Showing posts from April, 2011

Poet Janette: I will wait for you

This made me laugh. It also made me utter a whispered "amen, sister" at my computer screen.

Surviving South Beach: Low-Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

Last week I started a diet. Well, kind of. Started probably isn't really the best word. I was already on the diet. I just started a much more strict version.

Several years ago my family discovered the South Beach Diet. I know -- it sounds like a cheesy fad diet. It really isn't. It was originally called The Doctor's Diet, but apparently they changed the name for marketing reasons. The premise is pretty simple -- eat healthy foods. You eat what you want of good carbs and good fats. You watch the scale, and you make wise decisions.

I was born with one of those metabolisms that causes me to put on pounds at the mere thought of food. So, I am usually really careful when it comes to my eating habits. But since graduating college last year, five sneaking pounds have crowded me out of my jeans. So, as a pre-summer blitz on my blubber, I started up Phase 1 of South Beach again. I also have started jogging (but that's an entry for another day).

This time around, my favorite tre…

Moving Beyond Stereotypes

Skimming through my Google Reader last week, I came across Mary Kassian’s “‘Dora the Doormat’ and other Scary Straw Women of Complementarity.” Kassian’s article focuses on some of the stereotypes (or straw women) with which complementarian women are sometimes confused.

A straw woman is the female version of a straw man. A straw man argument is one that misrepresents a position, knocks that position down, and then concludes that the real position has been refuted. It’s a common, but faulty way to argue against an idea...
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The Lenten Fade to Light

It's the last day of Lent -- the season for remembering all that is wrong. Tomorrow, we turn our eyes to all that is right.

This evening, I finished the second part of Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. I thought one passage in particular would be a fitting entry to my final Lenten blog.

Then they had them to another place, called Mount-Innocent. And there they saw a man clothed all in White; and two men, Prejudice, and Ill-will, continually casting Dirt upon him. Now behold the Dirt, whatsoever they cast at him, would in little time fall off again, and his garment would look as clear as if no Dirt had been cast thereat.Then said the Pilgrims what means this? The Shepherds answered, This man is named Godly-man, and this Garment is to shew the Innocency of his Life. Now those that throw Dirt at him, are such as hate his Well-doing, but as you see the Dirt will not stick upon his Clothes, so it shall be with him that liveth truly Innocently in the World. Whoever they be that w…

Good Friday

Today is the Friday we call good -- the day we remember when God the Son died in our place.

What can I say of his passion? What words can convey all that the cross meant and means forever?

Frederick M. Lehman's "The Love of God" comes to mind:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Good Friday from Kalun Lau on Vimeo.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. B…

Maundy Thursday: Matt Maher on The Last Supper

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day the Church traditionally remembers Christ's Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist.

And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve ... Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” (Matthew 26:19-20, 26-29)
One of my favorite communion songs is Matt Maher's "Remembrance." A few months ago, I came across a fan video using his song on Vimeo. When I returned to look for it today, I came across a video of Maher spea…

John Bunyan on Women

There are only a few more days of reading left before I finish the second part of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. During today's reading, I stumbled across this lovely little tribute to women. Who ever said that Christianity was a misogynistic religion?

Gaius also proceeded, and said, I will now speak on the behalf of Women, to take away their Reproach. For as Death and the Curse came into the World by a Woman, so also did Life and Health; God sent forth his Son, made of a Woman. Yea, to shew how much those that came after did abhor the Act of their Mother, this Sex, in the old Testament, coveted Children, if happily this or that Woman might be the Mother of the Saviour of the World. I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, Women rejoyced in him, before either Man or Angel. I read not that ever any man did give unto Christ so much as one Groat, but the Women followed him, and ministered to him of their Substance. 'Twas a Woman that washed his Feet with T…

First Church of Surf City: Two Girls for Every Boy

Summertime is on the way, and I’m looking forward to hours of sun, sand and beach tunes like Jan & Dean’s 1963 Billboard chart-topper “Surf City.”

You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, ’cause it’s two to one
You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun, now
Two girls for every boy
Almost 50 years later, Jan and Dean could have skipped the beach and headed for church, where the odds are just as much in men’s favor. According to a 2006 report titled “The State of Unmarried America,” 20 percent of single men attend church on a regular basis, compared to 38 percent of single women...
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From Greatest Generation to iGeneration

I first read about Gordon Larsen in a blog post a couple weeks ago. Tom Brokaw wrote about him in The Greatest Generation:
Gordon Larsen (was) a popular member of the community. He was a stocky, cheerful young man who worked on a crew that kept the electrical, heating, and plumbing systems going in the town. He had such a lively sense of humor that it was almost worth it to have your furnace break down. Gordon always kept up a lively chatter while he worked on it.
So it was surprising that the morning after Halloween he came into the post office, where my mother worked, and complained about the rowdiness of the high school teenagers the night before. My mother, trying to play to his good humor, said, “Oh, Gordon, what were you doing when you were seventeen?”

He looked at her for a moment and said, “I was landing on Guadalcanal.” Then he turned and left the post office.

It was a moment that made a deep impression on Mother. She shared it with me when she came home that evening, and we have…

Remembering the Path of Palms

They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” ~ Matthew 21:7-9 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” ~ John 12:13
Nearly 2000 years after Jesus's triumphal entry, His followers still remember His ride into Jerusalem. Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and along with bulletins, my church greeters passed out palm fronds. Gathered in the sanctuary, we sang again the "Hosanna" (which is Aramaic for "save us") and remembered our Lord who saved us.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Of Green and Dogwood

I got to take a drive this morning.

Though the excursion wasn't intended to be a pleasure trip, the drive along the outskirts of town was absolutely breathtaking. I hadn't been out of town much for the last couple weeks, so I hadn't seen the hills since they started to turn green or the dogwood in full bloom.

I wish I had had a camera. But I didn't. This picture my sister recently took of some dogwood will have to suffice.

The flowers appear on the earth,      the time of singing has come, and the voice of the ... dove      is heard in our land. (Song of Solomon 2:12 ESV)
I love springtime in the Ozarks.

Mumford & Sons: Roll Away Your Stone

I discovered this song today, and thought it was an appropriate song for Lent. Thanks be to Him who rolled the stone away for all of us.

Roll Away Your Stone

Roll away your stone I will roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don't leave me alone at this time
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside

You told me that I wouldn't find a home
Beneath the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals

Darkness is a harsh term don't you think
Yet it dominates the things I see

It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say 'That's exactly how this grace thing works'
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with every start

Darkness is a harsh term don't you think
And yet it dominates the things I see
Darkness is a harsh term don't you think
And yet it dominates the things I see

Stars hide your fires
For these here are …

Are we behaving as liars?

What does it mean it mean for the Church to be the Body of Christ? Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers this thought-provoking question in chapter, titled "The Visible Community," in his The Cost of Discipleship.

It is their baptism into the Body of Christ which assures all Christians of their full share in the life of Christ and the Church. It is wrong, and contrary to the New Testament, to limit the gift of baptism to participation in the sermon and the Lord's Supper, i.e. to participation in the means of grace, or to the right to hold office or perform in ministry in the Church. On the contrary, baptism confers the privilege of participation in all the activities of the Body of Christ in every department of life. To allow a baptized brother to take part in the worship of the Church, but to refuse to have anything to do with him in everyday life, is to subject him to abuse and contempt. If we grant the baptized brother the right to the gifts of salvation, but refuse him the gift…

Women Lose, Part 4

I began this series as a response to the government's disagreement about whether or not to fund Planned Parenthood. 
We are a lost people. We are sheep without a shepherd. As in the days of the Judges, we have no King, and everyone does what is right in his own eyes.
Still, we are nation of people -- men and women created in the image of God. Though we don't know our Maker, we are still His creatures. Deep down, many of us still dream about the desires He placed in our hearts. 
Rebecca Jones is an author, homemaker, and writing instructor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. In April, 2000, she gave an address at Bryn Mawr College titled "Does Christianity Squash Women?" In her talk, Jones spoke about what women want.
In my own experience with women in the thirty years since I graduated from college, I have found that most of them-whether Christian or atheist, single or married, aged twenty or seventy-long for the same things.
In their relationshi…

Women Lose, Part 3

Women, in our culture, are losing. Terribly. And a large part is due to the feminist movement.
In her Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World, author Carolyn McCulley discusses third-wave feminism.
So if you are wondering why young girls wear "porn star" T-shirts, why the paparazzi offer twenty-four-hour coverage of the latest sex scandals of the "train-wreck" stars, why a local gym offers "strip aerobics"... you are experiencing the effects, in large part, of third-wave feminism. "Sex-positive" or "porn-positive" theories are a large part of third-wave feminism. Third wave feminists did an about-face, dismantling the opposition to pornography and sex work of the second wave by claiming participants in pornography and sex work can be "empowered." Third-wave feminists have also embraced a fluid concept of gender and rejected any universal definition of femininity." (165)
Indeed, the raunch-culture of third-wave…

Women Lose, Part 2

I, for one, am tired of living in a culture that devalues women.

Oh, the culture values what we bring to academia, our intellect and skill. It values what we contribute to the workforce, our ability to multi-task and communicate.It values what we bring to politics, our strength and presence. It values what we bring to the arts, our talent and sex appeal.
But for those with eyes to see it, the so-called "feminist" movement that began as an effort to protect women from masculine oppression has succeeded in bringing up a generation of women who are objectified and used perhaps more than any other. 
Today, it seems women are valued only if they act like men -- like lost and misguided men at that.

One of the most compelling summaries of the failure of the feminist movement was given (albeit unintentionally) by Professor Nancy Bauer in her (rather graphic) 2010 New York Times opinion piece, "Lady Power."
If there’s anything that feminism has bequeathed to young women of mea…

Being Deborah in a Jezebel Generation

You can learn how to do almost anything on eHow.

You can discover how to repair a faucet, how to be buried with military honors, or my personal favorite, “How to Date a Passive Man:”

1. Gather a thorough knowledge of the passive male’s mind-set.
2. Be the decision maker.
3. Avoid irritation.
4. Practice having patience.
5. Let him know that he is appreciated for the things he does for you.
Tip: While you may become frustrated while tending to his passive nature, try not to treat him like a child
Thankfully, we have a better resource than eHow...
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Women Lose, Part 1

Last night our government almost shutdown over a disagreement about whether or not to continue funding Planned Parenthood. 
I'm no political expert, but when our nation is plunging further and further into debt, it makes sense to cut unnecessary costs.

Planned Parenthood's stated purpose is to promote "a commonsense approach to women’s health and well-being, based on respect for each individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning." 
To assist in that goal, the government gave $363 million to the organization in 2009. Is this necessary? I think not.
For thousands of years women have been making "informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning" -- without Planned Parenthood's interference. How? With true "commonsense" -- an idea Planned Parenthood apparently doesn't fully grasp. 
The commonsense approach to family planning is simple, and most women fully understand it by th…

Darius Rucker: This

I saw this video for the first time last Sunday night. It's incredibly true. Thank you God for all the things that go "wrong."

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Faith for Roller Coasters

I don't do heights.

I don't like driving too fast.

I am rather afraid when it comes to airplanes.

But I absolutely love roller coasters. 

I've sometimes wondered about the cause of my incongruous taste in entertainment. Maybe it was conditioning over time -- I've been riding roller coasters since I was a tiny kid. Maybe it was peer pressure -- I have family members who love the things.

But really, none of that helped me overcome my fear of heights (I don't know how many times my dad had to rescue me out of a tree or from the top of a slide). And though I flew as a kid and many family members do it regularly, the idea gives me the shivers today.

In reality, I think it comes down to faith. When I get on a roller coaster, no matter how high it climbs, I have faith that I won't fall. No matter how fast it goes, I have faith that my safety harness will keep me in.

How come I don't have as much faith when it comes to life in general?

I'm a worrier. I know be…

G.K. Chesterton on Birth Control

I saw a quote this morning by G.K. Chesterton that I liked very much. It was about feminism, and I wondered about it's context. With the help of Google Books, I found that it came from a piece of writing titled "Social Reform versus Birth Control," which was written in 1927 as two articles for Lansbury's Labour Weekly and published later that year as a pamphlet.
I have reprinted a portion of it here. The real history of the world is full of the queerest cases of notions that have turned clean head-over-heels and completely contradicted themselves. The last example is an extraordinary notion that what is called Birth Control is a social reform that goes along with other social reforms favoured by progressive people.

It is rather like saying that cutting off King Charles' head was one of the most elegant of the Cavalier fashions in hair-dressing. It is like saying that decapitation is an advance on dentistry. It may or may not be right to cut off the King's head;…

Tenth Avenue North: You Are More

Tenth Avenue North's "You Are More" has been the Billboard No. 1 for Christian songs since the first week of Lent. I think it's beautifully appropriate for the season.

You Are More

There's a girl in the corner with tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered and the shame she can't hide
She says, "How did I get here? I'm not who I once was,
and I'm crippled by the fear that I've fallen too far to love."

But don't you know who you are
What has been done for you
Don't you know who you are

You are more than the choices that you've made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You've been remade

Well she tries to believe it that she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling that it’s not true tonight
She knows all the answers and she's rehearsed all the lines
So she'll try to do better but then she's too weak to try

‘Cause this is n…

Christianity: It isn't a 'do-it-yourself' faith

I saw then in my dream, that they went till they came into a certain country, whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy, if he came a stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be very dull and heavy of sleep; wherefore he said unto Christian, I do now begin to grow so drowsy that I can scarcely hold up mine eyes, let us lie down here and take one nap.

CHRISTIAN. By no means, said the other, lest sleeping, we never awake more.

HOPEFUL. Why, my brother? Sleep is sweet to the labouring man; we may be refreshed if we take a nap.

CHRISTIAN. Do you not remember that one of the Shepherds bid us beware of the Enchanted Ground? He meant by that that we should beware of sleeping; "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober." (1 Thess. 5:6)HOPEFUL. I acknowledge myself in a fault, and had I been here alone I had by sleeping run the danger of death. I see it is true that the wise man saith, Two are better than one. Hitherto hath thy company been my mer…

Work and Human Limitations: Allergies

Spring has arrived. So have my allergies.

I tend to be a production oriented person. I like a fun-filled weekend now and then, but by the end of vacations I'm always more than ready to get back work. I love being able to go to bed at night and reflect with satisfaction on what I have accomplished that day. I love making a difference in the world, whether that be through spending time with people or spring-cleaning the house.

I don't like to be slowed down.

So this year, when allergies hit, I loaded up on Claritin and determined to muddle through. I wasn't going to let a little cough or sore throat get in my way.

Then, on top of the allergies, I caught a cold. Or the allergies became a cold. Or they became a sinus infection. I don't know.

Still, I tried not to relent. I popped some Tylenol and Sudafed, and tried to keep going as best I could. I gave up on my exercise routine and focused on easy projects. When I was tired, I crawled into bed with my laptop, determined t…

Thanking God for Straight Paths

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
     and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
     and he will make straight your paths.
 (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)I've had to make some big decisions over the last year -- the kind of decisions I absolutely hate to make, the kind that have the potential of changing my life forever, the kind I might look back on someday with the nagging question What if?
As I stood at the crossroads, I tried to do as Proverbs says and "trust in the Lord." I prayerfully chose a path, and trusted He would make it straight. 
Over the last year, He has confirmed my choice in so many ways. During this last week especially, He has demonstrated His incredible faithfulness.
Today I am feeling very blessed and truly thankful.