Monday, August 08, 2005

My Profile

More people come to my blog via Google searches on various topics than by any other way. My profile is not the clearest statement for those outside my narrow cultural and religious niche. This entry explains it to those without my background or context. My profile is:

Look! Over on the table. It’s a goblet. It’s a beaker. It’s Erlenmeyer Flask! Yes, It’s Erlenmeyer Flask – a strange blogger with alien righteousness, who came to blogging with logic and persuasion abilities far beyond those of mortal chipmunks. Erlenmeyer – who can change the course of philosophical arguments, bend wet spaghetti in his bare hands, and who, disguised as a mild-mannered elder at a Metro-Atlanta PCA church, blogs a neverending narration for Truth and Justification through Christ alone.


It's a weird profile statement -- some might find it humorous, some irritating. It's an inside joke in many ways. It has cultural, entertainment, and religious themes all rolled together. I will provide a commentary.

First of all, my profile is based on the old 1950s Superman television series. I enjoyed watching the series as a kid. For me, that was the quintessential Superman, against which all other Superman movies, series, etc. was to be compared. Each episode opened with the classic statement:

Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman! Yes, it's Superman - strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman - who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a neverending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.


Now, what is my profile about? My name, Earl (short for Erlenmeyer) Flask, is a pseudonym. I have various reasons to write anonymously, although many people know who I am.

The first sentence of my profile:

Look! Over on the table. It’s a goblet. It’s a beaker. It’s Erlenmeyer Flask!


is a straight play of the sentence of the Superman opening: Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman!

The next section pulls in a theme from Christian theology:

Yes, It’s Erlenmeyer Flask – a strange blogger with alien righteousness


I think everyone coming to this blog recognizes the word "blogger". The concept, alien righteousness needs some explanation. This is not referring to the illegal alien problem discussed in US politics, nor is it a science fiction idea dealing with aliens from other planets. The concept is that every person is required by God to be morally perfect -- but we all fail at it. It is not a simple lapse, forgetting to do things we should do. There is behind our failure a rebellion against God. In fact, we fail at it so badly that we all deserve God's anger and punishment. We are in a hopeless condition in great part because we do not desire to do what God requires. Unless someone steps in for us, we are lost. That is what Jesus did. Jesus is the eternal Son of God (a big concept that can cover many other entries) and he did that. He lived the perfect life in our place, and died to take the punishment we deserve. Jesus' perfect life is a life that is righteous -- a life done right in every way. Those who put their faith in Jesus not only have their punishment canceled, but Jesus' righteousness is considered by God to be our righteousness. It is not a righteousness that comes from inside us. It instead comes from outside of us, hence the word alien is used to describe the righteousness of Jesus that is outside of our doing.

The next phrase in my profile:

who came to blogging with logic and persuasion abilities far beyond those of mortal chipmunks


I don't claim to bring brilliance to blogging. This is a phrase to keep me humble. I don't want to take myself to seriously here. I wanted to bring in an unexpected and humorous turn of phrase by inserting chipmunks -- who are not known for logic and persuasion.

Erlenmeyer – who can change the course of philosophical arguments, bend wet spaghetti in his bare hands,


In real life I am anything but a man of steel. My claim to change the course of philosophical arguments -- well, I wanted to find a humorous turn on this, but I could only come up with this.

and who, disguised as a mild-mannered elder at a Metro-Atlanta PCA church


The initials PCA stand for the Presbyterian Church in America. It is a theologically conservative Reformed Protestant denomination. Reformed means it follows the classic confessions of Reformation, particularly the part of the reformation that was influenced by John Calvin. There are a variety of Presbyterian denominations. The largest is the Presbyterian Church, USA. This larger denomination does not any longer require its leadership to hold to the classic Presbyterian confessions, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The PCA, on the other hand, requires its leaders to hold to the system of teaching in the confession and catechisms. Official leaders in the PCA come in to major groups, elders and deacons. Both groups are spiritual leadership positions. Deacons are more oriented to serving the physical needs of the congregation. Elders are more responsible for the overall leadership and teaching in the church. Elders in the PCA come in two flavors, ruling elders and teaching elders. Teaching elders are those who usually have seminary training and are called primarily to preaching and teaching in the church. Ruling elders typically have less formal theological training and have the spiritual oversight of the church (along with the teaching elders). I am a ruling elder.

blogs a neverending narration for Truth and Justification through Christ alone.


God requires every person to perfectly obey him. We are guilty. But Jesus Christ's death is the means for us to be declared not guilty. By placing our faith in what Jesus did, we are declared not guilty and Jesus' righteousness from his perfect life is also declared to be our own righteousness (the alien righteousness I wrote about earlier). We only get in right standing with God through what Jesus did for us and placing our trust in that. The word alone speaks of how Jesus is the only way God provides righteousness, and also that we are to rely on Jesus and not by any attempts to do good to have that count to be in right standing with God.