word. Verse 2, second line, where you see ‘understanding’. For considering, it says, for paying attention to words of understanding, of intelligence. The work of leisure, of long attention or deep attention is in view.
Do you prize such things? Hard to pay attention to what you’re not interested in. Hard to pay attention long if it does not attract you. Which is why at the beginning there is at least fear to drive you. And that fear becomes awe, that fascination and submission. Verse seven is the first proverb, and it is a deep one.
What is your attitude toward this deep book, the Proverbs of Solomon, son of David king of Israel? How do you attend to what the Bible says in general? Surely in some way this applies to everything wise in Scripture, and what part of it is not wise? And wise is good and beautiful and true, and if you do not prize these, what progress have you made? What prudence, what discretion, what awe?
Wisdom begins with awe of God.
Posted by unknowing on February 22, 2012
That was an enjoyable trip, the North Market. And there the food is satisfying because of the method they employ. You look at it when you order, not a picture. It makes a difference. I, of course, went with the non-arts & crafts Chicago style brat and some chili.
Sensible fat chap prepared for me my food, answered my questions, got me out of the way. Not a big one on getting food from yon Cassius types, you know? The lean and hungry look makes one uneasy when it comes to cooks.
Big place, informal, warm. You get your stuff and get along upstairs and find your own location and go to work. From up above you can look down on things. I watched a guy cutting up lamb or goat. Most persevering, and bloodless too.
The downside was the coffee shop. They were cheerful enough with the service, just mindbogglingly slow. I believe the native taking money had a religious tattoo of some vaguely Christian sect. I also believe everybody working there could have used a triple espresso.
Well, don’t go there for the coffee. Go there for the cheese, the bread, the sausages, and if it is your taste, the arts & crafts stuff from other lands. The Vietnamese seemed very popular with many. And yet I think the place with wood-smoked meats variety was the most popular of all.
Posted by unknowing on February 21, 2012
Good vacation. I think I’m having withdrawal symptoms from Dr. Pepper or English muffins. I shall miss the bath tub. Resolved: never to live without a bath tub again.
What else I miss: the trees. You can’t just go out and walk in a place alone with the trees here. Ironic since there are so many jungles. But near the populations it does not obtain. One wants old, great tall trees.
And the bookstores. Man, I need to be around bookstores and libraries and the books I like in English readily available.
I miss already the winter contrasts. The warm and the cold; the cold cups in the uninsulated cupboard, the warm neck and the cold nose, the steam and static.
* * *
On the way back we paused in Atlanta. Had breakfast and was satisfied. Walked in a fragrant neighborhood. Old oaks there, ponderosa pine, magnolias with their leaves still on. Generous country. Would not want to live there of a summer, but February there is pleasing.
Need to figure out how to live in New York City is what I need to do, or close enough to head down into it regularly might do. If you have Manhattan, you do not really need mountains.
* * *
Have mostly quit shaving. Never thought I could, but when I saw that in 1976 Solzhenitsyn had grown the mustache too I decided to quit shaving altogether, at least for now. That was pretty early on, for him. I hadn’t realized he had the mustache from 1976 on. Besides, the thing I have appears to be on its way to being fashionable. You see it quite a bit here, but then in the endless reruns of the Superbowl or something like they kept showing in the USA one of those chaps had it. That’s no good.
* * *
Is there such a form as a crippled sonnet? I’ve been working on something that is alternating tetrameter and pentameter lines. The final couplet is a bit hard to judge, you know?
Maybe I’ll have to invent the form.
* * *
Did not want to work at anything at all this morning. I think it has to do with returning to this country. Not keen on remaining anymore. Not that I want bathtubs and bookstores and sausage patties for breakfast inconsolably. But that it isn’t where I fit. Not a Spanish chap in final analysis. Give me English immersion. Must be in the context and among the possibilities of it, the literature inexhaustibly at hand.
Posted by unknowing on February 20, 2012
South on Indianola, then west on Lane, and back North on High. Lane is the beginning of the OSU campus, so you walk through the houses devoted to students, past runners (their exposed legs a curious pink), past many Indian restaurants, bars, Chinese restaurants, across streets where the cars politely wait your passing.
Along the sidewalks few. Nobody will meet your gaze. The winter is lonely here, the trees mourning the skies and when the sun comes, weak light, no great joy. It seems to be thinking and only absentmindedly playing its light at us from time to time. The temperature contrasts of the winter I’d forgotten, being cold and hot in different places; the sunlessness of life. In these Midwestern skies the clouds just pause and hold.
In the twilight of the morning hours I take a bath these days. I have my dark Sumatra coffee, breakfast with sausages, English muffins, then the bath. I read for an hour there. I practice my accordion afterward.
One doesn’t get a whole lot of exercise living here. Always off in a car, if not reclining in a recliner, if not computing this or that, if not wandering in an over warm store. Winter itches, doesn’t it? But it no longer seems as static as it once was. One eats extensively here, and one seldom goes briskly for any considerable time. Weight, one sees, is a problem.
Went to a new mall. Larger, more sumptuous, more of everything; they’ve grown that too. No wonder they’re tearing down the old ones. They want it more like a gigantic living room with enormous fixtures and furniture. The scale is staggering. Around it are clustered restaurants on the grand scale too. Nowadays they make the malls have a faux neighborhood outdoors, don’t they? Restaurants with their themes.
So I went of an afternoon on the sidewalks along Indianola, Lane and High. Columbus has relatively narrow streets. Went up one smaller street, here nameless, with crooked oaks, moss mingled in the grass and close-set houses, back to scale. A neighborhood with wandering, curious, pampered cats about. Not very many birds.
Posted by unknowing on February 15, 2012
Four liters of Dr. Pepper down.
Already blew the budget on books.
Got new laptop.
Met with a person who takes pictures of dead frogs (interesting) of a Saturday morning. Bright the morning, clear the skies, snow glittering down from the wind rushing in the branches. Ended among the old books heaped and stacked.
Sat through a long, disjointed monologue where the preacher had the effrontery to say he’s neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. Hard to believe such people are real, but I haven’t been in a fundamentalist church for years, thank God. What dishonesty in the same building where I was first taught theology! Do their peers compell them to say such things? Is there a crowd of them for whom saying that is fitting in? Surely the second coming is at hand.
If you say what this chap did, one of two things, it seems to me, is true of you: 1, you are ignorant of theology; or 2, you are being dishonest. Is this what comes of Calvinism being popular? If you want to be cool, you pretend you’re not really Arminian, however limited the options? The unspoken assumption seems to be they return to the simplicity of Scripture refusing all the accretions superadded by the Reformation and other such theologically fanatical knuckleheads.
Otherwise enjoying the winter. Had a bath!
Posted by unknowing on February 13, 2012
Morning and the world is white. The abbreviated daylight throws us off, but we needed the rest.
Snow is falling, english muffins, sausage and that peculiarly bad coffee that so many Americans spend their mornings over. It is as if Colombia never existed.
* * *
Was in Manhattan yesterday: nice place. The subway with its neglect–a piece of New York being forgotten, coffee and the Empire State where I was out of place not having a blue light on my face since I only bent over my coffee, people bustling about a city in English.
* * *
Got cash from an ATM in Manhattan and the receipt told me I had 2 million left in my account. Then you know what incredibly happened? I threw the receipt away.
* * *
Enjoyed the bust of Beethoven in Central Park. And everything.
* * *
Next stage of my life: figure out how to live in NYC.
Posted by unknowing on February 8, 2012
Back to the El Dorado airport soon. Then to the JFK and NYC. 12 hour layover in NYC, get to see the place. Also see our old pastor from Providence. I want to talk to him about my future.
Then Columbus for under a fortnight. There to be among book stores again, to be able to go walking in parks and natural areas without taking a crowd along to keep one safe.
Back to temperatures below freezing! The peculiar quality of the air at those temperatures is one of my favorite experiences. I don’t understand why so many don’t like it, but I enjoy that very much, and I like to be outside in it and feel the cold on my head, and look at the empty trees, hearing them rattle sadly.
Man, I like melancholy things. They make me so glad!
* * *
I wonder how I’ll handle the beverages. They use a lot of ice in the USA, and I’m not a big fan. I could always ask for things without ice, but things still come pretty cold and anyway, I hate making a nuisance of myself asking for extra things from waiters, especially if they’re not too good at their job. I don’t like to deal with incompetent waiters.
Man, I hate friendly, outgoing waiters. We don’t have that here. I’m not looking forward to somebody saying, Hey, how are you guys doing? like we’ve been friends for life when what I want from them is reserve, distance and deference.
* * *
I am a person for smells. I wonder what JFK smells like? I remember what planes in general smell like, bleh. Ah, the USA with all its bad coffee, but its smells are generally friendlier than here.
Man, I like the smell in the air when the snow has been melting and evening halts its escape.
* * *
It will be interesting to smell New York. Unfortunately, there will be a parade for the Giants of New York tomorrow, but I understand the city is a large one and perhaps it won’t be so hard to avoid. It would be interesting if something happened with our outbound flight. I’ve had that happen to me twice in Chicago. Got to know the place a bit. I still have a fleece that says Chicago on it that we got in Chicago. Maybe I can get a NYC one.
Fleeces are good here in Bogotá where it is on the chilly side and no heating, insulation, or even sealing of windows and doors. A sweater is not enough.
Which makes me wonder if I’ll be overwarm in the USA being indoors. Well, I can always wear less clothes.
Posted by unknowing on February 6, 2012
Today I told the congregation that after prayer, counsel and reflection, it does not seem to the deacons, to my spiritual authority (the pastor overseeing things) or to me that it is God’s will for me to be a pastor in our congregation here.
Great relief on my part. Interesting how it all went.
Posted by unknowing on February 5, 2012
Let me here set forth some early thoughts–a hypothesis which needs to be substantiated, but a guide for my research.
The wisdom of Proverbs is not always taken with the subtlety of Solomon, and some measure of that subtlety is required. I myself have been exposed to people who do not take Proverbs in the way it is intended. These people take the statements of Proverbs as absolute guarantees even when the book itself is set against this. I have also found, especially among reformed believers, the silly idea that there are no limits to the wisdom of a believer. We have, after all, the mind of Christ–they’ll say. If you talk to some of them about the possibility of Romney’s candidacy, they are worried that he’s a Mormon for this very reason: they’d rather have a Christian, as if a Christian knew more about being a president. I chalk it up to all this silly talk of worldview–the concept has its uses, but it is used to explain too much, like the Enlightenment.
So there is needed a hermeneutical guide to Proverbs, a post-exilic reminder of what perhaps we can call the darker side of the Solomonic teaching and a further guide to wisdom. This is Ecclesiastes and it emphasizes, not the uselessness of proverbs, but the limitations of the wise, of temporal beings, of what we can know (perhaps I ought to say a limit to the benefits of wisdom too). Take, for instance, Ecclesiastes 2:14
The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness:
So far, so clear; nothing could be more proverbial. But that’s not where the verse ends, nor the thought, which is most Ecclesiastical:
and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
There is the adding of nuance, the placing of the thing in a broader context, the addition of another consideration. The wise have an advantage, but lets further consider the fact of mortality, says the preacher. He returns to the limits of man.
Having assimilated this truth in Ecclesiastes, we then have Job. I am making no statement on the time of the writing of Job. Perhaps that plays into it, but I don’t really see that it has to, though it is one of the things I need to look into. I’m just placing the lesson of Job in a sequence with these other books of wisdom literature.
What does Job add? What Job’s friends knew was the proverbial wisdom hardened into retribution theology. Job has the advantage over them of the perspective of Ecclesiastes. Job knows he is not suffering for any wrong he has done. Job’s mistake is not to acknowledge the mystery of God. He goes where Qohelet only suggested and did not so boldly approach; Job charges God with injustice, capriciousness–in other words–forgetting God’s goodness. If Ecclesiastes is about the limits of man’s wisdom, then Job is about the fundamental incomprehensibleness of God, and the question that separates believer from unbeliever: is an infinite and therefore incomprehensible God still infinitely good?
Now back to the research to see how that will modify my hypothesis.
Posted by unknowing on February 4, 2012
I went to the internet roach motel to see the take-down on Straub’s recent casual article and noticed that William Frederick Danker has quit living.
For those of you who don’t know, the burgundy covers of the Bauer, Danker, Arndt & Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon contain extraordinary pages. To use another lexicon after using BDAG is to return to live in a world with a dimension missing. The man devoted himself to a task not many will recognize or appreciate, but which was truly great and noble. The 3rd edition, his edition, is monumental.
I do not believe the Spanish language has a dictionary of living Spanish that compares with what BDAG does for Koine Greek (the 22nd Edition of the Royal Academy’s dictionary has not even gotten past tautological definitions where the verb is used to gloss the noun and, yes, vice-versa). For all I know–and I have HAL in Logos–there is nothing like BDAG even for Hebrew. How can that be? No Danker of Hebrew-English.
I use BDAG to study, but I also use BDAG in my elementary Greek class all the time. It is worth all $165, of satisfactory weight and binding, and defines like nobody’s business.
Posted by unknowing on February 3, 2012
The expressions of Arminius himself are so guarded that Moses Stuart (Bib. Repos., 1831) found it possible to construct and argument to prove that Arminius was not an Arminian.
Posted by unknowing on February 1, 2012
S.F.–however bad most of it is–is now the chief vehicle for ‘thoughts that wander up and down eternity’. How trivial, by comparison, are most of the issues presented by our ‘serious’ novelists!
–C.S.Lewis opining in a letter to the Rev. Christopher Robin Paul Antsey, 2 November, 1960.
Not your usual point of view on S.F., but then the usual point of view is not based on being informed about S.F., is it? One may wonder if Lewis was sufficiently informed about contemporary ‘serious’ novelists, but one may not wonder about his knowing enough about S.F. to be able to pronounce on that.
* * *
Making final points on the Pelagian view, Strong says:
It rests upon false philosophical principles; as, for example: (a) that the human will is simply the faculty of volitions; whereas it is also, and chiefly, the faculty of self-determination to an ultimate end;
Exactly what he means by that I’m finding hard to determine. What is a faculty of volitions? That with which one wants? What’s the difference between that and that with which one sets oneself to achieve what one most fundamentally wants? He’s obviously on the side of human inability, but what does this add to his argument? I would have to find out more about his views on these faculties.
He does seem to be saying that we order our desires, subordinating some to others. By which he makes a good point: it is the ground for the argument for the inextricable role of reason in the determination of what we want.
If I have understood him.
(b) that the power of a contrary choice is essential to the existence of will; whereas the will fundamentally determined to self-gratification has this power only with respect to subordinate choices, and cannot by a single volition reverse its moral state;
He seems to be saying that Pelagius made the mistake of disallowing for an ordering of desires, with his rebuttal. And clearly Strong is against the notion of a will operating virtuously only at the point of indifference. Reason orders preference, but the preferring is there: we want and are not indifferent. To be indifferent is not to choose.
(c) that ability is the measure of obligation,–a principle which would diminish the sinner’s responsibility, just in proportion to his progress in sin;
Wrong! It is not a problem of a natural ability: we have that and it is a measure of our obligation, our responsibility. It is a moral inability (desire) in which our wills are bound. There he is right, but does he distinguish these abilities?
(d) that law consists only in positive enactment; whereas it is the demand of perfect harmony with God, inwrought into man’s moral nature;
Which is right. Pelagius seemed to hold that sin was only sin in the act–the thought did not, in fact, count for him. Strong is right in rejecting that: God requires of us to will, to desire what is right and to repudiate sin not simply by constraint.
(e) that each human soul is immediately created by God, and holds no other relations to moral law than those which are individual; whereas all human souls are organically connected with each other, and together have a corporate relation to God’s law, by virtue of their derivation from one common stock.
Difficult to determine here because his notions of racial sin seem to fly in the face of limited atonement. Not that I’m entirely persuaded against it, but I want to know more about the reach of the implications of the idea. I don’t remember encountering it before, unless it is the basis of all sublapsarianism, in which case it is what I was taught in seminary.
Posted by unknowing on February 1, 2012