Bags of Bran

The Intricacies of Two Worlds
December 19, 2010, 10:40 pm
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I’d love to show my dad the wheels I built last year with the goofy lacing pattern: he probably would have asked me why I didn’t just lace it 2 cross and be done with it. I suppose I could have, but these are my wheels, so nobody else’s life is on the line for the sake of my experiment!

I wish my dad had taught me how to build wheels, but it ended up being more or less of a self-teaching experiment coupled with some excellent teachers at the shop. I fumbled with the first couple, but now it’s pretty easy, unless I’m trying to build a rear wheel with 3 cross on the drive side and 2 on the non-drive. That was quite a puzzle. I ended up just lacing the entire drive side and then lacing the non-drive separate. In a lay-person’s terms, it would be like cooking an entire batch of pancakes on one side only, removing them from the griddle and setting them aside, before going back and cooking the other sides. More than slightly inefficient.

Both wheels, the weirdly-laced front and the 2-3 rear, turned out great. They’re tight, straight, round, and sturdy. They’re also quite heavy, but they’re doing duty on Der Winterbeater, AKA “Old Dreadful,” so excessive girth is sort of a virtue disguised by excessive girth.

I suppose that as cycling-related good stuff turns more into a hobby and the Christian ministry turns more into a career I will gradually drift away from things like wheel building and other bicycle arcana. Similarly, if I jettison all hopes for the ministry and disappear into a bicycle shop for life, I will probably forget how to read Greek, or at least how to parse third declension nouns. Actually, now’s as good as any time to practice…

tis, tinos, tini, tina, tines, tinwn, tisin, tinas

Well, those are the indefinite pronouns, and they are how I remember the participle endings as well. Unfortunately, some words, like pater, basileus, etc., are quite weird and don’t follow what I consider to be the thematic declension. A Greek from the Koine period would probably tell me I’m an idiot for not knowing how to decline words like “father” and “king,” but I would turn around and smugly ask him to parse our linking verbs, you know, just to show him.

How do I hold these two worlds in appropriate balance? I want to be a good mechanic. I want to be a good exegete/theologian/preacher/teacher/whatever. This is a recurring theme in my prayers. It would not please either my Dad (were he here) or Christ (whose opinion is of greatest worth) if I built shoddy wheels, but neither would it please either of them if I was mallet-handed with my Greek text. Both things are worth doing well. The former may put food on my table, but the latter is useful for putting food on the table for hungry saints.

Two worlds, both intricate, both competing for attention.

Drowning with Land in Sight
April 26, 2010, 10:41 am
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School snuck up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder, and when I turned, it gave me a lights-out shot to the chin.

I am staggering beneath this load. I have two papers in the oven (the one was begun as a vacation from the other) and one on deck that I may or may not get to. It’s not a good time to be me, though it’s still “better than I deserve” and far better than the rest of the West.
I’m currently writing a paper on the meaning of apostasy: it’s not pretty. If you leave the church, you leave Christ: that’s what church history says (until about 1850), and that’s what the Bible says.

Those who leave on their own, not transferring their membership, are essentially under church discipline. Their state is the same as if the church excommunicated them. The only difference is who acted first.
The SBC is going to irritate a lot of people if Harrett has his way. The man seems utterly blind to the reasons that his denomination has 16,000,000 people, 60% of whom never attend. Neither does he seem to notice that the head offices rather like that figure, and keep men such as Rick Warren, the BGEA, and liberal missionaries around to keep that particular number headed in the right direction.

His proposed solution? Membership classes and church discipline. Sooo…. a Billy Graham (or the Power Team, or whoever) comes to town, deploys a gospel-like substance, the decision cards are turned in, and a handful of confused people wheel into the local SBC church with Billy Graham’s assurance that they are now right with God. Now I know that 90% of people who go to these huge outreach thingys are already church members or attenders, and that 70% of those who respond are church members or attenders, and of those from the non-attenders who respond, about 1% are still around in a few years’ time (even among the church attenders, not many remain), but let’s pretend that the BGEA is effective and sends 10 decision cards to such and such Baptist church, SBC.

So this church welcomes them with open arms, channels them into a membership class, and discovers that no, Billy misspoke, or they took him out of context (this happened a lot with Billy, but let the reader be comforted: he meant well). They are not right with God, they felt bad and wanted to appease their consciences, or wanted to fix their marriages, or had wayward children, or had recently lost their jobs. So they went forward. So now what? The church can’t bring them into membership or baptize them because they don’t love God, and the church has joined the conservative evangelicals who don’t do stuff like that anymore. And these will go away sad, likely hardened to the Gospel.

Recommendation: Throw Billy Graham convert cards into the nearest fire (prophetically), and straighten those people out about Graham, the Gospel, and the cost of discipleship (after having straightened the church out). Cycling people through the church because of a faulty gospel is immoral.

April 16, 2010, 9:43 pm
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Feeling short-sentency today. May not predicate correctly. Sentences may include passive voice and strange participles, being the type of sentences which are typed by me. It is a strange way to be a written thing.

OK then!

The exquisite, charcoal gray 1998 Saturn… I’m not sure which model it is… anyways– needed some much-needed attention. It was sort of an ailing beast when we got it, but sentimental attachments, even to miserable pieces of engineering such as inimitable, charcoal-gray 1998 Saturn… whatevers, die hard and slow. If you have tracked the dates of my blog posts, you may have discovered that I am a rather inert individual. Thus, I am not the most prompt or responsible sort of fellow when it comes to routine maintenance, so when the radiator sprung a leak, we (as a family) began investing in drums of coolant. In the summer, we just used water, which is available for a very reasonable price in nearby lakes. As it happens, we live in Minneapolis–the City of Lakes–which is in Minnesota–Land of 10,000 Lakes, so it was more of an inconvenience than anything. Water, water everywhere, so why fix the radiator? They’re expensive! And life went on.

When the muffler ceased to muffle and began to amplify, it was time to consider doing some repair work. I considered it heartily for a brace of fortnights. It wasn’t getting much louder, and it was much less annoying than the rap which blares from most of the other vehicles here in the ‘hood; plus I have other things to not do. But the wife was secretly troubled by our sonorous jalopy, and although it was amusing to her that she alerted her friends of her approach from about two miles away, she would rather be stealthy. I like that about her. So, a plot developed that I only discovered eighteen hours before its occurrence, and my Father-In-Law swooped into the driveway with a trunk brimming with spare parts one fine Friday afternoon.

It was time for some industry (see, the title fits!). I went into the basement and collected an assortment of tools. I knew that Tom would have nearly everything, but sometimes unwelcome surprises surprise a guy when he’s working on a radiant, charcoal-gray Saturn… whatever it is. First we changed the radiator, which involved defiling the family dishpan with coolant, which featured some unidentifiable sludgy particles. Several traverses of the basement stairs occurred. WD40 was sprayed on sticky items, and strange gurgling sounds were heard. Knuckles were scraped, blood was shed, and the slick, charcoal-gray 1998 Saturn… something-or-other had a new radiator!

Then we changed the muffler, which was definitely something to file in a folder labeled “might makes right.” Chisels, hammers, pliers, violence, murrain, pestilence, famine, dental work, kung-fu, and Corrosion Stop tagged in and out during the campaign. A pile of rust and other automotive debris that would qualify as a foothill for many noteworthy geological formations accumulated beneath the north end of the south-facing vehicle. Bolts broke, pipes groaned and shuddered, and finally the lustworthy, charcoal-gray 1998 Saturn… car had a brand new exhaust system from about two inches in front of the muffler back. I shoved a block of wood between the exhaust pipe and an aluminum heat shield which had been rattling since four days after the car left the assembly line: silence. Then I started the striking, charcoal-gray 1998 Saturn… vehicle: it purred like a kitten that somewhat needed an oil change and was designed to expire catastrophically at about 100,000 miles.

Upon completion, the four of us piled into the newly renovated luxurious, charcoal-gray 1998 Saturn… [insert model here], and went in search of food. We found some, ate it, paid for it, and drove back to the hacienda. Then the In-Laws left, taking their crazed Border Collie with them, and headed back into the bucolic heart of Wisconsin. We wished them blessings.

Now the car is still in need of work, but at least one can hear most of the instruments in a symphony while driving through the ghetto, and it’s not spouting green fizz at stoplights. The fan still doesn’t work (I don’t think), and it has a something that has broken free from the deal down in the region where the wheel attaches to the spanner through the agency of some 15mm bolts. Chances are, the bolts will be very tight, but I have a breaker bar that is two feet long, so I will either break them off or break them free or the rapture will occur and I will do neither. I’m pretty sure that saints will not be permitted to drive Saturns in the Millennial Kingdom, even precision, charcoal-gray 1998 Saturn… models.

Where’s My Voice?
March 29, 2010, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


I’ll find it tomorrow.

Apples of gold will have to wait.

I’d rather say nothing than say something dumb (having learned the hard way oh-so-many times).


Still Anonymous (and glad for it)
March 25, 2010, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I just looked at the hit counter on my dashboard feature. WordPress is neat that way: I don’t need Google Spamalytics or tracking software.

The numbers are still very low, and I’m OK with that! I still don’t think I’m contributing, or even ready to contribute, to the conversation. Perhaps in a few years someone will stumble across this site and begin reading, and perhaps at that point I will have enough worthy posts that it will be worth someone’s time to sit and read for a while. It’s hard to compete with two-minute videos of college pranks, cats fighting, cars crashing, and essential movie quotes on YouTube, but is that really the audience I’m after?

If that audience is “Christians,” then probably. Evangelical Christians are, for the most part, as worldly as anything. I’ve met secular folks whose lives are downright monastic because of principles they could articulate. Try to get a Christian to think about whether he should go to a movie or not, or whether the medium “movie” has any significance by its nature. Do things have natures anymore? When did they lose them?

Instruction from a Farmer and His Favorite Trees
March 22, 2010, 12:03 am
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In a world I often frequent (or frequent frequently, if you like), I recall a certain farmer who had been entrusted with the cultivation of certain groves of trees. (Really, it was an orchard, but I don’t want to confuse the reader by using the title “Orchard Keeper,” as that title applies to another friend.) This farmer was unfortunately a rather naive man, given to superstitions and easily swayed by arguments containing lots of numbers and figures. He was particularly given to the habit of measuring his own success merely by single positive attributes of the trees in his care. For example, if a tree grew to a great height, yet did not bring forth any fruit or provide shade for the weary, he would point to its height and remind those within earshot how he had sacrificed a high position in the courts of the Prince of that land so that he could be a lowly tree-keeper on a lowly manor.

Two trees that were curiosities to many who thought about such things were very near this farmer’s heart. He loved them like his own, which I suppose was just, since they were his own trees in many ways. The elder of the two had once been tall and straight, and had once brought forth at least some leaves to shade weary ones, and had at one time promised a meager yield of fruit. In a small wind-storm, however, this tree lost its meager yield while it was yet green, and from that point, it despised the very idea of fruit-bearing. This turn of events made all who visited the orchard disappointed, and it was a great embarrassment to the farmer, whose words toward the tree may not have been very kind. (It will help the reader to know that in this world, good trees could communicate with those who were willing to listen. I have had many wonderful conversations with a few such trees in my day, and the reader is invited to find such trees as have voices of their own. You will know such trees by their fruit!)

From that day forward, the once tall and straight tree began to gnarl and curl, and to hide its leaves from the Sun as though it feared that its very marrow would be exposed by that great Light.Its branches were covered with sharp thorns, and no bird or beast could nest in it. What leaves it had were small and dark, and it situated them only so that it would give shade to itself, as though it were trying to cover the face of the Sun with its hands.

A day occasioned that I return to the orchard for some nearby business. I tried to talk to this tree, the older of the farmer’s favorites. It snarled and cracked, and shook its branches in menace: it had lost what voice it had. I backed away saddened and frightened, and afraid for the tree, because although it had turned its face from the Sun, it could not hide itself. Puzzled at what should cause such a turn, I began to examine the tree’s roots. It was certainly planted in sour soil, yet I had known other trees planted thus to produce good fruit, though perhaps not very nutritious. It seemed as though the tree’s roots were very shallow and had sought far and wide for nourishment. It clearly was not content with the soil it was planted in. Walking its circumference, I nearly tripped and fell over a root that was twice the size of the others, and nearly completely unearthed. It was as straight as a sewer-pipe, about eight inches in diameter, and covered with blackish, slippery bark. I followed it quite a long ways, noticing some shallow notches like scars in this root along the way. Apparently the farmer had tried to cultivate this root at various times, but finding it as tough as iron, he gave up. I followed it still: it disappeared under the earth only briefly a time or two. Such a root! Clearly the tree had expended great effort in producing it. It was fifty yards at least before I saw its dreadful terminus.

The root had made its way to the edge of a notorious lake that was polluted with waste from the Prince’s industries. Several years ago, I worked for the Farmer in the same orchard, and noticed that many of the trees had roots in this lake. Reader, have you ever had a sick feeling about something without knowing why? That’s how I felt about this lake back then: the water itself was sweet to the taste, but it was nauseating to me when I swallowed it.   One could see that a great many trees from the farmer’s orchard had sent roots to this lake, and many of the roots bore marks where the farmer had feebly struck them with a very dull axe. (I had moved away to study agriculture from master farmers, I had learned a good bit more about the lake and how it got there, but that is a story perhaps for another time.)

Horrified by the sight of the once-tall tree’s root into the lake, I made my way back to the orchard. I was so different now from when I worked in the orchard…I had learned so many things… All those roots from the orchard to the lake… was this why so few of the trees bore any good fruit? Deep in meditation, I arrived back at the orchard where I found the farmer talking to his older tree. The once-tall, gnarled tree had recently dropped a few pieces of misshapen, bitter fruit, sweet only with the waters of the toxic lake. The farmer held a piece of the fruit triumphantly up for me, beckoning me to taste. It was very much like a wilted football in its shape, about seven inches long and five across. It was, by my estimation, a pale orange color, mottled and livid with brown spots like a bruised peach that had faded. It sagged in the farmer’s hand and was leaving a sticky mess on his glove. It smelled like cooked spinach. “This,” I said under my breath, “is what happens when trees drink from the Prince’s lake.”  I politely declined to taste it.

A seedling had sprung up from the turf at the feet of this older tree, and it was clear that the tree was shading the seedling from the Sun. The farmer did not seem to notice this, beaming as he was that one of his favorite trees had produced a seedling. His other favorite tree seemed to be beaming as well, and seemed to be voicing agreement, but it was difficult to tell. It had a voice, but it was tinny and shrill, like a tea kettle’s whistle, or the cry of an injured rabbit. It could make out the forms of words, but only as a parrot would, and could not actually talk for itself.

The younger tree was not nearly so tall as the older, but had situated itself on a large mound of dirt as to appear taller. It was very odd in appearance, having silky-smooth, slippery bark that no creature could climb upon, and a few thick tufts of leaves on the ends of its slender branches. These tufts of leaves gave some shelter to insensible creatures on the forest floor, but if any man besides the farmer tried to enjoy shelter from the heat of the day, the tree would pretend that a great wind had gripped its branches and rudely whisk the shade away. It would almost have been humorous, were it not so spiteful.

I went up and reacquainted myself with this tree, as I had done some cultivation (rather unsuccessfully) years prior. It looked healthy enough, although it had grown thorny in its higher branches to keep nesting critters away. It seemed capable of producing leaves, at least where it wanted to. The farmer seemed not to notice these peculiarities because the tree produced copious, brightly colored fruit that floated down like pearly soap bubbles to the turf. They were so shiny and colorful, they looked like iridescent Christmas ornaments. The farmer scooped up a basketful and handed them to me, grinning ear-to-ear. They were as light as air! I tell you the truth, I was holding a basket about the size of a five-gallon bucket filled to the brim with fruit from this tree, and it weighed next to nothing! I picked up one of the pieces and examined it closely. It was a bright red color, somewhat translucent. It had almost a cartoonish character to it, like a child had drawn it with a crayon. Suddenly a gentle breeze rustled leaves from other trees overhead and a bright ray of Sun warmed us. As soon as the Sun’s Light hit the fruit, it popped like a balloon with a startling crack! Instantly, the tree moved a leafy branch to cover the bucket of fruit I had been given and shade it from the Sun’s Light. It rattled forth some tinny, screechy, unintelligible objections at its fellow trees for rustling in the wind thus, and proceeded to shade all its fruit from the Light. I could hear some faint cracks from further away, beyond the tree’s ability to shade the Light from its fruit, but it was clear: this tree’s fruit did not survive in the Light of the Sun.

When the farmer’s fruit-gathering enterprise was over, he had several bushels of fruit, the total weight of which a man could easily carry with one hand were it not for the bulk. The farmer insisted that I try a piece. The fruit broke apart when I tried to sample a piece. It was like a bubble made of hard candy with a hint of… what was that taste? It seemed familiar, like a memory from childhood, not unpleasant, but somehow inappropriate now that I was older. I thought I had been acquainted with it before. It was sweet and delicate… and… “Crack!” another piece detonated in the strength of the Sun. I blinked and gathered my wits. Why was this happening?

As if awakened from a dream, I excused myself as politely as I could (and I don’t think it was polite enough, now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it) and began to do some inconspicuous investigation. The tree suspected immediately that I was doing so and began a furious rustling of its leaves, as well as dropping another load of gossamer fruit twice as fast as before, until the ground was covered with it. (When the farmer saw this, he thundered away to the manor of his employer to boast of his accomplishment, in hopes that his employer would see what a great job he had done on this favorite tree of his) (Oh, and as soon as the farmer left, the tree stopped dropping fruit!)

I worked around in circles: this tree also had shallow roots, but they were very snaky. One root looked so much like another that it was often impossible to distinguish them as they crisscrossed each other and braided together in patterns. They seemed to be searching as well, but not as earnestly. They were much thinner than the once-tall tree’s roots, and not as straight. Most were below the surface, although not very deep.

I found a main root (or what I guessed to be a main root– at about four inches, it was twice as thick as any of the others) on the side of the younger tree that was facing away from the Prince’s lake. I was relieved at that discovery: perhaps the funny taste of the fruit was due to the sourness of the soil. I began to follow the root, but it plunged quickly underground. Digging with my fingers, I discovered that this root grew to nearly eight inches as soon as it disappeared beneath the surface of the soil! With difficulty, I could trace the root by the small ridge of earth that it had pushed up as it bloated and swelled underground. I say “with difficulty” not because the ridge was not prominent (it was), but because the ridge went this way and that through the orchard. It made wide loops and figure-eights, and, as near as I could guess, spelled out a word or two in a sort of slovenly cursive. I won’t reproduce the words that I believe the tree was spelling with its root: they aren’t nice words.

After spending nearly an hour tracing this root, I had followed it back upon itself, around other trees known for their good fruit, through patches of trees known for no fruit at all, and finally through a small grove of trees I had never seen before. They had no discernible voices whatsoever, but groaned distantly in the wind. They were neither tall, nor seemingly old, but it was clear that their hearts were rotten. Sticks littered the turf around them like antler-sheds, and I could feel them glaring coldly at me, wishing they could fall over on me and crush me. They had no command over such things while the Light of the Sun shone however, and though I was chilled at such cruel trees, I felt no fear for my life.

The root I had been following made a wide and circuitous route and seemed to stop near  an ancient cemetery. The small ridge of earth I had been following for an hour and a quarter had come to an end. “This tree must have been sentimental,” I thought to myself, “but why all the trouble of making a maze through the countryside when it could have sent a root straight over here?” The weatherbeaten cemetery was only about twenty yards from the orchard, and the root I had followed was at least ninety. It did not make sense.

Puzzled, I began disturbing the dirt at the terminus of the ridge of dirt with my boot. In the distance, I could see that the farmer was back, and the younger tree was dutifully dropping fruit for the lord of the manor, the farmer’s employer. The lord of the manor was not a shrewd man, but he at least knew enough to point out that the farmer’s younger tree produced fruit that didn’t weigh very much. The farmer was only slightly put off, and went back to lovingly gathering the fruit. “Crack! Crack Crack!” The Sun was shining full strength on a patch of ground that the younger tree could not shade, and some of its fruit had tumbled over to it. The tree was straining with all its might to shade it with a leafy branch, but as I said before, it was not a very tall tree. The lord of the manor strode off, muttering and whistling a tuneless tune to himself.

During this momentary distraction, I had dislodged a good deal of dirt from the terminus of the root I had followed. When I looked down at it, I was surprised to find that it was not a single root, but a knot of at least a dozen thinner roots that grew from the end of the swollen root, which ended at the cemetery gate.  The roots of this knot sprayed out a bit from the thick root, and plunged deeper beneath the soil. They were a sickly white color, from which I deduced that they had never seen the Sun before. I dug down to find that within a few feet, they were all assembled in a formation at about a right angle to the terminus of the swollen root.  Within a few feet, they were straight as rulers and nearly exactly parallel, and were running to the southeast–straight for the Prince’s lake.

I walked slowly back to the Prince’s lake in what I guessed to be a straight line from the cemetery gate, and on the bank of the lake I dug down deep. I must have strayed a bit from the right course because it took four tries, but eventually I found those twelve roots intertangled with several other roots whose origins I could only guess. Almost immediately, I was powerfully sick  (and not wishing to offend the reader, I won’t describe what exactly happened–it’s disgusting).

I composed myself and began walking back to the orchard again. This time, I was sorely confused. Why could the farmer not see it? Was he not aware of the toxic effects of the Prince’s lake?  Well, he must have been partially aware, because he at least made a show of hewing ineffectively at some of the roots that ran towards it. Many of the roots on the surface bore scars and bruises. But then roots that ran in other directions had axe-marks as well, and it seemed that the farmer had been successful in cutting off some roots that were reaching towards noble sources. Again, I was confused. The two trees most dear to him were drawing their chief supply from the Prince’s lake: one overtly, one covertly, and he had been powerless to intervene either by cultivation or by severing.

I pitied the farmer as I rode away. The futility of his situation was not entirely lost on him: one could see it as he frantically gathered the ephemeral fruit of his younger tree, and as he lovingly gazed on the seedling produced by his older tree. I could tell that he was aware of other problems: when the younger tree spoke in shrill, parroted gibberish, a pained expression crept over him momentarily; and when the older tree cracked and growled, swinging thorny branches to protect its seedling from the farmer’s cultivation, the farmer turned and wept softly by himself. It didn’t seem like a good time to give him a detailed account of the dangers of the Prince’s lake, so I left him be.

I looked on this orchard and received instruction.

March 18, 2010, 5:28 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and even Valentine’s day have Christian roots (believe it or not) that, with a little research, a clever Christian could unearth to the edification of his friends and neighbors. Such occasions are worthy of Christian remembrance, and ought to be de-cluttered of cultural detritus and meaningfully celebrated for the benefit of children and child-like alike.

Then I consider days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, and Presidents’ Day. I stand up to ask, “what hath Jerusalem to do with…” and then I stop for fear of being slapped. Mothers, fathers, independence, veterans, and presidents are all great and necessary things in our society, but “to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” What kinds of sermons do you hear on the Second Sunday of May, churchgoer? Or on the Third Sunday of June? Or, if you’d like, at or around November 11, or July 4, or (in some churches) the Sunday before the third Monday of February? Dandies, I’m sure. The Spirit moves, etc. Yet let the pastor forge ahead in his exposition of Ephesians, James, 1 John, Titus, or Philemon across one of these sacred dates, and just watch the reaction it produces. Churchgoers have expectations that their category be honored alongside the gospel: what’s wrong with that? We should be glad that they come at all on their special day!

In early November, I happened to be looking at my Farcebook account and saw scores of pictures of pew-sitting and even some pulpit-occupying Fundamentalists and evangelicals–or more specifically, of their children–costumed, an orange pail with a pumpkin face slung from one arm, a feral gleam of avarice in their eyes, ready to go house to house and curse to damnation those inside unless the missus of the house sprint to the pantry to fetch forth a soul cake with all speed. This is what many Fundamentalists and evangelicals, some among them drawing paychecks from churches, do with their children on Reformation day.

To add to the rich blessing I was receiving at the sight of an entire generation of children being led by the hand through the fires, I happened across about eighty-six photos depicting members of the graduate studies department at the college where I did my undergrad work. One of them was decked out as a certain vampire by the name of Edward, another as a green-faced witch from a certain play called “Wicked,” a pair of Obamas, a pair of mobsters, a pair of Zorro-type swashbucklers, and others I’m not clever enough to identify. Seems like the party was a great success: the pictures were fragrant of  joie de vivre, with pumpkin-carving, Wii stomping, mugging for the photographers, and food consumption. Nothing too scandalous to note! This is what graduate students and front office staff at a Bible college do on Reformation day.

Can pew-sitters and Christians by Baptist infant baptism participate in secular holidays? Sure, go ahead: participate, do whatever you want. This is America, you are American, you have rights, you’re your person, it’s all about you. Don’t forget to worship you on Sundays either: I can think of several songs appropriate for the task.

If you happen to think that Christian is more than a brand-name, however, you would do well to begin understanding what “wise as serpents” could possibly mean, and what it would look like if you were so.

I passed by the field of the sluggard
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles;
Its surface was covered with nettles,
And its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw, I reflected upon it;
I looked, and received instruction.

And no, I do not display my diploma from the college (oops! International University) whence I graduated.


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