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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Bit Disgruntled

This morning, I went to Sunday service in hopes of recieving, in the homily, a message that would prepare me for the Lent Season. Instead, we had a guest speaker who ended up preaching a political agenda. This, of course, disgruntled me and I'm posting this in hopes to become "gruntled" once again.

The title of the sermon was "Power in the Desert," and the text for the sermon was based upon Luke 4:1-13; Jesus' wilderness temptations. As the sermon began, the guest minster was following the text quite nicely (for about 10 minutes), and then suddenly took a turn into left field. In this turn, we heard about several experiences in foriegn countries (one of which was Iraq), where this minister had spent a certain amount of time. Most of these experiences involved abused children who either had to beg for food, or were injured by land mines, wars, etc. These things were communicated in such a way that the audience was "encouraged" to be a part of the solution to bring hope. This was actually the last thirty or forty minutes of the sermon. While no organizations were mentioned in the sermon, it was quite obvious that many groups were refered to without being named and many organizations were meant to come to mind in the description of several actual events.

Granted I think it is a tragedy that these things occur in the world, and the Christian community should certainly participate in the solution of such things, but what does all this have to do with Jesus being tempted in the wilderness? What does all this have to do with Luke 4:1-13? I was very put off by this sermon, and to be frank, let down. While this may be selfish on my part, I went to this Sunday service in hopes of preparing my mind and heart for the Lent season and instead I was informed of an agenda that I, as a Christian, should participate in. I left the service angry and complained most of the way home. In some ways, I suppose this is perhaps a confession since I should have just let it go and not been angry, but on the other hand I think I was justified in my anger. While these things have a place in our Christian lives and churches, I do not think that a Sunday morning Lent service is the pace to push a political agenda. Am I wrong in thinking this? What do you think?

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First Sunday in Lent

Today was the first Sunday in the Lent season leading up to Good Friday and Easter Morning. This is a season where we as Christians should focus our attention on our Lord and search ourselves with a renewed humility toward repentence of sins and wordly things that we tend to elevate above God. In all humility here is a prayer of confession and an assurance of pardon for this first Sunday.

Prayer of Confession:
God of mercy, you sent Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost. We confess that we have strayed from you and turned aside from your way. We are misled by pride, for we see ourselves pure when we are stained, and great when we are small. We have failed in love, neglected justice, and ignored your truth. Have mercy, O God, and forgive our sin. Return us to the paths od righteousness through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Assurance of Pardon:
Hear the good news! The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might be dead to sin, and alive to all that is good. I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

(Taken from this Sunday morning liturgy of our church)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday which means this is the first day of the Lent season. There are now 46 days until Easter Sunday. This is what the Catholic Encyclopedia says about Ash Wednesday,

"The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead -- or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure -- of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: "Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return." The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. In the blessing of the ashes four prayers are used, all of them ancient. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water and fumigated with incense. The celebrant himself, be he bishop or cardinal, receives, either standing or seated, the ashes from some other priest, usually the highest in dignity of those present. In earlier ages a penitential procession often followed the rite of the distribution of the ashes, but this is not now prescribed."

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Home Improvement

Are you having trouble doing projects around the house? Maybe this will help!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


One of my best friends has finally taken the plunge and started his own blog. So, like a good "blog" neighbor, I thought I would welcome him to the neighborhood. I look forward to reading his posts. Go check it out when you have a chance. Welcome Josh!


Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Creeds (Revised Edition)

A good friend of mine sent me these a week or so ago in an e-mail. These are interesting to say the least. My friend was not sure where they originated, so If I have infringed on any copyrights, I apologize now. ;-) This is, unfortunately, a fairly accurate depiction of the landscape of the contemporary Evangelical Reformed "movement."

The Apostles Creed (2007 Calvinist Evangelical Revised Edition)

I scholastically define, affirm and assent to God the Predestinating Father Almighty, Maker ex nihilo of heaven, earth and the law/gospel dichotomy. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Saviour and the one we ask to come into our hearts when we say the sinners prayer; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, who is in no way to be regarded highly, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified as a penal substitution, dead, and buried to accomplish double imputation and justification by faith alone; he maybe descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to declare who the elect are and to judge the quick and the dead yet with no regard to any works or lack thereof done by them. I believe in the Holy Spirit who does not grant the sign gifts any longer; the holy Calvinist, Non-Liturgical and Invisible Church; the communion of those of a sufficient age and cognitive development to understand the sacrament and give a credible profession of faith; the forgiveness of the sins of those who rightly understand justification by faith alone; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting for those who are elect and as yet unknown in this life. AMEN.

The Nicene Creed (2007 Calvinist Evangelical Revised Edition)

I scholastically define, affirm and assent to one God,
the Presdestinating Father Almighty,
maker ex nihilo of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Saviour Jesus Christ,
Who came into my heart when I prayed the sinners prayer,
the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made ex nihilo;
who for us heads of household and our families,
and for our salvation by faith alone,
through grace alone, came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the virgin Mary,
who is in no way to be regarded above other women,
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered as a penal substitution and was buried;
and the third day he rose again
accomplishing double imputation and justification by faith alone
according to Sola Scriptura and John Calvin,
and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory,
to judge both the living and the dead,
yet nevertheless with no regard to anything they have done,
whether good or ill;
whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life but not tongues,
who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son];
who with the Father and the Son togetheris worshipped and glorified,
yet not in any way which would violate the Regulative Principle;
who spake by the Prophets, but does not ever operate through sign gifts anymore.
And I believe one holy Calvinist, Non-Liturgical and Invisible Church;
I acknowledge one baptism for the dedication
of non-communicant church members,
and one for the membership of communicant members
who make a credible profession of faith;
yet certainly not for the forgiveness of sins,
and I look for the resurrection of the elect
who are wholly unknown in this life,
and the life of the heaven to come. AMEN.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Well, normally I can fight off sickness during the winter, but this time it got the best of me. I feel like complete garbage, so when this goes away, Ill be back to posting on the blog. Hope everyone is well. God Bless!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Kirkin' of the Tartans

A Scottish Prayer

In the morning light, O God,

May I glimpse again your image deep within me

The threads of eternal glory

Woven into the fabric of every man and woman.

Again may I catch sight of the mystery

of the human soul

Fashioned in your likeness

Deeper than knowing

More enduring than time.

And in glimpsing these threads of light

Amidst the weakness and distortions of my life

Let me be recalled

To the strength and beauty deep in my soul.

Let me be recalled

To the strength and beauty of your image in every living soul.

J. Philip Newell

Celtic Benediction

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Recent Book Purchases

Here is a list of the books I have purchased within the last month or so. Several of these works were recommended at other blogs, or recommended (or given to me) by friends. This is going to make for some great reading in 2007:

Judgment & Justification In Early Judaism And The Apostle Paul

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Justification in Perspective: Historical Developments and Contemporary Challenges

Rereading Paul Together: Protestant and Catholic Perspectives on Justification

Scripture Principle, The,: Reclaiming the Full Authority of the Bible

God's Being Is in Becoming: The Trinitarian Being of God in the Theology of Karl Barth

Contra Marcellum: Marcellus of Ancyra and Fourth-Century Theology

Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading

This list certainly should keep me busy for a few months, or perhaps longer. However, lately I have been reading through N.T. Wright's series called Christian Origins and the Question of God, so my reading time has been limited to this series. Nonetheless, I look forward to reading the above books soon.