Saturday, May 05, 2007
The IMS Opens Today Links
Speaking of which, did you know neaderthals drove cars?
When ape becomes man, does not man also become ape?
He really shouldn't be embarassed. Making fun of a guy for expecting decency is problematic.
The best Sci-Fi in the last 25 years? (HT: BHT) NOt really fair because THE BEST Sci-Fi is older than that.
Best post-Republican debate comment EVER, in history, forever and ever Amen.
Here's your breakfast.
What could go wrong?
Separating the men form the beasts.
And I thought I'd had some bad ideas in my life.
Problem is, no one can find it.
The Uncanny X-cow
Scaredy-cat. The nanny state gets nannier.
Related Tags: racing, global warming, ethicc, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Problem is, like any omnipotent character, it is hard to make the stories interesting. Unlimited power means no challenges, which means, no dramitic conflict, which means no story.
The Spectre has overcome this difficulty in modern time by have the conflict be internal, between his vengeful and redemptive natures. The set up for that conflict was never better done than when Hal Jordan, the greatest Green Lantern was dead and become the shell in which the Spectre resided. The set-up was great, but they never played with the theme enough. But then they would have had to get all religious, which they try to avoid.
The Hal Jordan tie-in, as you see in this picture at right also points out something else about this character - he is one of the most visually stunning ever in comcis. I almost don't care about the story as long as the images keep coming. The Spectre is just great to lok at, which makes him a recurring omnipotent that should never go away.
Related Tags: comics, comic books, comic art, omnipotents, Spectre, images
Friday, May 04, 2007
The Point wrote of two stories. One was Chuck Colson comparing and contrasting two "family" stories and the other the German infanticide story. I am not sure I have a point in this post, it is mostly catharsis.
I am struck by how very primal the urge to child rearing is. My wife and I's discoveries and subsequent decisions are many years in the past, and yet the emotional impact of those events and decisions are nearly as fresh and powerful as if the events were today. Despite the fact that we are of grandparently age (something that factored heavily in our decision making process) the longing and drive to reproduce and parent is an everpresent reality for us. Narry a week goes by that we do not have at least a brief discussion in which we reconsider and reaffirm where we have been and what we have done.
People who willingly and violently set aside that most primal of urges have lost touch with their essential humanity. I do not know how else to think of it. Set aside all arguments "when life begins" and pain and all the rest - abortion, or worse infanticide, is an act that denies the most fundamental substance of who we are created to be. It is niether selfishness or selflessness, it is some sort of attempt to be other than we are.
When I consider my own pain in all of this, the rage that I feel at the "idea" of abortion turns to pity. People that do so are so lost, so departed, so deeply fallen into the depths of a sinful state, that I fear for them like I fear for no other sinner. They are damaged in a fashion that I know no earthly power can repair.
Political efforts to end abortion cannot correct this essential reality - that does not mean they are not an important impediment to the slide into such depravation - but it does mean they are not the final answer. I am increasingly convinced we need to append our political efforts with ministry efforts, not just to those that are considering abortion, but to those that have had them. Theirs is a special and unique burden.
Related Tags: abortion, infanticide, sin, politics, ministry
Speaking of debates and brain mush. It is generally a bad idea, but if you're gonna do it wouldn't some actual SMART people on our side be helpful?
Now that global warming is firmly established as a new religion - they are lining up the next one.
Nessie? Here's how it happened.
George Lucas has irreteivably damaged our society.
Where Batman goes when the cave is being cleaned.
You realize. of course, that when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Australia really wasn't a place.
How to ruin a movie. And seriously, how about a epilepsy warning?
Oh, That's gonna leave a mark.
Related Tags: debate, cultural religion, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
"Well, the big story -- Hillary Clinton will be running for president in 2008. You know why I think she's running? I think she finally wants to see what it's like to sleep in the president's bed." --Jay Leno
"Top Democrats have mixed feelings about Sen. Hillary Clinton running for president. Apparently, some Democrats don't like the idea, while others hate it." --Conan O'Brien
"In a fiery speech this weekend, Hillary Clinton wondered why President Bush can't find the tallest man in Afghanistan. Probably for the same reason she couldn't find the fattest intern under the desk." --Jay Leno
"Former President Bill Clinton said that if his wife, Hillary, is elected president, he will do whatever she wants. You know Bill Clinton -- when he makes a vow to Hillary, you can take that to the bank."--Jay Leno
"Did you know Bill and Hillary Clinton were born under the same sign? Know what sign? 'For Sale.'" -Jay Leno
"A student from the University of Washington has sold his soul on eBay for $400. He's a law student, so he probably doesn't need it, but still, that's not very much. Today, Hillary Clinton said, 'Hey, at least I got some furniture and a Senate seat for mine." -Jay Leno
"Hillary Clinton said today that she wants legislation to allow all ex-felons to vote. See, this way all the Clinton's former business partners can vote for her in 2008." --Jay Leno
Related Tags: humor, Friday Humor, joke, Hillary, late night
Thursday, May 03, 2007
We could talk about your past experiences and how they influence your framework for relationships now, but I just don't think that's really the problem for most of us. I am more convinced than ever that our insecurities have less to do with our past experiences with people and much more to do with our current view of God.I think that applies to a lot more than guy/girl stuff. I know that is the very process I had to undergo to even begin to participate in church again all those many years ago - and even at that there are some branches of the church in which I still have no trust.
Here's what I mean. You say that your hurt from a previous relationship caused you to have a general distrust towards men. I'm sure there is truth to that, but here's what I think is really going on: that it's not men you generally distrust, but God.
What many of us do, even those of us who are serious Christians, is give to other humans the level of trust that can only be reserved for God, and give God the level of trust that would be about appropriate for humans. We flip-flop our trusts, and when we do that, we are setting ourselves up for a big-time disappointment.
But when it comes to church, there is one fundamental difference. Men, or women, are just another sinner. They may, falsely, come to embody our dreams and desires, but when they fail to live up to that we discover common corruption - we are all so corrupt.
The church; however, is supposed to be Christ's bride, Him visible here on earth. There should be nothing common about corruption in the church. And yet there is little uncommon about such corruption. My trust in God Almighty allows me to hold to the fact that He is at work even through that corruption, but I have never been able to shake the great disappointment and heartache that it creates.
And yet, so often, when confronted with that corruption, the response I get for church officialdom, is a shrug, and a blithe "Hey we're just a community of sinners." How can we be blaze' at the thought of corruption in Christ's name? Sin is not an excuse, it's the enemy.
And that's why when it comes to trusting the church, I'm a Ronald Reagan kind of guy, "Trust, but verify."
Related Tags: trust, relationships, church, corruption, sin, excuses, Ronald Reagan
Out Of Cute Link Post Title Links
I can see both sides of the whole Mil-blogging thing. It is the most valuable tool the military has in the very real part of the war on the home front, but OPSEC is of equal value. So, the best take I have seen to date is Dadmanly. The military is not stupid - they will find the right place to land.
Making taking a dump fun again.
I've slept through fire and earthquake, but...
Dr. Loveless lives.
Bad photogrpahy creates legend.
As long as they do not use them in the cafeteria.
I've been doing this for years.
How I got out.
Related Tags: Global warming, milblogs, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I’ve written about some of the ways that leadership endangers the soul. One danger is power. While power is necessary for effective leadership, it can be toxic to one’s character and spirituality. Power and humility often seem mutually exclusive; it’s tough to have both at the same time. Another danger is egotism. Leaders tend to be upfront, go-to people for permission granting, problem solving, and advice giving. They’re better known than others. All of this tends to inflate their egos. Fame, influence, position, and perks can easily lead to excessive pride, arrogance, and conceit..."In a sentence, good leaders, uncommon leaders, godly leaders do not make themselves or their organizations "better," they make the people in them better.
Common leaders think of themselves as people who seize opportunities and help others and organizations get things done. Some see themselves as leaders who serve. But uncommon leaders think of themselves as servants…who lead.
After you’ve been in the company of a servant-leader, you feel more impressed with yourself, not less. You don’t feel intimidated; you feel motivated. You’re enthusiastic about participating, and you desire to commit.
Servant-leader is a great concept, but like all such concepts it is perverted by some. Many think it means to offer the service people want. And yet, is that not what the pornographer does? A servant-leader is always first in service to God, which measn that as they serve us they want the best for us, not what we perceive as the best. Our perceptions are skewed by sin and often what we think best is not.
It is important to remember that we are not undergoing a process of improvement, but of remaking. The leader serves us as the carpenter services my kitchen during a remodel. Step one is demolition. Demolition hurts, but a servant-leader is able to help us see the purpose behind the demolition so that we suffer it with enthusiasm.
My opinion, the entire church groans for genuine servant-leadership. How come we are not raising such people up?
Related Tags: leadership, servanthood
Take Me Home, Country Links
Why there are lawyer jokes. Speaking of which - a mouthful via Instapundit.
Trying to sell technology as old as the hills. Right after we do this we are going to put giant fans on the San Gabriel Mountains to blow the air pollution out of Los Angeles.
We need to grant fewer PhD's.
Russell Crowe dead.
Now this is crime fighting creativity.
This is criminal.
The reason your dog's breath stinks.
No doubt this is Sheryl Crow's fault.
Whatever you do, do not go to work for this guy. One screw up and.... Who does he think he is? The Queen of Hearts?
Amen and amen.
Related Tags: comic books, bible study, nanny state, lawyers, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Faith and/or Religion
- "religion focuses on outward deeds for appearance sake...”; but faith focuses on our internal relationship with Christ.
- religion never breaks out of old boundaries and rules, but faith does extravagant things because of its love for Jesus
- religion loves ruts of standards and habits; but faith jumps at the unexpected chances to live for Christ that everyday life brings
- religion always looks to others with criticism and judgment; faith moves toward others with love.
These are stark contrasts, cutting deeply and oh so right on. At their heart lies on key distinction. We hold to religion, but faith changes us.
One is external, the other internal; one we control, the other controls us; one we bend to suit our will, the other we submit to. As I write these words, I am struck by the following scriptures:
James 2:20 - But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?Despite the contrast in these two things, faith and religion, they need each other; the real key is to hold them is the proper relation one to another - faith first, then religion.
Rom 3:31 - Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
Submission, resulting in change, resulting in action. Yet it is that first step, submission, that we find so hard. Sometimes we must take off our religion to gain our faith, which will in turn re-establish our religion on our hearts.
Ps 40:8 - I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart."Related Tags: transformation, religion, faith, law, heart
Hold 'em tight.
I love math! Did you know one average bowel movement is equivalent to 4.00E-4 of a Right Whale testicle. Now that is math a man has got to know.
Ain't science fun! I should tell you about the other things I have artificially produced in a lab....
The scene they left out of 'Snakes On A Plane.'
What color was Custer's white horse?
This could explain why we have no children.
I love the law.
It would catch me!
Dinner is served.
Who does the Jefferson Memorial honor?
Congratulation Jacques. (Think about it...)
I hate it when the only jokes I can think of are filthy.
If God is all-powerful, can He make a rock so big that He cannot lift it?
Related Tags: joke, humor, sarcasm, wisecrack, quiz
Monday, April 30, 2007
Remembering Francis Schaeffer
Schaeffer was the first Christian leader who taught me to weep over the world instead of judging it.This is an interesting word choice, I honestly think it is possible to weep for the world because it must be judged, but the essential point remains the same - judgement marks the beginning not the ending when it comes to how we engage with the world around us.
Let's think about this for a minute - what's the difference between someone who merely judges, and someone who weeps for the judged? I would argue the essential difference is that the first believes themselves above judgement, while the latter knows that the judgement judges themselves as well.
But even tears is not enough response. Fischer's piece is also a political piece - it is striving to redefine Schaeffer's legacy from it's current association with the "religious right" to align it more moderately, or even liberally. But why do that? That defines the issue by political camps instead of where it belongs.
The tears should motivate us to engage the culture and the individuals therein, to share with them the good news that we hold - ON ALL LEVELS AND IN ALL THINGS.
When we divide into political camps, we fracture the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different calls. If we divide ourselves along political lines we say all those called and gifted one way are the opponent of those called and gifted another. Thus we find ourselves in this conundrum where those that are called to feed the poor feel at odds with those called to enagage on other issues like abortion or marriage.
In point of fact these people should be on precisely the same page. The dispute comes because they are lining up at the government teets for the resources to fulfill their call. Firstly, the only teet any Christian should be lining up at is God's. But having said that the "feed the poor crowd" thinks the other crowd heartless when all they are is differently called. So they try to end around them. It is a sad state of affairs.
I think we need to start by learning to cry for each other. We are all fallen - the judgement we make falls on us as the other. Maybe, just maybe if we shed those tears not only for the world, but for the church, we could really start to make some impact.
Related Tags: Francis Schaeffer, church, world, culture, engagement, politics
The Bangles Song By Prince Links
The Church of England and the environment.
As with Labour, it is not the power of the new religion that explains this craven conversion but the feebleness of the old. Such is the lack of confidence within the traditional Establishment today, everybody from politicians to church leaders wants to hug environmentalism as a new form of unquestioned authority. [emphasis added]Prophecy hurts!
Is history repeating itself?
Sheryl Crow is more influential than I thought.
A little humor for all my Milblogger friends.
Why I don't love comics as much as I used to.
This'll tick off Sheryl Crow.
Lameness for geeks (HT: Evangelical Outpost)
The beginnings of an evil plot to take over the world.
I will have to do this before I die.
Now that's what I call brotherly love.
Related Tags: religion and the environment, the dust bowl, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Do we really want to "tempt" people into ministry?
I'm wondering if the gospel is in here anywhere?
And the award for "Least effective witness of the week" goes to...
Breathing in the Word of God (HT: Adrian Warnock)
Festival title least likely to gather and actual crowd.
This headline shoud be finihsed with, "And they enjoyed the steak dinner latr than evening."
Surest sign of a "B" movie every written
"We don't need professional actors," Trimm said. "We need real people who are interested in the movie."Related Tags: church, witness, gospel, temptation, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Sermons and Lessons
Theodore Ledyard Cuyler, Presbyterian divine, was born at Aurora, New York, in 1822. He took his degree at Princeton in 1841, and studied theology in Princeton Seminary. He was ordained to the ministry in 1848, but after discharging the duties of three pastoral positions, took up the prosecution of more general activities, including temperance and philanthropic work. He has been a voluminous writer, having contributed some four thousand articles to leading religious organs
The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. - Job 33:4.
There are two conflicting theories nowadays, as to the origin of man. One theory brings him upward from the brute, the other, downward from God; one gives him an ascent from the ape, the other a descent from the Almighty. I shall waste no time in refuting the first theory. The most profound physicist of Europe, Professor Virchow, of Berlin, has lately asserted that this theory of man‘s evolution from the brute has no solid scientific foundation. Why need you and I seek to disprove what no man has ever yet proved or will prove? The other theory of man’s origin comes down to us in the oldest book in existence, the Book of Job, and tallies exactly with the narrative in the next oldest books, those compiled by Moses: “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” That is the Bible account of your ancestry and mine.
We make a great deal of ancestry. The son of a duke may become a duke; the child of a king has royal blood in his veins; and a vast deal of honor is supposed to descend with an honorable descent. Grant this true, it proves a great deal; it proves more than some of us imagine. It proves that there is something grander than for man to have for his sire a king or an emperor, a statesman or a conqueror, a poet or a philosopher. It looks to the grandest genealogy in the universe, the ancestry of a whole race; not a few favored individuals, but all humanity. My brethren, fellow sharers of immortality, open this family record. Trace your ancestry back to the most august parentage in the universe: One is our Father, God; One our elder brother, Jesus. We all draw lineage from the King of kings and the Lord of lords. herein consists the value and dignity of human life. I go back to the origin of the globe. I find that for five days the creative hand of the Almighty is busy in fitting up an abode of palatial splendor. He adorns it; He hollows the seas for man‘s highway, rears the mountains for his observatories, stores the mines for his magazines, pours the streams to give him drink, and fertilizes the fields to give him daily bread. The mansion is carpeted with verdure, illuminated with the greater light by day, lesser lights by night. Then God comes up to the grandest work of all. When the earth is to be fashioned and the ocean to be poured into its bed, God simply says, “Let them be,” and they are. When man is to be created, the Godhead seems to make a solemn pause, retires into the recesses of His own tranquility, looks for a model, and finds it in Himself. “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. . . . So God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul.” No longer a beautiful model, no longer a speechless statue, but vivified. Life, that subtle, mysterious thing that no physicist can define, whose lurking place in the body no medical eye hath yet found out - life came into the clay structure. He began to breathe, to walk, to think, to feel in the body the “nephesh”: the word in the Hebrew means, in the first place, the breath of life, then, finally, by that immortal essence called the soul.
Now, it is not my intention to enter into any analysis of this expression, “the spirit,” but talk to you on life, its reach and its revenue, its preciousness and its power, its rewards and its retributions, life for this world and the far-reaching world beyond. Life is God’s gift; your trust and mine. We are the trustees of the Giver, unto whom at last we shall render account for every thought, word and deed in the body.
I. In the first place, life, in its origin, is infinitely important. The birth of a babe is a mighty event. From the frequency of births, as well as the frequency of deaths, we are prone to set a very low estimate on the ushering into existence of an animate child, unless the child be born in a palace or a presidential mansion, or some other lofty station. Unless there be something extraordinary in the circumstances, we do not attach the importance we ought to the event itself. It is only noble birth, distinguished birth, that is chronicled in the journals or announced with salvos of artillery. I admit that the relations of a prince, of a president and statesman, are more important to their fellow men and touch them at more points than those of an obscure pauper; but when the events are weighed in the scales of eternity, the difference is scarcely perceptible. In the darkest hovel in Brooklyn, in the dingiest attic or cellar, or in any place in which a human being sees the first glimpse of light, the eye of the Omniscient beholds an occurrence of prodigious moment. A life is begun, a life tlmt shall never end. A heart begins to throb that shall beat to the keenest delight or the acutest anguish. More than this - a soul commences a career that shall outlast the earth on which it moves. The soul enters upon an existence that shall be untouched by time, when the sun is extinguished like a taper in the sky, the moon blotted out, and the heavens have been rolled together as a vesture and changed forever.
The Scandinavians have a very impressive allegory of human life. They represent it as a tree, the “Igdrasil” or the tree of existence, whose roots grow deep down in the soil of mystery; the trunk reaches above the clouds; its branches spread out over the globe. At the foot of it sit the Past, the Present, and the Future, watering the roots. Its boughs, with their unleafing, spread out through all lands and all time; every leaf of the tree is a biography, every fiber a word, a thought or a deed; its boughs are the histories of nations; the rustle of it is the noise of human existence onward from of old; it grows amid the howling of the hurricane, it is the great tree of humanity. Now in that conception of the half savage Norsemen, we learn how they estimated the grandeur of human life. It is a transcendent, momentous thing, this living, bare living, thinking, feeling, deciding. It comes from God; He is its Author; it should rise toward God, its Giver, who is alone worthy of being served; that with God it may live forever.
II. In the next place, human life is transcendently precious from the services it may render to God in the advancement of His glory. Man was not created as a piece of guess¬work, flung into existence as a waif. There is a purpose in the creation of every human being. God did not breathe the breath of life within you, my friend, that you might be a sensuous or a splendid animal. That soul was given you for a purpose worthy of yourself, still more of the Creator.
What is the purpose of life? Is it advancement? Is it promotion? Is it merely the pursuit of happiness? Man was created to be happy, but to be more - to be holy. The wisdom of those Westminster fathers that gathered in the Jerusalem chamber, wrought it into the well-known phrase, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” That is the double aim of life: duty first, then happiness as the consequence; to bring in revenues of honor to God, to build up His kingdom, spread His truth; to bring this whole world of His and lay it subject at the feet of the Son of God. That is the highest end and aim of existence, and every one here that has risen up to that purpose of life lives. He does not merely vegetate, he does not exist as a higher type of animal: he lives a man’s life on earth, and when he dies he takes a man’s life up to mingle with the loftier life of paradise. The highest style of manhood and womanhood is to be attained by consecration to the Son of God. That is the only right way, my friends, to employ these powers which you have brought back to your homes from your sanctuary. That is the only idea of life which you are to take to-morrow into the toils and temptations of the week. That is the only idea of life that you are to carry unto God in your confessions and thanksgivings in the closet. That is the only idea of life on which you are to let the transcendent light of eternity fall. These powers, these gifts, the wealth earned, the influence imparted, all are to be laid at the feet of Him who gave His life for you. Life is real, momentous, clothed with an awful and an overwhelming responsibility to its possessor. Nay, I believe that life is the richest of boons, or the most intolerable of curses.
Setting before you the power of a well-spent life, I might of course point first to the radiant pathway that extended from Bethlehem‘s manger to the cross of Calvary. All along that path I read the single purpose of love, all embracing and undying: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me. . . . I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work thou gayest me to do.” Next to that life we place the life begun on the road to Damascus. In him Christ lived again, with wondrous power, present in the utter¬ances and footsteps of the servant. “For me to live is Christ:” that is the master passion of Paul. Whether he ate or drank, gained or lost, wrought or suffered, Christ filled the eye and animated every step. The chief end of Paul was to glorify his Savior; and of the winding-up of that many-sided term of existence he could exclaim, not boastfully, but gladly: “I have fought the good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”
I found myself lately studying with intense interest the biography of Baxter. For half a century that man gave himself to the service of Jesus with a perseverance and industry that shames such loiterers as you and I. Just think of a man that twice on every Lord’s day proclaimed the gospel of his Master with most elaborate care and unflinching diligence; on the first two days of the week spent seven hours each day in instructing children of the parish, not omitting a single one on account of poverty or obscurity; think of him as devoting one whole day of each week to care for their bodily welfare, devoting three days to study, during which he prepared one hundred and sixty instructive volumes saturated with the spirit of the word, among them that immortal “Saints’ Everlasting Rest,” that has guided so many a believer up to glory. The influence of one such life as that changed the whole aspect of the town of Kidderminster, When he came to it, it swarmed with ignorance, profligacy, Sabbath-breaking, vice; when he left it the whole community had become sober and industrious, and a large portion converted and godly. He says: “On the Lord’s Day evening you may hear hundreds of families in their doors singing psalms or reading the Bible, as you pass along the streets.” Sixteen hundred sat down at one time to his communion-table. Nearly every house became a house of prayer. Such was one life, the life of a man much of the time an invalid, crying out often unto God for deliverance from the most excruciating bodily pains. Such was one life on which was a stamped “Holiness to Jesus,” and out of which flowed the continual efflux of Christian power and beneficence. Such a man never dies. Good men live forever. Old Augustine lives today in the rich discourses inspired by his teachings. Lord Bacon lives in the ever-widening circles of engines, telegraph and telephones which he taught men how to invent. Elizabeth Fry lives in the prison reformers following her radiant and beneficial footsteps. Bunyan lies in Bunhill Fields, but his bright spirit walks on the earth in the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Calvin sleeps at Geneva, and no man knoweth his sepulcher to this day, but his magnificent “Vindication of God’s Sovereignty” will live forever. We hail him as in one sense an ancestor of our republic. Wesley slumbers beside the City Road Chapel; his dead hand rings ten thousand Methodist church bells round the globe. Isaac Watts is dead, but in the chariot of his hymns tens of thousands of spirits ascend to-day in majestic devotion. Howard still keeps prisons clean. Franklin protects our dwellings from lightening. Dr. Duncan guards the earnings of the poor in the savings-bank. For a hundred years Robert Raikes has gathered his Sunday-schools all over Christendom; and Abraham Lincoln’s breath still breathes through the life of the nation to which, under God, he gave a new birth of freedom. The heart of a good man or a good woman never dies. Why, it is infamy to die and not be missed. Live, immortal friend, live as the brother of Jesus, live as a fellow workman with Christ in God’s work. Phillips Brooks once said to his people: “I exhort you to pray for fullness of life—full red blood in the body, full and honest truth in the mind, fullness of consecrated love to the dying Savior in the heart.”
III. In the next place, life is infinitely valuable, not only from the dignity of its origin and the results and revenues it may reach, but from the eternal consequences flowing from it. Ah, this world, with its curtaining of light, its embroideries of the heavens, and its carpeting of verdure, is a solemn vestibule to eternity. My hearer, this world on which you exhibit your nature this morning is the porch of heaven or the gateway of hell. Here you may be laying up treasures through Christ and for Christ, to make you a millionaire to all eternity. Here, by simply refusing to hearken, by rejecting the cross, by grieving the Spirit, you may kindle a flame that shall consume and give birth to a worm of remorse that shall prey on your soul forever and ever. In this brief twenty years, thirty, or forty, you must, without mistake, settle a question, the decision of which shall lift you to the indescribable heights of rapture or plunge you to the depths of darkness and despair. I am a baby at the thought of the word “eternity”; I have racked this brain of mine, in its poverty and its weakness, and have not the faintest conception of it, any more than I have of the omnipresence of Jehovah; yet one is as real as the other, and you and I will go on in the continuation of an existence that outnumbers the years as the Atlantic drops outnumber the drops of a brook; an existence whose ages are more than the stars that twinkled last night in the firmament - an existence interminable, yet all swinging on the pivot of that life in that pew. It is overpowering.
How momentous, then, is life! How grand its possession! what responsibility in its very breath! what a crime to waste it! what a glory to consecrate it! what a magnificent outcome when it shall shuffle off the coil, and break itself free from its entanglements, and burst into the presence of its Giver, and rise into all the transcendent glories of its life everlasting!
In view of that, what a solemn thing it is to preach God’s word, and to stand between the living and the dead! And in view of life, its preciousness and power, its far-reaching rewards and punishments, let me say here, in closing, that there are three or four practical considerations that should be pressed home upon us and carried out by us:
1. The first practical thought is, how care¬ful you and I ought to be to husband it. The neglect of life is a sin; it is an insult to God; it is tampering with the most precious trust lie bestows. The care of life is a religious duty. A great deal of your happiness depends on it, and I can tell you, my Christian brother, a great deal of your spiritual growth and capacity for usefulness depends on the manner in which you treat this marvelous mechanism of the body. Your religious life is affected by the condition of the body in which the spirit tabernacles. It is not only lying lips, it is “the willful dyspeptic, that is an abomination to the Lord.” Any one that recklessly impairs, imperils and weakens bodily powers by bad hours, unwholesome diet, poisonous stimulants or sensualities, is a suicide; and there are some men, I am afraid, in this congregation that yield themselves such unpitied bond-slaves to the claims of business, that they are shortening life by years and impairing its powers every day. Thousands of suicides are committed every year in Brooklyn by a defiance of the simplest laws of self-preservation and health. What shall we say of him who opens a haunt of tempta¬tion, sets out his snares and deliberately deals out death by the dram? So many pieces of silver for so many ounces of blood, and an immortal soul tossed into the balance! If I could let one ray of eternity shine into every dramshop, methinks I could frighten the poison seller back from making his living at the mouth of the pit.
2. Again, in this view of the value of life, what a stupendous crime wanton war becomes - offensive war, such war as multitudes have dashed into from the lust of conquest or the greed of gold. When war is to be welcomed, rather than a nation should commit suicide and the hopes of men perish, then with prayers and self-consecration may the patriot go out to the battle and the sacrifice; but offensive war is a monster of hell. With all our admiration for Napoleon’s brilliant and unsurpassed genius, there are passages in his life that make my blood sometimes tingle to the finger ends, and start the involuntary hiss at the very thought of such a gigantic butcher of his fellow creatures. If that man knew that a battery could be carried only at the cost of a legion of men, he never hesitated to order their sacrifice as lightly as he would the life of a gnat. I read that, after what is called his splendid victory of Austerlitz was over and the triumph was won and the iron crown of empire was fixed on his brow, as he stood on the high ground he saw a portion of the defeated Russians making a slow, painful retreat over a frozen lake. They were in his power; he rode up to a battery, and said, “Men you are losing time! fire on those masses; they must be swallowed up! fire on that ice!” The order was executed. Shells were thrown, and went crashing through the brittle bridge of ice, and amid awful shrieks hundreds upon hundreds of poor wretches were buried in the frozen waters of that lake. I believe the dying shrieks of his fellow creatures will haunt the eternity of a man who prostituted the most magnificent powers the Creator fashioned in this our century of time to the awful work of shortening life, tormenting his fellow creatures and sending a million unbidden before God.
3. Once more I emphasize upon you, my beloved people, life, its preciousness and power, its rewards and its retributions. And yet, what a vapor, what a flight of an arrow, what a tale that is told! Short, yet infinite in its reach and its retribution! When life is represented as an arrow flight and a vapor, it is not that it may be underrated in its infinite importance, but only that we may be pushed up to the right sense of its brevity. Everything in God’s world ennobles humanity and exhibits life as earnest, solemn, decisive, momentous. The highest ends are proposed to it while it exists, the most magnificent rewards are held out at the termination of its consecrated vitalities. At the end of it is the great white throne, and the decisions of the judgment. Some of you, turning from this discourse this morning, may say it was nothing but sacred poetry because your life is only the steady, monotonous round of a mill-horse - tomorrow across the ferry, home at night—through its routine in the shop, in the counting-room, in the family, on the Sabbath in church - and say, “I see nothing in my life that thus sparkles or shines or has this sublime characteristic!” Ah, my friend, grant that your life may be the mill-round of the mill-horse; you turn a shaft that reaches through the wall into eternity, and the humblest life in this house sets in motion revolving wheels that shall at last grind out for God’s garner the precious grain, or else the worthless chaff of a wasted existence. So again I say, life is the porch of eternity, the only one we shall ever have; and you are to decide now whether it shall be the uplift from strength to strength, from glory to glory, or the plunge downward and still downward and deeper downward to darkness and eternal death.
My friend, what sort of a life are you living? A really earnest, humble consecration to God? Go on. Live, as I mean to do, as long as God shall spare power and intellectual faculty to serve him. Live as long as you can, as largely as you can; and then carry all life’s accumulation and lay it down at the feet of Him whose heart broke for you and me on the cross of Calvary, and say: “Master, here I am, and the life Thou hast given me.”
Related Tags: Theodore L. Cuyler, sermon, lesson