As Soon As…

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:7-11
  • As soon as I have time to settle that point of theology.
  • As soon as my kids are a little older and more self-sufficient.
  • As soon as we get through this next church activity (that is consuming my study and prayer time!)
  • As soon as we get the building paid off.
  • As soon as I can stop working two jobs.
  • As soon as life calms down a little bit.

This is when my human wisdom tells me I can be really fruitful for the Lord. As soon as. Imagine if the apostle Paul had lived in the “as soon as” mentality. As soon as my persecutions are over. As soon as a majority of the Jews are converted. As soon as I get a few more seminarians trained. As soon as all the apostles are on the same page. As soon as I have a really reliable team. As soon as the churches get their act together.

But this is not what we find. Instead, the apostle is in the midst of being troubled on every side, perplexed and persecuted, cast down and carrying about the suffering of Christ. And does this trouble him? No, he thinks that this is the plan. He thinks that God has ordained such a state of affairs specifically so that the heavenly treasure will not be mistaken for its earthly container. The chaotic fragility of our lives is allowing the power of God to be known in all of its excellency.

I find myself, even in mid-life, often confused about these things. Longing for a day when I can be truly fruitful for the Lord because all of life’s circumstances have suddenly fallen into place. Missing the daily joy of seeing God work in the midst of life’s relentless roadblocks despite my tiredness, despite my lack of eloquence, even my lack of ability. Maybe I need a new set of “as soon as” statements.

  • As soon as I stop believing that I am the one who brings fruit.
  • As soon as I start enjoying the journey as much as I long for the destination.
  • As soon as I see the blessings God has given instead of longing for the ones He hasn’t.  
  • As soon as I realize that I will always be an earthen vessel, and the excellency of the power will always belong to God.

The Lord Shut Him In

I don’t like tight spaces. The first time I remember panicking was when, during a sleepover at my buddy’s house, we were playing some sort of hide and seek game. I had found a cubbyhole to hide in and my pal, attempting to help me, blocked the entrance with a bunch of pillows so no one could see me. It was silly, but I panicked. That was a long time ago and my mild claustrophobia is largely under control. But I am a little embarrassed to admit that were I to be given a free ticket for an adventure to outer space, it’s likely that my distaste for being confined to a tiny ship with a limited air supply might over rule the desire for the adventure of a lifetime and an opportunity to see the heavens from a new perspective.

Being shut in is associated with pain and punishment. Children are “grounded” for disobedience. Criminals are locked up. The sick and infirm are quarantined. When liberty is curtailed, we feel it as a punishment. Confinement is associated with a debilitated condition and a lowering of happiness. So when I read the phrase “the Lord shut him in”, it struck me. For the one being shut in was the one man on the earth who had found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in. 

Genesis 7:16

Because God was pleased with Noah, He shut him in. Because Noah was righteous in his generation, God confined him to an ark. For forty days the intensity of the deluge that soaked the world beyond the ark was manifested as an unceasing reverberation within it, until it pressed upon their minds like a wet blanket and they forgot the distinctness of each other’s voices or the cheerfulness of a bird’s song. The day the rains ceased must have been like awakening from a drugged stupor as sounds became crisp and the fog of white noise dissipated. They didn’t know that it would be another 9 months before the ark would give birth to the future of man and animal kind.

Escape. That must have been what it felt like. I can’t imagine feeling any other way. It would be an escape to get off the ark. To walk beneath blue skies stretched like an infinite canopy above. To trace the contours of the earth until they dipped into the horizon, knowing that the their feet could now carry them to such places. To breathe air that hadn’t been filtered through the zoo that lived at arm’s reach. To wander with no purpose but to wander.

How hard it must have been to remember that the Lord shutting them in was gracious, not punitive. How easily their compass would spin and they would desire to escape the ark, forgetting that the ark was their escape from the wrath that had overtaken the whole earth. How tempting to grumble at unusually difficult circumstances instead of being grateful for unusually powerful salvation.

The Lord had shut him in. Shut him in with the seeds of all future life on planet earth. Shut him in with the animal kinds that would once again teem upon the earth and fill the heavens and nurture the ground and declare the glory of God in an infinite number of absurdities and dangers. Shut him in with the ancestors of 8 billion human beings who would one day build cities and cure cancer and write blog posts, win glory and bear shame, kill and be killed, love and be loved. Shut him in with the understanding that the ark was a place of safety when everywhere else was a place of destruction.

I still don’t like tight places. Especially when the air is stale and there’s no telling when the doors will open and release will come. But I do know that there are times when being shut in is redemptive, not punitive. There are times when, like a madman, we long for release from the very vehicle of our hope and salvation. There are days we forget that the reason we cannot run as far as our hearts would carry us is because we have been entrusted with seeds of future hope and glory. We must learn to be content when God shuts us in.

Why I’m not a Libertarian (but I might vote for one)

On the eve of the mid-term elections, I’ve been reading, studying, and thinking more about the nature of politics and mine own personal political leanings, and have come to the conclusion that I am not a libertarian, although I might vote for one. Libertarianism is represented by individuals such as Ron Paul (whom I voted for), Larry Elder, and even Elon Musk.

The Libertarian party believes in the maximum amount of liberty for the individual. This, in turn, lends itself to a belief in small government, unrestricted capitalism, non-interventionism, and boundless civil liberties. I endorse aspects (at minimum) of each of these, so it makes sense that given the choice between a progressive, a gutless conservative, or a libertarian, I might vote for the libertarian. The libertarian is a co-belligerent against the woke nonsense that has captivated political discourse in recent years.

There are a couple of issues which I could highlight that put me on the same side as the Libertarians. One would be the issue of free speech. Progressive ideology has become demonstrably censorious over the last several years, as evidenced by the “set my hair on fire” responses to conservative speakers at public universities, as well as by the Big-tech censorship during the pandemic that essentially shut down dialogue between opposing viewpoints. The second issue would be the bloated bureaucracy through which un-elected government officials dictate how businesses are run. Through irksome regulations (disincentives) and tax credits (incentives) the government “has its thumb” on the scales of the economy, which almost always results in bubbles, crashes, waste, and tax payer dollars.

So while I am sympathetic to those things and, with the balance of the scales being so far in the other direction I would vote for a sincere libertarian over a phony conservative, I have to ask myself whether I would agree with a government that is truly libertarian. In other words, if Libertarians took over the government (through elected means), would I find myself in some way fighting against their goals and aims? And the answer is yes.

The purpose of this post is not to explain what all of those disagreements would be, but to attempt to articulate the difference between my conservatism and libertarianism at a fundamental level. When I voted for Ron Paul in 2008 to be the Republican candidate for the presidency, I was struck that a vote for John McCain and a vote for Barack Obama were not very distinct. In other words, Ron Paul was actually saying something different than the others. That swayed me towards the libertarian viewpoint.

However, the longer I live the more I believe that a proper political system must be built on a better foundation. Libertarians and liberals both have their source in the Enlightenment idea that the liberty of the individual is a universal right that can be known through human Reason. If I’ve got that historical reality and definition correct, then I have (at least) 3 big problems with Libertarianism.

Individuals Without Natural Affection

The first issue I have is the focus on the individual. Societies are not only composed of individuals, but also groups, which have traditionally grown out of the natural affection between family and then clans. While individuals should also have rights, a society that ignores the reality of social constructs that lie between the level of the individual and the State are bound to wind up where America has wound up, with a massive government burrowing itself into debt through a commitment to caring for individuals from the cradle to the grave.

The issue of social structures larger than the individual is inescapable, as we can see from our current divided States of America. People will organize themselves into groups, even if those groups are not organized around the traditional formula of family and religion/church. The problem is that the groups we see organized in America today are largely grievance groups, bound together by their common victimization, even if that victimization is a perception rather than a reality. So the structures will always exist, but in a society that has intentionally destroyed social structures based on natural affection, such as the family and the church, the groups that materialize will be distorted, bound together by things like hate (ethnic supremacy groups) or by envy (victimization groups).

One way this works out is that the Libertarian doesn’t care what people do in their bedroom and who marries whom, as long as there is consent. If a married couple wants to divorce, then that is between them. But as a conservative I believe that marriage is a social institution that is recognized by the State for the good of society, and thus society has a vested interest in marriage for the procreation of children who will become good citizens and carry on the values of their family, clan, and nation. Downstream of all of this are the issues of abortion, school nurses treating children without the consent of parents, gay marriage, etc…

Freedom Without Responsibility

The second reason I reject the foundation of Libertarianism is because of the focus on freedom to the exemption of responsibility. The freedom of the individual is enshrined in the highest temple without a word to the concept of duty. America is a Republic requiring certain civic responsibilities. These include paying taxes, honoring the laws of the land, and aiding in times of national crisis. To bestow the rights of citizenship without requiring the responsibilities of citizenship is a prescription for disaster.

Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people.

George Washington

Abundant quotations from founding fathers of our nation like the one above exist because the idea of a Republic continuing without a willingness on the part of the people to uphold that Republic made no sense to these men. And if we have responsibility to our nation, it holds that there will be times when in national interest, we have to pursue policies at the level of nations where we must impose restrictions on certain economic activities or intervene in the affairs of others.

A specific example of this would be the war in Ukraine. While there have been many military interventions in my lifetime to which I was opposed, I believe there is a moral obligation to assist Ukraine because we were the ones who convinced them to give up their nuclear weapons. We did this because disarmament was in our national interest, which it really was.

Reason Without Tradition

Finally, if my premise that Libertarianism is founded on Enlightenment principles is true, the the whole things comes down to the idea that the rights of the individual can be found through Reason. That is, that if only mankind could cast off the shackles of tradition, we could see the universal rights of man descended from the heavens like a New Jerusalem, suspended upon nothing but the I-beams of human goodness fastened with the bolts of brotherhood to the…darn it I ran out of metaphors. But you get the idea. Why in the world do we think that human Reason will lead all men to the same conclusion, when it manifestly does not? Because we have been brainwashed into thinking that Enlightenment philosophy is a sound universal truth.

Several wars and attempts at nation building should persuade us that this is simply not the case. You can put three people in a room together and human reason will not bring them to the same conclusion about any number of issues. Societies that have long traditions outside of Western philosophy are going to approach everything from a different angle, and the idea that we can export liberal democracy around the world and it is going to be received with open arms is completely false. Right now, the most obvious example of this is China, where a powerful global economy is run by a increasingly totalitarian government.


A system of government should reflect reflect ontological realities of the human condition and the way that societies begin, develop, and maintain themselves over time. While Libertarians may side with Conservatives against the current crop of Progressives on many issues today, I don’t think they have a philosophical foundation that can sustain a society over the long haul. Conservatism believes in conserving, and one thing worth conserving is our nation.

So go vote kids, and if there isn’t a true conservative on the ticket, vote for a Libertarian.


How to Establish a Christian Household, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I gave a basic definition of a household and what makes it distinctly Christian. With this foundation, we’re well on our way to figuring out the nuts and bolts of establishing a Christian household. But first, let me give you a basic example/test of whether or not you have a household at all.

Depending on your own circumstances you may have to use your imagination for this, but the basic question is, “Do your children need your permission to date/court/engage in a romantic relationship?” If you have a true household, the issue of who else gets brought into it is significant. If a father doesn’t actually give his daughter in marriage, then it indicates that his daughter in no way belongs to his household. If it’s purely ceremonial, then something is off.

2 Paths to Christian Households

The first, and easier, path to having a Christian household is to establish it that way from the start. Husband and wife are both on the same page regarding the rule of Christ in the home and children are brought up to know the Way. Once the foundation is laid, the house can be built up pretty quickly with the right structure to it. And while this path will not be devoid of any obstacles, at least the expectations are clear from the start.

The second, and harder, path to having a Christian household is to realize the necessity of doing so halfway down a different road, which means turning around, undoing a lot of stuff, and getting to where you should have been all along. But don’t let that stop you. If you are ten years into a marriage and starting to realize that what you really have is a few sinners living under the same roof and chasing their own agenda, then you should start where you are at.

If you are on this second path, you will have to exercise more patience. You will exasperate your children if, after you have been discipling them to be good little heathens for the past 10 years, you suddenly demand them to act like good little Christians. You may have to gauge the speed at which you move based on how much whiplash you are causing. But what will help the whole enterprise is if you, without saying a word, become more present for your family. If your kids notice that you are less interested in yourself and more interested in how they are doing, or if your wife begins to notice that her husband is getting easier to live with, then the whole enterprise has a pretty decent shot of success.


Since Christian households have a structure, an easy place to influence your household to become Christian is by intentionally, prayerfully, humbly, and cheerfully accepting the role that you are meant to play. This means going back to the basic designations of husband, wife, father, and children and following the household constitution.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

Ephesians 5:22-6:4

A Christian wife is commanded to submit to her husband. A Christian husband is commanded to love his wife in the same way that Christ loves the Church. Christian children are commanded to obey their parents. And a Christian father is commanded to raise his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

No personality test is needed. No compatibility surveys required. These are basic commands and fundamental roles meant to establish structure in the home. In a home where the obedience of children is not required, truth and virtue are not communicated from generation to generation. In a home where a wife does not submit to her husband, the Lordship of Christ is not evident. In a household where a husband/father treats his family as a means to achieving his own pleasures, the spirit of Christ is absent.

Depending on how many household members are believers, at minimum you – dear reader – can do your part. I doubt anyone has gotten past reading the Ephesians passage quoted at length above if they are not a believer, which means you can adopt your God ordained role in your household even if others do not. A husband is to love his wife whether or not his wife is lovely or loveable, and a wife is to submit to her husband (insofar as it does not conflict with her obedience to Christ) whether he is worthy of such obedience or not. If you happen to be a minor in your household and you have unbelieving parents, honoring them instead of defying them is in your job description.

In other words, start with yourself.

Practical Steps to Take

Start by memorizing and praying about the role you have to play in your household. Depending on the age of your children, it might be appropriate to read a key passage regarding the Christian household once a week and even having a family project to memorize those passages.

Communicate your desire to live as a Christian within your household to your household. While this might seem like setting yourself up for failure, it’s better to be clear about what you are doing. If you are one of those who are coming around to establishing a Christian household late, it is wise and loving to tell the other members of your household what you are doing. Such a conversation from a husband might look like the below:

I want to let all of you know that lately I have been thinking more about what it means to be a husband and father, and that I realize I haven't been doing a good job of it. So I want to apologize to you all for that and ask for your forgiveness. I am beginning to understand that I will have to give an answer to God one day regarding the kind of husband and father I have been. I hope you will see a difference in me over the coming months and that means that there may be some changes in how our family functions. I would appreciate your support and prayers and please feel free to talk to me about these changes. 

The basic idea is to know, establish, and communicate what your household is all about. Or at minimum, what you perceive your role in your household to be. Establish the standard, and then learn to love the standard.


My Wife’s Apple Pie

A couple of weeks ago my wife made an apple pie for her dad’s birthday (at his request). It ended up being just the best apple pie you can imagine. Perfectly seasoned apple slices (a blend of Honeycrisp and Yellow Golden Delicious) had been softened to a perfect crunch without becoming soggy. The blind baked crust cut through clean with a knife and provided the perfect foundation for transportation to the mouth. The top, instead of a second layer of pie crust, had been crowned with some kind of crumb concoction to coronate this culinary delight.

Now imagine that as I spread word of my wife’s amazing, superlative, and exceptional apple pie that a well meaning friend pulled me aside and began to rebuke me for my pie idolatry. Clearly, I am informed, my love for the pie has exceeded my love for my wife. All I talk about is her pie and not she herself. My love for her should be pure: free from any attachments to such incarnate delights as pie. I am exhorted to repent of my idolatry for pie and focus my affections on the immortal soul of my wife.

“My dear gnostic brother, ” I reply. “How strange it is that you think I can love my wife without loving what comes from her hands. Were she not my wife, I would still think this a delicious pie, but my love for her only increases my love for her pie. And while it is true that I have spoken on many occasions about her pie while I have not waxed very poetic about her immortal soul in times past, let me assure you that it is only because I am a man and find that my words fail when it comes to her immortal soul but flow when it comes to her cooking. There is no idolatry here, but thank you for your concern.”

Now let me hasten to add that human beings are strange creatures and I suppose that there might be some husband out there who truly loves his wife’s cooking more than he loves his wife. The accusation is not an impossible one, but it does seem to be an unlikely one. I meet very few husbands who love their wive’s cooking who do not also love their wives. It is a rare husband who heaps public praise on his wife’s cooking or parenting or talents whilst despising that same woman. But I grant that such a crooked creature could exist.

Obviously, I speak in parables. Idolatry is a real and common thing with fallen man. There are idols in our hearts and idols in our hands (for covetousness is idolatry). Nevertheless, we need not accuse everyone of idolatry when they speak of the work of Christ’s hands as something to be loved and cherished, even if they speak more words concerning the created than the Creator. We are embodied creatures and we should not be surprised to find that words concerning the created come more easily than words concerning their Creator.

I am particularly concerned when well meaning Christians talk about the idolatry of family and children and nation when they never seem to talk about the idolatry of singleness and barrenness and globalism. Love for family and nation is at least a natural love. It is a commanded love. It is a Christian love, even if at times it becomes a disordered love.

We should be careful not to accuse a man of idolatry for loving his family. We should certainly not use the expression that a man “loves his family too much.” Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, a goal to which we must all aspire as an artist aspires to perfection. Paul never had to admonish men to love less. As a pastor, I have yet to meet a husband who loves his wife too much or a father who loves his children too much. Most of the men that I meet are too weak in their love. Too weak to love enough to lead. Too weak to love enough to speak truth. Too weak to love enough to discipline. To make hard choices. To risk the peace of our homes for the souls of those in our care. But to love too much? I don’t think so.

We should also be careful about accusing a woman of idolizing marriage or children. Hannah cried in anguish over her barrenness and the Lord rewarded her with a son who would guide the nation in the ways of God and bring about a great revival. Children are a blessing and it is good to seek after the blessings of God. And while there are women who do make an idol out of marriage and/or children, we really ought to be preaching against the enemy at the gate and not the enemy on the other side of the world. We live in a culture that tells women that their highest calling is in a STEM field and we provide free pills and abortions to make sure nothing as troublesome as a baby thwarts her efforts to become a second rate man. So by all means, write and preach about the idolatry of marriage as long as you spend about 10 times the amount of time writing and preaching against barrenness as the path to personal fulfillment. When was the last time your preacher (or you, if you are a preacher) exhorted the ladies at your church to be keepers at home? Do that about 100X and then lecture the moms about idolizing their role as moms.

This same restraint should be used before we judge those who love their country as being idolatrous. What is a country besides an extended clan? And why should we not perceive our country as a work of God’s hands? Does He not direct the course of nations and empires as much as He directs the course of an individual? I fully expect my Japanese friends to love Japan and work towards her good and seek to improve her failures. Can we not ask this of Americans?

Perhaps the giant beam in the eye of the guy who dislikes Trump is causing him to focus too much on the splinter in the eye of the guy who loves Trump. I don’t think Evangelical leaders need to apologize to the world because the people who pay their salaries like to fly American flags, want to secure the border, and want public schools to start educating instead of indoctrinating. Some of them even wear MAGA hats. (Not me: red diminishes the natural poignancy of my brown eyes).

Granted, out of the two topics – loving family and loving nation – the loving nation one seems to go wrong quicker and in weirder directions. I grant that. But if you are going to preach against a disordered love of nation, can you not also preach against the lack of love for your nation? Would it help you to swallow this pill if you used the word “community” instead of “nation”? If you are going to write against people who like to fly the flag a little too high, can you not also write about people who refuse to fly the flag at all? Or give grace to those who are passionate when that flag – for which some of them fought – is burned or perhaps takes a back seat to the flag of sexual perversion?

Before we get overly spiritual towards those who love being married and love having children and love being American (or Japanese or Russian, whichever might apply), let’s remember that marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled, and that children are a blessing from the Lord, and blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. It is good to eat hamburgers and hot dogs and wave flags on the 4th of July, even if it is as American as my wife’s apple pie.

The Christian is to resist the spirit of the world. But when we say this, we must understand that the world-spirit does not always take the same form. So the Christian must resist the spirit of the world in the form it takes in his own generation. If he does not do this, he is not resisting the spirit of the world at all.

Francis Schaeffer, the God Who is There

Facing Down Inflation

My reading this year has included some healthy doses on economics from the likes of Adam Smith, George Gilder, Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, and David Bahnsen. Inflation simply means that consumers are paying more dollars for the same goods and services, leaving many families gasping for financial air. It is certainly reasonable for folks to be concerned about inflation, but believers are not to live in fear. Out of the following observations written to help the Average Joe have confidence as he faces an inflationary environment, only 1 out of 3 comes from the world of economics. The first two, which are more certain and immutable, come from the pages of Scripture. So here are 3 things that will help you face down inflation with confidence.

God is Still Your Heavenly Father

It’s not as though God could provide for you when gas was under $2 a gallon but can’t when it rises about that mark. God does not suddenly throw up His hands in despair when faced with providing for His children in an inflationary period. Some of the greatest miracles in the Bible were miracles of provision. The Israelites were wandering around in the wilderness and it was perfectly human to think, “Sure, God could bless our crops when we actually had them, but can God provide food when there isn’t any?” Yes He can. Paul tells us that the whole Jewish sojourn is filled with examples that were written for us.

The Son of God became a man during a time when many were poor and sick and hungry, and He taught them to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Sometimes He was the direct agent of miraculous provision, feeding thousands with just a boy’s sack lunch. Are our circumstances worse than the circumstances faced by the Jews in that age? Probably not, but even if they were we can and should ask for God to provide our daily bread. Our Father is a good Father and will not give His children stones when they ask Him for bread. We do not want to be guilty of not having simply because we are not asking.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread

Psalm 37:25

Wisdom Works Even During Inflationary Periods

Of course, God commits Himself to providing for our needs, not our wants. The average poor person in the USA is better off than many rich people of other places or eras. We are accustomed to an easy life (I type as I hide from the heat in my air conditioned office). Having God as our heavenly Father is no more reason to live life as profligates than having a rich earthly father is a reason to live as profligates. Scripture is full of wonderfully helpful counsel regarding matters of material possession.

Two significant attitudes are highlighted in Scripture that we ought to keep in mind. The first is the concept of stewardship, whereby I recognize that everything I possess actually belongs to God. I am to steward my possessions for good in this world. This attitude keeps me responsible and accountable for my money. The second significant counsel the Scriptures recommend is one of generosity. There are those who give and yet have, and there are those who grasp and have not. There are those who steal from the labors of others while there are those who labor that they might have to give to others. The spirit of generosity forces me to always think of myself as a producer and a giver, which changes how I approach financial difficulties.

Beyond attitudes, there are certain types of financial habits that are recommended by Scripture. For example, debt is discouraged while savings are encouraged. (Proverbs 22:7 vs Proverbs 10:5). Slothfulness is discouraged while hard work is encouraged. (Proverbs 6:16 vs Proverbs 14:23). The virtuous woman is extolled for her wisdom, labor, thrift, and fruitfulness.

Inflation is a stress test of your financial attitudes and acumen. Do you demand a certain standard of living and use debt to achieve it? Do you refuse to make personal sacrifices and so rob the Church of your generosity? Is your life filled with anxiety because you don’t know how much money you have or where it is going?

If this is the case, maybe you need a financial organization like Crown to help you grow in this area. Or you can become a cage stage Dave Ramsey acolyte for a year or two. The point is that you should not blame inflation for financial woes that are caused by mismanaging your finances.

Not All Bad News

So this last point is a bit of wisdom garnered from my study of economics. I think we all need to be careful about making “Inflation” the terrifying boogeyman of our nightmares. It’s true that your grandpa used to get a cup of coffee for a dime, but he’ll turn right around and tell you that his first job only payed $1.50 an hour. Wages rise with prices. Inflation is a feature (although some argue an unnecessary feature) of modern economics. And while inflation is currently outpacing wage growth, there are still plenty of opportunities for the resourceful, the industrious, the skilled, and the lucky to increase their material wealth in times of inflation.

I would also caution against the trend of dog-piling on the President, despite my aversion to all Biden policies. The first reason is because if the expansion of the money supply is the sole reason for inflation, then it seems to me that we should have started this process years ago under President Trump, who loved to send out checks. In recent times, the difference between a conservative and a liberal has just been the speed at which each would like to take us over the fiscal cliff. There’s no doubt that the profligate habits of Washington have hurt our economy, but that extends to both political parties. So I find it a bit hypocritical.

The second reason is a little more pragmatic. If inflation gets hung on Biden alone, then Biden could claim an economic turnaround before the 2024 presidential election when production increases and reduces the high rate of inflation. You note that I’m allowing for the possibility that inflation is transitory. Yeah, yeah, I know that was Biden’s line, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think it’s possible that inflation will remain high on certain types of items where shortages are projected for several years while others products will normalize as production capacities increase. There, I have thrown my prognostication into the arena where I shall preen if proved right and forget I ever wrote this paragraph if I’m wrong.

Lastly, it’s good to remember that we are now paying for those checks that came in the mail just a few years ago. For a simple (which I needed) explanation of inflation, check out David Bahnsen’s Responses to Doug Wilson’s questions.


So yes, gas prices stink and your grocery bill is going up. This is a challenge to face, not a monster to blame. And while we are facing down inflation, we ought to take some time to face our own personal financial attitudes and the financial repercussions of our political leaders. I am wholly sympathetic to families who are struggling financially, but I am not in despair. We should face inflation with the same hope, the same endurance, and the same acumen with which we face all of life’s trials.


Rejoicing Over Roe, with an Asterisk

Christians everywhere should unequivocally rejoice over the end of Roe. Since Roe, over 60 million babies have been killed in the womb. In the most recent Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court has affirmed that there is no constitutional right to an abortion (which makes sense, because there isn’t.) This is cause for rejoicing and gratitude to the Lord, to the many who have been fighting this battle for decades, to the justices who rightly interpreted the constitution, to the president who elected three of said justices, and to the States that have already begun working to write laws that respect the life of the unborn.

Let me stress again that it is not only ok, but it is good, fitting, appropriate, and pleasing to the Lord for believers to rejoice at this time. God has been kinder to us than our sins deserve, and should the particular kindness bestowed upon us by this ruling be met with subdued golf claps (at best) whilsts conscientiously making sure we aren’t disturbing any secular sacrifices taking place in the public square, it would be unfitting. Let us not tempt the rocks and stones to cry out. Christians have spent the last couple of decades worrying about how we come across to the world when the cross has crucified the world to us and vice versa. If the choice is between offending those who reject God and giving God the glory that is His due, I will choose to give glory to God any day of the week and twice on Sundays. If there is wailing in Ashdod because Dagon has been dismembered, it is not my job to cluck consolingly. So, PRAISE BE TO GOD FOR THE END OF ROE, Amen and Amen.

The Asterisk on this is not to diminish the rejoicing that Roe has ended, but to make the point that we sometimes think we are looking at the fountainhead when we are, in fact, several miles downstream. Abortion and its legality is a downstream issue and we would do well to take this reprieve to repair the foundations, lest they be destroyed.

Legislation/Political Foundation

As others have much more eloquently described, Roe v. Wade was simply a terrible legal decision. The United States of America is a constitutional Republic with separation of powers. When the judicial branch (of which the Supreme Court is the highest authority in the land) takes upon itself the role of creating constitutional rights ex nihilo, they have exceeded their rightful authority. It is frustrating to watch the left lose their mind over the recent ruling without the tiniest acknowledgment that if you want to legalize abortion, the path forward is via legislation in which the will of the people is expressed through voting, NOT through an activist court that gives you what you want.

The conservative justices are trying to save the judicial branch from ruin, and praise the Lord for them. A return to the basics of a constitutional Republic would, in my estimation, require two important additional corrections. First, the expansion of the Executive branch via Executive Order would need to be curtailed. George W Bush is the first president in my lifetime to abuse this authority, and every subsequent president has multiplied his error by leaps and bounds. Second, the bureaucratic state by which unelected officials determine what kind of cars we can drive, what kind of food we can eat, how tall the ceilings in our buildings need to be, and whether or not your kids can set up a lemonade stand without a permit, must be relegated into oblivion. All this would require is that no government department could enforce any of its regulations until all of its regulations had been evaluated and updated to remove outdated criteria. That should keep them busy for a few decades.

This return to a constitutional Republic requires an informed and educated public, which means that education will be at the center of the battle for the foreseeable future. Personally, I have abandoned any faith in the government schools and my advice to all Christian parents (just advice, I’m not speaking ex cathedra) is to remove your children from these institutions immediately.

Culture/Worship Foundation

The second aspect of this has to do with culture and worship. Now that the issue of abortion has been returned to the states, abortions will become easier or harder to obtain based on the population make up of that state. And so here is a big asterisk: overturning Roe does the pro-life movement no good if all 50 states eventually pass legislation to legalize abortion, which is what will happen if the culture goes that way, because politics is downstream of culture.

What kind of culture demands the right to kill their unborn children? What kind of culture cannot discern the logical incoherence of weeping with those who have miscarriages while celebrating those who terminate their pregnancies? What kind of culture can categorize abortion as “women’s health” when roughly 30 million women have been killed before they had a chance to stand on their own two feet? A culture that long ago exchanged the Creator for the created.

If politics is downstream of culture, then culture is downstream of worship. We become like the gods we make (Psalm 115:7-8). All people are worshipers. You, dear reader, are a worshiper. When man fell in the garden he did not cease to love, fear, or worship. He simply began loving, fearing, and worshiping the wrong thing in the wrong way. Those who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, worship the Living God. The God who gives life and tells us to choose life. In the culture of life, marriage matters, sex is a gift not to be abused, men joyfully accept the responsibility of fatherhood, motherhood is a high calling, and children are a treasure from the Lord.

So what hope is there for a culture like ours? There is the hope of the gospel, where the blood guilt of 63 million lives can be washed away by the blood of God’s perfect Lamb. What revival can there be a for a national conscience seared by unbridled pornographic consumption and mindless sexual encounters? There is the washing of water by the Word and the transformation of a renewed mind. What future can there be for those who come late to labor in the Master’s Vineyard after idling away their day in vain and selfish pursuits? There is the merciful kindness of the Master Himself.

God has graciously given us a reprieve from our great national shame. We must use this reprieve to preach a crucified, risen Savior who came to give us life, and life more abundant. Ours is the better gospel, the better story, the better way, and it’s all because ours is the better God.

Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.

Psalm 86:8

How American Workers are Redeeming Their Employers from Rigor Mortis

In the last two weeks I have been clubbed into a senseless stupor by the lifeless policies and procedures of 2 large American companies, only to be revived by acts of genuine and personal helpfulness of the employees of those companies. Here are my stories.

Story 1 – Lowes

I ordered some cabinetry online for pickup at my local Lowes. Typically I would just go to the store and pick them up, but since not every piece was in stock at any one location it was easier to select product online based on availability and schedule a pickup. The Ozark location sent me an email within a couple of hours telling me that their portion was ready for pickup, and since I had to go to a job site near the Springfield location I hoped that order would be ready soon as well. After my job site visit I pulled into the Springfield Lowes and asked if their portion of the order happened to be ready, where I was informed that if I hadn’t received a text or email they couldn’t tell me anything.

“Could I just go back there and see if they are pulling my order?” I asked.

“Well, it looks like they’re pulling the order, so maybe just come back in thirty minutes.” The girl said in a tone that would not inspire a priest to pray.

I was about to give in to her suggestion, and then I thought to myself, “I’m here, and they’re pulling my order, so why don’t I just go find them?” Which I proceeded to do. After wandering around a bit I found 2 carts with what looked like my stuff sitting in the back by lumber, and everything was there. All 10 pieces were on carts ready to go. My name was on them. Hurrah! But I didn’t know what exactly to do with them at this point. Drag them up to the Customer Service area and say, “Hey, here they are. Can I go now?” Seemed a little pushy.

There were a couple younger guys back there in lumber, so I asked them if I could take my order.

“We can’t let you have the order until customer service releases it.”

“How do I get customer service to release it?”

“The person who pulled the order has to tell them it’s been pulled.”

“Where’s that guy and how do I get him to tell customer service it’s pulled?”

To make a long story short, no one had ever told the guy who pulled the order how to close out the order on his handheld electric device, so he just pulled my order and walked away. Maybe he finished hours before. Maybe my stuff would sit there until the next day when someone stubbed their toe on it. Hard to say. So there was my stuff, and I had paid for it, but I wasn’t allowed to take it.

The two young guys looked at me and I looked at them. “What should we do?” I asked. They looked at each other and back at me.

It was a standoff.

But they were up to the task. What they didn’t have in authority or experience they made up in energy and common sense. They looked up every person who was logged in on “active duty” until they finally found someone who answered the phone and knew how to release my order. They told that person to meet us at the front desk. Then those two guys went out to my trailer with me and loaded it. They weren’t managers, assistant managers, or for all I know well paid. But instead of shrugging their shoulders and telling me to go back to customer service, they just worked to fix the situation. My faith in the next generation received a stiff shot of the old back straightener. Perhaps we will survive another generation.

Story 2 – Home Depot

A couple of weeks ago I went to Home Depot and found a fridge I liked. The man working at the appliance desk told me that I was better off to order it online and have it shipped to me as it was a new product and their system hadn’t really adjusted to it yet. So I did that, and in my hurry to place the order I simply hit ok when the “We didn’t find your address, but we found this address that is a close match” dialog box popped up. I confirmed the right street address so just assumed their system wanted me to type out “Street” instead of St or something like that. What I failed to notice is that it had changed the zip code on the delivery address.

Fast forward two weeks to a couple days before the fridge was scheduled to be delivered and I received a call from the delivery company. They told me they could not find a matching street address with the zip code that was on it but had found a matching address at a different zip code, which happened to be the correct one. I laughed and confirmed my zip code (how young and naive I was! Oh to return to the flower of you when hope bloomed that such ordinary miscommunications and errors could be solved with two people talking), only to be told that I would need to get Home Depot to change the zip code in their system. They were very nice but explained that their contract with HD was very specific and they would get in trouble if they delivered to a different zip code. Totally understandable…no problem…how hard can it be to get a zip code changed?

Rather than spend time on the phone, I decided to go to the store. You see, I had learned from my Lowes experience that it takes a person to actually accomplish anything. I spoke with Edwin at appliances and he was very helpful, assured me that he would alert the online order people and they would get the zip code changed that day. I even received a call a few minutes later from the shipping folks (again, very friendly and helpful people) who told me that Edwin had called them and told them to deliver it and that he had sent the change request to the online order people. Problem solved and it wasn’t even 8AM yet.

4PM hits and I get a call from the delivery people telling me that the online order folks had DENIED the zip code change request. There was nothing they could do unless I could call and get someone to change it and that even though the delivery date was a Saturday, she would come in and check to see if the order had been updated and if it had she would still deliver the fridge.

After about 4 unsuccessful attempts with the the “dial 1 for this or 2 for that” system, I hit enough buttons and screamed into the phone enough times to get a human being on the line. A really nice lady whose name started with an R. Was it Rachel? I don’t know, but she was great. At this point in the day I was underneath a house in the crawl space re-routing the washing machine drain pipe, so I had her on speaker and had to kind of yell as my body was in a lot of awkward and painful positions (there was about a 22″ clearance down there and I’m not quite as svelte as I used to be). I explained the whole situation…right address but wrong street code…two blocks away….fridge was 15 minutes away in a warehouse and shipper WANTED to deliver it to me…can we find a reasonable conclusion to this ordeal?

We spent 45 minutes together on the phone. She ended up being a virtual dinner guest for a few minutes with our family. After multiple times on hold, the bubbly optimism which characterized the beginning of our customer service relationship had given way to a soft anxiety. The joy was gone like a romance that bloomed in May but died in June. You see, not only had the request to change the zip code been DENIED by her supervisor, but she had actually been reprimanded for trying to change the zip code herself. How dare a customer service representative try to HELP THE CUSTOMER!!

“So what am I supposed to do?” I asked.

“You’ll have to cancel the order and place a new one,” was her muted response. I could practically hear the HD Hoover in the background as it sucked out yet another piece of her soul.

So I went and bought the fridge at Lowes, put it in my trailer, and hauled it home.


So here’s my very amateur take on the state of large corporations in America. Technology is great. I love when my life is simplified and my time is saved through technology. Processes are great. We all need processes to keep profits where they need to be because we all need to make money. But technology and processes are not your greatest resource. Human beings are your greatest resource. You company will boom or bust based on your people. Your people are keeping your customers coming back. Stop trying to suck the soul out of your employees.


Maintaining Marital Fidelity: The Danger of Gaps

It was pretty early on in our marriage-before kids anyway-when we got into a bit of a kerfuffle at church. There’s something extra terrible about getting into a kerfuffle at church, especially when you’re the pastor and your job is to stand up and declare the eternal glories of Christ. I’m sure it was hard for my wife as she played the piano accompaniment to hymns celebrating our good and gracious God. So there I was, about to ascend the sacred desk and preach, but on my mind was the space between my wife and I. I told myself that we could discuss the conflict after church, but I wasn’t buying it. So I asked the church to have a minute or two of silent prayer before someone came up and led us in a congregational prayer, and I grabbed my wife’s hand and we went to the fellowship hall to take care of the gap. I’m neither the smartest nor the most sanctified husband I know, but I’m thankful for this episode early in our marriage because it taught me the blessing of not allowing a gap between us.

Gaps can come in a variety of ways, but the commonality between all of them is that there is a sense of distance between husband and wife. Misaligned goals can cause a gap. Hurt feelings can cause a gap. Sexual abstinence can cause a gap. Distance is distance, and distance is dangerous. When God created mankind and joined together man and woman in the covenant of marriage, a central aspect of that union is that the husband will cleave to his wife and they will be one flesh. No gap. No space. No distance.

My understanding is that to cleave has something to do with being bonded tightly together, and the result of this is that two become one. The lines of distinction between individuals blurs in the eye of the beholders. The “one flesh” aspect of marriage is the result of cleaving. Husbands and wives are not room-mates with benefits. They are joined in such a way that in their own minds and in the minds of others, it is difficult to think of one without thinking of both.

In my personal as well as pastoral experience, gaps are usually small conflicts, hurts, miscommunications, etc… that are simply not dealt with immediately or well. These types of things are bound to happen as sinners live in proximity to one another, even though not all gaps start as a result of a particular sin.

When we have gaps, things get in the gaps. Except the “things” that get in the gaps are usually other people. Infidelity often starts with gaps. Maybe some well meaning person of the opposite sex notices the gap and sympathizes and just wants to help you, and then the gap between husband and wife widens while the gap between sympathetic listener and married man/woman shrinks. Or maybe the seductive adulteress of Proverbs probes and quickly identifies the gap. Or it could be an overtly sexual man looking for a conquest and exploits the gap.

Or maybe the thing that gets into the gap really is a thing, like pornography. Or a different thing, like online gambling. These aren’t bizarre and unlikely scenarios; these are things that I have come across during my brief sojourn. Married folks without any gaps don’t have a lot of time for such things, because they are too busy keeping out the gaps.

So as a man who is both a pastor and a businessman, my encouragement to you is to address the gaps between you and your spouse immediately. Don’t leave the house with distance between you. Don’t go to work until it has been addressed. Don’t preach, teach, or counsel until you close the distance. You may have to delay the full-blown conversation (in my opening example, we were not able to work through all of the conflict in that brief time before I had to preach), but you can assure one another of your love, your commitment, and your plan to work through the whole thing at the soonest reasonable opportunity. Distance is not your friend. Gaps are the enemy.


What I Want for my Daughters to Want

I didn’t expect to be a girl dad right out of the gate. My wife and I both presumed our first child would be a boy, and maybe our second and third, and then we’d get around to having a girl. We obviously know nothing. I love being a father to my girls, and as a father I have certain hopes and desires for them that seem counter cultural these days.

What I want for my daughters is to want to be mothers. I don’t just want them to want to have a kid or two at some point, but I want them to see motherhood as the normal, natural, and blessed outcome of a woman’s life as she lives for God. Other outcomes are possible, but motherhood is the normal and desirous expectation.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 

Genesis 3:20

In one sense, I don’t care if my daughters go to college. (For that matter, college is becoming less a priority for me as a parent in general). I don’t care if they have careers or professional achievements. This doesn’t mean that I think their only utility is to be some kind of baby hatchery. I expect that my daughters will be wise, compassionate, competent, and skilled people whom the labor force will try to woo. But I hope that they choose to lavish their wisdom, love, and talents upon their family, their church, and their community instead of on a corporation.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed

Proverbs 31:28a

I want their babies to be the product of a loving covenantal marriage. I want them to want a man who can measure up to me. Maybe that’s prideful, but if I thought I was doing a terrible job as a man I would strive to do better. I want to set the bar high for them. I want them to choose a man who can lead them and their future children. A man who expends his energy and muscles on earning a living and caring for his family and improving his community, so that when he sits down-exhausted from his labors-she can bring him a cold beverage (and maybe a rockin’ sandwich) that expresses her gratitude and respect. In turn, he wakes up to lavish his love on her again the next day until no one can tell anymore where the cycle of respect and love stops and starts.

Her husband also, and he praiseth her. 

Proverbs 31:12b

My perception is that motherhood is not considered a high and noble calling by the culture of expressive individualism in which we find ourselves. Motherhood must be selfless or it becomes poisonous. Women who want a baby to accessorize their lifestyle are comic parodies of Eve. This perception is supported by the evidence of a society that is having fewer and fewer children, targeting girls with a barrage of “you can be anything you want to be, especially if what you want to be in in the STEM fields”, and loses its mind at the thought of not being allowed to abort its babies should they be inconvenient.

So I want my daughters to want motherhood to be at the center of their being. Should they be barren, I want them to be like Mother Dimble who managed to embody motherhood without being a mother. Should the Lord bless them with children, I want them to want to raise their own babies. I don’t want them to have a child and then find the shortest route back to the work force. And after they raise their baby, I want them to want to have another baby.

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. 

1 Timothy 2:15

And I want all of this because I love my daughters and think they have a high and noble calling that comes not from the world, but from the heavens. That calling is to nurture life and enrich our world. This is not the easy way out. This is a calling to live the crucified life as much as any other calling, and perhaps more so.

Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also

Luke 2:35

A calling that will require the grace and strength of God to fulfill. A calling that will shape and form their very souls. A worth while calling.