Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fathers & Sons Work at White Swan Reservation

April 17-19, fathers and sons from Faith Presbyterian Church gathered on the White Swan Indian Reservation to chop firewood for two mother and daughter widows. We settled in Friday evening at Harrah Community Church and then circled up to consider the importance of developing a Christian work ethic. "Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor" (Proverbs 12:24). We discussed the dangers of "cool" and the sloth that results when young men learn to swagger instead of learn to sweat. We then discussed John 6:27 and the importance of learning to work for what "endures to eternal life," and concluded with Colossians 3:23-24 and the critical importance of working before the face of God in all that our hand finds to do (see HOLD FAST In a Broken World, chapter 7).

Wendell, tribal elder with the Yakama Nation, spoke to us during our lunch break about the challenges facing his people. "Everything that's bad for you," he told the young men, "Indians rank high in, and everything that's good for you, we rank low in." He went on and elabortated on the high alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, teen pregnancy, and suicide that is devistatingly normal on the reservation. He expressed deep gratitude for Chris and Mary Granberry and the ministry of Sacred Road, and he expressed deep sorrow at the loss of his third adult child to suicide. Click on the video to hear his sobering words to fathers and sons. Pray for Wendell that he will come to a full understanding of the grace of God in Christ.

It was a long hot day of slave labor! We split some 9 cords of fire wood for the two widows, a savings of $320.00 per month on their next winter's electric bill. One hot sweaty young man said, "Dad, I hurt in so many places that if I told you about all of them my mouth would be hurting too."

We had a father/son splitting contest that resulted in more or less of a draw, but, then, you can be the judge by checking out the rivalry between Bond and his son Desmond in the video clip below (Desmond's round, I am sure, was tougher and more gnarly than mine).

Learn to Work, from HOLD FAST In a Broken World

from HOLD FAST In a Broken World, chapter 7, Learn to Work

Work like a buckle-head
Medieval Roman Catholicism taught that good works were essential to earn ones salvation. These good works took on various forms, but included acts of penitence to pay for the temporal punishment of sins. Rejecting the Roman error, Martin Luther and John Calvin, nevertheless, did believe in work. But work was a result not a cause of salvation. Good works were the fruit, not the root, of salvation.
Reformers embraced with gusto the biblical doctrine of calling, whereby it was understood that all of life was sacred, including work. Every task was to be done as an act of service to God. If you were a plowman, or a milkmaid, or a blacksmith—however lowly your task in the world’s eyes, you were to do your work before the face of God as an expression of love and service to Christ.
From the Reformed doctrine of calling emerged the Puritan work ethic, the moral and spiritual foundation on which the current American work ethic totters precariously. Puritans saw every activity as sacred and, therefore, as eternally significant. Puritan Richard Baxter urged his flock in Kidderminster, “Promise not long life to yourselves, but live as those that are always uncertain of another day.”
“This approach to life,” wrote Leland Ryken, “resulted in three vintage Puritan traits: the ideal of the God-centered life, the doctrine of calling or vocation, and the conviction that all of life is God's.” If all of life is to be lived to the glory of God, if the chief end of man is to glorify and enjoy God forever, then work, the thing we spend a great portion of our lives doing is to be both enjoyed and done to the glory of God.
While seventeenth-century detractors of the Puritans dubbed them, “disciplinarians,” today’s critics accuse them of being kill-joy, buckle-heads. Some construct a caricature of Puritans moping around slaving away to redeem themselves from original sin, nobody cracking a smile or having any fun in the process.
These absurd constructs are favorites of postmoderns looking for excuses to vilify Christianity and free-market economics in one fell swoop. “The Puritans aspired to be worldly saints--” continued Ryken, “Christians with earth as their sphere of activity and with heaven as their ultimate hope.” This is illustrated by the exhortation Baxter offered to workers, “Write upon the doors of thy shop and chamber, ‘This is the time on which my endless life dependeth.’”
Young men ought to think this way about everything they do, but especially about work. Work is the proving ground of faith. “Faith without works is dead,” wrote James. A great deal of your happiness and that of your wife and children someday will depend upon you developing a heart-felt Puritan work ethic in your youth. Those who do will be useful to both God and man. Those who don’t will be useful to neither.
But there are a host of impediments that stand in the way of a young man developing a biblical work ethic...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

*Podcast: KTIS radio interview with Douglas Bond, Fathers and Sons

Click above to listen to a podcast interview on Along the Way Radio, KTIS, 900. This recent talk show interview, broadcasted from Minneapolis, on Fathers & Sons (STAND FAST In the Way of Truth) between Bond and Stefanie Kay at explores causes of the decline of manhood in an increasingly feminizing culture, and how to teach our sons to be real men and turn the destructive tide that enervates manhood.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hymnology with enthusiastic high schoolers

April 6, 2009, I spent the entire day with a group of some of the finest high school young men and women I have met in a single group. Gospel Outreach of Olympia, an erstwhile pentecostal church and school, started during the 1970s Jesus Movement, ask me to come and teach a full day on Christian hymns, hymn writers, and on how to write hymns.

There is something refreshing about a room full of wholesome, enthusiastic, well-groomed (guys in neat khakis and navy polos, girls in classic tartan skirts, white blouses and sweater vests), hands in the air, thoughtful questions, meanigful comments and feedback. What a delightful bunch!

The sponsering church terms itself now, not pentecostal, but a Reformational church, and are hungry for the deep truths of the gospel and for sung worship appropriate to its grand object. I began with Psalm 98, emphasizing throughout the central importance of the Psalms shaping and informing all "new songs" we contribute to the Church's worship (Click here for more hymns of the New Reformation: Then we read Colossians 3:16, and examined the three functions of Psalms and hymns: codify doctrine, unify the church in every age, and glorify God. We discussed specific ways these three functions of hymns have been supplanted in recent years by postconservative, entertainment objectives.

I used Isaac Watts (Jesus Shall Reign, Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, and When I Survey the Wonderous Cross), Anna Waring, and then (with apologies) several of my own efforts. I explained the theological and imaginative thinking going on in my own head and heart as I work at writing a hymn. I also explained that it was not pumbing; there is no simple formula for writing poetry of any kind, and certainly none for a hymn, not for one that might find its way into the enduring canon of what Christians at their best would want to offer to God in sung worship.

We listened and read Creator God, Our Sovereign Lord, and King Jesus Reigns. Listen below.

Click here to read full text of these and other hymns of the New Reformation:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Two Talks in Vancouver

March 21, 2009, the Clark County Home Educators and First Class Homeschool Co-op West, had me come to Vancouver, Washington for a morning seminar on the importance of honoring worthy heroes and another talk on fathers & sons, challenges we face in a sex and sports saturated world.

I drew material for the first session on heroes from chapter 21 in STAND FAST In the Way of Truth and from chapter 9 in HOLD FAST In a Broken World. The next session I drew from material in chapter 11 of STAND FAST, "Self-Control and Sex," based on Paul's admonitions about avoiding sexual immorality in I Thessalonians 4:1-12. Then I signed books and talked with readers.

One father came up afterward and, while attempting to say something to me, broke down in tears. We stepped aside and found a corner to chat for a while. His father left the home when he was three years old. He never remembers having received a hug or any sign of affection from his dad. He said he so much wants to be a better father to his sons than his father was to him.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tartan Day April 6, 2009

from Duncan's War (chapter 2)

...Try as they might, the gloom lingered throughout the rest of the meal. Then Duncan heard it: the faint skirling of Ancient Grier’s pipes drifting down the brae and into the cottage.

“There now, Grier approaches fit to wake the dead from here to Dumfries,” said Duncan’s mother, clearing the table.

“He’ll tell us stories,” said Jenny hopefully.

Duncan's father's eyes clouded slightly.

"Won't he, Father?" Jenny persisted.

“After prayers,” said her father shortly.

Ancient Grier halted outside their croft, the piping now sounding loud and alarming. Duncan's heart beat faster. The wailing of pipes always made him wish he had a two-fisted broad sword in hand and a pack of English or Covenant breakers to throw himself at; he wasn’t overly particular which.

He and his sisters, Angus toddling behind, ran to the door and threw it open. A path of light fell on the old man, his face red and cheeks bulging as he blew air into the sheep stomach of his bagpipes. Lit up against the dusk, he marched in place as he played, until with a deflating screech, not unlike the sound of a goose at the chopping block, the tune came to an end.

“Peace be on this house!” said the old man as they welcomed him i

nto the cottage.

After brief conversation about spring planting, goat kids and lambs, they sat down around the table. Duncan's father said solemnly, "Let us worship God." He then led the family in a prayer full of devotion and hope, his voice rising and falling with passion as he prayed. When he finished, he took the family Bible in his great hands and opened it slowly and carefully as if it were some rare and delicate treasure, easily broken if misused.

"Hear the Word of our Lord from the Proverbs of Solomon, the sixteenth chapter," he said, reverence and firmness in his voice. "'Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.'" Duncan's father paused, eyeing his son over the sacred pages...


from STAND FAST In the Way of Truth (chapter 8)

...John Neilson of Corsock made his choice. After the Restoration in 1660, Neilson refused to bow to the adulterer King Charles II, the usurper of the “crown rights of the Redeemer in his Kirk.” For Neilson’s stand, the king’s dragoons forced him from his ancestral castle in Glenkens, Scotland. Destitute, with his wife and children, he “took to the heather.” Hunted by the scourge of the Covenanters, James Turner, captain of the king’s garrison in Dumfries, Neilson not only lost all his lands and wealth for his loyalty to Christ’s Crown and Covenant, his wife died of exposure in their flight. Finally taken at Rullion Green, Neilson was marched to the Grassmarket in Edinburgh on December 14, 1666. Before his voice was drowned out by the ominous drum roll, he spoke boldly before the king’s henchmen. “If I had many worlds I would lay them all down, as now I do my life for Christ and his cause.”

This clear-sighted Scots laird was no fool. He gave what he could not keep to win what enriches for all eternity. Young man, be like this saintly man. Start by knowing your heart when it comes to money, and stop daydreaming about it...