RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

John Owen and Gollum: Puritan vs. Hobbit

Gollum personifies how evil takes hold of you, enslaving and devouring you. And the genius of Tolkien’s Gollum is that the evil that destroys the once kind, playful hobbit does not come in an ugly, obvious form of evil. Instead, it seems beautiful and lovely; it is precious! Outwardly, Gollum’s “Precious” does not look as dangerous as Saruman’s pride, treachery, and manipulation or Sauron’s destroy-anything-that-gets-in-my-way-of-absolute-power. And yet, I know of no other literary or cinematic character that so graphically portrays how sin begins so craftily, but ends in destruction.

Well, the other day I came across the most unlikely pairing. Reading through John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation, I found something that made me think that Tolkien just might have ripped off the Puritan when he came up with Gollum and his beloved “Precious.” Check this out…

[Unmortified sin] untunes and unframes the heart itself by entangling its affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father (1 John 2:15; 3:17); so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, “You are my portion,” having something else it loves. Fear, desire, hope, which are the choice affections of the soul, that should be full of God, will be one way or other entangled with it.”

John Owen, Overcoming Sin and Temptation, eds., Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, 64-65.

Notice how Owen describes sin: “it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable.” Sin is ultimately calling something other than God, “My Precioussss!” It’s not merely doing bad things; more fundamentally, it is making good things into god things, as Tim Keller states. And when this happens we become incapable of experiencing or enjoying the love of God because our affections are diverted away from him. Something else has taken his place, and to it we say “You are my portion; you are my Precious!” That something is to us a substitute savior, a damning idol.

And sin, like the ring is not content to be just an add-on in our life: it’s desire is to enslave. Remember when Gollum, then Smeagol, acquired the ring? His servitude began right away! It lead him to murder his own cousin. It drove him from the ones he loved. It reduced him to living like an animal, eating raw fish and dwelling in caves. It owned him! It destroyed him.

Together, Owen and Gollum remind us of this central truth: whatever we love, whatever we worship…we will serve. You’ve got to serve somebody, may you take Jesus at his word and serve him!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

 

The Problem with Christmas Music

Nathan Lawrenson laments “The Problem with Christmas Music” without going all “Bah, humbug!”

Here’s a snippet:

Christmas music is such a beautiful and fun part of Americana…no doubt everyone has distinct memories of Christmases past (whether good or bad), and, my guess is that most of us relate many of our Christmas memories with the music of the season.

And, therein lies the problem with Christmas music. I’ve discovered over the years that, it’s very easy for us (Christ followers) to sing our favorite Chrismas carols at church in December and never allow for anything more than that warm nostalgic feeling. We can get so caught up in the warm feelings that worship never really takes place…worship is our primary purpose when we gather together on Sunday mornings, not singing Christmas songs.

Read the rest here.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 19, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Peter Jackson to Produce Two Hobbit Movies

Yep. Peter Jackson, the (formerly) Hobbit-like director of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, has agreed to produce the two new Hobbit movies due out in 2010 and 2011. The most astonishing news is not that New Line Cinema finally caved in to the ‘Rings’ fans by reluctanly bringing back Jackson. (Apparently he and New Line had an argument about money of all things?!)

Nope. The strange news is that there are TWO Hobbit movies in the making. Ummm…why two? Either they’ll split the book into two parts, or make a sequel or prequel. Either way, I’m skeptical.

Michael Lynn, the co-chief executive officer of New Line claims:

The two “Hobbit” movies will serve as prequels to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, with the second film acting as a bridge to the first installment of “Lord of the Rings.”

Even though it would be interesting if one of the films took us further back into Tolkien’s greater work, The Silmarillion, I would rather that they make one movie faithful to the text, yet beautifully rendered. We’ll have to wait and see.

If you’re interested in Hobbit news and gossip go here.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 18, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Brian Regan…"I eat fig newtons by the sleeve!"

Brian Regan is one of THE funniest comedians out there! And he does it without cursing every other word. He’s original and hilarious. Give a listen.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Free MP3’s from Sovereign Grace


All of Sovereign Grace Ministries MP3 messages, conferences, and sermons are FREE!!!!

You can download ’em here.

If you’re trying to avoid IPOD gluttony, Bob Kauflin @ Worship Matters has sifted out a “Top 20” messages on worship: theology, leadership, musicians and tech teams, songwriting, children, and (my fav category) misc.

Download here.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

The Perfect Preacher

This really helped me today. I take my self too seriously, too often. I struggle with worrying about whether I’ve made people happy and whether I’ve met their expectations. This brought me back to earth and up to heaven at the same time. So for today… I’m more encouraged to long for hearing Jesus say “Well done, good and faithful servant” at the end of my life than I am hearing someone from my church family say “Well done, your sermon was good today…not to mention not too long” at the end of a service.

The Perfect Preacher

After hundreds of years, a model preacher has been found to suit everyone. He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never hurts anyone’s feelings.

He works from 8 am to 10 pm in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. He makes $400 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car and gives $60 a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good cause that comes along.

He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is short and tall, thin and heavy set, handsome. He has one brown eye and a blue one; hair parted down the middle, left side dark and straight and right side brown and wavy

He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all his time with the older folks.

He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.

He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched and is never out of his office.

(How To Survive in the Ministry, Leslie Flynn, p. 16)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 2, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Stephen Witmer: Fellow Mainer, recently appointed Gordon-Conwell Professor of NT

Stephen Witmer, a friend of mine from back in seminary (and a fellow Mainer I must add) was just recently appointed as a professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I cannot speak highly enough of my dear brother. I cannot speak highly enough of this God-centered, Christ-exalting, biblical-theology teaching, brother. So I’ll let some others….

I overheard this from my buddy Jonathan, who is a very close friend to Stephen, over at Creation Project:

A great friend and outstanding scholar, Stephen Witmer has been appointed to teach New Testament at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary under a one year contract, with long-term possiblities. Stephen’s keen intellect and sincere heart will be a great addition to the faculty at GCTS. Stephen did his B.A. in Philosophy and History, with a minor in Biblical Studies at Wheaton College, M.Div and Th.M at GCTS, and has just completed his Ph.D in New Testament at Cambridge University, where he recently taught 1Corinthians, the Gospel of John, Acts, and provided oversight to undergraduate students.

A recent GCTS email give him these props:

After graduation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv/ThM 2003), Prof. Stephen Witmer began PhD studies at the University of Cambridge, and will complete his program in New Testament studies in the spring of 2007. During the academic year 2006-2007, he served as a Teaching Associate at the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge, supervising students and lecturing in New Testament. He will serve a one-year appointment as Visiting Instructor and Adjunct Professor at Gordon-Conwell during the 2007-2008 year. Together with his experience in teaching, Prof. Witmer brings years of ministry experience. A licensed minister with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, he has led college and young adult ministries and has preached all over New England. His numerous publications include articles in Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary (Zondervan) and in the academic journals Novum Testamentum, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, and New Testament Studies.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 31, 2007 in Uncategorized