What I Read Online – 09/29/2010 (a.m.)

    • We are drawn to order, predictability, comfort, ease, pleasure, appreciation, fun, and personal happiness. We don’t like difficulty of any kind. There are many of us who would rather have an easy life than a God-honoring one. So before we ever battle with one another, we are actually battling the Lord.
    • When you are hurt, angry, or disappointed with your husband or wife, it is not because he or she has broken the laws of God’s kingdom, and it really concerns you. No, you are most often angry because your spouse has broken the laws of your kingdom. Your spouse is in the way of what you want, and it mobilizes you to do or say something that will rein your spouse back into service of your wants, needs, and feelings.
    • This grace rescues you from the one thing that you cannot rescue yourself from—you. Reconciling your marriage begins when you begin to reconcile with God. It begins when you begin to pray this radical prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, right here, right now in this marriage as it is in heaven.” Good things happen as the result of that prayer!
    • “On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 … Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers,” Pew said.
    • About half of Protestants cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person who sparked the Protestant Reformation.
    • Yet underneath and undergirding all of these, it seems to me, is the motif of God’s grace, his perplexing favor and love to the undeserving. Don’t we see the grace of God in every book of the Bible? (NT books include the single verse that best crystallizes the point.)
    • While the object of work is destined to perish, the soul formed by daily decision to do work carries over into eternity…. This perspective on work, as a maturing of the soul, liberates the believer from undue concern over the monotony of the assembly line, the threat of technology, or the reduction of the worker to but an easily replaceable cog in the industrial machine. One’s job may be done by another. But each doer is himself unique, and what carries over beyond life and time is not the work but the worker. What doing the job does for each of us is not repeated in anyone else. What the exercise of will, of tenacity, of courage, of foresight, of triumph over temptations to get by, does for you is uniquely your own. One worker may replace another on the assembly line, but what each worker carries away from meeting the challenge of doing the day’s shift will ever be his own. The lasting and creative consequence of daily work happens to be the worker. God so arranges that civilization grows out of the same effort that develops the soul.
    • sn’t that the difficulty with true Christianity? It forces us all, women and men, to subordinate ourselves—to bow low beneath the truth that if we want to be righteous we must give up all our efforts at righteousness and submit to his.
    • I’ll admit that wifely submission is difficult. But this kind of submission, submission to an alien righteousness, a righteousness that I do not deserve and don’t really even always want, is utterly impossible. I will never, and I mean never, give up the moral high ground on my own. God must humble me and change my heart by his Spirit, compelling me to bow the knee at Calvary, or I will always remain a proud Pharisee. Here’s the truth: Sometimes I make efforts at submitting to my husband so that I don’t have to submit in this other way. Sometimes I make nice dinners and say, “Yes, dear, of course,” just so that I can assure my own heart that I’ve got a little righteousness of my own.
    • But American culture does not encourage careful thinking.
    • But I think in large part this amiable woman just didn’t want to be bothered with facts.
    • How do you give a reason for the hope that you have when the people asking you aren’t interested in reason? It seems to me one of the first tasks of evangelism today is to reintroduce the law of non-contradiction. More and more we can’t just drop the bridge diagram on people, we need to go back and tell the larger story of creation, curse, covenant, Christ, commitment, and consummation. And even before that we may have to help people simply think; help people not just find the truth, but believe that it exists, that it is inconsistent with error, and that it does automatically correspond to what we wish it to be.
    • “One day, this will be a matter of great embarrassment to you.”
    • First, how does the church enable those in such jobs to find God-given satisfaction?  It is oh-so-easy for those of us who have jobs which we enjoy doing to talk about `the dignity of labour’ when the labour we have has, in a sense, its own intrinsic dignity.  But what of the labour that does not have such dignity in and of itself?  Which is monotonous, unskilled, boring, poorly paid, and which slowly but surely bleeds any last vestige of creativity and spontaneity out from the veins?  The obvious answer is, of course, to find such dignity in extrinsic factors, supremely in doing everything to the glory of God.  But, let’s face it, it is a whole lot easier to do an enjoyable job to the glory of God than to sweep the factory floor day after day to the same.
    • It is rather to raise the point that talk of the Christian mind, of the dignity of labour, and the need to do all things to God’s glory, is very easy if you are well paid, enjoy your job, and have cool hobbies like ballet and opera.   It is not so easy if you work eight hours plus a day in a dirty, noisy factory for peanuts.  Yet even there, the Christian mind, and doing all to the glory of God must apply; it is just not immediately obvious to me how (immediately?!?  I’ve had twenty years to think about this…..).  Somebody should write a monograph on it.  It could be the textbook for an elective course on the subject at a Christian liberal arts college.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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