A Morning Peacock of Links (8/4)

If prayer is such a good thing, why does it seem so hard?

Something to think about if you’re struggling in your prayer life. It might not quite be what you expected to read.

Image is Everything: Andre Agassi, Wigs, and the Gospel

Lessons we can take away from Andre Agassi’s hair issues.

Rethinking That One Chronicles Passage

C Michael Patton expounds on 2 Chronicles 16:9 and highlights what we can learn from the brief mentioning of Hanani the Prophet. Great read:

What does this mean for us? Quite a bit. There are those of you out there who have done what Hanani did. You have taken the risk and followed the Lord. You have stayed in a hard marriage, kept your integrity in a business deal, took a step of faith and went to seminary, started a Sunday Schoo classl, or said what is difficult to hear a dear friend. You expected the Lord to bless you. However, you find yourself in prison. Your marriage is worse than ever, you lost your business due to the deal, no churches will hire you after seminsry, no one showed up to your Sunday School class, or you lost your best friend forever. What is up with that?

The Lord is here to strengthen and encourage those whose hearts are completely devoted to him. He is under no obligation to make things “work out” the way we often want. He is under no obligation to keep us from pain and suffering. His eyes move to and fro about the earth look to see if you are completely devoted to him so that he may be able to take you through these difficulties and know that you will not jump ship.

So, I guess the question is whether or not you want your heart to be completely his. Beware. Do you really? Chew on it for a bit.

A Cry for Tolerance or Apathy?

And at the core of this is the gospel:

They don’t want tolerance, they want apathy.

When people demand that Christians be tolerant, what they are really saying is “stop caring.” Why do you care what people do in their bedrooms? Why do you care if people are Atheist or Mormon or Hindu? Why do you care? Why do you care? Why. Do. You. Care?

I would say ultimately because God cares and we being His people have been given hearts that reflect His own. And within those hearts is love and concern for all humanity. Yet we are being asked to do what is impossible. We are being asked not to care about the state of the lost world around us…

The Case for Early Marriage

Mark Regnerus (Ph.D., author, and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas, Austin) talks about abstinence, marriage and makes his case for early marriage. Growing up during this “delayed marriage” generation, I found his thoughts on the delaying and “cheapening” of marriage compelling. Especially interesting was his point that, among other things, delaying marriage increasingly intensifies the battle against the biological urge for sexual relations to the point that many people just have to give in and settle down, which in itself harms the institution of marriage. He also shares interesting thoughts on how, on the quest to be overly intentional, people end up casting marriage more like a necessary evil (hmm, maybe task is the better WC here?) to be figured out about later, rather than a natural and beautiful covenant to be entered into, even if the timing seems less than ideal. In reading this, I am tempted to do two things. The first is to look at the fact that Regnerus speaks in black-and-white-terms, and dismiss it by noting things are rarely that straightforward these days. The second thing is in response to the first in noting that things CAN be straightforward but it’s just that the issues and shortcomings of our day have muddled things up:

Still, the data from nearly every survey suggest that young Americans want to get married. Eventually. That makes sense. Our Creator clearly intended for male and female to be knit together in covenantal relationship. An increasing number of men and women, however, aren’t marrying. They want to. But it’s not happening. And yet in surveying this scene, many Christians continue to perceive a sexual crisis, not a marital one. We buy, read, and pass along books about battling our sexual urges, when in fact we are battling them far longer than we were meant to. How did we misdiagnose this?

The answer is pretty straightforward: While our sexual ideals have remained biblical and thus rooted in marriage, our ideas about marriage have changed significantly. For all the heated talk and contested referendums about defending marriage against attempts to legally redefine it, the church has already ceded plenty of intellectual ground in its marriage-mindedness. Christian practical ethics about marriage—not the ones expounded on in books, but the ones we actually exhibit—have become a nebulous hodgepodge of pragmatic norms and romantic imperatives, few of which resemble anything biblical.

The Courage to Put Away Our Cameras

That all too familiar struggle:

Take all the pictures you want. They’ll only serve to instruct you in the truth that none of your clips or still images managed to capture what was really happening in the moment. Go ahead. Watch this pretty awesome video of the 2012 San Diego fireworks and you’ll know, as amazing as it is, that you’re not seeing anything close to what those who gathered there in the bay that night actually experienced.

Life is filled with wonder and beauty. Tonight’s sunset is a gift we cannot preserve for tomorrow. But tomorrow, we’ll get a new one. And another the night after that. It’s okay to put away our cameras.

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