Friday, June 29, 2007

"where did all these calvinists come from?"

please don't be afraid of the title...i am not going to talk about calvinism here. not this time at least. it's just the name of this article which talks about the sudden popularity of reformed doctrine (calvinism), particularly among those in their 20s and 30s.

the article was referenced at a blog i often read (the entry itself is pretty useless because it just rehashes the article, and then all the comments are just a back-and-forth about calvinism itself), and i posted a comment something like this in response to it. well, it was a lot shorter.

I have also noticed this current trend and have often wondered why it is happening. Whatever we think about calvin or spurgeon or reformed teachings, it's good that there is an increased longing for a return to sound doctrine. Someone mentioned that this trend is a backlash to the megachurches. I doubt it is to the churches so much as the watered-down message that often comes from their pulpits (some PCA churches are very large as well). I am very glad to see this "backlash," whyever it might be happening. And I think it is a good commentary on our generation. The fact that young people are rejecting feel-good theology is a great thing and I don't want to diminish it.

It is also telling that the churches teaching sound doctrine -- those not catering to culture and not desperately trying to appear relevant and mainstream -- are the ones actually attracting the greatest number of young people (I mean something like the 18-35 crowd). The irony here is that it's actually a trendy, hip, cool thing to be "reformed." It's so weird. Sometimes I think some people are "reformed" just because all their friends are, or, come Sunday morning on campus, that's where the cool, indie-sounding music is.

What I don't understand, though, is why it happens to be almost solely the Reformed style of doctrine that is attracting all these people. It's a little insulting to the rest of us, actually. Everything sound is doctrine, no matter if it was popularized by John Calvin/Spurgeon or not.

It concerns me a little, too, that the denomination Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), the biggest mouthpiece for reformed doctrine in the USA, will gain too much credit. After all, a denomination is STILL just a denomination no matter how cool it is. I am concerned that reformed-doctrine adherents will develop a denominational bent. (This is certainly possible in any denomination.) They could paralyzed from attending churches of other denominations, or nondenominational churches, who may teach doctrine that is just as sound, but who may not strictly adore -- I mean, adhere to -- the works of John Calvin and other words, be PCA.

I guess it's a little ruffling because my church (around 1,000 people) teaches sound, often difficult doctrine, all the way down to preschool-age kids. And somehow because we're not PCA we don't draw nearly as many "college kids." Just having PCA on your church sign is enough to attract a nice, hip group of trendy young people who like to sing revamped hymns -- oh yeah, which also just happen to come from a PCA music label (after all, the PCA has a monopoly and both good teaching AND good music). Okay, so I get annoyed with the PCA sometimes. ....AND, this is quickly becoming a rant so I will end here.

so what do my readers think of this? the article linked above says that the reformed trend is largely due to the prevalance of Spurgeon's writings and how often they are recommended. any thoughts about that? any correlating or rebutting experience with the PCA?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

home again, home again, jiggety jig...

...or so that rhyme goes, the one that i think of whenever i hear the words 'home again.'

so yes, i am safely home and i realize i only posted one time during my peru trip. well, once i even typed out a HUGE post, probably like four pages double spaced with one inch margins in twelve point font, and then the demon computer i was using decided to send all the stuff i had written to shibalba, or the place of death, fear, and generally not returning. that would have made two posts, anyways.

anyways, the gist of what is now residing in a cave in guatemala is like this. we came back from huanuco on a bus (the same way we had gotten there two weeks ago), except something was wrong with this bus and it stopped working somewhere around 13,000 feet in a tiny mountain village, about a third of the way into the eight-hour journey to lima. the bus people tried to fix it by pouring dirty streamwater into it, and i don't know why that didn't help, but after three hours, they decided to call huanuco to send another bus. since we were already nearly tres horas into our journey, we waited for nearly six hours to get on another bus. there was a little cafeteria place nearby where we were able to use the bano and get things to eat, but we pretty much just waited and tried to sleep. there was some nauseatingly loud spanish music playing in the bus cabin, and we finally told her to turn it off. "no mas," said the gringos, alto y estupido. "we all just want to dormir," said andy in his spanglish dialect. thankfully she understood our attempts and the music hopefully went to shibalba forever. here are two of the things i saw from my seat on the bus:

you'd think it couldn't get worse than being six hours late to our cozy hotel in lima. but we had to get there first. not too soon after we left the village, the sun slipped behind the andes in a fiery farewell. this is pretty much my last view of the peruvian countryside:
it soon became dark, and while the new bus driver kindly wanted to get us to Lima ASAP, he did it by unkindly driving at breakneck speeds. through canyons. twisting and turning and passing on dark mountain turns. lurching forward and slamming on the brakes. we were all doped up on dramamine, and drowsily trying to sleep (we couldn't really) and most of the people upstairs (double decker bus) lost their lunches at some point on the second leg of our trip. we finally pulled into lima around 11:15 and then after our taxi driver brought us to the wrong hotel, we all were finally able to drag our woozy bodies into bed and sleep until who knows when, because no one had an alarm clock and no one was planning to get anyone else up.

so we all eventually woke up and got going out of the hotel around noon. our flight left for Houston at 11:30 that night, so our afternoon in lima consisted of seeing the ocean, shopping in an outrageously expensive mall and shopping in a market. the ocean was neat. i haven't seen it for a long time. i especially like the way it sounds. here is a picture of it:
at the mall there i ate some KFC nuggets, which were SO good! :) we walked about 30 minutes to get to the Inca Market, where they sold tons of alpaca and other really cool stuff for pretty cheap, and you are expected to bargain with them all. here is a picture of it:
i tried to bargain sometimes but my espanol wasn't too great so i paid too much for some things. oh well. i got some neat things for myself and the Fam.

our flight went pretty well, and we flew through the night and arrived in houston early saturday morning. then we flew from houston to omaha, and got back to lincoln around 1:00 p.m. i slept from 4 to 7 that evening, and then from 8 to 8 this morning. i hadn't slept at all the night before.

so. what did i learn from the trip, is the question of the hour. well, that and what did i do, how are the rosengrens, are you planning to be a missionary, did you go the jungle, did you bring me anything. the answer to the last three questions is no (if you are my family, the last one is yes). the rest i will talk about later, because i am trying to unpack now, and i have people coming over in 40 minutes. so i'll post more later. BUT...thank you all so very much for your thoughts, prayers, and financial support (if applicable). i know that God used us all in a very real way while we were there. more on that later. i look forward to giving you more insights from my trip. and hopefully i'll find time to put some cool pictures on my photoblog too. thanks so much for reading, everyone!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

some pictures from Peru

hello everyone, i am not going to write too much right now. but i wanted to share some pictures from peru, and some of what we've done. we are staying in a town of about 90,000 people, in a small valley about 6500 feet high.

some out-the-bus-window shots between lima and huanuco:

the view from right outside the missionary's home:

me and a little orphan baby named Johnny:

someplace in town, with a couple of three-wheeled taxis:

in the meat market, which smelled REALLY bad:

part of the outdoor market:

a hotel we ate at:

that's all for now folks, i'll give you more pictures when i have the time. right now it's time for a siesta. :)

Friday, June 08, 2007

almost home!

i have no pictures for you tonight. i just wanted to reaffirm that i am alive and well, and that our trip has been highly successful in terms of famous sights seen (for justin and i), for research accomplished (for dad) and great times spent together (for all three of us, but particularly justin and i). i just want to let you know what we've seen in the last couple of days...

in the two days since i last posted, we have visited arlington national cemetery, the jefferson memorial, lincoln memorial, capitol, supreme court, senator hagel's office, the senate gallery to observe some debate, the library of congress and the national aquarium.

we did all that with a metro pass and a lot, i mean a LOT of walking. i am really sore from walking many miles each day and doing tons of standing in line and walking slowly and respectfully through all kinds of places. i have a lot of really great pictures of stuff, and hopefully you'll get to see some of them soon.

oh yeah. i got another "illegal" picture, this time of the gutenburg bible. yeah, i saw it and decided to take a nice picture of it, and i did, right before justin turned me around to the "NO PHOTOGRAPHY OF THIS EXHIBIT" sign about two feet away from me. i am really shocked that we weren't thrown out of the nation's capitol.

so today we are someplace in ohio spending the night, and tomorrow we drive home!! tonight we relaxed in a jacuzzi after eating a classy dinner at Bob's Big Boy Burgers. or something to that effect. anyways, it'll be nice to have an extra day before we turn around and get on our plane to Peru, on tuesday. i am so exhausted and everything from the waist down is sore. but it's also a good kind of bubbly, airy feeling that you get after sitting in a hot tub for an hour. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

east coast, so far

we're getting ready to spend our fourth night on the eastern fourth of the united states. :) okay, we've done a lot and seen a lot since we left on saturday morning, and i really haven't felt like posting anything on here. in fact, i'm making myself type now because i still don't feel like it. but blogging is like smoking or crack or country sucks you in and you can't get away from it.

(just in case anyone has no idea what is going on here, justin and i are accompanying my dad on a week-long research trip to pennsylvania and washington d.c.)

so we drove almost a thousand miles on saturday, leaving home about 7.30 and getting to pittsburgh, PA late that evening. we didn't really see or do anything cool the first day, we just drove forever. monday we drove a few hours to gettysburg (pictures follow), which i've been to a couple of times before, but it was a lot better now that i am older and can understand it better. we stayed that evening in carlisle, at the army war college where dad had an appointment with someone the next morning. our room there was super nice (pictures follow). then we drove to fort meade, MD, where our reservations were for the next night. on the way, we drove through a lot of amish country and stopped at a few village stores. which brings us to today. our hotel is south of d.c. but it's about a 30 minute metro ride to the downtown area. so today, after we traveled from fort meade and checked into our hotel, dad went his own way to do whatever it is he does. justin and i plan to visit plenty of famous attractions in d.c. and this afternoon we got a good start by visiting the air and space museum, the national archives, the national sculpture garden, and the old post office & tower.

i know this is a really dry post, but we have had a lot of fun. so here are some pictures of our trip so far.

in front of Pickett's Charge memorial.

a bit of the amish countryside

at the gettysburg museum

firing the cannon

my bed in our super awesome room at the army war college

hey look everyone, we're in washington d.c.!

the moon rock had an effect on justin.

missiles at the air & space museum

pretending to be samson in front of the national archives

hello? at the national archive entrance.

the columns in front of the national archives.

pondering the unfathomable mystery of this highly creative and artistic "sculpture."

this one was kind of cool...

the illegal picture (i accidentally used a flash in the national archives).

the national archives, from the sculpture gardens

i doubt i'll post for a few days, but tomorrow we plan to see the washington monument, jefferson & lincoln memorials, and arlington national cemetery. we're staying here for three nights.

oh, and i also got a new wallet.

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