Monday, March 31, 2008

There will be poor always...

There is an interesting, short article in City Journal here by Steven Malanga, discussing poverty and the presidential campaign's addressing of it. He explains his interest:

Reading Obama’s speech prompted me to look at his larger economic policy proposals, especially those aimed at combating poverty. Clearly, he believes that our economy is failing many Americans, and to help the impoverished, he proposes everything from tax credits for the working poor to a higher minimum wage. In fairness, on these issues, he’s not much different than his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Yet both candidates are largely missing the point. While they insist that strengthening labor unions or protecting homeowners from foreclosures will alleviate the hardships of the poor, the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census remind us that the breakdown of the traditional two-parent, married family is a far greater contributor to poverty in America than many of the supposed shortcomings of our economy. It’s hard to imagine that America will make much more headway on reducing persistent poverty until it halts this long-term trend.

In the course of his compelling argument he reaches this conclusion:

Given that a significant body of research now shows that children raised in two-parent, married families do better in school, are less likely to wind up in jail, and are less likely to end up on welfare, the startling racial divide in marriage tells us that a new generation of children, especially blacks, are growing up destined to struggle academically, in the job market, and in forming their own families. And policy prescriptions like a higher minimum wage or tax credits are unlikely to help many of these kids. What they mostly need is another parent—usually a father.

In the course of the article, Mr. Malanga refers to another interesting article from the same journal back in 2006, entitled "Marriage and Caste". In it, author Kay Hymowitz states:

As family experts find themselves surrendering to their own research and arguing more and more that marriage is central to the overall well-being of children, they often caution that it is not a cure-all. “Is Marriage a Panacea?” is the illustrative title of a 2003 article in the scholarly journal Social Problems, and you know the answer to the question without reading a page. No, shrinking the Marriage Gap may not be a magic potion for ending poverty or inequality or any other social problem. But it’s hard to see how our two Americas can become one without more low-income men and women making their way to the altar.

Marriage may not be a panacea. But it is a sine qua non.

All this made me think of the Theodore Dalrymple (aka Anthony Daniels) book I recently finished, Life at the Bottom, and reminded me of my recent Marxist deliberations. What a difference our presuppositions make in the way we perceive and attack a problem. And it reminds me that the answers to difficult problems are often simple ones that are difficult to following God's commands regarding marriage and allowing consequences to be born by those who choose not to do so.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sabbath Sentiments

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,

He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;

To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,

His power no boundary known unto men;

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Friday, March 28, 2008


"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."

~ Anne Bradstreet

It's Friday, and the end of a long week due to illness, but I am looking forward to better days ahead! I have been storing up interesting items to post, so here are several found during my sick time...

We should be outraged by the clips of the Wright sermons. But we should be outraged first as Christians, not first as Americans. The most egregious aspect of the Wright sermons is not what he is saying about America, but what he is not saying about the Gospel.
I say "amen and amen" to Mr. Moore.

  • NPR has a fascinating little piece about the lack of temperature rise in the oceans. They dub it a "mystery". Could the real mystery be how so many have come to jump on the global warming bandwagon?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The vapours of my unbelieving heart

It is not the distance of the earth from the sun, nor the sun's withdrawing itself, that makes a dark and gloomy day; but the interposition of clouds and vaporous exhalations. Neither is thy soul beyond the reach of the promise, nor does God withdraw Himself; but the vapours of thy carnal, unbelieving heart do cloud thee.
~John Owen

Tim Challies has an excellent post this morning dealing with sin. He begins with a funny Bob Newhart clip, and moves on to make his point--a point I am too hesitant to embrace because it exposes me: I hate my sin, but just a little bit less than I love it. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read it.

I have been blessed with godly friends and a godly husband who are willing to risk my wrath and tell me when I am loving my sin. I am so grateful for their interposition between me and my love of my sin. But they do not exist in the depths of my heart, where the worst of my sin resides, far from the light of day and the possibility of rebuke. Do I love Christ enough to turn from those other things? I look forward to heaven, where that will be the case. But in the here and now, as I mount the battles, or turn deserter, the depth of my own sin drives me in ways that I somehow never dream possible in my self-deception.

USA Today ran an interesting Easter piece last week that dealt with the popular notion of sin. I can fall prey to the same tendencies to leave "sin" in the theoretical realm rather than see it as an issue of my own heart. May the Lord deliver me from such temptations!

Thou righteous and holy sovereign,
in whose hand is my life and whose are all my ways,
keep me from fluttering about religion;
fix me in it,
for I am irresolute;
my decisions are smoke and vapour,
and I do not glorify thee,
or behave according to they will;
Cut me off before my thoughts grow to responses,
and the budding of my soul into full flower,
for thou are forbearing and good,
patient and kind.
Save me from myself,
from the artifices and deceits of sin,
from the treachery of my perverse nature,
from denying the charge against my offenses,
from a life of continual rebellion against thee,
from wrong principles, views and ends;
for I know that all my thoughts, affections, desires and pursuits are alienated from thee.
I have acted as if I hated thee, although thou are love itself;
have contrived to tempt thee to the uttermost,
to wear out thy patience;
have lived evilly in word and action.
Had I been a prince I would have long ago crushed such a rebel;
Had I been a father I would long since have rejected my child.
O, thou Father of my spirit,
thou king of my life,
cast me not into destruction,
drive me not from thy presence,
but wound my heart that it may be healed;
break it that thine own hand may make it whole.
~The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Easter is behind us, and we are officially into Spring, as attested to by my blooming crocus. What a promise they bring of warmth and life to come!

J. I. Packer had an interesting article reminiscing about God's surprises in his life here at Christianity Today. Packer is a man I really admire in his steadfastness over the years.

My friend Jean in Wisc had a lovely post on surrender. It was challenging and encouraging to me in a brief, articulate way.

Daily Writing Tips offers a wonderful Spelling Test here. I must admit I only scored a 90% the first time. My students would be scandalized, I'm sure!

John Leonard offers a beautifully written prayer on the Reformation21 web site. Oh, that my heart would pray like this without reading blogs or The Valley of Vision!

And lastly, I intended to get this posted last week, but here is a Googlemaps guide to events of Holy Week. Quite interesting!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection Day: A glorious Sabbath sentiment...

The Strife Is O'er, The Battle Done: based on the Latin, Fi­ni­ta jam sunt prael­ia, circa 13th century, translated by Francis Pott, 1861

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!


Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!


The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!


He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!


Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!


Saturday, March 22, 2008


On Good Friday evening, our church has a time of reflection called "Tenebrae", which means "The Shadows" in Latin. It is an ancient and simple service of prayer, hymns and Scripture readings that help us reflect on the suffering of Christ and look forward to his resurrection. The service begins with singing, prayer and confession of faith, and then moves through a series of readings with a hymn following each as a response. It is a simple and meaningful service:

The Shadow of Betrayal: Matthew 26:20-25
The Shadow of Desertion: Matthew 26:31-35
The Shadow of Agony of the Spirit: Luke 22:39-46
The Shadow of Accusation: Matthew 27:11-26
The Shadow of Crucifixion: John 19:17-24
The Shadow of Death: John 19:28-37
The Shadow of Burial: John 19:38-42

As night falls outside and we proceed through the readings, the lights inside are dimmed. We end in near-darkness with a reading of Isaiah 53, and leave in silence to wait for Resurrection Sunday.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ah, Holy Jesus

Ah, Holy Jesus by Johann Heerman, tr. by Robert S. Bridges

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
’Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life’s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

Precious in his sight...

This morning a dear friend was called home into the presence of her Savior. She was called to lay down her suffering and put on glory; to leave behind her children and husband, and be ushered into the presence of Christ. A mutual friend, Lynne, has posted exactly what I thought I would post here, and she has done so beautifully, so there is no need for me to post it again.

I grieve for my friend Beth, for the sweet and encouraging notes I will never again receive from her, for her daughters who will finish high school and get married and have children without her, for her husband who has loved her and been her companion through many trials and joys-- but I do not grieve as one who has no hope.

Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
~Psalm 116:15

Farewell, dear friend, until we meet in glory.

Good Friday

Alas and Did My Savior Bleed
by Isaac Watts
1. Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?

2. Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

3. Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature's sin.

4. Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears;
dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.

5. But drops of tears can ne'er repay
the debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
'tis all that I can do.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maundy Thursday

12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" 13And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us." 16And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." 19They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, "Is it I?" 20He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

~Mark 14:12-21

And so begins many things: betrayal, death, redemption, expiation.

Marxist Theory Applied...

When I teach my worldviews class, one of the things we discuss is a Marxist view of the world. I will confess that, outside of China and liberation theology, I am sometimes at a loss for good, tangible examples of Marxism at work in the world today, after the fall of the old Soviet empire. I got some good food for thought from my recent read through Theodore Dalrymple's Book, Life at the Bottom, and just today, got another interesting example from, of all places, the Charlie Rose show.

I often listen to the last half of the Charlie Rose show over lunch, after the local news has finished. Today he was abuzz with the markets and with yesterday's speech by Barak Obama. One of the men being interviewed about the speech, and the hubbub surrounding it, was Rev. Floyd Flake, an AME minister from NY. He was an articulate man, and it was an interesting interview. He mentioned the emphasis on liberation theology when he and Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, were in seminary. And then, in a rather breathtaking Marxist moment, said something along the lines of there always being "a W.E.B. DuBois with a Booker T. Washington, a Martin Luther King, Jr. with a Malcolm X...", the striving of which led to a better way. Well, any of my worldviews students should be able to tell you what this is: the old Marxist line of thesis versus antithesis leading to synthesis. In other words it is nothing less than Marxism in action in the interpretation of American historical events....

Fascinating, indeed...

Wednesday Without Words

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Breastplate

With thanks to Dr. G, here is my happy St. Patrick's Day wish for you all-- in the words of Patrick (a contemporary of Augustine of Hippo) who, according to legend, penned these words in preparation for his attempt to convert Loegaire, high king of Ireland. it has gone through many translations, including this one at the

St. Patrick's Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sabbath Sentiments

"God made men and women capable of thinking, willing and feeling. In the divine design, our thinking was meant to be informed, shaped and governed by his revelation. We were created to think God's thoughts after him, as it is sometimes put. Such thought processes inevitably inform, influence and direct our powers of volition. We understand what is right and good, and we commit our wills to accomplishing it. In turn, our feelings are molded by what we think and will. In a rightly-ordered life, emotions or feelings are directed to what is good and gracious; these things are desired and loved. Our feelings and emotions are not isolated from our thinking and willing but guided by them.

"That order was overturned by sin; it always is. Our wills now tend to be dominated by our feelings; our thoughts are often ruled by our wills. Because of sin we are able to rejoice only when we feel good. By contrast, Paul is telling us to rejoice no matter what we feel."

~Sinclair Ferguson, Let's Study Philippians, p.102

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Spring around here, as far as spring looks in Northern New Mexico at 6500 feet... We started pruning the old apple trees in our back yard this morning, before the characteristic wind storms kick up this afternoon. Spring is dry, and windy (I like to say that Arizona blows through on its way to West Texas this time of year), with warm sun during the day and frigid temperatures at night. But if you look, the signs are here that things are beginning to my tulips!

I love pruning (though my shoulders and elbow don't necessarily...) There is something about doing the hard thing-- cutting away the superfluous and harmful and encouraging the right and the true-- that is extremely satisfying. These are the same reasons I love teaching. It is, likewise, an agricultural endeavor that involves pruning and training, and standing back and marveling and watching as things grow.

And in the spirit of teaching and instruction... this morning on the BaylyBlog, Tim posted the following hilarious chart. I just had to share it for my two sons-- one recently married, the other engaged. You might as well face up to the realities now, fellas!

And lastly, today I completed another quilt (pictured below). It is entitled "Cerca de Jardin", which is Spanish for "garden fence", or at least I hope it is! It is a fence rail pattern, and is intended as the wedding gift for some dear friends later this month.

Ain't it so...

“Shut a healthy pig up in a small sty, and give him as much food as he is willing to eat, and you ensure his rapid pinguescence.”

~Thomas Watson, Lectures on the Principles and Practice of Physic

"Pinguesence" is this week's Weird Word from the World Wide Words site. If you don't get their weekly e-mail updates, I highly recommend them!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


"...affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.
No man hath affliction enough that is not matured, and ripened by it,
and made fit for God by that affliction."

--John Donne, Meditation XVII


I believe this is the only photo I have of my entire family. Aren't my new girls just lovely? Technically, Nikki is still an unofficial "Alien Fiancee", but we feel like she's part of the family already! {This was taken at Ben and Elsa's wedding in December.}

Here are a hodgepodge of interesting items I've run across this week:

  • The Blazing Center has had two very convicting posts this week that have encouraged my to live honestly before God and my neighbors. The first is an excellent reflection on the ways we use euphemistic language to cozy up to our sin. The second is a great post about how to handle it when someone confronts us, rightly or wrongly, regarding our actions or our person. These are both good material for reflection.
  • Here is an interesting article, first pointed out to me by CT, that reflects on the possible good in the old custom of having graveyards at our churches.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mystery of Mercy

Mystery of Mercy by Caedman's Call

I am the woman at the well, I am the harlot
I am the scattered seed that fell along the path
I am the son that ran away
And I am the bitter son that stayed

My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
When all my love was vinegar to a thirsty King?

My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
It's a mystery of mercy and the song, the song I sing

I am the angry man who came to stone the lover
I am the woman there ashamed before the crowd
I am the leper that gave thanks
But I am the nine that never came

My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
When all my love was vinegar to a thirsty King?

My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
It's a mystery of mercy and the song, the song I sing

You made the seed that made the tree
That made the cross that saved me
You gave me hope when there was none
You gave me your only Son

My God, Lord you are
My God, my God, Lord you are

Three things in life...

"There are three things in life that can make even the worst
problems seem just that tiniest bit better. The first is a cup of
tea---loose- leaf Assam with a hint of Lapsang and poured before it
gets too dark and then with a dash of milk and the smallest hint of
sugar. Calming, soothing and almost without peer. The second,
naturally, is a hot soaking bath. The third is Puccini. In the
bath with a hot cup of tea and Puccini. Heaven.."

—from Jasper Fforde's _First Among Sequels_

Wednesday Without Words

Monday, March 10, 2008

On fathers and husbands...especially mine

This morning Tim Bayly, my son Ben's pastor, has a thought-provoking post on our culture's hunger for fathers, and the theological implications of our hunger for our Father God.

My morning blog/news tour then turned to this amazing article in the Washington Post about a sacrificial love being played out as a devoted husband continues to care for his wife as she declines with a fatal neurological disease. (Thanks to T.C. for the link.)

Reading these this morning has made me so very thankful for my own dear husband. He has been a fabulous father, who sacrificed many things for his family. Because of his dedication to his boys, they did not grow up with a burning "father-hunger" that debilitated them, and they are both becoming adults who are taking their places as men who will be strong husbands and fathers. I know they will be good dads and husbands because of the example they had in their father, and the way he taught them about their Heavenly Father.

And I have no doubt that his commitment to me is an absolute one until one of us dies. I watch him serve me daily, and am shamed by the little things that irritate me about him. I know that if we were in the situation of the couple in the above article, Dave would serve me in the same way, because his serving of me is a reflection of his commitment to his God. And God has been so very good to give me such a man!

Thank you, Dave, for your steadfast love and bravery in serving your Lord by serving your family. I love you!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Wise words from Jay Adams

Thanks to Ligonier, the following article is posted with permission to reprint. Having met Dr. Adams many years ago, I can "hear" him speaking these words, and find them challenging...

Generation to Generation

Stand Firm

by Jay Adams
I suppose it’s a fault. I’m sure that my wife who remembers every name, place, and date for the last fifty years thinks so. But, for some reason, I find it difficult to recall details of the past. If I say to myself at the time, “remember this,” I probably will. Otherwise, only the big lumps remain in my mental sieve. I’m saying this because I want you to understand the phenomenon isn’t the result of old age — I’ve always been that way. But so, too, I have always looked toward the future. And that’s exactly what I want to do here.

As a seventy-nine-year-old geezer, I want to do a bit of forecasting about what you’re likely to face in the future, and how to handle it. I’m thinking primarily about you, the new generation, who are now taking the helm of the church into stormy seas. I don’t fancy myself as a prophet, but there are some things that seem inevitable — apart from a gigantic divine upset of the course that the world is now following.

To begin with, if you haven’t already, you’d be wise to learn some Spanish. Of even more importance, you should become thoroughly acquainted with the tenets of Islam. The first, because you’ll probably need it; the second, because if God doesn’t intervene, you’ll be up against warfare with Muslims. No Christian should live under a rock to avoid either of these issues. But I don’t want to discuss them directly.

My concern is with the softening of the church. For you to make a future impact for Christ, and to be able to withstand hard times ahead, this trend must be reversed. There is a deplorable softening of doctrine, of attitudes, of courage, and of language. And it is all justified under the rubric of “love.” But there is a vast difference between a loving and a concessive spirit. Let’s examine each of these.

There is a softening of doctrine. Not only is this obvious from the failure to accept and teach robust Reformation truths, but also in a hesitancy of those who believe it to espouse it openly. Christians soft-pedal the glorious doctrines of grace. Instead of rejoicing in the truth of limited atonement — which means that Jesus Christ is a personal Savior — they talk only about the other four aspects of TULIP. It’s as though they will readily eat the two halves of the bun, cautiously consume the tomato on one side and the lettuce on the other, but trash the hamburger in between. Yet this doctrine is the meat of the Tulipburger. To face the future, there must be a forthright return to explicit, well-reasoned, exposition of the seemingly “hard” doctrines of the faith.

There is a softening of attitudes. This accounts in large measure for soft teaching. Rather than glorying in the grandeur of God’s eternal plan of gracious redemption before Arminian friends, they hem and haw about it, trying above all else to “get along.” Assuming that their consciences are not yet seared, they harbor a sense of guilt, knowing that they should defend truth against weak, unscriptural teaching that exalts man by lowering God. Yet, for the sake of “peace” they never speak out.

There is a softening of courage. Obviously, this lies behind the fearful attitude that leads Reformed believers to suppress their faith. Throughout the book of Acts, one word occurs again and again — the apostles spoke “boldly.” There are two New Testament words for boldness. The one permeating Acts is parresia, which means “to speak forthrightly without fear of consequences.” That the courage to do so is lacking may also account for much of the ineffectiveness of the witness of the church in our time.

There is a softening of language. Current cowardly attitudes spawn weak, insipid language like, “I feel,” when one ought to boldly say, “I believe” or “declare.” They account for soft talk about “sharing” the Gospel — as if one is reluctant to give it in its entirety (if I “share” my pie, you get only a slice).

If this softening of the church continues, there will be more merging of groups that care less about truth and more about kumbaya. But a church that puts fellowship above truth is a weak church that will be unable to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

It is too late for our generation to correct these matters. Some of us have attempted to, but failed. We must confess that we are leaving you a church that, unless God graciously intervenes, cannot meet the enormous challenges that your generation must face. Perhaps God will use you to help make the necessary changes, before it’s too late. Look around you. Ask yourself, “Could the church in its present condition endure terrorist persecution? Could it withstand a tide of Roman Catholicism that might in time — your time — take over the country? In its confused, weakened state, it is ready prey for these, or other adverse happenings. Don’t take my word for it — go ahead, open your spiritual eyes. What do you see?

Will you contribute to a further softening, or will you stand firm and courageous for the truth? I’m not suggesting crudeness or rudeness, but I am advocating drastic changes to firm up the four areas mentioned above. Participate in the solution rather than perpetuate the problem!
Dr. Jay Adams is a retired professor, author, and speaker who resides in Enoree, South Carolina.
In order to promote the unity and growth of the body of Christ, Generation to Generation endeavors to provide the wisdom of elders to younger readers and convey what young Christians need to hear as they mature in the Christian faith.
© Tabletalk magazine

Sabbath Sentiments

With thanks to JT for the link...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Price of Liberty

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Wendell Phillips

One very real example of the need for vigilance is last week's California appellate court ruling regarding homeschooling in California. In a case of possible abuse of children, a three-panel judge has taken it upon themselves to make sweeping statements regarding homeschooling as unconstitutional, and negating the rights of parents to direct the education of their children. It really is breathtaking and dismaying! In one sweep of judicial arrogance, these judges have attempted to dismantle the constitutional rights of homeschoolers in California, with broad implications for all parental rights. While I agree with the state prosecuting any family guilty of real neglect and abuse (and perhaps the family at the heart of the lawsuit is, indeed, guilty of such...) I rebel in every fiber at the idea that the court would attempt to make broad constitutional interpretations in such a manner! If this holds, no parents are safe from any kind of government interference.

If you wish to educate yourself on this issue, here are some resources I have been reading this morning:

  • Denny Burk has listed many excellent resources at his blog here (with thanks to JT for pointing it out...) including a radio clip and several newspaper articles covering the ruling.
  • The petition from HSLDA to depublish the decision can be signed here. I hope many of you will do so.
  • Governor Schwartzenegger has issued a strongly-worded statement you can read here.
Many of us were involved in the struggle to assure the right to homeschool our children back in the 1980's and 90's, and now we can't just relax on our laurels. Time to respond! Pray, educate yourself, and tell others, and look for ways to let your voice be heard.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Ah, the joys of scrapbooking... I'm a novice, and not very good at it, but it is fun! Even if it is messy (see my table at left). I have some of those trays to organize things into; now I just need to do it. Last night I finished a some pages for a scrap book celebrating my Dad's 70th birthday. Belated birthday greetings, Pops!

Douglas Groothuis has an impassioned post about the evangelical loss of passion regarding abortion. He makes some excellent arguments, and urges Evangelicals to recover from the fetus-fatigue they've been suffering from.

We had a lovely spring snowstorm last night that left the world amazingly beautiful this morning. See a few photos below.

The Day after a Marathon

I found this on Dr. G's blog, and had to post it here for my running men...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


At right is my nightstand, piles of books predominating. It seems to be one of the places such piles accumulate...

  • If you have followed any of the recent declarations by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, you may enjoy this satirical piece in the Telegraph. it made me smile, and also told me I was not alone in scratching my head at this man...

  • In the category of favorite Spurgeon quotes, I ran across this one, with thanks to MA:
"I have heard of some good old woman in a cottage, who had nothing but a piece of bread and a little water. Lifting up her hands, she said as a blessing, "What! All this, and Christ too?"
May I live ever thankful...

  • I was encouraged by one of my accountability partners from Women's Fellowship (thanks, Jacque!) to remember that joy is a command, and a fruit of the Spirit. In the category of preaching the gospel to ones self every day, here are some excellent reminders about joy, courtesy of John Piper's ministry.

Lord with Glowing Heart I'd Praise Thee
Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him Who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Savior God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to Him and live.
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease;
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express.
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy suppliant’s prayer to bless:
Let Thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Milton on Monday...

I am making it well into Book 6, and still pondering the character of Satan, and the discussion previously about whether he is the hero of Milton's work. Carolyn suggested I look up Lewis' Preface to Paradise Lost which turns out not to be a preface, but a series of lectures in their own book, which I must now see if I can track down through he library system. However, thanks to my friend Kevin, I now at least have a few quotes from Lewis' book, and share them below ( thanks, Kevin and Colleen!)

For it is a very old critical discovery that the imitation in art of unpleasing objects may be a pleasing imitation. In the same way, the proposition that Milton's Satan is a magnificent character may bear two senses. It may mean that Milton's presentation of him is a magnificent poetical achievement which engages the attention and excites the admiration of the reader. On the other hand, it may mean that the real being (if any) whom Milton is depicting [...] is or ought to be an object of admiration and sympathy, conscious or unconscious, on the part of the poet or his readers or both. The first, so far as I know has never till modern times been denied; the second, never affirmed before the times of Blake and Shelley--for when Dryden said that Satan was Milton's "hero" he meant something quite different. It is, in my opinion, wholly erroneous.

It remains, of course, true that Satan is the best drawn of Milton's characters. The reason is not hard to find. Of the major characters whom Milton attempted he is incomparably the easiest to draw. Set a hundred poets to tell the same story and in ninety of the resulting poems Satan will be the best character. [...] To make a character worse than oneself it is only necessary to release imaginatively from control some of the bad passions which, in real life, are always straining at the leash; the Satan, the Iago, the Becky Sharp [...] But if you try to draw a character better than yourself, all you can do is to take the best moments you have had and to imagine them prolonged and more consistently embodied in action. [...] We do not really know what it feels like to be a man much better than ourselves. [...] Heaven understands Hell and Hell does not understand Heaven, and all of us, in our measure, share the Satanic, or at least the Napoleonic, blindness. [...] Hence all that is said about Milton's "sympathy" with Satan, his expression in Satan of his own pride, malice, folly, misery, and lust, is true in a sense, but not in a sense peculiar to Milton. The Satan in Milton enables him to draw the character well just as the Satan in us enables us to receive it.

To admire Satan, then, is to give one's vote not only for a world of misery, but also for a world of lies and propaganda, of wishful thinking, of incessant autobiography. Yet the choice is possible. [...] Satan wants to go on being Satan. That is the real meaning of his choice "Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n." Some, to the very end, will think this a fine thing to say; others will think that it fails to be roaring farce only because it spells agony.

~C. S. Lewis, introduction to Paradise Lost

My thoughts, being only in the angelic battle and not yet finished with the poem, are that Satan is well drawn. We definitely feel sorry for him in his arrogance and his determination to fight and ruin even when he can't win. As an angel created by God he is admirable in many ways, but he is a grasper, always envious, always hating. We feel sympathy for him, perhaps because we are similar. We can definitely relate to him, as could Milton, and hence, he is a fully- and well-drawn character. He is "tragic" in the sense that he cannot escape his doom, and that elicits our sympathy. However, that does not make him the hero. Contrast him with the pre-fall humans and the distant Godhead, and Satan stands out in brilliant relief. But how can a man paint perfection? Much easier to paint sin, which we can comprehend. So, perhaps part of this problems lies in the task Milton set for himself to imagine the details we can't know nor really imagine.

I wonder if this view of Satan as the hero who "sticks it to the man" (or God, in this case) isn't really a reading from our context, rather than Milton's. As Lewis said, this idea doesn't show up until "after Shelley and Blake". Is it our modern notion of the autonomous individual as noble in the casting off of all restraint at all cost what makes people look at Satan as the hero here? I think that is reading too much modern context into the text, and ignoring the authorial intent as well as context. But I am likely in over my head here, and will be content to keep listening to see how Milton's story plays out, and try to locate more of Lewis for guidance...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Sunday Song

Arise, My Soul, Arise by Charles Wesley

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A lazy, lovely Saturday morning

Today has been one of those rare, lovely, delicious Saturdays without a million things to do and places to go. After sleeping in (until after 7:00 A. M., which meant more snuggle time with dh!) we cooked a lovely breakfast of Finnish pancakes topped with cherries. I baked some muffins for church tomorrow, and proceeded to sit at my dining room table and quilt. The brightness and warmth of the sun coming through the sun room, the wonderful colors of the geraniums, and the beautiful sounds of music on the CD player (Nathan Clark George and Bebo Norman) all conspired to cheer me from my mid-winter doldrums, and caused me to praise God from whom, truly, all blessings flow!

And now I am heading out into the 60+-degree sunshine for a walk with dh. Can anyone argue that the weather in NM is the best? And that our God is good. I hope you are all having a sweet Saturday...