Showing posts from October, 2008

A Reading for Our Democracy

I think an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”, a later edition to the classic “Screwtape Letters” is a haunting reminder for us just days away from democratic elections. ______________ In a word, we may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when I’m as good as you has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway the teachers – or should I say, nurses? – will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among them. The little vermin themselves will do it for us. Of course this would not follow unless all education became state education. But it will. That is part of the same movement. Penal taxes, designed for that purpose, are liquidating the

Man in Black

We are connoisseurs of Saturday, at least we used to be. Lately I have been so busy it has dulled my appreciation for the flavors of life. You can get so wrapped up in what must be done that you forget what yellow really looks like, what air feels like, and how life smells. Texture is suddenly defined by routine, colors constrained to pixels on desktop screens, acres of landscape are quarantined to 8x10’s, and the smells of life are piped in through vents. When life becomes overwhelming things like yellow, open air, and family are undervalued. My wife determined on this Saturday we would taste appreciation again. Wives add color to an otherwise color blind male existence. Women match curtains to floor tile, wallpaper to cabinets, and can somehow even find a box of Kleenex that perfectly matches every towel in the house. If you are not careful they will match your shirt to every other member of your family and to the friends that will be connoisseurs of Saturday along with you. We we


In a culture that seeks gratification as its supreme good, fed by sound bytes and images, we become obtuse to the long term consequences of our decisions. We want an economic collapse that has been in the making for years to be remedied in a moment. We want choice without consequences. We want someone to blame. We have no conscience. For three decades abortion has been defended as pro-choice. The image we are fed is a mother in danger, undone, and desperate. Without the right to choose her life will be ruined. Her rights should be defended at all costs. This image is a smoke and mirrors illusion meant to hide the grotesque underbelly of what is actually happening to women and babies in the communities in which we live. It is an illusion of choice meant to hide a world bathed in blood. In the final presidential debate Senator Obama sold America on the illusion once again. When asked about his opposition to the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act he answered with smoke

Beneficial Basic Bible Browsing Books or Some Good Basic Old School Bible Study Stuff

I just had someone stop by my office asking if I would recommend something that would help her and her husband read the Bible together more effectively. When I get a request like this I usually direct people to Bible study tools that reveal the Bible in themes and ideas. In other words, I recommend stuff to laity that paints with lots of colors and broad brush strokes. As a preacher I usually choose to preach paragraphs of Scripture instead of verses because paragraphs reveal themes and in most cases the verses are sentences, or parts of sentences. Ideas, sentences, in this case verses support themes. I am probably more likely to preach a sermon on John 3 or John 3:16-21 than I am to preach a sermon on John 3:16. Many moons ago Warren Wiersbe published a book of outlines on the whole Bible. The copy I have was handed down to me. The pages are brown, it’s in a three ring binder and it weighs about 42 pounds. It is old school. It is VERY alliterated. It is 8th printing 1982 – (At the ti

The Perfect Pastor

The Perfect Pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes. He condemns sin roundly, but never hurts anyone's feelings. He works from 8 a.m. until midnight, and is also the church janitor. The Perfect Pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church. He is 29 years old and has 40 years' worth of experience. Above all, he is handsome. (The line about he is 29 and has 40 years worth of experience - that one actually happened to me in a telephone interview with a church!) The Perfect Pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church. He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed. The Perfect Pastor always has time for church meetings and all of its committees, never missing the meeting of any church orga