Monthly Archives: November 2012

Thank God that Christians Are Not Totally Depraved – Reformation21

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And Eats Hate

God does not just feed us when times are easy. He feeds us when we are at home and at peace, He feeds us on the road, and He feeds us when we are at war. He sets a Table for us, David says, in the presence of our enemies.

There are two ways this could go. One way would represent a wavering of faith on our part. The presence of our enemies, and their awareness of us, could cause us to lose our appetite. We might come to think it was somehow not appropriate for us to eat — even though God prepared the food — when we were in such a circumstance. But to state this plainly shows us what we ought to do. The Lord prepared the Table for a reason, after all.

The other way it can go is this. Our enemies see what God has done for us, and the incongruity of the whole thing is not lost on them either. But their response is rage. We can know this, and refuse to alter our enjoyment of God’s kindness to us, and yet remain free from spite.

If any of them set down their weapons of rage, and petition the Lord of the Table for a seat at it, He would provide one — a seat purchased by His own blood, just as our seats were purchased. No, we are driven by joy, and not by spite. How could we begrudge such a thing, after what it took to get us here?

No, this is the Table that feeds love, and eats hate. The world, and all it contains, will go down before it. So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

from Blog and Mablog See it at:

N.T. Wright on what it means to be human – Jake Belder

N.T. Wright on what it means to be human

Over the last couple of weeks as I have wandered the streets of Hull, I have had the opportunity to listen to three lectures N.T. Wright gave at a conference the West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies hosted in 2010. The theme of the conference was ‘Human flourishing in tomorrow’s world’, and Wright spoke on wisdom, glory, and virtue, each of which explored what it means to be truly human.

The lectures are absolutely brilliant, and well worth taking the time to watch. This is the vision of human flourishing that we need, one that is firmly rooted in Scripture, and one that embraces and celebrates the new life we have in Christ in all its fullness.

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from Jake Belder See it at:

He Gives Us Food

He Gives Us Food

In partaking of this meal, we are recognizing that the Lord Jesus is our ruler and sovereign. We rejoice in His righteousness, and we exult in His care for us. That care is manifested in a glorious way, here, at this Table.

“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment” (Dt. 10:17-18).

Our God is the God of gods. He is the Lord of lords. He is mighty and terrible, and cannot be bought off with human bribes. The only payment He has ever received concerning His judgment of us was the payment of His Son’s blood, which is the memorial before us now. He is the one who defends the fatherless and widow, rising up to destroy all those who would show contempt to them.

Our God loves the stranger—which is what we were before His kindness brought us near. And what does He do for the stranger? He provides him with raiment, which in our case was the perfect white robe of Christ’s righteousness. We were naked and He clothed us.

What else does He do? He provides us with food. Here before us is the body of Jesus Christ, broken for sinners, and the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for sinners. May you come to this meal? Well, are you a sinner? Have you recognized that sin by receiving the washing represented in baptism? If you have, then you may come. Anyone may come on this basis. Anyone may respond to this invitation. And all who may come on this basis must come.

Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

from Blog and Mablog See it at:

Shared from Orthodoxy

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Time to die: U.N. ads promote killing off the elderly

What’s the solution to over population? Make more room through euthanization. See it at:

Do People Really Vote with Their Wallets? The New Moral Majority and the 2012 Election | Canon Fodder

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No exit | Rough Type

No exit

One of the advantages of embedding culture in nature, of requiring that works of reason and imagination be given physical shape, is that it imposes on artists and thinkers the rigor of form, particularly the iron constraints of a beginning and an ending, and it gives to the rest of us the aesthetic, intellectual, and psychological satisfactions of having a rounded experience, of seeing the finish line in the distance, approaching it, arriving at it. When we’re in the midst of the experience, we may not want it to end, we may dream of being launched into the deep blue air of endlessness, but the dream of endlessness is only possible, only has meaning, because of our knowledge that there is an end, even it is an arbitrary end, the film burning in the projector:

Long before Gutenberg forged his little metal letters in Mainz, the media of writing, being necessarily physical, had clear beginnings and endings. The scroll was more open-ended, more continuous than the tablet that preceded it and the page that followed it, but even a reader rolling through a scroll could see, and feel, the end approaching, had a pretty clear sense of what was left. Beginnings and endings predated the written word, of course — Odysseus returned home — but the forms that writing took in the world reinforced what seems to be our natural desire to start in one particular place and finish in another.

Digital media, particularly hypermedia, blur beginnings and endings. Everything is in the middle. No one other than an absurdist would ask where the web begins and ends; the web goes forever on. This is exciting in a way. When you’re used to having beginnings and endings, removing them can feel liberating. The inventors and promoters of hypertext and hypermedia systems have always celebrated the way they seem to free us from the constraints of form, the way they seem to reflect the open-endedness of thought itself and of knowledge itself. Said Ted Nelson: “Hierarchical and sequential structures, especially popular since Gutenberg, are usually forced and artificial.” He did not mean that as a compliment.

But even though we read “forced” and “artificial” as negative terms, there’s much that’s praiseworthy about the forced and the artificial. Civilization is forced and artificial. Culture is forced and artificial. Art is forced and artificial. These things don’t spring from the ground like dandelions. And isn’t one of the distinctive glories of the human mind its ability to impose beginnings and endings on its workings, to carve stories and arguments out of the endless branching flow of thought and impression? Not all containers are jails. Imposing form on the formless may be artificial, but it’s also liberating (not least for giving us walls to batter).

There are, as designer Craig Mod points out in an article on the future of magazines, practical angles here. What should give us pause about the shift from page to screen, Mod argues, is not the loss of paper but the loss of boundaries:

I miss the edges — physical and psychological. I miss the start of reading a print magazine, but mostly, I miss the finish. I miss the satisfaction of putting the bundle down, knowing I have gotten through it all. Nothing left. On to the next thing.

The very design of a physical magazine tells a story (sequential and, yes, hierarchical), from cover to table of contents to front matter to features to the last page with (typically) its little valedictory essay, textual or photographic. That’s a hard story to tell when entryways are everywhere and exits are nowhere. When there’s no way out, we get nervous. We start to feel trapped in our freedom:

While a stack of printed back issues of National Geographic may seem intimidating, it is not unapproachable. The magazines may be dense, but you know where you stand as you read them. But what about staring at an empty search box leading into the deep archive of …

Magazine websites, like the World Wide Web itself, open one up to continuous exploration through links and related content. There’s beauty in that, if one is up for total immersion. But it’s easier to become overwhelmed, or lost. … The question “How deep does it go?” is one that that nobody had to ask the printed edition of Newsweek. It’s not so clear. It’s why we love “Most Popular” and “Most E-mailed” lists — they bring some relief of edges to the digital page.

We may yearn for boundlessness, but to be granted it is to be cursed. ”Thought,” wrote Robert Frost, “has a pair of dauntless wings,” but “Love has earth to which she clings / With hills and circling arms about.” The web needs to find its bounds, and its bonds. It needs to come back to earth. That’s the challenge now.

from Rough Type See it at:

Conviction and No Condemnation Together | Exhortation

Conviction and No Condemnation Together

Our constant temptation as conservative Christians is to take our definition of sin from Scripture, which is appropriate, but then to calibrate our conviction levels for those sins on the basis of our own experience.

We know that not all sin is equally serious, and so the levels of a particular sin that we experience is not that serious, and anything outside the range of what we usually do is what the bad people do. In this way, we give our own sins a wink and a nod, and we can be quite severe with other people who take it to inappropriate lengths, or in inappropriate directions.

One of the reasons we do this is obvious—there is something in it for us. But there is another reason we sometimes hesitate to seek out real conviction. We know that some Christians have fallen prey to a morbid introspection, and we know that is not what God wants for us. We know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and if we continue to cruise along the way we do, at least we have the no condemnation part down, right?

But the Spirit’s work is to bring real comfort and real conviction together. Only He can do it. If we get the conviction without the comfort, we become a basket case. If we get the comfort without the conviction, we turn into spiritual sluggards. Left to ourselves, we always want to slip off in one direction or the other. Only the Spirit of God can drive a spear of conviction straight through your heart, and at the same time establish you in the joy of the Lord.

So when we come to confess our sins, we don’t have to pretend. We really are guilty of real sins. No one is exempt. At the same time, we kneel here—we don’t grovel or crawl. We humble ourselves to be raised up, and be seated at a royal table. We are children of a king, and not whipped dogs. So let us come and confess our sins to the Lord now.

from Blog and Mablog See it at: