Sometimes you give a guy a break

This is one of those times. I read this someplace:
In the cause of honesty ... let’s go back to that original question.

    What is the Christian response/attitude/healthy plan of action when spouses earnestly disagree about the number of children they should have/can care for adequately?

I should be more forthcoming. I don’t think there is a “Christian answer” or a “Biblical answer.” I don’t believe the Bible addresses this level of life questions in authoritative terms. Magic book and all that.

I think you have Christians, following Jesus as Lord and teacher, answering tough questions. It’s like when the Doctor looked at me and said we were going to lifeflight my dying mom to ** for all these measures I knew my mom didn’t want. I had my relationship with mom, my relationship with God, and what I believed was right at the time. I’m sure plenty of Christians would have condemned me for saying No to that lifeflight and asking for a doctor that would sign off on no treatment. I’m sure there are long essays, complete with verses, justifying why my mom should be blind, ravaged by a stroke and on various machines right now. I took the road less traveled, at least in my case.

I’m living in Christ and trying to work things out. I don’t know the answers for my marriage. I just know this ongoing journey of learning to love my wife. I don’t have the answers for a family crisis we faced several weeks ago. I just have Jesus and my desire to follow him and love my children. I don’t have the answers for all kinds of things that other Christians have answers to.

All I could do is seek a place where two people who love one another, Jesus and their children could keep on doing that. I’d probably err for the other person, because I haven’t found a way to experience grace and always get my way.

Just being honest. I don’t have answers and that’s the essence of the advice I’d share.
While I personally don't have that level of comfort with uncertainty, I can respect it. I might disagree with it in some places, too, but I can still respect the place in faith it comes from.

Congrats to DJP

Just wanted to tell my buddy DJP congratulations on his announcement, unveiling his What? you wanted me to unveil his announcement when he wouldn't? What kind of friend do you think I am over here?

I am sure Val and the kids are madly proud of you, as am I, and as I am sure Phil would be if he could be bothered to blog rather than Twitter.

Back to work, slackers.


You're blogging today because somebody sacrificed to fight for what's right.

the brutal task

I know my blogging lately has been slim-to-none, and for some of you I am sure that has been a relief as that means I haven’t been chiding you as much as you actually need, and you can get on with your life.

And there is a handful of men waiting in line at the D-blog for to beat me down over the Trinity and Inerrancy. My apologies to them as I simply don’t have the time right now to blog every single day, and I appreciate their patience.

Just so none of you think I am sliding off my rail here, you may know that I have been blogging Paul’s letter to Titus over at TeamPyro, and we’ll get to the letters to Timothy eventually. It’s a good personal exercise for me as my family and I choose a new church, and I hope it’s been useful to, well, anybody.

But in reading those letters slowly and sort of deliberately, there’s something I have noticed about what Paul says to Timothy specifically: being an elder in the church, responsible for the doctrine people believe and the lives that they live, is a brutal task.

Paul says it this way:
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
Now, this is Paul’s last word to Timothy – maybe his last words to anyone via letter. And in doing that, what’s remarkable is that Paul doesn’t tell Timothy, “hey dude: pace yourself. Don’t make people too angry with that teaching you have from me because it’ll bring nothing but trouble if you do. On the other hand, there’s real freedom in grace, but if you go too far, you’ll find out that there’s real freedom in unemployment or martyrdom, if you see what I’m sayin’.”

Paul makes it very clear to Timothy – and therefore to us -- that those who are “guarding the good deposit entrusted to [them]” are putting their lives on the line, and they ought to be doing it gladly. They ought to be “not ashamed” that they suffer, because they really ought to be suffering if they are doing what God called them to do.

Indeed, Paul says this to Timothy:
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Think about that: Paul doesn’t tell Timothy that he should expect that the ministry he’s entrusted with should be one where there is no adversity: it is in fact one where there must be adversity because the church and the world are full of people who, frankly, hate the Gospel. Those imposters will only go from bad to worse.

The reason I’m thinking about this is that I have recently come across some stuff on the web where there are guys who are sort of co-miserating over the burn-out they are experiencing in pastoral ministry, glorifying it and sort of making their bitterness over it a badge of honor. I’m not going to link to it because it’ll just cause you to sin, one way or the other.

However, I’m not sure that sort of thing was what Paul had in mind when he said, “do not be ashamed of the testimony.”

don't waste your household

How this house serves the Lord.

HT: Abraham Piper

20,000+ comments

The only thing I have to say today is that this blog has more than 20,000 comments in Haloscan, but only about 1750 posts.

You people are pretty impressive.


My boy was watching Pokemon as I found this on YouTube, and it was potent enough to break the poke-spell and have him ask me, "what's that Dad?"

What is it? It's awesome.

Pass it on

HT: Tom Ascol

Virgin Lips, and an anecdote about why one might want them.

I'm not sure I agree with the whole menu of appeals here, but I am sure that there are a bunch of a la carte items you might want to take away from this post.

Intellectually topless

Doug Wilson has spilled some digital ink on the question of whether Evangelicals are being any kind of right-minded in adopting a girl who tries to win contests by wearing bikinis (because they are bikini-wearing contests, after all) as some kind of spokesperson for "Christian values", and while I think publishing photos of her said-bikini-wearing doesn't really help anybody, this link has come to my attention for a variety of reasons, and I wanted to talk about it.

No: she's not wearing any bikinis in that link, but there are links there to worse, so be warned.

Anyway, get this part, right at the start of the article:
By now, everyone knows about the semi-naked Carrie Prejean pictures. We told you that the pictures may cost her the Miss California crown, and that somewhere deep in her empty head, Carrie also tried to turn the release of the pictures onto the “liberal” media, claiming that the pictures are meant as a way to silence her because of her conservative views on gay marriage. We’re not trying to silence you, Carrie. We’re just pointing out how hypocritical you are. How can you represent good Christian values when you’re posing topless as a minor?
Think about that for a minute: because she ever did anything which she now regrets and denounces, she can never denounce any sin. My first thought there was that this line of reasoning silences all converts to atheism.

What's that you say? You used to be a Christian, but now you're an atheist, and you denounce the stupidity of worshipping this guy Jesus who you now say prolly doesn't even exist? Doesn't that make you a hypocrite -- because look: I have pictures of you at Bible camp.

Tres Stupide, as they say in cartoon logging camps. But that's not really my axe-weilding uber-point. My uber-point is this: the world can see through our stupid attempts to trojan horse them into agreeing with us. You know: when some girl dressed in clothes that frankly promote fornication if not adultery gets on national television and starts braying about "Christian values", and the rest of the "cultural conservatives" line up behind her as if she was leading the way up to the boat to Pleasure Island in Pinnochio and all they lack are two good puffs on a cigar to start braying in exactly the same was she is, even the gossip bloggers can see that either our appeal to the world is phony, or our appeal to Jesus is phony -- and that it's prolly the latter which needs to go since whatever it is we're talking about has nothing to do with dying to sin for me because I have rubbed sin all over me in order to be more like what I say I hate and what Jesus abhors so that you will pay attention to me.

There's a pastoral lesson in there someplace, but I admit I am too tired right now to get into it. I am sure the more-gifted among you can work it out and apply it as necessary.

This is a Football

They tell a story about Vince Lombardi who, during the half-time of a blow-out against his team, walked into the locker room and declared, in words to this effect, "Gentlemen, it is time to return to basics." Then he pulled out the pigskin and presented it to the team instructionally: "This: is a Football."

Over at the Resurgence Blog, Jonathan Dodson presents the football to those who read him.

Now, before you people (you know who you are) take this apart for lacking any scripture verses or direct references to the Gospel: you're right. No Gospel explications in that essay/list. But here's my problem with that objection: Sometimes you have to assume the Gospel when talking about mission. White Horse Inn and all that duly noted, but listen: at some point your extraordinary knowledge of the names and accomplishments of all the magisterial reformers and all the puritans and all the ECFs has to matter in the world God created -- the one outside the confines of your skull and your note books and your blog(s).

And it has to matter to people. You have to live someplace other than a bunker, and you have to talk to people other than your pastor and your sunday school teacher. The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost -- it might prove useful to you to do the same.

Advice for Dave

Dear Dave –

Read your comment in the meta, and loved it. You’re a journeyman around here, and mostly you’re one of the good guys, so I take your comment completely at face value, and I’m not here to dissect it.

What I am going to do, however, is look at one statement:
"Blameless" is something I fear I'll never be, Cent. And it stinks on toast, because I feel God's call into ministry, and I'm afraid I'll always disqualify myself.
Hey: join the club.

And I don’t say that lightly. I don’t mean to be flip, but that actually should be the thing which all of us (and it is “us”, me included) ought to spend our days as we approach God’s call on us thinking about seriously. I mean: what’s worse than someone “called” to the ministry who defames the ministry? Is there anything worse?

So the matter is a serious matter, and it should turn more men aside – for a while at least. Because there is actually an upside to this burden: God has put it on you. Think about that – God has put the burden for ministry and the purity of ministry in your heart.

Don’t you think that if God has brought this to your attention, in a manner of speaking, those whom he loveth he also chasteneth? See: while there is something plainly-bad at the center of this discussion, it is really something beautiful which God is calling his men to. When someone is too blind to see it, it is tragic. "Biblical fail" as they would say on the interwebs. But when you can see this flaw and you are willing to die daily to it, God is working in you.

The trouble comes when you cannot see your own sin – when you think it is someone else’s fault for bringing it up at all. Listen: the sin is in pride and arrogance, in not turning away when a brother – even an older brother, a brother with his nose in the air – points out your problem, and not merely in falling down as all men are prone to do.

There will come a day when you are qualified for ministry, if God is willing. Trust Him to qualify you if He has called you, and don’t settle for your own best effort to be qualified. Be sanctified because He is sanctifying you – and wage war on sin because God has given you the weapons for this spiritual war, and the victory in Christ.

That’s what I’m doing. Someday I will be the world’s oldest rookie pastor, but when I am, it will have been in God’s time for God’s purpose. I am certain it will be the same for you. In the meantime, be in the Lord's house with the Lord's people on the Lord's day. You belong there, and it's a reason to rejoice.

Your friend, and your fan, and fellow pig-slopper,