Sunday, September 28, 2008

Analogia Entis

If you don't already subscribe to the RSS feed for the Theological Word Of The Day, correct that oversight immediately.  TWOTD is a stupendous resource, giving very helpful summaries of important theological words and terms.  It's one of the blog feeds I read on a very regular basis, operating as I do under the twin assumptions that (1) you can't know too much about God, and (2) theology, being the study of God, is an indispensable resource for it.

September 26th's word was analogia entis - the "analogy of being," a very, very important concept, especially in light of so much of the ECM's love-affair with "chastised epistemology" which in essence states that we can't really know anything for certain about God except that we can't really know anything for certain.

Tony Jones summarized this sort of thinking well in his published dialog with Collin Hansen over the differences between the newbreed "Young Calvinists" and the Emergents:

Where we probably differ is not so much on theology, but on epistemology. That is, it seems the difference between the people you profile in Young, Restless, Reformed seem pretty darn sure that they've got the gospel right, whereas the Emergents that I hang out with are less sure of their right-ness. In fact, they're less sure that we, as finite human beings, can get anything all that right.

The Emergent party line is that, as result of the noetic effects of sin (that is, that among other things the Fall corrupted the mental faculties of man - which I agree with, BTW, and why I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the Presuppositional Apologetic) we as humans ultimately can't know anything with an absolute degree of certainty save that we can't know anything else than that with an absolute degree of certainty.

In other words, since we are finite, fallen beings, it is impossible to fully know an infinite, holy God; and by extension (they say), we cannot know Him directly at all, but only obliquely, and imperfectly at that.

The argument, however, presupposes what it tries to prove - it begs the question, in other words.  It presumes that an incapacity for absolute knowledge precludes a capacity for moral certitude.

In other words, though I as a finite, fallen human cannot know God with absolute clarity, I can know what I know of God and what He has revealed of Himself with absolute certainty.

I can know, for instance, that God is good, holy, loving, and just, and that He took upon Himself human flesh, suffered and died, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He is coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead. I can know that His Word is true, and that any problems I have with that Word derive from myself and not the Word itself.


Back to the point of this blogpost...TWOTD posted a brief article on analogia entis which answers the ECM's "chastised epistemology" party line very well; turns out this isn't a new idea at all, and that the faithful in the church have dealt with this already in ages past and come up with a very sound position:

The belief that there exists an analogy or correspondence between the creation and God that makes theological conversation about God possible. While many would say that finite beings with finite language cannot describe an infinite God, theologians of the medieval era discussed this problem, seeking to resolve it by developing a theory which alloted the communication of words into three separate categories. Some words are univocal (always used with the same sense), some were equivocal (used with very different senses), and some were analogical (used with related senses). It is this third sense that the analogia entis finds meaning. While finite man cannot describe and infinite God perfectly (univocally), he can do so truly being that God has created man in his image and, through this, has provided and analogical way of communicating himself. To deny the analogia entis is thought, by some, to be a self defeating proposition since it would present the situation where an all-powerful God is not powerful enough to communicate himself to his creation.


So - if you haven't already subscribed to TWOTD's feed - do it, now. Tons of good, solid stuff.

You'll thank me later.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Leadership is for Sissies

Okay; I just grabbed a second to catch up on my blog reading - it's been a wild whirlwind of a month, trying to juggle the church and my day-job-to-support-my-habit so that I can keep diapers on my boy, so I haven't had much time to do much of anything else.

Oh, except for reading a lot; you get to do that on planes & in hotel rooms & stuff.  While I don't mind TV (after all; hockey season's coming up), I vastly prefer to read. So my "extra-cirricular" entertainment reading has been stuff by Jack McDevitt (sci-fi writer; I just finished Eternity Road and Infinity Beach, both of which were just flat-out awesome), Robert Charles Wilson (his book Spin - was it good... Probably the best speculative sci-fi I've read in a very, very long time; I can't wait until the sequel is released in e-book format), Peter Hamiltion (The Dreaming Void - sequel series to the Commonwealth Saga and set 1500 years after the events in Judas Unchained - Pete's perhaps my favorite modern author, with McDevitt a very close second), Stephen Baxter (light on character development, but loooooooooooong on plausibility and taking our current cosmological and physics understanding to the limit - great speculative fic, Vacuum Diagrams was a great summary of the truly epic sweep of his Xeelee Sequence) and others.

But other than that, I haven't had time for much of anything else.

So after a discipleship meeting this morning with a great brother, I fired up my blog reader, and found this absolutely awesome pearl over on The Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak which I think succinctly describes the critical key differences between "leadership" (which so very many in the Growthinista camp are all a-goo-goo over) and servant leadership - which is a very exceedingly different sort of thing altogether.

LeaderMan: Wants a platform on which to say something

Servant Leader: Has something to say


LeaderMan: You almost feel you know his family, because he’s your Leader

Servant Leader: You allow him to influence you, because you know his family


LeaderMan: Wants you to know he’s a Leader

Servant Leader: You’re not sure he knows he’s a leader


LeaderMan: Loves the idea of the Gospel, and the idea of The Church

Servant Leader: Loves God and the actual individual people God brings across his path


LeaderMan: A great speaker, but self-described as, “Not really a people person.”

Servant Leader: Makes himself a people person


LeaderMan: Helps you find where God is leading you in his organization

Servant Leader: Helps you find where God is leading you


LeaderMan: Gets together with you to talk about his vision

Servant Leader: Just gets together with you


LeaderMan: Resents “sheep stealing”

Servant Leader: Doesn’t get the “stealing” part, since he doesn’t own anyone to begin with


LeaderMan: Wants the right people on the bus

Servant Leader: Wants to find the right bus for you, and sit next to you on it


LeaderMan: Shows you a flow chart

Servant Leader: Shows you his whole heart


LeaderMan: A visionary who knows what the future looks like

Servant Leader: Knows what your kitchen looks like


LeaderMan: If it’s worth doing, it worth doing with excellence

Servant Leader: Not exactly sure how to even calculate “worth doing”


LeaderMan: Talks about confronting one another in love

Servant Leader: Actually confronts you in love


LeaderMan: Impressed by success and successful people

Servant Leader: Impressed by faithfulness


LeaderMan: Invests time in you, if you are “key people”

Servant Leader: Wastes time with you


LeaderMan: Reveals sins of his past

Servant Leader: Reveals sins of his present


LeaderMan: Gives you things to do

Servant Leader: Gives you freedom


LeaderMan: Leads because of official position

Servant Leader: Leads in spite of position


LeaderMan: Deep down, threatened by other Leaders

Servant Leader: Has nothing to lose

I absolutely love this list, and I'm printing it out and framing it in what passes as my office to be a continual reminder.

I have no time - or patience - for "leadership."

So go to all the seminars and coaching networks and hoedowns and interpretive finger painting classes as you'd like.

But in my opinion: "Leadership" (as it is currently defined and as is currently all the rage) is for sissies.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chalcedon on Palin

Chris Ortiz of the Chalcedon Foundation weighs in on the controversy of the fact that Palin is a girl.

Chalcedon is unapologetically complementarian - as am I.  So his take is very interesting - and largely correct:

If at this point you're asking yourself, "So, Chris, do you think a woman can be a civil magistrate?," you have missed my point. The important issues regarding saving the American system have little do with the gender of a vice-presidential candidate. We have much bigger fish to fry, and if spend too much time harping on what the Bible says women can do, the less our constituencies will hear and understand about the threat of statism.

For the record: I am exceedingly excited about the Palin vice presidency and ultimate presidency.  Prior to her being named McCain's running mate, I was voting third party (Constitution Party). Now that Palin's "the man," the entire equation, for me, has dramatically changed.  With her on the ticket, the difference between the two dueling dynamic duos could not be more stark - to the point where when relatively prominent Christian leaders feign neutrality and claim to be "undecided" makes me wonder if their thinkboxes are fully engaged.

Either vote for Candidate A because you believe he'll solve all your problems and make all your pain go away (and be unequivocally the single most gleefully bloodthirsty pro-death candidate in the history of the republic), or vote for Candidate B because a reasonable resolution to the Iraq sitch is better than wholesale capitulation, a reduction in government is a good thing, and - oh, by the way - he's rabidly pro-life and ultimately the lives of millions of innocent children trumps all other considerations.

Yes, I'm a one-issue voter, when the issue is so inexpressibly momentous as the pro-life/pro-death contention.

Anyway, read Ortiz's blogpost.