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Archive for the ‘Meditate’ Category

For the football fan, Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” on SI.com is must-read material each week. About this time each year, he includes memorable snippets of commencement addresses, and yesterday’s clip captured my attention.

This is from Aaron Sorkin, the Hollywood screenwriter and producer and Syracuse grad. He spoke at the Syracuse graduations Sunday. What I liked from his speech:

“I’ve made some bad decisions. I lost a decade of my life to cocaine addiction. You know how I got addicted to cocaine? I tried it. The problem with drugs is that they work, right up until the moment that they decimate your life. Try cocaine, and you’ll become addicted to it. Become addicted to cocaine, and you will either be dead, or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one or the other.

How perfectly do these words picture the power and work of sin. Go through his comments and strip out “cocaine” and “drugs” and substitute “sin” and “evil.”

“I’ve made some bad decisions. I lost a decade of my life to sin addiction. You know how I got addicted to evil? I tried it. The problem with sin is that it works, right up until the moment that it decimates your life. Try sin, and you’ll become addicted to it. Become addicted to evil, and you will either be dead, or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one or the other.”

  • “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7 ESV)
  • “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 ESV)
  • “For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. (Romans 7:11 ESV)
Is there any hope? Is it in sheer will power? 7 steps? some other addiction program? Our only hope is in the person and work of Christ.
  • “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  (Romans 7:24-25 ESV)
  • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (Romans 8:1-3 ESV)
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1. You must love Jesus. I don’t care if you’re a “good Christian boy.” I was one of those too. So I know the tricks. I’m going to ask you specific, heart-testing questions about your spiritual affections, your daily devotional life, your idols, your disciplines, and the like. I’ll cut you a little bit of slack because you’re young and hormonal and your pre-frontal lobe isn’t fully developed yet, but I’ll be watching you like a hawk. I know you. I was you. You will think you can fool me, and you likely have fooled many other dads who didn’t pay much attention to their daughters’ suitors, but I will be on you like Bourne on that guy whose neck he broke. Which guy was that? Every guy. So love Jesus more than my daughter or go home.
2. You will install X3Watch or Covenant Eyes on your computer and mobile devices and have your regular reports sent to me.

3. I will talk to your dad and tell him I will hold him responsible if you don’t treat my daughter like a lady. If he thinks I’m a crazy person, you fail the test and won’t get to date her. If he understands what I’m saying, that bodes well for you.

4. You will pay for everything. Oh, sure, every now and then my daughter can buy you a Coke or something and a gift on your birthday and at Christmas. But you pay for meals, movies, outings, whatever else. Don’t have a job? I’m sorry, why I am talking to you again?

5. You will accept my Facebook friend request.

6. If it looks like you need a belt to hold your pants up, I will assume you don’t have a job. See #4.

7. Young people dating are putting their best face forward, so if you appear impatient, ill-tempered, or ill-mannered, I know you will gradually become more so over time. I will have no jerks dating my daughters.

8. If I am not your pastor, I will talk to the man who is. If your pastor is a woman, why I am talking to you, again?

9. You don’t love my daughter. You have no idea what love is. You like her and you mightlove her someday. That’s an okay start with me, so put the seatbelt on the mushy gushy stuff. Don’t profess your undying love, quote stupid love song lyrics to her, tell her you’d die for her, or feed her any other boneheaded lines that are way out of your depth as a horny little idiot. A lady’s heart is a fragile thing. If you play with hers, I will show you yours.

10. If you ever find yourself alone with my daughter, don’t panic. Just correct the situation immediately. If I ever catch you trying to get alone with my daughter, that would be the time to panic.

11. It may sound like I’m joking in threatening you harm, and while I might not physically hurt you if you offend my daughter or violate her honor, when I am addressing the issue with you, you will not be laughing.

12. You may think all this sounds very legalistic. That’s fine. You can be one of the many antinomians not dating my daughter.

http://thinklings.org/posts/so-you-want-to-date-my-daughter

Some things are just better left as is.

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Classical education emphasizes using the grammar years to build the memory as one would build a muscle. Frankly, as a long-time secondary teacher, I wondered about the value of rote memory. Was it just something for the children to do until their minds developed to be able to discuss? As I have taught this year in the grammar years, I have seen vividly the great educational value of developing one’s memory.

Tim Challies posted an excellent article – “Empty Mind, Empty Hearts, Empty Lives” – explaining what we lose when we rely on computers as our memory devices.

Those who celebrate the ‘outsourcing’ of memory to the web have been misled by a metaphor. They overlook the fundamentally organic nature of biological memory. What gives real memory its richness and its character, not to mention its mystery and fragility, is its contingency. It exists in time, changing as the body changes.” Where a computer takes in information and immediately stores it as data, the human brain continues to process that information and turn it into a form of knowledge. Biological memory is a living memory; computer memory is not.

(emphasis mine)

In other words, building one’s memory is not just adding information into a data bank and learning to retrieve it on command. Memory always involves some degree of meditation. We chew on the information till we achieve some level of understanding. We link it with other information which creates an exponential degree of understanding for each connection.

Memorizing changes who you are.

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family checkup

Everyone who is someone-or so it seems-has been linking or reposting Doug Wilson’s recent thoughts about curmudgeonly parenting. Jumping on the bandwagon would be aggravating if it didn’t keep coming to mind.

Ten Reasons Why Your Kids Might Think You Are No Fun
1. You believe the heel of the loaf of bread has more nutrients in it because it is browner.

2. You think that kids were made for the living room and not the living room for the kids.

3. You believe that being a disciplinarian consists of using repeated commands in a professional bossy voice.

4. You think that telling stories at the dinner table is weird.

5. You think that laughter at the dinner table is even weirder.

6. You possess a bag of carob chips, which you put into cookies made out of trail mix.

7. You place a high value on “teaching them a work ethic,” but that value is not nearly as high as your “slave labor is great ethic.”

8. You don’t want them to know any dumb music.

9. You think dessert is for sissies.

10. You want them to learn to appreciate you without you ever appreciating them.

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Having studied…how companies become great and how companies fall, I’ve concluded that there are more ways to fall than to become great.”

Jim Collins – How the Mighty Fall: and why some companies never give in.

Collins, well-known author of Good to Great, while wrestling with the data of companies who failed, was surprised to find it far more difficult to draw general conclusions about the failing companies than it had been for the good-t0-great companies.

This simple truth ought not surprise us, but does. What else should we expect in a poor, fallen world? We ought to be intrigued that things actually work as well as they do. It is a testament to God’s creative power (Rom 1) that sin, with all its destructive effects, cannot completely shatter His handiwork.

However, this business observation reflects a far deeper spiritual reality. There is only one narrow path that leads to life, and impossible it is to tread out that path on our own. But wide is the path and easy the way that leads to destruction.

There are more ways to fall than to become spiritually great (Christlike) simply because each of us has a vividly, actively sinful imagination that constantly leads us astray, while God has one, lone, simple plan.

Who, indeed, shall rescue us from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

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the character of Boaz

Character like [Boaz demonstrates] never appears on the spur of the moment, instantaneously. These are habits of the heart that have deep roots in our past, and are present as marks of general godliness before they ever come to expression in a specific crisis.”

Sinclair Ferguson in Faithful God, p. 83.

Boaz is, in my never-to-be-humble-opinion, the great biblical pattern of godliness that every boy should study, just as Ruth is for girls.

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This from The WSJ. And, as Justin Taylor commented, where are the dads?

In the pale-turquoise ladies’ room, they congregate in front of the mirror, re-applying mascara and lip gloss, brushing their hair, straightening panty hose and gossiping: This one is “skanky,” that one is “really cute,” and so forth. Dressed in minidresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade, they look like a flock of tropical birds. A few minutes later, they return to the dance floor, where they shake everything they’ve got under the party lights.

But for the most part, there isn’t all that much to shake. This particular group of party-goers consists of 12- and 13-year-old girls. Along with their male counterparts, they are celebrating the bat mitzvah of a classmate in a cushy East Coast suburb.

Today’s teen and preteen girls are bombarded with images and products that tout the benefits of sexual attraction. But must we as parents, give in to their desire to “dress like everyone else?” asks author Jennifer Moses. She talks with WSJ’s Kelsey Hubbard.

In a few years, their attention will turn to the annual ritual of shopping for a prom dress, and by then their fashion tastes will have advanced still more. Having done this now for two years with my own daughter, I continue to be amazed by the plunging necklines, built-in push-up bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos. And try finding a pair of sufficiently “prommish” shoes designed with less than a 2-inch heel.

All of which brings me to a question: Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we’re being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?

I posed this question to a friend whose teenage daughter goes to an all-girls private school in New York. “It isn’t that different from when we were kids,” she said. “The girls in the sexy clothes are the fast girls. They’ll have Facebook pictures of themselves opening a bottle of Champagne, like Paris Hilton. And sometimes the moms and dads are out there contributing to it, shopping with them, throwing them parties at clubs. It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘Look how hot my daughter is.'” But why? “I think it’s a bonding thing,” she said. “It starts with the mommy-daughter manicure and goes on from there.”

I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?”

We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn’t have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that’s certainly the norm among my peers.

So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn’t), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don’t know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We’re embarrassed, and we don’t want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.

Still, in my own circle of girlfriends, the desire to push back is strong. I don’t know one of them who doesn’t have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I’ve ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she’d “experimented” more.

As for the girls themselves, if you ask them why they dress the way they do, they’ll say (roughly) the same things I said to my mother: “What’s the big deal?” “But it’s the style.” “Could you be any more out of it?” What teenage girl doesn’t want to be attractive, sought-after and popular?

And what mom doesn’t want to help that cause? In my own case, when I see my daughter in drop-dead gorgeous mode, I experience something akin to a thrill—especially since I myself am somewhat past the age to turn heads.

In recent years, of course, promiscuity has hit new heights (it always does!), with “sexting” among preteens, “hooking up” among teens and college students, and a constant stream of semi-pornography from just about every media outlet. Varied sexual experiences—the more the better—are the current social norm.

I wouldn’t want us to return to the age of the corset or even of the double standard, because a double standard that lets the promiscuous male off the hook while condemning his female counterpart is both stupid and destructive. If you’re the campus mattress, chances are that you need therapy more than you need condemnation.

But it’s easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn’t dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: “Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven’s sake, get laid!” But that’s essentially what we’re saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they’re still living under our own roofs.

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