Monday, November 28, 2011

Of The Father's Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd; He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed, righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted none in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive, evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men, thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens, with glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Au­rel­i­us Pru­den­ti­us, 5th Cen­tu­ry (Corde na­tus ex pa­ren­tis); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, 1854, and Hen­ry W. Bak­er, 1859.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


It’s really very simple: Christmas is the feast of the incarnation and the season following that event. Advent is the recognition that we need a savior and the longing for that savior to come, according to God’s promises.

Christmas is joyous, but the joy comes after weeks of waiting, watching, lamenting and calling upon God. Advent is that season of waiting; of looking for the signs and promises of the savior in the scriptures and in the world.

That distinction should save us. We think we can manufacture our own salvation by going shopping. Advent says we cannot save ourselves, that only God can save us and that in his own time and in his own way.

Michael Spencer

Friday, November 25, 2011

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Friday, November 18, 2011

Penn State, Joe Paterno, and the Meaning of Justice

Papa Joe is gone; fired from his job as head football coach at Penn State University. Allegations abound of criminal sexual misconduct involving a minor child on the part of an assistant coach, and a cover up of those criminal actions on the part of college administrators. Did I mention the president of PSU was also fired?

The reactions to this whole sordid affair have been pretty intense as one would expect given the emotional punch that sexual abuse of children rightly generates in our culture. As usually happens in these and similar cases, the popular sentiment is the alleged perpetrator is obviously guilty, the school also obviously guilty, and burning at the stake is to lenient a sentence for perpetrators of such atrocities. It is very easy to let the heat of emotion have rule and sway over our comments on this disgusting sordid affair, and for that heat and emotion to color our sense of what justice in this case should look like.

What I want to do in this post is step back from the emotion and heat of the Penn State scandal, and take a look at some of aspects of what justice is that should temper our heat and emotion as we view this affair.

Foremost and fundamentally justice is about truth. Justice is not about what allegedly happened, or about what you and I think happened, but about what actually empirically did happen. Justice is not based on what is reported in the news media, or on what you or I choose to believe happened. That is why in our court system we have rules about what evidence and testimony can be given in any specific judicial court case.

Justice is about culpability and having the consequence of criminal actions involve an accountability for those actions that is in measure with the nature of the criminal activity. The determining of culpability defines guilt or degree of guilt. We are answering the question of who is to be held accountable for what happened, and taking measure of what the appropriate consequence should be. A side caution to the question of culpability is that of guilt by association. We don't hold the bank robber's children accountable for the father's crime, even though there are secondary consequences the children will suffer as a result.

Justice is also about protecting the innocent; the innocent victims, and the innocent accused. The victim requires justice for the loss suffered. Justice says the innocent are to be acquitted when falsely accused. We also need to again look at the issue of guilt by association. In the above example, the bank robber's children are innocent and not considered as being guilty of the crime of the father.

It gets a little complicated doesn't it?

There is a lot more that could be said for these three aspects of justice and there may be other aspects that could be mentioned.

So what are some conclusions we can draw from this discussion?

A lot of innocent people; students, PSU athletes, faculty, alumni, staff, parents, taxpayers, PSU sports fans, and etc. are and will be to one degree or another impacted by this scandal. Justice would say we need to cut them a break, and avoid guilt by association. It also means we need to give the PSU community room and time to heal and move on, while at the same time giving the victims due and full justice. That will take some real wisdom.

Our statements of opinion on the affair need to be tempered by the fact that all we are hearing about this is from secondary and tertiary sources, and as such is hearsay. It may prove to be true hearsay, but it is still hearsay.

If in the course of investigation the allegations are proven true, all those guilty and culpable need to be made to answer in proportion to the degree of their specific guilt and culpability.

All involved; victims, innocent PSU community members, and the guilty need our prayers. With a understanding of all that justice means, we can't go wrong in praying that justice will be done in the Penn State scandal.

"But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

~ Amos 5:24

[Side Note: The context of my interest in the Penn State scandal is through my alma mater Michigan State University's association with Penn State in the Big Ten conference. The ripples of the scandal reach to all Big Ten schools; just ask Nebraska who played a conference football game with Penn State at Penn State just a few days after Paterno's firing. ]

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Decade Ago Already?

I have had occasion to ponder some of the events in my life that happened 10 years ago this month. Has it been that long already?

It was a time of change for myself and my family; significant major change. Those events were a culmination of things that had been churning and gestating and fermenting for a number of years before they reached the point of critical mass and our world shifted.

Yes, it was only a few months after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York. But what was going on in my life and the life of my family at that time was not the stuff of newspaper headlines.

Looking back at that time, in all our personal turmoil and tumult, what I remember most is how God's hand guided us through the darkness, and how in those personal and family events of November 2001, that point of deepest darkness was actually the point when the light of dawn began to break upon our weary hearts and souls.

In the end we were free. Truly and really free...

God is good... "Hereto has the LORD helped us..." To Him be all praise, honor, and glory foever and ever. Amen!