• First visit to Bookleggers Used Bookstore
  • Rejoined choir
  • Selected for the pas­tor search com­mit­tee
  • Dan Underwood took me deer hunt­ing, my first time hunt­ing
  • Eagles won the NFC cham­pi­onship

Writing, Links, Podcasts

January 2023 Summary


№ 159 Books 2022

Another year of books! Brian and Melissa share their top tens and bot­tom ones from 2022.

№ 158 Films 2022

Melissa and Brian dis­cuss their fa­vorite first-time-view­ing films of 2022. Brian is now pre­ten­tious and calls them films in­stead of movies. Melissa has an un­be­liev­able list; num­ber 2 will shock you!


  • The Bible Project pod­cast
    • The Torah is called the Law be­cause is con­tains law; it is a nar­ra­tive, not a law book. Talmud is nec­es­sary to fill in the gaps. Couldn’t run the sys­tem just from the Torah.
  • J. Daryl Charles (First Things)
    • Human na­ture is tainted by sin, not an­ni­hi­lated: the imago dei can­not be an­ni­hi­lated. Grace re­stores na­ture. We can keep nat­ural law, and rea­son. People do not stop hav­ing chil­dren or joy from chil­dren be­cause of sin; fam­ily and mar­riage is still sa­cred.
  • Angelina Stanford
    • Ambition is a vice, the op­po­site of vo­ca­tion. Don’t at­tempt great things for God, be faith­ful to your call­ing. Ambition is chas­ing a goal; vo­ca­tion is be­ing faith­ful and let­ting God work. Ambition is, I will be the best plumber in my city”; vo­ca­tion is, I will be the best plumber I can be, for God’s glory”.
  • Jonathan Pageau
    • When an athe­ist as­cribes value to sci­ence, they are mak­ing a re­li­gious move: sci­ence does not make value hi­er­ar­chies.
    • Popular rhetor­i­cal move: that thing is just el­e­ment 1 and el­e­ment 2”. E.g. the Crucifixion is just a man dy­ing on a piece of wood”, football is just men run­ning around with a ball”, music is just ma­jor and mi­nor chords”. (BK: syn­ergy-the whole is greater than the sum of its parts)
    • Christians do not die and go to heaven. Heaven is not a phys­i­cal place. Resurrection is our fu­ture hope.
    • Ritual is in­evitable. Even re­la­tion­ship is rit­u­al­is­tic: look at some­one for a time then look away, stand a cer­tain dis­tance away, al­ter­nate who talks.
    • Your ap­pear­ance is a choice: dress­ing ca­su­ally says some­thing just as dress­ing for­mally does.
    • Rebellion fol­lows a pat­tern (tattoos, pierc­ings, col­ored hair).
    • Why is mak­ing the sign of the cross wrong, but wav­ing is okay?
    • Eastern Orthodox church does­n’t be­lieve in sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment: sal­va­tion is heal­ing and unit­ing with God.
  • Robert Nozick: in 1974 asked the philo­soph­i­cal ques­tion, would you hook up to the Experience Machine (aka, the Matrix)? Three rea­sons against:
    1. We want to do, not just sim­u­late ex­pe­ri­ences
    2. We want to be real peo­ple, not just blobs
    3. Being plugged into the ma­chine lim­its our ex­pe­ri­ence to man-made re­al­ity, and cuts us off from any­thing out­side of it.”
  • Alan Jacobs: Brad Gregory claims the Reformation smashed a mil­len­nium of shared Catholic in­tel­lec­tual thought, caus­ing moder­nity. This ig­nores the Roman Catholic church’s cul­pa­bil­ity through its fail­ures, that Western thought was not uni­form pre-Re­for­ma­tion, and that Protestants have also fought against moder­nity. (BK: re­minds me of the idea that we were bet­ter off when we all got our news from Walter Cronkite: even if it was wrong, it was shared news.)
  • Carl Trueman
    • Roman Catholic crit­i­cism of the per­spicu­ity of scrip­ture fall flat when the only al­ter­na­tive of­fered is the pa­pacy. Diversity of in­ter­pre­ta­tion is matched by di­ver­sity of be­lief and be­hav­ior in popes.
    • The pa­pacy was not viewed as au­thor­i­ta­tive in the first cen­turies of church his­tory. Neuman’s doc­trine of de­vel­op­ment cherry picks.
    • Papacy was cor­rupt in the late Middle Ages, had mul­ti­ple popes, and re­fused to re­form it­self. Medieval Christendom was a fail­ure.
    • One can­not blame Roman Catholics for dis­lik­ing Protestants: our very ex­is­tence bears tes­ti­mony to Roman Catholicism’s fail­ure.”
    • Italian Catholics pray more to Padre Pio and Anthony of Padua than to Jesus and Mary. Laity do not fol­low church teach­ing on birth con­trol, Catholic politi­cians lib­er­al­ize abor­tion laws, with no reper­cus­sions. Disagreement on pa­pal in­fal­li­bil­ity and Vatican II.
    • Doctrinal dis­agree­ments go back to the New Testament; they did not start with Luther.
    • The print­ing press shat­tered the Roman Catholic church’s unified knowl­edge”, not the Reformation. That’s why the Roman Catholic church banned books in the 16th cen­tury and main­tained the Index of Prohibited Books un­til 1965 (although it still re­tained its moral force, ac­cord­ing to then-Car­di­nal Ratzinger). Les Miserables and Paradise Lost were banned.
  • Tim Challies: At Trent, the Roman Catholic church pro­nounced sola fide anath­ema. They have never re­scinded.
  • Doug Wilson
    • Private judg­ment is in­escapable, be­cause we have com­pet­ing au­thor­i­ties. The Roman Catholic church has fac­tions, has not ruled on every Bible pas­sage, has made con­tra­dic­tory state­ments that it has­n’t re­solved (Unum Sanctum vs cat­e­chism says Muslims can be saved). Its writ­ten doc­u­ments must be in­ter­preted. It has not com­piled its in­fal­li­ble de­ter­mi­na­tions.
    • The choice is not be­tween count­less sola scrip­tura Protestant de­nom­i­na­tions and Rome: it is be­tween sola scrip­tura and in­fal­li­ble in­ter­pre­ta­tion.
    • Schism and unity can both be sins.
    • Private judg­ment has been abused, and all good things have been.
    • Private judg­ment has led to chaos? Rome’s re­jec­tion of pri­vate judg­ment caused the schism.
    • There are not 25,000 Protestant de­nom­i­na­tions. That num­ber comes from the World Christian Encyclopedia, which also lists 223 Roman Catholic de­nom­i­na­tions. Their list of tra­di­tions is a bet­ter group­ing: 21 Protestant tra­di­tions, 19 Eastern Orthodox, 16 Roman Catholic, 6 Anglican, etc.
    • In Romans 11:18, Paul re­minds the church at Rome that is a branch, not the root.
    • Protestant churches can ac­cept Roman Catholic bap­tism; the re­verse is not true. The orig­i­nal Reformers did ac­cept Roman bap­tism, while they were in mor­tal dan­ger from the Roman church. A Roman Catholic that takes com­mu­nion at a Protestant church doe sso on Protestant terms; re­fus­ing them would be repli­cat­ing one of their mis­takes.
    • Contradictory to crit­i­cize Protestants for hav­ing no sense of rit­ual, his­tory, or place; and that we’re too at­tached to our wor­ship prac­tices, re­vere the Constitution and the Founding, and have never left the state. Can’t be both gnos­tics and na­tion­al­ists.
  • Joffre Swait: Historically, the Reformed Presbyterian church has pro­duced busi­ness­men and ac­coun­tants, but not artists.
  • Lord of Spirits pod­cast, Episode 1
    • In Ex. 21:6, elo­him (KJV judges”) refers to dead an­ces­tors (God is not the God of the dead, but of the liv­ing).
    • In Ps. 82:6-7, evil spir­its can die (spiritually: sep­a­rated from God at fi­nal judg­ment)
    • German lib­eral the­olo­gians in­vented the term monotheist” and claimed Israel went from poly­the­ism to monothe­ism (and re­li­gion kept evolv­ing to German protes­tantism).
  • St. Jude is the pa­tron saint of lost causes be­cause peo­ple only asked him for help if they were desparate (because he was as­so­ci­ated by name with Judas Iscariot)
  • Lewis wrote the Narnia books in a dif­fer­ent or­der than they were pub­lished:
    1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    2. Prince Caspian
    3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    4. The Horse and His Boy
    5. The Silver Chair
    6. The Last Battle
    7. The Magician’s Nephew
  • Protestant” does­n’t mean protestor” but confessor” (Latin: protes­tari, to con­fess or pro­fess). It was not used to mean object” or dissent” un­til 60 years af­ter the term first ap­peared in English.
  • Protestants were orig­i­nally called evangelicals”.
  1. Peter Leithart
  • Eventually there will not be de­nom­i­na­tions, there will just be churches. Jesus prayed that his fol­low­ers would be united, and it can’t be es­chat­a­log­i­cal be­cause that is how we’ll con­vert the na­tions. Protestants should do our part, sift­ing the riches from the dross: litur­gial wor­ship, weekly Eucharist, read Bible ty­po­log­i­cally, em­brace ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal au­thor­ity–all fol­low­ing the Bible.
  1. Doug Wilson
  • For ec­u­menism, one-true-churchism must be dropped, which is a Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox change, not a Protestant.
  • Sifting out the riches from the dross was the Reformation.
  • Two types of unity: Ephesians 4:3 unity we al­ready have through the Spirit. Institutional unity is in the fu­ture; it can’t be re­quired for evan­ge­lism be­cause we’ve been do­ing mis­sions work all along.
  1. Peter Leithart
  • Ecumenism would also be a big change for Protestants be­cause not Roman” is a big part of our iden­tity.
  • Ironic that a post-mil­len­ni­al­ist says we must wait in­stead of try­ing for unity.
  • Spiritual unity must be in­sti­tu­tional be­cause hu­mans are in­car­nate.
  1. Doug Wilson
  • Average Protestant does­n’t know any­thing about Roman Catholicism.
  • Institutional unity is nec­es­sary, and will come, but mov­ing that di­rec­tion too early will cause less unity, not more.


  • So you were thrown away,” snapped Granny. So what? She’s hardly more than a child, and chil­dren throw us all away sooner or later.” –Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites
  • Can’t you see you’re not mak­ing rock and roll bet­ter? You’re just mak­ing Christianity worse.” –Hank Hill
  • I changed my mind, and it is a prac­tice I com­mend to you.” –Doug Wilson
  • The real con­flict is not be­tween Scripture and tra­di­tion but be­tween catholi­cism and one par­tic­u­lar tra­di­tion (Romanism).” –Kevin Vanhoozer


  • Brick: a gen­er­ous, help­ful, re­li­able per­son
  • Dun: dark, gloomy
  • Mercer: silk dealer
  • Perspicuous: clearly ex­pressed