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Archive for August, 2009

Today is the day set aside by the Church to commemorate the life of the great Augustine of Hippo who died on August 28, 430. Augustine’s last days were troublesome. He suffered from debilitating sickness and from troubling reports of the invading Vandals. His student and friend, Possidius, wrote of these days:

“We talked together very frequently and discussed the tremendous judgment of God enacted under our eyes saying, ‘Just art Thou, O God, and Thy judgment is righteous.’ Mingling our grief and groans and tears we prayed the Father of mercies and Lord of all consolation to vouchsafe to help us in our trouble. And it chanced on a day as we sat at the table with him and conversed, that he said, ‘Bear in mind that I am asking God in this our hour of tribulation, either to deign to deliver this town from the enemy that is investing it or if that seems not good to him to strengthen His servants to submit themselves to His will, and in any event to take me away from this world to Himself.’”

The last days of his life (while Hippo was under siege) were spent in prayers and tears. He had often said that no baptized person, even though he were a notable Christian and a priest should depart from the body without fitting and sufficient penitence. This was especially so for him as he remembered the sins of his youth. So, as his sickness progressed, he spent more and more time in prayer and in a repeated reading of the penitential Psalms which he had his friends write on a sheets of paper and hang on the wall over the foot of his bed so that he might have them always before his eyes. “From his sick bed he could see these sheets of paper every day, hanging on his walls, and would read them, crying constantly and deeply. And, lest his attention be distracted from this in any way, almost ten days before his death, he asked us that none should come in to see him, except at those hours when the doctors would come to examine him or his meals were brought. This was duly observed: and so he had all that stretch of time to pray. . . .” (Brown, Augustine, p. 432)

On August 28, 430, in the third month of the siege of Hippo, Augustine passed from this life to be with his Savior. His library and the proceeds of his autobiography (Confessions) he left to the church. But far more valuable, he left his own books to the Library of the Church of all the ages. It would never have occurred to him that he had sown seeds that would bear world-transforming fruit over a thousand years after his death. And now, more than 1500 years after his death, his books and writings are still read and appreciated. . . . and not just by one particular group of Christians but by men from every Christian communion. Amazing.

Happy Feast of St. Augustine!

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I’m not usually sympathetic to “endangered species” (unless they’re human) but in this case, I admit I’m ready to do something. The axolotl is a type of salamander that spends its whole life in its larval form. And now they say that it is endangered (there are only around 1000 of them left).

But that’s not what moves me. What moves me is that he obviously doesn’t care. Look at him. He says, “What, me worry? Don’t worry, be happy!” So, I’m officially starting a “Save the Axolotl Society” (SAS) and you can join with me to help save this very pleasant and good humored little salamander for a small fee of only $1,000 per year (ok, it may seem a tad steep, but think about it, it’s only a dollar for each one of these little guys — a small price to pay to save such a nice little creature, right? And, on top of that you will have the great blessing of feeling good about yourself because you care about little, happy-faced creatures — unlike the rest of those thoughtless slobs at work and in your neighborhood. And who can put a price on that, right?).

So, who’s with me?

(oh, and please make out your checks to me personally — I’ll pass them along to the Society, and in return, you will receive our esteem and eternal gratitude)

[ht: Duane Garner]

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Auto-matic

I guess I never realized how baffling an automatic door could be.

[from the Fail blog]

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Mark Horne has written a couple of fine posts here and here regarding the new move by some conservative Presbyterians to become Romanists without acknowledging the Pope (you can see it with your own eyes here).

In case you haven’t been paying attention (or have been on vacation like me) we are now instructed by the non-Roman Romanists to read the Bible through the lens of the Westminster Confession of Faith. This, in spite of the direct, specific warning against doing such a thing in the Westminster Confession itself (see the chapters on the Holy Scriptures and that on Synods and Councils). This is what it means to be a “truly Reformed” Presbyterian nowadays. Forget about the supremacy of Scripture, read your Confession — that’s the only pope you need and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (especially those stinking Papists who deny the full sufficiency of the Scriptures!).

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Camille Paglia is a true liberal — i.e. she truly believes in liberty and thus, is able to see through all the fake “liberals” who parade around in Washington under the titles of Republican, Democrat, or any of the other names designed to disguise their fascist, totalitarian, and collectivist commitments. But Camille sees it. You can’t agree with everything she says — but you at least have to admire the courage she has (and has always had) to take the fakers’ pants firmly in both hands and pull down with authority.

[thanks to Jeff Meyers for pointing me to the article]

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Franky Schaeffer has now officially the poster boy for angry, bitter, grudge-holding sons. His book railed against the sins of his father and the hopeless naivete’ of his mother (just in case there was anyone left who might possibly respect them) and now he makes the rounds on TV talk shows denouncing all his father’s friends and followers, claiming that he was the mastermind behind the Christian Right and the Pro-life movement, and . . . whatever modern Christians might think is pretty good and mistakenly believe others actually had a hand in. Doug Wilson calls this “father hunger” and it is certainly that and more besides. If nothing else, it demonstrates what bitterness and anger can do to you. and it ain’t pretty.

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Duane Garner posted this but I wanted to direct a bit more attention to it. This is a video of David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi (both of whom are Christians) asking questions at the 2009 “Arabfest”, in Dearborn, Michigan (Dearborn has the highest percentage of Muslim citizens of any city in the U.S.). So here’s the set up: these guys go up to a booth with a banner “Islam: Got questions? We’ve got answers” and try to get some answers. Watch what happens.

You can’t help but admire how open and understanding Muslims are can you?

[and, by the way, Duane is teaching an excellent series on Islam in our Adult Sunday School class. Write to Auburn Avenue Media and get a copy of these lessons.]

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