Thursday, February 26, 2004

Update

- I haven't done an update in a while, I'm not sure I'm even doing it right.

- When I say "right" I mean, of course, the way I used to do it.

- When I say "the way I used to do it" that of course means "the right way."

- Today in Modern Political Theory Graham Ware compared Dalton Macguinty to Adolf Hitler.

- I'm considering amputing the finger with the offending/offensive nail.

- Once again, I missed Bob Marley's birthday. I'm sorry, Bob.

- There's at least three people I am in the process of adding to my Template.

- Maybe I'll wait until that number reaches five.

- Rob Joustra was severely criticized by Richard Greydanus today in Modern Political Theory for not following "in the spirit of Hobbes."

- Micah Tavares from my first year dorm was engaged this past reading break to his beloved Audrey Fawcett and Gord O'Coin from my second year dorm was engaged this past reading break to his beloved Janine Geerlinks.

- There's actually been several more recent engagements which I can't think of/don't know of.

- I have not been recently engaged despite the fact that I have been with my girlfriend for about as long as some of these guys have been with their girlfriends added together.

- Hmmmm.

- My sister's cat is scaring me, why does she stare at me so?

- I just received my Christmas bonus.

- I'm glad humans aren't perfect, but why can't I be?

- The concert tonight was quite good.

- Happy Birthday Micah Van Dijk! If I had've known I would've embarassed you in front of the class.

- Rob Joustra would not rescue me from a burning barn.

- Stop staring!

- I'm one of those annoying people who sign into MSN and immediately sign out. Yeah, that's right, what are you going to do about it?

- I also occasionally sign in and immediately set my self to "Away" despite my obvious presence in front of the computer.

- I have never, not even once, won a game of Minesweeper.

- I had what Prof. Van Dyke dubbed a "senior's moment" in HIS 457.

- When I say I haven't won a game of Minesweeper you should know that I have played it on the easy setting.

- The ride with Rob Joustra to Ottawa was stupendous.

- The ride back on the Bus . . . well, let's just say that when I was drifting in and out of sleep and out of the corner of my eye spotted the metal lid of some sort of dump truck flapping in the air and yelled, "oh shit!" I became slightly self-conscious.

- One of the highlights of my day was discussing the Trojan horse with Richard Greydanus.

- Sometimes people know my name and I don't know theirs and I feel like an ass.

- Sometimes I forget people's names who I've known for years and I wonder if I'll someday have Alzheimers.

- I try to eat copious amounts of fish and engage in crossword puzzle solving. Apparently that helps.

- Sometimes my sister's cat makes a sound like a retarded pigeon.

- Fred Astaire was quite a dancer.

- I don't like using exclamation marks but I use them anyways.

- If you wanted to get into that sold-out concert at Redeemer today, all you had to do was take a black marker and draw a nice x on the back of your hand. Security was tight

- A woman once said to Bernard Shaw, "If I was your wife I'd poison your coffee." Bernard Shaw replied, "If I was your husband, I'd drink that coffee."

- The last entry wasn't really an update, it was more of an anecdote that was floating around in my mind today.

- Well, goodnight.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Heretical Tolkien Post

I hesitated, at first, to create this post. I know for a fact that if I somehow misrepresented the literature of J.R.R. Tolkien my comment system would be attacked as if by a pack of rabid wargs. Allow me to explain myself.

First of all, let me explain where I'm coming from. In my seventh year, disillusioned with the plastic adventures of brother and sister bear and - quite frankly - scared of the surreal world of Dr. Seuss (we made up later) I demanded that my mother find something else to read me before bed. My mother chose the ominously titled "Lord of the Rings." At first I was confused, the only Lord I knew lived on a puffy white cloud and yelled in a booming voice at naughty children. This new Lord must be one of those false gods or maybe God also had some very important rings he was Lord over. The Lord of the Rings? I imagined, in my heretical six-year-old mind, the white bearded God sporting large hoop earrings.

After quickly explaining the meaning of the book's title to her outraged son, my mom began reading the books. I loved them almost immediately and became enthralled with Tolkien's world. Later, for Christmas, I received the books as a gift and read them voraciously. All this to say I am not a Tolkien-hater.

The reason I am creating this post is to address an important, and often ignored, aspect of Tolkien's writing. J.R.R. Tolkien sought to create a mythology for the English such as the other nations had. Tolkien wrote at a time when the British Empire was in the final stages of its dramatic collapse and Tolkien was very much an Imperialist.

"Hold on!" you're protesting, "how can you say these things without actually having researched the genius we know as J.R.R. Tolkien?"

Well, I must admit I'm just conjecturing from what I've read in Tolkien's books -

"A little bit irresponsible of a History student, is it not?" you glare at me.

Ok, sure, but I'm just trying to explain . . .

"Conjecture," you spit.

Conjecture, that J.R.R. Tolkien, being an Imperialist, was somewhat, um,

"Somewhat, um, what, you tongue-tied ignoramus?" you snarl.

Do you mind? As a firm believer in British Imperialism, I conjecture that J.R.R. Tolkien was a racist.

"Don't you have it backwards, you slathering slack-jawed salamander? Didn't you conjecture that Tolkien was a racist from his book and, therefore, an imperialist? Get you conjecture straight, you blockheaded blunderbuss!" you bellow ferociously.

Easy, ok, yes that is how it worked, I just wanted to break it to you easily.

"Stooge."

Apparently, it didn't work.

"Ok, so how was Tolkein a racist?" you ask after an uncomfortable silence.

Ah, so now you're curious. As you know, J.R.R. Tolkien drew maps of his world. If you examine all of his maps you will see that J.R.R. Tolkien has divided to world quite handily. The Shire corresponds with England (and the hobbits are very English), Gondor and Rohan are European and Mordor, the realm of evil, corresponds roughly with the Middle East. Now, if you examine the maps further and delve deeper you'll see that Harad, the land of the black Haradrim who allied with the dark lord Sauron, corresponds with modern Africa. To the East, beyond Mordor, lie the Variags who allied their evil asian pirate selves to Sauron. Near the end of the Return of the King, Aragorn sees it as his duty to lead the men of the world, like a good British Imperialist, into the new age.

"Is that it?" you mutter.

No, there's more. The orcs are described as ugly, dark creatures with slanted eyes. Any of the men in Tolkien's world who display evil characteristics have these slanted eyes. Smeagal begins his life as a white river-hobbit but when he is twisted he turns black. Evil is always associated with black and good is always associated with white. The elves are good and are called "fair" while the goblins and orcs are described as "dark" and "black." Saruman is Saruman the white until he turns evil and he adopts a cloak of many colours. Does Tolkien have something against all the colours getting along? Why does Saruman cloak of many colours have to signify evil?

"You're reaching."

Okay, maybe I am.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Inherent Problem With Nullity

Lately, I have been pondering the significance of naught. I often think of naught although I've been known to flesh out naught into bagatelle and trifle for no good reason. Sometimes these trifles turn out to be fribbles and flummeries, but more often than not, people listen to me explicate the merits of minutiae and actually believe I'm talking about items of paramountcy. I can understand the confusion, as my trivial inanities and explorations into the fascinating world of naught are sometimes delivered with liberal doses of humbug and bunco. I sometimes insert great loads of naught into papers, although this tendency has decreased as marks often reflect exactly what went into the paper. Unfortunately, this engaging entry on zot will have to end here, as I have a whole lot of naught to do.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Thomas Hobbes: An Alternative Interpretation



Thomas Hobbes, pictured above in all his cranky glory, has blessed my day with his run-on sentences and archaic language. I finally came to believe that I had summed up his argument in chapters twenty and twenty-one of the Leviathan well when I suddenly came across a website which entirely destroyed this notion.

Ladies and Gentleman, contrary to popularly held scholarship, Thomas Hobbes wrote the Leviathan as a warning against the great beasts - the European states. "If you want to understand the kingdom of God, the kingdoms of this world, and the need for a living prophet, but you don't trust LDS writers, read Hobbes' Leviathan."

A Summary of the Book 'Leviathan':
The book has four parts.

Part 1 discusses what mankind is capable of.
Part 2 uses this to conclude what a kingdom (a sovereign power) can be.
Part 3 suggests how to apply this in a real kingdom, a Christian Commonwealth.
Part 4 discusses the world's churches, how they are not the kingdom of God.

Anyhow, it was a mormon site, so although I was amused, I wasn't entirely surprised. Still, I'm shocked that Prof. Koyzis, would promote such a blantantly mormon book at Redeemer University College.

I'd post a link, but it really isn't worth reading anything there.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

"Don't forget your history;
Know your destiny:
In the abundance of water,
The fool is thirsty."
- Robert Nesta Marley

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Ehh, What's Up With the Degrading Stereotypes, Doc?

The original Elmer Fudd:

.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

My Favourite Things

1) Conversations which seem to take a large bite out of time and then immobilize it.

2) Working outside when there's a warm breeze on a sunny cloudless day.

3) Taking a walk with my girlfriend.

4) Handing in a paper that I'm proud of.

5) Putting my head on a pillow after a hard-day's work.

6) Community.

7) Sitting on the couch reading a good book while consuming a bowl of potato chips.

8) A good movie with a good friend.

9) Listening to a favourite album while doing homework.

10) Learning.

11) A hearty laugh.

12) The fellowship of believers.

13) Cheesecake (preferably baked.)

14) The bisou of my one and only.

15) A hot chocolate on a cold day.

16) God's love.

17) Friendship.

18) Diversity.

19) Meat.

20) The rhythm and the bass line on a good reggae song.

21) Justice.

22) Large family dinners.

23) Paintings.

24) The colour blue.

25) Writing.

26) Sketching.

27) A good fun competitive board game.

28) Spitting out an entire sentence without stuttering, pausing, or losing my train of thought.

29) Telling a good joke.

30) Playing soccer.

31) Experiencing a new culture.

32) Neo-Calvinism and the reformational worldview.

33) Stories.

34) Swimming in the pool on a hot day.

35) Travelling.

36) People-watching.

37) A cold drink of Coca Cola Classic or Vanilla Coke (regardless of season)

38) Plays.

39) History.

40) World events and politics.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

A History Club?

On Monday and Wednesday of this week the two candidates for Redeemer's much-needed Canadian history professor visited. Both candidates are strong - although I have my preference - but we noticed when the students had an opportunity to speak to them, that we had an incredibly good time talking about historical topics. Dr. Krygsman even brought up the idea of a history club.

Redeemer doesn't have much in the way of academic clubs. And when I say not much I mean none that I know of. The idea of having a history club certainly appeals to me and I know I'm not alone.

What would a history club do? Well, these elite ponderers of history would not just sit around with HIS 221 prop-pipes and discuss history. Oh no, they'd also need to nurse a pint or two.

A history club would be a forum for history majors and lovers of history to share and discuss their insights, research, and favourite anecdotes. The history club could have organized debates on historical issues - i.e. claims to the heritage of Kieven Rus or the Confederates vs. the Yanks or British Imperialists vs. the Mau-Mau or Richard the Lion-hearted vs. Saladin.

The history club could make trips to Canadian historical sites (or perhaps the ROM) and perhaps forge connections with local historical appreciation groups. The history club could also raise historical awareness at Redeemer and perhaps work in conjunction with the promoters of Black history month and lend a helping hand there. There's a lot of potential fun, and I'm sure there's plenty of interest, the only difficulty is getting started.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

My Star

There was a United Parcel Service truck in front of my house this morning. I was just on my way to the bus stop and when my mother said, "there's a package here for you John." Right away I was elated as I was certain that this was my Kossman book for my Dutch history class. All of this elation melted rapidly melted away when I saw the package. Could it be? Could I have made some sort of mistake again? I was sure that I had ordered the book with the correct title, what could have possibly gone wrong? Surely Kossman's thick book could not be wrapped in this tall flat cardboard package, or could it? Perhaps I had accidentally ordered a commemorative E.H. Kossman History of the Low Countries promotional poster.

I swore at the cardboard package as I ripped it open with a pair of scissors. Then, all of my pent-up frustration dissipated as I saw exactly what I had received. My girlfriend had a star named after me. Sure, the star isn't legally the John Paul den Boer star until the 14th of February, but I'm sure it'll go through. Now, you can't see this star with your naked eye, its a rather dull star. I'm sure this star is bright enough when you're right up close but from here on earth you need high powered binoculars or a telescope to see it. In case you're wondering the location of this star, it's just a little to the right of Orion's left arm, right by his hand. The exact location is RA5h53m15.47s D18 46'42.25" and its original number is 02047100862. Right now, I'm putting my full faith in the International Star Registry in the hopes that they haven't pulled a fast one on me. I mean, how can I possibly check to make sure some guy in Kapaskasing hasn't named my star after his cat?

A star, my very own star. I'm hoping this star collapses on itself so that CNN can broadcast something like this, "today, the John Paul den Boer star collapsed on itself, becoming a black hole and sucking in half of Orion's belt. John Paul den Boer was unavailable for comment."

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Stuck in Between

“If I had a history book and the Bible,” he was explaining, “I might as well throw the history book away because the truth is in the Bible.”

There were about twelve of us in the basement of a townhouse in Burlington. We had been invited to a party which was, in reality, a Bible seminar. I was born and raised in the Christian Reformed tradition but had switched over, with my family, to a Charismatic church. It was precisely at this moment that I was deeply regretting the denominational change. They may not like drums, but at least the Calvinists were able to differentiate correctly between their parties and their Bible studies. I was struggling at this time with my belief in the infallibility of Scriptures and, for some unknown reason, had believed that the eighteen-year-old leading this Bible study could help restore my faith in them. After showing, from the very Bible I was doubting, that the Bible was indeed reliable, he proceeded to explain to me that the history books I loved so much were of little worth since the Bible imparted all the wisdom I needed.

He did not deny the value in history, but he greatly depreciated it. I’ve found this trend distressingly common in Charismatic churches. Pastors often preach that we must go directly to the source, the Bible, and forget about the creeds and doctrines from the past. The truth is written there as plain as day, they explain, we don’t need the confusion of the doctrines of man. With one fell swoop, the struggles of countless Godly men and women throughout the centuries are dismissed. The reasoning seems to be that Christians can simply dismiss the rich tradition of the church and carry out the exegesis of Scriptures with their own wisdom.

This reasoning is fundamentally flawed. Just as a scientist will not dismiss all of Newton’s theories and begin where he started, a Christian should not dismiss all of the creeds of the church nor all of the writings of the church fathers. Charismatic pastors hit upon an important truth when they point out that the Scriptures are infallible while teachings, doctrines and creeds are fallible; but in dismissing the wisdom of the church fathers outright they are not only throwing away valuable wisdom but are also ignoring the very roots of their own traditions. In addition, while Scriptures might be infallible the interpretation of them certainly isn't.

This became abundantly clear when I attempted to point out that a certain teaching being expressed at the “party” was influenced by the writings of Augustine. I should have kept my arrogant mouth shut, but being quite young and rather obtuse I continued my explanation. Before the night was out I had been dismissed as a heretic and relegated to hell. The fellow leading the lesson simply could not believe that his interpretation of a passage was influenced by a great philosopher who had been dead for centuries.

Here is my quandary, I will often find myself bristling and muttering to myself at some of the teachings being frantically proclaimed from the Charismatic pulpit. I also find the absolutely blind right-wing simple-mindedness being preached alarming. There is a grassroots movement among many belonging to the Charismatic church to promote the state of Israel, not because they particularly love Jews, but because they want the temple restored so Jesus can return. The flags of the United States, Canada, and Israel can be found at the front of many Charismatic churches, and the sanctity of this Trinity is unquestioned. Which is odd, because the same pastors who are proclaiming George W. Bush to be a modern-day prophet and saint also loudly bewail the perceived rampant immorality being consume and promoted by Americans. There's a sort of duality where the America represented by the Declaration of Independence, the flag, the American political institutions, and Republicans are sacrosanct while the America represented by Hollywood, MTV, secular music, liberals, and Muslims are a source of wickedness of Babylonic (yes this is now a word because I made it one) proportions.

At the same time, I find the worship, fellowship, and openness to the Holy Spirit absolutely invigerating. The worship at Charismatic churches can be filled with nauseatingly repetitive songs but often the songs are powerful in their praise and worship. While theologically weak, Charismatic churches are not spiritually weak. I know many people treat the Charismatic focus on the work of the Holy Spirit with dismissal and contempt but I have felt the power of the Holy Spirit and I know that however much I despise the weak preaching I love the acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand, at a Christian Reformed Church I often feel as if I could drop off to sleep during some of the droningly uninspiring singing. This is not to say that CRC churches can't sing, I've heard them sing well and inspirationally many times. I have felt the Holy Spirit while worshipping at CRC churches as well but what I'm trying to say is that there is a certain tendency in CRC churches to drone through hymns without much enthusiasm or commitment. While I find the Charismatic dismissal of tradition vapidly stupid I sometimes find the CRC focus on tradition doltishly dense. I am tired of being dismissed from a theological discussion because I don't know the Canons of Dordt.

More importantly, however, I have fallen in love with the CRC's Redemptive vision. I love it. This vision is so inspiring that I want to attack every corner of Creation with redemption, I want to work towards restoring true shalom to the earth, and I want to engage in every vocation at once.

Perhaps I can create some sort of hybrid.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Pet Peeves

1) People who water their driveways.

2) Urban Sprawl and the irresponsible development of Hamilton's surrounding area.

3) In the spirit of number 2, the Meadowlands.

4) Ancaster snobs.

5) My fingernail.

6) Bad journalism.

7) American imperialism.

8) The comparison of homosexual unions with inter-ethnic unions.

9) Pop music.

10) When someone has two fat sad-looking dogs that they never take care of but insist on keeping so that these dogs can shit all over the grass before you mow it.

11) Racist jokes.

12) Finding insects in my food.

13) SUV's.

14) Large, dense, roiling, swarming crowds.

15) Country and Western Music.

16) Individuals who insist on talking about things they know nothing about.

17) George W. Bush and his puppeteers.

18) A continuously runny nose.

19) The rash under my nostrils which I receive after a continuously runny nose.

20) Cats.

21) Consumerism.

22) Leg spasms in the middle of the night.

23) Oversimplification.

24) Overcomplication.

25) Bad sequels to good movies.

26) Bad adaptions of good books.

27) Losing my train of thought half-way into a sentence.

28) Bad remakes of good songs.

29) Making a sudden giant leap of thought in my mind, expressing it, and then realizing that the person I'm talking to has no way of following me.

30) Heavy Metal music.

31) Getting my hair caught in a treebranch, a la Absalom, while cutting grass.

32) The sudden realization that I've done something competely and utterly stupid.

33) Getting popcorn kernels caught between my teeth.

34) Stubbing my toe.

35) Being interrupted during a discussion.

36) Dismissal of the poor as lazy.

37) International Arms dealers.

38) When an individual insists on using the "f" word as an adjective before every noun.

39) Throbbing headaches.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Top Ten Reggae Musicians in My Life

1) The Hon. Robert Nesta Marley - Marley's heartfelt social commentary and burning passion for social justice and the upliftment of the oppressed can be felt in many of his songs. I love Bob Marley's conscious lyrics but I also enjoy his love songs (I try not to wonder which particular woman he might have been singing to.)
Favourite album: Survival
Favourite song: One Drop

2) Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton - Buju Banton follows in the tradition of Bob Marley with the conscious tinge to many of his songs, but with a difference. Banton doesn't just sing but also djs (a sort of Jamaican rap) in a gruff gravelly dancehall style.
Favourite album: `Til Shiloh
Favourite song: Close One Yesterday

3) Peter Tosh - Once a member of the Wailers along with Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston, Tosh quit when Marley was promoted as the frontman. If Marley was Martin Luther King jr., some say, then Tosh was Malcolm X. His solo career was mildly successful but his songs live on. Peter Tosh (Macintosh) played a guitar shaped like an M-16 rifle, sang revolutionary songs, was notoriously difficult to get along with, and was shot in the head in a botched robbery attempt in 1987.
Favourite album: No Nuclear War
Favourite song: Mama Africa

4) Lucky Dube - His voice sounds a lot like the voice of Peter Tosh but Lucky Dube is a South African Zulu. I'm unfamiliar with his traditional Zulu albums, but I do know his reggae and I love his powerful songs.
Favourite album: Prisoner
Favourite song: Remember Me

5) Alpha Blondie - Originally from the Ivory Coast, when Alpha Blondie visited Israel he would sing in Arabic for the Jews and in Hebrew for the Palestinians. His beliefs are a complex hybrid of Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism, and Christianity which I can't begin to understand. Nevertheless, Blondie's unique voice, wonderful instrumentation, and complex mix of musical styles and of French, English, and his native tongue (among others) are remarkable.
Favourite album: Jerusalem
Favourite song: Ragga Gangster

6) Toots Hibbert - The man credited with coining the word "reggae" in the first place, Toots Hibbert's unique blend of reggae is very enjoyable.
Favourite album: Monkey Man
Favourite song: Perfect Peace

7) Sizzla Kalonji - If there's one word for Sizzla it's prolific and that has a lot to do with the ridiculous amount of albums he has released. This means that often there is a lack of quality to some of his work which is, fortunately, made up for by his works of quality.
Favourite album: Da Real Thing
Favourite song: I Wonder

8) Beres Hammond - In my opinion, the greatest living reggae singer is Beres Hammond. His collaborations with Buju Banton are priceless.
Favourite album: A Day in the Life
Favourite song: Putting Up a Resistance

9) The Marley Children - Damian "Jr. Gong", Stephen, Ziggy, Ky-mani, and Julian Marley. Say what you will about the children of musicians embarking on musical careers themselves, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, and Ky-mani are talented and their music stands on its own.
Favourite album: Halfway Tree (Damian and Stephen Marley)
Favourite song: Tomorrow People (Ziggy Marley)

10) Bounty Killer - He's brash, he can be irresponsible with his words, but his skill as a dj is astounding.
Favourite album: My Experience
Favourite song: Look
Beenie Man - Versatile and skilled, Beenie Man's rivalry with Bounty Killer early in their careers has been eclipsed by the success both djs now enjoy.
Favourite album: The Doctore
Favourite song: Murderer (feat. Barrington Levy)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Ouch

After examining this website I'm left with the impression that good Christians should only entertain themselves with Mandy Moore albums and reruns of Leave it to Beaver.

*grimace*

Who deh?

Followers