[H]ow is it consistent with belief that the church is the body of Christ, a belief I share, to think it has no intrinsic life to be relied on, and must, for the sake of its survival, be fastened to a more vigorous body, that of a nation?
The picture of the big fish I caught this weekend will have to wait. After you all peruse the following, I’m sure you’ll agree my decision to wait on the former in favor of these was the wisest. (My original typo there was wisesest, which I sort of love.)
1. Jeremy Walker, a Reformed Baptist clergyman from the UK, occasionally posts some of his original hymnody on Reformation 21. I thought this one was pretty good, especially the fourth stanza.
2. There is a new online journal called Second Nature, the primary subject/aim of which is “critical thinking about technology and new media in light of the Christian tradition.” (HT: Carl Trueman at Ref21. Does Trueman care about HTs? Probably better not omit it just in case.)
3. D. G. Hart plays quite the provocatuer in this post at Old Life.
“Miss Taggart, we don’t know what to do,” said Mr. Thompson; he had summoned her to a personal conference on one of his scurrying trips to New York. “We’re ready to give in, to meet his terms, to let him take over—but where is he?”
“For the third time,” she said, her face and voice shut tight against any fissure of emotion, “I do not know where he is. What made you think I did?”
“Well, I didn’t know, I had to try . . . I thought, just in case . . .
I thought, maybe if you had a way to reach him—”
“You see, we can’t announce, not even by short-wave radio, that we’re willing to surrender altogether. People might hear it. But if you had some way to reach him, to let him know that we’re ready to give in, to scrap our policies, to do anything he tells us to—”
“I said I haven’t.”
“If he’d only agree to a conference, just a conference, it wouldn’t commit him to anything, would it? We’re willing to turn the whole economy over to him—if he’d only tell us when, where, how. If he’d give us some word or sign . . . if he’d answer us . . . Why doesn’t he answer?”
“You’ve heard his speech.”
“But what are we to do? We can’t just quit and leave the country without any government at all. I shudder to think what would happen.
With the kind of social elements now on the loose—why, Miss Taggart, it’s all I can do to keep them in line or we’d have plunder and bloody murder in broad daylight. I don’t know what’s got into people, but they just don’t seem to be civilized any more. We can’t quit at a time like this. We can neither quit nor run things any longer. What are we to do, Miss Taggart?”
“Start lifting taxes and removing controls.”
“Oh, no, no, no! That’s out of the question!”
“Out of whose question?”
“I mean, not at this time, Miss Taggart, not at this time. The country isn’t ready for it. Personally, I’d agree with you, I’m a freedom loving man, Miss Taggart, I’m not after power—but this is an emergency.
People aren’t ready for freedom. We’ve got to keep a strong hand. We can’t adopt an idealistic theory, which—”
“Then don’t ask me what to do,” she said, and rose to her feet.
Writer, theolog, man-about-Sumatran-coffee-joints, and friend of mine, Joel Zartman opines on J.K. Rowling’s successes and failures (the proportions of each of which I will leave to his article to reveal) in engaging the moral imagination via her Harry and his Hogwartian cohorts.
So, you can tell from the above that I’ve never read any of it, right? Quite obvious, I’m sure.
Actually up next is actual cash, but the chemicals can’t be far behind. I’ll explain.
I’m out with my son purchasing some necessities for pets and a school activity (Dress-Up-Like-Your-Favorite-Literary-Or-Movie-Character-Day[!]) and we happen by a Baptist church in town (not ours, for what that’s worth). And Joseph casually says to me that they’re promoting their next youth activity by giving away a $50 gift card or cards to select attendees. Rue 21, I believe he says.
So, obviously, we discuss this. We ought offer what we have: hope for eternity. To think that people’s souls can be purchased with silver or gold, well its some sort of reverse simony–of course I put this in language more easily engaged by a 13 year old. And my son thinks about this for a while, over a decade of fundamentalist discipleship at work in his soul, and says, “Well how else are you going to get people to come?”
On a lighter note, the literary/movie characters? Waldo (of “Where’s . . . ?” fame), Ivan Drago (from Rocky IV) and the Cheshire Cat. God bless Eleanor!
. . .if perchance U2 and One Direction do not unite and thus revolutionise your church life this year through ushering in the millennium, you may have to fall back on those hackneyed biblical staples, the ordinary means of grace.
What we see has the power to shape our souls in powerful, unconscious ways; and when that sight is pornographic, whether of a sexual or violent kind, it shapes them for ill. Augustine realised this and exposed it brilliantly in his account of how his friend Alypius was taken unwillingly to see the gladiatorial games. Alypius kept his eyes closed until one of the combatants suffered a terrible blow. The crowd roared. Alypius opened his eyes. And from that moment on he was hooked on the games far more than the friends who had dragged him there in the first place. The pornographic sight of the violence had reshaped his soul.
The LORD has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Many (20?) years ago, I heard a song I’ve never forgotten. The production of the song itself was understated but trendy CCM. The words, however, stuck out to me as quite good, and I liked the melody.
This year I discovered that the melody is actually an older hymn tune, St. Peter (Reinagle’s), to which How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds is often sung. Those Christian pop stars can be crafty when they try!
Anyway, here it is for your edification. If the author stumbles across it, I beg his indulgence in considering this fair use as well as his forgiveness for omitting the latin chorus (which I didn’t really know how to punctuate).
The title (of the song and this post) means “Our Lamb has Conquered.”
Did Abraham himself not say
God would provide a lamb
To take instead the punishment
That should belong to man?
And so to humble shepherds
Was His glory first revealed,
And with His birth a covenant
Made long ago was sealed.
Out of His dark obscurity
The Light of God has shone;
And through the meekness of the Lamb
God’s strength would be made known.
The just and gentle Promised One
Would triumph o’er the fall,
And conquer by His own defeat,
And win by losing all.
Tonight’s clarity of atmosphere and brilliance of heavenly bodies reminded me of some favorite Whitman.
A Clear Midnight
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.