". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


It is sometimes pointed out that a synod, or church body, is a human institution and that as such, it can err. This is most certainly true. But the reason it is true is that human beings can err. When it comes to the question, then, of where to place my trust on matters of doctrine, I have more confidence in the wisdom of a group of theologians than I do in one theologian. To grant one person the final word on anything is dangerous. To assume that you are the person who possesses that final word is equally dangerous.  

In the words of Huckleberry Finn: "I can't stand it. I been there before." And I have no intention of ever going back.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

J. Alfred, Rebutted

About 3-1/2 years ago our world fell apart. I won't rehash the details here. The point of this post is not to look back, but to look forward.

When everything around which you have built a life comes crashing down, it can be a little difficult to find your balance again. It is hard to trust, and I don't mean only others, although that is part of it. It is also hard to trust yourself. How could you have been so stupid, so blind, as to not see what was coming? How could you have gotten everything so wrong? In an effort to not go through that again you start second, third, and fourth guessing every decision. You hand-wring and agonize and ask yourself, Prufrock-style, "Do I dare?" You look for some celestial sign that now, finally, you have got it right.

Problem is, that's what got you into trouble in the first place: putting your faith in men, and their plans and promises, instead of in God, and looking for that shiny, new idol to replace the one that was shattered. For human beings, it's a daily challenge and struggle, one we will always face this side of heaven.

Still, though the challenge remains, there is such a thing as growing in wisdom and learning from one's mistakes. There is such a thing as waking up one day to realize that the answer you have been seeking is not in Oz but right in front of you, in the good people who have been loving you while you were skipping down the yellow brick road trying to find your heart's desire. There is such a thing as realizing that the struggle itself is a gift, reminding you as it does of the danger of idols and the need to fix your eyes on Jesus rather than on your own silly human efforts.

Oh, and there is also such a thing as new beginnings.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pleasing Mr. Bisbee

"My play time was cut short because Mr. Bisbee, one of the boarders, took a notion to teach me to sing and I had to waste some time every day practicing the scales up and down and mixed. I would rather play but Mr. Bisbee was one of the richest men in Burr Oak and our best paying, steady boarder. He must be pleased if possible and so I patiently learned to sing 'do ra me fa sol la see do.'"

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, p. 102, Laura Ingalls Wilder, ed. Pamela Smith Hill