the world has taken you into its mouth

the world has taken you into its mouth
and I can see the marks of its teeth on you
so far it has only been playing
letting the sugar that coats you melt
enjoying the candy that is your youth
but soon, very soon
it will want to suck your marrow
and it will break your bones to get it
it will break all of them

you see I’ve been further down the throat than you
where the hooks are in so deep and hold so tight
and I can barely stand to see what’s coming
it would be wrong,
no, it has been wrong for me not to speak to you.

so even though I know you’ve heard this all before,
this is me, telling you to run to Christ,
begging you to put away your foolishness,
telling you i love you the kindest way I know.

Who Are You?

There is a song by The Brothers Frantzich called Abraham that purports to answer this very question. I first heard it a few weeks ago on the Prairie Home Companion, and I remember thinking initially that it was a very cool song. Then I paid closer attention to the lyrics:

I am not what I do,
I am not the house I live in,
I am not my dead end job,
I’m not real, I’m just beginning,
I am not the words I speak,
I am not the clothes I wear,
I’m not war and I’m not peace,
My advice you shouldn’t care

But there’s a mountain range that runs
from Alaska to Mexico,
During the hottest days of summer,
its peaks are blessed with snow
Repeat after me,
in the words of Abraham,
those mountains are a part of who I am.

I still like the idea of the song. The idea of self-identification, of claiming separation from certain things and declaring an affinity for others is an idea I can identify with, but in the end, they go too far. There is a kernel of Manicheanism in the song, an over-separation of the physical and the spiritual. If you are not any of these things, if I cannot begin to know you by anything I observe about you, then who are you? Are you anything at all?

If the song has accomplished anything, it has encouraged me to think about my actual identity, as a man, a husband, a father, a Christian. It has encouraged me to ask who I tell myself and others that I am, by the millions of decisions I make each and every day. And since I have been thinking about these things, I thought I would ask you as well.

Who are you? Have you stopped and asked the question lately?

As always, comments are appreciated.

Worshipping Youth

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and though I don’t have time to go into depth, I would like to throw out a thought. Let me start with a couple of assertions:

  • Christian American culture worships youth
  • Christian American culture does not respect parents and elders
  • Our attitude is in conflict with Scripture

Continue reading “Worshipping Youth”

The Extraordinary Value of Women

Over at Challies.com, Tim has started a series on what Scripture has to say about the value and status of women. And you should head on over and read it, because he makes some pretty significant claims. For example:

I think it is important to affirm that there is no system of religion that exalts women higher than biblical Christianity. That is quite a claim, I realize, but one that can be easily proven by examining Scripture and comparing what Scripture says about women to the way they are treated by other religions or by those who adhere to no religion. Those who think the Bible is unfair to women and somehow feel they need to raise the status of women always end up damaging women. The result of decades of feminism testifies to this truth for womanhood has suffered terribly in our society.

Intrigued? Click here to check it out.

Television, Movies, the Internet, Power Outages, and Christianity

I ran across a comment by Jonathan Edwards (who else? ) over at Tim Challies’ blog and it got me thinking. Here is the relevant excerpt from his comment:

As I thought of the idea of ridding myself of unlawful media (most), it made me concerned – could I live w/o it? I think it brings up something else in my life – my dependency on media vs God. Media fills up the majority of my life (TV, PC, ipod, DVD). I wonder how many are like me.

This really resonated with me. I myself have at times been convicted of the place that all these things have in my (and my family’s) life and have considered chucking them all, only to be confronted by the question: But how would I spend my time? What would my family do for fun.

Continue reading “Television, Movies, the Internet, Power Outages, and Christianity”

The Dangers of Professional Clergy and Institutionalism

Over at the GeoffRe(y)port, there is an interesting post on the unintended consequences of professional clergy. As I understand it, the problem is not so much with the elder(s) being supported by the church, as it is with what happens when it becomes accepted that all elders are to be fully supported by the church, and that if you aren’t fully supported, something must be wrong. In the early church, when tithing and giving was at its peak, a pastor being completely supported was the exception rather than the rule. Anyway, go read the article and join the discussion there.

One thing that I’ll add here that didn’t make it into my original comment is that a professional fully supported clergy also results in a situation similar to that of institutional academia, in that you can frequently end up with people who have no experience in the real world. Early church elder’s had to be competent men; they were not fully supported by the church, they had families and therefore were required to have productive incomes and they also had to have time to tend to the church and to study the Word. Today, in certain circles, the ministry can be a lucrative and cushy career path.

Why is that man smiling: Reason, Insanity and Pleasure

About ten years ago, on one of the first nights of my EMT/Paramedic clinicals, we had a mental patient in the ER for a few hours. He was a little fidgety man that smiled a lot, muttered under his breath constantly, and made little jokes about being restrained and about sneaking out of the hospital. He was, in many ways, the traditional comedic psych patient as seen on TV, and as I was young and naive (which might be redundant, but there you go there), well, I was completely disarmed by him.

It was sometime after midnight as I was leaving his room, that the doctor that was proctoring me at the hospital stopped me and said quite simply, “Charles, I would not, at any time, turn your back on that man. You don’t know anything about him, and he may be quite dangerous.” And I did what any young, naive fool would do: I said, “Yes sir” and “Thank you” and immediately forgot what he had said.

Continue reading “Why is that man smiling: Reason, Insanity and Pleasure”

Faith and Works

Over at A Servant’s Thoughts, Frank Ritchie has a solid post about modern evangelism’s limp wristed approach to salvation. Do yourself a favor and go give it a read. Then come back here and let me know whether or not you’ve ever heard a sermon that was officially sanctioned by the Just-Say-A-Prayer Fairy from someone that you had always thought of as a fairly conservative Christian.

God, Grammar, and the Precision of Scripture

I don’t have time to go into it in depth right now, but the following passages should be read and their implications considered anytime we wonder about the precision of Scripture and how seriously and literally that we should take it. First read this:

Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
(Mark 12:19-27)

Then read this:

Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
(Galatians 3:15-17)

In these passages, Jesus and then Paul expound on doctrine based on what would (at first) seem to be insignificant details. In the first example, Jesus establishes the fact (before the unbelieving Sadducees) that there is a resurrection by pointing out that God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. Then, in the second example, Paul reveals that in Genesis 22:18, God was referring to Jesus Christ and not to Isaac and his descendants because the singular Hebrew word for seed was used and not the plural.

So think about this the next time you hear someone questioning the precision of the Word of God. And also tell your children that, yes, grammar is important.

The First Type of Evangelism

Our church’s verse for the year is “He that winneth souls is wise”, and while I have no problem with Scripture or focusing on winning souls, I’m a little underwhelmed with the modern concept of “soul winning”. And no, I’m not talking about my frustration with the concept of door-to-door evangelism, though before all is said and done, it might sound like it. You see, my understanding of the foundation of soul winning is found in the Shema Yisrael.
Continue reading “The First Type of Evangelism”