Batter My Heart

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

from “Holy Sonnets”

These words of John Donne’s come to my mind often. I feel the truth of them. I bear witness to them. His grasp of the dilemma of the converted and his poetic and succinct means of expressing our thralldom and need for liberation, and a liberator, from outside ourselves, is profound and true and acknowledged by all in our honest moments.

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Mr. Kavanaugh Goes to Washington

Screenshot 2018-10-04 14.30.21Allysia Finley has an outstanding article in the October 4th, 2018 Wall Street Journal Opinion section titled, “Will the Senate Kill A Mockingbird?” It’s a great, point-by-point comparison of the treatment Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is receiving with Tom Robinson in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, my wife’s favorite book of fiction, and a favorite movie. I hope you can read the book or see the movie.

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There Must Be Factions– Social Justice

In Evangelical circles in the U.S. a factionalism that’s been growing has recently been publicly called out, a factionalism having to do with the loaded phrase “social justice”. (Regarding defining social justice, see the end of this article.)

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel was released on September 4, 2018 and it has created instant controversy; factions have formed and battle lines have been Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 8.45.35 PMdrawn. The statement conveys the belief that the Evangelical foray into “social justice” movements has and will dramatically and negatively impair the Church’s ability to clearly proclaim the gospel.

The sharp criticism in response to the statement levels a variety of charges ranging from– the Church is not in fact proclaiming the gospel apart from action in social justice arenas, to– the Church is failing to fulfill it’s prophetic role to the culture apart from calls for social justice in the political arena. Continue reading

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There Must Be Factions

In talking about attending a Roman Catholic wedding Protestant friends asked rather enthusiastically about taking communion during the wedding service. They thought it would communicate a sense of unity and support with the bride and groom and their families. They thought it would show their ecclesiastical egalitarianism, Protestants big enough and confident enough to cross the denominational divide in a show of Christian unity.

I quashed their enthusiasm as quickly as I could. I explained that communion for Roman Catholics wasn’t a symbolic remembrance, but a change of substance as the priest RC Communionintoned words from the Mass by which the elements became Christ. I also told them that the Roman Catholic Church wasn’t as broadminded as they were, and that as non Roman Catholics they shouldn’t participate, indeed weren’t welcome at that table, as those who hadn’t embraced that expression of faith through baptism and confirmation in the Roman Catholic fold. This was all rather an unwelcome deflation of their sincere but naïve enthusiasm for ecumenism. Continue reading

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Christian Hope

Fear & Trumpst

Screenshot 2018-09-07 14.26.13Against all the nay saying Donald Trump is a politician who has actually followed up on many/most of his campaign pledges. From policies aimed at maintaining or returning jobs to the United States and leveling the international trade playing field, to First Amendment freedoms to the selection of Supreme Court nominations, the President has been behind many commendable efforts that should benefit everyone in this nation for years to come.

Certainly some efforts have been less than successful, brought more controversy than benefit, or promise benefits yet to be seen.  Continue reading

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Sunday Morning

There is so much going on Sunday mornings when the Church family gathers together, and yet so little preparation for that concentrated time, that I found the following blog article by Jordan Standridge of the Cripplegate worth sending along. Hope you enjoy and benefit from it as I did. Mike

“Sunday Morning starts Saturday Night”, The Cripplegate blog.


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One Generation to the Next

Psalm 78:5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Psalm 78 is a personal favorite of mine. It encouraged me as a father raising young daughters years ago, and it encourages me today, a grandfather watching my daughters and their husbands shepherd their own sons and daughters. God makes plain in this song that he intends that one generation would come into the living knowledge of him through the witness of the previous generation, as that previous generation of faith declared God’s saving acts and covenant to their own children. Then, by God’s grace, those children would grow up in faith and declare the saving acts of God and God’s covenant to the next generation. Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 11.37.22 AMOne generation to the next declaring God’s faithfulness and living in faithfulness (imperfectly to be sure) to God. Each generation a link in a chain of life and faithfulness. Each one knowing and praising the God of life; the God of faithfulness.

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