Sucking Up a Seat Cushion

This is gross, but pilots have a saying: “sucking up a seat cushion.” It means that things have gotten tense in the cockpit because of some emergency, enemy action or the lack of some aviation essential (runway, altitude, airspeed or fuel). You can imagine a pilot tensing up – all over – under such circumstances, and, well, just keep using your imagination.

Flying for the Navy we had to wear helmets. If a situation got bad and we couldn’t think our way out of it, for some reason the helmet would feel warmer. This was called a “helmet fire.” If the challenge was more physical, like a tough tanker rendezvous, a bad approach to the carrier at night, or just dropping your pen, this was called “killing snakes.” Just imagine having a bunch of snakes in a small cockpit. You get the idea.

The point to reminiscing about these epigrams is that if a pilot goes through enough of them, he eventually becomes seasoned. Or, to use another epigram, “There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.” On my last Persian Gulf deployment, Read more

PBS Aviation Spot Delivers

Judy Woodruff interviews two men for this spot: Warren Silberman, MD, a former Manager of Aerospace Medical Certification for the FAA now in private practice, and William Hurt Sledge, MD, professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, who has screened pilots for the US Air Force and airlines for years. It is worth noting that these men are very well informed and remain active in their careers. Also, they’re old – they’ve been around. It is much better to listen to men like this and not the Read more

Institutes – Prefatory Address Question 1

Prefatory Address Question 1: How does Calvin’s aim in writing the Institutes differ from the reason or aim in many serious works on theology today?

Calvin himself listed the reasons he wrote the Institutes. One was to provide a basic understanding of the way of salvation, or in other words an understanding of the whole Bible and what it teaches us about God, man and the church. His aim was to structure the Institutes along the lines of the Apostle’s Creed, so that the first book would be about God the Father, the second about Christ as Redeemer (which includes his section on man), the third about the Holy Spirit (who applies Christ to His elect), and the last about the church. Calvin thought that if he wrote Bible commentaries, he would have to spend a lot of time explaining basics to his reader; to keep these brief, he chose to provide his readers with the Institutes. Read more

Reading Through Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion

Many Christians over the years have attempted to read through John Calvin’s huge Institutes of the Christian Religion, not all successfully. It’s a daunting task but scores of learned men have benefited from the journey. I will blog about this journey using J. Mark Beach’s study guide, Piety’s Wisdom, to spur my thoughts and writing on this book. He covers the whole work and provides questions for each section.

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