Posts

Of What Is, and What Only Seems to Be

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Sometimes things happen in life that make it seem as if we are the helpless victims of a cold, dark, impersonal, and merciless fate. The inevitable consequence of such a belief is despair, a point made very poignantly in this medieval poem, O Fortuna, set to music in 1936 by Carl Orff. The video below is a powerful performance. I’ve watched it a dozen times at least in the last six months. If you’ve experienced tragedy and loss, you’ve no doubt felt what it describes, a sense of utter helplessness in the face of forces beyond your control. O Fortune, like the moon you are changeable, ever waxing ever waning; hateful life first oppresses and then soothes playing with mental clarity; poverty and power it melts them like ice. Watch it. Listen to it. Ponder the words carefully. (You can find the full lyrics here ). And then remember that it’s all wrong . There is a vast difference between what is and what only seems to be. In all the fluctuations of life, especially when things turn da

Three Months Gone

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Tomorrow will be three months without Melinda.    I can’t even begin to say how disorienting it has been without her.    That’s the best word for it, I think.   Disorienting .   At least, that’s the word that keeps popping into in my head.   We did everything together, went everywhere together, talked about everything and nothing.   I’ve heard some people say it’s wise for couples to have a “life outside of marriage,” to have some independence and personal space.   I don’t subscribe to that form of wisdom.    Someone much wiser said that the two shall become one.   And so it was for us.   Our lives were thoroughly intertwined, and neither of us would have had it any other way.   Melinda was a constant presence, a true companion and confidant in every way.   Life isn’t right without her.   Not for me, not for our children.   Tonight, our youngest (Olivia) is attending her first formal event as a high school student.   It will be the first of many “big” events to come in the life o

On My Wife's Victory

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You may have heard it said that Melinda lost her battle with cancer.  If so, you heard wrong.  She won the battle, and she did so in glorious fashion.    When it comes to the kingdom of heaven, truth is often paradoxical.   What seems true is often false, and what seems false is often true; what appears wise is foolish, and what seems foolish is the very height of wisdom.  Consider: The last will be first, and the first last (Matt. 20:16) Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matt. 16:25) Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matt. 23:12)   What conventional wisdom deems to be true is often false because we are looking at it from the wrong perspective.  Conventional wisdom says that Melinda lost her battle with cancer.  After all, it took her life.  But there is a larger frame of reference to consider.    In the book of Revelation, Jesus gives both warnings and words

1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project

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“If the 1619 Project were a term paper, any knowledgeable, fair-minded teacher would give it an F and be done with it.  It demonstrates not only incompetence in handling basic facts, but also a total disregard for the importance of using reliable sources.” [1] This is the conclusion of Peter W. Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, after an examination of the central claims of The New York Times’ widely celebrated initiative to reframe American history around slavery.  The initiative is the brainchild of Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer for the Times .  The project was launched in the August 18, 2019 special issue of The New York Times Magazine. [2]   Its basic premise is that the true founding of America was not 1776 with the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, [3] but 1619 with the arrival of the first African slaves brought to Virginia.  It was this event, Hannah-Jones argues, that expressed the real founding ideals of America.  “America was

The Gift of Friendship

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I have long been thankful for the many good—and I mean really good —friends my wife and I have.   We regard each one as a gift and blessing from God, “the giver of every good and perfect gift” (Jas. 1:17).   And surely, friendship is one of his greatest gifts.   Solomon says, “A friend loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17).   Even in adversity.   Some stick closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).     The Lord has given us many friends like this.    Since we first received the diagnosis (August 5) that Melinda’s cancer had returned, and were given a none too hopeful prognosis, we have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of love from our friends.     We have shed plenty of tears along the way, but not all of them have been sorrowful.   Early on, during a trip home from the oncologist, I heard Melinda’s phone go off.   As she read the text, she began to cry.   I asked her if everything was okay.   She handed me her phone, too choked up to answer.   It was a short message of encouragement and

Think about These Things

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I n Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul begins to drawn his letter to a close with one final exhortation, and it’s a very important one. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this to our spiritual growth because the battleground for the soul is the mind.  What do you do with your mind?   What kinds of things do you choose to think about?  What kinds of things do you allow your mind to feed on?  The music you listen to, the movies you watch, the books your read?  That’s all input into the mind, and it affects the soul for good or ill.  What do you think about when you lay awake at night waiting to fall asleep?  Again, what do you choose to do with your mind?   This is where the battle is fought in our striving to be holy.  Paul writes in Romans, Th

Some thoughts on the Lawsuit against Governor Kelly

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Introduction I have seen a good deal of pushback on social media concerning the lawsuit filed by two Kansas churches late last week against Governor Kelly’s executive order limiting public and private gatherings to no more than ten people.  The pushback has come from some dear Christian friends, good and godly people whom I love and respect in the Lord.  They have raised several points I would like to address.  But first some background. Background In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, Governor Laura Kelly issued executive order 20-18 on April 7, prohibiting “all public or private mass gatherings.”  The order defines a “mass gathering” as “more than ten people.”  With the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, two Kansas churches filed suit against the governor in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to challenge the order as it applies to churches.  The plaintiffs are First Baptist Church in Dodge City (pastored by Stephen Ormond) and Calvary Baptis

Some thoughts about the Covid-19 pandemic

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Here are a few observations from Scripture to keep in mind as we seek to respond appropriately, that is, faithfully , to the Coronavirus pandemic. First, biblical law empowers governing authorities to impose quarantines to protect public health.   In ancient Israel, if someone developed a suspicious spot on the skin, he was to be brought before the priest to be examined.   If the spot met certain criteria, he was pronounced “clean” and allowed to go his way.   If it met certain other criteria—we need not go into the details here—he was “shut up” (quarantined) for seven days and examined again.   Depending on his condition, he might be quarantined for another seven days (if there were no changes in the spot), pronounced clean (if the spot was improving), or pronounced unclean (if the spot was growing).   In the last case, he was to make his dwelling “outside the camp” for a prolonged, perhaps permanent, quarantine (see Lev. 13:1-46). [1]   The point here is to demonstrate a