Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eager Expectations

We recently celebrated of our first anniversary and are now increasingly excited at the approach of the baby's due date. These events have brought some reflections upon the nature of "eager expectations" to my mind. I mean the breathless wonderful waiting for a thing to happen; something you have longed after and hoped for and now is finally soon to be. Since within the last year and a half of my life I have gone from being single to married and an expectant mother, the events of becoming married and a mother have been my "eager expectations".

I remember as the date of our wedding drew closer how the longing and delight to be with my (then) fiancee became greater and greater. I knew when I should be united with him, but the fact that I wasn't yet weighed upon me so that whenever we were apart I did not feel "whole" -as though some piece of me was missing. The day of our wedding could not come soon enough.

Now, I am increasingly longing for our baby to be born. Not only because I am increasingly uncomfortable, but because I want to meet the little person -to know who it is, not just that it is. Unlike waiting for my wedding, I have no idea when this little person shall appear. It could be tomorrow, or it could be another week and a half.

These "eager expectations" remind me of how Scripture encourages us to long and wait for Christ. Like a bride waiting for her bridegroom and feeling so pointedly his absence, so are we to fervently desire to be with Christ and notice His absence. For not until we are with Him in paradise we will truly feel "unified" with Him and as a "whole" self. Similar to waiting for a baby, we do not know when He will come -day or night. A bride (usually, hopefully!) "knows" her bridegroom. She can recognize him and trusts him when he says he will show up at their wedding. Even so with Christ; we do trust that He will come back even as He said He would (John 14). At the same time, like with a unborn child, we do not know exactly what He shall be like when we actually get to see him.

Of course the comparison can only go so far before becoming absurd. Still, I remember wondering during my engagement if the weight of longing had any other purpose(s) than to sometimes be a little trying. Yet again, God shows how He uses events in our lives for a purpose.
I hope this encourages you during those times when we must wait (often seemingly unnecessarily) for a good thing. Not only do we look forward with excitement to the blessing of special events, but our times of "waiting" also bring blessings -the blessing of eagerly expecting the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

"And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again,
and receive you unto myself; that where I am,
there ye may be also."
John 14:3

Please, South, Don't Rise Again...

I've found myself in deep thought recently over any number of topics, but one of the more frequently reoccurring ones concerns Facebook.  Through (relatively speaking) little fault of my own, I've recently become Facebook "friends" with some ardent Southerners.  I'll leave for another post the meaninglessness of such friendships and concentrate more on the topic at hand - that is, strong-minded Southern sympathizers.

Their basic paradigm (that America is in deep trouble and requires drastic remedies) is, no doubt, correct.  That said, there are better and worse ways to go about fixing said problem.  Arguably, revolting against the American government would be one of the worst possible ways to go.  And of course, any hardcore Southerner has got to be aware that the South is not, in fact, really going to revolt again.  So as much as I like a degree of rhetoric (some might say "hot air") in my speeches, theirs has an even greater-than-usual amount.

What bothers me most, I think, is a general attitude commonly displayed by most (but not all) such Southern sympathizers: that revolt is, in the main, something to be praised.  Such an attitude, particularly coming from the strong Christians that such individuals tend to be, is bepuzzling to your author.  The idea that revolts and revolutions could ever be justified in a Christian scheme is, as far as ideas go, a relatively recent one.  Indeed, 1 Peter 2 is rather explicit on the degree to which laws are to be followed and the honor which is to be given to kings.  And I've never yet seen a king who has been rightly honored by the revolutionaries.

Moreover, consider the David & Saul story (culminating in 1 Sam. 24).  Here we have an example of a thoroughgoingly wicked King, and yet time and again David refused to kill him.  Further, David refused to even allow others to kill Saul (repeatedly referred to him as "the Lord's anointed".)  Such a theme runs not only through the old covenant but the new as well: Consider St. Paul's words in Rom. 13:

  "1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but from God; the powers that be are ordained by God.

 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and those who resist shall receive for themselves damnation.
  
 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same,
  
 4for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."
 In short, then, the "revolutionary spirit" all-to-frequently displayed by ardent Southern sympathizers is, to my mind, wrong.  It may be well and good to wish that some things were otherwise than they are, but that does not give license for them to be brought about using illicit means.  And revolution, on prima facie Biblical evidence, is immoral.  In fact, given that revolution against God is what brought sin into the world in the first place, I find myself more and more uncomfortable when Southerners wish that the South might yet rise again.  Please no - revolution didn't work out so well in the Garden of Eden, and its track record since leaves much to be desired too.

Yours Sincerely,
Benjamin

Monday, June 28, 2010

Digging Deeper

We chose to call our blog "striking root" not only because Chesterton is one of our favorite authors, but also because this phrase aptly describes key aspects of our family's beliefs.

"Striking root" brings to my mind the picture of tree roots maturing over time and sinking their tentacles deeper into the earth. Steadily, but persistently, they expand downward and outward to provide the rest of the tree with a good foundation of nutrients and protection.

Our family desires to mimic growing tree roots in several ways.
Firstly, and most importantly, in faith. The roots of our faith become strong (by God's grace) through longing after Christ Himself (Psalm 42:1), for His Church (Galatians 6:10), for His Truth (James 1:5; 2 Peter 1:5-8) and in living "godly and righteously in this present world" (Titus 2:12).
Secondly, in knowledge. To seek after Truth and understanding not only in theology but in the rest of our education as well. We both come from a liberal arts background and have great appreciation for knowledge in a wide range of topics/sciences.
Thirdly, in community. Rather contradictory to most of the current culture, we want to have lasting relationships. Relationships that do not end in misunderstandings and bitterness; relationships with people we agree and disagree with; relationships that realize we are all growing and learning and sometimes we need more patience and understanding than at other times, opportunities of edification and fun regardless of whether we see you every Sunday or as you are passing through. Beginning with each other and our family, to our friends, church folks, and the people God brings into our life, we desire to be a blessing on others' lives (essentially, the watering of each others' roots). Someday, we also hope to find a particular place in God's creation to settle down.

We hope, that as our roots seek to grow and mature through posts on this blog, your roots will also be watered.

"Between us, by the peace of God, such truth can now be told;
Yea there is strength in striking root, and good in growing old.
We have found the common things at last and marriage and a creed,
And I may safely write it now, and you may safely read."

~G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday

~Elizabeth

A new blog for a new-ish family... :-)

We've been married for over a year, and our first child will be born within the next couple of weeks.  These are exciting times, and it's about time for us to leave our mark (however small) on the internet as well.

So, we propose this blog.  It will be updated occasionally (as time and interest permits).  It promises its readers nothing more than our own thoughts, musings, and ponderings.  Should these be of interest to you, we will gladly take comments so that, ideally, this will be a place of edification for many, not just the (relatively) few in our family.  Speaking of which, cute baby pictures will be forthcoming when God brings our baby into the world (well, God and, in a more immediate sense, my wonderful wife). :-)

Here, then, we find ourselves.  Christians (for our two-soon-to-be-three parts) and others muddling our way through this world.  Whatever is true, we want to believe it.  Trouble is, these days it's harder to figure out what is, in fact, true.  Fear not, though - muddling towards truth doesn't have to be itself unedifying, and we'll get there one way or another.  For any who should care to join, we'd love to have you along with us.

Sincerely,
Benjamin :)