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Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

Fighting the Sunrise with a Hatchet

I remember having one of those “light bulb” moments listening to one of R.C. Sproul’s lectures from his series The Consequences of Ideas, in which he made the simple but salient point that correlation does not necessarily prove causation. His example was vivid: Every morning a rooster crows. Shortly afterward, the sun comes up. We conclude that crowing causes sunrise. Of course, only a birdbrain blames a rooster for a sunrise that wakes him up too early. 

Continue reading “Fighting the Sunrise with a Hatchet”

Bulverism

“You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this, the only real issue, by busily explaining how he became so silly.”
– C.S. Lewis

I can scarcely imagine what Lewis would have thought of Twitter.
Enjoy the introduction to Ezekiel Bulver. Might sting a bit.
I did. It did.
jr

C.S. Lewis on Equality

Unable to find my copy of The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses by C.S. Lewis, yesterday over my daily cup of ramen noodles I poked around on YouTube for a recording of it, and stumbled across this gem on Equality I’d never read before. Lewis’ thoughts from the ’40’s merit careful consideration as we approach the 20’s. Equality is a big deal, and if we’re not careful to define what & when it is & isn’t, it can be a really bad deal. If you’ve got nine minutes to spare (and the fact that you’re reading this indicates you probably do), give the cat videos a rest and check this out instead

Mock On!

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

preface: I felt like writing something tonight, but wasn’t sure what to write. So I opened my embarrassingly large folder of unfinished articles and random thoughts and came across this one begun (and abandoned) on November 17, 2017, when Alice was in her fourth or fifth week of radiation. It seemed like a project worth finishing, so hopefully two years late is still better than never. Oh, and Dad, you worked really hard for a lot of years teaching me not to mock stuff, and I promise I’m getting better in general. Hope you’ll be okay with this one.
-jr

Because of our current family situation with Alice, I spend a lot of time these days pondering life, but to be honest, a lot more time pondering death. For the last 20 years I’ve never steered my mind away from thinking about death; it is coming to a boy named me at some point, and I’d just as soon make my peace with that, and understand the best way to manage whatever time I have until that day comes. And now, facing what feels like the inevitable departure of my dear daughter, death at least feels like it’s standing at our doorstep. I hope it turns around and goes away – but even if it does, it’ll be back. Maybe not for decades, but it’ll be back, and for all of us at some point. It is, after all, appointed unto us once to die. Continue reading “Mock On!”

The Ugliness & Beauty of Forgetting

a funeral homily

Since I never met Jeff, and all of you gathered here knew him well, I find myself in the awkward position of being the only person in the room who didn’t know him, and also the one doing all the talking. What I do know about Jeff is that he died at the young age of fifty-seven of early-onset dementia, so I wanted to take a few minutes to direct our minds to the Word of God and ponder with you the subject of forgetting. Continue reading “The Ugliness & Beauty of Forgetting”

I’ve (finally) updated the “What I’m listening to” page with various and sundry shiny things that have caught my eye, to tragically confuse and conflate the senses.

Thanks to those who have shown interest in and picked up Alice in the Palace.

The pastors and churches associated with the Common Slaves get together every couple months to worship and fellowship together, and we are doing so again this Sunday evening, June 30, 4:30PM at Quamba Baptist Church. Pastor Ken Carlton from Providence Community Church in Crosslake, MN will be opening the word for us. Join us if you’re able!

Alice in the Palace

At the urging of some very dear people I have compiled, edited, and formatted the “Alice blogs” into book form, and am happy to say that Alice in the Palace is, to the best of my abilities and with the help of a few good friends, done and ready to go. As many of you know because you walked the journey with us, this is the story of my four-year-old daughter Alice from the first mysterious symptoms until her death from a brain stem tumor 8-1/2 months later. Along the way, I recorded a fairly raw account of what we were experiencing and feeling, for better and for worse, along with my own reflections on Alice, wrestlings with God’s involvement, thoughts about the prayers of his people and the fate of children who die. I also wrote an epilogue on the anniversary of Alice’s funeral, which was just last week.

Thanks to everyone who followed Alice’s story and encouraged us along the way, and if you’d like a nicely organized pretty good looking (if I do say so myself) record of Alice’s story you can get one, or it might be an encouragement for a friend who’s going through “the stuff.” I don’t know why you might want to buy one, but if you do, now you can!

For what it’s worth, I bought a copy myself and I really like it. And (far) more importantly, Michele approves. By the way, Michele drew the cover picture for a card she sent to Alice’s best friend Kenzie, and I loved it so much that I took a picture of it before she dropped it in the mail.

The book is available at Amazon.com in paperback for $10, Kindle for $5. If you purchase a print copy you can get the kindle version for free.

jr

Suck It Up

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you…
Ephesians 4:1 ESV

Once, while reading through the book of Ephesians, it struck me as a bit odd that here smack dab in the center of his letter, Paul mentions the fact that he’s in prison. I’d expect maybe that he’d do that at the beginning, perhaps at the end, but to stick it here seems out of place. Continue reading “Suck It Up”

We have just posted the audio of the first four sessions of our Spring Conference held last Saturday at Lifespring Church in Crosby, MN. Thanks so much to Pastor Eric Anderson and the dear folks at Lifespring for their labors in Jesus’ name making this a wonderful day of sound biblical instruction, encouragement, and challenging thinking. It was an honor to get to meet the gracious Dr. Peter Jones, who was somehow schnookered into coming to the sticks of Northern Minnesota. We are so grateful.

I’ve also posted some new material on the What I’m Listening To page, including some fun kids stories I grew up with, audio Bible recommends, and some other good stuff including Psalm 23 in Hebrew and a wonderful piece on “The Disease of Melancholy.”

-jr

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