August 2015

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Screwtape's take on current events...

Yesterday I read an Acts 29 pastor's rebuke of a man for calling Christians in his church to turn away from their vain pursuits on social media, spending some of their bandwidth instead on expressing their Christian compassion for the unborn. The pastor said the usual things ordained men without conviction or faith would say to unordained men having both graces: the writer should wait until he had no sin to speak to others about sin; the writer is judgmental/Phariseeical; the writer is making abortion and Planned Parenthood into the only moral issue when there are lots of moral issues; the writer shouldn't exhort church members to speak against Planned Parenthood's sale of dead babies' body parts when those same members have shown their great Christian faith and witness by going on two-week jauntlets to foreign countries; and so on.

Abortion and Planned Parenthood will never end until pastors realize God will hold us accountable for our intensely defended indifference to the innocents being slaughtered down the street from our church-houses. It's no wonder simple Christians living under the authority of such pastors are silent about Planned Parenthood's murder of little babies. Add the R2K ridiculosity and the witches brew is vintaged finely.

Daughter Mrs. Benjamin (Michal) Crum wrote a reflection on the silence of Christians, taking on Lewis's artifice of speaking of these things from Screwtape's perspective. The title of her FB post is "Screwtape's Take on Current Events." Read it and post it yourself...

Join us at Bloomington's Planned Parenthood protest, tomorrow...

Tomorrow we'll be outside Planned Parenthood's abortuary here in Bloomington protesting their slaughter of hundreds of thousands of babies each year, and the sale of those babies' hearts, livers, and other body parts. Here's Pastor Lucas Weeks's announcement of the protest including time and location. Hope you'll be there.

Pastor John Piper will be out in front of his own city's Planned Parenthood and he's written an excellent post explaining why. Read it, please.

Too, promote this protest to all your friends on your FB page. Use your page for the protection of the defenseless.

Planned Parenthood Protest -Tomorrow

Dear Clearnote Church Family,

Many of you have seen the videos about the horrific practices of Planned Parenthood. They’re aren’t easy to watch, are they? Protests opposing this terrible evil will be taking place at Planned Parenthood facilities across the nation between 9am and 11am tomorrow, August 22nd. Here in Bloomington, the protest will happen at our local Planned Parenthood (421 S College Ave, Bloomington, Indiana 47403). If you’re on Facebook, you can check it out right here. John Piper wrote a good post on these protests here.

Please join us!

Sincerely,
Pastor Weeks

NEWS FLASH: Ranger female grads were "absolutely physical studs!"

Behold, your people are women in your midst! The gates of your land are opened wide to your enemies; Fire consumes your gate bars.  - Nahum 3:13

I knew a pastor whose main method of the sort of self-abnegation that characterizes hipster-pastors who prefer "brokenness" to "sin" was telling the congregation how he was a jerk of a husband. He'd say this all the time during his sermons, but he'd never really 'fess up to anything major. It was stuff like he wasn't sensitive enough. He was selfish. He didn't give her enough backrubs and sometimes he didn't get up at night to bring the baby to her to be nursed. This was how he publicly processed his own brokenness, especially during his sermons. He'd try to get us to see and join him in admitting we were all broken, just as he was; and therefore, we all needed Jesus, just like he did. For stuff like being insensitive to our wives and not going and getting the baby so she can stay in bed to nurse him.

When I stand before the judgment seat of God, serious as it surely is, I suspect I will have much more to answer for and to plead my Lord's righteousness as a covering for than not giving my wife backrubs. Too, I don't think the female sex—women and wives—are the only people we sin against. This man, though, only ever talked about sinning against his wife. My take was that she was a master at her critical work of building up her own self-esteem. She did a good job of keeping her husband impressed with her excellence and did so by continuously pointing out his insensitivity, selfishness, all-round brutishness and churlishness. Of course, this man wasn't particularly insensitive, really. And he was anything but a brute or churlish. He simply knew what his wife wanted him to cop to during morning worship and he did it over and over again.

This pastor is an example of the way brash women manipulate men into passivity and weakness...

Ashley Madison and the Apostle Paul's "gospel"...

...on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.  - Romans 2:16

They say pornography has been the engine driving technological advances the past few decades, starting with the VCR and DVD, but continuing to the present with the latest video codecs of pornography sites. Add to this the superficiality of tweets (esp. from Christians) and the extreme narcissism, vanity, and deception at the heart of FB, and it's easy to understand why believers would view technology as only evil.

But yes, there are good things about the internet, and one that may not be mentioned very often. Among the infinite number of Scripture's warnings, that one about "every idle word" makes me tremble. You too?

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

Incomprehensible, isn't it; that our Lord keeps track, not just of every hair on our head (comforting), but every thoughtless word? And this is where the internet is helpful...

Donald Trump...

Wasn't it P. T. Barnum who said no one ever went bankrupt underestimating the average intelligence of the American people? Well, there's no better proof than Donald Trump. News polls show him a formidable contender, not just for the Republican primaries, but also the general election.

Is it really true that we would choose a rude, bombastic, pompous of a man who is even more of a misogynyst than President Barack Obama to lead our nation? I remember my shame when we elected a movie actor to play the part of the Oval Office. But hey, he's every conservative's hero, now.

I feel sick. Gotta keep this thing from happening. How 'bout a Rachel Held Evans daft campaign?

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Our little bundle of joy...

This just in: being a parent is hard. Very hard. The Washington Post recently published an article about a study from Germany which indicates that parenthood is downright awful. Here's how the article starts:

Life has its ups and downs, but parenthood is supposed to be among the most joyous. At least that's what the movies and Target ads tell us.

In reality, it turns out that having a child can have a pretty strong negative impact on a person's happiness, according to a new study published in the journal Demography. In fact, on average, the effect of a new baby on a person's life in the first year is devastatingly bad — worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner.

So we've known for a long time that we kill babies in this country to the tune of over 1,000,000 per year. And now we know Planned Parenthood sells baby parts to the highest bidder. It should surprise exactly no one for me to say we don't actually like our children...

Setting Captives Free repents of focus on sin and repentance...

The problem with my original writings was the focus on sin, the labeling of people according to their sin, the sharing and discussing of sin, and the constant reminders of the sin. This is Old Covenant law-oriented, problem-focused doctrine and not according to biblical truth, and it hurt many people to whom I’ve recently been apologizing.

- Mike Cleveland, announcing his repudiation of thirteen years of work with Setting Captives Free

One change in the past quarter-century that has been terribly destructive within the Church and Her households is the ubiquity of the internet through smartphones, tablets, and laptops. These tools have enabled the private consumption of horrendous moral filth and Christian men and (increasingly) women have found this wickedness almost irresistible. The percentage of young Christian men who have succumbed to internet fornication on a regular basis is likely close to ninety percent, and now women have joined men and are consuming thirty percent of the internet filth.

At Clearnote, we've given ourselves to working closely with men and women repenting of this sin. A critical part of our work with those repenting of this sin is that each man and woman has been required to enroll in an internet discipleship program called Setting Captives Free (SCF).

For this reason we were quite sad to be notified recently by several men of our congregation that SCF is now repudiating and will no longer be offering their former courses, including the Way of Purity (for heterosexuals who are struggling with sexual sin) and Door of Hope (for homosexuals in the same position). After a preliminary investigation, one of our elders wrote "it would appear [they] are watering down the gospel by shifting focus away from sin and the need to repent from it."

We contacted SCF to express our concern and this was their...

Needle droppers at the back of Barnes & Noble...

Chesterton's "giggling excitement over fashion" consumes years of our lives. Thankfully, as you get older you weary of the giggling and get suspicious of the excitement. So my nose began to twitch just now when I saw signs plastered across the windows of Barnes & Noble announcing "We have VINYL!"

Really? Vinyl? You mean all those years we spent slipping sleeves out of album covers and records out of sleeves ever so carefully, and all that belly button fluff we had to take off the needle... 

A thank you message from My Soul Among Lions...

With our 'Psalms 1-10' Kickstarter campaign drawing to a close (just 4 days left to go!), we're so thankful and pleased to see that God has not only allowed us to meet our basic goal of $9000, but also our first and second stretch goals, too. This is wonderful!

Did you know that every backer will be receiving at minimum a pre-release copy of the album? We're already oversubscribed, but if you haven't yet contributed to the campaign and you'd like to be among the first to receive the album, consider making a $10 or $25 pledge before this Saturday night in order to reserve yourself a pre-release copy. The album won't be publicly released until early 2016, but we hope to get it into the hands of all our subscribers by mid-november, in digital form at least.

Thanks again, everyone, for your encouragement and support! 

The death of sodomy and sodomites...

For over a decade on this blog, I've used the word 'sodomy' to refer to... well... sodomy. One of the first to explain to me that the word was offensive was my seminary advisor, Dan Jessen. Since responding to Dan, I've been forced to respond continuously,1 and do still. On FB this week a young woman faulted me for using the word. She pronounced what I'd written to be "extreme," adding helpfully that "extremism of all kinds is dangerous."

What's really dangerous, though, is sodomy. Sodom shows how dangerous it is. God rained fire and brimstone, executing all the people of the city for their indulgence in "gross immorality." And what are we to learn from this? Jude tells us God killed the Sodomites so they would be "exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire."

But at the time, I'm guessing Sodomites would have laughed at being called "sodomites." They would have thought it extreme and pointed out that extremism is dangerous. They would have been tight with Darryl Hart and David VanDrunen's call for the nakedness of their public square. They liked naked...

A Conference on Fatherhood in South Carolina...

Feminists have been beating on the Fatherhood of God for quite some time now. Their hatred for God our Father has sunk so deep that fatherhood itself is seen as unnecessary, at best, or destructively oppressive, at worst. The sickness of our homes, our churches, and our culture can be tied back to this throwing off of God's Fatherhood and the corresponding fatherhood of men. It is nothing less than a rejection of all authority and a loss of the blessings that come with fatherhood: protection, governance, and love. Our daughters defend our country; our wives govern our homes; and our children rebel without any knowledge of the severe love of their father. The damage has been done, but our Father in heaven still rules. He makes things alive even and especially after they die. Such is our prayer for our homes, our churches, and our culture. 

To that end, please help us spread the word about A Conference on Fatherhood with Tim Bayly, September 25-26, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC...

A Conference on Fatherhood with Tim Bayly

There is no higher calling for a man than to be a father, and yet we despise fatherhood. You, me, our culture—we don’t like dads. In fact, we hate them. We don’t ever want to be them. Where does that come from? How do we fix it? If there was ever a time to pray that the Lord would “return the hearts of fathers to their children,” it is now...

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