Wednesday, October 27

A Prophetic Machen

J. Gresham Machen was prophetic about many things. His insight into ideas and their consequences made him stunningly precient. Even so, it is difficult to believe that he could have the foresight to write this--and in 1923 no less!

"When one considers what the public schools of America in many places already are--their materialism, their discouragement of any sustained intellectual effort, their encouragement of pseudo-scientific fads of experimental psychology--one can only be appalled by the thought of a commonwealth in which there is no escape from such a soul-killing system."

Wow! May God have mercy on us--nearly a century on.

New College Franklin

Monday, October 18

200! 30! 12! 2! 1!

We really are going to do it! Soon! On the first weekend in November, we are going to run 200 miles, in about 30 hours, with 12 friends, accompanied by 2 support vans, all for 1 great cause!

The Great Ragnar Race is an organized run across Tennessee from Chattanooga to Nashville. Our team will be running in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the worthy and needy recipients of Chalmers Fund scholarships--particularly at Franklin Classical School and New College Franklin.

We believe that what we are called to do and what we are called to be ought not be hampered by financial limitations. Thus, the Chalmers Fund of the King's Meadow Study Center has been established to support substantive Christian discipleship and education though endowments, scholarships, and resource development from Franklin to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Won't you support our efforts? Visit our Sum Ergo Zoom project site to donate or help us fundraise today! And please do pass the word! There is a method in our madness! Really, I promise!

Mildred Jefferson: Pro-Life Stalwart

Mildred Jefferson, pioneer physician, teacher, reformer, mentor, and friend to an entire generation of pro-life leaders has gone home to be with the Lord at age 84.

Born in Pittsburg, Texas, in 1926, the daughter of a schoolteacher and a Methodist pastor, she was raised in the beautiful East Texas town of Carthage and graduated from Texas College in Tyler. She earned a master’s degree from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Then, she went on to become the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and the first woman to be a surgical intern at Boston City Hospital.

Dr. Jefferson gained renown as a clinical professor of surgery at Boston University Medical School--and over the years was awarded honorary degrees by 28 colleges and universities.

She was one of the early, visionary founders of the modern pro-life movement. A tireless servant-leader, she helped to establish more than 30 pro-life organizations, boards, and committees including the National Right to Life Committee--of which she remained the at-large director to the day she died.

Her credo was unequivocal, "I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live."

Dr. Jefferson was a dear and gracious friend to me, a ready counselor during the days when I first was researching and writing Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, and a faithful supporter of LifeNet, the organization we established together to stem the rising tide of RU-486 and other pharmaceutical abortifacients.

Though we mourn the loss of one of America's greatest heroes, we rejoice that Dr. Jefferson is now in the presence of her Savior, beholding the glory of the risen Christ.

Saturday, October 16

"Autumn Poem" by Ben House

The jaded first look revealed that summer might stay.
Only the second glance revealed a changing leaf,
Casting an autumnal pall over a late day,
When so slight an orange tint could tinge weak belief.

In autumn I see the empiric decline,
When leaves are surrendered to the barbaric wind,
Leaving unshorn limbs’ barren skeletal design
As before scourging, they, their colored garments rend.

When like Persephone’s tears, hope turns to dark gloom,
With only fading memory of that last day,
And with the fade of petals, the sad droop of bloom,
Dusk covers the season with darkened sky of gray

And yet, that momentary discontent of loss
Is halted in shock of color of fallen days,
When from that foliate descent to bare limbed cross
Glimpses of life even in death breach through the haze.

The 3rd and Final Volume

Friday, October 15

"Theme in Yellow" by Carl Sandburg

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

Tuesday, October 12

Making a Difference

January 22, 2011 marks the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. On January 3rd, the 112th United States Congress will open with newly elected representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives joining the incumbents. This is an important opportunity to influence our nation’s leaders on the critical issue of abortion.

To coincide with both of these dates, Ligonier Ministries will send R.C. Sproul’s Twentieth Anniversary special edition of Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue to every member of Congress. Won't you help? Ligonier's goal is to raise $6,000 to fund this effort. Every $10 donation will send a book to one of our representatives.

May God be pleased to use this resource, along with a letter from R.C. Sproul, to make an impact on the hearts and minds of our representatives in Congress.

Sunday, October 10

"How Can It Be?" by Tristan Gylberd

Guard us Lord, from the Judas kiss;
Keep us Lord, from the way of Cain;
From the error of Balaam; From the rebellion of Korah.
We confess that we are Jezebels at heart, every one of us;
We are Icabods; We are Hamans;
We are Tobiahs and Sanballats;
We are Abimelechs and Absaloms;
We are Chedoloamers and Eglons.
Indeed, we are all Adams.
How can it be?
The seeds of destruction have been sown, even as You have blessed us:
Though You have offered us sweet fountains of life,
We have thirsted for the bitter waters;
Though You have laden high the festal table,
We have hungered for thorns and thistles.
How can it be?
We have become adepts:
In a reverse alchemy,
Turning gold to base,
Turning blessing to cursing.
We are waterless clouds and fruitless trees;
We are wild waves and wandering stars.
Meet us here, Lord:
Give us Gospel sanity,
That we might yet again relent;
That we might yet again repent.

Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper was one of the most remarkable men of the twentieth century. A true poly math, the Dutch statesman made his mark as a pastor, theologian, journalist, educator, orator, publisher, politician, and reformer.

He was born in 1837, just seven years after Belgium and the Netherlands separated. Though his pious family background, quiet rural community, and meager local schooling combined to afford him only very humble resources, he was a bright student and was early on marked out for great things. He attended the university at Leiden and quickly demonstrated an aptitude for serious scholastic work. Following his postgraduate work, he pastored a succession of churches—first in Beesd, then in Utrect, and finally in Amsterdam. He became the leader of the theological conservatives who were working hard to hold at bay the encroachments of modernists and liberals.

By 1872, he had begun publishing a daily newspaper, De Standaard. He was already the editor of the inspirational monthly magazine, De Heraut. In addition, he had founded a new legal organization to protect the concerns of private Christian schools and had spearheaded the reorganization of the political conservatives into the Anti-Revolutionary Party. He was elected to the lower assembly and quickly became the leading exponent and spokesman for spiritual orthodoxy, fiscal restraint, and judicial tradition.

As if all these activities were not enough, he continued the serious academic research he had begun at the university, he wrote a flurry of books, pamphlets, and broadsides, and he managed a heavy speaking schedule at home and abroad. In later years he would also establish the Free University of Amsterdam, give vision and direction to the new Dutch Reformed Church, and lead a coalition government as the Prime Minister. He was a genuine renaissance man in every respect.

He first entered politics as a member of the lower chamber of the Dutch legislature, at the head of a new Conservative and Christian coalition party. After breaking with the national church and forming the Free Reformed Church in 1886, he united the Calvinist and Catholic parties and in 1901 formed a reformed Christian Conservative ministry, serving as minister of the interior until 1905 and Prime Minister until 1907. He served in the upper house of the legislature from 1913 to 1920.

Beginning on this day in 1898, he gave an influential series of lectures at Princeton University in New Jersey in which he developed the idea of a comprehensive and universal Christian woldview—rooted in the Reformation doctrines of Calvinism. Before his death in 1920, he was able to successfully mobilize the ordinary citizens of the great Dutch nation to do the difficult work of societal transformation—through the consistent application of the Christian worldview he so articulately espoused.

Friday, October 8

The Quintessential TR

At a campaign stop in Milwaukee on this day in 1912, a deranged, out-of-work bartender emerged from a crowd and shot Theodore Roosevelt in the chest at point-blank range. Staggered by the impact of the bullet and the shock of the injury, the great man nevertheless righted himself. As the crowd converged on the man, the wounded former president cried, “Stand back! Don’t hurt the man! Bring him to me!” After examining his would-be assassin with a dismissive glare, he told his aides to get him to the rally. “This may be the last speech I deliver,” he admitted.

Seeing that he was bleeding heavily, several doctors in Roosevelt’s party wanted to rush him to the hospital at once, but he waved them aside. “You just stay where you are,” he ordered. “I am going to make this speech and you might as well compose yourselves.” When they persisted, he said, “Get an ambulance or a carriage or anything you like at ten o’clock and I’ll go to the hospital, but I won’t go until I’ve finished my speech.” He then demanded that his driver proceed to the auditorium.

The crowd was told what had happened. But as Roosevelt appeared on the platform, the familiar figure smiled and waved weakly to the awestruck crowd. “It is true,” he whispered in a hoarse voice, “I have just been shot. But it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Now beginning to gain his composure, he said, “Friends, I should ask you to be as quiet as possible. And please excuse me from making a long speech. I’ll do the best I can.”

He then took his manuscript from his jacket; it had been pierced through by the bullet and was soaked with blood. “It is nothing,” he said as the people gasped. “I am not hurt badly. I have a message to deliver and will deliver it as long as there is life in my body.” The audience became deathly still as he went on to say, “I have had an A-1 time in life and I am having it now.”

He always had the ability to cast an intoxicating spell over crowds. Even now, his physical presence was dominating. Though he was bleeding profusely, he went on to speak for an hour and a half. By the end he had almost completely regained his typical stump fervor—rousing the crowd to several extended ovations. When at last he allowed his concerned party to take him to the hospital, the audience reached a near frenzy chanting “Teddy! Teddy! Teddy!”

At the hospital he joked and talked politics with his attendants. But his condition was hardly a joking matter. The surgeons found that the bullet had fractured his fourth rib and lodged close to his right lung. “It is largely due to the fact that he is a physical marvel that he was not mortally wounded,” observed one of them later. “He is one of the most powerful men I have ever seen on an operating table.”

Nevertheless, he was no longer a young buck at the age of fifty-four. He was required—against his quite considerable will—to sit out the remainder of the campaign. Later, his biographers would view the incident as quintessential Roosevelt: imposing the sheer force of his will upon a seemingly impossible circumstance, and yet prevailing.

Tuesday, October 5

"A Vagabond Song" by Bliss Carmen

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood--
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets my gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

This one is courtesy of Ben House and for TaraJane.

"Fall, Leaves, Fall" by Emily Jane Brontë

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Monday, October 4

"October" by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

1934: Deja Vu, All Over Again?

Sunday, October 3

"Show Me Dear Christ," by John Donne

Show me dear Christ, thy spouse so bright and clear.
What! Is it she which on the other shore
Goes richly painted? Or which, robb'd and tore,
Laments and mourns in Germany and here?
Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?
Is she self-truth, and errs? Now new, now outwore?
Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?
Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
First travel we to seek, and then make love?
Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,
And let mine amorous soul court thy mild Dove,
Who is most true and pleasing to thee then
When she'is embrac'd and open to most men.

Saturday, October 2

Ragnar Relay

What we are called to do and what we are called to be ought not be hampered by financial limitations. Thus, the Chalmers Fund of the King's Meadow Study Center has been established to support substantive Christian discipleship and education though endowments, scholarships, and resource development from Franklin to the uttermost parts of the earth.

The Ragnar Relay is a 200-mile, 30-hour, run across Tennessee from Chattanooga to Nashville. Our twelve team members will be running in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the worthy and needy recipients of Chalmers Fund scholarships--particularly at Franklin Classical School and New College Franklin.

Really! 200 miles, 30 hours, 11 friends, in 2 vans, all to raise scholarships for worthy, needy students: surely that warrants your support! Visit our Sum Ergo Zoom project site to donate or help fundraise today!

"Love and a Question" by Robert Frost

A Stranger came to the door at eve,
   And he spoke the bridegroom fair.
He bore a green-white stick in his hand,
   And, for all burden, care.
He asked with the eyes more than the lips
   For a shelter for the night,
And he turned and looked at the road afar
   Without a window light.

The bridegroom came forth into the porch
   With, ‘Let us look at the sky,
And question what of the night to be,
   Stranger, you and I.’
The woodbine leaves littered the yard,
   The woodbine berries were blue,
Autumn, yes, winter was in the wind;
   ‘Stranger, I wish I knew.’

Within, the bride in the dusk alone
   Bent over the open fire,
Her face rose-red with the glowing coal
   And the thought of the heart’s desire.
The bridegroom looked at the weary road,
   Yet saw but her within,
And wished her heart in a case of gold
   And pinned with a silver pin.

The bridegroom thought it little to give
   A dole of bread, a purse,
A heartfelt prayer for the poor of God,
   Or for the rich a curse;
But whether or not a man was asked
   To mar the love of two
By harboring woe in the bridal house,
   The bridegroom wished he knew.

Friday, October 1

"The Convert" by G. K. Chesterton

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

"Among the Rocks" by Robert Browning

Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth,
      This autumn morning! How he sets his bones
To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet
For the ripple to run over in its mirth;
      Listening the while, where on the heap of stones
The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.

That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;
      Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows.
If you loved only what were worth your love,
Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:
      Make the low nature better by your throes!
Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!