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Monthly Archives: July 2009

On Piper, from the previous mpriley.com

As a brief aside in the current discussion, I’m going to repost a couple of articles that I have written about John Piper and fundamentalism.

The first post was written in reply to a couple of letters that were published in FrontLine magazine regarding my 2005 position paper written for the FBF.

The second is an open letter to Piper, in reply to his blog post, Praise God for Fundamentalists.

I’m not particularly interested in rehashing either conversation right (although the comments section is left open); I’m just posting these for archival reasons.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2009 in Blog, Fundamentalism

 

“We know exactly what you mean,” part 2

I was hoping to get a bit more feedback on my original post in this series; likely, I was too vague to make comment worthwhile.

I will thus be more direct. I am involved regularly in discussions about what is right and reverent in worship. I have participated in such discussions often enough to have learned several things. First, very rarely is either party intending to listen. Second, I believe that what a person finds plausible in such discussions in based almost entirely on his experiences. This is true especially when one person is attempting to point to distinctions that the other person cannot see.

A commenter on the first post understood this correctly. How would you explain “what it is like to see red” to someone who is colorblind? Or, to make things more challenging, how would you explain how “what it is like to see red” differs from “what it is like to see green”? I think it is possible that we could employ analogies that my be helpful; the reality is, however, that the person will not truly grasp the distinction between these “what it is likes” until he actually experiences the difference himself.

This means, of course, that if our colorblind friend is stubbornly incredulous about the very existence of color (and therefore of color distinctions), there is almost nothing that we can offer him that he would accept as evidence for that distinction.

I suggest, then, that often, those who refuse to understand a distinction between various types of loves, or between the affections and the passions, are not being stubborn when they deny the conservative position on these topics. Instead, they are accurately reporting their understanding: they don’t see the difference.

Can they be made to see the difference? We shall continue this discussion (or monologue).

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2009 in Worship

 

Google Voice

I just received a Google Voice invite. For those in Arizona who like Arizona phone numbers, the cell number that you have for me will still work. For those who wish to have a Michigan number for me, that number is (313) 718-1155.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2009 in Personal

 

“We know exactly what you mean!”

I am, as yet, incapable of writing fiction; any attempt by me to write dialogue would sound cheap. Perhaps, post-dissertation, I will practice this art.

With that disclaimer, then, I want to offer you a story. Let us picture two couples: one couple is older, perhaps approaching their golden anniversary. The other couple has been dating for two weeks—they’re both in eighth grade.

The older couple says (as older couples sometimes do): “As the years have passed, our love for one another has grown deeper and richer.”

The junior highers reply immediately, “Oh, we know exactly what you mean! We feel the same way about one another!”

I think we would all agree that what the junior highers are experiencing—particularly in their feelings for one another—bears little relation to what the older couple is experiencing. Here’s my question (and I’ll tip my hand, for those not picking up on this: it’s a loaded question that has implications for other discussions): how (specifically) do you go about convincing the junior highers that their experience isn’t the same as the older couple?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2009 in Worship

 

So here’s my story

I’m married, and my wife and I are living in Allen Park, Michigan.

Those two items are, of course, significant changes in the last two months of my life; I’ll give a brief update for friends who aren’t current on my story.

The moving story can be told quickly, so I’ll write that one now.

I’ve spent the last four years teaching at International Baptist College of Tempe, AZ. I loved my time at IBC. I love teaching; my theology courses were are joy, and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching freshman English this past year.

I was also the Dean of Men and a dorm supervisor; the latter position allowed me the unique privilege of hosting devotions in my room for the dorm guys most nights of the week. In particular, the Saturday evening devotions, when I’d host all the guys and we’d learn hymns, were truly highlights of my four years.

I was also the Acting Academic Dean of the school, which allowed me tremendous input into the academic program of IBC; for one so young to have such a position is rare; I certainly hope that I did not waste the trust given me.

Attentive readers might note, at this point, that I had a number of jobs at IBC, and the cumulative effect was that I have not been able to dedicate a great deal of time to finishing my doctorate. As things stand now, I have two papers to write (about 45 total pages) to complete my comprehensive exams, and then I will be submitting my dissertation proposal.

I need to finish my degree. (As my dad reads this, he is saying, “Yes, Son, you need to finish your degree.”)

And so, for this reason (among others), I decided to take a couple of years to dedicate myself to finishing my dissertation. My wife and I chose to move back to Michigan for several reasons. Two are prominent: we are able to attend Huron Baptist Church, pastored by Steve Thomas; and we are located close to Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, which gives me access to a top notch theological research library.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Personal

 

An mpriley.com highlight

In my migration from the old blog, I didn’t want to lose everything that I’d written to this point. I will say, however, that blogging only twice per year makes backing up your work much easier.

Anyway, I begin a series of flashbacks with the most popular (in terms of comments) post that I’ve ever written: the inciting post on the controversial topic of the color of Jesus’s sash.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Blog

 

Another new mpriley.com

Dear faithful reader,

I have hereby performed my annual blog update. As I am currently unemployed (perhaps a blog post explaining my current circumstances is in order at some point), I am reviewing all expenditures more carefully, and found that I was spending an inordinate amount of money to host the blog on which I was posting nothing.

I found that retaining my domain name and having it redirect to a free WordPress blog makes much more financial sense. And so, you have arrived here.

Now, to post something more than once a year…

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2009 in Blog