In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, I thought I’d share this interview from Albert Mohler’s podcast “Thinking In Public”. The conversation is with Reconstruction historian Eric Foner. I discovered Eric Foner last semester while writing a paper for my Southern history class on Abraham Lincoln and the South during Reconstruction. I loved what I read, so I was pretty excited when I found this interview. Dr. Mohler and Dr. Foner discuss Foner’s most recent book, The Fiery Trail: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.
The interview briefly touches on the fact that Abraham Lincoln, the man who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, was at the same time a racist. Here’s what Dr. Mohler had to say at the end of the interview:
When it comes to a sin like racism, we come to understand that Abraham Lincoln was stuck in his times, stuck in his prejudices, and stuck in his worldview. The only rescue is the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that’s why we have to come to understand that racism is not something that can be solved in purely secular terms. The anecdote to racism is not political or ideological. It’s the understanding that every single human being is equally made in the image of God.
In what ways are we stuck in the prejudices and worldview of our times? Whatever ways those are, the only answer is the gospel.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.– John 6:35
Every July 4th, Americans gather with watermelons, fireworks, and flags to celebrate Independence Day. We are a free people living in a free country and, boy, are we proud of it. Not just our independence from England, but our independence in every way. Nobody can tell us what to do or think or feel. But rob the earth of its atmosphere for just five minutes and we’d all be dead before we’d have time to wonder just how independent we really are.
There are some aspects in which we can and should be independent. Parents, for example, raise their children so that by the time they reach maturity they can provide for themselves. No one thinks much of a forty-year-old man who still lives in his parent’s basement. But when you really think about it, humans are desperately dependent.
Take water for example. Only three days without water will kill you. Dehydration is serious; it can causee heat exaustion and heat stroke, cerebral endema, seizures, hypovolemic shock, kidney failure, coma, and, finally, death.*
Humans are also dependent on food. You can go longer without food than you can without water, but still, malnutrition will lead to severe physical and mental complications and followed by death.
We simply cannot live without water or food.
But why? That’s how we were designed to run. I’ve always wondered why, though, God designed us to need so many things. I think it’s to remind us of something else we need: Himself.
C.S. Lewis put it this way:
God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.*
And here’s what the commentator Matthew Henry had to say on John 6:
Christ is bread is that to the soul which bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life (is the staff of it) as bread does the bodily life; it is the staff of life. . . . Our bodies could better live without food than our souls without Christ.*
By our very design, we are dependent on God. And every bite, every sip should remind us of it.
Free online ordinations! If you’re thinking about starting a cult, this might be a good option for you–you could legally call yourself Reverend and the Universal Life Church accepts people from all faiths, including (I presume) ones that are made up on the spot. You have to be over thirteen years old and use your real name, but other than that there are no other requirements. But remember: check out your state’s legal requirements before trying to perform a wedding.
A new collection of ancient documents recently unearthed caves near the ancient Near Eastern town of Ben-haradadi may shed some new light on Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. These manuscripts are the most ancient discovered yet, and biblical scholars believe these manuscripts are the closest to originals in wording, due to their early date. Of particular interest to scholars is the fact that these manuscripts lack some of the passages long believed by the modern church to have been added in at a later date by puritannical church fathers determined that no one should have any fun.
Scholars have begun a new Bible translation project utilizing these new found manuscripts. Reproduced below is the new translation of 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Love goeth on romantic dates, and giveth roses and chocolates; Love is fluffy and pink, is a shallow hormone-induced emotion.
2 Love beareth all things until the other annoyeth greatly, then love causeth great suffering and feeleth justified;
3 Behaveth itself unseemly, yet defineth “unseemly” as all conduct but its own and therefore feeleth quite satisfied with its holiness,
4 Seeketh its own pleasure, is easily provoked, thinketh great evil;
5 Rejoiceth in iniquity and the spreading abroad of the same amongst all its friends and acquaintances and coworkers, but rejoiceth not in the truth;
6 Beareth nothing, believeth nothing, hopeth nothing, endureth nothing.
7 Love faileth: For whether there shall be romance, it shall fade; whether there be words of love, they shall cease; whether there be any emotional thrill, it shall vanish away.
8 For when I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I refused to put away childish things, because being childish was more fun and all the world doth continue to revolve around me.
9 And now abideth self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Do you want to know the real reason I don’t post more on my blog? I’m a perfectionist. A lazy one. I want my blog to be shiny and cool, but–alack and alas–lack the skills necessary to create shininess and coolness.
I go to my edublogs dashboard. After playing around with different themes and looking at the widgets page, I see an interesting link in the sidebar I had not noticed before. It’s labeled “plug ins.” Hm, interesting. I click on it.
It’s a page of shiny applications! One makes snow magically fall across your pages… another, the “greet box,” gives different messages to visitors…it’s a veritable mine of shininess and coolness! And I don’t even have to use HTML! Score! I’m feeling fairly exclamatory.
I click “activate.” The following message appears: “Edublog supporters get to experience the full potential of blogging in education. Read on to find out more….” I have been thwarted. It seems the best things in life aren’t free after all. They’re $19.95 plus tax.