Thursday, October 28, 2004


This John Wesley hymn was the musical preface to today's Worship lecture. Accompanied by a single guitar, a solo male vocalist sang:
Come, O thou Traveler unknown,

Whom still I hold, but cannot see;

My company before is gone,

And I am left alone with thee.

With thee all night I mean to stay,

And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell thee who I am;

My sin and misery declare;

Thyself hast call'd me by my name;

Look on thy hands, and read it there:

But who, I ask thee, who art thou?

Tell me thy name, and tell me now.

In vain thou strugglest to get free;

I never will unloose my hold:

Art thou the Man that died for me?

The secret of thy love unfold;

Wrestling, I will not let thee go,

Till I thy name, thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,

And murmur to contend so long?

I rise superior to my pain:

When I am weak, then I am strong!

And when my all of strength shall fail,

I shall with the God-man prevail.
There was silence in the room as the hymn ended. Our professor, who always opens each lecture with wonderful liturgical music, said, "I think this hymn beautifully captures the essence of Christian experience." I think everyone there agreed.

The melody, by an anonymous composer, comes from a 19th century American Methodist hymnal, and was performed by Daniel McCabe of The Boston Camerata (directed by Joel Cohen).

A sample of the accompaniment can be found here.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Ann Coulter Interviewed

John Hawkins: A few Democrats like Zell Miller, Ron Miller, Christopher Hitchens, & Ed Koch have nailed their own party for their non-serious approach to defending our country. Do you think it's more surprising that they've been wiling to nail their own party on national security or that more Democrats haven't been willing to step up and point out the obvious?

Ann Coulter: Unlike mainstream Democrats, the men you mention are to be commended for having a will to live.
More scathing interview answers can be found here.

Surprise! Austin American-Statesman Endorses Bush

On Sunday, the Austin American-Statesman endorsed President Bush for reelection (major registration required):
[T]here is no guarantee that a change in administrations would bring either stability or security to the Middle East in the foreseeable future. In fact, changing administrations now might embolden enemies who believe that Americans don't have the stomach or the patience for the kind of protracted, unconventional warfare in which we are engaged.

Three years after terrorists struck at targets in New York and Washington, we live in a world that looks familiar but is vastly different from the one we knew before Sept. 11, 2001.

President Bush got some things wrong, but there is much he got right. We are faced with an unrelenting foe who strikes from the shadows and won't be deterred by diplomacy or international resolutions. Bush's resolve and commitment to stay the course are clear. As Winston Churchill once said, "When you're going through hell, keep going."

Though Kerry is an honorable man who knows firsthand the horrors of war, he is deluding himself if he thinks a different administration will change the outlook of a foe that doesn't make war on an individual administration, but on the West in general and the United States in particular.

Dubious also is any notion that the United Nations will suddenly start enforcing its own sanctions and resolutions if there is a different occupant in the White House in January.
It's certainly not a overwhelming endorsement, but it comes as a big surprise in a town where Kerry/Edwards signs are overwhelmingly prevalent.

UPDATE: Some readers were not pleased.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Bio Surprise

Interesting. I didn't know that "evil genius" Karl Rove grew up in my hometown of Salt Lake City.

John Calvin, Pastor

John Calvin, PastorI'm still doing some catch-up reading for Systematic Theology, where John Calvin, as can be expected in any Presbyterian Seminary, is prominently featured. Our Theology professor frequently jokes about this, saying that we seminarians generally study, in order:

  1. Karl Barth
  2. John Calvin
  3. God
Just kidding, of course.

The reactions to Calvin are fascinating and have generated some great discussions. Many students are put off by Calvin's admittedly harsh style - he has the habit of calling his opponents idiots, ignoramuses, etc. I've learned to shrug off some of these more crass pronouncements. Instead, I frequently find myself touched by the Calvin's more pastoral moments. The last paragraph from Book I, Chapter XIV from the Institutes illustrates what I'm trying to describe:
To conclude once for all, whenever we call God the Creator of heaven and earth, let us at the same time bear in mind that the dispensation of all those things which he has made is in his own hand and power and that we are indeed his children, whom he has received into his faithful protection to nourish and educate. We are therefore to await the fullness of all good things from him alone and to trust completely that he will never leave us destitute of what we need for salvation, and to hang our hopes on none but him! We are therefore, also, to petition him for whatever we desire; and we are to recognize as a blessing from him, and thankfully to acknowledge, every benefit that falls to our share. So, invited by the great sweetness of his beneficence and goodness, let us study to love and serve him with all our heart.
Indeed, as I sit here in my office looking out the window, I'm struck by the beauty of creation, given to us in the form of abundant life. What an astonishing, and mind-blowing, gift of grace.