WHO IS THE NAIL?

Some people have a way with words. Maybe this statement is a common adage for all  you wise ones out there, but when I read it I thought boy that hits the mark. Here it is from Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  What do you suppose he is talking about?

Advertisements

29 Comments

  1. RubeRad said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    I don’t know about wise, but I have heard that expression quite a lot. Mostly about engineering personalities, such that, I don’t know, somebody might write a bowling league scoresheet application using database software, just because they know about databases. (I would of course do it in Perl, creating a LaTeX output file that could then be compiled into PostScript or PDF for pretty-printing).

    As for the Archbishop of Canterbury, I’m not sure what he’s using it for. Is he criticizing the American Episcopal church for being divisive due to a one-track-mind wrt ‘gender issues’?

  2. setty said,

    May 31, 2007 at 2:07 am

    I don’t think so!

  3. Bruce S. said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:44 am

    As you apparently remember, I wrote my bowling league scoresheet application in Microsoft Access!! Are you picking on me, son? In truth however, Microsoft Access even way back in 1994 had a Visual Basic component with which I did all the computational stuff. That scoresheet app was a killer app and even included a photo of each bowling alley at the top of the page. Plus I had to buy an impact printer to print the homemade score summary sheets in triplicate.

    As for the Anglicans, since they have gotten out of the gospel business and are into works’ righteousness, I would guess that the AB is saying that since humans are wired for law keeping, then all texts look like law, not gospel. And maybe the AB is decrying that fact.

    Somehow I doubt that’s where he’s going.

    If the AB is delving into politics, then he is a tool of Satan, by bringing disparagement onto Christ’s church.

  4. setty said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Now I understand the comments which were directed toward Rubrads father. His method must have been the hammer.

    Wellk I guess he is a tool of Satan, cuzz that was what it was all about. He was promoting diplomacy, which is of course Satanic.

  5. Bruce S. said,

    May 31, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Obviously promoting diplomacy in and of itself is not wrong, but when the church abandons the gospel in favor of meddling in politics, Satan is pleased. The common grace institution of the state is just what it is. For the church to operate there is wrong. And every time it does so, it is obviously not doing its job – which is to preach the gospel. And this meddling (regardless of what side is taken) always results in someone being turned off to the church, i.e. Christ and the gospel.

    I don’t expect an AB in the Anglican church to respect my position since, to the degree that it does this, it is a false church (not bearing the marks of a true church). You should be reading N.T. Wright (an Anglican) to confirm this.

    BTW, do you as a CRC member still have to subscribe to the Three forms of Unity? Did you as an elder? Does your friend Bob Korneeff have to as an ordained minister?

  6. Bruce S. said,

    May 31, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    Another way to look at it is this:

    Did you approve of Jerry Falwell? If not why not? Was it because you disagreed with his politics or was it because his meddling in politics resulted in countless people being turned off to the church – and therefore Christ and the gospel? Which one bothered you more?

    How about Rev. Jesse Jackson, or Rev. Al Sharpton? Rowan Williams is no different from any of these three in this respect.

  7. Bruce S. said,

    May 31, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Actually, in my defense, the bowling league app was a natural DB app since its biggest problem was persistent data storage. A guy who tackles this with Perl is the guy with the hammer.

  8. setty said,

    June 1, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    I will come back to this discussion after I have reflected on it some. For the time being I doubt if Williams and Falwell can be lumped into the same camp.

    Regarding Perl. Don’t fight boys.

  9. Barbara said,

    June 2, 2007 at 1:17 am

    The gospel is a gospel of life and that does not just mean life after death. Christ came to redeem the whole creation and bring it back to God (this is a strong N.T. Wright theme that I have appreciated recently). Christians are meant to post signposts to the kingdom of God and some of that means doing things that look a bit “political.” There’s a difference between applying the gospel to the political arena and being a partisan politician. NO ONE should have to be a Democrat or Republican or Green party member to feel at home in a church, any church. I’m am speaking in the American context now, of course. But that is different from valuing life in all its forms and stages or speaking for justice and peace, these gospel values. That’s what the prophets did in the Old Testament, and some today have a prophetic role. That means not predicting the future but speaking God’s word into the current situation. How we enact justice and peace (etc.) in a not-yet-redeemed, fallen world will seem different to different Christians, and we should allow each other those differences if we cannot come to an agreement, but enact them as signposts we must.

  10. Bruce S. said,

    June 2, 2007 at 6:27 am

    You know I disagree with these assertions strongly. The church is the called out – meant to minister to its members. Your idea of what the OT prophets did is way off. They were prosecuting covenant lawsuits – i.e. Israel as covenant breakers were served summons, as it were, being notified that they were in default of the covenant.

    Any Christless view of the OT is sufficient to kill off the church. I have been in this kind of church too long. I absolutely refuse to sit under transformationalist preaching. Why in the world do you hold this idea? The people in the pew are the ones in need of the gospel and to the degree that you pursue this false outreach is the degree to which your pewsitters are being starved of the gospel. I also think it is highly presumptuous to make such a gross assumption that the pewsitter is just fine and the “world” needs to be fixed. The pilgrims in the pew need to be fixed no less than anyone else. They just have the Holy Spirit nudging them forward in their sanctification. To think it can happen any other way is sub-Christian.

    If you want a cleaned up world going to hell, I don’t see the point. If you want any other outcome, (i.e. redeem the whole creation and bring it back to God – BTW, when did you become a post-millenialist?) then you will have to do it one human at a time via the gospel. Fixing the world (all the while putting up with pewsitters like me starving for the gospel) via law preaching can be done by anyone – Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, Democrats etc. – and is doomed to failure. And to the degree that you promote this agenda is the degree to which you undermine the gospel.

    It has nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ nor does it have anything to do with its mandate.

  11. Barbara said,

    June 2, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    No, I can honestly say that I did not know you would disagree strongly. There’s lots to be said in reply (including that the view I put forth does not imply a Christ-less view of the OT and that I am not a post-millenialist and that the gospel is not an either/or proposition in terms of where it ought to be applied), but I want to take some time to think things through carefully. At the same time I am trying to finish up many odds and ends so that next week I can focus on writing another chapter of my book–I am in a now or never mode. So it may be a while….

  12. Bruce S. said,

    June 2, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I am in no hurry, since I have been waiting for a year now on your reply to my objections in your May 21, 2006 post on your own blog.

    I wonder how long I will have to wait for dad to answer three yes-no questions on the three forms of unity that I asked.

    BTW dad, stating that you don’t think Williams and Falwell are in the same camp tells me that you are getting off on the wrong foot on this already. We aren’t talking about camps. We are talking about whether or not the church should be venturing into God’s common grace arena, as if to say they don’t trust God to fulfill his promises re common grace. Isn’t praying for kings and all those in authority supposed to be the ticket here, not meddling? And what happened to this: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

  13. Barbara said,

    June 2, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    At this point I can’t remember last year’s post. Sometimes I get distracted and sometimes I make a deliberate choice not to answer (more often the first situation). I’ll have to look it up. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I can do a bit of reading to help me sort out my thoughts….

  14. setty said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Reuben, is it possible that you were thinking about the statement, “using a sledge hammer to kill a fly”. That statement would give rise to a comment about the bowling program. I see no connection between the quote in the post and your comment.

    I also wish I hadn’t given attribution to the quote. Then the commentators would have had to deal with the quote. Its meaning is unmistakeable, particularly if I had included the rest of context in which it occurred.

  15. Bruce S. said,

    June 3, 2007 at 2:20 am

    I think the “if your only tool is a hammer then everything looks like a nail” fits the bowling program example perfectly.

    Your only tool is a hammer = the only language I know is DB.
    Everything looks like a nail = I have to write a bowling app. Sure looks like a DB app to me.

    That bowling app was no fly. I wonder if I still have it on some hard drive in the garage.

    My only two disagreements with Reuben’s jibe is that I know lots of “languages” and the bowling program is a perfect DB app.

    Then the commentators would have had to deal with the quote

    Not me. I refuse to be baited.

  16. setty said,

    June 3, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Well I didn’t get the connection. I thought you had more than one tool. So therefore didn’t get the connection, but the other reference certainly has application. Many years ago when I took an evening course in Fortran I can remember the instructor saying there is always a simpler solution. The sledge hammer is the less simple solution.

    Bill Muth and I wrote a program to automatically design structural members from a description of spatial and loading representation of the members. I am sure, nowdays, that program would be a great big sledge hammer. The program made reference to a table of member properties by an iteration process that searched for a member to satisfy the loading and span condition. The tables were on a hard drive. At the time our company didn’t even own a computer, and we would send the data out to Lear to use their
    IBM 360 computer. Our program had been loaded on it. When ever we would send data to Lear the operators there would go sit on the hard drive to keep it from walking off the floor as it searched for a solution. That is a sledge hammer.

  17. RubeRad said,

    June 4, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    the bowling league app was a natural DB app since its biggest problem was persistent data storage. A guy who tackles this with Perl is the guy with the hammer.

    Better Perl’s generic DBI interface to real databases for the persistent storage…

    Reuben, is it possible that you were thinking about the statement, “using a sledge hammer to kill a fly”

    More like using a hammer to drive a screw?

    As for the rest of it, I don’t think I want to jump in here — the water seems pretty cold…

  18. Bruce S. said,

    June 5, 2007 at 3:26 am

    the water seems pretty cold

    Blood’s colder than water.

  19. Bruce S. said,

    June 5, 2007 at 3:27 am

    Also, I don’t think Perl was JDBC capable back in 1993.

  20. RubeRad said,

    June 5, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    OK, I guess you’re cleared of the charge of ‘coding in Access’ (hammering a screw)…

  21. Barbara said,

    June 7, 2007 at 1:14 am

    I had planned on writing tonight, but a full day of mulching (over 2 1/2 hours of it) and working on my book (most of the rest of the time) has left me with little intellectual or physical energy. I promise I won’t ditch out on you, but you’ll have to exercise your patience, that fruit of the spirit….

  22. setty said,

    June 7, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I composed a rather lengthy comment on the “hammer, nail”, post, but decided the research and reflection
    on the subject gave me safaction enough,
    and I wouldn’t post it and add fuel to the flames.
    When you divvy up my estate you can find it on my hard drive under religion and politics.
    I did do some thinking on the “Three Forms of Unity”, and find it hard to relate to the issue. Could it be article 29 of the Belgic Confession?
    Probably the “hammer and nail” statement doesn’t conform to
    preaching the pure gospel. But who said the statement occurred in a sermon? Nuf said.

  23. Bruce S. said,

    June 7, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    When you divvy up my estate you can find it on my hard drive under religion and politics.

    By that time, you will have gone through 3 or 4 new hard-drives.

    My question is this: Are those two separate directories or mixed?

  24. setty said,

    June 7, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Mixed!

  25. Barbara said,

    June 8, 2007 at 1:02 am

    OK, it’s now or never for this bog entry/response tonight. Tomorrow I must put fingers to computer keys and begin the labor of producing chapter 4. As a prelude to what I am about to write, I must say that I am conflicted. Blogs can and probably should be used as a venue for discussing important ideas, not just for reporting daily events (though I have pretty much reduced my own to that). Families should be able to talk about these ideas together, not just skirt them. With that said, why do our exchanges so often degenerate? Somehow, we must learn HOW to interact around the significant, how to speak the truth (not Truth—I doubt whether any of us has arrived at T-truth in these matters) in love. That said, here goes:

    What I am resisting is a dichotomy between spiritual salvation and cultural (that inherently includes political (but not partisan)) “transformation.” Calvinism, as I have always understood and appreciated it, strongly encourages its adherents to obey God’s call for us to fulfill both the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate. No more than Christians can generate their own salvation, can they bring in the Kingdom of God. But that part of our calling is to plant signposts to that Kingdom by our personal behavior and our communal commitments. Whether it is the job of the Church per se to “do justice” (the Micah 6:8 phrase I will use as shorthand for any kind of social engagement directed at God’s purposes for his whole fallen world, the one that will be renewed in the new heaven and new earth), I can’t say (and maybe that is what Bruce was objecting to), However, certainly such justice is the outworking of the Gospel that it does preach. Whether it “delegates” such work to para-church organizations, such as the International Justice Mission, the Salvation Army, local food kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, the Institute for Global Engagement, Prison Fellowship, etc, or whether such work becomes part and parcel of the church’s ministry itself (such as what happens at Madison Square CRC, for only one example), it is clear that individual believers cannot accomplish much on their own. Individualism is one of the curses of modernity that we in America in particular have bought into.

    Rather than cite all the Scriptures that I believe support these statements, I will commend the section “Hope amid Despair: God’s Four Affirmations About Justice” and the final chapter, “The Body of Christ in Action: What We All Can Do” from Gary Haugen’s Good News about Injustice, which is full of them.

  26. Bruce S. said,

    June 8, 2007 at 3:20 am

    What I am resisting is a dichotomy between spiritual salvation and cultural (that inherently includes political (but not partisan)) “transformation.”

    I know. But there is one. Essentially there is law and there is gospel. I would rather you started off by expounding this: “The gospel is a gospel of life and that does not just mean life after death.” That way I could hear your definition of gospel. I think we are quite separated on this alone.

    Calvinism, as I have always understood and appreciated it, strongly encourages its adherents to obey God’s call for us to fulfill both the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate.

    This is Neo-Calvinism or Kuyperianism but I am not so sure about Calvin. The Great Commission is the command to preach the gospel and it is shocking to what degree that isn’t even done inside the church much less outside it. Better to get it right in the pulpit than to get it wrong on the street. The cultural mandate should not be capitalized. By appealing to it you are begging the question. For, in fact, that is what we are in disagreement about. I don’t believe there is one at all.

    But that part of our calling is to plant signposts to that Kingdom by our personal behavior and our communal commitments.

    I am not saying that I shouldn’t be a nice guy.But the Bible tells me pretty much to mind my own business.

    Whether it is the job of the Church per se to “do justice”

    and

    (the Micah 6:8 phrase I will use as shorthand for any kind of social engagement directed at God’s purposes for his whole fallen world

    are assertions which need to be proved. This, again, is the whole debate.

    However, certainly such justice is the outworking of the Gospel that it does preach.,

    Here, outworking again is in need of definition. I think that the old ‘Sin’, ‘Salvation’, ‘Service’ on an individual basis is still good enough and all we have. And I maintain that our first (primary) place to serve is within the church. The common grace institution of the state is what is charged with addressing the needs of the marginalized. In fact, the church is called to make sure that it doesn’t require the help from the state.

    it is clear that individual believers cannot accomplish much on their own

    Right. Which is why the God instituted the common grace institution of the state. It can do a much better job. And indeed, does so.

  27. Barbara said,

    June 8, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Last word (from me in this venue anyhow). Gospel: as defined by the New Bible Dictionary (1962): The gospel is the good news that God in Jesus Christ has fulfilled His promises to Israel, and that a way of salvation has been opened to all. As defined by N.T. Wright in the glossary of his “..for Everyone” series: First, with its roots in Isaiah, it meant the news of YHWH’s long-awaited victory over evil and rescue of his people. Second, it was used in the Roman world of accesion, or birthday, or the emperor. Since for Jesus and Paul the announcement of God’s inbreaking kingdom was both the fulfilment of prophecy and a challenge to the world’s present rules, ‘gospel’ became an important shorthand for both the message of Jesus himself, and the apostolic message about him. Paul saw this message as its the vehicle of God’s saving power….” Not much difference between them as I see it.

    BTW, dad’s unposted draft (which I read for him) was in no way baiting or provacative. I don’t know why he found the water too cold or the fire too hot.

  28. RubeRad said,

    June 11, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    This is Neo-Calvinism or Kuyperianism but I am not so sure about Calvin

    Knox was definitely a Reconstructionist, and I think he sat at the feet of Calvin for a few years. Not to say anything definitive about Calvin, or whether Knox was correct…

  29. zrim said,

    July 18, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    ok, ok, i will settle this.

    bruce is right, barbara is wrong.

    hope i can cathc you at church one day, bob.

    zrim


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: