24 December 2011

2 things

Both via Justin Taylor.

1. John Piper's beautiful and heart-wrenching poem, 'The Innkeeper'. You can listen online here.

2. This short discussion film below. 

Bad Art and the Tortured Beauty of the Cross from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

23 December 2011

Merry Christmas.

If the chief theme of our lives is not worshiping Jesus, enjoying God in him, and being freshly astounded by his grace toward us sinners, we have no good business endeavoring to bring others into an experience that we ourselves aren’t enjoying. And so it is not only the most missional among us, but all of us, who need reminding again and again, that mission “is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is.”
Year after year, Christmas summons us to think of ourselves as worshipers of Jesus much more than we think of ourselves as on-mission pastors, ministers, leaders, or laymen. May it be true of us this Christmas.
From David Mathis, here

12 December 2011

12th december 2011

Good words from Jared Wilson tonight:

The truth is that faith comes by hearing, not by deducing through comfortable apprehension of good deeds. An implied gospel is a gospel fail.

From here.
And this, from Sinclair Ferguson:
[R]emember that there isn’t a thing, a substance, or a “quasi-substance” called “grace.” All there is is the person of the Lord Jesus — “Christ clothed in the gospel,” as Calvin loved to put it. Grace is the grace of Jesus. If I can highlight the thought here: there is no “thing” that Jesus takes from Himself and then, as it were, hands over to me. There is only Jesus Himself.

From here.

Both timely words, the first one because i definitely thought that St. Francis' supposed words were true ('Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words')-- and i think i liked that phrase because it validated a cowardly life under the guise of 'preaching the gospel without words'. However, my personal experience is the opposite--Jared Wilson has it right, and Tebow has it right too. And so the way i'm living needs to change. Radically.

The second is timely because i'm realising that i know very little about grace. I thought i wrapped my head round the concept of grace for justification three years ago. But what about sanctification? What about the fullness of grace? What about walking in grace, and standing in grace, and really knowing what grace looks like and is??? And the answer is JESUS. "There is only Jesus Himself." i love that. i want that. i LONG for that. i want to know what that looks like 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; at home, work, school, community. For the rest of my life. Praise the Lord that for the Christian, the best is always yet to come. 

07 December 2011


Sisters, you owe no submission to Hollywood or to Madison Avenue, or to those who listen to them. Your worth and dignity cannot be defined by them. Stop comparing yourselves to supermodels and porn stars. Stop loathing your body, or your age. Stop feeling inferior to vaporous glamor. You are beautiful.

Sisters, there is no biblical category for “boyfriend” or “lover,” and you owe such designation no submission. In fact, to be submissive to your future husband you must stand back and evaluate, with rigid scrutiny, “Is this the one who is to come, or is there another?” That requires an emotional and physical distance until there is a lifelong covenant made, until you stand before one who is your “own husband.”

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord. Yes and Amen. But, women, stop submitting to men.

From Russell Moore's post.

04 December 2011


Homes are tremendously powerful places, because they are where people come from. There is no more important thing that you could be doing. You do not go home to hide from the world, you go home to change it.
From Homemade People by Rachel Jankovic.

03 December 2011

the christmas story

It's time to break this goody out again:

01 December 2011


J'aime cet article, Discerning the Good and Bad in Technology, par Read Schuchardt, a publiĆ© par Justin Taylor
My favorite example of this is the Bruderhof community who noticed that after using television for a year, their children had stopped singing the community songs and spiritual hymns they used to sing on the playground. So the decision was not over the question, “Is television good or bad?” The question became, “Which do we value more: good television or singing children?”

24 November 2011


Let us stake the flag of Christ's kingdom into the soil of our first waking moment. Drink your coffee when you get up, of course, but drink it to the glory of God. Then carry on in this way all day, no matter the task, be it menial or notable, so that each day may be a living prayer that God's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is what it means to live a gospel-saturated life: it means being so conscious of the greatness of the gospel that changing diapers or cutting the grass is as much an act of worship as singing a praise chorus in a church service….Jesus Christ is Lord over my heart, and he is Lord over my hands, and he is Lord over what I do with these hands, and he is Lord over what I say in my heart while I'm doing it. In submitting to the lordship of Christ, then, I do not treat washing dishes as wasting time I could be spending doing something "meaningful," but rather as a service to those who eat in my home, as a service to those who would have to wash the dishes if I did not, and as an offering of thanksgiving to God that I have food to eat, dishes to eat it on, and running water inside my home to clean with.To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, there is not a square inch of our lives that is not claimed by God and counterclaimed by ourselves. If we believe God is sovereign, however, we will see all of life as mission and be led to submit the square inches we otherwise hold so tightly to the Maker of inches and hands.
These words are from this post by David Mathis, quoting Jared Wilson from his book Gospel Wakefulness.

stewardship and thanksgiving

Too often our advice to unmarried adults stems from worldly thinking that infects us all. We give advice to improve and equip the unmarried adult to attract better relationships, rather than reminding them they are stewards of whatever relationships they have been given.

This post on singleness from Carolyn McCulley at the Radical Womanhood blog is great. The whole thing is helpful, but this line especially hit me over the head. And because today is Thanksgiving Day, i'm thankful for all of the Godly counsel i get from blogs like hers, and his, and his, and hers, and hers, and hers, and from here, and here. And more too, probably. 

'Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His love endures forever.' Psalm 136:1

23 November 2011

love and respect

God does not want a bunch of women at home with discontent and fussy spirits, and He does not want us at home burying our talent in the ground. The Lord wants us here to do His work, to do what we are able to do. He wants our children to grow up in a place of joyful and loving faithfulness.  If we struggle with joy,  it is not as though there is no hope. We simply need to look for some tangible ways to love our homes, and our calling in them. And if we struggle with fulfillment, we need to look for some tangible ways to respect the work we are doing. Honor your calling by working hard, by pushing yourself to grow, to learn, to give. When you love, the object of that love grows more lovely. When you respect, the object of that respect becomes more worthy of it.'
this post is interesting and timely as i identify some of these things (lack of respect for what i have/get to do, mostly) in my own heart. i'd really never thought about it like this.

17 November 2011

caught and convicted

So i just read this article entitled 'Are You an Internet Busy-Body?' and i knew before i even read it that it was written just for me. And i'm glad it was. i've been thinking about this for a while now but didn't think it out like the author did, or find scripture to get to the heart of the problem. And Lord willing, this will be a tool in my belt to get to the bottom of my heart and topple the idols there. 

04 November 2011

'teaching our girls to cry'

This post by A. Dunagan at Passionate Homemaking resonates with me. 

29 October 2011

waste your life?

from jon bloom's article Jesus wants you to waste your life on the desiring God blog:

Jesus wants you to waste your life like Mary wasted her perfume. For it is no true waste. It is true worship. A poured out life of love for Jesus that counts worldly gain as loss displays how precious he really is. It preaches to a bewildered, disdainful world that Christ is gain and the real waste is gaining the world’s perfumes and losing one’s soul in the process (Matthew 16:26).


basically i just re-post justin taylor all the time. here's another good one: a quote from david mathis' article on the subject of october 31. 

What if we saw October 31 not merely as an occasion for asking self-oriented questions about our participation (whether we should or shouldn’t dress the kids up or carve pumpkins), but for pursuing others-oriented acts of love? What if we capitalized on the opportunity to take a step forward in an ongoing process of witnessing to our neighbors, co-workers, and extended families about who Jesus is and what he accomplished at Calvary for the wicked like us?
What if we resolved not to join the darkness by keeping our porch lights off? What if we didn’t deadbolt our doors, but handed out the best treats in the neighborhood as a faint echo of the kind of grace our Father extends to us sinners?
also, just to clarify what is me and what is another person's words, i'm going to put quotes in italics from here out. 

25 October 2011

salt and light

been thinking about salt and light today. then justin taylor linked john stott's article 'Four Ways Christians Can Influence the World.' i think that's Providence. 

in light of my drawing class

my drawing professor is infamously harsh in his critiques. for good reason.
i read this today, from justin taylor:

Flannery O’Connor:
Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
Fernando Ortega: “the important, sometimes predominant role negativity has played in the creation of my songs: so much stripping away, so much tearing apart before I can get to the heart of what I’m trying to communicate.”

13 October 2011


Justin Taylor posted this from Russell Moore:

Children shatter your life-plan. Adoption certainly does.
It’s worth it.
But Jesus tells us we ought to know that a king going into battle must measure his troops, a tower-builder must count the expenses of the project (Lk. 14:28-31). Those who see adoption as a warm, sentimental way of having a baby are mistaken and dangerous. There are far too many who plunge in without counsel, without a commitment to fidelity no matter what. They search around for a baby who fits their specifications. And babies never fit your specifications…at least not when they grow up.
If what’s behind all of this isn’t crucified, war-fighting, eyes-open commitment, you are going to wind up with a child who is twice orphaned. He or she will be abandoned the first time by fatherlessness and the second time by the rejection of failing to live up to the expectations of parents who had no business imposing such expectations in the first place.
We need a battalion of Christians ready to adopt, foster, and minister to orphans. But that means we need Christians ready to care for real orphans, with all the brokenness and risk that comes with it. We need Christians who can reflect the adopting power of the gospel, which didn’t seek out a boutique nursery but a household of ex-orphans who were found wallowing in our own blood, with Satan’s genes in our bloodstreams.
If what you like is the idea of a baby who fulfills your needs and meets your expectations, just buy a cat. Decorate the nursery, if you’d like. Dress it up in pink or blue, and take pictures. And be sure to have it declawed.

10 October 2011

charles spurgeon

You will not be able to extemporize good thinking unless you have been in the habit of thinking and feeding your mind with abundant and nourishing food. Work hard at every available moment. Store your minds very richly, and then, like merchants with crowded warehouses, you will have goods ready for your customers, and having arranged your good things upon the shelves of your mind, you will be able to hand them down at any time without the laborious process of going to market, sorting, folding, and preparing. . . . Take it as a rule without exception, that to be able to overflow spontaneously you must be full.
 -Charles Spurgeon
 From Justin Taylor.

28 September 2011

bridges of hope 10 year anniversary project

Elizabeth,Betsy Not really sure why just half of it shows. The image is probably too large. Poo.

24 September 2011

23 September 2011

book list

Here is a booklist from the 2011 Desiring God Missions Conference. If only i had more time...

Tears of the Saints from AsiaLink HistoryMaker on Vimeo.

From Justin Taylor.

21 September 2011

'what is beautiful?'

Wise words (part one and two) from Jen Smidt on what true beauty is, who is truly beautiful and how to pursue that true beauty.

'redemption is not a commodity'

This post on the Resurgence is super good.
 'One can want redemption, but it begins and ends with wanting Jesus. It is a subtle yet significant difference to see people thirsty for redemption's results more than craving the redeemer for lasting satisfaction. We are tempted to focus on being changed rather than fixing our heart’s gaze on Christ.'

14 September 2011

DIY paper tape picture frame

From Jordan Ferney, a DIY tutorial on how to make your own picture frame using mat board, plexiglass or glass, and paper tape. i like this idea, because framing is always a difficult decision.

09 September 2011

how to glorify God at work

'And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father' (Colossians 3:17). John Piper gives an exhortation here on this passage, 'How to Glorify God at Work'.


This post is a sweet example of making a missional community, and bearing fruit.

25 August 2011

more on motherhood

Gosh, i'm not even a mom yet and i'm convinced it's probably the hardest job in the world. This post by Rachel Jankovic at the Desiring God blog helped convince me of that but offers hope (and beauty?) at the same time, the same hope that applies to all of life: the gospel.


This post from Michael Oh over at the Desiring God blog is rad. Read it. Live it with me.

"I believe that Jesus Christ is calling for well-trained, well-educated, godly, capable, wise, talented nobodies."
"My point is that missions is simply doing what the Lord has gifted and called you to do — where there are few or no Christians — so that those who cannot be saved without believing in the gospel would hear the life-giving good news of Jesus through you.

It’s choosing to forsake the comforts and glory of the American dream to live in an African jungle, or any foreign land, and speaking in a foreign tongue, choosing to be slightly uncomfortable and really need God so that he might have have the glory he is worthy to receive."

happy promises

Great post from Fabs--'5 Promises to Make You Happy' from Psalm 16. Must remember these every day of my life.

22 August 2011

law + gospel for kids (and adults too)

I read this post the other day but I got to thinking about it at work and so I think I need to keep it. Doug Wolter wrote this guest post:

Here's a simple outline to follow in balancing the law and the gospel in our parenting:
Give them God's law - You must do it.
Remind them they're sinners - You can't do it.
Point them to Christ - He has done it.
Tell them as believers - In Christ, you can do it.
Step 1: Give them God's Law - You must do it.

For example, let's say your daughter whines and refuses to help serve you in the kitchen because she'd rather watch T.V. You come to her and say, "You need to stop whining and obey your daddy by serving cheerfully right now. You must do it."

Step 2: Remind them they're sinners - You can't do it.

Your daughter looks away from you and whines even louder, "I don't want to." So, you tell her, "I know that you don't want to and I also know that you can't serve cheerfully and think of others first on your own. You're just like me, you're a sinner. You can't do it."

Step 3: Point them to Christ - He has done it.

Your daughter gives you a strange look. So you sit down beside her and say, "You know what, I'm so glad that God has mercy on sinners like you and me. That's why he sent Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross in our place to take our sin and give us his righteousness if we would simply trust in him. Jesus never whined and always obeyed his Father cheerfully. He has done it."

Step 4: Tell them as believers - In Christ you can do it.

Finally, you look at your daughter and tell her that as believers in Christ we have been made new. We are clothed in his goodness because of his grace. Therefore, we have a heart that wants to serve and think of others first. It's in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. In Christ you can do it.

Realistically, you won't be able to delve into this deep of discussion every time, but this is the heart (and basic outline) behind how to approach these situations. Note: If you're child is not yet a believer in Christ, the Last Step is an opportunity to help him or her respond to God's grace offered to them in Christ - pointing them away from their performance to Christ's performance on their behalf. Remind them that Christ took our filthy rags, he took our failed test of obedience, and in exchange he gave us his white robe of goodness and his perfect score of obedience. We receive it all by faith in what Christ has done for us, not what we must do for him.

21 August 2011

bless your workplace

Josh Reeves posts 30 ways to bless your workplace.

generous justice

FINALLY finished Tim Keller's small book Generous Justice. I recommend it, it's quite good. Okay, it's really good and really convicting.
A couple of passages:
Pages 95-96... Fasting should be a symbol of a pervasive change across the whole face of one's life. People changed by grace should go, as it were, on a permanent fast. Self-indulgence and materialism should be given up and replaced by a sacrificial lifestyle of giving to those in need.
Pages 102-103... To the degree that the gospel shapes your self-image, you will identify with those in need. You will see their tattered clothes and think: "All my righteousness is a filthy rag, but in Christ we can be clothed in his robes of righteousness." When you come upon those who are economically poor, you cannot say to them, "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!" because you certainly did not do that spiritually. Jesus intervened for you.
Page 108... [Quote from M'Cheyne] If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Pages 122-123... The gospel makes us all like Abraham, who left his home culture but never "arrived" in another one.
Page 139... Evangelism is the most basic and radical ministry possible to a human being. This is true not because the spiritual is more important than the physical, but because the eternal is more important than the temporal... If there is a God, and if life with him for eternity is based on having a saving relationship with him, then the most loving thing anyone can do for one's neighbor is help him or her to a saving faith in that God.
Page 160... The implication of James 1:17 is that God scatters gifts of wisdom, goodness, justice, and beauty across all the human race, regardless of people's beliefs. Christians see all skill in science, scholarship, crafts, government, art, and jurisprudence as being from God.

18 August 2011


From this article by John Piper:

1. The excellence of the products or services you render in your job shows the excellence and greatness of God.

2. The standards of integrity you follow at your job show the integrity and holiness of God.

3. The love you show to people in your job shows the love of God.

4. The stewardship of the money you make from your job shows the value of God compared to other things.

5. The verbal testimony you give to the reality of Christ shows the doorway to all these things in your life and their possibility in the lives of others.

15 August 2011

i forget

did i post this before? well anyhow, for future reference...

12 August 2011

soma community life

Soma Communities - Tacoma, WA from Verge Network on Vimeo.

From here.

charles spurgeon

'Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.

'I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress—that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.'

Quoted from here.

29 July 2011


'If you believe the power to overcome sin comes from discipline, you’re preaching a different gospel than the one that involves Christ on the Cross. Preach Christ crucified to your friends. Preach faith. Preach the power of God.' This article by Fabs Harford about struggling with lust is good stuff, practical, with a powerful tool from John Piper at the end that got a fist pump from me (and hopefully more than that, as it's also uber-practical in fighting lust with joy in Jesus).

16 July 2011

Abba Changes Everything

This article by Russell Moore is really great. We're studying Romans at Biblestudy, learning about the gospel that enables us to call the Creator God our Abba. And I think adoption is pretty awesome, both theologically and practically (is that what one calls it?).

14 July 2011


this awesome post from a mother of five about motherhood as a calling.
'Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.'

'But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.'

13 July 2011

james and galatians

I've been thinking about this truth, that Christianity is outward and upward rather than inward focused, since listening to a sermon from Galatians. Then I read this article based out of James that confirms it. Read it here.

11 July 2011

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.”

29 June 2011

half-way-thru-the-year list

This list from Fabs Harford of questions to wrestle with now that July is upon us.
1. What has your interaction with God looked like so far this year?
2. If someone who didn’t know you tracked your schedule this year, what would they say are your top priorities?
3. If someone who didn’t know you tracked your spending this year, what would they say are your top five priorities?
4. How have your words reflected your heart this year? ('Ask someone what you talk about most.' !!!)
5. What do you want the next 6 months of your life to look like?

'we don't want to live at second hand'

This message from desiringGod is timely and helpful. i listen to a lot of good teaching podcasts and read a lot of meaty books but the truth is that people will know i am a christian by my love, not by my big head. it's also easy to live off the faith of someone else rather than dig down deep in God's word for myself. oh Lord, plant Your truths deep in my heart and work them out in my life. do whatever You must to cut away the blindness and callouses on my eyes, that i may SEE.

25 June 2011

psalm 147:4

Go here and check this out. Sorry i don't know how to import the whole thing here, but i can point you in the right direction!!!

24 June 2011

I think one may be quite rid of the old haunting suspicion—which raises its head in every temptation—that there is something else than God, some other country into which he forbids us to trespass, some kind of delight which he ‘doesn’t appreciate’ or just chooses to forbid, but which would be real delight if only we were allowed to get it.

The thing just isn’t there. Whatever we desire is either what God is trying to give us as quickly as he can, or else a false picture of what he is trying to give us, a false picture which would not attract us for a moment if we saw the real thing. . . . He knows what we want, even in our vilest acts. He is longing to give it to us. . . .

The truth is that evil is not a real thing at all, like God. It is simply good spoiled. . . . You know what the biologists mean by a parasite—an animal that lives on another animal. Evil is a parasite. It is there only because good is there for it to spoil and confuse.

—C. S. Lewis, They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914-1963), ed. Walter Hooper (New York, 1979), p. 465. Italics original.

from Justin Taylor.

20 June 2011

win a trip to paris!

so jordan ferney of oh happy day is hosting a giveaway for a seven-day trip to paris on her blog. and of course i entered. hello! you too, can enter here. bonne chance!


finally. done. with. last. quarter. of. community. college.
got my AA. got into UW!!!! (praise God!)
now it can be sunny and wonderful all the time. haha.
i took the last couple weeks off in order to focus on hw, sorry if you missed me (anybody?).

10 June 2011

i would really like for this to come to seattle.

22 May 2011


From Russell Moore via Vitamin Z.
On the nightstand of a woman in your church, there’s a Christian romance novel and a Bible. Does that matter? On the Kindle of a teenage Christian woman in your congregation’s youth group, there’s a “young adult” fiction bestseller. Should that concern you?
A new book by Boston University researchers Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, offers a disturbing look at how Internet search engines reveal much about the sexual and emotional desires of men and women, and how they differ. The research confirms in some ways what almost everyone knows: men are visually engaged, attracted to youth and sexual novelty, and are thus vulnerable to visual pornography.
The research explores further what the commercialized romance industry tells us about what it means to be a woman (at least in a fallen world). Women are much less likely to be drawn to visual pornography (although more do so than one might think), but are quite likely to be involved in such media as Internet romantic fiction or the old-fashioned romance novel.
The romance novel follows, the researchers argue, a typical pattern. The hero is almost never, they say, a blue collar worker, a bureaucrat, or someone in the traditionally feminine occupations (hairdresser, kindergarten teacher, etc.). He is competent, confident, and usually wealthy. He is, in short, an alpha male.
But, they argue, this alpha male is typically a rough character who learns to be tamed into kindness, kindness to her. Thus, you wind up with not only the strong silent cowboys with the soft interior life, but also these days vampires and werewolves and Vikings.
And all of this is moving toward the climax of the romance story: the “happily-ever-after.”
“Romance novels rarely have a sequel,” the book concludes. “Once the hero and heroine are joined in love or matrimony, they get their Happily-Ever-After, presumably with a bevy of children and domestic bliss. Further adventures would violate the female fantasy of true, committed, eternal love.”
“Though there are many series of modern romance novels, once a couple gets their Happily-Ever-After in one book, they only resurface as beloved supporting characters in future books, with each subsequent book’s focus on a new hero or heroine.”
Of course, as they do with pornography, these scholars explain all of these archetypal female desires in a Darwinian need for the woman to seek out a mate who can be simultaneously monogamous and protective of the offspring. This evolutionary desire is seen in the strong male who pours out his feelings of devotion, and whose lifelong commitment is frozen in time and certainty in the Happily-Ever-After moment.
While I don’t share all the presuppositions of these scholars, I think they’re on to something about the allure of the commercialized romance story. Pornography and romance novels aren’t (or at least aren’t always) morally equivalent, but they “work” the same way.
Both are based on an illusion. Pornography is based on the illusion of a perfectly willing, always aroused partner without the “work” of relational intimacy. Often romance novels or their film equivalents do the same thing for the emotional needs of women that pornography offers for the erotic urges of men.
And in both cases, what the “market” wants is sameness. Men want the illusion of women who look just like women but are, in terms of sexual response, just like men. Women want the illusion of men who are “real” men, but, in terms of a concept of romance, are just like women. In both artificial eros and artificial romance, there is the love of the self, not the mystery of the other.
Thankfully, we do not yet have a market for “Christian” pornography (but just wait, someone will find a way). But we do have a market for “Christian” romance novels. Now some of those classified as such aren’t really “romance novels” at all. They’re complicated looks at the human condition, especially male/female relationships, from a Christian vantage point.
A lot of this genre, though, is simply a Christianization of a form not intended to enhance intimacy but to escape to an artificial illusion of it. Granted, there’s no graphic sexuality here. The hero and heroine don’t sleep together; they pray together. But that’s just the point.
How many disappointed middle-aged women in our congregations are reading these novels as a means of comparing the “strong spiritual leaders” depicted there with what by comparison must seem to be underachieving lumps lying next to them on the couch?
This is not to equate morally “romance novels” with the grave soul destruction of pornography. But it is worth asking, “Is what I’m consuming leading me toward contentment with my spouse (or future spouse) or away from it? Is it pointing me to the other in one-flesh union or to an eroticized embodiment of my own desires? Is this the mystery or a mirage?

18 May 2011

ira glass

“ Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through." -Ira Glass from here.

14 May 2011

books to love

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead.
How To Behave And Why, by Munro Leaf
This Is Paris, by M. Sasek
Le Petit Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery

13 May 2011

06 May 2011

just so i don't forget

Justin Taylor posted about Susan Hunt in this post, a message she shared and some books she recommends.

28 April 2011

so excited!

...for the Royal Wedding! haha.
Here's the programme for the wedding, will definitely be curling up with a cuppa tea and might scare up some digestives as well while watching the re-runs (not getting up at 3 am--sorry William and Kate).

16 April 2011

'how to steal like an artist'

smashing article. fun to read. helpful. practical. really like this. read it.

'11 Ways to Find Your Idols'

From the Mars Hill blog.
1. What do I worry about most?
2. What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel that I did not even want to live?
3. What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
4. What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
5. What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
6. What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
7. What do I lead with in conversations?
8. Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
9. What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
10. What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
11. What is my hope for the future?

12 April 2011

'I think we have grievously sterilized the gospel, depersonalizing it to such an extent that we have a hard time seeing sin as more personal than legal (though it is), salvation as more reconciliation than payment (though it is), and God’s work in and through Christ as more relational than judicial.'

From Muse and Mystery.

09 April 2011


This booklet on praying God's word, found via the Desiring God blog.

timely advice

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and somthing else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
- Chuck Close

found here.

07 April 2011

to suffering

From Elisabeth Elliot's daily devotional:

If resurrection is a fact--and there would be no Easter if it were not--then there is no situation so hopeless, no horizon so black, that God cannot there "find His glory." The truth is that without those ruined hopes, without that death, without the suffering that He called inevitable, the glory itself would be impossible. Why the universe is so arranged we must leave to the One who arranged it, but that it is so we are bound to believe.

And when we find ourselves most hopeless, the road most taxing, we may also find that it is then that the Risen Christ catches up to us on the way, better than our dreams, beyond all our hopes. For it is He--not His gifts, not His power, not what He can do for us, but He Himself--who comes and makes Himself known to us. And this is the one pure joy for those who sorrow.

05 April 2011

esp. the os guinness bit

I think there has been a lot of anxiety and burnout—indeed, a new kind of low-grade legalism—as believers are given the burden of transforming culture. Most of us are called to making small differences every day in the lives of a few neighbors—like our spouse, children, extended friends and relatives, co-workers. Of course, we pursue our callings as more than jobs, but so do a lot of non-Christians. We are motivated by a concern to love and serve our neighbors, but a lot of non-Christians have a stronger sense of social obligation than we do. What if I’m a janitor or tree surgeon in Iowa rather than a Wall Street mover-and-shaker? Actually, most Christians are the former rather than the latter. I like Os Guinness’s line: “In terms of influence, the problem is not that most Christians aren’t where they should be, but that they aren’t what they should be where they are.” I would only add that it’s only by being regularly steeped in God’s Word, over the long haul, that this kind of maturity becomes something that others recognize even if we don’t.

--Michael Horton, from Justin Taylor's blog.

23 March 2011


from World magazine, 26th march 2011.
in the Q&A reviews with Andy Crouch:
'Pursuing being elite is a terrible idea... Most people who pursue being elite end up being shaped solely by that: They become nothing but elite. I'd much rather have everyone, whatever their prospects for being elite or not, pursue excellence. Excellence is often accompanied by humility, whereas being elite often is not. People who have obtained mastery of certain fields, I've found, are surprisingly humble, because they've become aware of how difficult their work is....
'The key to becoming a serious culture maker is you learn to tell when you played the scale well and when you didn't... It takes 10,000 hours to develop mastery of something...[That] is a great index, because you will not make it to mastery unless you love something. So, the first question: What do you love enough to make it to those 10,000 hours? ...
'For Christians it can't just be a self-discovery process of "What are my deepest desires and how do I fulfill those?" Not instead of that, but in addition to that, we should ask, "Does this vocation take me to a place where the world is in pain?" Christian vocation takes us to a place where our work intersects with the brokenness of the world.'
Andree Seu:
'Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in his 1978 Harvard University commencement address, "A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations.... Must one point out that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the first symptom of the end?"

18 February 2011

love bears all things

So it's been a long hard week and six months at work. Then i read this:

'If you are in a season of struggle with those God has called you to love, God doesn't expect you to change your loved one. His call is to bear long in love, to endure, and to believe the best for that person while he changes them. And if you are not in that season but are friends with someone who is, weigh carefully the tone of your suggestions or encouragements. Hold your friend up as they bear long and patiently endure. Believe with them that grace works and that loving unconditionally for the long haul is the most effective tool we have for influencing change in the ones we love. May you and I rest from our attempts to change our loved ones and find refuge in God's ability and promise to do so. And may the greatest peer pressure we put on each other in such situations be to bear in love for the long haul.'

. . . walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, (Eph. 4:1-2)

by Wendy Alsup, from Desiring God.

05 February 2011


i've been trying to read more books and spend less time online. Just finished reading Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris and now working through Tim Keller's Generous Justice. i recommend both. Here are some excerpts from both that challenge me:
'We must have a strong concern for the poor, but there is more to the Biblical idea of justice than that. We get more insight when we consider a second Hebrew word that can be translated as 'being just,' though it usually is translated as 'being righteous.' The word is tzadeqah, and it refers to a life of right relationships. Bible scholar Alec Motyer defines 'righteous' as those 'right with God and therefore committed to putting right all other relationships in life.' This means, then, that Biblical righteousness is inevitably 'social,' because it is about relationships. When most modern people see the word 'righteousness' in the Bible, they tend to think of it in terms of private morality, such as sexual chastity or diligence in prayer and Bible study. But in the Bible tzadeqah refers to the day-to-day living in which a person conducts ALL relationships in family and society with fairness, generosity, and equity...' (Generous Justice, p 10)
'In those moments [when I have the impulse to wall myself off from the world] I have to remind myself: it's not enough for me to be holy. When Jesus left, he didn't say, 'Stay on this hill and be holy.' He told his followers to be holy and to go share the gospel with the world. For the church to be faithful, we need both a concern for holiness and a heart to reach the world... There's no contradiction between consecration and evangelistic mission. If our hearts are consecrated, we can live in the darkest culture and powerfully shine forth the truth of the gospel. If our hearts are not consecrated, no amount of separation or man-made rules will keep us from the influence of worldliness (1 John 2:15-17). It will be in us no matter how high we build the walls around ourselves.' (Dug Down Deep, pp 208, 209)
Harris includes this quote from John Stott, 'So Jesus calls his disciples to exert a double influence on the secular community, a negative influence by arresting its decay and a positive influence by bringing light into its darkness. For it is one thing to stop the spread of evil; it is another to promote the spread of truth, beauty and goodness.' (p 209)
'If we would obey Jesus, we must go into the world. I've been challenged by the example of other churches to study my local community with the evangelistic intentionality of a missionary. To ask questions like 'If I were a missionary to another nation, how would I view my life? What decisions would I make about where I live or how much I need to live on? Where would I spend my time so I could form friendships with unbelieving people? What would I seek to learn about the culture so I could befriend and clearly communicate the gospel? What are the idols and false gods people are worshiping?' (DDD, p 210)

12 January 2011


check out these photos of haiti, one year later.
that little four-year-old orphan boy breaks my heart.

02 January 2011


from don whitney:
1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?