Friday, November 27, 2009
In an office, thirty years in the future, with a thirty something young man on a couch and a pastoral looking guy:
“Is this your first counseling session?”, asks the pastoral looking guy.
“Yes”, replies the young man (who is strikingly handsome like his father).
“Well, why don’t you tell me why you’re here?”
“Well, ever since I graduated from Yale Law, I have been kinda, um, listless.”
“Yes. After I graduated, I spent some time traveling, then organized goat rodeos, then was a meat artist, and now work at Shoneys. I think I have issues.”
“Yeah. Can you help me?”
“Maybe. Is your dad still alive? Tell me about your dad.”
“Uh-huh. For years wrote this blog under a pseudonym – Uberdog, Innersmog, Outerfrog, something like that. He had a nervous breakdown a few years ago. A lot of times, he just mumbles a lot about needing another Grande Mocha. He just stares into space for hours and with a pained look on his face ask the same questions over and over, ‘How could two toddlers poop in their bath on the same night? How is that possible?’. Its just sad.”
“And your mom?”
“She’s fine. She’s brilliant. Just saw her at Christmas. She loves dad a lot. Buys him a lot of Mochas.”
“Well, I think that I know what is going on.”
“Yes, you have a all the symptoms of ‘PDD’.”
“Yes, you have what is known as Parent Deficit Disorder. You had parents, but they were just not with the programs. Just had a very similar case of PDD this morning. A Harvard grad. Calls himself the ‘Linebacker Starter Kit’.”
“Really? Blonde guy? About 6’1, husky build?”
“Yep. How did you know that?”
“Sounds like my brother…..”
It’s 2008 and parenting is still humbling. We seem to go in and out of seasons where we gain a little confidence only to be confounded by some unforeseen challenge. Some days are better than others. It turns out that “Shepherding Your Child’s Heart” sounds poetic but does not come easily most days.
Ranching My Child’s Brain? Sure.
Coercing My Child’s Bladder? Check.
Driving My Child’s Hiney? Got it.
Shepherding My Child’s Heart? Not nearly enough.
But as I read the Scriptures and see that my sanctification is progressive, that my maturity is gradual, and that my Father is patient, I also have hope. There is hope in the fact that God loves my children more than I ever will. That God uses even my parenting mistakes to accomplish His purposes. That His will for my children is not trumped by my inabilities as a father.
And in the far distant future, as I suck down Mochas and reflect on sad reality of past toddler poop in the bathtub, I will look back and know that God used even my meager parenting skills to achieve His glorious ends.
Thank God that He gives grace to the humble (including parents!).
I love great stories. And most of the time, there are cracks in great stories that allow the hearer to fill in the blanks. I believe that is one of the reasons that God gave us imaginations. As I have read the Christmas story this year, new questions have arisen. The answers are not important to the purpose of the Nativity saga, but for me pondering them adds depth to the narrative and only makes the text more beautiful. Did you ever wonder:
1. If Mary and Joseph passed crucified men on the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem and thought, "I hope that never happens to anyone I know"?
2. Did Mary and Joseph's parents know they went to Egypt with their new grandson? Did they fear the worst?
3. Were the angels that appeared to the shepherds there all along?
4. When the angels sang "Glory to God in the Highest", were they surprised to be singing to exalt a human baby in a manger?
5. Gold, okay. Frankincense, yep. Myrrh, though? An embalming substance? That must have been confusing. (Try taking that to your next baby shower.)
6. What was the first thing that the shepherds said to Mary and Joseph? Did the new parents believe their story at first?
7. Why don't we ever refer to the Virgin Joseph in the Christmas story?
8. Did Herod feel better after killing all those kids?
9. Did Herod's scribes know the prophecy about the Messiah's birthplace off the top of their heads? Did they know the prophecy about "Rachel weeping for her children" when they told Herod?
10. Were any of Joseph's relatives on the road to Bethlehem?
That's all I have for now. I hope that your Xmas season is leading you back to the Cross.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
- Lying in bed, believing that all of the forces of evil have conspired against your happiness in a mean spirited effort to suck the very life force from the very marrow of your already barely breathing social life....is just a little extreme. It may be true, but come on, lighten up a little, okay?
- From my Facebook status: Tonight, at the dinner table, during a break in the conversation, my 2 year old son abruptly announced, "I'M PREGNANT!". I just want to say for the record: Josiah does NOT have a bun in the oven.*
- I am so tired of the healthcare debate. Here is my healthcare bill: let's start with a little self control. Turn off the TV, get some exercise outside, stop eating like crap, and lets see what that does to our healthcare crisis. I may be a simpleton, but I can't be more ridiculous than most of the talking heads in Washington.
*Mrs. Underdog is pregnant and on bedrest. There has been a lot of pregnancy talk around our house lately......
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Nothing stinks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy.
The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.
Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature on facebook people that I do know, but i deliberately choose not to be friends with?
There is a great need for sarcasm font.
I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....
You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.
There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
While watching the Olympics, I found myself cheering equally for China and the US. No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain that when Chinese athletes don't win, they are executed.
I wonder if cops ever get ticked off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.
Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey -but I'd bet a million dollars everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
- On Monday of this last week, Mrs. Underdog got put on bedrest after only a few weeks of pregnancy, we had six kids in some stage of the plague, and the downstairs bathroom was flooded with two inches of water. It was kind of a difficult way to start the week. Thus, the limited posting.
- I really miss our church. Not in the "wonder-what-the-new-flannelgraph" way, but in the "I-didn't-get-to-see-people-I-love" way and the "better-is-one-day-in-God's house" way. We have missed a couple of weeks due to the plague and it is a real drag. Sundays have become my favorite day.
- I think that we would all have to admit that the world would be a more interesting place if dinosaurs were still around. Not only would we be a little more cautious just walking around, but we would have a lot more diverse choices for burgers. Stegasaurus burgers.....Tyrannasaurus burgers....Pteradactyl burgers. Makes me hungry, I have to tell you.....
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the 'Chicken Surprise'.
The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot. Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.
'Good grief, did you see that?' she asks her husband. He hasn't, so she asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.
Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening, and demands an explanation.
'Please sir,' says the waiter, 'what you order?' The husband replies, 'Chicken Surprise.'
(You're going to love this. You're going to hate yourself for loving this!)
'Ah! So sorry,' says the waiter, 'I bring you Peeking Duck'.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
- Love. Her love for me has matured over the years. I am a difficult person to love. I have weaknesses aplenty. Yet she has loved me faithfully despite those deficits. Sometimes her love has come through calling out those weaknesses as sin and gently encouraging change. Sometimes she has waited patiently for the Lord to have His way in sanctifying me.
- Humility. She is pursuing humility as a mom. I see her on a daily basis seeking wisdom from the Lord and older women about how to lead her flock. She desires good for her children, that they would follow Jesus and love Him.
- Passion. She cares deeply about certain things - - - children, food, health, Christmas, etc. Her passion for these things drives her to act and imagine and pursue excellence. And her drive is something I want to emulate. I thank God that someone in our marriage gets things done.
Maybe there is nothing sweeter on this earth than the exquisite knowledge that we are loved far better than we deserve.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
God loves you with a love that you cannot imagine.
He created you with a specific purpose and has you where you are to achieve that purpose. He will use even this circumstance to mold you and sanctify you. And He is for you. Since the moment He adopted you, He has been on your side, shielding and protecting and providing and watching you. He is doing ten thousands thing outside of your awareness to draw you to Himself.
You are not alone.
Relish the thought that one day, ten thousand years from now, you will be with your Father in the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for you. And no eye has seen and no ear has heard what awaits you in that place.
These are just momentary struggles and He will be your strength.
Hang in there.
Monday, October 5, 2009
- Children are a blessing from the Lord, except for the hour before dinner and the last two hours of the return trip home from vacation.
- Children do not recognize the rights of anyone else outside of themselves.
- For toddlers, items that have the words "flourescent" and "permanent" in their description have the gravitational pull equal to a black hole.
- Never leave your laptop open to a toddler with his plastic play tools.
- It is amazing the amount of damage that a child can do with a set of fine quality plastic play tools.
- A child's faith has not been diminished by experience. Neither has it been emboldened by experience.
- To a child with a favorite NFL team, every game of the season is the Super Bowl.
- Children respond with tremedous grace to a humble parent.
- A child's hissy fit is simply the outward manifestation of something I do in my heart all of the time.
- It is important to remember that it is hard being a parent and it is hard being a child, just in different ways.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The kind of God that appeals to most people today would be easy-going in his tolerance of our offenses. He would be gentle, kind, accommodating. He would have no violent reactions. Unhappily, even in the church we seemed to have lost the vision of the majesty of God. There is much shallowness and levity among us. Prophets and psalmists would probably say of us, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." In public worship our habit is to slouch or squat; we do not kneel nowadays, let alone prostrate ourselves in humility before God. It is more characteristic of us to clap our hands with joy than to blush with shame or tears. We saunter up to God to claim his patronage and friendship; it does not occur to us that he might send us away. We need to hear again the Apostle Peter's sobering words, "Since you call on a father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives. . in reverent fear." (I Peter 1:17) In other words, if we dare to call our judge our Father, we must beware of presuming on him. It must even be said that our evangelical emphasis on the atonement is dangerous if we come to it too quickly. We learn to appreciate the access to God which Christ has won only after we have first cried, "Woe is me for I am lost." In Dale's words, "It is partly because sin does not provoke our own wrath that we do not believe that sin provokes the wrath of God.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Changing the weather is impossible.
Halting chronic illness with your coat is impossible.
Restarting the heart of a dead kid is impossible.
Giving sight to a 35-year-old blind Dad is impossible.
Except for Jesus.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” --- Mark 10:27
2. My thoughts about God and life have changed as I have meditated on the simple fact that God had no beginning.
3. My friend and Commenter Numero Uno on this blog, Aaron went to the Desiring God conference this last weekend. The theme of the conference was John Calvin and his influence. As I have started to study John Calvin and the Reformation in more detail and see the current state of the church in America, I wonder if we are in desparate need of a second reformation. I will probably write a longer post on this later this week.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The four men didn't wait for a second invitation. They got out and ran like mad.
The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and got into the driver's seat.
She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ignition. She tried and tried, and then it dawned on her why...For the same reason she did not understand why there was a football, a Frisbee and two 12 packs in the front seat...
A few minutes later, she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down.
She loaded her bags into the car and drove to the police station to report her mistake. The sergeant to whom she told the story couldn't stop laughing.
He pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale men were reporting a car jacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than five feet tall, glasses, curly white hair and carrying a large handgun.
No charges were filed.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Mr. Big Bucks Insurance Guy Man, I guess I owe you an apology.
Monday, September 21, 2009
2. In my continuing analysis of the music we sing on Sundays, yesterday we sang "And surely goodness and mercy will follow me...". And I couldn't stop thinking about my shadow. My shadow follows me wherever I go, whether I see it and recognize it or not. So it is with God's goodness and mercy.
3. With the opening of the new Cowboys stadium here in Dallas (kindly referred to as the Death Star), the media was in a tizzy. And I thought about the Roman Coleseum and the greeting that it must have received upon its opening. And you look at it now and although it is still big, it is well on its journey to becoming dust. And its architects are long forgotten. And so the Cowboys Stadium will one day be obsolete.....
....but I would still like to get a glimpse at that big HDTV that hangs over the field.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
*This reminded me of a quote from CS Lewis that said that our first words as we cross over to our eternal home will be....."Of course."
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I read this quote this morning from Pastor John: 'On tactfulness: "There is a big difference between saying, 'Your foot is too big for this shoe" and 'This shoe is too small for your foot.'"
Please let me be more tactful and encouraging as a Husband and Dad.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
--J.I. Packer, A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom From the Book of Nehemiah, p. 206.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
. . . whereas to the Puritans communion with God was a great thing, to evangelicals today it is a comparatively small thing. The Puritans were concerned about communion with God in a way that we are not. The measure of our unconcern is the little that we say about it. When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely of their daily experience of God. Modern Christian books and magazines contain much about Christian doctrine, Christian standards, problems of Christian conduct, techniques of Christian service—but little about the inner realities of fellowship with God. Our sermons contain much sound doctrine—but little relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour. We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters. Thus we make it plain that communion with God is a small thing to us. But how different were the Puritans! The whole aim of their ‘practical and experimental’ preaching and writing was to explore the reaches of the doctrine and practice of man’s communion with God.
JI Packer, A Quest for Godliness, p. 215 (chapter 12).
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
And with the number of kids that I have, we have a proportional number of what I like to call hissy fits. For the sake of clarity, a hissy fits is a burst of energy that spontaneously erupts from one who lacks self-control. Commons symptoms that accompany a full fledged hissy fit are kicking, screaming, "bad attitude", grunting, moaning, crying, sorrow, and diarrhea. Okay, not diarrhea usually, but when we have an F5 on our hands, anything is possible.
In our family, when one chooses to initiate a hissy fit, they get to sit in the bathtub until they are ready to repent. The bathtub is ideal for several reasons. First, not even a full scale kicking, hitting, head butting (yeah, I know, but it only happens once), toddler can damage the inside of a bathtub. Second, our house has three evenly distributed bathtubs, providing easy access and room for multiple, concurrent hissy fitters. Third, sitting in a dry bathtub is ridiculous and the hissy fitter quickly understand that their position is completely absurd, hastening the end of the fit.
With the beginning of our school yesterday, though, I felt the presence of the bathtub more fully. Things did not always go the way that I wanted them to go. The children did not do everything that I wanted them to do. In short, the universe shifted and did not revolve around me. I think that this is probably true in general, but the occasional reminders affirm that I lack gravity.
So I had hissy fits.
Not the out of control, kicking F5 type of fit. But the subtle, internal hissy fit that cost me joy and led me to question whether the Lord really had my best interests at heart: Lord, do you really think that giving me six children was wise? The kind of hissy fit that begins with a tightening in my chest and ends with me yelling at someone as they threaten the comfort I think I deserve.
And so, this morning, my Heavenly Father put me in the Proverbial bathtub:
A soft answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Good sense makes one slow to anger,and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
A man of wrath stirs up strife,and one given to anger causes much transgression. Proverbs 29:22
I think I am done now. Can I please get out of the bathtub?
Soli Deo Gloria.
Monday, September 7, 2009
- Ed Welch, Running Scared, pp. 161 & 163
Friday, September 4, 2009
2. I was in a restaurant recently where they had classical music in surround sound.....in the bathroom. It was nice and all, but trying to create ambiance in the potty is probably overkill.
3. I am starting to see the slow creep of inclusiveness sneaking into the church-at-large and it really bothers me. There are certain principles/standards that the Bible sets forth that are simply not negotiable. If one does not adhere to the clearly articulated biblical perspective on a particular issue, should that person claim to be a part of the church? If you are in the army and your Master Sargent commands you to march and you decide to spin around in circles, you will not be in the army for long. There are orthodox truths that simply are not negotiable. Does this make me sound like a jerk? Probably.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
As Rob was reading the passage, I thought about what it must have been like to hear Jesus pray. Jesus had no sin to hinder his prayers. He did not lack faith in His Father. He had perfect wisdom about what to pray for. His prayers were never self-centered. His prayer life was perfect. His praying was so amazing that after one prayer session, one of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). I almost sense that there was a "I want to pray like THAT!" tone to the request.
I anticipate that one of the most incredible moments of my existence will be hearing the voice of Jesus for the first time. I wonder about his tone of voice during prayer. Was His voice full and deep when He was making a request? Did He laugh with the Father when the prayer was joyful and triumphant? What did the adoration sound like when He praying was full of praise? Was the simple thankgiving for food exciting to hear (The Son thanking the Father for what they created together!)?
I can't wait to have glorified ears....
Saturday, August 29, 2009
In the past several weeks, a couple of very well known people have graced the cover of Time magazine. One was a severely dysfunctional dancer/singer that entertained millions with his God-given abilities. He was as popular for the bizarre nature of his lifestyle as he was for his musical performances. He never had any privacy and his life was a train wreck, full of enablers, drug habits, and emptiness.
The second guy to grace Time's cover was the ultimate politician. Born into riches and pedigree, the expectations upon his life were never in his control. Although he was influential and powerful, he never grasped that final rung of the country's highest office, and so, with his death, his life is commonly being portrayed as a destiny unfulfilled. He never had any privacy and his life was a train wreck, full of enablers, drug habits, and emptiness.
And as I have learned more about these two individuals, I have wondered about the allure of fame and our culture's obsession with celebrity. We seem to have completely disregarded the importance of character in those we idolize. There is an insatiable appetite for information about people we are not associated with in any shape or form. And I question if we would even like the celebrities we worship if we knew them personally.
Evaluating their lives through the lens of their deaths, it seems to me that the cost of popularity far outweighs the benefits. Disappointment and chemical dependency seem to be the theme in most celebrity stories. And I wonder if most well known people would trade all of the recognition they receive for just a few years of anonymity and peace.
Oh, yeah, and by the way: I love you.
Friday, August 28, 2009
- I keep hearing that Ted Kennedy survived brain cancer longer than most. I suppose that is to be admired. But then he wasn't fighting the disease while on Medicare, was he? Didn't think so.
- Speaking of healthcare....I don't usually recommend other blogs, but this one has me fascinated. Probably because I always wanted to be a doctor, but was never smart enough. Or scientific enough. And, you know, I really don't like dealing with pain (mine or others). So I am living vicariously through this blog.
- I have six children at 35 years old. And so, we now have people that will ask us for parenting advice. Although I am sometimes flattered by this, more often I want to tell them that having a large flock only has made me realize how little I know. But there is one thing that I know for sure. I find that most people are looking for an easy way of parenting that will produce brilliant, well behaved offspring. So what I usually tell them is that they need to work at it. Anything that my kids have that is admirable is not because I have some great formula for parenting, but because we invest a tremendous amount of time in correcting and guiding and praying and talking about Jesus. Many times I would rather be doing something else, but raising kids is my foremost priority right now. So we put in the work. There is no shortcut.*
*I am not done parenting yet, so I could be wrong.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
By far the greater burden of childrearing fell to Sarah....On one occasion, when she was out of town in 1748, Jonathan was soon near his wits' end. Children of almost every age needed to be cared for. 'We have been without you,' Jonathan lamented in a letter, 'almost as long as we know how to be!'
Monday, August 24, 2009
1a. That's what I get for listening to news radio.
2. I once was at one of those specialty bagel places and they had one type of bagel called the "Everything Bagel". That sounds pretty good, I thought, kinda like the ultimate in bagel satisfaction....like the Ben & Jerry's of bagels....like the bagel Superman prefers.....like a perfect bagel fantasy. Boy, was I disappointed.
3. The reality of football season without a TV is setting in. Instead of looking forward to the "game of the week", I am finding out that there was a game and going "Man, I bet that was great." Then I start reading my book again.
I love you.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
a. Mr. President, what about Tort Reform? Can we place limits on the amount that medical lawsuits can pay out?
b. Mr. President, would you, your Cabinet, and Congress commit to living with Medicare/Medicaid as your healthcare program for the rest of your lives?
2. This weekend, me and a buddy used a water balloon launcher to launch balloons at about 90 miles an hour. We then tried to hit said water balloons with a baseball bat. It was so fun that we laughed for about an hour (until we ran out of balloons). Conclusion: Inside every adult male is a boy willing to do stupid things just for the thrill of it.
3. I am having lunch with the senior pastors from our church today. I think that there are three possible outcomes:
a. Promotion to some elevated Usher post.
b. Request to rock the morning services with my spiritual gift (I play the Kazoo...with enthusiasm).
Possibility C. will bother me less if they pick up the check. If I sense that is coming, I will probably order a whole pie for dessert.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A lady is walking down the street to work and sees a parrot in a pet store. She stops to admire the bird.
The parrot says to her, "Hey lady, you are really ugly."Well, the lady is furious! She storms past the store to her work.
On the way home she saw the same parrot in the window and the parrot upon seeing her says, "Hey lady, you are really ugly."She was incredibly ticked now. The next day on the way to work she saw the same parrot and once again it said, "Hey lady, you are really ugly."
The lady was so furious that she stormed into the store and threatened to sue the store and have the bird killed. The store manager apologized profusely and promised the bird wouldn't say it again.
When the lady walked past the store after work the parrot said to her, "Hey lady."She paused and said, "Yes?"
The bird said, "You know."
Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine for a moment that you are walking down the street, and you pass a small boy sitting on the curb. He looks to be about eight years old. You do a double-take when you notice that he has a cricket in his hand. Just as you pass, he grasps the cricket by the legs and yanks them off. How do you respond? Perhaps you would think, “That’s a little cruel. I guess boys will be boys.” Would you even stop to say anything to the boy? Maybe so, but maybe not.
Rewind to the beginning of the story. This time as you pass the boy, however, he’s pulling the legs off of a frog. How do you respond? Perhaps you might think, “That’s uncalled for. I’m going to find and tell his parents.”
Rewind again. This time as you pass the boy, he’s pulling the legs off of a small dog. How do you respond? This situation calls for a little more immediate action, doesn’t it? Perhaps you would try to rescue the dog while being careful not to manhandle or mistreat this little boy that you don’t even know. After intervening, you would certainly feel compelled to inform his parents.
Rewind one more time. This time as you pass the boy, he’s trying to pull the legs off of a human baby. How do you respond? You would move heaven and earth to save that baby, wouldn’t you? Even if you had to physically restrain the boy, you would do it. Not only would you inform his parents, you might also inform the civil authorities. After all, his parents may be negligent, and someone has to protect other babies from falling into his hands.
Do I have this about right? Wouldn’t you be more willing to take coercive action to save the baby than you would to save the cricket, the frog, or the dog? Why is that? The “sin” was the same in all four scenarios; the boy was simply pulling the legs off. So why would you react one way with a cricket and another way with a baby? For most of you, the answer is self-evident. The heinousness of the crime is measured not by the crime itself but by the nobility and virtue of the one being assaulted. There’s a world of difference between a cricket/frog/dog and a baby. A human baby—which is created in the image of God—has a dignity that no other kind of creature possesses. Thus only the most morally perverse person would think to do less for the human baby than he would for the cricket/frog/dog.
Why is it in our culture that there is almost universal disgust at Michael Vick’s dog-killing, but at best only ambivalence toward the nearly 50 million unborn human babies that have been cruelly and legally killed in America since 1973? Only the most morally retrograde culture would be outraged by the former while thinking very little about the latter. God help us.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Father, Wean me from my obsession with trivial things. Amen.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
METRO ATLANTA, Ga. -- Last weekend an Atlanta pastor made a promise that stunned his congregation and most of the people who heard it.
In a speech that discussed abortion, the President, and the sanctity of life, the most provocative statement from Pastor Vic Pentz of Peachtree Presbyterian Church came towards sermon's end:"I make a promise to you now and I don't want you to keep this a secret," the pastor pronounced, "the Peachtree Presbyterian Church will care for any newborn baby you bring to this church.
"We will be the family to find a home for that child, and there's no limit on this. You can tell your friends, you can tell your family, you can tell the whole world ..."
Reflected Pentz a week later, "I seem to have touched a nerve by saying that to the congregation."
It's a speech he repeated this past Sunday, and it can be found on the church's web site under the sermon title, "Ethics of Life".
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Cash for Clunkers has the following elements of spectacle:
Americans destroying perfectly functional cars
Americans whose skills are uncompetitive in the global marketplace driving around in fancy new cars.
Somewhere in China and India they must be having a good laugh.
The deeper issues are more troubling. Cash for Clunkers only makes sense if we believe that our #1 problem is that we don’t drive sufficiently fancy cars.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Our duty as Christians is not only to vote in line with our consciences. Our obligation is to fight against evil. Abortion is the most heinous of sins and yet most Christians are not willing to do anything to stop it. Slowing abortion is not a matter of overturning a law. Abortions will slow when good men care enough about the unborn to risk time and resources to help individual women.
Find your local Crisis Pregnancy Center and volunteer.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
But it got me to thinking about other things that are simply wonderful that point us to a great Creator. Consider these:
Taste: How does your tongue know that some things taste good and others do not?
Laughter: Why are the only creatures that laugh? How do you know something is funny? Why are certain things funny to some and not to others?
Personality: Everyone has one, but just what is it? How does it emerge and when? Are our personalities and our souls linked?
Skin: It is durable, reacts well to heat and cold, and constantly recycles itself. How is it that my skin can tell the difference between hard and soft?
Fingerprints: If you commit a crime, they are specific to you so that the authorities will use them to nail your identity. How is it that they are unique like snowflakes?
Balance: How does the toddler brain learn to balance on these silly looking feet? How can we shift our weight to keep from falling?
Heartbeat: Science cannot explain what starts your heart beating. There is a spark that "jumps" the heart so that it continues beating until it is time for it to stop.
I praise you, Jesus, for I am fearfully and wonderfully set apart. Wonderful are your works; oh, yes! my soul knows it very well.
---Psalm 139:14 (Tryon Paraphrase)
Monday, August 3, 2009
2. It will be a very different football season without a TV. But as Mrs. Underdog and I spoke about the lack of TV last night, we realized that our lives have re-centered on other things. I would like to think that we are using the time we got back wisely.
3. I went to a birthday party over the weekend. It reminded me that I probably have about 60 years of life left. Life truly is a vapor. I better get after it.....
Don't Waste Your Life.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The heavens declare the glory of God,and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,and night to night reveals knowledge.
And then consider this:
Monday, July 27, 2009
I'm sitting on the edge of a hospital bed in Massachusetts General Hospital-West when my surgeon approaches. It's Thomas Gill, the Red Sox and Patriots orthopedist. He's the third person out of eight or nine who would ask me the same question that day: "Which knee are we operating on today?'' I tell him the left one, and he takes a marker and writes "YES'' above my left kneecap. "The reason we don't put an 'X' here,'' he says, "is because if you put an 'X' there, how do you know that's NOT the one to operate on?''
You have to know that there was an event at some point that made this necessary. I can just hear the surgeon saying, "Okay so the left knee...now was that his left or my left? Scapel, please...."
1. I do not take enough risks and it has crippled me as a Christian. I value comfort and quietness over helping people and winning souls. I have often used the "I-need-to-know-God's-will-on-this-matter" excuse for inaction. I heard someone say over the weekend that we will use that excuse when considering working with the poor or volunteering at that abortion clinic, but when is the last time you needed to know God's will in order to go see a movie or take a roadtrip. Yeah, sometimes I use "knowing-God's-will" as a delay tactic.*
*I am not trying to belittle knowing God's will, but if it is unclear then simply obey and serve
2. I now have a new phobia. We found a dead rat in our garden this morning. He was dead, but I hated him anyway. Snakes? No problem. Spiders? Okay. Roaches? Well, I guess. But RATS? DEATH TO THOSE FILTHY RODENTS! I wish they had been late to the launch of Noah's ark.
3. I haven't followed the news that closely, but I think that the healthcare debate is not really about health. It is about money. And greed. If it was really about health, we would shut down McDonald's and Wendy's.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Mrs. Underdog said that the Care Bears would win, because bears eat other animals. This seems like good logic until you consider that there are thousands of Smurfs. The Shortcakes are named after food, so they would be the first to go down. And My Little Ponies? Come on, when is the last time you heard of a pony winning any sort of conflict?
This is a debate for the ages, I suppose.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
This got me thinking: What are my sentences? What are the bedrock truths that I run to when I don't understand life. I was able to think of three.
1. God is sovereign over all things and he is doing ten thousand things around me that I am not aware of. This shapes my worldview. Romans 8:28 must be true---all thing are working for my good, whether I can see it or not.
2. This is not the end. This life is merely the preface. There is nothing that I cannot endure in this life that will not be worth what my Father has in store for me in eternity. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,nor the heart of man imagined,what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Cor. 2:9). Life is but a vapor.
3. People are more important than things. This is an easy truth to say, but a hard truth to live out. I preach to my kids to "consider one another's interests ahead of their own", but their dad often places a premium on keeping things "nice". This is an area of sanctification for me.
So what are your sentences?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
7 Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
What a really gutsy thing to ask of God. Lord, just give me enough for this day. Not more, not less........
Because You are the bread of life.
Because You have written my name on the palm of Your hand so that you will not forget me.
Because You love me more than the sparrows and they have all that they need.
Because You hate it when I worry about tomorrow.
Becuase Your mercies were new this morning.
Because they will be new again tomorrow morning.
Because You command thanksgiving.
Because You are faithful to Your children.
Becuase You know what I need before I ask.
Because You want me to desire you more than a full stomach.
Because You are good and work all things for my good.
Because you never fail and Your steadfast love endures forever.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
2. I think that maybe we need to set some parameters around the sale of athletic jerseys. I saw a gentleman that was tipping the scales at somewhere over 300 lbs. wearing the jersey of one of the Dallas Cowboys cornerbacks. There is just something unbalanced about someone that is not fast wearing the jersey of someone that is fast. I propose that we not produce XXXL replica jerseys with the numbers and names of small, speedy players. "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't have any Deion Sanders jerseys in 3XL. Maybe a nice Leon Lett for a gentleman of your size...."
3. The 4th of July is now over. I often wonder what the origniators of a holiday would think of our celebration. I think that our nation's Founders would approve of our fireworks and feasting, but I bet they would question what we have done with the independence they purchased with their blood.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Jojo, the two-year-old son (cue the voice inside Jojo's toddler brain----if I say yes, there will be discipline, probably a spanking, but if I say no and lie, there will be discipline, probably a spanking.... RATS!....this is not good....it wasn't even as fun as I thought it would be!.......all she did was scream and cry: what a woos!...and why didn't I hide the bottle? Duh!....okay, dad is waiting for an answer....what other words do I know....c'mon, vocabulary, c'mon....EUREKA! I got it...this will puzzle the old man....he will have to let me go becuase of the brilliance of my reasoning...tone is everything here, just squeak it out, sound innocent......okay, here it goes.....): "Maybe?"
Spanking commences forthwith.
This is a bad thing - like abrasive parenting and speed bumps and unnecessary zippers - except about books.
Monday, June 29, 2009
1. Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. A few observations:
a. (Good) marriage requires effort. Not as much effort as children, but since it involves sinners and time, someone is bound to get offended at some point.
b. We have learned the art of fighting well. We did not know that this was important 13 years ago, but it is....
c. We produce a child an average of every 790 days. God has been good.
d. We have a real shot at fifty years. Maybe even sixty if the Lord tarries (I hope He doesn't).
e. I love Mrs. Underdog now more than ever.
2. I had a fever last night. One of those fevers where you just cannot get warm and you shiver a lot. Although I was sick, it was kind of interesting to experience that again.
3. In all of the Michael Jackson coverage, I have tried not to watch, but alas, I find it fascinating. Mr. Jackson denied himself nothing and found nothing that satisfied his soul. I wonder what Solomon would have said to Mr. Jackson? What about Job? What about Jesus?
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
- This Father's Day will be especially cool because my Dad is here. Once you are a Dad, you Dadship is never revoked.
- We are going to Sea World San Antonio this week. I was a little disappointed to find out that it is a water park/amusement park and not just a super aquarium. If I want rides, I can go to Six Flags. But I want sea creatures in all of their diversity and wonder. Anyone that reads this little blog been to Sea World before? Any advice?
- This is an amazing quote that has me thinking: Sadly, it is commonly said among Christians that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” This is as stupid as saying God loves rapists and hates rape, as if rape and rapists were two entirely different entities that could be separated from one another. Furthermore, it was not a divinely inspired author of Scripture but the Hindu Gandhi who coined the phrase “Love the sinner but hate the sin” in his 1929 autobiography.The love of God is in fact true but sadly has been so overly emphasized in most Christian teaching that one wonders if God is love or if love is now God.- Mark Driscoll, Death By Love, p. 128
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Check this out:
Most fathers-to-be suppose that their old ego-centered lives will continue more or less unabated after the child arrives. With the exception of a few more obstacles and demands on their time, their involvement with their children is envisioned as being something manageable and marginal. Nothing like a complete transformation—an abrupt end to their former life—really enters men’s minds.
But then the onslaught begins, and a man begins to realize that these people, his wife and children, are literally and perhaps even intentionally killing his old self. All around him everything is changing, without any signs of ever reverting back to the way they used to be. Into the indefinite future, nearly every hour of his days threatens to be filled with activities that, as a single-person or even a childless husband, he never would have chosen. Due to the continual interruptions of sleep, he is always mildly fatigued; due to long-term financial concerns, he is cautious in spending, forsaking old consumer habits and personal indulgences; he finds his wife equally exhausted and preoccupied with the children; connections with former friends start to slip away; traveling with his children is like traveling third class in Bulgaria, to quote H.L. Mencken; and the changes go on and on. In short, he discovers, in a terrifying realization, what Dostoevsky proclaimed long ago: “[A]ctive love is a harsh and fearful reality compared with love in dreams.” Fatherhood is just not what he bargained for.
Yet, through the exhaustion, financial stress, screaming, and general chaos, there enters in at times, mysteriously and unexpectedly, deep contentment and gratitude. It is not the pleasure or amusement of high school or college but rather the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment, like that felt by a soldier. What happens to his children now happens to him; his life, though awhirl with the trivial concerns of children, is more serious than it ever was before. Everything he does, from bringing home a paycheck to painting a bedroom, has a new end and, hence, a greater significance. The joys and sorrows of his children are now his joys and sorrows; the stakes of his life have risen. And if he is faithful to his calling, he might come to find that, against nearly all prior expectations, he never wants to return to the way things used to be.
The whole article is great.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I really miss you. In fact, although you came and went in the blink of an eye, I developed a special affection for you. The way that you rained teardrops of rainy goodness every few days made a permanent impression on me. The days were long and filled with walks in the tender warmth of moderate temperatures. The flowers budded with your arrival and the birds sang their songs with a new joy....
Yet you left me, you wretched season! And your evil twin brother, Summer has moved in. Like the hot fires of fiery hot fire, Summer's heat and pressure has wilted my spirit and given my soul second degree burns. You brought such happiness, Spring, but your brother has made me feel like a bad haircut that will never grow out. Like a polar bear at a salad bar. Like something worse than Shredded Wheat with no milk. The rays of your sunshine that made me feel refreshed now power down on my poor head like a comination of super sharp needles, lasers, and angry porcupines. Ouch, you know?
Since you left, Spring, the rain drops never fall on my head. The birds seem bitter. Everything is worse. And did I mention that it is humid? Its like the whole state is one great big armpit after a collective marathon. You were pleasantly moist, but Summer's humidity is like having a wet cat permanently stuck to your head. It's not good.
I am pleading with you Spring, please come back. Vanquish Summer and bring balance back to the weather. I love you.
Friday, June 12, 2009
.....I am pleased that we have been able to bring this matter to a mutually agreeable solution without involving attorneys. Please find our final payment on Invoice #3010 enclosed.
Liking cookies a lot,
Or maybe a little honesty:
Gassy from too many burritos,
Or perhaps something confessional:
Regifting everything you give me,
I think that this will really help a lot of letter writing be more effective. You know, really help the writer connect with their reader.
Just thinking out loud....
Thursday, June 11, 2009
- We had some incredibly powerful storms last night. 80 mph winds and tornado sirens led to all eight of us (and Harley, the wonder dauschund) hiding in the closet under the stairs. It is times like those that you appreciate the indisputable fact that melting ice cream should never go to waste.
- I take some comfort in the fact that Jesus had to tell seven parables before His disciples understood what He was talking about in Matthew 13. And even then I am not sure they really got it. I would have made a poor disciple---"Um, Jesus, I just am not getting the whole kingdom thing and I am really bad at parables. When are we going to eat?"
- My little blog got more traffic for the Super Cool dog video than for anything else I have ever posted. Further proof that things are going to the dogs....(Rimshot, please.)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father.
1. Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a maternity shift and stick a 30 pound sack of potatoes down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the potatoes.Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local pharmacy, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their home office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.
2. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run amok. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior. Enjoy it - it'll be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.
3. To discover how the nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5pm to 10 pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds. At 10 pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1am. Set the alarm for 3am. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2.45 am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4 am. Set the alarm for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish stick behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flowerpots then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. First buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this - all morning.
6. Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet tube. Using only scotch tape and a piece of foil, turn it into a Christmas ornament. Last, take a milk jug, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Coco Puffs and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations. You have just qualified for a place on the playgroup committee.
7. Forget the Miata and buy a Taurus. And don't think you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a quarter. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family-size packet of chocolate cookies. Mash them down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.
8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you've had as much as you can stand, until the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.
9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times.
10. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this do not even contemplate having children.
11. Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy cereal and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half the cereal is gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month old baby.
12. Learn the names of every character from The Wiggles, Dora the Explorer, and Teletubbies. When you find yourself singing "Backpack" at work, you finally qualify as a parent.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
From R.C. Sproul's new book, The Prayer of Our Lord (p. 15):
There are really only two rules that you have to keep in mind when you're in prayer, two things that should drive and govern and control your prayer life with the Almighty.
You should remember who is being addressed and who is doing the speaking.
That is, the first thing you are to remember in prayer is who it is you're talking to, because nothing will condition your prayer life more deeply than remembering that you're in conversation with God, the sovereign Creator and ruler of the universe.
Second, you are to remember who you are. You are not God. You are a creature. So prayer is not a conversation between peers; it is not a fireside chat among equals. This is the creature speaking to his sovereign Creator.
I have been thinking about prayer a lot recently. I pray, but not as a habit. Lots of room to improve. But even I can remember two things...