[Note: I’m sure there’s a spiritual application to this story. But I haven’t found it yet; feel free to supply one.]
CNN has asked the question, “Is it morally right to celebrate bin Laden’s death?” It is a good question, even if CNN doesn’t answer it well. How should we respond to the death of an enemy? Specifically, how should those who love and follow Christ respond to justice?
This is the best and most useful exercise in humility, when (God) accustoms us to obey his Word, even though it be preached through men like us and sometimes even by those of lower worth than we. If he spoke from heaven, it would not be surprising if his sacred oracles were to be reverently received without delay by the ears and minds of all. For who would not dread the presence of His power? Who would not be stricken down at the sight of such great majesty? Who would not be confounded at such boundless splendor? But when a puny man risen from the dust speaks in God’s name, at this point we best evidence our piety and obedience toward God if we show ourselves teachable toward his minister, although he excels us in nothing.
–John Calvin (Institutes 4.3.1)
Like many parents, I am regularly rebuked of how greatly I underestimate my children. How often something slips from their lips and Lisa and I look at each other with eyes that say, “wow, they were actually paying attention” or “wow, we need to watch what we say!” But rarely have I been so encouraged and exhilarated as I was after last Sunday’s service.
It is an observation worthy of attention, that false religions have commonly been more successful than the true one, in persuading men to devote their substance to sacred uses; not surely because error is, in its own nature, more efficacious than truth, but because the former accords better with the vanity and corrupt propensities of mankind. –John Dick, Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles, 306
The startling headline grabbed my attention: “Religion May Become Extinct in Nine Nations“. Reported yesterday by the BBC, a group of researchers, using something called nonlinear dynamics, has found indication that religion is not only declining but heading toward extinction in at least nine nations
The Puritans were fond of calling pastors “physicians of the soul.” JI Packer explains:
A physician’s business is to check, restore, and maintain the health of those who commit themselves to his care.
It’s almost ten in the morning, but google is devastating my day, reminding me that it’s still only negative five degrees outside. On the drive in (which felt like my personal Iditarod), the kind news voice told me the wind chill would be negative twenty today. A few minutes ago I realized I had forgotten my lunch in the truck and ran out to retrieve it (frozen solid as it is)–the cold is more than bracing; it’s crippling and dangerous. One simply can’t stand there and take it.
At a recent conference, while lecturing through God’s teaching on friendship in Proverbs, I made a passing comment about the reality, danger and limits of friendships with the opposite sex. (Reality: yes, men and women are friends. Danger: such friendships, if not purposeful and careful, will often result in confusion if not pain. Limits: aside from marriage, our closest friendships must be with members of the same sex.) As I later realized, I had opened a can of worms without being fully prepared to deal with the slimy things. Later in the weekend, I was able to gather some clearer thoughts on the subject and in hopes that they might be helpful, here they are.
As most are painfully aware, the recent horrific murders in Tucson have given rise not only to grieving but a lively game of finger-pointing as well. The left blames the right, the right blames the left. The politicians blame the talk show hosts, who are only too delighted to return the favor. Following are a few thoughts on our current culture of blame.