Blasphemy on Sunday morning

“The misuse of meaningful songs, or even only a lack of understanding and feeling in singing them communally, has a devastating effect. When we sing them in real community with the Holy Spirit, we sense something of innermost holiness. Such songs should be sung only at very special moments, only at times of God-given experiences. To suggest songs that were once written in the Spirit, with the idea of producing an atmosphere that does not exist, to sing ‘God is present with us!’ when no one feels that God really is present, to dare to sing ‘Lord of all, to Thee we bow’ when there is no real honoring of God’s greatness in the atmosphere of the meeting is a misuse that borders on the sin against the Holy Spirit.”

— Eberhard Arnold, God’s Revolution: Justice, Community, and the Coming Kingdom

All of us are artists

It is impossible to see how good work might be accomplished by people who think that our life in this world either signifies nothing or has only a negative significance…. If it is true that we are living souls and morally free, then all of us are artists. All of us makers, within mortal terms and limits, of our lives, of one another’s lives, of things we need and use.

— Wendell Berry, Christianity and The Survival of Creation

All of us are artists

It is impossible to see how good work might be accomplished by people who think that our life in this world either signifies nothing or has only a negative significance…. If it is true that we are living souls and morally free, then all of us are artists. All of us makers, within mortal terms and limits, of our lives, of one another’s lives, of things we need and use.

— Wendell Berry, Christianity and The Survival of Creation

Capitol worship

As Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said, our goal is not to move society to the left or the right, but to move upwards. The state should reward good and punish evil, allowing us to live quiet and peaceful lives. Many people expect more than that from the state, perhaps because they expect less from God. God wants to supply all our needs, not man, individual or corporate. What is the difference between praying to an idol for food and praying to the government for food, except that the idol ignores your worship and the state might be eager to receive it? Neither one is your God. God’s people may not care for you, but God does.

Our blood is much sought.

“It is not our way to ask each other: Where are you from? or what is your name? for we well know our blood is much sought.”

– Claes de Praet, Martyrs Mirror, p. 554-560

I am a deconstructionist.

Now that I think I understand a little about post-modernism, it’s transforming my thinking — but maybe not in the way you’d expect.
I realized that deconstructionism applies to deconstructionists too. That is, the writings of post-modern thinkers aren’t idealized, objective truth anymore than the writings they criticize. But it occurs to me that this concept can be applied much more broadly – though not as broadly as they would want. We can’t trust human wisdom, but there is another kind of wisdom. Read the rest of this entry »

Wanting the Word, not what it gives

Sink down into the eternal Word and rest there, and not in any manifestation that proceeds from the Word, for it is the Word of the Lord that shall endure forever…

This eternal Word was before any manifestation. It is the Word the builders rejected that has become the head of the corner.

Reason not with flesh and blood, nor with the voice of the Serpent, for if you do, you will darken the council of God in yourselves, but in the power of the Lord shut him [the Serpent] out… Stand still and see the salvation of God, which is in the Light of his Covenant that will stretch forth the hand of his power, as he did to Peter when he feared the proud waves would prevail over him.

Cease thy mourning, thou weeping babe that mourns in secret for manifestations of thy beloved . . . for I can testify unto thee by experience, whosoever thou art in that state, that he is bringing thee nearer to him. That was but milk ith which he fed thee whilst thou wast weak. But now he will feed thee with the Word from whence that milk proceedeth. Live at home with Jacob, which is to retire daily into thy mind. Though the gadding, hunting Esau persecutes thee for it, thou shalt receive the blessing. . . . Oh the glorious day of the Lord God hasteth to be revealed to those who are kept faithful in his Word.

— Sarah Jones (17th century, England):

Redemption and lift

Sociologists decry the weaknesses of single-parent families, but how many of them speak out against the socially-acceptable sins that made them common? Historically, repentance and conversion, not social programs, have been the only effective solution for a myriad of problems such as child abuse, child exploitation, poor working conditions, low incomes, high unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse and teen pregnancy. God helps a father to stop drinking and start working, God helps the father’s employer to provide job training and increase wages, God helps the employer’s teenaged daughter to seek love from himself instead of boys. Social scientists have even coined a term for the phenomenon: “redemption and lift.”