By Elizabeth Prata
We are winding down the last school days of the year. The kids finish at our school here in the south on Tuesday, May 21 at noon, and the teachers exit the building for the final time in the 2018-19 school year on that following Friday. It’s a tiring but exciting time. We love the summer break, and we need it. We love to see the remarkable growth of the children from when they first entered our grade. We will miss them. It’s a poignant moment when they give us our last hugs and say goodbye. They’re not “ours” any more, but have moved on to bigger challenges, after the rest they deserve and family time over the summer.
I wish our growth in sanctification could be as evident as the kids’ growth in school. I wish there were benchmark tests we could take to externally mark our progress. I wish we could get a report card to let us know how we’re doing. Growth in our education in the Lord is more hidden, but if one compares our words and deeds to the Bible, then our progress is more easily seen. The Bible is our report card, and our progress can be compared by looking at where we were a year ago.
Are we gentler and more humble? That’s an A+. Are we more sacrificial and giving? That’s an A+ Are we able to control our tongue, offer wise counsel, retain more of His word? That’s an A+
Well you get the idea. Christianity is an upwardly mobile endeavor, both spiritually and someday, physically. Keep learning and growing, friends, as I also pray I am doing.
If you’re not over-saturated with the Rachel Held Evans news of her death and influence, I found these essays to be thoughtful and helpful in putting the whole thing in context. One of the charges made to even the sensitively written essays and obituaries was that no one should “speak ill of the dead” and/or that it was “too soon” to write anything negative about her. These essays deal with these issues.
Rachel Held Evans denied the God of the Bible and, instead, created a god in her own image – a god that allowed her to exist comfortably alongside those who worship the sexual revolution. Out of all the tragedies surrounding her death, the most tragic thing is that all evidence points to the reality that Rachel Held Evans entered eternity under the wrath of God.
At the same time, we must not pretend that her teachings honored the Lord. Both Denny Burk and Allen Nelson IV have documented the serious errors in her theology, and I strongly urge you to read their articles. Rachel Held Evans espoused a liberal theology that strips the Bible of its authority, thereby putting her followers in danger of becoming false converts.
Over the weekend, Rachel Held Evans’ followers have been thanking her, in memoriam, for encouraging them to be gay, feminist, a woman pastor, to worship a female version of God, to not feel guilty about voting for a woman’s right to choose abortion, to celebrate doubt, and to cut essential doctrines out of the Christian faith. What she taught in life, she’s being celebrated for in death. And yet we who know the truth are expected to remain silent about the danger they are in? We’re supposed to hide our light under a bushel until—when, exactly?
This essay isn’t particularly about RHE specifically but its recent publication after her death and resulting reactions speaks to the state of Christian civil (uncivil) dialog that I found helpful.
Have you seen them? There is a new kind of Pharisee today. Things like social media have paved the way for them. And they are not rare or quiet. Here is a partial profile of the new Pharisees:
Just so we’re clear: if you believe that it’s morally wrong for people to respond to the death of RHE by tearing into her legacy viciously, then I agree with you. There may be a time for doing that, but four or five days after she is dead is not that time. It’s a matter of respect. But if you believe that there is no morally acceptable way to write critically about her legacy so soon after her passing, well, we’ve got a problem.
In OTHER news:
A good one from TableTalk Magazine I found helpful in clarifying an issue I’ve long had with responses to encouragement.
“Thank you so much for taking time to bring me dinner while I’m sick. I’ve noticed that you have a selfless, others-focused life, and I’m so grateful to be a beneficiary of that grace in you.”
“Well, glory to God!”
I see these sorts of exchanges often. Someone writes or speaks a word of encouragement, specifically pointing out God’s goodness in the life of a friend. The recipient of the kind message, perhaps not knowing how to respond, deflects the encouragement with a statement such as “Glory to God.”
Of course, it’s important and right to consistently acknowledge the Lord and not to take credit and glory for the gifts that God has provided or the opportunities you have, but it’s another thing to deflect all encouragement so that we appear humble.
Run, do not walk to this sale! I checked the prices of all the offered books and they are deep markdowns even from comparing to Amazon WITH a Wikibuy coupon. I happen to know that if you spend $50 or more, you will receive free standard shipping, within Continental USA. It is a limited stock and when they are gone, they’re gone.
Banner of Truth Trust’s sale on books about Godly women.
Women preaching seems to be all the rage these days. Own Strachen has a few thoughts about that.
Our culture today does not embrace divine order in either scriptural form or natural form. Our culture is anti-order. Think of what Christopher Hitchens once wrote: “We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine.” In Hitchens’ mind, the greatest evil is not the priest, but hierarchy–another word for divine order.
The Pyromaniacs have some thoughts on Thinking Like a Slave. It’s timely for me, I was surprised a few weeks back when I posted that Christians must regularly attend church, I received several vociferous replies that I was quite wrong. Dan Phillips here explains/rebuts/destroys the very reasons I received that are often given as justifications for failing to worship corporately. In other words, he nailed it.
Combined with the essay above regarding the rebellion of the ‘saved’ Christian against a divine order & hierarchy, it’s a nice bookend piece. Here’s Dan-
But no. I can roll them all together, and deal with them all in one. Every one of these excuses, though presented in great deal and with great conviction, shares the very same fatal flaw. Every one of them views the Christian life as a process of negotiation.
A good article on why music is becoming increasingly derivative and less creative
Besides the decline of music literacy and participation, there has also been a decline in the quality of music which has been proven scientifically by Joan Serra, a postdoctoral scholar at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona. Joan and his colleagues looked at 500,000 pieces of music between 1955-2010, running songs through a complex set of algorithms examining three aspects of those songs:
The advent of drones makes aerial photography easier to produce for anyone without a pilot’s license and a plane. This series from My Modern Met depicts our connection with water. Beautiful photos
From the ocean, lakes, and rivers to hot baths and swimming pools, people are drawn to all types of water. For many, these bodies of water are cool, warm, comforting sanctuaries. Even from the early days of humanity, people sought out large expanses of water for survival, but also because it simply feels good to be in and around it.
These really ARE the Best Black Bean Burgers You’ve Ever Had. The secret is to briefly bake the black beans first, drying them out a bit. I am making these this weekend. Along with some yellow rice and an avocado it will be a delicious Saturday lunch!
I have been enjoying Netflix’s old BBC show Dad’s Army. A comedy about the WWII Home Guard. Clean and actually funny as well as heartwarming.
Enjoy your weekend!