Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Driscoll and Piper at the DG Conference

Mark Driscoll posted on his blog last week why he loved John Piper. Here was reason number 4:

4. By not trying to be cool . . . he’s cool.

I cannot confirm it, but I think Dr. Piper may only have one jacket. I see him preach in it all the time and it’s a tweed coat with more than a few years of faithful service. I also think he may own one belt because I’ve only ever seen one. He drives a simple car, lives a simple life, does not have a tattoo (at least that I’ve seen), does not skateboard, and likes to read stuff by dead guys a lot. But by trying to just be himself rather than being cool, he has curiously become cool because he’s about Christ and that’s always cool.

I thought the part about the jacket was pretty funny, because I would believe it about Piper. Then, from the Desiring God Conference this past weekend during a Q&A (Driscoll spoke at the conference):

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bob Kauflin on the Importance of Melody

Great clip from Bob Kauflin's talk at the Desiring God Conference over the weekend. He talks about the importance of melody when praising God, and offers up some great examples to make his point.

Music Video of the Week

Brandon Heath - "Give Me Your Eyes"

Brandon Heath - Give Me Your Eyes from Brandon Heath on Vimeo.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Belinda and Mike's Wedding

Leppert Photography has posted a slideshow with some pictures from my little sister's wedding last Saturday. They look amazing! Can't wait to see the rest.

See the slideshow here.

Dilbert - Leadership

I was clearing out some old Dilbert cartoons...thought this one was appropriate:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mark Driscoll - Death By Love

Piper on God's Baby Talk

John Piper had a great post on God's use of baby talk. Sounds strange, right? What are we doing when we talk to babies like we do? We're accommodating their limited understanding to communicate things to them. While they couldn't understand us if we talked to them like an adult, they can understand in part because of our accommodation.


...what a blunder it would be to infer from this that we may despise language or treat it with contempt or carelessness. What a blunder, if we began to belittle true statements about God as cheap or unhelpful or false. What folly it would be if we scorned propositions and clauses and phrases and words, as though they were not inexpressibly precious and essential to life.

The main reason this would be folly is that God has chosen to send his Son into our nursery and speak baby talk with us. Jesus Christ became a child with us. There was a time when Jesus himself would have said, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child and thought like a child and reasoned like a child.” That is what the incarnation means. He accommodated himself to our baby talk. He stammered with us in the nursery of human life in this age.

Jesus spoke baby talk. The Sermon on the Mount is our baby talk. His high priestly prayer in John 17 is baby talk. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” is baby talk. Infinitely precious, true, glorious baby talk.

More than that, God inspired an entire Bible of baby talk. True baby talk. Baby talk with absolute authority and power. Baby talk that is sweeter than honey and more to be desired than gold. John Calvin said that “God, in so speaking, lisps with us as nurses are wont to do with little children” (Institutes, 1.13.1). O how precious is the baby talk of God. It is not like grass that withers or flowers that fades. It abides forever (Isaiah 40:8).

There will be another language and thought and reasoning in the age to come. And we will see things that could not have been expressed in our present baby talk. But when God sent his Son into our human nursery, talking baby talk, and dying for the toddlers, he shut the mouths of those who ridicule the possibilities of truth and beauty in the mouth of babes.

And when God inspired a book with baby talk as the infallible interpretation of himself, what shall we say of the children who make light of the gift of human language as the medium of knowing God? Woe to those who despise or belittle or exploit or manipulate this gift to the children of man. It is not a toy in the nursery. It is the breath of life. “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fireproof - The Movie

Kirk Cameron was on the Today Show this morning promoting the new movie, Fireproof, from the creators of Facing the Giants. I posted on this movie a while back, but it actually opens on Friday and ticket pre-sales seem to be doing very well. I've seen some good reviews of the movie (like this one from Tim Challies), and I'm excited to see movies like this are finding a market.

Here's the clip of Kirk Cameron's interview this morning:

And here's the trailer for the movie:

The Office

In honor of the new season of the office kicking off on Thursday, I figured I would post this video they showed during the Olympics this year. Gotta love Dwight and Jim...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wedding Vows

My little sister got married over the weekend. (You can see their engagement pictures and slideshow, done by my incredible wife, here.) It was a great day, and everything went pretty well for the most part. The weather was great for the outdoor pictures, and the ceremony was a God-honoring time celebrating his ordained institution of marriage. I especially loved the vows my sister and her husband chose to use (they're the same ones my wife and I used as well). I'm not sure who originally wrote them, as my wife and I borrowed them from some friends of ours whose wedding we attended right before our engagement.

This was the 2nd wedding we'd been to recently where a couple used these vows, and I loved the chance to hear them read again and remind me what I promised to Leah over 3 years ago. I've kept them written down and read them every so often, but hearing them read and repeated by a new couple was a treat, especially because it was my little sister.

So I thought in honor of their wedding, and to remind myself once again what I promised to my beautiful wife, I'd post the vows on here. To remind myself, I'm leaving mine and Leah's names in. Feel free to use them should you be getting married anytime soon. I think they embody biblical truth well, but at the same time apply those truths in a very practical way. Enjoy!

And Congratulations Belinda and Mike. I love you guys!


I, Matthew…take you, Leah… to be my treasured wife.

By the grace of God, I promise to be the spiritual leader in our home.
I want lay down my life, and will for you as Christ did for the church.
I promise to guard your best interests, to provide for your needs, and to love you with all that I am.
I commit to never stop serving you, romancing you, or encouraging you
to hold your own walk with Christ as the highest priority.
I give you my purity and promise to be faithful to you and you alone.
All that I have, and all that I am, I now give to you.
Whatever hardships or joys may come, may I keep these vows,
and strive towards the perfection of them till death should part us.

I, Leah… take you, Matthew… to be my treasured husband

By the grace of God, I promise to respect your spiritual leadership in our home.
I desire to encourage you in your dreams, and to support you
in whatever the Holy Spirit calls you to do
I commit to walk in step with you, to admire you, and to serve you in daily life,
to encourage you to hold your own walk with Christ as the highest priority.
I desire to create a home where you are respected and esteemed,
and I commit to joyfully submit to your authority.
I give you my purity, and promise to be faithful to you and you alone.
All that I have, and all that I am, I now give to you.
Whatever hardships or joys may come, may I keep these vows,
and strive towards the perfection of them till death should part us.

Music Video of the Week

Eve 6 - "Open Road Song (Live Acoustic)"

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Online ESV Study Bible

I've posted on the ESV Study Bible before, and I am so excited for it to come out next month. It's going to be a treasured resource for the Church. They've been coming out with lots of preview videos, but this one particularly caught my eye. It's been known there would be an online version of the study bible simultaneously published, but there haven't really been any details until now. Honestly, I might be more excited about this than the physical Bible itself. It has everything the printed version has, with the flexibility of an online interface and additional resources (like an audio version of the text). This looks incredible and will make in-depth studying that much more productive.

Also, while I'm posting on this, I really enjoyed the interview they did with J.I. Packer, the theological editor of the notes in the study bible. I could listen to this guy talk all day long.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Christian Viewpoint on the Banking Crisis

Justin Taylor interviewed David Kotter over at his blog about the current banking crisis. David has a good understanding of economics and does a great job of approaching the state of our economy from a Christian perspective.

It's both an informative and encouraging (for Christians) interview. He explains the basics of what has caused things to reach the point they have, and (unlike those in the media) he is able to remain calm about the "crisis," knowing that God is sovereign over all, including sub-prime mortgages and government bailouts. With the economy quickly becoming the number one issue in this presidential campaign, this was a good reminder for me.

Some samples:
...On the other end, we must keep this in a wider perspective. Though some laugh when they hear "the fundamentals of the economy remains strong," this is actually true. For example, the unemployment rate has risen to 6.1% (which is a challenge if you have personally lost a job), but this rate is still lower than the peak in 2003 and is better than many European countries today. Further, despite the rampant media discussion of a recession, the economy has been growing for the last two quarters. This bubble, like the “dot com” bubble and even the tulip mania bubble of 1637, will eventually be resolved as banks and investors accurately report their losses and adjust accordingly...

For believers, this is just one more reason to "not love the world or the things in the world" which is "passing away along with its desires" (1 John 2:15, 16). In Louisville we have been without electricity since Sunday, and it makes me increasingly grateful that our God is independent and powerful enough to accomplish his good will every moment. Lighting candles each night reminds me that I am not!

Although it will be harder to obtain aggressive mortgages, Christians who are practicing prudent financial stewardship (modest houses, large down payments, monthly payments easily within their means, diligent participation in the work force) should not have much problem. Everyone will want to verify that their savings account is government insured, but believers with a generous "wartime mindset" should have no trouble keeping their bank accounts under $100,000 FDIC limit. Above all, don't be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor what you will wear. Remember that journalists, markets, and lemmings tend to move in herds. The media never reports on thousands of planes that land safely, but solely focuses on one that doesn't. In that light, if you are saving for retirement more than 10 years from now, this actually would be a good time to invest in the stock market. But don't let your IRA be a substitute god or distract you from treasuring Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:24-34)...

...We can pray for integrity and wisdom for government officials who are faced with the incredibly complex task of regulating investment securities and banks in a way that is transparent and serves all of the varied stakeholders. We can pray that those who are willing to work will be able to find gainful employment. We can pray that greed would be restrained at all levels, from the leaders on Wall Street to individual families tempted to live beyond their means. We can pray for ourselves that we will participate in the national economy that keeps in mind the time is short and the present form of this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7: 29-31).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gianna Jessen - Abortion Survivor

I posted a while back on Gianna Jessen, who survived her mother's attempt to abort her and is now a pro-life advocate. Randy Alcorn points out that she recently appeared on Hannity & Colmes. She has an amazing testimony.

What I also find interesting about this debate is the fact that all Alan Colmes seems to be able to argue back is that there was already a law in place that protected these abortion-surviving babies. I find it laughable that pro-"choice" people would even care about abortion-surviving babies. What you can kill them unless the doctor screws up, then all of a sudden the baby has rights?

Pulpit Magazine on Piper, Driscoll, and Language

(No, Driscoll isn't punching Piper. He's giving Matt Chandler --not pictured -- a fist-pound because of something awesome Piper said.)

It's really no secret that I am a fan of Mark Driscoll's ministry. I watch most of his sermons on his vodcast, and I've read all of his books and am really looking forward to his new one, Death by Love. Even more than Driscoll, I would say John Piper is the author/pastor who has had the most impact on my life. I've read many of his books and his passion for the Lord and his articulation of the gospel is a main reason why I'm a christian today.

At Piper's upcoming Desiring God Conference, "The Power of Words and the Wonder of God," Mark Driscoll will be speaking on the topic, “How Sharp the Edge? Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words."

Nathan Busenitz over at Pulpit Magazine has written a thoughtful piece on the interesting choice of Piper to have Driscoll speak on this topic. Driscoll is known for his edgy, sometimes offensive humor to make his points, and Piper has given him the task of defending this. Busenitz points out some comments Piper made to Doug Wilson back in 2000 about cutting, sarcastic humor and notes that it's interesting that Piper would invite Driscoll to speak on this topic. Busenitz of course points out Ephesians 4:29, Ephesians 5:4, and Titus 2:6-8.

While I love Driscoll and think he is doing a lot of great work, I tend to agree with Busenitz's article that Mark goes too far with some of his comments. Some seem to be simply for effect, and while they are funny and get the point across, the sentiment could be expressed with a much gentler and more compassionate spirit. Sometimes, they are just downright vulgar.

It is noted, however, that their appears to be a Paul/Timothy type of relationship formed between Piper and Driscoll (it seems to be the same with Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney). I've noticed that over the past 6 months or so, Driscoll has toned down some of his comments and seems more gracious when pointing out flaws in others. His Q&A session at his conference was very telling. He admitted that he needed to work on his pride and noted that he has been convicted of some of his uses of humor and shock-jock comments in the past. I think Piper and Mahaney have influenced him greatly here, and I think this is a main reason why Piper asked him to speak at the conference. Is there a place for this type of language? Piper is forcing Driscoll to think through this again, and with the growth that appears to be happening with Mark, I think it will be a great message.


Here is the video from Desiring God's website with Piper explaining why he asked Driscoll to speak.

And here's Driscoll on the Truth/Love balance in a teaser video for the conference:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Things have been quiet on here the last few days because we went through the remnants of Hurricane Ike on Sunday. Nothing like what they experienced down South, but high winds did quite a bit of damage in Southwestern Ohio (our roof -- or what's left of it -- is proof of that). Cincinnati alone had about 90% of Duke energy customers without power at some point or another Sunday and/or Monday. Many are still without power. My office was out so I had an unexpected free day yesterday. Luckily, our power never went out, but with everything else out, we didn't have cable or internet. What did we do before those?

Anyway, back at work today as things are starting to come back on. Many are still without power, but they are working hard to fix that soon.

Music Video of the Week

Andrew Peterson - "Holy is the Lord"

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Quarrelsome Man

I get a podcast from Max McLean every day where he reads a short passage of Scripture. Today's was from Proverbs 26.

Listen to Max read it here.

Proverbs 26:20-24

20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23 Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart;

Thursday, September 11, 2008

McCain's Release from Vietnamese POW Camp

According to the Associated Press, this is a video clip of John McCain in Hanoi the day he was released from a Vietnamese POW Camp. The narration isn't in English, but here's the clip:

September 11th, 2001

As I stood with my head bowed at the little ceremony they had at my office building this morning, I listened to the man pray and tried to figure out how we're supposed to act about September 11th. It's been 7 years since that morning. Like everyone else, I can tell you the exact place I was when I heard. I can also picture numerous other events from that day all outlined by the re-framing of our world we each did that day.

7 years ago today.

So how should we feel now? Should we still feel anger towards those who perpetrated such senseless violence against thousands and demand revenge? Should we feel sorrow for the families and friends of those who died and have to be reminded on such a large scale every year of their loss? How do we keep this day from becoming another day on the calendar? I think, most of all, we need to remember one important lesson this taught our country.

We are a diverse nation, and those differences should be celebrated, but on that day, we were all simply human beings first, and Americans second. Our humanity was exposed, and we didn't relate as Democrats and Republicans, with a blind hatred of all things liberal or conservative. We related as people. We were there for those who needed help. We grieved with those we didn't even know, because we were all people.

As awful as that day was, it actually exposed something great in us. My heart aches for those reliving the terror and loss of that day. But in the middle of this election season where the bombs from conservatives and liberals are flying back and forth daily, I am grateful for a day that reminds me of what people are actually capable of doing when they realize that we are all members of the human race together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Voddie Baucham on CNN

Dr. Voddie Baucham was interviewed along with Margaret Feinberg on CNN about the fact that Sarah Palin is being supported by evangelicals to be a leader of our country while not being allowed to lead a church. Baucham does an excellent job in my view. He states clearly what the scripture says and doesn't apologize for it. He's called sexist by the interviewer for quoting scripture, and Feinberg actually tries to use Ephesians 5:22-30 to say that women should be able to lead. Interesting interpretation on "wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord."

Baucham does a great job of making it clear that he's not against women or progress, but that his job is not to make scripture fit our view of what progress should look like. Scripture shapes our worldview, not the other way around.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Game Day for the Glory of God

I was a sports fanatic growing up. I played basketball, baseball, football, soccer, tennis, ran cross-country and track...I love every sport and played most of them well enough to be successful at them. I got most serious about basketball, having a pretty decent high school career and even playing a couple year's at Transylvania University, a D3 school in Lexington, KY.

Sports dominated my life, and how that related to my faith was a question I rarely, if ever, asked myself. Sports was my god, and I worshiped often and passionately. I lived for the competition and was quite a bad loser. Since I've grown a little more in my faith over the years, I've attempted to figure out how to play sports, even for recreation as I do now in leagues here and there, and do so in a way that glorifies God. I haven't always been successful at doing so, and I've even considered not playing at all anymore since I can't seem to compete in a godly way consistently.

All of this to say I'm pretty excited to read Stephen Altrogge's book, Game Day for the Glory of God. Tim Challies reviewed it on his site today:
At a time when sport supplants religion and athletes are reverenced as heroes, it does us good to consider if and how we can use sports to bring honor to God. In Game Day for the Glory of God, Stephen Altrogge does just that, exploring both the benefits and challenges that await those of us who enjoy the action and drama of sports. Stephen relies on the Bible's timeless wisdom to guide us to a deeper appreciation of God and a deeper abiding in the truths of the gospel on game day and every day.

And Justin Taylor posted some videos of Stephen on his site Sunday:

As a sidenote: I actually lived the above situation (with some slight differences) in high school. My senior year, we were playing in the state finals and we had battled back from being down about 15 in the 2nd half to close the lead to 3 in the final seconds. We had the length of the floor to go, but somehow I managed to break free and get off a decent 25-footer at the buzzer...only to see the ball clang off the rim. We lost 73-70.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Joe Biden on Life and Abortion

Joe Biden said this on Meet the Press about when life begins:

"I'd say, "Look, I know when it begins for me." It's a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I'm prepared to accept the teachings of my church. But let me tell you. There are an awful lot of people of great confessional faiths-Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others-who have a different view. They believe in God as strongly as I do. They're intensely as religious as I am religious. They believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views as to when life-I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception.

But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society. And I know you get the push back, "Well, what about fascism?" Everybody, you know, you going to say fascism's all right? Fascism isn't a matter of faith. No decent religious person thinks fascism is a good idea."

Al Mohler comments

Sen. Biden may have been attempting to "walk the line" politically, but a closer look at his actual argument is truly horrifying.

Sen. Biden says, and we must take him at his word, that he accepts as a matter of faith that human life begins at conception. But, he argues, he is perfectly willing to support a woman's right to choose to end that human life.

The killing of human life is called homicide. Murder is the willful taking of a human life. The senator has here stated that he believes abortion to be homicide, but he defends a woman's right to kill the unborn human life within her because he would not impose his beliefs about human life (and thus about homicide) on others.

In other words, if we take Sen. Biden seriously, he would defer to others who believe otherwise when it comes to the law.

How can he live with this? There are significant questions about the extent to which some matters can properly be legislated. But there is no question that the government -- any government -- must take a stand on the question of human life. This is why the abortion issue simply will not and cannot go away. The government takes a side on this question, like it or not.

Music Video of the Week

Needtobreathe - "You Are Here"

Themes of the Conventions

The New York Times has a very interesting graphic depicting the dominant words/themes present at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. It also shows the number of times each main speaker used certain words. Interesting to note that Biden and Obama used McCain's name 34 times, while Palin and McCain only referred to Obama by name 7 times. Anyway, interesting to see.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Our Introduction to Sarah Palin

(This will hopefully be the last post on Palin for a while...kind of dominating right now.)

Tim Challies has a great post wrapping up a lot of the coverage of Sarah Palin over the past week. A lot has happened, a lot of people have given their opinions, and many things have been exposed (about Palin, about the media, about most people as they respond). Tim does a great job of summing up some of the issues and what they will mean going forward.

A good portion of the post centers around the feminist (and liberal) reaction to a mother of five running for VP versus the Evangelical reaction. Interesting discussion going on about whether or not it's ok for a woman to run for VP. You have feminst liberals saying she's neglecting her children and should stay at home, while Christian leaders are defending her decision to run...

Challies' conclusion:

While Christians do want to maintain the focus on the family we have to be careful about stating categorically that a woman has no business running for Vice President. Palin's decision is one to be made with her family and with counsel from her local church. Beyond that we, as Christians, have to trust her judgment in this kind of disputable matter. Far be it from us to declare that she cannot do both and that she cannot do both with excellence.

Max McLean's Screwtape Letters

After performing sold out shows in New York and D.C., Max McLean (he of the Listener's Bible fame) is bringing his performance of C.S. Lewis' beloved Screwtape Letters to Chicago. This is one of my all-time favorite books, and I would love to see this. Probably won't be able to make it to Chicago, but we'll see.

He's a video of clips from the show. Looks great.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Priest's View of the Palins

First of all, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Sarah Palin's zingers during her passionate, articulate, and professionally-delivered speech last night. I am excited about this woman as our next VP. Who knows, maybe we'll have a Hillary-Palin contest sometime in the future...how nuts would that be?

Anyway, came across this article by Father Jonathan Morris, a contributor to FOXNews. He gives his take on Sarah Palin's ability as a mother and what the situation with her daughter has revealed about all involved.

From the article:

From my perspective, here are a few things that show the Palin’s are a very special family:

- A young woman will find the courage to talk to her parents to the degree there is trust in unconditional love. If Bristol found the courage to talk to “my mom, the Governor”, then the trust level between the two must be exceptional.

- In their public statements, and by example, the Palin’s have clearly distinguished their beliefs about pre-marital sex (Gov. Palin has been a big proponent of abstinence education) from the pregnancy itself. The Palin’s are right: there is no such thing as the sin of getting pregnant. A baby is never a curse for wrongdoing. It takes special people to see new life, in these circumstances, as an underserved blessing.

- There exists a temptation for any family, but particularly a family in the public’s eye, to hide an unexpected pregnancy. In the past, when abortion was rare, unwed mothers were sent away for seven months. They usually returned empty handed and nobody said a word. We know Bristol’s pregnancy, on the other hand, was a well known fact in her little town. Her parents bucked both local shame, and other easy ways out, and kept her close when she needed them most.

- I would never suggest marriage as a universal solution to an unwed pregnancy (one mistake doesn’t demand another). But, when a young father decides to act like the dad he is, something very good is happening. I wouldn’t be so quick to assume, as I’ve heard on the news, that Bristol’s and Levi’s wedding must be politics-driven. Silly wisdom says they are obviously too young to make a life-long commitment. Let me say, in my line of work, I’ve seen a lot of old men act like little boys, and their life experience doesn’t translate into commitment. If these two now have the courage to grow-up together, all I can say is “Good for you, Levi. Good for you, Bristol. And good for you Mr. and Mrs. Palin, for allowing two kids to become adults.”

What does the Palin family instinct and character have to do with where we are now in the election process?

I do not know if Gov. Sarah Palin will make a good Vice-President. I do know she is being an exceptional mom, also in moments of crisis. Some have said, in many, many ways, “Big deal!”

But most of these are men.

I ask if any of us guys could be a mom of five, with a handicapped child, achieve an 83% approval rating as state governor, and smile all the way through a prime time speech, after the week this woman has just had.

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Peggy Noonan on Politics Again

I posted part of Peggy Noonan's comments on the DNC last week, and Justin Taylor pointed out another great piece by Noonan on the RNC today.

The entire article is very worth the read, but I particularly found this part dead on and something you are very rarely going to hear from anyone in the media:

Let me say of myself and almost everyone I know in the press, all the chattering classes and political strategists and inside dopesters of the Amtrak Acela Line: We live in a bubble and have around us bubble people. We are Bubbleheads. We know this and try to compensate for it by taking road trips through the continent -- we're on one now, in Minneapolis -- where we talk to normal people. But we soon forget the pithy, knowing thing the garage mechanic said in the diner, and anyway we weren't there long enough in the continent to KNOW, to absorb. We view through a prism of hyper-sophistication, and judge by the rules of Chevy Chase and Greenwich, of Cleveland Park and McLean, of Bronxville and Manhattan.

And again we know this, we know this is our limit, our lack.

But we also forget it.

And when you forget you're a Bubblehead you get in trouble, you misjudge things. For one thing, you assume evangelical Christians will be appalled and left agitated by the circumstances of Mrs. Palin's daughter. But modern American evangelicals are among the last people who'd judge her harshly. It is the left that is about to go crazy with Puritan judgments; it is the right that is about to show what mellow looks like. Religious conservatives know something's wrong with us, that man's a mess. They are not left dazed by the latest applications of this fact. "This just in – there's a lot of sinning going on out there" is not a headline they'd understand to be news.

So the media's going to wait for the Christian right to rise up and condemn Mrs. Palin, and they're not going to do it because it's not their way, and in any case her problems are their problems. Christians lived through the second half of the 20th century, and the first years of the 21st. They weren't immune from the culture, they just eventually broke from it, or came to hold themselves in some ways apart from it. I think the media will explain the lack of condemnation as "Republican loyalty" and "talking points." But that's not what it will be.

Finally someone points out that the whole "judgmental" label people always want to throw at Christians is based on a small minority of people who only call themselves Christians. By definition, Christians should be the last to be surprised to hear that Palin's daughter made a mistake. Being a person with Christian values doesn't mean you'll never make a mistake; we are the ones aware that "All have sinned." It does mean, however, that when you make mistakes, you handle them differently (i.e. marrying the father and having the child).

I am not disappointed by the Palin situation. Obviously, there was sin involved, but Christ died precisely for those kinds of sins provided her daughter is a Christian, has faith in Christ's substitutionary death, and repents of her sin (something I myself have to do everyday). Christians aren't surprised that people sin, and we should be the last to condemn as well.

Ted Dekker - Sinner

Ted Dekker latest novel was released yesterday, and of course I had to get my copy the first day. I definitely appreciate Ted's style of writing, blending a Dean Koontz or Stephen King style of suspense and drama with Christian imagery and allegory. His books always have me on the edge of my seat and unable to put the book on the nightstand and actually go to sleep.

Anyway, his newest book, Sinner, is a very intriguing story. It takes place in the future and seems to be a commentary on the new definition of tolerance that is taking hold in America.

From the Christian Manifesto:

Sinner may just be the most important novel Dekker has penned to date. From page one we are effectively drawn back into the world of Project Showdown and the Books of History. Dekker presents us with a very probable and frightening future where proclaiming the Word of Christ is not only discouraged but also prohibited. Johnny’s refusal to back down is inspiring while Billy’s struggle with the darkness is sobering and gut wrenching. When Billy comes face to face with the evil he created as a child we are effectively reminded of our own depravity and our need for the Light.

Throughout Sinner Dekker effectively uses issues of racism and religious tension to propel this supercharged tale to an explosive conclusion. Never has Dekker shown more courage in his writing and never has he shown us the Light with such brilliance. Lines have been drawn and the stakes have been raised. Now it’s time for the ultimate showdown to begin.

I read 5 chapters last night and I'm already hooked.


Here's an interesting interview with Ted at CBN.com.

A sample:

If readers, young and old, would take even a moment to reflect on our rapidly shifting culture and ideology, I would be happy. Many leaders of the older generation dismiss emerging culture. Those leaders are at risk of becoming a feeble voice-piece without followers. Most of the younger generation is going deaf to the truth. Too few are speaking the truth in their language. If Sinner has a wake up call, it’s to both generations. To the older: Speak the truth to the shapers of tomorrow in their language. To the younger: Listen to those who speak the truth.

And here's the book trailer they put together.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Leah's Maternity Pictures

While Leah and I were down in Tennessee at her parents' lakehouse, her sister-in-law, Diana, was kind enough to do some maternity pictures for us. Diana is a great photographer down in Chattanooga. You can see her website here and her blog here.

Here are some of the maternity pictures she posted on her blog today. When we see the rest, I might post some more.

Naming Children

Molly Piper posted on her blog the story behind her 2nd son's name, Morrow John Piper. Molly and her husband Abraham's daughter, Felicity was stillborn last year, and this is the back story for Morrow's name. Amazing stuff. As someone with a son due in about 3 months, really gets to me.

There are so many beautiful references in the Bible to the morning (when his mercies are new, when we want him to satisfy us, how we should long for him, etc.). But the one that resonated the most with me was Psalm 30:5, particularly the second part of the verse.

For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Monday, September 1, 2008

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