My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

22 January 2008

35 years

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Approximately 1.37 million children are killed each year in America, sacrificed at the altars of privacy and convenience. This is not a political issue. This is not just a drum for Republicans to beat. This is a matter of religion and the holiness of God.

Here is George Grant's
short reflection.

Justin Taylor shares a rightly
disturbing video.

Some thoughts, if I may. It would be good for each of us, personally, and each church to spend time in prayer this week. This prayer should include praise to God, who is the giver of life; it should include repentance for our nation's many sins; it should include a prayer for deliverance; it should also include a call for our Priest-King to go to war for the cause of truth and meekness and right (Psalm 45:4).

Lest we sink into despair, consider during your prayers Jeramiah 31:38-40 -
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when the city shall be rebuilt for the LORD from the tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the LORD. It shall not be uprooted or overthrown anymore forever.

The context is the truly astounding promise of the new covenant (see v. 33 - I will be their God and they shall be my people). In that context, God promises the expansion of His children's territory, despite the current state of His people in Babylonian exile. This rebuilding and expansion will include the tower gates and the corner gates. But it's more than just the city - God promises to send His measuring line to the hill Gareb and Goah, covering the valley of dead bodies and ashes.

We don't know the details about Gareb and Goah, but we do know this: the valley of dead bodies and ashes was where the Israelites killed their children, sacrificing them to Molech and other pagan gods. What a horrible thing to even consider. But note what God promises: not only will He reclaim the ground where they sacrificed their children, but it will be a place "sacred to the Lord."

This is the greatness of the new covenant - not only does God save us from sins, but He goes right to the place of our greatest sins and makes it His greatest glory. Those who are sinfully angry glorify God when He makes them gentle and peaceful. Those who are full of lust God glorifies by making them pure in heart and body. And so we can rightly pray that God would go to the source of our nation's greatest sins, till up the ground, plant a new garden and make it sacred to the Lord. In other words, don't just pray that God would help us stop killing our babies, but that He would make us a people who love life, who love children. Pray that our greatest sins would become the place of His greatest glory. This is how He promised to work in the new covenant.

On Bloggery

Technology in general and blogs in particular have broken the dam and set loose a flood of words. Each of us could read blogs all day and never find the end of words being put forth. What to do? How, then, shall we read?

I began picking through a book of theological poetry by St. Gregory of Nazianzus this morning and found this gem:
Seeing many writing in this present life
words without measure, smoothly rolling,
who pass most time in drudgeries
producing only a hollow logorrhea,
and how they write so brazenly
things clogged full of idiocies,
as sand fills the sea or fruit-flies Egypt:
I've found this to be
the single sweetest counsel, that,
pitching out all other word, one hold
on only to those inspired by God,
as a calm harbor for those who flee the storm.

In other news, we had a great college conference this past weekend. David Hanson spoke from the book of Job and the Spirit was working, ministering through David to many students there. See Barry's comments here.

17 January 2008


This weekend is the annual CYA (covenanter young adult, i.e., college) Winter Conference. And by "winter", we apparently mean four degrees below zero. Real winter.

Anyhow, my friend David Hanson (pastor of Grace RPC in State College, PA) is coming to speak to the students; he'll be speaking on triumph and tragedy in the book of Job. On my latest read through the book of Job, I was convicted of the quality - or lack thereof - of my friendship toward others. Here are the lessons I took away from Eliphaz, Bildad & Zophar on what not to do.
  • Just "being there" does not qualify me as a good friend
  • Just "being there" does not give me enough capital/sufficient right to say anything I want
  • I will constantly be tempted to rush to judgment without all the facts; and when I do rush to judgment, I'll usually be wrong
  • Theology isn't enough...theology without love kills. Theology without wisdom kills. Wrong theology kills.
  • True sympathy is often impossible (who can really sympathize with Job??) - I can't assume I know what my friends are feeling or enduring
  • Singing the same song sixteen different ways doesn't make it true - Job's friends really didn't say all that much, they just said it a lot.
  • Just because someone's in pain doesn't mean they're wrong

16 January 2008

This morning the guard goose was back. As I came to the office for our session meeting, the stray Canadian goose (or does he belong to the house near the building?) was wandering around the parking lot in the dark, honking at me. And then he got in my way and hissed at me. So I kicked him in the head. Hard.

Then, I needed to go back to my truck to retrieve something and there he was again, on the sidewalk, hissing at me. So I kicked him in the head. Harder. He flopped around for a while.

This is how you know it's going to be a great day. When you get to kick a goose in the head. Twice. Goose head first, the gates of hell second. I'm on my way.

11 January 2008

Chaplain to the status quo

Ken Myers, of Mars Hill Audio Journal fame, sends out the best fundraising letters. They're four pages long, with two lines of money requests and two hundred lines of great wisdom:

...there are two conclusions with which I started this project which have been remarkably reinforced. The first is that what is called "modernity" is essentially incompatible with Christian faithfulness, that what makes modern culture distinctively "modern" involves a rejection of important Christian beliefs and practices. The second is that one of the greatest temptations faced by the Church and her leaders is the desire to be approved by the world, that the evangelistic motive can produce a dangerous preoccupation with "getting along," with being "winsome." When the Church gives in to this temptation, the result is a form of cultural captivity in which the Church is simply a chaplain to some cultural status quo, reducing the consequences of faith to personal, "spiritual" matters, but incapable of encouraging a truly counter-cultural stance except at the margins.