I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Less

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[T]he one thing you must know [as a leader] is that you have been exalted into a position, you see, of privilege, because of an historical chain of events, which dignifies you beyond your own merits. . . . [Y]ou know that you are not up to the occasion. You are less than the quality history bestows on you. . . .

Ceremonies warn all men that they are less than the office that has fallen upon [them]. . . . No man is self-made, because the fact that anybody who is willing to listen to you comes to you only as a gift, you see, of the historical process by which you happen to have something the other man needs, or the other man is asking for. The fact that he can speak to you is already something, you see, that is not of your own making. . . .

It is, however, true, gentlemen, that through ceremony . . . and title, and emblems, and symbols, and uniforms, and costumes, we are entering the halls of the past, as in great architecture. Architecture, you see, reflects, of course, this tremendous hall of antiquity out of which we come, and out of which we receive our meaning, our name, our status, our profession, our calling; everything we have: our property. . . .

Honor is reciprocal, gentlemen; love is reciprocal; work is reciprocal; and war is reciprocal. Life is not given you—to us—to individuals. If you analyze these four situations, . . . you will find the miracle of our existence is that it is each time a social birth. Society, the group, gives birth to us in our honor, in our love, in our work, and . . . in our struggles. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Cross of Reality, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 11, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Quotations

Foundation

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To live means to say, “Good–bye,” and to found on this good–bye a new beginning.

You are all too sentimental, and you hang back and you think that you at one time were wonderful. You should only have seen you when you were nine. Terrible brats. I hope you are nicer now. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Cross of Reality, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 8, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Quotations

The soul is my captain

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Nobody is captain of his soul, gentlemen, or he has no soul. Soul is your part in God. And how can you be the captain of your soul, the one thing with which you are not yourself, but better than yourself? It’s a fantastic notion. . . .

You can be a captain of a ship. You can be captain of a thing, you see, which you direct by your mind. But if the soul is anything, it is your captain. If . . . man has a soul, then certainly nothing else is your captain, but your soul. So if the sentence then makes any sense, it would have to read, “The soul is my captain.” That makes sense. But to say, “I am the captain of my soul” means the execution of this soul. It means exactly that . . . it can’t grow. It means exactly that I—I, with my will, my purpose, my aim, my plan, my master plan, my science— that I plan my soul. . . .

That’s what we have today. It is a fantastic sentence. When you begin to think of this, you don’t wonder why people are today all crazy, and lunatics. “I am the captain of my soul” condemns a man not only to . . . loneliness and isolation, but it condemns him even to supervise his only growing point, his soul, from the point of his . . . mind. . . . Mr. Freud tells [you] how to treat your soul. . . instead of allowing your soul to tell you off. Who is master in the house? The devil of your mind or the soul?

Now, gentlemen, you have to decide this . . . So what about it? My mind can never contain me. I’m more than my mind. Tomorrow I’ll have a different mind; I’ll have a change of mind. Gentlemen, the decision is whether the mind, which is fixed, shall govern growth, or whether it shall not. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Circulation of Thought, 1949)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 8, 2017 at 9:41 am

Posted in Quotations

Joy at the end of the tether

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The Lord enjoins every one of us, in all the actions of life, to have respect to our own calling. He knows the boiling restlessness of the human mind, the fickleness with which it is borne hither and thither, its eagerness to hold opposites at one time in its grasp, its ambition. Therefore, lest all things should be thrown into confusion by our folly and rashness, he has assigned distinct duties to each in the different modes of life. And that no one may presume to overstep his proper limits, he has distinguished the different modes of life by the name of callings. Every man’s mode of life, therefore, is a kind of station assigned him by the Lord, that he may not be always driven about at random. So necessary is this distinction, that all our actions are thereby estimated in his sight, and often in a very different way from that in which human reason or philosophy would estimate them. There is no more illustrious deed even among philosophers than to free one’s country from tyranny, and yet the private individual who stabs the tyrant is openly condemned by the voice of the heavenly Judge. But I am unwilling to dwell on particular examples; it is enough to know that in every thing the call of the Lord is the foundation and beginning of right action. He who does not act with reference to it will never, in the discharge of duty, keep the right path. He will sometimes be able, perhaps, to give the semblance of something laudable, but whatever it may be in the sight of man, it will be rejected before the throne of God; and besides, there will be no harmony in the different parts of his life. Hence, he only who directs his life to this end will have it properly framed; because free from the impulse of rashness, he will not attempt more than his calling justifies, knowing that it is unlawful to overleap the prescribed bounds. He who is obscure will not decline to cultivate a private life, that he may not desert the post at which God has placed him. Again, in all our cares, toils, annoyances, and other burdens, it will be no small alleviation to know that all these are under the superintendence of God. The magistrate will more willingly perform his office, and the father of a family confine himself to his proper sphere. Every one in his particular mode of life will, without repining, suffer its inconveniences, cares, uneasiness, and anxiety, persuaded that God has laid on the burden. This, too, will afford admirable consolation, that in following your proper calling, no work will be so mean and sordid as not to have a splendor and value in the eye of God. (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.10.6)

HT: Rich Lusk

Written by Scott Moonen

March 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Posted in Vocation

Allegiance

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Paul views the by-pistis path (the allegiance path) as fundamentally different than the by-works-of-law path, even though both avenues equally demand good works for final salvation. One path succeeds through Holy Spirit-infused union with Jesus the Messiah; the other fails. Good deeds are required for salvation even though (apart from allegiance to Jesus the king) they are not on their own in the least bit meritorious. Nor can the good deeds necessary for salvation be enumerated or definitively prescribed as part of a salvation system without running afoul of Paul’s teaching here. Pistis alone counts—loyalty to Jesus that is pragmatically expressed in obedient and willing service to him as the king. (Matthew Bates, Salvation by Allegiance Alone, 121-122)

Written by Scott Moonen

March 23, 2017 at 8:45 pm

God rest ye merry

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Our family caroled with some friends in downtown Fuquay last night.

Merry Christmas!

Written by Scott Moonen

December 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Miscellany, Personal

Sola fide

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The debate between credobaptists and paedobaptists is not so much a debate over what baptism is, as it is a debate over the nature of the church, the body, the covenant, the kingdom. Do the body and kingdom consist only of those who are beyond a certain point of intellectual development? In a sense, quite the opposite (Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17).

A key scripture for this debate is the prophet Jeremiah’s description of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31, and as quoted in Hebrews 8 and 10. This passage is often taken to imply that the new covenant is not just a new covenant but a new species of covenant: that its membership is fashioned spiritually, by faith; rather than naturally, by birth. This is a distinction that does not hold water, however: there are natural blessings in the new covenant; and salvation in the old covenants was by faith, grace, and through Jesus just as much as in the new. Moreover, as I have argued previously, Jeremiah 31 cannot be taken to mean that the new covenant excludes children; the opposite reading makes far better sense of the context and of related passages.

The church has almost universally confessed that her infant children go to be with Jesus if they die. Our infants are part of Jesus’s church-body-kingdom. Since they are to be seated at his heavenly table, it is right for us to seat them at his earthly table. Indeed, if they have a place at Jesus’s table, to refuse them access is to eat and drink judgment on ourselves (1 Cor 11:29) and to walk out of step with the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:14). And of course, to say that our children are fit participants in the Lord’s supper is to sneak baptism in the back door, for baptism is the seal of entry into the body, and the supper the seal of continuation and renewal.

But even granting all this, credobaptists normally balk at the thought of baptizing infants because baptism is normally in scripture linked with faith. Thus, a young child who can express the basic confession of Romans 10:9 may be a fitting subject for baptism by virtue of his profession of faith, but not an infant: even if he is likely part of Jesus’s body, he must wait until his faith becomes evident.

To make our infants wait is to confess that they have no faith, or no faith that we can discern. But we speak otherwise when we say that Jesus receives them if they die, because we also confess that justification is by faith alone. If our infants are to stand justified before God—and we believe that they are—then it must be by faith.

More importantly, scripture teaches us that they do have faith; if we were to better moderate the evangelical diet of conversion songs with Psalm singing, this confession would resonate more strongly with us. Psalm 22:9 speaks first of David’s and Jesus’s infant faith, but also our own. Psalm 71:6 speaks of the same. (Here we see the very spiritual dimension of the old covenants.) Certainly David speaks of a child-like faith rather than an adult faith; there is much more of fiducia to it and much less of notitia and assensus. But it is faith none the less.

Thus, infant baptism: because justification is by faith alone.

Written by Scott Moonen

December 4, 2016 at 8:45 pm