Friday, July 20, 2018

Five Star Links

Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Persis:

Todd Pruitt shares about his experience with depression and anxiety - The Hard Apprenticeship of Sorrow
This hard apprenticeship of sorrow has caused me to long for Christ’s appearing more than I otherwise would have. The promise that our returning Lord will wipe away every tear from our eyes is fuel for my desire for the New Creation. Christians who suffer from depression and anxiety tend to long for that home for which we were ultimately made."

Kim:

Social media has affected the way we read, how our attention span works, and even how we think.  Trevin Wax gives a brief discussion about how social media has changed us.

Rebecca:

Remember the story of Israel and the golden calf? It's a bit shocking, isn't it? How could the Israelites so brazenly—and stupidly—disobey the God who brought them out of slavery in Egypt? And who worships a golden calf, anyway? Why would they do what they did?

And what significance does their story have for us? Is there anything we can we learn from this piece Israel's history? James M. Todd III answers these questions and more in Credo Magazine.

Deb:

Crossway is featuring seven video snapshots exploring the Christian life from seven of church history's greatest theologians.
The Bible calls us to be conformed to the image of Christ, our greatest example of godly living. Yet God has also given us examples of faithful Christian living throughout the history of the church—examples we would do well to emulate.
Interested in church history? Check out these teaching segments from some solid teachers, such as Michael Reeves, Steven Nichols, and Tony Reinke

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Understanding gives way to compassion


I have been close to my aunt and uncle my whole life. Their daughter is probably the closest thing I've had to a sister. As we grew into adulthood, I could sense resentment directed toward me. I didn't understand, and I felt angry toward her. I attributed it to her being a difficult person. While visiting her this summer, she shared some things with me that gave me insight and clarity. It's something that I wish I'd known all along. As I began to appreciate her experience, my frustration with her gave way to compassion and mercy. It is like a wall has been removed.

It is not always easy to understand the perspective of others. We cannot get inside the body or mind of another to understand her perspective. But we can acknowledge the reality that our situation is not the prototype. As a Christian woman, I have a particular background and life situation, but that is not true for all Christian women. I don't set the standard.

Last year, I had an opportunity to spend time with someone who had a very difficult past. She had issues that were beyond anything I could speak into. She referred to other girls with happy childhoods as those who had lived "charmed lives." She described the typical Christian fare directed to women as being only suitable for those women, not her. That was an eye-opening conversation, and it made me wonder how often I have been judgmental or critical of someone because I assumed her experience had to mirror my own.

I Corinthians 12:12-13 talks about the body of Christ:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews and Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
In the Church, we are tempted to think that our unity is from shared life experiences: we all feel the same way about how short a woman's skirt should be, which political figure to support, or whether homeschooling is bad or not. But those experiences are not what truly give us unity in the body. The most significant experience which we have in common is being baptized into the body of Christ; in being made to drink of one Spirit. That unity may foster shared opinions, but then again, it may not.

It is crucial that we understand what faith is; what the body of Christ is; what unity is. And that means studying and thinking deeply about God's word. And when we do apply Scripture, we must be careful to avoid a "one size fits all" approach. I've often wondered how single mothers react when they read that their children's spiritual health depends on a strong male presence in the home. What if that isn't a possibility? How do we encourage a woman in that situation? It can begin with something as simple as putting ourselves in the shoes of others and really ponder what that different situation is like on a practical, day to day basis.

It is easy to find unity in common preferences for incidentals. But it is a shallow unity. Real unity comes from a shared life in Christ, and it is practiced in an environment of different life experiences. The church is not a gathering of clones. Unity in Christ is not a process by which everyone finally comes around to my point of view. It's about loving someone in spite of the ways in which we differ. One of the ways we can foster compassion and mercy is to be willing to recognize and understand how we differ.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking,  or all of the above.

Kim:

My early instruction as a Christian took place in church circles which were highly dispensational. Study and preaching from Revelation had more to do with talking about the rapture and wondering who the anti-Christ was than it did with actually studying the words themselves. I've long wanted to read Revelation with open eyes. I have a copy of the book Revelation Verse By Verse, by Grant Osborne, and I'm hoping to study more closely what Revelation teaches. Revelation has a lot to say about worship:
Worship takes place in virtually every chapter and becomes the unifying center of the action. It is the natural response to God's absolute sovereignty and Christ's atoning sacrifice. The worship scenes elevate readers into the very presence of God and lift them above elements to the Almighty Lord. In fact, there is an antithetical element, for readers are asked to choose between worship of the Triune Godhead and the false trinity . . . The well known challenge says it well -- who is on the throne of your life? There is serious idolatry in the Western world today; there is a god-shelf in our homes, and it can contain anything we choose to put above God in our lives -- even good things like our checkbook, our possessions, our family and our comfort, or our security. God and the Lamb are alone worthy of worship (4:11; 5:9). In fact, the best way to persevere and be a victor is to live a life of worship.

Deb:

Earlier this year, I purchased and read with great enjoyment Sarah Ivill's wonderful book written to help laypersons to better think Biblically and live covenantally. I appreciated the richness of the theological teaching and the practical application throughout the book. Here is one sampling from the second chapter to chew on:
The Westminster Larger Catechism explains in answer 4 that “the Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation.” Let’s unpack this answer a little bit to better understand how the Scriptures reveal themselves to be God’s Word. 
First, the Bible reveals itself to be God’s word by its “majesty and purity.” Since God Himself is majestic, greater than all other names, His word is also majestic, greater than all other words. The psalmist says, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Ps. 119:18). God’s word is also pure. The psalmist tells us, The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. (Ps. 12:6) And, “the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps. 19:8). Second, the Bible reveals itself to “be the Word of God…by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God.” Jesus told the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). It is Christ who is the climax of the covenant story and who is testified about on every page of the Bible. As the Covenant King who comes extending grace and mercy, as well as the Covenant Servant to perfectly obey what God’s people failed to obey and die a cursed death in their place, He holds the covenant story together as the hero of it all.

Ivill, Sarah. (2018) The Covenantal Life: Appreciating the Beauty of Theology and Community (Kindle Locations 378-392). Reformation Heritage Books.

Persis:

There were more quotes that I wanted to share in my review of Why Can't We Be Friends? last week than space would allow. Therefore, here is one that I omitted on how our identity is found in our Elder Brother, Jesus.
The best-intentioned biological brothers could not possibly fulfill the vocation of keeping one another to this degree. But Jesus claims that position—the keeper of Israel, the keeper of his church; he has kept us in the Father’s name and hasn’t lost even one whom the Father has given him (see John 17:12). Psalm 121 shows us that Jesus can do this because he is the keeper of our souls. Charles Spurgeon remarks, “Soul-keeping is the soul of keeping. If the soul can be kept, all is kept.” While Cain resented his brotherly responsibility to care for Abel, Jesus graciously assumes this office, “fulfilling it in person.” He does this through suffering. To be our Elder Brother, Jesus assumed flesh and blood so that he could truly guard and preserve us from eternal death by living the life that we could not live and dying the death that we all deserved. Cain took Abel’s life because he was jealous of the Father’s affection for him. Jesus gave his own life so that we could share in the Father’s name and in eternal communion with him. This is the beautiful story of brotherhood.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Five Star Links

Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 


Kim:

Helpful thoughts from the article "I'd Like to Have an Argument, Please."
Many pundits have rued the widespread lack of courtesy on social media. Here, then, is a fundamental mode of courtesy that could revolutionize our participation in, and experience of, social media: Resist the impulse to just sound off and make an argument or offer an alternative. 
Take the time to give your readers a gift: some novel information, another interpretation of the facts, or a new framework in which to see the issue

Persis:

This is a moving post about the aftermath of abuse - But He Promised 
Sometimes when I’m trying to pray, I ask the same question.
What if you stop loving me?
It feels childish and ridiculous. But I have to know. Everything hinges on the hope, the truth of Christ’s love now. It’s all I have. Having it, I need it, desperately.
Rebecca:

"The doctrine of God’s sovereign love—and the fact that nothing is outside his control—will help keep me going through whatever lies ahead"—Christopher Catherwood in How Reformed Theology Helps Deal With Death.

And one more—a time-lapse video of a glacier in Greenland calving an iceberg half the size of Manhattan. (This happened last week.)



Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: Why Can't We Be Friends?

Why Can't We Be Friends? - Avoidance is Not Purity by Aimee Byrd, P&R Publishing, 2018, 243 pages.

Four year ago, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals invited Aimee Byrd to join Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt as a cohost for their podcast, The Mortification of Spin. To her surprise, not all the listeners were pleased. There were concerns about where this interaction would lead and even warnings that Aimee was an affair waiting to happen and a potential cause of moral downfall for two pastors.1 When I read this account in the beginning of Why Can't We Be Friends?, it reminded me of a another story.

In Openness Unhindered, Rosaria Butterfield was preparing a Lord's Day meal with another sister. It was just the two of them in the kitchen quietly working together, and then the question came up,
"Is this safe? Being alone together in the kitchen?"... "Does being alone with a woman bring back those feelings for you? Those kind of feelings."
Suddenly, the danger was exposed: I. It was I. I was the potential source of unsafety. I felt that chill of isolation creep in. She couldn't even name those feelings, they were so dirty, or foreign, or dangerous.... I was perplexed that even though I was a new creature in Christ, that was not good enough. I pondered why my identity in Christ did not seem to be good enough for her, and it made me wonder again, if it was good enough for God... Why did she not see that my identity in Christ was bigger than my past? Because there is another category of personhood that takes preeminence: sexual orientation."2
These responses from Christians aren't that different from the dictum of Harry Burns in the movie, When Harry Met Sally - "men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way."3 If Harry and the naysayers are right, then Aimee should be booted off the Mortification of Spin, and we should be wary of all cross-gender friendships in the church. For Rosaria, even same-gender friendships are potentially dangerous, so perhaps it would be safer to segregate her with just her family.

But is this how God wants his family to function? Are we called to commune around the Lord's table as fellow blood-bought believers and then view each other with suspicion? In our desire to obey the 7th commandment, do we inadvertently break the 9th by imputing sinful motives to one another? Is Christ's work in making us new creatures not good enough? Or have we lost something along the way? I think we have, which is why I am so glad Aimee wrote this book. The solution to the friendship problem is not just behavioral. It is, at its heart, theological.

Aimee identifies four theological categories that form the foundation of friendship, and these categories anchor the discourse in the subsequent chapters:4

Anthropology - What are we here for? We are created for communion with God and with one another.
Christology - Who are we as Christians? Christ, our elder brother, has not only given us new life but brought us into a new relationship as brothers and sisters.
Ecclesiology - We are God's family. How does he expect us to treat one another?
Eschatology - What is our ultimate hope?

Then in the first half of the book, Aimee examines the reasons why we think we can't be friends:5
- Our concept of identity is shaped by the culture and seen through the lens of stereotypes.
- We've forgotten the goal of communion with God and the outflow of that communion in the church.
- We've narrowed purity down to sex.
- Immaturity and fear weaken relationships.
- We've forgotten that we are family.

In the second half of the book, she gives ways where sanctified siblingship can flourish in the local church:6
- Our identity comes from our Elder Brother.
- Consider the "one anothers" in scripture.
- Cultivate holiness in one another through encouragement and exhortation.
- Practice community through table fellowship.
- Celebrate and suffer together.
- Model affectionate and appropriate relationships to the world.

There has been a lot of discussion about Why Can't We Be Friends? even before its release. There have been concerns that Aimee is advocating antinomianism (disregarding the moral law) in the area of friendship. I don't think this is the case at all. I believe she steers a theologically straight course between license and legalism, which is why I strongly recommend this book. She is not advocating permissiveness in our friendships. Neither does she give a list of cast iron dos and donts. Rather she raises the bar by encouraging her readers to look to Christ and what he has done on our behalf. It is through our union with him that the family of God can be family in holiness and purity. He sets the standard for friendship, not the culture. After all who gave us a new heart? Who gives us new desires? Are we perfect? No. Are we still tempted? Yes. But who convicts us of sin? Who delivers us from temptation and gives wisdom from situation to situation? Who is building his church and able to present her blameless at the last day?
Can men and women be friends? It's the wrong question. How could we even ask such a question if we understood the meaning of friendship?
Are we opposed to friendship? No - we are opposed to sin, and we are for holiness. And for this reason, men and women are called to be more than friends. We are called to Christ, in whom we become brothers and sisters As the saying goes, blood is thicker than water.7

For more on the book:
Mortification of Spin Podcast on Why Can't We Be Friends?
Theology Gals interview with Aimee Byrd 

1. Why Can't We Be Friends? - Avoidance is Not Purity, Aimee Byrd, P&R Publishing, 2018, pg. 7.
2. Openness Unhindered, Rosaria Butterfield, Crown & Covenant Publications, 2015, pp. 35-36. (bolding mine)
3. Byrd. pg. 25.
4. Ibid. pp. 15-16.
5. Ibid. Chapters 1-7.
6. Ibid. Chapters 8-13.
7. Ibid. pg. 229.

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, July 9, 2018

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking,  or all of the above.


Kim:

Another great one from Concise Theology:
Christ's death was God's act of reconciling us to himself, overcoming his own hostility to us that our sins provoked (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Col. 1:20-22). The Cross propitiated (i.e., quenched his wrath against us by expiating our sins and so removing them from his sight). Key texts here are Romans 3:25; hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2 and 4:10, in each of which the Greek expresses propitiation explicitly. The Cross had this propitiatory effect because in his suffering Christ assumed our identity as it were, and endured the retributive judgment due to us ("the curse of the law," Gal. 3:13) as our substitute, in our place, with the damning record of our transgressions nailed by God to his cross as the tally of crimes for which he was now dying. 
Take note of the sentence beginning, "The Cross propitiated . . . " This is exceptional writing. Packer makes the cross the subject of the sentence, and gives it a transitive verb, "propitiated." This adds a powerful emphasis on the significance of the cross. Forgiveness is because of the cross. The cross has won our redemption for us. Packer has beautifully drawn our attention to the essential nature of the cross.


Persis:

These related quotes are from The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson. If you are looking for a book that addresses antinomianism and its "nonidentical twin," legalism, this is the book for you.
There is only one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God, which he now mediates to us in the gospel. This alone breaks the bonds of both legalism (the law is no longer divorced from the person of Christ) and antinomianism (we are not divorced from the law, which now comes to us from the hand of Christ and in the empowerment of the Spirit, who writes it on our hearts.) (pg. 157)
Commandments are the railroad tracks on which the life empowered by the love of God poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit runs. Love empowers the engine; the law guides the direction. They are mutually interdependent. (pp. 168-169)

Rebecca: 

I'm still reading The Essential Trinity, a collection of essays on the "New Testament foundations and practical relevance" of the Trinity. I'm three-quarters of the way through the last chapter, the one on the Trinity and preaching, which is written by Michael Reeves. You might think a chapter on preaching would have nothing to say to an ordinary woman who will never preach, but much of what Reeves has written is also applicable in some way to every Christian.

It "will not do," writes Reeves, "for Christian preachers to mouth a vague or general theism. How, then, will the glory of the living God be distingished from the glory of all others?"

The same thing goes for the lay Christian. It will not do for us to think and speak about God as if he were a generally theistic god. Our God—the one we hold in our minds when we worship, and the one we speak of in our daily lives—should be the one true God who exists as Trinity.

Reeves continues, speaking to the preacher, but much of what he says also applies to every believer:
A faithful servant of this God will be eager to speak in trinitarian language as often and as clearly as possible, knowing our natural propensity to squash God into our own fallen perception.
'Preaching the Trinity' really (unfortunately) requires a little explanation. All too easily that could be taken to mean that, every now and again, the preacher departs from his usual expository ministry and puzzles his congregation with the question of how three can be one. Out with the verse-by-verse that week; in with talk about triangles and 3-in-one shampoo. But the Trinity is not an addendum to the gospel of Jesus, a side room for those ready to move on: the triune God is the God of the gospel. To preach the Trinity is simply to preach the Father who is made known by his son Jesus Christ in the  power of the Spirit. It is, in fact, no more than to preach Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God anointed with the Holy Spirit. Note the trinitarianism of the simple summons to faith in Jesus found in John's Gospel: 'these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Sond of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name' (John 20:31).
So when you read your Bible, especially the New Testament, look for the Trinity. Where is the Father in the passage you are reading? The Son? The Spirit? The Spirit sometimes hides, but behind any words about new life, new creatures, being made new, becoming like Christ, and more, is the Spirit, who is working withing every believer to recreate them in the image of Christ. When you think about the gospel, think about each person's role in the work of salvation. And when you speak of God to others, speak frequently of Father, Son, and Spirit.

When you worship, are you worshipping the Christian God—Father, Son, and Spirit—or a vague or general theistic god?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Five Star Links

Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 


Kim:

Two years ago, on the way to school, my very expensive Schuyler goatskin ESV Bible got a bath from a poorly sealed water bottle in my book bag. I wish I'd seen these "Tips for Repairing a Wet Book." I'm not sure how these procedures would work for the thin paper, but I could have taken some of the tips and tried them.

Rebecca:

I seem to bounce back from grief—or at least come to the "new normal"—fairly quickly, and I'll admit that I can be privately impatient with those who don't. This piece was a needed reminder to me to be patient and continue to support those who are grieving even when their experience is different from mine.

Persis:

Here's a post from Diane Bucknell who was one of the contributor's here at Out of the Ordinary. The ministry of presence and just being there for one another is so important. "Having sound doctrine is fine and dandy, but unless it produces both a love for God and His people that is made evident by our actions, it really won't be worth much."

Monday, July 2, 2018

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking,  or all of the above.

Persis:

A friend recently asked me about How to Think by Alan Jacobs. I finished it last year, and it's one of the best books I've read on how thinking, or its lack, is intertwined with how we treat people. If you want examples, just observe how well people respond when someone disagrees with them on social media. Usually not so well, which is one of the main reasons Jacobs wrote this book.
Why would people ever think, when thinking deprives them of "the pleasure of sharing an attitude one knows is socially approved" - especially in an online environment where the social approval of one's attitudes is so much easier to acquire, in the currency of likes, faves, followers and friends? And to acquire instantaneously? (pg. 21)
People invested in not knowing, not thinking about, certain things in order to have "the pleasure of sharing an attitude one knows is socially approved" will be ecstatic when their consensus is gratified - and wrathful when it is thwarted. (Social bonding is cemented by shared emotion, shared emotion generates social bonding, It's a feedback loop from which reflection is excluded.)...  Anyone who claims not to be shaped by such forces is almost self-deceived. Human beings are not built to be indifferent to the waves and pulses of their social world. For most of us the question is whether we have even the slightest reluctance to drift along with the flow. The person who genuinely wants to think will have to develop strategies for recognizing the subtlest of social pressures, confronting the pull of the ingroup and disgust for the outgroup. The person who wants to think will have to practice patience and master fear. (pg. 23)
Kim:

J.I. Packer is not only an astute theologian, he is a great writer. In this passage from Concise Theology, he describes beautifully the importance of Christ's resurrection:
Jesus' resurrection, which was a divine act involving all three Persons of the Godhead (John 10:17-18; Acts 13:30-35; Rom 1:4), was not just a resuscitation of the ruined physical frame that was taken down from the cross for burial. It was, rather, a transformation of Jesus' humanity that enabled him to appear, vanish, and move unseen from one location to another (Luke 24:31, 36). It was the creative renewing of his original body, the body that is now fully glorified and deathless (Phil. 3:21; Heb. 7:16, 24). The Son of God in heaven still lives in and through that body, and will do so forever. In I Corinthians 15:50-54, Paul envisages that Christians who are alive on earth at the moment of Christ's return will undergo a similar transformation, though in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 he shows himself aware that Christians who die before the Second Coming will be "clothed" with their new body (the "eternal house in heaven") as a distinct event, at or after the time of the body's return to dust (Gen. 3:19).
Rebecca:

Last Friday I linked to a 5 Minutes in Church History piece on William Cowper. Cowper was a British poet and hymn writer who suffered from some kind of mental illness. In his melancholy episodes, which were long-lasting, he was convinced that he had been forsaken by God. Although he was a believer, he was sure that ultimately he would be what he called a “castaway”; that is, in the end, Christ would say to him, “I never knew you.” These compulsive thoughts were, I'm certain, symptoms of his mental illness. After all, he truly believed that all those who trust in Christ are surely saved, and he knew that he was trusting in Christ. Yet he couldn’t rid himself of the idea that he was the one and only exception to the rule, the only person who ever lived who would trust in Christ and still be rejected.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a beautiful poem called Cowper's Grave that reflects on William Cowper's sad life and the peace that he found only in the afterlife when he saw Jesus face to face—when he "felt those eyes alone, and knew—'My Saviour! not deserted!'"

Cowper's Grave 
I.
It is a place where poets crowned may feel the heart’s decaying;
It is a place where happy saints may weep amid their praying;
Yet let the grief and humbleness as low as silence languish:
Earth surely now may give her calm to whom she gave her anguish. 
II.
O poets, from a maniac’s tongue was poured the deathless singing!
O Christians, at your cross of hope a hopeless hand was clinging!
O men, this man in brotherhood your weary paths beguiling,
Groaned inly while he taught you peace, and died while ye were smiling! 
III.
And now, what time ye all may read through dimming tears his story,
How discord on the music fell and darkness on the glory,
And how when, one by one, sweet sounds and wandering lights departed,
He wore no less a loving face because so broken-hearted, 
IV.
He shall be strong to sanctify the poet’s high vocation,
And bow the meekest Christian down in meeker adoration;
Nor ever shall he be, in praise, by wise or good forsaken,
Named softly as the household name of one whom God hath taken. 
V.
With quiet sadness and no gloom I learn to think upon him,
With meekness that is gratefulness to God whose heaven hath won him,
Who suffered once the madness-cloud to His own love to blind him,
But gently led the blind along where breath and bird could find him; 
VI.
And wrought within his shattered brain such quick poetic senses
As hills have language for, and stars, harmonious influences:
The pulse of dew upon the grass kept his within its number,
And silent shadows from the trees refreshed him like a slumber. 
VII.
Wild timid hares were drawn from woods to share his home-caresses,
Uplooking to his human eyes with sylvan tendernesses:
The very world, by God’s constraint, from falsehood’s ways removing,
Its women and its men became, beside him, true and loving. 
VIII.
And though, in blindness, he remained unconscious of that guiding,
And things provided came without the sweet sense of providing,
He testified this solemn truth, while phrenzy desolated,
—Nor man nor nature satisfies whom only God created. 
IX.
Like a sick child that knoweth not his mother while she blesses
And drops upon his burning brow the coolness of her kisses,—
That turns his fevered eyes around—“My mother! where’s my mother?”—
As if such tender words and deeds could come from any other!— 
X.
The fever gone, with leaps of heart he sees her bending o’er him,
Her face all pale from watchful love, the unweary love she bore him!
Thus woke the poet from the dream his life’s long fever gave him,
Beneath those deep pathetic Eyes which closed in death to save him. 
XI.
Thus? oh, not thus! no type of earth can image that awaking,
Wherein he scarcely heard the chant of seraphs, round him breaking,
Or felt the new immortal throb of soul from body parted,
But felt those eyes alone, and knew—“My Saviour! not deserted!” 
XII.
Deserted! Who hath dreamt that when the cross in darkness rested,
Upon the Victim’s hidden face no love was manifested?
What frantic hands outstretched have e’er the atoning drops averted?
What tears have washed them from the soul, that one should be deserted? 
XIII.
Deserted! God could separate from His own essence rather;
And Adam’s sins have swept between the righteous Son and Father:
Yea, once, Immanuel’s orphaned cry His universe hath shaken—
It went up single, echoless, “My God, I am forsaken!” 
XIV.
It went up from the Holy’s lips amid His lost creation,
That, of the lost, no son should use those words of desolation!
That earth’s worst phrenzies, marring hope, should mar not hope’s fruition,
And I, on Cowper’s grave, should see his rapture in a vision.

Deb:

In my research and studies I keep bumping up against theories that tend to dichotomize reason over against experience, truth verses imagination, and modernism against postmodernism. To that end, I recalled how much I previously enjoyed our church Sunday School a couple of summers ago in which we studied Fool's Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guinness. He wrote:
Creative persuasion is a matter of being biblical, not of being either modern or postmodern. In today’s climate, anyone who prizes reason and truth and makes use of them in the defense of the faith is apt to be dismissed as a modernist. Equally, anyone who uses imagination and stories is apt to be either praised or dismissed as postmodern, depending on the speaker’s view of postmodernism. But the fact is that the Bible itself is the grandest of grand stories, yet it prizes truth and reason without being modernist, and it prizes countless stories within its overall story without being postmodern either. In short, the Bible is both rational and experiential, propositional as well as relational, so that genuinely biblical arguments work in any age and with any person (pp. 33-34).