Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

Christians Get Depressed Too, David Murray (Reformation Heritage Books,2010)

I have enjoyed listening to David Murray on his podcast with Tim Challies, The Connected Kingdom.  While I don’t follow regularly, I find myself drawn to Murray’s wisdom and humility in speaking.  I recently ordered this book for our church’s library, excited to get a small taste of his writing.  Christians Get Depressed Too is a very small book that handles a very big touchy subject, depression and anxiety, especially among Christians.  This is an exceptionally helpful, well-balanced book that can be read in a day.  Murray tackles some of the major misconceptions on this topic to an audience of both those whose struggle in this area, as well as loved ones who want to better help and understand.  The reader should walk away with a better introduction and awareness to the complexities of depression and anxiety.  He points out that we cannot simplify it into its common extremes of just a physical cause, spiritual issue, or mental issue.  I found this excerpt enlightening:

As the brain is the most complex organ in our body, it is liable to be the most affected of all our organs by the Fall and the divine curse on our bodies.  And as processing our thoughts is the main activity of our brain, we can expect this area at times to fail and break, through no fault of our own, with subsequent emotional and behavioral problems.  That isn’t to deny that a person is responsible for how he responds to mechanical, chemical, or electrical failures and faults in any part of his body.

In these cases, medication is not merely alleviating symptoms, but addressing the causes of depression—its physical causes.  Treating a depressed person with medication is often no different from giving my eight-year-old daughter one of her many daily injections of insulin for diabetes.  I am not merely alleviating symptoms, but addressing the cause—depleted insulin due to dying or dead cells in her pancreas.  And if she is lethargic, weepy, or irrational due to low sugar levels, I do not ask her what commandments she has broken or what “issues of meaning and relationship” she has in her life.  I pity her, weep for her, and thank God for His gracious provision of medicine for her (p.64-65).

As I said, the book is well-balanced so he does get into spiritual and mental issues as well.  But Murray does a good job of pointing out how many Christians cause great harm to people when insisting that depression is only a sin-problem and ignoring physical causes.  He does this in a gentle, loving tone that I could only aspire to.

Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

So I was having one of those rare moments where I’m all alone driving.  That’s right: cool, thirty-something mom cruisen’ the highway in her minivan with the windows down—in search of a good song. I landed on a ditty by Cage the Elephant, Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.  If you’ve heard it, you know it has a great beat for trying to pretend you’re in any other car than a minivan.  But of course, I’m a housewife theologian so I end up analyzing the song.  Lead singer, Matt Shultz, sings from the perspective of a guy on his way home, approached by a prostitute, then mugged, only to go home and see a preacher on the news arrested for stealing from his church.  When he asks the prostitute and the mugger why they are resorting to their acts, their response is the chorus:

You know there ain’t no rest for the wicked,

Money don’t grow on trees,

We got bills to pay

We got mouths to feed                                                                                                   

Ain’t nothing in this world for free.

Oh no

We can’t slow down,

We can’t hold back

Though you know we wish we could.

You know there ain’t no rest for the wicked,

Until we close our eyes for good.

 After the preacher is arrested, the singer concludes:

But even still I can’t say much

Because I know we’re all the same,

Oh yes we all seek out to satisfy those thrills…

And back to the chorus.

 I certainly agreed that there ain’t no rest for the wicked.  Although, it is such a horrific truth that I didn’t feel comfortable singing it in my “cool mode.”  I’ve already written an article on active rest for the believer, so that may be a good precursor to this one.  I began thinking how everyone wants rest.  What a great promise it is for the Christian to have eternal rest in Christ.  And what a great gift we have in this present world of suffering to be given Sunday: a day of rest from our labors, a taste of our eschatological hope to be fed and clothed by our Savior.  We rest in the efforts of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  I thought about how to witness to the lead singer: anyone who relies on their own efforts is wicked.  He was right in his conclusion about the human condition—total depravity.

 But Shultz was wrong about one thing.  The wicked can never close their eyes for good; therefore they will never have rest.  Rev. 14 explains that the wicked shall “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation.  He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night...” (10-11a). 

 My Spurgee preached about this torment: But what is sin to be in the next state?  We have gone so far, but sin is a thing that cannot stop.  We have seen whereunto it has grown, but whereunto will it grow? For it is not ripe when we die; it has to go on still; it is set going, but it has to unfold itself forever.  The moment we die, the voice of justice cries, “Seal up the fountain of blood; stop the stream of forgiveness; he that is holy, let him be holy still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still.”  And after that, the man goes on growing filthier and filthier still; his lust develops itself, his vice increases; all those evil passions blaze with tenfold more fury, and, amidst the companionship of others like himself, without the restraints of grace, without the preached word, the man becomes worse and worse; and who can tell whereunto his sin may grow?...What I am when death is held before me, that I must be forever…Where death leaves me, judgment finds me.  As I die, so shall I live eternally (Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 1, Thoughts on the Last Battle, p. 283-4).  How scary is that?

 Just as Sunday is a taste of the believer’s heavenly rest in Christ, the unbeliever’s constant restlessness in their own efforts is a taste of their eternal state.  Here is an opportunity for us to share the good news of the gospel to those tired of struggling in their own efforts.  Our own attempts at righteousness and joy always fail.  Out of love for our neighbor, we can’t let them be fooled into thinking one day they can close their eyes for good and that’s it. 

 So there went my “cool moment.”  Am I the only one who kills a cruisen’ buzz?

Posted on Thursday, June 09, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

The Gospel Commission, Michael Horton (Baker Books, 2011)

When Jesus pronounced what we call the Great Commission: All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:18b-19); did his disciples decide that what Christ did and taught might be too creedal or intellectual for their audiences?  Maybe they could focus on their own personal experiences and moral achievements, persuading unbelievers how wonderful Christianity will be for their life and families.  Nope.  They taught it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And they suffered and died for it.  Poor, uneducated Gentiles were converted by this gospel, risking their lives as well.  It certainly wasn’t mere sentimentalism and moral improvement they were dying for.  In their conversions, they already died to their selves, and were living for the reality of the good news. 

When people say that they don’t want to bother with theology, they are saying they don’t care to learn about the One they are supposedly putting their faith in.  So what is your faith?  What do you believe?  Why do you believe it?  Who is Jesus?  That is theology.  When people claim that they don’t need to go to church to worship, they are saying they don’t think they need to observe the things Jesus has commanded.  They have a better idea for how a Christian should worship their creator and savior.  Was the Great Commission just a suggestion?

Here’s another blurb from Horton:

I find it easy to talk about myself.  I can relate my interpretation of “how I got saved,” and who can argue?  It’s my experience.  However, believers witness to facts of history with which all people are obliged to reckon.  Many believers, much less unbelievers, have never heard an intelligent defense of Christian claims.  So we have to learn the story and the doctrines that arise from it.  We have to live in that story, as regular recipients of the ministry of preaching and sacrament.  In other words, we have to become disciples.

And the more that we grow in this knowledge and experience of Christ, the more prepared we are “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” and to “do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3:15).  Those who know what they believe and why they believe it do not need to rely on clichés and memorized formulas.  They do not need to be coaxed or browbeaten into sharing their faith.  It becomes part of everyday relationships and ordinary conversation. 

When Christ is being delivered to us weekly in Word and sacrament, the corporate gathering of the saints becomes the field in which a harvest grows.  We bring home leftovers from this weekly feast and dine on rich morsels each day.  Some pastors print suggested Scripture readings and questions to ponder throughout the week—as takeaway from the last Sunday and in preparation for the next.  Sometimes there are also Scripture passages and questions from the catechism recommended for family instruction throughout the week.  In all of these ways, the regular banquet of the people of God is the gift that keeps on giving each day. (p. 182)

Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

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Have you heard this one: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice?  It sounds like a good adage.  I always find myself training my children in the art of niceness.  It’s, “be nice,” or, “that isn’t very nice!”  Nice is mannerly.  Mannerly is important.  But it’s more important to be kind than nice. (I know, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

Nice is a behavior.  We learn niceness.  It can be very fake.  Haydn might not want to let the little girl at the ball field play with his Batman, but I tell him to be nice and share.  Zaidee may want to tear her sister’s eyes out for instigating.  I tell Solanna that she’s not being very nice to her sister, and Zaidee that she should go for her mouth if she wants true lex talionis justification (just kidding on that last part).  But seriously, my kids are already pretty nice.  They get it.  I do my best parenting when I cut past the nice stuff and get to the real spiritual matter—a kind heart.

For example, “Solee, what does it reveal about your heart that you want to provoke your sister to anger?”  When I take this approach, I am often met with pursed lips and silence—like I just don’t get it.  But she knows I do.  And I know I just made her think about her own spiritual condition.

There’s a difference between niceness and kindness.  A nice person is agreeable, delicate and subtle.  While this is very helpful behavior that is useful to society, these can also be very manipulative traits.  A kind person is benevolent, compassionate, gracious and favorable.  The difference is striking.  Sometimes, my niceness is the very thing of which I need to repent.  Since I do have a “nice” disposition or personality, I often find it to be a struggle in my Christian walk.  I sometimes find myself being agreeable when I don’t really agree; I lack certain boldness for Christ because I want people to feel comfortable; and in my continuous desire to please people I miss the opportunities given to really serve them.  My temperament is nicer than my husband’s.  I know that Christians may judge spiritual growth by our level of niceness.  I find myself judging the well-behaved, nicies as the more spiritually mature.  But this is one way God has used my marriage to Matt to expose my own misconceptions.  As C.S. Lewis put it, “A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might be even more difficult to save” (Mere Christianity, p.215).  Not being predisposed to a nice temperament, my husband is more keenly aware of his dependence on Christ.  And he is also one of the most loving people I know.

But let’s get back to our children.  In a book I’ve recently quoted, Kenda Creasy Dean observes how our teenagers have taken our social cues on niceness to become indifferent, noncommittal clones of one another.  “As a social lubricant, ‘nice’ is a cheap and versatile adjective; it offers a nod without commitment, in religion as in other spheres…American teenagers ‘tend to view religion as a Very Nice Thing’—meaning that religion may be beneficial, even pleasant, but it does not ask much of them or even concern them greatly, and as far as they can tell it wields very little influence in their lives…The Bible has much to say about kindness and compassion but says nothing at all about being nice”(Almost Christian, p.33).

Maybe we need to reexamine the virtues that we are teaching.  Lewis reminded us that God wants to make us new creatures, not just an improvement of our old selves.  As a matter of fact, he puts to death our old self, niceness and all.  The new creation has a spiritual fruit: kindness.  Whereas niceness mainly stems from a love of self, kindness grows out of love for God and neighbor.  It is certainly a more difficult teaching.  But of course, we begin by looking at the One who is the epitome of kind. Jesus Christ wasn’t always nice.  As a matter of fact, he was downright offensive.  But he was kind to the worst of sinners, including me.  He sacrificed his very life to forgive my sins, and give me his kindness.  That’s the message that changes a heart of nice to a heart of kind.  That’s what I want to teach my children.

Meditation: Gal. 5:22

Posted on Sunday, June 05, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is telling the American Church, by Kenda Creasy Dean (Oxford University Press, 2010)

We are so concerned with facilitating a cool atmosphere for the youth at church.  The trend has been to convince our kids that church can be cool and we won’t cramp their style.  We try to accommodate to the shorter attention spans and make the message entertaining.  We have youth groups meet in their own lounging wing, separating them from their un-cool parents & Co.  Is this really helpful to our children?  Not according to the recent National Study of Youth and Religion…

Sociologists consider a young person’s sense of belonging in a religious community to be a more accurate predictor of his or her adult religious involvement than regular church attendance.  Caring congregations help teenagers develop what social scientists call “connectedness,” a developmental asset accrued from participating in the relational matrix of authoritative communities—communities that provide young people with available adults, mutual regard, boundaries, and shared long term objectives.  Highly devoted teenagers readily defend Christianity’s communal aspects.  Aaron, the sixteen-year-old black Protestant we met earlier said bluntly: “Christianity…is not something you just live.  You have to practice.  You can’t live it all by yourself, you need to go to church.”

Congregations are important sources for both interpersonal and spiritual support for highly devoted Christian teenagers.  Peer relationships matter.  Religious teenagers’ closest friends tend to be other religious teenagers (nonreligious teenagers’ closest friends are usually other nonreligious teenagers, suggesting that peers reinforce religious identity in both directions).  Yet equally important are adults who befriend teenagers.  Compared to their peers, young church-attenders are far more likely to have adults in their lives with whom they enjoy talking, and who give them lots of encouragement…Highly devoted Christian teenagers mentioned pastoral friendships with affection.  While most teenagers in the NSYR (81%) told us they have never talked to a pastor or youth pastor about a personal issue or problem, most highly devoted teenagers did so frequently. (p. 72, 73)

They might be intimidating with their funny jeans and texting madness, but our youth need us!  There are plenty of avenues outside of the church that can entertain and keep the kids separated from the adults.  Church is a place where we come together united in Word and sacrament.  If we are united in Christ, why are we dividing ourselves by demographic interests?  People leave churches these days over a lack of youth programs.  Is that biblical? Is it more important for my kids to have a mountain top experience at some Christian concert or Hershey Park trip, or to be faithfully nurtured, discipled, and connected within the whole congregation of Christ’s followers?

Posted on Friday, June 03, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

It’s that time of the year again—graduation season.  This is such a huge rite of passage into the beginning stages of adulthood.  I’ve received several announcements by mail from friends and family who have finished their grade school career; inviting me to the party their parents are throwing for them.  I look at their professional picture attached, and think about myself at that age.  Scary.

What’s even scarier is the startling statistics out there about this age group and their faith.  Some of the latest numbers show anywhere between 70 and 80 percent of so-called Christian teens abandoning their church by their sophomore year in college.  The National Study of Youth and Religion has found that while most teenagers call themselves Christians, they don’t really have any knowledge of the content or history of their faith—nor do they really care.  The researchers have dubbed this dubious spirituality Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.  Here is the sum of their “faith”:

  1.  A god exists who created and orders the world and watches over life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions. 
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God is not involved in my life except when I need God to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die. (Almost Christian, Kenda Creasy Dean, p.14)

The gospel message is mysteriously absent from most of these teenager’s ideas about who they are, who God is, and what their relationship is with Him.  As it turns out, teenagers and twenty-somethings seem to be a big mission field.  There are several important key factors that have led to this great decline in handing down our faith.  Obviously the gospel message itself is not being told and taught to our children.   As I have been reading some different books related to this subject, the one area that I want to focus on in this short article is mentoring. 

Michael Horton always likes to say that we have segregated people by age in the church from the womb to the tomb.  We start with the nursery, and move onto children’s church, youth group, college/single’s groups, groups for divorcees, widows…but how often are we together in church?  When my husband and I were helping out with our youth group, we quickly noticed how cut off they were from many of the adults.  And, as a defense, I recognize how hard it is to build a relationship with a teenager—it can be very intimidating.  Matt and I prepared weekly lessons for Wednesday nights and I hope that they were beneficial.  My oldest daughter is now attending the youth group with a new, young leader that is doing a great job.  She is very excited to be there and eager to learn on a new level.  I’m glad that her new leader is putting the time into the group and that her relationships with the youth at our church are growing.

But even more so, I know that she needs to connect with some older women, and even some of the younger girls.  One of the amazing things about the church is how it brings people together in a new family relationship.  In the covenant community of God’s church, friends are brought together that may not particularly have sought one another out.  Solanna knows how to make friends her own age.  I want her to be a part of the multi-generational, supernatural covenant family.  Hopefully she learns God’s word from her parents, but I also want her to see it reinforced in the conversations and lives of other families in my church.  It’s nice for a young, energetic youth leader to get our kids fired up.  But they also need to be in the context of people who can articulate and model their faith in marriage, tragedies, celebrations, and the everyday ordinary life.  Do our kids have various people to look up to in the faith?  Are you developing relationships with younger people in your church?

Of course, mentoring is a biblical idea.  But our culture has a tendency to turn everything into a program.  I do believe the word mentor is helpful, but it’s not about assigning yourself to someone or visa-versa.  It’s about making an effort to be a friend to all ages.  In these friendships we have something to offer and something to learn.  Remember the influence you have as a woman of God, and pass down what you are learning.  One particular girl from my youth group was abrasive and stubborn to my invitation for lunch and coffee.  In my mind, she wanted nothing to do with me or my efforts towards a relationship.  Something made her show up anyway, and we have had many dates since.  Now she is a young adult and I am privileged to call her my friend.  In my home she has seen the implications of the gospel in my life: both my shining moments and the areas in which I struggle.   My hope is that in passing down my faith while sharing my life, my younger friends will learn some of my lessons sooner.  Having been included in my circle, they've certainly seen my humble stumbles, and most importantly, how God is faithful.  The journey of faith is hard, but real.  It is not always entertaining, but it is exciting.  It is not fabricated; it is authentic.

Passing down our faith should be something that all age groups are interested in.  Whether you have children of your own or not, you still have something to teach.  Let them know that you care and they matter.  The good news is for all to hear, so start sharing your faith with those younger than you as well.  Maybe you already do.  Please leave a comment to share some of your own ideas.

Meditation:  Titus 2: 1-5

Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

I had been thinking a lot lately about gentleness and its association with godliness when I stumbled upon this article by Mark Meynell.  It’s funny how God gives you wisdom in batches.  Meynell supplies a handy amount of Scripture on gentleness, particularly in leadership, and laments that it has become a forgotten virtue.  I briefly commented on how the feminist culture we live in has denounced gentleness as a feminine quality, and now even females abhor it.  And then I thought about one of the gentlest people I know: my brother, Luke. 

Luke is a strong, manly, 32-year-old father of three.  He is a Christian man.  He is also the owner and main trainer of The Clinch Academy, a mixed-martial arts facility.  He’s hard-core-tough.  He’s also the gentlest man you could meet.  There is no ostensible vibe of his trained abilities exuding from his person.  When you talk to Luke you see humility and grace.  If there’s an elderly in the room, my brother will be the one holding their hand and opening their doors.  I grew up with the boy, and have always admired how well Luke handled himself in difficult circumstances.  I would get angry, but Luke was meek.  Sometimes I would get frustrated at his calm patience in handling conflict.

Meekness, or gentleness, is really a spiritual gift that strengthens in maturity.  Our culture may look at meekness as simple or feminine, but its opposite is brash and childish.   Think of a toddler.  One of the first things we have to teach them is the word, “gentle.”  Whether it’s with the new baby or the new puppy, toddlers just want to bang them in the head and pull their hair out.  They just do.  But then we send them mixed messages as they grow.  As our children grow we teach them to be assertive: in sports, conflict, education, and networking.  While assertiveness isn’t necessarily the direct opposite of gentleness, we tend to treat it that way.  We don’t seem to value gentleness beyond sibling brawls.

Yet throughout the Bible gentleness is a virtue, a command, and a blessing.  In his great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaimed, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).    In his commentary, James M. Boice shows how this beatitude is coming right from Ps. 37.  According to this psalm, the meek “are those who trust in the Lord, who delight themselves in the Lord, who commit their way unto the Lord, who rest in the Lord.  It is these who are happy, according to Jesus Christ; and it is these who shall inherit the earth” (The Sermon on the Mount, James Montgomery Boice, p.34).

Provided in Meynell’s article was Matt. 11:29, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soulsGentle in this verse can also be translated as meek.  Jesus Christ is meek.  He has full trust and submission to his Father in heaven.  As Christ bids us to trust in and learn from him, he speaks of his own humility.  Leadership in humility, protection in meekness, trusting in God alone who is both sovereign and sufficient above all else—this is what we are reflecting in our own meekness—the greatest strength of all!

Men and women model meekness by humbly serving in the role God has given them--all the while knowing that it is by grace we are there.  I am thankful that the Lord has been teaching me in the school of meekness, although I’m merely a freshman.    Paul taught us that his weaknesses gave glory to God’s strength.  When we recognize what the Good Lord did on our behalf, we can lead and serve with humility and grace.

With that I salute my brother for pointing me to Christ in his meekness and great gentleness, and I pray with St. Augustine, “God grant what thou commandest and then command what thou wilt.”

Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 3, Sermon VIII, The Dumb Singing

Goldsmiths make exquisite forms from precious metals; they fashion the bracelet and the ring from gold:--God maketh his precious things out of base material; and from the black pebbles of the defiling brooks he hath taken up stones, which he hath set in the golden ring of his immutable love, to make them gems to sparkle on his finger forever.  He hath not selected the best, but apparently the worst of men, to be the monuments of his grace; and when he would have a choir in heaven that should with tongues harmonious sing his praises—a chorus that should forever chant hallelujahs louder than the noise of many waters, and like great thunders, he did not send Mercy down to seek earth’s songsters, and cull from those who have the sweetest voices: he said, “Go, Mercy, and find out the dumb, and touch their lips, and make them sing.  The virgin tongues that never sang my praise before, that have been silent till now, shall break forth in rhapsodies sublime, and they shall lead the song; even angels shall but attend behind, and catch the notes from the lips of those who once were dumb.” (122)

First of all, I no longer feel bad about my run-on sentences.  Maybe I have picked up the habit from reading from a bunch of dead guys.

Secondly, I am once again in awe of my Grace-Giving Creator.  We have fallen so far from grace, since the Fall of man, as to be dead in our trespasses and sins.  Dead!  There was no glimmer of shine that God saw in me—nothing that I could offer him.  I had nothing salvageable within myself.  I needed a new heart—new eyes that could see, new ears that could hear.  I needed to be made alive.  And now I, who once walked according to the course of this world, have been made accepted in the Beloved (Eph.1:3-6, 2:1-3).  Me, the dumb, will be singing his praises before the angels.

Spurgee’s Scripture:

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.  Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing.  For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. (Isaiah 35:5-6)

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

gaggia achilleThis is a picture of my beloved, Ma Lady.  She is a Gaggia Achille lever espresso machine (Insert Tim-the-tool-man grunting).  Every morning I long to see her face and flip on her switch.  I know her intimately: the noise she makes when the pressure is just right for pulling the best shot, how much coffee to pack into the portafilter for the perfect crema, that she extracts a better shot if I give her a half a pump first…I love Ma Lady.  She is more than an espresso machine; she’s an Italian work of art.  She is also a great example of God’s wonderful common grace gifts in our secular world--superb technology on display.  To me, Ma Lady also represents something that people have tried to villainize just because it’s good: coffee.  If you’ve read Solee’s report on the history of coffee, you have a general idea of all the ruckus coffee has been through.

In one of my earlier Reading Reflection’s (Dual Citizens, Jason Stellman), I affirmed with Stellman the physical blessings God gives us in this world.  He comments that so often well-meaning Christians pit the spiritual against the physical, not recognizing the common grace God has given to all for enjoyment (thereby glorifying God).  After all, the Christian’s final resting place is not a matter-less spiritual heaven, but a new heavens and a new earth.  Here is another quote:

The fact of the matter, however, is that the church’s warped version of worldliness makes the enjoyment of life’s legitimate blessings extremely challenging.  Also, the nature of our culture isolates us from one another.  We sit at our computers or in front of our TVs, we drive alone in our cars from the garage at home to the one at work, we interact through Facebook and email, we converse through cell phones and Bluetooths, and even the live events we attend, such as weddings or birthday parties, are usually observed through the screens of our camcorders. (133)

And here is where the real magic of Ma Lady happens.  She is a wonderful morning companion.  But she is also an instrument for hospitality.  As you can well see, her beauty is a conversation piece alone.  What is more, I can invite people to my house for a fabulous cup of mudd.  Whether you are the type who likes sweet, flavored, and creamy; iced, blended and chocolatey; or the purist who wants it black as hell and strong as death (as Tallyrand articulated); I know how to make it with Ma Lady. 

As Christians, we are called to hospitality.  This can be a challenge in our quick-paced culture.  There is less time, more hotels, and more restaurants.  These are all good places and can be well used, but they also make it easier to not invite people into our actual homes--a place where our families have their own culture.  We can invite people into our own space and share that culture in service.  There are not many opportunities to share Christ’s love better than the ones given to you in your own home.  It is also the one place where we are challenged to move passed creating an image and move on to sharing our life.

Do you have a good tool for hospitality?  Maybe it’s a fabulous garden, or a new puppy.  Perhaps you have a special skill that could be shared, or a rocken’ muffin recipe.  Of course there are ways to be hospitable outside of the home as well, but my point is, do you have some hospitality tools in your arsenal?  This is where the worldly can intermingle well with the spiritual.  Maybe it’s time to get cracken’.

Meditation: 1 Pet. 4:9

Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

Instead of my regular Reading Reflection, I have posted my daughter's 6th grade Social Studies Fair Report.  You may be wondering what the history of coffee has to do with the gospel interrupting the ordinary.  Stay tuned for my next article for at least two good reasons!  And drink a cup on my behalf today...