• Mommy Guilt and The Cross

    wall Is there a mother out there that doesn’t feel guilty about her mothering? Maybe most of it, maybe some of it—all of us are committing or omitting things that make us feel guilty. When you know that a dependent person whom you love is counting on you for pretty much everything (from food to medical care to memorable holidays), it brings the weight of responsibility and the burden of imperfect performance.

    But I’m not sure that sin is the cause of most mommy guilt. Continue reading

  • True Courage

    moses-michelangelo“Meekness is commonly despised by the great men of the age as cowardice and meanness, and the evidence of a little soul, and is posted accordingly. But the most furious and angry revenge is celebrated and applauded under the pompous names of valour, honour, and greatness of spirit.

    This arises from a mistaken notion of courage… True courage is such a presence of mind as enables a man rather to suffer than to sin, to choose affliction rather than iniquity, to pass by an affront though he lose by it, and be hissed as a fool and coward, rather than engage in a sinful quarrel. He that can deny the brutal lust of anger and revenge, rather than violate the royal law of love and charity (however contrary the sentiments of the world may be), is truly resolute and courageous… Continue reading

  • What Are We Teaching Our Daughters?

    200px-Knitted_pinksquareMaybe I’m not reading broadly enough, but there seems to be a heavy emphasis in the reformed community on passing domestic skills on to our daughters. Many authors and bloggers stress that, along with the quiet and gentle spirit, we need to be enabling our daughters to be fabulous homemakers. Now, that’s great. This generation of young men just might have wives who are Martha Stewarts from day one. That’s a blessing for those husbands.

    But for mothers, the pressure to teach our daughters how to budget like Dave Ramsey, clean like a Dutch housewife, and cook like Julia Child seems to be mounting as the church recovers a high view of homemaking and motherhood. Homemaking internships with older women, books on money, and classes on crocheting are strongly encouraged; mothers whose daughters are “behind” in these areas carry an extra burden of mommy guilt. Perhaps this is especially true amongst home schoolers. Continue reading

  • Understanding Law and Gospel

    Over at Reformation21, Carl Trueman assesses a recent blog post by Tullian Tchividjian, calling for “a much needed face-to-face debate” after Tchividjian’s claim that Reformed and evangelical preachers are confusing law and gospel; Michael Kruger provides a helpful response to Tchividjian at his blog, leading to a Kruger-Tchividjian exchange in the comments section. Reading through the posts it seems plain to me that Tchividjian lacks clarity on the relationship of law and gospel–and that his counter-bloggers (Trueman, Kruger, et al) capably and clearly explain the scriptural relationship of the law and the gospel. Others have as well, including:
    Continue reading

  • Infant Graves

    lily of the valley 2“[N]ever better, than at the grave of those little ones do you understand that quiet disappearing, the snatching away of the fieldflower in the grass… just lifting up its colourful little head above that grass. And the wind came from the desert, carrying the breath of death. And under that touch it succumbed. The little head bent itself; the colours paled; the forms melted. And so it disappeared, to leave behind nothing but a hovering image, and round about it memories at play…

    It was a coming to go; an appearing to disappear. And so they die away by the hundreds and thousands, those little darlings, known of God, but passed unnoticed by men… The dying of these little ones is therefore so rich in significance; you miss so much, when you pass lightly over their mysterious disappearing. Continue reading

  • Lessons in Church Planting

    holy trinity presbyterian church Engaging in the work of planting Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church (ARP) in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan is bringing back memories of life lessons in church planting, gained in a small inner-city church in Kokomo, Indiana. The church there, itself a fairly recent church plant, was engaged in planting a church in the next town. The longer we lived, worshiped, were mentored in that Christian community, the more we grew in deep respect and appreciation for God’s gracious work through the Reformed Presbyterian Churches (RPCNA) in Indiana. Over a few decades, with a biblical simplicity, the kingdom of God advanced through them, from one small congregation in Bloomington, to eleven–still continuing to envision more across the state. Continue reading

  • Helpful Doesn’t Equal Biblical

    600px-Traffic_Sign_GR_-_KOK_2009_-_R-45.svgBook clubs can be dangerous things, and this one blindsided me. I was new to the area, the youngest person there with the least life experience and education. Everyone was a professing Christian. The first book up was a novel I had never read: it was saturated with pornography. So I stopped reading around page 5.

    During the discussion about the book, nobody brought up the point that it was garbage, so I ventured a comment: “Yeah, it was really well-written, but I guess the thing that bothered me was all the pornography, which is why I stopped reading it.” Everyone’s defenses went up. Continue reading

  • Christ the King in His Suffering

    Ströhl-Rangkronen-Fig._07What does it mean for you that Jesus Christ is King?

    While many of us could give a good answer, perhaps not many of us would include the profound and powerful testimony of Scripture to Christ as King in his humiliation. This is the period described in the Apostles’ Creed: he “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; he descended into hell.” Thinking through this time of earthly humiliation for Jesus, we might wonder whether his Kingship was evident at all.

    In the Old Testament’s prophetic descriptions of the coming Messiah, we see that a number of these refer to his Kingship immediately alongside his suffering: Continue reading