The Apology

Not one Christian blushes or repents, unless it be for not having been a Christian sooner. If a Christian goes to trial, he goes like a victor, with the air of a triumph; if he is impeached, he glories in it; if indicted, he makes no defense at bar; when interrogated he frankly confesses, and when condemned returns thanks to his judges.

What a monster of wickedness is this, that has not one shape or feature of wickedness belonging to it ? Nothing of fear, or shame, or artifice, or repentance, or the desponding sighs of criminals attending on it. What a strange-natured evil or reverse of wickedness is this! That makes the guilty rejoice, and ambitious of accusation, and happy in punishment. Nor can you charge these odd appearances as the effects of madness, since you are altogether unacquainted with the powers of the Christian religion.

I saved this in my journal four years ago today. It’s from Tertullian’s apology (defense) of the faith. When Christians are prosecuted for their faith, when they faced torture and death, when they stand accused as being Christ’s followers, what do they do? They don’t repent of their faith, the only thing they repent of is “for not having been a Christian sooner”.

What a testimony.

Shamed Hearts

I’m not big on computer games personally. But my eldest son, Sam, is an absolute crackerjack at them. It’s a point of tension in our relationship. I don’t think he ought to spend so much time there, and he thinks he’s not given enough. Though I try to hide my distaste because I know how much he loves playing Off Road Fury and Delta Force, it’s pretty obvious when I never play with him. Just yesterday Sam said to me, “You and Mom don’t like computer games, so I feel like you don’t like me.” Ouch. I missed a part of his glory, shamed a part of his heart. How many an artist has been crushed in a family that prefers a “rational” approach to life? How many an engineer dismissed by a family of musicians? How many of us are lost in life simply because no one in our early world saw our glory and affirmed it?

“How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?” (Ps. 4:2). These blows aren’t random or incidental. They strike directly at some part of the heart, turn the very thing God created to be a source of celebration into a source of shame. And so you can at least begin to discover your glory by looking more closely at what you were shamed for. Look at what’s been assaulted, used, abused. As Bernard of Clairvaux declared, “Through the heart’s wound, I see its secret.”

Let me put it this way: What has life taught you about your God—given glory? What have you believed about your heart over the years? “That it’s not worth anyone’s time,” said a woman whose parents were too busy to really want to know her. “That it’s weak,” confided a friend. He suffered several emasculating blows as a boy, and his father simply shamed him for it. “That I shouldn’t trust it to anyone.” “That it’s selfish and self-centered.” “That it’s bad.” And you … what have you believed?

Those accusations you heard growing up, those core convictions that formed about your heart, will remain down there until someone comes to dislodge them, run them out of Dodge.
-John Eldredge. Waking the Dead. pg 118

I read this the other day and it really stuck with me. As parents it’s so easy to be dismissive of whatever new fad your kid is into. As leaders, too.

It bothers me when leaders shame kids for being kids. I just spent a week with 6th graders at summer camp. I love that they are goofy and hyper-active and loud and messy. One day they won’t be but that’s what 6th grade is for. My small groups were short and distracted. That’s ok. I refuse to shame little kids for acting like little kids. They only get this season and this time once and the entire world will do plenty of shaming and crushing of all of their hopes and dreams. May it never be said of me that I participated.

God's Joy

Dallas Willard on God’s joy:

He is full of joy. Undoubtedly he is the most joyous being in the universe. The abundance of his love and generosity is inseparable from his infinite joy. All of the good and beautiful things from which we occasionally drink [Willard includes the sea in all its beauty, or a wonderful movie, or music] … God continuously experiences in all their breadth and depth and richness.

(as quoted in Waking the Dead by John Eldredge, pg 210)


C.S. Lewis, from “Membership”

The very word membership is of Christian origin, but it has been taken over by the world and emptied of all meaning. In any book on logic you may see the expression “members of a class.” It must be most emphatically stated that the items of particulars included in a homogeneous class are almost the reverse of what St. Paul meant by members. By members he meant what we should call organs, things essentially different from, and complementary to, one another, things differing not only in structure and function but also in dignity. Thus, in a club, the committee as a whole and the servants as a whole may both properly be regarded as “members”; what we should call the members of the club are merely units. A row of identically dressed and identically trained soldiers set side by side, or a number of citizens listed as voters in a constituency are not members of anything in the Pauline sense. I am afraid that when we describe a man as “a member of the Church” we usually mean nothing Pauline; we mean only that he is a unit – that he is one more specimen of some kind of things as X and Y and Z. How true membership in a body differs from inclusion in a collective may be seen in the structure of a family. The grandfather, the parents, the grown-up son, the child, the dog, and the cat are true members (in the organic sense), precisely because they are not members or units of a homogeneous class. They are not interchangeable. Each person is almost a species in himself. The mother is not simply a different person from the daughter; she is a different kind of person. The grown-up brother is not simply one unit in the class children; he is a separate estate of the realm. The father and grandfather are almost as different as the cat and the dog. If you subtract any one member, you have not simply reduced the family in number; you have inflicted an injury on its structure. Its unity is a unity of unlikes, almost of incomensurables.

(h/t Alan Jacobs)

Ocean Cleanup Machine

You’ve probably heard about the great Pacific garbage patch. There’s some new hope in cleaning up that giant mess, and it all started when an 18 year old had an idea and gave a TED talk. Now his idea has been built (thanks to some crowdfunding) and is ready to start cleaning up.

Really hope this works, and it inspires people to work on challenging engineering projects that improve earth.

Glow in the Dark Laser Clock

Ok, this is just really cool.

Seven Ways to Work Hard at Rest

God gives good gifts and the Sabbath is one of my favorites. To a nation of freed slaves, He commanded them (it’s one of the top ten! That’s how good God is) “Thou Shalt Taketh A Dayeth Offeth”. (New AJ Paraphrase, © 2018)

But as someone that sucks at taking Sabbath rest, how do you do that? The Gospel Coalition has 7 suggestions. My favorite is number five, find a hobby:

I think one of the reasons people don’t rest well is they don’t have hobbies. Hobbies are helpful because they occupy our minds and energies during Sabbath rest. That’s often more balancing and more restorative than simply sitting on the couch and watching TV. Sabbath rest is not just about ceasing activity, but redirecting activity into alternative, life-giving channels. Once again, Sabbath rest takes work.

Often it’s good, I think, for our hobbies to be different from our profession. For instance, if you have a desk job, join an intramural sports team. Or if your job is highly relational and fast-paced, find a hobby that is leisurely and provides solitude. Pastors and others who work in a Christian environment can often benefit from having hobbies that put them into close contact with non-Christians and/or in a non-leadership role.

My Life as a Woman With Colorblindness

I do a lot of crafting and I’m very artistic — that’s ironic, I know — so I do this with clothes, and paint colors, and ribbon, and thread. I’ve done it so many thousands of times it doesn’t even feel weird for me anymore. It’s like I’m on autopilot. “Hi, my name is Brooke. I have color vision deficiency. Could you tell me which one of these is bright red?” At the beginning you can see in their face they’re thinking, what is this person about to do? Is this some kind of Candid Camera thing? I explain that I’m serious, that I really can’t tell what color something is, and then their face softens and they smile and want to help.

This was such a great read. I have a super mild red-green color deficiency but it was amazing to read Brooke’s experience with colors and how she perceives some colors as being different but not really being sure why.

Apple Park Visitor Center Accessibility

Great Twitter thread on all of the attention that went into making Apple’s new visitor center accessible.

When You Feel Overwhelmed

Chris Bowler’s email newsletter today was so timely. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break and figure out why. Reasses what’s most important. Stop focusing on what is not getting done. In particular, I love this:

There’s a tricky balance to be found here. Systems, habits, and routines are wonderful tools, but terrible masters. I’m in control — and every so often the system needs a reboot, not me.

The Ten Toughest Questions the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Gets

We’ve spent $15.3 billion on vaccines over the past 18 years. And it’s been a terrific investment. Better immunization is one reason why the number of children who die has gone down by so much, from almost 10 million in 2000 to 5 million last year. That’s 5 million families that didn’t have to suffer the trauma of losing a daughter or a son, a sister or a brother.

5 million kids saved. Blows me away, and this is a really well written letter answering some really hard questions.

Pray Shorter Prayers

We never introduce ourselves to his highness for the first time, or reintroduce ourselves suspecting he’s too important and busy to remember our name. Prayer is not a conversation we start, but a response to the God who speaks first, calls first, and claims us as his own, even before we return interest in faith and prayer.

How I Planned And Shot An Erupting Volcano With The Milky Way

Albert Dros talks about, in great detail, his process for finding this perfect shot of an erupting volcano and the milky way. There’s a ton to learn from here if you’re into photography at all.

Minimalist Bullet Journal

Love this video where Matt Ragland shows us what his bullet journalling looks like. I love these views into how people organize their productivity. In particular, I was intrigued with his monthly mood tracker:

Mood tracker

There is a check-in for the morning and the evening and it gives him a quick view into how he’s doing. He also showed off a yearly grid he’s going to work on in 2018 to get a bigger view over the whole year. I definitely struggle at times with annual fall depression, so that idea of tracking how you’re feeling and getting more data really resonated with me.

(h/t Shawn Blanc)

He Was and Is and Is to Come

He was and is and is to come

Before air
Or light
Or spinning spheres
Before laughter, shouting, joy, or tears
Before everything we’ve ever touched
Or held or stroked or tried to reach
Or thought to say, or tried to teach
Before oceans, and creatures, and soaring heights
Before depths and mysteries
And first winged flights
Before anything that we now see
And love or long for, or want to be
Before all the dreaming and inventions
Before all the scheming and conventions
Before all the cultures and the nations
Before all life’s great and strange sensations
Before everything we’ve ever seen…
…And done
He was
And is
And is to come

The illustration of this poem is simply marvelous. And now it’s available as a book.

50 Megapixel iPhone Panoramas

For 7 consecutive days I will be posting a series of 50+ Megapixel Panoramic Photographs shot on an @apple iPhone 7, from the belly of a LearJet from 20,000 feet above the earth.

This is beautiful, and such a cool idea.

Generating C From Curl

So this is pretty cool, you can export any curl command as a mini-C program. Just pass --libcurl foo.c.

How to Take a Picture of a Stealth Bomber Over the Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl

It’s hard. Things are happening really quick. It’s very fluid. I’m flying at 100 miles per hour. They are flying 200 miles an hour in the other [direction]. So, that’s 300 miles per hour. Things happen really quickly.

Such an amazing shot! Love it.

Matt Chandler on Parenting Priorities

Take 5 minutes to watch this excerpt from a recent Matt Chandler message.

Here’s what we learned. There’s data now to back this up. Kids are not being secularized in college. They’re being secularized at home before they’re sent to college by well-meaning Christian parents who can’t tease out the value balance between sports, activities, and the gathering of the people of God.

Can you imagine going and trying to wake up your kid for school at whatever time you have to wake them up and them just going, “I’m not feeling it. I’m not going”? “Oh, okay. Well, never mind then.” To parent that way… Listen. I’m for you. I’m not against you. I’m not trying to shame you. To parent this way… This is what’s true about the data. Half-hearted obedience to Jesus Christ in this generation leads to full rebellion against him in the next.

I don’t think sports, choir, band or whatever 5 things kids get involved in are necessarily bad. As a kid, I took art classes, swimming lessons, played soccer and even was on a bowling team, if you can believe it. One of the best things about childhood is the permission (and even blessing) of doing a lot of different things. This is how we grow and discover the things we’re good at: by trying out a lot of different things and having permission to be bad at them.

Parents in the last few decades have forgotten this key part, though. It’s ok if your kid isn’t the best quarterback. It’s ok if he’s bad. It’s ok if he doesn’t spend every waking moment eating, thinking and breathing football, soccer or band.

Parent, you are probably not raising the next Tiger Woods or John Elway. It’s ok if your kid sometimes misses practice. It’s ok to play sports or band or do something and not be the absolute best at it. Don’t get your priorities all out of whack.

Deep Bible Reading Strategies for the Tired and Busy

My goal in writing that book, and in everything I’ve ever done with regard to the Bible, is not to produce a lot of Bible nerds, but a kind of Christian who is so deep and unshakable in their convictions about eternal reality that they are not blown over by the winds of trouble and don’t simply float mindlessly along, conforming to the currents of contemporary culture.
I want people to use the Bible to become like oak trees.

That kind of Christian, living in that kind of crazy, counter-cultural, uncomfortable way of serving the glory of Christ is not going to come into being by mere natural cause — casual, ordinary encounters with the Bible. Something radically different has to happen in the presence of the Bible for this person to come into being, and to be sustained for sixty or seventy years of spiritual warfare.

I love John Piper’s imagery here. We need to be deeply saturated in the Word so we aren’t carried to and fro by the whims of culture.