Dusk in the Woods

This evening after work I hiked into woods and watched. A soft wind picked up on occasion but for most of the evening the leaves remained unstirred. Saw filament curtains of spiders’ webs between trees. Jumped a doe while walking, who ran into the thickest brush downhill and hid, as if she knew hunting season was here. Heard geese and ducks fly in and land upon water. Watched a dove fly along the lane of a wash. Hour after hour. Near 8:00 p.m. the sun sank slowly. Mosquitoes fed upon the back of my sweaty neck. I watched a spider’s web bend in sunset breeze like the hips of Eve and those she named.

Nothing in my ears but sounds of squirrels, ducks, geese, the feeding of mosquitoes, the crunch of leaves as deer placed their soft cleft hooves into the soil, munched briers and acorns. The sun’s last rays of today shot gold pencil beams through the pin and water oaks and pines. And I beheld and grew more thankful.

The Manliness of Christ

Introduction: This morning in my studies I was in the book of Ezekiel. Specifically I was in Ezekiel 28-31. These chapters recount God’s judgment upon Tyre, Sidon, and Egpyt because of their sin and unrepentance, their hardening of themselves against the revealed will of God.

Questions: When one reads the Scriptures, can he honestly think God changes? In other words, did the God of Scripture pour out judgments upon Egypt, Tyre, Sidon, Babylon, and on and on, but later on “evolve on the issue” of sin? Has God’s nature or perspective changed?

Segue: The questions are of course rhetorical. God’s nature does not change. God cannot change. He is immutable. He changes not (Malachi 3:6). There is “no variation or shadow due to change,” James says of God’s nature (James 1:17).

After I read through these passages again and again, I read the short book by Partridge pictured above. Partridge quotes Kangmin Lee as writing,

Americanized Christianity has convinced millions of professing Christians that “love your enemies” means “have no enemies.” This has resulted in the church becoming apathetic toward, and tolderant of, unbridled evil. (30)

Partridge does an excellent job by pointing us to the Jesus of Scripture, of history, who was masculine, who lived out courage, who didn’t capitulate to pressures to be like the world, who didn’t ingratiate himself to the crowds.

Connections to Scripture: In Matthew 23:13 and John 8:55, Jesus called people hypocrites and liars to their faces. He called them broods of vipers (Matthew 23:33). He called them children of Satan (John 8:44). He called them blind guides (Matthew 15:14). Partridge references all of these passages and more in his book. (31)

Encouragement: We are long past time to return to the Christ of the Scriptures, rather than to the feminized, limp, helpless Jesus of much of superficial and kitschy Christian pretenders.

Christ led. He accomplished his appointed mission.

He was faithful when others were faithless. He did not change. He was obedient even unto death.

And he was raised bodily as proof of his victory over the liars and the father of lies, Satan.

In a world that is drowning in cartoonish masculinity being spray-tanned abs and perfect hair, and flying cartoons of men wielding laser pistols, what might happen if Christian men emulated Christ himself and lived out truth as biblical men in this hostile age, and trusted the Lord with the results? It would call for actual courage rather than Marvel or DC silliness and endless entertainment.

I salute Dale Partridge for his courage and his book. Well done. May we thus learn and do.