Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


photo via by Hendrick van den Broeck

On this most holy of days, may you stop and contemplate the fact that God tabernacled among us in human flesh. He was one Person with two natures-Divine and human.

We are in such dire straits…dead in our trespasses and sins, that we can’t save ourselves. Our crime is rebellion against an infinitely Holy God. The debt must be paid by an Infinite Being. We don’t fit-the-bill.

But God, being rich in mercy, didn’t leave us as we deserve.

The Trinity, before there was anything but their three Persons in one Being, decided to save for Themselves a people.

When the time was right, God the Father sent His Eternally-unique Son to actively fulfill His Righteous Commands in His Life, and passively suffer our punishment in His Passion.

He suffered our punishment, He died our death. He was put in a borrowed tomb, for borrowed sins. When He cried “it is finished!” (gk. Telestai-the debt is paid in full), it truly was.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end with just having our sin-debt paid. On Easter morning, our Savior rose from the grave.

He secured for us more than a reboot to Adam’s state in the garden. He secured for us an Eternal future with immortal bodies like His. He secured for us a future devoid of the penalty, power, and presence of sin. He secured for us a closeness to the Father that Adam never had. Wherever Jesus will be, we’ll be with Him. When the Father looks at us, He sees Us through His Beloved Son.

Celebrate with me, and remember the words to these wonderful hymns:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure?
The saints’ and angels’ song!

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

He is alive, and He is Lord,
Now crowned with heaven’s highest name;
And there in Him, by love restored,
With all creation we’ll proclaim:
“Worthy the Lamb, the Great I Am,
All glory, power, and might.”
With joy we’ll trace His boundless grace
In all its depth and height.

And finally,

1. Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

2. Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

3. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

4. Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

5. Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

6. King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Happy, glorious Easter!

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams


imageImage via KellyLawlessThrough a CC License

I am guilty of being a little intellectually lazy. I tend to have my best ruminations after reading either a book, or a blog, listening to a sermon by my pastor, or maybe after listening to a podcast. It could be an argument I haven’t heard before, or a term I’m not familiar with, or a thought I vehemently disagree with. I’m always more stimulated by other minds than I am my own. Perhaps it’s because I’m always in my own mind, and I know how boring or thin it can be.

Whatever the cause, I take seriously the Great commandment:

Mark 12:28-30 ESV

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Loving The Lord with all our minds has been largely ignored by present and recent generations. It took the horrible consequences of belief in the aberrant Word of Faith Movement to spur my own entry into God-loving with my mind. We live in an anti-intellectual culture. You would think today’s humanity would be skeptically burnt out on false worldviews, especially the cynical Millenials; but, alas, skepticism seems to be a non-sequetor, except for the truth claims of Christianity. Then it’s Katie-bar-the-door.

I am by nature skeptical as of lately; although I haven’t always been. My foray into the “name-it-and-claim-it” club forced me to critically-examine my belief system.

Through God’s Grace, I turned to the Reformers for help. Their conflict with the Roman Catholic Magisterium and rediscovery of the 5 Solas [“Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone); “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone); “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone); “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone); and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory)] gave me a great foundation to be able to claw my way out of a false belief system. I am now chronically allergic to what I call “terminal goofiness” when it comes to theology.

What about you? Have you examined your own beliefs with a critical eye?

Don’t think for a minute that you can escape having your worldview challenged. It’s gonna happen. You can’t rigorously defend a minority Weltanschauung that you’ve garnered by familial osmosis, or pieced together in the mad laboratory of public opinion that you’ve grave-robbed from the cemetery of bad ideas.

God’s Word is the only foundation that will keep you from sinking sand. Biblical, historic Christianity is the only worldview that can adequately answer both the way things are in reality, and how their supposed to be.

simul justus et peccator,

Eric Adams

20140329-112003.jpg This image was created by Dauster, under this Creative Commons license .

My wife Lisa loves to watch HGTV on Saturday mornings. However, I have discovered that whenever it’s on, I am in danger of breaking several of the Ten Commandments, like:

No. 3- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, because I get angry when people complain about how terrible their already-beautiful home is, and I want to cuss.

No. 6- You shall not murder, because I want to kill the home-improvement gurus for spending way too much time and money on a stupid side project that is pretty much useless.

No. 9- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, because I want to call people bad names for never choosing the new home instead of their remodeled current home…every single time.

And No. 10- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…’cause it’s always better than my own…even when they’re purposely showing a bad one to contrast the makeover or the alternative house.

These are the musings of a frustrated armchair carpenter.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams.


Job 19:21-27 ESV

21Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me!
22 Why do you, like God, pursue me? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?
23 “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!

I come from a large family. Compared to today’s small broods, it would be considered huge.

I have 4 sisters and a brother. I’m the baby. I’m quite sure I was a surprise, the proverbial “uh-oh” of the Adams clan. My dad was thirty-eight when I said “howdy” to Tanglewood Farm.

My siblings are all quite a bit older than myself. I was the perpetual spoiler of date night for my sisters, I’m quite sure. I remember being scared stiff lying in the back window of a car on one of my oldest sister Carolyn’s dates. There was a drive-in theater on Broad St. in south Chattanooga that was playing The Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price. I’m really showing my age now. It scared the googlies out of me.

I have lost two of my sisters. My sister Peggy passed away a few years ago. She had fought non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for over a decade. She was quiet, but a fighter. Even though we didn’t talk a lot, I miss her being in this world. It seems a little harsher without her.

I will write about her in another post. Today I want to talk about my sister Varena.

Varena Grace Adams was born September 20, 1956. She was born with spina bifida, and hydrocephalus.

In case you’re not familiar with either, I will give you a brief description of each.

“Spina bifida is a birth defect…It occurs when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) do not form properly around part of the baby’s spinal cord. It can affect how the skin on the back looks. And in severe cases, it can make walking or daily activities hard to do without help.

…The severe forms are less common. There are two types:

Meningocele (say “muh-NIN-juh-seel”). Fluid leaks out of the spine and pushes against the skin. You may see a bulge in the skin. In many cases, there are no other symptoms.

Myelomeningocele (say “my-uh-loh-muh-NIN-juh-seel”). Although this is the most rare and severe form of spina bifida, it is the form most people mean when they say “spina bifida.” Part of the spinal nerves push out of the spinal canal, and you may see a bulge in the skin. The nerves are often damaged, which can cause problems with walking, bladder or bowel control, and coordination. In some babies, the skin is open and the nerves are exposed.”(1)

My sister Varena had the most severe form. She was born with a totally open spine in the lumbar region.

Along with the spinal bifida came the hydrocephalus.

“Congenital hydrocephalus is a buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain at birth. The extra fluid can increase pressure in the baby’s brain, causing brain damage and mental and physical problems. This condition is rare.

…Normally, fluid flows through and out of chambers of the brain called ventricles, and then around the brain and spinal cord. The fluid is then absorbed by the thin tissue around the brain and spinal cord. But with hydrocephalus, the fluid can’t move where it needs to or is not absorbed as it should be. And in rare cases the brain makes too much fluid.

Congenital hydrocephalus may happen because of:

Bleeding in the fetus before birth.
Certain infections in the mother, such as toxoplasmosis or syphilis.
Other birth defects, like spina bifida.
A genetic defect.”(2)

As it turns out, many children who are born with the severe form of spina bifida also suffer from hydrocephalus.

Varena was one such child. She spent her short life only being able to move her arms and head. Because of her enlarged head, even that became impossible as she got older. She spent her life in what we called a chaise lounge.

Varena was 7-1/2 years older than myself. I was her constant companion, and she was my world. I know sentimentality and time can cause us to lose perspective of our loved ones, but she was one of the sweetest and happiest persons I have ever known. My wife Lisa, is the only other person I know with that quality. She was smart as a whip, and she may be responsible for my writing left-handed, since I am ambidextrous in other contexts. She taught me how to read and write. We were inseparable.

In fact, I never wandered far from her, and my play area became limited to a few-foot perimeter around her lounge. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until after she passed. I had difficulty socializing in kindergarten because I was so attached to Varena.

On a largish farm, you were limited when it came to having kids to play with. I loved her so. She was my best friend in a grown-up world. The next closest was a dog named Blackie.

Her bones were so brittle. Her heart was so large.

In 1970, Varena was admitted to the hospital. I don’t remember what she went in for. I do remember being in the kitchen when my sister Theresa got the call that Varena had passed from this life. Varena succumbed to a deadly strain of pneumonia, which was unrelated to her reason for being in the hospital. She drew her last breath on September 20, 1970. It was her 14th birthday. I was 6-1/2 years old.

I don’t know who’s bright idea it was to take me to the funeral home. She was at Lane’s Funeral Home in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. I remember slipping away from whoever was supposed to be watching me. I went up to the casket, and tried to wake Varena up. Until that moment she just seemed to be sleeping, just as I had seen her do all of my life. I received a hard lesson about death that day. Maybe it was a good thing, maybe it was not. I lean towards the not.

We all must face the specter of death. My hope is that you didn’t have to face it the way I did, at the young age that I did.

Death was not the original plan for mankind. It is unnatural. It is an enemy, at least for those who aren’t in union with Christ. Death is the very real result of the very real sin of our federal parents Adam and Eve, and subsequently, our own. Even though God knew man would fall, and Christ was slain before the foundation of the world, we were created for eternity.

Job experienced the death of his children, the destruction of his own health, the scorn of his own wife, and the judgmental condemnation of his own friends. He did all of this without the benefit of the knowledge of our peek into the heavenlies we have access to at the beginning of the book. He didn’t know that God was bragging on him. He just knew his suffering, and he didn’t understand it.

As a side-note, notice The Lord didn’t give a thorough explanation for Job’s suffering. The ones who did try to give an explanation totally blew it, and nearly lost their heads. Maybe before we try to give the suffering a piece of our minds, we should just keep it to ourselves and weep with them.

Somehow in the midst of all the chaos, Job made his declaration about resurrection. In my mind, that’s the point of the book.

He also makes the very Gospelly declaration about his need for an mediator, and the problem of Original Sin :

Job 9:30-34 ESV

30 If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye,
31 yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me.
32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together.
33 There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.
34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me.
35 Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself.

I too, suffer from spina bifida, but a much milder form. I didn’t know until I started having back problems that I was born with no discs between certain vertebrae in my lower lumbar. My deterioration may be slower, but it is none-the-less certain

In one form, or another we are all confronted with our own mortality. For those of us who are born of God, death is not our greatest foe, to be vanquished by medical science. It is a temporary inconvenience-the last remnant of a fallen, sinful existence-the explanation point to the seriousness of a rebellious creature to a holy God.

Though we still avoid death as long as possible, it has lost its dread for us in Christ. For goodness sake, our own baptism commemorates our death. Our sanctification is just that baptism catching up with us, culminating in our demise. But that’s not the end.

I go see my sister Varena’s grave several times a year. That’s not the end of her. Somewhere, in the intermediate state, my dear sister is enjoying the presence of God, and one day, maybe soon, that frail body will rise fitted for eternity. So will mine. I too know my Redeemer lives, and I know He is my arbiter, bringing myself and God together in reconciliation, because He is both fully God, and fully man. That’ll preach!

Thank God that that terrible experience of touching my cold sister will be washed away in the joy of seeing my Redeemer Jesus and my sister Varena face-to-face.

Do you have that joyful hope, friend? A casket is in your own future. Is death a fear for you, or is it an inconvenient road-bump on the highway to eternal bliss?

Remember Job, dear one, remember Job.



simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

The Barter

Posted: March 17, 2014 in Personal
Tags: , ,


If you or someone you know is dealing with a chronic pain issue related to spinal problems, you’ll understand what I am about to write, and not think ill of me. If not, you may think me a mellow-dramatic whiner. I’m OK with either, for in reality, I am both.

My first steps after my second spinal fusion surgery in Aug. 2013

My first steps after my second spinal fusion surgery in Aug. 2013

Pain has become a faithful companion for me. I don’t know a moment without it. Original Sin and the Fall of mankind has left me with a disintegrating spine, literally, and figuratively. Two fusion surgeries (six vertebrae), and more for the future, do not leave me with much hope of improvement.

I was raised on a farm, with a strong work ethic, and a fierce streak of independence.

When I married my beautiful wife, Lisa, I got a job in a local plant, went back to school, and became a Toolmaker. I was very good at my job, and I thoroughly enjoyed my trade.

When I began to have back problems in my early twenties, I just pushed through it and kept working. When I couldn’t work any more, I nearly lost it, mentally speaking. I had been the major breadwinner in my family, and being disabled was a terrible slap to my face. It still is.

Pain Management

When my first surgery didn’t solve my pain issues, my surgeon sent me to pain management. For several years, I was mentally absent from my family, because of the high levels of pain meds I was prescribed. I became a legal addict.

God’s Grace, and the forgiveness found in Christ Jesus saved my life. I was a Christian before, but I hadn’t been thoroughly convinced of my own sinfulness, nor the prideful independence of my own sinful heart.

I quit cold turkey, nearly croaking in the process. The Lord showed me great mercy by answering the prayers of a lot of people by partially healing me. I am grateful for the period of time I was relatively pain-free.

Hard Lessons

There are hard lessons that I have learned over the years. One is the barter.

I am not an invalid. I can enjoy a good walk through our Chickamauga Military Park. I can play fetch with my schnauzer and constant companion Charlie. For these blessings, I am extremely thankful.

When it comes to work around the house, it’s a different matter. I come from a long line of carpenters. I can do pretty much anything around the house. We’re not doing well economically, so it’s a good thing I have the know-how. That is, I could do most things, in the past tense.

Now I’m a frail little girley-man. Washing the dishes can send me into a spasm.

Which brings me to the title of my post. My life has been reduced to a series of questions I ask myself when presented with a task that would require no thought from a normally healthy person.

Haggling with myself

Question #1: Can I actually, physically, do this?

This is not as easy a question to answer as you might think. I have the notorious knack for assuming I can still physically do more than a realistic assessment should allow. I bite off more than I can chew.

Question #2: What is this going to cost me, in somatic terms?

This is where the sober reality hits. I no longer take pain meds, since I hate the dog that bit me, so this question carries more weight than it would if I could take a few ibuprofen, and get on with it. There is a real physical cost that I have to assess. I recently replaced the bearings, slides, and thermal fuse in my dryer, and I was in agony for a week. Every thing I do carries a cost…even small things like carrying out the garbage.

It’s humiliating, and depressing. I also have to remember that my life is not in any danger. It’s not like heart problems, or cancer, or a brain embolism. I’m not going to die. But that doesn’t matter to me in the moment, because I still have to face that ugly thug called pain, and I’m not a particularly brave person.

Question #3: Is this problem worth the cost?

This is the barter. Do I step up to the market place and pay the piper for this endeavor…and is it even possible for me to avoid it?

This is how I now live, trying to figure out the economics of pain-how to rob Peter to pay Paul, so-to-speak.

As I said, this sounds mellow-dramatic, and I admit it, but one of the ways I have found to deal with pain, other than ice and heat, is to read and write. Thank you for allowing me to dose up-lol. I appreciate it.


One of the greatest helps for my smarting ego has been the Lutheran doctrine of vocation.

As Gene Veith puts it:

“In other words, in his earthly kingdom, just as in his spiritual kingdom, God bestows his gifts through means. God ordained that human beings be bound together in love, in relationships and communities existing in a state of interdependence. In this context, God is providentially at work caring for his people, each of whom contributes according to his or her God-given talents, gifts, opportunities, and stations. Each thereby becomes what Luther terms a “mask of God”:

All our work in the field, in the garden, in the city, in the home, in struggle, in government-to what does it all amount before God except child’s play, by means of which God is pleased to give his gifts in the field, at home, and everywhere? These are the masks of our Lord God, behind which he wants to be hidden and to do all things.

God, who pours out his generosity on the just and the unjust, believer and unbeliever alike, hides himself in the ordinary social functions and stations of life, even the most humble. To use another of Luther’s examples, God himself is milking the cows through the vocation of the milkmaid.”(1)

Some days my vocation is dishwasher, sometimes chauffeur, sometimes dog-walker, and sometimes my vocation is being bed-ridden and allowing my wife and young’uns take care of me. I’m always a husband, always a father, and always a church-goer, unless I’m in my station as patient. It’s all good now. I’m not sweating the loss of doing as much, and I’m enjoying finding God in the mask.

1. Veith, Gene E. “The Doctrine of Vocation.” Modern Reformation. White Horse Inn, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. .

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, GA

Septic Rebel

Posted: March 15, 2014 in Personal


Romans 13:1-7 ESV

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

He showed up in a white van with the county logo on it. I was dreading his visit. At heart, I have a libertarian streak a mile wide. I don’t like to be told what to do on my own property.

Let me back up. We don’t have sewer service where I live. I wish we did, at this moment, anyhow.

The house we own was built in 1927. Evidently, they didn’t have things like levels, plumb lines, or framing squares back then, but that’s another issue.

We’ve been having problems with our septic system for a while. We tried having the field line pressure pumped, but to no avail. Fifty-year-old root-filled terra cotta disintegrates under high water pressure, I found out. The tank was homemade, and still had the wooden forms inside it. Can you guess where this is going?

We budgeted for a new field line. The inspector informed me I needed a whole new tank, in a totally different location, along with 180′ of new field line.

I blew a gasket. I accused the man of racketeering. The tank had worked fine for 50 years, why did it have to be replaced, and moved? Did he have any idea what that was going to cost me ? Did he realize how much extra plumbing work that would mean?

He was very polite. He explained about the old lines and biomat. I was already worried about how we were going to reroute the new lines. The tank is on the side of my home, and we have very little space. He then told me about the newer tanks, how they were filtered, to keep biomat problems to a minimum. He told me that he was trying to protect both me as a homeowner, and the environment. By the time he left, I knew he was right. But man, I really wished at that point that Romans 13 wasn’t in the Bible.

I could have cheated, and hired a flunky to dig me a new line. But if I had been caught, or if the flunky didn’t do the job right, i would have paid double for the trouble.

Beyond that, I know what the Lord expects out of us. This was not one of those “We must obey God rather than men!” moments. We live in a rebellious age. We also live in a compromising age. I don’t have the luxury of choosing my American libertarian sensibilities over the command of Scripture, unless I’m being coerced to disobey God’s Word.

I don’t get to pick and choose which authorities I will obey. Unless they are compelling us to violate clear Scripture, to rebel against them would be to rebel against God. I sin enough without looking for trouble.

There may come a day (and I fear it is fast coming upon us), that many of us will have to make the statement “We must obey God rather than men!” and mean it, possibly at the cost of our freedom, maybe even our life. It’s happening to our brothers and sister all over the world. But that moment is not upon me, immediately, any way.

Paul lived under the reign of Nero, possibly the most brutal emperor in the history of Rome. Yet he wrote Romans 13.

Our rulers are ministers of God’s left hand, as Luther puts it, ruling over the secular world. Unless the State begins coercing our souls, we are to “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

I owe that young inspector an apology. He has a tough job. I wouldn’t want it. I know how North Georgians think. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he is loving his neighbor through his vocation. He acted more like a Christian than I did.

To obey my rulers is probably going to cost my wife a deck that I had promised her, and possibly more than that. We have got to get to the place where we are Christians first, and Americans second. Wrapping the flag around our religion will not work today.

I no longer wish to be a “septic rebel”, in more ways than one.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

Hammock Time

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Personal



I’m hammocking today, and have been joined by our neighbor’s dog Chewie. He loves to play with Charlie the schnauzer, and evidently is fond of hammocking, as well.

I’m hearing geese, roosters, birds, and tree frogs from behind our house, which is very therapeutic.

I’m having acute sciatic and lumbar issues today, due to our active weekend. This is beyond my pain threshold, and if I were to use the pain scale, I would be at ” 10+ARGGHH”!-lol.

Ibuprofen is useless, so it’s been prayer, reading, and now nature.

I may pop Adam in the mouth first time I see him in glory-haha, but then I’d have to pop myself, too, ’cause some of this is self-inflicted. That’s the way Original Sin works.

Days like this I miss my therapist/wife, Lisa. She’s a great hammocker, and would love being here amongst the canines, frogs, roosters, birds, and geese. This hammock was made for two.

I love spring.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams