Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marriage, Divorce, and Gay Rights

"Under the new arrangement, a mutual pledge made by two people ... has been transformed by law into a pledge which can be revoked at will by one party.  And the party who wishes to maintain the marriage and to stick by the original vows can - in the end - be dragged, under threat of prison, from the family home."
-Peter Hitchens ...
...on how divorce "reform" laws undermined the sanctity of marriage a long time before anyone thought to legalize homosexual marriage.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Work, Sleep, and Meetings

When I arrived here a year ago as a new young pastor, Jim Jordan was gracious enough to take me out on a few occasions and let me pick his brain over Asian cuisine.  One of the things he told me stands out.  He said that Greg Bahnsen used to tell him to think of studying like underwater diving.  You had to set it up, prep, and then plunge in and reserve a large block of time for being underwater.  Then, you come up.  Take a break.  Get a bit of air.  Refresh.  And then start it all over again.  This is exactly what Jason Fried's research has found by paralleling work and sleep cycles.  For a pastor or anyone whose vocation involves creative work, this is a GOLDEN NUGGET!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Found Otherwise

One of the biggest dangers we face when coming to Scripture today is UNDERreading.  Like my children handle apples, three bites off the big side and they're done.  There's so much more to be digested than that!  Of course, there's eventually a stem and core that is best avoided, but there is a lot more flesh there yet to be consumed!  This is often the product of not reading the way the Apostles taught us to read - not reading Christologically.

The other danger is MISreading.  This is often seen when Scripture is read by the Academy rather than by the Church - not reading ecclesiologically.
A classic example is Samuel's telling of the immensely deep, rich, and passionate friendship between David and Jonathan.  When he told us this story, sodomy was the farthest thing from his mind.  But of course, secular scholars, with a knowing grin and a pat on the head, tell us otherwise.  The truth of the matter, however, is that the Sacred Writings were not given for them to read.  They were given to God's people to be read in and by the Church.  Not only were they given by God they were written by Him in the truest sense of the word.  And the Spirit, Who cannot lie, for Whom a day is as a thousand years, is capable of talking to us without contradicting Himself - just as I am in telling a story to my children over the course of thirty seconds.  This is how we know what the Holy Spirit meant when He spoke to us through holy Samuel about David and Jonathan.
But in a hyper-sexualized culture [so-called] where our basest instincts are incessantly fondled by lurid adds and prurient peddlers, ignorant and unstable men will twist the Scriptures to their own destruction.  To the pure, all things are pure. To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Their minds and consciences are defiled. They claim to know God, but plainly deny him by their deeds. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for good work of any kind.
May we be found otherwise.

- Meditation on True Friendship, Real Marriage, David and Jonathan, Chastity, and our current temptations

As an interesting and historical note and mini-metaphor of twisting something from its true context for propagandized ends in this debate - and in the spirit of helping to cultivate a Christian imagination adequate to direct our thinking on the subject [as we've been wisely exhorted to do by Peter Leithart here] - it is very common to find the first illustration, a tableau from Friar Laurent's La Somme Le Roy [commonly called, The Book of Vices and Virtues] hijacked by online homosexual activists as an illustration of gay "love" between David and Jonathan.  
In it's original context, the embrace of David and Jonathan was an illustration of the virtue of friendship as opposed to the vice of hatred.  More to the point of our current temptations, below is another illumination from that same Medieval work, this one depicting the virtue of chastity over against vice of lust [luxure].  Chastity is crowned in gold, trampling upon a swine, and gazing at the intricate beauty of a dove [?] while Lust is limply wagging a cloth of fabric in one hand and jangling her slaves' chains in the other.  Upon close inspection, it can be seen that she is also coughing up blood.  
Below them are two scenes: First from the deuterocanonical Book of Judith in which she rebuffs impure advances with a beheading [!!] and then Joseph fleeing from the lecherous advances of Potiphar's wife.  Ours will be a different world when once again, we learn to be captivated by this kind of art.  In it we find triunity - truth, goodness, and beauty in one.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Sounding Brass of Lust and Tinkling Cymbal of Temptation

When two people love each other - truly and deeply - when they are committed to each other in life-long, selfless devotion and companionship; when they seek to serve and care for the other and join together to synergistically serve and improve the community around them ... the world should rejoice and pray for more like them and that couple should continue on while never allowing sexual impurity to intrude and corrupt the priceless gift their real love is.
I am afraid that when I do not understand this, it is because of my own relational shallowness and weakness in the face of our current temptations.

- Meditation on True Friendship, Real Marriage, David and Jonathan, Chastity, and our current temptations

[Paintings: David and Jonathan by Rembrandt above and Conegliano below.]