keeping an eye on the tree and the forest

Dave's Exegesis is my eclectic site of exegesis on pretty much everything I can think of, whether biblical studies, theology, music, movies, culture, food, drink, sports, or the internet.

Onset of Summer


I’ve been intending on doing a fourth of July review blog. But since fourth of July is a memory 3 weeks away, it seems a bit late. Thus, I figured since I am going back to where we celebrated the fourth of July this coming Saturday that I would feature that rather than the fourth itself. Onset is a village of Wareham, MA where my grandparents moved to in 1970 (I think, it might have been 1969). They purchased three different houses:

The residence, where my grandmother currently lives, pictured below.

A two family, which is actually two apartments, upstairs and downstairs, pictured to the right of my grandmother’s house below.

And finally, the guesthouse across the street from my grandmother’s, which my aunt bought around 1996/97.

My grandmother is kind of a pack rat, and so keep that in mind as you see her livingroom below.

Here is the view from her house over Shellpoint, pardon the orange temporary fence, it is there because they set off the fireworks from the point:

I’ve been going down to Onset every summer of my life for the Fourth of July. All my family goes, including all my aunts, uncles, and cousins from the Herring side of my family.

This was Kalila’s second time coming, so she was not real used to the geography. I took her along the water, on our way to town for chips and soda:

This is the heart of the baracaded area above, where the fireworks were being prepared.

Above is a picture of the Onset Bay, and Wicketts Island is in the center.

A view of the larger beach.

The prettiest thing in that day is leaning on the light pole above.

Pictured in the center above is the pier in Onset. To the immediate left of this picture is a park at the edge of town.

For Kalila’s sake, I showed her the statue of the Inidan girl in the center of the park above. This is the statues view of the bay.

Mark Anthony’s is the only pizza place in Onset and it is probably the best pizza I’ve had in Massachusetts. When I was a kid, me and my sisters used to stare at the pizza dude all the time in the window as he would be tossing the dough. I was lucky to get this kind of a shot since the traffic was so bad.

Above is the small park in the center of town, and the wall there is a monument to the veterans of the area.

Above is a picture from the center of town to Shell Point, Central Blvd. My grandmother lives at the end of the street on the left.

Above is a view of the bay from a side street on Central Blvd.

Above is a view from the upstairs deck of some friends of the family, Bruce and Moe.

There is the token sunset shot over the inlet of the bay that leads to the Agawan River.

I tried my hand at some fireworks shots too.

Saturday we are going back from our second BBQ of the summer in Onset. We normally have one 2 or 3 weeks after the Fourth. Everytime I’m there, I get an Onset of memories…Sorry, that was cheesy, but I bet that would sell on t-shirts.

I Have Found What I’m Looking For


Thanks to Jonathan Dodson, I have been informed about the above book, Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas. I purchased it as soon as I read his blog and have been enthralled with it eversince. So, if you are sick about reading me write about Bono, this is probably your cue to exit. One of the reasons I’ve been interested in this book is because, as Jonathan points out, Bono’s suprisingly good theology comes out. Michka is an Italian journalist that discovered U2 back in ’78 before they were anything. He met the band and followed them a little while during his stint for a French music column. He didn’t meet with them again until after they had made it big, and they kept in touch since then. The book chronicles the conversations he had with Bono over the past 3-4 years. This includes both face-to-face and phone chats. The proceeding comes from p.203ff. The bold print is Michka, as it appears in the book and the normal font is Bono’s response.

Just for the last time, I would kike to go back to our tour of the dark side of religion. Appalling things seem to happen when people become religous at too early an age or when their experience of life is nonexistent. Don’t you think?

Zealots often have no love for the world. They’re just getting through it to the next one. It’s a favorite topic. It’s the old cliche: “Eat shit now, pie in the sky when you die.” But I take Christ at his word: “On Earth as it is in Heaven.” As to the first part of your question, in my experience, the older you get, the less chance you have to transform your life, the less open you are to love in a challenging way. You tend towards love that’s more comforting and safe.

As I told you, I think I am beginning to understand religion because I started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Yes, I think that’s normal. It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

I haven’t heard you talk about that.

I really believe we’ve moved out the of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Well, that doesn’t make it clearer for me.

You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics-in physical laws-every action is met by an equal or opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so will you sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

I’d be interested to hear that.

That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge, I’d be in deep shit. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiousity.

The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

But I love the idea of the Sacrficial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to your actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out does not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled…It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

That’s enough for now, more to come soon. Discuss…

Your Love Is Teaching Me How To Kneel


About, face! “Kiss the gracious rod,” said the Lord today. I got stunned on Friday by finding out that I didn’t get the job I applied for within the company. I have been distrought this weekend, stewing in my anguish. Every time I thought about it, my happiness evaporated. Cannot believe how upset I’ve been. I really thought I was the best qualified for the job, but today there is finally a face to put to the cubicle I wanted. I’ve been angry all weekend. I’ve been jipped and unfairly dealt with. Or so I have thought.

In the back of my mind, I know it is God orchestrating such circumstances. I feel like every day I go to work that I am swallowing my pride to offer customer service. I don’t get paid very much, I get monitored closely, and on busy days I can go up to 90 minutes without having time to breath. I get some of the most bonehead questions any seasoned christian could imagine. “Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble” (1 Cor.1:26). This could not be more true of our customers. My problem is that I judge my circumstances by whether they make much of me. Rarely do I consider how much they can make of Christ. I weep in shame for my faithlessness in the infinite One. Oh, that I could rap my lips around the rod and embrace the painful path of grace! It is painful because it strips me of myself. It kicks away the crutches so that I may be carried. God has been dismantling me in many ways.

Gracious God, to clothe me in Christ! For letting me taste your beauty today! Thank you for letting me peak around the corner of the path today! Brew in me more faith in Your Wisdom.

Ode to a Fallen Classmate


Lynda Joy Varner (1979-2005)

Dear Friends and Family,

As we look over the names on this list, we regret that Helen and I have to inform you in this way of some very difficult news. We wish that we could call and tell you each personally, but that is impossible.

On the evening of July 3 our Lynda Joy was in a terrible automobile accident north of Madison, Wisconsin. A few hours later in the early morning of July 4, she succumbed to her serious injuries. She was 26 and was living in Chicago.

While the details are still being worked out, it appears that we will fly her body back to California for a service and burial the end of the week. The date for the funeral, however, may be later due to the circumstances and location of her death.

Many of you will remember Lynda for her intelligence, her infectious enthusiasm, and her sweet spirit. We will miss her terribly and cherish many wonderful memories of the years she spent with us.

“The Lord gave. The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Will and Helen Varner

Dr. Will Varner is a former professor of mine at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA. He taught me Intermediate Greek, Advanced Greek Grammar, Greek Exegesis, NT Backgrounds, and Jewish Thought and Culture. As you can read his initial email above, he has just lost his youngest daughter, as well as classmate and friend of mine, Lynda. Dr. Varner is a sensitive man, so I am sure this is difficult for him and Helen.

Lynda was an excellent student at TMC and was particularly gifted in biblical languages (which was her major). She transfered there in ’99 from UCLA and their fantastic linguistics program. We took first year Greek together, and there was no doubt she was the best student in the class. Lynda was extremely intelligent, she was witty, affable, and immensely cultured. One time she took me to the Grace Community Church college Bible study at UCLA. It was there that she introduced me to bubble tea. After she graduated in 2001, she was planning on going to Trinity Western University in BC, Canada. She wanted to join Wycliffe (which she did) and do Bible translation among the least reached people groups. The picture above was on her prayer card when she was a summer missionary with Wycliffe in the Philippines.

I’m not exactly sure of the timeline, but about 2 years ago, Lynda made it evident that she had had second thoughts about missionary work and Christianity all together. She moved to the Wheaton, IL area where her other siblings happened to be as well. Part of her change in direction was due to a boyfriend she had met in China who was an agnostic. That was really the last I had heard about Lynda till now.

Needless to say, this is an extremely hard time for the Varners. Your prayers mean more than you’ll know.

I will not be able to attend the service. But I trust the God of all wisdom will flood his grace over the Varners and Lynda’s mourning friends.