A PBS Whitewash

“With that, we can see that ‘Islam: Empire of Faith’ [a PBS special] totally covers up the truth about Mohammed—that he was a marauder, stealing other people’s property, having one innocent after another assassinated, ordering several hundred Jewish men beheaded, condemning captive women to spend their entire lives serving him and his followers as sex slaves, and selling hundreds of free Jewish boys into slavery” (Richardson, Secrets of the Koran, p. 126).

Recovering Its Acids and Spices

“The Reformers not only revered their biblical heritage, but recovered its energies, its acids, its spices, its ‘red wine and cheese’, the sting and zing of the Magnificat. We should therefore be chary of assuming that a more verbal spirituality, which Protestantism undoubtedly was, was necessarily more bookish or intellectual. It commuted between the lofty discourse of the classics and the rude simplicities of the venacular. The living Word which Luther talking about, emerged from a filthy stable and ended on a foul cross. Theology was worked out in the study, certainly, but above all in living, dying, being damned” Theologia crucis” (Matheson, The Imaginative World of the Reformation, p. 127).

But I Know It When I See It

“Life and art are too complex to lay down legalistic rules. But that does not mean that there are no norms. Although one cannot define the wrong kind of seductiveness or the right kind of prettiness and the attractiveness of a woman by the length of her skirt or the depth of the décolleté, nevertheless women know the exact boundaries, especially the seductive kind of women as they just play over the borderlines. So in music and in art in general good artists know what ought to be done at a certain place and time, what is appropriate. It is a matter of good taste” (H.R. Rookmaaker, Art Needs No Justification, p. 49).

And We Are At Midmorning, At the Latest

“The gospel will be preached in true spiritual authority until the end of the world. The authority of true preaching did not diminish after the apostolic era. The ability to write Scripture diminished — indeed, it ceased when the last apostle died. But the death of the apostles and the closure of the canon of Scripture really occurred at the dawn of preaching — not the dusk” (Mother Kirk, p. 70).

Yeah, the Bible Might Say That, But We Have the Votes

“Men are naturally subject to sloth, and may not this principle [of coercion in conscience] suggest such a temptation as this? Why need we take care or pains to search into truths, to be able to convince gainsayers, to carry things with strength of Scripture and reason, seeing we have power to compel men to yield to us? And men who can do least by reason and Scripture are many times strongest in their violence in this way; this strength must come in to make up their weakness” (Burroughs, Irenicum, p. 90).

Gifts and Friends

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

Growing Dominion, Part 108

“Many will entreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts” (Prov. 19:6).

Like the previous passage we treated (v. 4), this one can be taken in two senses as well. The first is the more obvious of the two. When someone (the state, a prince, or a merchant running a promotion) is giving away free stuff, everyone clusters around. Everyone wants to be that guy’s friend. Of course this is an accurate view of human nature (“what’s in it for me?” is a common question). But this works because someone has decided to give away stuff as a substitute for giving away himself. For many, this is more than good enough.

But there is another sense in which this is true. When men give, not as a substitute for themselves, but rather as an expression of themselves, the results are similar—but much deeper. When men give themselves away in a lifetime of service, the people to whom they give notice what is happening. And every community has both kinds of givers; every community has both kinds of businessmen. One attracts crowds through gaudy promotions and the other establishes a network of lifetime friends through a lifetime of service.

Latest Film Project

On a trip to New York last year, my son Nate and his friend Aaron found themselves, through a series of circumstances that would be hard to explain, walking through the set of a film being shot. When the film in question — The Devil Wears Prada – was recently released to video, it was discovered that the two of them had sneevled themselves into the movie. No, I can prove it. Upper right hand corner, in blue shirts, Nate on the right, and Aaron on the left.

Contacted for comment by the entertainment reporter for this blog, Nate said about his appearance in this Academy-Award-nominated film that his personal goal for his next film project is “to be in focus.” Aaron wanted to make sure that the lion’s share of kudos went to their co-stars Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. “We really don’t want to make this into a bigger deal than it actually is,” they both agreed. “The film hasn’t actually won an Oscar yet.”

Those Who Are Bread Should Get Bread

As we have said before, your baptized children are welcome to this Table. All who are bread get bread. But we have also explained it with several provisos. Young children should have the Supper explained to them by their parents in each observance of the Supper, and they should be able to attend to what is said.

Please note that we are not requiring that little children be able to explain the Supper before they may partake. They are recipients; they have the Supper explained to them. We feed them the bread and wine in much the same way we begin speaking English to our children when they first arrive in our homes—not because they understand it, but rather so that they might come to understand it. It is similar here. We are not asking for anything to arise in the child or manifest itself before he is qualified to receive. He is receiving and learning, not giving and teaching.

The requirement that the child be able to attend is in the same category as the requirement that bread be withheld until a nursing infant can swallow bread, or drink wine. We remember our children’s frame. If they are asleep in the carseat throughout the service, they cannot mentally chew any more than they can physically chew. We do not bring oblivious infants to the Table, but not because we exclude them. Their frame excludes them. But when you get to the point where you have to consistently explain to them why they cannot partake, it would be just as well if you used that time to explain to them why they are partaking.