Monday, April 20, 2015

St. Paul Told Us What A Man Is, But Didn't Give Us Any Practical Tips...

Good St. Paul was finishing his letter and had some closing details to take care of.
"I'll stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, I can't allow these opportunities to be lost, despite the roadblocks. 
When Timothy comes, make things easy for him. He's doing the Lord's work. Help him with his work, because I expect him back with the brothers. Also, I talked to Apollos and told him it was important that he come visit you all, but he told me he wouldn't be able to for a while. He'll come as soon as things work out. 
And oh, yeah. Yeah. Before I forget... 
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 
Anyway, back to business. You all know Stephanas, the first to be converted..."
Wait. What?!

Yep. Wait. What?!

Stuck in at the end of 1 Corinthians, in the middle of Paul's laundry list of final details, a casual reminder, my friends, of how to be a man. Of how men ought to be living every day. The day-to-day. The everyday. The routine. The quotidian. The norm. Every day we ought to be acquitting ourselves like men.

Firm in the faith. Watchful. Strong. Yes! Manly things to be done manfully!

But let's not forget that last, all-important piece of being a man. Letting all our things be done in love. All our things, sweet homies. Our work. Our relationships. Our entertainments. Our studies.

Think about what that might mean. That to be a man means to do all our things in love. Watchful, check. Firm, check. (Just ask wifey.) Strong, check. All of it done in love. Nope, that one was a bridge too far.

This is where chivalry comes from. This is how men become men. We are first so that we might be last. We are first and therefore we must be last. The more power a Christian has, the more kindness he must show. The more wisdom. The more mercy. The more gentleness. The more love.

The love in this verse is agape, the pure love, the selfless love. It's the do you want my cake love. It is the most difficult and the most sacrificial.

It is good for a man to measure his manliness in units like strength or endurance or skill or will. But is it enough if I wrestle with the beasts at Ephesus? If I understand all things and have all knowledge? If I be swifter than eagles and stronger than lions?

Saul was big and tall and strong. And he wasn't just some galoot. He was a legitimately great warrior, in many ways a king to be proud of. But his name is not remembered in honor, because where he was there was no grace, and no love.

If I have not love, I am nothing.

Things done in love usually take a lot of strength. But so what? I can be amazed by the strength of a Highland games pole thrower, but he's just some guy until I see how he behaves. Is it with love or hate or anger or humility? Those things will define him. Not his pole.

Be a man. Let all your things be done in selfless love. Or pray that it be so, by God's lovingkindness.

As for what all this love means day-to-day, I guess you'll have to read your Bible and talk to your dad and listen to your wife and pray without ceasing and not frustrate your children and see what your grandpa thinks and maybe even talk to your father-in-law.

You're going to have figure love out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Be Astonished & Lay Your Hand Upon Your Mouth

Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.

Yesterday I posted a link to a tweet from a real honest-to-goodness reporter reacting to Ted Cruz' speech announcing his candidacy for the presidency. This was that tweet:
My brothers, be astonished and lay your hands upon your mouths. This is Calling Good Evil & Evil Good 101. If rights be man-made, let us simply call them laws. Rights as legislated, not as natural.

I came across this video yesterday.

In this video CNN presenter Chris Cuomo tell Roy Moore, “Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man. That’s your faith, that’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.”

"And you know that." Really? A man who believes that man is created in God's image believes that man's dignity comes not from God but from human consensus?

Make no mistake. We all worship a god. Moore, whether you like him or not, worships the God of Jesus Christ, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of the Bible. Cuomo lays out his priorities pretty straight-forwardly, if disingenuously. Your faith and my faith, sure, but we must all bow...before Our Country. The State is Cuomo's god, and any discussion of human rights must spring from the flowing teat of the State.

Never mind that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

And now we are astonished, and lay our hands upon our mouths, because we see that the wicked prosper. And we know what happens then. Injustice. Oppression. Destruction. And finally, slavery.

Pray for mercy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Human Rights On Paper

So an honest-to-goodness reporter actually tweeted the following out today. I can barely begin to grapple with the obtuseness it would take to write something like this.

Take a look at meredithshiner's Tweet:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How To Eat Burgers In Greer For A Whole Week

All right, people. You know I love hamburgers. Like, so, so much. The burger is the apex of American civilization. I follow six Brazilian hamburger makers on Instagram, because I love to see how the red-white-and-blue has blessed the world; not with the roll of stirring drums, but with deeds of hamburger the American kingdom comes.

The kingdom of hamburger is alive and well in the town of Greer, South Carolina, the place where I reside. I live only a few blocks from Trade Street, where downtown Greer's 2.5 blocks are stretched out. Every week I carve out time to do some work downtown, hanging out at Stomping Grounds Coffee Shop or Cameroon Cigars. When I break for lunch I have several options within eyesight of my chosen office of the day, and most of them serve burgers worth mentioning.

After I became expert in Greer's burger scene, I realized that I could eat burgers on Trade Street for a week without repeating, and that there would have to be some order to how it was done. So here it is: The Week-long Hamburger Tour of Greer Station! It's what the masses have been clamoring for.

On Monday hit the Greer Station Cafe. You'll have to do it at lunch, as the Cafe closes at 2pm. We're starting things off modestly with this one. The lunch menu has a sandwich section with two hamburgers on it, the patty melt and the straight-up hamburger. Order the hamburger with onion, lettuce, and tomato. The is the most elementary of burgers, with a hand-pressed patty, veggies and bun, and no sauce or condiments added until you do it. I ask for hot sauce and leave it at that.

This plate is $5.
The most outstanding thing about the Greer Station Cafe is this: it's five dollars. Every day. Five bucks. Burger, fries. Done. Tax included. Walk out feeling pleased with yourself. Well, leave a tip. Still feel pretty good.

On Tuesday go to Cafe Rivera, Greer's lone Cuban light. Yes, they have a Cuban sandwich, but they also have a solid burger menu including a Bacon and Bleu. Their house burger comes with mojo, an orangey Caribbean meat sauce that adds a light but flavorful note of pep. Burgers cost about ten dollars, and come with fries or potato salad. The only real downside is that they upcharge by a buck if you add onion, lettuce, tomato. This is a sin, but we live in a fallen world and must make do. While you're there maybe add a side of sweet fried plantains. Those things ain't easy to come by.

On Wednesday hit the Mason Jar, Greer's very finest redneck joint. You'll want to do this on Wednesday because their already reasonably-priced burger plates go down from eight or nine dollars to six. Six bucks, my friends. They have an okay beer selection. I recently enjoyed a Sierra Nevada Torpedo from there. But if you're a beer aficionado, don't expect the staff to know anything. They're just selling what the beer rep's suggesting. The burger itself is a bit of a grease bomb, but I mean that in the most flattering of terms possible. The Mason Jar burger is a big delicious juicy generous grease bomb. Yessir. I usually order two patties, which is a two dollar upcharge. I'm a little sleepy afterward, but also very happy. The fries are good, but the onion rings generic; stick with the fries and you'll be good.

Mason Jar's Shroom & Swiss.
As I said, the burgers are generous, and a two-patty is big enough that my giant hands have trouble containing it. It's so big that the bun starts breaking up a bit as you eat, which is something I love in a hamburger. It kind of sets a time limit and makes you give the sandwich all the attention it deserves. If you get it cooked medium it will be perfectly juicy. I especially recommend their Shroom & Swiss. When you pick it up the melted cheese tries to drag up any french fries it might have come in contact with. Visualize that. Hamburger bliss, babies.

Pour Sports, a sports bar on the south end of Trade, is known for its Philly cheesesteaks. They also have a nice burger, just the one, The Original Burger. On Thursday you will visit Pour Sports. Theirs is a solid pub burger which should be ordered with the respect due to that category. But what will make their burger really stand out, in truth, will be the beer selection. Yep. Mason Jar's burger is better, but Pour Sports' beer selection is better and it's not even close. So if you're in it for an evening, the south end of Trade is for you. They have every Founders beer, yes, every. They even make sure to order the Kentucky Breakfast Stout when it comes in. And according to a churchmouse I spoke to, they were able to score extra last time any was available. They do extremely well for themselves in the craft beer department, especially considering that they're a sports bar that serves shots in plastic shot glasses. Get a good burger on top of the beer selection and you're set for the night.

On Friday you will have the honor and privilege of eating a Strip Club 104 burger for lunch. This steakhouse only serves burgers on Fridays at lunchtime, but the wait is well worth it. I have written about this burger before, and I was not shy in my praise. I ranked Greenville-area burgers and it edged out Bacon Brothers' sandwich as my #1. As QuikTrip is to gas stations, so is the Strip Club burger to most other burgers.

From my old review:
The meat is ground filet mignon. I mean, come on.  
The highlight of the burger, however, is the multifariously exotic options available on their menu. The exotically named burgers, such as the Carolina Red-Eye, Southern Comfort, or the Kasseri, include ingredients such as tomato chutney, chevre, jalapenos, pimiento cheese, or a smoked chili ketchup. There are a couple of different bacons and several cheeses available. Now you know by now, burger brothers and sisters, that I'm a toppings man. At no point does the playful spirit of the menu overcome the I'm-eating-a-burger experience.  
French fries are not an option, but homemade chips are. Besides that there are several sides offered with the burger. I usually go for the collards, but you can do your own thing. The burger at 104 for me is about all the options.
I could wax rhapsodic about the Strip Club burger for paragraphs, but I will satisfy myself with the above quote. Just know that the sandwiches pictured below fill me with babbling joy.

So there you have it, friends and lovers. A week-long tour of the burger scene in downtown Greer, a.k.a. Greer Station. A hamburger tells you a lot about a town, so here you have five chances to get to know Greer. In order, from Monday to Friday, you have Old South Greer, International Greer, Redneck Greer, Blue Collar Greer, and Business Greer, all manifesting as New Greer through these hamburgers.

Am I talking too much? Maybe. Do the tour and tell me.

Peace be upon you all.

Friday, March 13, 2015

What Is Beautiful Is Right

The difference between men and women is symbolic in its essence, according to Peter Leithart. But only a fool would take the use of "symbolic" to be a minimizing of our differences; what we mean is the most essential thing about us.

Beauty needs to mean more to Christians. Utility and hierarchy are not as important as what is beautiful. What is beautiful is always right, but what is useful is not always so.

I have more to say on this when it comes to Bible translation. Another post coming soon.

Have a beautiful day, brother.


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