Sunday, February 13, 2011

Even More Weekend Gratitude

Dear friends,

Welcome to a new edition of Weekend Gratitude! I don't know how long I'll keep this little series going, but it suits me well enough for now.  If you would like to read the other posts, click here: Weekend Gratitude.

So what am I grateful for this weekend?

Naomi and Ben both celebrated birthdays this week: she turned 10 on Wednesday, and he turned 8 today. (Time flies!) I wanted to get Ben some Larry Boy books at Brightlight, my favorite used bookstore, so I brought in some books to sell for store credit. I realized later that afternoon that I needed a copy of Tim Keller's book Gospel in Life for a community group study at church. (I am still used to calling this a home group instead of a community group. It will take some getting used to.) Scott, the owner of the store, couldn't find a copy there in the store but offered to bring in his own copy from home since his church is studying it, too.

While we were looking for that at Brightlight, we managed to turn up a copy of a new book by Tim Keller, Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just.  (The subtitle on the copy at Christian Book Distributors is Finding Grace in God through Practicing Justice, which seems more fitting.)  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was mine... :-)  There goes half of my store credit! But it's worth it.  Justice is a topic dear to my heart, and I'm delighted to see a book that dispels the suspicion that conservative Christians have of the importance of "social justice" while at the same time dispelling the suspicion that justice-minded liberals have that the Bible promotes injustice.  In fact, I suspect that the title is sort of a comeback retort to Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren's book Generous Orthodoxy, which in my mind is anything but orthodoxy.  (I respect the Emergent Church commitment to social justice and missional living; I just don't like their aberrant theology about the crucial basics of the Christian faith.)  I started reading Generous Justice early this morning and got a few chapters in before I had to make Ben's birthday breakfast of waffles & pancakes (boxed), eggs, sausage, and fresh sliced strawberries.

I loved the worship service at Lake Baldwin Church, as always. It's a mix of contemporary worship songs and hymns. This morning, we sang "O Worship the King" which was our wedding hymn. (First verse: "O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing His power and His love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.") My husband and I nudged each other and smiled. Another was "God Moves."  This is the modern version of the old hymn by William Cowper, who suffered from depression; it's a very encouraging song for those who wonder why life is going the way it is.  (First verse: "God moves in a mysterious way / His wonders to perform / He plants His footsteps in the sea / And rides upon the storm / Deep in His dark and hidden mines / With never-failing skill / He fashions all His bright designs / And works His sovereign will / So God we trust in You / O God we trust in You.")

Dave Abney preached the second sermon on Jonah and quoted a bit from the old poem "Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson as a reminder of how God pursues us even when we turn away from him.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

(This reminds me of my own poem, Corpus Christi, which uses the phrase "Hound of Heaven" about midway through: "He traverses the land, announcing the Kingdom of God-With-Us / Among those who do not yet recognize his benevolent dominion /  He goes to those who will not come on their own, in mercy / Chases those who run headlong toward the brink of destruction: Hound of Heaven")

After church, we drove over to Bart and Judy's house for lunch to get to know the other families in our new community group, which is named Communitas. We each had a chance to share a little bit of our life stories. It is always fascinating to realize how God really does move in mysterious ways.  One of the moms told how her son is plannning to study international human rights law, so I told her about the Generous Justice book.

(The beautiful outdoor photos you see in this blog post were all taken in Bart and Judy's back yard by my talented son Micah, who supervised the editing of them as well.)

We are in the process of becoming members of Lake Baldwin. We took the membership class last month and needed an interview with an elder before officially joining. Fortunately, Bart happens to be an elder, so we stayed after the lunch and did this in the comfort of their living room.  By the time we left their house, the kids were so stuffed with good food that none of them seemed terribly interested in the hot dogs and birthday cake I fixed for Ben's birthday dinner!

Tomorrow we're planning to go to the Orlando Science Center to see the new "Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees" IMAX movie and the new Curious George hands-on exhibit. (We were going to go on Saturday, but our day became a little too chaotic. Did I mention that I somehow missed a library due date and had to quickly round up 25 books and pay almost a $10 fine? Ouch! Next time, I need to put the due date on the kitchen calendar and in my iPod calendar rather than just waiting for the "books due" e-mail from the library. Oh well, live and learn.)  On Saturday morning, while I was doing home school lesson planning for next week,  I twiddled with our school schedule so we can spend more time on the kids' independent math and writing assignments, even if it means cutting back a bit on history and literature. 

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so after the kids go to bed, I need to sneak candy into the little pockets on our big red felt heart that we just mounted on the dining room wall.  Naomi has already put a heart-shaped box of chocolate's in the pocket labeled Mom & Dad.

All in all, despite the library fines and mounds of laundry still waiting to be folded, it's been another great weekend, and I'm grateful.

How was your weekend?

Virginia Knowles

P.S. Tim Keller, author of Generous Justice and minister at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, is speaking at Orangewood Presbyterian in Maitland, Florida, at 7 PM on February 22.

P.P.S Enjoy Micah's pictures!

Naomi and Ben, our birthday girl and boy

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like life is moving on. God is good. We are looking forward to Keller on the 22nd and maybe will save 20 seats for you and the rest of the family. Will have to talk sometime about Brian McLaren and Rob Bell's heretical teachings and how they led us to begin another search for a new home. So sad to see people suckered into non-Biblical doctrine by the smooth talk. Reminds me of a Paul's letter II Timothy, chapter 4: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.


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