Saturday, November 28, 2009
This is the congregation of Cornerstone Reformed Church [CREC, Illinois] singing yet another dead, dry, dusty traditional hymn. Check out the young men in the front row ... poor boys - you can tell they're just dying for something hipper maybe with drums and guitars; poor folks in the middle, they're yawning or maybe lipsynching; and the folks in the back, well anyone can see how badly they need a big screen and projector; poor flock - this is such a complex tune and obviously way too difficult and involved to be worth their time to learn; and did you see how limp and lifeless the preacher was as he struggled to muster a prayer after the hymn had ended? [post-hyper-sarcasm] If we are going to raise the next generation of Christian martyrs, they will march to the gallows singing songs like this. Think about the theology of your singing - what you sing and how you sing it!
The Son of God goes forth to war,
a kingly crown to gain;
his blood red banner streams afar:
who follows in his train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
triumphant over pain,
who patient bears his cross below,
he follows in his train.
That martyr first, whose eagle eye
could pierce beyond the grave;
who saw his Master in the sky,
and called on him to save.
Like him, with pardon on his tongue,
in midst of mortal pain,
he prayed for them that did the wrong:
who follows in his train?
A glorious band, the chosen few
on whom the Spirit came;
twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
and mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant's brandished steel,
the lion's gory mane;
they bowed their heads the death to feel:
who follows in their train?
A noble army, men and boys,
the matron and the maid,
around the Savior's throne rejoice,
in robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven,
through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given,
to follow in their train.
- Reginald Heber, 1827
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Is it a surprise, then, that this generation of students -- steeped in consumer culture before going off to school, treated as potent customers by the university well before their date of arrival, then pandered to from day one until the morning of the final kiss-off from Kermit or one of his kin -- are inclined to see the books they read as a string of entertainments to be placidly enjoyed or languidly cast down? Given the way universities are now administered (which is more and more to say, given the way that they are currently marketed), is it a shock that the kids don't come to school hot to learn, unable to beat their own ignorance? For some measure of self-dislike, or self-discontent -- which is much different than simple depression -- seems to me to be a prerequisite for getting an education that matters. My students, alas, usually lack the confidence to acknowledge what would be their most precious asset for learning: their ignorance.
- ON THE USES OF A LIBERAL EDUCATION:
AS LITE ENTERTAINMENT FOR BORED COLLEGE STUDENTS
AS LITE ENTERTAINMENT FOR BORED COLLEGE STUDENTS
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
"… Dr. Benjamin Spock, after flatly informing 1950s mothers that day nurseries are "no good for infants," deleted this advice from 1990s editions of his manual because it made working mothers feel guilty (and to no avail, because they were headed to work anyway). Spock himself admitted: 'It's a cowardly thing that I did; I just tossed it in subsequent editions.' "
- Brian C. Robertson, Day Care Deception: What the Child Care Establishment Isn't Telling Us
Sunday, November 22, 2009
… you never really know how your words or actions will affect your children. What will they say about you when you’re gone? What moment will they remember? What will they tell their children about you? … the most precious things a father can provide are time, attention, and love. For about six months, [in preparation for this book about remembering our fathers] I read hundreds of letters and emails every day but I can’t remember a single one that said ‘My father gave me every material thing I wanted’ or ‘what I remember about my dad is the TV he bought me’. What we remember about our fathers has nothing little or nothing to do with material objects. We remember the time they gave us – whether indirectly [through hard work] or in more conventional ways – time spent providing advice, telling a bedtime story, or simply showing up for a recital, spelling bee, or an athletic event. There’s a reason one of these chapters is called, “Being there”.
-Tim Russert [1950-2008], an excerpt from his book, The Wisdom of our Fathers
Picture from Getty Images
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Despite the source [Romans 12.9], I was struck by these lines. It would do us all good to take in a large dose of this:
Truly, our mighty men are nothing before Thee, and the men of fame as though they had never been; the learned appear void of knowledge and the wise like men without understanding. For their deeds are vain, and their lives, days of emptiness before Thine eyes; and whatever we are, O God, we are through Thee and Thy Divine Aid.
- excerpt from a Jewish Prayer for the Day of Atonement
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Often there’s a kind of official and systematic rebelliousness that’s reflected in media products pitched at kids. It’s part of the official rock-video worldview. It’s part of the official advertizing worldview – that your parents are creeps, teachers are nerds and idiots, authority figures are laughable, and nobody can really understand kids, except the corporate sponsor. That huge authority has, interestingly enough, emerged as the sort of tacit superhero of consumer culture. That's the coolest entity of all, and yet they are very busily selling the illusion that they are there to liberate the youth, to let them be free, to let them be themselves, to let them think different, and so on. But it's really just an enormous sales job.
- Mark Crispin Miller, media critic, NYU professor, and author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I’ve been told the difference between cats and dogs is that a dog looks at his master and says, ‘Wow, he gives me food, gives me toys, plays with me, he grooms me … he must be a god.’ And a cat looks at his master and says, ‘Wow, he gives me food, he gives me toys, he plays with me, he grooms me … I must be a god.’
Surrounded by a super-abundance of choices very few of us feel like dogs. We don’t feel humble that we live in a world where things have been taken care of us this way, we tend to feel empowered … whether or not we actually are. We don’t regard the people who provide us with those choices as special and worthy, we feel that we’re special and worthy to be addressed so deliberately, so earnestly, and so creatively.
-Ken Myers, Electronic Media and Restless Souls
Monday, November 16, 2009
Odd alliances and friendships can form in the course of a church conflict. I have seen a disgruntled person leave the church because of something that someone else in the church was doing. And then, when that someone else also became disgruntled and left, the two immediately sought one another out. Over the years, I have called this kind of thing the Fellowship of the Grievance (FOG). People who are unhappy with a church for various (and sometimes contradictory) reasons will find in the mere fact of their grievance a kinship or a bond with others who are peeved. This is a strange and perverse sort of koinonia—in gripes there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.
– Douglas Wilson, The Genesis of Church Conflict
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
I would say that authority is - in a way - a bigger crisis than the crisis of truth in postmodern culture. Because authority constitutes also moral authority, the idea that God is a Judge to Whom we are rightly accountable. The gospel is unimaginable without the concept of authority.
- Ken Meyers, IX Marks interview
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I have seen it without going a mile from home, that in a Church of between three and four hundred communicants, there are but few more than one hundred men; all the rest are women.
- Cotton Mather, 1692
Saturday, November 7, 2009
As we talked more and more I began to see this as a personal responsibility issue. 95% of my effort in fighting socialism really is how I educate my children; the kind of relationship I have with my daughters; the kind of relationship I have with my father and mother; my willingness to bring them into my home and take care of them myself. And I’m sorry, but that’s really a lot more difficult than writing a check to the Heritage Foundation!
- Kevin Swanson
[photo at Christian Heritage Online]