Annie Lee Davis

August 13, 2012

I spent the day scanning and restoring this photo of my great-grandmother, Annie Lee Davis, née Atkinson. She was a gentle woman. Sadly, she died while giving birth to my grandfather, probably within a few years after this photo was taken.

Click to enlarge.

Here is the original:

This is my first attempt at a significant photo restoration, so I’m rather happy how well it turned out. A large portrait of Annie stood over my grandfather’s dining table his whole life.


Thinking About Christ with Schleiermacher by Catherine Kelsey (WJK Press, 2003)

This is a slim volume of little over a hundred pages. The audience is, surprisingly enough for this sort of study, an adult Sunday school class. Interspersed throughout the text are blocks of discussion questions, guided by personal reflections and practical commentary. These are well-done and valuable for those who do agree with Schleiermacher’s emphases in The Christian Faith. The choice of following The Christian Faith, Schleiermacher’s mature systematic theology, is especially appreciated by yours truly. Kelsey does a fine job of explaining the method of dogmatics and the use of Christology (subjectively focused) as an organizing tool.

The criticisms I have, and others will have, are with the limitations of Schleiermacher’s approach. So, I do not share Kelsey’s enthusiasm for this approach, but it is instructive to read someone who does. Kelsey is fair throughout and briefly notes the departures from other, more common and more traditional, readings of Christ’s person and work. A focus on the Cross and substitutionary atonement is replaced by a focus on the affective life of Christ on his followers, the disciples who were first drawn to Christ by his God-consciousness. This origin of the church is the locus of salvation, such that ecclesiology and soteriology are equated. Atonement is entry into this community of God-consciousness, with Christ as the head. The perfection of Christ is in his God-consciousness, not his fulfillment of the Law before a Just and Holy God.

Interestingly, I am currently reading P. T. Forsyth’s The Justification of God, and the contrast with Schleiermacher could not be more stark. Forsyth is awe-struck by the holiness of God, whereas Schleiermacher is “moved” by the beauty of Christ. While the latter may have some minimal value as a corrective (albeit over-corrective) to the dominant themes of scholastic Protestantism, the former approach of Forsyth and his Reformation friends is truer to the strange otherness of God and his claim on our lives.

Kimbra at Sing Sing

August 6, 2012

If you haven’t discovered this already, you’re in for a treat. Kimbra has some video performances from Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne. The production quality is top notch, even better than the studio album.

Here are a couple selections:

Click the sprocket logo, on the right, to change video quality to HD.

Randall C. Zachman (Professor of Reformation Studies, Notre Dame) is one of the finest historians of the Reformation today. Professor Zachman specializes in the theology of the key figures of the Reformation, beginning with his brilliant study of Luther and Calvin published in 1993. There is a serious concentration on doctrinal nuances in his work, which makes his historical monographs especially useful for the student of dogmatics.

For your reading pleasure, I point you toward this essay I recently discovered at the Institute for Reformed Theology:

“The Generosity of God: The Witness of the Reformed Tradition” by Randall Zachman

I especially appreciated his use of Zwingli, along with Calvin, in bringing-out the themes of goodness and beauty in Reformed theology.

My outlaw heritage

August 2, 2012

I’ve been researching my family history, spurned by the recent passing of my grandfather on my father’s side. We inherited boxes of photographs going back to the 19th century, including a photo of my great-great-great-grandfather, Alfred Davis. My mom decided to do some research and came across this little bit of information:

That’s right. My great-great-great-grandfather “died drunk in jail” and was survived by his wife, Henrietta Outlaw! Good Lord, now I understand my fixation on old country music, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. Outlaw is in my blood!

It was also interesting to learn that Alfred’s father, Robert Davis, served in Company A of the 5th regiment of the S.C. Volunteers (Confederate States of America). Also, as best as we can tell, his grandfather seems to have been a fairly successful farmer and, unfortunately, owner of several slaves. So, I have a true Southern heritage, sins and all.