Note: We continue to pray for our good brother John Henson’s recovery. He continues in ICU in a Nashville hospital. He writes both for TFR and Forthright Magazine.
Some frightfully good material is coming out of certain quarters among us. Some of it comes from people converted out of the world. They feel the sharpness of the gospel. They know the despair of the darkness and the freedom of the light. They do more than rail at the devil; they ramp up the beauty of redemption and the bounty of God’s plan. They do more than throw a verse at the reader only to launch into strange territory; they engage the text, explore its context, make pungent application.
I confess to feeling embarrassed by the insipidity of some other writings, especially in the area of devotionals. (Perhaps it’s a case of this pot calling the kettle black.) In the presence of the Almighty God, why offer up pablum that has been repeated so often it only rates yawns? It is one thing to be simple. Simplicity recommends itself every time. It is quite another to be simplistic and bland. (It seems best not to muddy the waters with names and addresses.)
Whence comes the blandness? Hard to say. Growing up in a Christian family is an undiluted blessing. Dynasties, however, are bad not only in politics, as current discussions go in the process of American primaries, but in faith as well. Bearing a surname popular in certain circles produces pressure to perform, to look good, to make a certain sound. Spiritual dullness can result from such a dynamic, not unlike inbreeding brings out undesirable traits such as reduced fitness and diminished vitality for reproduction. (We’re talking spiritual vigor here, not doctrinal unity.)
¶ Then there’s also the problem of using the antiquated language of King James in the 21st century. Just yesterday I read a pagan reviling a recent religious writing for this very thing. If we want to reach only our own people who talk funny or KJV fundamentalists in the South, we might stretch it to find a justification. On the Internet, and in the world of texting and social media, there is none whatsoever. I’ve said before, it’s time to dump the KJV and its outmoded English.
¶ Social commentary on the US from a 30-year expat: Donald Trump is the perfect presidential candidate for the American public: egomaniacal, materialistic, immoral, foul-mouthed, vulgar, and blame-thrower, worthy successor to the present office holder. Without mentioning the political side.
¶ Its language is slightly stiff (still, no thees and thous!), but the prayer works:
O Lord God, when you give to your servants to endeavor any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same to the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yields the true glory; through him who for the finishing of your work laid down his life, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. —Francis Drake, in The One Year Book of Personal Prayer, Jan. 26.
Make your updated version of this prayer and offer it up to the Lord.
¶ Brazilians are shocked at news about the recent snowstorm in the US and the death toll, so far is it beyond their experience. Maybe they share their comments with me because I’m from there, so I probably don’t hear their remarks about deaths here due to flooding.
¶ The writer sensationalizes the title somewhat, but I can identify with most points on how living abroad changes you. Holding to God’s mission makes a difference here. One senses how Americans mix their experience in with their faith. One small example: how much buildings take up their attention, even for the mission field. (Try to find a church-owned building in the Bible.)
¶ Ten years ago, yesterday, I posted a sad Rod Serling quote about writing. Five years ago today, a post of doingses, with a mention of getting Johnny Polk set up as a TFR Fellow. Fun flies when you’re having time.
¶ After some months, my GiveGlory doxologies continue apace. I feared, from my own limitations, of running out of steam on this. So far, the many excellencies of God, 1 Pet 2.9 (“the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections” AMP), have appeared before my eyes to furnish material, as well as his “multi-faceted grace” 1 Pet 4.10, not to mention “his precious and most magnificent promises” 2 Pet 1.4 NET.