August 15, 2017

Christianity and Transgenderism

Rod Dreher has a very worth-reading interview with Andrew T. Walker, author of the new book, God and the Transgender Debate. One especially provocative and insightful quote from Walker:

Children who express gender confusion are now encouraged to explore it. Think about that for a second: We are putting decisions that have a lifetime of consequence into the hands of children unable to do algebra let alone understand the ramifications of their gender.

August 09, 2017

Book Review: Black Elk Speaks

Black Elk SpeaksBlack Elk Speaks by Black Elk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this book a long time ago. I slowly poked my way through, and thoroughly benefitted from evey step of my pokey way. The extensive footnotes and endnotes, as well as the 10 appendecies, are helpful in pulling apart Neihardt's poetry from Black Elk's actual narrative. As a Christian, I have a lot of questions about the origin of Black Elk's visions. And how reliable one man's memory of events occuring some thirty to sixty years earlier can be thought to be is, well, questionable.

That said, this is a book worth reading. The penetrating criticism of modern life (circa 1930) provided in places by Neihardt and in oter by Black Elk himself, is worthy of pondering. The poetry of what Neihardt writes is simply haunting in places. And one does become more familiar with the story of the Lakota and their dealings with the U.S. Government.

I plan to revisit this book in the future.

View all my reviews

July 26, 2017

Book Review: Martin Luther

Martin LutherMartin Luther by Martin E. Marty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marty's short treatment of Luther is certainly a worthwhile read. Coming from a more liberal Lutheran position, Dr. Marty is never enamored by Dr. Luther, but at the same time he writes with a sympathy and understanding of the historical context which is both admirable and enjoyable.

View all my reviews

July 19, 2017

Book Review: Unparalleled

Unparalleled: How Christianity's Uniqueness Makes It CompellingUnparalleled: How Christianity's Uniqueness Makes It Compelling by Jared C. Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've read by Wilson, but after listening to a number of conference lectures by him I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm glad I did. If I had one problem it was the number of pop culture references that I think will date the book fairly quickly. Otherwise, I think this is a clear, useful, compelling introduction to the Christian faith.

View all my reviews

July 11, 2017

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a book I picked up after reading Rod Dreher rave about it on his blog. I'm thankful I did so. I'd encourage you to do the same.

There were so many things in this book that resonated with my experiences growing up in a poor, working class white family in North Idaho. Not everything in Vance's Ohio/Kentucky hillbilly experience was familiar to me (praise God); but the descriptions of community breakdown and multi-generation despair rang true.

Vance writes with a brutal honesty and keen insight into the flaws of his people, yet he manages to do so in a tone that is sympathetic and compassionate, rather than scornful or arrogant. As I read this book I felt at alternating times happiness, despair, gratitude, anger, enjoyment, and grief. Both for Vance as a person, and for his people. For myself, and for my people. Perhaps the best single word to describe this book would be: haunting.

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June 12, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"The incarnation of God is proof that the human body is an essential component of [the image of God]."
Herman Bavink


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

June 04, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Christ left heaven's throne--I think we can get off the Lazy Boy."


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

May 29, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"In giving life to Christ, God gave life to all those who are united to Christ...Christ has not just made their salvation possible; he has made it sure."

Edmund Clowney


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

May 22, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Anyone who is indifferent to sanctification is indifferent to the glory of Christ." Kevin DeYoung


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

May 18, 2017

Book Review: That Hideous Strength

I loved all three of the space trilogy books, but this one took the cake. Part of that is simply due to the longer, more complex, nature of the story. But the themes he dealt with in terms of scientism and anti-supernaturalism leading to an anti-nature philosophy seem so stinking prescient as I concurrently read news stories about transgenderism, surrogate parenting, and false wombs. 
Lewis lays bare the false gods of our modern age, and reminds us that the True Lord of all will have the final say.

May 15, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Students are excited when their teachers model interest and enthusiasm for the subjects they are teaching."

Tom Spencer


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

May 08, 2017

Commonplace Monday

In 1 Peter, "Peter is writing a travelers' guide for Christian pilgrims."

Edmund Clowney


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

May 01, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"If we leave our self-perception to ourselves, we will live lives of self-deception."

Anthony Bradley


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

April 24, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"All theology is practical theology."
Lance Lewis



Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

April 17, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"When we are most free, it is only with the freedom that God has given us."
CS Lewis




Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 


April 10, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"[In reading the Bible] Let yourself be humbly troubled by puzzling things. The deepest insights come from trying to see the unifying root of two apparently antagonistic branches"
John Piper


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

April 03, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Necessity may not be the opposite of freedom."
CS Lewis




Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 


March 27, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Christ's kingdom does not depend upon bloody conflict, but on a bloody sacrifice."
Pastor Fred Gums





Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

March 06, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Never feel lesser for fulfilling what God has called you to be."
Daren Beck



Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

February 27, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"True love always costs the one who loves."
Pastor Fred Gums




Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

February 20, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Silence is different from the absence of noise."
Roger Scruton



Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

February 13, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Theology without proclamation is empty. Proclamation without theology is blind."
DA Carson




Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

February 06, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"God has never had to go seeking advice."
Pastor Fred Gums




Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

January 30, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Private devotions can help us love God more, but they have nothing to do with if, or how much, He loves us."



Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

January 23, 2017

Commonplace Monday

'As most of us do when we’re suffering, Jeremiah was asking, “How can I get out of this?” But he should have been asking, “What can I get out of this?” God’s servants don’t live by explanations; they live by promises. Understanding explanations may satisfy our curiosity and make us smarter people, but laying hold of God’s promises will build our character and make us better servants.'
Warren Wiersbe



Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

January 16, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing."
C.S. Lewis


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

January 15, 2017

Men, Love and Lead Your Wives

I taught 1 Peter 3:7 this morning. I think I wound up drawing a lot of the same conclusions that Piper does from this text, though I do wish I had seen it before I taught. Very worth the half hour or so of your time.

http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/men-love-and-lead-your-wives

January 09, 2017

Commonplace Monday

"Words of reassurance, offered or withheld, are monumental in a child's growth."
Douglas Wilson



Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

January 02, 2017

Family Worship: a Review and a Resolution

The other night I read Don Whitney's book, Family Worship. In this brief, but excellent, little work, Whitney lays out a case for, and a simple method of, leading your family before the throne of grace on a daily basis. The importance of this task, and my own failings in it, are things I have written on here (and recommended resources here) before. Some thoughts from and about the book, and the broader topic, are what follows:

Family Worship is Biblical, Historic, and Practical

In chapters one and two of his book, Whitney lays out the examples we see both from Scripture and from the history of the Christian church when it comes to family worship. He is, by virtue of necessity in a book this size, very selective, but the selections are still instructive. While there is no explicit command in the Bible to have a time set aside in each home to read the Word of God, to pray, or to sing; it seems well within reason that having such a time is one of the best ways to fulfill biblical injunctions such as those found in Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78 or Ephesians 6.

And whether or not the reason of it seems readily apparent to us, the witness of godly parents throughout the history of the church ought to indicate to us that instructing our families in the Word, turning to the Father in prayer, and lifting our voices in song are activities not to be reserved for the gathering of God's people on a Sunday morning. Whitney addresses this in chapter five. Do we want our children to know the Bible? Then we ought to read it to them. Do we want our families to be characterized by prayer? Then we ought to pray together. Do we want the truth of historic hymns to be woven into the fabric or familial soul? Then we ought to sing them together. This isn't rocket science, guys.

My Experience

But the fact that it isn't rocket science doesn't make it less overwhelming to start. We don't know what to do. We're afraid we'll look bad for not having started earlier. Maybe your family situation is unique. Whitney addresses these concerns in chapters three and four; the how, and the what if...?, questions that we naturally will come up with. The what ifs I won't go over here, but I do want to consider the how, because I think that was part of my hang up before we established a rhythm of family worship. I just felt like I didn't know what to do.

Whitney's advice is simple: Read, Pray, and Sing. That's it. You don't need to really do any preparation. Until the last month or so, that's exactly what it's been for us. We read one chapter of the Bible, discuss what we saw/heard there, we go around and take one request from each person present, and then each pray, and we close by singing a song. Very, very simple. But so profound. I didn't keep close track, but we read through at least Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Luke, Isaiah, and a few other books that I can't remember. I have absolutely loved going through the Bible with my family, and you notice things when you're looking to explain what's there to a 2 or 3 year old that you might miss otherwise.

That said, getting through even a chapter with little kids, especially if you haven't done a lot of other work with them on sitting still for extended periods, can be frustrating. So what we did for Advent was use the Desiring God Solid Joys app, and simply read the devotional for each day along with the accompanying Scripture. Since Christmas we have begun to use Long Story Short, which is a set of 10 minute devotions which include Scripture reading, a little bit of explanation of what is present in the text, and some helpful discussion questions. It is very well put together, and includes instructions on how to modify your use of the book for different age brackets. I highly recommend it.

Having said that, I really enjoy just going straight to the Word, and I think when we finish this book (which will take a long time, it's set up for something like 78 weeks of 5+ night a week devotions), I think we will likely go back to the way we were doing things before. But in the meantime, this is a really handy tool, and one that might help you get going if you don't know where to begin.

Our prayer time and our singing have remained pretty much the same, although suggestions in the Whitney books that I plan to incorporate include being intention to pray about something from the text you read, as well as perhaps attempting to learn a song a week. Right now we just let the kids pick from the songs they know, and we rotate turns as to who gets to pick. But how cool would it be to spend one week learning the words to A Mighty Fortress is Our God, There is a Fountain, or How Firm a Foundation? Talk about sinking theology into your soul! It's been said that the theology a people sing is what they will believe, and I think that is largely true. Music is so formative for the human heart.

Another question that might come up would be, when? When life is so insanely busy, who has time to be doing this stuff every day?

My first reply would be that it doesn't need to take a long time. In Whitney's book he encourages dads to shoot for the 10 minutes mark. I would say most of ours fall in the 10-15 range. Beyond that, the question becomes, when will you make time? For us the time is after dinner. Any night we are home as a family (typically 5 nights a week), we eat dinner together at the table and have devotions or worship (whatever your preferred terminology) immediately following. No one leaves the table after dinner until we have finished spending our most important time together. Tying it to the dinner table does throw a wrench into things when we're gone a lot during the week, or have enough company that we aren't all sitting at the table, and I haven't figured out a good way around that.

The point is you simply make the decision to do it, and make a time work for you.

A Resolution for Your New Year?

Will you, especially you men, join me in pursuing greater faithfulness to our families this year? Let us lead them daily before the throne of grace, there is no higher calling.

Commonplace Monday

"Though the world is slow to forgive, it is quick to forget." C.S. Lewis


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

January 01, 2017

5 Books to Consider in 2017

If you've followed my blog at all over the years, you know I like to put forward some sort of book list to start the year. Here are five books which I read in 2016 that I think would be well worth the investment of your time:

Father Hunger, Douglas Wilson
I'm a little bit of a Wilson fanboy, but I think this is clearly his best book (at least of what I've read). Are you a father, a son, or do you have fathers and sons in your life? Then read this book.

Life Under Compulsion, Anthony Esolen
Esolen essentially attacks and reveals as stupid much of the modern compulsion and drive toward busyness, arguing instead that we, especially those of us raising children, ought to spend more time being human.

Crunchy Cons, Rod Dreher
Sick of the fact that you don't fit into the typical Liberal/Conservative paradigms and stereotypes? Does it frustrate you that simply because you identify as conservative people automatically think you are a pro-Big Business, anti-earth, uncaring pig? Me too. Which is why I loved Dreher's book. We really aren't alone.

Lila, Marilynne Robinson
The third in her Gilead trilogy, and honestly the weakest of the three books. But still worthwhile, if for no other reason than to enjoy Robinson's prose.

Family Worship, Don Whitney
A short little book on a topic of mammoth import. Very clear, concise, and compelling.

Here's to a book filled 2017!

Feel free to add your suggestions below.

About Me

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I love Jesus, my wife, and my kids. Writing and teaching are two things I have a passion for. Gardening and fishing are cool, too. I blog @ willdole.com, you can reach me @ contact@willdole.com