Just when you thought I fell through a worm hole in the library…
The semester put up a good fight, but in the end, after an unnecessarily brutal thrashing, I took it to its grave.
Here lies Spring 2008. January – May. Laid to rest next to its predecessor, Fall 2007, who incidentally did not put up quite the fight in being vanquished.
So that in mind, training for Fall 2008 has already started, which I hear makes Spring 2008 look like an 11 year old boy who can’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag.
This should make things interesting.
Teaching has been going great, its much nicer having a job that is both enjoyable and rewarding, and that you actually received extensive training to accomplish.

It makes you feel like your degree was worth something.
That and not being allowed to quit piano lessons upon reaching adolescents.
This fall promises to be a more ideal state of existing as both teacher and learner simultaneously, without the mode of being know as “pool serviceman.”
Oh the mere refreshment that thought entails.
Anyway, today has been a good day, most of it spent in the area where the new picture above was taken (Cooper St. in Arlington).
I could go on for hours about the symbology of such a picture, but it’s pretty self explanatory, and fits much better with the blog title (which Chelsea received 1000 cool points for knowing it came from a Porcupine Tree song title).
The genius of it was not immediately apparent to me when I took it (mainly because I was in moving traffic) but now looking at it up close it typifies, my life for the next 3 years (hopefully no more, possibly less).
So anyway, there you go.
Summer reading is now in full swing, as is Starbucks hopping, poolside napping, showering more than once a day, and the infamous third set during workouts.
Not to mention the revival of an almost dead social life.
I know you thought human contact was beyond me, I mean in many ways my robot heart cannot love, it can only devour highly technical books and the spit the contents back out in a slightly more understandable way, but surprisingly, I do actually strive for maintaining meaningful relationships.
I’ll leave with the take-a-way of a conversation with the infamous Brian Bain that took place over burritos (what else?) at FreeBirds.
In reference to a journal entry from that guy that died in a bus somewhere in Alaska (watch Into the Wild, or better yet, read the book as Brian would say) we both concurred that happiness to be complete must be shared.
I mean why else would I blog on here to who knows who actually reads this thing if it weren’t for the need to express what I think and experience in my life in a way that brings it to completion?
I think you get the point, I’ll go for brevity for once.
Bottom line, life is meant to be lived in community, specifically the community of believers that is the Body of Christ.
So happiness and joy are really not solitary events, completion arrives with sharing.
That in my mind, by next blog will probably go over all the shows I’ve gone to alone in the past 4 years.
Oh where to start…

 

“Speaking of simplicity,” said a now facetious Martin, “How does this impact your understanding of the Incarnation?”

Vasiliy smiled, realizing the absurdity of using “simplicity” and “the Incarnation” in the same sentence, but not missing a beat simply said, “It makes it quite easier to understand actually.”

“How so?”

“Well since you don’t have anywhere to go yet, we might as well dive right in,” said Vasiliy, “Let’s go back to our model.”

“Alright,” said Martin, “Let’s”

“If we have a model of man as being the union of a spirit given by God to a human body, and that union results in a soul that produces physiological and psychological effects as manifested in the heart first, then the central nervous system and then the brain, what would seem to be the implications for God coming in the flesh as Jesus?”

“That the second person of the Trinity who was pure Spirit, came into union with the human body in Mary’s womb and resulted in the person Jesus Christ,” said Martin, “Which sounds acceptable at first, but then sounds suspiciously like Apollinarianism.[i]”

“Historically a condemned heresy because it seemed to impinge on Christ’s humanity, right?”

“Right, but on this view, how that conclusion be avoided?” asked Martin, “It would seem if Christ were simply the Spirit that animated a human body, something is missing.”

“Well let’s clarify further to avoid that conclusion,” said Vasiliy, “If I understand Apollinarius’ argument correctly, he argued the Logos, or Second Person of the Trinity was not only the image of God, but was also the archetypal man possessing human nature in His pre-existent form, something Gregory of Nazianzus understood to mean that the flesh of Christ was pre-existent, and thus on that interpretation rightfully rejected.”

Pausing, Vasiliy continued, “On the other hand, I have understood Apollinarius to mean that the Logos contained perfect human personhood archetypically in his own nature, and as a result of assuming a human body the Logos brought the attributes necessary to ensure a complete human nature.[ii]”

“So you would hold that the only missing component of Christ’s human nature prior to the Incarnation would have been received with the union of His divine Spirit with a human body?”

“That’s correct, and I think this ties my interpretation of the Incarnation strongly to the Imago Dei, as human nature is not so essentially exemplified in having a body, but in being a person one is uniquely able to reflect God’s nature in relation to others,” said Vasiliy, “So it would follow that the Second Person of the Trinity, prior to the Incarnation, already possessed the properties necessary to exemplify human personhood, He only lacked a body to manifest them through.

“And by taking on human flesh, His divine Spirit fused with a human body  and resulted in a soul that could be said to contain both the human and divine nature?”

“That’s exactly right,” said Vasiliy, “In my mind, this model relieves many of the tensions implicit in other understandings of human psychology that have to postulate in one way or another two minds in Christ, have trouble making sense of how it all fits together, and end up assigning a condition to our Savior that would be considered pathological if it were anyone else.[iii]”

“So to avoid that, you would hold not just that a mind adheres in a person, but that it adheres in the soul that is the resultant of having a spirit in the body?[iv]”

“I think that is accurate to say, especially if one sees the spirit as enlivening the body itself, giving rise to a soul that then works through both the heart and brain, the physiological organs from which mindedness arises.”

“I can see how this is a more attractive model for you,” said Martin, “But it also seems to imply Christ as having only one will, since you would say that a will probably also adheres in a person.”

“I would say that, and I believe your apprehension may come from recalling the monotheletism heresy, condemned at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680,” said Vasiliy, “However, orthodox Christology as defined at the Council of Chalcedon and more importantly as defined in the Scriptures, does not mandate that Christ have more than one will or mind for that matter.[v]”

“You know your church history very well don’t you?” said Martin, “I barely have all the facts straight from the early church myself and I’m a seminary student.”

“I also have quite a few years on you and come from a tradition that played a significant role in developing those creeds, so its been rather important for me to understand as much as I can about what was taught and what was condemned, either rightly or wrongly so.”

It was right about this juncture in the conversation that the ever so friendly captain spoke once again over the intercom, alerting everyone to the news of the impending final descent into DFW, and of course, thanked them for choosing to fly the friendly skies.

“It looks like we’d better wrap this pretty fast, I wouldn’t want to leave any dangling loose ends,” said Martin.

“That would be for the better, let’s see if I can tie everything off before we get lost in the frenzy of opening overhead compartments and the anticipation of the line into the breezeway,” said Vasiliy, “But first to answer you actual objection about Christ having only one will.”

“Yes, that one,” said Martin.

“Following from our model, in which minds exist in a one to one ratio with persons, or souls, Jesus could only have one mind,” said Vasiliy, “Although, in His case, the divine mind of the Second Person of the Trinity, once operating through a human body and human consciousness became simply a human mind, at least in the way that we are using the term ‘mind’ and the way that most other people do as well.[vi]”

“Which you would say is not merely a human mind, but nonetheless a fully human mind?”

“I would apply that distinction to Christ’s personhood, or soul if you will, as a whole,” said Vasiliy, “Christ in the flesh was fully human, having everything that a human would have, except for a human spirit, and since a soul is not something you have, but something you are, Christ became one on our behalf so that nothing would be unassumed, and therefore remain unhealed.[vii]”

“So, synthesizing here a bit, you are saying that by virtue of becoming a fully human person, the Spirit of Christ then operated through a human body and therefore a human mind and human will, in the end, fully regenerated all three?”

“I think if this model could have explained it that clearly, or at least couched it in those terms several centuries ago, it might have very well escaped any condemnation of heresy.”

“Or at least you hope so, right?”

“I do,” said Vasiliy, “I really feel this model is faithful to the relevant Scriptural data about humanity and certainly is faithful to the understanding we have of Christ from the New Testament writings.”

“From what I can see, I would agree with you,” said Martin, “But I certainly want to study this further to verify it for myself.”

“Speaking of that, I can recommend a few books for you,” said Vasiliy, “Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective is a great place to start, but I also would recommend The Logic of God Incarnate, by Thomas Morris.”

“We had to read part of Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective in our class,” said Martin, “I never got around to reading the rest of it, but maybe I’ll check it out.”

“I can’t say I agree with everything , but the chapters by Fred Sanders and Donald Fairbairn give a good overview of the development of Christology, while the chapter by Scott Horrell is a great defense of the social model of the Trinity that even I can appreciate from my tradition,” said Vasiliy, “I also think the chapter by Garrett DeWeese gives a fairly similar model of the Incarnation to the one we have discussed.[viii]”

“I’ll definitely give those a good reading,” said Martin, “But before we actually hit the ground, what are some of the implications of this model, I mean, what difference does it make?”

“That’s probably the best question,” said Vasiliy, “And always necessary to provide an answer for, so going back a bit, as we understand more adequately the God that we love and serve , our first response should be one of reverent worship.”

“And in doing so, can reflect back to God the love He has put in us by His presence, right?[ix]”

“Very much so,” said Vasiliy, “Also, our model of course has theological implications too.”

“I can think of one right off,” said Martin, “It would seems that Christ was able to assume everything human in order to heal it all, except for a human spirit, which supports the idea that it is regenerated on an individual basis.[x]”

“In my understanding of theology, everything must be tied very tightly to soteriology.” said Vasiliy, “And I think it is best to understand the early church councils as having that in the forefront of their minds as they sought to explain their Christology and defend that our salvation was possible. [xi]”

“Which it would not have been unless God found a way to come down from heaven and become a man in order to live the perfect life and die as a sacrifice for our sin.[xii]”

“That’s correct,” said Vasiliy, “So in seeking to explain that, they continually asked what the Bible said about our salvation and what implications it would have for the One who provided it.[xiii]”

“We kinda worked in a different direction though,” said Martin, “Asking what is a man, and then clarifying what that would mean about Jesus, but I guess in going a different direction we still must come back to how that impacts our understanding of soteriology.”

“Somewhat,” said Vasiliy, “What we really did was ask what is a man in order to understand what Jesus would have had to become so that we then can understand  how it is even possible for man to be redeemed in order to join into divine fellowship.”

“Oh ok, that makes better sense than what I just said.”

“Not to be too pastoral for you, I realize that as a seminary student you hear your share of chapel messages and probably have a preaching class of some kind as well.”

“Not yet, but I will soon,” said Martin

“Well to bring this all together, perichoresis and all,” said Vasiliy, “From a biblical point of view, we were never meant to be independent of God. Being human necessarily involves relationality, and that aspect of human nature certainly derives from the relationality inherent in the three persons of the Trinity. True humanity then, involves both fellowship with God and dependence on Him for life itself. Looking at Jesus, a person whose humanity actually subsisted in the Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, and whose life was purely derived from utter dependence on the Trinity as a whole, He was certainly not a less than human person but was in fact the most fully human person to ever walk the face of the earth.[xiv]”

“I’ve never heard it phrased quite like that,” said Martin, “So living a life in utter dependence on the Trinity by being indwelt by God and participating in the divine fellowship through worship is really not in any way less human, but clearly is the most human way to live.

“Scripture is amazingly consistent in tying thoughts like this together,” said Vasiliy, “Think of how this understanding of humanity ultimately finds expression in the creation of the church as the body of Christ.[xv]”

“Functioning as one body, yet deriving its dependence on the person of Christ and the Trinity as a whole, right?”

“Very much so,” said Vasiliy, “Do you feel like your understanding of yourself as a human in relation to the Trinity is more grounded now?”

The words had not left Vasiliy’s mouth before they were greeted with the ever welcomed feel of making contact with land after being airborne for so long.

“You know what?” Martin smiled, “I think it finally is.”


[i] The following discussion of Apollinarianism and the concepts that can be drawn from it while still remaining faithful to what the Scriptures testify of Christ is adapted from J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 608-12., DeWeese, “One Person, Two Natures: Two Metaphysical Models of the Incarnation.”, Donald Fairbairn, “The One Person Who Is Jesus Christ: The Patristic Perspective,” in Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective, ed. Fred Sanders and Klaus Issler (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2007).

[ii] If Adam, prior to the fall, perfectly reflected the image of God, one has to wonder what more the Incarnation would have to entail for Christ to become the Last Adam besides simply His taking on human flesh and all its constituents. From a Biblical survey of the data relevant to what human nature is (see Saucy, “Theology of Human Nature.”) it appears that human nature is grounded in the image of God, and therefore manifested through an embodied person. Christ simply had to become an embodied human person, and our model, that entails joining His divine Spirit to a human body untainted by sin (which is transmitted by the male see fascinating discussion in Custance, The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation 176-192.) and enliven the resultant human person.

[iii] I would concur with John Macquarrie (John Macquarrie, Jesus Christ in Modern Thought, (London: SCM, 1990), 166-67. Cited in DeWeese, “One Person, Two Natures: Two Metaphysical Models of the Incarnation,” 132.) on this point and have trouble attributing something to Christ that would be pathological in anyone else (two minds/two wills) unless Scripture either made it clear, or our understanding of humanity demanded it. From this model, it does not.

[iv] From what we have expounded upon above, it should be clear that consciousness is most closely associated with the soul, and while we will not try to nail down a concept of mind here, it could be thought of as being comprised of the senses and consciousness, both aspects of the soul. See Seebass, “Nephesh.” And Saucy, “Theology of Human Nature,” 31-34, 41-43.

[v] Moreland and Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, 601,11.

[vi] The idea of the voluntarily constrained divine mind simply operating as a human mind once His Spirit was coupled with a human body comes from DeWeese, “One Person, Two Natures: Two Metaphysical Models of the Incarnation,” 145.  This makes much better sense of the kenosis spoken of in Philippians 2, as Christ humbled Himself by taking on the form of a servant, which on the model presented above entails operating through a human mind and will.

[vii] This is Gregory of Nazianzus’ maxim, used in opposition to Apollinarianism and later invoked against monothelitism, following from an understanding that wills are grounded in natures. However, from the model above, wills belong to persons, so Christ necessarily could have only one will for He was only one person.

[viii] Actually, it’s very similar. The model is essentially a synthesis of Arthur Custance’s writing on the nature of the soul, with the basics of the model outlined by Garrett DeWeese.

[ix] Romans 5:5, depending on how one interprets the genitive ‘theou’ in ‘ha agape tou theou,’ this verse either states that it is love for God that is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, or it is God’s love itself poured into out hearts. In either instance, the verb form is a perfect tense, indicating that it is a completed action for the believer once the Holy Spirit has been given, but the effects are to be continuous in nature.

[x] This accords as best I know with my understanding of soteriology from undergraduate, however, I will not take the class here until next spring, so please forgive the lack of diligent research in supporting this one point.

[xi] Although I am still personally debating how much I follow this axiom, it and the following idea are taken from Fairbairn, “The One Person Who Is Jesus Christ: The Patristic Perspective,” 92-93.

[xii] Ibid., 109.

[xiii] Ibid., 92.

[xiv] Slight more Trinitarian expansion of quote found in Ibid., 109-10.

[xv] This idea was not originally apparent to me, but was pointed out by Brian Bain during lunch one day (5/2/08 roughly 1145am in Mitchell). In Acts we see the model in Genesis replicated very intentionally. There was a “body” of humans gathered, who were then enlivened by the breath of God in the coming of the Holy Spirit and the resultant creation was the Body of Christ as a functional “person.” One could probably drop the quotation marks here and simply see how as we are the church, Christ is person who manifests himself through the body of believers, just like a soul manifests itself through the physical body. He is truly the head (i.e. source) of all the activities that the church carries out, and as believers we are standing as one giant person in juxtaposition to the giant person of fallen man that has Adam as its head and as a body of unbelievers is enlivened by the spirit of Satan (this latter idea comes from Arthur C. Custance, Man in Adam and in Christ, vol. III, The Doorway Papers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 181-88.). In this very sense, we intimately participate in the divine nature as God Himself makes expression through us as parts of His body. Perhaps, if it were possible to unite and add all believers in the world together, one would find the person of Christ still wholly present in the world today (Custance, Man in Adam and in Christ, 186-87.).

“Thinking of my personhood being grounded in the Trinity,” said Martin, “How does that establish an understanding of human nature?”

Seeing the gears turn like this made Vasiliy smile, “We trace our grounding of humanity in God back to Genesis 1, where God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image,’ so that would seem the best place to start.”

“So man as a person is reflective of the image of God?”

“Your identity as a person is only known in relation to God,” said Vasiliy, “And only as you know more of Who you image, will you understand yourself more.[i]”

“I see,” said Martin, “The more that I truly understand God’s nature, the more I will understand my own, and the more I understand the persons of the Trinity the more I will be able to understand just what it means to be a person.”

“Your understanding is picking up speed,” said Vasiliy, “What other questions do you have?”

Martin thought for a minute, trying to assimilate his thoughts on personhood, but could only come up with a structural question

“How do you conceive of the whole dichotomy/trichotomy problem?” Martin asked, “You know, in light of what you seem to hold about the heart playing a part in your consciousness.”

“Ahh, I was wondering whether or not you would broach this subject,” said Vasiliy, “From my perspective on the issue, I find that the heart’s ability to play into my consciousness helps explain my experiences further, however, as far as relating it to the psychology of man, I do not designate it as one of the components in the discussion, but would rather say it is an avenue that the spirit manifests its presence within the body.[ii]”

“Oh ok, so what are the components on your view?”

“Essentially, I conceive of man as having a spirit and a body,” said Vasiliy, “The heart as an organ, as well as the brain, being a part of the latter.”

“Then what about the soul?”

“This is where I would diverge slightly from theories you may be familiar with,” said Vasiliy, “I conceive of the soul as being the resultant of a spirit being united with a body, not necessarily a ‘thing’ in its own right, that is, it only exists when those two components are in union.[iii]”

“Interesting,” said Martin, “How did you come to that idea?”

“Mostly from my own studies in the Scriptures,” said Vasiliy, “I had the privilege of spending a long winter up in New York, not long after I became a believer, just reading the Bible over and over again and predominately built my theological understandings from that total immersion.”

“I guess there’s not too much else to do through the winter months up there, right?”

“That’s partially true,” said Vasiliy, “But in any case, starting in Genesis 2:7, it would seem God created a body for Adam, gave him a spirit, and then called the resultant union a soul, and it just seems through the rest of the Old Testament that soul seems to refer to what a person is rather than what a person has.[iv]”

“I had never thought of that quite like that before.”

“It is really a fascinating way to proceed, for if you trace the threads throughout Scripture, you find passages that use the word soul make sense if you conceive of it as standing in metonymy for the whole person, not necessarily a part of the person,[v]” said Vasiliy, “Also, thinking of the soul’s existence as being tied specifically to the body, that is, requiring a body to function fully, makes sense of even more, especially such passages that talk of the soul being satisfied with meat and drink.[vi]”

“How is it tied specifically to the body?”

“I believe the possession of a soul is coterminous with having a central nervous system, and to segregate man from the animals that are spoken of in Genesis as also possessing a soul[vii] I would say, man receives a properly human spirit given by God to a human body,[viii]” said Vasiliy, “And if the human heart is the possible contact point where the spirit is received, we have an interesting  confirmation of our theory, as physiologically speaking, the functioning of the nervous system depends on the blood, something actually confirmed in Leviticus, where it says that ‘the life of the flesh is in the blood.’[ix]”

“But is that viable, I mean, do the others doctors you work with give credence to that sort of theory?”

“On the whole, we tend to proceed with caution in nailing down where the spirit comes into the body, and a good many of my colleagues do not share my religious convictions in the slightest, much less have this kind of theological pursuit driving their understanding,” said Vasiliy, “But those of us who do have convictions, and those who at least open to the possibility, tend to unanimously agree that if the spirit made contact somewhere in the physical body, it would be in the heart.[x]”

“This is a lot to really digest, I’ll have to look into it for myself, but your thoughts on this are really fascinating.”

“Well I hope you will, before we part ways I’ll give you a few books that could start your search for definitive answers.”

“That would be pretty sweet,” said Martin, “So just to clarify part of all this, your basic idea is that the soul doesn’t exist on its own, but it emerges when a spirit and a body are united, correct?”

“Essentially, yes,” said Vasiliy, “Maybe an illustration will help you visualize it better.”

“Alright”

Vasiliy reached into his pocket, producing a key chain with two colored discs on it, one yellow, the other blue.

“Let’s consider that this yellow disc represents the body, and this blue one represents the spirit.” Saying this, he slowly slid them together so that the perfectly overlapped one another.

“Now that they have been unified, it now appears to be a single green disc, which on my analogy, is the soul,” said Vasiliy, “Whatever can be said of either the spirit or the body, could readily in Scripture be attributed to the soul, since that stands for the whole man, and in fact, that is what we see.[xi] Considering the soul to result physiologically from the presence of a spirit in the body, from my perspective, makes sense of both my work as a cardiologist, and my faith as an Orthodox believer.”

“That does make things a lot clearer now, I like your analogy with the colored discs.”

“I’ve found that it helps whenever I try to explain my understanding of human psychology,” said Vasiliy, “A little simplicity can go a long way toward clarifying one’s ideas.”


[i] Robert L. Saucy, “Theology of Human Nature,” in Christian Perspectives on Being Human: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Integration, ed. J. P. Moreland and David M. Ciocchi (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993), 20.

[ii] While not pursued here, in a metaphorical sense (and also the Biblical usage), the heart is the fountainhead of behavior and is really the avenue through which the spirit manifests itself in the physical body, and is thereby the primary organ through which the resultant soul functions (Ibid., 41.) The heart could be thought of a component, and physiologically a case could be made for it being where the spirit enters the body (think of the unity of the cardiovascular system, there is a reason why doctors prefer to transplant hearts and lungs together rather than either in isolation), however, it is not the heart per se that is a component, but the spirit which enlivens it and gives rise to the soul as we will see below.

[iii] The following discussion is mostly adapted from an essay entitled “A Fresh Look at the Meaning of the Word ‘Soul'” appearing in Arthur C. Custance, The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation, vol. V, The Doorway Papers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 260-91. But was independently verified through researching other sources such as H. Seebass, “Nephesh,” in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef  Fabry, trans. David E. Green, vol. IX (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1998). And Edmond Jacob, “Psuche: The Anthropology of the Old Testament,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. IX (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974). And Saucy, “Theology of Human Nature.”

[iv] For a more thorough treatment of this idea, see Seebass, “Nephesh,” 497-519. Looking at the meanings of this word that is usually the Hebrew word behind the English word ‘soul,’ it seems the soul is most intimately connected with the idea of breathing and senses and therefore the very essence of the person, and is therefore not a component per se of that person.  Of the meanings listed, Seebass notes that the OT usage requires some level of harmonization of the possible options. In order they are: throat/gullet, desire, vital self/reflexive pronoun, and individuated life.  In commenting on translating the word as soul over and against throat/gullet or desire, Seebass asserts that it is not simply the need for nourishment or satiation involved but, the whole person as soul is thought of  as a figure of joy in life and vitality. None of these elements it seems should be confused with the idea of spirit that is woven throughout the Bible elsewhere, and while the words may seem to be used somewhat interchangeably, it is doubtful that that is truly the case. Saucy notes that many times the words are used in an aspectival sense rather than a substantival sense (Saucy, “Theology of Human Nature,” 31.) This makes sense and has more intrinsic explanatory power when perusing the Old and New Testament usages of nephesh and psuche respectively. Turning to the NT, in gathering background for psuche, we also have confirmation that nephesh properly accords with a man’s total nature, for what he is, and not just what he has (Jacob, “Psuche: The Anthropology of the Old Testament,” 620.) Looking further into actual usage of psuche in the New Testament, it is primarily connected with the man as a whole and is the first instance of physical life (Eduard Schweizer, “Psuche: The New Testament,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. IX (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), 639.) Following from this, one can see how ‘life’ can be thought of as being possessed by an individual (think of Jesus’ use of saving/losing the soul) but it is certainly not a component of a man, it is simply the resultant of a human body made of dust being enlivened by the breath of God (i.e. a spirit). The other usages listed for psuche all point to the person as a whole, or different aspects of the person as a whole. In distinction to the use of spirit (pneuma), the soul is capable of being slain, persecuted or hated (Schweizer, “Psuche: The New Testament,” 654. ). While the spirit can be thought of as standing for the whole man as well, it always presents man in special aspect. Psuche, more closely tied to the heart (kardia) which has an emphasis on the will and conscious inward participation, is connected very essentially with physical life, but it is not identical with it. It seems very appropriate in light of all of this to follow the outline we have already set up that being that a person consists of a human body enlivened by a spirit given by God and results in a soul.

[v] This is probably sufficiently grounded in the above quotations, but just by way of a more contemporary explanation, the great emphasis upon man is as a living being, and while it may used for various aspects of a person, the underlying thought is of the actions or characteristics of the person as a holistic entity (Saucy, “Theology of Human Nature,” 38-41).

[vi] See such passages as Dt 23:25(24), Isa. 29:8, 55:2; Prov 16:26, 27:7; Hos. 9:4. For more see entry under “Desire” in Seebass, “Nephesh,” 505-08.

[vii] Genesis 1, in the original, in v. 20, 21, 24, & 30 the word nephesh is used of animals first, before being applied specifically to man. See Custance, The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation, 270.

[viii] See Eccl 12:7, Zech 12:1, Num 16:22. Clearly, from several Biblical passages, the Spirit that man receives comes from God directly.

[ix] Leviticus 17:11, also, the word life is nephesh in the original, so it could possibly be rendered, “the soul of the flesh is in the blood.” This is tends to tie the existence of the soul’s manifestation in the body to wherever blood is flowing. Genesis 9 tends to also confirm this idea by stating that “the life (or soul) of flesh is in the blood,” which is why it is wrong to shed the blood of another. It should also be noted that feeling (or consciousness) disappears rather quickly in any part of the body that loses blood flow. This does not conclusively prove the hypothesis, but definitely supports the idea.

[x] Childre and Martin, The Heartmath Solution, 260-61.

[xi] Custance, The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation, 269-70. The illustration comes from this author as well, I am not that clever on my own.

“So where we?” said Vasiliy

“I think we were about to talk about what concepts are affected by your starting point in explaining the Trinity.”

“One step at a time,” said Vasiliy, “First let’s talk about God as Trinity.”

“We still both agree that God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each being fully God, and that there is one God,[i] right?”

“Of course, we share the same basic understanding of God, such as three divine persons, person in this sense being a center of self-consciousness existing in relation to others.[ii]”

“So in starting with the persons rather than the nature, how does that play out?” said Martin

“In Greek philosophy, which predominated in the East, one first considers the agent, and then moves to find the nature, we think of nature as the content of a person, so we emphasize the person,[iii]” said Vasiliy, “And we would think of nature as the set of attributes that are essential to an individual’s belonging to a certain kind,[iv]which is usually exposed after knowing more about that person.”

“So I suppose philosophy in the West, which I guess might be what, Latin?,” asked Martin, ” It would work the opposite direction, considering the nature first, and then the agent?[v]”

“Correct.”

“That makes sense, which I think explains why you could be accused of slipping into tri-theism rather easily.”

“True, but as you know the Scriptures repeatedly affirm the three persons as God[vi], yet also that there is one God,” said Vasiliy, “We can relieve some of the tension of with the concept of perichoresis[vii], without also completely losing some degree of divine mystery.”

“I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around that one,” said Martin, “I mean I remember discussing it in class, but by that point in the semester I was having trouble rising to that level of abstract thought.”

“That’s certainly understandable,” said Vasiliy, “But let me try to explain it briefly in a way that might make better sense to you.”

“All I remember is that it had something to do with some kind of mutual indwelling of the members of the Godhead.”

“Very well,” replied Vasiliy, “I assume that you covered the Biblical basis for the concept,[viii] so I’ll just try to explain how I’ve come to understand it.”

“Yeah, I don’t doubt its legitimacy,” said Martin, “It’s just a clear understanding that eludes me.”

“In a rather roundabout way, seeing how this could be illustrated within your own self could broaden your understanding of the idea.” Pausing briefly to gather his thoughts, Vasiliy then continued, “In my discipline, a new field of study emerged in the early 90’s known as neurocardiology, pioneered by a man named Dr. J. Andrew Armour, who taught at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.[ix] He found in his research that the heart contains at least 40,000 neurons, as many as are found in the various subcortical centers in the brain, or in other words, the heart has its own nervous system, a veritable ‘brain in the heart’ as they have called it. From a neuroscience perspective, it certainly does qualify as such, and because of that, its elaborate circuitry allows the heart to learn, remember, and even feel and sense. This information is communicated to the brain, just as the brain communicates to the heart, and there is in a certain sense, from an individual’s conscious perspective, a mutual indwelling of the two centers of thought within your body so that you cannot always distinguish between where your thoughts and feelings are exactly originating.”

“That’s pretty incredible,” said Martin, “I’ve never really studied anything along those lines, but if the research supports those kind of conclusions, that’s a really fascinating find.”

“My theory is that if there are two centers of thought and feeling within your body, which are distinguishable in function but united from your conscious perspective, that would provide a framework to being able to understand how the three divine persons can be separate, yet somehow united into a unified Godhead.”

“That’s pretty hard to grasp, but I think I’m starting to see it a bit more clearly,” said Martin, “It sounds like a good model, although the separateness of the heart and brain might be hard to completely establish.”

“There are still areas that need further refinement, as it is by no means what one would think of as an empirically validated scientific fact that the heart can think, but the research that keeps surfacing points strongly in that direction,” said Vasiliy,  “From my standpoint though, it is a workable theory that at least prima facie, seems plausible.”

“I can buy that,” said Martin, “So you would maybe draw from that, if it were true, that we are in a certain sense, I guess you would say, perichoretically structured?”

“You could draw that inference from this data, but it might be better to base it on the Scriptures first and then come back to this.[x]”

“Oh ok, well I guess the best evidence for what you would call a perichoretic structure in humans is the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of believers found in John 14:17,” Martin replied, “It would seem we are designed to be inhabited by another.”

“That’s a good start, but what do you find in the rest of that chapter?”

“What do you mean?”

“In verse 20, Christ tells His disciples that He is in the Father and that they are in Him, and that He is in them,” Vasiliy said, “Doesn’t that sound like Christ indwelling the believer as well?”

“You know, you’re right, Paul speaks of that rather often,[xi] and wouldn’t two members of the Trinity point to the possibility of God the Father being involved as well?”

“That’s exactly what you find in verse 23, where Christ says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with them.”

“Which at least implies in some sense the Father indwelling believers as well,” said Martin, “and given the tightness, I guess you could say, of the Trinity, all three members need to be involved in every action, especially entering into relation with the believer.”

“And from my tradition, the whole relationship is perichoretic as well as we are able in some sense to participate in the divine energies of God, thus as each member of the Trinity mutually indwells the other, so does the believer have opportunity to be indwelt and to dwell in the divine.”

“The mere thought of that is awe-inspiring,” said Martin, “And extremely humbling as well, to think that we not only have God living inside of us, but are able in some sense able to live in God.”

“I would hope that we never lose sight of that,” said Vasiliy, “But now that the idea of being perichoretically structured is grounded in its proper place, how does that fit with what we were discussing just a minute ago.”

“I think I see where this is going,” said a slightly hesitant Martin, “But let me know if I’ve got this right.”

Vasiliy just smiled.”Certainly.”

“From what you said, it would seem there are already two centers of thought or feeling adhering within our one, unified conscious existence, and by being indwelt by another, namely God himself, that would make a total of three centers of thought within our mindedness, a perfect mirror image of the Trinity manifested within humanity once in the right relation to God.”

“I’m not sure that I could have phrased it in a much better way,” said Vasiliy, “Does the concept at least make a little better sense to you?”

“Not only does it make more sense, in a round about way, it makes more sense of myself, not just God.”

“Well given that your personhood is ultimately grounded in the Trinity, that’s precisely what should happen as you grow in your knowledge and relation to Him.”

Martin thought about this for minute, trying to piece it all together and then of course, the questions began to emerge.


[i] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, (Leicester, England: Intervarsity Press, 1994), 226.

[ii] J. Scott Horrell, “The Eternal Son of God in the Social Trinity,” in Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective, ed. Fred Sanders and Klaus Issler (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2007), 52.

[iii] Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1976), 58.

[iv] Garrett J. DeWeese, “One Person, Two Natures: Two Metaphysical Models of the Incarnation,” in Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective, ed. Fred Sanders and Klaus Issler (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2007), 141.

[v] Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 58.

[vi] Throughout the Gospels Jesus claims equality with God the Father, especially radical are His claims in John, including His claim of oneness with the Father in 10:30. By placing Himself in the same realm of being as God the Father, Jesus was clearly aware of not only His own divinity, but His co-equal status with the Father. Concerning the Spirit as well, support can be found in: Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3,4,9; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

[vii] “…the personal interpenetration of each member of the Godhead in the other – each inviting and indwelling…” Horrell, “The Eternal Son of God in the Social Trinity,” 59.

[viii] John 14:8-11,20,23; 15:4-7; 17:20-23,26

[ix] The rest of the information about neurocardiology comes from his works: J. Armour, “Anatomy and Function of the Intrathoracic Neurons Regulating the Mammalian Heart,” in Reflect Control of the Circulation, ed. I. Zucker and J. Gilmore (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1991). And J. Armour and J. Ardell, eds., Neurocardiology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). Cited in Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The Heartmath Solution, (New York: HarperSanFransisco, 1999).

[x] The following discussion is adapted from J. Scott Horrell ST 102 Class Notes, Chapter 14 The Trinity and Missio Dei, 5 (which itself was the oral text from a message delivered at Dallas Theological Seminary Mission Conference, 2006).

[xi] Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27, 29, 3:11,16; Paul also speaks of the Father dwelling in believers corporately in Ephesians 2:22 and being filled with the fullness of God in Ephesians 3:19.

Self-Titled

April 22, 2008 — Leave a comment

It’s days like this that help me keep my past connected with the present.

What started out as a rather overcast day that reeked of banality slowly turned into the kind of day that naturally evokes a mixture of emotions.

It’s starting to become obviously spring here, which I’m sure will eventually shift into summer (probably before the month is over) and of course that makes me think back to this time last year.

Not long after spring semester ended last year, I embarked on a rather ambitious roadtrip to reconnect with old friends and actually ended up making a few new ones in the process. I would say just read my myspace blog for the details, but that was deleted long ago (although the blogs are still extant)

Like all good road trips, it had its particular soundtrack which included predominantly, but wasn’t limited to:

  1. And the Glass Handed Kites courtesy of Mew
  2. Boys and Girls in America courtesy of The Hold Steady
  3. Twilight courtesy of Future of Forestry
  4. Strange Education courtesy of The Cinematics
  5. All the Houses Look the Same courtesy of Deas Vail
  6. Fear of Blank Planet courtesy of Porcupine Tree (purchased en route)

Albums of course which were all rather new to me last April and defined both the month and the trip for me, usually revolving around the weather.

So whether its thinking back to a bright April morning and The Hold Steady, or a grey rainy sky and Porcupine Tree, today felt of times gone by.

By afternoon, it had started to feel rather May-ish, probably why the light hits just right in the afternoon trees driving north up Preston Road outside Highland Park.

May of course last year, was defined not only by Don Quixote and the first taste of freedom in a long while, but these as well:

  1. On Letting Go by Circa Survive
  2. Magnetic North by Hopesfall
  3. Manipulator by Fall of Troy
  4. Lost Ocean by Lost Ocean

We haven’t even made it to last summer proper yet, but I’m sure memories will start surfacing all the more vividly as detoxing from the semester commences in a few weeks. I’m sure the trip to Liberty will be more than nostalgic as I finally formally graduate college, but more importantly go back to the first stop in the new Journey that was started around this time a year ago.

Oh and did I mention Chuck Norris is our commencement speaker? Tell me that is not irony at its finest.

At any rate, I wish I could stay in touch better with all the people I’ve gotten to know so well over the past four years (or more) of school. Just know that, in however a mystical (or corny) way, when I listen to the albums that defined certain times in my life, if you were apart of it, you’re here with me all over again.

Martin hated flying. Well, it’s not so much that he hated it, maybe loathed is a better word, but however you decide on word usage in this situation, the truth is, Martin would just rather drive from point A to point B. Nevermind that it would be a stretch to make it from Tampa to Dallas in a day. For Martin, something about flying took the adventure out of it all. Yet here he was; row 24, seat F.

At least he had a window seat.

In the midst of his mental moanings, Martin had inserted his earbuds and was only a rotating clickwheel away from finding the perfect album to get lost in on this particular flight.  But as usual, there was the ever so slight tinge of guilt at not striking up a conversation with his fellow patron of the airline industry. Most of the time this was not sufficient to put Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on hold, but something about this guy seemed different. Call it intuition, subconscious insight, déjà vu, or what have you; with this neatly dressed man who seemed quite a bit older than Martin’s mid 20’s, something stood out.

Then he saw it.

Rather than tuning into the iPod, a copy of The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church was this man’s choice of in flight entertainment. Immediately remembering this book being mentioned in his Trinitarianism class, Martin knew this would not be the typical “oh you’re studying to be a priest” conversation.

“I hear that’s a pretty good read,” Martin said

“You hear,” the man replied, “or you’ve read for yourself?”

“I guess I just hear, my prof mentioned in class a few times,” Martin continued.

“I see,” the man said, “and where was this class of which you speak?”

“Oh, well I go to Dallas Seminary.”

“Really?” The man’s interested seemed a bit piqued at this point. “So you’re a student of theology then?”

Finally someone who did not equate seminary with either the priesthood or the pulpit.

Smiling, Martin quickly responded, “I think that sums it up pretty nicely.”

“Well then , you should read this to temper the Western perspective on the Holy Trinity you’ve no doubt grown up on here in America.”

Martin thought for a minute, somewhat surprised by this man’s forthrightness.

“I thought the only main distinctions were the Eastern church starting with three and moving to one, and the Western church moving in the opposite direction.”

There was a slight look of disappointment in the man’s eyes, no doubt at the extreme oversimplification of the models, although maybe it was the naïvete that Martin seemed on the surface to exude in his conception of the Trinity.

He finally responded, “In a very basic sense, that does somewhat distinguish the two, however there are several more vital nuances that the Orthodox church has maintained and articulated throughout the centuries.”

“Hence the name Orthodox, right?” Martin was being only slightly facetious, as he extended his hand, “Martin Cagliari.”

Smiling slightly now, the man responded, “Vasiliy Malakhov.”

“Where are you from originally?”

“I was born in Moscow, but my parents were able to immigrate here to America when I was just a boy.”

“To escape the iron curtain, right?”

“That is one way to put it, yes,” Vasiliy said, “But the desire to find a more suitable place to raise a family without being under the blanket of atheistic despair that had covered our great country was another good motivation.”

“I can see where that might factor in significantly,” Martin said, thinking it might be nice to steer away from any unnecessary talk of despair whilst flying, “So you grew up in the States for the most part then?”

“Indeed, my formative years where spent in upstate New York, near the Vermont border,” Vasiliy recalled, “But unlike my father and mother, I am not fond of the weather in that part of the country.”

“Dallas is the quite the shift from that though,” Martin noted, “How did you end up there, I mean, I’m assuming it’s where you’re going also, right?”

“That’s quite presumptuous of you,” Vasiliy said, “Presumptuous but correct, I do live in Dallas, north Dallas to be more specific.”

“Near Highland Park?”

“In Highland Park.”

“Ah, you must do pretty well for yourself then.” It didn’t take long for Martin upon moving to Dallas to admire the grandeur of neighborhoods like Highland Park. “What do you do?”

“I’m a cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center.”

“As in Baylor Medical right across from my school?”

“Precisely.”

This of course explained why the question of priesthood had not surfaced, however, the questions in Martin’s mind could not be asked quickly enough.

“So that explains your familiarity with DTS,” Martin said, “Well let’s talk theology then, tell me more about this book.”

“What specifically do wish to know about the Orthodox faith?” Vasiliy probably disliked vague questions as much as Martin did, “Are you curious about our understanding of the Trinity, our views on divinization, or some other aspect?”

“I guess my interest is more piqued about your model of God.”

“You mean our starting with the three persons of the Holy Trinity first, and then proceeding to discuss the divine nature that binds them together?”

“Yeah, and the differences between that and how you think we approach it from our tradition.”

Just as Martin’s words fell to the ground, the pilot, certainly unaware of the conversation that was about to transpire between seat E and F all the way back in row 24, picked that moment to come over the intercom and verify that the fasten seat belt signs had not come on by accident.  There was going to be slight turbulence for the next little while.

It wouldn’t be smooth sailing for sure, but then again, Martin would definitely not choose sailing as a means to get from point A to point B anyway.

Alright, no more messing around.

Seriously, I mean, why have a blog if you never write in it, right?

So, from now on, more updates.

First let’s talk about procrastination.

Actually, nevermind, I’ll save that for a later post.

So I just finished There Will Be Blood, and now I feel the need to add Oil! (by Upton Sinclair) to my reading list to get a better idea on what the movies was driving at. Excellent movie though, go rent it now.

Speaking of Upton Sinclair, anybody read The Jungle? What a great book, right? (Although it will permanently ruin hotdogs for you)

What great propaganda for the socialist campaign under the guise of exposing the evils of the Chicago meat-packing industry around the turn of the century (that’s the 20th mind you, not the 21st). Really demonstrates the working man’s plight and survival of the fittest.

Survival of the fittest…what a novel concept

I wonder if there’s any truth to that “scientific” theory, or natural law I suppose depending on who you ask.

Well I mean I guess it would have to be a law of nature, because in order to be a scientific theory it would have to be falsifiable in some way.

In order to be falsified though, we would have to run an appropriate experiment.

Although the fitness of a particular animal might be hard to determine after it dies, but then again, if it dies then it must not have been fit (or so the reasoning goes)

So I suppose it would follow then that the one footed bird I saw the other day a Chipotle getting along just fine (I mean who wouldn’t thrive living off Chipotle scraps?) was more fit than all the bird with two feet who get eaten by cats or run over cars.

It would seem fitness is proven by survival, but doesn’t that just beg the question? I mean are we really just saying, “the ones that survive are the ones that survive”?

Sounds like shoddy science to me, but I could be wrong, I often am, believe it or not.

Maybe there’s something more significant roaming around in my brain than this, but then again, Dallas is not the best for fostering creativity. It could be worse though. A lot worse probably, so don’t necessarily file that as a complaint.

In other more significant news, the semester is coming to close, much like a large wooden door about to slam shut, all the while you still have one foot in the door as you try to get some issues clarified.

Unfortunately the choice inevitably becomes, your learning or your life (i.e. sanity). It seems at a certain point there comes a time to just power through and hope for the best.

So that’s where the things are for me at least, a few more papers to go, 5 finals to cram for, and jobs to keep up with as always.

Here’s to two more weeks of class.


Concluding Unscientific Postscript

5 Bands you Need to Know:

  1. The Matches
  2. Secret & Whisper
  3. Jose Gonzalez
  4. Memphis May Fire
  5. Vampire Weekend

3 Books you Need to Read:

  1. Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective (ed. Fred Sanders & Klaus Issler)
  2. The Problem of Pain (C. S. Lewis)
  3. Chasing the Dragon (Jackie Pullinger)

1 Movie you Need to See:

  1. Eagle vs. Shark

A Few Clarifications…

March 10, 2008 — 1 Comment

I suppose it would be a good time for an update, this seems to be a somewhat transitional period in the semester, and maybe in life in general, it’s hard to say.

Anyway, in starting clarifications, I should probably note that the About Me section in my facebook profile was not authored by me. Its a quote from Sancho Panza in the second half of Don Quixote.

So, if it seems amusing, Cervantes came up with it, and also, I am not that conceited about the enjoyability of my presence.

Also, my religious views section is Latin for “faith seeking understanding.” Again, someone else came up with that (Anselm).

Texas drivers are still the worst.

Now by worst, I should probably qualify what I mean. Tennessee has plenty of bad drivers, but that is mainly do to general incompetence.

Florida had bad drivers, but in the reckless sense.

New York, also, had bad drivers, but in the aggressive sense and really not as bad as Massachusetts.

Which brings us back to Texas. Awful. But still to distinguish, it seems to be mainly due to timidity. Some of this is my fault in being slightly aggressive/reckless as I am somewhat of a composite of the previous states I resided in.

But there’s also seems to be a general misunderstanding as to the purpose of separate lanes on 75, the concept of merging appropriately, and I do not need to even mention the carnage that ensues when it rains.

Overall, I would say Texas drivers deserve a C- to a D+ when it comes to driving competence. This is based on navigating traffic frequently and spending too many hours driving under the speed limit in the left lane of a 8 lane highway.

It seems like there were other things that needed to be clarified, but now that I am sitting down to actually sketch them out, I’m drawing a blank.

Let’s see….

I acutally had a somewhat thought process that started here, but it kinda deadended, so I erased and decided to take a different path. Which is highly ironic considering what the rambling was about. So I’m not the only one who knows, the question that was raised was “When do you push through your circumstances and discontentment and when do decide to overhaul things and start afresh?”

You probably see the irony now.

Anyway, I’m gonna wrap this up so I can see Juno with some of enigmatic one-liners that I wrote in previous blogs.

Mainly because I’m somewhat narcissistic in that sense and am proud of what I’ve written before.

Anyway, here’s some thought nuggets making for a rather odd patchwork blog:


Narrowly avoiding the mistake of a lifetime changes your perspective quite a bit, but I wouldn’t recommend the process. (5/26/07)

My life has many eerie parallels with itself, maybe someday people will be interested enough to read about them in print. (5/19/07)

Learning contentment in whatever lot your life becomes is not easy, but if you can do it, it makes everything else infinitely more enjoyable. (5/11/07)

Life’s not a bed of roses, but who would want to sleep on thorns anyway? (4/2/07)

In an extremely related story, clarity has been attacking me with a vengeance lately and the brutality of it is quite refreshing. (3/28/07)

In many ways I think I am photosynthetic, or at least my positive emotional affect is. Luckily, I do not contain chloryphyll (more like boryphyll) so I am not green. (3/19/07)

My body has been acting strangely lately, I’m not sure what’s gotten into it. Well I take that back, I am fully aware of what’s gotten into, I’m just trying to get whatever is causing problems out of it. Wish me luck on that one. (2/5/07)
That’s all for now, but I stumbled across a good blog of mine from last fall (’06 actually), which I may re-use here.

Until then…

This is probably going to become an increasingly irrelevant post as you continue to read.

That is just a courtesy warning I extended to you as the reader, you are free to ignore it and wander into the deepest recesses of my ramblings after a relaxing day off spent almost exclusively at Starbucks reading and thinking.

For starters, while I should note that Dallas boasts a rather healthy supply of restaurants, and not shabby ones at that, several key eateries that compose my diet remain lacking. They are as follows:

  • Quaker Steak and Lube (all you can eat wings during lunch)
  • Shane’s Rib Shack (self explanatory)
  • Zaxby’s (chicken goodness)
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries
  • Blue Coast Burrito (best chips and salsa)
  • Fuji (hibachi steakhouse w/drive thru)
  • The Gondolier (best pizza)
  • Che Guevare (s/p?) (next best chips, best quesadillas)

I felt obligated to at least place the above in some category in your mind for you if hadn’t heard of the wonders of Blue Coast, the ubiquitous effects of eating at Five Guys, or could not discern whether Quaker Steak involved and oil change or not. At any rate, it should obvious how my spring break will be spent. That’s right. Eating. Oh and probably sitting at Starbucks all day reading and writing silly blogs like this one.

Moving on, I picked up an old school copy of Moby Dick on Friday, along with an even older school illustrated hardback copy of the complete works of Lewis Carroll.  Twas brillig and slithy toves indeed, right?

There’s nothing quite like reading all old book as the sun sets and a gentle breeze starts to blow, all the while being serenaded by the afternoon jams of your choice.  It is the essence of what Sunday afternoons are now about. At least in my world that is.

In hindsight, I realized I worked almost 40 hours this week in addition to the 14 hours of class.

Somehow it didn’t seem all that bad, almost as if something carried me through it in what felt like my own strength, but certainly couldn’t be. I think there’s a name for it. Oh that’s right. Grace.

Musically, no one that I listen to regularly seems to speak more of grace than As Cities Burn. For example, from “Empire:”

And I was a middle son,
between two wayward ones.
I was more deserving of my parents love.

I had an angels smile,
hiding a vultures bite.
I had no use for your redeeming blood.

Aren’t I glory, glorious?

Glory, glorious.
Aren’t we glory, glorious?
Aren’t we worthy, worthy of hearts at our feet?

Cause I was a pharisee,
I never saw my need for grace;
Then your love came to me
stood next to mine, and I saw that I was poor.

Show me I was poor.
Show us we are,
show us we are.

Glory, glorious.
We are glory, glorious.
Not from what good we have done
but from being the least.

Or a little more explicitly from “The Hoard”

They say that good boys walk straight on white lines.
Good boys keep their livers clean,
And smoke out of their lungs.
‘Cause it’s all about what you’ve done,
Good boys don’t make mistakes to learn from.

‘Cause when heaven comes,
They won’t be caught being young.

Grace make your way to the well,
To those who deserve it.
After all they’ve earned it.
But vain, it’s in vain,
‘Cause they don’t need it.

They’re steady, steady breathers,
Who won’t lift a finger for the gasping weaker.
You just hoard your hollow completion,
Like it’s something wearing thin.
Like it’s gonna get you in, When heaven comes.

‘Cause when heaven comes,
I swear it comes in love.

Grace make your way to the well,
To those who deserve it.
After all they’ve earned it.
But vain, it’s in vain,
‘Cause they don’t need it.

Now I let go of your hand somewhere between,
Love and what it demands of me.

Grace make your way. 

Now the lyrical content is a little sparse, but you can either pick up the album, or download the songs off of iTunes if you really want to hear the emotional force with which the idea is delivered.  It seems to grab my attention every time. Which is why I’m going to see them along with Emery tomorrow, making for a rather good show with at least two excellent live performances.

But back to less significant matters.

I can’t really tell why my typing is deteriorating, or whether my keyboard is not tracking with my fingers as well as it used to. My laptop has been through a lot, transport and such, as well as intense usage. It may be on the way out. Hopefully not.

I didn’t realize how scene this Starbucks was until now that I am here after dark. That’s usually when they come out, or at least that was my experience at Turkey Creek, wading through the nocturnally natured adolescents noting band t-shirts here and there of artists I like, and then wondering whose music tastes it reflects more on.

That is probably the topic of another post related to the evolving sub-culture I am sometimes more apart of than others, but will probably undoubtedly surface in the coming weeks, or months.

In light of this, I should probably stop before digressing into even more meaningless drivel. For more insightful writing, see the update to the Marturo blog.

Until next time, keep the dream alive.

oh how sweet the sound
I know it saved but is it changing a wretch like me
oh my God how sweet is the sound
I once was blind but now I just look away

Living in Subjunctive

February 22, 2008 — 1 Comment
Life is very much becoming more and more in the subjunctive mood.

Not that it is bad or anything at all…

It just needs to materialize into a more indicative reality.

Starting a band…

Researching the heart…

Crafting dialogue…

Studying theology…

Incessantly reading…

Planning the ultimate road trip…

Hedging out a sabbatical month…

Plotting out recording time…

Looking for inspiration…

Reflecting on the Trinity….

Chasing sunsets…

That about sums it up, but as you can see there’s a myriad of possibilities of what may come to pass (hence the reference to the subjunctive mood of the Greek verbal system).

However, the difference lies in changing what may come to pass into what is coming to pass.

May God guide the process as it steams along…