Tag Archives: writing

God’s Love and God’s Wrath (Other writings)

After the discussion that arose with the post about being unwittingly Orthodox (“Unwittingly Orthodox?“), I thought it might be interesting to post my paper on God’s love and wrath, which was the last major research paper I wrote for my degree. It then occurred to me that there are a number of other papers I could make available here for posterity’s sake. I will begin to do so today–feel free to read them or not read them as you will.

The paper on God’s love and God’s wrath and how they relate developed out of a question that came to mind during one of our seminary chapels, in which Romans 5:6-11, or a portion of it, was quoted. It says this:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. (NRSV)

There is a tension in this passage between God’s love and God’s wrath that I could not resolve. Not that all tensions in scripture need or can be resolved, but something about the tension between needing to be saved from God’s wrath and God saving us from his own wrath bugged me enough to pursue the question. Originally it was going to be an exegetical paper, limited to interpreting this passage, but it soon became clear that it needed to be more theological.

The response to the paper, which I had to present to the class and defend, was generally positive. While most seemed to agree with my conclusions, I sensed some discomfort (though nothing specific was expressed) at the possible implications of those conclusions. There was also a question about the way the paper was organized, which I acknowledge could have been better–my organizational choices were made for aesthetic reasons rather than for the natural/rational flow of the argument.

Anyway, here it is: “Love Wins? God’s Love and God’s Wrath in Romans 5.6-10” (pdf, 20 pages plus bibliography).

If you do read it, tell me what you think.

Community theology blog

Last year, Hendrikson Publishers bought the rights to the old printing of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics and Christianbook.com has made the 14-volume work available for $99 (US). A number of seminary student pounced on the opportunity and purchased the set, which has now shipped!

Several of us were talking the other day about having a Barth bl0g to reflect on our reading of Church Dogmatics. And so I went and set up a group blog: I Heart Barth.

The blog won’t be just about Barth, though. It will be a blog of theological reflections based on a range of theologians.  There are four “authors” at this point, all of them Providence Seminary students, with more authors possibly to be added as time goes by.

I just created this blog last night and have written the only post there at this point. It kind of gives the story of the blog and its intent.  But keep checking back for updates. [UPDATE: Joel has now posted as well.]

Read it, subscribe to it, comment.  It should be fun!

(PS. I haven’t been updating much here lately, especially and unexpectedly not in terms of theology. Hopefully this other group blog will inspire me to write more.  I’ll likely cross-post between the two blogs, or link to new posts there.  But read that blog anyway, because there are other writers there.)

The Pencil Man Can


I wrote last June about my developing love for pencils. It carries on. Was ordering a gross of my favourite pencils a bit too much?  Perhaps.  But they’re not only nice to write with, they’re nice to look at.

Apparently taking notes in pencil is odd. I’ve received a number of looks, second looks and chuckles from classmates when I pull my handheld pencil sharpener from my book bag and sharpen the stub of wood and graphite in my hand. Another classmate commented twice on my pencil use, saying he likes pencils too. But he takes his notes in pen. Maybe he needs to come out of the proverbial closet when it comes to his writing instrument preferences. Perhaps I am to be the agent of his outing, to give him the courage to name it.

I don’t see the guy taking notes with the fountain pen getting funny looks. What’s the deal?

First lines

He awoke with the realization that he had brewed a pot of tea some hours before but had forgotten to pour himself a cup; the pot had gone to waste.  This startling thought hung about him, solid against the cool air drifting in one window, across the bed, and out the other. A gust of wind rushed through the trees outside;  “This is your life,” they whispered.

The Pencil

I inherited a love for stationery from my dad; I’ve made no secret of that over the years.  I’ve had an affinity for writing instruments–ballpoint pens, in particular–since I was a young boy.  My dad instilled in me a love for the Parker Jotter, a fine ballpoint if ever there was one.  As a schoolboy, I favoured the classic Bic–sometimes straying into Papermate territory, but always returning to the Bic.

Over the years, I accumulated quite the collection of both “fine” refillable pens (Parker, Cross, Schaeffer, etc.) and cheap disposables.  I was always in search of the perfect pen, but that journey always brought me back to the Parker Jotter and the Bic.

In recent years, I have begun to recognize the pointlessness of collecting–in fact, I realized I had a deep distaste for accumulation, which (ironically) was vexed by my concommitant compulsion to buy more pens.  So I worked at losing that habit.  But I’m not stationery sober.

As I write this, I anxiously await the arrival of a box of 12 ForestChoice #2 unpainted Incense-cedar pencils, which I purchased online.  Apparently they write like (almost) no other pencil.  Where did this new compulsion come from?  I’ve always liked pencils.  My handwriting is noticably better with a pencil than a ballpoint pen (fountain pens are nice, but I find they need to be positioned awkwardly to write) and there was just something about a plain old pencil…so simple, so earthy, so malleable.  But people didn’t write with pencils–certainly not in professional and academic settings, or so I thought.

I’ve dabbled in the pencil world–trying out and liking very much the classic Dixon Ticonderoga and the Mirado (which I recently discovered has a wax-infused core for smoothness!).  But what sparked this?  I confess: I think it was Murray, band manager (Flight of the Conchords), who always has a Ticonderoga in hand for band meetings (“Brett?”  “Present.”  “Jemaine?”  “Present.”  “Murray?  Present.”)  That got me thinking again about the pencil as a primary writing instrument.  And then I read somewhere about pencils and pads being given out for high-profile executive meetings and that sealed the deal.  Who cares if a pencil can be erased?  Why does the pen get all the prestige? It’s a legitimate primary writing tool, folks!

So I eagerly await the unasssumingly packaged set of 12 #2 unpainted Incense-cedar graphite pencils by ForestChoice.

And in the meantime, I’ve also ordered (don’t tell Dixie) a package of six Palomino pencils, which are also, apparently, quite something.  They are crafted in Japan by a renowned pencil maker.  So they say.

And also in the meantime, 14 reasons (woodcase) pencils are awesome:

1. They are natural — wood and graphite.  Can’t get more natural than that.  Pens: plastics, inks, chemicals, etc.

2. They are simple.  Wood + graphite = pencil.  Well, technically, just graphite stick = pencil.

3. They are erasable.  I know there are erasable pens, but how many people do you know who use them?  They must not work well.

4. It ages with you.  What I mean is, you can see a pencil age in a way that the draining ink in a clear-barrelled pen does not allow.  The pencil gets shorter, the print on the sides wears out, it gets covered in teeth marks, etc.

5. Pencils are somewhat edible.

6. No surprise empties.  You’re not likely to pick up a pencil to write something only to discover its out of lead (unless it’s mechanical).  This will happen with a pen, all the time.

7. Pencils don’t dry up.  If you can see graphite, it will write.  Not so with ink.

8. Pencils make that delightful scratching noise as you write.

9. Better handwriting

10. I can use a pencil to underline and mark books in good conscience.  I cannot use a pen.

11. A pencil will not leave a stain in your pocket.

12. A pencil is, arguably, more environmentally friendly (largely made of natural products–I can toss a pencil and feel no worse about it than if I was tossing a branch and some rocks).

13. Any pencil will write upside down.

And, finally, some pencil-related blogs: