Sunday, May 31, 2009

Worship is ...

... a royal waste of time.

-Marva Dawn

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Lonely Crowd

As the American family gets smaller, 3.14 persons in 1970 down to 2.57 persons in 2003, the number of bedrooms [per house] continues to grow. Of new homes in the US, 39% now have 4 or more bedrooms. Ironically - or maybe not - during that continuing bouduare growth trend, reports of childhood depression - including thoughts of feeling lonely, isolated, and even suicidal - have increased four fold. I wanted my own bedroom when I was growing up, but it wasn't to be. I always had to share one with my omni-annoying older brother. Maybe my brother wasn't so bad after all.

-Jeff Yeager

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Reading List ...

In case you're looking for a good book this summer, Monergism has just released their reading guide. It is simple, straightforward and quite decent overall. Check it out, here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Default Arminianism

If you know anything about me, you know that I'm a Calvinist. I'm not one of these Arminians. Except that as a Calvinist, I believe in total depravity, which means that as a Calvinist I know that I am an Arminian. That is - even though I say with my lips that I'm justified by faith alone, in my heart I think that I can earn God's favor with my behavior. In fact, if you're a really hardcore Calvinist, you think that you can earn God's favor because of your zeal and commitment to the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Calvinists hold to the doctrine of unconditional election which holds that God didn't choose us because He peered down the corridors of time and saw that we would choose Him - that's an Arminian view. We don't believe that. No, we think God peered down the corridors and saw that we'd be a Calvinist and that's why He chose us.
So often our spiritual exercises are designed in the horrible, dark corners of our hearts as a means to win God's favor.

- R.C. Sproul, Jr. [pictured with his newly adopted son, Reilly Justice Sproul]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Easy to Please ... Way Too Easy to Please

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
- C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nope, it's not a typo ...

"... God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ-likeness. This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer."

-Rick Warren, ... yes, that Rick Warren

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Think about it ... [remix]

You are what what you eat eats.

-Michael Pollan, IN DEFENSE OF FOOD: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Therewith to be Content ...

If you have health, you probably will be happy. And if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all the wealth you want.

-Elbert Hubbert

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Christian Children and Government Schooling

It’s amazing that parents who would never send their kids to Jehovah’s Witness VBS or to an Islamic day-school have no hesitation to let their children go to public schools that indoctrinate their children – actively – against the Christian faith.

Bradley Heath – author of Millstones and Stumbling Blocks [find it at The Alliance for the Separation of School and State]

Book List [what I've been reading these days] ...


Get up and move a little

The average adult burns 2650 calories walking and standing for eight hours. That same person will only burn 1300 calories sitting at a desk [kind of like you're doing right now].

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fatherless America

Tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live. Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than half of our nation's children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhood living apart from their fathers. Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their fathers. Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a father.

Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. It is the leading cause of declining child well-being in our society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence against women.

- David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem

Friday, May 15, 2009

"World Hunger Stinks"

You might say the solution to world hunger is right under our noses. According to it would cost about $13 billion annually to satisfy the world's basic sanitation and food requirements. Where can we free up that kind of cash? ... Perfume. That's right, the world's hungry could be fed for about what Americans and Europeans spend on perfume each year. I say, chuck the Chanel and feed the children!

-Jeff Yeager, personal finance author and self-proclaimed 'Ultimate Cheapskate'

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Massachusetts Bay

This was the original seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony - in use from 1629-1692. The indian is quoting the Macedonian man in Paul's vision [Acts 16] with the words "Come over and help us." It is a sad commentary on the state of our Biblical [il]literacy that most Christians today[myself included] couldn't tell you the source of this quote though it was familiar enough in the 17th century to be used on a commercial shipping seal.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Pretty much all law consists in forbidding men to do some thing they want to do.

-Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr.
Adkins v. Children's Hospital, dissenting opinion

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Living the Resurrection-centered Life

"Things fall apart and suffering and death dog our steps, but the reversal of cosmic entropy has begun in the resurrection of Jesus. Faith in the name of Jesus germinating from the Spirit’s witness is the seed from which will grow the restoration of all things."

– Dennis Johnson, The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption

This was a quote referenced by Brian Borgman in his excellent series on The Acts. He was making a profound point: when you read the sermons of the Apostles in The Acts, it was the resurrection - not the crucifixion - that was at the center of their understanding of the gospel. Reformed evangelicals often gripe about Roman Catholic crucifixes, but our understanding of the gospel may not be much more than an theological crucifix - Christ stuck on the cross - by comparison to the version we see preached and incarnated by the Apostles. It's a subtle difference, but I can't help wondering how my views of eschatology, evangelism, suffering, and so forth, might be altered after meditating on the centrality of the resurrection. It's worth pondering.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

America: In the Beginning, God ...

Each entry below is the first line of the preamble to our state constitutions:

California 1879: We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom...

Connecticut 1818: The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Maine 1820: We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .. And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776: We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780: We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction ...

New Jersey 1844: We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

New York 1846: We, the people of the State of New York , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

Vermont 1777: Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man ...

Washington 1889: We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.

Monday, May 4, 2009

"If money talks then it tells lies" ...

Economists and psychologists have spent decades studying the relations between wealth and happiness and they have generally concluded that wealth increases human happiness when it lifts people out of abject poverty and into the middle class, but it does little to increase happiness thereafter. It hurts to be hungry, cold, sick, tired, or scared, but once you’ve bought your way out of these holes, the rest of your money is an increasingly useless pile of paper.

-Danny Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Justus: Update

After 3 days, JJ is back from the hospital - thank you for your prayers. He is slowly improving and seems to be stable. Thus far, we think that this was just a stomach bug his immune system was still too weak to stave off. His surgery/biopsy was cancelled and rescheduled for the first week of June.

The Brilliant Witness of J.S. Bach

A. N. Wilson was once a Christian, but “converted” to atheism, rubbing shoulders with Dawkins and Hitchens and others. but now he has started to believe again. The New Statesman has a Q&A with him and he reveals another fascinating aspect of this journey.

They ask: “What’s the worst thing about being faithless?”
Wilson: The worst thing about being faithless? When I thought I was an atheist I would listen to the music of Bach and realize that his perception of life was deeper, wiser, more rounded than my own. Ditto when I read the lives of great men and women who were religious.
Reading Northrop Frye and Blake made me realize that their world-view (above all their ability to see the world in mythological terms) is so much more INTERESTING than some of the alternative ways of looking at life.

Did you catch that? The music of Bach brings to bear a deeper view of life. Something to ponder about our own church experiences and whether they are cultivating a deeper and wiser and more rounded view of life.

- James H. Grant, Jr.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Absent Fathers

In the 18th century manuals on raising children are always directed primarily to the father. In the 19th century, you direct them to the mother. Part of that is social – what’s going on in the 19th century men are out of the home. They are at the factory 12-13 hours a day, 6 days a week. So the mothers become the main vehicle for raising the children spiritually and morally. But the consequence of that is a loss of male leadership in evangelicalism in the 19th century.

- Michael Haykin, 19th Century Evangelicalism

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kool-Aid Christianity

In our evangelistic zeal, we are looking for programs that will attract people. We think we have to put honey on the lip of the bitter cup of salvation. It is the story of the wedding of Cana all over again but with this difference: at the crucial moment when the wine failed, we took matters into our own hands and used those five stone jars to mix up a batch of Kool-Aid instead.

- Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship