This Is Your Life

Wendell Berry’s insightful description of (your) modern life from The Unsettling of America:

The disease of the modern character is specialization. Looked at from the standpoint of the socialsystem, the aim of specialization may seem desirable enough. The aim is to see that the responsibilities of government, law, medicine, engineering, agriculture, education, etc., are given into the hands of the most skilled, best prepared people.

A system of specialization requires the abdication to specialists of various competences and responsibilities that were once personal and universal. Thus, the average – one is tempted to say, the ideal – American citizen now consigns the problem of food production to agriculturalists and ‘agribusinessmen,’ the problems of health to doctors and sanitation experts, the problems of education to school teachers and educators, the problems of conservation to conservationists, and so on. This supposedly fortunate citizen is therefore left with only two concerns: making money and entertaining himself. He earns money, typically, as a specialist, working an eight-hour day at a job for the quality or consequences of which somebody else – or, perhaps more typically, nobody else – will be responsible. And not surprisingly, since he can do so little else for himself, he is even unable to entertain himself, for there exists an enormous industry of exorbitantly expensive specialists whose purpose is to entertain him…

The beneficiary of this regime of specialists ought to be the happiest of mortals – or so we are expected to believe. All of his vital concerns are in the hands of certified experts. He is a certified expert himself and as such he earns more money in a year than all his great-grandparents put together. Between stints at his job he has nothing to do but mow his lawn with a sit-down lawn mower, or watch other certified experts on television. At suppertime he may eat a tray of ready-prepared food, which he and his wife (also a certified expert) procure at the cost only of money, transportation, and the pushing of a button. For a few minutes between supper and sleep he may catch a glimpse of his children, who since breakfast have been in the care of education experts, basketball or marching-band experts, or perhaps legal experts…

The fact is, however, that this is probably the most unhappy average citizen in the history of the world. He has not the power to provide himself with anything but money, and his money is inflating like a balloon and drifting away, subject to historical circumstances and the power of other people. From morning to night he does not touch anything that he has produced himself, in which he can take pride. For all his leisure and recreation, he feels bad, he looks bad, he is overweight, his health is poor. His air, water, and food are all known to contain poisons. There is a fair chance that he will die of suffocation. He suspects that his love life is not as fulfilling as other people’s. He wishes that he had been born sooner, or later. He does not know why his children are the way they are. He does not understand what they say. He does not care much and does not know why he does not care. He does not know what his wife wants or what he wants. Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make him suspect that he is basically unattractive. He feels that all his possessions are under threat of pillage. He does not know what he would do if he lost his job, if the economy failed, if the utility companies failed, if the police went on strike, if the truckers went on strike, if his wife left him, if his children ran away, if he should be found to be incurably ill. And for these anxieties, of course, he consults certified experts, who in turn consult certified experts about their anxieties…

It is rarely considered that this average citizen is anxious because he ought to be… He ought to be anxious, because he is helpless. That he is dependent upon so many specialists, the beneficiary of so much expert help, can only mean that he is a captive, a potential victim. If he lives by the competence of so many other people, then he lives also by their indulgence; his own will and his own reasons to live are made subordinate to the mere tolerance of everybody else. He has onechance to live what he conceives to be his life: his own small specialty within a delicate, tense, everywhere-strained system of specialties.

My God, My Portion, and My Love

Driving home last night after hosting my radio program my own radio was tuned to WRJC-FM 90.9. I want to thank them for introducing me to this great Isaac Watts hymn which I had never heard before.

Here is a video of the performance of the hymn by the Choir at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN in the Boe Memorial Chapel on May 7, 2012. The hymn text is below the video.

Hymn text by Isaac Watts set to the tune Dunlap’s Creek arr. Mack Wilberg.
Gerard Sundberg, Soloist. Zach Busch, Pianist. Joshua McClure, Organist.

My God, my Portion, and my Love,
My Everlasting All,
I’ve none but Thee in heav’n above
Or on this earthly ball.

What empty things are all the skies,
And this inferior clod!
There’s nothing here deserves my joys,
There’s nothing like my God.

In vain the bright, the burning sun,
Scatters his feeble light;
‘Tis Thy sweet beams create my noon;
If Thou withdraw, ’tis night.

Let all that dwell above the sky,
And air, and earth, and seas,
Conspire to lift Thy glories high
And speak Thine endless praise.

The whole creation, join in one,
To bless the sacred Name,
Of Him that sits upon the throne,
And to adore the Lamb!

Jonathan Falwell, Jerry’s brother, won’t be endorsing any candidate

Jonathan Falwell’s Statement on Tuesday, after his brother, Jerry Falwell, Jr., endorsed Donald Trump:

jonathanfalwell“As a pastor of a local church attended by people of different political parties and persuasions, I have made it my practice not to endorse political candidates. I do not believe it is my responsibility to point people to a candidate but rather to point people to Jesus Christ as the ultimate and only hope for mankind and the problems we face as a nation. I do, however, believe every follower of Christ should exercise their citizen right to vote. In every election cycle, I strongly urge our church members and attenders to make sure they are registered, and then to make sure they vote for a person of character, moral leadership and who most closely aligns with their beliefs and values.

“I recognize every pastor and Christian leader must do what they believe God has called them to do, and I understand that many choose to endorse candidates. I respect their right to do so, even if I don’t believe it is the best thing for me to do as a pastor of a local church. Whether or not we agree on making endorsements or even agree on who would make the best next president, I think we can agree America is in need of divine intervention, spiritual renewal, and a return to righteousness if we are to solve the great challenges of our day.”

SOURCE: World Magazine

Dr. A. V. Henderson on The Church, Then and Now

Dr. A. V. Henderson, former pastor of the Temple Baptist Church of Detroit (1975 – 1984) died on December 28, 2015 at the age of 96.

Take one and a half minutes to listen to his analysis of the church situation today. This is from a message to Bible college students in May 2015.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Dr A. V. Henderson on The Church, Then and Now

Take a moment to listen to Dr. A. V. Henderson analyze the church in just a minute and a half. This is from a message to Bible college students in May of 2015.

Dr. Henderson died yesterday (December 28, 2015) at the age of 96.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.