A Doctrine to be Whispered

I do not often shout at my wife. If not for some foolish moments of indiscretion in my youth, I could even say I never shout at her. Why? Well, I would like to convince you of how noble I am, but that’s not really the truth in this situation. The bottom line, I would have to say, is that it simply just does not work. I always lose, and I hate losing.

For some reason, every time I have shouted at Miriam it has failed to move her to see things my way. Can you believe that? The Proverbs say, “The anger of man does not accomplish the purposes of God.” The few experiments where I have tried to prove the opposite hypothesis have ended in dismal failure. I have pulled a few Mount Merapis on her, which I think I could count on no more than my own fingers (though I am sure Miriam, being the sweet helpmeet she is, would lend me hers for the ones I have forgotten). At those times, I have only succeeded 1) in convincing her how utterly wrong I am anyway, 2) in making it nearly impossible to communicate further, and 3) in […]


The Glory of Old Men

Despite the fact that I re-sprained the arch of my left foot doing so, and had to hobble the rest of the way through it, I thoroughly enjoyed getting out on the basketball court with my two oldest sons last night at the spanking new YMCA in Flora. We played with dads and sons associated with our local home school team. When the local yoga class dismissed after the first hour, we were able to go full court. Someone had the idea of letting the young bucks on the team play together against the rest of us, which meant mainly us dads. I thought they would run us into the ground, but was surprised that, well, actually the opposite occured. As I scratched my head afterwards wondering how we pulled it off, it came to me when I remembered the ancient proverb:

The glory of young men is their strength, but the glory of old men is they know how to pass.


A Reminder Outside My Window

While I was in the Philippines in 2004, Miriam orchestrated, with the help of several friends in the church, the redecoration of my office. I had worked in it for months with it looking like a bomb shelter that had taken a direct hit. Two walls, invaded by outside moisture, had to have the plaster knocked completely off, with the west wall having only lath left and the northern wall being a rough, ugly brick of several varieties. The gray indoor-outdoor carpet was worn through in spots, stained, and dust-ridden. The two windows were both stained glass, but the glass had been broken in spots, the wood was rotting around the frames, and the lack of light was depressing. On the very day I arrived, Miriam took me that afternoon to the church, where I was met by a surprise party of dear friends and family in my new office, whch had been utterly transformed. It had freshly dry walled and painted walls, all color-coordinated with the new carpet and office chairs that were recovered in a sharp royal blue. New bookshelves lined my walls, where my books could finally display themselves appropriately rather than being double-stacked or […]


Caution: Men at Work

Every so often I don the role of Embarrasem Keillor and tell the congregation a story such as the one below about the saints of a church named Sycamore located near Lake Woes-Be-Gone. When asked about how he sculpted his works, Michelangelo used to say that the sculpture was already hidden in the rock. He just removed the rest of the stone to release it. In a similar vein I do not write these stories. They write themselves. I simply remove the irrelevant details and unveil what is already here.If you have never been to Sycamore church on one of its Men’s Work Days, it is a bit hard to explain to you what you are missing. The best way I can describe it is to ask you to imagine a series of outtakes of a now-defunct PBS program called “This Old Church” that somehow got mixed up with scenes from a Laurel and Hardy movie. Often the ladies of the church come to the building after one of these work days expecting to see great improvements rendered to the building, only to have their hopes dashed upon entering. They wander around the church building bewildered, asking one another such […]


A College Course Option

When it comes to college education, perhaps you should not listen to me.

My oldest son is only a senior in high school, so I cannot yet claim to speak from family experience.
Those friends of mine who have children away at college or are involved in college ministry may not like my suggestion below.
If you are a college student already living away at college, you may consider the thoughts in this blog out-of-touch and shake your head in sympathy at this uncool, middle-aged guy who just doesn’t get it.

Nonetheless, I would like to suggest another option for college rather than the typical sending of an eighteen year-old off to university. Why not consider keeping your son or daughter home for at least another year or two and have them attend a local college? Please realize I am not condemning those who choose to send their high school graduate off to college the next fall. Rather, I’m offering another “course option” for doing college that I have been observing others doing with success. I have three reasons for suggesting this: giving additional time for maturity, avoiding huge costs and debt, and deepening the generational ties.

Additional time for maturity – My […]


Blogpology

Now look carefully at the title. This is not entitled blogology, which would be the study of the history of weblogs and their societal impact.

Neither is it blogistics, which would measure the statistics of weblog sites, such as the percentage of certain types of blogs, number of hits per day, etc.

No, this is a blogpology. This is where the blogger apologizes for the appalling lack of blogging he has done lately to anyone who might care.

A while back I promised to blog more frequently, and not always to make my blogs into articles. Yet I have not kept that promise, so for that I ask your patience and forgiveness. I was trying to get at least one out a week, and thought I was succeeding for a time. Yet when I made that claim recently, a blogging buddy of mine whose regularity and interesting blog I admire challenged me (before I dropped out of the blogosphere like a plane with engines failing), and he was right. I have not even kept that one per week pace. Oops – I have slipped into blogistics. Anyway, to him (you know who you are and with this hyperlink now so does everyone else!) […]


The Supper of the Lord

Recently a friend who attends our church asked me:

“Would you give me some scripture that supports the church’s decision to be so selective in who partakes in communion?…As you know, I attended a church were the sacraments were offered to anyone who wanted to partake.”

This is a great question. Should the Lord’s Supper be offered to anyone who wants to take it, or are there certain conditions that should be met before one is given the privilege to come? I thought others might be interested in the answer. Here’s a few of the things, slightly altered and edited for the blogworld, I shared with her…

We can read about Jesus first instituting the Lord’s Supper in Matthew 26:17-29 (it is also in the other gospels). To answer this question, we must recognize that this first communion took place at the time of the Passover (note verses 17-19). The Passover was the meal the Jews ate to commemorate God’s deliverance of them out of Egypt through the blood of the lamb. As you might recall, only those who had this blood on their doorpost were saved from the angel of death. In God’s plan, Jesus was put to death at this Passover […]


A Reminder to the Youth

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”-I John 2:15-17

When speaking a year ago to a youth conference regarding guarding against the world’s influence, numerous questions arose about how to know whether you should or should not watch a movie, buy a CD, or visit certain internet sites. Christians cannot simply apply stickers to certain movies or music that claim they are “God-approved.” However, certain Biblical principles such as the ten that follow can guide us into applying wisdom in making these decisions.

1. If it cannot bring glory to God, it will not bring joy to you. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)2. If you cannot honor your parents by participating in it, it is […]


Media by Us

Almost every newspaper or news magazine likes to tout that they are unbias and objective in their reporting. Yet all of us, when retelling events we have witnessed or researched (which is at the heart of news reporting), shape the account for our readers or listeners by the way we report it. We cannot help doing so, for our hearts and minds, indeed our very being, are involved in the process of writing. We will always have “media bias” because media is done by us. One reason I appreciate World magazine is they honestly admit right up front the perspective they use in reporting the news.

I thought of this recently as I found myself being quoted in a local paper regarding our church’s struggle with the library board and what transpired at their last meeting (you can read the article here). In large measure, I appreciate the Kokomo Perspective for bringing this issue to the public’s attention as the library’s decision will affect not only our congregation but the entire community. I sense the columnist may be somewhat sympathetic to our plight. Where he quotes me, he is using the words I uttered.

However, the columnist’s own perspective cannot help but […]


Now You Know Why

Last post (see below) I explained how I suffer from Celiaism. I know how annoying people can be who insist on telling you about every ache and pain of their condition, but bear with me as I offer an anecdote from yesterday that will help you sympathize with me better.

Yesterday in our church service I had the privilege of baptizing a big bear of a man named Greg. As he testified to before the congregation, Greg was formerly a bouncer who loved to fight and was afraid of nothing, until God brought the fear of the Lord upon him and led him to where he heard the gospel. As I was about to apply the water to this man who must weigh 300 pounds or more, my wife said to Celia, “Look, Daddy is about to baptize Greg.” Celia, obviously thinking of the many babies she had seen baptized, looked up at her mom and asked, “How is Daddy going to hold him?”

I’ll try to refrain from now on saying anything more about my condition, but then again remember I can’t help it. It’s my Celiaism kicking in.