Coattail Faith: A Prayer for Wednesday

God, I don’t want a coattail faith. Living off the scraps of someone else’s devotion. Give me fresh manna by which I may glorify you, not already cooked bread that has lost its nourishment.

Help me not to settle for mediocrity. May I attempt great things because I expect great things from you.

Jesus as Epistemological Judge

“Confessing Christ — incarnate, crucified, and risen — as the true light and the true life, one cannot accept any other alleged authority as taking priority over this. One cannot regard the revelation given in Jesus as one of a type or as requiring interpretation by means of categories based on other ways of understanding the totality of experience. Jesus is for the believer the source from whom his or her understanding of the totality of experience is drawn and therefore the criterion by which other ways of understanding are judged” Leslie Newbigin, The Open Secret (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 168.

In this way, Jesus stands in transcendent splendor over all people he has made. It is not the Christian who is proud (at least not by virtue of this truth claim, most definitely by some other reason being himself a self-worshiper), but those who claim their own autonomy over the one who created them. The small-mindedness foisted upon Christianity is done so by those too lazy to engage in a real dialogue with it. Perhaps fearing what its truth claims will mean for their own lives, those who spite Christ will find that they forsake the very one who made them and offers them a liberating reality.

BOOK REVIEW: Father Hunger

Father Hunger
Doug Wilson

I just finished Doug Wilson’s book on fathering with a friend of mine. We walked through a chapter each week–with the exception of a couple chapters (more on that below).

Wilson argues that we need to understand the fatherhood of God before we understand our roles as earthly fathers. He writes, “Perhaps our world is as broken as it is because our understanding of fatherhood was shattered first” (2). Further, the anemia we see in our culture today, even among professing Christians, is because of a rampant atheism when it comes to fathering. Sons have rebelled against their Father. As a result, our affection for our Father cools and we are left to our own interpretation of the world–right and wrong.

In light of Scripture and God’s fatherhood, men are primarily called to provide and protect. “Men don’t carry things because they happen to have broad shoulders. They have broad shoulders because God created them to carry things” (10). Pithy statements like this are replete in Father Hunger. Wilson provokes and challenges. Sometimes he provokes, it seems, for the sake of being provocative.

For example, must we really repent for the sins of our father–in an actual sense, not metaphorical, mind you (17)? Should National Geographic really be lumped in with trying to propagate a denial of the Creator (136)? Sure, a bald affirmation of macro-evolution denies the Maker (Rom 1), but is it most helpful to generalize so much? After all, their photo shots are exquisite and unknowingly, at times, exalt the Creator by offering them for us to witness. Is it most helpful to characterize the feminist movement as a bald attack on fatherhood? I think nuance could be helpful here in gaining a hearing. I doubt, after all, that all feminists are seeking to dethrone men because they desire to be on the throne. Could it be that they are reacting against actual despots in their own lives?

For all these question marks in the margin of my copy, there are many more exclamation points. Wilson’s final chapters–“Some Father Mechanics,” ch. 13, particularly–was exceptional. I believe this chapter alone merits the price of the book. It would benefit every church to have their leadership (male and female) read this chapter and answer the questions at the end of the chapter.

2/5 stars.

58

From the website:
It’s possible, you know. More than that, it’s probable. The end of extreme global poverty. 52% of the world’s population once lived in extreme poverty. That number is now 26% — and that percentage was reduced in one generation.

Isaiah 58

1  “Cry aloud; do not hold back;

lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression,

to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet they seek me daily

and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that did righteousness

and did not forsake the judgment of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments;

they delight to draw near to God.

3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

and oppress all your workers.

4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

and to hit with a wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day

will not make your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is such the fast that I choose,

a day for a person to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a reed,

and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast,

and a day acceptable to the LORD?

6  “Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of wickedness,

to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 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.

9 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,

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

13  “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,

from doing your pleasure on my holy day,

and call the Sabbath a delight

and the holy day of the LORD honorable;

if you honor it, not going your own ways,

or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;

14 then you shall take delight in the LORD,

and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;

I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,

for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”