Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lex Ridiculum


Here I am trying to focus on the impending arrival of our next little arrow. I'm going through life, minding my own business, re-reading books on how to lead little ones to God. I'm trying to ignore posts on my newsfeed from Judge Napolitano and Ben Swann, which constantly remind me that my liberty is being quickly eroded. I'm trying to ignore Syria and NSA and I-told-you-so moments, like:
If Ron Paul was president, he'd be sending up a holy-Patrick Henry-hue-and-cry over NSA.
If Ron Paul was president, he would not for a moment entertain the option of sending our soldiers to seize the dog that is Syria by the ears.
But, no. Most of us conservatives threw our vote away on the mouse who is Mitt...
the man who doesn't do I put this delicately...the testicular fortitude of Celine Dion...
leaving us the mouse who is Barack.

I hate to say I told you so.

But doggone it.
I attended a court proceeding last night. And now I've got that ever so familiar political burr under my saddle. And the offending topic?
My friend, Karen, could probably hear my eyes rolling as the offense was read because she turned around and smirked at me. ( You may not remember. But Karen remembers last year's battle with city hall over daytime curfew--a battle in which my friends and I fought the first skirmish here and the final skirmish here.)

I sat there last night and listened to the evidence presented, and I must say...
Really, people.
We're going to get our knickers in a knot over when a sixteen year old is sitting at a picnic table in a park?!?!
This is truly stupendous.
No wonder our court dockets are overloaded.
No wonder our justice system is ineffective.

Can you imagine Sam Adams taking this sitting down?
Excuse me, Mr. Adams, I can see the Boston chief of police saying, but we need a nighttime curfew to keep your children safe. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men at 3 a.m? 
As if evil doesn't lurk in the hearts of men at 3 p.m.
A righteously indignant Mr. Adams volleys back:
And why, Mr. Police Chief, is it your duty to look over my shoulder as father and head of my home and second guess the freedoms which I choose to grant or deny my own children? Pray, Sir, do you intend to also lend your approbation to how I distribute their allowance? or manage their chores? or how I don my breeches each morning?

For this is as preposterous.
Consider for a moment the infringement on liberty that is 'curfew.'
Consider that while curfew might be a sound house rule, it is never acceptable civil law.
Consider just how noxious is the notion that a government of a free society would limit the movement of its citizenry.
Consider that the safety of the children is not left to the jurisdiction of the State but to that of the Family.
Consider that for Law to be King, Law must not be ridiculous.
And consider that this utterly ridiculous idea that 'government-enforced curfew is good law' will have some unintended consequences...

It can give a 16 year old youngster a criminal record that bars him from getting into the college of his choice.
Yes. Really.
Being out in public after midnight.
Do we really intend to create a populace where hardened criminals started out as...curfew breakers?

What are you in for? says convicted rapist.
Being in the park at 3 a.m.

We all need to rethink this one.
Chill out; eat some fruit.
Go listen to some Alice's Restaurant. (Arlo Guthrie got this one right--and it might be the most valuable 30 minutes you spend today.)
Get over our love affair with the Nanny State.

But we won't.

Please, people. I'm trying to grow a baby here.
Could someone else be Patrick Henry or Sam Adams or the Obnoxious Big Mouth in this city for a while?

What's that noise?
Oh, just us freedom-loving Americans.
Baa, baa, baa.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From the Hill: A Quick Thank You

This is not a hill I want to die on.
This is not the issue I want to define Who I am or What I stand for.

Nevertheless, every once in a while, I find I myself on this hill again. It's never been one I go looking to take; it gets brought to me.
An endless series of mini-lectures which blames women for problems in the church, problems in culture, problems in marriage. A view so convinced of the evil of the female gender specifically that whether a person really believes the Bible is judged by his views of women's issues. (I guess I always thought the litmus test would be whether he believes the gospel...)
Shoot, if I gave the opportunity, (which I do not, as I try to get out of, rather than into these conversations) I'd probably even hear about how Eve was the problem in Eden.
As if Jesus was called the Second Eve rather than the Second Adam.
But I don't want to go there.
Adam is not my target.
Men are not my target.
I don't want to be a female chauvinist any more than I want to men to be misogynists.

No, I do not want to die on this hill.
Problem is, I do die on this hill.
From friendly fire.
For weeks, I'm a wreck, detoxing and praying and forgiving and fighting the imbalance that would pull me into the other ditch.
As if I don't equally despise that ditch.

When a conference on fatherhood came to our region on the heels of yet another round of friendly fire, I admit I was a little jittery. This looked a lot like that hill again. But I know Brett. I know his heart. I know his grounding in the scripture. I know he's not going to get sucked in by troglodytes posing as patriarchs.  Bottom line: I trust him.

When he got home three days later, it was clear that he had been challenged and affirmed and was re-committed to leading his family. "You would have liked this," he said. I waited. I didn't want to contradict, but I was doubtful.

And here's what he heard:
He heard one keynote say that men must learn to live with their wives in an understanding way.
(And this washes over me like a cooling rain. So long, Created to Be His Doormat.)
He heard one panelist say of raising daughters, "They need to be smart; they need to be educated. They could be raising our next president."
(You mean...not just a uterus with a broom? Again. A cup of cold water.)

Brett's still talking about what he heard.
So is our thirteen year old, whom he took along.
Stories that deeply impacted them.
Teaching that challenged them.

Maybe someday I won't ever have to die on that hill again.
Maybe someday the fire will stop, and this war on womanhood, this war I did not ask for.
Maybe someday I will never have to run for cover or detox,
Or write about this or talk about this again.
Or maybe that's Heaven.

Even so...

To you men who embrace manhood without declaring war on womanhood,
To you men who know that we're with you, not against you,
That we're your partners in the chief end of man, not your enemies,
That we want you to be successful in your call to manhood, that we're cheering for you...

To you men who recognize that we are pursuing godly womanhood, too,
That we, by God's grace, have the capacity to be submissive rather than subversive...

To you men, whose manhood is built on scripture, rather than on our subjugation,
On dominion, rather than domination,
Who are trying to fix what broke in Eden...

To you men who have the courage to teach what is right and righteous about gender roles...
To you men who are so solid that my husband was able to affirm what you said--rather than correct it--to my 13 year old...

From one woman who is weary of being a casualty on this hill,
You are restoring my faith.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I think I'm lactose intolerant. I haven't enjoyed milk since I was about two.
And salad bars and baby food aisles send me scurrying in search of animal flesh.
I'm a carnivore. I like meat. No, I love meat, preferably meat that used to say, "Moo," grilled over hot coals, with a pink center. A little seasoning, a fork and a knife, and I'm good.

Oh. Did you think I meant food?
(Well, actually, I am a carnivore at the dinner table, but...)

I mean church. Give me a meaty sermon, served up hot, convicting, Biblical, challenging. Give me something to chew on all week. Give me something so dense I'll need some toothpicks to go with it.
Keep your milk.
Keep your best life now.
I'll take my best life later, thanks.

A few years back, I was having a conversation with a visitor to our church. He was trying to be diplomatic, I think. "We prefer a more...emotional...relationship with the Lord."
Translation: The worship here doesn't get me revved up enough. Too many hymns; too many words.

I was stunned, not at the position, because I already knew it to be true about a large segment of the Church population. No, I was stunned at the willing admission, freely given as if it was acceptable, justifiable.

It makes me sad because I think it points to a cheapened view of the Gospel.
I don't understand what about a perfect God-man dying in my place...
or loving me while I was still a rebel...
or extending the unmerited favor of God...
or finishing the work He began in me...
or promising me a place in Heaven...
doesn't make us weep with grateful, humbled emotion.

What? In my place condemned He stood doesn't do it for ya?

It's like a large portion of the Body is saying,
Yeah, yeah, yeah. The cross. The resurrection. 
Justification. Sanctification. I get it, already. 
That substitutionary atonement stuff--that's so first century.
Can we get on to the more interesting "Holy Spirit" stuff?
Can we get to the power and gifts?
Can we focus on how much God just loooooooooves me?

Are you kidding me???

Author/theologian DA Carson, in his book, The Cross and Christian Ministry, talks about his infant son, who was a projectile vomiter:
At least he had an excuse. He was young, and his digestive system was obviously not as well developed as his sister's at the same age. Best of all, he quickly outgrew this stage. But there are Christians who are international-class projectile vomiters, spiritually speaking, after years and years of life. They simply cannot digest what Paul calls solid food. You must give them milk, for they are not ready for anything more. And if you try to give them anything other than milk, they upchuck and make a mess of everyone and everything around them. At some point, the number of years they have been Christians leads you to expect something like mature behavior from them, but they prove disappointing. They are infants still and display their wretched immaturity even in the way they complain if you give them more than milk. Not for them solid knowledge of scripture; not for them mature theological reflection; not for them growing and perceptive Christian thought. They want nothing more than another round of choruses and a 'simple message'--something that won't challenge them to think, to examine their lives, to make choices, and to grow in their knowledge and adoration of the living God." (p.72)

I am thankful for the Carnivorous Church.

I'm thankful for elders (like mine) who have such a high view of their men and good theology that they've taken them through a course in hermeneutics so that they can read the Bible better to themselves and to their families.
The making of carnivorous men.

I'm thankful for a such a high view of children that even the very young cut their teeth on weekly, meaty sermons with the adults-- a view which expects that even these little ones can take something away from it.
The making of carnivorous kids.

I'm thankful for a high view of women that expects them to display submissive feminine beauty with massive steel in their backs and theology in their brains. (Piper)
And we get the hermeneutics course, too! No knitting circle, this.
The making of carnivorous ladies.

I'm thankful for a such a high view of scripture and careful, expository preaching that is so concerned for God's glory and so centered on the Gospel that it might take three and a half years to cover the book of Matthew. And every sermon points back to the Cross.
The making of carnivorous congregations.

Meanwhile, back at the Happy Clappy Ranch...
we have Buffoons-For-Jesus (though I seriously doubt Jesus lays any claim to these Wide Path 'preachers') standing on the dais, proclaiming how much God is for you--with nary a mention of sin, repentance, or the price of redemption.

Simpering, spineless, large-smiled, small-brained, theology disdaining, scripture-altering, gospel-shrugging, crowd-pleasing, ear-tickling 'shepherds'...
who lead the sheep to thistly grass and standing water and cliffs' edges--and death.

Is there a place for these ministries?
Oh yes.
There is a place for them.

But I digress.

Al Mohler, in an appropriately scathing indictment of modern preaching, says, "The anemia of evangelical directly attributable to the absence of genuine expository preaching. Such preaching would confront the congregation with nothing less than the living and active Word of God."

Why is the Church impotent? Because we're all feeding like a bunch of silly vegans...
We're suffering from a severe protein shortage.
We're gaunt.
We're anemic.
We're losing muscle.

We can't even handle our Bibles. How are we supposed to handle a world at enmity with God?

And then we start hearing this trendy observation...which needs some discernment:
"I just wanna love God and love people."
I admit it; this makes me cringe.
Say this to me, and I'm staring at you through suspicious, squinting eyes trying to figure out...
Are you saying this because you're milk-fed or meat-fed?

If you're meat-fed, what you mean is,
If all of the law and prophets are summed up in these two commands, then I need to know the law and the prophets so I know what love looks like. I'm on the hook here. I better be feeding on and hearing preaching on the whole counsel of scripture.
If you're milk-fed, what you mean is,
Shrug. I'm off the hook. I don't need to know the law or the prophets...or pretty much anything else. All I need is a happy Sunday service with happy songs and a happy message and, um, happy people being, well, happy. And loving people means that, um, I'm nice to 'em.

So you'll have to excuse me if when you say to me, "I just wanna love God and love people,"  you are then subjected to a barrage of questions posed by moi. My own kids have gotten the interview.
I'm just trying to figure out your diet.

I dearly hope my home is a place where our children are weaned from milk to meat as soon as possible.
I dearly hope we are cultivating in our children an appetite and a craving for meat, not milk.
I dearly hope that in my home, we're raising Carnivore Christians.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word.
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you, who for refuge, to Jesus hath fled?