An Experiment in Wonder

Galileo's World: An Experiment in Wonder
Download slides (PDF)

I’m grateful to the Missouri Association of Museums and Archives for inviting me to present a luncheon keynote at their annual conference this Saturday, October 19. See Lynx Open Ed for more…

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Mold? Call Elijah Adeoye

This morning Candace provided the following testimonial about how we have called upon Elijah Adeoye for mold remediation in two major projects. Given that we are frequently recommending Elijah, we’re posting it here for reference. We cannot recommend him highly enough. Not only is he a person of utmost integrity, but his professionalism is exemplary as well. He has repeatedly gone the extra mile for us. And I can add that, if you should find yourself in need of mold remediation, examining the results of his pre- and post-testing is most reassuring.
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1. Explain the challenge you faced. What was life like when that problem loomed over your head? Did you find it difficult to find a solution?

When we bought our house almost ten years ago, the master bath had been newly remodeled with a very attractive tiled walk-in shower. But within a few years, the grout on the shower floor was seeping water and eventually other areas around the perimeter of the shower pan were seeping as well. In the meanwhile we discovered a serious mold problem in our hall bath and adjacent laundry room, and that became our priority. We had never remodeled a bathroom much less dealt with serious mold issues. It was difficult to know where to turn for help. Kerry and several of our family members have severe allergies to mold and we knew we needed to remediate this properly for the health of our family.

2. Describe the solution you found. How did you get relief?

The mold remediation company we called for the hall bath referred us to AEA Environmental Services for mold testing and setting up a remediation protocol. That was when we met Elijah Adeoye. Elijah has been a joy to work with. He carefully explained his process and provided a thorough written protocol. His report included documentation of both pre-tests and post-tests to ascertain the exact nature of the problem and to verify the effectiveness of the remediation. He made himself readily available to answer our questions, provided further consultation as needed, and inspected the work of the tear-out crews. He did the final fungicide fogging of the house himself. We have had several other water leaks since then and asked AEA come out to advise. When we finally got around to addressing the failure of our master bath shower, knowing we would once again need mold remediation, our first call was to Elijah. Once again, he provided excellent service through the end of the project.

3. What is life like now? Now that your problem is solved or you achieved the result you want, how is life different and better?

We are greatly relieved to know that our home is now a healthy, safe environment thanks to Elijah’s expertise and personal attention. We have confidently referred numerous people with mold issues in their homes to Elijah, not only due to his professionalism, but also because he is a man of integrity and can be trusted to provide the highest quality service. He truly cares about his clients.

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Dancing in the Minefields

Thursday morning, May 2nd, for Wildwood’s young mom’s group, The Well, Candace presented a partly autobiographical talk on the nature of hope: “Dancing in the Minefields: Life Lessons on Learning to Hope.”

Two songs by Andrew Peterson anchored the presentation: Dancing in the Minefields, near the beginning; and You’ll Find Your Way, at the end. Powerful songs, for which her remarks provide an extended meditation.

Thanks to Kelly Skrapka for organizing the program and inviting Candace to speak. Tammy, Barbara and I came as guests. I’m so glad I was able to make it, and was profoundly moved. What an amazing woman I am married to! And in many ways, the story of her journey is the story of our journey together. And a love letter to our daughters. And a thank you to our parents and families.

To listen to the audio while following along with the slides, right-click the links below to download them to your computer, then open them in whatever you use to view PDFs (e.g., Preview, Acrobat) and to listen to audio (e.g., iTunes).

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How to Read T. F. Torrance’s Creational Theology

For the upcoming Torrance retreat at the Firbush Centre of the University of Edinburgh (program), Bob Walker asked me to speak on how Torrance would respond to the question: “Did the Resurrection change the order of nature?” This question is a great starting point for teasing out the creational theology embedded in Torrance’s classic work, Space, Time and Resurrection (1976). Comments much appreciated.

My four goals with this presentation are:

  1. Encourage everyone to read Space, Time and Resurrection (STR).
  2. Encourage theology students to find the creational theology in STR more intelligible and not an obstacle to reading it. The goal here is not to compare, assess or engage TFT’s theology. I do not consider the secondary literature in theology or seek to make a new contribution in theology. Rather, the more modest purpose is just to prepare anyone to read STR with greater understanding, to make STR more accessible. An alternative title might be “How to Read the Creational Theology in Thomas F. Torrance’s Space, Time and Resurrection.”
  3. To show that STR can make an effective introduction to TFT’s creational theology, if you want to read it for that purpose. In addition, the conclusion suggests that STR still repays careful study from the standpoint of the ongoing task of developing a creational theology today.
  4. Finally, as a historian of science rather than a theologian, I’d like to suggest that if you’re interested in TFT, you’ll want to explore the history of science as well as theology. While not engaging the history of science in any depth, I’ll make references to some background sources a student would encounter in “History of Science 101.” In addition, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll raise a few historical queries of my own that some of you may be able to answer. This paper is a work very much still in progress, a first step in my journey of trying to better comprehend TFT in his historical and intellectual context for the history of science. Some of the queries I’ll make may not be answered in the archives (which I have yet to visit), so I’ll appreciate hearing any personal reminiscences you wish to share.

Note: In several places, this presentation refers to the problem of how disciplines which each follow a kata physin methodology (“integrity”) can still be coordinated (“integration”) without an improper incursion upon one or the other. How two or more disciplines can be seen, a posteriori, to share a kata physin boundary in common (a key concern for Torrance’s creational theology), is explored in another talk, The Nature of the Christian University. That presentation is a companion to this one.

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Queries

The following queries arise in the paper. Please let me know if you can share personal reminiscences or if you can point me to archival sources. Thanks!

  1. I’ve heard TFT enjoyed horses, and would love to hear more.
  2. Did Torrance explicitly address the two questions of the plurality of worlds or multiple incarnations?
  3. Geology makes an interesting illustration for TFT’s views on space and time. I don’t know why he didn’t write about it, given Scotland’s place in the history of geology. If you know that he was interested in geology in any way, please let me know.
  4. TFT participated in an Oxford International Symposium held at Christ Church in 1979. He contributed as essay on contingent order to the volume of proceedings from that conference, The Sciences and Theology in the 20th Century, ed. Arthur Peacocke and published in 1981. The topic was certainly a focal point of discussion, for the conference was called in tribute to Michael Foster. If anyone knows of TFT’s recollections of this conference, please let me know.
  5. In 1992, the Pascal Centre for Advanced Studies in Faith and Science at Redeemer College, in Ancaster, Ontario, held a 5-day research conference. Papers were distributed in advance to stimulate discussion and debate. At the conference, Torrance gave two keynote addresses that were published in Facets of Faith and Science, the 4-volume set of conference papers. I would very much appreciate hearing from you if you know anything about TFT’s conversations at the Pascal conference, particularly with those in the Dooyewerdian and Neo-Calvinist traditions.
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The Sky Tonight

Last night Brent Purkaple and I were honored to present the final talk in the 2019 series sponsored by the Medieval Fair and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Despite the rain, there was a full turnout, and the West Norman Pioneer Library opened the coffeeshop for the event.

We took the opportunity to introduce our digital scholarship project, The Sky Tonight (skytonight.org). Special thanks to Candace for reading the literary quotes. The Sky Tonight will open next fall; we’re shooting for the September equinox. We did not record the talk, but here are the slides (PDF, 35MB).

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Getting started with Accordance

In previous posts I’ve described how much I appreciate Accordance. The accessible and immensely enjoyable “Lighting the Lamp” video podcast series by Dr. J. has recently featured two brief videos that make a very helpful introduction for anyone contemplating whether to dive in and make Accordance their primary platform for biblical studies.

Quick Demo of Accordance (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #179) from Accordance Bible Software on Vimeo.

The Accordance Advantage (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #166) from Accordance Bible Software on Vimeo.

While I use Logos for reading digital titles that publishers license exclusively to them (e.g., Barth and Torrance), Accordance is my go-to platform for textual study. If a particular title is available on both platforms, I purchase it for Accordance every time. These two videos will give you a birds-eye view of Accordance, and convey something of why Accordance users like me are so loyal to their favorite Bible study software.

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A world of night

SOUTH POLE | NIGHT IN ANTARCTICA from Martin Heck | Timestorm Films on Vimeo.

“The night hath been to me a more familiar face than that of man,
and in her starry shade of dim and solitary loveliness,
I learned the language of another world.” (Byron)

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how men would adore them; and preserve for generations the remembrance of the City of God which had been shown. But every night come out these envoys of beauty…” (Emerson)

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It’s the scars that bind us – a dream

As we celebrate the Incarnation, what does it mean that God became one flesh with us?

“I had a dream much later, maybe ten years ago, where I was looking for directions in a town I didn’t know, and I had taken a shortcut through an alleyway. The alleyway led to a courtyard, and the courtyard was full of beautiful young people milling around in the moonlight, having some sort of event. An older guy came up to me and asked, “Can I help you?” And while we were talking a strikingly beautiful young woman, kind of punkish and tall, walked by me, and when she turned, one side of her face looked like those World War I trench victims with half their faces blown away. It was shocking, but then I realized that everybody in the place was like that in one way or another. They were all damaged and trashed and beautiful, and I can’t remember whether the older man said this to me or whether I just understood it, but somehow I came to understand that it’s the scars that bind us. This is what binds us to the people in ISIS, to our enemies, to everything. It’s what every human has in common, regardless of ideology or lifestyle or clothing style or anything else. We’ve all got these wounds. I suppose the wounds of Christ are archetypes for these wounds. It’s in our woundedness that we have our connection point.”

Bruce Cockburn, “A Conversation with Bruce Cockburn,”
Andy Whitman, Image journal, Issue 84 (interview link)

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Giving thanks in hard times

“Giving thanks in hard times: With Jesus in the way of the Cross.”

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving reflection this week, here’s a message on Lazarus (John 11) by Susanna and me, given at Crosswalk, March 11, 2018: Audio (Slides pdf).

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Does your church have a library?

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is frequently taken as a warning about censorship, yet Bradbury’s chief concern was far more profound than the banning of books. On his own account, Bradbury set out to protest a culture in which people prefer television and other distractions and so choose not to read at all. Today, to awaken us from the self-imposed soft-censorship of our digital screens, we are more in need of Fahrenheit 451 than ever. Take up and read.

“In pessimistic moments (usually after watching television), I wonder if Western civilization has moved into a new Dark Age in which we sit around all day in recliner chairs listening to rap music, watching game shows and Survivor reruns, and eating fast food. Perhaps the church will be called on again, as it was in the original Dark Ages, to preserve literature and learning.” Philip Yancey, in the foreword to Scott Larsen, Indelible Ink: 22 Prominent Christian Leaders Discuss the Books That Shape Their Faith (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2003).

“In [Benedict’s] Rule we can distinguish the two elements we have seen in the life of St. Benedict: the knowledge of letters and the search for God. The fundamental fact that stands out in this domain is that one of the principal occupations of the monk is the lectio divina, which includes meditation: meditari art lagere. Consequently, one must, in the monastery, possess books, know how to write them and read them, and, therefore, if it be necessary, learn how to read… the word bibliotheca, which he uses in referring to books read in Lent, can mean, for him, the Bible. But St. Benedict evidently takes for granted the existence of a library, and a fairly extensive one at that, since each monk is supposed to receive a codex in Lent…” Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture (Fordham, 1961).

“Books! They keep me up late. They sometimes wake me up, summoning me from my bed in the middle of the night. My best friends. My worst enemies… Because every book I see says ‘come hither and I will make you wise.’ I have now read so many of them they cannot live up to their allurements. Yet all librophiliacs (book lovers, and I did not make this one up) are on the make for that one scintillating paragraph that hides in the deep interior of some book yet to be read. To put it more simply, I’m a sucker for a great read! I always feel the next book I pick up will be the one great book I dare not miss.” Calvin Miller, in Indelible Ink (p. 82).

“One does not live by bread alone…” Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 4:4)

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