Thursday, November 29, 2012

Church the way it oughta be...

"Thank you for building a church that looks ... like a church."

- The most frequent comment from community members after the new construction of the new sanctuary of

Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church .

Other notes from my conversation w/ Pastor Booth:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fathers, Do Not Provoke Your Children to Wrath ...

"Col 3.21 says: 'Fathers, do not exasperate your children that they may not lose heart.' What is it that we can do to make sure that our children do not become angry and lose heart?  On the other hand, what is the mistake that we make that provokes our children to wrath and causes them to lose heart?
Well, it's neither being too harsh or being too lax.  In the Bible, what will cause children to lose heart is when they see that the father is not interested in them.  If you do not have constant interaction with your children, your children will perceive that you're not interested in them.
Children want to please their fathers.  They want to please mothers too, but particularly they want to please their fathers.  And if you fathers do not show interest in your children, then they will lose heart and they won't care about what you say.  In fact, there will be a lot of anger inside...
Having quality time with children is the key.  Involvement is the key, both involved in discipline and involved in the positive side: reading to them, praying with them, doing things with them that count as much as you can.  None of us do this perfectly, but involvement covers all kinds of errors.  We make all kinds of mistakes in raising our kids, but those things are almost entirely covered up if we really have involvement with our kids in quality time - real wrestling with them.  Problems almost always boil down to either leaving it all to mom or letting the kids run wild... Fathers are the key...  Be involved with them as God is involved with His children."

- James B Jordan, Lectures on Ephesians 6

Here is Carl Honore: In Praise of Slowness

[for the record, I believe what God has taught us, that time is linear - not simply cyclical - but Honore's thesis stands because the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, and we are blessed when we slow down at the right moments.]  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Eschatology Works

Dr John Frame asserts:
"... I think that eschatological positions have had very little to do with the cultural pessimism or optimism of their proponents. Many of the most politically active Christians in the US have been premillennialists (Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson) or amillennialists (James Skillen, APJ), contrary to the postmillennialist claim that these positions foster cultural irrelevance and impotence. For many Christians, biblical admonitions to seek justice in society are sufficient reason to become culturally and politically active, and these are far more weighty than the supposed implications of any eschatological view."

With much respect, I disagree.  And in response, I offer an analogy from Benjamin Zander: The Transformative Power of Classical Music:

Dr Frame has given us a list of names, but these dear brethren are exceptional people whose legacies have not had the eschatological staying power to sustain any political and cultural activity for more than the short term despite their great efforts.  An optimistic expectation is air in the tires of obedience to the "Biblical admonitions to seek justice".  Without it, we are constantly working within a contradictory theology, merely staving off inevitable defeat; forestalling a failed end.

To paraphrase Zander: How would you walk?  How would you talk?  How would you be if you thought that every nation will end up being baptized and discipled?  That Christ's Church will triumph?  That the earth WILL be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea?  You see, these are totally different worlds.  Eschatology does matter.  Eschatology does make a difference.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sanitizing the Psalms

If David applied for a staff position in our churches and gave us his "diary of worship" to better understand his life, would we hesitate to give him serious consideration? I am sure we would want clarification on his imprecatory psalms as well as many other parts. Is it possible that we have a lot to learn in our churches from this man after God's own heart? Do we sanitize our worship in a way that would never allow someone to express the range of emotions found in the Psalms? 

Steve Cornell,  Don't Sanitize the Psalms

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I Lost Faith in the Pro-choice Movement


... [The] pressure built and built over months, and eventually years. And then, one day it clicked.
I was looking through a Time magazine article whose infograph cited data from the Guttmacher Institute about the most common reasons women have abortions. It immediately struck me that none of the factors on the list were conditions that we tell women to consider before engaging in sexual activity. Don’t have the money to raise a child? Don’t think your boyfriend would be a good father? Don’t feel ready to be a mother? Women were never encouraged to consider these factors before they had sex; only before they had a baby.
The fundamental truth of the pro-choice movement, from which all of its tenets flow, is that sex does not have to have life-altering consequences. I suddenly saw that it was the struggle to uphold this “truth” that led to all the shady dealings, all the fear of information, all the mental gymnastics that I’d observed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Your Duty NOT to Vote!*

Because I haven't heard anyone else say it, and I believe it needs to be said, and because I have a number of former students who are now 1st-time voters, I'll go out on a limb and say it: You have an ethical and patriotic duty NOT TO VOTE unless you have taken the time to know what you're doing. DON'T VOTE unless you know a good bit about the candidate you are selecting and why he is IN FACT better SUBSTANTIVELY and QUALITATIVELY than his opponent. This does not mean better commercials, better looks, cooler party, better more presidential-sounding voice, friendlier-looking name on the ballot, or the like. Don't VOTE unless you've taken the time to research the ballot - ESPECIALLY ON LOCAL ELECTIONS WHERE VOTES REALLY MATTER! And lastly: DON'T VOTE if you've never read the constitution. But hey - we've got 24 hours left. Don't let this stop you. It doesn't even take 24 minutes to read the U.S. Constitution [hint ... small constitution doesn't equal big gov't.]. So - go ahead and VOTE. But do your homework first, please.

Friday, November 2, 2012

I like the Fall

The Mist and All

by Dixie Willson
To be read slowly and quietly

I like the fall
The mist and all
I like the night owl’s lonely call
And wailing sound
Of wind around
I like the gray
November day
And dead, bare boughs that coldly sway
Against my pane
I like the rain
I like to sit
And laugh at it
And tend my cozy fire a bit
I like the fall
The mist and all

photo of Valparaiso/Boggy Bayou by me.