Smoke alarm.

On Monday night, I decided that my Friday post would center on World Vision’s employment policy change, opening up the way for people in state-recognized same-sex unions to work at World Vision without violating the evangelically-inclined institution’s morality clause. Of course, as you likely know by now, WV has since reversed their decision, and threw in some convincing* (to my mind) mea culpa‘s, to boot. There are some in the Christian quarters of the internet that cheered this reversal, some that sneered, some that doubted Richard Stearns’ motives, and some that were relieved they personally didn’t have to make what they felt was a difficult moral decision. I was part of this last group.

I started sponsoring a child with World Vision about 10 years ago. I keep her pictures on my fridge. Her name is Meselech.  I’ve blogged about her in the past. [Please pardon some squishy theology in that post, by the way–for what it’s worth, I was still an Arminian then, so who knows what other kinds of crazy stuff I believed**.]

I’ve since sponsored several others over the years. Some left their programs, some I just couldn’t afford to help anymore. But right now, I sponsor two girls through World Vision (one in Kenya and one in Haiti), and because I take this issue of marriage seriously, WV-USA’s corporate decision gave me pause.

I saw the digital slings and arrows from indignant people mocking Christians who felt the way I did, that confusion, that discomfort. People who said that anyone who wanted to end their association with WV on principle loved dogma more than children and shouldn’t call themselves followers of Jesus.  [Yes, I saw your Facebook posts. I saw your tweets. I was offended, but I didn’t say anything, because, why? Would it have made a difference?]

I decided before making any decisions, I would talk to the person I know who has the strongest opinions on the issue of orphan care: my beloved fiancée. And even though the “issue” had been resolved by the time we could discuss it, I still wanted to hear her heart on the issue.  She’s spent the last several years of her life and career focused on orphan-care issues, and this stuff matters to her. So her measured approach, which I appreciated, was that she would have finished her committed terms with the kids she was currently sponsoring, and then moved her money to a similar organization doing similar work that fit more in line with her beliefs. But she would have made sure that the children she was sponsoring were taken care of, first. I think this is where I would have landed on this question, as well. It seems like the best possible response.

This may make no sense to you, all this sturm und drang about same-sex unions in relief organizations. That’s fine. But it matters to me, because doctrine matters to me. Theology isn’t just an academic exercise; it bleeds over into all areas of life. If you don’t believe that, it’s not because your theology doesn’t affect your life; it’s probably because a different theology than the one you vocally espouse is the one that affects your life.

Everyone is a theologian. I think R.C. Sproul said that first, and it’s true. You, right now, reading this blog post, are a theologian, because you have some sort of belief system about God. It could be an atheist theology, an agnostic theology, an indifferent theology, a socially-focused theology, but it’s there, like the rebar reinforcing your moral and ideological foundations.

My theology, my beliefs about God, they say something about marriage. My theology says something about sexuality. My theology says something about caring for orphans and widows in their distress. I cannot in good conscience selectively apply my theology to one side of this discussion OR to the other.

Well, this is all sound and fury, signifying nothing, right? After all, World Vision reversed their position. Everyone can go back to the church potluck, right?  No. Because this isn’t over. This is just the beginning of what I anticipate will be a lifetime of these kinds of discussions and decisions. This issue isn’t a fringe issue, and it isn’t going away. What we believe about sexuality, about marriage, and about God will always be an active part of how we live as humans in society and what we talk about in our communities. So it’s better to get this sorted now.

This was just a test. Like pressing the button on a smoke alarm. Screech, then silence, with just a bit of a ringing in our ears.

 

 

[*I know of several bloggers, pastors, and thinkers who didn’t feel this was convincing enough, and are assuming the apology was more in the “we’re sorry we got smacked” vein. While that’s certainly possible, I agree with Dr. Albert Mohler’s assessment that this apology went farther than the typical sheepish recoil of a chastised public figure. I also believe that the apology statement revealed a really doctrine-poor thought process generated the first announcement, and that has its own set of issues to discuss. For someone else, though.]

[**That’s a joke, people. Lighten up. I simply believed that I had the power to choose or reject Jesus of my own free will, completely unencumbered by one side or the other affecting my decision. Oh, and that I could have conversations with God “in my spirit” that were almost on par with what He tells me in His word. See? Totally rational…um…]

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Wednesday Guest Post by Webster Hunt: “Fred Phelps and the Pleasure of God”

[“Wednesday Guest Posts” is a new feature here at the 4thDaveBlog–I guess since it’s been two weeks, we can almost call it a “regular” feature. This week, we again hear from my friend Webster Hunt. Follow Web at @livingheart on Twitter.]

Give me a few moments to tell you about how I was caught off guard last week, upon reading of the death of Fred Phelps, having my attention brought to Ezekiel 18:23 – where God rhetorically asks, “Do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked?” – , and understanding a glimpse of the riches of His mercy in Jesus Christ, who fully “exegeted” the Father to us, to borrow a phrase.

If you’re reading this blog post, I’m assuming you have the internet, so I’m assuming you know who Fred Phelps is (if you don’t, open up a new tab a Google him – you can hate me later for it). One of the things he seemed to center on was this idea that the highest thing God desired was to condemn the wicked, which seemed to be everyone but the small group of followers he had. It’s ironic, really.

Let’s pretend for a moment that Fred Phelps was right – that God’s highest joy and priority is to bring His enemies into rightful condemnation.  (And I hope you do understand that it is rightful. I mean, God gives life and breath and movement to his creation, just to name some very basic things, so 1) What does man do with every moment of each of those? Also 2) So who exactly IS God’s enemy?  Even, if you’re a Christian, there was a season in actual time where you were a child of wrath, where you relished in your inherited sin nature and did whatever your heart desired; and even if you weren’t as bad as you could be, you weren’t holy as God is holy, and that presents a problem.)

So if God’s highest joy is pouring out His wrath on His enemies, how are you reading this right now? How in the world is there an elect people, a church, a people which He calls His own peculiar treasure, His prized possession? Why did He even let Adam out of the garden?

Ok, we can stop pretending, because what Fred Phelps believes is a lie. We know this because if it were true, then all of mankind would be immediately condemned, immediately subjected to the wrath we deserve as God-hating sinners from birth. We know this because of God’s own revelation of Himself.

What do we see in God’s self-revelation in scripture? We see Holy and Just God clothing His newly banished man to cover their shame. We see Him forbearing with Cain and his improper sacrifice. We see Him giving the Amorites time to “fill up” their sin. We see God forbearing with the question of Abraham of whether He would kill the righteous with the wicked. We see Him choose a people who would be stiff-necked and despise every good thing He would give to them, as a whole. We see Him sparing, and sending prophets, and deposing and rescuing Israel, and saving a remnant, and then, oh then, we see the culmination of His character in Jesus – the One who made the invisible God visible. The One who is the Only Begotten Son of God and the Son of Man. We see the second Adam doing what the first Adam would not. We see the Second Man doing what the first man could not. We see Him always loving, always obeying, always pleasing God the Father who, as a pastor pointed out recently, only spoke of His Son in superlatives – “Here is my BELOVED Son, with whom I am WELL pleased”.  We see Him stooping, giving up the prerogatives to His glory, being found in the form of a servant, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We see Him not being worshiped by every man that walked his way, and sparing that man.

The God who has made Himself known in the revelation of Scripture and ultimately in the Person of Jesus Christ, second person of the Triune God, who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, so that He may save for Himself a peculiar people, a treasured possession–the Scriptures say the Father was pleased to crush His Only Begotten Son. Do you see that? The joy of God to take sinful men and make them in the image of His Holy Son is so infinitely high, that the only contrast to make it plain is to ask, “Do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked?” Because I’ve also got to reckon this: that the death and eternal punishment of the wicked, unrepentant man, who with every breath was only ever always pleased to indulge his sin, however moral he may be (and even the vilest criminal has some sliver of “morality” which it abhors him to see violated) is good and right and holy, and in that fashion pleases God – because what does God do that does NOT please Him? Everything He does is good because He IS good; He is what defines what “good” is. But higher than that, saving a people for Himself by laying the iniquity of them on His own Son who willingly, and to the glory of God His Father, bore their penalty and their wrath and propitiated for them, and then showing that Son’s perfection by His resurrection, and giving the righteousness, the resurrection, the love, and the privilege of being His sons is so much more infinitely better that a negative description of the other is the only way to properly communicate to us His joy.

Now, considering that, I had to ask myself: How can I take pleasure in sin, when it pleased God to crush Him with Whom sin is no friend?

And I hope you take that away with you today as well, to God’s glory in Christ Jesus.

Grace to you all, and thanks again, Dave, for letting me guest-blog today.

Honeymoon.

I’m in the process of planning my honeymoon. (Don’t freak out, this is going to be a family-friendly post. Of course.) If you don’t know exactly where you want to go/stay, it’s a bit of a bewildering process. Lots of details, lots of steps. It’s a fun process, but man oh man. So many choices.

(I’m keeping my beloved in the dark about the location, so I’m not going to tell you, either. Sorry, gang.)

After weeks of online searching, I finally found a place I really liked. Good location, pretty good price point, and, most importantly, a place where I think my bride would be very pleased to spend a week of vacation.

Then I started looking again. Because I’m the type of guy who’s worried that an even better option is just a few web-searches away. I now have a new front-runner–a little more expensive than the first, but MUCH nicer, so it’s a better value in the end.  So, after finding the perfect location, do I finally settle on that one and put down a deposit?

No. I’m still looking. I even have a few friends helping in the search for just the right location.

And this is a ridiculous process. Why? Because ultimately, it won’t matter.  The perfect restaurants, the best view, the most interesting local attractions–they’re all great, and we’ll have a great time with them.  But the point of my honeymoon is going to be spending time enjoying life with my bride. The rest of the stuff is just bonus.

But I forget that. I focus on the locations, and the available amenities, and I miss the very person who is the point. Which is how I approach the idea of heaven, too.

Do you ever wonder about heaven? What it will be like? What we’ll do for all eternity? Lots of people do. That’s the reason there’s such a market for (questionable at best, heretical at worst) books retelling people’s journeys to heaven. (Good luck finding a verified review of heaven on TripAdvisor.)

While the Bible does give us some details that may or may not be symbolic regarding the nature of life in heaven, the Bible is very clear about Who will be there.  We who have been redeemed, who have had our sins washed away, our rebellion forgiven by our gracious God–we who have called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation–we’ll be there with our Bridegroom, the conquering King, the Lamb who was slain and yet is victorious, the Rider on the White Horse, the Faithful and True.

The amenities may be pretty nice…but will they matter? Really?

Green-eyed blogger.

I’ve been blogging on and off for about 12 years. Over that time, I’ve discovered a few new confirmations of Jeremiah 17:9 in my own life. One of these is how I react to blog traffic. I too easily become motivated by stats–do they like what I’m saying? Do they think I’m funny or interesting or insightful?  Suffice it to say, if I had the audience of, say, Jon Acuff, at this point in my writing “career,” I’d be a basket case.

Another problem I have is that I delve into self-analysis a bit too much, especially in the area of blogging. I’m already a bit too introspective and self-reflective, so displaying that tendency in a public forum can get me into trouble. Let’s just say I’ve blog a LOT about blogging. (You may be thinking, “You’re doing it RIGHT NOW, Dave.” But I’m kinda not. Hang in there.)

I’ve been wanting to get back into regular writing for a while. Lord-willing, I’ll transition into writing books and pursue some side-work writing while I move toward full-time pastoral ministry. So I knew I needed to get back into the habit of writing consistently. Obviously, this hasn’t really happened yet. (Did I really think trying to kick this off, while also working full-time, teaching Sunday School, taking online seminary classes, AND helping to plan and carry out my upcoming wedding, was a good idea? Clearly, I also don’t think through some things ENOUGH.)

Past blogs had more of a regular readership, developed over time. I don’t know why, but I guess I assumed that I would jump back in to the blogging and be met with an adoring crowd. (It appears I have writer-vanity tendencies, too.) But without regular content, readership atrophies. It’s the second law of bloggodynamics: readership breaks down if it’s not consistently maintained and boosted with good content. (It’s in a book somewhere; wiki that mess.) So my most recent blogging enterprise has stumbled out of the gate, and I knew I needed something to build momentum.

I heard Michael Hyatt once talk about how guest-posting is great because it cross-pollinates web traffic, plus it gives your readers something new to check out, a new “voice” on your blog. Sounded good to me.

So when Webster Hunt (@livingheart) mentioned that he was considering blogging, I thought, “Hey, one less day I have to produce content, and maybe he can bring some new readers to my page!” I offered him the slot on Wednesday, and he brought a fantastic, confessional, challenging post. A post I frankly needed to hear, now less than 80 days from my wedding.

As a result, I had more blog-traffic that single day than I had in the past few weeks on my own.

And I caught myself becoming bitter about it.  I was jealous that he was not only getting page hits, but comments–Comments!–on his post. I was a little indignant.

And that’s when conviction hit me, like a running arm-bar clothesline. I was suddenly flat on my back, spiritually speaking, and staring up at the spotlights. I realized what was going on. I was falling into the trap of using pageviews and comments to measure my worth or importance, compared to other people. And the fact that another guy got huge response after one post made me angry. It wasn’t “fair.” But that’s when the Spirit starts poking and prodding, and I started asking myself those uncomfortable “why” questions. Why did I want to blog in the first place? Why did I invite Web and a few others to post on my page? Why am I so concerned about pageviews?

One other question weighed heavy on me: Whose glory am I after, right now?

So I wanted to take a moment and confess my sins.

Web, I confess that my motives for inviting you to post were not wholly pure, but I am very glad you took the offer, and I would love to have you post here more often. I still think you should branch out on your own, soon, because you have good stuff to say.

Further, I’m sorry I became a green-eyed blogger for a little while. I tried to hide it, but I want you to know I’m sorry for that, too.

As for the rest of you, I want to apologize for approaching this thing all wrong. You probably didn’t notice, and that’s fine. But I want to do this the right way. So, I’ll work on that. And I’m glad to have you along, for as short or long as you’re willing to hang with me.

Peace and grace. Have a good weekend.

And heed my example: beware the green-eyed blogger.

Wednesday Guest Post: Webster Hunt

[Hey readers–from time to time, I’m going to bring in a guest blogger, just to mix things up. So please allow me to introduce a Twitter friend, Jesus follower, and all-around good dude, Webster Hunt. Follow him on Twitter at @livingheart .] 

Thank you, Dave, for giving me a chance to test the waters of blogging, and thank you, readers, for deciding to continue to read after you discovered that your regularly scheduled blogger had turned the reins over to a complete stranger. My hope is that you’ll be edified, comforted, and encouraged in Christ, and not run over the side of a cliff by a man who obviously has no idea what he’s doing – though he may boast otherwise.

My name is Webster Hunt, I’ve been married for seven years (in May, technically), and for the last three years my wife has been severely sick.  She’s seen so many specialists that I can’t count them. She spent much of 2012 in the hospital. She currently takes about 30 pills a day to fight all her various heart and blood pressure complications. She also has a pacemaker. She’s 26.

This illness took us completely by surprise. I can still remember the night that would foreshadow all the suffering to come – her blood pressure had contually risen all night and peaked at 185/110, at which point we asked her uncle to run her to the ER so that I could take care of our daughters. From that night, her illness only seemed to get worse, and seemed to be one which no doctor could peg down nor treat effectively, and one which would force us to make life-altering decisions in our family. I’m tempted to go into all that changed, but I may unintentionally cause reproach by passing over massive amounts of detail that are necessary for fully understanding all that happened. But in short, that year, our daughters were kindly adopted into a family that could better take care of them than we could and we chose to leave our home church to mitigate the effect our daughters would feel in having to leave us. Those were the hardest parts.

By our Lord’s providence, we found an apartment close to where I work so that I could quickly get to my wife if she needed me to, and we’ve been there since. 2013 was a hard year filled with loneliness and regret that things had to happen the way they did. We missed our daughters, and although we were greatly thankful for our Lord’s providence and love toward us in providing for them two wonderful adoptive parents, we wished that the home they could have been in was ours.  We missed our life before my wife’s illness; the freedoms, the joys, the little things we took for granted.

But we grieved together and whenever one fell into deep sorrow, by the grace of our Lord, the other was able to lift up, weep with, comfort, remind the one whose strength seemed sapped of our Lord’s sovereignty as shown in His Word. Even my wife, in the midst of an illness that attacked her body and mind at various times, was able when I was broken down to give comfort and remind me of the truth that our God, Jesus Christ, had conquered death and sin and was seated at our Father’s right hand, and would avenge any evil done to us, and would take the evil done to us and work it to good.

And here’s where I’m going with all of that: I wish the men who counseled me before marriage (who, in their defense, did their best to prepare us for marriage with all the right intent in all the ways our parents did not or could not or would not) had posed this question to me –

“Do you want to keep your promise that you’ll make at the altar when the sickness is the worst it could be, and it happens before its usual time – after you’ve experienced the joys of marriage for a time and have been husband and wife longer than you’ve had a mortgage – and the normal joys and experiences given to normal young couples dries up, and you have to make sharp sacrifices to take care of her.  When there is no physical joy to be gained, when you have to work your day job and then come home and take care of her too, when all your money is going to treating her illness, and many creature comforts that you would have otherwise experienced is gone and you’re left with the charge from God in scripture to “Love your wife” and “to deal with her in an understanding way” and you understand that your reasonable service to Christ is to be gracious toward your wife and remain steadfast in righteousness and purity when, though your wife’s body belongs to you, you are no longer able to exercise the joy that normally brings, do you still want to be married to her? Are you willing to be a living sacrifice in order to bring glory to Jesus Christ in your marriage by loving her the way 1 Corinthians 13 says a Christian should although you may receive no rewards, no accolades, no praises, no recognition, no glory in this life? Will you remain her husband both because you want to and because you vowed to?”

– because I think it would have made me take marriage more seriously in the first four years. Praise God that He prepared us by giving us mature men and women who would train us up to understand on the far-side what we neglected in the beginning.

Now granted, when that question is asked devoid of actual experience, it’s probably easy to say “Oh, yeah. I’ll totally do that. So when do we get to the “I DO” part of this?” Nonetheless, that is what I want to give to you to think about from my guest-blog, because Ephesians 5 tells me that marriage is a most visible picture by which our God demonstrates the relationship between Jesus and His church, and it’s easy to remain married when all the benefits and joys are readily available – and praise God when they are – but should He decide to take away those benefits and joys, let me encourage you: it is for your good because it is for Christ’s glory, though it seems to be absolutely contrary. It has to be. Biblically, it’s the only way we can think about suffering in any context. But I think that there’s an especial focus when it’s within the context of a Christian marriage, because that’s the picture God has chosen to demonstrate how He relates to His people, His Church, Christ’s body.

As a bonus: If we want to make a slam-dunk argument for Biblical marriage in our culture and how they think about marriage, we should pray, pursue, and study to obey Christ’s commands concerning marriage without complaining, especially when there’s suffering involved. True enough, even a lost person can sacrifice much for their spouse in the midst of an illness – I believe that to be the image of God in man leaking out despite their best efforts to suppress the truth – but given enough time, and given enough loss, and given enough lack of recognition, glory, or return for their investment, they’ll give it up. Let’s not be like this crooked generation.

A necessary reminder.

Shakespeare famously wrote in his masterwork, Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”  If the Bard were an American evangelical, he could just as likely have blogged (or tweeted–Bill seems like a Twitter guy), “something’s rotten in the American church.”

Examples:

  • One pastor on the East Coast stages “spontaneous baptisms” with planted volunteers in the crowd who “generate excitement” and stream down the aisles at his command. This same pastor has also seemed to have built a bit of a cult of personality, as the “visionary leader” of a megachurch whose “code” includes language of fealty to his “vision.”
  • A West Coast pastor’s book sales were gigged by a third-party company paid to produce thousands of transactions and get him on the New York Times’ Bestseller list (if only for a few weeks).  That same pastor has also been under fire in recent months with charges of plagiarism launched against several of his books.
  • Another nationally-renowned preacher got some facetime on Oprah Winfrey’s life-coaching tour, where he failed (rather spectacularly) to share a Gospel message–and he’s not the only one.
  • A trip through the aisles of Lifeway and Mardel’s best-sellers sections reveals a hit parade of selfish, stupid, scary theology, which seems to be consumed en masse by church folk.

These aren’t minor incidents with no-name shepherds. These are major voices in evangelical culture.

But as easy as it is to throw stones at these high-profile folks, there’s just as much hypocrisy in my own life.

  • I tell my coworkers that I’m a follower of Jesus, but my work-ethic and struggle to control my temper often does not reflect His example.
  • If my words are the overflow of my heart, then my heart is an angry molten rock during rush hour.
  • I have opportunities to begin gospel conversations with strangers I run into throughout my day, but I’m focused on accomplishing my mission instead of God’s.  And those times when I do feel convicted about letting a person walk away, I secretly wait for them to disappear from view. “Oh no, missed my chance. Well, it’s up to you, God.”
  • No matter how many times I say that I’ve forgiven that one guy, every time he calls I struggle to speak kindly and I find myself instantly impatient.

The point is, in my honest moments I have to admit that I’m a horrible, stinking sinner, a total screw-up of a disciple. And the same Gospel that promises forgiveness of sins for egotistical, selfish megachurch pastors who repent–it promises hope for screw-ups like me. And like you.

Something is rotten in the Church. Something is wrong with the world. To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, it’s “me.”

But there is also something gloriously beautiful in the Church, something magnificent and life-transforming in the world: it’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It’s the good news that God would be fully justified in destroying rebellious wretches like you and me, but instead showers us with mercy by offering up Himself as the sacrifice.  The eternal Son of God took on human flesh, walked our path in perfect obedience to God, achieving a perfection and righteousness that we couldn’t and wouldn’t, and then allowed Himself to be falsely accused, tortured, and murdered. The death we deserved, the insults we earned, the torture we warranted as lawbreakers–He accepted it all in our place, not because we’re so special, but because He is so good.  And then, after dying and being buried, He was raised back to life. The sacrifice was acceptable; Jesus paid our debt. He paid it all. And now, we who have repented of our sin and rebellion and have put our hope in Him, we who are day by day being transformed by this good news, we owe all to Him.

I’m a screw-up. But I have a Savior.  Praise be to God for His glorious grace.

It’s right and proper to be upset when people do stupid, silly things in the name of Jesus. But I need to remind myself regularly that I do this, and worse, and yet grace abounds to me all the more.

Brass tacks and bare bones.

Gonna get real with you for a second, gang: I’m swamped. I’m exhausted. I’m about two weeks behind on homework, and I’m physically spent, and my workload is crushing me right now.

So, here’s the real deal. New posts will resume next Monday. We will take up a M-W-F posting schedule, and in the next few weeks, we’ll even feature guest posts from Twitter-friend of mine named Webster Hunt. He’s a sharp dude, so his posts will be worth the wait.

Anyway. That’s the status update. I’m sorry for the delays. Goodness knows I’ve wanted to get back into the swing of regular posting, but the current circumstances of life are not being very amenable to the prospect, and I haven’t got enough hustle in me to make it happen when these other, more vital areas are struggling.

Love y’all. I appreciate every single one of you, whomever you are. Please don’t give up on me.

In fact, if you will humor me, pop into the comments below and let me know who you are, so’s I know to whom I owe my gratitude for sticking around.

Reader’s choice.

I have a few things I’d like to start writing about, but i can’t decide.  SO it’s up to you, dear readers.

Would you like my next post to be about:

  • More Podcast recommendations?
  • “Spontaneous” baptism services?
  • “Best-seller” list shenanigans by evangelical authors?
  • “Know Your Heretics” (a series based on my recent homework in Church History)
  • Something light and pop-culturey?
  • None of the above?

Vote in the comments below!

“…we all fall down.”

I had a bit of a health scare on Friday. Went in for a dentist visit, and as part of the pre-cleaning ritual, they check my blood pressure with that little wrist-cuff. Several readings in a row were high. Alarmingly high. Usually my blood pressure is a little elevated, but this time, the staff was extremely concerned. (Note: Having three people say “you need to see the doctor right away” over and over does NOT help with high blood pressure.)

As it turns out, the spike was (probably) due to the killer combo of decongestant medication and Diet Coke, about an hour before the reading. But I went to the doctor’s office on Monday anyway, and the nurse told me to lay off the decongestants (okay…), significantly reduce my caffeine intake (ha!), lower my stress level (double ha!), get more sleep (triple ha!), and start taking BP meds (uh-oh).  I’m seeing her again in two months. 

Look, I’m a big guy. Really big. I mean, I’m mobile, and surprisingly agile for my weight class. But I’m a big dude who, by the grace of God, has not developed diabetes or a diagnosis of “high blood pressure” so far. It’s not like I’m pushing my luck, either–I know I need to get healthy. I want to get healthy. But getting healthy is hard and slow-going.

The one thing I have dreaded happening is being put on medication for a weight-related issue. I know that by all accounts the medication route is a slippery slope. I don’t want that for my life. I don’t want that for my future wife to have to deal with. She deserves a healthy husband who doesn’t rely on medication to live. So, it feels like things just got a little more real.

However, life doesn’t comply willingly. I’ve gotten sub-standard sleep since Monday morning. I’ve had several hours of panic-attack level stress at work. And the healthy food options in the apartment aren’t easily prepared, so I’ve already slipped back into old, lazy, drive-thru habits.  Just like that, I’m back to what I used to do.

I find that I move from crisis to crisis, ignoring problems until they demand my attention. This is a dangerous and foolish approach, because once something is a crisis, more damage has been done than can be repaired. But I too easily become reactive instead of proactive, responding to the big fires that rage and ignoring the small fires than can easily be put out. I push my body too hard, giving it too little good fuel, too much bad fuel, too little rest, too much stress. Like a teenager with a hotrod, gunning the engine, not changing the oil regularly, buying cheap, low-octane fuel until the poor car shuts down on the side of the road.

Here’s part of the problem: I don’t take my own limitations seriously. I think I can go full-steam, full-speed, without giving myself restorative rest. I burn sugar and caffeine in my engine, in ungodly amounts, to maintain the illusion of strength–but the reality is that I’m destroying myself, by bites and gulps.

By my continued stubbornness, I deny that I am dust, and by my selfish consumption I hasten my return to dust.

On this Wednesday of contrition, this is the long-ignored sin I need to repent of, most.

Posts forthcoming.

I do apologize for having nothing up on Friday, or by noon today. I have a few irons in the fire that might be of interest, and those will be posted Wednesday and Friday.

In the interim, I thank you for your indulgence, and ask for a bit more time. It’s been a crazy week.