About this blog

My name is ElShaddai Edwards and I live in the Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) metro area with my wife and our two sons. I was born and raised in Homer, Alaska, then moved south to attend college in Minnesota. After almost two years of fruitless studies in math, physics and quantum astrophysics, I shifted gears and graduated with a degree in music.

In my professional life, I’ve worked at software development and IT firms in a variety of marketing and business positions. I currently work as a User Experience (UX) Designer for Digitaria, a full-service digital agency with offices in downtown Minneapolis. In addition, I moonlight as a freelance web designer, creating custom WordPress websites for local ministry programs and small businesses.

About the name

The title for this site is based on a translation of my given first name, ElShaddai, one of the first Hebrew names for God in the Bible. Most English Bibles translate El Shaddai as “God Almighty” as traditionally rendered from the Greek pantocrator and Latin omnipotens.  However, in the Septuagint, there is also a tradition for translating Shaddai with the Greek hikanos, which means “the Sufficient One” (cf. Ruth 1:20 and Job 21:15, 31:2 and 40:2 in the NETS translation).

Perhaps based on rabbinical exegesis rather than strict etymology, this alternate translation doesn’t appear in our modern Bibles, which generally conform to the traditional English rendering. That said, my earliest memory of my father explaining my name (probably after I’d sat down with his copy of Strong’s and traced every occurrence of Shaddai in my NASB OT) was along the lines of “God is sufficient for the needs of His people”. I don’t think I could argue with that!

ματαιολογίαν

This blog’s tagline plays off of one of my favorite translated phrases in the New/Revised English Bible:

“When I [Paul] was starting for Macedonia, I urged you [Timothy] to stay on at Ephesus. You were to instruct certain people to give up teaching erroneous doctrines and devoting themselves to interminable myths and genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation, and do not further God’s plan for us, which works through faith.

This instruction has love as its goal, the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a genuine faith. Through lack of these some people have gone astray into a wilderness of words. They set out to be teachers of the law, although they do not understand either the words they use or the subjects about which they are so dogmatic.”
– 1 Timothy 1:3-7 (REB)

The phrase “a wilderness of words” is a translation of the Greek adjective mataiologia. Strong’s defines mataiologia as “vain talking, empty talk”. The corresponding noun is mataiologos (cf. Titus 1:10), defined as “an idle talker, one who utters empty senseless things.” In his Daily Study Bible series, William Barclay notes that the root adjective mataios “applied to heathen worship. The main idea was of a worship which produced no goodness in life.” The NASB suggestively captures this idea with the translation “unfruitful discussion”.

It’s very easy to get caught up in writing words and not think about the meaning or impact of what you write. Paul wrote about the “wilderness of words” as being a place where those who have strayed find themselves when they try to teach others from the scripture. I sometimes feel that way about blogging; as a sinful man, I find myself convicted by the Spirit with respect to my heart and faith, and I question if I really should be writing words of posterity that may be taken as instruction by others.

This blog then is a place to capture my life as a sinner in God’s kingdom who, as Paul writes, discovers “that when I want to do right, only wrong is within my reach. In my inmost self I delight in the law of God, but I perceive in my outward actions a different law, fighting against the law that my mind approves, and making me a prisoner under the law of sin which controls my conduct. Wretched creature that I am, who is there to rescue me from this state of death?”

None but God. For He alone is sufficient for all our needs.

12 Comments

  1. Posted May 31, 2007 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Homer, Alaska. It that the home of Tom Bodett? “The Last Paved Road in America?”

  2. elshaddai
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

    Yes. If you drive as far west as you can go on the North American (continental) highway system, you end up in Homer. Well, actually the furthest point west is a few miles up the road at Anchor Point, but the highway ends in Homer. They were still paving when I left to go to college. Presumably they’re done by now…

  3. Posted June 7, 2007 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

    Hi Elshaddai,

    Here is a note I’ve been sending around to fellow bloggers. Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough, but I don’t have an email address of yours to send the PDF I mention to you.

    I’m hoping you will interact with my discussion piece.

    Dear friends,

    I’ve been working on a piece entitled “Thinking about Canon.” See attached.

    The intent is to get people thinking, fearlessly and shamelessly, about a subject of great interest.

    I do my best to disagree with everyone. If I missed you, let me know.

    I’m hoping that the piece will provoke a discussion. If so, it will have served its purpose.

    Please take a moment (well, it will take more than a moment) to look it over. On your own blog, if you have one, or in a comment on mine, I hope to hear from you.

    The piece will show up in installments beginning today. But you have the whole thing attached.

    I will add more links because, based on the offline correspondence my site generates, many people who happen on what I write don’t know e.g. Origen from a hole in the wall.

    My intent is also to cite blogosphere discussion of the issue far more that I have so far done.

    Intra-blog citation makes sense in a piece designed for distribution in the blogosphere. Let me know of online discussion worth interacting with.

    Best,

    John Hobbins
    http://www.ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com

  4. Posted July 5, 2007 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    I am a thirty-something transplant from Homer, Alaska

    And I am a fifty-something transplant from Ninilchik, Alaska, just up a road a little from Homer. We transplants must stick together!

  5. Posted July 8, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Wayne. It’s always good to hear from fellow Alaskans, especially from the Kenai Peninsula.

  6. Posted July 25, 2007 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Just popping in to say HI and let you know I appreciate what you’re writing here!

  7. The Seeker
    Posted August 26, 2007 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

    From Homer? Did you have a mayor there a while back by the name of Wayne Kessler? He was one of my seminary professors.

    Seeker

  8. Posted August 26, 2007 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    >> Did you have a mayor there a while back by the name of Wayne Kessler? He was one of my seminary professors.

    Haven’t heard that name in a long time… He was actually the senior pastor at the church that I grew up in. He and his family left when I was in junior high or maybe high school, but I do remember him. What seminary did he teach at?

  9. Posted October 10, 2007 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the link to ::abide::

    blessings on you.

  10. Steve
    Posted October 27, 2007 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    And thanks for the link to Undeception!

  11. Posted April 3, 2008 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

    When I saw this sign, I knew I needed to photograph it for you.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/vineandfig/Miscellany/photo#5185215194840324466

    (You’ll need to copy that long, ugly path and paste i into your browser.)

  12. Posted April 4, 2008 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    Nice! I guess that puts a twist on the phrase, “cleanliness is next to godliness”…