Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Man's Requirements

A Man's Requirements

Love me Sweet, with all thou art,
   Feeling, thinking, seeing;
Love me in the lightest part,
   Love me in full being.

Love me with thine open youth
   In its frank surrender;
With the vowing of thy mouth,
   With its silence tender.

Love me with thine azure eyes,
   Made for earnest granting;
Taking colour from the skies,
   Can Heaven’s truth be wanting?

Love me with their lids, that fall
   Snow-like at first meeting;
Love me with thine heart, that all
   Neighbours then see beating.

Love me with thine hand stretched out
Love me with thy loitering foot,—
   Hearing one behind it.

Love me with thy voice, that turns
   Sudden faint above me;
Love me with thy blush that burns
   When I murmur Love me!

Love me with thy thinking soul,
   Break it to love-sighing;
Love me with thy thoughts roll
   On through living—dying.

Love me when in thy gorgeous airs,
   When the world has crowned thee;
Love me, kneeling at thy prayers,
   With the angels round thee.

Love me pure, as musers do,
   Up the woodlands shady:
Love me gaily, fast and true
   As a winsome lady.

Through all hopes that keep us brave,
   Farther off or nigher,
Love me for the house and grave,
   And for something higher.

Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear,
   Woman’s love no fable.
I will love thee—half a year—
   As a man is able.

Pinterest Recipes

Here are some recipes I've tried from Pinterest, along with my opinion of them:

This continues to make the rounds on Pinterest, but I actually tried it and it was a colossal failure!  1) It took about 25 minutes for the ice cream to even begin to solidify and my hands were in absolute misery from the cold.  2)  The ice cubes beat holes in the ice cream baggie, causing water and salt to leak into the cream bag and the cream to leak out of its bag!  Ugh.  I stopped and double bagged the cream, but it still wasn't effective.

Gotta give this one a thumbs down, Big Time.  Love the idea...but not the results.

I've made these 4 times already for a variety of parties, and they have been a hit every time.  My oldest son thinks they're a bit much, but he's the exception.  These are a little time-consuming to put together because there are so many layers, but it's worth the effort if you have teenaged boys around.  You'll be The Cool Mom.

This one is similar, in theory, to the previous recipe, and was really good too!  The oreos remain rather crunchy, so they're almost impossible to eat with a fork, but they're almost too messy to eat by hand...but worth the effort or mess, one way or another. 

These are a quick, easy treat that will disappear almost as quickly as you can put them together!   I made some with pecans, but since many kids/teens seem to reject nuts, I made the majority with another pretzel smashed on top instead of a pecan.  Both were yummy!  

Have you noticed a pattern emerging?  All of the recipes are chock full of SUGAR!?!  Yes.  That's because...umm...NOT because I'm addicted!!'s because...I have to feed teen boys and THEY love sugar.  It's all for them.  No, really.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Hymn for Pentecost

Come Down, O Love Divine
Words: Bianca of Siena (circa 1425)
Music: Ralph Vaughn Williams - Down Ampney

Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Filming Grace

When I decided to rent The Grace Card, I was determined to lay aside my preconceived bias against "overtly Christian" movies, which nearly always lack depth and artistry.  Unfortunately, this movie only reinforced that bias.

My primary objection to this and other recent "Christian" films (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, etc.), is the false, happy-clappy assertion that as soon as anyone trusts Christ, everything works out right.

In The Grace Card, "all things work together for good" means that the Christian wife always says the right thing with the right inflection, body language and motive, while her Christian husband always responds with humility and a gracious spirit.  Their Christian children are perpetually cheerful and obedient.  Knowing Christ = the absence of sin, trouble, conflict, and hardship.  

In the opposite corner, we have the UN-Christian family whose eldest son dies an untimely death, whose only other son ends up near-death as a result of his rebellious lifestyle, and whose abusive, loveless marriage is shattering.  However, as soon as the father calls on Jesus, his son is rescued from the brink of death and their very broken, estranged relationship is instantly healed.  He and his wife suddenly and miraculously love each other.  His lifelong, racist attitude is reversed so dramatically that we find him and his family sitting, as the lone white occupants, worshipping comfortably on the front row of an all-black church where...drumroll, please...the criminal responsible for his first son's death, seeks him out and asks for forgiveness which he...of course... symbolically grants by handing him a "Grace Card" with this inscription:

“I promise to pray for you every day, ask your forgiveness, grant you the same, and be your friend always.”

That may all sound really sweet and lovely...the way things ought to be.  But it portrays an emotional, sappy, shallow Christianity that I find embarrassing.  Trusting in Christ becomes a magic talisman that dissipates trials.

Now...the movie wasn't entirely without merit, and I assume the film's writers, producers, actors, sponsors, etc., had faithful intentions and truly desired to forward the cause of grace and its power to radically change lives.  But I am a firm believer in the marriage of content with form and, quite frankly, Christians need to master the art form of narrative, script writing, and cinematography if they're going to gain respect and a voice.

For now, if you'd like to experience an artful story of grace, I recommend Get Low with Robert Duvall.  It isn't exciting or sensational, but it is wonderfully comic at times...charming...warm-hearted.  You won't be spoon-fed a message, nor will you hear a pedantic presentation of The Gospel.  In fact, forgiveness and grace come slowly, subtly, and late for Duvall's character, but its arrival carries a power and beauty which affects a quiet, but thoroughgoing, transformation of The Guilty One.  The gospel of grace and redemption shines beautifully through this story.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ascension Sunday

by John Donne

Salute the last and everlasting day,

Joy at th' uprising of this Sun, and Son,
Ye whose true tears, or tribulation
Have purely wash'd, or burnt your drossy clay.
Behold, the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon ;
Nor doth He by ascending show alone,
But first He, and He first enters the way.
O strong Ram, which hast batter'd heaven for me !
Mild Lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark'd the path !
Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see !
O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath ;
And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Calvin on Christ's Ascension

Jesus is at the right hand of God in this nature which He assumed with us...He is always ready to stretch out to us His hand, and we must be certain that, although we suffer for a time, the end of it will be for our salvation. That is what must be understood when His Ascension is spoken of. Thus, since He has gone up there, and is in heaven for us, let us note that we need not fear to be in this world.

It is true that we are subject to so much misery that our condition is pitiable, [but] we look to our Head Who is already in heaven, and say, “Although I am weak, there is Jesus Christ Who is powerful enough to make me stand upright.

Although I am feeble, there is Jesus Christ who is my strength.

Although I am full of miseries, Jesus Christ is in immortal glory and what He has will some time be given to me and I shall partake of all His benefits."

Yes, the devil is called the prince of this world. But what of it? Jesus Christ holds him in check; for He is King of heaven and earth.

There are devils above us in the air who make war against us. But what of it? Jesus Christ rules above, having entire control of the battle. Thus, we need not doubt that He gives us the victory.

I am here subject to many changes, which may cause me to lose courage. But what of it? The Son of God is my Head, Who is exempt from all change. I must, then, take confidence in Him.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ascension Liturgy


Pastor:  The cross on which our captain was fastened as to a mast,
Congregants:  Has become the rudder of our shipwrecked nature.

Pastor:  The cross steers us to the heavenly harbor.
Congregants:  For our captain has triumphed!  He has guided us home.

Pastor:  Therefore, rejoice!  Look today to the second Adam.
Congregants:  He has been received into the highest heaven.

Pastor:  Christ's ascension is our uplifting.
Congregants:  We have gained more in the new Adam than we lost in the first.

Pastor:  In Christ, WE have penetrated the heights of heaven.
Congregants:  In his ascending, WE are received into the Father's house.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jesus Ascended

I thought I would share a few quotes from Gerrit Dawson's book, Jesus Ascended, in which he thoughtfully lays out the significance and implications of Christ's ascension into heaven as an embodied Man...flesh and blood intact.  

His bodily ascension means that the Man, Jesus Christ, "retains an affinity with our frailty, even now," because He is forever united to our humanity.

The Godhead is not stripped of humanity, but adorned with it.  The incarnation was not a lightning strike that is brilliant one moment but gone the next.  No - though he is in heaven, he remains one of us, wearing the clothes of flesh he acquired on earth, even unto eternity.  (p43)

Head & Firstfruits: the way into the Father's presence has been opened because where the Head goes, the Body follows. 

In the ascension, Christ Jesus opens heaven.  As he passes through the gates, the way is made for human beings, in him, also to pass into that communion heretofore blocked by sin and moral frailty. (p65)

Ascending in the glorified skin and bones of our nature, Jesus guarantees in his very person what we will become...  Not only does Christ send the Spirit as a pledge in our hearts, he bears in himself the guarantee of what we will become in union with Christ.  (p88)

...our firstfruits ascended up to heaven, and taking up the flesh from us took possession of his Father's throne in order that He might work reconciliation for His servants, destroy the old enmity, and bestow freely upon the men of earth the peace of the powers above. (p112, Chrysostom)

Priesthood & Intercession:

The Son of God passed through the earth to gather his lost and mortally wounded children.  Through the sewers of human sin he strode, picking us up, we who were bound for the grave.  He carried us upstream on his back, through the filthy waters of our defiance and corruption.  Jesus brought us through death and into the place of healing and communion.  He passed through the veil and into the Father's presence, in our name and on our behalf.  The ascension brings our humanity out of the sewers of sin and into the Father's house, the place of union and communion.  This is the essence of priesthood. (p119)

We require a constant advocacy, a dynamic ministry of the mediator to hold us continually in union with him.  The sin offering on the cross was indeed once and for all.  But his life of intercession on our behalf consists of the self-offering he has made continuously from all eternity and now makes not only as the Son of God, but also as the Son of Man, eternally incarnate in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Our sanctification depends on the dynamic, continual intercessions of the Son at the right hand of the Father... (p132)

As we pray in faith, Christ takes our prayers, cleanses them, makes them his prayers to the Father, presenting us in himself to the Father, and makes his prayers our prayers...  (p140)

Dual Citizenship:

We strive to set our minds on heaven at the same time as we plunge into the world with the message of grace.  We sojourn as aliens among people not our own, yet for whom we lay down our lives in hope that they will become our own brothers and sisters.  We strive to maintain our core identity as citizens of heaven even as we interact with the City of Babylon that sets itself up as independent of God.  (p145)

As citizens of the City of God, we may participate in the life of the world, striving with it, thankful for it, bruised by it, hoping for it, knowing this is not our truest home.  We do not possess anything and so we possess everything.  For we belong to Christ and all things are his.  (p159)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Musical Monday: Ray LaMontagne

Grateful for friends who introduce me to artists like Ray LaMontagne: (music begins at 1:00)