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Saturday's Old Photo

This is my dad’s family. I’m not sure what the occasion is, but they are all dressed up for something, aren’t they? There’s no date on the photo (Update: My sister dates the photo at about 1948), but I’d guess that the youngest children are teenagers and one son, as you can see, already has a child. My grandpa is in the center; my grandma is the second from the left; the others are their four sons, two daughters, and one granddaughter. My dad is the second from the right if you don’t count the baby.

This is what we would call a blended family. My grandma and grandpa each had two children when they married, and together they had three more, including a little boy who died when he was a few months old. There two last names—my dad and his brother were Russells and the rest were Vogts—but it was one strong family.

There are five of the six Vogt/Russell sons and daughters still living, and here you see them in a photo from their family reunion last summer. My dad is the one in the center. It’s my dad’s full brother, the son on the far left of the old photo, who is missing. The remaining brothers and sisters range in age now from their seventies to nineties.

The last time I saw this group was when my mother passed away 6 years ago. Every one of them came for the memorial service. The one brother and two sisters who still live in Kansas, along with the brother’s wife, drove all the way up to Minnesota together.

I’m hoping I inherited their spunk.


My Desktop Photo 91

Photo by Andrew Stark
(click on photo for larger view)


Round the Sphere Again

An all Carson edition.

You Intended - God Intended
Don Carson explains the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility using the example of Joseph. (For the Love of God)

[Joseph] does not say that during a momentary lapse on God’s part, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, but that God, being a superb chess player, turned the game around and in due course made Joseph prime minister of Egypt. Still less does he say that God’s intention had been to send Joseph down to Egypt in a well-appointed chariot, but unfortunately Joseph’s brothers rather mucked up the divine plan, forcing God to respond with clever countermoves to bring about his own good purposes. Rather, in the one event – the selling of Joseph into slavery – there were two parties, and two quite different intentions.

This, says Carson, “generates many complex philosophical discussions. But the basic notion is simple.” See how he sums it all up.

Biblical Mandate or Not?
In an article from Modern Reformation, Carson sets out a few preliminary guidelines to help determine which parts of the Bible are injunctions for us and which are not. He explains the problem like this:

“Greet one another with a holy kiss”: the French do it, Arab believers do it, but by and large we do not. Are we therefore unbiblical? Jesus tells his disciples that they should wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14), yet most of us have never done so. Why do we “disobey” that plain injunction, yet obey his injunction regarding the Lord’s Table? If we find reasons to be flexible about the “holy kiss,” how flexible may we be in other domains? May we replace the bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper with yams and goat’s milk if we are in a village church in Papua, New Guinea? If not, why not? And what about the broader questions circulating among theonomists regarding the continuing legal force of law set down under the Mosaic covenant? Should we as a nation, on the assumption that God graciously grants widespread revival and reformation, pass laws to execute adulterers by stoning? If not, why not? Is the injunction for women to keep silent in the church absolute (1 Cor 14:33-36)? If not, why not? Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again if he is to enter the kingdom; he tells the rich young man that he is to sell all that he has and give it to the poor. Why do we make the former demand absolute for all persons, and apparently fudge a little on the second?

Read the six guidlines for sorting things out.