Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lighten Up

I've recieved several requests recently that I "lighten up" and stop writing about "such heavy theological stuff" etc., etc. So in an effort to "lighten" the "mood," consider this the gratuitous... uh... "mood-lightening" post for the month. Or something. Okay - that said, here are some things to brighten your day:

1.) If you're jonesin' for some generally pointless, but entertaining, comedic blog relief, visit my ol' pal Diddy.9000 - from now on, I'll refer all you chuckle-seekers to his well-written accounts of the ongoing war against spider crickets. Also of light-hearted interest, he apparently thinks Adam Sandler is a better actor than Robert DeNiro. I take back the "ol' buddy" part. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I know this guy at all. Do make sure you stop by and tell him what you think about that DeNiro biz though.

2.) Just as a promised, I did teach baby Caleb how to read (see photo). Unfortunately, he has a hard time holding Grudem's Systematic Theology up with his lil' baby arms, so after a couple paragraphs, he gets tired and takes a snooze. I guess we'd better start strength training next to build up those wee arms... or maybe I should just teach him how to read on his stomach.

3.) For my birthday, my bro sent me a copy of Taming A Liger: Unexpected Spiritual Lessons From Napoleon Dynamite. Pretty flippin' hilarious. You know I'm training to be a cage-theologian. Gosh.

4.) I'm sure you will be amused to know that Sam, the world's ugliest dog, died earlier this month. Okay, so that's not so light-hearted and funny... but what IS funny is that I know a guy named Sam. He's named just like the dog. The world's ugliest dog. Who... just... um... died. Ha. hmmm... (*sigh*)

5.) Did I mention that baby? Babies always make people laugh.

Whew! Now that we have this "light" and "funny" stuff outta the way, I can get back to some real bloggin'. Next topic - The Wages of Sin is Death... DEATH... DEAAAATH.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Drinkin' - Final Guidelines

Continued from this post...

I shared my personal convictions regarding the consumption of alchohol in the last post. As I stated, those being my own personal convictions (and those convictions in accordance with Scripture as I understand it at this point), I do not necessarily expect that all Christian folk follow the exact same policy in the exact same way. I DO EXPECT, however, that whatever conclusion a believer has arrived at regarding the use of alcohol that they do adhere to these guidelines;

  • That he or she never strays close to drunkedness or other sin through partaking alcohol
  • That he or she knows why they hold a particular standpoint and can, when necessary, accurately articulate their standpoint with both grace and truth to either a believer or non-believer in an appropriate manner
  • That he or she understands the various facets in which this issue can be viewed apart from the explicit mandates of Scripture and thus does not fall into the trap of simply passing judgment on those who hold differing convictions (again, assuming that those differing convictions do not go against the commands of Scripture regarding Christian conduct)
  • That he or she would never make their viewpoint a stumbling block to a a weaker Christian or use their convictions to manipulate or condescend others
  • That he or she would be ever-vigilant to protect their witness and present themselves as blameless
  • That those who partake do so in a way that honors the Lord and that those who abstain likewise do so in a way that honors the Lord
  • That he or she consistantly filters their conviction and actions through the lens of Scripture - not only through the explicit and implicit statements specifically regarding alcohol, but regarding general conduct as well.

May God grant us the grace to strive in such a way that our actions and convictions never fail to align with Scripture - in this matter or in any other.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Drinkin' - Personal Convictions

Continued from this post...

As promised last post, I will share my personal alcohol policy. I will at times have a beer or a glass of wine, though I am very intentional about where and when and with whom. This is a personal conviction, which I trust I have arrived to under the leading and guiding of the Spirit and the authority of the Word as best as I have understood up to this point in my life (my viewpoint has changed from earlier points in my walk, and could change again at the Spirit's prompting in the future.) Because this is my own conviction - and not an explicit mandate from Scripture - how I conduct myself regarding this issue is a matter of obedience for me. I will give you situational contexts to that, but let me first start with two foundational reasons why I feel that is okay for me:

  • I have no family or personal history of alcoholism or alcohol-related abuse (this is not to say someone of like circumstance is not susceptible to alcoholism - but I would advise that those who have such a history, either personally or familialy, to completely abstain from alcohol as there is an exponentially generally greater chance they could succumb to that disease or temptation. Often as well there is a hightened emotional charge accompanying this issue for individuals who have dealt personally with alcohol abuse in any form. It simply seems wise for one then to completely abstain and forego further alcohol-related trauma.)
  • I have simply come to enjoy the taste and craft of certain alcoholic beverages and there are times when I feel it is appropriate to enjoy them (but not all times are appropriate and even then, obviously in moderation and never out of context with the Scriptures - I will explain more later).

Situational contexts that I keep in mind, though, include:

  • I do not drink alcohol in the presence of non-Christian people. I do this because there is a strong cultural stigma in our culture regarding alcohol that I feel I should be sensitive to. I would rather not open the possibility for a questionable impression, and therefore discredit in any way my witness. The only exceptions may be individuals who are long-time friends with whom I am confident my witness or credibility as a disciple of Christ is not in question over the issue.
  • I do not drink in front of Christian brothers or sisters who I know have been deeply and negatively affected in some way by alcohol abuse in their past or currently struggle with it.
  • I do not drink in front of Christian brothers or sisters who I do not know well enough to say whether or not my actions will be a stumbling block to them.
  • I generally do not have more than two drinks in a sitting. I feel that is an appropriate limit to set unless enjoyment become overindulgence. Concerning how much alcohol is 'acceptable' to drink, I often hear Christians debate over whether it is permissable or not to get buzzed - but not all-out drunk - on alcohol. Too many people seem to try to find out where "the line" is by seeing how close they can get to it before crossing it. That mindset is foolish and dangerous at best. Far better to approach with discernment and caution, if at all; God has not left His stance on drunkeness unclear by any means. He has drawn a very clear line - take heed in dancing around it lest you cross it.
  • I do not ever drink to "take the edge off" or with the intent of altering my mindset, mood, etc.

Given these stipulations, the times I actually partake are, generally, few and far between and usually within the walls of my own home. I would reiterate that these guidelines (apart from the biblical condemnation of drunkedness) are personal convictions - it is a matter of obedience for me to follow them, but I do not necessarily expect all others to have arrived at the exact same conclusions. There are, however, specific guidelines that I do expect any believer partaking of alcohol to follow. I will share these next post.

Continued next post...

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Drinkin' - What Scripture Says Part 2

    Continued from this post...

    In the last post, I made the point that I do not see that Scripture views alcohol as inherently evil or sinful. HOWEVER, we must balance the fact that although the USE of alcohol is not condemned, the ABUSE of alcohol most undoubtedly is; let there be no question about this point.
    • “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags” (Prov. 23:20-21).
    • "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).
    • “Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink; who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!” (Isa. 5:11).
    • “Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink” (Isa. 5:22).
    • “Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34).
    • “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy” (Rom. 13:13).
    • “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."(Eph. 5:18).
    • “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissentions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).
    • “An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money” (1 Tim. 3:2-3).
    • “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine...” (Tit. 2:3).

    There are plenty more references - probably all familiar to you who've investigated this issue - but I think the point is clear even from this sampling. In Scripture, drunkenness - or the misuse/abuse of alcohol - is everywhere condemned as a serious sin, both explicitly and implicitly.

    In addition to considering the words of Scripture specifically regarding alcohol, I think one must also treat this matter in light of how it affects one's witness before people who are not Christians and in light of one's testimony before fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This is an area that though I believe there are governing principals to guide us, there is room for discernment given each situation. I do not want to be vague on this point, so next post, I will share my personal "alcohol policy" and the reasoning behind it.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Drinkin' - What Scripture Says Part 1

    Continued from this post...

    Let me start with simply sharing some Scriptures that give insight into the use of alcohol in Biblical history. The obvious tie-in to alcohol or fermented beverage in the Bible are references to wine. Here are a few things from the Old Testament.

    God commands wine and strong drink to be brought as an offering to himself:
    • “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously ... and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a libation with one lamb” (Exod. 29:38,40).
    • “Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine” (Lev. 23:13).
    • “And you shall prepare wine for the libation, one-fourth of a hin, with the burnt offering or for the sacrifice, for each lamb ... and for the libation you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a soothing aroma to the Lord ... and you shall offer as the libation one-half a hin of wine as an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the Lord” (Num. 15:5,7,10).
    • “Then the libation with it shall be a fourth of a hin for each lamb, in the holy place you shall pour out a libation of strong drink to the Lord” (Num. 28:7).
    Wine is tied to the concept of God's blessings:
    • “Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine” (Gen. 27:28).
    • “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine which makes man’s heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil, and food which sustains man’s heart” (Ps. 104:14-15).
    • “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10).
    Conversely, and interestingly, the removal of wine has been tied to God's discipline:

    • “But it shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you ... You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall devour them” (Deut. 28:15,39).
    • “The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, ‘I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have labored’ (Isa. 62:8).
    What strikes me about these references - especially those regarding sacrifice and offerings - is that in my understanding, nothing unclean or unholy is to be offered to the Lord, yet wine was included as an acceptable offering. I draw from this that there is nothing inherently bad, evil, or unclean about it. I do not see evidence in Scripture, as many evangelicals believe, that all alcoholic beverages are inherently evil and that any use of an alcoholic beverages is sinful. However, I do see that Scripture presents some specific instruction regarding alcohol consumption - there is a context and conditions for its use. I'll get to these next post.

    Continued next post...


    Okay... Although my purpose on this blog is not to create controversy, it looks like I'm about to jump into another controversial subject. At least 3 individuals have recently pointedly asked me my opinion on Christians drinking alcohol. If you're not a Christian and you're checking this out, the following posts may just be funny to you, but for many Christians, this can be a big issue.

    I got an email from a good friend a couple weeks ago that expressed - quite well - the sentiment of several other conversations I've recently had. My friend says:

      I was wondering what you think about the issue of Christians drinking alcohol. The past few years, I have been faced with backing up my own position in the face of adversity from close Christian friends. I do have a strong opinion, but sometimes wonder if it is a conviction from God or if my view is clouded because of what has happened in my own life. With the ever-increasing amount of people around me choosing to partake, I am seeking Biblical counsel from one I know really seeks God.

      I should say that your opinion won't have an impact on my choice to abstain, but I would like to have a better idea of how to speak to my friends on the issue.

      Anything you've studied would be helpful - thanks!
    This letter prompted me to really articulate how I see this issue as a disciple of Christ, and I think this is a worthy subject to come to terms with as you walk with Christ. In my thinking - and more importantly, in accordance with Scripture as I understand it - the issue is fairly black & white, although there are several factors to consider. I will share these in greater detail over the next several posts. The specific factors I will look at are: what does the Bible say about alcohol? What does it mean for my witness (my interaction with non-Christians)? What does it mean for my brothers (my interaction with fellow Christians)?

    Continued next post...

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Cutest. Baby. Ever.

    A couple of you have asked for updates on lil' Caleb. I have to tell you - and I admit that I cannot do so impartially - that he is quite possibly the cutest baby. In the world. Ever. Prolly the smartest and the strongest too. He's 3 months old now, so he's starting to be really interactive which, speaking as a dad, is a blast and sometimes funny, too - like when he coos, or grins, or projectile vomits all over his babysitter.

    I figure it's never too early for this guy to start earning his keep around here, so I'm working on his physical conditioning at the moment. Right now we're learning basic punch/kick combos, wrist locks and grappling manuevers (don't worry, though - mom provides plenty of softer, gentler nurturing ;-). But even she will admit that this little dude has a crazy kung-fu grip. I'm pretty sure he'll be walking soon. Maybe by next week. And then the week after that, we're going to start teaching him to read...

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    A Word of Thanks

    Firstly, let me apologize for my absence there - life just hit a busy spurt. Also, I wanted to take a second to thank all of you who followed and commented on the transubstantiation posts. I'd like to especially thank David Wills and Damienc for their comments regarding the Catholic position. It has been a very enjoyable and worthwhile discussion. At the moment, we are continuing our discussion here, so feel free to check that out. Meanwhile, now that I've returned to the blogosphere :-) I hope to begin a new series of posts... check back soon.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Transubstantiation - Concluding Thoughts

    These are the concluding thoughts from a series of posts on the topic of transubstantiation. The previous posts are as follows:

    Part One
    Part Two
    Part Three
    Part Four

    Most Catholics I have spoken to on the matter of transubstantiation contend that the view presented here completely downplays the Lord's Supper. I would like to finish out this series of posts simply by saying that this view in no way detracts, denigrates, or condescends the Lord’s Supper. Nor would I say that Communion is merely a symbol. I think most people would agree that when Jesus says “Do this in remembrance of Me” He is not saying “I want you to intellectually recall all the facts you know about Me in your brain.” Rather, to partake of the Lord’s Supper is to remember His death and all that His death accomplished for us; this should stir and strengthen our faith and draw us into deeper communion with Jesus. Consider once more the words of J.C. Ryle on the subject:
      Now, is it reasonable to suppose that our Lord would appoint an ordinance for so simple a purpose as "remembering His death?" It most certainly is. Of all the facts in His earthly ministry none are equal in importance to that of His death. It was the great settlement for man's sin, which had been appointed in God's promise from the foundation of the world. It was the great redemption of almighty power, to which every sacrifice of animals, from the fall of man, continually pointed. It was the grand end and purpose for which the Messiah came into the world. It was the cornerstone and foundation of all man's hopes of pardon and peace with God. In short, Christ would have lived, and taught, and preached, and prophesied, and performed miracles in vain, if He had not "crowned it all by dying for our sins as our Substitute on the Cross!" His death was our life. His death was the payment of our debt to God. Without His death we would have been the most miserable of all creatures. No wonder that an ordinance was specially appointed to remind us of our Savior's death. It is the one thing which poor, weak, sinful man needs to be continually reminded. (J.C. Ryle, The Lord’s Supper)
    In the ordinance of Communion, we have been given the opportunity to experience a profound and vital spiritual truth, and we are to be nourished and satisfied by faith in all that God has given us in Christ.

    The Lord’s Supper proclaims Jesus – and that is no small thing at all.

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Transubstantiation: Eating & Drinking

    Continued from last post...

    Most Catholic apologeticists contending that Christ's physical body and blood is materially manifest in the Lord’s Supper traditionally base this assertion on John 6:48-59. In this section of Scripture, Jesus foreshadows the meaning of the Lord's Supper and says publicly in the synagogue "I am the bread of life" (v. 48). He then talks about eating this bread; in v. 51, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." Clearly, this was a shocking statement given the response of those around Him. They took Him literally – the Jews began questioning how Jesus might give them His flesh to eat (v. 52), and Jesus responds (v. 53), "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you…"

    The Baltimore Catechism uses parts of John 6 to defend the Catholic position of the Eucharist, specifically citing John 6:48-59 (Catechism 344). Unfortunately, this section of the Catechism stops short in explaining the context of Jesus' statements, for He does indeed explain to His disciples the meaning of what He was saying. The verses following John 6:59 (where the Catechism stops short in its citation) do indeed show that Jesus was not speaking literally. Jesus realized His disciples were confused about what He was telling them. Verse 60 points out "When many of his disciples heard it, they said, 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?'" So Jesus in v. 63 gives them the key to interpreting what He said, so His disciples would avoid the very mistake that the Jews in the synagogue were making in presuming He meant literally eating his physical flesh and blood: "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." With this statement, Jesus points out that He is specifically referring to a spiritual action, not a physical one.

    He alludes to this very point earlier in this same chapter. In John 6:35, He says, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." So, He will satisfy hunger and thirst. If He is speaking literally, then we can conlude that Christ is a complete and utter failure. Firstly – if we are to be consistent in our exegesis from that standpoint – we would have to literally (bodily) come to Him - but how can we do so if He is not here, but seated at the right hand of God in heavenly realms as Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:1, and Luke 22:69 tell us? Secondly, those who simply believe in Him would find physical nourishment - another clear failure if this was His intent, for even today (much less in all of A.D. history) true believers die of hunger, thirst, malnutrition.

    But if He is not speaking literally, what then is the eating and drinking He refers to? It is coming to Christ and believing in Him. “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” The eating and drinking refer to spiritual acts; desiring Him, accepting Him, trusting Him. He is speaking of the hunger and thirst of our souls being satisfied in Him – not our stomachs.

    As with continual sacrifice, in this way too there is no need for physical, literal transubstantiation.

    Continued next post...

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Transubstantiation vs. Symbolic Language

    Continued from this post...

    I am of the mind that the Bible as a whole should be interpreted literally (an interesting topic in itself - perhaps a topic for later posts). This is a standpoint from which Catholic apologists often mount their defense of transubstantiation. However, let us not disregard that there are many times when the Bible does use symbolism and symbolic language. (This is not to say that you and I get to decide when the Bible uses symbolic language – the Word interprets itself in this matter!)

    Jesus clearly utilized symbolism when teaching in parables. He also refers to Himself specifically using symbolic language; “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48); “I am the gate” (John 10:9); “I am the vine” (John 15:5). Reading these passages in context, it is clear Jesus never means He is literally a piece of bread, a gate, or a vine. Those would be unnatural assertions. In like fashion, if I were to hand you a photograph and say “This is my family” it would be unnatural for you to assert that I mean that the photo itself is literally my kin. Rather, it is understood to be representative. I believe it is clear that the same is true when Christ says “This is My body” in reference to the bread. Consider the words of J.C. Ryle, a widely-respected English pastor from the 19th century:
      Does the New Testament authorize men to say that the Lord's Supper was ordained to be a sacrifice, and that in it Christ's literal body and blood are present under the forms of bread and wine? Most certainly not! When the Lord Jesus said to the disciples, "This is my Body," and "this is my Blood," He clearly meant, "This bread in my hand is an symbol of my Body, and this cup of wine in my hand contains a symbol of my Blood." The disciples were accustomed to hear Him use such language. They remembered His saying, "The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one" (Matthew 13:38). It never entered into their minds that He meant to say He was holding His own body and His own blood in His hands, and literally giving them His literal body and blood to eat and drink. Not one of the writers of the New Testament ever speaks of the Lord's Supper as a sacrifice, or calls the Lord's Table an altar, or even hints that a Christian minister is a sacrificing priest. (J.C. Ryle, The Lord’s Supper)
    Furthermore, John Piper points out that if the words, "This [bread] is My body" (I Cor. 11:24) were intended to mean, "This [bread] has literally turned into My physical body," would we not expect the same meaning to hold for the statement about the cup? In the next verse Jesus says, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood." Yet, in the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, this statement is not forced to mean “This cup has literally turned into a covenant.” Here, the cup is acknowledged as representative, a reminder that the blood secures or purchases or guarantees the blessings of the covenant. Honest exegesis requires consistency.

    Continued next post...

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Transubstantiation: A Continuing Sacrifice?

    Continued from this post.

    Let me begin by first clarifying the belief that I spoke out against. Catholic doctrine holds that "Christ gives us His own body and blood in the holy Eucharist first, to be offered as a sacrifice commemorating and renewing for all time the sacrifice of the cross" (Catechism 356). This view of the Lord’s Supper, from the Catholic standpoint, is literally the re-sacrificing of Christ. And, while the Catholic catechisms quote Scriptures that speak of Christ dying once at the cross, this doctrine also teaches that Catholic priests perform at each Mass a miracle that transforms the bread and wine into Christ's physical body and blood (transubstantiation) and that each Mass “is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross” (Catechism 359). Jesus is then – quite literally according this doctrine – sacrificed anew each time a Mass is held and the Lord's Supper is taken.

    In contrast to this, however, the New Testament teaches that Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins was both final and complete for all time. Consider Hebrews 9, which deals with the passing away of first (old) covenant regulations in light of the new covenant in Jesus. Hebrews 9:25-28 says “…Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly… for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself… so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many…” Consider too the even more explicit statements of Hebrews 10:10 – “…We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” Hebrews 10:12 – “…But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time…” and of Hebrews 10:14 – “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Consider as well Christ’s own words before He died on the cross – “It is finished” (John 19:30). The phrase in Greek is teleho – which is to bring to a close, to complete, to fulfill, to accomplish the final part of one’s task.

    To assert then that there is a continuation of Christ’s sacrifice, as the Roman Catholic doctrine asserts in their view of the Eucharist, not only contradicts New Testament teaching, but destroys the assurance we have that payment for our sin has been fully paid – once and for all – by Christ and wholly accepted by God the Father. If continual sacrifice for our sins still must be made by Christ, we have no assurance of there being “no condemnation” toward us (Romans 8:1). New Testament doctrine is clear that after the one offering of Christ on the cross, there is no more need of continual or further sacrifice.

    Continued next post...

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Hike Colorado

    I went to Colorado this weekend with a friend to visit my brother and do some hiking. If you like hikin' and you've never hiked the Rockies, you should probably drop everything and go right now. We took on Mt. Yale, which summits at 14,196 ft. above sea level. It was without a doubt the most difficult hike I'd ever done - as if the incline of a 'fourteener' wasn't rigorous enough in itself, the thin air at that altitude (and my own lack of conditioning) certainly made for one tough climb. It was, however, in a word - awesome.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2005

    In Response to Transubstantiation

    Transubstantiation. That's a big word that probably doesn't mean a whole lot to the general populace, or to the casual reader occasionally passing by ol' Diesel.Blog here. However, I've recently taken issue with this topic, so the next few posts will deal with it. I hope you find this series of posts both encouraging and useful (or at least interesting).

    A few weeks ago, I had the great privilege of leading the congregation of my church into a time of communion. We are a non-denominational, Protestant Bible church and we take communion as a congregation once a month. I was asked to give a devotional/teaching beforehand to lead folks in preparation for taking the Lord's Supper. As one of the sidenotes to a point I'd made, I stated that transubstantiation - the belief that the communion elements literally become the physical, literal, manifest body and blood of Christ - is and always has been an erroneous doctrine.

    Transubstantiation is, for the most part, a teaching of the Roman Catholic church. There are quite a few former Catholics that attend my church and apparently a few practicing Catholics as well. As emails and responses trickled in following that message (generally folks wondering why in the world I would state that someone else's well-intentioned beliefs are erroneous or Catholics defending their position), I have had the opportunity to solidify my own theology regarding communion and share that with others. Thus, I would like to use the next several posts to share my response to the doctrine of transubstantiation.

    Let me preface with this thought - my intent here is not to "bash" Catholicism. Please do not regard my statements as an attack on Catholic people. The point is not Catholicism or Protestantism or anything inbetween or beyond. The point is truth. My intent is simply to point out truth - truth not merely as I perceive it, but Scriptural, Biblical truth spoken by God, taught by His Spirit, and perfectly grounded in Christ Jesus. And truth, friends, is no relative thing.

    Continued next post...

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Graven Images Revisited

    Continuing thoughts from the last post...

    Would you say this view is extreme? A little too close to legalism? Is it simply unrealistic and absurd? I thought so at first, I'll admit. (I’m trying to figure out if I still think so or not.) After all, what harm is there is using art to spur people on to worship? What wrong is there in putting forth some visual that helps the Christ-worshiper focus in on the Object of his or her worship? Plenty, it seems, if that visual is meant as a direct representation of the Lord.

    Why? Simply because nothing can directly, accurately represent God except Himself. If an image meant to depict Him is used habitually (or even sporadically) to aid in worship, would we not come to think of Him, pray to Him, relate to Him as the image represents Him? And to the extent that any created image used in worship fails to represent His full glory, to that extent we would fail to worship Him as we should.

    John Calvin said, "A true image of God is not to be found in all the world; and hence ... His glory is defiled, and His truth corrupted by the lie, whenever He is set before our eyes in a visible form. ...Therefore, to devise any image of God is itself impious; because by this corruption His majesty is adulterated, and He is figured to be other than He is."

    Packer points out that God-depicting visuals used in worship are misrepresentative not necessarily because of what they show about God, but because of what they fail to show. He uses the imagery of the crucifix as an example: "... The crucifix obscures the glory of Christ, for it hides the fact of His deity, His victory on the cross, and His present kingdom. It displays His human weakness, but conceals His divine strength; it depicts the reality of His pain, but keeps out of our sight the reality of His joy and His power ... The symbol is unworthy most of all because of what it fails to display. And so are all other visible representations of deity." (p. 46) The image dishonors God, not because of what it shows, but because it obscures His true and full glory. (I would, however, note that this logic could just as easily be directed towards a worship song or a sermon.)

    So will I ever create visuals that include Jesus in them again? More than likely. But by His grace, I'll not do it carelessly.

    Thursday, September 15, 2005

    Graven Images

    "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:4-5). That's the second of the original ten commandments - do not make or worship idols; keep yourselves from idolatry.

    For many of us, at the word "idolatry" our minds can't help but summon images of savage tribes, kow-towing before carved totems or pagan priests offering human sacrifices before skull-adorned statues. Clearly, though, we good twenty-first century Christian folk aren't bending the knee to such pagan notions, especially nowadays in our soy-triple-latte-hold-the-whip postmodern society... Are we?

    I recently read a chapter in J.I. Packer's Knowing God that forced me to reexamine the theme of idolatry in my own life. Packer builds a case for "more subtle forms of idolatry" around Charles Hodge's principal: Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God by images. Packer then defines "images" as any visual or pictorial representation of the triune God, or of any person of the Trinity, for the purposes of Christian worship.

    That means, as the chapter goes on to explain, that crucifixes, statues, paintings, meant to represent any member of the Trinity are all, in reality, misrepresentitive. None of these things are God Himself, Packer asserts, but mere man-concieved images of Him. Speaking for myself, this is a hard pill to swallow. What about the great art of the Renaissance? Passion plays? Jesus movies? That painting of Christ out in the lobby of your church? I'm a visual artist - a graphic designer by trade, but also dabble in drawing, painting, photography, video and multimedia. I've drawn, painted, photographed and designed countless images meant to depict Christ, the glory of God, the work of His Spirit. Have I thus created images? By Packer's assertion, most assuredly I have.


    Read Part II

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Cloud of Witnesses - Part Two

    Continuing thoughts from yesterday's post, it is clear to me that without those guys in this running group, there’s no way I’d be dragging myself out of bed to run at 6:15am on a rainy Friday morning. But since I have that “cloud of witnesses,” I find that I am more easily able to “throw off everything that hinders” (warm sheets, for instance) “and run with perseverance the race…” Paul uses the cloud of witnesses as a point of motivation for us to run well and run faithfully.

    The men of the running group were laughing one morning about a Starbucks commercial that we thought illustrates this point well. There is this guy Hank, who basically has his own cheering section – a cloud of witnesses, if you will – to cheer him on throughout his day. Obviously, Heb. 12:1 is not saying we live merely before the eyes of man, and Paul makes it clear that our ultimate Witness is Christ, and we are to set our eyes on Him as we run (Heb. 12:2). But Christ, in His love for us, ran a perfect race and laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16) for the glory of the Father.

    I was thinking last night about Matt's comments to yesterday's post regarding this section of Hebrews. Although I think what I've said here is sound in the larger sense, I'll admit that my exegisis of this text has not been entirely accurate. I'll be working on that. Until then, let's consider - how much more faithful would we be in running our races if we really understood the importance of that “great cloud of witnesses” – and better understood both the role of the runner and the role of the witnesses as we strive to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us"?

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    Cloud of Witnesses - Part One

    I went running the other morning with my friend D.R. and some guys I know from church. D.R. started this little running group a couple months back under the premise of the apostle Paul’s many references to the Christian life as a race. We get together early on Fridays, have a short devotional thought, and then take off for 30 minutes of running, jogging, or walking (or in my case, 30 minutes of gasping, panting, or wheezing). Now I’m the type of guy who, when it comes to exercise, is no longer what you’d call “self-motivated.” And to be honest, although I enjoy the effects and acknowledge the benefits of exercise, it’s often a struggle to maintain consistency on my own.

    One of the verses we were looking at before running that particular morning was Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. The part of this verse that grabbed me as I thought about it is the fact that “we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.”

    Obviously, those witnesses could be non-Christians; those to whom we are examples for Christ as we live our lives. I think that’s the context in which most of us think of those witnesses, but I don’t think that phrase is limited simply to those who are not Christians. I think that cloud of witnesses also includes our brothers and sisters in Christ – it is a reference to the importance of Christian community in that it enables and motivates us to “run with perseverance.”

    You can't make it alone. We were made for community... that's why the Church is called a body.

    Filling Up Space

    My post God On Trial was recently featured as an article on FillingUpSpace.com ... Many thanks to Travis McSherley and the rest of the FuS staff for the honor!

    Friday, September 09, 2005

    For Your Consideration

    Sorry about the brief haitus there. In the midst of work, family visits, and one very vocal, sleepless baby, (etc., etc.) I fell out of the blogosphere. Now that my "blog fast" is over, I've got a couple topics I'm looking forward to covering.

    In the meantime, though, there are exerpts two postings from other blogs I think you should take a look at. I thought they were worthy of consideration. Check out the following:

    Mistyping the NAME :: by D. Griffiths
    I was just typing and accidently wrote "Gof." Sure, the "F" key is right next to the "D" key. And sure, the designation "God" is derived from the germanic tribes reached by the first Roman missionaries and has no inherent holiness as a word. Yet, that simple mistype sent a shudder through my heart. We are so careless with the name of the Lord. God, gosh, Jeeze, and further, more profane designations, pepper the vernacular. But I don't care to bemoan that old complaint. I want to draw your attention to the frivolity with which we write and type words that refer to the God of all the world... READ THE ENTIRE POST >>

    Too Much to Say :: by M. Wireman
    Matt. 12:34 - For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
    I say all this to say to myself, you, and other folks out there speaking and typing out a deluge of words, be careful. I look all around the internet and see frivolous words being spouted off. All the ridiculous posts will be called to account. Even if you don't blog, the words you speak in solitude will be brought before you for you to give an account. Don't waste your breath, invest it into eternity... READ THE ENTIRE POST >>

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Relief for Hurricane Katrina Victims

    It's much easier to write about helping folks than to actually do something about it. Check out a way to provide practical aid for Hurricane Katrina victims at Marcus' blog or through Reston Bible Church.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    God On Trial

    I believe in the sovereignty of God. That is, God’s sovereignty is the attribute by which He rules over all of creation - and to be sovereign, God must be all-knowing, all-powerful, and absolutely free. I believe also in the goodness of God. A.W. Tozer says this about God's goodness:
      The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank, and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people. That God is good is taught or implied on every page of the Bible and must be received as an article of faith as impregnable as the throne of God. It is a foundation stone for all sound thought about God and is necessary to moral sanity. To allow that God could be other than good is to deny the validity of all thought and end ill the negation of every moral judgment. If God is not good, then there can be no distinction between kindness and cruelty, and heaven can be hell and hell, heaven. The goodness of God is the drive behind all the blessings He daily bestows upon us. (A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy)
    Scripture clearly teaches both aspects of God's character. Yet, in times like these when great disaster occurs, is it not our tendency as men to put God on trial? We tend to attack one or both of these attributes of God. We cry "Look at these hurricanes! Look at these people suffering! How could God have let this happen? Is He really in control?" Or, if we do not doubt His sovereign control over a given situation, we are more than prone to put His goodness on trial. Who among us has never asked, in some form, "How could a good God allow this horrible thing to happen?"

    It is only the frailty of man that feels either God's goodness or His sovereignty is somehow diminished by disaster. Did God know - even ordain - that Hurricane Katrina would wreak such havoc upon our neighbors to the south? Absolutely. Did He know all those people would be left houseless, possessionless, fleeing their homes for their lives? Yes indeed. Did He ordain each death, each loss of a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend? He foreknew every single one. But His sovereignty and His goodness remain intact. Our doubt takes nothing away, just as our belief adds nothing to them. His attributes need no defense, including this very writ. Everything occurring regarding this hurricane - from loss to life, from hatred to love - demonstrates the goodness and sovereignty of almighty God. Do we understand it? Hardly. But doubt neither His goodness nor His sovereignty.

    We would do well to remember that we are not sovereign. We see only a few pieces of a canvas that stretches on beyond time, and with even the best of us, our sight is tainted by our own depravity. Our vision and knowledge is finite and limited. God's are not. Instead of putting God on trial, let us instead see through eyes of faith, ever trusting in His immeasurable goodness. Even if we do not understand, let us say along with the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah "Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love." (Lamentations 3:32)

      Tuesday, August 30, 2005


      I've recently been challenged to think about what I want to do with this web log. When it first started, I was just messing around and there was no clear purpose. A friend asked himself a worthy question when he started his own blog - "What's the point?" He says,
        So the question I ask myself before I embark into the world of web logs is, "Why? With all the wonderful, culture-engaging commentaries out there already, why add more verbiage to the deluge of the internet? Why try to contend with such heavy hitters when you are trying to keep your head above water in right thinking?" Well, I want to add my voice because I think that the worst thing I can do is remain quiet and let this wave go by without attempting to put my hand to the clay and mold what thoughts are formed.
      It is with similar sentiment that I feel I should put my own hand to this clay. I don't purpose to change the entire world with anything I write here (far better minds than mine are already at work on that, I'm sure) - but maybe I'll be used to impact yours, if only in a small way.

      And so what I will purpose to do in this forum is to help equip and encourage you as you go about your pilgrimage by sharing thoughts and musings - from the theological to the mundane - from my own journey with Christ in hopes that it will take you a step further in yours. Perhaps you would provide insight from your own walk that would do the same for me. Visit and comment as often as you like, and I will try to post often and consistantly. I'll look forward to seeing where the Lord takes us in all of this.

      The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of Your hands. -Psalm 138:8

      Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. -Proverbs 19:21

      Thursday, August 25, 2005

      Church Webmasters - Stop Working for Free

      Today I read an article called Church Webmasters - Stop Working for Free by Micheal Boyink. For those of you who are webmasters, web designers, IT specialists, or simply recognize the usefullness of the web as a relevant tool for the church's use, I'm extemely curious to hear your thoughts on the article.

      Monday, August 22, 2005

      Reflections After a Week of Fatherhood

      I've been an officially practicing Dad for a little over a week now. Here are some thoughts and things I've learned so far.
      • The birthing process is an incredible paradox. It's the only experience I can think of that I've simultaneously wanted to throw up and shout for joy at the exact same time. On one hand, it is just plain gross... but watching new life come into the world is nothing short of awesome.
      • Babies are strong. This lil' fella is seriously tough. Bounce 'em, toss 'em, swing 'em - they just keep on keepin' on. Not to mention the 17-hour trip down the birth canal and the trauma of learning to breathe air.
      • I am weak. It's amazing how helpless and even fragile I sometimes feel when helping take care of my son. Truly "God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong ... that no one could boast in the presence of God."
      • Apparently babies have uncharted hypnotic powers. You can stare for hours and not even realize it.
      • When driving in the car with a baby, every bump and pothole suddenly becomes a gaping chasm. You also assume any other vehicle going over 25mph is being driven by a raging maniac.
      • My wife is tired, wired, and more than a little moody. She's stretched out and sore in places she doesn't want to mention. She is more beautiful than ever.
      • Turns out nobody's really kidding about that whole "no sleep" thing.
      Just some initial thoughts as I walk through the first few steps of fatherhood...

      Monday, August 15, 2005

      Off The Wire

      My good friend and brother, Matt, is an ace theologian, and as long as I've known him, he has been used by God to play an instrumental role in the development of my theology and challenging me to a deeper walk with Christ. Ol' Matt recently started up his own blog. Check it out.

      Saturday, August 13, 2005

      Glorious Day

      What a glorious day... my son was born. Meet Caleb.

      Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by Thy help I’ve come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.

      Tuesday, August 09, 2005

      Regeneration Must Precede Faith

      Continuing my last post, let me assert that no man can provide faith for his regeneration to salvation. Regeneration and salvation must be a wholly divine work. I think this is very clearly seen by observing mankind's fallen state.

      Ephesians 2:1 tells us that we Christians were all once dead in our trespasses and sins. Dead. That is a word of finality - it is unmistakable. You can't, in reality, be "half dead" or "somewhat dead" or "kind of dead" ... either you are dead in all fullness or you are not. If you are not dead, you are therefore alive, even if only the faintest spark of life exists. However, Scripture does not teach that the faintest spark of spiritual life exists in fallen man. As uncomfortable as it may seem, every Christian was once dead in our sins and every non-Christian still is. Consider these words from a teaching by Charles Spurgeon:

      "Holy Scripture tells us that man by nature is dead in trespasses and sins. It does not say that he is sick, that he is faint, that he has grown callous, and hardened, and seared, but it says he is absolutely dead. Whatever that term "death" means in connection with the body, that it means in connection with man's soul, viewing it in its relation to spiritual things. When the body is dead it is powerless; it is unable to do any thing for itself; and when the soul of man is dead, in a spiritual sense, it must be, if there is any meaning in the figure, utterly and entirely powerless, and unable to do any thing of itself or for itself. When ye shall see dead men raising themselves from their graves, when ye shall see them unwinding their own sheets, opening their own coffin-lids, and walking down our streets alive and animate, as the result of their own power, then perhaps ye may believe that souls that are dead in sin may turn to God, may recreate their own natures, and may make themselves heirs of heaven, though before they were heirs of wrath. But mark, not till then. The drift of the gospel is, that man is dead in sin, and that divine life is God's gift..."

      When someone is dead in their sin, their existance is a closed system. A closed system cannot become other than it is without being influenced by something outside of that particular system. By that I mean that something that was not already in that system will never manifest itself within that system by that system's own devices. That would be like me asking you to sponateously produce knowledge of everything you don't know. Death is a closed system. Unless acted upon by an outside force, death does not sponteneously produce anything (except perhaps more death).

      A spiritually dead person cannot produce the smallest inkling of faith that would lead him to somehow cooperate in the regeneration process. He can offer nothing for his salvation - he must be acted upon by an "outside force."

      "Regeneration is not a joint venture. We do not cooperate in it because we will not cooperate in spiritual matters while we are still dead in our sins. Our hearts are totally disinclined and indisposed to the things of God. We love darkness and will not have God in our thinking. The desires of our hearts are enslaved to sin. We will never choose Christ until or unless we are liberated from that slavery. In short, we are morally unable to exercise faith until and unless we are first regenerated.
      This is why the axiom of Reformed theology is that regeneration precedes faith. Rebirth is a necessary pre-condition for faith. Faith is not possible for spiritually dead creatures. Therefore, we contend that apart from spiritual rebirth there can be no faith.
      Of course, once the divine initiative of regeneration has been wrought by the sovereign monergistic work of God, the rest of the Christian life is synergistic. But the transformation of the person from death to life, darkness to light, bondage to liberation is done by God alone, effectually and irresistibly." - R.C. Sproul, Dead Men Walking

      "For it is by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God..."

      Wednesday, August 03, 2005

      Something Serious

      Okay, since I've had this blog up for a while now, I should probably post something that's actually worth reading.

      The other day in a meeting I was in, a friend of mine asked a great question - basically, where does faith come into salvation? Is it man's faith that saves him (saying that faith is a prerequisite for regeneration, which leads to salvation) or is faith a result of man's regenerated state (saying that regeneration/salvation must preceed faith)? It's a great question, and I think, an important one. Unfortunately, my friend's question was brushed aside with a "people have debated over that for years and we're probably never really going to know" kind of answer. I'm going to attempt to explore it here.

      The debate between various theological camps regarding this issue often centers around Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

      Some folks will tell you that in Eph. 2:8-9, the phrase "it is the gift of God" refers to to grace alone, but not faith; the idea there is that God gives the grace, and man provides the faith for his own salvation (this view is called synergism - a cooperation between the human and the Divine in the regeneration process. The opposing view is monergism, where regeneration is explicitly a work of God without aid from man.) Man providing the initial faith sounds nice - and certainly gives man a little ego-boost - but it's an erroneous view. I'll explain further in my next post.

      Wednesday, May 11, 2005

      Shotgun - Part 2: The Rules and Etiquette

      In a previous post, I covered the history and origins of Shotgun. Now on to rules and etiquette.

      Simply stated, to lay claim to the Shotgun position, one must say the word "Shotgun" within audible range of at least one witness. Shotgun must be called outdoors - never inside. Anyone who calls Shotgun indoors is automatically voided from recieving Shotgun priviliges.

      However, before Shotgun can be called, it is of utmost import that all eligible parties understand, accept and apply the concept of "the deed." The deed, according to the Official Shotgun Rules, "is any activity or objective that directly precedes the ride in the automobile." The deed is a localized rule, created and governed by region or circuit. In my local circuit, the deed - that is, the prerequisite one must fulfill before calling Shotgun - is that one's body must be at least ten (10) steps outside the nearest building entrance or exit. The importance of recognizing, respecting, and adhering to the deed cannot be overstressed as it establishes guidelines for a Shotgun-calling timeframe and thus ensures that everyone has an equal chance of calling Shotgun. To disregard the deed - in our case, the ten (10) step rule - is a clear breach of Shotgun etiquette and a direct infraction of Shotgun rules.

      In my circle of friends and local Shotgutgun circuit, there is one particular individual who tends to be a little shaky on the rules and etiquette of Shotgun-calling. He's the guy that "jumps the gun," if you will indulge my pun, when calling Shotgun. You know the type... Kinda jumpy. Nervous, weasel-like eyes always flitting, flitting. Twitches alot. Just a little too anxious about reserving that coveted spot. Little do most folks know, there is an official term for these types of unruly blokes - they're called Shotgun Gapers. Gapers (pronounced gay-pers), according to the official handbook, "are people who prioritize Shotgun much more than a normal human being. These people will alter their usual behavior and even undermine their own ethics in order to gain the rights to Shotgun." Although the advantage to being a Gaper is a frequent Shotgun ride (as long as the rules and etiquette are not being abused), being a Gaper is severely frowned upon. Unclean they are. Smell like cabbage.

      So there you have it - a basic overview of the rules. I'll gladly take any questions or clear up any confusion you may have regarding the rules and etiquette of Shotgun.

      Oh - and Mr. EPGaper9000 - just so you know, throwing one's t-shirt in anger and frustration at your own failure to correctly call Shotgun is considered blatant disregard for Shotgun protocol. Demerits abound.

      Wednesday, April 27, 2005

      Camping and Wild Hosses

      Camping is awesome. I went camping the weekend before last and am just now getting the smell of campfire out of my beard. Myself and 3 other dudes met up at Mt. Rogers, VA (incidently, the highest point of elevation in this fine state at over 5,700 ft.) I love the woods and the critters and the staring at the campfire for hours. I'm telling you, there's something to that nature stuff. No computers, no cell phone, no nothin'... just a lot of walkin and a lot of thinkin. Plus, you get to pump and purify your own water right out of a mountain stream. And build fires.

      Now I've done my fair share of hikin and campin, but one of the coolest parts about this trip were the wild horses. That's right - wild horses. Well, technically, I guess they are wild ponies. Huh. Apparently, hundreds of wild ponies roam around the Mt. Rogers area. Who knew? One even tried to eat my shoe. No kidding.

      Monday, April 18, 2005

      Shotgun - Part 1: Origins and Importance

      Shotgun. You know what that is? It's a mean frickin' gun, that's what. It doesn't just put one hole in you - more like a hundred little tiny holes that sting like crap. Shotgun also the best way to ride in your buddy's car.

      You see, back in the ol' stagecoach days, the fella that wasn't steerin them hosses sat up front with the driver and kept a lookout for suckas what that might try and rob said stagecoach - and the shotgun? Well, that, my friend, was his theft deterant. Nothin like two barrels o' buckshot to keep punk suckas off yer back.

      So, clearly, aside from the actual driver's seat, shotgun is the best darn seat in the house. Yeah, it was cool when you were a kid riding the schoolbus to sit waaaaay in the back. But once you get access to some real wheels? If you ain't drivin, you want to be ridin shotgun.

      Thursday, April 14, 2005

      Morally Obligated to Blog

      OK... so 2 friends of mine I happen to work with started blogging. When the first dude got his blog site up and was like "Hey, go look at my cool blog site - it's the coolest, yo" I just made fun of him. Behind his back. Alot. (What was his URL again? epd9k.blogdork.com? epd9k.blognerd.net? epd9k.getafreakinlifeblog.gov? I had a hard time remembering at the time.)

      However, despite my best attempts to dismiss this whole "blog" thing off as a passing phase, it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. When friend/coworker #2 joined in the blog ring, it began to sink in for me - it was invevitable; I was doomed to follow. Basically, it was either jump in or become ostrasized... Their furtive glances and muttered words were already singling me out as 'the un-blogger,' 'the anti-blog,' 'the white infidel,' and 'unclean.' If you cut me, do I not bleed? Eh? Fellas? Fellas?

      Honestly, my friendship with these dudes may have been in jeopardy had I not started the very blog you, Esteemed Reader, are now reading. I would not hesitate to go so far as to say that, given the circumstances, I was morally obligated to start this blog.

      So, here I am, rockin' you like a hurricane. And to make amends to epd9k for making so much fun of him (alot... behind his back...) I am paying tribute by choosing the same blog template layout has he did. Sort of.