Or maybe I should say it this way: God will not honor the time you spent with Him if it’s time you took away from your spouse.
I feel this tension fairly often, usually in the mornings. It’s when I wake up a little bit earlier than usual and think, Man, I should go spend some time in prayer / the word / worship / etc… and then Abigail stirs a little. I hear the sound of her skin on the sheets and then she snuggles in close to my neck. I try to pull away but she pulls me back closer. She’s still full of sleep, so she can usually muster only a few simple words.
Two articles popped up on my timeline in the last couple of weeks, and if I could summarize them briefly I’d call them “anti-modern-worship.” Now, a caveat: they’re not completely anti-anything. I don’t think the authors were sitting at their desks petting their fluffy, white cat in a villainous manner thinking, “Mmm… yes, I shall now destroy those Hillsong loving hipsters and their four-word choruses…. mmm… yes… AND THEN I SHALL RULE THE WORLD WITH JOHN PIPER PODCASTS!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA…..” I think the authors carry a genuine concern for the church and its direction in our increasingly secularized culture.
If you weren’t aware, Chip and Joanna Gaines of the HGTV show Fixer Upper might be in some hot water because they’re alleged conservative evangelicals who attend a conservative evangelical church that teaches conservative evangelical things. Buzz feed published a hit piece about them and their church on Tuesday, and some people are losing their minds about it.
I wanted to say things, but I wasn’t sure what to say until a gay person from Delaware published a great editorial in the Washington Post and said it for me (link below).
While I certainly don’t agree with everything the author says in the following WaPo piece (I too am a reasonably conservative evangelical), I love the gist of what he has to say because, oddly enough, he has the audacity to stand up for the intellectual rights of those who have bitterly opposed him and his people for basically ever. He gives the Gaines the right to disagree with him and hold to convictions that differ from the mainstream.
Which is a lot more than many of us who have opposed him have done for him.
Also, he calls out Buzzfeed for concocting crap news to get click-throughs and sell ads, which is great because Buzzfeed is the furthest thing from good journalism.
This editorial from The New York Times came up in my Facebook timeline this morning, and I just loved it. To summarize, the editorial is a call to those liberals in academia to be more ideologically inclusive, and the piece finally admits that liberals maintain a mildly vindictive oligopoly in our colleges and universities:
Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.
I have two more things to say about this article before you read it:
1.) I studied journalism at Ferris State University and felt some of what this guy talks about, that my conservative ideas were not welcome. While it was known I was a Christian and a conservative (and I never faced outright discrimination), I often felt I couldn’t add much to discussions because my convictions weren’t up to snuff.
One of my first mentor-friends, Mike, gave me some great advice about work ethic. He said, “Keep hitting the side of the truck to keep the chickens in the air.”
That’s a humorous metaphor for how he lived his own life—he always had something cooking, kept an iron or two (or three, or four) in the fire. He was never complacent, never hung his hat on his life to grow old and fat. What I liked about my friend Mike is that he was always busy, but rarely rushed.
I think Jesus was that way too, and the Gospels show us that if we’re doing anything for the Lord, we will find ourselves busy.
Remember in high school English, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter? If you never had the pleasure of reading it, here’s the cliffs notes. The gist of the story is that a preacher in a tiny puritan New England town has an affair with a young lady. He is not punished; she is, and as punishment she must brandish a scarlet letter “A” upon the breast of her clothes. The “A” is for adulterer, of course.
There’s more to the novel, but for our purposes, that’s all you need to know. The woman was forced to wear her shame upon her chest for all to see.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” — Col. 3:16
Can we be honest about something right now, just you, the congregant, and me, the worship leader? Can we finally admit what we’ve all been thinking, basically every Sunday morning ever? Can we just talk as friends and not dance around this thing that we’ve both been wanting to say for quite some time?