“The Burning Edge of Dawn”

“I’ve been waiting for the sun
To come blazing up out of the night like a bullet from a gun
Till every shadow is scattered, every dragon’s on the run
Oh, I believe, I believe that the light is gonna come
And this is the dark, this is the dark before the dawn.

… I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
And I could see the fields of glory
I could hear the sower’s song

I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
I saw the sower in the silver mist
And He was calling me home.”

The Model Wife

I like listening to music on a Christian radio station while I’m driving, but they do throw in the occasional pep talk as part of the bargain.  One day the hosts were talking about a friend who was having marriage difficulties. Apparently her husband was behaving in a hurtful way and she didn’t know how to handle the situation. Their advice?

“Your husband is your spiritual covering. You need to be his follower. If something is bothering you, simply pray about it. If he needs to change, God will take care of it.”

I could not help but think of Sapphira’s story. A woman who followed her husband’s lead, supported him loyally and, if she had any misgivings about his decisions, she left them all in the Lord’s hands. The model wife.Christ-Husband-Wife-Covering-Umbrella-200x300

Which is why the Lord praised her and gave her to us as an example to follow.

Oh wait, except that’s not how the story went.

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. | Acts 5:9-10

How embarrassing for the spiritual covering theorists.

This is the thing: if your husband is being a brat, he needs a true friend (Proverbs 27:6) not a groupie. If he is doing something wrong (which includes wronging you, or your children), you don’t get spiritual points for keeping quiet.

It’s a mistake to confuse humility with servility, or gentleness with weakness. The model wife has an opinion and a voice, and she does not act the part of a subordinate (because marriage is not a chain-of-command, and domineering is disrespectful behavior which should not be a feature in any relationship). These are qualities that make her a worthy companion.

We really need to find healthier, saner, more practical and more biblical marriage advice to offer. Here are a few things I came up with:

  • Be honest with your husband because relationships are built on communication.
  • Pampering someone’s ego is not respectful or loving.
  • Remember that although you are a team, you are also two individual people responsible before God. There is no such thing as someone acting as a “covering” for you, or standing in front of you before God.
  • Praying about situations is vital but it does not replace actual relationship work.

“Slander or an Inconvenient Truth?”

Sometimes people who do not want to be held accountable accuse others of slandering them when they shed light on their wrong behavior. Thus they turn the tables on truth-tellers, retain their privileged positions (which often include public platforms, followers and financial support) and manage to appear as sainted sufferers for righteousness’ sake.true-false

Remember: slander is a FALSE report knowingly given with the purpose of destroying someone’s reputation. TRUE reports are not slander. They should be heeded and the reporters should not be shamed or silenced.

May I recommend this insightful article:

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/03/18/slander-or-an-inconvenient-truth/

I’ve seen this quote several times on Facebook (I know, the irony) and I have something to say.

I don’t like it.

I realize that people share it with the best of intentions, namely (I assume) to inspire us to be better stewards of time.

But I still don’t like it.

Of course, my taste in quotes is hardly a guiding principle in matters of right and wrong, but let me explain. I think this quote presents problems. It builds on

a) a fallacy about the nature of a proper prayer life, and
b) a fallacy about the role of pleasure/enjoyment in the Christian life.

So about prayer or the lack thereof. Most of us have been thoroughly intimidated by stories of spiritual giants who spent solid, consecutive hours daily on their knees. But let’s be honest: practically no one has the time, liberty or stamina to emulate them. I know I don’t.

But there is good news! The Bible never actually tells us to do this. Neither does it give us to understand that prayer marathons are supposed to be part of our daily routine, or that they give Christians more spiritual status or leverage. What we are told is: Pray without ceasing. Or as other versions put it, Pray continually. Pray all the time. Never stop praying. That is about relationship, not about timetables. It’s about a “continual God-consciousness”, as John MacArthur puts it, about “recurring prayer, not nonstop talking”.(1) About abiding in Christ. I am reasonably sure that on the aforementioned Last Day, the Lord is not going to produce a tally sheet and confront us with the sum of hours we spent using the social networks vs. the sum of hours we spent in formal prayer.

In fact, why time spent on the social networks is presented as a censurable activity brings me to my second peeve.

First of all, WHY do we foster the puritanical notion that anything that gives pleasure or enjoyment is at odds with spirituality? We forget that God is the Designer of the five senses, the Maker – as C. S. Lewis had Screwtape point out – of the pleasures. (Check this out: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/april/lighten-up-christians-god-loves-good-time.html?paging=off). Enjoyment is not a waste of time. It’s part of the God-designed human experience.

And why should we pretend prayer and social networks are incompatible? They needn’t be unless we make them so; no more than prayer and knitting should be incompatible – prayer and family barbecues – prayer and baseball with the kids – prayer and car-washing – prayer and scrapbooking – prayer and eating ice cream – prayer and studying for exams – well, you get the idea. Prayerlessness is not a consequence of Facebook any more than it is of any other normal human activities.

In the second place, please, let’s be real: we ALL do things to unwind, enjoyable things, fun things. Maybe Mr. Piper’s way of unwinding doesn’t involve Facebook or Twitter; he may prefer to sit down with a book, play solitaire on the computer, watch a movie, have a game of chess, go camping, plan a romantic dinner with his wife, play football with his grandchildren. But that doesn’t make a game of Candy Crush, a coffee over Pinterest, some tweets or a debate on a Facebook thread somehow cheaper diversions, less classy choices.

Now before I climb off my little soapbox, I’d like to counterbalance some of the Social Networks Bashing I encounter. These are a couple of the gifts that Facebook drops into my life:

On my Bitmoji soapbox. Make one, they’re fun 😉

Interaction. I have a husband, four kids, a cat and a garden, and that means most of my life right now rolls at home. Facebook, however, gives me the opportunity to meet, chat, laugh, poke, argue and even share coffee breaks with my friends. All without leaving the house!

Fellowship. Most of my family – both my blood family and my Christian family – is scattered across the globe. I owe to Facebook the daily connection I enjoy with them. Stimulating conversations, funny quotes, encouraging words, photos of loved ones, theological discussions, snatches of everyday life… All this and more is channeled to me through Facebook.

On the Last Day I may greatly regret all the time I wasted in edification, fellowship and fun via the social networks. Maybe, John Piper. But I doubt it.

(1) https://www.gty.org/library/questions/QA157/what-does-it-mean-to-pray-without-ceasing

Nunca le he visto

Benjamin Franklin dijo una vez: “Para ver por fe hay que cerrar los ojos de la razón”.

La fe, desde luego, parece la antítesis de la razón; poco más que un eufemismo para la credulidad. El diccionario no ayuda cuando la define como “una creencia que no necesita ninguna confirmación de la experiencia, la razón, ni la ciencia”.

Desgraciadamente, muchas organizaciones religiosas, y no pocos fieles, han avalado esta impresión con sus supersticiones y oscurantismo.12111964_10206943781565848_6159964860505993684_n

Pero fe es una palabra noble que merece un mejor trato. No tiene por qué ser ciega, ni sentimentaloide, ni bruta. Dirigida a Dios, desde luego, debería ser el ejercicio más cabal del ser. Es un terrible malentendido pensar que para creer en Dios hay que dejar de lado la razón. “Amarás al Señor tu Dios con toda tu MENTE”, dijo Jesús. La fe ciega no puede honrar al verdadero Dios.

Es cierto que no le percibimos con los cinco sentidos. Yo nunca he “visto” a Dios. Su existencia no es algo que podemos confirmar en un laboratorio. Pero eso no significa que carecemos de evidencias investigables. Como dijo el apóstol Pablo: “No se dejó a sí mismo sin testimonio”.

Ese pregón resuena a través de los milenios y nos lanza su reto. La fe exige el ejercicio de todas nuestras facultades. Examinemos el testimonio. No dejemos “el cerebro en la puerta”.