Monthly Archives: February 2018

Billy G.

It is generally thought that the Great Awakening led to the founding of our country. A revival of morals urged men to stand up to the tyranny of England and to live by a higher standard. While it was ultimately the work of God, he used human agents like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. While we shouldn’t fall into sectarianism condemned by the Apostle Paul,their faithfulness is worthy of respect. The results were real and the world has never been the same.

I think about this in terms of Billy Graham, or even other pastors on a local level. What is their fruit? Since Graham became a pastor our nation has gone straight down the tubes in terms of Biblical Morality. Marriage went from sacred to a joke. Children went from a blessing to a curse. Homosexuality went from illegal to a right. And even the basic created order of male and female is under assault. And all this even in the church. So what do you do with these men? Do you say that they changed a lot of lives? That things would have been worse without them? Why did the world not only, not improve, but get worse?

Billy Graham Takes His Crusade To New York CityI wonder if it is because their gospel only called for private individual change, and not for world change. I wonder if Evangelical pastors have not minimized the power of the gospel to a ticket to heaven while we watch the world burn. Perhaps this is why the calls for social justice have become common in young silly churches. Because they know something is missing.

Digging Ditches

The modern dating, hookup, easy divorce culture is a lot like digging ditches and filling them in.  There isn’t much question about the depth of those ditches, they are six feet deep.  There is some question about the breadth.  Each one certainly contains the body of the cast aside love interest.  But we also throw a bunch of ourselves in as well.  There is time and money, memories, gifts given and received, physical affection, shared conversations, that tête-à-tête language which develops between any two people.  So expand that ditch accordingly.  Then of course there are kids and marriage, which happen in that order as often as not.  If you have kids, throw them in as well.  They will be forever impacted for the worse.  All those delicate partially formed emotions, habits, thoughts, abilities, and dreams cut short and stifled, in the whole.  And though we don’t like to admit it, no man is an island.  What we do affects those around us.  Common friendships now broken,  friends of the children taken away, extended family bonds irretrievably awkward.  Throw all of them in the hole.  And in a real sense by rewriting laws to pretend that these things are not an issue, you are throwing all sense of justice or covenant or truth away as well.  In lowering the standard for divorce in church structure you have destroyed marriage as an institution.  What does it mean if it means nothing when you feelings change?  The concept of covenant, promise, commitment have been replaced with your whims in the moment.  All in the ever expanding hole.

And that’s the fundamental idea of digging ditches, you aren’t digging a foundation for something greater, you are just wasting your time.  You try to bury all those things in your past, and real part of you and then you start digging again.  But nothing ever gets built.  Your life bears no fruit, all you have is a mass grave a shrine to yourself..

This is the sad state we are in without the Gospel.  The Gospel changes everything and says bury yourself, and God will raise you up to new life.  This is the picture of baptism.  This is the order of creation, seeds go into the earth and every fruit trees, bushes of the field and herbs of the garden are brought forth.   The first charge/blessing to man is to be fruitful. Even sex is portrayed as planting seed.  One my favorite images from Narnia is of the planting of the lamppost.  The soil is so rich that even a bar of iron thrown in anger brings forth the fruit of a lamppost, guiding light.  And that is a wise picture of the relationship between this earth and the heavenly realm.  What we plant here will bear fruit in the new earth.  What we sew is what we reap here on earth in a literal sense.  But we will also reap in the new earth in a more literal sense.  Some will be made rulers of great plantations others will barely get in as if through fire.  There is some risk involved always, I think of the famished sailers deciding whether or not to risk their small piece of fish for a larger catch.  But there are always choices between burying yourself and burying others.  The building of the Church happens when we bury ourselves for the hope of future reaping.   Stone by stone that great edifice rises from the earth.  It calls to the broken world.

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.  According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.   -I Corinthians 3