Archive for February 2, 2007

Is Pastor John in Love with His Wife?

Via Dr. John Piper

January 31, 2007

Read this resource on our website.

I have been inspired to write this, first, because of the mini sermon series I am in right now on marriage and, second, by listening to my wife’s online message about what she learned from her mother. Incredible message! If you want wheelbarrow loads of practical wisdom for your family, and trunks full of insight into the kind of woman I married, and windows flown wide onto what shaped the Piper family for the last thirty-eight years, listen to this talk. It’s about forty minutes long, and it’s built around the memories captured in a fortieth-anniversary quilt she and her eight siblings made for their parents. I couldn’t turn it off.

Now, what about that sermon title: “Staying Married Is Not About Staying In Love”? What’s the issue with being “in love”? The problem with basing too much on it is that it is a fuzzy thing. Not as in warm fuzzy, but as in fuzzy photograph. The line between when it’s there and not there is vague. Am I in love with Noël? This is a test. You decide.

1) When she goes away, I miss her—not just because I might get tired of cereal (except that nice people bring us things), but also because there is a vacancy in the kitchen and in the living room and in the car and in the bed and in the air.

2) When my day off rolls around each week on Monday, I want to do something special with her. Admittedly not very special. I just want to be with her. Old Country Buffet. (No kidding—real people and all-you-can-eat for two for fifteen dollars. It’s a cultural experience!) Famous Dave’s. (Where else can you get corn on the cob in January?) Scrabble. (She almost always wins.) River walk in the summer? A long easy evening sitting in the same room reading. The point is: I like being with her in all this.

3) I am sexually attracted to her. Remember I am giving a test for you to judge if I am in love. God has been very good to me by giving me eyes only for Noël. The point is not that I am not tempted to look too long at risqué pictures. The point is that I am not now, and never have been for the last forty years, drawn to any other women. I have never had to kill a rising attraction to another woman. There never has been any. In fact, I have said to Noël that God has, so far, built a safeguard into our relationship that the thought of being romantically involved with another woman makes me physically nauseated—almost as much as a homosexual imagination. It doesn’t feel like a virtue. It feels like acid reflux. (Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. Will do.) She is all I have ever been attracted to. And I still am.

4) Noël’s admiration matters uniquely to me. There are thousands of people who think John Piper is not admirable for all kinds of reasons—shouts too much in his preaching, too black and white, dogmatic, judgmental, too conservative, misogynist, hypocrite, proud, not separatistic enough, too separatistic, post-tribulational, hedonistic, Baptist, charismatic sympathizer, subjectivist, tolerates drums, uses questionable language, reclusive, too serious—for starters. That matters to me—some. But what Noël thinks about what I am and what I do matters uniquely. I would rather have her approval and commendation with a thousand emails of disapproval than the other way around.

However, things are not the way they used to be. I can remember the way it was the first time we held hands in 1966. It was not a small thing. It was romantic and sexual. Today we still hold hands. Often it is a sign of truce. I’m done being angry and I want things to be good. Other times it means: I’m glad you’re with me as we go to the doctor. Other times: God was good to give you to me. It’s different. The fruit has ripened. It is not flush with spring green. It is gnarled and worn with thick skin. When you live through fire, the fruit has to develop very thick skin to protect the vital, succulent core.

Unlike the early days of being in love, life is hugely practical. We talk about practicalities of home and work and children a lot. The relationship has a large business component. This home has been a little company: five children to raise, food to prepare, house to keep, car to maintain, health to tend to, clothes to buy and clean, education to plan and pay for, friendships to nurture, ministry to navigate, money to manage, etc. Romance does not dominate this relationship like it did at the beginning.

We know everything there is to know now about each other’s failures. Past failures. Ongoing failures. There is no idealization any more. Marriage is risky business and should not be entered without a huge confidence in the sovereignty of God. If the text is true (which it is), “They were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25), then the day is long past in world history, and in our marriage, when freedom from shame is based on having nothing to be ashamed of. Now it is true—God make it more and more true!—by the maturing of grace.

In the end, the gospel of Christ crucified for sinful husbands and wives is the ground of our marriage. Here is where we see grace. Here is where we receive grace. Here is where we learn to give grace. Growing in grace-received and grace-shared is how we are moving forward toward the day when Christ will be all in all and there will be no marrying or giving in marriage (Matthew 22:30). It is a precious gift while we have it. It is a painful and happy school for heaven. I am thankful for my wife. I am committed for life. Am I in love? You decide.

Pastor John.

February 2, 2007 at 8:14 am 2 comments

Building the nation

I have desired, for close to 10 years now, to shape and direct some aspects of my country’s public policies and affairs in some direct and personal way, but with limited success.

A few hours ago, I was priveledged to get an opportunity to do just that.

I satisfied a hawkish panel of 26 folks – reportedly also leading a three-person team in the process out of a possible 7 – that will provide specialist advice on communication, development and leadership to an international consulting firm currently operating in the country.

My pitch took 20 seconds – yes – 20 seconds!

The other two took 20 and 25 seconds each.

Prelimary reports suggest that the work we will be doing will help direct government policy in some definite ways, with the very real possibility that the First Citizen will either trash or use some of our recommendations.

My pleasure lies not in the fact that President Kibaki – or indeed even his successor – could go over bits of my work.

My joy lies in the fact that I could help, in my own small ways, shape the destiny of this great country while my creator still lends me breath.

Yet I should remind myself – as indeed everyone else – that we live in a country where we often spend lots of time and money assesing that which could be so plain to us already.

I have determined that the moment the above becomes my mainstay in this engagement, I’ll gladly walk out, – without asking to be paid.

February 2, 2007 at 12:39 am 2 comments

Bloggers discuss politics and religion live

Dear Blogger,

feb 2. live webcast of debate about the future of religion in american politics offers bloggers opportunity to react in real time

 

Michael Barone, Michael Novak, Marvin Olasky & More Discuss Religion’s Place in American Politics at Regent U.’s Ronald Reagan Symposium

 

Ø     Event Webcast Live 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET at http://www.Regent.edu/admin/media/schgov/symposium07/

 

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Jan. 31, 2007—Bloggers are encouraged to watch live as eight of America ’s leading thinkers on religion and politics gather at Regent University on Friday, Feb. 2, to answer the question, How can religion and politics become like glue bonding us together, rather than like sharp scissors cutting us apart?”

 

WHAT:            The Ronald Reagan Symposium 2007: The Future of Religion in American Politics

 

WHEN:            Feb. 2            9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

 

WHERE:          Webcast live at http://www.Regent.edu/admin/media/schgov/symposium07/

 

AGENDA:        9 – 11:30 a.m. (each presenter will speak 15-20 minutes on their noted topic, with a panel discussion/Q&A beginning at approximately 10:20 a.m.)

 

n        Hadley Arkes, Amherst College , “That Superintending Principle: The Author of the Law that was there before the Constitution and the Bill of Rights”

n        Daniel Dreisbach, Princeton University, “George Washington on Religion’s Place in Public Life”

n        Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute, “Lessons from the Founders”

n        Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago , “Religion in the Public Square ”

 

1:30 – 4 p.m.   (each presenter will speak 15-20 minutes on their noted topic, with a panel discussion/Q&A beginning at approximately 2:50 p.m.)

n        Marvin Olasky, WORLD magazine, “Evangelical Political Models: Fenimore Cooper or William Wilberforce”

n        Darryl Hart, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, “Left Turn? Evangelicals and the Future of the Religious Right”

n        Michael Cromartie, Ethics and Public Policy Center , “Red God, Blue God: Is There a God Gap between the Parties?”

n        Michael Barone, U.S. News & World Report, “Politics and Religion in the Post-Reagan Era”

 

More information at http://www.Regent.edu/acad/schgov/events/symposium07/home.html.

 

MEDIA NOTE: Advance and post-event interviews with participants may be scheduled by contacting Michelle Farmer at (770) 813-0000 / (770) 757-4900 or mmfarmer@DeMossGroup.com.

-30-

CONTACT:

Michelle Farmer or Tiffanie Wallace

(770) 813-0000 or (770) 757-4900 cell

http://www.Regent.edu

http://www.DeMossNewsPond.com/Regent

February 2, 2007 at 12:06 am 3 comments


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