Saturday, December 11, 2010

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

This is one of my favorite Christmas hymns. It is musically arranged a few different ways, and the lyrics reflect a man's (Henry Longfellow) realistic response to Christmas. After Longfellow observes the Christmas-time desire for peace and good will as reflected in "old familiar carols" and the songs of the belfries (belltowers), the third verse depicts his sorrowful response to the actual state of the world. However, the fourth verse triumphantly responds to that sorrow with hope for the future.

Here we live, between the Incarnation of Christ and his return, in a time filled with great sadness for the state of the fallen world alongside hope for future restoration.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Henry W. Longfellow, 1864

Friday, October 15, 2010

Doug Groothuis on Social Media

This is an excellent segment on the "Issues, Etc." radio program that is well worth your time. I urge you to put away e-mail, Twitter and Facebook for a little while, cease multitasking, and listen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yoga and Christianity

Please take the time to listen to this podcast: After Al Mohler interviews Stephanie Syman, a yoga historian and practitioner, Doug Groothuis presents a very solid case for why yoga is not compatible with Christianity.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Why Study History?

We ought study history because "history reminds us that actions and ideas have consequences not only in our own generation but also for generations to come. What we believe, teach and practice affects future generations of believers. Therefore history helps us to not act or teach impulsively. We must employ caution. We must enter into self-criticism and self-evaluation. History helps keep us from taking ourselves too seriously, as if we had all the best answers. At the same time history helps us take ourselves very seriously, because we affect others." -- D. Jeffrey Bingham, Pocket History of the Church, p. 11.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thinking vs. Scholarship

Here is a passage worth deeply pondering from Harry Blamires: "Obviously there is no scholar who does not think; and there is no thinker who is quite devoid of scholarship. Nevertheless the distinction between Scholarship and Thinking is a fruitful one to ponder: and at least it will serve to indicate that just as there is a dearth of Christian thinking in the Church, so in our secular culture there a dearth of pure thinking as opposed to that recording, commenting, and elucidating which constitute scholarship" ("The Christian Mind," pp. 51-51, 1963).

Too few people engage in good or any scholarship, and even fewer are truly thinkers. Let us strive to do both well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Refiner's Fire

"But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed..." 4:15-18 "For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God. Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal."
--I Corinthians 4:4-7; 4:15-18 (NET)

Why does God allow his children to experience hardships, or allow some who are already experiencing pain to plummet still further? It is for these reasons: (1) so that we might fall before the sovereign Lord in a state of broken surrender, in order to to be reminded that we have no choice but to radically, deeply depend on him, recognizing our own efforts as ultimately futile, and (2) so that we might be forced to trust that in his infinite love, wisdom, and power, he works for the ultimate good in all situations-- whether or not we perceive it. Out of the sadness, weeping, wailing and chaos of his beloved children, God can bring comfort, peace, order, and healing, and thus displays his perfect love, grace and glory.

And yet, all too often this hope is not felt: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God," the Psalmist says to his own aching soul. - Psalm 42:11 (NIV)

By all means, lament at the brokenness of the world, but turn your face to the only one who is able to save, able to restore. He is our source of hope for glorious redemption to come.

"When the fig tree does not bud,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
when the olive trees do not produce,
and the fields yield no crops;
when the sheep disappear from the pen,
and there are no cattle in the stalls,
3:18 I will rejoice because of the Lord;
I will be happy because of the God who delivers me!
3:19 The sovereign Lord is my source of strength.
He gives me the agility of a deer;
he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain."
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NET)

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Rethinking the Meaning of Servant-Leadership

Please read this excellent article by my 8th grade Bible teacher and one of my greatest influences, Steve Williamson.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Easter Prayer

God of all joy,
fill our souls to overflowing
with the fullness of your grace.
In this season,
remind us of your triumph over the tragedy of the cross,
and your victory for us over the powers of sin and death,
so that we may reflect your glory
as disciples of Jesus Christ,
our risen Lord. [483]

-From The Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heritage Foundation vs. Obama

Go here to listen to a concise and articulate rebuttal of Obama's talk of the "centrism" of Obamacare.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stomping on Solzhenitsyn's Legacy

Has Russia truly reformed since the public demise of the USSR? This makes one wonder. Honoring Josef Stalin with Moscow posters would be like Germany putting up posters of Hitler, which Germany would likely not dream of doing. Stalin holds the title of the second worst mass-murderer known to history, behind only Mao. Hitler comes in third.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Give to Caesar what is Caesar's; Give to God what is God's

Christians are commanded to give to Caesar what is Caesar's. But who is Caesar in America? I submit for consideration that until formally revoked, our Caesar is not a person or group of people but rather our Constitution. The human element of our government is to serve, not rule this "written Caesar." Therefore the federal government only has the right to demand from us that which is reconcilable with this document. Above all, however, we are to give to God what is God's, and he is sovereign over all earthly rulers. What belongs to him supersedes all else.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spurgeon Exposes a Double Standard (to Christians about Darwinists)

"You are not to be dogmatic in theology, but for scientific men it is the correct thing. You are never to assert anything very strongly; but scientists may boldly assert what they cannot prove, which may demand a faith more credulous than any we possess." -Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scientism for Kids: An Indoctrination Music Video

Rudolf Carnap, the late logical positivist, is quoted at the beginning of "Science is Real," a music video intended for children's instruction and used in some classrooms. Kids are evidently supposed to listen to the wisdom of Carnap, never hearing that logical positivism has been veritably destroyed as a legitimate epistemology. Bursting forth from the corpse of logical positivism is scientism, the starring system that children are supposed to have embedded in their minds via the vehicle of the video's annoyingly catchy tune. During the video, the viewer is told that it's OK to like the "stories" about angels, unicorns, and such, but back in the land of reality, science is what gives us facts. So, the child has just been told that facts are only found through the scientific method, and everything else is just a quaint tale (never mind the very real and factual laws of logic, the real and factual existence of numbers, etc.; none of these are empirically testable). This grammar school fact-value split deals a devastating blow to a child's intellectual and spiritual development. Parents, please investigate what your children are being taught in school. Indoctrination is real.

Click here for the video.

Humorous side comment regarding "Science is Real":
"The science people apparently forgot to consult with the creative people." -- Justin Geis, my husband and discoverer of this video.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

J.I. Packer on why "Theology is for Everyone"

This talk by one of the great theologians of our day is a must-listen. He jokingly calls the topic, "Packer's Last Stand."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

David Wells on Scripture

"Scripture is not a manual for success, nor yet a textbook for therapeutic help, but the Word of God. It is by this Word that we are addressed by the triune God, summoned before him, and impelled to be his people in this world. It is not this Word by itself about which we must think, not about interpretive communities alone and not about speech/acts dynamics alone. All of these preoccupations have their place but at the end of the day we must end with what we only rarely have today, in our churches or among our young people, and that is this Word as it summons us to come outside of ourselves and to know the God who transcends all cultures and times."

David Wells, "Christian Discipleship in a Postmodern World," published in JETS March 2008