Breaking the slavery of custom

Earlier this month a friend recommended a book by C.H. Spurgeon called “Eccentric Preachers”. I have read a few pages and if has been compelling. In the introductory chapter there are three sentences I wanted to share that remind me that the people God uses to bring about change in the world are those most would consider eccentric.

“The slavery of custom is as hard and crushing as any other form of human bondage, and blessed is he who for the the truth’s sake disdains to wear the galling chain, preferring rather to be charged with singularity and held up to ridicule. It is clear, then, that eccentricity may in certain cases be a virtue. When it touches the moral and the spiritual it may be worthy of all honour.”

In the West a modest pursuit of anything spiritual may be viewed as something noble by cultural standards this practice lends itself to evangelical Christians contently living a modestly “Christian” life. We tend to live so that we would not be bothered. Contrast that with the Apostle Paul’s attitude.

Philippians 3:8-10
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

May we be so eccentric.

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Happy Birthday

Eliza Jane was born today at seven forty two. She is six pounds and thirteen ounces. She is beautiful. Lisa is doing well too. Your prayers are appreciated! It is indeed a happy birthday.

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Presenting Eliza Jane from Clyde S. on Vimeo.

Your own dirt

“Strive for deep conviction more than superficial originality, and deep originality will come. Your tomatoes will take the ribbon at the fair, provided you learned how to grow them in your own dirt.” -Doug Wilson, from his very helpful article on Time Management

Waiting

This evening, Claire, Evan and I accompanied Lisa on a trip to the grocery store. We needed just a few additional items in support of the Children’s Hunger Fund Foodpak drive that our church is involved in, along with that we needed some things in support of life itself. Lisa is trying to make things easy for us while she’s recovering and adjusting to the birth of Eliza.

Though it is not uncommon in a lot of homes, my wife takes great care of us. Our home is clean, clothes have been laundered and now some easy food items are in the refrigerator. And while these things may not be unique, I have to say I am very grateful and I am uniquely blessed to have her as a partner.

My friend Sean encouraged me to read John Piper’s book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. In the 29th chapter entitled, “Brothers, Love Your Wives” he draws implications from Ephesians 5, one is that “a husband and wife should pursue their own joy in the joy of each other.” I seek to live this way, and yet through Lisa’s pursuit of joy in my own joy [and our little family’s joy] I taste it daily.

Since this weekend may be our last as a family of four, we went for a little outing to the Monte Carlo Italian Deli and Pinocchio Italian Restaurant. The kids split a spaghetti plate and we ordered a meatball pizza. What a great place.

They patiently waited for me as I lugged my camera and a tripod up and down Magnolia St. Here are a few I got from our time–

The restaurant
Messy and goofy
I think I surprised these two…
Claire with Pinocchio
On Magnolia

Perhaps the hymnal is wrong (may it never be!)

Kevin DeYoung gives us some helpful thoughts about Memorial Day. Under point five, patriotism can be good, the church is not a good place for patriotism.

We should pray for service men and women in our congregations. We should pray for the President. We should pray for the just cause to triumph over the evil one. We are not moral relativists. We do not believe just because all people are sinners and all nations are sinful that no person or no nation can be more righteous or more wicked than another. God may be on America’s side in some (not all) her endeavors.

But please think twice before putting on a Star Spangled gala in church this Sunday. I love to hear the national anthem and “God Bless America” and “My Country, Tis of Thee,” but not in church where the nations gather to worship the King of all peoples.

You ought to read the whole thing. I appreciate Kevin’s excellent balance and commitment to the Scriptures.

Even if they’re in our hymnal, there’s not a good place for them in our worship service.

real family entertainment

…Or maybe it isn’t real.

a shameless plug

The perfect companion for great companions. That’s the way I’d explain my appreciation for Sandra McCracken’s album, Gypsy Flat Road. One of my favorites on the album is a particularly instructive one called, Trade My Love which invokes reminders of Proverbs 25:20.

The chorus goes, “I will not sing songs when you’re heavy, I will not speak words to make it clear, I will stay with you and all that you carry, I would trade my love, I would trade my love for all your fears.”

Sometimes when someone close is suffering an important thing is just to spend time with them. Yes, there is a place for encouragement and exhortation to impart grace [Ephesians 4:29], but we should not discount the importance of time spent with someone hurting. I think our fast-paced culture hinders this. We’d prefer to quickly cheer up hurting friends by way of distraction. However, in this case, quantity is as important as quality.

Anyway, we could launch into a discussion for this, or I could tell you how it was Sandra McCracken that helped me see that hymns were important and how CS Lewis was worth reading, but what I want to tell you is that Gypsy Flat Road is available for free from Noisetrade.

You can read Sandra’s thoughts, though you don’t even need that. You just need 51 minutes. Smooth vocals you may not find, and you might think it’s a little honky-tonk. But I think by the time you get to the last song, “Close of the Day” you’ll know why I like it so much.

“From where we fell, the voice of rapture tells the story of weight and wonder to carry us down. And this is not what we deserve.”