25 November 2011

Truly Thankful That It's Friday

With Three Reading Recommendations
by Phil Johnson

t's the day after Thanksgiving, and it would be gauche to complain on such a day, so let me just say that one of the things I'm most thankful for is that this week is finally nearing an end.

Here's the short version, without whining: Tuesday, after being socked with a $2,000 car repair and an expensive root canal for Darlene, I came home to discover water under the kitchen sink. The garbage disposal was leaking. While fixing it, the plumber discovered arterial occlusions in the drain line, and tracing that problem to its source, he found a major obstruction under my front lawn, just this side of the street, where (of course) it's my job to fund the repair. That turned out to cost more than the car repair and root canal combined, and it meant plumbers were running in and out of the house until about 3:00pm on Thanksgiving Day. I'm sure it wasn't exactly a great holiday for those plumbers, either (except for the extra pay, of course)—so I'm truly not complaining.

But I do hope disaster is through with me for the week, because first thing this morning, I'm leaving with nine other members of my family for a week in England.

It sounded like a good idea when we planned it. I have to be in England next week for a board meeting. Last spring I commented on how lovely England is around Christmastime and how nice it would be to be there with the whole fam. Someone overheard me, and they all decided to come along. It should be fun—but then Thanksgiving Day should be fun, and look where that got us.

And as we all know, things don't typically go well when I travel.

Anyway, regardless of how it all turns out, I'm sure it'll be one of those memories we all treasure and talk about for years to come. I am thankful—truly and deeply thankful for countless blessings, including the abiliy to travel at all.

I'm taking a couple of books to read on the way. Both of these are written by people I count as friends. One is Knox's Irregulars, by J. Wesley Bush, erstwhile blogger and international man of mystery. When I started blogging in 1995, Bush was already famous as a blogger. He wrote his blog, Le Sabot Post-Moderne, from Ukraine, where he live-blogged the "Orange Revolution." We knew him then simply as "Discoshaman."

Now he's written this fantasy science fiction novel which, I'm told, is full of Calvinistic easter eggs. I'm not usually a fiction reader, but I've read enough of the Discoshaman to know I'd better prepare myself to be entertained, amused, and amazed.

Incidentally, Mrs. Discoshaman is a celebrity blogger in her own right: Tulip Girl. Thanks to her for sending me this copy of Knox Irregulars—from Nairobi, of all places. That's where the Bushes currently reside.

My other reading selection on this trip is God Without Parts, by my friend James Dolezal. He's a Research Fellow at the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He and I share several common interests, one of which is a fascination with certain disputed points of theology proper—especially classic attributes such as aseity, impassibility, and the simplicity of God.

I've thumbed through the book. Every page I scanned intrigued me. Can't wait to read it.

In the meantime, HERE's something you can read right now by yet another friend of mine. It's a book review of Miraslov Volf's disturbing screed titled Allah: A Christian Response. The review is by Paul Dan, who has ministered in Eastern Europe and has firsthand knowledge of recent (and historic) developments in Islamic-Christian relations there.

Read Paul's blogpost and the attachments. What Paul Dan is describing is the tip of a very lage iceberg, I fear. I expect it won't be long before secular media, the political climate, evangelical ecumenists, religious intellectuals, and academic pundits like Miroslav Volf and Phillip Jenkins drum up some kind of public-relations campaign to pressure conservative evangelicals to accept "Chrislam"—or something in that vein—as a legitimate form of Christian discipleship. In reality, Christian-Islamic syncretism represents a fatal capitulation to Islamic aggression. But it's already a growing trend, and one that certainly bears watching.

I'll be in touch, Lord willing.

Phil's signature


DJP said...

Nearly a dozen Johnsons loose on the English countryside... what could possibly go wrong?

Robert Warren said...

Well, Mama said there'd be weeks like this.

When these (not so) little surprises happen to my wife and me in our current stage in life, I generally look back and am very thankful they didn't happen 25 years ago, when the kids were still at home and the magnitude of expenses would have literally wiped us out. Thankful that we can absorb them now without too big of a disaster. (Also pondering why things costs so much more in Atlanta than than they did in Birmingham.)

There's a reason for everything: Maybe my wife witnesses to the plumber, etc.

Travelling mercies for the Johnsons.

Linda said...

Lol, loverly way to quietly express your underlying frustration

--a Screed of "Chrislam" just for us Love it~~

James Scott Bell said...

. . .is full of Calvinistic easter eggs

Ah, hard boiled fiction.

Like The Geneva Falcon.

donsands said...

Sorry to hear about those problems you had.
Thanks for the book suggestions. The one book cover made me think of Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon'.

Have a blessed trip in your Savior's comfort and joy.

"You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
(Psalm 71:20-23 ESV)

Anonymous said...

I'm truly sorry. Here's a sonnet written by a family friend that may be comforting:

I have no words of praise and thanks today
That would suffice to even make a start,
But only empty hands, a quiet heart,
A joyful debt that I cannot repay.

The dry and empty cup can truly say
The measure of its need; now not in part
But wholly filled with light and love, what art
Of song or verse can praise enough, this day?

O Morning Star! If any word is true,
It points to you, the end of all desire,
And draws its truth from you, the hidden place

That all will find who seek. This gift from you
I'll praise with words you give: through dark and fire
I'll sing and pray with coinherent grace.

donsands said...

"Ah, hard boiled fiction." JD

Amen. Nothing like fiction with hard boiled truth within its storyline.

Hard boiled eggs made me think of Cool Hand Luke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNyl6gXLMLQ&feature=related

"nobody can eat 50 eggs."

Pierre Saikaley said...

I was about to sit and reflect on some blessings in my own life, and actually meditate on what I'm thankful for.

Then I read your post...and my problems don't seem so bad. :)

God keep you safe in your travel.

Kathy said...

Thank you for the links on Chrislam. I've lived in a nominally Muslim country for eight years and never come across this term. However, we do frequently hear some of the same ideas expressed by our neighbors. Although the reviewer doesn't explicitly address it, the article also highlights the dangers of contextualization. It began with Christian workers adopting the trappings of Islam; now Bible and literature translators are debating how to handle references to Jesus as God's Son.

Raine said...

Is it just me or is simplicity a neglected doctrine? Hope you enjoy the books, and I also look forward to possibly seeing a review.

God bless!

David J. Houston said...

I'm waiting for Dolezal's book to be made available through Amazon so I can save on shipping when I order textbooks. Looks fascinating! I just wish he included a discussion on the Trinity. He did mention that he was hoping to tackle the relation of the Trinity to DDS in a couple of articles in the future. Can't wait!

J. Wesley Bush said...


Thanks so much for the link. Meant to stop by earlier, but things have been madness at work.

Thank you for always being valiant for truth, though your blog daily adds to the list of theological malfeasance which keeps me up at night...

Chrislam - this seems to be the logical endpoint for the self-flagellating Christ-less Christianity of Europe. As demographic trends push Europe toward Islam, a syncretistic fusion like this will be increasingly appealing to those in Europe seeking to reconcile themselves to the new reality.

In the States, I see less of an impetus, simply because we do have a more robust Evangelical presence and fewer Muslims. But the usual suspects will probably be selling it in a few years.


Nonetheless, God is sovereign and we keep soldiering on.