Prayer is the breath of the soul.
Our breathing is a constant source of renewal to our bodies. We eat three or four times a day. But we breathe all day long, all night too.
As impossible as it is for us to take a breath in the morning large enough to last us until noon, so impossible is it to pray in the morning in such a way as to last us until noon. Therefore, too, the apostle says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Let your prayers ascend to Him constantly, audibly or silently, as circumstances throughout the day permit.
—O. Hallesby, Prayer (pp. 147–148)
American morality is in decline. It’s nothing new, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. Michael Avramovich asks whether we’re the proverbial frog sitting still in the boiling pot.
Yes, our nation has now come to dry rot and decay, and I fear that we can only expect things will get much worse as we endure God’s holy and righteous judgment. The Jefferson Memorial contains a quotation from President Thomas Jefferson, who said powerfully, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Lord have mercy!
I’ve been gaining momentum writing my book on Karl Rahner for P&R Publishing’s Great Thinkers series. At this stage, I have been reworking my dissertation for this format. It will be a much shorter work and targeted to a different audience. The bulk of my present labors are in editing—or better yet, rewriting. Apparently, Hemingway wrote in A Moveable Feast that “the only kind of writing is rewriting.” I haven’t verified the quotation, but I agree with it regardless of who said it first, where, or when.
Text generation is one thing, but in my case good writing is the fruit of many, many rewrites. I work over passages myriad times. I continue to be amazed at how many improvements can still be made on the tenth or even twentieth pass. While it would seem that this would be most conducive to the word process, I find great difficulty in focusing on the screen in this stage. During my dissertation work, I began printing my chapters and editing them by hand with colored Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm gel tip pens (I’m particular about my writing implements.) I developed a system wherein I would encode my comments, make changes, write new sentences, etc. After working through the printed pages, I would open my word processor and begin making the changes to the electronic copy.
This worked extremely well for me, though the most annoying bit was working backwards. I found that if I made any substantial changes by adding significant amounts of text or rearranging passages, I would quickly lose my place; the updated electronic document became too far out of sync with the printed page. So I resorted to making the changes beginning with the end of the document and moving toward the beginning. While this would work most of the time, rearranging large passages would still sometimes still knock me out of whack. To solve this problem, I began marking insertion points on my document—both paper and electronic forms—with Greek letters. I would then highlight a passage and write a note to “move to alpha” or “move to beta,” etc.
Perhaps this process is inefficient; but it’s effective. And that’s the most important thing with intellectual work. Every writer—every thinker—must find his or her own process. At the end of the day, if something facilitates the formation, translation, and transition of deep and sustained thought from your mind to the page, that is where you must concentrate your energy.
Chad Van Dixhoorn has written an essay on the the making of the Westminster Larger Catechism. He writes:
there seem to be two main reasons why [the Larger Catechism] was written: (1) creedal unity and, (2) more fulsome instruction in the Christian faith; as the Scottish commissioners envisioned it, the chief beneficiaries of the Larger Catechism would be the adult Christians in both kingdoms who understood the doctrines and duties of the Shorter Catechism already, and needed the meat of the Word.
Take a look at John A. L. Lee’s guide to pronouncing Koine greek. It’s quite a bit different from what many people learn in seminary.
Watch all the videos from this year’s Reformed Forum Theology Conference using this YouTube playlist.
Here’s a great resource for keeping up with Hebrew.