Dluxe's World

Thursday, May 31

John and/or Jane Wesley?

As I've mentioned before, I was born and raised in the United Methodist Church. I started becoming more and more conservative while the denomination became less and less so. So I left a while ago. I still have a deep personal affections for my old church even though what they believe now is very different from then.

The last time I blogged about the UMC I was miffed at the idea of confirming membership of practicing homosexuals. A friend was nice enough to pop over from his blog and comment, giving us the UMC seminarian's perspective. If I am right, he's still at the Minnesota Annual Conference as this post goes up... Well, he's actually linked me in his sideblog now so we'll see if he reappears to comment on this doozy:
A year ago, the Rev. Ann Gordon received her routine reappointment as minister of a Charles Village Methodist congregation.

Yesterday - after undergoing a sex-change operation and taking on a new symbolic name - the Rev. Drew Phoenix received another one-year contract to head St. John's United Methodist Church.
"The gender I was assigned at birth has never matched my own true authentic God-given gender identity, how I know myself," Phoenix said. "Fortunately today God's gift of medical science is enabling me to bring my physical body in alignment with my true gender." (full article here)

Now... As is typical, Al Mohler has already said what I intended to say, only better. And he's said a lot more. So, read his thoughts here. And then offer your comments below.

What say ye?


Wednesday, May 30

What what, WWWednesday


Monday, May 28

Memorial Day '07

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

"In Flanders Fields", John McCrae
(final stanza added by Moina Michael)

Saturday, May 26

NA on the web...

If I were younger, I'd be spending this weekend at the New Attitude conference in Louisville. You probably also need to be a little trendy to get in the door - but I've got trendiness in spades.

Seriously. Why are you laughing?

Thankfully, all of us who can't be in Louisville can enjoy the conference from a distance thanks to the liveblogging talents of Tim Challies, the Harris brothers from The Rebelution, and others. Tune in, and join the return to a humble orthodoxy.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 25

Whitefield for the Weekend [28]

This week's Whitefield post comes via Charles Spurgeon...

There is, nowadays, much preaching; but how is it often done? The preacher says, “O Lord, help thy servant to preach, and teach him by thy Spirit what to say!” Then out comes the manuscript, and he reads it! We have other preaching of this order; it is speaking very beautifully and very finely, possibly eloquently, in a sense; but where is there now such preaching as Whitefield’s? Have you ever read one of his sermons? You will not think him eloquent; you cannot think so. His expressions were rough, frequently unconnected; there was very much declamation about him, it was a great part indeed of his speech; but wherein lay his eloquence? Not in the words he uttered, but in the tones in which he delivered them, in the earnestness with which he spoke them, in the tears which ran down his cheeks, and in the pouring out of his very soul.

The reason why he was eloquent was just what the word means, he was eloquent because he spoke right out from his heart; he caused truth to flow out of the innermost depths of his soul. When he spoke, you could see that he meant what he said; be did not speak like a mere machine, but he preached what he felt to be the truth, and what he could not help preaching. If you had heard him preach, you could not be helped feeling that he was a man who would die if he could not preach, and that with all his might he called to men, “Come to Jesus Christ, and believe on him.”

That kind of preaching is just the lack of these times; where is earnestness now? It is neither in the pulpit nor yet in the pew, in such a measure as we desire it; and it is a sad, sad age when earnestness is scoffed at, and when that very zeal which ought to be the prominent characteristic of the pulpit is regarded as enthusiasm and fanaticism. I pray God to make us all such fanatics as most men laugh at, such enthusiasts as many despise. To my mind, it is the greatest fanaticism in the world to go to hell, and the worst folly upon earth to love sin better than righteousness; and I think that they are anything but fanatics who seek to obey God rather than man, and to follow Christ in all his ways. To me, one sad proof that the Church needs revival is the absence of that solemn earnestness which was once seen in Christian pulpits.


Thursday, May 24

"Can you consent to all this...?"

[Adoniram Judson] entered Andover Seminary in October 1808 and in December made solemn dedication of himself to God. On June 28, 1809, Judson presented himself to the Congregationalists for missionary service in the East.

He met Ann that same day and fell in love. After knowing Ann Hasseltine for one month he declared his intention to become a suitor. He knew that the life he was about to embrace would not only be dangerous and dirty, but also distant. He never expected to return to America. He did only once, thirty-three years later, then never again. Ann went with him and died in Burma. Here is the letter Judson wrote to her father asking for her partnership in missions:

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

Her father let her decide. She said yes.

God does not call us to ease, but to faithful joy. He is closing in on some of you, smiling and with tears in his eyes, knowing how much of himself he is going to show you—and how much it will cost. As I write, I pray that you will not turn away.

John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life (p.157-158)

Tuesday, May 22

An intensely practical WWednesday


Monday, May 21

Not Worthless

A few days ago, I linked to an Al Mohler post on the moral quandry that science is causing for the pro-abortion folks. Specifically, the article dealt with the fact that there really is no reason that someone shouldn't be able to abort a baby simply on the basis of gender, eye color, or some other trait.

Now today, Mohler has written another absolutely fantastic article called "The Revenge of Conscience". Take a minute and read the full article. Then, let's all try to go out and make difference. Ok?

Labels: ,


Well, it's that time of the week... The time where Dluxe makes a post apologizing for the sorry state of affairs around this blog. So, I'm sorry. Things have been a little out of control lately, and blogging typically is the first thing on the altar of sacrifice.

I would ask for prayer from the three of you who read this... There are a lot of things (family, study, present ministry, future ministry) that I should be giving a lot more attention right now. While I have the time, work has been sapping me of whatever energy I seem to be able to muster to devote to the task. Pray that I would be a faithful steward of the time and energy God gives and that my weakness wouldn't cause me to slip into patterns of sin.


Friday, May 18

Wisdom for the Weekend [2]

[W]hat an enigma, what a poor inconsistent creature is a believer! He knows the Lord; he knows himself. His understanding is enlightened to apprehend and contemplate the great mysteries of the gospel. He has just ideas of the evil of sin, the vanity of the world, the beauties of holiness, and the nature of true happiness. He was once "darkness, but now he is light in the Lord." He has access to God by Jesus Christ; to whom he is united, and in whom he lives by faith. While the principles he has received are enlivened by the agency of the Holy Spirit, he can do all things. He is humble, gentle, patient, watchful, faithful. He rejoices in afflictions, triumphs over temptations, lives upon the foretastes of eternal glory, and counts not his life dear, so he may glorify God his Saviour, and finish his course with joy.

But his strength is not his own; he is absolutely dependent, and is still encompassed with infirmities and burdened with a depraved nature. If the Lord withdraws his power, he becomes weak as another man, and drops, as a stone sinks to the earth by its own weight. His inherent knowledge may be compared to the windows of a house, which can transmit the light, but cannot retain it. Without renewed and continual communications from the Spirit of grace, he is unable to withstand the smallest temptation, to endure the slightest trial, to perform the least service in a due manner, or even to think a good thought. He knows this, and yet he too often forgets it. But the Lord reminds him of it frequently, by suspending that assistance without which he can do nothing. Then he feels what he is, and is easily prevailed upon to act in contradiction to his better judgment.

This repeated experience of his own weakness teaches him by degrees where his strength lies; that it is not in any thing he has already attained, or can call his own, but the grace, power, and faithfulness of his Saviour. He learns to cease from his own understanding, to be ashamed of his best endeavours, to abhor himself in dust and ashes, and to glory only in the Lord.

John Newton, More Than a Calvinist

Wednesday, May 16

Use the force, WWednesday

This 'Ryan vs Dorkman' sequel has been out for a while, but I didn't know it.

If you haven't seen the original Ryan vs Dorkman vid, you can watch it here or visit their site.


Tuesday, May 15

But honey, I wanted a [brunette, blond, redhead]

Al Mohler's post today will make your skin crawl...

"Kirsten Moore, president of the pro-choice Reproductive Health Technologies Project, said that when members of her staff recently discussed whether to recommend that any prenatal tests be banned, they found it impossible to draw a line -- even at sex selection, which almost all found morally repugnant. "We all had our own zones of discomfort but still couldn't quite bring ourselves to say, 'Here's the line, firm and clear' because that is the core of the pro-choice philosophy," she said. "You can never make that decision for someone else.""

Read the whole article here... Funny. People still discuss the horrible evil of a ruler who led a country down the path of eugenics/racial hygiene and the moral imperative we were under to stop him. And yet...


Friday, May 11

Sir, your artsy side is showing.

It's not often that I get in the mood for subtle art. I generally don't get amped by uncovering layers of hidden meaning in a 2 hour movie in a language I don't speak. However, every now and again I get artsy.

So, here are three kinda deep little movies that I found on the net today. MLF said this was too depressing for a Friday, so I take comfort knowing most of y'all won't watch these 'til Monday.

First, "Doll Face" is an eerie commentary on the ever-changing face of vanity.
"More", according to the film's site, "tells the story of a lonely inventor, whose colorless existence is brightened only by dreams of the carefree bliss of his youth."

Lastly, "Kiwi!" is simultaneously cute and disturbing...

There... Consider yourself momentarily cultured.


Whitefield for the Weekend [27]

This text is from the closing paragraphs of Whitefield's famous letter to John Wesley. In the letter, Whitefield is responding to Wesley's sermon "Free Grace". A fabulous summary of the back story can be read here. This was a fitting post for today, and some people will understand why...

Dear Sir, for Jesus Christ's sake, consider how you dishonour God by denying election. You plainly make salvation depend not on God's free grace, but on man's free-will. And if thus, it is more than probable, Jesus Christ would not have had the satisfaction of seeing the fruit of his death in the eternal salvation of one soul. Our preaching would then be vain, and all invitations for people to believe in him would also be in vain.

But, blessed be God, our Lord knew for whom he died. There was an eternal compact between the Father and the Son. A certain number was then given him as the purchase and reward of his obedience and death. For these he prayed (Jn. 17:9), and not for the world. For these elect ones, and these only, he is now interceding, and with their salvation he will be fully satisfied.

I purposely omit making any further particular remarks on the several last pages of your sermon. Indeed had not your name, dear Sir, been prefixed to the sermon, I could not have been so uncharitable as to think you were the author of such sophistry...

Dear, dear Sir, O be not offended! For Christ's sake be not rash! Give yourself to reading. Study the covenant of grace. Down with your carnal reasoning. Be a little child; and then, instead of pawning your salvation, as you have done in a late hymn book, if the doctrine of universal redemption be not true... [y]ou will caution believers against striving to work a perfection out of their own hearts, and print another sermon the reverse of this, and entitle it "Free Grace Indeed." Free, not because free to all; but free, because God may withhold or give it to whom and when he pleases...

[In Heaven], I am persuaded, I shall see dear Mr. Wesley convinced of election and everlasting love. And it often fills me with pleasure to think how I shall behold you casting your crown down at the feet of the Lamb, and as it were filled with a holy blushing for opposing the divine sovereignty in the manner you have done...


Thursday, May 10

5/10/07: Where I am right now...

Well, allow me to apologize [again] for the slow, creeping blog-death around here. I'm sorry I haven't been able to post more regularly. You can feel free to blame my lack of blogging on any of the following:
  • Work sucks. The pace at the office continues to increase... I'm incredibly fortunate that the stress of our looming project deadline doesn't really impact me except while I'm at the office. However, the time at work leaves me pretty drained so I'm not up for much once I get home.
  • I'm way behind in my reading for this term's "classes" and am scrambling to get caught up. I'm still waiting for a way to upload biblical Greek directly into my brain, but it ain't happening.
  • Gannon is playing t-ball for the first time, so I've been attending practices and trying to get him to stop throwing like a girl... I kid, I kid. Er, mostly.
  • For the last week or so, I've been madly prepping for a church meeting this coming weekend. There was some serious reading required, and I have a pea-brain. So, I'd appreciate prayers on that front.
  • On top of that, I got tapped to teach this Sunday in our ABF. So, what bandwidth I thought I saved has been sucked up again.
Lest this post be all gripe and no substance, let me point you to a couple things...
First off, check out the Dartmouth Apologia, a Christian journal being published by some Dartmouth students. VBCers might recognize a familiar name on a contribution or two.

On a biblical note, I came across this in prepping for this weekend's ABF lesson. First, check out a couple verses in Psalm 17:
"Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
from men by your hand, O Lord,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
You fill their womb with treasure;
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
(Ps 17:13b-15, ESV)

Interesting that the Psalmist recognizes that the prosperity of the wicked is real and, shockingly to some, comes from God. But now read Spurgeon's great unpacking of the bolded verse above:
“[The wicked enemies] are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.” But David envies them not. “Go,” says he, “rich man, in all thy riches - go, proud man, in all thy pride - go, thou happy man, with thine abundance of children; I envy thee not; as for me, my lot is different: I can look on you without desiring to have your possessions.

I can well keep that commandment, ’Thou shalt not covet,’ for in your possessions there is nothing worth my love; I set no value upon your earthly treasures; I envy you not your heaps of glittering dust; for my Redeemer is mine.” The man is above envy, because he thinks that the joy would be no joy to him-that the portion would not suit his disposition. Therefore, he turns his eye heavenward, and says, “As for me I shall behold thy face in righteousness.” Oh! beloved, it is a happy thing to be free from envy.

... A happy thing, indeed!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 8

Wallby WWWednesday

Came across this on the net last night. Well done...

And, don't forget to wash it down with a huge-o bowl of Arrr-mini-ohs.


Monday, May 7

Rainin' cats and dogs

Well, let's recount the interesting Christian news events from the last few days...

First, in the raining cats department: The 'pending schism threat level' in the Anglican Communion continues to rise. Over the weekend, Nigerian primate Peter Akinola snarfed up (technical term) several US churches that had already broken away from the Episcopal Church USA. I'd really like to meet this Akinola dude since he seems to have little tolerance for posturing and politicking.

The Anglican Communion has been held together recently with spit and duct tape while everyone waits for the Episcopal Church USA to step back from some of its more liberal actions. I'm not sure anyone with any sense is really expecting that course correction to happen... You know when you go to see fireworks how they fire a couple shells just to test the wind? Consider this missionary bishop appointment the first 'bomb bursting in the air', grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show.

Moving onto the dogs: Frank Beckwith, formerly the head of the Evangelical Theological Society, has left evangelicalism and returned to the Roman Catholic Church. Check out the opening salvo of his statement:
During the last week of March 2007, after much prayer, counsel and consideration, my wife and I decided to seek full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. My wife, a baptized Presbyterian, is going through the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This will culminate with her receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. For me, because I had received the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation all before the age of 14, I need only go to confession, request forgiveness for my sins, ask to be received back into the Church, and receive absolution.

It just seems weird to see someone fairly well respected in the broader Protestant tradition refer to returning to 'the Church' and receiving absolution. I'm assuming that absolution is for the sin of being Protestant? Anyway, read the full statement here.

Cats and dogs...


Friday, May 4

Whitefield for the Weekend [26]

... via Steve Lawson.

"Whitefield's Rock" is a site near Brookfield, MA where Whitefield supposedly preached on his last trip. I know this video is a little corny, but I've gotten to be quite an admirer of Steve Lawson's preaching. It's neat to imagine what it must've been like back 'in the day'.


Thursday, May 3

Death as gain...

If you haven't read it yet, you should really spend a minute or two considering the account of three Christians who were killed in Turkey a couple weeks ago... It has been making the rounds on the net, and I've wanted to post it with some thoughts. Never got the time for the thoughts, so I'm just posting it here for your reading. CLICK HERE to read.

And then consider James:
[Y]ou do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 4:14-16, 5:8-11, ESV)


Wednesday, May 2

They're watching, WWWednesday


Tuesday, May 1

Wartime Lifestyle