Performing the Impossible

Toby and Jenny Sumpter, and their little people, are leaving South Carolina, and coming home to Moscow, where Toby will be pastoring our sister church, Trinity Reformed Church.

You’ve got to read Toby’s blog post, over at Having Two Legs, on the Lord’s Supper. Simply brilliant. If you’re feeling like all the pieces of your life are coming apart…you won’t want to miss this. It’s a perfect reminder of the importance of the Lord’s Supper.

Women & Higher Education

Over at The Line, the Boundless Webzine, Ted Slater started a discussion about women and higher education.

In the first post, Gender Imbalance in Higher Education, Mr Slater says this about the fact that 58% percent of the U.S. undergrads are women:

Call me a sexist, but my first reaction is to find that disappointing. Call me a sexist, but I believe that in most cases the husband should be the primary income-earner in the family, and that the wife should be free to stay at home with the kids. It follows, logically I think, that more men should be preparing for these income-earning careers by going to college. And that women should be careful not to bring on exorbitant school loan debt that may prohibit them from being able to carry out their dreams to be stay-at-home moms.

In the second post, Wives: Homemakers? Husbands: Breadwinners? Jennie posted a comment and Mr Slater turned it in to a post. I get where Jennie’s coming from, and I believe her ideas are good, but they need to go further. Here’s a bit of what Jennie says:

Obviously Ted’s not advocating that women don’t get educated. He’s just suggesting that we women make informed decisions with a biblical perspective on the long-term that won’t force us to compromise our biblical responsibilities, and that men take their responsibility as providers seriously.

I have no desire to call Ted a sexist. I do, however; want to know if he understands God’s covenant promise to His people and the importance of a Godly education? And when Jennie talks about compromising our biblical responsibilities, does she understand how an uneducated Mom could do just that? And when did higher education become nothing more than a paycheck? Scripture says:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and your gates. (Deut.6:4-9)

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deut.7:9)

Obviously, none of us know what the Lord has planned for us. Will you be married? Will you have children? It’s wonderful to “hope” for marriage and children, but the reality is that it doesn’t happen for everyone, and it may not happen according to your timing. Therefore, you’ll need a plan. And if it does happen, be prepared – whether man or woman – to teach the standards of God to your children. Isn’t that your biblical responsibility?

If Mom is the primary caregiver, then it stands to reason she’ll be doing a lot of talking and walking with the children – a lot of teaching. The money she spends on a good education will help to ensure the children know God’s standards, and how those standards apply to: science, literature, math, history, logic, grammar, and more. She’s a teacher. And last time I checked teaching credentials aren’t free.

When I look at the woman in Proverbs 31, I see a very well educated person. She knows real estate, cooking, accounting, sales, teaching, fashion design, farming, distribution, and much more. Her husband has full confidence in her abilities. She lacks nothing of value. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

Psalms and Hymns and Glorious Things

A couple of years ago I heard the hymn Comfort, Comfort Ye My People (J. Olearius-1671, Tr. C. Winkworth-1863, Freu Dich Seur-Genevan Psalter-1551) for the first time. The words were a soothing balm to my heart. Each Sunday I search the bulletin to see if the hymn is listed. While working on the Cantus I came across the hymn and noticed it was listed under the “advent” section.

Not knowing if one should “request” a hymn, I took a leap and mentioned my love of the hymn to Dr. Schuler and asked him if we could sing it soon. He said I should look for it some time around late November. So I waited six months. In early December, I went on vacation to San Diego. I came back and reminded Dr. Schuler of the hymn. He said, “Oh, we sang that last Sunday.”

So that meant I had to wait another year. Then one Sunday I noticed we were singing an advent hymn. I leaned over to Paula and pointed to the word “advent” in the Cantus. She raised her eyebrows in a “what about it” look. I turned the page and pointed to the title of the next hymn. There it was, oh so close, just one page turn away. Comfort, Comfort Ye My People. She understood.

The fact that I now love Psalms and Hymns is strange. I have a Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Black Gospel background. There’s no clapping in our service at Christ Church–unless it follows an engagement announcement. No toe tapping. No swaying to the music. No drums, bass guitar, or team of singers leading us in worship. And yet worship is far more meaningful to me than ever before.

I could have parked myself in front of the piano and played the song, but it’s so much more glorious when done in harmony, in worship with fellow saints. And now, so many months later, there were plenty of people aware of my love for the hymn. Sunday morning I heard the words I’d longed to hear: “Please turn to page 226 Comfort, Comfort Ye My People. The Joneses all turned their heads and smiled at me. Eric (age 6) sitting next to me said, “That’s your song.” They understood my joy and shared in it. We sang…

Comfort, comfort ye My People,

Speak ye peace, thus saith Our God;

Comfort those who sit in darkness,

Bowed beneath their sorrow’s load;

Speak ye to Jerusalem

Of the peace that waits for them;

Tell her that her sins I cover,

And her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,

Blotting out each dark misdeed;

All that well deserved His anger

He will no more see nor heed.

She has suffered many a day,

Now her griefs have passed away;

God will change her pining sadness

Into everspringing gladness.

For the herald’s voice is crying

In the desert far and near,

Bidding all men to repentance,

Since the kingdom now is here.

O that warning cry obey!

Now prepare for God a way!

Let the valleys rise to meet Him,

And the hills bow down to greet Him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,

Make the rougher places plain;

Let your hearts be true and humble,

As befits His holy reign,

For the glory of the Lord

Now o’er earth is shed abroad,

And all flesh shall see the token

That His Word is never broken.

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