Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Update on the living room floor

In a previous post, I posted some pictures of our living room floor. Here are a couple of update pictures:

Now, if I can find time to finish the last corner and start the transition into the dining room, we'll be able to call the living room floors done.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our first fire in our fireplace

Well, I did my doctoral work in combustion, but I learned how to set up and start a fire in a fireplace years earlier from my papà. So when it came to having our first fire in our fireplace, I used his patented fire stacking technique. Judge for yourself ...

Now, first you start with a good under layer of paper.

Then you add a good layer of small branches: kindling, as they sometimes call it.

Finally, you put on the smaller logs with the larger logs in waiting.

Now the next tip was furnished by our chimney sweeper. After you open the damper, in the chimney, burn one piece of paper per story in your house to warm up the flue and start the drafting process. Once that is done, light the paper under the kindling and enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

authenticity - David F. Wells

The postmodern reaction against Enlightenment dogma will not be met successfully simply by Christian proclamation. Of that we can be sure. That proclamation must arise with a context of authenticity. It is only as the evangelical Church begins to put its own house in order, its members begin to disentangle themselves from all of those cultural habits which militate against a belief in truth, and begin to embody that truth in the way that the Church actually lives, that postmodern skepticism might begin to be overcome. Postmoderns want to see as well as hear, to find authenticity in relationship as the precursor to hearing what is said. This is a valid and biblical demand. Faith, after all, is dead without works, and few sins are dealt with as harshly by Jesus as hypocrisy. What postmoderns want to see, and are entitled to see, is believing and being, talking and doing, all joined together in a seamless whole. This is the great challenge of the moment for the evangelical Church. Can it rise to this occasion? - David F. Wells

found in David F. Wells, Above All Earthly Pow'rs (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 315.

I would add that this is not a postmodern challenge, but it is valid for all times. As DC Talk sings of in What if I Stumble?: "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, and walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." Will you please live out your faith? If not, will you stop telling people that you are a Christian? (BTW - I'm not talking about perfection, I'm talking about submission.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A week in France: looking for the history of the church - day 2

The next morning started with a good breakfast and the picking up of our rental car: a new Volkswagon Passat (btw - this was a really fun car to drive around France). From there, we checked out of the hotel and made our way to the Papal palace in Avignon where we arrived just in time for the Heineken delivery; after all it would not be a good papal palace without a good stock of beer, right?

The palace was quite interesting. Not only did we get to walk through this great building and learn much about the catholic history of the time, but we also were able to see a couple of artifacts concerning Protestantism of the time. We saw a copy of an indulgence note and a copy of engravings left on prison walls in the 16th century by Protestants who had been imprisoned by the pope.

We then proceeded to drive north toward the city of Orange. Orange is famous for its Roman amphitheater. Many amphitheaters have much better preserved steps/seats, many are larger, but few have such a well preserved back wall (because of the construction techniques, weather, materials, etc., the back walls are very prone to collapse). Of interest is a statue of the emperor, found in the middle of the wall, who is overseeing the show and blessing it. By the way, located just outside the amphitheater is a temple dedicated to such emperor worship. How convenient, you could thank the emperor for the games on your way out.

After some shopping and a good crêpe meal, we headed to Anduze, home of Le Musée du Désert: a museum of protestant history dedicated mainly to the desert period (1685-1789), which is considered to go from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes to the French Revolution. The museum was closed when we got there, so we looked at local potteries, found all the sites we wanted to visit the next day, and settled in for the evening.

church and culture - David F. Wells

Ways of thinking and organizing in our society often become our ways of thinking about ourselves and organizing our lives. Thus, those who gaze at a computer screen by day and a television screen by night may well feel awkwardly obsolete in church if there is not another screen on which to gaze. The demands of efficiency, and the rational, impersonal workings of bureaucracy, are so much a part of who we have become that many of us also want our churches to have the feel of a smoothly run corporation. Our capitalism has been so virile and abundant, filling our lives with goods in quantities unknown in any previous age, that it seems only natural - at least in middle class, white churches - to expect the same range of choice in programs and services as we experience in the commercial world. The norms of the workplace so easily and so unknowingly become our own internalized norms. And this is true of most people. - David F. Wells

found in David F. Wells, Above All Earthly Pow'rs (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 22-3.

Wells unfortunately points out that way too often, culture has transformed the church, but is that what is supposed to happen? No, as I stated a while back when I posted a short post called The kingdom of heaven, Christ calls us to transform culture, not for culture to transform us. So let me ask again: are we affecting the world around us?

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