Monday, February 28, 2005


"Marriage is great, I highly recommend it."

This was a frequently heard and spoken phrase around the time I and several friends were getting engaged and married. I praise God that I can still agree with it. My wife really put up with a lot lately while I was under the weather - trying to take care of the house, our son, and me, all without my assistance. Not to mention, putting up with me being critical of her work. I'd love to chalk that up to the medication and the illness (which certainly contributed), but the problem is of course my heart. We've recently been reading in Tabletalk about controlling the tongue. The one who can is called a "perfect man" (James 3:2). I am not a perfect man.

We're thankful that we do have a great marriage and quickly forgive each other, but we want to move to actually not sinning in the first place!

Monday, February 21, 2005

More Imitation of Christ

This is from book 3, chapter 54:
"Nature works for its own interest and looks to the profit it can reap from another. Grace does not consider what is useful and advantageous to herself, but rather what is profitable to many. Nature likes to receive honor and reverence, but grace faithfully attributes all honor and glory to God."

I'm thinking about this from my perspective as an academic. Sometimes I feel that the emphasis in research is more in getting more publications for yourself than actually furthering a field of study or improving the world. I can only speak for myself in this, and I do feel that drive to get papers out so my career will advance. Yes, I desire to make work easier (and overcome the physical effects of the fall) but what is my real motivation in planning my research?

And there's the idea of "hot" areas of research. If you're not working on what's "hot," you are less likely to find grants (I presume) and therefore your career won't progress as well.

But what am I to do as a Christian academic? I must keep up with what my field is doing, but I must also build my expertise and apply it where it can bring great usefulness and reward for others. No, I may not get in the best journals with it, but then what do I really ultimately want? Academic fame and prestige? Endowed chair at a big university? Or, do I want to help people, and as many as I can with what I know?

And why must I be so weak and desire things for myself rather than for others?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Pre-Parenting Counseling?

Being a fairly new parent, maybe I'm a johnny-come-lately to this idea. Why don't we offer pre-parenting counseling in the church? My wife and I got some great pre-marital counseling (which was the policy at the PCA church where we wed), and I think our marriage got off to a much better start than we would have otherwise because of it.

Parenting is analogous to marriage in many ways: 1) huge life change, 2) major spiritual committments, 3) can be very stressful, and 4) you know at least a few months in advance before it happens (to name a few). I've regularly felt quite inadequate and perhaps poorly informed of what to expect as a parent. Yes, our extended families and the informal network of folks in our church that we talk to about parenting has been helpful. But, the advantage of structured pre-counseling is that the counselor can cover all the bases and apply those to my wife and me as individuals (and as a particular, unique marriage) BEFORE we even have the child.

Maybe this is actually widely done, but the (very few) PCA churches I've been involved in don't seem to do this.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Oh the irony!

I was reading this passage this morning on the ride to work:

"Gather in, and call home my senses unto Thee; make me to forget all worldy things; grant me to cast away speedily and to scorn all sinful phantoms. Succor me, O Thou eternal Truth, that no vanity may move me. Come to me, Thou heavenly sweetness, and let all impurity flee from before Thy face." - from Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book 3, chapter 48.

I realized I was having to try to concentrate on the book since the bus driver had a hip-hop radio station blaring. I got a good chuckle from that.

I do recommend the book by the way, even though it gets repetitious.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Exodus 1 & 2

I'm trying to read the Bible through in a year again, but am already behind (of course). Two things struck me strongly today in Exodus 1 & 2.

First, now that I'm a father I see parts of the Bible a bit differently, and more personally. For example, the birth of Christ and the reality of such an event. Today, I was reading Exodus 1 where it says that Moses was set adrift in the Nile when he was 3 months old. My own son is three months old, and I can't imagine having to hide him because the government says to throw him in a river. I can barely imagine what I would feel at seeing my son thrown ina river. In the past, I read over that passage, but the great tragedy and injustice of it slapped me in the face today. But also, the providence of God in delivering Moses is great.

Second, in the ESV, chapter 2 closes with three words: "and God knew." That's in the context of Israel crying out to God in their slavery and suffering. I've had my own little trials of late, mostly in re-organizing our budget and worrying about our financial situation (which, oddly enough, doesn't do it any good). But those words brought great comfort to me...God knows. He knows the situation and how I feel about it. He also knows eternity past and future - He directs it after all as The sovereign. How good it is to know that He does know what we're going through. Like Job, we may not get an answer why, but we can trust that our heavenly Father knows.