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A Shot of Encouragement

Reasons to Study Latin

This is a great video produced by Classical Conversations on reasons to study Latin:

Categories
The End of Many Books

Death by Living

by N. D. Wilson

Provokes your eyes to see. And to cry. My eyes were busy with both blessings. (2013)


Finished again in July 2015. I was not less blessed by the second reading, though more excited for non-dualism and daily deaths.


Finished again in May 2018 with the L2L leaders at our church. Also reread Empire of Bones at the same time. Glorious.

5 of 5 stars

Categories
A Shot of Encouragement

Do Your Duties

“And the truth is, I know nothing more effective for quieting a Christian soul and getting contentment than this, setting your heart to work in the duties of the immediate circumstances that you are now in, and taking heed of your thoughts about other conditions as a mere temptation.”

—Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 52
Categories
The End of Many Books

Reset

by David Murray

I give 5 stars when I really like a book (as is the Goodreads standard) but also when I would immediately start rereading the book. Such is Reset.

I did not want to like it. I am less impressed with guys who talk about taking a break and seek my encouragement from men who spend until they are broke. That said, this was the free ChristianAudio book a couple months ago, I started to listen, Mo also started to listen, and we realized that both have some work to do in the various repair garages as Murray refers to them.

My hard copy arrived last week and I plan to use it like a workbook over the next month or so.

5 of 5 stars

Categories
The End of Many Books

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

by C. S. Lewis

Read in 2018 with the ECS board. This must have been my third, maybe fourth, time through. It was also my first time through after having read Planet Narnia a couple times. It was better than ever. Apparently I am “old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

5 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Why Ministers Must Be Men

by Douglas Wilson

Brief observations on the relevant Bible texts along with the implications of what corporate liturgy teaches about God’s nature and our relationship with Him. Plus, some inimitable Wilsonian jibes exhorting guys to put on their man pants.

4 of 5 stars

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Lord's Day Liturgy

Dead at the Cross

Rhetoric is deeper than what is said, more than well spoken words, more than clear or persuasive speech. Rhetoric most often involves language, but it also includes lifestyle and liturgy.

Paul’s life was a tool of persuasion. He commanded the Corinthians to use their personal rights for sake of others rather than themselves (1 Corinthians 8), and he modeled this very behavior (1 Corinthians 9). Not only was what he said not undone by what he did, what he said was more effective because of what he did.

The liturgy of the Lord’s Table also speaks, but without words. Paul told the Corinthians that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). But how?

Just as Paul provided an example of the gospel of the cross by giving up his personal rights for the sake of others, so we announce the gospel of the cross by giving up our personal grievances against others. We stop judging others wrongly, and judge “ourselves truly” (verse 31). We eat and drink in fellowship because our envy and bitterness and anger is dead at the cross.

The gospel is news. It can (and must at some point) be spoken and heard, written and read. The message cannot be altered because it is historical reality. But our lives can adorn the doctrine, and they should show the truth of the gospel, that sacrifice driven by love for others changes the world.

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Lord's Day Liturgy

Belly Worship

We’ve been talking about food and gods in 1 Corinthians 8 in our current sermon series, about the connection between eating and worship. In Philippians 3 Paul warns about those who “walk as enemies of the cross of Christ” and it also has to do with an idolatrous relationship with repast.

“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory on their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (verse 19).

The four phrases seem to work backward from the end. These men are occupied with physical things and so that’s where they get their standards. Earthly standards lead to an exchange between glory and shame. When shame gets taken for glory, self must be the god. And because we can’t ever successfully exchange God’s world for our imagined world, self-as-god ends in destruction, where the verse starts.

“Their god is their belly” is quite a striking, almost crude sounding description. The comforts for self, the satisfactions for self, all serve self. Note that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “fat belly” (Buddha-like) god, it could be a “free range only belly” god or a “flat belly” god; the focus is still on self. These are enemies of the cross which crucifies self.

Those who are, by contrast, friends of the cross, if we can call them that, are not defined by what they do or do not put in their bellies, they are defined by their bellies being servants of God rather than gods to be served. They are appropriately ashamed in their shame, and they anticipate the true glory when Christ transforms our “lowly” bodies “to be like his glorious body” (verse 20).

There is no neutrality. Either we will worship the Creator or something in creation. Our bellies will show shame or glory, not measured by girth but by gratitude.

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Every Thumb's Width

Anticipate and Finish

I want to add a couple thoughts to my previous post about men taking responsibility.

The sort of seeing “all as his” that I mean can be seen in what a man anticipates. A friend of ours is really good at this, and here’s just one story. When his wife was pregnant he made a sandwich for her and put it in her purse. She didn’t think about packing herself a snack. She didn’t ask him to make a sandwich. But he knew that she would be gone for a while and that she was likely to get hungry. He’d observed her scrounging around for left-over food on a previous excursion, so he anticipated her need and provided. That kid in her belly didn’t become his responsibility only after the kid was born or only after his wife asked for help.

The “all is his” mindset can also been seen in how he finishes. The trope is as old as men have been coming Home from Work. The husband/father walks in the door and he’s tired. It was a hard day, stressful. He wants a break. Sure. But how is managing his household not his deal? It’s not time to check out. It’s time to check in, with his wife, with his kids. How is his flock? What do they need, and who is supposed to provide for them? It is not someone else. He could get mad that dinner isn’t ready at the expected time, but that’s because his expectation about what it means for him to be finished is incomplete.

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Every Thumb's Width

His and Hers

One of the most difficult things to communicate to a guy/husband/father is that all of it is his. He has responsibility for everything, even if he isn’t the one who does all the work.

Marriage is a partnership with the husband as the head. That means that while the wife has work, and the two of them discuss who will take care of what, the wife’s work is still the husband’s to consider. It never becomes hers in a way that he is no longer concerned with.

The typical guy thinks about His work and Her work, and I don’t mean work designated for a male or a female. It’s easy for him to get upset when she asks him questions about her work, or when she doesn’t finish her work in the time he thought she should, because he thinks it’s carving into his work. This is precisely the (pressure) point. It is all his work. She is not messing with his work, she is doing some of his work, even if he wished it was more or different. If she has questions or concerns that she brings to his attention, this is not something other than his responsibility, even if he thinks he’s delegated a task to her.

A simple way to think about what is his: what if his wife died? He would need to know how to pay the bills, each kid’s allergies and schoolwork, what clothes don’t go in the hot load, and how many days in a row of chicken nuggets for lunch is actually unhealthy. What if she was in a debilitating accident? He would need to take care of all the previous things and take care of her.

He could get mad about it, but that doesn’t make it not his responsibility. He could abdicate, run away to the garage, his man-cave, time with the buddies, more of “his” work at the office, or actually just leave the family, and it seems some guys do.

Is it possible for a wife to take advantage of a husband’s big shoulders? I suppose. Is it likely that she would take advantage of this, while he’s listening to her and seeking to serve her for both of their benefit? I don’t think so. But such a situation is rare because, as I said at the start, it’s hard to get a guy to see it all as his.