albert postma

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Dying well means dealing with death redemptively...
Yet as with death's horror, so too with redemption's glory, we are tempted to pull back or turn away. Genuine hope, like the shining sun, may cause us to turn away, to shield ourselves from its luminous beauty and power. We prefer to focus instead on the trivialities of everyday life. our lives remain centered on the mundane, the frivolous, the trifling. (And perhaps in some occasions, this is all that is possible.) Approaching death well, in contrast, involves focusing squarely on the ultimate reality of life beyond death."

- John Witvliet, in "Worship Seeking Understanding: Windows into Christian Practice" p.293ff

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The summer

It has come as no great shock to me that many of my aspirations for the summer months have been diminished or replaced. As the school year began to yawn in anticipation of another summer's rest, my list of things I wished to accomplish during the summer grew. Books to read, instruments to learn, languages to familiarize myself with; for some reason, these things are not getting done.

I like summer. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on the things I've learned over the school year. I read more fiction, but I still dabble in that "other stuff." Just yesterday, I finished reading "The Chronicles of Narnia." Believe it or not, it is a series I had never, until this summer, read even a page.

In the latest issue of The Crown, I compiled a list from some professors regarding what books university students should read. Taking this to heart, I have just begun reading Thomas Hardy based on the advice of Dr. Bowen.

The summer is not all reading, of course. I am working in construction: home building. Everything from footings to framing to insulation to roofs. I am enjoying it greatly and am learning much. I think it is good for the mind to think hard and long in different ways. Thinking about how to frame a house properly so that it all fits together perfectly it quite difficult. I am only beginning to learn as my summer education continues. I find it restful and invigorating for my mind to be challenged in a different area like this.

I hope all your summers are going well.

Robert, mon ami francais, tu es un chien.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Tourism and Christianity

"...there's far more to tourism than the clumsiness and lack of sophistication displayed by many tourists and the superficiality of the expectations that their horizons are going to be broadened by taking a tour that has been arranged at every step to prevent their experiences from being too foreign to them."

-Marlin VanElderen
One World, May 1986

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Joys and Perils of Greek

"The comparative degree of adverbs is like the accusative singular neuter of the comparative degree of the corresponding adjective; and the superlative degree of the adverb is like the accusative plural neuter of the superlative degree of the corresponding adjective."

-J. Gresham Machen, in New Testament Greek for Beginners

Monday, January 17, 2005

A Jazz Concert for All

I invite you all out to this lovely concert. It will include James Bloemendal talking about the birth and growth of Jazz, and the band you know as "JB5" playing a host of tunes in their original style.
A must for anyone interested in music or history. Also a must for anyone who reads blogs...that means you.

The poster didn't load...the concert is Tuesday, Jan. 18 - Redeemer Auditorium - 8pm

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Out of the Archives

As a mode of distraction, I was going through some of the documents I have filed away deep within my computer's memory. Here is a clever one that I like:


One of the toughest tasks a church faces is chooing a good minister. A member of an official board undergoing this painful process finally lost patience. He'd just witnessed the Pastoral Relations Committee reject applicant after applicant for some minor fault - real or imagined. It was time for a bit of soul-searching on the part of the committee. So he stood up and read this letter purporting to be from another applicant.

Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I've been a preacher with much success and also had some success as a writer. Some say I'm a good organizer. I've been a leader most places I've been.

I'm over 50 years of age and have never preached in one place for more than three years. In some places, I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. I must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any real wrong doing.

My health is not too good, though I still accomplish a great deal. The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities.

I've not gotten along well with religious leaders in the towns where I have preached. In fact, some have threatened me, and even attacked me physically.

I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I have baptized.

However, if you can use me, I promise to do my best for you.

The board member turned to the committee and said, "Well, what do you think? Shall we call him?"

The good church folks were appalled! Consider a sickly, trouble- making, absent-minded ex-jailbird? Was the board member crazy? Who signed the application? Who had such colossal nerve?

The board member eyed them all keenly before he replied, "It's signed, 'The Apostle Paul.'"

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Truth be Told

I was just reading a bit about Che Guevara, the Cuban rebel. I am somewhat intrigued by the man...more because my friend from home finds him fascinating than because I do. This summer, he bought The Che Handbook, which is mainly pictures and snippets of Guevara's life. It was an interesting read, though I admit I never got all the way through it. To be honest, I got a bit bored of a book that was full of random quotes amidst stories of his life with the general focus of raising our dear friend Che to the realm of sainthood.
Either way, this quote caught my eye in the article aptly named, "The Real Che" by Anthony Daniels.

The latest and propagandistically most powerful product of the Guevara cult is a film of Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries by the Brazilian director Walter Salles. It relies for its effect upon the fact that audiences will all know a minimum about Guevara: for example, that he was a social revolutionary who died in the jungles of Bolivia, and never made a penny for himself. But they will otherwise know little of his actual opinions or actions, and will not have read his tedious and inflexibly dogmatic speeches and writings. It is as if someone were to make a film about Adolf Hitler by portraying him as a vegetarian who loved animals and was against unemployment. This would be true, but again would be rather beside the point(my emphasis added).

And how he ends the article...

In presenting Guevara as a romantic figure, generous and compassionate rather than ruthlessly priggish and self-centered, and by suggesting that he has anything to teach us other than negatively, the director is guilty of mendacity of a very high order. The film is an exercise in moral frivolity and exhibitionism, self-congratulation, of course, opportunism. It should sell as well as Guevara T-shirts.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Technological Non-Creativity

Has the introduction of computer technology in the workforce caused overall job losses or job gains? Many people initially believe that with rapid automization and subsequent loss of need for human workers has caused a strong decline in jobs available. In many ways this is true. Just look at the number of bank tellers or human telephone operators today versus 20 years ago.
On the other hand, with a massive influx of computers and automation, and whole other level of industry has developed. We have the engineers, service technicians, support staff, and whole armies of programmers. Certainly this equals things out.
It numbers. What if we are to think of job losses and gains, though, in terms of the work we do, not the numbers of people working. There is a difference between the jobs, and one of the big ones is creativity.

Who in this is allowed to excercise their creativity? Back in the day, people were skilled at making a product from start to finish. They needed the be able to identify a design and turn it into a tangible object. In our society - not simply in a factory - creativity is left to the professionals. In a factory, there is a highly trained engineer or team of engineers who design a robot or a production line, or the whole factory itself. They deal with the problems and teach others how to use the machine. The average worker on the floor is one who simply uses the machine for its purpose. They are paid to work, not to be involved.
Or what about a new car. No longer can the average Joe Mechanic identify and fix a problem; due to the hefty computer system on board, the vehicle must be taken into a mechanic with a diagnostics computer to tell you exactly what is wrong and how to fix it.
We buy desks even if it is just three slabs of wood nailed together because we either don't know how to build or can't bother to take the time.
We are not trained to be creative but to enjoy the creativity of others.

Can we blame this solely on computer technology? I haven't quite come up with an answer on this, but my initial reaction is, "No", after all, isn't there always a plethora of areas to blame when a problem arises. I do believe, though, that computer technology has more to blame then we tend to give it. After all, it is not neutral.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Labour Day

The first-year jitters were abundant today, being move in day and all. Joe Groeneveld, who is co-RA-ing with me this year woke up wondering what the day would hold along with me. We didn't have to wait long with the first lad arriving just shy of 9am. From there things moved along quite nicely to the point where everyone was moved in (or should I say, had all their stuff in a heap in their rooms) by 11:30am. Sam and I made a bet on who's dorm would fill up first. He lost. I won. Good job, boys of dorm 7, for winning me that delicious piece of chewing gum.

I am actually impressed with all the guys. I guess as an RA you never really know what your dorm will hold for the year until they all show up and make their presence known. With what I have seen so far, I look forward to the coming semesters to live and learn with the fellow gentlemen of Dorm 7

Friday, August 20, 2004

Here I go...Following the Instructions

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

"It is certainly incorrect to brand the whole critical tradition as simply rationalistic."
The Person of Christ - G.C. Berkouwer

If Kuyper had a blog...

This summer, as a sort of devotional read, I have been making my way through Near Unto God, written by Abraham Kuyper and adapted by James C. Schaap. A few years ago my mom bought me this book as a Christmas present and it had mostly sat on the shelf without much notice. What a shame!
This book is a warm blanket on a cold day, oozing with eloquent and heartfelt writing. The beauty is that it is simply made up of short reflections on scripture and life, never more than two pages long. Each reflection ponders our ability to draw close to our Creator and weaved throughout is a challenge to bring ourselves more inline with Him.
Through this book I have come to see more clearly the sheer magnitude of God's love for us and His desire for us to come to be intimate with Him. I will admit, I am not a very vulnerable person - that is, I am very protective of myself. In some ways this is a good thing, to save myself from the entanglement of sin in the world. However, protection is something that requires a fortress to ward off the evil. When I see the sin that entangles me, the fortress of myself crumbles and I am left standing in a pile of rubble. True protection comes only through true intimacy with the true God. As a sinful being I simply cannot act as my own protector. Alone I cannot ward off the corrupter since I am already corrupted. Christ is my only help, as that fortress.
From Kuyper's writings it becomes evident that this is a strong theme in scripture; perhaps a theme not always emphasized strongly enough in many Christians' lives, including my own.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

It Feels Good

I just finished my last exam - a take home from HVD. Since Monday, I have had 2 significant take-home exams due and two regular written ones. It has been a little tight and hectic, and so, as my title indicates, it feels good to be done. There is something satisfying with accounting for what you have learned and doing it well. I'm not so sure where I stand on take-home exams. In some ways they are nice, but they also throw me out of sync. It's essentially like having a major paper due right smack in the middle of exam week. But hey, what can I say...I am done!

Though I like my job in the summer, I am quite sad that the academic year has come to a completion. In so many ways I'd rather be here at school rather than working. Although, not being in school has its benefits. Namely, you start at a given time and are done at a given time. No homework.

And...a novelty not found here on Redeemer campus, but comes in loud and clear at home...

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Neocalvinism Maybe...but Neocalvinist?

Allow me to clarify right off the bat...I am not saying I disagree with neocalvinism, its theology, or implications. Rather it is the title of neocalvinist that I rebel against.

Neocalvinism, at least to me, is a fairly new word on the block. Only this year did I hear of it as a label. However, the beliefs and implications of neocalvinism have been something that I have been interested in for some time. I had the benefit, then, of learning a thing or two about neocalvinism and then giving it a title - a thing that, I am sure, many neocalvinists have had.
The problem lies with non-neocalvinists and those not as familiar with the implications of what it defines. According to a number of blogs I have been reading recently, Graham Ware may be an example of this (and, of course, this is no offence to you Graham). What I have been reading is that Graham actually does agree with much of the same things a neocalvinist strives for, but sees neocalvinism in a negative way. Perhaps this is because his negativity towards Calvinism in general, leading him to revolt against anything with the name 'calvinism' in it without properly investigating the movement itself.

If I can recall some history I learned regarding neocalvinism correctly, then one of the forerunners of it was Kuyper. Those who surrounded Kuyper saw what he was doing and asked by what label he went by. The fact of the matter was that he didn't have one, nor did he want one. However, the people lamented and asked him to come up with a term that they could use to describe this new movement, so reluctantly Kuyper said, "If you must, then call it neocalvinism".
Why was Kuyper reluctant to label himself? Perhaps he saw the problem of an unfamiliar person automatically making unjustified assumptions. Perhaps he thought, why should a movement within Christianity have a name other than Christian?

I made a comment on Andrew Vis' blog asking if we should be called Christian with a neocalvinist view or something like that rather than neocalvinist. Andrew replied that neocalvinism is a way of life, a way to live out his Christianity. Fair enough. Here's the question, though...if neocalvinism is a comprehensive way to live out the Christian life, then shouldn't all Christians live in a neocalvinist way? Isn't that what neocalvinists claim to promote? So why do we need a seperate lable, since calling yourself Christian and neocalvinist would seem to be redundant. Why not just Christian?

By calling yourself a neocalvinist you make others believe it is not comprehensive, but that it is simply an aspect to Christianity. Otherwise you would just be Christian.