...thoughts expressed here are not necessarily final.

Weight and worth? So much for "Fat Cats".

According to 15 years of data, a recent study found that both weight and weight changes were related to people's net worth. Overweight people who trimmed down substantially appeared to have not only improved their health, but also their wealth. Cross out Chinese buffet for this weekend ...

Noli Novak, pointilist. Profile here.

J. R. R. Tolkien on human sexuality

In 1941, Tolkien wrote a masterful letter to his son Michael, dealing with marriage and the realities of human sexuality. The letter reflects Tolkien's Christian worldview and his deep love for his sons, and at the same time, also acknowledges the powerful dangers inherent in unbridled sexuality. From albertmohler.com.

Kodachrome Kitsch

Check out the link to the gallery.

The Baltimore Museum of Art's exhibit celebrates what might be a dying art -- the slide show. Kodak stopped making carousel projectors last year.

Slide Show is a series of 18 installations that range from single-carousel pieces to more cinematic presentations created with multiple projectors. Through the remarkably simple technology of a slide projector and color transparencies, artists found a tool that enabled them to transform space through the magnification of projected images and text.

My Momma always said, "Stupid is as stupid does"

An Italian couple stole 50,000 euros from a woman in the Sicilian city of Palermo after convincing her they were vampires who would impregnate her with the son of the Anti-Christ if she did not pay them.

Bellowing Ho-Ho's in Denmark

AP - Mon Jul 25, 4:57 PM ET
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - More than 100 Santa Clauses and their little helpers danced, bellowed ho-hos and raced up a rapidly melting hill made of snow Monday at the annual World Santa Claus Congress.

July 26, 2005 Experience quotes-

'Experience is not what happens to a man. It's what a man does with what happens to him.' - Aldus Huxley

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams

Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment.
Rita Mae Brown

Emergents: Emerge from your experiences.

This is a response to a typical emergent blog posting. In reading several of these regularly, I keep running across statements that make me think that Experience is the new idol of the emergent church. This one is from Pastor Joel at Water's Edge.

From http://www.watersedge.tv/blog.html

truth = perspective + relationship + reality

Joel: "Randy's on target to point out the obvious 'truth' that the scriptures are all about things that happened to people and how God made ways for people to know and experience God and to learn how to live--to really live--as part of the rest of creation."

Pastor Joel:“I think the issue of truth is important, but not in the ways that I've heard that it was important in the past. This may help point out part of the problem in the conversation between those who are coming from a more modern/enlightenment/foundationalist perspective and those who are coming from a post-modern/post-enlightenment/post-foundationalist perspective--we're not talking about the same thing when we say 'truth.'

AF: Obviously? All about? No and no. Paul says we know God because of the Imago Dei in Romans 1. Those who would suppress the truth are without excuse.

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

AF:Scripture is not just a pastiche of experiences, though experiences are communicated as one way by which the Holy Spirit shines the light on Truth. The record of the experiences are a record of the mighty acts of God previous to the experience itself. Goliath experienced God's work in a different way than David. To affirm that it is only experiential is to read the Bible eisegetically. God reveals himself to man to His glory and to graciously allow man a pathway back into that glory.

What Joel is characterizing as truth is his experience- only. We must always remeber that Reality is apprehended in a fallen state. It is always to be measured by revealed Truth- not just the way things are but also in the light of the way things were created to be. Then perspective must be accounted for in apprehending the Truth of the reality one experiences. Perspective is one thing we want to subdue and use to God’s glory. It is not about us or our perspective- the God’s-eye view rules all of life, and thus defines how we interpret experience. That is not modernist or foundationalist.

All of us have not primarily been related to a church of absolutist arrogance he describes. For all its brokenness and sin, which are to be repented of, there is real community among the real saints. Much of the faith once delivered to the saints is affective in nature. Of course experience is involved, but all behavior to be shaped and measured by the system of truth found revealed in scripture. There are stories there, but there is much propositional truth revealed as well.

Donald Carson writes that a majority of Emerging Church leaders and thinkers hold "that the fundamental issue in the move from modernism to postmodernism is epistemology--i.e., how we know things or think we know things. Modernism is often pictured as pursuing truth, absolutism, linear thinking, rationalism, certainty, the cerebral as opposed to the affective-which in turn breeds arrogance, inflexibility, a lust to be right, the desire to control. Postmodernism, by contrast, recognizes how much of what we 'know' is shaped by the culture in which we live, is controlled by emotions and aesthetics and heritage, and in fact can only be intelligently held as part of a common tradition, without overbearing claims to being true or right."

Some of the emergents I traffic with are fond of declaring that knowledge puffs up, so it is to be avoided, as if there is some deterministic demand of arrogance that the pursuit of the knowledge of God requires. Humility as well as holiness is commanded. There is a certain poor-snobbery that pervades that untrusting approach, and ultimately mystery is elevated to a form of idolatry. God has spoken. True knowledge of God shows us a proper view of ourselves. Indeed the chief study of Man should be God.

Pastor Joel: “For me, truth used to be something you could possess. It was propositional, absolute, and undeniable--it was there for me to stand on. Truth was like Gibraltar. I saw postmodernity (through the eyes of watchmen of modernity) as quicksand. If postmodernity thought there was truth at all it would be like warm Jello: slippery, slimey, oozey. These ways of thinking and talking about truth objectify truth--they make it into a thing.”

AF: This was a very simplistic and reductionistic view, and one that ultimately has to fall apart. Truth is propositional by its nature. The very name of God, “ I AM” is a proposition. “I am the Truth” is another proposition. God is first revealed propositionally and then we experientially appropriate the Truth. We shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set us free. One without the other is meaningless in human terms.

AF:First, a problem of definitions. truth with a capital T is transcendent first- God is transcendent before he is imminent. That is God was true before there was a creation to be present in.

Secondly, caricaturing anyone who believes experience is not preeminent as coming from "a modern/enlightenment/foundationalist perspective" begs the question- what is the role of experience before modernism. It is easy to determine that Paul was not a modern and yet relegated experience to its proper place.

Pastor Joel:“I think now that truth is like holding someone's hand. I remember the first time I held Torie's hand. Actually, a fonder memory is the first time we almost held hands. It was thrilling. So much mystery, so much fear and trembling. ... I'm not hung up on proving to everyone--or even myself--that she's there beside me--not a rock or a foundation or a pile of quicksand, but a living, breathing, growing, relating person.”

What about the commands of Christ- do they not weigh in here- to know and love him demands declaring Him as well. Christ is Lord, as well as lover. He is Rock, Fortress, Strong Tower, a very present help as well as Mystery. We live and move and have our being in the one it is to through by and for. And he is known not only in intimacy but in community.

Pastor Joel:“When I hold Torie's hand, I hear what she's saying to me when we talk--or not. I don't know what she's thinking until she tells me--and even then there is often misunderstanding, miscommunication--but the more I know her, the more I can pick up on unspoken communication. My perspective on what she is saying is shaped by a long history of experiences as I learn how to better interpret the spoken and unspoken ways of communication. We get better at it, but I find that I am still often wrong about what she's feeling and thinking about--and so we talk more and understand each other better. There's so much that can be picked apart in this analogy by those who care to, but for me, to reduce truth to abstract statements is not only unhelpful and unsatisfying, it is unreal. It may even be a form of idolatry--replacing a mysterious relationship with God with propositions one can place respectfully on a shelf (think about how 'absolute truth' can become an idol...). We all trust something and/or someone--maybe even many 'someones'--so let's just be honest about it get busy living.
As you brush knuckes with Reality, may sparks fly between your fingertips.”

AF: Here Joel has given an analogy- analogy is not Truth, it is a way of pointing one to Truth – it is not exhaustive or even right if taken far enough, and abstraction need no occur for this to attain. To experience the loving touch demands there is a knowable person on the other end of the touch In fact the touch is more abstract and subjective than the greater reality of the being that is touching. Proclaiming mystery where there is certainty is to call God a liar. Because some have made absolute truth into an idol does not abrogate the reality of God. Men have always sought to worship reflections rather than the real to their doom. To say that emergents have a lock on the authentic when in fact the evidences say contrary is dangerous. I am not satisfied with brushing knuckles with reality-any more than the relationship described above would have flourished had that defined reality. I want to drown in it, to be held fast forevermore by Him. I want to KNOW Him- His likes and dislikes, His passions and joys. I want to know the color of God’s favor, to taste Him and see He is good. But I can only measure those experiences as real or authentic in the light of the revealed realities testified to in scripture.

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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/