Holding aloft the 3-cent candle of hope

I’ve got lots of post ideas. I just haven’t found the time (or the guts, frankly) to post them. But here are some thoughts and links while I while away my lunch hour.

Remember the old cliche’ “it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness”? My candle is not that bright and I feel sometimes that I’m walking through the inky-black darkness of the blogosphere holding aloft one of those little sparklers you find on a cupcake. But, doggone it, I’m going to grit my teeth and continue to do so. Yes, we need our Jeremiah’s, our weeping prophets. And, of course, all is not well, in our country or in our churches.

But sometimes I think people can’t see the light of hope for the darkness they’ve chosen to focus on.

Maybe I’m wrong. But, for those of us living in the western world at least, we live in an age of unparalleled material blessing and freedom. Even our poorest are rich by history’s standards. And, if that wasn’t un-PC enough to say, though the church in America is badly in need of reform, discipline, and a re-focusing, it is also full of some very, very fine Christians and some brave, stalwart pastors and leaders. And many churches are holding onto the truth, while simultaneously doing honorable work among our poor and dispossessed.

Am I whistling through a graveyard? The Bride is beautiful. And much maligned, even by those who are part of her.

There’s a balance to be achieved. I’m not speaking against Godly criticism of our church culture. I have recommended (and heck, I will again) Gospel-Driven Church as an example of how to do this right. The Internet Monk is also a site I highly recommend, though he is no stranger to dark nights of the soul and confessional blogging (and getting mercilessly slammed for both). Yet he tenaciously holds on to the truth, to orthodoxy, and hope.

So I’m reading this passage in a new way today. Do you see it too?:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

– Romans 8:31-39

Also, apropos of (almost) nothing, check out this quote by J.D. Hatfield:

The New Testament is centered on Christ, and its exhortations on the holiness of believers. This is not a simple call to obedience, but to holiness. Holiness is not righteousness, righteousness flows from holiness. Holiness isn’t simply obedience; it is being set apart for God and depending on God by drawing your boundaries, as God would have them. Obedience flows from holiness, and holiness is cultivated by a right understanding of God and what He has done for us in Christ. To understand Christ more fully is to be made more holy in practice.

That’s something for me to chew on, definitely (HT Transforming Sermons).

Finally, from the aforementioned Gospel-Driven Church, It’s Not About Programming; It’s About Culture. The final few paragraphs are below:

It is wearying trying to sell our churches on the notion that what they’ve been selling for so long doesn’t work. It is difficult suggesting that the service-centered approach to reaching the lost has failed. It is a delicate thing to suggest that we have not exalted Christ and we have not glorified God and therefore we haven’t really served the people we’ve claimed to.

And yet for some of us inside this culture, slogging away at discipling the culture into a more vital discipleship, it is incumbent upon us to, in our hearts and minds, say “Here we stand. We can do no other.”

I rather like that, and I’m inspired by efforts to change the church that flow from sincere love and concern for the Bride and devotion to her Lord.

So I’m going to hold my candle aloft. And you can blow it out, but it’s the frustrating kind that bursts back into flame without having to be relit [Bill makes his “booyah” face].

And I’m also going to attempt to start policing what I read on the Blogosphere and who I link to in my Bloogroll.

It’s either that or Prozac . . .

11 thoughts on “Holding aloft the 3-cent candle of hope

  1. You know the church is not some identity out their in some other sphere, it is you and me. I wonder if God is pleased when we talk disparagingly about His Bride. Just as any of us would not be pleased if someone talked about our family in a disrespectful way. What should I be in light of His Word. Bill…hold your candle high, I need the light to find my way along this path called life.

  2. Bill, what a blessing to know you personally. You have leaped to the top of my list of must read bloggers. One reason is that when I read what you have to say, I understand it. Many others, when I have finished reading their piece, I think “what did they say, or what are they talking about”. I know some will say it has more to do with my lack of knowledge, and that may be part of it, but I think it has to do with the clarity in which you write. A good writer shouldn’t leave his readers more confused from what he has to say. You are a very bright light. Shine on…..

  3. Hi,

    I tried to find the “better to light a candle than curse the darkness” you quoted. It moved me.

    I went to my bible to try to locate the source but was unsuccessful. Is this quote from the Holy Scriptures and if so, where can I find it?

    Thank you for all you are doing.


  4. Hi,

    It’s me again.I checked the concordance and was still not able to fine the source of “better to light a candle than curse the darkness” quote. Any suggestions?



  5. Hi Andy,

    “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness” is not found in the Bible (though I think that the description of Christians as the light of the world assumes it) – it is just an old cliche or proverb that I’ve heard in the past. I don’t know where it comes from.

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