October 2013

Sometimes, when I don’t know how to present my needs before the Almighty God who loves me, I just cry out in my need. Lately, the following songs have been really special to me:

[first, the hymn (Gaither style)]

[next, a new song by Plumb]

[and finally, the new take on the old hymn]

And so I say,

Lord, I Need You!


There are certain books that we read because we know we ought to read them. Books of literature like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (although it constantly gets placed on the ‘banned’ list), or Moby Dick (which when assigned to read it in college, I loathed reading and though there are some timeless parts to it that make it good literature, I still loathe having had to sit through the literal ocean of material to find them).

In the Christian community there are a few books (aside from the Bible) which ought to perk our interest, and ought to be visited again from time to time (for instance, Pilgrim’s Progress should make it’s journey to our reading table every few years). Sadly, some of these books get shelved and re-shelved without having been read for a number of reasons: It’s so old that the language is cumbersome; the ideas are so deep, I just can’t take it; I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon just because everyone else has. Among these books is a treasure from the late English defender of the faith C. S. Lewis. Probably best remembered for his Chronicles of Narnia series (headlined by the wonderful allegory The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), Lewis began his adult life as an atheist. Then he had an encounter with God that turned his thinking around. Because he was a thinker he produced a book called Mere Christianity. And it is that jewel that I am glad to say I’ve finally plunged into.

As I said, this is one of those books that people (especially Christians) should read, but I’m just now getting my teeth into it. I’ve had a little MacMillan paperback edition that I picked up for a few pennies at a book sale somewhere. My intention was to read it, and it sat on my shelf for awhile until I picked up the yellowed, tiny-print edition that gave me a headache, not because of the material, but the print. So, I made excuse (on more than one occasion)–too deep for me, too hard to wrap my head around, too tiny print, until a couple of years ago, I found a hardcover re-issue with nice-sized print.

I will be the first to tell you that the material is weighty, and that, because Lewis was British you have to understand where he is coming from with the phrases he uses (in one illustration he uses the term “six-pence” where modern Americans would use words ranging from “a nickel” to “a dollar” depending on the era of the speaker) but the ideas are well-formed and well-founded.

To top it off, the book is filled with quotable moments. Which brings me to the moment that I hit upon this morning as I was creeping closer to the end of the book (I’ve been at it for about four weeks now, and am in the last section — book 4 — with a quotation from about halfway through that part — chapter 5).

These thoughts, originally presented as a radio broadcast for the Christian thinker to get others thinking about Truth, have translated into an excellent book that should get all people–Christian and non-Christian; religious and irreverent; faithful and pagan–thinking and discussing deep matters. And this morning I came across a statement that slaps the modern church right smack in our self-righteous face. Lewis reminds readers that we need not go about bickering over our semantics as most Christian elitists want to do.

Two things I would request of you if you want to respond to this post: either (1) spend some thought on what Lewis is saying and respond directly to that, or (2) post your own favorite quotation from Mere Christianity (let’s try to stay with this text and not any number of other excellent ones from Lewis or other great Christian writers) in this thread. And now for what smacked me in my self-righteous face:

Of course you can express [God’s provision for mankind] in all sorts of different ways. You can say that Christ died for our sins. You may say that the Father has forgiven us because Christ has done for us what we ought to have done. You may say that we are washed in the blood of the Lamb. You may say that Christ has defeated death. They are all true. If any of them do not appeal to you, leave it alone and get on with the formula that does. And, whatever you do, do not start quarrelling with other people because they use a different formula from yours.

Before I let another “Blog Action Day” slip by, I thought I would post my thoughts on what brings dignity to the world.

Hubert Humphrey is credited with the following: “The moral test of a government is how it treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick and the needy, and the handicapped.”

In a deep sense, Humphrey had it right. It is important for those who have the ability to take a stand to do so, and in doing so, to stand for those who are unable. My focus will be on the first group in Mr. Humphrey’s quotation–the children. I would not want to neglect the other groups, but time and space (and your ability to read my carryings-on require a bit of focus).

i have no statistics to quote to get your dander up. Nor will I post a platterful of heart-wrenching pictures to build your melancholy. What i offer today is a passionate plea to protect the children, to honor the children, to treat our children with dignity (wherever we may find them).

Children are our most precious gift, and should be treated with care and love. Might I suggest some efforts that would help us to stand up for the dignity of these little ones?

  • Touch the heart of a child by joining an anonymous gifting effort such as Shoes for Orphan Souls, Angel Tree, or Operation Christmas Child.
  • Find a shelter that cares for embattled families, and ask administrators how you can help ease the plight of the children there.
  • Report bullying, cyberbullying, and other forms of child endangerment when you see it.
  • Volunteer as a big brother/sister if these programs are available to you.
  • Apply and endure the process of vetting in order to become a foster or adoptive parent so that children who have been marked as unwanted will understand that they have value.
  • Consider a program like Safe Families for Children to keep children from falling into harms way.

We must let children know that they are valuable. We must be aware that telling a child that they were an accident or a mistake undermines the desire of their Maker to let them know that they are important.

As I often do, let me drop in a Scripture illustrating the value of children, and a lyric from my faith background that might be taught to children on the cusp of human despair:

15 Some people were even bringing infants to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” from Luke 18

(and the lyric)

“I am somebody because God loves me,
and I’m accepted just the way that I am
His love is higher deeper & wider
You and I will never understand”