Walking Towards Sunday: Frankenstein’s Second Monster

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Photo: National Theatre

Frankenstein’s second monster is himself. And not for the most obvious reason. Yes, he was presumptuous and careless in his pursuit to create life. But it is what he does AFTER he succeeds that could arguably be his worst crime.

Frightened of his own creation as soon as it comes to life, Frankenstein bolts. He runs away and stays away, overcome by remorse. When he finally returns to his apartment, he finds the monster gone. At this point the true tragedy occurs. 

He does nothing.

He rejoices to himself that his problem is “gone”. His selfishness lumbers large as he doesn’t give even a thought to his poor neighbors who might encounter the creature or what damage might befall them.

He also gives no thought to the needs of his unnatural child. He does not consider how it will eat, grow, and develop. Here Mary Shelly does a masterful job of entering the monster’s mind. Starving and lost, Frankenstein’s monster spends his “childhood” in a forest, searching desperately for food and trying to make sense of the world. He is gentle and curious–until he encounters his inevitable problems with humanity. It’s a tale of tragedy from there on out. The repercussions of Frankenstein’s selfishness reach its zenith in the destruction of both the creator and the created.

Who knew that a reading assignment for my teens could help me love my children more? Mary Shelly’s drop into the monster’s mind is so tender and empathetic that it gave me a much needed reminder of how dependent our children are on us. And not just for food and shelter, but for understanding, tenderness, and moral guidance. They need our support long past the unsteady steps of early childhood.

Suddenly, driving my boys to soccer practice did not seem like such a chore–or making that casserole AGAIN.

It’s funny to me that I found motherly inspiration in such an unlikely place. But I’ll take it wherever I can get it! More often, lately, I find myself asking…how selfish am I? And am I really looking out for them– heart, body, and soul? Motherhood is a marathon and it’s good to realize how important we are to those dependent on us. It’s a long journey and keeping perspective is half the work!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

Elizabeth Hiett

 

11 Christian Missionaries Crucified and Beheaded

Grim news from Syria.

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10/5/2015 Annie Cotton/Christian Aid Mission

Residents inspect damage from what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus.
Residents inspect damage from what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus. (Reuters)

At several steps on their path to death by beheading and crucifixion last month, 11 indigenous Christian workers near Aleppo, Syria, had the option to leave the area and live. The 12-year-old son of a ministry team leader also could have spared his life by denying Christ.

The indigenous missionaries were not required to stay at their ministry base in a village near Aleppo, Syria; rather, the ministry director who trained them had entreated them to leave. As the Islamic State (ISIS), other rebel groups and Syrian government forces turned Aleppo into a war zone of carnage and destruction, ISIS took over several outlying villages. The Syrian ministry workers in those villages chose to stay…

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Walking Towards Sunday: The Flower of Our Youth

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I planted mint, I planted sage, 

I even planted rue,

But the fairest one I planted was the flower of my youth.

Yes, the fairest one I planted was the flower of my youth.

–Lithuanian folk song

I wish you could hear the tune, lilting and carefree. I heard it first in a compilation of children’s songs I played to amuse my children while I worked. Somewhere, slogging through a week’s worth of laundry with four children running circles around me, having just left my twenties behind, the song brought the wisdom of a Lithuanian granny into my life.

I could see her in my mind’s eye while I yanked up stubborn weeds. She ruminates while she sits outside the sun-bathed front of her ancient house, kerchiefed, shelling peas, a small garden of herbs by the front door. She remembers when her waist was tiny and her hair brown–when her husband brought her to this very house. They had nothing–only a few farm implements, some kitchen necessities and a few precious linens embroidered with love from her mama and aunties. He would leave every day to fight for their living and she tried to make what he earned last. And while the baby napped, though she ached with fatigue, she planted her garden. Everything she grew helped.

Her garden is still there. The babies have grown. The herbs still grow, a bower of blossoms. But she sees a plant unlike any other there too, waving its gentle limbs, full of leaves and heavy with flowers. It is invisible but everything else exists because she tenderly laid it in the soft earth of this place. The flower of her youth is here, roots stretching down for fifty years now. She devoted her best, strongest and most beautiful days to this a small, ignominious place. Yes, this flower is the fairest one of all.

She helped me. And she is right. I am fifteen years past the birth of my fourth and last child. My children are all taller than me, growing strong and brave and beautiful.

And I’m in the same little house. But it has changed over the years. Hands that were twenty planted and painted. The rose bush is stretching higher. Its blossoms did not really begin to grow two weeks ago. It is the work of years.

Dear sisters, years count. If your feeling tired, just remember that. Keep on in faithfulness to your calling or to your vows. Do not despise the day of small things (Zech 4:9)… because, in actuality, there are no small things.

All our decisions grow.

Elizabeth Hiett

Recommended Read: Sound Doctrine

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Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God. By Bobby Jamieson. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.

In our day when doctrine is often viewed as boring, divisive, irrelevant, or even more tragic, just simply non-existent, Jamieson’s call for churches to give due attention and thereby reap the long-term gains of sound doctrine is like a breath of fresh air!

As part of the 9Marks series of books for “Building Healthy Churches”, SD reminds pastors and leaders how doctrine underpins everything in the life of a church. Whether your church directly affirms doctrinal distinctives, quietly affirms doctrinal distinctives, or purports to have no doctrinal distinctives, doctrine will inform and shape each and every congregation. Therefore, as shepherds of God’s flock, we should strive to feed, nourish, and grow the people of God on healthy, biblical, sound doctrine.

Jamieson defines sound doctrine as “a summary of the Bible’s teaching that is both faithful to the Bible and useful for life” (p.17) Doctrine, then, is how we articulate and apply Scripture to life and faith. Jamieson demonstrates in the opening chapters how doctrine touches all aspects of church life and especially informs how we read and teach the Bible. Both of those points are not to be overlooked too quickly. We don’t “do” church or “read” Scripture in a vacuum. We do so from a standpoint, a perspective, underneath of which stands a doctrinal view or presupposition. That underpinning doctrinal viewpoint gets translated into how we interpret and apply Scripture. It is imperative then that we keep allowing Scripture to inform and correct and shape our views into the Bible’s view in all matters of life and salvation.

In the remaining chapters, Jamieson demonstrates from Scripture how sound doctrine produces holiness, love, unity, worship, witness, and in the postscript, joy. The very virtues we hope to see flow in our own lives and in the lives of our fellow believers are directly linked to the amount and the kind of doctrinal intake, or diet, we are exposed to.

Doctrine is far from boring; it’s essential to living!

Wil Owens, Teaching Pastor

Sexual Addictions, Brokenness, and Gender Confusion

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Maybe our premise is wrong. It’s seems a no-brainer–the idea that a no-holds-barred pursuit of pleasure should lead to happiness. But real life results deny the supposition. Why is this? Could there be a better way to do life?

Join Pastor Wil Owens as he explains why the quest for happiness outside of the will of God always fails to satisfy. Find hope, help, and strength to start again by knowing the One who created you.

God’s design for your sexuality and gender is such that it is the most fruitful, fulfilling path for your life. The Lord is for you totally – mind, soul, and body! He doesn’t mean for us to have lesser pleasures. He means for us to experience the greatest pleasures. He doesn’t intend to redeem part of us. He intends to redeem all of us, soul and body. Our bodies are a gift of God purposed for His glory, designed to experience ultimate joy in Him!  Pastor Wil Owens

As always, if you are close enough to attend Clovis Evangelical Free Church, we would love to meet you! Join us for Bible Study at 9 a.m. and for Worship at 10:30 a.m.

EBH

Loneliness in the Church

Trusting Or Tripping

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Christianity today, by in large, has missed the boat on the topic of sin.  As a culture we have determined that everyone has not only the ability, but the right to define truth and their own morality.  Consequentially Christians are no longer defining the problem of sin and damnation as that form which we need saving, but simply offer Jesus and salvation as a bonus and eternal security.  Gone are the days of preaching Hell, fire and brimstone, and now are the days of the prosperity Gospel.  We believe that we are fundamentally good beings and adding Jesus into our lives will secure success and happiness.

Such a worldview and belief system leaves us exceptionally lonely, however.  Because when we come to Jesus for salvation, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within our lives, and the role of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin and righteousness and…

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