Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day tribute

Excellent tribute by Michael Ramirez.

Thanks to John at Powerline.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Secret Flower

The Secret Flower

by Jane Tyson Clement

This child was born to men of God:
Love to the world was given;
In him were truth and beauty met,
On him was set
At birth the seal of heaven.

He came the Word to manifest,
Earth to the stars he raises:
The teacher’s errors are not his,
The Truth he is:
No man can speak his praises.

He evil fought and overcame,
He took from death the power;
To all that follow where he goes
At last he shows
The kingdom’s secret flower.

The secret flower shall bloom on earth
In them that have beholden;
The heavenly spirit shall be plain
In them again,
As first it was of olden.


Paraphrased from the 17th century German by Eleanor Farjean.

Note: Reprinted from Copyright 2003 by The Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A prayer before going into battle II

A Prayer before Going into Battle

O God of battles!
Truly, you dwell in peace,
And yet, you behold the strife of men, and work your will thereby.
It is a mystery, part of the war between good and evil, that I cannot comprehend.
And what that good and perfect will of thine is, I do not fully know;
However, I do know that you have sent us to do with all our might what our hands find to do, in the work of good; and I know that you hate cowardice.
You know that I have sought to choose the best, so far as my poor mind can determine, and to this battle I am pledged.
Give me grace to fight like a soldier of thine, without wrath and without fear.
Give me strength to do my duty, but give the victory where you please.
Let me live if it so be your will; let me die if it be your will -- only let me die in honor with You.
Let the truth be victorious, if not now, yet when it shall please you;
And oh! I pray, let no deed of mine delay the fulfillment of truth.
Let my work fail, if it be unto evil, but save my soul in truth.
This I ask in the strong Name of the Son of God, who is the Truth, and through your Holy Spirit, Amen.


This is a revised form of the prayer written by George MacDonald, “A Sally,” St. George and St. Michael, 345-6, here.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at AIPAC

A Time for Standing with Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at AIPAC yesterday, and before congress today, reiterating the key themes of his speech. Netanyahu talks of the link between Israel and America, specifically in the conceptual and moral components of democracy: America owes its democratic ideals to Israel; the foundational truth that all humans are equal before God, created in the image of God comes only from Israel, the nation that proclaimed it thousands of years ago, among dominant, slave-holding nations.

Today, Israel, among all the nations of the Middle East, actually believes in democracy; and, there is a difference between democracy and mere elections, where after those elections women still can't own or drive a car, where churches are still being bombed, where journalists and others are imprisoned or terrorized. In short, Israel is not the problem with the Middle East; it is a place actually attempting the cure [and being hated for it]. It is a clear speech presenting powerful truths, delivered by a great statesman. Netanyahu grasps the essential issues of the Middle East with a clarity that seems to elude many of our elected officials in America. Friends, hatred of Israel is at an all time high; hatred of Jews is at a level not seen since Hitler. Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood openly declare that they are called to finish what Hitler started; heads of Islamic states openly call for the eradication of Israel -- in our time! and without much of a whisper from most media organizations here in the U.S.A. It is time to stand with Israel, for freedom, with light, against darkness.

Take a moment and listen to the speech. Part one is below, and part two here. The transcript is here. Here is a brief highlight:

My Friends,

Israel wants peace because we know the pain of terror and the agony of war.

We want peace because we know the blessings peace could bring to us and to our Palestinian neighbors.

But if we hope to advance peace with the Palestinians, then it is time that we admitted another truth.

This conflict has raged for nearly a century because the Palestinians refuse to end it.

They refuse to accept the Jewish state.

This is what this conflict has always been about.


To deny that truth is to deny reality in the Middle East, and consign the region to endless conflict. Remember this eternal and spiritual truth: Peace with someone who seeks your destruction is not peace; it is surrender. It is true in spiritual terms, and vastly truth in national terms.

Which brings a question: If the essential and underlying reality in Middle East conflict is so simple, why do so many apparently intelligent people in this country not 'get it?' Scott Johnson answers it this way, referencing Saul Bellow:

The truth of Netanyahu's observations stares us in the face every day. Saul Bellow's aphorism, originally formulated in this context, has come to look like an eternal verity: "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."

Powerful words. Think about them... A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.

Here is the video of Prime Minister Netanyahu, part one:

Note: A great tip of the hat to Powerline blog for the video and original post.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the address to Congress -- fantastic address.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The vital beauty of staying on the path

A long obedience in the same direction

Quote from the wisdom of Rick Godejohn:

"All we have to do is stay on the path, and we'll never have to take the same step twice."

It reminds me of Eugene Peterson saying that God desires from us 'A long obedience in the same direction.' Lots of wisdom there...

Also, Rick says that the greatest reality of low times is the ability to praise God in that low moment -- relational health, physical health, questions of guidance, disease, bills, etc. -- if we can praise God without clearly seeing Him, His presence makes up the difference. Then, we come to the high points, and our sight clears: yes, God was there in the valley! Life is a cycle of these low and high points, but the challenge is to not waste the low moments, but actually embrace them as divinely ordained steps to higher revelation of God.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A collage of mischief and beauty

Three Mershimer boys in a field of Texas bluebonnets. Did ever mischief come in a nicer looking picture? :-) Layne and Deborah are blessed -- but I can see both of them in their boys. Look out, world! lol

Saturday, May 07, 2011

My soul breathes only in thy infinite soul

Trust Him like the little ones He feeds

Thy fishes breathe but where thy waters roll;
Thy birds fly but within thy airy sea;
My soul breathes only in thy infinite soul;
I breathe, I think, I love, I live but thee.
Oh breathe, oh think, -- O Love, live into me;
Unworthy is my life till all divine,
Till thou see in me only what is thine.


These verses by George MacDonald remind me of Kierkegaard's definition of despair. Kierkegaard defines despair as the inability to transparently rest in the Power that created us [and destines us for good]. Conversely, hope is the ability to transparently rest in the Power that created us. This is a secret of peace and divinely productive life.

It also reminded me of a Keith Green song, "Pledge My Head to Heaven":

Well, I pledge my head to heaven for the gospel,
And I ask no man on earth to fill my needs.
Like the sparrow up above, I am enveloped in His love,
And I trust Him like those little ones He feeds.

I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever,
I'm your child, and I'm gonna follow you, no matter --
Whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost...
Well, I pledge my head to heaven for the gospel.

To trust Him like the little birds He feeds... to transparently rest in the power that created us -- and thus, in those little moments of obedience, we somehow swim in the vast ocean of love, living and breathing divine will!

Isn't that a truly a condensed reality of heaven in human time? Eternity in the heart, which is ours to share...


George MacDonald, "January," A Book of Strife in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul, stanza 5.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Quote for the day: John Adams on false niceness

Postmodern uses of language aren't so new, after all!

John Adams on "civility":

Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.

Interesting! Maybe the postmodern deceitful usage of words and language isn't new after all -- only recycled darkness.

HT: Glenn Reynolds

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

To thee, the reconciler, the one real

In whom alone the would be and the is are met

The messengers of Satan think to mar
But make – driving the soul from false to feal –
To thee, the reconciler, the one real
In whom alone the would be and the is are met!


George MacDonald, "June,' A Book of Strife in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul, stanza 18.