Categories
Every Thumb's Width

Est. 2020

A little over two years ago I wrote that we were starting a college in Marysville. At the time, we had just decided on our name: Comeford College, but the image I found to use was just of a plain, navy pennant with the word “college” on it.

Thanks to one of our students (who is also my oldest daughter), I’ve got my very own Comeford pennant!

It. Must. Be. Official.

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

Gas for the Guitar

I like guitar, I like “Classical Gas,” and I like this edition (which I saw because Mike Rowe shared it):

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

Tackling Virgil

We’ve made the call that our 2022 Raggant Fiction Festival will cover some of the epics. The festival’s title is: Monumental Myths – Lit That Made Western Man. When talking about which epic I wanted to cover my first response was anything except for the Aeneid. Ha. Turns out, due to a number of variables, that I am now very excited about tackling Virgil. As I get going, I found this fantastic looking resource that I’ll be trying for doing some work in the original Latin text. I told my Latin students in class today that they can help keep me accountable.

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

A New Standard

I’ve been thinking again about starting a newspaper (or a newsapp) for Marysville.

It’s an idea and conversation I’ve had before, but at that time there was the “Marysville Globe.” According to Wikipedia the paper was established in 1891. That was even before the internet. For the two decades I’ve lived in Marysville it was the only local paper I knew about. It’s also the local paper I rarely read due to the less than scintillating copy. It might have been bad, but at least it was ours.

Sometime in the last year or so it disappeared. The url – www.MarysvilleGlobe.com – redirects to the Everett Herald. Bleh. There’s just an archive of the Globe available now.

Which means we’ve got a real opportunity and zero current competition.

There’s a fantastic book called, Rules for Reformers. It focuses on place rather than media, but one of the principles is finding a city that is both strategic and feasible. It is a place that matters and is also a place that can be taken. A “paper,” so-called,” isn’t a city, but it is a source of information and perspective that could really start a fire.

So what if we started a paper that was Local first, State second, Nation next?

What if we loved our city in a way that brought out more of its loveliness?

What if we provided a biblical perspective on what’s happening among and around us, re-presented our Constitutional liberties to our fellow citizens, and pushed our local magistrates to remember their authority and responsibilities to protect us against so much tyrannical overreach coming from the “power” cities of our State?

What if we celebrated our local businesses – where you could enjoy coffee and beer and more – and promoted entrepreneurial opportunities?

What if we highlighted the ridiculousness of some of the official positions in our public schools, and also highlighted some of the other educational movements that are actually awake to the deadly dreams of the woke?

What if we connected churches, not to be under the same roof, but to build a better culture on behalf of the same Lord?

What if we acknowledged that Jesus is the Lord (Romans 10:9), that He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 17), that in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and that we will give an account for everything to Him (Hebrews 4:13)?

So what if we called this venture The Marysville Standard? A friend of mine started working with this name a couple years ago. That name might remind us that we are under a (transcendent, eternal) standard, it could urge us to set a new standard for local news and editorials, and it respectfully recalls the name of the paper Abraham Kuyper started in Holland, De Standaard, the same guy who said that Jesus claims lordship over every thumb’s-width in the domain of human existence. That includes Marysville.

Let me know what you think, if the juice would be worth the squeeze, how you could help.

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

A Strange Idea Indeed

Here’s a strange idea — what if a university marketed itself as a place to acquire an education?

“What if a university took a completely different tack? What if it rejected the claim that subjects like philosophy, theology, literature and history are basically useless? What if, to the contrary, it insisted precisely on the usefulness of the great books, books like the Iliad, the Bible and The Brothers Karamazov? What if it sought not to coddle students, but to strengthen and toughen them for the challenges of adult life?”

These are good questions.

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

The Collision between Faith and Forced Vaccinations

In God’s providence we are still being confronted with COVID panic, or we are being confronted again, or we are being confronted somehow with heretofore unprecedented measures. (Didn’t it seem like the box labeled UNPRECEDENTED was already dumped out?) We have been told to stay home, we’ve been told to mask up, we have been told to vax up, and now we’re supposed to re-mask up. We’ve been told if we stayed home for 15 days we could get back to normal (which I think was more than 500 days ago). We were told that if we wore masks we could get back to (a new) normal. We were told that if we got vaccinated we wouldn’t have to wear masks. We were told that if a certain percentage of the population got vaccinated we could be done with all restrictions. And now, a number of our church members are being threatened that if they don’t get vaccinated then they can’t keep their job. It’s also being teased that if we all don’t get vaccinated none of us might be able to travel or shop in stores or eat in restaurants. Just this past week in Washington state, government employees were given an ultimatum for vaccinations, as well as health-care workers, and all school employees, whether public or private schools. It is surprising, and it would be just silly if it weren’t for how many people are taking it seriously.

So I preached a sermon about how our Christian faith collides with these medical mandates. If you’d prefer to listen or watch, you could go to our church website. But I’m posting a good portion of my notes here as well because I want to be on the record for the sake of the Lord’s servants.

What this post will not be is a set of reminders about your Constitutional rights as a United States citizen or citizen of Washington State. It will not be scientific or medical stats or stories (though that is available and I’d be happy to share what I’ve read and listened to). It will not be about the necessary questions regarding the believability of our public officials or media outlets, about their changing of the goalposts or flip-flopping messaging without corresponding evidence. It will not promote an alternative fear to the virus, a “conservative” fear about tyranny, even though we appear to be in MiniTyrant Season. Instead I want to remind us of what we know in summary form and to affirm our church’s support for your decisions made by faith.

So what I’m writing here is not a legal defense, nor will this help you seek a medical exemption. If pleading sanity was an option, I’m sure many of us would try.

A couple qualifications about terms. I will be speaking about religious exemptions, especially for those who wonder about the legitimacy of claiming that status or who desire to seek such an exemption from your employers regarding “forced” vaccinations via threat of termination or retaliation.

But even as I give the first point below, what we believe is not a footnote, a digression, an incidental allowance for ourselves as some sort of crazies. Seeking an “exemption” is what it has come to, but those who are acting in the place of God have the first problem. Playing savior of others is a hard job, and there will be no exemptions from judgment before God for such arrogance on their part. You may not even want to play along with the pride of men, or be put on their list like some sort of beggar. So be it.

But if a religious exemption is offered to you, and you believe it a God-honoring course of action, then here are some things to consider.

The Faith of Christians

There are three things that are part of our faith, truths we believe in this religious “sect” of ours called Christianity, that apply to your appeal for a religious exemption from mandatory vaccination. They are broad truths that are relevant to any “forced” medical procedure, and, ironically, these are the truths that established the principle of religious exemptions in the first place.

These truths are true whether or not your request is accepted. These truths are true even if we are persecuted for believing them.

1. God’s Sovereignty

Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124:8). He is God, Creator of all, and He “does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). His Son is the King of kings and Lord of lords, risen from the dead. There is none like Him.

As stated in our church’s longer What We Believe document, Section 3.2:

We believe that God upholds and governs all things – from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, from evil to good, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons – all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself

Which means that we believe that God is sovereign over sickness and health, that He works through miracles and medicine. It means we also believe that every authority on earth throughout history has been established by Him.

For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1, see also John 19:11)

We believe in God’s existence and power and authority, which already makes us weirdos to those busy trying to suppress their knowledge of God (according to Romans 1:18, 21). We are living in different worlds.

Part of the reason for our religious exemption is that we think there is a God over science, not that science is god. We think there is a God over the President and CDC and Governor and County Health District. In our current circumstances, these authorities are not just “doing the best they can” against a virus, they are acting without any reference to God at all. We object to their conceit, and to their entire lack of context “under God,” because of our faith.

As Christians we also are comforted by this truth of God’s sovereignty. He is God and Father. He clothes us, feeds us, cares for us (Matthew 6:26). He knows what we need before we do (Matthew 6:32). He knows that the Gentiles panic about getting their little greedy hearts less anxious. Because God is sovereign we are secure.

2. Limited Government

Though that phrase isn’t in Scripture, it is a truth found in Scripture. Limited government is a religious principle, and a particularly Christian idea, not based on political conservatism or libertarianism.

God sets up kings, and He removes them, at will. God also says what government must do, and what they must not do (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). He also reveals that sinful men, in their power-hungry pride, will often abuse their positions (Ecclesiastes 8:9).

While He is in control of evil men, He prohibits us from obeying men rather than God (Acts 5:29). God has commanded us to submit to earthly authorities, but not absolutely everything that they mandate.

Plus, it turns out, our system of government in the United States is “the people,” as asserted in our Federal Constitution, which was established to limit the authority of our representatives in government. The Founders got that principle from knowing that the State wasn’t God.

God gave authority to rulers “to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:14). He commands that we pay “taxes to whom taxes are owed…honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:6-7). This does not mean that we will never be on the government’s bad side, it means that when the government acts badly we may suffer for doing good (1 Peter 2:15; 4:19).

But again, this means the government does not have absolute authority. The State may make a “law” that theft is legal, and that will cause the people to groan (as in Proverbs 29:2), but it is wrong. The State may mandate a medical treatment, but it is wrong. Of course the State can use its force, but that is abuse of authority. We object because of our faith.

3. Liberty of Conscience

Scripture does not use this exact phrase, but the truth is there. It has been recognized in political and church history (see a good example of this going back to 1721). Because each man answers to God, we are not even allowed to speak evil against one another, let alone bind them to a moral good we’ve defined/declared outside of God’s Word.

There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12, see also Romans 14:4)

Your body does not belong to any Governor, but to God, and it is not the Governor’s prerogative to make you safe from every illness, from all cancers (or climate). You are responsible to God as a steward to consider what is best for your body. What great opportunities God has given us for learning and for seeking counsel with those who have done more medical “practice.” But a public professional cannot dictate your conscience before the Lord. We object to such “force” because of our faith.

The following passages from Scripture have their own contexts, none of which concern vaccinations specifically, but each passage does have broader application in principle.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2)

whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. (1 Peter 2:16)

Though many governors have taken up our own Christian language of “loving our neighbors,” they do not get to define that. For what it’s worth, neither do other Christians (pastors, ethicists, bloggers) seeking to make Christians feel moral guilt for not submitting to certain medical treatments, like vaccines. (Here is a bad example of such an attempt, with a good response here.)

Additionally, there are specific questions of conscience related to the current vaccines for COVID-19. All of the currently available vaccines depend on cells from an aborted baby for their production, or they have been tested on such cell lines (here’s my source for that claim). At the same time, I thought this was a helpful article working through distinctions between production of and testing with cell lines by Randy Alcorn. Christians believe in the dignity and sanctity of life from conception to death. Certainly all of this is relevant to our choices, and our consciences.

The Abuse of Force

And so the use of “force” through threats of termination, discrimination and retaliation, are sinful abuses of authority. Can the State, and employers, promote, encourage, and provide help? Of course. Does the Bible authorize the State to quarantine persons with certain sorts of contagious illness? The Bible gives examples of that. But the Bible does not give State, or “masters”/employers, the authority to force any medical procedure on any person (or eat specific food, or only drive on Tuesdays, etc., for the “good” of your neighbor (Romans 14)).

What you must do is not go against your conscience before God.

For more see The Warrenton Declaration on Medical Mandates, Biblical Ethics, & Authority, most of which I could sign, and then also this statement by the CREC, a Communion which includes many of the kinds of churches we are like.

Conclusion

I am not saying that you must not get vaccinated. I am saying that you must make that choice, by faith, with wisdom through research and counsel.

Our church elders agree that we are not the boss of your medical choices, and we agree that elected representatives or appointed officials or public health officials or business employers are not the boss of your medical choices.

We are available to talk with you, to give you counsel, to give you support if applying for religious exemption including writing a letter on your behalf, to give you support in finding other employment. We labor for your progress and joy in faith (Philippians 1:25). These days, living by faith may bring you into collision with those who would try to force you to go against your conscience.

Today has its own trouble, who knows about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). Who knows what opportunities we will have to live by faith and call on the Lord. In our struggle against sin we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood (Hebrews 12:4), and we are not to grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3). As a congregation we are not really running lean yet, but we are running together, and that will continue to be important in whatever days the Lord gives us.

Again, if you’ve considered the risks and have been vaccinated by faith, if you’ve been vaccinated because you willingly chose to make a sacrifice by faith, then you have our support. But what you must do is trust God, thank God, and be ready to give Him an account.

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

Comeford College Information Night

There are a lot of reasons for this project we started, and there are a lot of people who could benefit from it. That means you should come to our Comeford College Information Night next Wednesday, April 28, 7:00pm, at The Table building at Reclamation Church in Marysville.

I thought about including a bunch of links to various articles I’ve read recently about the state of most colleges and universities, which is to say, to show how ridiculous higher “education” has become. These places are debt factories. They are immorality playgrounds. They are so liberal that you are not allowed to disagree. They are so scientific that you can identify as any gender you want; shoot, change as often as you change your major, more more!

We are trying to do something better, for cheaper, with actual flourishing for our students and our community. We want them to learn true and transcendent things and then have courage to live for the Lord of them.

“Christian college graduates typically have commitment, but not confidence. They have ideals, but not vision. Except for those going into the professional ministry, no one has laid out for most of them either the possibilities or the responsibilities of penetrating every area of our society with the message of Christ.”

—Robert Briner, Roaring Lambs

We are four weeks away from finishing our first year of classes. Our students have taken Astronomy, Greek (see a Greek “class” in the pic below), Old Testament Theology, Ancient Philosophy, Music Theory, and Great Books. We are making plans for classes to start again in the fall, and we have room for more students, including part-time students or auditors.

The Information Night is open to anyone who is curious, there’s no commitment. There’s also no required masks or distancing, but we will have some dessert. Check out the FB event page and then come see what we’re trying to do.


Want to read some more? Here’s a post on why we wanted to start a college, and here’s another on why we chose the name Comeford.

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

The Dead End of (God-honoring) Gradual Development

Last Sunday I taught about economics. That interrupted a series I’ve been teaching through Revelation. As a futurist, that is, one who thinks the majority of the apocalyptic judgment is yet to occur, why would I bother admonishing the saints about building wealth of all kinds in the present age?

This is the problem that Kuyperian Dispensationalism raises, and also resolves.

If you’re already convinced about this, you’re one of maybe about twenty people on the planet (ha!). If you’re not convinced, let the following long quote and bullet points bounce around in your mental hopper.

The quote is from Kuyper himself in his book, Pro Rege: Living under Christ’s Kingship, Volume 1: The Exalted Nature of Christ’s Kingship. Kuyper was not a Dispensationalist, but I’ve been thinking about granting him that honorary status anyway. Here he explains how many things on earth will continue to get better and better and how that still won’t bring in Christ’s kingdom.

We must be certain and express clearly that the period of gradual development in which we now live will one day come to an end and pass over into the last period, which is that of a supernatural manifestation of power encompassing not only the whole world but the entire universe as well. The final victory cannot be brought about gradually, because [the path of gradual development] will end in failure. When it is clear and evident in the course of history that natural, gradual development does not and cannot lead to the final goal, then—and only then—will our King intervene in a completely supernatural manner so as to neutralize all resistance and to cause the full glory of his kingship to break through.

Before this happens, however, it must be determined and demonstrated that [this process of] gradual development was unable to lead to its triumph. One should not be able to say afterward: “If only it had pleased God to leave humanity to its own natural development, everything still would have worked out on its own.” No, the facts of history must show that humanity was incapable of this on its own. Humanity must therefore be given time. Time to absorb the blessing that Christianity brings. Time to test every method and manner of saving itself with the gospel’s help. Once it is clear after this generous passage of time that humanity failed—because its very life root has been poisoned and because the demonic power finds novel ways and means in every new development to enter humanity’s veins and spoil it from within—then and only then will Christ suddenly arrest this period of gradual development, fermentation, and influence, and intervene with his full kingly power. And [he will do] this no longer to save but to judge, and to bring about the consummation of his kingdom with supernatural power.

Pro Rege, 405-406

Many things will get better because:

  • God’s Spirit regenerates men to life, illuminates the Word for obedience, and energizes for fruitfulness, not just in eternity but on earth. This fruitfulness includes faithful dominion-taking as image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:28) and includes loving one’s neighbor and seeking their interests (Matthew 22:39 and Philippians 2:4). We love them by not only sharing the good news but also new goods.
  • God intends that our lives “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10), which is an aroma of life to those who are being saved (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). Not everyone is attracted to the gospel by God’s blessing on those who believe it, but some (including a future generation of Israelites) will be made jealous into salvation (Romans 11:11, 13-14, 25-26).

But better things themselves won’t bring about Christ’s reign on earth because:

  • God is exposing that the sinfulness of men is so sinful that many men will still resist giving glory to God for all the good He gave them (Psalm 112:10; Romans 1:18-23), and so He ordains for them to store up more wrath for themselves (Romans 2:4-5).
  • And as the Kuyper quote above, time is not the savior, only the Savior is, and soli Deo gloria.
Categories
Every Thumb's Width

A Seed Sown

Notes from my address at the inaugural convocation of Comeford College on September 6


Good evening, Mr. President, Founding Members, First Teaching Fellows, Beginning Students, and Guests. It is not a surprise that I have the opportunity to speak to you, but it is no less of a privilege.

Ten years from now the Comeford College convocation will be different, Deo volente. If the Lord blesses this work, we will know then so many more things that we don’t know now. But it will be a glorious decade if we pay attention.

There are some things that are good upon first encounter, that you find out more about later, that make it all even better. Part of what makes them better is that you had a bite, so your appetite was engaged, but then you get the full spread on the table.

On the back cover of the first book I ever read about classical education is the quote by C. S. Lewis, “The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come.” You don’t need to start a school to appreciate that reality, but it is possible for one’s respect for that wisdom to multiply.

How much more did my appreciation grow when years later I came across that quote in its native habitat, an essay titled “Learning in Wartime.” Lewis addressed the Oxford undergraduates only 51 days after Germany invaded Poland marking the start of WWII. His sermon was originally called, “None Other Gods: Culture in War Time,” in which he attempted to answer the question, “What is the use of beginning a task which we have so little chance of finishing?” He argued that not only will mankind search out music and meaning in the middle of great conflict, Christians must do it for God’s sake. I have assigned my Greek students to read that essay in its entirety before our first class on Tuesday night; they will not have to wait as long as I did to appreciate the full spread of unfavourable conditions.

A similar thing happened with another quote that has only grown richer and more costly, that has come to focus our energies while expanding our work. In a way, I suppose it was the seed that grew into tonight, sown in my mind in 2004.

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”

The quote is, of course, from Abraham Kuyper. I heard the quote used by another preacher, and used it numerous times in sermons myself, starting with a message on Solus Christus, long before I began to care about Latin as a language whatsoever. As they say in hermeneutics class: That’ll preach!

I came across the quote again early in 2011 while reading a book about liturgy. The book is titled Our Worship, written by Abraham Kuyper, the first full book I read by him. In footnote number one in the Introduction, I learned that “square inch” is the Dutch phrase een duimbreed (pronounced “uhn dime-brrate”) which refers to the small distance between the sides of the thumb: a thumb’s-width. Everything thing we touch or frame, even what we thumb our noses at, Christ claims as His.

For the real goosebump part, do you know the context in which Kuyper said it? He said it in October 1880 in his inaugural charge to the Free University of Amsterdam. Kuyper talked about all Christ’s creation and sphere sovereignty and the Christian’s obligation to be interested in every sphere Christ is interested in when he launched a college.

In that address he said, “To put it mildly, our undertaking bears a protest against the present environment and suggests that something better is possible.” Yes!

There is a great crisis, a current and global crisis, that concerns not a virus or politicians, it is not a crisis of economics or higher education. It is a crisis that involves a living Person. The crux of our concern is the recognition of a King, who came and was crucified, who rose again, ascended into heaven, after promising to come again. “That King of the Jews is either the saving truth to which all peoples say Amen or the principal lie which all peoples should oppose.”

Will men and women confess that Jesus is Lord? Will they obey Him as Lord? Or will they say that man, and man’s mind, his technology, his methods, and his laws are lord? We will either confess that the “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are in Christ (Colossians 2:3), or contest that claim as delusional and harmful. These two approaches are “the only two mighty antagonists that plumb life down to the root. And so they are worth people risking their own lives for and disturbing the lives of others.”

Think of all the things God has created, visible and invisible, the things He has put in front of the class, so to speak, and those He’s hidden, the Logos and the order and the beauty, the harmonies and tastes and healing medicines. Think of man’s call to take dominion (Genesis 1:28), and yet also of how the unbelieving world can’t help but miss and misrepresent God’s greatness and wisdom. Here is where we need Christian thinkers, a Christian consciousness that finds and defends the sciences and arts of Christ. Those who won’t fear the Lord can have no true wisdom or wonder.

We must buckle down and build up our understanding of Christ’s sovereignty over and in every sphere, from the center to the circumference. We must learn how each cogwheel fits with the others and functions in the great machine of the cosmos. We must see that the world and life and death and the present and the future, all are ours, and we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).

This is not your father’s Bible college, which is true in a very real sense. How I wish I could have taken this program. But we learn more as we go on, and now it’s time to start. We have learning to do for living and for influencing those around us. That influence won’t happen by floating in feelings and fancy. The college is our effort to reify Kuyperianism, to knead the idea into bread. We have a memory of what we’ve been given, and we have stewardship of a godward, intellectual life. The disruption of the world is no good excuse to stop loving the Lord our God with all of our minds (Matthew 22:37).

As Kuyper acknowledged through his address, it would be easy to laugh at not just the project, but at the persons committed to it. The Free University began with a mere eight students and five professors. Who do they think they are? Isn’t this pretentious? Isn’t it presumptuous? Isn’t it preposterous? I can say, it may be contrary to common sense, and that is fine, because most of what we see that’s common in education makes no sense. It may also fail to observe our limits, it is audacious, but it is by faith. So we aren’t striking a pose, we are desperate to be faithful.

I have two aimed charges to give, and one final defense.

My first charge, which may be unsuspected, is to everyone here who is not a teacher or student at the college. In years to come convocations charges will no doubt be different. But actually, there won’t be college years to come without you.

These few students need very little explanation of their responsibilities, because by choosing Comeford College they have already counted a great cost. Each one of them could do other things, go almost anywhere else. The world is small, they are capable, and the options are virtually endless.

In their Cost/Benefit Analysis, they will pay less tuition than at most other schools, but the cost to their reputations will at least be on loan. They, not their parents, have chosen to deal with more questions resulting in quizzical looks. “Where do you go to college?” Answering Comeford College will get the follow ups, “Where is that? Why did you choose that?”

We don’t have departments. We don’t have a Student Life Center. We don’t yet offer a degree or diploma. We don’t even have our own coffee pot.

Which means that these students have chosen what they cannot get at any other school: you. They have chosen their people, they have chosen their community. They are putting themselves on the line, risks and possible rewards, for more than themselves. They could have invested their talents in another field, they certainly could have done something easier. While I sometimes talk about loving Marysville into a destination, they have turned Marysville into a stay-stination.

As worship requires an assembly, so a college requires a community. Not everyone in the community needs to attend, but everyone one in the community should be blessed by college students who live for more than college. Your charge is to support them. Maybe it’s your job to give them a job; be a modern day patron. Maybe it’s your job to open a place where they could hang out and study and drink coffee, or beer when they are finally old enough in a few years. At the least pray for them. You are to help make them jealous-able.

Students, your only charge for today is: remember that Jesus, who is Sovereign over all, looks at you and says, “Mine!” Your class hours, your books, your late nights, your leisure time, and you yourself are His. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. All are yours, and you are Christ’s.

So have I been talking too excitedly about this? Perhaps. But this convocation is like pushing an old manual car that won’t start down a hill: it needs enough speed before letting the clutch out. We can see the mountain on the other side, so we need as much launch momentum as we can get.

“As surely as we loved [Christ] with our souls, we must build again in His name. And when it seemed of no avail, when we looked upon our meager power, the strength of the opposition, the preposterousness of so bold an undertaking, the fire still kept burning in our bones.” (Kuyper)

Abraham Kuyper died exactly 100 years ago in 1920; we consider the outcome of his way of life and imitate his faith (Hebrews 13:7). As future generations look back with hindsight at the start of Comeford College in 2020, may they sit under the shade of a great tree and give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ for the seed planted today.

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

Trump Is Not Teflon

In the summer of 2016 the four elders at our church had a public discussion about the presidential election. I was an unswerving #NeverTrumper. This was not because I found Mrs. Clinton more appealing; both were appalling. I planned to (and did) write in my vote that November.

Nothing tempted me to appreciate Mr. Trump. I believe that good leadership requires good character, and, at that time, there were as many reasons to trust Trump as there were reasons to keep watching The Apprentice, meaning, none. His brash, 3rd grade playground vocabulary, his boasting in immorality and adulteries, combined with his lack of understanding of various policies shown in the Republican debates and his willingness to mock and berate his competition gave me quite enough evidence to commit to not give him any support.

Now, four years later, I have been very surprised by, and grateful for, God’s use of President Trump. While I think Trump has promoted noxious patterns of political discourse (and tweeting) that are likely to be tolerated for generations, he has also turned out to be the most pro-life president we’ve had, in public and by policy. He appears to have rolled back more government regulations with his power and provided a little more breathing room for free-ish capitalism. He’s come out in favor of school choices, and even talked about churches as essential.

He has also survived, if not thrived, through virtually every accusation thrown at him. It is not because he’s teflon.

A teflon coating makes it harder for the egg-guts to stick. A leader with integrity may be likened to a teflon pan; slander doesn’t cling, at least not as easily. Some accusations against some men are just hard to believe. Charges against them slide off into the draining dishwater. Vice President Mike Pence seems to be more like this.

But, if Mr. Pence was trying to accomplish something, would he be able to survive the relentless rotten scum that our modern media is committed to pitch? The Kavanaugh hearing gave a picture of the skeletons that reporters and politicians are diligent to invent. These stories/lies cause damage because they gain traction, they gain traction because they are interesting, and they are interesting because men who care about not being canceled have to fight.

Trump is much more like a cast-iron skillet: the more grease the better. He seems to like the grease. He almost begs for it.

Who cares any more about his personal scandals? It’s not because there aren’t any, Trump just doesn’t seem bothered, and where’s the fun in that? Fake news has upped their fiction levels to international intrigue, but Trump just thanks them for providing another reason for him to talk into the microphone.

Here is a serious question for my Christian friends: what person in a “high position” (1 Timothy 2:2) has been used by God to bring about this many common grace blessings for a “Christian” nation, while appearing to turn more conservative amidst the accusations? Who do we know that could handle not just the scrutiny, but the slander of the liberal media, and still keep cooking the bacon?

Maybe, and I mean maybe, Kanye? Ha.

This is very humbling for Christians. God is protecting the remnants of our liberties through a man that is happy to lie and cheat, or at least BS, his way to whatever he wants, and we keep being blessed.