Tuesday, January 31, 2012


In my book I discuss a biblical philosophy of economics and social order as it is related to food and food production and consumption. Here is an introduction to the broader subject of centralization/decentralization.

The way that centralization works in Christianity is that Christ's authority is over all. As far as humans are concerned, centralization is discouraged. Neither is individualism, though, and there is a certain balance. The balance involves the limits of human relationships. Authority, power, and rules are very related to relationships. As we are all God's creatures we are his subjects, and as we (Christians) are saved and specially known by God we are specially held accountable to His fatherly authority. While God is infinite and can know everything and everybody, we are limited and can only know certain things. Thus, our authority is limited because our relationships are limited. That is why the family is so important to a biblical society. It is the relational unit that can work, play, eat, sing, live together, with much specificity and detail - including what's for dinner. The broader the jurisdiction, the more limited the power, and, of course, limited in different ways depending on whether it is church, state, etc... When people are unsatisfied with the limited authority they have, and seek to centralize power, they divorce relationships from authority. Sooner or later it will be detrimental to that society (if not blatant tyranny).

"Woe to those who join house to house,
who add field to field,
until there is no more room,
and you are made to dwell alone
in the midst of the land."
(Isaiah 5:8)

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Carpenter and Philosophy

Here is a quote that does a good job of explaining how philosophy and higher principles are very practical and worth studying. It is from a lecture by R. L. Dabney titled, "Commendation of the Study of Philosophy" (1885):
"It may be well just here to illustrate farther the fact that every man philosophizes, 'will he, nill he,' if he thinks. Here is a plain carpenter, who on Monday takes up the hatchet he had sharpened and used Saturday. It proved itself of good steel, temper and edge, then. Will it cut well this morning? Assuredly it will, says the honest man. But may it not have changed its nature since Saturday, although not meddled with in any way? Is it obliged to be steel now, because it was steel then; may it not now be of soft iron? or lead? 'No!' he exclaims. 'That’s absurd!' But why absurd, Mr. Carpenter? Perhaps he had not thought it out in full form; but now that you press him to do so, he tells you: no change could have been made in the metal without some cause; and that 'he knows by looking at it,' i. e., by its sensible properties, that it is still steel. That is all very plain and simple; but this carpenter has now posited three of the most profound general truths of abstract philosophy: The necessary law of causation; the continuity and permanency of substantive being; and the inseparable union of attributes to their substance. He has been dealing in the depths of ontology! Quite a philosopher he!”
We do things for reasons, whether we think them through or not. As a side note you can se here the original form of the term 'willy-nilly' as 'will he, nill he', meaning whether he wants to or not.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Now Available for Pre-Order!

The book, The Christian Philosophy of Food, is now available for pre-order. It should be shipped by mid-February. If you have trouble with the website or the ordering, or if you have any questions, please let me know.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Faith, Health, and Comfort

I ran across this quote recently and recognized in it an important thing to remember when we are discussing health. While there defiantly are many things we should do to take care of ourselves, we will be a nervous wreak if we do not trust God for our health.

"Innumerable are the ills which beset human life, and present death in as many different forms. Not to go beyond ourselves, since the body is a receptacle, nay the nurse, of a thousand diseases, a man cannot move without carrying along with him many forms of destruction. His life is in a manner interwoven with death...Then, in what direction soever you turn, all surrounding objects not only may do harm, but almost openly threaten and seem to present immediate death...Amid these perils, must not man be very miserable, as one who, more dead than alive, with difficulty draws an anxious and feeble breath, just as if a drawn sword were constantly suspended over his neck?...it is impossible not to fear and dread as if they were to befall us. Add that there is something like an insult to God when it is said, that man, the noblest of the creatures, stands exposed to every blind and random stroke of fortune. Here, however, we were only referring to the misery which man should feel, were he placed under the dominion of chance.

"But when once the light of Divine Providence has illumined the believer’s soul, he is relieved and set free from the extreme fear and anxiety which formerly oppressed him...For as he justly shudders at the idea of chance, so he can confidently commit himself to God. This, I say, is his comfort, that his heavenly Father so embraces all things under his power—so governs them at will by his nod—so regulates them by his wisdom, that nothing takes place save according to his appointment; that received into his favour, and entrusted to the care of his angels neither fire, nor water, nor sword, can do him harm, except in so far as God their master is pleased to permit. For thus sings the Psalm, “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday” &c." (Ps. 91:2-6).

-John Calvin (Institutes, Book 1, Chapter 17, Section 10)

Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
(Psalm 127:1-2 ESV)