Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What A Great Time!

Just to let you know, Cynthia and I had a delightful time for our anniversary.

We stayed at the Chicago Hilton on Michigan Avenue. Between Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning—I delivered Cynthia to the Shorewood Bible Church-South’s Women’s Luncheon Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Lake Shore Ramada banquet facility on south Lake Shore Drive—we walked over 10 miles. She has this little devise that keeps tack of how far she walks. There is so much to see and do in downtown Chicago that we barely scratched the surface. We just enjoyed the time by ourselves looking and enjoying the beautiful days on the world’s most magnificent lake front.

One reason we walked so far was making the trip up Michigan Avenue to Garrett's popcorn shop--only to find it closed!! What!!! The building is going condo and everything is gone for reconstruction. Well! But not to worry. They now have four other stores--one only a block from our hotel. So we got the caramel corn we lusted after--and also a blister from the needless journey up and back the crowded sidewalk.

Thursday evening we went to see Jersey Boys, but I must say we were not overly impressed by it. The language was way over the top and the music, although quite good, often left you wishing for more—with only portions of several hit songs actually being sung. We sat next to a couple who were celebrating their 38th anniversary—made us feel like real senior citizens (although Cynthia still won’t accept the Sr. discounts at restaurants!!!).

One thing we took note of was the casual—well, actually, I should say, careless—way people were dressed for such an evening’s event. Cynthia thought I was dressing down by wearing a sport coat instead of a suit—she let me off the hook because we were living out of a suit case! It turned out that less than 10% of the men in the crowd had on a coat and tie of any type.

We got to talking about how “times have changed.” At her nieces wedding last May, we actually noticed the same thing. It was a big-time-formal-affair, and yet numerous attendees were so causally dressed they could have been going/coming from bowling or a ball game.

This exemplifies an aspect of the age in which we live, the Age of Stupidity. Only in an age that rejects wisdom could most people believe that clothing is unimportant. In fact, even many “Bible believing Christians” have come to the conclusion that it is entirely unimportant what people wear even to church — after all, God sees people's hearts, not their clothing, right?

Clothing has come to have no other purpose than providing comfort to the wearer. Fewer and fewer people appreciate how much what we wear affects both us and the people around us. Every elevated civilization has placed great emphasis on what people wear. And by the way, while you’re quoting the Bible, remember that it was God Himself who made the first clothes.

What we wear communicates what we think of ourselves, but even more so, what we think of the world around us. When guests dress up for a wedding, they do so in order to honor the bride and groom and to proclaim how much they honor the marriage ceremony. When parents and others attending a high school graduation show up in shorts, T-shirts, Hawaiian flower shirts and jeans, they are saying to the students that this night is no more significant than any other time they wear the same clothing. Just ask students how they would react if all the male guests wore jackets and ties and all the women dressed equally formally.

And our modern era has adopted “cool and casual” as the persona of its clergy. The business world went through a phase where “casual Fridays” were the “in” thing. They soon discovered that Friday was the least productive day of the week and have largely stopped the practice for obvious reasons. But with many preachers, the lure of being everybody’s buddy has caused them to shed any semblance of what might appear to be any sense of their high calling. The fact is that “cool dude” is far more common among them than “man of God.”

How has this devaluation of clothing come about? As usual when explaining the origins of the Age of Stupidity, one answer is secularism. Secularism not only induces stupidity, it also de-sanctifies almost everything. In the radically secular age in which we live, nothing is holy. Liberal secular society has two primary concerns before wisdom — health/comfort and equality/sameness.

What interests me is how this secular mindset has so engulfed believers—yea, even grace believers (perhaps I should say, especially grace believers). The inability to discern the difference between carelessness in dress and the wise use of liberty doesn’t demonstrate the wisdom that grace imparts; it demonstrates the dysfunctional self-absorption grace is designed to destroy.

I’m not interested in setting up fashion police. Nor am I on a campaign for a certain style of clothing. I’m simply commenting on what we all know: there is a style of dress in every culture that demonstrates respect and value; there is in that same culture a style that reflects casualness and even care-less-ness. Wisdom knows when each is appropriate. Maturity doesn’t need “thought/dress police” to select its wardrobe. It is capable of doing that on its own. And it is also recognized when it does so.

But like I said, Cynthia and I had a great two days in Chicago. We also had a great Sunday at Shorewood—and I can’t even remember what folks were wearing!!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Very Special Day

Tomorrow, June 20, is the second most important day of the year for me. It is the day that my sweetheart became my wife. After thirty nine years of more happiness than any man deserves, I can only say that Peter Marshall was right: Marriage is truly “the halls of the highest human happiness.”

Marriage came off the drawing board of heaven. No mere man (or woman) would or could have ever designed such a wonderful relationship. It is a creation institution—not a church or government one. That’s why all the current attempts to “redefine” marriage will only fail to achieve their goal. The “elusive” dream of that ultimate relationship can only materialize in a Scripturally based marriage.

That, by the way, brings up the most important day in my year: December 31. That’s the day I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. Laying aside religion, I simply came to rely exclusively on Him to be the savior He died and rose again to be. He took my death; He gave me His life. What a deal!!

Then Cynthia gave me her heart. To be one with “my sister, my spouse” has given life a completeness that can only come because we are also one “in Christ.” Sure there have been challenges-hey, living with me would be a bumpy ride for anyone! But the privilege of walking through life in the oneness that we share both in Christ and in marriage has made life the richest experience possible.

I love you, chick. I know you don’t read my blog that often (hey, I keep her too busy for this internet surfing stuff). I just want everyone else to know how I feel, too.

By the way: yes, I am taking her out for a special celebration. We are going to spend Thursday and Friday evenings in the city (Chicago, that is). Going to the theater tonight and then spending Friday and Saturday enjoying downtown things: parks, museums, shops, food, people watching, etc.—not to mention Garret’s caramel corn!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Notes

Thanks to Linda N. for the HT on a fascinating article on The Death of Hell. This is well worth reading!

Also, Dennis Pragor has a good article on the impact of the California court ruling on homosexual marriage. Pragor is one of (if not the) most thoughtful commentator in the media and always intellectually challenging. Thanks to Matt C. for the HT.

June 6th is a day every American should remember: known as D-Day, it represents one of the greatest moments of the Greatest Generation. One of the oddities of life is that news reports surfaced this week about the French cutting down most of the trees where American soldiers left their carvings during the time they camped around Normandy after their heroic landing. Camp Lucky Strike it seems has been mostly leveled, eliminating the personalized memorials left by G.I.'s awaiting their next campaign. The French may forget; we should not.

Cynthia's birthday was yesterday, June 12. She, as Bob Hope used to say, is “space age”--thirty nine and holding! We celebrated by working all day at the church building, her making CDs and DVDs and me working in my study. Next week is our 39th anniversary and I'll take her out to dinner and a celebration in downtown Chicago.

Have a great Friday the 13th! Genesis 14:4 explains the Biblical significance of "13" and the superstitions of the world don't bother Bible believers! Everyday "in Christ" is a great day--one more day of grace to use for His glory.