Monday, April 28

For the Common Good

"We know that all men were created to busy themselves with labor for the common good." John Calvin

Sunday, April 27

Aux Choux

The ever-creative and always irrepressible, Crystal Thomas, has a wonderful new dessert and coffee shop called Aux Choux in downtown Franklin. The cheese cake is to die for!

Rare Form

If you are a thinking American who cares about the future of the nation--and if you're looking for solid, practical advice about what to do and how--then this election-year book by David Zanotti of the American Policy Roundtable is for you. But be forewarned: you'll need to expect the unexpected. After all, Zanotti is courageous, wise, funny, informed, Biblical, strategic, creative, insightful, and altogether sane--a combination of attributes all too rarely found amongst those who discuss of the sundry doings of the civil realm in these difficult days.

Wednesday, April 23


What's a pastor to do? What's a pastor to be? According to Michael Horton in an incisive Touchstone article, instead of focusing on the "ordinary means of grace" and the ministries of "Word, prayer, and sacrament," these days pastors are more like "directors of sales and marketing." They are increasingly asked to be "managers, therapists, entertainers, and entrepreneurial businesspeople." If what we're looking for is someone who is "relevant," a "team builder" with a "warm and personal style," a "contagious personality," and is an "effective communicator," maybe what we're really after is not a pastor at all (and, maybe what we're really after is not a church at all).

Benevolent Checks

"Civil liberty is not freedom from restraint. Men may be wisely and benevolently checked, and yet be free. No man has a right to act as he thinks fit, irrespective of the wishes and interests of others. This would be exemption from all law, and from the wholesome influence of social institutions. Heaven itself would not be free, if this were freedom. No created being holds any such liberty as this, by a divine warrant. The spirit of subordination, so far from being inconsistent with liberty, is inseparable from it." Gardiner Spring

Electoral Reminders

"The legions of well-intentioned but smug, educated elites have agreed in advance to reject thousands of years of inherited wisdom, values, habit, custom, and insight and replace this heritage with their official utopian vision of the perfect society." William Gairdner

"Those who pose as the saviors of mankind are all too often more dangerous than the very ills they purport to remedy. There are often simple answers to the woes of society, just no easy ones. Pretended Messiahs always offer both. Beware of such men." John Knox

Whigs Redeux

"America has once again arrived at a momentous crossroads. We are going to have to decide--as we have had to decide so many times in the past--whether we shall only speak of justice and speak of principle, or whether we shall stand and fight for them. We are going to have to decide whether we shall quote the words of the Declaration of Independence with real conviction, or whether we shall take that document and throw it on the ash heap of history as we adopt the message of those who insist that we stand silent in the face of injustice. When it comes to deciding whether we shall stand by the great principle that declares that all human beings are “created equal” and “endowed by their Creator” with the “right to life,” it seems to me, there is no choice for silence. Again, there is no choice for silence. Thus, for instance, those so-called Conservatives who are recommending that we avoid the pro-life issue in our public discourse and civic responsibilities are actually recommending--as some people decided in the Whig Party, in the years before the Civil War, that they would be silent on the great issue of principle that faced this nation--we should be silent. And you remember what happened to the Whigs--once the most powerful political force in America. They vanished altogether." Alan Keyes

Monday, April 21

Disturbers of Complacency

“We cannot expect a more cordial welcome than disturbers of complacency have received in any other age.” Richard Weaver

Saturday, April 19

Expelled in Franklin

Join Franklin Classical School and the King’s Meadow Study Center on May 1 from 6:30-9:30 PM, for an evening of lively discussion and intellectual engagement as we discuss Darwinism, Intelligent Design, and the newly released film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed with some of Middle Tennessee's most capable scientists, academicians, and intellectuals.

Ben Stein’s Expelled documentary is creating an awareness of the rampant suppression of academic freedom in institutions around the world. At the same time, he is bringing to the consciousness of many Americans the raging controversy in intellectual and academic circles between Darwinism and the Intelligent Design movement.

Expelled in Franklin will provide our community a primer on Darwinism and the Intelligent Design movement as well as an historical sketch on the philosophical underpinnings of Darwinism, Darwinism’s impact on the 20th century, and a vision for how parents, students, and interested citizens can negotiate a culture saturated with Darwinism.

This event is free and open to the public. However, an RSVP must be received by April 25 with the names of those who will attend. Seating is limited.

The panel discussion primer on Darwinism and Intelligent Design will be followed by a Q&A session at Christ Community Church, 1215 Hillsboro Road in Franklin.

The Regulars

American colonists and British troops had their first exchange of fire in the towns of Lexington and Concord in the "shot heard 'round the world." The British general Thomas Gage sent a force to capture stockpiled munitions at Concord. This incident is often regarded as the start of the American War for Independence.

The night before, of course, silversmith Paul Revere rode from Boston to Lexington through the Massachusetts countryside to warn the colonists of the approaching British. During his midnight ride, Reveres did not shout, "The British are coming," or "The Red Coats are coming," but rather, "The Regulars are coming." The "Regulars" were then the common name for the British forces garrisoned throughout the colonies.

Friday, April 18

The Mettle of True Character

"Let your hand feel for the afflictions and distresses of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse; remembering always the estimation of the widows mite, that it is not everyone that asketh that deserveth charity; all however are worthy of the inquiry, or the deserving may suffer. Thus is the mettle of true character." George Washington


Brought to the city of Worms to recant by the Emperor, Charles V, Martin Luther uttered immortal words that launched the Reformation on this day in 1521:

"Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason--I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for the have contradicted each other--my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right not safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen."

With a victory gesture he then slipped out of the room.

Tuesday, April 15

Architectural Worldviews

“We shape our buildings, then they shape us.” Winston Churchill

“Architecture is the most revealing of all the arts. It is possible to tell more about a culture’s faith by its buildings than by its philosophers.” Paul Johnson

What Helps

"Lay hold of something that will help you, and then use it to help somebody else." Booker T. Washington

Friday, April 11

But Two

“There are but two ways: the way of life and the way of death.” The Didache

"There are but two cities: the City of Man and the City of God." Augustine of Hippo

On the Nightstand

Thursday, April 10


The remarkable Brooklyn ensemble, HEM, is in the studio working on a new project. Several of the works are already being featured in a new batch of Liberty Mutual television and radio ads. My favorite so far is Things Are Not Perfect, a harbinger of good things to come.

Wednesday, April 9


"Weak things must boast of being new, like so many new German philosophies. But strong things can boast of being old. Strong things can boast of being moribund." G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, April 6

Mike Huckabee Promotes Expelled

The Hard Lessons of History

"Time after time mankind is driven against the rocks of the horrid reality of a fallen creation. And time after time mankind must learn the hard lessons of history--the lessons that for some dangerous and awful reason we can't seem to keep in our collective memory." Hilaire Belloc

Saturday, April 5

Nothing But the Truth

"Truth: that long, clean, clear, simple, undeniable, unchallengeable, straight, and shining line, on one side of which is black and on the other of which is white." William Faulkner

"Opinion is a flitting thing
But truth, outlasts the sun;
If we cannot own them both,
Possess the oldest one."

Emily Dickinson

"All heaven and earth resound with that subtle and delicately balanced truth that the old paths are the best paths after all." J.C. Ryle

"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers."

William Cullen Bryant

"Error lives but a day. Truth is eternal." James Longstreet

"He that is warm for truth, and fearless in its defense, performs one of the duties of a good man; he strengthens his own conviction, and guards others from delusion; but steadiness of belief, and boldness of profession, are yet only part of the form of godliness." Samuel Johnson

"Truth is objective. It is consistent. It is balanced. It is both beautiful and practical. It is both good and helpful. It is accessible, knowable, and comprehendible. It is dependable, predictable, and unchangeable. Truth is believable—because it squares with the world as it is and with us as we are. Knowing the truth—and living in accord with the truth—is not just sensible and sane, it is remarkably fruitful and productive. When men discover the truth it is as if the lights suddenly come on in their minds, hearts, and lives. Progress is made. Justice is served. Hope is satisfied. Trust is established. Love is confirmed. And freedom is safeguarded. Truth is just as surely a benefit to the scientist as it is to the philosopher. It is just as critical for a physician as it is for a husband. It is just as essential in the work of the artist as it is in the work of the lawyer." Tristan Gylberd

Truth and Wisdom

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. Such is the essence of wisdom." Johann Goethe

"Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more." William Cowper

"What you do when you don’t have to, determines what you will be when you can no longer help it." Rudyard Kipling

"Wisdom is oft times nearer when we stoop than when we soar." William Wordsworth

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." Mark Twain

"Knowledge can be transferred. Facts can be memorized. Curricula can be mastered. Information can be gathered. Disciplines can be learned. Data can be catalogued. Skills can be gained. But traditional education techniques can only go so far--wisdom is not so easily obtained. Wisdom is not the imposition of a set of standards--simply doing or not doing certain things. It is in knowing why those things ought or ought not to be done--and how." Tristan Gylberd

Absolute Truth

"The prevailing spirit of the present age seems to be the spirit of skepticism and captiousness, of suspicion and distrust in private judgment; a dislike of all established forms, merely because they are established, and of old truths, because they are old." Samuel Johnson

"The true discoverer is not he who stumbles across that which none else has stumbled but he who beholds its wonder and tells of its glory and makes use of its stewardship." Seneca

Those who are quick to promise are generally slow to perform. They promise mountains and perform molehills. He who gives you fair words and nothing more feeds you with an empty spoon. People don't think much of a man's piety when his promises are like pie-crust: made to be broken." Charles H. Spurgeon

"Those who have not discovered that worldview is the most important thing about a man, as about the men composing a culture, should consider the train of circumstances which have with perfect logic proceeded from this. The denial of universals carries with it the denial of everything transcending experience." Richard Weaver

The Truth Will Out

"The enemies of the truth are always awfully nice." Christopher Morely

"Tis strange but true;
For truth is always strange--
Stranger than fiction."
Lord Byron

"Truth is both unchanging and universal; written on every man, woman, and child’s conscience. Therefore, we never have to apologize for the truth. It is able to withstand every charge. It is able to bear up under every challenge. It is sufficient unto itself. In due course, it will prove its own value and veracity. The dumb certainties of experience will attest to its surety. The truth is not merely a moral construct. It is not a subjective application of some man-made ethical system. It is a reflection of the way things actually are. It is a part of the very warp and woof of reality. So, to veer away from the truth is to swerve into the realm of the fantastic. If we don’t live in light of the truth we are simply not being honest with ourselves and those around us. It is a dangerous form of denial. It is not too much to say therefore, that to deliberately and perpetually reject the truth is nothing short of a kind of insanity." Tristan Gylberd

“In the end the truth will out.” William Shakespeare

Friday, April 4

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Everywhere I go these days, thinking Christians seem to be talking about three popular, bestselling books--one good, one bad, and one ugly. The good one is The Reason for God by Tim Keller. The bad one is The Shack by William P. Young. And the ugly one is Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer. Recent reviews reveal just why:

Tim Challies has written very helpful reviews of both Keller's carefully nuanced work of modern apologetics and Young's heterodox parable of modern inquiry. A review by Os Guinness provides some real insight into Schaeffer's deeply troubling memoir.

Thursday, April 3

Flattering Ourselves

"It is natural to mean well, when only abstracted ideas of virtue are proposed to the mind, and no particular passion turns us aside from rectitude; and so willing is every man to flatter himself, that the difference between approving laws, and obeying them is frequently forgotten." Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, April 2

The Subject

"God is never the object of theology; He is always the subject of theology." Helmut Thielecke

"God is never the object of the church; He is always the subject of the church." Carl Trueman

In for the Long Haul

"All too often we overestimate what we can do in five years and we underestimate what we can do in twenty." James Montgomery Boice


"In the name of reaching the unchurched, modern Evangelicalism has often only succeeded in unchurching the churched." Ligon Duncan


"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries; we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures." William Shakespeare

"Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time." Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, April 1

April Fools Day

Since at least the seventeenth century this day has been celebrated with practical jokes and spurious news. Mark Twain commented in his Pudd’n Head Wilson’s Calendar, "This is the one day upon which we are reminded of what we actually are on the other three hundred and sixty-four."

The Future of the Republic

A new book from New York Times Magazine reporter, Matt Bai, makes a compelling case for the contention that even if the Democrats are able to win the presidential election this year, there is a hole in the heart of the party. In The Argument, Bai focuses on the forces that have emerged within the party in recent years--from meddling, megalomanical billionaire donors to geeky, monomaniacal internet activists--and their battles with the "Establishment." Of course, most of Bai's most disturbing observations could just as easily apply to the Republicans. Clearly, none of this bodes well for the future of the Republic.