Why fossil fuels are a blessing
According to Kathleen Hartnett White, in her study Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case “man-made emissions of carbon dioxide have risen three-fold since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.” But if some think that a decided downside, let’s not lose sight of the way we’ve been blessed by God’s provision of fossil fuels. As White explains:
“When innovative minds developed a steam engine which could convert the stored heat energy in coal into mechanical energy, the economic limits under which all human societies had formerly existed were blown apart. A life of back-breaking drudgery was no longer the inescapable condition of the overwhelming majority of mankind.
“Life expectancy had changed little throughout all human history until the Industrial Revolution; it thereafter tripled. Income per capita has since increased 11-fold…. Fossil-fuel powered mechanization revolutionized economic productivity, increased incomes, population, and life expectancy across all classes.”
Parental code: upping our game
As is true for many readers of this magazine, my parents spoke Dutch whenever they wanted to talk about things they didn’t want us kids to understand. That always got us listening all the more intently, and over the years we did learn a “klien beetje” of Dutch, but never enough to figure out exactly what they were saying.
But now, with kids of our own, and no second-language skills to turn to, I’m trying to figure out how I can talk to my wife without our kids clueing in.
For the last four or five years, ever since our oldest learned to talk, we made use of our ability to spell. But now she’s off to kindergarten and has managed to break that code. So we’ve turned to shorthand spelling – instead of spelling out the whole word, we’ll just spell out the first few letters. So if I want to suggest a trip to the library, I’ll ask my wife what she thinks “about going to the L-I-B.” As “lib” doesn’t sound all that much like “library” it kept our speller off the scent for a while. But after repeated usage she broke that code too, and now when I ask my wife if we should have “I-C-E for dessert” our oldest is already salivating.
Clearly, we had to up our game. Now instead of using actual letters, I’m using sound-alikes, in shorthand. So the last time I suggested heading to the library I asked my wife whether we should head to the “E-L-L-E, E-Y-E, B-E-E.” That should serve us for at least the next little bit.
After that? How about sound-alikes, in shorthand, backwards!
Or we could just go to the other room.
Alzheimer’s and the hope of a Reformed faith
Some years ago the then editor of Christianity Today, David Neff, while reviewing a book on Alzheimer’s, pointed out how little hope some theology offers the family and friends of Alzheimer’s patients. He didn’t use the word Arminian, but the description he gave of this troubling theology fit: it “requires Christians to act for their salvation/liberation.” The problem with a theology that asks us to hold on to Christ is that it, “is no comfort to those whose dementia leaves them without the capacity to act.”
After his father-in-law was stricken, Neff took comfort in a more Reformed understanding that instead emphasized, “that it is God who acts on our own behalf.”
“Do we have to go to Church today?”
In the September 2015 issue of New Horizons. Pastor Shane Lems shared how as a young lad he would complain to his parents, “Do we have to go to church today?” He didn’t understand the dangers of neglecting the church service – he wanted to stay home with his Lego. But, as he says, while “it’s one thing for a child to reason this way, it’s a very different thing for an adult to do it.” And he goes on to list some of the dangers to skipping church.
- It is against God’s will
- It hinders Christian fellowship
- It diminishes God’s praise
- It confuses/sets a bad example for other Christians
- It invites Satan’s temptations
- It is harmful to the Christian’s faith
Lems included 5 more and noted that while his list was a negative one, it could also be reframed in the positive. For example, we could also not that going to church is God’s will, and doing so “strengthens your fellowship with the saints.” There are certainly dangers to neglecting church, but clear benefits to going.
It’s inescapable: Husbands are leaders
“The Bible says the “husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church” (Eph. 5:23). Paul most emphatically does not say that husbands ought to be heads of their wives. He says they are…. Because the husband is the head of the wife he finds himself in a position of inescapable leadership. He cannot successfully refuse to lead. If he attempts to abdicate in some way, he may, through his rebellion, lead poorly. But no matter what he does, or where he goes, he does so as the head of his wife.”
– Douglas Wilson in Reforming Marriage
Count your blessings
If the doom and gloom that fills our newspapers and social media feeds has you despairing, it’s time to start counting the many, many blessings God showers on us. Here’s a half dozen to get things started:
- It used to be expensive to phone long distance. Now we can Skype grandma for free.
- Most of us have a computer more powerful than anything NASA used to run the Apollo missions…and it’s small enough to fit in a pocket.
- Life expectancy has jumped ten years since 1950.
- Everyone used to smoke, even if they never touched a cigarette – the haze was everywhere! Now we don’t…mostly.
- The percentage of people in the world who are living in extreme poverty has been halved since 1990.
- Students in school today have no idea what a nuclear missile attack drill entails.
A reading tips for dads
Whenever I begin an Amelia Bedelia book I can hear a growing chorus screaming, “Noooooo! Don’t say her name agaaaaaaaaain!” Those are my brain cells…dying.
Still, my kids like these books and men are called to lead sacrificially, so I’ve had to figure out a work around. At first I had my daughters interject with Bedelia’s name each time it appeared …which meant they were reading half the book! But now I’ve come up with an even better solution that allows me to go entirely Bedelia-free: when her name comes up, I just swap in “Jane Smith.”
Aaaaah, sweet relief!
Give it a try dads; your brain cells will thank you!