Therefore, as the inspired Scriptures and our fathers, who are wise from hearing the Scriptures read read in the divine mysteries, confirm “joy” is the most appropriate term to refer to the life that is to come. – Maximus the Confessor, Ambiguum 7
My brief reflection:
Joy as man’s chief end, that is to say as the final and greatest expression of satiation in the divine, is a near universal understanding of proper theological anthropology. Having first been exposed to John Piper’s view that our “chief end is to glorify God by enjoying him forever” (a modification of the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s articulation that our chief end is “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”), I cannot help but note the place of joy as the end of human existence is shared by both Piper and Maximus. Indeed the ultimate satisfaction of rightly ordered desires is, for Maximus, the undoing of the disorder brought in by Adam—the proper place of joy is as the end of human existence.
I think that, while on a thousand other counts perhaps Piper and Maximus might disagree, here they find common ground: joy as the final and ultimate end of man for eternity. That the redeemed person will be in a state of eternal joy is itself a declaration, as clear as the resurrection, that death and sin are defeated. God is glorified by (and in) joy being our end.
Just last week I got my Kindle 2 and I purchased this semester’s books for it. I have used it almost non-stop. It is a wonderful reading device that allows for a relatively transparent reading experience. It is simply you and the content contained in the text. Overall, excellent – for many books (save reference works and certain major texts) it is my new preference for reading, both books and magazine (although not newspapers).
Now, my few gripes: no easy conversion to page numbers for citation (and not their fault, but I cannot find provisional styles for citation in Turabian or MLA for the location references given in the Kindle). Either no support, or lazy presses have led to near unreadable Hebrew and Greek text (which in the books I own have been imported as images and look horrible). Some spectacular OCR or data entry issues that are particularly horrid in passages with Latin (the could be solved with a reporting feature, such as used in Logos where the text can be highlighted, fixed and reported).
With the recent announcement of Logos for the iPhone a day may soon be coming when I no longer have to bring my laptop along with me to most places! That will be a blessed day.
God is a good and gracious Lord; He will be held for God only and alone, and according to the first commandment: “You shalt have none other Gods but me.” He desires nothing of us: no taxes, subsidies, money, or goods. He requires only that He may be our God and Father; and therefore He bestows richly upon us a cup overflowing with all manner of spiritual and temporal gifts.
—Martin Luther, Table Talk, LXXVIII
Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; grant we beseech thee, that we may so run to thy heavenly promises, that we fail not finally to attain, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
– Thomas Cranmer, Collect for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity.
His promises are made, may we trust them and pursue them until we pass from this age to the next.
But your graces will also remember that on Christmas morning I put off solving a question I had raised, because there were many people celebrating that day’s feast with us, who usually find explanations of the Word of God rather a bore. But now, I assume, it is only people who want to listen that have come together here. So I am not speaking to hearts that are deaf, or to disdainful minds.
These expectations, though, of yours are like prayers for me. More than that; the games on today have blown many people away from here, for whose salvation I am greatly concerned, and I urge you, brothers, to feel as much concern for them yourselves, and to pray earnestly to God for those who are not yet in earnest about the shows truth puts on, but are still given over to shows put on for the flesh.
- St. Augustine, Sermon 51 – The Harmony Between the Evangelists Mathew and Luke Concerning the Lord’s Genealogy , Section 2
I’ve heard a fair number express exactly the same thing. Funny how human nature stays the same.
Look at the hungry, look at the naked, look at the needy, look at the immigrants, look at the captives; they shall be your porters as you transfer your property to heaven.
- St. Augustine, Sermon 53A – Eight Beatitudes on the Gospel, Section 6
I wept. What beauty, what a sharp scalpel on my heart.
I saw Monergism.com post that there was a bunch of new mp3′s from some amazing folks available for download now at the Gospel Coalition website. I can’t think of much on here that I wouldn’t want to listen to… so check it out!
Well, I’m in my Jan-term now and I don’t have tons of time to post or read anything but the assigned work. The course is a missions course and is taught very well, the classes themselves are thoughtful and engaging. My only criticism would be the amount of rote memorization required (not my strong suit). This means however that any substantive blog posting is delayed, yet again.
On a rather non sequitur note, I’m on my way up the coast in the Downeaster out of Boston to Dover, NH. I have taken this train once before (all the way to Portland, ME) and the upgrade to business class ($8) is worth it; It is by far the most pleasant trip on a train in the entire northeast.
Now, back to memorizing most of the countries in the world!
Gratia et Pax!
The book is written care and precision that is almost unparalleled in much war writing. It is not simply the account of the events with some anecdotes from witnesses, but rather there is a much larger story arc present throughout the work; a story arc of a reluctant world power, unsure and confused as the the path forward internationally when it came to projecting that power against threats. Halberstam is scathing in his criticism of both General Almond and General MacArthur as well as the entire pre-war and early conflict intelligence filtered through General Willoughby’s intelligence service.
I was most struck by the pedagogical intent behind much of the work – it was as if Halberstam felt our involvement in Iraq was a clear sign that we had not learned our lessons, neither in Korea nor in Vietnam. The Coldest Winter was not simply critical, but hopeful; The valor of the enlisted men and officers who fought at the front lines, the eventual democratization of South Korea, and the enduring American spirit for democratic freedom and liberty were positives that can also be learned from.
Ultimately the work is a massive (736 page) read, which carried me though a story I thought I knew and blew my mind with his detailed descriptions and overarching understanding. The work was both a story of individuals and their units, but also a story of great powers finding their way in the early atomic age. A definite must read for anyone seeking to fill a gap in their knowledge regarding the Korean War or someone seeking a read that will leave them a little different at the finish than at the beginning.
Well, I was going to get back to blogging… and I’m currently without Internet access (posting from my iPhone). I’m taking the time off from classes to read “fun books” for me. I just finished “In harm’s way” by Doug Stanton; it was a soul wrenching read telling the tragic story of the events surrounding the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the dusk days of World War II. An excellent naval history written with a strong narrative style that kept me captivated throughout it. I was initially reluctant to read “In harm’s way” due to the already knowing how the tragic story would end, however the tale, although gruesome, is one well told and had well be told for generations to come.