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Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

Common Slaves Spring Conference

The Common Slaves Network is excited to invite you to attend our Spring Conference, to be held on Saturday, April 27th, 8:30AM at Lifespring Church in Crosby, MN.

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Peter Jones, who will be addressing the theme of the conference, Only Two Religions: Understanding All the Worship in the World. Continue reading “Common Slaves Spring Conference”

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I’ve updated the What I’m Listening To page with some stuff I’ve been working through concerning abortion, Mormonism, Luther giving Erasmus the business, and rounded it off with the genius of Mark Twain.

Don’t forget to register (if you haven’t yet done so) for our Spring Conference, which is now less than two weeks away. Yikes! It’s going to be a great day. I’m very much looking forward to it.

-jr

In Which I Discover I am Immoral

I am now immoral when once I wasn’t, and I didn’t do nothin’. These are my thoughts concerning my recent, rather unpleasant, self-discovery. Continue reading “In Which I Discover I am Immoral”

My Confession: I Have a Thing for Old Ladies

Regarding the title of this piece, I must make an admission up front, which I only offer because you already know, and it would be highly insulting of me to presume you didn’t. The title is provocative; after all, that’s what I’m supposed to do in this age of cacophonous digital voices straining to stand out from the congested landscape of social media, frantically trying to grasp your attention. Then, in true clickbaity fashion, once curiosity has enticed its victim to give a little peek into this rabbit hole, what is discovered is rather mundane and boring. The lion doesn’t bite the man’s head off, the couple getting engaged don’t fall off the cliff, you won’t really be shocked at what she looks like now, and though I’ve never checked into it, I’m sure that secret the casinos don’t want you to know probably has more to do with the quality of the lobster on the buffet than the secret to victory over the slot machine. We are not fools; you and I. It’s merely a game we play, but pretend we don’t. I pretend my writing needs no suggestive title to be read; you pretend that you are immune to such juvenile tactics, yet here we are, and both rather embarrassed about the thing. Continue reading “My Confession: I Have a Thing for Old Ladies”

A few little things to note:

I added some new things to What I’m listening to for your auditory pleasure and/or edification. I particularly enjoyed (for the third time or so) Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story story about Mrs. Bullfrog, which is perhaps more relevant and culturally fitting in our day than we may care to admit. And while in my shop I was enraptured in the vision of God Sinclair Ferguson presented so beautifully, I also ignored the strain I was putting my table saw through until the motor burnt out. Still, I can scarcely recommend this sermon highly enough.

Don’t forget to register for our upcoming Spring Conference with Dr. Peter Jones. Registration is both free and required. If the registration process frightens you (entering an email address that “they” will have), contact Eric or me and we’ll register you under the name of some notorious heretic. I think the next name to be used is Marcion, unless Andy Stanley has reserved it for himself.

JC Ryle texted me from my Dad’s phone this week:
When an eagle is happy in an iron cage,
when a sheep is happy in the water,
when an owl is happy in the blasé of noonday sun,
when a fish is happy on the dry land –
then, and not until then will I admit
that the unsanctified man could be happy in Heaven.

My birthday was this week. Spent much time thinking about last year’s birthday – Alice on my lap laughing opening my presents and blowing out my candles (picture of that here), the first little signs of her tumor’s recurrence were showing up making it somewhat miserable for me as I tried to soak up all the good and properly ignore the bad I couldn’t do anything about. I think much of eternity, and in a way, yesterday I turned 40 but kinda wish I’d turned 70. I’d look good for a 70yr. old. Anyway, itching to see her again, itching to get on with the business of eternal life. God give me patience to endure to the end.

I’m working on a new page creatively titled “What I’m listening to.” While the title seems to me incredibly pompous, as if anyone would care what I’m listening to, perhaps it is merely a mild expression of narcissism, which should be easily cured by some well-timed criticism or shock over my audio-dalliances. Either way, I only have myself to blame, which I quite naturally refuse to do.

I love soaking in good information, education, and literature. Too much perhaps. Last week as my family and I crawled in the van and I was getting my phone setup to play some golden nugget, a sweet but troubled voice from one of the aptly named oppressed-seats-that-don’t-have-no-business-touching-the-radio said, “Please! Just ten minutes of music, then you can listen to whatever.” And yes, my love for this tortured soul trumped my love of whatever I was going to listen to. We drove forward in utter silence, the joy of the (insert something not blasphemous, if such a thing exists) filling and uniting our souls.

Nevertheless, I stand resolute in my love of good words well spoken, and have decided to keep a bit of a running log of some of the things I’ve found helpful and enjoyable, so that if anyone is as whacked out as I am, perhaps you may enjoy them as well. I think CS Lewis said something like we don’t really experience the full joy of a thing until we share it, so, to return to the narcissist theme (without taking the time to let John Piper sanctify it, though I think he could, to my joy), this is me fulfilling my joy by sharing with you something I love, for your joy.

-joe

(Almost) Too Hot to Handle, and Another Thing Not as Hot as You Might Think.

My family and I spent a very casual and relaxed Christmas dinner with my sister and her family, and somewhere in the mealtime conversation she asked me, “So what are you going to write about next?”

I said something like, “I don’t really know. Something other than suffering, for a change.” Granted, for us it’s been a year that has had a lot of suffering in it, and unlike the inimitable 17th century theologian/writer John Owen who was able to endure the death of ten children and hardly pen a public word about it, I’ve hardly been able to think or write about anything else. It’s probably getting old to hear the same thing over and over. So it’s time for a change. Continue reading “(Almost) Too Hot to Handle, and Another Thing Not as Hot as You Might Think.”

Merry Grown-Up Christmas!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4

Some of my fondest Christmas memories involve lying stretched out beside my siblings in the back of our ’79 Caprice Estate wagon, seats laid down to make a bed, Mom lying across the bench seat, asleep with her head on Dad’s lap while he drove all night through yet another Upper Michigan snowstorm. He promised to wake us up to see the Mackinac Bridge, and if we begged him, he’d drive on the grating in the middle lane so we could pop a door open and stare down at the water hundreds of feet below. Mom never really understood the joy of that gift. Never for a moment did I consider even it a possibility we wouldn’t arrived at Gramma’s safely. There’s not a blizzard in the world Dad couldn’t drive through, so when we hit one that was so bad he pulled off in Marquette to spend the night at the Super8, I still think it was probably more because he wanted to let us swim in the pool. Of course, we didn’t pack swim trunks, and ShopKo in Marquette doesn’t sell them in December, so as I recall we bought boxer shorts, swam in them. Good memories, happy days. Continue reading “Merry Grown-Up Christmas!”

How Alice Entered Wonderland, or What Happens to Kids when They Die?

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:13-15

I wasn’t sure I’d ever get this written, but it really is the only additional thing I wanted to write concerning Alice, so after a few attempts, here goes…

I believe Alice is in the Palace, or if you like, she is truly Alice in Wonderland. What I want to do is attempt to explain why I think she’s there. And in doing so, I want to be an encouragement to the many other parents who have lost little ones. One thing this ordeal has taught us: we are not alone in our sorrow. If I have wondered about Alice’s whereabouts, perhaps others have too. Hopefully this helps, it’s helped me. At Christmastime, we need something to be cheerful about, because there seems to be more tears than smiles in our house this year…
Continue reading “How Alice Entered Wonderland, or What Happens to Kids when They Die?”

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