2 Timothy 4:18

The Lord will res­cue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safe­ly to His heav­en­ly king­dom; to Him be the glo­ry for­ev­er and ever. Amen.

Frost said, “…but I have promis­es to keep; and miles to go before I sleep; and miles to go before I sleep.”

Miles and miles seem lit­tle dif­fi­cul­ty in light of the promise we know awaits.

The Grace & Truth Paradox — Randy Alcorn

The Grace & Truth Paradox
This mar­velous lit­tle book by Randy Alcorn fell into my metaphor­ic hands just at the right time when I and my room­mate were asked to start a small-group bible study and the top­ic asked for was “How to debate with love.”

Below are quotes that I found espe­cial­ly mean­ing­ful. (More to fol­low as I con­tin­ue my explo­ration.)

What Gives Us Away?

A friend sat down in a small Lon­don restau­rant and picked up a menu.

What will it be?” the wait­er asked.

Study­ing the puz­zling selec­tions, my friend said, “Uhh…”

The wait­er smiled. “Oh, a Yank. What part of the States are you from?”

He hadn’t said a word. But he’d already giv­en him­self away.

In the first cen­tu­ry, Christ’s fol­low­ers were also rec­og­nized imme­di­ate­ly. What gave them away?

It wasn’t their build­ings. They had none.

It wasn’t their pro­grams. They had none.

It wasn’t their polit­i­cal pow­er. They had none.

It wasn’t their slick pub­li­ca­tions, TV net­works, bumper­stick­ers, or celebri­ties. They had none. What was it?

With great pow­er the apos­tles con­tin­ued to tes­ti­fy to the res­ur­rec­tion of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. ~ Acts 4:33

They tes­ti­fied to the truth about Christ and lived by His grace. Truth was the food they ate and the mes­sage they spoke. Grace was the air they breathed and the life they lived.

The world around them had nev­er seen any­thing like it. It still hasn’t.

— Randy Alcorn, The Grace & Truth Para­dox, Ch 1

“We should nev­er approach truth except in a spir­it of grace, or grace except in the spir­it of truth. Jesus wasn’t 50 per­cent grace, 50 per­cent truth, but 100 per­cent grace and 100 per­cent truth.

Truth-ori­ent­ed Chris­tians love study­ing Scrip­ture and the­ol­o­gy. But some­times they’re quick to judge and slow to for­give. They’re strong on truth, weak on grace.

Grace-ori­ent­ed Chris­tians love for­give­ness and free­dom. But some­times they neglect Bible study and see moral stan­dards as “legal­ism.” They’re strong on grace, weak on truth.

Count­less mis­takes in mar­riage, par­ent­ing, min­istry, and oth­er rela­tion­ships are fail­ures to bal­ance grace and truth. Some­times we neglect both. Often we choose one over the oth­er.”

“A para­dox is an appar­ent con­tra­dic­tion. Grace and truth aren’t real­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry. Jesus didn’t switch on truth and then turn it off so He could switch on grace. Both are per­ma­nent­ly switched on in Jesus. Both should be switched on in us.”

“Some church ser­vices are per­me­at­ed with Chris­t­ian clichés that mys­ti­fy unbe­liev­ers. Nobody’s drawn to what’s incom­pre­hen­si­ble. Grace com­pels us to put the cook­ies on the low­er shelf where the unini­ti­at­ed can reach them. Jesus warm­ly wel­comed the non­re­li­gious and spoke words they under­stood. So should we.

Oth­er church­es try to make sin­ners feel com­fort­able. How? They nev­er talk about sin. Nev­er offend any­one. They replace truth with tol­er­ance, low­er­ing the bar so every­one can jump over it and we can all feel good about our­selves.

But Jesus said, ’ ‘No ser­vant is greater than his mas­ter.’ If they per­se­cut­ed me, they will per­se­cute you also’ (John 15:20).

Something’s wrong if all unbe­liev­ers hate us.

Something’s wrong if all unbe­liev­ers like us.

If we accu­rate­ly demon­strate grace -and- truth, some will be drawn to us and oth­er will be offend­ed by us—just as they were by Jesus.

When we offend every­body, it’s because we’ve tak­en on the truth man­tle with­out the grace. When we offend nobody, it’s because we’ve watered down truth in the name of grace.”

— Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Para­dox, Chap­ter 2.

“Grace nev­er ignores the awful truth of our deprav­i­ty. In fact, it empha­sizes it. The worse we real­ize we are, the greater we real­ize God’s grace is.”

— Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Para­dox, Chap­ter 3.

“God has writ­ten His truth on human hearts (Romans 2:15). Shame and twinges of con­science come from rec­og­niz­ing that truth has been vio­lat­ed. When peo­ple hear truth spo­ken gra­cious­ly, many are drawn to it because of the moral vac­u­um they feel. Hearts long for truth—even hearts that reject it.”

— Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Para­dox, Chap­ter 4.

This next one is very sim­i­lar to Ray Comfort’s anal­o­gy in his talk Hell’s Best Kept Secret in which he talks of Jesus being offered not as sal­va­tion from the trans­gres­sions of the law, but as “Life Enhance­ment”. Peo­ple are enticed to ‘try on Christ’ with promis­es that their dif­fi­cul­ties in life will be resolved (using a para­chute as metaphor for Christ), but with­out any true under­stand­ing of the jump out of the air­plane that is to come. They put it on. It is uncom­fort­able and bulky and gives no ben­e­fit and so they tear it off, are angry at the para­chute (and the stew­ardess who gave it to them), and resolves nev­er to be fooled by that non­sense again. This as opposed to the one who is told at the out­set that there will be a jump to come and the only thing that will save them is wear­ing the para­chute. Then when the dif­fi­cul­ties of life befall him, say for instance, a new stew­ardess who trips and spills boil­ing hot cof­fee on him, he doesn’t cast off the para­chute and say “You stu­pid para­chute!” No, holds it all the tighter, and may ever Look For­ward to the jump to come.

If a teacher is guilty of preach­ing life enhance­ment instead of the truth, then there is noth­ing at all redemp­tive in his min­istry. Indeed, it is less than redemp­tive. It is damn­ing.

The oppo­site is near­ly as bad. That is, preach­ing truth in absence of all grace. Ray Com­fort clar­i­fies, “I’m not talk­ing about Hell­fire Preach­ing. Hell­fire Preach­ing will pro­duce Fear-Filled con­verts. Using God’s law will pro­duce Tear-Filled con­verts.”

The world’s low stan­dards, its dis­re­gard for truth, are not grace. The illu­so­ry free­dom, how­ev­er, -feels- like grace to some­one who’s been pound­ed by grace­less truth—beaten over the head with a piece of the guardrail. In fact, peo­ple who grow up in joy­less reli­gion learn that there’s no hope of liv­ing up to such daunt­ing stan­dards. “Why even try? It’s -impos­si­ble!-.”

But prop­er­ly under­stood, bib­li­cal truths are guardrails that pro­tect us from plung­ing off the cliff. A smart trav­el­er doesn’t curse the guardrails. He doesn’t whine, “That guardrail dent­ed my fend­er!” He looks over the cliff, and sees demol­ished autos below, and is -grate­ful- for guardrails.

The guardrails of truth are there not to pun­ish, but to pro­tect us.

— Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Para­dox, Chap­ter 4.

God­ly liv­ing cen­ters not on what we avoid, but on whom we embrace. Any­time we talk more about dos and don’ts than about Jesus, something’s wrong.

—Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Para­dox, Chap­ter 4

When did Religion become a ‘bad’ word?

I’m hear­ing the word reli­gion being used as though it’s a bad thing and it’s start­ed both­er­ing me great­ly. I under­stand why peo­ple have turned it into a neg­a­tive word, but I think it’s very impor­tant that we fight the urge to go along with talk­ing about reli­gion as though it’s some­thing bad… or even some­thing good… because “reli­gion” is not inher­ent­ly bad or good, and any good­ness or bad­ness is added by what I myself make it.

No mat­ter how we might strive to empha­size the dif­fer­ence between our ortho­praxy and the ortho­praxy of some­one else… i.e., stress­ing that our Chris­tian­i­ty is about “rela­tion­ship” while dis­tanc­ing your­self from, say, the strict litur­gi­cal prac­tice of one denom­i­na­tion or church or oth­er, we are still com­mit­ting reli­gion and always will be.

It’s ok to self-iden­ti­fy as a Chris­t­ian of a par­tic­u­lar mindset/practice, but I’m think­ing we’re doing every­one and the Eng­lish lan­guage a great dis­ser­vice if we aid in the demo­niza­tion of a func­tion­al decent word that is free from the bur­den of the addi­tion­al bag­gage peo­ple are try­ing to incor­rect­ly (fool­ish­ly) hang on it.

Here­in I find irony… I myself have been doing this and doing it for years. My pro­file set­tings on Face­book have read: “Reli­gious Views: Chris­t­ian — Rela­tion­ship not Reli­gion” since I cre­at­ed my account lo these many eons past. That changes today.

My reli­gion is Chris­tian­i­ty, and by that I mean what was meant the two times the word appeared in scrip­ture, “One who is fol­low­ing Christ.” I’m going to strive to fight the com­pul­sion to hang more bag­gage on my answer.

Disappearance of Theology from the Church

David F. Wells

“The dis­ap­pear­ance of the­ol­o­gy from the life of the Church, and the orches­tra­tion of that dis­ap­pear­ance by some of its lead­ers, is hard to miss today, but odd­ly enough, not easy to prove. It is hard to miss in the evan­gel­i­cal world–in the vac­u­ous wor­ship that is so preva­lent, for exam­ple, in the shift form God to the self as the cen­tral focus of faith, in the psy­chol­o­gized preach­ing that fol­lows this shift, in the ero­sion of its con­vic­tion, in its stri­dent prag­ma­tism, in its inabil­i­ty to think inci­sive­ly about the cul­ture, in its rev­el­ing in the irra­tional.”
― David F. Wells, No Place for Truth: Or, What­ev­er Hap­pened to Evan­gel­i­cal The­ol­o­gy

Lower the Law and you dim the light

Charles Spurgeon
“Low­er the Law and you dim the light by which man per­ceives his guilt. This is a very seri­ous loss to the sin­ner rather than a gain, for it lessens the like­li­hood of his con­vic­tion and con­ver­sion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest aux­il­iary [most pow­er­ful weapon] when you have tak­en away the school­mas­ter that is to bring men to Christ. They will nev­er accept grace until they trem­ble before a just and holy Law. There­fore the Law serves most nec­es­sary and blessed pur­pose and must not be moved from its place.”
— Charles Had­don Spur­geon

Six years in… and trusting God

LovelyRainaSix years and a bit ago, my beloved, beau­ti­ful, sweet, and pre­cious Raina Janel left.

Six years ago I read an arti­cle writ­ten by a cou­ple, who, against all rea­son and over­com­ing insur­mount­able bar­ri­ers, had their mar­riage mirac­u­lous­ly restored from scat­tered ash­es after six years.

Six years seemed impos­si­ble, but even so, it always was a fixed quan­ti­ty in my mind.

« Six years »

5750790729_e7723ee282_xlargeAs it loomed ever clos­er, I real­ized that I had uncon­scious­ly begun to view six years as a cut-off… a lim­it on God’s sov­er­eign pow­er to enact any mir­a­cle He might desire to per­form. A count­down clock ticked ever near­er towards that day when all hope would be gone.

This I real­ized a year and a half ago.… four and a half years into my great and all-encom­pass­ing sor­row… and I real­ized I had been a fool.

TogetherWeddingGod is not lim­it­ed by the cal­en­dar. He may, by His own rules be lim­it­ed only by the death of one or the oth­er of us, but I don’t know His rules and so it would be fool­ish to expect that even death is any bar­ri­er or hob­ble.

I press onward, with no hope in the restora­tion of our mar­riage but infi­nite­ly increased hope and trust in Him. What a tes­ti­mo­ny He may give us. Six pal­try years… pshaw. Child­splay! Imag­ine the tes­ti­mo­ny to His Awe­some­ness of a mar­riage restored after 20 or 30 years; if only a cou­ple places their hope and their hearts in Him, and if not us, I pray oth­ers.

God is Great! He patient­ly and grace­ful­ly con­tin­ues to work on me… my heart, my all. I hope I’m an improved man for 6 years; more hum­ble, less cer­tain that I’ve got any­thing fig­ured out, less full of false pride, and a more lov­ing heart. I remain an abom­inably slow and stub­born, but still ded­i­cat­ed stu­dent.

This para­graph sounds con­tra­dic­to­ry. I real­ly have absolute­ly no hope in this any more and a over a year and a half ago I put all things Raina away in a box on a shelf, both metaphor­i­cal­ly and lit­er­al­ly, and for the most part, there she has stayed for the sake of my san­i­ty and so that my mind was clear to focus upward instead of back­ward. I speak of the gift of a tes­ti­mo­ny not in the sense that I har­bor hope for one, but in the sense that I know that noth­ing is beyond Him and so I don’t rule it out. For all I know, He has either noth­ing, or some­thing dif­fer­ent in store for me. What­ev­er it is, or isn’t, I trust in Him that it will be best.

Are you having a secret sordid affair… with money?

Hiding MoneyThink about it. In recent years it’s become very front-of-mind to have account­abil­i­ty in the area of our lives gen­er­al­ly described as sex­u­al integri­ty. We encour­age men and women alike to find like-mind­ed folks to sup­port them as they try to align this area of their life with God’s stan­dard. We invite these trust­ed peo­ple to have unfet­tered access (if we’re being hon­est) into our lives to make cer­tain that we can­not keep sex­u­al sin hid­den… sin such as porn, affairs, sex out­side of mar­riage, vis­its to strip clubs, pros­ti­tutes, cha­t­rooms, hookup apps, dat­ing sites, etc., even men­tal­ly lust­ing after those who are not our spouse.

That kind of account­abil­i­ty seems almost insane to one who has not gone through the expe­ri­ence of a self-moti­vat­ed “dying to self” and decid­ing that we desire God more than we love our sin and pride, or alter­na­tive­ly, of being caught out by a loved one or leader and giv­en a choice between being account­able or fac­ing con­se­quences we can­not bear to face.

Yet, even to those of us who are striv­ing for account­abil­i­ty in this area, many of us would balk far more strong­ly if some­one were to sug­gest that we asked our­selves if we need­ed to be Finan­cial­ly Account­able. We’d be will­ing to let oth­ers in to our sanc­tum sanc­to­rum of deep­est inner secrets of our sex­u­al thought-lives, com­put­er usage, and dat­ing activ­i­ties, but the very idea of let­ting anoth­er like-mind­ed broth­er or sis­ter see what choic­es we have been mak­ing with our mon­ey would be almost crip­pling­ly unthink­able. We’d take up arms and fight; Yes,fight to the point of destroy­ing friend­ship and fel­low­ship if any­one were to dare sug­gest that we might be hid­ing a dirty-lit­tle-finan­cial-secret; a lit­tle expen­di­ture here, a ‘just for emer­gen­cies’ maxed-out cred­it card there…

Why? I don’t know why for each per­son, but there is one rea­son I think would be fair­ly com­mon, that rea­son being that it’s not just that we don’t want oth­ers judg­ing our finan­cial hon­esty, but that finan­cial hon­esty would shine a reveal­ing light on a whole host of things in our lives that we are dis­hon­est about, things that we are ashamed of and want kept secret.

In some ways it might be even hard­er for those of us who have sought account­abil­i­ty in the area of sex­u­al integri­ty because we have, in our hearts, incor­rect­ly begun to feel that we’re real­ly upstand­ing folks. We’ve exposed the dirt­i­est, dark­est, most shame­ful, most hid­den parts of our­selves and let the light of hon­esty shine into the dark­est cor­ners and most hid­den nich­es. We might think our­selves jus­ti­fied in keep­ing this oth­er area of our life in shad­ow behind locked doors. We might be loathe to admit, even to our­selves that we might find our­selves far and away more great­ly ashamed of our lit­tle finan­cial dal­liances than ever we were about an occa­sion­al look at a skin mag, view­ing an imag­i­na­tion-inspir­ing Hol­ly­wood movie, hang­ing out on dat­ing sites where the con­ver­sa­tion can become… stim­u­lat­ing, a Google image search with Safe-Search fea­tures dis­abled, or that lin­ger­ing look we take each time we pass the desk of the sec­re­tary at work who is com­plete­ly unaware of just what we can see when stand­ing while she’s sit­ting.

The bible tells us that even our best is as filthy rags, I would think most espe­cial­ly if our best is help­ing us give our­selves a pass some­where else. Isa­iah 64:5–8 NASB

5 You meet him who rejoic­es in doing right­eous­ness,
  Who remem­bers You in Your ways.
  Behold, You were angry, for we sinned,
  We con­tin­ued in them a long time;
  And shall we be saved?

6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
  And all our right­eous deeds are like a filthy gar­ment;
  And all of us with­er like a leaf,
  And our iniq­ui­ties, like the wind, take us away.

7 There is no one who calls on Your name,
  Who arous­es him­self to take hold of You;
  For You have hid­den Your face from us
  And have deliv­ered us into the pow­er of our iniq­ui­ties.

8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
  We are the clay, and You our pot­ter;
  And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Some final thoughts:

Has some­thing very help­ful to the Chris­t­ian walk per­haps been mis­used and caused great harm for some in this area? How many of us Chris­tians would be inclined to wave our Finan­cial Peace Uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cates (metaphor­i­cal­ly speak­ing) to quell any ques­tions oth­ers who care about us might have for us. We’d nev­er wave our actu­al bud­get. I know I’ve waved my cer­tifi­cate a time or two when uncom­fort­able scruti­ny has fall­en upon me. Heav­en for­bid that we wave our “I Tithed” stick­er around like we’ve just left the vot­ing polls to rebuff inquiry into this area, because, “If I’ve tithed, I must have my finan­cial house and heart in order.” I’ve been amused at the social meme late­ly of com­plete­ly replac­ing rhetoric with the antithe­sis of rhetoric; the “Because Sci­ence!” or “Because Racist!” argu­ment [air quotes], how­ev­er, it’s not so amus­ing when I real­ize that I might have myself used the “Because FPU!” or “Because Tithe!” argu­ments to stomp on hon­est inquiry.

I think in a lot of ways, our hearts and pri­or­i­ties may far more clear­ly be reflect­ed in our bank state­ments than our CovenantEyes or X3Watch account­abil­i­ty reports.

I guess this area for some of us may be one more exam­ple of Col. Jim­mie Coy’s ABoBs (A Bowl of Beans one is will­ing to pur­chase in exchange for their eter­nal spir­i­tu­al birthright).

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed to Face­book Novem­ber 1, 2014, as a fol­low-up to thoughts post­ed Octo­ber 17, 2014 and repub­lished here as An Invi­ta­tion to Self-Reflec­tion

An Invitation to Self-Reflection

Dark Corner
Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed to Face­book Octo­ber 17, 2014.
Late­ly I’ve been pon­der­ing some ques­tions I would ask myself and invite oth­ers to ask them of them­selves.
If I would answer ‘yes’ to the fol­low­ing ques­tion, “Am I in a rela­tion­ship with oth­er believ­ers that involves some form of account­abil­i­ty?”, then these fol­low-up ques­tions to myself would fol­low:
  1. In all the aspects of my life in which I am osten­si­bly trans­par­ent, is there any activ­i­ty or aspect which I have com­part­men­tal­ized away and either con­scious­ly or uncon­scious­ly in order to make cer­tain that it nev­er gets exposed, dis­cussed or explored, by not bring­ing it up or by steer­ing the con­ver­sa­tion in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion when some­one else brings it up? Might I even go so far as to con­fess oth­er areas of weak­ness both to show a sin­cere desire for account­abil­i­ty and to direct atten­tion away from my secret activ­i­ty? Do I have a dark hid­den cor­ner?
  2. If the answer to #1 was yes, why do I do it? Am I:
    1. Ashamed or embar­rassed?
    2. Fair­ly cer­tain that I know what their response would be and that they might ques­tion whether it was wise, or God­ly, or some­how at odds with the kind of rela­tion­ship with God that I want and pro­fess to want to have?
    3. Com­plete­ly cer­tain that I know what their response would be because it’s come up before and per­haps I even agreed at the time (Do I not now?) that it was unwise or unGod­ly or some­how at odds with who I claim to (want to) be in God?
  3. Final­ly, if the answer to #2 matched any of the pos­si­ble rea­sons, or even rea­sons that weren’t sug­gest­ed, how impor­tant real­ly, is that activ­i­ty or aspect, and do I real­ly want to keep pos­ses­sion of that activ­i­ty or aspect?
I say final­ly, but it leads me to pon­der some­thing Col. Jim­mie Coy asked us about at the Val­ley View Com­mu­ni­ty Church 2014 Men’s Retreat; Does that ‘thing’ qual­i­fy as an ABOB, A Bowl of Beans, a bowl of lentil stew which I desire so very strong­ly that I am will­ing to trade away my entire birthright, as did Esau, in exchange for gain­ing or keep­ing. Fur­ther, when I’ve reached the bot­tom dregs of that bowl, will I still agree with the log­ic and rea­son­ing that led to my deci­sion? Will I find last­ing sat­is­fac­tion that replaces the val­ue of my birthright, or will I find last­ing remorse over that which I for­sook?
From Jim­mie Coy: ABOB, A Bowl Of Beans…is any­thing that will sep­a­rate you from your Spir­i­tu­al eter­nal birthright. ABOB calls to each of us but ulti­mate­ly it is what sep­a­rates us from our great­est trea­sure. As Desmond Doss would say, ‘If we miss heav­en, we have missed every­thing.’ IC, jdc”

Divine punishments are also mercies and particular good is worked out of particular evil

SurprisedByJoy1“If the North­er­ness seemed then a big­ger thing than my reli­gion, that may part­ly have been because my atti­tude toward it con­tained ele­ments which my reli­gion ought to have con­tained and did not. It was not itself a new reli­gion for it con­tained no trace of belief and imposed no duties. Yet unless I am great­ly mis­tak­en, there was in it some­thing very like ado­ra­tion; some kind of quite dis­in­ter­est­ed self-aban­don­ment to an object which secure­ly claimed this by sim­ply being the object it was. We are taught in the Prayer Book to ‘give thanks to God for His great glo­ry’ as if we owed Him more thanks for being what He nec­es­sar­i­ly is than for any par­tic­u­lar ben­e­fit he con­fers upon us; and so indeed we do, and to know God is to know this, but I had been far from any such expe­ri­ence. I came far near­er to feel­ing this about the Norse gods whom I dis­be­lieved in than I had ever done about the true God while I believed. Some­times I can almost think that I was sent back to the false gods, there to acquire some capac­i­ty for wor­ship against the day when the true God should recall me to Him­self. Not that I might not have learned this soon­er and more safe­ly in ways I shall now nev­er know with­out apos­ta­sy, but that divine pun­ish­ments are also mer­cies and par­tic­u­lar good is worked out of par­tic­u­lar evil and the penal blind­ness made san­i­tive. ” ~ C. S. Lewis, Sur­prised by Joy

Relational Relationship

Matthew HenryEve was not tak­en out of Adam’s head to top him, nei­ther out of his feet to be tram­pled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be pro­tect­ed by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.” — Matthew Hen­ry

Sto­ries tell of a 17 year old Abra­ham Lin­coln singing a poet­i­cised (Cre­at­ed by him­self?) ver­sion of this put to music for a sister’s wed­ding.

…the moods which arise from a physical condition, never submit to them for a second.

OswaldChambersThere are cer­tain things we must not pray about – moods, for instance. Moods nev­er go by pray­ing, moods go by kick­ing. A mood near­ly always has its seat in the phys­i­cal con­di­tion, not in the moral. It is a con­tin­u­al effort not to lis­ten to the moods which arise from a phys­i­cal con­di­tion, nev­er sub­mit to them for a sec­ond. We have to take our­selves by the scruff of the neck and shake our­selves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not. The curse with most of us is that we won’t. The Chris­t­ian life is one of incar­nate spir­i­tu­al pluck.”

— Oswald Cham­bers (24 July 1874 – 15 Novem­ber 1917)

My Utmost for His High­est

Deliberate Atheism?

Aldous Huxley 1894-1963

I had motive for not want­i­ng the world to have a mean­ing; con­se­quent­ly I assumed that it had none, and was able with­out any dif­fi­cul­ty to find sat­is­fy­ing rea­sons for this assump­tion. The philoso­pher who finds no mean­ing in the world is not con­cerned exclu­sive­ly with a prob­lem in pure meta­physics, he is also con­cerned to prove that there is no valid rea­son why he per­son­al­ly should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize polit­i­cal pow­er and gov­ern in the way that they find most advan­ta­geous to them­selves … For myself, the phi­los­o­phy of mean­ing­less­ness was essen­tial­ly an instru­ment of lib­er­a­tion, sex­u­al and polit­i­cal.”

— Aldous Hux­ley 1894–1963

[ Locat­ed this con­tent here. My thanks. ]

This quote was one of many by not­ed athe­ists (who were quite forth­right in all but stat­ing that a large causal fac­tor in their athe­ism is a desire to not have the moral­i­ty of a deity imposed upon their lifestyles) in an arti­cle I recent­ly ran across.

Mixed Pro-Life Messages Abortion & Miscarriage

Only when an arti­cle hits me this hard do I real­ly feel the sac­ri­fice of giv­ing up Face­book for Lent. There’s a frus­tra­tion in not being able to share with oth­ers some­thing that so deeply chokes my heart. It’s then that I remem­ber that I have a blog and can, at the very least, not lose the resource entire­ly.

And yet after we lost Olivia, it didn’t take long for me to real­ize that in this Chris­t­ian micro­cosm of ours, some­how an abort­ed baby had so much more to offer the world than a mis­car­ried one.

Both babies may have died at the same ges­ta­tion – one by choice, the oth­er by chance. But the val­ue attached to each child com­plete­ly depend­ed on how that child died. Here are some of the mixed mes­sages I received — some­times just hint­ed at, oth­er times outright:An abort­ed baby deserves to be griev­ed. A mis­car­ried one deserves to be got­ten over. And quick­ly. An abort­ed baby could have been the next Ein­stein or Bach or Moth­er There­sa. A mis­car­ried baby was prob­a­bly dam­aged goods.

An abort­ed baby was killed against God’s design. A mis­car­ried baby ful­filled God’s plans.

An abort­ed baby was a real per­son, and should have the rights as such. A mis­car­ried baby was not a real child – nam­ing them real­ly is kin­da weird. Speak­ing of weird … count­ing them in the line-up of your chil­dren? THAT’S weird!

An abort­ed baby should always be missed in this world. God had cre­at­ed them for a pur­pose, no mat­ter what health issues they may have had. A mis­car­ried baby was meant for heav­en — and we moms should just be so thank­ful we have a baby in heav­en, and should not grieve the loss of their place on earth. After all, they nev­er TRULY had a place on earth, did they?


A beau­ti­ful, valu­able, mis­car­ried baby.

An abort­ed baby is a tragedy. A mis­car­ried baby is slight bump on the road of life.

An abort­ed baby could nev­er be replaced. A mis­car­ried baby can always be replaced – “Oh, don’t wor­ry, hon – your time will come again. You’ll have more. Just relax and trust God. You’ll see.”

An abort­ed baby’s mom should know exact­ly what she’s miss­ing out on if she has liv­ing chil­dren. A mis­car­ried baby’s mom should not grieve that loss, but instead, should just be thank­ful for the lives of her liv­ing chil­dren.

http://liveactionnews.org/why-miscarriage-matters-when-youre-pro-life/

The new rebel…

GKChestertonThe new rebel is a Skep­tic, and will not entire­ly trust any­thing. He has no loy­al­ty; there­fore he can nev­er be real­ly a rev­o­lu­tion­ist. And the fact that he doubts every­thing real­ly gets in his way when he wants to denounce any­thing. For all denun­ci­a­tion implies a moral doc­trine of some kind; and the mod­ern rev­o­lu­tion­ist doubts not only the insti­tu­tion he denounces, but the doc­trine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book com­plain­ing that impe­r­i­al impres­sion insults the puri­ty of women, and then he writes anoth­er book (about the sex prob­lem) in which he insults it him­self. He curs­es the Sul­tan because Chris­t­ian girls lose their vir­gin­i­ty, and then curs­es Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politi­cian, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philoso­pher that all life is a waste of time. A Russ­ian pes­simist will denounce a police man for killing a peas­ant, and then prove by the high­est philo­soph­i­cal prin­ci­ples that the peas­ant ought to have killed him­self. A man denounces mar­riage as a lie, and then denounces aris­to­crat­ic prof­li­gates for treat­ing it as a lie. He calls the flag a bauble, and then blames the oppres­sors of Poland or Ire­land because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to the polit­i­cal meet­ing, where he com­plains that sav­ages are treat­ed as if they were beast; then he takes his hat and umbrel­la and goes on to a sci­en­tif­ic meet­ing, where he proves they prac­ti­cal­ly are beast. In short, the mod­ern rev­o­lu­tion­ist, being an infi­nite skep­tic, is always engaged in under­min­ing his own mines. In his book on pol­i­tics he attacks men for tram­pling on moral­i­ty; in his book on ethics he attacks moral­i­ty for tram­pling on men. There­fore, the mod­ern man in revolt has become prac­ti­cal­ly use­less for all pur­pos­es of revolt. By rebelling against every­thing he has lost his right to rebel against any­thing.” — G.K. Chester­ton: Ortho­doxy, III. “The Sui­cide of Thought.”

Quot­ed recent­ly by Ravi Zacharias. Found at GKC­Dai­ly

The Gospel is More than Sufficient

Charles SpurgeonA great many learned men are defend­ing the gospel; no doubt it is a very prop­er and right thing to do, yet I always notice that, when there are most books of that kind, it is because the gospel itself is not being preached. Sup­pose a num­ber of per­sons were to take it into their heads that they had to defend a lion, a full-grown king of beasts! There he is in the cage, and here come all the sol­diers of the army to fight for him. Well, I should sug­gest to them, if they would not object, and feel that it was hum­bling to them, that they should kind­ly stand back, and open the door, and let the lion out!

I believe that would be the best way of defend­ing him, for he would take care of him­self; and the best “apol­o­gy” for the gospel is to let the gospel out.

— Charles Had­don Spur­geon

Or to put it anoth­er way:

Peo­ple aren’t con­fused by the gospel
They’re con­fused by us
Jesus is the only way to God
But we are not the only way to Jesus

This world doesn’t need my tie, my hood­ie
My denom­i­na­tion or my trans­la­tion of the Bible
They just need Jesus
We can be pas­sion­ate about what we believe

But we can’t strap our­selves to the gospel
‘Cause we’re slow­ing it down
Jesus is going to save the world
But maybe the best thing we can do
Is just get out of the way

— Cast­ing Crowns, What this World Needs

Vis­it many good books, but live in the Bible.”
― C.H. Spur­geon

When ‘God fails’ to meet our expectations

I hear two themes jux­ta­posed. In bib­li­cal the­ol­o­gy it is a theme of peo­ple who love and fear God ask­ing, “How can I bet­ter serve God?” In the Evan­gel­i­cal church, as prod­uct of our soft-sell evan­ge­lism, it is a theme of peo­ple who love them­selves ask­ing, “Why isn’t God serv­ing me accord­ing to my expec­ta­tions?”

In qui­et time, I read of peo­ple in want joy­ful­ly prais­ing God for His pro­vi­sion and bless­ing. When I leave the house, I encounter peo­ple (myself includ­ed), who want for noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant but are mis­er­able and crit­i­cal of God.

We sing wor­ship and praise songs to and about an awe­some sov­er­eign God, who, must exist only until the final chord fades.

We have no need of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Har­ris to turn us into athe­ists. We in the Unit­ed States are doing just fine delud­ing peo­ple into dis­il­lu­sion of belief in God on our own using noth­ing more than the Evan­gel­i­cal the­ol­o­gy of enti­tle­ment and our false intrin­sic belief that God has some­how endorsed our god­less pur­suit of “The Amer­i­can Dream.”

To my mind, this con­sti­tutes a dou­ble-neg­a­tive. The delu­sion is becom­ing dis­il­lu­sioned of some­thing that was nev­er illu­sion. We don’t need the faulty log­ic of the neo-athe­ists. We do per­fect­ly well on our own.

Why doesn’t it imme­di­ate­ly strike us as the pin­na­cle of hubris and fool­ish­ness when we even begin to think in terms of “God fails”?

Why your spouse may irritate you

As always I thank God for this man and his min­istry and for the insights and tal­ent of expres­sion he was giv­en. Had I but heard and heed­ed soon­er… per­haps… per­haps not. It is not as though God had not placed oth­ers in my life to prompt me to see that I refused to see.

Sarah doesn’t cause me to be the way I am. She -reveals- the way I am. There­fore if my response is unlov­ing it reveals an unre­solved sin prob­lem with­in me that can’t be blamed on her; and Sarah’s response is her respon­si­bil­i­ty, so if she response in a way that’s dis­re­spect­ful, that’s her issue.

Think of it this way. A speck of sand in the human eye first caus­es irri­ta­tion, right? And if not cared for, infec­tion and if still not cared for, loss of vision. Now that same speck of sand in an oys­ter caus­es irri­ta­tion then con­cre­tion and then pro­duces what?… a pearl. Now, did the sand cause the eye to lose vision? Did the sand cause the oys­ter to pro­duce a perl? No, the sand is an irri­tant that reveals the inner prop­er­ties of the human eye. The sand is an irri­tant that reveals the inner prop­er­ties of the oys­ter.

On the mar­i­tal bus ride, your spouse is an irri­tant.… . They’re irri­tat­ing you, but they’re reveal­ing your inner prop­er­ties. It’s as sim­ple as that.

The sun in the sky melts the but­ter but it hard­ens the clay. How does the sun know to hard­en the clay and melt the but­ter. It doesn’t. The sun is a heat that is reveal­ing the inner prop­er­ties of the the but­ter, reveal­ing the inner prop­er­ties of the clay. The tri­als that Jesus went through; Did they cause Him to be the Son of God or did they -reveal- Him to be the Son of God.

The tri­als you and I are going through reveal who we are.” ~ Dr. Emer­son Eggerichs

My name is also Ransom.”

The Con­clu­sion of Ransom’s Bat­tle with God and Self, Pere­landra, Ch 11

Clive Staples Lewis

What­ev­er hap­pened here would be of such a nature that earth-men would call it mytho­log­i­cal. All this he had thought before. Now he knew it. The Pres­ence in the dark­ness, nev­er before so for­mi­da­ble, was putting these truths into his hands, like ter­ri­ble jew­els.

The vol­u­ble self was almost thrown out of its argu­men­ta­tive stride—became for some sec­onds as the voice of a mere whim­per­ing child beg­ging to be let off, to be allowed to go home. Then it ral­lied. It explained pre­cise­ly where the absur­di­ty of a phys­i­cal bat­tle with the Un-man lay. It would be quite irrel­e­vant to the spir­i­tu­al issue. If the Lady were to be kept in obe­di­ence only by the forcible removal of the Tempter, what was the use of that? What would it prove? And if the temp­ta­tion were not a prov­ing or test­ing, why was it allowed to hap­pen at all? Did Maleldil sug­gest that our own world might have been saved if the ele­phant had acci­den­tal­ly trod­den on the ser­pent a moment before Eve was about to yield? Was it as easy and as un-moral as that? The thing was patent­ly absurd!

The ter­ri­ble silence went on. It became more and more like a face, a face not with­out sad­ness, that looks upon you while you are telling lies, and nev­er inter­rupts, but grad­u­al­ly you know that it knows, and fal­ter, and con­tra­dict your­self, and lapse into silence. The vol­u­ble self petered out in the end, Almost the Dark­ness said to Ran­som, “You know you are only wast­ing time.” Every minute it became clear­er to him that the par­al­lel he had tried to draw between Eden and Pere­landra was crude and imper­fect. What had hap­pened on Earth, when Maleldil was born a man at Beth­le­hem, had altered the uni­verse for ever. The new world of Pere­landra was not a mere rep­e­ti­tion of the old world Tel­lus. Maleldil nev­er repeat­ed Him­self. As the Lady had said, the same wave nev­er came twice. When Eve fell, God was not Man. He had not yet made men mem­bers of His body: since then He had, and through them hence­for­ward He would save and suf­fer. One of the pur­pos­es for which He had done all this was to save Pere­landra not through Him­self but through Him­self in Ran­som. If Ran­som refused, the plan, so far, mis­car­ried. For that point in the sto­ry, a sto­ry far more com­pli­cat­ed than he had con­ceived, it was he who had been select­ed. With a strange sense of “fallings from him, van­ish­ings,” he per­ceived that you might just as well call Pere­landra, not Tel­lus, the cen­tre. You might look upon the Pere­landri­an sto­ry as mere­ly an indi­rect con­se­quence of the Incar­na­tion on earth: or you might look on the Earth sto­ry as mere prepa­ra­tion for the new worlds of which Pere­landra was the first. The one was nei­ther more nor less true than the oth­er. Noth­ing was more or less impor­tant than any­thing else, noth­ing was a copy or mod­el of any­thing else.

At the same time he also per­ceived that his vol­u­ble self had begged the ques­tion. Up to this point the Lady had repelled her assailant. She was shak­en and weary, and there were some stains per­haps in her imag­i­na­tion, but she had stood. In that respect the sto­ry already dif­fered from any­thing that he cer­tain­ly knew about the moth­er of our own race. He did not know whether Eve had resist­ed at all, or if so, for how long. Still less did he know how the sto­ry would have end­ed if she had. If the “ser­pent” had been foiled, and returned the next day, and the next … what then? Would the tri­al have last­ed for ever? How would Maleldil have stopped it? Here on Pere­landra his own intu­ition had been not that no temp­ta­tion must occur but that “This can’t go on.” This stop­ping of a third-degree solic­i­ta­tion, already more than once refused, was a prob­lem to which the ter­res­tri­al Fall offered no clue—a new task, and for that new task a new char­ac­ter in the dra­ma, who appeared (most unfor­tu­nate­ly) to be him­self. In vain did his mind hark back, time after time, to the Book of Gen­e­sis, ask­ing “What would have hap­pened?” But to this it brought him back to the here and the now, and to the grow­ing cer­tain­ty of what was here and now demand­ed. Almost he felt that the words “would have hap­pened” were meaningless—mere invi­ta­tions to wan­der in what the Lady would have called an “along­side world” which had no real­i­ty. Only the actu­al was real: and every actu­al sit­u­a­tion was new. Here in Pere­landra the temp­ta­tion would be stopped by Ran­som, or if would not be stopped at all. The Voice—for it was almost with a Voice that he was now contending—seemed to cre­ate around this alter­na­tive an infi­nite vacan­cy. This chap­ter, this page, this very sen­tence, in the cos­mic sto­ry was utter­ly and eter­nal­ly itself; no oth­er pas­sage that had occurred or ever would occur could be sub­sti­tut­ed for it.

It is not for noth­ing that you are named Ran­som,” said the Voice.

And he knew that this was no fan­cy of his own. He knew it for a very curi­ous reason—because he had known for many years that his sur­name was derived not from ran­som but from Randolf’s son. It would nev­er have occurred to him thus to asso­ciate the two words. To con­nect the name Ran­som with the act of ran­som­ing would have been for him a mere pun. But even his vol­u­ble self did not now dare to sug­gest that the Voice was mak­ing a play upon words. All in a moment of time he per­ceived that what was, to human philol­o­gists, a mere acci­den­tal resem­blance of two sounds, was in truth no acci­dent. The whole dis­tinc­tion between things acci­den­tal and things designed, like the dis­tinc­tion between fact and myth, was pure­ly ter­res­tri­al. The pat­tern is so large that with­in the lit­tle frame of earth­ly expe­ri­ence there appear pieces of it between which we can see no con­nec­tion, and oth­er pieces between which we can. Hence we right­ly, for our use, dis­tin­guish the acci­den­tal from the essen­tial. But step out­side that frame and the dis­tinc­tion drops down into the void, flut­ter­ing use­less wings. He had been forced out of the frame, caught up into the larg­er pat­tern. He knew now why the old philoso­phers had said that there is no such thing as chance or for­tune beyond the Moon. Before his Moth­er had borne him, before his ances­tors had been called Ran­soms, before ran­som had been the name for a pay­ment that deliv­ers, before the world was made, all these things had so stood togeth­er in eter­ni­ty that the very sig­nif­i­cance of the pat­tern at this point lay in their com­ing togeth­er in just this fash­ion. And he bowed his head and groaned and repined against his fate—to be still a man and yet to be forced up into the meta­phys­i­cal world, to enact what phi­los­o­phy only thinks.

My name also is Ran­som,” said the Voice.

It was some time before the pur­port of this say­ing dawned upon him. He whom the oth­er worlds call Maleldil, was the world’s ran­som, his own ran­som, well he knew. But to what pur­pose was it said now? Before the answer came to him he felt its insuf­fer­able approach and held out his arms before him as if he could keep it from forc­ing open the door of his mind. But it came. So that was the real issue. If he now failed, this world also would here­after be redeemed. If he were not the ran­som, Anoth­er would be. Yet noth­ing was ever repeat­ed. Not a sec­ond cru­ci­fix­ion: perhaps—who knows—not even a sec­ond Incarnation…some act of even more appalling love, some glo­ry of yet deep­er humil­i­ty. For he had seen already how the pat­tern grows and how from each world it sprouts into the next through some oth­er dimen­sion. The small exter­nal evil which Satan had done in Mala­can­dra was only as a line: the deep­er evil he had done in Earth was as a square: if Venus fell, her evil would be a cube—her Redemp­tion beyond con­ceiv­ing. Yet redeemed she would be. He had long known that great issues hung on his choice; but as he now realised the true width of the fright­ful free­dom that was being put into his hands—a width to which all mere­ly spa­tial infin­i­ty seemed narrow—he felt like a man brought out under naked heav­en, on the edge of a precipice, into the teeth of a wind that came howl­ing from the role. He had pic­tured him­self, till now, stand­ing before the Lord, like Peter. But it was worse. He sat before Him like Pilate. It lay with him to save or to spill. His hands had been red­dened, as all men’s hands have been, in the slay­ing before the foun­da­tion of the world; now, if he chose, he would dip them again in the same blood. “Mer­cy,” he groaned; and then, “Lord, why not me?” But there was no answer.

The thing still seemed impos­si­ble. But grad­u­al­ly some­thing hap­pened to him which had hap­pened to him only twice before in his life. It had hap­pened once while he was try­ing to make up his mind to do a very dan­ger­ous job in the last war. It had hap­pened again while he was screw­ing his res­o­lu­tion to go and see a cer­tain man in Lon­don and make to him an exces­sive­ly embar­rass­ing con­fes­sion which jus­tice demand­ed. In both cas­es the thing had seemed a sheer impos­si­bil­i­ty: he had not thought but known that, being what he was, he was psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly inca­pable of doing it; and then, with­out any appar­ent move­ment of the will, as objec­tive and unemo­tion­al as the read­ing on a dial, there had arisen before him, with per­fect cer­ti­tude, the knowl­edge ‘about this time tomor­row you will have done the impos­si­ble’. The same thing hap­pened now. His fear, his shame, his love, all his argu­ments, were not altered in the least. The thing was nei­ther more nor less dread­ful than it had been before. The only dif­fer­ence was that he knew—almost as a his­tor­i­cal proposition—that it was going to be done. He might beg, weep, or rebel—might curse or adore—sing like a mar­tyr or blas­pheme like a dev­il. It made not the slight­est dif­fer­ence. The thing was going to be done. There was going to arrive, in the course of time, a moment at which he would have done it. The future act stood there, fixed and unal­ter­able as if he had already per­formed it. It was a mere irrel­e­vant detail that it hap­pened to occu­py the posi­tion we call future instead of that which we call past. The whole strug­gle was over, and yet there seemed to have been no moment of vic­to­ry. You might say, if you liked, that the pow­er of choice had been sim­ply set aside and an inflex­i­ble des­tiny sub­sti­tut­ed for it. On the oth­er hand, you might say that he had been deliv­ered from the rhetoric of his pas­sions and had emerged into unas­sail­able free­dom. Ran­som could not, for the life of him, see any dif­fer­ence between these two state­ments. Pre­des­ti­na­tion and free­dom were appar­ent­ly iden­ti­cal. He could no longer see any mean­ing in the many argu­ments he had heard on this sub­ject.

No soon­er had he dis­cov­ered that he would cer­tain­ly try to kill the Un-man tomor­row than the doing of it appeared to him a small­er mat­ter than he had sup­posed. He could hard­ly remem­ber why he had accused him­self of mega­lo­ma­nia when the idea first occurred to him. It was true that if he left it undone, Maleldil Him­self would do some greater thing instead. In that sense, he stood for Maleldil: but no more than Eve would have stood for Him by sim­ply not eat­ing the apple, or than any man stands for Him in doing any good action. As there was no com­par­i­son in per­son, so there was none in suffering—or only such com­par­i­son as may be between a man who burns his fin­ger putting out a spark and a fire­man who los­es his life in fight­ing a con­fla­gra­tion because that spark was not put out. He asked no longer ‘Why me?’ It might as well be he as anoth­er. It might as well be any oth­er choice as this. The fierce light which he had seen rest­ing on this moment of deci­sion rest­ed in real­i­ty on all.

I have cast your Ene­my into sleep,” said the Voice. “He will not wake till morn­ing. Get up. Walk twen­ty paces back into the wood; there sleep. Your sis­ter sleeps also.”

— Clive Sta­ples Lewis, Pere­landra, Chap­ter 11, 1943 [Empha­sis mine]

Quot­ed here with­out per­mis­sion. As such I hope it may inspire to buy a copy and read it in its entire­ty. This text is copy­right: Smarmy Turtle­necked Trai­tor, The C.S. Lewis Co. Ltd. First Floor, Unit 4, Old Gen­er­a­tor House, Bourne Val­ley Road, Poole, Dorset, BH12 1DZ, Tel: 01202 765652, Fax: 01202 765665

I read this over the phone to me mum the on Sept 4th with much expla­na­tion to help her under­stand why I was lean­ing towards ‘Ran­som’ as a mid­dle-name when I final­ly legal­ly change my sur­name. I couldn’t get through it, with­out stop­ping sev­er­al times for sob­bing. This trig­gers in me many of the same strong feel­ings as does Reepichieep’s “Sweet! Sweet!” or the prompt­ing, “Fur­ther up! Fur­ther in!”. “My name is also Ran­som.” Every time I read it it hits me hard­er than the time before. There are a few oth­er for which the same has been true: God’s Chis­el, The Bird­cage, Erin Fede’s ver­sion of The Life­house “Every­thing” Dra­ma, and the orig­i­nal ver­sion.

I’ll not spoil it fur­ther by adding my own pon­der­ings oth­er than to say that my love for Lewis for his gift­ings grows con­tin­u­al­ly deep­er. He has “made me old­er” on so much that is tru­ly impor­tant. Each time I read him, whether fic­tion or non, I feel as though I am sit­ting at the feet of the wise old Don and drink­ing deeply of great draughts of nour­ish­ing and bol­ster­ing drink. In turn I am filled with grat­i­tude to God for His gift of this man who passed 10 years before I was giv­en life.

Freedom within boundaries. ‘A Sonnet kind of life.’

I was look­ing for this pas­sage in order to quote it else­where and stum­bled into a bit of extra bless­ing in the con­text of where I found it, a blog arti­cle titled “A Son­net kind of life” writ­ten by Joanne Heim for her site, The Sim­ple Wife.

How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your lan­guage you have a form of poet­ry called the son­net.”

Yes, yes,” Calvin said impa­tient­ly. “What’s that got to do with the Hap­py Medi­um?”

Kind­ly pay me the cour­tesy of lis­ten­ing to me.” Mrs. Whatsit’s voice was stern, and for a moment Calvin stopped paw­ing the ground like a ner­vous colt. “It is a very strict form of poet­ry, is it not?”

Yes.”

There are four­teen lines, I believe, all in iambic pen­tame­ter. That’s a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?”

Yes.” Calvin nod­ded.

And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pat­tern. And if the poet does not do it exact­ly this way, it is not a son­net, is it?”

No.”

But with­in this strict form the poet has com­plete free­dom to say what­ev­er he wants, doesn’t he?”

Yes.” Calvin nod­ded again.

So,” Mrs. What­sit said.

So what?”

Oh, do not be stu­pid, boy!” Mrs. What­sit scold­ed.” You know per­fect­ly well what I am dri­ving at!”

You mean you’re com­par­ing our lives to a son­net? A strict form, but free­dom with­in it?”

Yes.” Mrs. What­sit said. “You’re giv­en the form, but you have to write the son­net your­self. What you say is com­plete­ly up to you.”

— Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrin­kle in Time, Kairos

Of this quote she wrote,“Once more, I’m faced with the idea of free­dom with­in bound­aries. Of the inside being big­ger than the out­side. Of being bound to be free… …Bound­aries. Time, place. Finances, fam­i­ly. Skills, tal­ents. Ener­gy, resources. The strict form that makes up my life. Your life. The struc­ture that sur­rounds us, that con­tains us. That pro­tects us. That shapes us. But absolute free­dom with­in that struc­ture.”

Madeleine L’Engle may be sus­pect in many areas of the­ol­o­gy (I have a tal­ent for under­state­ment), but I appre­ci­ate her grasp of this essen­tial con­cept of the Chris­t­ian life, or more gen­er­al­ly, the life of one who rec­og­nizes, acknowl­edges, and tries to hon­or the Sov­er­eign God of the uni­verse. We have the free­dom to choose what is most impor­tant in our lives and the free­dom for that choice to be God, His Glo­ry, His instruc­tion, and a very great promise if we make the choice to reject sin and put our faith in Him. It brings to mind the words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he can­not keep to gain that which he can­not lose.” In a world that rages against bound­aries and lim­its, who “Believe that taboos are taboo”, which rebels against even the imper­son­al lim­its imposed by com­mon sense, physics, and real­i­ty, it’s nice to be able to illus­trate with such sim­ple com­pelling clar­i­ty why there is free­dom in obe­di­ence.