Hating Billy Graham

What is truly sad about the response of this young woman to the death of Billy Graham is that he probably would have cared more for the state of her eternal soul and her temporal life here on earth far more than those who told her to indulge in her every whim so long as it made her happy or felt ‘authentic’. (Let me tell you, poison ivy is ‘authentic’, too, and it’s no picnic.)

In all honesty, I’m not fully familiar with Graham’s theology, especially as it seemed to change in his later years from its early laser focus on God’s perfect holiness and our desperate need for redemption (which He graciously provides in Christ), but I don’t doubt he’d have been terribly concerned with this unhappy woman’s eternal fate, despite the vitriol she might hurl at him. I encourage you to, as Christ told us to, pray for the lost, that workers be sent to the harvest. It’s very difficult to be angry with or dismissive of such folks when we know the danger they are in, since we were once there ourselves.

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 

Romans 3:23-26, ESV

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Titles Ben Would Win At Westminster

Ben and the Snowy Sunset

As you may know, Sunday marked the start of the famed Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the Big Apple. Westminster comes just before things begin swinging into action again after a bit of winter’s rest—there will be seeds to be sown and outbuildings to plan—and as a gal hailing from a very long line of dog lovers, it’s a fun two evenings during these cold, mixed-precipitation-y February evenings.

From my mom’s side of the family comes a love for herding dogs—specifically, rough collies. At least three generations of us have had them now, and since we are in fact part Irish and part Scottish, I’d be willing to bet a batch of cookies many, many generations of my ancestors have had a collie or The Ben of Autumnthree in the house or on the farm.

Collies are amazing dogs—a little weird, sometimes, but wonderful creatures, especially and famously around children. Of course our very own Benedict is truly the most faithful and wonderful of collies. Years ago, I thought about training him for agility—good, fun exercise for both of us, and herding dogs excel in agility—but my own health kept me from doing this. It’s okay. Ben is still a fine dog. In fact, we are about to celebrate the tenth anniversary of bringing him into our family within a couple of weeks. Talk about timing—Westminster and ten years of Benedict the Brave at the same time? This, my friends, is too much temptation to resist. Let’s talk about Westminster Kennel Club titles Ben would absolutely win!

 

Most Handsome

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first, all right? Ben wins this one in a waltz. Further proof in other categories, too. Contemplative Ben

From the archives: Summer Ben

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The Look of Ben

The Sadness

Despite his striking good looks and life of being undeniably pampered—even when in the throes of serious, lost-ten-pounds-in-two-days illness, I’ve taken him out for his walks during heavy rainstorms—Ben can lay on the Sad. Big time.

Sadness, Personified

(no comment from Ben)

He can’t help that collies are naturally grave and serious most of the time. Besides, with those good looks, he probably worries no one takes him seriously. The unbearable heaviness of being handsome: Ben knows it.

The Daily Life of Ben

Friend To Kitties

Brotherly Love

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One of these is better for you.

 

Thanks for nothing, Corbusier

Thanks for nothing, Corbusier.

We’d had to sit at a stoplight opposite this thing for far too long. Its inhuman, inhumane ugliness continued imposing itself upon my eyes and mind and soul, looming, seemingly increasingly large, overhead like an executioner or perhaps like a boot stamping on the human face, forever.

Thus my response. Give me ‘frippery’ any day.

Of course, while I blame Corbu, a commentor at Flickr blames Gropius & his Bauhaus, while another blames the folks who approve prison block-like hunks of concrete that don’t weather well, much less welcome actual human beings.

Both fair points. Plenty of blame to go around, I say.

Okay. That was cruel.

How about something lovely?

Wayne County Courthouse

Wayne County Courthouse, Wooster, Ohio. Built 1878.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
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God, The Saviour of Men

 And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people.  For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord.’  Luke 2:10-11

While taking care of my work the other day, I listened to the excellent sermon I’m about to link to, courtesy of the Grace To You app on my phone*. Taught by John MacArthur, it is part of his “The Promise of Christmas” series and could not be more lovely or appropriate to the season. Believer or no, I encourage you to look it up on the app or just follow the link and listen to (or read) Pastor MacArthur teaching  “God, the Saviour of Men”. (The messages “The Announcement of Jesus’ Birth” are excellent, too.)

The God of the Old Testament was known to His people as a Savior.  Israel knew God as a Savior.  Now that was not the way it was with gods, the gods of men’s making.  There’s only one God, the one true and living God, the eternal God, and He is by nature a Savior, He is a saving God.  To use another word, a synonym, He is a Deliverer.  He delivers people from threatening things.  He is a rescuer, that’s another synonym.

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Posted in God

A December Home-going

My Grandmothers' Bowls

Both of these yellow bowls are family heirlooms, if something so simple can be an heirloom (to me, the answer is very much “yes”).

The sunny Pyrex bowl in back belonged to my paternal grandmother, who died before I graduated from high school. A month after my grandfather died, twenty years later after Grandma, just a few years ago now, Dad brought a box of things from their home to me, including Grandma’s Pyrex bowls. They’re actually a gift from my beloved Aunt Judy, who knows I, like herself and my grandmother (her mother, of course) and great-grandmother, love cooking and baking, and kindly wished me

1953

My paternal great-grandmother and grandmother, working on the family farm in Iowa, 1953.

to have them.

Those who’ve known me for a while have surely heard me talk about my Grandma Sally and endured my tales of her simple but fantastically good all-American cooking and baking, and her well-used bowls gained an instant place of pride in my kitchen—not incidentally, beside the pale blue Fire-King given to me by the aforementioned great-grandmother.

The butter-yellow stoneware bowl in the foreground belonged to my maternal grandmother, who it seems I christened “Nannie” when a toddler still learning to talk. Her first name is my middle. She didn’t enjoy cooking and baking as quite as much as Grandma Sally (I’ve told you about the still semi-frozen Christmas turkey that finished cooking in portions via the microwave to the sound of chuckling and giggling, right?), but among other fine characteristics, she did appreciate lovely things, and filled her home with them; some were practical, like the bowl, but of course, as women are often wont to do, others were just there to grace the home with loveliness.

I don’t know where this simply pretty and very sturdy bowl came from, but it fit the home of my maternal grandparents well and I’m sure dished out all kinds of good food. It was given to me last summer, when my grandfather, preparing to sell the home they’d lived in for so long, suggested the family come pick up anything they’d like, and was also given an affectionate place of honour in my kitchen.

Monday, Nannie went home to be with the Lord.  Continue reading