Saturday, March 30, 2013

Virgil on Suffering & Hope

Oh friends, who greater sufferings still have borne,
(For not unknown to us are former griefs,)
The deity will also give an end,
To These, You have approached the furious rage
Of Scylla and her hoarse resounding cliffs.
You the Cyclopean rocks have known full well.
Recall your courage; banish gloomy fears.
Someday perhaps the memory of these things
Shall yield delight. Through various accidents,
Through many a strait of fortune, we are bound
For Latium, where our fates point out to us
A quiet resting place. There its decreed
Troy's kingdom shall rise again. Be firm,
And keep your hearts in hope of brighter days.

(The Aeneid, Virgil, Book I)

This quote is from the speech of Aeneas to his companions after being swept by a storm upon the coast of Africa near the city of Carthage.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Of This and That...

I have not written much here as of late. Frankly a lot of that has to do with still dealing with the loss of Mom & Dad back in December. I find myself really missing Dad. I miss Mom too, but for some reason feel the loss of my father more keenly... That may have something to do with how Mom had noticeably declined so much over the last few years, whereas Dad was pretty alert mentally right up to the end. Dealing with it all has sparked a number of thoughts that may yet someday find their way into a blog post. But right now the emotional energy nor the time is there to do it.

The matter of time may find itself resolved by the end of this year. Even before Mom & Dad's passing, there were a number of things coming together indicating it was time to start movement toward retirement. I would like to walk away while I am still a little on top of my game; to walk away before being asked to go away; to leave when I still had a little bit left to do some of the other things in life I have wanted to do. I have often thought over the past number of years that I really could use a sabbatical, but given the business world I work in, that was not in the cards. I am really looking forward to taking a month or so after retirement to just "do nothing". No, I will not "do nothing at all", but I really would like some down time from the everyday hectic pressure of work and provision.

What am I reading these days? A Kindle version of The Book of Concord which is the extended statement of Lutheran belief and theology. Robert Penn Warren's All The Kings Men. An English translation of Credo which is Karl Barth's exposition of the Apostles Creed. Set aside for now, but waiting to be read is Marilynne Robinson's Home which is a companion book to her novel Gilead. I did finish Gilead earlier this year. Many other books beckon to be read. I did get a few books from Mom & Dad's library which are among those calling to be read, but more on those at another time.

There is a world of study available on YouTube. Yale University has a number of classroom lecture series available on YouTube. One series of lectures I am currently working through is Dr. David Blight's class sessions on the American Civil War. I knew David Blight in his undergraduate years at Michigan State University, and it was David who introduced me to the Civil war battlefields of Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Antietam as well as others. Yale has some other series available on YouTube that have caught my eye. Going through some of those is on my list of things to do when I retire.

That's all for now...


Christ as the Foundation of Christian Faith

“…Christian faith stands or falls once and for all with the fact that God and God alone is its object. If one rejects the Biblical doctrine that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and indeed God’s only Son, and that therefore the whole revelation of God and all reconciliation between God and man is contained in Him—and if one then, in spite of that speaks of “faith” in Jesus Christ, then one believes in an intermediate being, and then consequently one is really pursuing metaphysics and has already secretly lapsed from the Christian faith into a polytheism which will forthwith mature into further fruits in the setting up of a special God-Father faith, and a special Creator faith, and in the assertion of special spiritual revelations. The proclamation of this polytheism can most certainly be a brilliant and a pleasant affair. But real consolation and real instruction, the Gospel of God and the Law of God, will find a small and ever-diminishing place in the proclamation. The Church of Jesus Christ as the assembly of lost and rescued sinners will come less and less to be built by this proclamation. How could it be otherwise than that error at a critical point makes it utterly impotent? It is just here that a circumspect Dogmatics will give warning. It will have to ask the whole Church to consider that ground out of which it has sprung and out of which alone is it able to live, is the admittedly rigid and uncompromising recognition that no one knows the Son, but the Father, and no one knows the Father, save the Son, and He to whom the Son will reveal Him (Matt. XI. 27).”

Karl Barth, Credo, ”Et in Jesum Christum”

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Faith That Justifies

"...But that faith which justifies is not merely a knowledge of history, [not merely this, that I know the stories of Christ's birth, suffering, etc. (that even the devils know,)] but it is to assent to the promise of God, in which, for Christ's sake, the remission of sins and justification are freely offered. [It is the certainty or the certain trust in the heart, when, with my whole heart, I regard the promises of God as certain and true, through which there are offered me, without my merit, the forgiveness of sins, grace, and all salvation, through Christ the Mediator.] And that no one may suppose that it is mere knowledge, we will add further: it is to wish and to receive the offered promise of the remission of sins and of justification."

The Book of Concord - Concordia Triglotta Edition, "Apology of the Confession: Of Justification"; (Kindle Edition).