“yet he will own Christ, and Christ him”

Richard Sibbes describes the immense mercy of Christ for those who struggle with weaknesses, doubts, fears and sins. But this raises the question - when is an ongoing struggle with sin a weakness with which Christ and the body of Christ must be patient and merciful? And when is an ongoing struggle with sin actually... Continue Reading →

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Two men at prayer

Mack Stiles, businessman in Dubai, tells this story when sharing the gospel in a Muslim context: Two men went to the mosque to pray. One was a rich man, the other a poor man. The rich man went through his libations and prayers as he did five times a day. As he was praying, he began to... Continue Reading →

We’re not Puritans anymore

David Brooks, writing about Penn State in the NYT:  In centuries past, people built moral systems that acknowledged this weakness. These systems emphasized our sinfulness. They reminded people of the evil within themselves. Life was seen as an inner struggle against the selfish forces inside. These vocabularies made people aware of how their weaknesses manifested... Continue Reading →

The likeness re-drawn

Athanasius in "On the Incarnation", roughly 376 A.D.: You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains? The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the likeness is re-drawn... Continue Reading →

The horror when beauty becomes too weak a stimulant

From That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis: Suddenly...desire (salt, black, ravenous, unanswerable desire) took him by the throat. ...[This desire] disenchants the universe. Everything else that Mark had ever felt - love, ambition, hunger, lust itself - appeared to have been mere milk and water, toys for children, not worth one throb of the nerves... ...It... Continue Reading →

Teddy bear or beast

From Nick Lowe's song, "The Beast in Me" (memorably recorded by Johnny Cash): The beast in me Is caged by frail and fragile bars Restless by day And by night rants and rages at the stars God help the beast in me Sometimes it tries to kid me That it's just a teddy bear And... Continue Reading →

Guilt of infinite extensibility

Wilfred McClay, writing in a First Things article, "The Moral Economy of Guilt": "There is another factor at work too, one that may be called the infinite extensibility of guilt. This...is a surprising by-product of modernity's proudest product: its ever growing capacity to comprehend and control the physical world. In a world in which the... Continue Reading →

Thou…need’st not strive

The Latest Decalogue by A. H. Clough: Thou shalt have one God only; who Would be at the expense of two? No graven images may be Worshipp'd except the currency: Swear not at all; since, for they curse Thine enemy is none the worse: At church on Sunday to attend Will serve to keep the... Continue Reading →

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