March Madness, Indeed!

My friend Miss Swartz (huh, that's a character from Vanity Fair, too) and I have been planning on a March Madness party since the beginning of February, so I took a planned hiatus from the hiatus tonight while a bunch of us gathered at her casa to hang out and eat chips and lament the sad state of offensive rebounding in the NCAA and yell at that idiot Texas player who went for five 3-pointers (easy, kids, I'm talkin' basketball, not theology) in overtime even though he hadn't hit a single one in the whole stinking game.

And did you see that commercial they kept playing over and over? It looks like a beer commercial to begin with because it's a scantily dressed woman gyrating in a club, but then it turns out to be for Old Spice!?!? What!? It wasn't just that commercial, it was EVERY commercial. Going without TV for a few weeks makes every sexually-driven ad all that much more scandalous to me! I know I already live in a Bible Bubble, going to seminary and hanging outHere's what shocked me. Did y'all see that stupid Old Spice deodorant commercial they kept with my friends from church and stuff, but living in virtual media starvation even amps up the isolation. And I don't mean that in a bad way -- I mean, why do we (I, I mean) feel like we (I) need to be desensitized to this whole sex-sells, consumer-driven, godless culture? I know I never batted an eye about trashy commercials or skimpy outfits before I started doing this... I guess one more reason to thank God for Lent, right?

It reminds me of something a homeschooling proponent said: "People always ask me about socialization. And I say, look at our society! Do you really want your kids to be socialized into THAT?"

On a lighter (though not on the caloric side) note, I went for the first time into the (new) Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen today, a place with a cumbersome name and a heavenly purpose: to provide absolute, childlike joy and bliss to customers of all ages, in the form of toothsome sweets of every possible variety. As Lindie said tonight, "I tried to die." A 20-foot-long case full of creative homemade ice cream flavors and no less than 25 kinds of pie, plus county-fair-blue-ribbon-prize-deserving cake, and positively enormous cookies. Good heavens. I was grinning so much that I thought my teeth were going to fall out of my head, and that was BEFORE I sunk said teeth into a slice of coconut cream pie. Divine. The prices are reasonable, too. I fear that I may have to resign myself to a career in a sideshow now that I've found the place -- come one, come all, see the fat lady who'll eat any kind of pie you put in front of her! I do love pie. And they have sweet potato, and banana cream, and pecan, and 4 kinds of apple, and, and, and... oh, heaven.

Do you think there'll be pie in the resurrection?


Why I'm Such a Cry-Baby

Many of my friends, and anyone in my family, can attest to the fact that I am a cry-baby. I prefer to say that my heart is easily touched, because it sounds better, but the truth is, it's not hard to make me cry. In fact, all you really have to do to make me cry is talk about "the Nations," and I'm a goner. So the reading I've been doing for school has been pretty rough on me the last week or so. First, I've been reading a book for Missiology called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It sounds pretty dry, and some of the readings are, but others are so full of passion and tenderness for the lost people of the world that I can't help being moved. Second, I just finished a Faithful Witness: the Life and Mission of William Carey. Carey is the father of Baptist Missions, and the story of his struggle and success in India should be known to every believer. Third, I'm in the middle of reading Let the Nations Be Glad! by John Piper, which every believer really must read. The section on suffering... it was crushing. Let me give you an example of one true story that broke my heart.

An African man named Joseph heard the Gospel on a dusty road one day, and was so filled with joy and excitement that he couldn't wait to share his newfound Savior with his own village. When he did, he was shocked to discover that they did not share his excitement; in fact, the men of the village held him down while the women beat him with barbed wire, then dragged him out into the bush to die. Somehow he survived, and days later came back to the village and pleaded with his kinsmen to come to the crucified and risen Christ. Again they beat him, and left him for dead. By a miracle of God, he survived this beating too, and after lying unconscious for several days, came again to the village to share this message of Christ's forgiveness. The women beat him a third time, but, as he was losing consciousness, he saw the women beginning to weep. The next time he awoke, the same women were around his own bed, tending his terrible wounds and nursing him back to health. The entire village had come to Christ.

This is just one story in a series from the chapter on suffering. How small my own faith is! How little is my own trust in the sovereignty of God! How unwillingly I give up even the smallest convenience for the sake of the Gospel! How fearfully I approach evangelism, even when I know that my life and health are safe no matter how bold I might be!

I spent a lot of time crying as I read through that chapter, as I cried out to God for a faith so bold that pain would be a joy when compared to silence. And if that means I'm a cry-baby, I guess I'll take the title!


Isaiah 58: 6-12

Since I've been thinking about Lent, which has historically been a time of fasting, I thought it was interesting that God worked it out so this passage would be part of my Scripture reading time this morning.

Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him? ... Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.