Marriage Is an Ideal, Not a Fairy Tale | The Foundry

Marriage Is an Ideal, Not a Fairy Tale | The Foundry.

In light of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton yesterday, “The Heritage Foundation” published this article defending traditional marriage, especially in connection with the wedding vows. While not written from a strictly religious perspective (more socio-economic), the article is nevertheless worth the read. It also points out how marriage is now in demise among the middle class, where it has historically been the strongest. As it lays out the statistics, we may (and must!) see them in the light of God’s holy standards for marriage as revealed in Scripture. For marriage is His institution, not man’s. A reflection of His own marriage with His people in Jesus Christ. That is why the institution does and will survive, no matter what man does to it and in it.

Here are a few excerpts; read the rest at the link above.

Yet, in the shadow of the royal wedding, a worrisome class divide on marriage is emerging that threatens to make marriage more of a fairy tale than a shared ideal. Writing about a 2010 report, “When Marriage Disappears: The Retreat from Marriage in Middle America,“ author W. Bradford Wilcox and Heritage’s Donovan observe:

Marriage is in trouble in Middle America. High rates of divorce, nonmarital childbearing and single parenthood were once problems primarily concentrated in poor communities. Now, the American retreat from marriage is moving into the heart of the social order: the middle class…

What is happening today is a widening gulf between the middle class, where a sharp decline in marriage is at work, and the most educated and affluent Americans, where marriage indicators are either stable or improving.

An understanding of the central importance of marriage and realistic expectations about it will go a long way toward making the institution more durable and pervasive across socio-economic levels.

“The writers of fairy tales most commonly ended their stories about princes and princesses at the altar,” Koppel intoned 30 years ago. “These writers knew what marriage was meant to be. They were also wise enough to know that it rarely turns out that way.”

Fairy tales, however, often leave out the wedding vows that dispel the easy illusion of happily ever after, set appropriate expectations for a lifetime of commitment and connect couples to the communities of support around them. The vows begin where the ceremony ends.

With good reason, the world once again roared with joy at the universal promise embodied in William and Kate’s vows today.

Tornado Damage in the South – The Big Picture –

Tornadoes kill over 200 – The Big Picture –

You have already seen, no doubt, many images of the devastation caused by the tornadoes that struck the Southern U.S. this past week. The Boston Globe includes these 23 in its “Big Picture” feature this weekend. Hurricanes and typhoons gather a lot more attention because of the size and power of their storms and sustained winds. But because of their sudden strikes and powerful punch, nothing compares to tornadoes, in my estimation. One more evidence of God’s limitless power, His absolute sovereignty, and of His Son’s soon return. May we stop, listen, and respond in humble repentance and faith.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Ps.46:1, 10

Did Cubs throw 1918 World Series vs Red Sox?

Did Cubs throw 1918 World Series vs Red Sox? – Yahoo! News.

As if the lovable loser Cubs haven’t been humiliated enough, Yahoo News ran this story a week ago Wednesday about a possible fixing of the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and the Boston Red Sox. True to facts, there were some strange plays in the course of that series that could contribute to this type of myth (click on the link above to read the story). But then, you do have to consider the source of this fable – one of the despicable “Black Sox” players, who was in fact involved in the fixing of the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, and who was banned from baseball thereafter. One may not judge the “north-siders” by those crooked “south-siders”.  So, believe what you want. For me, I know the Cubs lost the series fair and square. That, after all, is the history of the Cubs. For 103 years. Sigh.

And speaking of the Cubs, did you know they broke a record this past week? First team in major league history to reach .500 10 times in the first 20 games of the season! That’s quite a feat! Hey, better than starting out like the Red Sox, when everyone had picked you to win the World Series this year.  As for now, the Cubs stand 10-13, in 5th place in the NL Central Division, just above the Houston Astros. O, to get to .500 again! But it’s cold, and Wrigley is miserable in April. They’ll warm up. You just watch.

And now a few “Cubs quotes”, as promised:

Every player should be accorded the privilege of at least one season with the Chicago Cubs. That’s baseball as it should be played – in God’s own sunshine. And that’s really living.
Alvin Dark

People ask me a lot about the values I got from playing for the Cubs for so many years. The value I got out of it was patience. A lot of people these days are not very patient.
Ernie Banks

Compliments of
Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 3:12 AM  Leave a Comment  

Are you smarter than a 1869 harvard candidate? (via pattern of life)

A fellow “WordPress-er” posted this interesting question and test back on April 12. Thought it was worth passing on to my readers. Far beyond that 5th grade stuff! Once you have opened the link, be sure to click on the test pages to be able to read them more closely. Amazing stuff! I still say we should introduce Latin and Greek to our elementary grade students – way too late in high school (and we don’t even touch Greek!)! CJT

are you smarter than a 1869 harvard candidate? Thanks to GOOD, I now know I could not have passed the 1869 Harvard entrance exam — dutifully covering your basic Greek, Latin, Algebra, Plane Geometry, Arithmetic, History, and Geography.  But according to an article written by Allison Cowan for The New York Times Education Section, at least 7 out of 8 did pass the exam and gain entrance into the Ivy League.  Check out a .pdf of the test here. … Read More

via pattern of life

Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 2:55 AM  Leave a Comment  

Young Women, Idolatry, and the Powerful Gospel

Young Women, Idolatry & the Powerful Gospel by Elyse Fitzpatrick | Reformed Theology Articles at

There is one other article in this month’s Tabletalk that I have to refer you too, and that is the one referenced above. It is a wise and powerful piece written by Elyse Fitzpatrick, director of Women Helping Women Ministries. The counsel she gives about how to train our daughters to think Biblically about themselves instead of how our modern culture tells them how to think about themselves is golden. I urge you to read her entire article (it’s brief), and then share it with your daughters. Mothers, yes, but you Dad’s too. We need to be convicted and courageous about getting this message across to our young women. And it starts at home. CJT

Young women, like the rest of us, were created to worship. The sirensong of the world entices them to believe that outward beauty, popularity, and the right boy will satisfy, but it never does — no matter how she pursues these gods, not even if she marries Mr. Right. Like us, she will never be satisfied with worshiping and serving the creation because there is a Creator who has already claimed His place as Husband. He not only deserves our worship, He’s the only One grand enough to captivate our hearts and turn our futile idolatry, our chasing after the wind, into joyful worship. Our young women need to be dazzled by the beauty of their Redeemer King. They need to hear His story, His beauty, His love, His excellencies over and over again so that the images they are tempted to worship will pale in comparison.

Daughters may begin to learn how to identify idols in their own lives as parents and leaders transparently admit and confess their own struggle with idolatry. When a dad confesses that he longs for a promotion at work more than he should (and is angry when he gets passed over again) or when mom admits that she’s addicted to over-exercise so that she can approve of her appearance, a daughter will feel at liberty to admit her slavery to the boys’ opinions. A young woman who knows that she’s not alone in this struggle for singlehearted devotion will more freely admit her own idolatry and will listen more closely when her parents speak out of hearts drenched in humility. And, of course, parents can also help their daughters by praying that the Holy Spirit would make Jesus more beautiful than anyone else.

How long has it been since your daughter’s heart was soaked in the gospel truth of this great One who gave His life for her that she might be free to worship Him and rest in His welcoming love? The antidote to idolatrous worship isn’t found in rules prohibiting idolatry. Rules don’t dazzle and captivate. They can’t generate worship. They’re not powerful enough to transform. What is? The glory of the Lord as seen in the face of Jesus Christ. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18; see also 4:6).

“Christ Alone”: New (First) Book to Respond to Rob Bell’s Love Wins

Read Christ Alone, the First Book to Respond to Rob Bell’s Love Wins.

As the above link indicates, the first book has been written responding to Grand Rapids, MI pastor Rob Bell’s controversial new book Love Wins. Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell’s ‘Love Wins'” is penned by Michael E. Wittmer, professor of systematic and historical theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.  Edenridge Press is a new publisher based in Grand Rapids, connected with Quentin Schultze of Calvin College, and devoted to publishing books on timely topics in a timely fashion. Though brief (172 pages), it appears from the information available at the above website that Wittmer’s book covers the basics in critiquing Bell’s positions on hell and other historic Christian doctrines. You may read excerpts from the book at the above link, and also find help in how and where to purchase the book. I will leave you with one such excerpt.

Love Wins talks a lot about sin, and the sins it mentions are typically those social sins we commit against others and the earth. Bell rightly speaks out against greed, injustice, pride, exploitation, racism, molestation, infidelity, rape, genocide, and pollution. But he should also emphasize that all sin is primarily against God.

…This fundamental point about sin—that it is primarily an offense to God—is missing from Love Wins. Bell does say that we need to be “reconciled to God” and that hell is demanding “the right to be our own god” (pp. 115, 117), but he never indicates that God himself is rightly offended and wrathful toward our rebellion. Bell actually conveys the opposite, for he is sure that a finite human could never do enough bad to merit everlasting punishment from God.

…If our sin is something that God should be able to get over—if it is not an insurmountable obstacle in our relationship with him—then it stands to reason that Bell thinks we can conquer it through sheer will power. At one point he suggests that our sinful choices can form a rut which can harden into an addiction which is difficult to change, but then he seems to lose interest in the problem and moves on to other things (pp. 104–5). Throughout the book he reminds us that “we are free to accept or reject the invitation to new life that God extends to us. Our choice” (p. 176). So we have the power to choose heaven or hell, even after we are in hell.

William Cowper – “Grace and Providence”

Since it is still National Poetry month, I wanted to get in another poem this week before I forget. This one is by William Cowper, another of my favorite Christian poets. It is a selection from his “Olney Hymns”, about which you may read below. I will post a brief introduction from the website from which this poem was taken (“Poet’s Corner” at and then post the poem itself.

These hymns were written between 1765 and 1773 at the village of Olney (OHN’ee) where Cowper was under the influence of the Anglican Evangelical preacher John Newton. This was a period of great religious fervor within the Evangelical movement and for Cowper, and this enthusiasm is clear in the poems. Less clear, but still visible, are the lingering affects of the madness which debilitated Cowper in 1762 and to which he again succumbed in 1773. When William Cowper wrote

         When darkness long has veil’d my mind,
And smiling day once more appears,

he spoke from experience. The hymns show Cowper’s command of direct, simple language. They also show the clarity of his mind. Each hymn is a little sermon, and most of them are preached more plainly and clearly than any you will hear from the pulpit. –Bob Blair

LXV. Grace and Providence

Almighty King! whose wondrous hand
Supports the weight of sea and land;
Whose grace is such a boundless store,
No heart shall break that sighs for more.
Thy providence supplies my food,
And ’tis Thy blessing makes it good;
My soul is nourish’d by Thy Word,
Let soul and body praise the Lord!
My streams of outward comfort came
From Him who built this earthly frame;
Whate’er I want His bounty gives,
By whom my soul forever lives.
Either His hand preserves from pain,
Or, if I feel it, heals again;
From Satan’s malice shields my breast,
Or overrules it for the best.
Forgive the song that falls so low
Beneath the gratitude I owe!
It means Thy praise: however poor,
An angel’s song can do no more.
Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 4:11 AM  Leave a Comment  

Say, neighbor, let’s talk about…

West Michigan Christian News – Say, neighbor, let’s talk about……………………

Last week in a local restaurant I picked up a copy of the latest edition of West Michigan Christian News, a free newspaper-type publication available in the Grand Rapids area. It contains wide-ranging, generally conservative news on the local, national, and international church scene. I always find something interesting and valuable to read in it, and this issue was no exception. The above-linked article by Bill Campbell – about whom I know nothing – was a nice little piece promoting reading in the family, and at the end, of reading the Bible together. I thought it worthwhile mentioning here.

Here’s a bit of what Bill had to write; read the rest at the link above.

Montesquieu said, “I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.” Children know this truth intuitively. Try it. Place a book in their young hands, and they often sit down right where they are and give it a cover-to-cover look over. We say they are “lost” in reading.

R.E.A.D.–”Reading Encouraged and Demonstrated”–serves as an easy reminder for what I believe is both a personal source of enjoyment and a responsibility. John Wesley said that “reading Christians are growing Christians” and encouraged his followers in daily Bible reading.

Learning to read starts even before formal schooling. The home and family are critical components to introducing the skill and the joy of unleashing the power of valuing books.  Horace Mann said, “A house without books is like a room without windows.”  Reading aloud to a child is not a chore when you realize reading develops their brain, instills character traits and values, and opens the lifelong gift of reading.

…The house is where it begins; the House of God is where it continues. The Bible is the Book of books, and family reading should be centered around the Word of God.  I encourage families to visit the church library as a regular part of the weekly worship time in God’s House. Visiting libraries will help stretch your budget and stretch your mind. Be a role model: read the Scriptures, enjoy the church library, and develop Biblical literacy.

Reading and books are key to growing in Christ.  The imprisoned Apostle Paul in II Timothy 4:13 requests his cloak and “the books, especially the parchments”. Arthur Pink, in The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, said, “The Bible is the Book to live by and the Book to die by. Therefore read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy.”

E-book sales top paperbacks for first time in February

E-book sales top paperbacks for first time in February – Apr. 15, 2011.

In line with my previous post, I include this news item from last week’s CNN Money report. The ebook trend is taking place more rapidly than anyone could have predicted! I may have to invest in that Kindle sooner than I thought!

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The publishing tide is shifting fast: E-book sales in February topped all other formats, including paperbacks and hardcovers, according to an industry report released this week.

E-book sales totaled $90.3 million in February, up 202% compared to the same month a year earlier, according to a study from the Association of American Publishers. That put e-books at No. 1 “among all categories of trade publishing” that month — the first time e-books have beaten out traditional publishing formats.

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 4:12 AM  Leave a Comment  

Kindle and Library Loan Ebooks

Amazon Media Room: News Release. made this significant announcement last week Wednesday about its Kindle reading device and loaning library ebooks through it. It’s another interesting and intriguing development. Dare I tell you that I am letting down my guard a bit about these ebook reading methods? I have a confession to make: a few weeks ago while browsing the Amazon website for books for our Seminary library, I discovered that Amazon has a free version of its Kindle program for PC’s. Being Dutch, and wanting to experience the Kindle craze, I gave in and downloaded it.  It came pre-loaded with Treasure Island and a few other ebooks, which I browsed to get the feel for an e-reader. Then last Saturday I downloaded my first ebook onto my pc – The Atonement by Loraine Boettner, offered free (what did you expect?!) from Monergism online bookstore. Now, I am not about to say I am hooked, but I certainly can see the benefits of this method of reading. It’s definitely not the same as picking up a book and feeling the pages between my fingers, but the words and stories are the same! So I am going to continue to experiment with it. O, another confession. I did look at the Best Buy ad to see how much the Kindles were. I can buy a lot of books for $200! But then, those ebooks are so cheap! Stay tuned to this waffling, mostly-devoted, traditional book reader! Is it too much to ask for a Kindle for Father’s Day? You may even combine it with my birthday! And Christmas!

Anyway, here’s part of the Amazon announcement; read the remainder at the link above:

SEATTLE, Apr 20, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — (NASDAQ: AMZN)– Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.

“We’re excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries,” said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. “Customers tell us they love Kindle for its Pearl e-ink display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, up to a month of battery life, and Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights and last page read between their Kindle and free Kindle apps.”

Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon, all of a customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.

…Amazon is working with OverDrive, the leading provider of digital content solutions for over 11,000 public and educational libraries in the United States, to bring a seamless library borrowing experience to Kindle customers. “We are excited to be working with Amazon to offer Kindle Library Lending to the millions of customers who read on Kindle and Kindle apps,” said Steve Potash, CEO, OverDrive. “We hear librarians and patrons rave about Kindle, so we are thrilled that we can be part of bringing library books to the unparalleled experience of reading on Kindle.”

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 4:06 AM  Leave a Comment