I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Metábasis eis állo génos (3-1)

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Happy ninth day of Christmas!

I love this phrase by Frost: “the earnest love that laid the swale in rows.”

And I love this evocative picture of a kind of New Jerusalem by Berry, from “The Morning’s News”—

. . . Though the river floods
and the spring is cold, my heart goes on,
faithful to a mystery in a cloud,
and the summer’s garden continues its descent
through me, toward the ground.

Those are richly blessed who find a place where they are completely out of breath trying to keep up:

Written by Scott Moonen

January 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Miscellany

He is found in human fashion

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Merry Christmas!

Written by Scott Moonen

December 24, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Personal, Worship

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-52)

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To the Word has us in Isaiah. Advent is such a fitting time to read Isaiah!

Woe to the multitude of many people
​​Who make a noise like the roar of the seas,​​
And to the rushing of nations
​​That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
​​The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters;
​​But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away,
​​And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind,
​​Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
​​Then behold, at eventide, trouble!
​​And before the morning, he is no more.
​​This is the portion of those who plunder us,
​​And the lot of those who rob us. (Isaiah 17:12–14, NKJV)

And in this mountain​​
Yahweh of hosts will make for all people
​​A feast of choice pieces,
​​A feast of wines on the lees,
​​Of fat things full of marrow,
​​Of well-refined wines on the lees.
​​And He will destroy on this mountain​​
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
​​And the veil that is spread over all nations.
​​He will swallow up death forever,
​​And the Lord Yahweh will wipe away tears from all faces;
​​The rebuke of His people
​​He will take away from all the earth;
​​For Yahweh has spoken.
​​And it will be said in that day:
​​“Behold, this is our God;
​​We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
​​This is Yahweh;
​​We have waited for Him;
​​We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6–9, NKJV adapted)

I have five different tunes for While Shepherds Watched in my music library. It’s hard to pick a favorite, especially now that I have one more to pick from:

Every social theory is a theology in disguise. (C. R. Wiley, “Culture and Worldview“)

Have you ever wondered what set the ladies dancing and the lords a–leaping? Well, it was the pipers’ piping:

Written by Scott Moonen

December 24, 2021 at 9:25 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-51)

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And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to meet on the Sabbath?” (Luke 14:3, adapted)

The striking thing about this is that he answered their watching.

Praise God:

The story of Noah is a comfort for Christians today. Faced with ungodliness on every side, we do not have rule or dominion. We live in a time of prophecy and Ark-building, warning the wicked and building the Church. In time, however, God will destroy the wicked, either through plague or conversion, and give rule to His people. The wine we drink in Holy Communion and the robes our church officers wear are our pledge that this is so. Like Noah, we must never shrink from our duty. (James Jordan, Primeval Saints, 50)

I keep falling farther and farther behind on podcasts. I am three and a half months behind on Ken Myers:

Shakespeare earned his place in our pantheon of minds by staging thought and action. Across his works, terms like think, thinking, or thought outnumber feel, feeling, or felt by a nearly ten to one ratio. He raises ideas into a quasi-physical reality, vivifying their dynamic power as a palpable force. (Scott Newstok, How to Think Like Shakespeare, quoted in MHAJ 151)

He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found: Two cheers for utopia.

Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:29-31, NKJV)

In read-aloud this week, we stumbled across this helpful history of a grown–up counting his NFTs:

Scott: The Little Prince is Jesus. He has tamed us, and we miss him so much. And all of the stars remind us of him.
Annie [sighing]: Thank you for reading to us!
Amos: I’m going upstairs to wrestle with Asher.

But: we tryst with the prince every week, and so he continues to tame and tend us!

When one wishes to play the wit, he sometimes wanders a little from the truth. I have not been altogether honest in what I have told you about the lamplighters. And I realize that I run the risk of giving a false idea of our planet to those who do not know it. Men occupy a very small place upon the Earth. If the two billion inhabitants who people its surface were all to stand upright and somewhat crowded together, as they do for some big public assembly, they could easily be put into one public square twenty miles long and twenty miles wide. All humanity could be piled up on a small Pacific islet.

The grown-ups, to be sure, will not believe you when you tell them that. They imagine that they fill a great deal of space. They fancy themselves as important as the baobabs. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 68)

The population is now four times as great, so the dimensions are twice as great. But this is still a good thing to know.

In a multitude of people is a king’s honor,​​
But in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince. (Proverbs 14:28 NKJV)

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 86)

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.

“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.”

And the roses were very much embarrassed.

“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you—the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

And he went back to meet the fox.

“Goodbye,” he said.

“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

“It is the time I have wasted for my rose—” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . .”

“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 86–88)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Declaration of Independence)

Written by Scott Moonen

December 18, 2021 at 8:21 am

Posted in Miscellany, Quotations

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-50)

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The law of entropy began to be overturned in AD 30 with the fuller intrusion of the Spirit into creation. Children are an especially potent way to multiply the Spirit’s influence in the world.

I discussed epistemology with an unbelieving friend recently. He’s right that it is not sufficient to simply say that the Bible is the basis of Christian epistemology, since we receive the Bible in the context of other things like language and history and embodied existence. For this I like Rosenstock-Huessy’s alternative to cogito, ergo sum. Rosenstock-Huessy says: respondeo, etsi mutabor; I respond, although I will be changed.

Everything is a gift: existence, embodied existence, relationships, language, the Bible. Our proper response to all of these is first to receive them as pure gift, with gratitude to the Giver, and then allow ourselves to be shaped and changed by that. Thus, in a way, our epistemology is founded on the Giver rather than only on his Word.

A friend introduced me to Psallos recently and I have their albums on repeat right now.

Earlier I shared Rosenstock-Huessy’s summary of a few modern revolutions. I am still stuck in the middle of his book, but I wonder what the next era will bring. I pray that it will be every-man-a-fig-and-vine-dresser.

Written by Scott Moonen

December 10, 2021 at 4:34 pm

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-49)

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The laces on my running shoes come untied at least once a day, and almost always once per run, even with a double knot. A week ago I started using Ian’s Secure Shoelace Knot, and they haven’t come untied by themselves yet.

Studies show the new variant is caused by climate conferences and includes myocarditis among its unprecedented symptoms. Scientists have decided to name it the “COP26 variant.”

A friend points out that Delilah is paid some multiple of 1,100 pieces of silver (Judges 16), and in the very next chapter Micah steals 1,100 pieces of silver from his mother. At a minimum there is a thematic link here, but it is interesting to consider whether Micah’s mother is actually Delilah. Micah is not the only son gone bad in this story; Jonathan the Levite is likely the grandson of Moses (Judges 18:30). It seems the tribe of Dan is wandering as well, certainly spiritually. At least it is ambiguous that they are conquering a city outside of their borders (Joshua 19) and which might not even be Canaanite.

Another friend points out that there are times when God will discipline his church for obeying the magistrate:

So [Moses and Aaron] said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to Yahweh our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” (Exodus 5:3)

This was interesting:

Amen:

Written by Scott Moonen

December 3, 2021 at 4:21 pm

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-48)

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It is good to belong to Jesus.

To emphasize the pro-noun is to perpetuate systemic injustice against other parts of speech like verbs and prepositions. I have learned to be an ally and thus in this moment I prefer to share my preferred pro-verbs.

The only trouble is, it’s difficult to choose.

The evil will bow before the good,​​
And the wicked at the gates of the righteous. (Proverbs 14:19, NKJV)

They say that a mandate is not discriminatory if it applies to everyone. Ha, good one!

“So, all the months with ‘ber’ at the end, does that mean it’s cold?” (Amos Moonen)

You should read Mark Horne’s reflections on difficulties: legendary mode; training versus hero battle.

I have until now not paid close attention to the ritual symbolism of faces, thinking it was legitimate but a light and mostly extra–Biblical consideration in things that have taken place over the last two years. But this week I stumbled across this word. I am struck by both the tremendous breadth of this, and also how our translations have left it off the face of the text (so to speak), hiding it from our faces (as it were). One book—Esther—takes pains to show how seeing and seeking the face of the king is crucial, and how hiding or having your face hidden from the king is both the cause and the result of the king’s judgment that you are forever banished from his own face. Ritually speaking, then, a ruler who masks his people is laying judgment and humiliation on them; and a worshipper who masks himself is hiding from his king.

But there’s also this:

Other than Bach, I’ve experienced the most musical delight playing versions of La Folía. So I enjoyed this collection:

Written by Scott Moonen

November 26, 2021 at 11:15 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-47)

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Doug Wilson writes:

So we need to remember that the eschatological future promised by the prophet Isaiah, and the future that was shaped by the industrial revolution and will continue to be shaped by the digital revolution, are the same future. I don’t believe in an invisible spiritual future, shaped by the Holy Spirit, full of sweetness and light, and an actual historical future shaped by the Devil, Halliburton, the Illuminati, and Murphy’s law. The world, this world, is presently going where Jesus is taking it. So we should be wise, and stop worrying.

Asher and I started the spring with two new bee hives. Our hives fluctuated up and down, and we are now left with neither of our original hives, but only the feral hive captured by a friend which, I suspect, robbed our two other hives. You can also just make out my two new apple trees:

1769: The Authorized Version pioneers the use of both the smile and frown emoticons (Exodus 23):

I sneezed and I learned about . . . the explosive power of a new affliction.

Then I drank some hot coughee to see if it would help tone down the cacoughony.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 19, 2021 at 7:23 pm

Posted in Miscellany

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-46)

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Reflecting on That Hideous Strength, I’ve often wondered what it would look like for Merlin to show up. But now, absent any Merlin and simply relying on judicial confusion sent by God, it’s amazing just how incoherent the raging of the nations is all by itself, and how the simplest and most obvious truths now send it into a tizzy.

“Do you validate?” With millions of man-hours being invested in real-time digital systems of validation and badging, increasingly the answer is, “Yes, we insist!”

Praise God that, at the moment, some of these systems are programmed to (tediously) validate by reason of obedience to God rather than man. I’m thankful for the validation but reject the idolatry that lies beneath it; and what an interesting judgment it is to see all those man-hours wasted on raging. See also The Abolition of Man for some reasons why it really is idolatry and raging.

Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus. (Acts 17:7, NKJV)

The NKJV has a wonderful “we” in Joshua 5:1:

“So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.”

This is our history. We have been grafted into a tree (Romans 11), adopted into a family (Romans 4).

This is excellent: I Survived (Because of) Bible Belt Religion.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 13, 2021 at 7:28 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-45)

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It’s November. I used to wait until Thanksgiving to stoke the festivity but I have no such scruples anymore.

If we believe in the sonship-kingship of all believers, that we are all vice-regents (that is, vice-gerents), should we not be doing something like this?

Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20, NKJV)

If Saul had done that, then he had absolutely no excuse when it came to Agag:

Therefore it shall be, when the LORD your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget. (Deuteronomy 25:19, NKJV)

I usually think of the levirate brother as a type of the pastor tending the bride for Jesus’s sake. But there is a way in which all of us are raising our households for Jesus’s sake. Thus shall it be done to the man who does not build up Jesus’s house:

But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’ (Deuteronomy 25:7-10, NKJV)

God commissions families to bring new worshippers into the world (Malachi 2:15), and commissions us to bring them to him:

In ways both explicit and implicit, scripture says that there is a faithful relationship between Christian-infants and God. We are called on to confess this before God, and we are called to teach it to our children. And we can relax theologically in the rest of knowing that recumbency (lying back in the arms) is the picture God gives to portray faith in the womb.

In fact, it is in the very nature of a covenant that it binds generations yet unborn:

I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the LORD our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today . . . so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. . . The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:14-29, NKJV)

All covenants are evangelical; this is from the book that urges circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 10, 30), and urges faithfulness to the covenant, “you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30).

James Madison overstates his case when he says, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Better to say that the governor’s sword would go unused except as a glorious display. There will always be a need to decide whether and where to build the king’s highway, what time we will assemble to pray, etc.; and these decisions need not be purely democratic. In fact, as Chesterton points out, they must not.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 4, 2021 at 11:56 am