Category archives: personal

Calvin on Tradition

Preparing for my last sermon, I found some choice quotes from Calvin on submitting to traditions. (These are from the Institutes 3.19.7-11, with tiny modifications for readability).

We are not bound before God to any observance of external things which are in themselves indifferent (“adiafora”), but that we are now at full liberty either to use or omit them. … Once the conscience is entangled in the net, it enters a long and inextricable labyrinth, from which it is afterwards most difficult to escape.

In one word, we see whither this liberty tends viz., that we are to use the gifts of God without any scruple of conscience, without any perturbation of mind, for the purpose for which he gave them: in this way our souls may both have peace with him, and recognize his liberality towards us.

“A haughty mind often dwells in a coarse and homely garb, while true humility lurks under fine linen and purple.” Let every one then live in his own station, poorly or moderately, or in splendor; but let all remember that the nourishment which God gives is for life, not luxury….

… We should assert our liberty before men. This I admit: yet must we use great caution in the mode, lest we should cast off the care of the weak whom God has specially committed to us.

… Our liberty was not given us against our weak neighbors, whom charity enjoins us to serve in all things, but rather that, having peace with God in our minds, we should live peaceably among men. What value is to be set upon the offense of the Pharisees we learn from the words of our Lord, in which he says, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind,” (Matt. 15:14).

Bend over backwards to accomodate the weak, and ignore the Pharisees. How easy it is for me to do just the opposite!

Reminder: Some People Are Jerks

The other day, I watched this video on YouTube. It’s amazing. I can’t imagine how much effort went into filming it. The song itself is fine, but, frankly, I heard it enough a couple of decades ago to last me. I’m not sure what it has to do with Grand Rapids, but, whatever. (According to Wikipedia, when he was asked what the song’s lyrics meant, Don McLean replied, “It means I never have to work again.”)

Anyway, I went to crowd-source my opinion and noticed the ratings. About a million people had seen it by then, and of them almost 15K had “liked” it (the long green bar under the photo). But 320 had “not liked” it (the short red bar). Why?

Screen Capture: American Pie Video on YouTube

I know it’s a cliché to ask “what’s not to like?” (#67 on this list) but, well, what’s not to like? With the video, I mean. You might not like Grand Rapids, but why down-rate the video for that? Or maybe you hate the people who shot the video. But do you judge a movie just because you don’t like the director? If so, where do you stop? Suppose you like the cast and the director, but not the key grip or the best boy. Do you rate the movie a dud for that?

Some people just don’t like anything. In the church, we call them E.G.R. or “Extra Grace Required.” It’s a shame they are so damaged and bitter that they need to spread their bile all around them. But I challenge them to read about Barnabas:

For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.—Acts 4:36

Obviously, the people around them much prefer the Barnabas types to the E.G.R.s. But I suspect the Barnabas types enjoy themselves a lot more than the E.G.R.’s do.

Anyway, a final observation: The ratio of people who liked the video to those who disliked it was about 46:1. So when you bump into someone who seems positively determined to suck the joy out of your life, remember there are probably 46 normal people who aren’t. Try to spend more time with them, and less with the jerks.

Does anyone still have a Hi-8 camcorder?

Does anyone has a Hi-8 camcorder I could borrow?

I’ve got some old tapes I’d like to convert to DVD. Our Hi-8 camcorder is busted, so there’s no way to play the tapes back, and that’s step one of any conversion.

I don’t want to pay a service to convert them. I’d rather borrow a camcorder and do it myself. I’d even buy one, if the price weren’t too horrible.

If you can help, comment on this posting. (You’ll have to set up an account, but then you can comment on any posting.)