Monday, July 6, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

O Worship the King

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

Lyrics by Robert Grant, 1833

Friday, June 26, 2009

Letter to Congress Regarding the Cap and Trade Climate Bill

I have sent this letter to my representative as well as as many e-mail addresses as I could possibly find (a strangely difficult task, is almost as if they do not want to be contacted!). This bill needs to be defeated, as it will be, according to the Wall Street Journal, the largest tax on the American public in history. Call your representatives and express your discontent; the vote is scheduled for late afternoon. For further reading on this egregious bill, read this Wall Street Journal article.

Members of the United States House of Representatives,

Before you vote on the impending cap and trade bill, I urge you to carefully and thoughtfully consider your position on the matter. President Obama and others have enthusiastically pushed this bill as a necessary one that will be of great help to the environment, an assertion that is far from certain. Moreover, this time of economic difficulty is an exceedingly poor occasion to be hurriedly working to pass an environmental bill of such “historic” proportions. Any bill that carries such a disturbingly high likelihood of financially encumbering business owners and, consequently, threatening any more jobs has no business being seriously considered. However, it appears that Washington theory has long detached itself from American reality, and therefore I will attempt to reconnect the former with the latter. There are multitudes of hard working, tax-paying and voting Americans, your constituents, who stand in strong opposition to this bill. We recognize that in the end it is no less than another tax, a gargantuan tax at that, and we do not appreciate having our economic interests sacrificed for a romanticized theory that may or may not save a questionably endangered environment.

Perhaps some of you simply do not care about the concerns I have put forth here. For those of you who have worked diligently to truly represent and listen to your constituents, thank you. But as for the rest of you, know this: the President did not elect you, and as such his arguments in favor of this bill should be a mere afterthought against the backdrop of the citizen’s voice. In case some of you have forgotten, you are in Washington by the people and for the people. Frankly, we hold your jobs in our hands, and thus our voices will eventually be heard. Representatives of American taxpayers, listen to the people, or we will find representatives who will. On behalf of many concerned American citizens, I implore you to take a stand for what is right. Vote no on this bill and all others like it that put a vastly unnecessary and exorbitant burden on those whose best interests you are elected to have in mind.


Sarah Geis

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party Spin

To counter the gross media misrepresentation of the Denver Tea Party, this event was not racist, "extremist," or even partisan. It was passionate yet peaceful. It was a rally based upon ideas, upon the preservation of principles rooted in the brilliantly successful history of America. The core message to Washington was: "You cannot pull out of debt by creating more debt, nor can you stimulate an economy by issuing boundless taxation. Only the private sector has the power to pull the country out of a recession, and you are squelching its productivity."

Yes, the event frequently focused on Obama, but contrary to the claims of progressive critics on Capitol Hill, protesters also acknowledged and lamented that Bush had opened the door for Obama to gleefully skip through. We know this, but it does no practical good to rally against Bush as he is no longer in office. Moreover, Obama's policies are a highly concentrated, blindingly fast-moving (and far more morally debased) version of what Bush flirted with.

But rather than dealing with the arguments presented, the radical left insisted on marginalizing the opposition with ad-hominem labels such as "terrorist," "right-wing extremist," "disgruntled war veteran," and "white supremacist."

And why should Christians care about all of this? For this reason: ministries and nonprofits that we so love are currently in jeopardy; statism in its fully developed form simply will not allow these to operate outside the range of its oppressive and politically correct eye. Free speech such as campus evangelism, Christian public speaking, and the ability to publicly vocalize certain moral convictions is also at stake. This we know from a wonderful but oft ignored teacher: history. To be aware of and concerned about these possibilities is hardly extremist but wise.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Hymn for Easter

His death paid for our sin, and yet death could not hold him. He is Risen! Soli Deo gloria!

HT: Thinking Christian

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Touch of Folk/Bluegrass Music

Here are two videos of fantastic performances. Even if you are not much of a bluegrass listener, the instrumental prowess on display here should both arrest and amaze.

1) Alison Krauss and Union Station playing "Choctaw Hayride"

2) Dobro legend Jerry Douglas and band playing "We Hide and Seek"

And most Americans settle for "pop." How ludicrous. (This goes for "pop country" as well, with repeat offenders such as Rascal Flatts and Shania Twain.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Faith with Conviction

"If we are really convinced of the truth of our message, then we can proclaim it before a world of enemies, then the very difficulty of our task, the very scarcity of our allies becomes an inspiration, then we can even rejoice that God did not place us in an easy age, but in a time of doubt and perplexity and battle. Then, too, we shall not be afraid to call forth other soldiers into the conflict. Instead of making our theological seminaries merely centres of religious emotion, we shall make them battle-grounds of the faith, where, helped a little by the experience of Christian teachers, men are taught to fight their own battle, where they come to appreciate the real strength of the adversary and in the hard school of intellectual struggle learn to substitute for the unthinking faith of childhood the profound convictions of full-grown men."

-J. Gresham Machen, "Christianity and Culture," 1912

The essay in its entirety can be found here:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

-Henry Francis Lyte, 1847

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Word About Spiritual Formation

A Christian engaged in spiritual formation* should be Christ-centered, should operate within a Biblical framework, and should all the while have a zeal for the truth.

Spiritual formation should never be an excuse for more self-absorption in our already ego-saturated culture, for seeking extra-Biblical ways to "get to God," or for theological subjectivism.

*This phrase should be redundant

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI Addresses a Technological Culture

The ever increasing presence of technology in our culture is extremely helpful in many respects, but technology also has the power to shape culture negatively (and most certainly will) when used without critical evaluation and wisdom. Examples of this shaping can be found in Facebook's significant metamorphosis of the meaning of friendship, Myspace's orientation towards the self as the center of its own universe (which is both a reflection of a previous condition as well as an incubator for it), and Twitter, a tool exclusively devoted to sending out frequent status updates thoughout one's day (holding the potential to cause a kind of hyperactivity befitting of the name Twitter). We as a culture have a tendency to freely and enthusiastically give tools such as these control of the way we think and act. While I am a staunch Protestant, I often appreciate Pope Benedict's thoughts, and his words to a technologial world are no different. Here is an excerpt from his address given yesterday, January 24th:

"The new technologies have also opened the way for dialogue between people from different countries, cultures and religions. The new digital arena, the so-called cyberspace, allows them to encounter and to know each other’s traditions and values. Such encounters, if they are to be fruitful, require honest and appropriate forms of expression together with attentive and respectful listening. The dialogue must be rooted in a genuine and mutual searching for truth if it is to realize its potential to promote growth in understanding and tolerance. Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: it is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by those who see us merely as consumers in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.

The concept of friendship has enjoyed a renewed prominence in the vocabulary of the new digital social networks that have emerged in the last few years. The concept is one of the noblest achievements of human culture. It is in and through our friendships that we grow and develop as humans. For this reason, true friendship has always been seen as one of the greatest goods any human person can experience. We should be careful, therefore, never to trivialize the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbours and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.

Friendship is a great human good, but it would be emptied of its ultimate value if it were to be understood as an end in itself. Friends should support and encourage each other in developing their gifts and talents and in putting them at the service of the human community. In this context, it is gratifying to note the emergence of new digital networks that seek to promote human solidarity, peace and justice, human rights and respect for human life and the good of creation. These networks can facilitate forms of co-operation between people from different geographical and cultural contexts that enable them to deepen their common humanity and their sense of shared responsibility for the good of all. "

The entire address can be found here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Outstanding Review of The Shack

Does The Shack present a Biblical image of God? Regardless of if you have or have not read it, here is a helpful review that carefully navigates through the book's theological difficulties. Jeff Miller, author and senior pastor of Trinity Bible Church in Richardson, Texas facilitates a discussion between himself, Brian Gross, pastor of youth ministries at TBC, and Michael Burer, assistant professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Slightly over an hour in length, the video provides a fair, thoughtful, and Biblical analysis of this wildly popular book.

The Shack: The Good, The Bad, and the Controversial