Monday, February 24, 2014

Come away
A golden day
When you was seen with him
Walking long
Singing song
A rough-hewn, country hymn
Make such sounds
As now abounds
In newness of the day
Nature sings
And round us rings
When we are come away


A common sentiment in the church today is that it is difficult to find the time for Bible study and prayer. Most often I hear leaders in the church counter this line of thinking by saying it is all just a matter of priorities. That’s true, it is, but in my experience such lecturing is largely ineffectual. We need to speak the language of worship, for that is what man hungers for in the quiet places of his heart. Man doesn’t hunger for duty, obligation and strategizing. He was made at the first for worship. It is his design, and that design finds expression in a desire after God.  If we understood things perfectly, coming to the conclusion that our job kept us from being in God’s word we would quit our job. Nothing of temporal concern should trump the eternal. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you, but, for one reason or another, the priorities lecture doesn’t seem to get the job done.

Someone might say I have trouble finding time for studying the Word of God and prayer, and instead of speaking about priorites, I say remember the widow and her one small coin that she put into the offering (Mark 12:41-44). She had very little money Just as you may have very little time, but when she gave what she had, though it was scarce and hard to come by, it was received by Jesus as greater than those who gave vast amounts out of their abundance. So you may be a busy person with very little time to spare for studying your Bibles and praying, but think how much it will delight your Father in heaven that you gave out of your time-poverty to worship Him in that way. Yours is a more precious offering to bring. Some with an abundance of spare time might even envy you.

Or someone might say, “I have never been much of a reader. It’s harder work for me to read and study than for others.” Rather than speaking of priorities, point them to Zacchaeus who, though he was a short man, climbed a tree to see Jesus above the crowds.  Sometimes it might require more effort to rise above the crowd of temporal concerns between us and Jesus as well as the limitations of our own design to get a better look at Him, but it is always worth it.

We must learn to speak the language of worship because it is worship that man hungers for and responds to. Such reasoning will bear the weight of wonder and desire in a way that speaking of priorities will not.


"For the Christian laborer, thinking that something can be done without prayer is the same as thinking it can be done without God." J.B. Tate

"I do not believe in the power of prayer. I believe in praying to a God who is powerful." J.B. Tate

Friday, February 7, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014


At Houghton college I eavesdropped through a partition once on a workshop for English students whom I presume aspired to be writers. The man leading the session was a published author, but I don't remember anything else about him except that he wore a brown corduroy suit jacket and jeans. I had no interest in the topic at the time. I was just present in the same vicinity doing homework and I couldn't help overhearing snippets of what they were saying. As I recall there was a fair amount of navel gazing on the far side of the petition. It is always so with creative types. I recall that one of the students, a girl I think, asked the question, "How do you know if you have what it takes to be a writer?," and without hesitation the author fired back, "Writers write. Writers must write." At the time I remember thinking that was a perfect answer.

I think what the girl was asking was how do you know if you have the chops to write professionally, to be published, but the man's answer brushed that aside as a secondary consideration. Whether it is well-received or not, he was saying,  "Writers write. Writers must write."

I have never built a stone wall, but someday I would like to. Several years ago I even read a book on the topic. It had the unimaginitive title of "Building Stone Walls," but it offered numerous insights into the art and method behind the construction  of stone walls, which I would not have thought of otherwise. I love the looks of an old stone wall. They are beautiful to me in a way that no other border can rival. They have a settled, heavy feel about them, which I enjoy, and I think they scratch an itch inside all of Adam's sons and daughters to exercise dominion over the earth. It's satisfying to see a straight and orderly line made from so many rough, irregular pieces. 

I remember that the book recommended collecting a large pile of rocks before getting started. The reason being that often times you will need to find a rock that has just the right shape, weight and size to fit a niche as you build, and it helps to have a large collection to select from.

I sometimes think of my posts like that- a collection of rough, irregular thoughts varying in shape, weight and size- and the BFZ is my rock pile, but what will I eventually build with them?

I'm not sure, exactly, but I think the time has come to start incorporating them into something straight and orderly. Do I have the chops to be published? I don't know, but writers write. Writers must write.