Wild at Home

When a townsman first sees these things directly and intimately, he does not despise them as dull but rather dreads them as wild, as he sometimes takes a tame cow for  wild bull. The most obvious example is the hearth which is the heart of the home. A man living in the lukewarm air of centrally-heated hotels may be said to have never seeen fire. Compared to him the housewife at the fireside is an Amazon wrestling with a flaming dragon. The same moral might be drawn from the fact that the watch-dog fights whiel the wild dog often runs away. Of the husband, as of the house-dog, it may often be said that he has been tamed into ferocity.

This is especially true of th esort of house represented by the country cottage. It is only in theory that the things are pretty and prosaic; a man realistically experiencing them will feel them to be things big and baffling and involving a heavy battle with nature. When we read about cabbages or cauliflowers in the papers, and especially the comic papers, we learn to think of them as commonplace. But if a man of any imagination will merely consent to walk round the kitchen-garden for himself, and really looks at the cabbages and cauliflower, he will feel at once that they are vast and elemental things like the mountains in the clouds.  He will feel something almost monstrous about the size and solidity of the things swelling out of that small and tidy patch of ground. There are moods in which that everyday English kitchen plot will affect him as men are affected by the reeking  wealth and toppling rapidity of tropic vegetation; the green bubbles and crawling branches of a nightmare.

–G.K. Chesterton, from On Household Gods and Goblins

Not Praying Alone

Every week in worship we get to lift up our prayers to God. We ask in confidence, knowing God hears and grants our prayers when are according to his will. But we often think of prayer only in terms of the prayers we offer. But we are not the only one praying.

Ps. 40:5 says  “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them,  yet they are more than can be told.”

In Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17, he prays for us: “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

Jesus prays for us, and perhaps most wonderfully, the Spirit prays with us and on our behalf as Paul describes in Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

This is a great comfort when we don’t know what we ought to pray. Even Paul knew what it is like come up empty, and he says the Spirit intercedes for us. In prayer we don’t start a conversation with God but join one already happening between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Blindly Prosaic

“Now he seemed to be able to see other homes, but not his own. That was merely a house. Prose had got hold of him: the sealing of the eyes and the closing of the ears.” G. K. Chesterton, Homesick at Home

School as Leisure

This is a Convocation Address I gave at Providence Classical Christian School where my son is in 1st Grade.

Finally, thankfully, heroically, hereitisatlastedly, summer is over and school is back in session! I know you’re stoked, you’ve all been waiting for it, for true rest, for contemplation, for composed engagement, for leisure. Welcome back to school. I hope you brought your leisure suits. What am I talking about? We get our word “school” from the Latin word—who knows it?!—schola, and that from the Greek word skole which is the word for leisure.

How do you get from school to leisure? Who would ever equate the two?  In his essay Leisure, The Basis of Culture Joseph Pieper reminded the post WWII Germans who brooded on the all the work they had to do in order to rebuild their country that “we work in order to have leisure”, and this leisure was not an idleness or laziness as we would understand the term today. Pieper says “Leisure is a receptive attitude of mind, a contemplative attitude, and is not only the occasion but also the capacity for steeping oneself in the whole of the creation.” Leisure is what is required at school: attentiveness, inquisitiveness, joy, desire, interest, diligence, curiosity, soul and humor. Leisure is the taking in of creation, of gaining knowledge and wisdom through experience of the world that reveals the person and work of God. School is not for work, but work for school. This is why, part of the reason at least, your parents are working, right? To pay for this! So you can prepare not just to do a job, but to live a life. If life is more than working a job, then education is far bigger than getting ready to work that job. Continue reading

The Critical Call

“Why does the sense of call need to be so powerful? Because, sooner or later, the preacher will have to cope with depression and a temptation to despair. Only a deep convicition of the call to the ministry will keep him through what the Puritans, following St. John of the Cross termed ‘the dark night of the soul’–when all hell seems to be let loose and despondency threatens to stifle the preacher. Yet the call and the anointing sustain the ministry. Clearly, it was this that took Jeremiah though his time of crisis.”

Tony Sargent, The Sacred Anointing, p. 23

the Christianization of all of life

Challenges from Bojidar Marinov on being Piecemeal Reformed:

We can’t even find one single Reformer whose work was limited to the Church only. In many respects, the Reformers were not only theological but social reformers as well, spending much of their time and effort building communities, cities, and nations in obedience to the Gospel. Geneva, Zurich, Strasbourg, the Netherlands, Scotland, Puritan England, the American colonies, were not known for their “religiously neutral” culture. To the contrary, much of the work of the church leaders at the time was building the legal, economic, and political structure of their communities and societies in accordance with the Biblical principles. In the words ascribed to Bucer, “Reformation is nothing less than the Christianization of all of life.” Far from limiting their Reformation to personal salvation and the church, these men wanted to see the whole world submit to God, in its politics, economics, science, business, cultural relations, international relations, etc. “City on a Hill” was what they were out to build, not a Reformed church preaching “grace” to a limited choice of religious topics.