Archive for July 2013
I’ve appreciated what Doug Wilson has had to say about contemporary food idolatries. His latest post is a little oblique, but good. Pulling out some punchy sound bites (and completely glossing over the necessary caveats):
I believe that some wives, in the way they pursue “healthy” menu choices for their home, are inadvertently trying to teach their husbands and children how to cheat. . . .
A school district in New York just recently dropped the First Lady’s school lunch program because the kids were hungry all the time. What happens in a family where the first lady there has implemented a similar regime and does not have buy-in from her husband and kids? One of the obvious things is that the husband often has the resources to fix things at lunch with a greasy burger, after obtaining a vow from his co-workers to “not tell a soul.”
. . . [A] man should not work to put food on the table, his own table, and then come away from that table hungry. . . . [I]t is crucial that the home not become a place of tight-fisted denial, where wives become the governess of no, instead of the mistress of yes.
I have no idea how common this is. But I want to sidestep that question and take this in a different, but related, direction. There is one marriage, one family, one house and one table that will endure into eternity. These are the archetypes for our marriages, families, houses and tables. So, what kind of table do we believe that Jesus provides for his own bride? And what kind of table is Jesus’s bride setting for him? Is it a famine or a feast?
I’m referring to the Lord’s supper, the new covenant’s one food law and the fulfillment of all old-covenant feasts. We eat this meal together with Jesus at his table in his house. As his bride, we should adorn the table and prepare a kingly feast. And as priests to the king, we have the privilege and responsibility to serve at his request as his royal chefs. There are no more animal sacrifices, of course; we now offer ourselves and the work of our hands, however imperfect, for his evaluation and approval.
Grain and grapes are the Bible’s repeated image of the fruit of the blessed land. Transformed by man’s week-day labor into bread and wine, God uses them again and again to picture the food of the seated and reigning Messiah-king. Because we are seated with him, Jesus gives us a physical taste of his new kingdom; and it is the actual eating and drinking of real bread and wine that is sacramental, rather than merely reflecting on the idea of bread and wine. The Lord’s supper should, as much as possible, convey the greatness, goodness and richness of Jesus’s kingdom. Wherever possible, it is fitting for the church to enjoy the Lord’s supper weekly and to do so lavishly, with rich bread and good wine.
We’ve started making cold-brew coffee to enjoy on weekend afternoons. What they say is true — it has little of the bitterness of normal coffee, so that it tastes almost sweet. Cold-brew coffee very nearly fulfills the promise of coffee’s aroma.
Here’s how we make it:
- Measure the usual amount of coffee grounds you would use and place it in a French press
- Pour room-temperature water over it; use half the amount of water you would use if you were making a hot brew
- Let it steep for twelve hours
- Press (and optionally filter) the coffee and store it in the fridge
- When you’re ready to drink it, add to it an equal portion of either water or milk
Enjoy! It’s worth the inconvenience of having to prepare well in advance.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, . . . — Gal. 5:22
Patience and faith and wisdom and maturity are all bound up together. Consider Abraham’s faith and patience:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. — Heb. 11:8-10
From the time of God’s promise to Abraham, it was over four hundred years before his descendants were freed from Egyptian slavery. It was a thousand years before Solomon dedicated God’s palace in what was once Melchizedek’s Salem on Mount Moriah. It was another thousand years before Jesus the new Melchizedek inaugurated the New Jerusalem of his church.
Sometimes the patience that the Spirit wants to forge in us is a thousand-year patience.
What would it look like if we were to have a thousand-year patience in our dreams and visions for God’s church?
That is not to say that we should be complacent, or work with any less fervor. It is simply to recognize that God’s kingdom grows like yeast or like a tree. We see this in our own lives, too: while there are great seasons of spring-like growth, over the long haul maturation and glorification is largely a matter of plodding self-sacrificial faithfulness. While the kingdoms of men might rise and fall quickly by the compulsion and cowing of the sword, God’s kingdom flourishes by the nurture (Eph. 5:26) and cutting (Eph. 6:17) of the sword of the Spirit — the word of God.
But this also expands our horizons: what would it look like to dream thousand-year dreams and pray thousand-year prayers for God’s church? If God intends to bless his people to a thousand generations (Ps. 105:8), as his own personal name attests (Ex. 34:6-7), then things might only just be starting to warm up after another thousand years.
See also the future of Jesus.
Bob Kauflin interviewed Marty Machowski, the author of the Gospel Story for Kids Sunday-school curriculum, here. There’s a lot to appreciate about what Machowski has to say, but he makes a shocking statement:
Our children, meeting in classrooms during our Sunday worship services represent the largest group of gathered unbelievers across the world.
From time to time I hear parents expressing similar sentiments — “they’re all unregenerate [or heathens],” “we can’t expect that of him; he’s not saved,” or “her problem is just that she needs to be saved.” Overwhelmingly we speak of evangelizing our children rather than discipling them. We wring our hands over the possibility of giving them false assurance, but we are almost entirely unconcerned about the danger of creating millstones of false doubt.
God does not speak of or relate to our children in this way, and it is dangerous for us to do so. It is dangerous because it trains us and our children to doubt and test the promises of God rather than believing and acting upon them. This is how God speaks of our children:
- He addresses them with commands and encouragements as part of the body of his elect “saints” (e.g., Ex. 20:2, 12; Eph. 1:1, 6:1; Col. 1:2, 3:20)
- He requires their presence in worship (Ex. 10:8-11, Ps. 96:7) and feasts (Deut. 16:9-15). He receives their worship (Matt. 21:16) as a potent spiritual warfare to silence his enemies (Ps. 8:2).
- They trusted in him before they were born (Ps. 71:6) and as infants (Ps. 22:9)
- He is their God (Gen. 17:8, Ezek. 37:21-28, etc.)
- He has promised the Holy Spirit to them (Isa. 59:21)
- He regards them as holy (1 Cor. 7:14)
We ought to speak of and think about our children in the same way that God does. This will not leave us complacent, but will instead motivate us to go about the work of parenting rightly, with full confidence in God’s being already at work in them. Instead of leading our children to the way, we will train them in the way (Prov. 22:6). What we once called evangelism must become full-orbed discipleship. Our children need the gospel, but in just the same way we do — to be continually reminded of the promises and goodness and nearness of God and to be growing in repentance and faith.