Monthly Archives: August 2022

9 things on grieving

Some grief you carry in community. The worst grief you carry alone.

You grieve the relationship that should have been. The missing people in your life that you can’t talk about. The loved ones that were taken away because of great evil. The loved ones taken away by death, illness or broken relationship.

You grieve the loss of community and the things that you know that no one would believe even if you told them. You grieve the fear and the terror and the unfulfilled longing to be known and the terror of rejection and pain if you are known.

You grieve not being able to tell anyone of what is really going on because you still are grieving from the fallout of the last time you spoke.

You grieve the damage that unimaginable evil can do that you can’t speak out loud because you would sound like a paranoid nut job if you did. You grieve the appearance of evil that sunk into your soul and took away your safe place to stand that you can’t tell anyone because the fear of rejection is greater than your desire to be known. So you carry it alone. There is a heaviness attached to seeing the worst side of humanity.

You grieve the innocence that you lost; the child you never were. You grieve lost health, lost opportunities, lost youth, lost children, lost friendships, lost gardens, lost fellowship.

You grieve the loss of the place where you thought you stood, when the ground finally shakes and everything falls and nothing is left except Christ and His Cross.

And you grieve for that little boy that you once were, the one that you hate, the one that fills you with disgust and shame –  and the hardest thing to do is to grieve for him and to realize that maybe he was just trying to do the best he knew how and maybe you should give him a break because no one else would …

And you grieve the life that you thought you would have but the curse on the world got in the way, and you realize that “godliness with contentment is great gain” is the hardest concept to embrace when your soul is screaming – and then, you bow your head and worship. “Yet not my will, but thine be done.” I know. I truly know that the day will come when all of these tears will be washed away. How I long for that day.

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A Review of It’s Good to Be a Man

In other words, the book is not Christian at all – but an idolatry of strength, dominion and power. Which, strangely enough, is exactly what Baal worship is.
If you are attending a congregation that is promoting or teaching this, flee and find a church.

Reforming Anthropology

Michael Foster and Dominic Bnonn Tennant’s book, It’s Good to be a Man (Canon Press, 2021), hasan innocuous title, and yet their book comes loaded with a view of themselves as men, Christianity as a masculine religion, and world dominion as a masculine pursuit, that reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of themselves, the church’s mission, their neighbor, and finally God. They aim to call their male readers to what they have settled on as the full measure of the stature of manliness, an understanding shaped by their experiences and theological convictions, Foster’s sharpened within his denomination. They anticipate the transformation of the world through planting churches so that “God’s name will be great throughout the nations.” On the surface, nothing might seem amiss. Don’t we all desire that the ends of the world be reached? But the question is “Reached with what?” According to Foster and Tennant, the gospel…

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Imagine a marriage of liberty

Imagine a marriage of liberty.

He loves Jesus and prays through the power of the Spirit. If he sins, he confesses his sins to the ones he sinned against and brings his faults to the throne of grace.

His sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ.

He uses his mind and his body for good. He works diligently so he might have to give to those in need.

He knows how to wash a dish and do his laundry and go shopping. He knows what bills are due and how to pay them.

He understands the condition of his flocks and herds.

When there is disaster, he prays. His Father in heaven hears because he stands in Christ as an heir of eternal life. When life is prosperous, he gives thanks and bends the knee to his Father in heaven.

Imagine he meets a woman.

She loves Jesus and prays through the power of the Spirit. If she sins, she confesses her sins to the ones she sinned against and brings her faults to the throne of grace.

Her sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ.

She uses her mind and her body for good. She works diligently so she might have to give to those in need.

She knows how to wash a dish and do her laundry and go shopping. She knows what bills are due and how to pay them.

She understands the condition of her flocks and herds.

When there is disaster, she prays. Her Father in heaven hears because she stands in Christ as an heir of eternal life. When life is prosperous, she gives thanks and bends the knee to her Father in heaven.

His eyes catch hers from across the room. He goes and introduces himself. They talk about rationalism and irrationalism and textual criticism and colors and poetry. They talk of wisdom and flowers and sixteenth century Italian poets.

He thinks that she is beautiful and she thinks that he is handsome, but they aren’t trying to dominate or control or use each other. They are just dreaming and talking and sharing and learning what it means to love.

Sometimes they agree. Sometimes they don’t. And their love grows.

They get married, not because he needs someone to cook and clean and do laundry. But because he loves her and the yoke is easier if you pull it together.

They get married, not because she needs a provider and a protector, but because she loves him and the yoke is easier if you pull it together.

She has been hurt before so her natural inclination is to be guarded and closed off, but she opens to him because she trusts him with her heart and her body and her mind. She knows that he is in Christ and she is in Christ so she opens to him in love and joy.

He has been taught his whole life that he is to lead her and rule over her to keep her from getting out of control – but he knows that she is in Christ and he is in Christ and that they both have the Holy Spirit and the word of God, so he just loves her and longs to understand her more every day. He opens to her and she opens to him and as their trust grows their love grows.

She sins and she confesses her faults to God because she is an heir of eternal life. He hears her and forgives.

He sins and he confesses his faults to God because he is an heir of eternal life. God hears and forgives.

And they grow closer.

He still thinks that she is beautiful and she still thinks that he is handsome, but they aren’t trying to dominate or control or use each other. They are still just dreaming and talking and sharing and learning what it means to love, and doing it together.

Now imagine another scenario. Imagine a church that does not use fear to keep marriages together.

Imagine civil laws that impose no penalties on divorce.

Imagine that either the man or the woman could leave and divorce anytime they choose without shame, without penalty, without consequence (this is an “unreal condition” for grammarians. That means it does not exist, nor should it necessarily exist, but for the sake of this argument we are imagining that it exists).

Neither the husband nor the wife even consider divorcing, nor does adultery ever enter the heart – not because they are afraid of consequences, but because their love is so complete and perfect.

THIS, it seems to me, is what it means to be sanctified. It should be the goal of our marriage, and it should be the goal of our life.

To be made perfect in love.

‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Because sin and treachery are still in the world, we still need the sanctions of the state. We need to regulate and protect the weak from the strong. We need to punish those who act treacherously.

But that is not the goal of humanity, nor is it the goal of the new birth.

The goal is to be made perfect in love, where not even the least thought or inclination of our hearts even consider acting treacherously towards our God.

8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

1 Timothy 1:8-11

It should also be the goal of our marriages.

I can never understand why a man desires a marriage based on fear.

Why would you want your wife to stay simply because she is afraid to leave?

Perhaps our focus should be elsewhere as husbands. Perhaps our focus should be to love our wives as Christ loved the church. To provide the atmosphere together with your wife for both of you to prosper, to freely love, to plan, to dream, to live freely as joint-heirs of Christ.

Isn’t this what we were all made for? Why settle for fear and coercion when the feast of love is promised and offered to all who will submit to Christ? Learn from him, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

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9 things (August 1)

Today is my youngest daughter’s 24th birthday. A few years back, we almost lost her, so today there is much to celebrate. We had a great day.

I found out today that it is illegal to name your child “Robocop” in Mexico. I don’t have any opinion about that. I am going to practice not having opinions about more things. I find the lack of opinions refreshing sometimes.

A few years back, there were a lot of on-line voices stridently pushing me to get worked up over net-neutrality. I forget if I was to be for it or against it, but I apologized profusely and begged off at the time, stating that I had my plate full with things to get worked up over but as soon as I clear some of those things up, I would throw a right fit – for or against. I don’t remember which. At any rate, I have some time now, but I forgot what I’m supposed to do. So I threw some water on a stray cat.

I will, however, always get worked up over those false shepherds who continually seek to add human merit to our salvation. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. It is impossible to be united to Christ without bringing fruits of thanksgiving, but that adds nothing to our standing before God.

I will also always get worked up by those who continually stir up discord in the church over their opinions. Reviling, threats, contemptuous speech and pride are as hateful to God as any “sin” you might be railing against.

My grandson is in my Sunday School class. he can’t remember the name “Esau”, but he remembers that his name (and his nickname) means “Red Hair”. So he calls him Red Hair. It’s fabulous. I ask, “How did Jacob steal the blessing?” And he says, “He pretended to be Red Hair”. That makes me quite happy.

Solomon judged between two harlots. One of them would rather destroy the baby than admit she was wrong. Solomon saw through her. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had the same wisdom. There are those who would destroy souls, churches, and even countries rather than admit that they might be wrong.

When you keep company with those who mock, scoff, and scornfully use those who are “not approved,” you will find yourself caught up in wickedness and eventually unable to extricate yourself. Remember Psalm 1. There is a difference between life and chaff.

Jesus told us that his disciples would be known by their love. No matter how much you try to twist the meaning of “love” to mean “telling people what is wrong with them”, they are not the same concepts. One is of the Holy Spirit. The other is the spirit of the Accuser. The Accuser of the Brethren has been cast out of heaven. Do not be keen to take his place.

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