I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

The poison of subjectivism

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From Lewis’s essay of the same name:

Everyone is indignant when he hears the Germans define justice as that which is to the interest of the Third Reich. But it is not always remembered that this indignation is perfectly groundless if we ourselves regard morality as a subjective sentiment to be altered at will. Unless there is some objective standard of good, overarching Germans, Japanese, and ourselves alike whether any of us obey it or no, then of course the Germans are as competent to create their ideology as we are to create ours. If “good” and “better” are terms deriving their sole meaning from the ideology of each people, then of course ideologies themselves cannot be better or worse than one another. Unless the measuring rod is independent of the things measured, we can do no measuring. For the same reason it is useless to compare the moral ideas of one age with those of another: progress and decadence are alike meaningless words.

While we believe that good is something to be invented, we demand of our rulers such qualities as “vision,” “dynamism,” “creativity,” and the like. If we returned to the objective view we should demand qualities much rarer, and much more beneficial—virtue, knowledge, diligence and skill. ‘Vision’ is for sale, or claims to be for sale, everywhere. But give me a man who will do a day’s work for a day’s pay, who will refuse bribes, who will not make up his facts, and who has learned his job.

Written by Scott Moonen

June 23, 2022 at 7:54 am

Posted in Quotations

Plow

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Some preliminary thoughts on this passage from Luke 9 after discussing with a friend:

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to him, “Lord, I will follow you wherever you go.”

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Then he said to another, “Follow me.”

But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

And another also said, “Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62, NKJV)

It seems that plowing here is correlated with preaching the kingdom, given both the passage itself and the surrounding paragraphs.

I lean towards reading this with the same filter as the parables; namely that it is part of an overall covenant lawsuit against Israel and her shepherds and should be read corporately first of all. The appearance of the 70 (TR) underscores this. So does the lack of place for Jesus’s head; that is not a generic calling for us for all time.

But there’s always a secondary application to the church today and her shepherds, and to individuals. “Don’t you be like those branches that were cut off; they are an example for you.” This makes me think of Lot’s wife in particular. Plowing in the rest of the Bible supports these broader secondary applications.

Leithart offers this chiasm for Luke 9-19, centered around Jerusalem. There’s some beginning (Zacchaeus) and continuing to walk in faithfulness in the matching passage. I want to read the parable as corporate/shepherds first then individuals too.

I would be careful not to apply it woodenly to the pastoral ministry, especially in case of extenuating circumstances (bivocational pastor in changing circumstances; or someone impacted by ecclesiastical politics and shenanigans). I think we can discern between someone who still treasures God’s people and is giving himself somehow to the kingdom (in its fullest sense), versus someone who is longing for Sodom or Egypt or the former days.

But even the pastor still in full-time ministry needs to guard against longing for the former days.

Written by Scott Moonen

June 23, 2022 at 7:42 am

In hoc signo vinces

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Written by Scott Moonen

June 10, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Christ is Lord

Night

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In the morning counsels are best, and night changes many thoughts. (Tolkien, The Return of the King)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 22, 2022 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Quotations

What’s in a name

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I want to visit many of these places on the basis of their names alone.

And so the companies came and were hailed and cheered and passed through the Gate, men of the Outlands marching to defend the City of Gondor in a dark hour; but always too few, always less than hope looked for or need asked. The men of Ringló Vale behind the son of their lord, Dervorin striding on foot: three hundreds. From the uplands of Morthond, the great Blackroot Vale, tall Duinhir with his sons, Duilin and Derufin, and five hundred bowmen. From the Anfalas, the Langstrand far away, a long line of men of many sorts, hunters and herdsmen and men of little villages, scantily equipped save for the household of Golasgil their lord. From Lamedon, a few grim hillmen without a captain. Fisher-folk of the Ethir, some hundred or more spared from the ships. Hirluin the Fair of the Green Hills from Pinnath Gelin with three hundreds of gallant green-clad men. And last and proudest, Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, kinsman of the Lord, with gilded banners bearing his token of the Ship and the Silver Swan, and a company of knights in full harness riding grey horses; and behind them seven hundreds of men at arms, tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired, singing as they came. (Tolkien, The Return of the King, 43-44)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 4, 2022 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Quotations

A blessing in disguise

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  1. Vehicle engine is throbbing badly, bring to shop
  2. Sorry, sir, you need a replacement engine, something broke badly inside; this is understandable at 290k miles. Authorize repair.
  3. Repair completed. I’m very sorry, sir, we made a bad mistake, it was not the engine but the catalytic converter.
  4. Free engine! Catalytic converter back ordered indefinitely but go ahead and pay for it.
  5. Inspection and registration due; failed inspection. (I live in one of the 22% of counties in my state that require an emissions test.)
  6. DMV website allows for cases of (1) part not available and (2) repair attempted, but I do not quite fit either case.
  7. Show up at license office, sorry sir, we can’t help you until your registration is overdue (?!)
  8. Return to license office, sorry sir, I don’t know why they told you that, but you need to talk to the license and theft bureau
  9. Sorry sir, you need a second failed inspection to get the attempted repair waiver, even though we all know nothing has changed with your vehicle since your last inspection
  10. Second failed inspection
  11. Meet officer and receive waiver code
  12. Bring waiver code to inspection station; code does not work
  13. Delays waiting for DMV to return calls to inspection station
  14. License and theft officer works with inspection station and advises them I should take vehicle to license office
  15. License and theft officer advises me that I should work with inspection station
  16. License and theft officer advises inspection station that I should take vehicle to license office
  17. License office — sorry, sir, we can’t help you with a waiver code, you need to work with inspection station
  18. License office confirms with license and theft officer this is the case
  19. License and theft officer advises me to work with inspection station . . . oh, wait, that inspection station? You are good to go, I overrode your inspection manually.
  20. Pay registration at license office

Written by Scott Moonen

April 30, 2022 at 6:35 pm

Posted in Miscellany, Personal

Maturation

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She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened. (Gen. 3:6–7)

He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened. (Luke 24:30–31)

Hat tip: Timothy Crouch via Mark Horne

Written by Scott Moonen

April 30, 2022 at 7:58 am

Posted in Biblical Theology

Fountain

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Pippin had to climb on the bench to look out over the deep stone sill.

‘Are you angry with me, Gandalf?’ he said, as their guide went out and closed the door. ‘I did the best I could.’

‘You did indeed!’ said Gandalf, laughing suddenly; and he came and stood beside Pippin, putting his arm about the hobbit’s shoulders, and gazing out of the window. Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard’s face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth. (Tolkien, The Return of the King, 31)

Written by Scott Moonen

April 25, 2022 at 2:46 pm

Posted in Quotations

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-16)

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Had this year’s first swarm this week, from the hive that survived over-winter. It is a beautiful thing to see and hear! They were a good 40-50 feet up in a tree, so we made no attempt to catch them.

PCR test for chickens, ha! I will keep laughing until you tell me the cycle threshold. And I will fall off my chair when you tell me later this summer that they are testing the cows.

The Gray Havens were in town touring for their latest album. We enjoyed them!

Written by Scott Moonen

April 15, 2022 at 3:16 pm

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-15)

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Unless and until evangelicalism brings its little ones to the table, it is NGMI:

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32, NKJV)

I’ve been reflecting on the use of instruments like non-disclosure agreements and security clearances. In many cases, these are not so much invitations to greater participation and responsibility as they are a simple form of protection and documented liability. Not so with Jesus:

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:15-16, NKJV)

Written by Scott Moonen

April 9, 2022 at 9:32 am

Posted in Miscellany