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Archive for the ‘Edith and Francis Schaeffer’ Category

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“Finally, Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time as the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:15-16

One would have to be clueless, to doubt the fact that the days are evil.  The days have been evil ever since the game-changing fiasco in the garden.  But Eden did not have cell phones, a worldwide internet, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and billions of people—starving, warring, and suffering unspeakable horrors.  Eden’s evil was not so sophisticatedly organized, so widely and criminally justified by evil national majorities—so whitewashed to appear humanitarian, reasonable, rational, “kind to the planet” and altruistic, as the convoluted sin of these days.  It took thousands of years to get here.

Those of us who prefer keeping our heads in Scripture rather than sand believe we are nearing the book of Revelation, when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth to establish justice and reign in His Holy City, Jerusalem.  No we are not to name the day or the hour.  But YES, we are to watch for the signs prophesied by Old Testament Prophets, the Lord Jesus in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), and New Testament letters culminating in Jude and Revelation. 

The days are evil, and we are nearing the end of the Church Age.  In the words of beloved Christian brother, Francis Schaeffer, “How do we then live?”  How am I to respond or react to evil times?  Am I to go high stress, slap-dashing about in a fervor of Chicken Little-ish behavior?  Wrong!  Am I to think about nothing else than the fact that the days are evil?  Wrong again!

Am I to eschew beauty and instead fashion a drab, lackluster world around me, an environment which says nothing about creative living?  How horrible is that!

So what is Right?  My quest for an answer always comes back to the above quotes from Philippians and Ephesians, and countless other passages having to do with gracious, Spirit-filled living.  Joyous living.  God is still in charge.  God has always been and will always be in charge.

Yes, we are to speak up and out whenever we can.  Yes we are to pray with compassion for those who suffer all over this crazy, convoluted earth.  Yet it is still God’s earth.  As well as being fully God, Jesus was fully human—modeling the perfect humanity intended for people on earth, until man and woman (not in that order) blew it in the beautiful garden which God had provided for them.

Our Lord Jesus Christ will return, to reign on earth for 1000 years.  Scripture predicts a New Heaven and New Earth.  Certainly we will not fathom details until they unfold, but nowhere in the Bible is “earth” left out of the equation.  God created earth, and He loves His creation.  In light of that truth I can only gather that we humans, the most valued of His creation, are to go on living and loving the life He has given us on earth.

That means gratitude rather than gloom.  That means serenity rather than stress.  That means pure, down-to-earth appreciation for and pleasure in His boundless gifts—people to love, gardens to plant, creative hobbies to pursue, art, music, poetry, sports, sunshine, fresh air, the list is endless.  Earth gifts!

There is a pathetic “hangover” from past Christian eras and persuasions which taught that physical and soul pleasures were intrinsically evil.  Hence:  the monks who starved themselves or didn’t converse with each other, those Christians who wear drab clothing because anything eye-catching might lead to idolatry (or immorality), and believers who avoid the enjoyment of any pastime without blatantly “spiritual” overtones.

Asceticism is NOT BIBLICAL.  It NEVER WAS BIBLICAL.  Asceticism is a boring, yet potentially devastating ploy invented by the Evil One who—if he cannot get Christians to throw in the towel and quit, will instead lure them into nurturing a sense of pride in not doing this and not enjoying that.*

The paradox here is that within God’s creative, expansive and wholesome arena of “this or that”, we are to walk with joyous confidence; it is the pride inherent in asceticism which God hates, and holds us accountable for.  The person who lives by asceticism may be bowing before the idol of pride!

Life on earth is to be loved, savored, celebrated, and enjoyed to the max while never losing sight of our Creator, never forgetting that He is the Creator of all things—every breath we inhale, every flower we plant and gather.  With our heads full of God’s “whatsoever things”, our lives will shine out to the lost souls who desperately need to know about our Saviour.  As long as God’s people remain on earth (His earth!) and continue to redeem the time, there will be some light, and some good, although the days are evil.

Margaret L. Been — January 26, 2016

(First posted in “God’s Word is True”, September 25, 2015)

*THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, by C.S. Lewis provides a witty and wonderful treatise on the pitfall of asceticism.

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The saying that books are friends is so eternally true, that it cannot be labeled “an old saw”!  More times than I can count, books have come through where people have goofed.

As a new Christian, 39 years ago, I was catapulted into a foreign-to-me culture.  Although I now held the deeper answers to life in Scripture, some questions concerning lifestyle surfaced.  Suddenly I was supposed to be a “church lady”.  But I was shocked and horrified by the church ladies who tried to entice me into their midst.

I discovered that, in this fellowship, church ladies met frequently for “prayer meetings”.  The prayer meetings consisted of a perfunctory opening prayer, lots of cake, and an overload of social conversation mainly focussed on those who were not present.  We were supposed to pray for the absent ladies.  To “help” us pray, personal details of their lives were spilled out for all to hear.  The actual prayer following this chatter consumed—at the most—5 minutes.  Also characteristic of church lady meetings were jokes and criticisms targeted toward husbands. 

After a couple of these church lady gatherings, I realized I simply could not stomach any more!  I have always detested gossip, and I believe that husbands deserve our loyalty.  (If there would be a husband problem, a church woman’s group—or any kind of a group for that matter—would not the place to share!)

When I came to faith, I already had many long-standing friends—some of whom I’d grown up with.  Although most of the women I knew did not publically profess faith in Christ—and they certainly did not run around with Bibles in hand—they were gracious, kind, and considerate.  Gossip was anathema.  My friends were home-loving women, steeped in arts and crafts, committed to creating beauty, and dedicated to gracious family living. 

Hence, the gossipy church ladies were an enigma to me—especially because I had thought that, with Scripture in their hands, they would be extra sensitive kindred spirits.  Not so!  I was soon thought to be “odd” because I didn’t want to socialize with the women, and doubly “odd” because I was so very contented at home—knitting, making bread, reading, etc! 

I had expressed my passion for the natural world (after all, it was God’s witness in creation that finally led me to Him at age 37) and that passion made me appear to be a kind of pagan.  Coupled with my interest in old-fashioned home crafts, my penchant for nature branded me:  I was an old Hippie in the church ladies’ eyes!

You can imagine my dilemma.  I wanted to be friendly to those who shared my new faith, but I was constantly aware of their thinly veiled disapproval of my lifestyle.  Was there actually something wrong with me, for hating gossip (even when it was called a prayer request) and wanting to stay home or hike in the woods? 

God saw my confusiuon and loneliness, and came through by putting the perfect book in my hands:  THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING*, by Edith Schaeffer.  I had already found answers for intellectual questions from books by Edith’s husband, Francis Schaeffer.  Now here was a book by Francis Schaeffer’s wife—a treasure advocating the lovely, creative aspects of being a “keeper at home”. 

The chapters in this book deal with ways to incorporate every area of arts and crafts into family living.  HIDDEN ART is a joyous book, and it affirmed that my chosen vocation of homemaker was pleasing to God.  Old Hippie or whatever, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  The church ladies had it all wrong!

I’m eternally grateful to Edith Schaeffer for HIDDEN ART, and the other faith and family based books she wrote.  According to web sources, Edith is still alive with some of her family in Switzerland.  I hope that somehow this blog entry will reach her or other family members! 

The ongoing ministry of L’Abri, started by Francis and Edith Schaeffer in the 1950s, has produced (and will continue to bear) fruit which will astonish us when we get to Heaven and learn the facts!  And the fruit of this godly couple’s books may be like the stars in the sky and the sands in the sea!

*THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING is still available, but now it’s called HIDDEN ART.  Sometime in the 1980s the word “homemaking” was dropped, during a time when homemaking was becoming less popular (how very tragic!). 

Shortly after reading Edith Schaeffer’s book, I met a woman whom I consider to be the best, most thorough Bible teacher in the area:  Judy Dalton, of APPLES OF GOLD ministry.  (Judy is still faithfully teaching Scriptures, at 2 different locations outside of Milwaukee.)  Through Judy’s study, I met many kindred spirited keepers at home.  I left that first church with its gossipy scenario, and never looked back.

Meanwhile there’s a current groundswell of younger Christian women who make bread, knit, and home school their children!  Some of the women even raise chickens, rabbits, and sheep—like I did for 2 decades, on my little “funny farm”! 

I am happy to report that in at least some of our local fellowships, the “church lady” culture has become inspiring and fun.  My friend, Judy Dalton, has had a lot to do with the upbeat focus.  And I know that Edith Schaeffer’s writings have made a positive influence on Christian women as well!  🙂 

Margaret L. Been—All Rights Reserved

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