The Westminster Confession of Funk

Talking about theology, but keeping it funky

I am a husband and father and pastor of Trinity Covenant Church and teacher as St. Abraham’s Classical Christian Academy in Santa Cruz, CA.

I married my Indian Princess just before Y2K. I am an old fashioned Protestant Christian Humanist who lives where people vacation. I love music, love to surf, coach soccer for a hoard of minions, play the drums, and read actual flesh and blood books. I enjoy theology and literature and history and philosophy (if Sophie is serving beer) and Anglo-Saxon Poetry.

If I could have lunch with any three living people, I would have buffalo ribs with a butter, mushroom, cream sauce, Roxy Ray would be singing with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and I’d be at table with Tom Wolfe, ?uestlove, and Adam Schlesinger (and Brad Bird, because it’s my fantasy, and no one can count in my fantasy).

If I could have dinner with any three dead people (and the TARDIS was there with its universal language translation circuit) I’d have slow smoked dry ribs with the author of Beowulf, Herodotus, Martin Bucer, and Polycarp (see the previous paragraph if you have questions about my ability to count). And Janis Joplin would be singing with Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars backed up by Parliament Funkadelic of course.

My carefully crafted internet persona is also much cooler than my actual person, but I can live with that.

Filtering by Category: philosophy

An Argument for the Necessity of the Existence of God

As humans, our loves, desires, and passions are unmanageably large. It has been noted, at least back to the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BC), a disciple of the presocratic philosopher Democritus, that pleasure seems to be affected by a law of diminishing returns. A particular experience brings pleasure, but the next time we have the same experience, we find less pleasure in it, and the next time even less. The pleasure of an experience shrinks and shrivels the more often we have that particular experience.

Epicurus' conclusion was to reject pleasurable experiences and find pleasure in the rejection of pleasure. Others before him and since have instead tried to experience as much pleasure as they can, seeing the dissatisfaction as something to be overcome with energetic embrace of newer, faster, and bigger pleasures. But I do not believe in the law of diminishing returns. In fact, I believe it should be rejected out of hand. Heat the tar and rip open the down pillows. Hey 'Law of diminishing returns.' Your mother was a fallacy. Meet me at the flagpole after school.

It is not the pleasure that changes. It is we ourselves that are changed by the pleasure. Our desires and our capacity for pleasure stretches and grows each time we enjoy ourselves. When our desire is fulfilled, it is the desire that grows. A pleasure that once filled a desire to overflowing seems thin, not because the pleasure has shrunk, but because the desire and the capacity for pleasure has grown. The more we find our desires fulfilled, the bigger our desires get. The more we find pleasure, the greater our capacity for pleasure becomes. Experiencing pleasure makes us want pleasure even more. If pleasure is limited, then experiencing pleasure is a dangerous game.

If there is no eternity, and if there is no infinite God, then humanity is a terrible joke. There could be nothing but dissatisfaction. Every satisfaction that we find in the world will only grow our capacity for satisfaction, and the world is not growing in its ability to satisfy. Even if we are satisfied by the world at this moment, there is nothing but dissatisfaction in our future. 

If, however, there is eternal life with an infinite God, at whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore, who can satisfy us with the fatness of his house, then being human is not some cosmic prank. Satisfaction is a possibility. There is a well deep enough to quench the infinitely expanding capacity for pleasure. And that satisfaction is at the right hand of God, seated on the great white throne. That satisfaction is in Jesus. 

Eternal life is spent with the incarnate, infinite, and eternal God-man Jesus, provides satisfaction. Because an infinitely beautiful and good God, who created and redeemed us, is always beyond our ever growing potential for satisfaction. Our capacity for pleasure will continue to grow, but it will never outgrow the infinite God.


Plato on Music

Plato’s Republic

Then to sum up: This is the point to which, above all, the attention of our rulers should be directed, --that music and gymnastic be preserved in their original form, and no innovation made. They must do their utmost to maintain them intact. And when any one says that mankind most regard

The newest song which the singers have, they will be afraid that he may be praising, not new songs, but a new kind of song; and this ought not to be praised, or conceived to be the meaning of the poet; for any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited. So Damon tells me, and I can quite believe him;-he says that when modes of music change, of the State always change with them.

Yes, said Adeimantus; and you may add my suffrage to Damon's and your own.

Then, I said, our guardians must lay the foundations of their fortress in music?

Yes, he said; the lawlessness of which you speak too easily steals in.

The Republic, Book 4 - Plato (p. 312)