December 2009

New Year's resolutions for your congregation...

(Tim) One young mother in our church has been encouraged by several lists of resolutions she's been reading. Among resolutions written by believers, the granddaddy of them all is the one written by Jonathan Edwards...

The invisible woman...

(Tim) My friend Bob Patterson forwarded a pre-release copy of the Winter 2010 issue of The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy which he edits, and it's the point of this essay to get you to subscribe. For many years I've been reading this and other publications of what is now called the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, and they've been foundational to my work as a preacher, pastor, and father.

This particular issue's cover article details how, over the past thirty years, homemakers have been forced to subsidize the lives of privilege lived by other women who have forsaken marriage, the home, and childbearing for degrees and professions.

Professional women with salaries high enough to allow them to pay for day care and still turn a profit have not simply been content to leave their homemaking sisters behind, but have built their lifestyle on the backs of those sisters and their hardworking husbands. To anyone who matters, these homemakers are invisible.

Equal Employment Opportunity laws have piled up a legacy of systemic injustice throughout the wage earning world, leaving half the fairer and weaker sex to raise the children the other half will depend upon for their Medicare and Social Security payments when their life of childless privilege is drawing to an end. Meanwhile, the husbands of these housewives and mothers are in free-fall, trying to support the mother of their children as she gives herself to work that, despite those bright boys and girls in Economics Departments, still hasn't shown up on their gross domestic profit tally sheets...

Because of the angels...

Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. (1 Corinthians 11:10)

(Tim) We were reading R. C. Sproul's Now, That's a Good Question! during family devotions (excellent, by the way) and came across the fact that his wife, Vesta, wears a head-covering in corporate worship. Despite Calvin recognizing the cultural aspects of this command, I'd always felt the absence of head-coverings in our worship services was something like an Achille's heel as we contended for Biblical sexuality. As my mother once said, "If not wearing head-coverings gives people an excuse to disobey God's ordering of the sexes, we should start wearing them."

So now we have a smattering of women wearing head-coverings in worship, including my dear wife. But the practice doesn't solve the question how best to interpret and obey 1Corinthians 11:1-16 and 14:34,35. Anyone inclined to be dismissive of the matter may want to go back and read and meditate on that earthshaking phrase, "because of the angels."

One of the more Twilight Zoney, na na na na, na na na na experiences of my life was a decade ago when I was debating the late David Scholer in front of around 750 Mennonites, about half of them women wearing head-coverings...

Our soldiers are women...

WomanCombatant Behold, your people are women in your midst! The gates of your land are opened wide to your enemies... (Nahum 3:13a)

(Tim, w/thanks to Bob P.) When the lion lies down with the lamb, we'll no longer need policemen or soldiers. Until then, we do. And it matters a great deal whether those policemen and soldiers are men or women. On many levels.

For starters, military women get pregnant...

If it happened, sexual assault is a felony, too...

(Tim) Monday, December 29th, there was another murder here in Bloomington. The victim was a homosexual named Don Belton recently hired to a tenure track position in IU's English Department. Early reports indicate the victim was stabbed to death by the husband of a married couple with whom he had celebrated Christmas.

What was the motive?

Apparently, the man accused of the murder, Michael James Griffin, claims he was the victim of two sexual assaults by Mr. Belton, and that the stabbing came in the wake of those assaults.

Local advocates imply sexual assaults are immaterial to murder and they have mounted a campaign asking readers of their blog to write the detectives and prosecutor expressing the opinion that such claims by the accused should not be considered in the investigation of the case. Or better...

The Santa Claus ordeal...

Isaiah&Sibs (Tim: This original piece is by my nephew, Isaiah Taylor, from his blog for kids, Bosaiah's Blog. I'm sure our readers agree his creative ability is undeniable. Here's the young gentleman all decked out with his sibs. If you're a child and would like to read Isaiah's blog, send him an e-mail.) Now before I get into this, if you have any siblings (or you yourself) who believe in Santa Claus and the parents want it to stay that way, don't read this to them. I'm giving you you a fair warning because I could get in big trouble if I caused a little kid to drop their belief in Santa when their parents wanted them to think he was real.

The first point I want to make is that Santa Claus is taking the place of Christ in the Christmas season. The name Christmas has a simple meaning: Christ Worship Service. This is supposed to keep the focus on Christ, but the human mind is very inattentive. Most people don't know how this new religion came to be. It starts with a very generous man.

The story of Saint Nicholas tells of a poor man with three daughters...

"She always feels regret when she sees her husband with a black eye..."

(Tim, w/thanks to Dan) The violence and victims literature tells us women are every bit as violent as men, and lesbian couples are the most violent of all. Even when asked to report on prior heterosexual relationships, lesbians report their present homosexual relationship to be more violent than any prior heterosexual relationship. I've written of this before, pointing out how religious feminists exploit spouse abuse as if it's a uniquely male crime and produced by biblical sexual order (hierarchy, that is).

This is one of the most wicked deceits of religious feminists, and many (if not most) of them do this knowingly. They are well aware women and mothers initiate violence and beat their husbands and children as often as husbands and fathers, but only the violence of men is of any use to them. So they write books about wife abuse--not spouse abuse--thereby exploiting half the victims of domestic violence for the sake of promoting their own rebellion against God.

Who cares about a man who lets a woman beat him up, anyhow; it's his own fault. If he were a real man, he'd put a stop to it, wouldn't he?

The day after Christmas...

(Tim) This from the grandfather of two of our grandsons. It was signed, "For my brothers and sisters in Christ, Pastor David Crum." Used without permission.

The Day After Christmas
December 26, 2009
‘Tis the day after Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature is stirring
(Well, I am, but does that count?) *
The children and mother
Are resting in bed
The drive from Virginia
Has left them half dead.
Once more Christmas has come
And it’s gone twice as fast
You wait for its coming
Then whoosh! it is past.
The presents are open
The wrappings are trash
The gifts have been given
And I’m all out of cash.
Yet, Christ has not gone
He lives still today
I worship Him now
As I did yesterday.
Tomorrow I’ll praise Him
And the next day too
Christmas is over
Christ remains in me

And He’s also in you.

A Christmas gift...

(Tim) This past week, I heard about a young man who, about two weeks ago, dared to give a speech that was pertinent to the lives of those listening in his public school classroom. He spoke against the slaughter of the little ones in their mothers' wombs in his speech class and got a 'D' for his good and brave efforts. I wrote his Dad and asked for a short account to encourage all of us to visit the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and break the jaw of the wicked, snatching his victims from his mouth to safety.

His father...

A psalm for Christmas Eve...

Praise God for Christmas
Praise Him for the Incarnation
for Word made flesh.

I will not sing
of shepherds watching flocks
on frosty night
or angel choristers.

I will not sing
of stable bare in Bethlehem
or lowing oxen
wise men
trailing distant star
with gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Tonight I will sing
praise to the Father
Who stood on Heaven’s threshold
and said farewell to His Son
as He stepped across the stars
to Bethlehem
and Jerusalem.

And I will sing
praise to the infinite eternal Son
Who became most finite
a Baby
who would one day be executed
for my crimes.

Praise Him in the heavens.
Praise Him in the stable.
Praise Him in my heart.

-Joe Bayly

"We'll go ahead and take him..."

(Tim, w/thanks to Taylor) Shortly before his team meets up with the Colts, Jets Coach Rex Ryan had this to say about Peyton Manning: "Shoot, if (the Colts) want to get rid of him, we'll go ahead and take him."

Ryan opened his daily news conference: “We’re going to start with the injury report, obviously: Manning, Clark, Addai, Reggie Wayne, Freeney, Mathis, Brackett—all those guys will not play.”

Grinning ear to ear.

Then he said: “Oh, hold up. That was my wish list for Santa Claus.”


Christmas voices...

Christmas Voices

by Joseph Bayly IV


It’s cold and drafty. She’s cold. Why couldn’t the boy have been born while we were still in Nazareth, instead of here, alone, no one to help. Only me, and I’ve never delivered a baby.

Fear not, Joseph.

I do believe God. I take him at his word. A baby. But not mine.

Take unto thee Mary.

Mary—how I love her. I love you, Mary. Here. Hold my hand. I’ll see that nothing goes wrong. No, God will see to that, he’ll take care of you. He’s got to—it’s his baby. Don’t be afraid.

She shall bring forth a son.

He’ll work beside me, help me smooth a yoke, build a house. I’ll get him a little saw, the boy and I will work together...