September 29th, 2014

try to praise mutilated world (from the blog Razing the Bar maintained by Andy Whitman)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.
- Adam Zagajewski, “Try to Praise the Mutilated World”

In Iraq, they are beheading little Christian children. Why? Because they breathe. I’ve heard the feeble protests, the indignant objections. This has been going on for years, all over the globe. Why only notice now?

Just stop. It has been going on forever.

And they are beheading little Christian children. They are not better, more significant, than little Muslim children, or little Jewish children, or little children anywhere. But they are little. They are children. And they are grabbing them by their hair, stretching out their necks, testing the sharp blade of a machete – a machete! - against soft skin. They are cutting off their heads.

Carry this with you throughout your day, your days. Think about it, don’t turn away, and experience it for the unspeakable horror that it is. Cry, moan, pray.

And in your day, remember, hold up, like a rare old treasure, the slant of late summer sunlight filtered through the still green leaves of trees, the taste of good, freshly brewed coffee, the sound of Miles Davis’ trumpet, the sweet, easy company of the wife of your youth, the surprise of new friendship, new connections that defy logic and convention. Look at these ties. They do not bind. They unite. It is nothing. It is everything. It is what you have, who you are.

Remember, don’t ever forget, all the horrendous, senseless, hateful, unfathomable death down through the ages; heads on pikes and bodies stacked atop one another like cords of wood stored for the winter, the torturer’s rack, the rows of young men mown down like newly harvested wheat, bits of brain spattered against a wall, mustard gas and napalm, the mushroom cloud, the fucking sterile, efficient gas chambers of Auschwitz and Sobibor and Treblinka. This is where we live and move and have our being. Then breathe, if you can. You must. Live. Lift up, like an old treasure, your tiny shards of joy. Try to praise the mutilated world.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

living the Christian life is a full time occupation

It is 9:32 AM Monday morning in the flow of existence. It is another sunny early autumn day. The trees are turning color super fast. Soon we will see snow fall on the ground. This morning there was frost on the lawn.

I got up this morning around 6 o'clock AM. Weird dreams drove me out of bed this morning. So I got up let Rudy out of his crate and made a pot of coffee. Next I messed with our main computer and then wrote in my paper diary. After writing in my paper diary I went outside and fed the birds. When I came inside I went down in the basement and turned on my old lap top computer. While I was down in the lower level I got out volume 6 of THE WORKS OF THOMAS GOODWIN. I wanted to look at this morning Goodwin's treatise on THE WORKS OF THE HOLY GHOST IN OUR SALVATION in this volume. Thomas Goodwin is one of my favorite 17th century English Puritan divines. One can not go wrong reading the works of Thomas Goodwin.

Carol got home from work around 9 o'clock AM and immediately went to bed for the day. Work was a killer. When I was working I told people my job was a slow kill or a slow rot. Working every day hastened the day of my death. My job was a killer.

I have to mow our lawn today because the grass is getting overgrown. I figure I will not have to mow our lawn much longer. I can put away our lawn mower for another year.

Last night I watched television and read a book titled, "The Beauty & Glory Of Christian Living" Edited by Joel R. Beeke.

Well I suppose I will close to drift through my existence. There is no way of escape.

  • Current Music
    Black Light White Light "Gold Into Dream"

there is power in the gospel

Colossians 3:1-7

"[1] If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
[2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
[3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
[4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
[5] Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
[6] For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
[7] In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them." Colossians 3:1-7

"Verse 7 "In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them" Colossians 1:7 gives the hope that we can indeed mortify and put off our sins. There is power in the gospel to enable the transformation required by grace. The Colossian believers used to walk and live within the sphere of those sins, but now they don't. What used to characterize their lives no longer does. That reversal of lifestyle marks every genuine believer. No Christian is experientially as holy as he should be or as holy as he will be when he appears with Christ in glory, but neither is he unholy as he was. Every saint can say with John Newton, "I am not what I ought to be. . .[but] 'by the grace of God I am what I am." (1 Cor 15:10).

Third, Paul explains the reasons for death to sin. He gives two reasons, one negative and one positive. Negatively, death to sin is necessary because sin angers God (v.6 "For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience"). Every sin is a violation of His righteous justice, and His wrath is poised against it. Whereas the sinful world stands already condemned, all those in Christ have been delivered from condemnation (Rom.8:1). Insomuch as Christians, then, are no longer under God's wrath, sinfulness should no longer be their practice. We are no longer subject to God's wrath because of Christ's atoning work. The cross stands as the greatest evidence of God's justice and wrath against sin. God put the cross of Christ in the place of our sins, and so must we. It was because of our sin that Christ died. To think of why He died and to remember that we died in union with Him is reason enough to die to sin." pg. 10,11 Michael Barrett 'Living Out Our Faith: The Christian Life Inside Out' chapter 1 "The Beauty & Glory Of Christian Living" Edited By Joel R. Beeke
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

there's wonderful power in the blood

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.


There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
There’s wonderful power in the blood.


Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There’s wonderful power in the blood.


Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.


"[9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [homosexuals], nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
[10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
[11] And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinth. 6:9-11
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

death to sin

"Positively, death to sin is necessary because we have been restored to the image of God (Colossians 3:9,10). Paul transitions to this argument by linking two causal participles ("put off" and "put on") to the imperative "lie not to one another," suggested by the imagery of dress. I don't think it is really true that clothes make the man, but they do reveal something about the man. I love to wear camouflage. So when I wear it along with a hat advertising Cabela's, you would be safe to assume that I hunt and that I wish I were in the woods, where neither you nor the deer could see me. On the other hand, if I were to wear the scrubs of a surgeon, that would be misleading and potentially dangerous if you believe what you saw. The point very simply is that you should dress according to what you are.

To be hidden in union with Christ demands death to sin because we have put off the old man and put on the new. John Calvin defines the "old man" as whatever we bring from our mother's womb, and whatever we are by nature." In this context, it designates the unregenerate state in which there is no spiritual life or sensitivity and no impulse toward God or spiritual things. It is that nature that gives rise and expression to every evil deed.

The simple fact of the matter is that those who trust Christ don't wear those clothes anymore. No longer are they spiritually dead, insensitive, or motionless toward God. They look different because they have put on the new man.

The "new man" refers to that regenerate nature in which the Holy Spirit has implanted the principle of spiritual life. It is the new garment worn by everyone hidden in Christ. Paul describes in the new man as being continually, habitually, progressively renewed in the knowledge of the Creator's image. It is not a sinless nature, but wants to be and is headed in that direction.

It is beyond the scope of our meditation here to think about the full meaning and many implications of the image of God. Suffice to say that it was the unique mark of man's original creation that was tragically marred by the fall of man into sin and wonderfully restored by God's grace through the gospel. Jesus Christ is the ideal image, even the perfect manifestation of God (Colossians 1:15), and it is only through Him and in Him that we are being renewed. Christ, the Second Adam, reversed the curse and restored all lost by the first Adam.

So, regardless of race or nationality (Colossians 3:11), every believer looks the same in this regard: they have all put on the new man. To wear the new man is to be adorned with Christ, who is all and in all: He is our uniform. Christ is everything in the realm of grace; there certainly is no experience or enjoyment of grace without Him. We die to sin by looking to Christ. As we look, we are changed progressively from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18)until He appears, when we will be like Him because we see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). If seeing Christ with our eyes is how glorification works, it follows that seeing Christ with the eyes of faith is how sanctification works. There is something about seeing Jesus that makes us like Him." pg 11,12 Michael Barrett "The Beauty & Glory Of Christian Living" Edited By Joel R. Beeke
  • Current Music
    Lucinda Williams "Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone"