February 25, 2005

snippet on the emergent church

Perhaps you've heard of the Emergent Church, a movement within Christianity that embraces various aspects of post-modernism. You might thus appreciate this quote I found on the blog of Doug Wilson, in an entry called "Postmodernism Is, As Derrida Might Say, Le Dead."

I am continuing to slog my way through McLaren and Raschke, left hand raised high so I won't get any on my watch. And I have come to the settled conclusion that postmodernism is dead. Why do I think this? What is the evidence? The proof is conclusive--we can tell that postmodernism is dead because contemporary evangelicals have started to embrace it. The party ceases to be cool when the nerd shows up.

In case you're interested--D.A. Carson will soon be finishing a book on the movement. If the book is anything like some of his lectures I heard recently, he will be fair, kind, and willing to acknowledge the good points in the movement, but also able to dish some very sharp criticism of the movement.

Posted by jonsligh at 11:28 PM | Comments (3)

February 17, 2005

some of the fam

Just got a camera, don't know how to use it.


Behold Allen Sligh--champion wrestler, world-renowned Volapük scholar, extreme sport enthusiast, my brother, sitting adjacent to The Cat.

Posted by jonsligh at 12:21 AM | Comments (21)

February 16, 2005

up ahead in the distance

It's late, I should be in bed. Thus I will write an entirely pointless post about mini book reviews that I may or may not write in the future. How 'bout this: we'll take a vote. Don't worry about whether I know you or like you. Just vote. (Really, this isn't just a desperate, self-conscious, underhanded attempt to see how many people actually read this blog.) Which (if any) do you care to hear about? Tell me as many as you like, and there's the possiblity that I may actually write some mini book reviews some time in the distant future:

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien
The Bell by Iris Murdoch
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Trusse
Business to the Glory of God by Wayne Grudem
Howards End by E.M. Forster
An Island in the Lake of Fire: Bob Jones University, Fundamentalism & the Separatist Movement by Mark Taylor Dalhouse
Stop Dating the Church by Josh Harris
How Long, O Lord by D.A. Carson

Posted by jonsligh at 11:49 PM | Comments (10)

February 12, 2005

while i can

this morning i crawled into bed at quarter after 4. all attempts at diligence for the evening, academic or otherwise, had failed. miserably.

the night is young and so am i, i reasoned, utilizing a literary device to both justify my irresponsibility and sound poetic in the process.

name of literary device: zeugma, a construction in which a single word, esp. a verb or an adjective, is applied to two or more nouns when its sense is appropriate to only one of them or to both in different ways

feeling fairly justified in my poetic revolt from all bondage academic, i went AWOL from all my tasks and dove gleefuly into the depths of indolence. i beelined to a friend's room, wherein we attempted short bursts of duo guitar wizardry (actually, i layed down a feeble layer of 12-bar blues upon which he improvised, and he was gracious enough to not mention the fact that i have all the rhythm and timing of a drooling monkey). our discourse included, but was not limited to, life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. 3 hours and 1 liter of life-sucking mountain dew later, i headed off back to work.

shortly thereafter i clocked out of work in pursuit of some good blog reading. and when i'd done enough of that, i went out for further discourse on the aforementioned topics, with an old long-lost friend of mine, whose very existence i'd begun to doubt. (fret not, kammer is not a legend of yore.)

you might think we were off to spend another late night over pancakes, as the tradition has been with sam and myself. not so. no, we went to huddle house, and i hastily devoured the pile of hashbrown-flavored compost that the waitress set before me. a giddy jaunt to ingles grocery store provided the cherry on top for the evening.

if you've actually read this far you're probably asking a question not dissimilar to one i asked myself when i arose at 8:30 this morning, a question not dissimilar to the following: "jon, you're in grad school. grow up." if you did say that, i would remind you that that was a declarative sentence followed by an imperative--not a question. i would then note that you (and i) have presupposed the absence of mature behavior, when in reality such an assumption is entirely ill-founded. guitar-string-plucking and late-night hash-brown consumption--what better way to sharpen and be sharpened. it was a great night. and besides, my homework will still get done.

Posted by jonsligh at 10:21 PM | Comments (8)

February 10, 2005

i repeat, come lord jesus

It's long, disorganized, and inconsiderate of your expectations.

The most logical thing to do at the time was to punch the door. So I did, and put my weight into it. The wooden panel groaned under the burden and pain shot through my hand.

A warm summer breeze tousled my hair as I examined they white chips of paint on my bloody knuckles. Underneath the high wattage porch light the white contrasted to the red like the stars contrasted to the deep black sky above.

Some Neosporin and a bandage would alleviate the pain in my knuckles at least, while I attempted to sort out the questions swirling around my muddled brain.

What I wanted then I want now. I want to know why we hear of Samantha Runnion and Adolph Hitler and Fred Phelps and battered wives’ shelters and abortion clinics and African countries where a third of the population is HIV positive. I want to know why hearts ache and why I’m such a jerk and why things don’t work out like they’re supposed to and why, no matter how much I vow to love my neighbor as myself, I fall flat on my face every time. I’m in a world where you live painfully conscious of the tension between how it is and how it should be. Why does Creation groan and why do the created cry and where is the Creator? I’m asking for more than a “be still and know.” That just doesn’t cut it. I’m on the hunt for answers. I want them now.

Gradually the mental chaos diminishes and I feel myself settle down and I’m left empty again. As I am a teetotaler and thus cannot console myself with inebriation, I go on the hunt for a good donut and coffee. Instant pleasure, quick relief.

The drive settles me down, and by the time I return home with glazed donut crumbs and coffee in my pitiful beard stubble, I'm ready for bed. With the scars covered by a homemade tape-and-gauze bandage I return to life as normal the next morning.


This time I didn’t punch the door. But the old wounds opened up again as I watched CNN footage of the tsunami destruction in Asia. I needed no bandage for my knuckles this time; I didn’t have enough explosive energy in me this time to punch anything.

I hurried outside to escape the scenes on the TV. I could almost hear the snow falling as I stood in the frigid silent night air and stared at the stars above. I don’t know why there are piles of rotting bodies in Sri Lanka being shoveled into mass graves and why tsunamis hit nations that are unfamiliar with Christ. I don’t know what to say to those disturbed by the event or how to respond to the pictures of Indonesians holding their noses as they sort through the rows of naked corpses in hopes of finding a relative and giving him a decent burial.

Eventually I feel my cheeks, ears, and mind grow numb and I step back inside. Back to normal life. Back to reality, or perhaps back to my mundane, relatively problem-free retreat from hard, unforgiving reality.


Perhaps by now your expectations have been aroused. I am going to dash them. Now is the time at which I am supposed to provide the answer. "Here is the explanation . . .", followed by 3 points and a poem. Well, you may get your poem, but not your 3 explanatory and alliterated points. I'm the author, you've read up to this point, it's time for me to explain the questions I raised. And I'm just not gonna do it.

The fact is, I don't know that I have too many specific answers. I can give you generalized answers. Sin has marred Creation. I understand that, being a rather skillful sinner, and being painfully conscious of my own failure to be what I should be. I understand that disaster is in the hand of the Lord. We don't live in a dualistic universe in which the Devil has free reign to do his nasty will. God is sovereign, He is in control, He controls tsunamis, He brings nations against nations, and He laughs at the tyrants of the earth. I understand that God runs the show, and He can do as He likes with it.

But when a woman squeezes the rotting carcass of her toddler, and turns to the sky and pleads for a sign, for an answer, for anything, don't you tell her it's because she was a particularly wicked sinner. Don't you dare tell her that it's because Asian countries have persecuted Christians more than Western nations and have thus received the righteous wrath of God. Don't give her, don't give me a sermon on the just retribution of God.

Just shut your mouth. And weep with those who weep. Weep for the dead child and for a broken humanity and for the unreconciled created and for a Creation that groans underneath its burden of a sinful race.

I deny you specific answers and deny that you have specific answers, for the simple fact that we don’t have them. And though I want them, crave them, plead for them, I may just never get them. God never told Job why Job endured what he endured. As far as I know, He’s not offered any special revelation regarding the reason for the tsunami.

So no answers will I give. But I will leave you with thoughts, disorganized, discombobulated, unalliterated.

The Creator will make things right one day. Here is the poem I promised.

after the last plan fails, after the last siren wails,
after the last young husband sails off to join the war,
after the last “this marriage is over,”
after the last young girl’s innocence is stolen,
after the last years of silence that won’t let a heart open
there is love, love, love, love,
and in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
we’ll see how the tears that have fallen
were caught in the palm of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
and we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

The God of love you just read about is sovereign. Trust Him. Bow to Him.

Bow the knee, lift your eyes toward heaven
And believe the one who holds eternity.
And when you don't understand
The purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King
Bow the knee.

I'm typing more slowly now, the will to punch has deserted me, I will end. I will weep for my sin, for a broken race, for my coming Deliverer. Even so,

Posted by jonsligh at 11:22 PM | Comments (16)