Live Not By Lies
So much about this book is good for all times, and so much about it is particularly timely. Soft totalitarianism, especially as seen in the faces of social justice ideology and surveillance technology, is upon us, it’s just a question of its level of influence in various places, and how much of it we accept for (preliminary) conveniences.
I held back one star because Dreher’s observations are, from my perspective, tinged with more fear than thanks. And while I wholeheartedly agree with him that it is crucial for Christians to preserve the faith and pass it on to their children and small communities, should we (or the generation that gets to come out of “survival”) ever expect to use (let alone create/advance and give God thanks for) broader technology? Which kinds? Under what circumstances? Because we see the abuses of good, and even an increase in those abuses around us today, are believers only supposed to build bunkers?
Nevertheless, I highly recommend reading this (and sharing it with your Russian friends!).
4 of 5 stars
May 7, 2021
When God told Israel what part of the animals He wanted for Himself, He said He wanted the fat.
the priest shall burn [the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them] on the altar as a food offering with a pleasing aroma. All fat is the LORD’S. (Leviticus 3:16, see also the whole chapter, but especially the context in verses 14-15)
The sacrifices were not chosen because they were the most skinny, because they were made of more skin. The animals were bred and fed to be big and fat, and that pleased the Lord.
His people are also called sheep (Psalm 100:3), we are called sacrifices (Romans 12:1). God desires that we be without blemish, He also desires that we be fat. I am talking about spiritual weight, about holiness that’s heavy when you try to push it around and joy that sizzles when the fire is put to it.
He is fattening us up for slaughter. He loves us so much that even when we are sheep led to the slaughter (Psalm 44:22, quoted in Romans 8:36), we can’t be separated from His love, which is Paul’s point in Romans 8. The Lord may not require our martyrdom, but He most certainly requires us to be living sacrifices.
May the bread and wine at this Table fatten up your faith, for sake of pulling the plow, for sake of a being a pleasing aroma to Him when things heat up. This is part of our witness, part of being “the aroma of Christ to God” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
May 4, 2021
This was my third full time through the book, and I’ve read large chunks more times than that. I’d give it seven stars out of five if that was possible. This time I got to read it with my college astronomy class, to whom I assigned it, and I enjoyed sharing Ward’s discoveries with them and hearing their thoughts. I can’t assign it to everyone, but I can recommend it to everyone, whether for insight into world of Narnia or just for considering the unique power of donegality in fiction.
5 of 5 stars
May 3, 2021
Revelation 20 and the Millennial Debate
This book by Matt Waymeyer is about as perfect as it could be for its purpose. It’s a brief look at Revelation 20, which is the crucial passage in Scripture related to the “thousand years,” the millennium. Waymeyer compares the three main approaches: Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialsm, and provides the proposed answers of each view to the interpretive questions required to understand each paragraph. In his introduction he states, “the primary contribution of this book rests not so much in the area of original though as in its presentation of the arguments of writers who have gone before.” And it is a great contribution and service to the reader. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know what’s in Revelation 20 more than what they need to bring in to it.
5 of 5 stars
May 3, 2021
A week ago Monday night was not just a full moon, it was a supermoon. It’s not a particularly rare event, but it only happens three or four times out of the 13 or 14 full moons each year. At least once every 29.5 days the moon is called “full,” and a supermoon is when a full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee, which refers to the point in its elliptical orbit at which it is closest to Earth. This makes the moon appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it is farthest from Earth. Last Monday was a great display, even from Marysville.
I’m assuming most people would say that the moon is at its most glorious when it is full, and what we should all consider is that when the moon is most full it is also most obedient. The moon doesn’t produce its own light, all its glory is borrowed. When she is most in line with the sun she is most on display herself.
As male and female humans we are most ourselves when we are most reflective (Genesis 1:27). Though people are higher in the hierarchy of the universe than the planets, we do not produce our own light. We were made to bear our Maker’s image, to reflect His glory.
Like the moon, our obedience is glory. If you are struggling with your identity, it may be because you are not lined up to and looking at Him. This is also why our obedience is His glory. When we do good works, and others see our good works, they will glorify our Father, because He is the source of our light.
May 3, 2021
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Not Safe But Sane
As many of the men keep reading through Live Not by Lies there is more and more emphasis on how small groups kept many believers living under totalitarian regimes not safe but sane. Though everything was crazy outside, there was some normal, some reality, and even some freedom inside. The friendships and fellowship and the freedom to live were crucial not just so that The Faith, as in Christianity, could continue but so that Christians themselves could continue.
Our church is too large to be called a small group, and we have not been driven underground. But in many ways it is still crazy “outside,” and our fellowship is in faith and for our faith. We re-member (that is, all the members meet as one body) each week to remember the eternal work of God in time, His loving power and righteous kindness and the good news of Christ’s death for sinners. We are reminded of our unity with Christ and our unity with His Body.
If “modern liberalism’s goal” is “to free the individual from any unchosen obligations” (Dreher, Location 548), the goal of this Supper is to point us to the Savior who frees us from the burden of guilt and the anguish of separation.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:16–17)
This Supper is a sharing of lives, a present participation that is a life-sustaining good.
April 30, 2021