Welcome to The Pen Of The Muses! The posts below are often about theological, philosophical, political, lit., or writing topics because that's what's really important to me and what I'm most excited about sharing. But I am human. Man lives not by deep theological concepts alone. Not everything I post will be weighty.

-D.C. Salmon

Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Hobbit Day!


A Hobbit blog (Oh my goodness, I love this one!) : http://lotrproject.com/cheatsheet/flowchart.php

And a Hobbit song, telling the story of the Hobbit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkT2IOQVfIs

All making up for the fact that I can't go see the Hobbit today.. But ya. Viva La Middle Earth! :D

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The best Lewis quote of all time.

"One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you just said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important then the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And the funny thing is, when you think about it. We're just four babies playing a game, if you're right. But four babies making up a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. I'm on Aslan's side, even if there isn't any Aslans to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can, even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for the supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."

*Sniffle* :' )

Puddleglum [Speaking to the Witch], Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oh, don't worry the Bible is just entertainment!

   In Amusing Ourselves To Death, Neil Postman makes the case the televising certain things is inherently bad because of one simple thing: "If it's on TV, it's entertainment." Televised education makes children see learning as entertainment, and as a result, they have a hard time in school because it's not designed as entertainment. Death and violence are entertainment in all news stations, and as a result the general public grows numb to violent images and dialogue.

   And this isn't necessarily the fault of the producers of the shows. They're just buying into a system where if you're involved in TV, you have to have your product be entertaining. That's just the way it is. I got the impression that Neil Postman wasn't making the case to throw out TV altogether, but just to keep the things that ought not to be entertainment off TV. I'm not sure if that was the case he was trying to make, that was my take on it. But in this post I want to focus on something more specific under the genus of things that aren't entertainment: The Bible.

   Come on people. There's a show that can be found on The Game Show Network, called The American Bible Challenge, a trivia show that tests little-known knowledge of God's holy revelation to mankind.

   To begin with, some people probably support this show with the argument, "But having the Bible proclaimed in public in any way is a good thing, you heathen!" Not true. Having the Holy Word of God under the "Entertainment" label will give every new Christian and non-believer totally the wrong impression about it. Should the word of the triune, infinite, and omnipotent God really be on the same level with Newlywed Game, High Stakes Poker, and Love Triangle?

 Proclaiming the Bible with, "How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you..", is just a little different from, "Now you can play the game on Facebook, Android, and iPhone!" 

   "Well at least it gets people to look in their Bibles..." Sure. And I'm sure that because of this trivia show they'll undoubtedly be looking in their Bibles for undeniable truths, guidance, and wisdom from the Lord! If they read their Bibles at all because of this show it will only be in the light of entertainment, about on the same level with a quick Google search for how many babies a given actress had in one year. That's totally the way Christians should want people to think about the Bible. 

   In the light of unbelievers, who might join Christianity because of this show (supposing that there are any) they'll probably only come with the mindset of "I'm becoming a Christian because it's fun!".... Do I even need to go into detail about why that's bad? (Seriously though, if I do then just comment.)

And one more thing: They had a team called "Team Victorious Secret". No comment, no comment at all: moving on. 

   So I'm condemning The American Bible Challenge, not because it's someone in public talking about the Bible, or because knowing things about the Bible isn't good, but because as it presents the Bible wrong way, and in doing so, puts it on the same level as that which is empty, shallow, and dramatically-disguised. And I can't even talk about Christian quality, tele-pastors, cuteness in Christianity, or the whole concept behind "Tebowing". Those are discussions for other posts. ;)


Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Saint Andrew's Celebratio!

I have been privileged and blessed enough to be able to attend the New Saint Andrew's Celebratio and Grace Agenda, September 14th-17th. This is an event for prospective students, as well as current students and adults. I think I'll be attending the following events:

Future Makers
Douglas Wilson

Love Makers
Justin Holcomb

Man Makers
Ben Merkle

Peace Makers
Toby Sumpter

Trouble Makers
N.D. Wilson

Do Gay Rights Conflict With Conservative Christian Values?
A debate between Douglas Wilson and R. Clarke Cooper

Sit-In On NSA Class

Crisis of Masculinity
Douglas Wilson

Douglas Wilson interviews Ben Merkle and N.D. Wilson

I'll try to take notes on each session, and I'll be sure to post any notes and pictures I get. I hope ya'll enjoy them!

Nota Bene: I got the picture for this post directly from the NSA homepage. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

D.C. Salmon Summer 2012

So, as promised I'm writing a post about what I did this summer. Don't worry, I abridged the boring parts. ;)

End Of The Year Gathering:

I got a job working at Chick-fil-A: 

Went to M-Fuge camp in Glorietta, NM:

Met the Phillipses as they traveled back from Dallas to California:

Did Omnibus V Secondary as a summer class:

(Hope does not like it when I try to take pictures of her..)

So, overall it was a great summer. I'm happy about all the new people I got to meet and I'm excited about this coming school year. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not all rigor is mortis.

Not all rigor is mortis. Though, to be honest, most of our best teachers are dead.

Augustine, Calvin, Ambrose, T.S. Eliot, Flannery O'Connor, Chesterton. All dead.

The Liberal Arts are a bloody business. And people aren't the only casualties. Languages have died. Cities- gone. Libraries- burned by insecure bearded invaders. Don't even ask about the arts. Or Byzantium.

But the history of the Western world isn't over. We're standing in it. Standing on it. The same ancient wars are being waged and the same enemies are entrenched outside the walls of the City of God. They're even wearing the same face paint. This is no time to mourn or go wobbly.

We're not dad yet. We're in the thick of it. Rigor vitae. Break out the bread. Pour the wine. And when we do join the saints beyond the fray, we'll have left others behind, trained, eager, laughing, ready for their turn.

-New Saint Andrews College (And I'd bet my life that it was N. D. Wilson that wrote it for them.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chick-fil-A Gay Marriage Contraversy: Explanation and Timeline

There's been a lot of contraversy about Chick-fil-A recently, and it's made a lot of headlines. Some of  the factual information was taken from the Go Sanangelo blog.

July 16th, 2012: Dan Cathy (head of all Chick-fil-A's everywhere) commented to Baptist Press, that they as a company are "guilty as charged" with their support of, traditional, biblical, heterosexual marriage.

August 1st, 2012: (Unofficial) Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, as organized by Mike Huckabee.

August 3rd, 2012: Gay/Lesbian Kiss-In. A gay/lesbian couple is just supposed to go to a Chick-fil-A and take a picture of them kissing.

-As far as Cathy's comment goes this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The whole first part of the interview is about how Christianly-oriented Chick-fil-A is. There are many who love, and many who hate Chick-fil-A and Cathy for this. There are many different reasons on both sides.

-Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was a smashing success. No one expected the amazing turn-out that we had. Our building was packed the whole day. It literally changed the definition of busy. We ran out of chicken by 9:00 or so that night and we made 50% more than a normal day. It was actually our busiest day, topping even our grand opening.

-The Aug, 3rd Kiss-In wasn't too bad for our restaurant-- after all we're basically the buckle of the Bible-belt. There was only one gay couple, even though many more RSPV'd on Facebook. I suppose that some Chick-fil-A's in places like California and New York were hit pretty badly.

At first I didn't realize that Cathy had been asked about his views on marriage, so I didn't think that it was a very good business move. I thought he had just published one day "I stand for traditional marriage!". But now that I know it was an interview in which he had to make a choice I support his decision and the way he made it. I must say that I also support it partially because in the grand scheme of things, he is my boss and I'm at least partially obligated to support what he says. Uniformity of the company and all.

Barnabas Piper wrote a thought-provoking article for a World Magazine site. He brings up the issue that it will be harder for Christians and others to minister to and convert gays and lesbians and those who support and condone if we further divide ourselves. Others countered this by bringing up that we as Christians are called to fight against certain things.

This again whole issue begs the question in my mind of what exactly does it mean to refuse to being supportive or apathetic to the sin, but to be able to minister to these people. It's obviously wrong and against what the Bible says to be gay or lesbian. But how can we love the sinner while still hating the sin? Well I'm still trying to figure this out. I think that it would be to be open to talking and forming relationships with gays/lesbians, but if asked for our opinions on what the right kind of marriage is, to solidly stand for Biblical marriage (while still trying not too offend the person).

Friday, August 3, 2012

G.K. Chesterton (Omnibus V Textbook) Douglas Wilson

This is something that I didn't write, it's totally worth passing on because it's well written, it's about G.K. Chesterton, and it was written by Douglas Wilson.

"G.K. Chesterton was a prolific writer of the early twentieth century. After a short period of unbelief in his youth, he lived most of his life as a very public Christian, converting to Roman Catholicism in 1922. He was born in 1874 and died in 1936, which means that almost all of his literary work was conducted in the early twentieth century. He wrote hundreds of poems, thousands of essays, hundreds of short stories, and eighty books. His output was enormous, but his span was equally staggering. He wrote about philosophy, he wrote biographies, he dealt with economics, he was a journalist, he was a Christian apologist, he wrote detective fiction, and he wrote fantasy. In short he was a torrent of literary output.

He was a large man, with a much larger imagination. He was almost 300 pounds and was 6' 4" tall. He has accurately been described as "the prince of paradox." He once said that a paradox is truth standing on its head to get attention. His wit was memorable, and he is one of the most quoted figures of the twentieth century. He was a friendly adversary to George Bernard Shaw, who once patted his stomach and asked what they were going to name the baby. Without missing a beat, Chesterton replied that if it was a girl, they would name her Mary, if a boy John. But if it turned out to be only gas, they would name it George Bernard Shaw.

Chesterton was an apostle of bracing, good sense. Someone once said of C.S. Lewis that he "made righteousness readable." This is a quality that he shared with Chesterton, and not surprisingly Chesterton was a significant influence on Lewis:

     "It was here that I first read a volume of Chesterton's essays. I had never heard of him and had no idea of what he stood for; nor can I quite understand why he made such an immediate conquest of me....Liking an author may be as involuntary and improbable as falling in love. I was by now a sufficiently experienced reader to distinguish liking from agreement. I did not need to accept what Chesterton said in order to enjoy it.... I liked him for his goodness."

If Lewis is father to many hundreds of thousands, we may consider Chesterton in some way to be their grandfather. Chesterton was significant for the generations that followed him because of the influential people he influenced. He helped to shape and form those who were to be enormously influential. Chesterton was truly a great man.

But he was also significant in his own day, in his own generation. Just as the Evangelical Awakening, ed by men like Whitefield and Wesley, was a part of the reason England was spared a bloodbath like the French Revolution, so also the sunny disposition and common sense faith exhibited by Chesterton was a very real antidote to the fashionable intellectual currents steering Europe towards war. In the aftermath of World War II, it is often hard for us to see how au courant fascism was- not just in Italy and Germany, but also in England and America. Chesterton stood courageously (and winsomely) against many of the popular political idols of the age."

-Douglas Wilson

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dubstep Reflections

There is a new music genre called Dubstep that some of you may not be aware of. The technical definition, taken from the all-knowing Wikipedia, is:

"Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South LondonEngland. The music website Allmusic has described its overall sound as "tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals"."

According to Adubstep.com the top Dubstep artists are Benga, Doctor P, Flux Pavilion, Modestep, Nero, Rusko, Skream, and Skrillex. Out of these I especially like Flux Pavilion, Doctor P, Skrillex, and some of Nero's works are good. Along with these I like Bassnectar, The Glitch Mob, and some songs by Deadmau5.

At the end of "Rock n Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain)" are the words "You have technicians here, making noise, no one is a musician, they're not ours because nobody can play the guitar," bringing up the discussion of whether or not Dubstep artists are technically musicians. Some would claim that if they don't have mastery over traditional instruments then they don't count. I disagree.

To be a successful Dubstep artist one must have mastery over many other things besides traditional instruments. In order to make a good Dub-song you have to be able to balance very deep and very high sounds, have many different levels of song going on at the same time, sense of when to repeat certain sections, being able to balance between chaos and order, and above all a very refined sense of rhythm.

Just because someone can't play a conventional instrument doesn't mean that they're not a musician. Skrillex and all the rest play technological instruments, and they still fulfill the requirements of organizing notes and lyrics and what-not. It's almost as if Dubstep artists are not only the writers, but also the conductors of their songs. 

By the way- I made a Dubstep playlist on Youtube. Feel free to check it out. I take no responsibility for the comments section. 

Note of warning: Do not get lost in Dubstep. It may be easy for some to meander through the chaotic, jumpy notes, to lose themselves in the deep, booming base-lines, to immerse themselves in the pandemonium. This is dangerous two-fold. 

Primarily, and most obviously, Dubstep is geared toward and created by young people, and especially young men. With that comes much worldliness and sin. There is one Skrillex song entitled "I Want To Kill Everybody", and many Dubstep songs center on sex. It's the sad truth. Avoid that.

Secondarily the mayhem, havoc, and maelstrom of notes when taken only by itself is not true to the world the way that God made it. An old classical song with orderly notes is much closer to the real world, then all the random disarray. Though the flip side of this is that God is always perfectly organized, boring, and slightly OCD. Watch a rainstorm. God can be disorganized at times. Balance between the two. 

Even Marco Polo...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing Analysis

My favorite hymn of all time is "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing". Here's a line-by line analysis with some grammatical explanations, just to keep things clear. ¡Enjoy!

Come, thou fount of every blessing,
This line compares God to a fountain that is continually pouring forth blessings and goodness. 

Tune my heart to sing thy grace (praise);
This line shows a willing heart to worship God, but admits that I am still a fallen human. In the version that uses grace is also says specifically that I want to praise God's grace.

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Another water analogy, now using a river or a stream. Have you ever noticed that streams really do seem unending? The water just keeps coming and coming, with gallons upon gallons rushing past. A fitting analogy for God's mercy. Note that it uses the word mercy instead of grace now. 

NOTE: The difference between mercy and grace: You are given mercy when you don't receive a punishment that you fully deserve. You are given grace when you are given a good thing that you don't deserve. When your mom doesn't ground you for disobeying her, that's mercy. When she gives you cookies right after you've been disrespectful to her that's grace. ¿Got it? Good. :)

Call for songs of loudest praise.
This is actually a continuation of the last line, but even so it shows that God's mercy merits the maximum amount of praise because of its greatness.

Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
This line shows again that I am a sinner, unable to glorify God as He deserves.

Sung by flaming tongues above. 
This phrase modifies the word sonnet. Duh, but I want to be clear. This lines says that I want to be as good at worshiping as the very ones who are in God's presence.

Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
A comparison of God's love to a mountain, unmoving, unchangeable, and stable. This line reiterates, one, that God's love is immovable, and two, that I am an object of His love. Also, this line shows that God's love is not dependent on anything that we do. The thing that His love is compared to is not something that we can hold, or even reject. 

Mount of God's (thy) redeeming (unchanging) love.
This phrase clarifies the mount that I'm praising. There are a couple other variations that I've heard, but the differences are slight. Changing "God's" to "Thy" would only change the person to whom the song is being sung, though both are good. It is necessary for Christians to not only address God directly, but also to affirm their worship to others.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
I had no idea what this was supposed to mean so I Googled it. Here's the link if you would like to read the full article, which is written by Apologetics Press. I would highly suggest it. It won't take too long. :) Taken from the article:

"An Ebenezer, then, is simply a monumental stone set up to signify the great help that God granted the one raising the stone. In Robinson’s poem, it figuratively meant that the writer—and all who subsequently sing the song—acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings and help in their lives."

And this again affirms the blessings and assistance in the life of a fallen human like me. 

Hither by Thy help I've come;
This line again references the story in 1 Samuel 7. Read the by Apologetics Press for more info. But also this line and the following can be taken apart from that reference. They can be taken to remind how God guides us through all the walks of life....

And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
...until our travels end safe and secure with Him. This also reiterates that I am one of the ones who is saved. I really appreciate that.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
This line not only admits that we are fallen and wandering from God, but it also reminds us of how Christ pursued us in the midst of our sin.

Wandering from the fold of God;
This line modifies what I was doing as a stranger: Being outside of the blessings of God.

He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.
interpose: (verb) 1. place or insert between one thing and another.
                           2. intervene between parties

In taking the punishment for our sins Jesus literally shielded us all from the righteous wrath of God with His own body. He inserted Himself between us and out infinite punishment, and when God sees us, it's as though He doesn't see our failures. Instead He sees Christ's blood and righteousness, because that too is interposed. 

In taking our punishment Christ also interposes by intervening on our behalf to God the Father. Some people take this to mean that God The Father is the bad guy who is just out to get us all, but Christ disobeyed Him by being crucified. This is a bunch of liberal nonsense. There is perfect unity in the Trinity. 

O to grace how great a debtor
This is one of my favorite lines. It reminds me how much I have sinned and how really in debt I am to God's grace. 

Daily I'm constrained to be!
Not only am I greatly indebted to God's grace, but I am literally indebted every single day of my life. Therefore I should be constantly thanking and praising God for it. 

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
This line and the next ask God to literally chain me to Him through His goodness. Not only does this line again reiterate God's goodness, but through it I request God to make it so that I can never leave Him. 

Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
What I get out of this line is that I admit that I am a wandering sinner, but I still want to be with God, and that I love Him. 

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
I'm a wrongdoer, it's true....

Prone to leave the God I love;
...but I still love my Lord...

Here's my heart, o take and seal it,
...so I want God to make it so that we will never be apart. 

It really resinated with me when I heard this line because one of my mentors, teachers, pastors, and friends, Pastor Lotzer, had taught me that there are two meanings to the word seal. 

The first is that sealing of preservation. If you seal something in a can or a ziploc bag it's thoroughly protected from things that would make it go bad or things that would do it harm. By being asked to be sealed I ask God for protection from without and from within. 

The second meaning of the word seal is that of validation. This kind of seal is the seal that is found pressed in wax on letters, and the seal that's found on the floor of the capitol building. It's a seal that says "This comes from us: it's official. You'd better respect it." This kind of seal says exactly that from God.

Seal it for Thy courts above.
Keep me protected until I am in Your courts with you, and declare me to be Yours until then as well.

It took me a little while to figure out exactly why I like this song so much, but I narrowed it down to a few main reasons: I can really relate to songs that have archaic words and phrases, this song constantly reminds me of how much God blesses us and how good He is, it has a strong emphasis on grace (Grace is seriously the most amazing thing ever), it reminds me that I am still a sinner, but it shows that I still love God.

I'll talk about this last point for a little bit. I had been struggling theologically with one thing for a few months now. I had heard from Jamey, out youth pastor, and a few other people that "Faith without works is dead. If you don't have good works then you should inspect yourself and see if you really do have faith." Well this reasoning seemed to imply to me that I didn't have faith because I wasn't perfect. It worried me and I didn't like thinking about it.

But I was at MFUGE camp at Glorietta, NM last week and the speaker, Ben, said something that really helped: (Paraphrased) "Faith without works is dead, but this doesn't mean that if you sin you're not saved. It just means that as a whole you'll start getting better. As you move on in your life you'll gradually get better and better, closer and closer to God. Of course you're going to fall down, but as a whole you'll be improving."

This hit the nail right on the head for me. And this song admits that I fall down and fail, but by the grace of God I'm moving forward, and because of all this I can join Paul in saying "I run thus: not with uncertainty."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Well now, well now! It seems to be summer time. What do you have to look forward to?

As many of my stalwart 20 members may have noticed it is summer time, and also that my number of posts of been decreasing. Shockingly enough, there is a direct correlation between those two things. The amount of brain activity that goes on and the amount of schoolwork that I do are almost directly proportional. To be totally honest, the reason that I have not posted recently is that I cannot think of anything to post about. This blog is dedicated to mainly theological, philosophical, lituratur-ical, or political topics and I haven't been dealing with many of those fields recently. So I will post what I manage to scrape together this summer. I am doing Omnibus V Secondary with Art Stroh this summer, so I will not only be able to post about the things we learn, but I will also be able to post because of the brain energy that has been fired up by those scholastic rigors.

Future posts you devoted members can look forward to in the near future:

-There are drafts of posts that I have started, and I will write a proper post about the one that is voted to the top. I made a poll for ya'll to vote on and it's at the bottom of the page. This poll includes *every* post that I have started and never posted. It reveals every single one. Just vote for whichever one you want to read. ¿Got it? Good. :)

-I'll write a proper (though somewhat relaxed) post of random thoughts that I have come up with in my mad mutterings this summer.

-I'll write a post about the things that have been going on in my life this summer. I promise pictures.

-Lastly I'll make a post entirely filled with links to websites that I have been using recently with short (or possibly long) descriptions of what they are and why I like them.