Here’s Trevin being all reasonable again:
A couple weeks ago, I nearly tore my hair out when the news broke that Chili’s had an affiliate who wanted to help diners donate a portion of their meal’s proceeds to Planned Parenthood. Chili’s is where my family eats most often. (Yes, Chili’s—to the jeering of my foodie friends who like to mock!) Thankfully, within just a day or two, Chili’s issued a statement to assure their patrons that the restaurant was not supporting Planned Parenthood and that donations to the abortion giant would not be taking place.
But the news made me tired. For a moment, I thought, Will I no longer be able to enjoy a meal on Sunday afternoon with my family at Chili’s without thinking of the politics of abortion?
Like all important stories, this one begins with a bit of #fakenews.
Apparently, in September of 1894, a couple of newspapers had reported that Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue Baptist Church was introducing a “novelty in communion service”—individual little cups for each communicant. A century ago, this sort of idea was so insanely crazy that apparently Brooklynites just had to see it for themselves, and the church was packed to the gills with visitors desperate to know what it would be like to drink grape juice out of little shot glasses. (Presumably, the Dodgers were having a bad season that year.) These would-be communicants went home disappointed.
The letter my family’s been waiting for has just arrived. Nine months after starting the citizenship process, we’ve been asked to attend the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids on 15 March for a “Naturalization Oath Ceremony to complete the naturalization process.” Yes, we’ve been approved for US. citizenship! Why have we taken this massive step?
In recent years I’ve observed the drag upon my creativity, particularly in preparing my sermons, writing, and planning. I would schedule my days full with blocks of time after blocks of time. Building off of each, often with little margin, I would feel incredibly productive while at the same time miserably uncreative. I wondered why I got so many ideas when I was falling asleep at night, taking a shower, or riding my bicycle. The answer was clear: I had created a margin for my mind to wander and think. These seasons of free time have served to be something of a gust of fresh air into a stuffy room.
Stories have always connected with people. This is likely one reason why Christ so often spoke using parables. He could have told his audience how bad they were and how much God loved them, but to hear of an ungrateful son who wished his father dead and squandered his wealth leaves a much greater impact when the jilted father comes running to embrace his son and welcomes him home.
If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, GLH just released a new edition of one of my favorites by J.C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men. It is definitely worth your time.
A favorite from the archives:
A bit of backstory: I was baptized in a more-or-less spontaneous situation. I’d been a Christian for about three months at that point and knew it was something I should do, but didn’t know when. One weekend in August 2005, the church we attended was performing baptisms (the majority of which were planned in advance). Emily and I watched each person and as we did, I felt compelled to get baptized. So Emily and I both talked to the youth pastor, asked if we could, the pastor got back into his wet pants, we shared what God had been doing in our lives—how He brought us to faith, how the gospel changed us—and then we were baptized.
The church I was baptized in was careful—their wasn’t a pressure for us to get baptized right away. There wasn’t an overly emotional appeal at the end, although they did invite people to come forward if they felt the Holy Spirit compel them to do so (which is fairly typical for most evangelical churches these days from what I can tell).