How to Read this Blog

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Southern Reformed Smoker, we are glad to have you. Wether you are here to click around hit like and try and get us to reciprocate on your own WordPress blog, a CCP bot, or an actual person who fell down the internet rabbit hole and this is where you landed, Welcome. 

Being a new year I thought it would be advantageous to do a little expounding on who “we” are and pass on a few tip/warnings about what you have stumbled into. Some of the basics can be found over on our UnAsked Questions page

First. We are mostly an I. Technically this blog was started by two of us. I (C.H.) kept kicking around the idea that I needed to work on my discipline of writing. T.S. got tired of hearing my thoughts in person and guilted me into learning WordPress. To put it kindly T.S. has been the wind beneath my wings. To put it rightly she has been shoving me into the technological pool and giggling like a schoolgirl at watching m doggy paddle. Supposedly, at some point, in the distant future, before the rapture, she will write something. Until then you are stuck with my musings. Which bring us to…

Second. I write like I speak. This is a disadvantage to the vast majority of you as we have never in person. And as an introvert with options this suits me quite well. What it means practically is the readership here will remain small as my prose is not as clean as it should be. While we are on my prose, The deep irony is that, though I majored in English in college, my grammar and spelling is atrocious. I have seen professors weep over my comma placement alone. If you are muddling though then I salute you.

Third. If you have managed to survive though the range of my opinions and theological musings then I doubly salute you. Though I credit Lewis as my greatest teacher, I came up theologically under the tutelage of early days Mark Driscoll. And it shows. Since then I have also been influenced by Doug Wilson. If you have problems with Luther, Calvin, any of the Puritans, Spurgeon, Ryle, Mark Dever, or Bryan Loritts. Then this the time to bail. I’m pretty sure there is another theological skeleton lurking in my closet but after a while all the bones become hard to differentiate.

Fourth. And this probably should have come sooner, if you have a problem with smoking and drinking then this is not the blog for you (See Six). I will agree with my Southern Baptist brethren on dancing. I can’t dance and therefore have decided arbitrarily to make a legalism out of it. Otherwise you can expect a lot of smoking and drinking to be happening on this blog. For the southern bit that is… needing explanation. 

  • A. C.H has lived in Memphis his whole life. He has no plans to move. That said, if you met me anywhere else in the world you have a hard time guessing where I am from. Once in college I read for the part of a southern gentlemen and lost it because my accent started in Atlanta and ended in Cambridge. My mother dreamed of delightfully southern children, At age ten I not only informed her I would have sided with the Union but that given the opportunity in 1776 I would have fought for King George.
  • B. T.S. used to live in Memphis but moved to Washington state because she found a proper normal human who wanted to marry her. She is as southern as they come, which has proved to be something of a challenge in the upper regions of the nation. C.H. is not bitter at all of having been abandoned by his best friend. And he is in no way wanting to guilt her. Not even if her repentance was in the form of writing an article for the blog that was her idea, from time to time.

Fifth. “Reformed. Does that mean Calvinistic?” you say. Since C.H. is writing this the answer will come by way of Doug Wilson, followed by a hearty, Amen. 

“In brief, I wish there were seven points so I could hold to the Calvinistic extras. You may count me a devotee of crawl-over-broken-glass Calvinism, jet-fuel Calvinism, black-coffee Calvinism.

Or, as my friend Peter Hitchens had it, weapons-grade Calvinism. No yellowcake uranium semi-Pelagianism for me. I buy my Calvinism in fifty-gallon drums with the skull and crossbones stenciled on the side, with little dribbles of white paint running down from the corners. I get my Calvinism delivered on those forklift plats at Costco.” Douglas Wilson, Undragoned: C.S. Lewis on the Gift of Salvation

Amen. T.S. is not nearly as gung-ho having recently realizing she had no choice about The Doctrines of Grace. And being a natural contrarian she is still smarting over the whole thing.

Sixth. We not only hold to our liberty in Christ that we are free to smoke and drink. We at worst see them as under common grace and at best good gifts from God. Very good gifts. We stand with Luther, Spurgeon, Lewis, and a host of witnesses that these are given for Gods glory and our joy. And because God is creative and called us to copy him we revel in Scotches, Speyside, Highland, and especially Isla. We delight in bourbons, and we pair them with a wide array of stogies. Frequently we throw in good coffee with heavy cream, oaring fires on chilly nights or frosted mornings, classical music at full volume, and books read aloud. While all are excellent on their own, in combination they are glorious.

Seventh. This is a blog that hates legalism. But we do see that legalism is not a one way street with a bunch of old sour puss pharisees thumping King James Bibles at the end of the block. Rather because all men are made to worship and will worship, we believe that legalism and it’s instance that everyone submit to it’s arbitrary dictums is alive and well both left and right. Therefore we are are seeking to play merry hell with legalists wherever we find them. This includes thumbing out noses and making funny faces when solemn and censorious lectures are going on; as well as out and out contradicting every third chance we get. An example of the later will be landing here in the coming months. If you object to masculine men, and masculine piety gleefully skipping through the lavender halls of the feminized church then this is the point at which you will want to beat a hasty retreat toward the exit. 

Eighth. Here is the tip on how to read: with good humor and charity. Don’t see everything as a stern lecture. If it helps keep the image of an uncle who is serious about being joyful in your mind. While he occasionally says hard things that twinkle is never gone from the corner of his eye. That is the goal. If you truly object then also bear in mind that no one is keeping you here. You are free to disagree. I personally like good debate partners so I often read people who irritate me but are good at making their point. Thick skin is is expected around here.

Ninth. This is something of a pet peeve of my own, but check the tags at the top of an article, just in case it is satire. As I mentioned before the the hills I choose to plant flags on and defend can and frequently do run against the grain of public opinion. But on occasion I like to make a point though satire or humor. And sometimes I enjoy just writing humorously just for the fun of it. If something is meant to be funny or satire it will be in the tags. A few years back Hans Fiene wrote a satirical article over at The Federalist that caused a bit of a stir on these interwebs. And it was only after several lengthy and sanctimonious rebuttals had been thrown against the servers that anyone noticed the solitary tag on his piece, Satire. So if I offend you take a couple seconds to scan the tags at the top of the article. If it says satire then chuckle and move on. If not then feel free to scream at the sky until I get around to setting up some sort of email account for you to direct your wrath into.

Tenth. This is more of a housekeeping thing. All Scripture quotes are from the ESV unless otherwise stated. I personally am partial to NASV but the readability of the Elect Standard Version is better for the blog.

Eleventh. While we are on quotes. Expect them to be long form. There are a few reasons for this and none of them are that I am trying to fill space. A. Personal preference. I like long quotes context matters and I think there is a better chance of me not misunderstanding or misinterpreting an authors meaning if a goodly section is put down in full. B. I am crap at pulling pithy quotes. If something short shows up it is more than likely because someone else found the nice short one, I then read it in their work, memorized or marked it, and then put it here.

Twelfth. Know that we are glad to have you reading here. I am currently a little obsessive about the stats WordPress puts up and as of right now we are visited by tens of people on a good month. And even then about five of you actually venture in far enough to read an article. Usually it’s just the one and they never come back. So if you have made it this far, good on you mate! Welcome aboard, the seas may be choppy but at least it will be an adventure.

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