SS1: An Introduction
Welcome to the Substack home of The Bud Zone. There is, as you may or may not know, a Bud Zone Podcast which I host. If you’ve never listened, I encourage you to. The Bud Zone Podcast, though inclusive of my name, is not about me. Rather I seek to feature other saints, “buds” in the faith, who are faithful to the Lord doing the work of ministry in their respective circumstances.
Some are pastors, some are laymen. They represent a gamut of orthodox evangelical theology. Some are dispensational and pre-millennial, some are covenantal and postmillennial. Some are credo, some are paedo. But the goal on the podcast is to emphasize that, even in the times in which we live, the Lord is still building His church, saving sinners, edifying saints, and exalting the Son. In other words, it’s about His Kingdom, which by the way, is not synonymous merely with the church.
Anyway, this written Substack outlet won’t duplicate the content that is broadcast on that platform. My plan is to release “SS Edition” episodes via The Bud Zone Podcast which will simply be yours truly truly reading whatever content ends up in digital ink on this outlet. This Bud Zone Substack content will be, Lord willing, simply an outlet for digital pencil-pushing pondering purely aimed at provocation, a word which we’ll consider in a bit. (I learned the alliteration skills as just employed, woeful though mine may be, by sitting under the preaching of my pastor, btw. Kudos to him, not me.)
This first Substack, appropriately titled “SS1: An Introduction,” is just that. It’s intended to tell you a little bit about me. It may be just enough to persuade you to completely disregard this blog. But, as I’m a Calvinist with a healthy enough grasp on the Lord’s sovereignty, I’m content that those who want to read will read and those who don’t won’t. Same with the podcast. Those who want to listen will have ears to hear, and those who don’t, must have something better to do. Providence IS the paradigm.
While this is a platform, I’m not desirous of a platform. The creation of this content is largely cathartic, to myself as well as to my wife who, methinks, gets occasionally weary of my observational rants. Hopefully, this will also be content that is challenging, informative, and maybe guffaw invoking. Some of it, maybe much of it, may be superfluous, erroneous, presumptuous, and/or just dumb. But none will be nefariously motivated or produced with a covetous penchant for controversy and combativeness.
But still, having this platform isn’t because I want a platform. I mean, it seems likely that, once you’ve read a bit of forthcoming content here, you may not like what you read. Which is to say, I’m not writing to be popular. I’m going to write to express what’s on my mind, such as it is. A punctuation meme akin to “Let’s eat Grandma” vs “Let’s eat, Grandma” is perhaps appropriate here, asin, “What’s on … your mind?” Anyway, this ain’t about popularity. It ain’t about a platform, and I’m using this platform to show that.
As This Is An Introduction …
As this is an introduction, allow me to give it. I’m Bud, your host for this Substack. For the benefit of maddening the woke, I’m a white guy. For the further benefit of maddening the woke, I’m from the South, hailing from Macon, Georgia, home of a number of things, including, not unimportantly, the Allman Brothers Band, Otis Redding, and NuWay Wieners. There is, by the way, an honorary Otis Redding Bridge over the Ocmulgee River, a locale on which Otis did not apparently sit dockside crooning, since it is not adjacent to a bay. The Wieners are stellar and you should try them if you find yoreself wandering in those parts.
Macon is also known as the heart of Georgia, unless during a particularly sultry summer (Climate Change Trigger Alert! Just kidding.) when it might also be referred to as the sweltering armpit of the South by those with an inadequate or absent Southern-bred DNA structure. But that’s largely dismissible. Macon also used to have sweat-free statues to the (umm, am I allowed to write “Confederacy” on this platform? We’ll see, I reckon.) men who battled on the lower latitudinal side of the Mason-Dixon Line in the poorly monikered “Civil” War.
Having not spent any tenured time in years in my breeding ground, I’m unsure if the recent mindless frenzy of wokeness (like that elitistly denied yet elitistly practiced by the Southern Baptist Convention) has precipitated the demise of said statuary but I’d just say this. Editing history is the height of - to use a Solomonic term for it - folly. It’s the apex of arrogance. The pinnacle of pomposity. The zenith of xenophobia (okay, maybe that last one doesn’t even make sense, but the need for triplicated emphasis seem literarily necessary and it’s all I could come up with.).
The point is, editing history is prideful, idolatrous, presumptuous, and God-defying. History belongs to God, and to edit it is to place man above Him. He orchestrated what’s come from it thus far, is orchestrating what’s playing out in front of us through it now, and has given us, in His inspired, infallible, authoritative, and sufficient Word, a glorious peek at what His, and our, future history is going to be. So, you edit history, you’re editing God. Not a smart move. At all. Better to suffer genetically unarmed during a hot, unconditioned, asphalt melting August on Otis’ breezeless bridge in Macon than the certain judgment for so presuming on God. Because history, as my pastor’s podcast calls it, is “His-Story.” Learn it. But don’t mess with it.
Resumption of Introduction From Digression Of Tirade Against Wokeness
Demographically continuing, I am also a product of the tail end of the Boomer generation. By “tail end,” I mean 1964, the very final year that those who develop such demographic designations have so designated the end of the Baby Boomer generation. There is a profound benefit, I think, in having been providentially included in this generation. (BTW, there’s a clue in that last line.) That profound benefit is that, on the basis of what I’ve seen in generations subsequent to mine, and most vividly displayed in the one in which we all currently abide, mine was the last to be educated in an America in which the goal of education was not indoctrination, but genuinely was education. I wasn’t just taught stuff. I was taught to think. I’m not particularly good at it, but at least I was taught enough to recognize it when it happens.
Here’s a picture of Thomas Watson, founder of IBM, from 1948, just two years into the now officially and demographically designated Boomer generation. It is worth pointing out that this picture was taken in an educational era in which the need to identify one’s pronouns would have been deemed … stupid. And, by the way, it’s still stupid, a conclusion you too may arrive at by the mere employment of thinking.
Back to the picture. It’s not so much the colorless but white (Trigger Alert!) face of Watson that I’d wish you to see. Look behind him. Books. While this was evidently not a candid “Let’s get a photo of the boss working at his desk” circumstance, the presence of the books signals something. Among other observations, their presence communicates the importance of learning. Now Watson’s shelves seem altogether too neat and orderly for his library to exude the comforting aura of learned (read that word rather elitely, that is, read it as …”LEARN - ED”) usefulness and erudition. Watson’s books look unused, sterile, clinical. I’m not saying they were. It was a staged photo-op, after all.
Those shelves and that desk look nothing like, say, Einstein’s in this pic. Now, that’s not to pit the contributions of the one man against the other based solely on the fact that one may have been particularly tidy and the other scholastically haphazard. Still, and just so you know, and certainly without remotely suggesting any comparable grey-cell capacity, I’m an Einsteinian when it comes to books. Books are tools, not showpieces. They ought be shown respect, but not whisked and dusted to museum level worship. Order is in the eye of the beholder, methinks, and not necessarily in the tidiness of the bochord (an Olde English word meaning “book hoard,” a synonym for library, but you prolly got that.)
A Momentary Segway In Support Of Genuine Bibliophiles
For those who might be caught up in the grotesque bibliophilic fad of late, I never, NEVER, (and by never I mean never) destroy dust jackets. There is, as Ecclesiastes tells us, a time to cast stones. The dust jacket thing is a stone. If it hits you, maybe some literary repentance is due on your part.
Segway Complete, Pondering Proceeds
But don’t miss another thing in Watson’s photo op. See that bulbous thing to his right? (No, look again. To HIS right.) The globe. Not many of those around these days. But conjoined in the mind’s eye with the books, the globe implies the ubiquitous scope of learning. It is global. It should be global. And not only global, but also historical, meaning past history, present history, future history. The globe, methinks, warmly communicates the boundless need for learning in time and space.
One other picture might help contrast the “think” generation, from which I was chronologically and parentally generated, with the momentary one in which we find ourselves. That pic would be the contemporary maestro of Meta. Maybe there’s a pic of Zuck staged like Wilson’s, but it’s the one just below this paragraph that most appropriately, methinks, illustrates the contemporary generational disdain for “Think.”
I don’t have a clue what, if any, religious affiliation Zuck claims, but I can see the escapist one he practices is anti-God. Seems to me that he’s the sort who would gleefully repeat the atheistic quip that “I used to have an imaginary friend, but then I quit going to church,” all the while feverishly signing checks to hired-hand, code-writing, digitizing wizards to create for him an imaginary Zuck-self in an imaginary Zuck-world.
If you agree with my earlier assertion that editing history is sinful folly, then what Zuck is leading scores of the thoughtless to is big “F” Folly, appropriately capitalized to emphasize its even greater sinful magnitude. Suppressing the truth in unrighteousness may be recognized by any number of things, but suppressing created reality by recreating it virtually is to presume to be God. Bad move. Really bad move. I’d suggest Zuck ponder those flames behind him.
Enough of the MetaNonsense. Take another gander at the Wilson pic. Notice that sign? Of course you do. There you have the goal of bonafide education. Well, there you have the bonafide, godly, and right goal of education. And that was formerly the goal of education. Teach and learn the fundamental life skill of how to think.
This will, when done properly and faithfully, glorify God. God is a thinker. Because all of life is religious, let me insert here a relevant quote from the august and eminently discerning thinker, J. Gresham Machen, “The Church is perishing today through the lack of thinking, not through an excess of it.”
Machen’s blunt polemic remains undoubtedly pertinent today. If you don’t think so, then drop the word “if” from the start of this sentence, and apply the thought of the next three words to yourself. To make it simple, you don’t think. If the Church is thus perishing, is it any wonder then that our culture is likewise barreling into thoughtless, subjective, depravity-driven oblivion (read “oblivion” as “divine judgment in a Romans 1 sort of way”)?
If you believe that thinking isn’t the proper goal of education, I’d say you are wrong. Repent. Learn. And learn by thinking. Even if you believe that thinking is the proper goal of education, and that that goal is being accomplished with, by, and for our contemporary generation, I could introduce you to guys with far greater education than I who can’t balance a checkbook and/or find themselves capable of knowing how to mail a letter. Where to put the stamp is a problem. I ain’t joking. Forget even asking them to discuss something like the logic and ontology of God, whether they believe in Him or don’t. They are too busy taking out their earbuds from their mindless and sensual dive into their private virtual worlds to actually think anything. But I digress … for now, at least.
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding”
Just a summation point from the previous “think” thing above. Education is more than knowledge. It must start with knowledge, but it does not end with knowledge. Scripture makes abundantly clear that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. While education should teach knowledge, and how to think in light of that knowledge, the final goal, buttressed in the presuppositional reality of God, is wisdom. Wisdom honors God because God is Truth. You may remember Jesus saying something to that effect, along with the critically important words, “way” and “life.”
And just as when Solomon prayed for wisdom and not for impressively innumerable Ph.D’s from the Jerusalem campus of Oxford, with wisdom comes discernment. The world today lacks discernment, it lacks wisdom, it lacks thinking, and it is denying knowledge. Largely, so does the church and so is the church. As goes the church, so goes the world. When truth goes, reality goes (I refer you upwards in this missive to Zuck-World). God has thus ordered things this way. Okay, that’s the point for now.
A Resumption Of Introduction With A Focus On Faith Stuff
Now, my introduction thus far designates my gender. At least I presume you don’t know any gals named “Bud,” but then in these depraved days, perhaps you do. Plus, I indicated that I am a “guy.” It has designated my race. It has designated my geographical breeding locale. And it has indicated the Lord’s providence in learning, though I admit at being not real good at it, at how to think.
I am married, as a comment above indicated. I am also a Christian, but, being a Calvinist, that was no choice of my own. It was a glorious act of God that made me a Christian. And, if you’re a Christian, the same explanation applies to you whether you understand that or not.
Being a Christian is the most important descriptor about me. But in these days of Christianity, where Christians themselves have allowed the moniker to mean absolutely anything by absolutely anybody regardless of accuracy, orthodoxy, or any “once for all delivered” qualifications, let me descript this descriptor a bit further. I am a 3 “C” sort of believer. Those C’s would be Calvinistic, Confessional, and Covenantal.
If you know what those are, good. If you don’t, then here’s a sufficient enough explanation for you, I hope. The three C’s reflect a robust, historically orthodox, and broad engaging (meaning efficacious) form of faith derivative of the Reformed theological tradition. As for secondary or tertiary issues, the categorical conviction for which I seem to collect the most abuse of late is that of eschatology. As to that, I am a post-millennialist. A synonym for postmillennialism is victory. I’ll prolly post about this in the future, so if you disagree, which you are most certainly welcomed to do, don’t fret. We are not enemies based on disagreement here.
As a Christian, I am a member of a small Reformed church where I occupy the next-to-the-back row row. As a Christian blogger, I come as just that, a simple pewsitter. The bedecking baggage of framed sheepskins do not encumber me, do not enable me, nor would I employ them to impress you even if I was so able. Frankly they don’t necessarily impress me when I run across them elsewhere. What I lack in that category is not a necessarily impressive mark to me when I find them in others.
What impresses me is finding others who know how to think, and particularly those who know how to think Christianly. Frames on the walls or initials behind a name on a business card tend to make me exceedingly more cautious, not more comfortable, and certainly not more automatically prone to either figurative or literal genuflecting before acknowledged academic achievement. Beware the presumptive tyranny of experts! Need I mention Fauci as a recent graven image expert of late. Same wariness is called for in the church. Flash a Ph.D. at me and my Berean flags start flapping like a errant seagull aerially stranded in a Cat 5 (hurricane lingo, btw). Don’t forget, the actual Bereans actually fact-checked an actual apostle. (See Acts 17)
Anyway, some of the most academically achieved individuals I know are fools. And by fools, I mean fools in the biblical sense. I cite Fauci again, even though I don’t personally know him. Yet, in all sincerity and fairness, some of the godliest men I know are amply accessorized with such noble achievements. Praise God for them. Thus and still, I tend to be ambivalent in the face of such things, awaiting confirmation of usefulness by other means, such as, oh, say, faithfulness to objective truth.
A Concluding Comment Because This Is Already Too Wordy
I am a simple pew-sitter. I like to think I can think. I like to think I can think Christianly. And when I attempt to do that, straining what Agatha Christie’s Poirot would say “the little gray cells,” I frequently arrive at conclusions contrary to the status quo evangelical church in which my orbit is found. As has been said by somebody in a quip with which I agree, I always think that I am right, but I never think I am aways right. As Herman Bavinck reminds us, “To distinguish is to learn.”
Further, I agree with Machen that the church’s problem is thinking, but that that thinking is a problem because the church hasn’t, for a generation or more now, thought rightly and biblically about the Gospel, or about the Law of God, or the grand narrative of what God was doing in Scripture and what He is continuing to do today. We aren’t thinking about THOSE things which, when thought about rightly and biblically, make all the difference in the world. A “great commissioned” difference in God’s world, I would say.
So what will, Lord willing, be forthcoming on this Bud Zone Substack will be notions I’ve had in these and other directions. You may, hopefully, find them provocative, a warning which I promised way up at the top of this introduction to discuss. So here’s that.
About That Provocation
Here’s a dictionary definition of provocative: “tending or serving to provoke; inciting, stimulating, irritating, or vexing.” Here’s another one: “causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, especially deliberately.”
My hope is that provocation from my modest stuff doesn’t lead to anger, as provocation, by definition, may certainly do. My hope is that provocation will be deliberate and will lead to the nobler, godlier, useful fruit of thinking. And not just thinking, but thinking biblically (though not in a biblicist “No Creed But The Bible” kind of way - that is utter nonsense. You can await a later post on that perhaps.). I hope that provocation leads to thinking about the faith once for all delivered to us. I hope that it will provoke self-examination, not only about our tolerable pet and petulant sinfulness, but also about the perhaps erroneous presuppositions we have about the faith (and we ALL have erroneous presuppositions!).
In other words, may you be provoked to think, to assess your assumptions about faith, to ponder your presuppositions of your profession, and to critically evaluate your own coveted concepts of belief. We can disagree, of course, and likely will on some matters. But the convictions you have must be the convictions you’ve earned. Bandwagon Christianity, which is largely what is seen today, is vapid, insipid, uninspiring, useless and has, in case you haven’t noticed of late, brought chastisement by God on His church. We better tighten up, repent, return to the Word, and pray the illumination of God’s Spirit in and through His inspired, inscripurated Word to help us … think. And the consequence of that thinking just better be - and will be if accompanied by the power of God’s Spirit - obedience. Let us think. Let us obey. And may the Lord bless His church.