Clyde Kilby’s Resolutions
Let me conclude now by reading eleven practical steps used by my former teacher Clyde Kilby to stay alive to the beauty of God’s world.
1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above me and about me.
2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death, when he said: “There is darkness without and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendour, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”
3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.
4. I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.
5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.
6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.
7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the “child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”
8. I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.
9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is just now.
10. If for nothing more than the sake of a change of view, I shall assume my ancestry to be from the heavens rather than from the caves.
11. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life in the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega.
Full Sermon Here
Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1980-1989). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.
“That’s what we were made for, to set aside our little, temporal causes, and to give ourselves to this one great battle. And so if we set aside these basic principles difficult things in order to jump out there and do something public and something great then we prove ourselves to be hypocrites. What is the most important trait in a man? Is it giftedness? Absolutely not. Some of the most gifted men in the world are self-destructive and destroy others. What does your wife need? What does your children need? What does the world need from you? Christlikeness. This is what we are to strive for and it breaks my heart. Sometimes, you know, I don’t like to go to conferences, I don’t like to preach in them, just sometimes in the middle of all the stuff being said all the time, I just want to stand up and say “Enough! I’ve already got more truth than I know how to obey! I don’t just want to know! I want to change! And I don’t want to change on a so-called “spiritual level”! Maybe in a “public level” is a better word. I want to change. In the inner chambers of my heart. That even His thoughts, the deepest expression of who He is, it was His desire that they be according to the will of almighty God. The most free man on the face of the earth is the one who makes himself a slave to a perfect master. Where has God been wrong? And where has he wronged you? Has there ever been a time when you listened to Him, when you obeyed Him, when you sought out His will that He has misled you somehow? Never! But have you ever followed your own ways and been misled by your own devices? Always!”
- This is just an excerpt, click here for the full sermon.
Marriage Sermons or Family Sermons make me depressed.
I have not heard one (in the churches I’ve been a part of) that didn’t make me hold my head in my hands and sigh.
I want to get married, I want to have a family, but it hasn’t happened yet. There are obvious things I need to get in order first such as getting my own place and being able to support myself. I got that, I understand that, and I am on the road to getting there.
But, it seems as if marriage sermons and family sermons just rub it in. I don’t mean to be snippy, but it frustrates me on a few fronts (besides the personal reasons).
I don’t go to church to get married. I don’t go to church to get advice for when/if I do get married and I don’t go to church to worship marriage. I go to church to worship Jesus Christ. Marriage must be thought of in the context of the Scriptures, not culture. Marriage is beautiful, marriage is awesome, and right now those who are part of the church are married to Christ.
I’d love to hear that in a marriage sermon or family sermon. I’d love for the sermon to be more than stories and jokes. I’d love for my generation to see that Christ is faithful and that He loves us unconditionally.That when we sin, we are cheating on God. That when we sin, we commit spiritual adultery. The non-believer knows nothing but this. But, that Christ in His love and His mercy died to forgive us conditionally and that we are now part of the church who will tell the world about Him.
Am I asking too much?
Maybe I’m wrong and just peeved at hearing the same sermon over and over again on marriage and family. That could definitely be a possibility.