Love (III): “Know you not,” says Love, “Who bore the blame?”

Jim McGuiggan introduced to me a poem by George Herbert, called “Love (III).” I might’ve read some Herbert briefly in an English Lit class in college, but none of it stuck with me the way it did after hearing McGuiggan read it in his audio message, “God and Timid Sinners.”

I downloaded that file and listened to McGuiggan many times during daily commutes in Hangzhou.

“If you like religious poetry, you may not like George Herbert’s work, but if you love it, you’ll devour his material…about timid sinners too conscious of their sin to be fully aware of the profound, fathomless love of God toward us.

So please do not let the word “sinners” deter you from savoring this sweet poem. Oh yes, we have sin, and that’s the point: some of it is all too real for some of us, and we never forget our moral failures. Something might be said of the benefit of remember our sin. Absolutely. However,  the point of this poem, I think is to invite those who can’t forgive themselves, to accept the healing and salvation God offers.

***English-to-English translation note: The poem itself is in italics to stand apart from my words on this page. However, I’ve removed italics for emphasis, actually (which is risky behavior, since its reversed as per usual). I added quotation marks to help clarify the discussion taking place in the poem and emboldened (really, blog-ified) two lines that tell–in a way only poems can–of God’s scandalous and matchless will to forgive us (you!): perfectly displayed in the death, burial, and resurrection of His son Jesus the Messiah, our Lord and King.

Without further ado:

Love (III)

by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             from my first entrance in,
drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             if I lacked any thing.
 
“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here:”
                             Love said, “You shall be he.”
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
                             “Who made the eyes but I?”
 
“Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
                             Go where it doth deserve.”
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
                            “My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat”:
                             So I did sit and eat.
 
 
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Jonah 3: Repentance of the Creation and the Creator

Jonah 3 Exegetical Paper – Clint Boyd

Above is a link to my second exegetical paper, written for a course on the Minor Prophets. I chose the passage based on my long-standing interest in God’s foreknowledge and immutability (and other topics generally associated with Reformed/Calvinist circles). Jonah 3:9-10 was of particular interest to me in this paper, but the I tried to cover the whole chapter. Of course, this paper only skims the surface, for Jonah is a wonderfully written and deep story, however short it may seem.

 

 

 

ON BEING TOLD THAT I AM TOO OLD

Our last blog post was meant to ease the worries of appearing too young–mostly. If you’ve been at the other side of that spectrum, however, and felt too old, you should read Chaplain Michael Summer’s poem and prayer. The rough draft of his book on prayer is almost finished. See his blog for more: http://michaelwaymonsummers.blogspot.com/

Getting Older–or Younger?

Mom, Dad, thanks for having me.

I’m 26 years old today, and I’ve spent the last three years trying to figure out what it really means to be a man.

[Que Damien Rice or Bob Dylan song.]

Truly, many a good song have been written (by others) in search of the same answer. Something has clicked recently, though, and I’m simply less concerned about it all. Don’t get me wrong, young men and women in their twenties should be ambitious, hard-working, and responsible–but that doesn’t require the exclusion of fun.

So for my birthday, I asked my wife to get me a pair of shoes from the skateboarding world. (It is a different world, by the way, very fun and outrageously creative.) That’s where I resided from around the ages of 13-21; I still take short vacations there from time to time.

I’m feeling younger already.

This morning, I remembered reading C.S. Lewis’ words about what it means to be “adult.” I hope they encourage you to be comfortable in your own skin and to do your best, however young or old you are:

Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

Chinese-American Year of the (Wild) Horses: Blessings and a Tribute

The Chinese Year of the Horse has recently begun, and the next time this could  happen would be in twelve years. So, many who were born in a Year of the Horse (at least 12 years ago) are very excited about 2014.  To learn more about the Chinese Zodiac, you can Travel China Guide or Google(v.) it.

Horses are considered by some Chinese as “energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able.” I borrowed those adjectives from Travel China Guide because of all the ways I’ve heard horses described tonight, I like these the most, particularly the latter two: intelligent and able.  “Able” in my mind connotes humility to accompany one’s abilities. Perhaps, though, Americans  primarily see horses as wild and free-spirited. All good things.

Tonight, at Memphis’ Chinese New Year celebration hosted by the Greater Memphis United Chinese Association, the opening speaker said this is a year many people will make big decisions and changes for their lives. Whatever you believe about the Chinese Zodiac and the Year of the Horse, I hope you have an amazing year with lots of joyful surprises.

While I was at the show tonight (which was awesome–it really was one of the most well-ran and entertaining New Year shows I’ve ever seen!), I was thinking about the meaning of the year and the fact that my awesome wife “is a horse.” All of a sudden, I remembered a song I used to love to listen to and play along with back in the days that I was really “into” songwriting.

I  love a well written song. One of my favorites is by Ray LaMontagne: “All the Wild Horses.” It’s a tune to listen to with eyes closed, meditating on the lyrics. I found a nice video put together and shared by Sandy Elmore, the woman behind the blog, Wild in the Pryors. She captured some beautiful images of the wild horses up on Pryor Pountain in Montana. The video looks great, and I’m glad it includes Ray’s song.

The lyrics mostly go like this:

“All the wild horses–

all the wild horses, tethered with tears in their eyes–

May no man’s touch ever tame you.

May no man’s reigns ever chain you,

and may no man’s weight

every lay freight your soul.

And as for the clouds,

just let them roll.

Roll away, roll away.”

May your dark clouds roll away and our shared Year of the Horse 2014 be blessed with freedom in Christ.

© Clint Boyd 2014

Notes for Reading Philippians 2:1-5 in Chinese

Well, Sam keeps putting me on the list to serve in the Chinese service at Highland, so I’m forced to stretch.

I’m pretty excited about this Sunday’s service. I’m supposed to read Philippians 2:1-5 and pray. Though I always feel inadequate for this kind of ministry, I’m thankful for the opportunity.

Often I use a Bible that has English, 汉字,and pīnyīn(transliteration of the sounds of Chinese characters), which Beng Chuan Tan gave to me, but this time, because the Powerpoint has the scripture in a different Chinese translation, the reading comes from notes.

I copy/pasted their preferred Chinese translation into Microsoft Word, and thankfully, I know at least half of the characters, so I’m just adding pīnyīn and definitions to the words I’m still learning.

Mostly because I love this chapter of Philippians and am in sharing kind of mood, I want to share what I’m using to read tomorrow. This aims not to glorify me but rather to encourage others struggling to learn a language, especially missionaries. If these notes reveal anything of myself it is my weakness, not strength. Also, the name of this blog comes from the eighth verse in the same chapter of Philippians.

philip 2 chinese

Singing after Supper (in Chinese)

I’ve uploaded some songs we sang recently. I’m hesitant to give too many details, but I’ll say there were around 20 people gathered together, about 75% being Chinese Christians. We had a feast, and the food was followed by some singing of worship songs. I recorded these two via my phone, so the quality is low–just the way these young folks like it. I hope you enjoy it and praise God.

Reblog/Press: Keep Your Identity Small

Keep Your Identity Small, by Paul Graham.

A friend of mine recommended this article, and I found it useful, so here’s to sharing.

Graham writes: 

I think what religion and politics have in common is that they become part of people’s identity, and people can never have a fruitful argument about something that’s part of their identity. By definition they’re partisan.

The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it’s right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can’t think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible. [2]

Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

via Keep Your Identity Small.

The wise friend who share Graham’s piece with me also has a website worthy of your attention: http://rbiser.com/

Read Your Bible More and More – Desiring God

Read Your Bible More and More – Desiring God.

I love the first two reasons Piper gives as to why reading the Bible everyday (whether one feels like it or not) is not legalism.

  1. You are confessing your lack of desire as sin, and pleading as a helpless child for the desire you long to have. Legalists don’t cry like that. They strut.
  2. You are reading out of desperation for the effects of this heavenly medicine. Bible-reading is not a cure for a bad conscience; it’s chemo for your cancer. Legalists feel better because the box is checked. Saints feel better when their blindness lifts, and they see Jesus in the word. Let’s get real. We are desperately sick with worldliness, and only the Holy Spirit, by the word of God, can cure this terminal disease.

I actually founds this as I searched DG for “daily Bible reading” to see what Piper or some other might have to say to “stir me up” and rekindle my fire for reading the Word before breakfast each day. Why do I go to DG? Because a true friend tells you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear, and I can often count on the folks at DG for that, and Piper is simply the most motivating advocate of daily reading of the Word in personal and/or corporate devotions, but especially the former.

Let us continue the race of faith, slowly and steadily, always quick to listen and slow to speak, humbly and boldly.

via Read Your Bible More and More – Desiring God.