Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Living in Paradox

If you've got a sec, please, please read this post by Doug Wilson:  Our Doctrinal and Liturgical Bramble Bushes.  This is a great short piece that I believe really touches a lot of what I've been meditating on over the last few months in regards to the question of how then shall we live in light of God's Word?  We've also been looking at this same issue as we've been going through Romans in our campus Bible Study. 

Many of us as humans hate paradox.  The questions of God's sovereignty and human will swirl through our heads and which truly exists in this world.  We can reason "If God is sovereign then we are just robots," or "If we are free then God is not totally sovereign."  Our minds hate paradoxes I think largely because we want concrete, tangible and logical answers, yet a paradox is not something that our minds can fit around.  We don't have a category for it, so we relegate these questions to either/or issues.  We make one exist in our worldview at the expense of the other. 

However if God has truly spoken in His Word, and if His Word is united in speaking truth, then we must go with what He says in His Word.  The Scriptures clearly affirm both God's total and complete sovereignty over all of creation and that humans are not automatons but living and breathing creatures with wills and moral responsibility for our actions.

The other great dichotomy that  we see in Romans is grace/faith and works.  Paul clearly calls us to trust in the grace that we have in Christ for our salvation, but also in much of the book of Romans he clearly calls the readers to act out of that faith (or what one could describe as works).  They land together in chapter 8:13 "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. "  (ESV)  Which is it then?  Does the Spirit work in us (a grace) or do we put to death the deeds of the body (work)?  Clearly it's both, not either/or. 

I will put a plug out there for John Owen's "On the Mortification of Sin in Believers" as we wrestle with this text.  Yet for an answer here I would put forward that we can work to put to death these deeds because the Spirit is working in us to put to death these deeds in us and the Spirit is working through our work too.  Heady stuff huh?  

But back to Douglas Wilson's piece too.  These debates and questions shouldn't simply end in the discussion about the philosophy themselves, but rather true and radical understanding of grace should lead to works in our lives.  Go read his piece, he says it better and is a better writer than me.  Grace should transform us in ways that are mindblowing as we walk this life of paradox between antinomianism and works, living in the tension of a world that is too great for us to fathom this side of eternity. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Rock The Bow Tie?

Courtesy of Mountain and Sackett.  Check their ties out!
Those of you who know me know that I more often than not will wear a bow tie for work, events, etc. However, I do seem to be one of the few men out there that still wear these bad boys. So why rock the bow tie?

Here are a few reasons:
  1. They look amazing and my Cutie Pie thinks that I look sexy in them. Your special lady may too. 
  2. Not only are they unique, but when worn correctly they also look professional. 
  3. No long dangling string thing from your neck. This keeps your tie from encountering hazardous things like soup bowls, fires and paper shredders. There's also no need to bring some fancy do-dad clip to keep your tie close to you so that you don't get pulled into a shredder and die or tickle your patient's belly while you're examining them. 
  4. Nice bow ties are cheaper than nice straight neck ties. Seriously how much silk do they waste on those long dangly things that you can't even see most of from underneath your jacket or coat?
Photo originally from paper-cuts.net

But on a more serious note I learned to love the bow tie from my grandfather. Pop Pop, wore bow ties to everything and looked great in them. Even after he retired, he still wore them to most functions and for his many Barber Shop performances. I can think of few people that looked more distinguished yet also approachable than Pop Pop rocking one of his many bow ties. In fact I'm guessing that he had over 100 by the time he passed away almost 9 years ago.

Many of the nicest ones were given to me by my parents and grandmother from Pop Pop's collection as they knew that I liked bow ties, but didn't have any of my own and they were something of Pop Pop's that I could not only treasure and remember him by, but also make good use of.

And indeed I have treasured them and they have done everything from attend weddings, to perform on stage to see patients in the clinic. So on top of the above reasons I also get to wear them because I consider them a special tradition that Pop Pop passed on to me (though I have a few of my own ones now too besides the ones that were given to me from Pop Pop's collection).

Plus as an added tip to fellow medical students, if you can pull off the bow tie well, it will encourage your patients too that you are professional and know what you're doing. You may not and it may be the first time you've ever done that exam that you're seeing them for, but it can go a long way to calm and encourage them that they are being seen by a professional.

Here's a good link to learn how to tie one (it's just like tying your shoes, literally) at Art of Manliness. (Also a good website to read often anyway)

But in any case I love my bow ties and I hope that one day you other men out there will love them too. The world needs more bow tie wearers, so why not rock one sometime soon?

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Directions Too

So as I'm trying to update this blog more I'm also trying to think of what directions it will take. Come July, my life will drastically change with a baby entering our lives as well as my daily life change from mostly book studies to being in the clinic and hospital and doing hands on learning of how to be a physician. So I used to write mostly life updates and then some theological commentary. But I think that as I keep updating the updates will probably get a bit more mushed together in terms of topics, likely shorter too and also there will likely be more thoughts thrown in about caring for people as a physician. I don't know and we'll see how this goes, but I'm thinking that this might be a good place to chronicle what happens during 3rd year and how to be a better physician. Hopefully that will also make it accessible and helpful for other friends from school too. But we'll see.

Anyway I figured before I started changing up the blog, I should write it out first myself to see how the reasoning sounds. But it sounds good so thanks for joining us on the ride!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Small Changes

It was recently brought to my attention how this blog hasn't been updated in a while. Yeah I think about 2 years qualifies as a while. But in my defense life in Athens got pretty busy, like medical school interviews, meeting some cutie-pie chick, hunting for swamp rabbits, getting involved in my awesome church, falling asleep against trees, etc. You know busy.

In any case then things continued to get busy and I went to med school, married said cutie-pie all around amazing chick, hunted for woods (rather than swamp) rabbits (and some pheasant, deer, turkey and grouse too), got involved in another great church, etc. you know, still busy.

And now we're about to finish our book learning years, take our Step 1 exams for licensure as docs (really big deal), having a baby around the end of June, and start my clinical rotations. Life will be changing quite a bit here soon, but it's good and Jesus promises to give us more of himself through it and sustain us.

So that said I've seen a few good blogs of med students/residents and was thinking that maybe with all of life's changes to record some of this it might be a good time to write about this.

No promises though, I'm really not very good at keeping this updated... ;)

But while you wait here's that cutie-pie chick and I: "Pics courtesy of Kipper Bush our amazing photographer and friend"

And how I've been keeping myself busy this Fall (medical school has been a good time to hunt:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Videos From Athens

Here are a few short clips that I made of my new apartment and laboratory so people can see what they look like:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


What will satisfy me and you? A kickin' car? Steady job? Marriage? Family? Kicking awesome church family? Comfy retirement?

Here's what David says when confronted by men (likely Saul??) who are trying take him down in Psalm 17 (ESV):

13 Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14 from men by your hand, O Lord,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life. [2]
You fill their womb with treasure; [3]
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants.

15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

He says his enemies can have everything they could want: kids, wealth, power. But ultimately they can't keep it; it just goes to their kiddos.

What does David say will satisfy instead? Beholding God's face in righteousness.

Brothers and sisters do we realize that we have that in Jesus? This is what David wanted more than anything else in the world. And all of the "good things in life" he wished for his enemies.

Friends I need to hear that as I look at med school interviews, questions about what will my life look like in a year or 5 or 20, and a whole host of other concerns that clutter my life. How about you?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How Much Do I Want This?

Frankly many days it's just easier to kick back, get my job done, head home, get some grub, chill and hit the sack. If that all manages to happen, life appears simple and easy. But in reality that's just an illusion.

If you look even for a second, there is something very wrong, very absent from that daily list. Yep, you guessed it God's gone. Or at least when I make that unconscious list, I don't invite him to have a say. My list making however has no bearing on the absolute glory of God. He still is the most valuable thing in the world and hasn't changed his call for me to treasure Him above all other things in Christ.

But most days, I really don't have this warm fuzzy feeling of insatiable desire Christ. What's more is in Philippians God calls us through Paul to:

"work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Phil. 2:12-13, ESV)

That especially pertains to questions that I face everyday:

"Do I really want to see this sin die and treasure Christ more?"
"Am I going to really invest in crying out to God in prayer all day or just go through the motions?"
"Am I going to ask for accountability on things to look good and Christianese or because I really want brothers and sisters to point me to Christ?"

And questions that I am facing especially right now:

"Do I really want to be a part of a church, even if I'm only here for a few months?"
"Do I really want other brothers to know me and point me to Christ?"
"Does being part of a church really mean being in fellowship, learning, growing and especially serving with others or do I just want to show up once a week and get my 'fix' of Christianity?"

And those are all hard questions that I have to answer every day. My dear friend Jeff has been asking me this question in light of Philippians 2:12-13 for awhile now, "Do I really want (blank)?" "Blank" could be any of those above great things; Gospel heart change, treasuring Christ more, seeing my coworkers come to know Christ, being a part of a church, etc.

Or like this past week when answering do I really want to know Christ through other believers in a church that I'll go to events where I really don't know anyone and meet other believers at my new church or will I duck out and sit at home?

It comes back to examining how much do I really want that change based on the Gospel even if the feelings aren't there or if I'm really scared. But there's the awesome part is that as I can mentally affirm, "Yep, I'm scared of going to this event, but I know fellowship with others will point me to Christ and I want Him." I can then act to "work out my salvation," knowing God is the one who "works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." He will make something of my following him into these situations even if I don't want to go meet others, pray earnestly, see life through the Gospel truth, etc.

So hopefully that's encouraging friends!