Calvin in ’09

Gift cards. To some they are the very antithesis of the gift giving spirit associated with Christmas. Whether or not they are one more sign that the apocalypse is upon us I can’t say, but having received an American Express variant for Christmas, I did make use of it shortly thereafter.

What did I purchase? The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (Published by Hendrickson).

The work was originally written in Latin, and since my 2 years of high school Latin mostly taught me that there was a shortage of Latin teachers and not much beyond that, I must read a translation of Calvin’s magnum opus.

I’ve read books on Reformed theology who cite Calvin but have never read anything written by the man himself. It seemed best to go straight to the source, especially one associated with so much controversy (is that the right word?)

I started reading and found it not too difficult to follow, it is an immense help that the edition I purchased has footnotes as well as several indices (Scripture, people, works) in the back. Didn’t get out of Book 1 before I found out that the good folks over at Reformation 21 are blogging through Calvin’s work in 2009:

Blogging the Institutes

So without further ado, we present the unofficial poster of “Blogging the Institutes”,

john-calvin

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Houston City Council Reads Last Row!

I only say so because they’re thinking of banning those giant advertising balloons which dot Houston freeways.  The balloons that we’ve blogged about here, “Car Dealerships and their Balloons”.

Here is the story from the Chronicle,
Council vote could deflate advertising practice: City weighs ban on large balloons and similar devices

Here’s the justification for banning these eyesores,

“I call them attention-distracting devices,” said Jeff Ross of the city’s planning commission. Ross said getting rid of them will make Houston more competitive with other cities that have banned them, such as Dallas, Austin and St. Louis.

“They distract the eye, create potential safety obstacles, obscure permanent signage and create visual blight,” said Tommy Friedlander, who chaired Mayor Bill White’s On-Premise Sign Task Force.

Predictably, car dealers are fighting the ban which will beautify our fair city (below). Though, to be sure Lexus dealerships will remain unaffected by the ordinance.

houston

Lastrow, Population: 666

This blog now has the distinction of having the same number of inhabitants as the town of Monson, Maine (as of the 2000 census). That the blog is populated by posts and Monson by people is but an irrelevancy.

This often misunderstood digit makes its only appearance in Scripture here,

Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. – Revelation 13:18

I say misunderstood because many (myself formerly included) mistake it to be the number of Satan. The Apocalypse given to John begs to differ, it is actually the number of Satan’s man, the antichrist. Six is man’s number, it falls one short of the number of completeness, 7. Some say the triple 6 is a mockery of the Trinity, because three times it falls short of completeness, as each Person in the Trinity is totally complete.

This reflects the fallen state we are all born into (Augustine of Hippo dubbed it “original sin”) because of Adam’s rebellion in the Garden. As the oft-quoted statement reads,

We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners

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