NEWS: Orange County 1 John Class

28 August 2008

In 1915, Robert Frost wrote a famous poem titled “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

For most Christians, the study of Greek is a road not taken, but usually there’s no clear point of decision.  It’s one of those things that flits Read the rest of this entry »

Liturgy, Part 1: Against Liturgy-Bashing

24 August 2008

The first of several planned papers on liturgical matters, “Against Liturgy-Bashing” attempts to clear away the nonsense that plagues our thinking in many American churches. To bring it closer to home: our local church is in desperate need of liturgical reform, and we cannot even begin to build a God-honoring liturgy until we have cleared away the underbrush of the pagan ideas that harden our necks and soften our heads. To that end, this paper addresses several common objections to liturgical worship. Two excerpts:

Does the leading of the Spirit require spontaneity rather than planning? Again, we can return to the commands to sing in order to see the fallacy here. Imagine if we all just got together, and on the count of three, all began to sing whatever words happened to pop into our heads, set to Read the rest of this entry »

News: Latin in a Week

26 July 2008

“Through the Bible in a Year.” It’s a common wording that I saw a lot growing up in devout Christian circles. The Bible’s a big book, but a year is plenty of time to get through it at a fairly enjoyable pace.

“Latin in a Week,” however, sounds like the province of fools and madmen. Closer inspection confirms the diagnosis: all 40 chapters of Wheelock’s Latin, in 40 hours of instruction. Veritas Press has had good results with this approach, though. Word is that students read unedited sections of Caesar and Cicero by the end of the class– it seems a result worth wagering a week’s hard labor for. Niemela and I have had success with similar experiments in short-term language teaching, but I don’t think we’ve ever done anything this ambitious…and online, to boot.

I have three reasons for doing this now. First, I need to bite the bullet and learn Latin at some point. I’m always telling my students that language learning is better done now than later — time to practice what I preach.  Second, if this works even close to as well as advertised, these people know some things about language learning that I need to know for my revamped first-year Greek class. So in addition to struggling with vocabulary, I’ll be keeping an eye on the teaching tactics. Third, learning to teach first-year language in an online environment is an important skill for me to develop, and this will furnish me with a model to work from.

I had been told that the class would run 9-5, Eastern time, i.e., 6-2 my time. For me, that’s fairly humane. I like mornings anyhow. According to the note on the website, however, the fun begins at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Yes, apparently I’ll be doing Latin at 5 a.m.

Your prayers will be appreciated.

Further News on the Apologetics Seminar

15 July 2008

It seemed appropriate to add a little more about the nature of my approach to apologetics, since what we’ll be doing is a little uncommon.

My basic orientation on apologetics is that it’s all of a piece with theology, evangelism, and culture. Having a gleefully Christian take on everything from anchovy migration patterns to Zulu cooking is an integral part of defending the faith, not to mention a very persuasive witness in itself. Of course, no one person can know about everything, so learning how to construct a Christian approach to the subject at hand is terribly important.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apologetics Seminar

13 July 2008

A local church here has agreed to host a four-week series on apologetics, taught by yours truly and starting this coming Friday (18 July), 7-9 pm in Orange, CA. Sorry about the short notice; we just got the details nailed down Friday night.

I’m titling the series “Biblical Apologetics for Busy Believers.” A rough, and tentative, outline follows:

Session 1: Start with God (Genesis 1-3) — All thinking must start with God, and the nature of God’s claims is such that no one can be neutral. A Christian must always begin with this understanding; to fail to start everything with God’s revelation is to make the same mistake that Eve made in the Garden of Eden. (As an example, we’ll consider a Christian response to the claim that there’s no good historical evidence for Jesus.)

Session 2: Without Excuse (Romans 1) — Unbelief has no excuse whatsoever; the unbeliever really does know the Christian God. To the extent that he refuses to acknowledge the triune God of the Bible, his Read the rest of this entry »

Posting Once a Week

18 June 2008

I’ve been posting twice a week since I started this thing, and having a great time doing it. My aim from the beginning has been not to blog in the common, spill-your-guts-on-the-internet sense.  Rather, I want to post quality material, carefully selected.  Owing to an increasingly busy schedule, I can no longer give the necessary attention to two posts a week.  I will therefore be cutting back to once a week. New posts will appear on Sunday at 1:00 am.

There will probably be the occasional extra post — especially news items that may be of interest to you — but no promises on that front.