Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why are Truths and Absolutes Important?

“The Jacobin [1] could tell you not only the system he would rebel against, but (what was more important) the system he would not rebel against, the system he would trust.

But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist [2]. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.

Thus he writes one book complaining that the imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself.

He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy [3] because they keep it.

As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is a waste of time.

A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself.

A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates [4] for treating it as a lie.

He calls a flag a bauble [5], and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble.

The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that the savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts.

In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men.

Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.”

GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

[1] Jacobin - A member of an extremist or radical political group; especially: a member of such a group advocating egalitarian democracy and engaging in terrorist activities during the French Revolution of 1789. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

[2] Revolutionist - One who brings about a major of fundamental change. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

[3] Mrs. Grundy - One marked by prudish conventionality in personal conduct. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

[4] Profligates - People given to wildly extravagant and usually grossly self-indulgent expenditure. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

[5] Bauble - a trinket; or a fool's scepter; or something of trifling appeal. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Here and Gone

About three years back I decided to try to start visiting with some of the folks at Claiborne-Hughes Health Center, a local nursing home. I befriended four on my first visit - two ladies and two gentlemen.

On my second visit a few weeks later, one of the gentlemen had died. He loved the Lord, there was little doubt. I felt a little uncomfortable visiting the ladies repeatedly, so I decided to only visit the remaining gentleman on my return visits. His name was Billy Frizzell.

Does the last name ring a bell? It should. He was a brother to Lefty Frizzell, the famous honky-tonk singer of the 20th century. Billy had some memorabilia around his room, and he shared stories with me about his brother's fame, and experiences that he himself had enjoyed with several country music stars. Billy had actually recorded a song or two, which he played for me on his CD player. He was working on song writing, also.

It was pretty clear that Billy was lonely. Billy had been in the nursing home for months and months. He had several health problems. I don't think he received many visits from his family, and his lone son had been estranged from him years before, following his parent's divorce.

I shared the Gospel with him on that first visit. He shook his head yes a lot, but didn't say much. He just smiled and listened. On my second visit I recall asking him if he had any questions about the Bible and things eternal. He said, "I guess not." He just smiled, sometimes a little nervously, and was a man of few words.

On my following visits, I would bring him Pepsi's and honeybuns, which he said he loved... but the nurses had to keep them and monitor his diet because of his health.

Sadly, I stopped visiting regularly because of... well... life. Other things seemed to take priority.

A couple of weeks ago, I went back for a visit. I guess it had been well over a year since I'd been by. Billy was gone. The receptionist said that he had gone downhill fast. He was gone.

I hope someone was with him. I hope his son had returned and I hope they had reconciled, as Billy wished. I hope he was right with God. I hope the Spirit had changed his heart... that deep within maybe he had heard, received, and believed the gospel. I hope the Lord had saved him. Whatever the case, his eternity is now fixed.

I miss him now.

“What is the secret to great living? Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts.”
~Amy Carmichael

Life is so fleeting. It is God, our Maker, that gives us, "life and breath and everything" (Acts 17:25), and it is His to take away. I hope today we will all live in light of eternity. Why do we get caught up so much in the trifling "things of this world," the here and now? One day... a day appointed for each of us... we too will be here and gone.