why do i even try to write? to think? to blog? when there are people who write and think and blog words like these that follow, those whose paragraphs resonate in my soul, those talented individuals who create for me connections and word pictures that make me understand this world (and the next) with a new clarity...
c.s. lewis is one of those writers. john piper. r.c. sproul. leo tolstoy. g. k. chesterton. corrie ten boom. helen keller. phillip yancey. donald miller. and even one writer whose name i can’t spell without googling, dostoyevsky.
as much as i struggle to write anything of value, i find with ease other writers whose words go down like the choicest morsels. perhaps that is gift enough. to recognize and appreciate and pass on great thoughts from those who truly have a gift...
“As we celebrate the coming of the Christ, we must never forget the kind of world He was born into. The blackness that the star of Bethlehem shone brightly from was a creational blackness, the kind of blackness that was visible on the first day of our world–when it was evening and it was morning, the first day, and it was all very good.
But the child Himself was the morning star, and the blackness that He shone brightly from was a Herodian blackness, a moral darkness, an ethical night of pitch black sin. The slaughter of the innocents is an integral part of the Christmas story, and not some unfortunate event that happened around the same time.
It was the kind of thing that illustrated the reason why Christ had to come in the first place. But strikingly, I don’t think it is possible to buy a nativity set that has any of Herod’s soldiers in it. We don’t want to tell ourselves the whole story, whether past or present.
Then, as now, the choice was stark. Either we will receive Christ to rule over us, and we will welcome Him gladly, or we will turn our backs on Him, and welcome the ways of coercion and blood. Ultimately, there will be blood one way or the other, and so the choice will be between the blood of the willing sacrifice, or countless unwilling sacrifices.
It is either Christ on the cross, and the salvation of the world, or it will be all the possible permutations of Molech worship, and the maw of death that is never satisfied. It will either be the death that arrived when Christ cried out, ‘It is finished,’ or it will be the way of death that is never finished and never satisfied.
And so, celebrate this Advent with gospel satisfaction. Rest in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, that was a once for all completion. Tell the story of the turmoil and unrest in the world that Christ came into, and teach your children how that unrest cannot be given rest apart from receiving the yoke of Jesus Christ.
In that manger we see the warrior who was born to slay the dragon, and we see that the dragon instinctively knew the nature of the threat and tried to do what dragons always do. The dragon raged all through the streets of Bethlehem because his time was short.
We sing in the streets of Bethlehem because the dragon has been slain, and we say of the one who did this great thing that of the increase of His government there will be no end.”
–Douglas Wilson, “Two Kinds of Black”
of course my favorite thing about doug wilson isn’t just his words. but his actions. he recently went on a debate tour and made a movie (aptly named “collision”) with christopher hitchens. the renowned atheist christopher hitchens. and doug wilson is a VERY CONSERVATIVE christian. like EONS more conservative than me... like if there was a sanctification scale doug wilson would be MILES away from me and i would be decimeters away from chris hitchins. good thing there isn’t a sanctification scale. and if there is one, don’t send me a link. i don’t want to see it.
i love a guy who isn’t afraid to go on a speaking tour with an atheist to discuss “is christianity good for the world?”. and comes to be friends with that atheist. and i love that they debate and argue respectfully and civilly without it getting ugly. and i love that i feel free to call them both by shortened names. like i could hold my own for 3.5 seconds with those two minds.
and i really love this interview where john piper talks to doug wilson about the film. WHAT?!?!?! johnny and doug got together without me?!?!?!? why didn’t they call me?!?!?
i aspire to doug’s idea of “copiousness”... something he defines as knowing a “storehouse” of answers to various challenges to the faith, such that “when someone says something, there’s something right there… from the Scriptures, from Chesterton or Oscar Wilde.”
i hope that some day, someone, somewhere describes me a having copiousness. and i hope that when they say that, i can spell the word without spell check.