Tuesday, October 30, 2012


to my future daughters [in honour of Rachel Held Evans]

by Preston Yancey

[Today, thanks to the brilliant heart of our own Sarah Bessey, some of us around the web are taking time to celebrate the life and ministry of Rachel Held Evans, whom many of us have been honoured to call teacher and friend. Today, her new book releases. We wanted to throw a book launch party for her, but geography made that difficult. So from rainy Scotland to clear-skyed Portland, we're offering digital thanks. You can read other “toasts” to Rachel at JR Goudeau’s blog and add your own.]
My dear daughters,
Someday, little ones. That’s the promise your Father made while he was still living at the end of the world, casting stones into the North Sea and whispering prayers woven with midmorning lark feathers, sent flying out over the blue.
Someday. It was repeated in meter and rhyme, a refrain in the litany of a better world longed for, a world that you do not know was dreamt for you. Dreamt for you, tangle of foreign but bonded sisters, interwoven fibers of biology and circumstance, some mine by form and some mine by reception, but all mine by Child.
You did not know your Father in the seasons when he would have described himself as uncertain concerning you. You did not know him in the days when he wondered if calling had relation to hierarchy, if there were certain ways of serving the One that was not yours to take simply because of the happy accident of your birth.
Children, you did not know him in the days he would sit at his own parents’ table, legs not quite touching the floor, dangling in rhythm as he asked for the third or fourth time, Why not? You did not know that he asked this question every season, around every bend, and though there had always been an answer, he never accepted it as truth. He entertained it, acquiesced to it, but the question of honour and valour and kingdom churned still and would not leave him until he laid out all the pieces, slowly and carefully.
You shall have heard your Mother and I talking sometimes about the people who were changing the conversation of our Faith for the better when we were coming of age. You’ll have heard us mention Hans Urs von Balthasar more than once, Ellen Davis, Alison Milbank, Eleonore Strump, Henri de Lubac, NT Wright. But you’ll have heard of the others as well, the ones who wrote popular works that brought those conversations to our kitchen tables, like Lauren Winner, Wendell Berry, Madeleine L’Engle, Maggi Dawn, and so many others that we forget who is still living here and who has since gone on to that place of glory.
You’ll have heard, too, the people we were friends with in that time where words were sculpted by digital scribe, some of those beloved friends having written some of our favourite books. Books that were important. Books that are important. Books that you might not know have a lot to do with the freedom and beauty you hear whispered against your ears before you’re put to bed for the night.
But perhaps what you won’t have heard, so I need to tell you now, is that when your Father had questions and doubts, when he was so sure about being unsure, there was a collection of certain people who made him space to ask and seek.
There’s a particular woman, daughters, that you owe a certain measure of thanks to. I have to be careful in what I say, because she is the sort of woman who would not want more credit than she thinks she deserves and she’d shy away from flattery. But you should know that Rachel Held Evans, in a world that seems so far away from now, wrote a little book that made a lot of people have a lot of conversations. They weren’t always pleasant, they weren’t always gracious, but people were talking. But before that book, before all that conversation, she was the woman who answered emails from a young man trying to figure out how to reconcile the beautiful and the true and the good. She measured her responses with kindness and mercy, made enough space to challenge and enough space to comfort.
You owe her more than you know, because her voice was the form the Holy Ghost decided to take to speak to your Father’s heart. She spoke slow and patient, and He wove her words with gentle challenge, until he finally saw the rippling, crackling light in the firmament of his wondering and saw the hope of the other side.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Do you know, precious daughters, that these words were once prayed without thought for you? Do you know they were prayed in rote and haste? Do you know that now they are prayed with careful yearning, that to speak of on earth as it is in heaven is to speak of neither Jew nor Greek is to say that you are priests in your own right, servers at the same great Table?
Someday. It was the promise I made for you so very long ago. I said someday you would know that you must and shall go free, shall bear our Christ in the open fields and sing the redemption song among the wildflowers. And though she would not ask for it, though she would say that there are scores others that deserve more notice than her, I want you to know that there was a time, a place, so long ago now at the end of the world, where a woman of valour named Rachel was thinking of you, even though she had not known you, and she set words onto a page because she believed in the God who has and shall always overcome.
And when we light the candles on All Saints Day, when we sing the ancient hymns, she is near among all the others, she is not forgotten, she is not so very far away.
Your [Someday] Father

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Favorite Hymn...I knew I luved it!!

Backstory of the hymn...this woman is my she-ro!!  I think I hear her laughing all the way from future eternity.  *ting!! 

"I went for a little visit of five days," wrote Frances Havergal, explaining what prompted her to write her well-known hymn, "Take My Life and Let it Be."

"There were ten persons in the house; some were unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians [God] gave me the prayer, 'Lord, give me all in this house.' And He just did. Before I left the house, everyone had got a blessing. The last night of my visit I was too happy to sleep and passed most of the night in renewal of my consecration, and those little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with "ever only, ALL FOR THEE!"

It was on this day, February 4, l874, that Frances wrote the hymn that is still sung around the world.
One of the most dedicated Christian women of the nineteenth century, Frances was the youngest child of a Church of England minister. Though she was always in frail health, she led an active life, encouraging many people to turn to Jesus and others to seek a deeper spiritual walk.

Frances had begun reading and memorizing the Bible at the age of four (eventually memorizing The Psalms, Isaiah and most of the New Testament). At seven she wrote her first poems. Several of her mature verses became hymns. In addition to "Take My Life," she wrote such favorites as "I Gave My Life for Thee," "Like a River Glorious," and "Who Is on the Lord's Side?"

Because her voice was lovely, Frances was in demand as a concert soloist. She also was a brilliant pianist and learned several modern languages as well as Greek and Hebrew. With all her education, however, Frances Havergal maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. She never wrote a line of poetry without praying over it.

One of the lines of Frances Havergal's hymn says, "Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold." In 1878, four years after writing the hymn, Miss Havergal wrote a friend, The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. 'Take my silver and my gold' now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me...Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don't think I ever packed a box with such pleasure."


Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days, 

Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,

Always, only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,

Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect and use

Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,

It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own,

It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure store.

Take myself and I will be

Ever, only, all for Thee.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Talitha Cumi

Once, as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception ... which continued as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. 

I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone;

 to love him with a holy and pure love; to trust in him; to live upon him; to serve and follow him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.
~Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758~

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kilt Dead

Today at the Payne family residence, we have a little altar celebration going on. Yes, sheep are really being slaughtered. (not here, at the lake:)

Wiki: "Eid al-Adha, also called Feast of the Sacrifice, is an important 4-day religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his young firstborn son Ishmael as an act of submission to God.

Abraham could not bear to watch his son die so he covered his eyes by a blindfold. When he cut Ishmael's throat and removed the blindfold, he was astonished to see that Ishmael was unharmed and instead, he found a dead ram which was slaughtered. Abraham had passed the test by his willingness to carry out God's command."

To my Saudi sons: May your faith be tested and you have the willingness to respond. Um Fahhad Aldawsari, UmMohammed Aldossari, Um Munahi Alotaibi, Um Mohammed Alrashdee, Um Raed Abdullah, Um T UR K Pop, Um William Alwaile, Um Fahhad Aldawsori, Um Abbad Almutiri, UmAbdullah Almasar, Um Mohammed Alyami, Um Ali al-sagoor

PS In faith, I'm also sacrificing some of my dearest possessions a.k.a. detestable idols. Thank you for sharing the altar with me. Hallelujah!!
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