Category Archives: Christian Living

For Want of Wonder (Part 2)

In which Chesterton destroys the cynic and the sentimentalist:

I’ve already talked a little about the wonder that pervades Chesterton’s writing — it should be easy as pie to see how such wonder is a death knell to cynicism. (It’s hard to grouse about the glass being half empty when the very existence of the glass and its contents amazes you.) But if the right kind of wonder is a death knell to cynicism, it’s also a death knell to mawkish optimism. Reading Chesterton, you’re reminded to keep your eyes open as wide as you possibly can. You see the beauty and the ugliness. The trick is remembering which one wins.

Continue reading…

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His Goodness Is His Glory

Reading through the Psalms with Matthew Henry’s commentary has afforded me a wealth of encouragement second to none. Reflecting on Psalm 68:3-6, Henry calls his readers to take note of a heartening but underemphasized truth: that the same all-powerful God who made us, the God “that rideth upon the heavens” – is also, and no less importantly, our Father. He is

a gracious God, a God of mercy and tender compassion. He is great, but he despises not any, no, not the meanest; nay, being a God of great power, he uses his power for the relief of those that are distressed, v. 5, 6. The fatherless, the widows, the solitary, find him a God all-sufficient to them. Observe how much God’s goodness is his glory. He that rides on the heavens by his name Jah, one would think should immediately have been adored as King of kings and Lord of lords, and the sovereign director of all the affairs of states and nations; he is so, but this he rather glories in, that he is a Father of the fatherless. Though God be high, yet he has respect unto the lowly. Happy are those that have an interest in such a God as this. He that rides upon the heavens is a Father worth having; thrice happy are the people whose God is the Lord.

Seeds and Rot

“Your father made mistakes. We all do. But instead of working to set things right, he chose to protect those mistakes – he let them be. He even fed them, which made them so much worse. Mistakes don’t just hang on the wall like ugly pictures. Mistakes are seeds.” He thumped his chest. “In here. They grow. They take over. You make a mistake, you gotta make it right. Dig that seed out. Old Wiz used to say, ‘Fruit rots, wood rots, but lazy-ass boys rot the fastest.”

– N.D. Wilson, Boys of Blur (pp. 50-51)

You Know You’re Bitter When…

“There are some telltale signs that would be good for every member of the household to be aware of.

Bitterness always has a sharp memory for all the details. And this is because bitterness has good study habits: review, review, review.

It’s also true that bitterness frequently resorts to anonymous critiques or attacks. Bitter words are frequently unsigned. This is obviously more difficult to accomplish inside a home, but sin can be pretty creative.

Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. (Ps. 64:2-4)

Another good indicator is the practice of conducting imaginary conversations in the mind. ‘Then I says to him, says I…” And of course, during these imaginary conversations, the brunt of this brilliant repartee is never capable of coming back with anything intelligible at all.

Bitterness also starts to invert the moral order of things.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.  (Is. 5:20)

A bitter person frequently starts to approve what they would have never approved at an earlier time in their life. When a Christian finds himself justifying what he would never have approved in other circumstances, he is probably bitter.

As we saw earlier in the passage from Hebrews 12, bitterness is like a root. It grows. It gathers nutrients everywhere it can. Soon the person’s heart and mouth are full of it – ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness’ (Rom. 3:14). What happens when the jar of your life is jostled? What comes out? If bitterness splashes on to everyone, this simply tells us what the jar was already full of.”

– Douglas Wilson, My Life for Yours (pp. 44-45)