Monthly Archives: October 2006

Boy are we confused!

I just learned something new today. Now I can go to bed.

Three times in the past three days, reading different histories of Brazil, I came across the word metropolis referring either to Portugal or to one of the other European countries. For example, “The metropolises all tried–once again with differing degrees of success–to impose mercantilism on their American domains.” This didn’t make much sense, for I thought “metropolis” merely meant “big city” (which one?), and I vaguely recalled that a “metropolitan” (other than being a rather humorous excuse for a car) is some kind of an ecclesiastical regional authority. None of this was much help.

So when for the third time I came across this familiar word in unfamiliar usage I figured I had better look it up.

It turns out a metropolis is “the city or state of origin of a colony.” In Greek, μήτηρ (mētēr) = mother and πόλις (pólis) = city/town.
[Hats off again, to Wikipedia.]

Suddenly it all makes a lot more sense, but then another question arises. Namely, if the polis in “metropolis” meant “city,” then how do we end up using metro as an adjective for everything pertaining to urban life?

I may be able to go to bed now, but I doubt I’ll be able to sleep.

Any linguists are invited to opine.

Webbed Life

I have spent most of today online participating in a TMAI symposium taking place at TMS in California. About 100 people attended on site and several more logged in from Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and me in Brazil. Here is a screen shot of me logged in while Dr. Barrick lectures on preparing culturally for ministry.


And here is another first for me. Today during the symposium dinner break, I edited a Wikipedia article. Nothing big, I just corrected a couple typos on the article History of Brazil.

I finished reading D. A. Carson’s Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church. It’s very good. Carson is just smart. He points out some of the things we can learn from postmodernism’s criticism of modern evangelical Christianity, but also explains several serious areas of concern in the movement. And he made me think about some good things. Speaking on the nature of truth, Carson says, “In the realm of morality, often obedience is as foundational to understanding as is exegesis.””[1]

I’ve discovered that I can actually read quite a bit as a new father. My wife needs sleep, but will wake up every time our son burbles in the night. So to give her at least three hours uninterrupted sleep, I put our boy in a sling, and I go downstairs out of earshot. I walk in the yard for 20 minutes until Nathanael falls asleep, and then I can sit and enjoy more time to read than I’ve ever afforded myself before. In this way I finished Carson as well as MacArthur’s Fulfilled Family (an excellent treatment of Ephesians 5 and 6 and other scriptural passages on life in the Christian family), and I have begun to read Olson’s The Story of Christian Theology, a rather large tome. I don’t know if I’ll finish this one, but it’s sure fun to start books. Life’s good.


[1] D. A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005), 118.

The Best of Blogdom.

The blog world is particularly rich this morning.

  • When enter a person’s home or office, I never fail to observe their book shelves before leaving. I study the content of their library and, if I think it won’t offend, I open a volume or two and flip through to see how my host interacts with the authors in his library. I learn a lot about my friends and associates this way. A bibliophile of much greater credentials than I, Al Mohler posts on this experience: By Their Books We Shall Know Them

    Incidentally, on Thursday, Al Mohler posted about new Ultrasound technology for viewing babies in 3-D, real time in the womb. We got one of these at 37 weeks. Al Mohler posts about abortion advocates who have reacted that this technology will have a dangerous impact on the public debate over abortion”: The View into the Womb is “Extraordinarily Dangerous?”

  • Over at Pulpit Magazine, there is a post by John MacArthur with three simple guidelines on how to get the most out of your personal Bible study time. I wish someone had shown me this when I was 15: How to Enjoy Bible Study

  • Finally, Pyromaniac Phil Johnson shares his musical taste with us. Right now he is listening to Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers. You can’t afford to miss this one, though I doubt Al Mohler would approve of the last movement.

I just realized…

I just realized I have everything I really ever wanted.

I have wanted to be a father since I was about twelve. At that point I did the math, and figured I should get married when I was 23, have a child when I was 25 — in the year 2000 — that would be cool. My great-grandma Margaret was born in 1900, so that she was 82 in 1982. I figured it would make it easy to remember my kid’s age if he was born in 2000.

In God’s sovereign plan, at 23 I didn’t get married, and in 2000 I didn’t have any kids. At 23, I was working in Germany, and the year 2000 found me in Uzbekistan. Those were both wonderful experiences. In fact, my whole life has been one experience of a lifetime after another. Even the tough experience I allude to in Young, Restless, Reformed I can now say I appreciate. I believe God did more to direct my life in that one difficult year than in any other “good” year. So I can say that I have certainly not had an unhappy life.

But today it dawned on me that, 1) I am married, and 2) I have a son, and 3) I’m happy.

Perhaps you know the feeling of disappointment that typically follows when you finally buy something you’ve been craving. When I was eleven I got my first real Swiss Army knife. After opening and closing all the blades, there was this rather anticlimactic gnawing in my stomach. When I finished college, I bought my first laptop computer. After starting it up and checking out all the doo-dads, that gnawing feeling returned. And every other mode of transportation, utensil, or accessory I ever desired and acquired left me with a craw of promises unfulfilled.

But today is somehow marvelously different. My son Nathanael doesn’t do anything – aside from nurse and sleep and poop. I can’t even play catch with him yet. But for finally being given something I strongly desired for 20 years, I feel strangely contented, strangely peaceful.

Of course I know that there will be trials in the years to come, and someone might say, “Yeah, he’s only a week old, wait ’til he’s two.” Be as that may, we’ll deal with each day as it comes, and I know God gives only good gifts to those who fear Him.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3


Please visit our photo album “Meet Nathanael” at my Fotki site.