One of the more pleasant surprises in writing this blog has been my introduction to some of the many articulate and creative Calvinist bloggers out there. My guess is that I owe my Reformed links to Wayne Olsen, who left Calvinism for Orthodoxy, but seems to have kept all his friends along the way.
I attended (ironically enough) an Orthodox Presbyterian Church during my college years, and still have copies of Calvin's Institutes and Berkhof's Systematic Theology in the bookcase. My friend David Yeago (now a systematic theologian at the Lutheran Seminary in Columbia South Carolina) and I used to delve into the arcana of Reformed theology until the early morning hours during our undergraduate years. Eventually we began to notice a certain procrustean quality in Calvinist scholasticism and turned to the Catholic and Patristic traditions of the Church for balance. In my case after many years the process led me to Orthodoxy. I still remember the moment when I realized that I could not be a classic TULIP Calvinist. I was up late one night listening to Patti Smith singing on (the original) Saturday Night Live, deconstructing the Van Morrison tune, "Gloria." She opened her version by chanting "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine ." The doctrine of the Limited Atonement, (in the admittedly simplistic way I was introduced to it) would have required me to respond, "Well, probably so." This struck me as just wrong at a gut level. The intellectual dissatisfaction followed closely thereafter.
Nonetheless, I still retain an affection and respect for the Reformed Tradition and enjoy listening in on the conversations going in the Calvinist blogging world. Joel Garver's reflections on the atonement and the discussions they have provoked have been particularly interesting.
For those who have never heard of Patti Smith, go here for a piece at Blogcritics.com that tries to explain why she seemed so important to those of us around at the time.
Thursday, August 15, 2002
NPR presents this fictional tale of the anonymous soul who began the practice of shouting out requests for "Freebird" at concerts. Actually, in this town when people call out for Freebird, they mean it, without a shred of irony. Making fun of Lynyrd Skynyrd around here is a good way to have yourself an educational experience out in the parking lot. Give it a listen anyhow, just for the free jazz version of the song at the end. (RealPlayer needed)