Friday, October 31, 2008

Martin Luther's gospel humility

David Mathis writes over at the DG blog about the continuity over the course of Martin Luther's life. It consisted of God-wrought humility, a deep understanding of his need for Christ.
"491 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed in 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg.

He wanted to debate the sale of indulgences with his fellow university professors. So he wrote in Latin.

But a nameless visionary translated the theses into German, carried them to the printing press, and enabled their dispersion far and wide. Luther ended up with more than he bargained for, but he proved to be no coward in defending the discoveries he was making in Scripture.

First Thesis

The truth of Luther's first thesis would reverberate throughout his lifetime, even finding expression in his last words.
His first thesis reads,

'When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said 'Repent,' he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.'

All of the Christian life is repentance. Turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners aren't merely a one-time inaugural experience but the daily substance of Christianity. The gospel is for every day and every moment. Repentance is to be the Christian's continual posture.

Last Words

Almost 30 years later, on February 16, 1546, Luther's last words, written on a piece of scrap paper, echoed the theme of his first thesis:

'We are beggars! This is true.'

From first thesis to last words, Luther lived at the foot of the cross, where our rebellious condition meets with the beauty of God's lavish grace in the gospel of his Son—a gospel deep enough to cover all the little and massive flaws of a beggar like Luther and beggars like us. "

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The expression of love on the cross

In my philosophy class, I've been learning that philosophy is all about dissecting thought and pointing out distinctions. Tim Challies makes an important distinction about whom the expression of love on the cross was primarily directed towards, us or God. I think his answer is correct and important to think through. May it humble us.
"So what we miss in the "I love you this much" story of the cross is that Jesus' death was not primarily an expression of love for us, but for his Father. It had to be this way. Jesus greatest love is not for us, but for his Father. His sacrificial death was not first for us, but first for his Father, so that he might ransom those whom his Father loved. Though there is no doubt that the cross is an expression of love for us, it is first an expression of love for the Father and an expression of obedience to the Father. There is abundant proof for this in Scripture. Jesus said, "I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father" (John 14:31). So that the world may know I love you? No, so that the world may know I love the Father. It was this love and obedience that sustained Jesus, even on the cross. Early in his ministry he had said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work" (John 4:34). Addressing his disciples shortly before his death, Jesus said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love" (John 15:9-10). The Apostle Paul says the same: "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8). In all these things, and especially in his obedience, Jesus expressed a heartfelt love to his Father."
He then asks a question regarding the song "Above All."
'Crucified, laid behind a stone
He lived to die, rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
He took the fall, and thought of me above all.'

Did Jesus think of me above all? Or did he think of his Father above all? Were Jesus’ last thoughts on the cross of me or of his Father?"

Garbage City

Adbusters recently created this brief slideshow about the Zabaleen people of the Moqqatam suberb in Cairo. It especially caught my eye because I had the opportunity to visit this place two summers ago and see what is known to many as "Garbage City." Here's the description from Adbusters:
"Moqqatam is one of the most extraordinary and hellish suburbs on earth. It is home to a people known as the Zabaleen, said to be the world’s greatest waste recyclers. The Zabaleen, which means plainly enough, “the garbage collectors,” pick up around 4,000 tons of Cairo’s waste each day. American researchers have shown that the Zabaleen recycle 85% of this garbage into something useful: a higher rate than anywhere else on the planet. The men do two shifts leaving about 4 in morning and again around 9. The rubbish is taken back to Moqqatam for the women to sit in and sort through. The organic waste is fed to livestock, the rest sorted for recycling. The future of the Zabaleen is uncertain. If the Cairo authorities get their way, this community of 25,000 Coptic Christians living in a Muslim country will be gone, and with it their unique, astonishing lifestyle. "
Here are a couple pics from our trip of "Garbage City"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To love is to be vulnerable

Tyler at the DG blog posts some good thoughts. This is a quote from The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis.
"Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as 'Careful! This might lead you to suffering.'

To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities.…

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

Black babies in danger

From Anne Hendershott at the Public Discourse
"Currently, white women's rates of abortion have declined to 10.5 abortions per 1,000 women while black women's rates are an alarming 50 abortions per 1,000 black women. Put in terms of actual pregnancies, the figures are shocking: Nearly half of all African American pregnancies end in abortion. Since 1973, the number of abortions by African American women has totaled more than twelve million."
The article goes on to discuss how roughly 90% Planned Parenthood's abortion centers are put in or near minority communities.
""From the beginning, the birth control movement's 'Negro Project' was especially appealing to eugenicists determined to check the climbing birthrates of those they defined as the ''unfit.'' This Planned Parenthood commitment to population control for blacks continues today. Last February, students from The Advocate, a student magazine at UCLA, released phone recordings of Planned Parenthood fundraising staffers approving of a donor who claimed he wanted his money to help 'lower the number of black people.' In an undercover investigation, the students discovered that Planned Parenthood staffers were more than happy to accept contributions from a caller posing as a donor stating 'the less black kids out there the better.'
And this is all happening during a time with a least some legal restrictions on abortion still out there.

Read the whole thing


Monday, October 27, 2008

That I would be good

That I would be good even if I did nothing
That I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
That I would be good if I got and stayed sick
That I would be good even if I gained ten pounds

That I would be fine even even if I went bankrupt
That I would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
That I would be great if I was no longer queen
That I would be grand if I was not all knowing

That I would be loved even when I numb myself
That I would be good even when I am overwhelmed
That I would be loved even when I was fuming
That I would be good even if I was clingy

That I would be good even if I lost sanity
That I would be good
Whether with or without you
I heard this song about a year ago for the first time. It's by Alanis Morissette. It speaks to the longing we all have to receive validation, to know we are loved and accepted even when we look and feel unlovable. I'm thankful tonight that God sees my filth, more clearly than I or anyone else could ever see it, yet because of Christ, He still loves me and approves of me more than I will ever believe in this life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What abortion looks like

JT posts some thoughts and a very sobering (and graphic) video. I posted the video a while back. It was a good reminder to see it again, though it's very disturbing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Voting as if we are not voting

Piper has a good article on how Christians should vote.
"Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, 'the time has grown very short.'”
He gets his thoughts from 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
"The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away."
He concludes:
"Christians should deal with world. This world is here to be used. Dealt with. There is no avoiding it. Not to deal with it is to deal with it that way. Not to weed your garden is to cultivate a weedy garden. Not to wear a coat in Minnesota is to freeze—to deal with the cold that way. Not to stop when the light is red is to spend your money on fines or hospital bills and deal with the world that way. We must deal with the world.

But as we deal with it, we don’t give it our fullest attention. We don’t ascribe to the world the greatest status. There are unseen things that are vastly more precious than the world. We use the world without offering it our whole soul. We may work with all our might when dealing with the world, but the full passions of our heart will be attached to something higher—Godward purposes. We use the world, but not as an end in itself. It is a means. We deal with the world in order to make much of Christ.

So it is with voting. We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting.

By all means vote. But remember: 'The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever' (1 John 2:17).

Is morality an imposition on legislation?

Tim Challies answers a question from a reader regarding the extent to which Christians should impose morals upon legislation. This question stems from the issue of abortion, so most of the article is about that issue.

Here's a good distinction he makes between morals and values:
"I feel that another aspect of this reader's question deserves a response. He asked "to what extent, then, can we impose Christian values by law?" Here I think we need to pause to distinguish between values and morals. It used to be that we spoke of morals--truths that were applicable to all people. Societal morals were built upon a Christian foundation so that society widely accepted that homosexuality was wrong, that abortion was forbidden, that truth was a virtue, and so on. These morals stood above society, giving structure and imposing themselves on all people. But in recent decades, coasting in alongside a naturalistic worldview, morals have been diminished and have been replaced by values. Where morals are absolute, values are inherently subjective. Each of us may have our own sets of values. Society dictates that you are required to respect my values while I am required to respect yours.

So to what extent can we impose Christian values? Well, in a sense we do not seek to impose Christian values at all. Instead, we seek to impose Christian morals. We affirm that the Scripture gives us absolute standards of right and wrong and we seek to live within these boundaries. Again, these morals stand over and above us and call us all to obedience. They are vertical rather than horizontal. So we do not face our society with an attitude implying that we both hold to values and I hope that you will accept mine. Instead, we face society with the conviction that God's morals are good and absolute. We can impose these morals on others without fear. Were a national leader to find himself in a position of being able to eradicate abortion, he could do so from a moral standpoint and do it without regret or hesitation. In such a case he has no need to concern himself with another person's subjective values."
He concludes this way:
"Abortion is so awful, so despicable, so abhorrent that I have to think it will, indeed, be abolished some day. It is my hope and even my conviction that we will someday regard it as we now regard slavery. We will shake our heads and wonder how we could ever have lived in such a society. Children will learn in school of society's ambivalence to so great an evil and express proper shock and disgust. And I hope and pray that Christians will lead this fight and ascribe all glory to God when the battle is finally won."
Read all of it

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why I blog

A lot of people lately have asked me about why I blog. It started as a way to get out some thoughts and point others to resources that I had come across. In the early stages, I wrestled through who my audience was going to be. Once I landed on that, the blogging became a little easier.

A big concern people have is whether blogging is narcissistic or not. It can become that way if you aren't careful, but with the right purpose for blogging you can avoid being too self-absorbed.

I think the main purposes of my blog (in no particular order) are to:

1) inform = I enjoy drawing attention to important, humorous, thoughtful, or just interesting things.

2) encourage = I enjoy encouraging others with Truth, whether it's a thought directly from the Word of God or from a book or anything else out in the world that points us to Truth. And though I don't do it that often, I enjoy sharing from my own life experience to help others see how God can work through our imperfections.

3) challenge = I enjoy enabling others to see things from a new perspective. I obviously don't have it all figured out, but want to challenge others (as well as myself) to do more active thinking, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

4) update = I enjoy providing updates on my life every now and then so people who aren't a daily part of it can get a glimpse of what's happening with me.

So, if you have a blog or are thinking of starting one, I would encourage you think through these things so you know what audience you are writing for. Also check out these two links:

10 reasons I don't read your blog.

Tips for better blog writing

Friday, October 17, 2008

Church Membership: Entering the Covenant Community

Russell Moore gives some good advice to college students about the importance of joining a church on top of whatever ministry they might be in. It ends up being good biblical advice to many people outside of college as well who don't feel church membership is all that important.
"The reason many college students identify primarily with a campus ministry rather than with a church is not because of any flaw in most campus ministry organizations. It is because, too often, we evangelical Christians have a deficient view of the church. We assume that it is any gathering of people who believe in Jesus and who do churchly things. Many Christians assume the church exists simply to help us learn more about Christ and pool our resources for missions. If that's the case, a campus ministry can do all those things, and more. But the Scriptures tell us the church is much more than that."
Read the whole thing

(HT:Tim Challies)

Don't be enamored by Obama's coolness

I started to apologize here about the overload of abortion information that I've been bringing lately...but I don't. I do it because it's really a big deal. Here's another article on the subject by Randy Alcorn. And I assure you it doesn't just say the same old thing. Check it out.
"The blood of weak and needy unborn children is precious in God’s sight. Please don't tell me abortion isn't the only issue. Of course it isn't. Treatment of the Jews wasn’t the only issue in 1940 Germany. Buying, selling and owning black people wasn’t the only issue in the United States of 1850. Nonetheless, both were the dominant moral issues of their day. Make no mistake about it. In our own day if we support a candidate who defends abortion, who is dedicated to that cause, we are supporting the killing of children. Yes, even if he’s the coolest candidate to come along in decades."

Josie the dog

I babysat my sister's dog two weekends ago while she was out of town. It was definitely an interesting experience. She's a pretty good dog for the most part, but wants CONSTANT attention. For instance:

This is her wondering why I would work on my computer when the option of playing with her is available.
And this is her after 20 minutes of staring at me, giving it one last shot.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The true prosperity gospel = reconciliation to God

As opposed to this, I love THIS prosperity gospel.
"Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent." - Job 22:21-23
"For Christ also suffered once for sins...that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18)

Does virtual morality exist?

Adbusters looks at this question in their lastest article. They examine the violence and sexually perverse behavior happening in video games and other virtual worlds, and wonder if immorality has free reign there.
"Technology is dragging morality into some deep and murky philosophical waters, forcing us to reexamine our understanding of it as many of us choose to become actors in virtual worlds. By putting choice and consequence in closed virtual worlds where we can kill without harming others or facing punishment ourselves, we are forced to reconsider the case for moral behavior. New video games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and online communities such as Second Life, invite an increasingly large percentage of society to participate in fantasy worlds where we are invited to experience life without rules – to be the bad guy or the sexual deviant. The implicit suggestion of these products is that, like gravity, morality does not necessarily exist in a virtual world. Morality and consequence can be switched off. Anything goes...

...When Jesus began teaching and interpreting the moral code of the day, he radically redefined adultery, translocating the sin from the physical realm of actions and words to the virtual world of the mind and imagination. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, 'You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' What Jesus teaches is that God is concerned not only with what plays out in the physical world of actions (reality), but also with what takes place in the virtual world of our minds. A sociological approach to morality judges murder wrong because it harms an innocent person. A theological approach to morality finds murder sinful not only because of the physical act, but also because God is offended by an angry mind as well as violent hands. The humanist or secular view of morality is concerned only with what we do. True religious morality is concerned not only with what we do, but with who we are, with what we desire to do."

The Pornification of a Generation

This article is extremely sad. It's was written by Jessica Bennett of Newsweek and discusses the extent to which porn and the perversion of sexuality has invaded young adolescence.

(HT:Tim Challies)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Final Debate Thoughts

If we should be voting on a candidate based on charisma and eloquence, then yes, we should vote for Obama. He is very relaxed and says nice things. However, that is not the reason we should desire someone to be president of the United States.

The ESV Study Bible - Received

The wait is over. I found it on the front porch yesterday. I was pretty stoked. I can't wait to get in there in the next several months and break it in. If you want more info about it, check out Tim Challies' review here.

More on Obama as pro-abortion candidate

For those who have asked for a very clear breakdown of Obama's thoughts and history regarding abortion, check this post out from Justin Taylor. He actually pulls a lot of information from the essay by Dr. George that I linked to earlier today.

Abortion, is it worth the fight?

Al Mohler has a great post on the issue of abortion. In it, he basically sets up the two sides of the debate, and says there shouldn't be much room at all for middle ground. Either you believe the woman needs the freedom to make the decision to have an abortion for whatever reason, or you believe unborn babies have a right to life and should be protected. He goes on to quote Professor George of Princeton, who has some insight on Obama's stance on the issue. (Also, see this post for a real life example of this!!)
"In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability...For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide."
And then, Dr. Mohler offers some insight of his own regarding the issue of "single issue" voting:
"There are signs of fatigue among Christians on this issue. Some argue that the sanctity of life issue is simply one among many important issues. Without doubt, we are faced with many urgent and important issues. Nevertheless, every voter must come to terms with what issues matter most in the electoral decision. At some point, every voter is a potential "single issue" voter. Some issues simply eclipse others.

This is the case with the sanctity of human life. I can understand the fatigue. So little progress seems to have been made. So much ground has been lost. So many unborn babies have been aborted. The culture has turned increasingly hostile to this commitment, especially among the young. There is a sense that many want to get on with other issues...

...Our vote will determine whether millions of unborn babies live or die. The Freedom of Choice Act, if passed, would lead directly to a radical increase in the numbers of abortions. The abortion industry has told us that themselves.

The question comes down to this: How many lives are we willing to forfeit -- to write off as expendable -- in order to "move on" to other issues of concern? There is no way to avoid that question and remain morally serious. The voting booth is no place to hide."
Finally, I want to add some thoughts of my own. I've heard the argument that Roe v. Wade will be impossible to overturn, so Republicans really shouldn't try. Instead they should focus on doing something more practical. I'm just thankful that William Wilberforce didn't think that way as he spent most of his political life trying (and succeeding) to abolish the slave trade in England, which was thought to be an impossible task.

Also, I went to the Bodies Exhibition a couple of years ago and posted some thoughts here on that experience, specifically about the experience in the fetal development section. I was reminded of this time a few nights ago as a friend and I discussed it. To see the growth process of a baby in the womb leaves you breathless as you think about how many abortions actually happen to these well-developed human beings. Consider this verse in Ecclesiates (again):

"As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything" - Eccl. 11:5

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A great explanation of God's foreknowledge and our "free" will

The following comes from Boethius out of a work of his called Consolation of Philosophy. It has been considered as his most popular work and was written while he was in prison awaiting his execution for "treason" (died 524 AD). In this work, he apparently writes about a variety of different philosophical and theological topics. However, I have just read a portion of it for my seminary class that deals with the issues of time, God's foreknowledge, and free will. And I found the reading extremely helpful in in bringing some clarity to the much debated topic of God's foreknowledge versus man's free will. Consider the following:

God's foreknowledge is knowledge of a never changing present:
“since God lives in the eternal present, His knowledge transcends all movement of time and abides in the simplicity of its immediate present. It encompasses the infinite sweep of past and future, and regards all things in its simple comprehension as if they were now taking place. Thus, if you will think about the foreknowledge by which God distinguishes all things, you will rightly consider it to be not a foreknowledge of future events, but knowledge of a never changing present. For this reason, divine knowledge is called providence, rather than prevision, because it resides above all inferior things and looks out on all things from their summit.”
How our "free" will remains intact:
“[A] future event is necessary with respect to God’s knowledge of it, but free and undetermined if considered in its own nature...But God sees as present those future things which result from free will. Therefore, from the standpoint of divine knowledge these things are necessary because of the condition of their being known by God; but, considered only in themselves, they lose nothing of the absolute freedom of their own natures.

The meaning is the same as in the example ...of the sun rising and the man walking. At the time they are happening, they must necessarily be happening; but the sun’s rising is governed by necessity even before it happens, while the man’s walking is not. Similarly, all the things God sees as present will undoubtedly come to pass; but some will happen by the necessity of their natures, others by the power of those who make them happen. Therefore, we quite properly said that these things are necessary if viewed from the standpoint of divine knowledge, but if they are considered in themselves, they are free of the bonds of necessity.”
God's providence is constant:
“You may still wonder, however, whether God’s knowledge is changed by your decisions, so that when you wish now one thing, now another, the divine knowledge undergoes corresponding changes. This is not the case. For Divine Providence anticipates every future action and converts it to its own present knowledge. It does not change, as you imagine, foreknowing this or that in succession, but in a single instant, without being changed itself, anticipates and grasps your changes. God has this present comprehension and immediate vision of all things not from the outcome of future events, but from the simplicity of his own nature...Since this is true, the freedom of the human will remains inviolate, and laws are just since they provide rewards and punishments to human wills which are not controlled by necessity.”
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (Romans 8:33)

Friday, October 10, 2008

What is a true woman?

Since roughly 50% of the people I know are women, I thought I'd pass this along. Tim Challies is attending the True Woman Conference in Chicago and live blogging the talks there. The third talk was given by John Piper. I wanted to highlight a few things from his talk, but you can check out the whole post here.
"'True womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of his Son in ways that would not be displayed if there was no womanhood.' When God described the work of his Son as the sacrifice of a husband for his bride, he was telling us why he made us male and female. He made us this way so this relationship would describe more fully the relationship of his son and his son's blood-brought bride. If you reduce woman to biological features you not only reduce the value of womanhood but reduce the glory given God. We must understand that, in opposition to what the world teaches, womanhood is not incidental to personhood."
And he adds this special word to single women
"The Apostle Paul loved his singleness. He loved it because it gave him such radical freedom to get arrested month after month and to be beaten and lashed and shipwrecked. Singleness is a high calling. He celebrated it and called many to follow him in it, even with the beauty of all that marriage displays. Why would he lure some out of pursuing marriage if he made marriage as such a magnificent portrait? In this season of history since the Fall, the natural order God established is not absolute. The reason that rejoicing in singleness is not an assault on God's glory is that in this world there are truths about Christ and his kingdom that can be more clearly displayed by manhood and womanhood in singleness than in marriage. He offered three things single womanhood can say better than married womanhood:

1. A life of Christ-exalting singleness bears witness that the family of God grows by regeneration by faith, not propagation by sexual intercourse. The main thing we're about is growing this family!
2. A life of Christ-exalting singleness bears witnesses that relationships in Christ are more lasting than relationships in families.
3. The Christ-exalting singleness of a woman bears witness to the truth that marriage is temporary and finally gives way in the end to the reality of what the portrait points to. A single woman who lives with this in view says something very powerfully about her Savior

Offering a final summary and challenge, Piper said that true womanhood is a distinctive calling to display the glory of the Son in ways that cannot be displayed in any other way. This is true whether a woman is married or single. No matter whether you're married or single, do not settle for wimpy theology. Do not waste your true womanhood, for it was made for the glory of Christ."

Erasmus and the infinite possiblitities of varied verbal expression

Erasmus is a guy most people have never heard about. He lived from 1466 to 1536. He was very influential by producing the first Greek New Testament. This would later help William Tyndale to create the first English translation of the New Testament as well as enabling Martin Luther to create the first German translation of the New Testament.

The following comes from a talk on William Tyndale given by John Piper a couple of years ago. His thoughts struck me because I'm beginning to really love language and appreciate the beauty of it. I want the ability to make thoughts and ideas come alive by using more creative vocabulary. And it's interesting because Erasmus and many of the early Bible translators were lovers of language as well. And, as you'll read, some think that without guys like Erasmus there would be no Shakespeare.
"Erasmus wrote a book called De copia that...helped students increase their abilities to exploit the 'copious' potential of language. This was hugely influential in the early 1500s in England and was used to train students in the infinite possibilities of varied verbal expression. The aim was to keep that language from sinking down to mere jargon and worn-out slang and uncreative, unimaginative, prosaic, colorless, boring speech.

One practice lesson for students from De copia was to give 'no fewer than one hundred fifty ways of saying ‘Your letter has delighted me very much.’' The point was to force students 'to use of all the verbal muscles in order to avoid any hint of flabbiness.' It is not surprising that this is the kind of educational world that gave rise to William Shakespeare (who was born in 1564). Shakespeare is renown for his unparalleled use of copiousness in language. One critic wrote, 'Without Erasmus, no Shakespeare.'"

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Reproof and Forgiveness

I really wish I had more of this going on in my life. Both with the humility to receive it and the boldness to give it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


reformed, gospel-centered lyrics + dang good hip hop = Lecrae

If you don't already know, check him out. He's has the #5 best-selling hip hop album right now in Itunes, with Rebel. Also, Mark Driscoll sits down with him for a really interesting interview here

Check out these lyrics from a great song called Fanatic:
The world's trying to tidy up, exfoliate they skin
but only Christ can come and exfoliate they sin
And they fate look grim, If they don't take him
As the high priest he is to mediate they sin
The world's got to many Gods, man we choose the one
From hebrews, he rules, he bruised his son
Thanks Roy

The dangers of Facebook

Roy links to a good article describing how Facebook can turn into endless narcissism (and in a virtual world at that). Check it out.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Misjudging healthy relationships as homosexual

Tim Challies looks at the postmodern error of viewing close male relationships. He basically says that these days, any form of intimacy between two men is now considered to be homosexual in nature. And this creates a stigma among men to stay away from healthy, biblical friendships with each other.

Consider these verses that speak of the friendship between David and Jonathan: "As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." (1 Samuel 18:1) "And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul." (1 Samuel 20:17) "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women." (2 Samuel 1:26)

Here's a couple paragraphs from Challies.
"Here is where it gets even more interesting and important. Says Esolen 'Open homosexuality, loudly and defiantly celebrated, changes the language for everyone. ...If a man throws his arm around another man's waist, it is now a sign--whether he is on the political right or the left, whether he believes in biblical proscriptions of homosexuality or not. ...If a man cradles the head of his weeping friend, the shadow of suspicion must cross your mind." Gone is the innocence that would allow us to see a man love another man without assuming that their relationship involved sex or at least the desire for sex. Men and boys, including Christian men and boys, are suffering the fallout. 'The sexual revolution has also nearly killed male friendship as devoted to anything beyond drinking and watching sports. ...The prominence of male homosexuality changes the language for teenage boys. It is absurd and cruel to say that the boy can ignore it. Even if he would, his classmates will not let him. All boys need to prove that they are not failures. They need to prove that they are on the way to becoming men--that they are not going to relapse into the need to be protected by, and therefore identified with, their mothers.' And so boys feel that they need to prove to their peers that they are not homosexual. They do so by recklessly pursuing sexual experience with girls and by distancing themselves from meaningful friendships with other boys. Those who fail in both accounts are labeled as 'fags' and subjected to the torment that follows. Boys have always had a lot to prove, but added to their burden today is proof of their sexual identify.

My mother has often remarked that men, and Christian men in particular, go through life lonely--forsaken by other men who should be their friends. And I think she is right. I wonder if we, too, bear the burden of perverse assumptions. Maybe we, too, from our early days feel the need to prove that we are not homosexual. And we do this by fleeing emotional or spiritual intimacy with other men, assuming that such relationships are unworthy of men--real men.

The societal prevalence of homosexuality is not going to lessen anytime soon. While Christians must continue to insist that homosexuality cannot be reconciled with Scripture (and you may like to read Dr. Mohler's book to learn more about why this is the case) we must also not allow it to usurp friendship and to reframe the way we, as Christians, and Christian men, view and understand friendship. We have far too much to lose."
Read the whole thing

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Death By Love

For those of you who read my blog, but not my roomate Roy's, he pointed me to a really cool video marketing Mark Driscoll's new book, Death by Love.