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Impurity of Worship

Interesting what you come across where you least expect it.

I have been reading the first volume of a trilogy on the 26th President’s life, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. My purpose in reading it has been simply to enjoy learning more about this larger-than-life man. Never did I expect to have to examine my own heart regarding worship the way I did when I came across this excerpt from a letter of Roosevelt. Listen to what then Civil Service Commissioner Roosevelt said about President Benjamin Harrison following a meeting they had just had:

“Damn the President! He is a cold-blooded, narrow-minded, prejudiced, obstinate, timid old psalm-singing Indianapolis politician.”

Though Roosevelt’s rant is typical of him when he did not get his way, it is interesting how he related the President’s action with his worship practices – in Indiana, no less!This reminded me of a similar line I had read long ago but not forgotten in Gene Stratton-Porter’s (born in Indiana) classic book Freckles. At this point in the story the main character Freckles, a one-handed orphan learning to work the once-great lumber lines of northern Indiana, is recounting his experience of how people […]

Summer Sparks

Setting sun, in its finale,
Drenching clouds with changing hues;

Glowing bits like shooting stars, Fly up then fade from the backyard fire;

Rising fireflies o’er darkening fields, Myriads of tiny angels, signaling the news:

Soon gone are summer sparks, Brief joys of which we never tire.

Slapping thighs, along with a few mosquitoes, As stories meander in the dimming light;

Water’s magnet still attracting Splashing children too soon grown;

Even quieting voices sharing crossesMake hearts glow in the peace of the stilling night;

Summer sparks become dying embersUnless remembrance be over them blown.

Funny How

Funny how – What I see now:On her back the ladybug Struggling against little thugs,Ants, not gentlemen, with a goal, “Drag her down into the hole.”

Funny how – What I see now:This micro tragedy Reminder of my own trajectory,Sin and death, no gentlemen, with a goal, “Drag him down into the hole.”

Funny how – What I see now:Tiniest red and black providence Reminder of my own recompense,Christ, the Gentle God-Man, with a goal, “Take Me instead into the hole.”

Funny how – What I see now.

Life and Language in the Old Testament

I’m currently reading a little treasure of a book entitled “Life and Language in the Old Testament” by Mary Ellen Chase. I happened upon this book by chance in a used book store on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Having no first-hand knowledge of this author I was skeptical at first, but I took it to be a low stakes gamble with a price tag of 8$. I’m always eager to read something different in the realm of Old Testament studies, and this book did not disappoint.

Chase is no theologian, and when her comments do broach the realm of theology there is the slight hint of higher-critical leanings. However, her great strengths are her appreciation for the literary uniqueness of the Old Testament and her grasp of Hebrew thought patterns. She writes like a novelist, with vivid, descriptive language, and has an unmistakable love for the rich literary features of the Hebrew Bible. The categories and tendencies of Hebrew thought and language, so different from out own, are masterfully described with enthusiasm that is contagious to the reader.

Chase’s approach is an important one. In the Reformed tradition we tend to see any given Hebrew text as a theological nut to […]