Chastity vs Modesty

Every so often I see friends and acquaintances on the internet go off on modesty. I can’t say anything near as good as what C.S. Lewis said on the matter so I will just quote him. In Mere Christianity Mr. Lewis said:

WE MUST NOW CONSIDER Christian morality as regards sex, what Christians call the virtue of chastity. The Christian rule of chastity must not be confused with the social rule of “modesty” (in one sense of that word); i.e. propriety, or decency. The social rule of propriety lays down how much of the human body should be displayed and what subjects can be referred to, and in what words, according to the customs of a given social circle. Thus, while the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes. A girl in the Pacific islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might both be equally “modest,” proper, or decent, according to the standards of their own societies: and both, for all we could tell by their dress, might be equally chaste (or equally unchaste). Some of the language which chaste women used in Shakespeare’s time would have been used in the nineteenth century only by a woman completely abandoned. When people break the rule of propriety current in their own time and place, if they do so in order to excite lust in themselves or others, then they are offending against chastity. But if they break it through ignorance or carelessness they are guilty only of bad manners. When, as often happens, they break it defiantly in order to shock or embarrass others, they are not necessarily being unchaste, but they are being uncharitable: for it is uncharitable to take pleasure in making other people uncomfortable. I do not think that a very strict or fussy standard of propriety is any proof of chastity or any help to it, and I therefore regard the great relaxation and simplifying of the rule which has taken place in my own lifetime as a good thing. At its present stage, however, it has this inconvenience, that people of different ages and different types do not all acknowledge the same standard, and we hardly know where we are. While this confusion lasts I think that old, or old-fashioned, people should be very careful not to assume that young or “emancipated” people are corrupt whenever they are (by the old standard) improper; and, in return, that young people should not call their elders prudes or puritans because they do not easily adopt the new standard. A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems.

I think that last line is well worth living out. I’ll just try to think all the good I can of others and make others as comfortable as I can.



Deer Season Has Begun

At this moment I should be in the 3rd stand. Hopefully I see something. It would be nice it if was bigger than the one I shot last year (it would be hard not to be), but I won’t complain if it isn’t.

This year I am trying out a new-to-me rifle that I might buy. Marc M has been nice enough to loan me one of his father’s old rifles (a 1998 Savage 111fxp3). Eric G has been trying to convince me to shoot something than a 30-30 because he is convinced I need more range. We’ll see what happens.


50 Years Ago Today


I know that most of the world is focused on today being the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death but for me it is the 50th anniversary of C. S. Lewis’ death. I’m sure that someone could prove that JFK had more direct influence on my life through some specific policies. After all he was the president of the U.S. Still no one outside of Jesus Christ and my family has been more influential on my life than C.S. Lewis. I interpret so much of what I do and think through lenses that have been partially shaped by Mr. Lewis.

24644   wpid-24763.jpg   wpid-24655.jpg

3 Things I am Rather Fond of Right Now

1.  My Battery Charger – Apparently I didn’t close Fred‘s door last night and the dome light ran the battery down.  So I am rather fond of my battery charger right now.

2. My brother sent me Darn Tough Vermont socks for my birthday and they are awesome. I am rather fond of them. Thanks bro!

3. I am rather fond of the fact that when I walk into Emy J’s coffee I invariably know quite a few people there and end up having really good conversations. Not also the best situation for getting work because the conversations can end up distracting me from doing what I need to do but they lead to a better life and faith and that is a better thing. It is amazing how deep a seemingly random conversation can get.

SIDE NOTE – My facebook friend Scott Slayton has written a little post on the scandal over President Obama supposedly omitting “under God” from his reading of the Gettysburg address that is worth a read. There are plenty of actual things to criticize the president, and other politicians of all flavors, over. There is no need to attack him/them over something that is simply not true. Just makes us look stupid. Anyhow I was going to write something about it but I think Scott did a decent job first, so I will just point you his way.

Bonhoeffer Quote on the Song we Sing

It is God who has prepared one great song of praise throughout eternity, and those who enter God’s community join in this song. It is the song that “the morning stars sang together and all the children of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).39 It is the victory song of the children of Israel after passing through the Red Sea,40 the Magnificat of Mary after the Annunciation,41 the song of Paul and Silas when they praised God in the darkness of prison,42 the song of the singers on the sea of glass after their deliverance, the “song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3). It is the new song of the heavenly community. Every day in the morning the community of faith on earth joins in this song and in the evening it closes the day with this hymn. The triune God and the works of God are being extolled here. This song has a different sound on earth than it does in heaven. On earth, it is the song of those who believe; in heaven, the song of those who see. [50]On earth, it is a song expressed in inadequate human words; in heaven they are the “things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat” (2 Cor. 12:4), the “new song that no one could learn, except the 144,000” (Rev. 14:3),43 the song to which the “harps of God” are played (Rev. 15:2).44 What do we know of that new song and the harps of God? Our new song is an earthly song, a song of pilgrims and sojourners on whom the Word of God has dawned to light their way. Our earthly song is bound to God’s Word of revelation in Jesus Christ. It is the simple song of the children of this earth who have been called to be God’s children, not ecstatic, not enraptured, but soberly, gratefully, devoutly focused on God’s revealed Word

Dietrich Bonheoffer, Life Together, p. 65.


I know I have mentioned this before but I HATE religious sentimentalism. I run into it more than I care too, which isn’t that difficult because I would prefer not to even see it in commercials let alone run into it in my real life. I would rather talk about important subjects with someone with no faith than I would someone with a faith that is just Christian sentimentalism.

Karl Marx famously said of religion:

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

I completely disagree with Marx’s quote in regard to genuine faith. Real faith doesn’t anesthetize and dull people into inaction. Instead genuine faith in Jesus pushes people to action. Real faith in Christ causes a believer to work with Christ that His “kingdom [will] come, [His] will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Look at the heroes of the Christian faith. Their faith led them to be a part of Jesus changing the world.

Sentimentalism, on the other hand, asks nothing of the person who believes it and offers that person no real hope other than a brief “fix” that hides the pain for a while. Sentimental believe in Christ doesn’t change the person or the world around him/her. While Marx may be wrong about genuine faith I think his quote is spot on for sentimentality. Sentimentalism dulls us into a stupor that keeps us from experiencing real faith.

Religious sentimentality…

  • seems like real faith but is fake
  • looks deep but is actually shallow
  • sound pious but is actually rebellious (because it is generally self-focused – i.e. this makes me feel good)
  • feels comforting but actually keeps you from the Comforter

So to use Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” style I offer the following hints to determining if you have a sentimental faith.

  • if your Jesus never challenges you … you might be a sentimentalist.
  • if your Jesus usually just offers clichéd answers to tough questions … you might be a sentimentalist.
  • if your Jesus has never asked more of you than you thought possible … you might be a sentimentalist.
  • if your Jesus would agree with you and disagree with those you don’t like … you might be a sentimentalist.
  • if your Jesus has never asked you to love someone who is your enemy … you might be a sentimentalist.
  • if your Jesus’ teachings can be easily substituted with cute cats memes … you might be a sentimentalist.

I could go on and on. Basically I hope, and pray, that you have a faith that makes a real difference, not just one that pretends to do so.

Leads to Action

I’ve found this quote from Eugene Peterson intriguing for a few years.

I think it’s partly our sin. One of the Devil’s finest pieces of work is getting people to spend three nights a week in Bible studies.

Peterson’s point isn’t that studying the Bible is a bad thing, he writes Bible studies after all. Instead his point is that studying the Bible shouldn’t disengage us from involvement in the world but instead lead to greater involvement in being a part of Christ redeeming the world.

I have a small group of friends that I meet with on Tuesday nights for consideration and encouragement in following Christ (you are welcome to join us if you want to). We are presently reading through Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book “Life Together.” in the reading for last week Bonhoeffer wrote and quote something similar from Martin Luther. He said and quoted the following.

The Christian cannot simply take for granted the privilege of living among other Christians. “Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared’ (Luther).”

Engaging with God’s Word should push me out of my shell and comfort rather than pulling me more into it. Interacting with God’s word doesn’t lead to a cloistered life. It leads to loving our neighbors and our enemies. The Bible isn’t an excuse for navel gazing and selfishness. It is a call to action with the One who is the Word (John 1:1). After all in football you huddle up to learn the play, not to stay in the huddle.

For example, today I have been focused on Luke 12:16-21 which says:

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.

Actually I started thinking about this parable last night when I saw an episode of “Doomsday Preppers” and started wondering “how do preppers who are Christian connect with this passage? Do they just ignore it or somehow justify hoarding for the future?” It is so much nicer and easier to try and apply scripture to other people’s lives.

You have to admit the guy had awesome hair

That type of thought doesn’t cost me anything. The problem is that as Søren Kierkegaard stated so well:

When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “It is talking to me, and about me.”

So now instead of wondering how this passage effects preppers, I am sitting in a coffee shop wondering what it would look like if I didn’t put my trust in the future in my own resources but trusted in God. What actions would result? Can I start on them right now? Not much of a start but I think I am about to be buying some coffee for people.

Baptism @ Tapestry


I just want to make sure that all “threads” know that this week we will gather at the Metallos’ home (2727 County Rd K N, Custer, Wisconsin) for a baptism gathering instead of meeting at Washington Elementary School. We’ll still meet at 6 p.m. and we will still have pick up at the Debot Circle at UWSP.

Since this is a Tapestry baptism we will also feed each other. The Metallos’ are baking potatoes so please try to bring a salad, dessert, or something that would make for a good baked potato topping. Feeding each other is important so please be a part of it.

This is a great time to invite people who don’t know much about the way of Jesus. Instead of hearing the good news of Jesus’ kingdom they will see a physical example of the good news of Jesus’ kingdom. Also they will experience a community of people who love each other. Invite as many people as you would like.

Here’s the facebook link to the event.

Moltmann on Eschatology

In actual fact, however, eschatology means the doctrine of the Christian hope, which embraces both the object hoped for and also the hope inspired by it. From first to last, and not merely in the epilogue, Christianity is eschatology, is hope, forward looking and forward moving, and therefore also revolutionizing and transforming the present. The eschatological is not one element of Christianity, but it is the medium of Christian faith as such, the key in which everything in it is set, the glow that suffuses everything here in the dawn of an expected new day. For Christian faith lives from the raising of the crucified Christ, and strains after the promises of the universal future of Christ. Eschatology is the passionate suffering and passionate longing kindled by the Messiah. Hence eschatology cannot really be only a part of Christian doctrine. Rather, the eschatological outlook is characteristic of all Christian proclamation, of every Christian existence and of the whole Church. A Theology of Hope

In other words, if you claim to be a follower of Christ and your hope for the future based on what Jesus said and did doesn’t cause you to act out that hope in the present then you seriously misunderstand Jesus’ point.

Time & Creativity > Money

I’ve posted a few times before about creativity. The reason for this is that I wish I was a more creative person. Therefore I like to see and point out when people are doing really creative things. I really enjoy the duo Pomplamoose because of their creativity (and their music also). The above video is one such example.  I’m sure it didn’t cost that much money to produce but it definitely required a great deal of time and creativity. Money is pretty much always a poor but manageable substitute for time and creativity.  Many of Pomplamoose’s videos are like this in creativity.

I think through the best things that I have done in my life, relationships, and ministry and most of the time it comes down to the time and creativity I put into whatever I was doing. Which makes me think that I should do a little more of that.