The House With Character

Heidi and I are in the market for a house. Living in an apartment is a no-win situation financially speaking, so we have been looking for a small home to buy in the greater, greater Dallas/Ft. Worth area. That means far enough away from DFW that we can actually find something we can afford.

Quite honestly, the housing market is completely out of control. One home we looked at in Ennis, TX, was nothing more than a spruced up shotgun shack with less square footage than a SMART car, and the people were asking $90,000 for the place. I was… livid. That particular house, was worth no more than $30,000.

So far, we have made one bid on a house, had that bid accepted after we played the counter-offer dance, and then rejected because someone else bid higher. Our realtor quickly told us, “you are not happy enough with the house as it is, to get into a bidding war.” Plus, we don’t have the capital for a bidding war.

We did find two houses in Italy, TX, which is close to Hillsboro, TX on I-35, that the Adams’ Family, from the old television show, were previously living. The houses were absolutely creepy and in one of them, we really could not discern where the bedrooms were. The bathroom, which was in the entry way, was obvious. But not the bedrooms.

On Friday, we had two properties we decided to go see with our realtor. One was in Terrell, TX, and the other in Kaufman County, TX. I was really excited about the one in Terrell. Judging from the pictures (see below), it looked like it had a lot of character and I like a bit of character in a house. That is why I took my camera. I wanted to share the character with my wonderful readers. I thought we would end up buying this home, and my hopes were so unrealistically, stratospherically high.

But… there was the problem of the foundation. Just walking through the house, we could feel the rise and fall of the floor. For those who don’t know, you want your roller coasters to rise and fall, not your floors. There clearly needed to be some work done. But… there was the problem of the ceiling. It too seemed to rise and fall in places that it should not. This too, could be repaired. But… there was the problem of the carpet. Completely worthless. OK, buy it with a carpet allowance. But… there was no central heat or air. If we put in central heat and air, almost a fourth of the cost of the house itself, we would never have recovered it if we sold the place. But… there were the neighbors.

Next door, a junk yard. The owner conveniently put a sign up saying, and I’m not making this up, “Museum and Antiques.” As if somehow, that lessened the reality that it was a junk yard. You can’t fix that.

On the other side, the neighbors there were in competition with the first neighbor to see how junkie he could make his yard. He was clearly losing the battle, but giving it the old college try.

Then… there was the traffic noise. The house set just next to a railroad track, next to US 80. Peaceful.

Finally, there were both restrooms. Both needed to be redone.

Our realtor finally said, “You can buy it, but I’m going to make you find another realtor to do so because in two years, you are going to hate whoever helped you buy this house.” He is very wise.

So, we’re kind of still looking. We did check out the manufactured home (think mobile) that was out in Kaufman County. It was very clean, simple, treeless, shrubless… grassless… in fact, it looked like someone plopped a mobile home down in the middle of a cow pasture and called it “good.” We tried to convince ourselves that it was the home for us, but couldn’t.

Here are four of the photos I took, the first of which, shows the simplicity of the home.

House 001

We liked the front porch and I could imagine spending some time sitting there, reading a book, smoking a cigar, watching my neighbors sell odd things from his odd junkyard.

House 002

House 003

This shed in the backyard really got my attention. I loved the shed. Yes, it was full of junk, but I thought it had wonderful character and I really wanted to turn into a shop and play room for the boys. It was big enough.

House 004

I think the shed was what made it appealing to me. I felt like it had so much potential. The house? Not so much. But the work shed? Tons! Maybe my priorities were not quite in the right place.

Battling With the Closed Mind of an Atheist

A couple of weeks ago, I had a short skirmish with an atheist on Twitter concerning my post: Ten Reasons Christianity is Far Superior to Other Religions. You can’t really debate on Twitter since you are limited to 140 characters. This leads to short attacks, without any reasoning, proof, or clarification.

Here is a bit of how it got started:  Atheists 001

The first observation is that Critical Thinker, isn’t. He states that Christianity has no proof, and comes from the imagination of the writers of the New Testament. This leads to Atheistic Assumption Number 1. Atheists always assume that they have the intellectual upper hand when it comes to Christianity because THEY don’t believe the claims made by Christians. Christianity has multitudes of great intellectual thinkers, men like John Calvin, Augustine, Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and Cornelius Van Til, just to name a few. The religion’s simplicity does not mean that it is only for the simple-minded.

I did ask Critical Thinker if he had actually read the Bible, and he said someone read it to him once. I’m sure his reader read the words without a trace of cynicism and was completely objective in his presentation. As they read, they just happened upon some supposed flaws with the claims of Christianity, and did what any thinking person would do, dismissed it outright. No further inquiries necessary, we’re done thinking about this.

Atheistic Assumption Number 2 is the reality that since the claims of Christianity are based in history, not science, then they must be rejected. This is what fueled Critical Thinker’s first statement, and most statements made by atheists. Science is the holy grail for their belief system, or at least, that is what they claim. But in reality, history, experience, and knowledge rooted in history are what makes up what we know. Only a small portion of what we know is actually based upon  scientific theory. I think it is for this reason that God chose to send Christ into history in order to redeem His people. So much of what we learn, is learned from experience, not textbooks, or science.

This is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions: God sent His Son to step into history on behalf of His children. Mankind needed a redeemer, and God didn’t raise up a fallen man, like Moses, David, Peter, or even a fallen woman like Mary, to redeem mankind. The Second Person of the Trinity stepped into history on our behalf, sharing in the human experience. This is an historical fact.

This is why Critical Thinker’s first assumption is false: Christianity is not without historical fact. As Christians have always maintained, Christianity is rooted in history and there are historical facts supporting our claims.

Historical facts are just as valid as scientific facts, and in reality, historical facts inform us about what we know far more than scientific facts do. Just the fact that our mothers love us, that our spouses love us, that we know who we can trust and not trust, is all based upon historical facts. We don’t sit back and conduct a scientific test to see if the reality we experience is true or make believe. Our lives are filled with historical facts. Yes, those facts pretty much concern just us and our circle of friends and family, but they are still reliable facts and help us grow in what we know.

However, as I was listening to Alistair Begg’s Truth for Life yesterday, he made an interesting point. He said the problem with the use of history for knowledge is that in the upper halls of academia, those who are charged to teach history are now teaching that we cannot know anything from history because those reporting the history to us were biased and had presuppositions.

This is true. Those in history were biased and had their own presuppositions. If you take that line of thinking to a deeper level, then it means we cannot know anything at all, because of our own biases and presuppositions. We must admit that we do have presuppositions when it comes to the things we know, and biases towards those things we believe.

Here is the dig, truth is not unattainable simply because this is true. In fact, I do believe that whatever we know is subject to our presuppositions and biases, but as Christians, our biases and presuppositions are under the affects of an outside influence. That outside influence is the word of God and the Holy Spirit working in our lives so we may know what is true, and what is false. With the Spirit’s influence, we know that the words found in Scripture are true, that Jesus really was, and is, raised from the dead, that He is really coming for us again, and that we are part of God’s ultimate plan of redemption. The atheist, non-believer, cultist, etc., does not have these two outside influences in their lives, therefore they are bound to their own presuppositions and biases, which are rooted in their fallen nature, and more poignantly, rooted in history.

The attempt to say that we cannot know history because of some humanistic reasoning is really just an clever way to shut down the debate before it begins. In one sense, it’s worse than “had God indeed said,” it has become, “even if He has said, you can’t know it because it is rooted in history.”

Yet, history is knowable, especially biblical history. We cannot convince the close-minded atheists to this reality because we don’t have it in our power to do so. For Critical Thinker, or any of the millions of others who are just like him, to come to the knowledge of truth, we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit moving in his life, along with the word of God, for him to be converted and to actually see the light. This is the only way for him to have a truly open mind, otherwise, he is bound by his sinful presuppositions and will never repent.


Food, Glorious Food! Heidi’s Taco Salad

Heidi has me on a special diet that she used a number of years ago to help her lose more than 60 lbs. We cut out carbs, which means, we cut out bread, beer, chocolate, fruit with too much sugar, beer, chocolate, bread, tortillas, chips, cereal, beer, chocolate … well, you get the idea. It is also a low fat diet as well. This means, brace yourselves, no bacon! I know! The humanity! It is not the Atkins diet, but a bit more complicated than that.

What we end up doing is eating about 750 calories a day and after the first full three days, I’ve lost 7 lbs. Just the fact that she has me on the diet is a huge success. Did I tell you that we are not eating bread, tortilla chips, cereal, chocolate, beer or any other grown-up drinks? Apart from the occasional bouts of hunger, the worst part of the diet has been the cravings I’ve had. I think the first day, I sat daydreaming about the crackers on top of the refrigerator, thinking how good those crackers would be with some chocolate icing, rolled up in a buttered-slathered tortilla, along with some bacon and country gravy poured over the top and a beer to wash it all down. Obviously, that would be a diet buster.

The biggest surprise of the diet, besides losing 7 lbs. in 3 days, has been the food we have been eating is absolutely delicious. For example, today we had Heidi’s Taco Salad. This was really quite a simple meal and I loved every bit of it, wanting to lick the bowl and my plate… to finish it all off.

This wonderful meal consists of a pound of lean hamburger, fried on cooking spray in a Lodge cast-iron skillet with some fresh garlic. (The key is getting enough fresh garlic. When you have cut two or three cloves, double that amount, and it should be enough). Then, douse the hamburger with a healthy amount of cumin (the key is to make sure you have enough, then double it). Next adding a healthy dose of chili powder (make sure you double what you think it is enough), and mix it together for about 15 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly cooked.Food 001

While I worked on this, using our trusty Lodge cast-iron skillet, she made the salsa, which was more like pico de gallo, that brought the entire meal together. Using her heavy-duty Cuisinart Food Processor, she ground up a freshly cut up jalapeño, along with two cloves of garlic (think about doubling that), a red onion, and fresh cilantro. Once that was  pulsed, she added cumin, oregano, freshly ground salt and the juice of one lemon. Last, she added a carton of cherry tomatoes and mixed it all together.

We put the beef on top of a bed of lettuce and cucumbers on our plates (after weighing out 3 1/2 ounces for each of us), then poured the pico de gallo over the top of it. It was absolutely splendid. Given the level of spices, it was just zesty enough to make us almost break a sweat, which when eating any Mexican food is a good sign.

It was so tasty, just like every thing she has fed me while on the diet, that it has left me wanting more. I know that my senses have gone through the roof because I am hungry from time to time, but the reality is that the food has never been better. I guess you could say the principle of less is more, is coming through. We are eating less, but enjoying it more. Every meal is fit for a king, a thin one mind you, but a king nonetheless.

Besides, even if you decided to add the tortillas, cheese and chips to this meal, it is still quite tasty. Did I mention we also cut dairy out of the picture? Yup. I’m  drinking black coffee, without cream, for the first time in my life. It’s amazing how different it tastes.

Well, hope you enjoyed our foray into the world of cuisine. I can’t wait to taste what is on the plate for tonight… I wonderful it will have crackers with chocolate on it.

UPDATE: Sorry about the photo not being quite in focus. By the time I noticed the error, the subject was no longer available. In future editions of into the world of cuisine, I will try to get the camera in focus.

Complementarianism, Patriarchy and Headship

I have to admit that the subjects of complementarianism and patriarchy are quite daunting. I am no expert on either one, and so far, feel like there isn’t an expert on either one. But while listening to Mortification of Spin on my drive into east Texas for an interview, I did realize that the focus needs to be on headship, not complementarianism or patriarchy. This is how Paul, in Ephesians 5, frames the relationship that husbands have towards their wives, and the safest course of action we can take is to look to Scripture to see what it says.

Therefore, for now, I will call the position I am taking biblical headship. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the LORD. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:22-23).

When we look at what the Bible says about our relationships in marriage, we are safe in saying what it says. It clearly says that I am the head of my wonderful wife, Heidi, and that she is to submit to me as to the LORD. This is not an act of dominion, but an act of grace and kindness. When it goes from grace and kindness to dominion (something that is out of accord with the creation mandate), then we are sinning against our wives and the LORD, for the LORD never acts in a manner of dominion over those who are His children. He will return in dominion over those who are not His children, and all those who refused the offer of the gospel, will be dominated by Christ when they are made into His footstool. That is not, however, something that Christ does with those who are His.

Continue reading “Complementarianism, Patriarchy and Headship”

Currid On the Woman’s Desire

Concerning Genesis 3:16b

Your desire shall be for[a] your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

It is customary to understand the woman’s longing for her husband to be one of sexual desire, or at least, one of great affection. But that is probably incorrect. The proper signification comes from comparing this verse with Genesis 4:7, which uses both verbs, to ‘long’ (desire) and to ‘rule’, from 3:16. Also, the proximity of the two verses is weighty. In 4:7, God tells Cain that ‘Sin is crouching at your door; it longs to have you, but you must rule over it.’ The issue for Cain is what will dominate him and have control and mastery over him. The same applies to 3:16: the woman will have an excessive desire and determination to dominate her husband. The man, however, will dominate her. Thus this verse describes the ongoing condition of marriage relationships which will exist after the Fall.

The nature of the new order is quite appropriate. It was Eve who led the family in the garden episode, who ate the fruit first and led the man to do the same. Adam, for his part, let woman lead, and he refused to take his mandated leadership role. God now proclaims that such struggles and tensions will always appear in the marriage relationships.

From John D. Currid’s An EP Study Commentary:Genesis Vol. 1, p. 133.

Garcia’s “After Patriarchy” Seems Like a Liberal Screed To Me

First off, for those of you who don’t know me, the one thing that bothers me most in Christian circles is when a man preaches or teaches in such a way that sounds lofty and erudite, but is nothing more than a liberal screed (think N.T. Wright). I believe the loftier, the more dangerous a man’s speech. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and Stephen would not have fit in the erudite circles of the church today.

Secondly, I’ve been told that I’m very blunt when I preach and teach. To me, there is no greater compliment. Show me from scripture one sermon that was not in someone’s face, drawing a line in the sand, or calling out sinners to repentance, as opposed to what is set forth today in many circles, lofty words that tickle our intellectual fancies.

Continue reading “Garcia’s “After Patriarchy” Seems Like a Liberal Screed To Me”