gratitude & hoopla: September 2005

gratitude & hoopla

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton


Mark Noll on the Bible in Public Life

Mark Noll has written a very enlightening article for Books and Culture on the place of the Bible in American public life. Noll considers four primary ways that Scripture is deployed in public speeches (rhetorical, evocative, political, and theological). His major examples are Abraham Lincoln (especially the second inaugural address, in which Lincoln quoted Ps. 19:9b), and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both these men were able to call upon Scripture to undergird their political arguments. Noll writes:
The orations by King and Lincoln were unusual because they brought a panoply of biblical testimony to bear on circumstances of great public moment at times of evident national crisis. King's dramatic address underscored a turning point in the nation's moral history when, nearly a century after the end of the war to end slavery, the United States was moving haltingly to confront the bitter realities of racial discrimination. For Lincoln, an unexpectedly calm meditation near the conclusion of an unexpectedly violent war became the occasion for profound reflections on the inexorable costs of justice delayed, the counter-intuitive blessings of charity for all, and (supremely) the unfathomable mysteries of divine providence. In both cases, the Bible was indispensable for shaping what the speakers said.
But things have changes since King, and it is more difficult now to effectively deploy Biblical language in public pronouncements. As Noll says, "the Bible has shrunk to a smaller place in the American landscape." There are many reasons for this, but it all leads to the following series of dilemmas:
  • the more religiously plural the nation becomes, the less it is natural for the citizenry as a whole to grasp the significance of the Bible;
  • the less it is natural for the citizenry as a whole to grasp the significance of the Bible, the more it is likely that the Bible is used to appeal to only some of the citizens;
  • the more it is likely that the Bible is used to appeal to only some of the citizens, the greater the likelihood of partisan and therefore superficial use of the Bible;
  • the greater the likelihood of partisan and therefore superficial use of the Bible, the more the Bible loses its integrity as a public force;
  • the more the Bible loses its integrity as a public force, the more irrelevant it looks in a religiously plural nation;
  • but the more irrelevant or partisan or superficial the Bible becomes in a religiously plural nation, the less likely that leaders can use Scripture for the self-sacrificing, altruistic, or prophetic purposes for which Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., put the Bible so dramatically to use.
  • Noll has much more to say then in answer to the question, What is to be done? He brings to bear a rich knowledge of history, surveying a sometimes surprising assortment of historical viewpoints (from French Catholic to Jewish to African American). But I've quoted enough. Noll's meditation on history leads to some interesting conclusions. I highly recommend this engaging work.


    Bible Reading Plan

    As I mentioned in my last post, I'm nearing the end of a Bible-in-a-year plan. Vicki expressed some interest in this, so here's more detail. It's called the M'Cheyne Reading Plan, and is named after the 19th century Scotsman who conceived it. M'Cheyne divided the Bible into three roughly equal segments.

  • The historical books (Geneisis through 2 Chronicles)
  • The rest of the Old Testament (minus The Psalms)
  • The New Testament and Psalms

  • So, each day you read one chapter from the first set, another from the second, and two from the third. By this means, you can read through the OT once, and the Psalms and NT twice in the course of the year.

    In addition, I've been supplementing all this with a daily reading from D. A. Carson's devotional, For the Love of God (vol. 1), which is directly tied to the M'Cheyne plan. Carson's purpose is to help the reader track the "golden thread" of the Gospel through the Scriptures. This book has been an invaluable help in simply keeping me on track and focused, helping me to see both the forest and the trees.

    BTW: In a couple of weeks I will have completed the cycle, but I've already acquired For the Love of God (Vol. 2), so I plan to simply start over again.



    Well, I'm nearing the end of the M'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan, and have at last reached the Book of Revelation, so perhaps it's a good and timely thing to have discovered that David Wayne (aka Jollyblogger) is teaching a series on prophecy. The notes to his first session (in PDF) are here. You can read David's explanatory preface at World Mag's Theologica blog. I, for one, am paying close attention!


    Click and Read

    Derek Thomas, writing at Reformation 21, has many things to say on the Christian response to Katrina. Among them:
    In the end, no amount of theological reflection will surmount the problem of evil in a world which God has made. Whatever we say, we will have to admit an impenetrable deep, a mystery. Job was never given any answers to his questions. All he could do in the end was to lay his hand upon his mouth and worship a God who had overwhelmed him with a vision of his greatness. As Charles Spurgeon explained, when we cannot trace God’s hand, we must simply trust His heart.


    Meanwhile, Chris Erdman at Odyssey, interacts at length with the text of Job as it applies to our understanding of catastrophic events. This is profound stuff, difficult to quote without doing a disservice to the whole. His starting point: "Listen to me," says God, "be silent, and I will teach you wisdom." Job 33.33

    The Meaning of Katrina

    Among the ancient Greeks and other pagans, it was a matter of course to read the signs of the weather in order to understand the Gods. Thunderstorms caused people to presume that the Gods were angry, while fine weather was indicative of favor. To some extant, you could manipulate their moods through the sacrificial system. You could appease them, or even bribe them. But ultimately people were simply at their mercy. The fickleness of the weather reflected the fickleness of the Gods. People were just not their special concern, the focus of divine attention. People were merely their playthings, or their pawns, or perhaps just innocent bystanders, in the ongoing warfare of a very dysfunctional supernatural family.

    Why do I mention all this here? Because I have been concerned lately about Christian speculation concerning the spiritual meaning of Hurricane Katrina. Frankly, I find much of it embarrassing. The notion is, New Orleans was an extraordinarily evil place. God runs out of patience with it, and sends an extraordinary "weather event" which can be understood as his judgement on the place, as well as a warning to the rest of us. Sodom and Gomorrah all over again.

    Two things. I’m not sure that New Orleans was all that much more evil than many other places, and I’m not sure that Hurricane Katrina was so extraordinary a weather-event as to require a special explanation.

    But more importantly, such speculation seems to lose touch with the God of the Bible, who has set for himself a day of judgement at the end of time, in which he will deal with sin according to the response that people have made to the cross of Christ. He is not, until that day, a bomb-throwing God who sends massive catastrophe on whole populations because of sin.

    I just wanted to say that. The fact is, ever since the fall of Adam, which essentially caused the fall also of the natural order, weather of all kinds, including very destructive hurricanes, has been the natural condition of things. Even the natural order has been subject to the curse of God, and is in bondage to decay and death. That, my friends, explains Katrina, and indeed all forms of weather, far better than the suggestion that God has simply run out of patience with a particularly sinful city.

    One further point: does not such speculation have much in common with the arguments of Job’s judgmental counselors? They looked at the condition of Job, at the truly extraordinary level of disaster that had struck his life, and drew the conclusion that such extraordinary trouble must indicate an extraordinary level of sin in his life, for which he obviously needed to repent. But God's response to all that marks a once and for all break with such a simplistic understanding of divinity. For his anger is reserved not for Job, but for these counselors. Do not presume that you can read the Lord’s moods by reading the weather!

    Again, our God has set aside his judgement on sin for a day yet to come. This is what the Bible teaches us. On that day, judgement will come to sinners based on how they responded to the cross of Christ, just as mercy will come to other sinners based on how they responded to the cross of Christ. In the meantime, all creation quakes as if in the travail of childbirth, awaiting the revelation of the sons of God. Only then will it be freed from that bondage to decay to which God long ago subjected it. When we, the sons of God, are one day transfigured, so too will nature be. Until then, hurricanes will happen. And in the meantime, the message of God is this: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in eat with him, and he with me."


    Hat tip: I was helped greatly in arriving at this understanding by Sam Storms, which I found through Justin Taylor's Between Two Worlds.


    Kingdom Blogging

    So my mother said to me, "Okay, I understand what a blog is, but what I don't understand is, why would anyone want to read one?"

    Good question, Mom. In truth, I don't exactly know the answer. All I know is, words have this fascination, this hold on us. They are, it seems, the medium by which we reach beyond ourselves to others. We are all "expressors," and in addition to that we all seek the "expression" of others. It is a thirst quite as powerful as the thirst for water, an activity as closely associated with the presence of life as breathing or brain-waves. We need to speak, in some way, somehow, and we prefer not to speak into a vacuum. No, we deeply desire response. No act of communication is complete without response.

    When the Kingdom comes in fullness, human expression will at last be redeemed and perfected. We will never speak from base or selfish motives. We will never speak words that mislead, or cover up, or tear down. There will be no small talk, but there will be much glorying in the small, for nothing then will be insignificant or unlovely. Oh, and there will be laughter, for that too is pure expression. Also, everything we speak will have the beauty and transparency of a Keats ode. Every word will be a kindness, an act of love and appreciation, an instance of deep understanding, drawn from a bottomless well of reverence and praise for the Father.

    Until that day, expression is a sin-tainted process. And yet, we do not lose hope, for the Spirit can redeem our minds and the very roots of our expressive capacities, and (here is something more miraculous by far than speaking in tongues) by His power we can speak words that are an authentic foretaste of the Kingdom to come.

    So, I say again, we do not lose hope. Expression is always an act laden with Kingdom-potential, and therefore always an occasion for hope. The expressing one reaches across the infinite space between his soul and another's, makes contact, and perhaps a kind of "chemistry" happens.

    Therefore we go on reaching out, as bloggers, even despite our mixed or ingenuous motives, and we go on expressing ourselves, and we go on seeking the expressing-other, seeking contact, trusting God in the process. Blogging, and reading blogs, is just a new medium for this old (indeed, eternal) need.



    So I had written this great post, a compendium of wisdom such as the world has never before known. When it was all set to go, perfect down to every jot and tittle, I clicked "Publish Post" and was immediately prompted by Blogger to login again.

    Okay . . .

    and then the words of wisdom suddenly disappeared. Gone. Defunct. Sayonara. Blown away like dandelion fuzz, like chaff, like morning mist.



    Feeling Bookish

    Last night I finished reading David McCullough's 1776, a fine book about Washington's successful siege of Boston, then the disasterous battle for New York, the calamitous retreat across New Jersey, and the stunning surprise attack on Trenton on Christmas night. But it's more than mere military history. McCullough vividly portrays the daunting nature of the task that Washington and the fledgling Congress in Philadelphia faced. The rebellion was anything but a foregone conclusion. As I read McCullough's book, I kept putting it down and wondering, "How on earth did they ever pull this off?" As McCullough himself says, "The outcome seemed little short of a miracle."

    [Cross-posted at M.O.G. Blog]


    Heads Up

    Christianity Today has a nice interview with Richard Foster and Dallas Willard, called The Making of a Christian. It's all about spiritual formation. Some snippets:
    Willard: "What we need is more examples of people who actually have character that is Christlike."

    Foster: "The problem today is that evangelism has reached the point of diminishing returns. I talk with people and they say, 'What am I to be converted to? I look at Christians and statistically they aren't any different.' You want to be able to point to people who are really different."

    Willard: "We're just talking about learning to do the things that Jesus is favorable toward and doing it out of a heart that has been changed into his."

    Foster: "We don't know yet whether people are going to take this seriously enough to where it really sinks down into the deep habit structures of life. You can't hope to accomplish in 40 days what it takes 40 years to do. There has to be a willingness for barren day after barren day after barren day, a willingness for new forms of worship, new forms of living."
    Interesting and challenging words.


    New Life

    I've said it before: g&h is all about celebration, and especially about celebrating the grace of God. I'm sitting here this morning wondering what to write. Wondering what matters most today. What one thing should I put down? Well, how about this: "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9

    So said a man named John, long ago. And he was, after all, in a position to know. And really the question we must ask ourselves from day to day is simply this: Am I too in a position to know this new life that Christ made possible? Nominal Christianity, Christianity without new life, life in Him and through Him, is really a stunted and pitiful thing.

    Another man, Paul, used this phrase: "Christ in you, the hope of glory." [Col 1:27] We live a Christ-life or we live not at all. We never graduate to self-sufficiency. Our lives, instead, are simply characterized by grace upon grace, and thereby our hope of glory grows brighter and surer, and all this serves as a testimony and an affirmation. This is new life. This is life in Christ. This is all of grace. Wherever we are in our Christian walk, we must never feel that we are so mature in our faith that we need no longer "repair to the throne of grace" and be renewed. Only in Him, only in Him, only in Him, do we find, and then live, new life.


    Appropriating God's Grace through Prayer

    Chapter 12 of Transforming Grace is called, "Appropriating God's Grace." Bridges writes, "we are not simply passive recipients of God's grace. Just as the Israelites had to gather day-by-day the manna God graciously provided, so we must appropriate day-by-day the grace that is always sufficient for our need." (p.151) Bridges contends that there are four principal ways that we do this: prayer, the Word, submission to His providential workings in our lives, and the ministry of others.

    Discussing prayer as a means of appropriating the grace of God, Bridges focuses primarily on Hebrews 4:15-16:
    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
    It is a throne of grace. Not a throne of power without love, not a throne of might divorced from sympathy, but the throne of one who submitted Himself voluntarily to the world, bearing in His own flesh every burden, every curse, every humiliation that we can ever experience or imagine, so that He might one day rule in grace from this very throne we speak of now. When we go to him for help, it is not only an implicit confession of our own helplessness, but a recognition of the sufficiency of His strength and goodness. Without such a confession, we will simply come to God with our own answers, and badger him to implement them for us. But confessing our utter helplessness, we come to God empty, in poverty of Spirit, and He fills our cup with what He alone can give.

    But remember this: we do not come before the throne of grace as beggars, merely hoping against hope that the Lord might deign to cast us a few pennies, but as children to a loving Father, knowing that He is willing, able, and eager to bless us with his enabling grace.


    Enabling Grace

    I've been reading Jerry Bridges' excellent book, Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love. If you were to ask me, what is the key to understanding the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, I might answer with this single word, grace. The life in Christ is the discovery of God's inexhaustible supply of unmerited favor, in the form both of forgiveness, which we always need, and enabling.

    It is this concept, enabling grace, that has been drawing me of late. Here the definition of grace merges with that of divine equipping. God gives us what we need to be his ambassadors, his bond-slaves, in the place we find ourselves. He gives that which we need, to overcome adversity; to grow strong, to grow rooted; indeed, to grow in grace.

    I think perhaps I'll have more to say about this matter in the next few days, but for now I will leave you with a word from Isaiah 41:14-15, and then a brief comment from Bridges.
    Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob,
    O little Israel,
    for I myself will help you," declares the LORD,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

    "See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
    new and sharp, with many teeth.
    You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and reduce the hills to chaff.
    And now Bridges (p. 163):
    This is a picture of the grace of God at work: a weak and helpless object overcoming disproportionate obstacles by strength derived from another. God makes us weak, or rather he allows us to become painfully conscious of our weakness, in order to make us strong with His strength.


    A Foundation of Praise

    gratitude & hoopla is still quite young, and I have by no means found my stride yet. I do know that it is fundamentally about praise. Whatever else it might become, that is its fundamental ground, its foundation. Praise of God and celebration of his wonders.

    Celebration of this kind is clearly a spiritual discipline. We stand, each moment, at the turning point between all that has been, and all that shall be, and into that sometimes frightening moment God speaks the words, "Fear not, for I am with you." We can receive that message and trust it only because we have seen His goodness, and known His power, and discovered that, through every circumstance, the Lord of all creation is for us. And so, we praise Him!

    Yesterday I listened to a wonderful message from Gordon Fee, preached at a Vineyard national conference back in May. Fee spoke about the foolishness and scandal of the cross of Christ. It is God's utterly repulsive solution to the problem of our sin. The thing is, our own coping strategies are never as foolish as God's or as scandalously humiliating. Oh, we may be willing perhaps to sacrifice something, but never as God sacrificed. That's insane, and it's awful, and our instinct is to cry, no, the situation can't be quite that bad. Because the most scandalous, the most awful and repulsive part is this: it was all on our behalf. It was the only solution to the problem that we created. And however much we might hide from the fact, we know deep down that we have not deserved that even one drop of Christ's blood be shed for us, or one moment of that humiliation be endured on our behalf. It all seems so . . . not right. Praise God, for He chose the foolishness and scandal of the horrible cross, so that we might live with him forever.

    If you've got an hour, sit down and listen to Fee's message. You will not regret it.



    This morning I came across Peter's call to stand fast in grace. As many of you know, I used to blog at Mr. Standfast, so you might correctly suppose that the concept, standing fast, is kind of important to me. If you look up at the URL of this blog, you will see there the words, "fast in grace" (although some people have read it as "fasting race"!!).

    Anyway, I find the concept intriguing. Well, no, that word is too weak. More than intriguing. Try perhaps world changing. To speak of standing fast is usually to speak of strength and perseverance, and certainly that is the theme of Peter's first epistle. But then again there are many ways to stand fast, and not all of them Godly. However, we who have once trusted the grace of God at Calvary, are to stand face in that grace thereafter, and in that grace alone! Through just such fast-standing does God work His will in the world, even as we see our salvation, the fulfillment of all God's kingdom promises, draw nearer each day.

    Throughout this epistle, Peter warns his readers that they are going to have to endure some fiery trials. The grace of God, then, is not about His preventing these trials, it's about His blessing and strengthening His children in the midst of them, refining their faith, perfecting them. And that was the grace in which they were to stand. Here "grace" is practically synonymous with "promises." To stand fast in grace, then, is to continue to trust the promises of God through thick and thin. Because in fact through every trial the believer is moving closer and closer to the fulfillment of those promises (think of Joseph, for example).

    So, I celebrate the grace of God. Yesterday my son, who went to North Carolina last week under the firm conviction that God was sending him there, walked into the nearby Vineyard church. [Here I want to stop for a moment and praise the Vineyard movement, for in my experience it has been the place where I have seen the church really be the body of Christ.] So, anyway, Nate walked into this little church with a great sense of excitement and anticipation. Before you know it, the pastor had invited him to his home for lunch, and after hearing his story, offered him a room in his own home until he got himself set up. That evening, Nate even led worship in their women's small group.

    When you trust God, you're willing to take steps that may seem like great risks in the world's view. In fact, the word trust carries with it an implication of daring. Of risk. But if the one you're trusting is truly and completely trustworthy, what would have been risk in another case is, in this case, a response of love and gratitude to the trustworthy one. That is, to our ever-loving, ever-strong, ever-reliable God.

    So, let's have some hoopla! Let's celebrate the grace of God. Hope in Him never disappoints. (Rom 5:5)


    Autumn Soundscape

    It's September in New England, and already you begin to notice the little seasonal changes. The daily high temperatures are easing downward slowly, and the evening seems to come too soon. Also, there is a subtle aural transformation going on. Something is happening to the sound of the leaves. Till now it's been a gentle rustling, a background whisper, steadily there even though mostly unnoticed. But that sound is changing now, turning gradually from a whisper to a rattle, more pronounced each day. And we all know of course that, all too soon, even this sound will be replaced, once every leaf has been shorn from its branch, with nothing more than a low breathy whistling, almost inaudible. That's when distant sounds--say, a carhorn three streets away, or a barking dog, far across the broad park--take on a new and startling vividness, like the black stroke of a calligrapher, stark and beautiful against its blank field. But I speak in anticipation now. I hear it coming. I take note of the subtle signs, encroaching the fringes of my aural consciousness. I hear it, and though it foreshadows winter, I savor the sound of it. Thank you, Father, for the beauty of your creation is forever changing, and yet it is always good.


    Today is the Day . . .

    Well, as happens to all bloggers from time to time, real life has sort of interrupted blogging in the last couple of days. I hadn't intended for it to do so, but it has.

    My wife and I have already said goodbye to one son this week, and this morning the other is also heading out. I am sad that they won't be near at hand, I am fearful that they won't always be ready for what life flings at them, but down beneath the sadness and the fear I am very confidant in my God. This morning in my daily Bible reading I came to chapter 8 of the Gospel of Luke. In this chapter Jesus tells the story of the four kinds of soil.
    But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
    Also in chapter 8, Jesus calms a storm, casts demons out of a madman, heals a sick woman and raises to life a little girl who had died. Notice how each episode reveals a new aspect of Christ's power: power over the weather (the natural world), power over demons (the spiritual world), and power over sickness and death (the consequence of sin). The message that I take away this morning is two-sided: first, DON'T BE AFRAID. Second, BELIEVE IN THE LORD. Oh, and don't forget that word that Jesus used: PERSEVERE.

    My morning Scripture reading also took me to the opening chapter of 1 Peter. Peter says we are "strangers in the world," with our hearts and minds turned toward the "living hope," the inheritance of the saints, and shielded by God during our times of trial. But trials we will have. He writes,
    These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
    Then, a few verses later, Peter adds this imperative:
    Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
    In sum: Don't be afraid. Trust God. Set your hope on the glory to come. Be prepared for whatever the world throws at you, walk in obedience, and hang in there with your faith.

    Every passage of Scripture seems to me a beginning rather than an end; not like a painting on a wall, but a window into a world. A place to live and explore. A "wrinkle in time" that allows us a glimpse of the higher things that all the Biblical writers speak of. These passages from Luke and 1 Peter are not simply nuggets of wisdom, but glimpses of the very mind of God. We must not take such things lightly, but dwell on them, if we are to be the good soil that Jesus spoke of. After all, didn't Peter say (quoting Isaiah), "The word of the Lord endures forever." Plant it deep, for there is sure to be a bountiful harvest.


    God is faithful!

    On Sunday the church prayed for my son, Nate, since it was going to be his last Sunday with us before moving to NC. We are in a bit of trepidation over this, since he hasn't got a place to stay or a job. It was a sending prayer, something we do as a matter of course when our members pull up stakes, and I know it blessed Nate big time.

    Now here's the neat thing. Our church, like many others I'm sure, took up a collection for hurricane relief. I noticed Nate looking into his wallet with, shall we say, "concern," since after all he needs every red cent at this point. But the basket came around and he quickly pulled out a twenty and tossed it in. Moments later, the fellow sitting in front of us turned around and said, "Nate, I know what it's like to relocate. Maybe this will come in handy," and he handed Nate, you guessed it, a twenty dollar bill. Soon after this, several other people in the church walked up to him and handed him money, amounting to $120.

    All I have to say is, God is faithful!


    The Word

    1 Chronicles 16:8-13

    Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.

    Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.

    Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

    Look to the LORD and his strength;
    seek his face always.

    Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

    O descendants of Israel his servant,
    O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.


    Thankful (3)

    Well, folks, I'm going to have a day of gratitude and hoopla, that I am. Today we're having the send-off party for my sons, as they prepare to head out on seperate adventures. I'm grateful for everything God has brought us through till now, and I'm grateful for everything that He has in store. We praise you, Lord, for you have done all things well!


    Blogging News

    Not much time today for posting, but I'll take this opportunity to mention some personal blogging news. First of all, Pastor Milton of Transforming Sermons has graciously asked me to fill in for him this weekend, so that's something I'm really looking forward to. Milton is all about sifting the Christian blogosphere for "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable." So I get to do that in his place for a couple of days. The honor is all mine, Milton!

    Here's something else for all you folks that just can't get enough of little ol' me! I'm actually involving myself in yet another blog, this one in cooperation with my good friend Tommy C. Tommy is not only a friend, but someone I have great admiration for (I even wrote about him over at Mr. Standfast). Now he's dipping his toe into the blogging current for the first time. Watch it, Tommy, that current is kind of strong! Anyway, I've always thought a tandem blog would be interesting and fun (my only two requirements). This is definitely an experiment, and even the title is somewhat uncertain. We're calling it m.o.g. blog. Stop by and welcome a newby to the blogging world.



    For two days now we've had some strangely turbulent weather here, distant effects, I suppose, of Katrina. Like everyone else I've been watching the unfolding events, the aftermath of the storm, with horror, sorrow, prayer. My sister and her family are all safe, having evacuated on Sunday. Realizing now that they won't be back in their home for weeks, they headed north to stay with my mother in Pennsylvania. They don't know how their home faired. It is all about waiting now, for them.

    My God, it is all so incredible. In truth, I'm not sure what to pray this morning. The only thing is to cry out. It is time for the prayer without words, the cry, the plea, of the heart. May you equip us, Lord, for this time, this need, through Jesus Christ.