Today is Saturday, October 7, 2017. Day 21,758. Five days until our 32nd anniversary and a four day weekend!!
Rachel McAdams, who was born on this date in 1976, said, “With any project I work on – not just ‘True Detective’ – I don’t feel the need just to play a strong woman. I don’t want the audience to say, ‘Oh, she was so strong.’ I want to play characters that are flawed and interesting.”
Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is collogue, which means, “to confer secretly,” or, “to plot mischief; conspire.”
Today is Random Acts of Poetry Day. I’m not quite sure what to do with that. Perhaps I’ll pull a poem out of my hat. And write about things that rhyme with cat. Or maybe I’ll just sit and chat. For now, I think that’s enough of that.
Well, the Astros pummeled the Red Sox again, yesterday, 8-2. So the ‘stros are up 2-0 in that series. I’m hoping that the Sox at least don’t get swept again, like last year, but I don’t have much hope that they can shut down the Astros lineup three times. They are just too strong, this year. The Indians beat the Yankees again, but it took them thirteen innings. The wound up winning 9-8. It’s looking like an Astros/Indians ALCS, which will be quite the battle, I think. I’ll be pulling for Terry Francona and company in this one. That’s the Indians, in case you didn’t know.
In that other league, the Cubs shut out the Nationals 3-0, and the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 9-5. I don’t really care a whole lot about who wins the NL. But I do slightly favor the Cubbies over the Nats, and wish that the D-backs could knock out the Dodgers.
In other news, C has her knee replacement surgery scheduled for Halloween morning, which is just fine with us. It gets us past our getaway weekend for our anniversary, and allows time for recovery and therapy before the deductibles reset for a new year.
Today, we will be traveling to east Texas for my cousin’s wedding, in which S will be a bridesmaid. It’s a rather informal affair, with the wedding happening in her mother’s back yard. At least it will be at 6:30 in the evening, so it won’t be quite so hot. But this is Texas, and even thought it’s technically Autumn, we are still looking at 90 degrees for a high today. Bleah.
Also, I will not be taking a computer with me on this short trip, so there will not be a blog post tomorrow morning.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
(From The Divine Hours)
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the Glory of God the Father.
Glory to God
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
(From Practice Resurrection)
This segment of Chapter 5, subtitled “Acquired Passivity,” is bold and brutal, and sets up what will come later in the chapter. Peterson begins by saying, “A good part of growing up in the land of resurrection, growing up in Christ, involves practicing a kind of acquired passivity.” He acknowledges that the word “passivity” has a kind of bad odor in our culture and language, conjuring up images of people who are lazy, lacking ambition, couch potatoes, and so on. Our culture pushes people. Our culture teaches us to admire people who have ambition, drive, who “get-up-and-go.”
Ambition and drive certainly have their place, giving people the resources to make money, get academic degrees, win wars, climb Mt. Everest, make touchdowns, and hit home runs. “But such goals, all of them much lauded by our culture, have very little to do in themselves with living a mature life, living ‘to the praise of his glory.'”
All of these ambitions, as well as the disciplines that go along with them, can be pursued, and often are, “without conscience, without love, without compassion, without humility, without generosity, without righteousness, without holiness.” In other words, apart from maturity. We see immaturity all around us in our celebrities, our athletes, our scholars and scientists.
“These are the men and women who set the standards for a life fueled by ambition, getting to the top, making a name for themselves, beating out the competition.” But do any of us really want to live that way?
If we stop to think about it, surely not. “The misery, the emptiness, the superficiality, the boredom, the desolation that accompanies this kind of living is devastating, not only to the individuals involved but to their families and communities.” Their lives are “radically different . . . from the life of Jesus and the resurrection life of Jesus that Paul uses as his text for living a mature human life.”
This is truly nothing new. Our life is really no different from life in the ancient world, at least in this regard. “What is different is that North Americans, by and large, exempt themselves from any sense of cultural and societal kinship, especially in terms of immaturity, with the ancients. We assume that we are different, better, and more advance.” It’s obvious, isn’t it, that we are so much more advanced as human begins. Or is it? In addition to all this, we have “this rich Judeo-Christian heritage, forming our identity as ‘Christian.’ A Christian nation. A Christian culture. A Christian person.”
We have taken the culture of Christianity and the culture of America and created a hybrid: the American Christian. We have taken “what we think is the best of each to produce a hybrid: American Christian, Christian America.” We have become “hybrid Christians.”
But if we look at history, we see that the ancient Hebrews lived among people who were just as culturally advanced as we are. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians had quite sophisticated technology and mathematics, which allowed them to produce some pretty “astonishing architectural feats, including pyramids and intricate irrigation systems.” The pyramids continue to mystify even the most modern architects. The artistry and philosophy of the Persians, Greeks, and Romans are still well-regarded by many today.
But in spite of this, the Hebrews “were fiercely jealous of the integrity of their souls and vigilantly guarded their image-of-God identity.” They did not assimilate the lifestyles of those nations around them, while taking advantage of benefiting from their libraries and technologies.
“The stories of Abraham and Moses, Elijah and Jeremiah, Daniel and Esther are all energetically countercultural.” These people lived alongside and among these other cultures while remaining uncompromising “in their rejection of the divine pretensions and sexual profligacies of their leaders in government and the arts, and the superficial idolatries in all the so-called best families.”
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present God as crucified, in their texts that showed us the way to live a mature life. “The cross was a ‘stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’ (1 Cor. 1:23) in the time of Jesus.” And it continues to be such a stumbling block in our culture, today; a culture that “worships power and self-indulgence, a culture that divinizes human achievement.”
We, as Christians, are the only people on earth who worship a crucified savior. And this crucified savior appears to everyone else to be “a rejected, humiliated, and failed Savior.”
Unfortunately, unlike our Hebrew ancestors, and even unlike our ancient Christian ancestors, we insist on cross-fertilizing American and Christian to come up with this hybrid thing. Sometimes, hybrids can be good. But the word, itself, from the Latin hybrida, literally means “mongrel, the offspring of a tame sow and a wild boar.”
“When the wild bull of American ambition is bred with a tame Christianity with no cross, the result is mongrel spirituality–a ‘Christian’ with both the image of God and the crucified Savior lost in the cross-breeding. The distinctive element in the human is lost. The distinctive element in Jesus is lost. An antichrist?”
I realize this was a lengthy passage, and will be actually surprised if anyone makes it to the end. But I believe them to be important words for our culture today. Our “Christian” culture is in danger of being lost in the culture, assimilated into the driven, ambitious culture of America. We struggle to remain “countercultural,” as we should.
Father, I pray that you will strengthen us in our resolve to be countercultural and not be assimilated by the modern culture of our times. Help us to remain bound to the cross. Help us to continue to worship the crucified savior (who did not fail, in fact, but rose from the dead), and to practice this “resurrection life.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.