Meekness

Moses started as a comfortable, prosperous man, a murderer with questionable character, but God had a different plan. Like a master jeweler grinding a gem, God chastened Moses with hardship and trial and showed him His glory until he was the meekest man on earth. Foreseeing modern man’s wrong and impotent definition of humility, God was pleased to use Moses the meek to overthrow the world superpower of Egypt. But Moses wasn’t meek enough and failed to enter the Promised Land. God Himself had to descend and live a life meek and lowly of heart. In meekness, Christ commanded, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” In meekness, Christ healed the sick, fed the hungry, and prayed for little children. In meekness, Christ pronounced woes upon the Pharisees. In meekness, Christ was crucified in weakness. In meekness, Christ was raised in the power of the Holy Spirit. In meekness, Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father ruling over heaven and earth. Christ speaks with authority when he says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

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A Ballad for Beards

One day I’m walking to the bus
(a bright and sunny day),
and right there on the concrete walk
a beard jumped in my way.
“You’re trespassing upon my land,”
he said, “you’ll surely pay.”

“Good sir,” said I with great surprise,
“Please keep your mercy near.”
I was but on my way to work.
I walked and now am here.
Please let us reason for a while,
I’m sure we’ll make this clear.”

He listened to me carefully.
(No feet, yet there he stands.)
Then lost in thought, he stroked himself.
(How strange, he has no hands.)
He cleared his throat of phlegm and said,
“These are my strict demands:

“You’ll sing to me a song of beards
or come into disgrace.
You’ll sing of me so prettily,
or come to rue this place.
You’ll glory in this beautiful beard,
or I will shave your face.”

And so sang I,

“What is it that makes beards so great?
I surely like this plan.
Courageous, active, earnest, grown,
and of a noble clan-
of such a one Augustine said,
‘he is a bearded man.’

“The Psalmist spoke of friends who love
like oil on a beard.
Beloved poet Edward Lear,
of nests in beards he feared.
Or what about that Spurgeon guy,
a preacher most revered?

“What is it that makes beards so great?
I’ll surely tell you why.
They’re noble like the lion’s mane;
they make me want to cry.
They’re useful since they hold one’s food,
especially when they’re dry.

“They’re helpful to express one’s grief:
they’re there for one to tear.
The beard that’s healthy, oiled well,
will cause one’s foes despair.
The beard marks men who, patient, wise,
are those not prone to err.

“What is it that makes beards so great?
Now surely you must know.
They’re manly, lovely, useful, and
deep mysteries they show:
The beard is but an image of man,
the beard and man both grow.

“Dear Sir, I’ve sung to thee a song
I leave to thee my fate.
And though I’ve sung my best, I know
that hater’s gonna hate.
I’ve sung your song, O Bearded one,
in patience I will wait.”

The beard, he paused, then said to me,
“Today I’m full of grace.
But nevermore step on my land,
and get you from this place.
I never want to see again
your ugly, bearded face”.

The Bicycle of Science

A young man decides to ride a bike to work instead of a fossil-fuel-guzzling, carbon-dioxide-spewing vehicle. “I’m going to save the world from global warming,” he thinks smugly to himself. He thinks because he is saving the world he is entitled to special privileges. Laws, after all, are appropriate for servants, for women, for children, but obviously were never intended for the exceptional. He takes a shortcut across a crowded highway, screaming at the vehicles, “I’m saving the world. You’re not. You’re destroying the world. Get out of my way.” He causes a 52-car pileup and multiple fatalities, but he bikes away smug: he’s saving the world after all. Science is like a bicycle, but many of its modern riders are lawless and proud. They’re proud of committing infanticide because it’s with technologically-advanced, sterilized instruments.

Abortion: Twenty-Two Theses

1) From the moment of conception, a baby has its own unique DNA and is therefore a human being with inalienable rights.

2) Science is not in consensus with regard to current abortion-on-demand practice. Plenty of scientists believe that human life begins at conception.

3) A baby is distinct from and dependent on his or her mother’s body. A baby is not his or her mother’s body. A baby is not a cancer or a lump of tissue.

4) The most vulnerable people, even those who are dependent upon outside sources for survival, are worthy of our compassion and consideration: the poor, the homeless, the sick, widows, orphans, and unborn children have inherent dignity and value apart from their ability to fend for themselves or contribute to society.

5)  There are such things as immoral laws. Slavery was once legal but was still immoral. “Abortion is legal” is an illegitimate argument if abortion is immoral. We must distinguish between legality and morality in our thinking since the two concepts are not automatically in agreement.

6) Women’s Rights and personal autonomy are important, but not absolutes. Men cannot appeal to Men’s Rights to rape women because there are moral laws that transcend Women’s Rights, Men’s Rights, and personal autonomy.

7) If a fetus is a person, abortion is murder. If a fetus is a non-person, the conversation can shift to Women’s Rights and personal autonomy. If a fetus is a person, Women’s Rights and personal autonomy are smokescreen arguments to cover up evil.

8) Approximately 1% of abortions are incest- or rape-related. Laws should be made to govern 99% of the cases, and then exceptions should be considered. Exceptions should not determine laws.

9) Even then, abortion doesn’t make the heartbreak of rape or incest any better. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Sentencing an unborn child to death for the crime of a rapist is the worst sort of injustice.

10) Families and churches should love vulnerable mothers with self-sacrificial, practical compassion.

11) If a fetus is a person, cleanliness is an illegitimate argument. It makes no difference if you murder someone with a rock or with sterilized steel instruments.

12) The standard libertarian argument (I would never do X, but I want other people to have the right to do X) only applies for morally good or morally neutral principles. “I would never murder anyone, but I want other people to have the right to murder others” is destructive moral reasoning.

13) “Abortion should be a choice made between a woman and her doctor without government interference.” Personal autonomy is not an absolute. See #7.

14) “Stay out of her business. Sexuality is only a private affair.” No. Sexuality has public consequences. Child support laws are just and reflect the reality that there is no separating sexuality, economics, and public policy. Planned Parenthood is funded by taxpayer dollars and is a public matter.

15) “You’re not allowed to talk about this because you don’t have a personal experience or because you’re a man” is not an argument, but an attempt to demean and belittle an opponent. In a murder trial, people who had a personal experience of the murder are not allowed to sit on the jury. Why? Because a personal experience clouds judgment. People who have had personal experiences should be heard as witnesses whose experiences are important, but not allowed to sit as jury or judge. All people are allowed to speak on this issue of abortion because men, women, and babies have a shared humanity.

16) Satan is committed to destroying or defacing the image of God in humanity. One of his tactics is a redefinition of words that results in dehumanization.

17) History is replete with examples. “That slave is not a person, but my property, therefore I can do as I please. That Jew is not a person, but a beast, therefore I can do as I please. That baby is not a person, but a lump of tissue, therefore I can do as I please.” The powerful play word games so that persons are redefined as non-persons, and power is then exercised for selfish desire.

18) Therefore, we as an American people, are like the Pharisees who believed they would never murder the prophets as their fathers did, who turned around the next moment and did what was worse: murdering the Son of God. We are guilty of historical blindness and forgetfulness, railing against the evils of the past while neglecting the worse evil of our own day. 12.5 million blacks crossed the Middle Passage over 300 years. 13 million black babies have been aborted in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade. Per unit time, we take away the rights of 10 times as many blacks as our slave-owning ancestors did. To rail against American slavery without speaking against the greater evil of our own day is cheap zeal, straining out a camel of the past while swallowing the larger camel of the present.

19) We, as an American people, are Pharisees who strain out gnats and swallow camels. We look for single-cell alien life on meteorites while slaughtering single-cell human life in our own wombs.

20) Abortion and Molech worship both involve murdering a child and throwing it in the flame to secure prosperity, careers, and money. Americans don’t believe in demons, but we sure act like it.

21) America needs to cease and repent of this evil of abortion, or the blood of the unborn will cry out from the ground as witness against us. There will be justice on the earth.

22) Christ was murdered on the cross to forgive sin. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:16-21).

Public Education: Violation of Religious Freedom?

Honest question for Christians. If Christians were to “win back” public schools, wouldn’t that violate the religious freedom of non-Christians? Weren’t Christians violating the religious freedom of secularists when Christians dominated the public school system, and now aren’t secularists violating the religious freedom of Christians?

“Because education cannot be neutral about certain issues (What is man? What is society? Where did we come from?) and because in a pluralistic society people disagree on such issues, it is impossible to impose state education on the entire society without putting these various groups into conflict. They struggle for control of the school system, and the group in control violates the religious liberties of the other groups.” (Doug Wilson, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning)

Many people, even people who had positive experiences in public school are thinking deeply about this issue and coming to the conclusion that the only large-scale educational reform consistent with religious liberty and the Golden Rule would be turning all public schools into private schools and giving parents tax vouchers so they could choose from a variety of private schools. (It’s already been done in Wisconsin.) Don’t public schools necessarily violate religious freedom and the First Amendment? Doesn’t the one group that controls the curriculum violate the religious freedom of everybody else?

If you are a secularist or a non-Christian reading this, welcome. I invite you to challenge any Christians you know with this statement: “When Christians controlled public schools and imposed their views on everybody else, weren’t they violating religious freedom?”

My Dear Stinkbreath

I am a huge fan of The Screwtape Letters. What is one of the most significant ways demons tempt parents today? In this scenario I imagine a senior demon, Sharkhook, instructing his underling, Stinkbreath.

My dear Stinkbreath,

When tempting your young father, keep constantly in your mind the Pharisees. They were extremely well-behaved, but had no love for the Enemy in their hearts. Now, when tempting your young father, convince him that the point of parenting is only to raise well-behaved children (not to seek to glorify the Enemy through parenting no matter what). Notice this is all modern parenting “wisdom” is about, raising well-behaved children with no reference to the Enemy. We have successfully raised a whole generation who are well-behaved and decent human beings, and because they are so well-behaved, they believe they have no need for grace.

Curse James for pointing out that there is such a thing as demonic wisdom (James 3:15)! You must convince your young father of the attractiveness of demonic wisdom and the ugliness of Christ on the cross. When you have convinced him that demonic wisdom is wise and that heavenly wisdom is folly, you can then present the choice to him as being between “wisdom” and “folly” and not between heavenly wisdom and demonic wisdom. This is a lot to swallow, but think very carefully about what I am saying. You must make him see the attractiveness of demonic things that will get instant results (i.e. getting angry), and discourage him from seeking forgiveness. But then with heavenly wisdom, you must not only make him see the ugliness of lowly service, self-denial, and suffering, but also blind him to the joy. “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2)? Really? Ick. It makes me sick even saying it.

Happy tempting!

Your Commander,
Sharkhook

Mass-Produced Man

If man is a machine,
Mass-produced, he feels just like
Somebody else.
Springs, when pushed upon,
Become depressed.
Metal bars, when cycle stressed
Embrittle and break.
Cogs are moving busily,
But never getting anywhere.
Iron’s tough, but decays and rusts.
It ends in acidic cynicism:
“Nails get hammered,
and screws get screwed.”
Perhaps it’s all so ugly and wrong
Because man is actually a tree
And can’t find root
In shifting sands’
Modernity.
What he needs is
Sturdy stoil, streams of water,
and Eternity’s light.