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Breaking Bread by Jonny Cash

Gimme that good ‘ol fashioned socialism

Gimme that good ‘ol fashioned socialism

I find myself somewhat disconcerted knowing that millennials in this country want a system of government that I grew up with in Brazil. It’s a bizarre phenomenon. Let me tell you that apart from the utopian sentiments of a government-controlled system and the supposed glories it will bring, the harsh reality is that it produces misery upon misery. My country’s economy forces the general population to have no more than two kids, where both sets of parents must work to make ends meet, depend on an ever-failing public education, suffer under a brutally overwhelmed and incompetent health care system where some patients die waiting for care, and where the vast amount of evangelicals find themselves at the feet of wealth and prosperity Gospel preachers seeking some “grace” to overcome their financial burdens. From Argentina to Venezuela, from Ecuador to Bolivia, the system is virtually the same, yet the people continue to suffer and embolden the same tyrants who enrich themselves and fool the populace under the banner of “fairness,” “equality,” and the “common good.” So, yes, I am befuddled by this phenomenon.

Honoring the Childless Women in the Church

I do wish to rightly honor mothers tomorrow, but for now, I want to address those who would love to bear children but are not able to do so, though in so many ways they have been fruitful and multiplied by pouring themselves into the lives of countless people. I honor the Jane Austens’ and Flannery O’Connors’ of this world who though never married taught us about life in its beauty and elegance. My deepest honor for those women who have chosen childlessness and singleness to love the lost and to proclaim Christ in distant lands in orphanages, translation work, education, and so much more. We rightly honor you, and though you may not share in the celebration of Mother’s Day, you are honored by God and His Church for your glorious role in redemption’s story.

Kuyper and Lordship, Episode 3

The Danger of High Standards

Demanding high standards for our children is a noble thing. Demanding high standards while frustrating them in the process is foolish. In other words, our high standards need to be loving standards. We need to allow love to cover a multitude of sins lest we sin attempting to love.
In parenting, we need a healthy dose of humility. This is hard in an age when grades matter more than godliness; external obedience more than internal motivation. We cannot, however, allow our high standards to usurp the proper place for training in love. We need an end result where our children desire the good, true, and beautiful because they are infinitely better than the alternatives. It is possible that in our high standards we lose the purpose of the law: to direct our children to the God of the law.

Theology is not contrary to love, Episode 2

John Frame Retires: Three Lessons I’ve Learned From Him

John Frame Retires: Three Lessons I’ve Learned From Him

Today one of the five most influential living theologians in my life retires. I had the joy of studying under John Frame and to spend some additional time with him on an independent study on the theology of Abraham Kuyper. Here are three brief lessons I’ve gained from Professor Frame:
1) The importance of persuasion: Frame once wrote that “We are not seeking merely to validate statements but to persuade people” Human beings are emotionally invested in the beliefs and opinions they hold. Frame taught me to persuade in love lest you persuade in vain.
2) Theology as application: Frame taught me that theology becomes fruitful only when it’s applied. He defined theology as: “The application of the Word of God by persons to all areas of life.” This has deeply shaped my pastorate.
3) We are multi-perspectival: We are not imprisoned by one way of looking at certain ideas. God has made us creative in our thinking, therefore ideas can be shaped by what is normative, situational, or existential. We are holistic image bearers which humble us as we dialogue with other image-bearers.

Introduction, Theology is Applied

Five Practices I Expect From My Boys

Five Practices I Expect From My Boys

Five Practices I hope my boys will exercise now and mature into as they get older:
1) Cook/Clean: I want them to be able to provide consistent opportunities for their wives/moms to rest from their labors.
2) Respect women: Treating ladies with utmost respect in word and deed (opening doors, speaking kindly, honoring them before and after leaving the home).
3) Respect those in authority: I hope they will seek the wisdom of parents, but also of their pastors when making important decisions honoring their roles as leaders in their communities.
4) Faithfulness to the local church: I want my boys to grow to love not only the worship of the Church but to serve the church in diaconal fashion, whether they become deacons or not (given to hospitality). Further, I hope they establish a pattern/example of faithful attendance; the kinds of men that pastors count on to be present always on Sundays and frequently in other informal gatherings.
5) Engaged in good conversations: While they may enjoy sports, I am much more concerned that they are engaged in life-changing conversations affecting their communities and the culture. This will necessarily require them to engage and read important books.

Christian Rituals

There is no magic. Life is about rituals. Therefore, we need to build rituals. We need to establish rituals that change not only who we are, but who we wish to be. Christian formation is grounded in rituals: intentional and achievable patterns. These patterns need to provide a sustainable rhythm day after day. What rhythms have strengthened your spiritual walk?