Category Archives: Quotes

Dead and Domestic Poetry

My wife, Stephanie, who blogs at Dead and Domestic, has written and published a few poems over the last week that deal with some struggles that are very real to her, and I believe are very real to many other people. If you have a chance to check them out I’m sure she would appreciate it. They are very honest and, in my unprofessional opinion, extremely well written. I have posted the links below with an excerpt from each.

Hello, Bottle.

Hello, bottle.
You know why I’ve come.
My ball and chain
And My freedom.

Good morning, misery

They tell me that i’m worthless
I have nothing left to give
They ask me why i try so hard
to sleep, to breath, to live?

Lifeline

I see the saddness in your eyes
your confusion grows and grows
but you understand the hurt i feel
is more than anybody knows

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Standing on the Porch

Standing on the Porch
Russell Tuck Sr

I see a kind old gentleman, who stands so straight and tall,
Upon the weather-beaten porch waiting for his friend to call.

There is a special twinkle in those eyes that seem so bright:
As the sun slowly eases down to portend the coming night.

Others may have withered soul, confined to bed or chair,
With eyes that only seem to have a sad, weak and vacant stare.

I see him looking o’er the hill like those, when just a boy,
He had romped and played “Make Believe,” hills that brought him so much joy.

His heart now filled with memories of pleasures and of trials,
As well as those who shared with him, while he trod those many miles.

He recalls all the happiness they’d known throughout the years:
And of “Goodbyes” that had to come, though said through quiet tears.

Beyond those hills he overlooks, are mounts he had to scale:
With rocks he once stepped upon to advance … or slip and fail.

And further beyond that mountain he sees the evening sun.
He has almost reached the summit: his journey is nearly done.

The sun he now sees is crimson, he knows that Christ has said:
The coming day no storm shall be, for the evening sky is red.

Though some, to pity may be moved for him they think they see:
Instead they should rejoice with him with faith in what’s to be.

Yes, standing on the porch of life, his heart so full of love:
I see a smile upon his lips: as he sees his friend above.

I was only five when ‘Papa’, my grandfather, died. Although I was young I remember him quite well, and very fondly. My mom had to work when I was little, so my grandparents watched me during the week. My grandparents also would pick me up on Sunday mornings for Sunday School. We were very close, and he was a very kind man. He was a teacher, not formally, but he taught his grandkids. He would always tell me stories from the Bible, he would draw pictures for me to learn to color in, he would record ‘interviews’ with me on tape and ask me questions about my life. Like I said, he was a very kind man.

He also wrote a lot of poetry. Standing on the Porch is a poem that my grandfather wrote. According to my mom, it was the last poem he ever wrote, and, while it was dedicated to a friend in a nursing home, the family believes it was written in anticipation of his own death. I am in no way a poet or even remotely qualified to critique poetry, but I will say, in my literary ignorance, that I love this poem, and I hope that when I face the end of this life that I can say with the same hope and faith as my grandfather, that I am ready and eager to be with my “Friend Above.”


Charity and Coercion

The other morning I went into the grocery store to pick up a muffin for breakfast. I do this quite often, because I like to see my friends there and see how they are doing. I used to work there and a lot of the people I worked with are still there so it is a good way to keep up with them.

So, when I went in the other morning I ran into one of my buddies who works in produce. He has been extremely influential in the development of my political views. He is a really smart guy, and someone who’s opinions I appreciate greatly. We started chatting and he told me he had read one of my recent Examiner articles about the Church extending charity to those left in need by government cuts. He said he really liked the article. He said he agreed with what I said and then, in reference to government assistance programs, he said something that I found very significant:

“it can’t be considered charity if it is taken through coercion.”

That is a great way to say something, in just a few words, that I have been trying to say through several blog posts and Examiner articles.

My friend’s comment got me thinking about what the purpose of charity is, especially as a Christian. If the bottom line is providing for people’s physical needs then I think that it may make sense to support government assistance programs, because taxpayers are forced to support those programs, thus raising the likelihood that those intended to receive the aid will get it (the government’s ability to actually do what they say is a subject for another post!).

If, on the other hand, the goal of Christian charity is to demonstrate the love of Christ and open up opportunities to share the Gospel to point people toward the answer to their spiritual needs, then government programs may not be the best approach. The reasoning is fairly obvious; basically that people will not see the contributions taken by the government as charitable gifts, since, indeed, they are not given in charity, but in obedience to the law. If the gifts are not seen as coming from an act of love and care for others, then will they point people toward the One who first loved us, the reason that we love one another?

What do you think? Should Christians support government assistance programs? What is the purpose of Christian charity? Does it have a “purpose” or is it simply the result of being loved by God and having the Spirit within us?


We’re All in the Pigpen

Sort of along the same lines as what I was talking about in my previous post, Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like wrote a really great honest post, The Problem with the Pigpen, about trying to win God’s favor. He explains it in terms of the prodigal son. The father didn’t take the son back because he cleaned himself up. In his article Jon explains that God was working in his heart asking him, “Did I love the prodigal son more when he was in the pigpen or in my arms?”

I think we’re all really in the pigpen most of the time and to think that we can do anything to get out of it or to make ourselves worth God’s love is absurd, and to think that it is in any way up to us would be terrifying and overwhelming. Jon goes on to say:

I’m tired of believing in a God who gives “sometimes love.” As in sometimes he loves me, sometimes he does not. And above all, I’m tired of believing in a God who does not love sinners. Especially since there are a billion verses in the Bible that say just the opposite. One of my favorite is Matthew 9:10-13.Falling down, being broken and a sinner doesn’t prevent me from his love, it makes me perfect for his love. It makes me exactly who Christ came for, not the righteous, but sinners. And it’s not a gift he gives once, because I sacrificed and had a good January. It’s a gift he gives continually, like mercy.

Check out the rest of his post. You’ll most likely connect with it.


Saved by Grace, Sanctified by Works?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s video my grandfather-in-law and I have many great conversations. Sometimes those are via email. I always look forward to his emails and our conversations. This particular email discussed his thoughts on the role of grace and works in salvation and sanctification. He talks about how salvation and sanctification are explained in Scripture, and how we sometimes distort that based on our teaching and practice. His thoughts on Sanctification struck a particular chord with me because it is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. Here is what he said:

after the “born – again”, transformation takes place, the new person need not keep any rules of the church. Again, God provides the change, all we do is obey with the new ability God provides. Any change brought about by rule keeping or legalism only gives glory to man. Real, lasting change…loving God and others…always brings glory to God because these abilities are humanly impossible

I think we have a real strong tenancy to say, “yeah, God saves us by His grace, but after that we need to do x,y, and z to grow,” but, as Dave pointed out in his email, who gets the glory when we tell people they need to follow this set of rules to grow in their faith? Well, either that person for following the rules, or maybe us for setting up good rules to help them grow. So, we are willing to trust God for salvation and give Him alone the glory when someone’s eyes are opened to the truth of the Gospel, but we are sometimes unwilling to trust Him to complete that work in Sanctifying us and therefore take that glory which is only His away from Him. Probably not a great idea.

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; – Phl 1:6 NKJV


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