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August 08, 2007

Nine years ago, on this very day, my best friend got married. It was one of the first weddings I had ever been to and I remember it well. It was a beautiful wedding, I thought, exactly the kind I might have planned. It was simple but dignified, homespun but not cheap. The mother of the bride had not only arranged all of the arrangements and bouquets, but had even grown the flowers, having planned for this day since the spring. A small greenhouse in the backyard, specially constructed by the bride’s father, had made it possible to grow some beautiful flowers. The cake was wonderful and also a creation of the mother of the bride.

The bride was beautiful, of course, and was glowing with joy from the moment we first saw her as she walked into the church. Not one to want to be the center of attention, she was shy but happy to have her turn being the bride. It was her day more than anyone else’s.

The day was hot. In fact, talking to people who had been at my best friend’s wedding, the heat is one of the things they remember most. The ceremony had taken place in a beautiful, historic Anglican church with a grand pipe organ that had been played by a very skillful organist. The wedding began in the morning so it was not too hot in shelter of the great stones that made up the church. The couple was married in a traditional Christian ceremony and then moved to a nearby old town hall, another historic building, though one without air conditioning. The photos for the day show the groomsmen wearing tuxedos to begin the reception, and then only vests, and then only shirts. Faces got redder and redder as morning turned into afternoon. But no one seemed to mind. The speeches were fun and dignified, the reception short but meaningful. And then the bride and groom were gone, off to begin their new lives together. It truly was a great day.

It’s been nine years and my best friend is still happy, and in fact, happier than on that day. Life has thrown that couple a few curves but they love each other more today than they did even on a day as memorable as that one. God has been good to them. God has blessed my best friend and, in fact, has blessed me through my best friend. He has been at the very center of that relationship since the first day, binding the two together.

I remember my best friend’s wedding like it was yesterday. And really it sometimes almost seems that it was just a few days ago that they walked up that aisle; that we walked up the aisle and into a new life. Because on this day, nine short years ago, my best friend married me.

Happy nine, my love.

August 06, 2007

Asking myself why I want her to change…

I have been thinking about this subject for a while now. I’ve even tried to write about it once or twice with decidedly poor results, causing me to give up and put it aside for another day. I’m going to give it another shot today and hope it works out better.

It was probably a month ago, or sometime around then, that I found myself faced with what should be a simple question. I had been talking to Aileen about some things in her life and character just the way husbands and wives do. I was trying to be a good husband, helping her work through a couple of areas where I thought she should examine her heart to see if she needed to make some changes. She would be the first to admit that there are areas where she can and should change to better reflect the Christ-like character she wants to have. And, as her husband, I have a better view than anyone else. And so I occasionally raise such issues. But it turns out that I’m sinful too. There are many areas in my life where I know I need to commit to change—areas that still have not been brought under the Lordship of Christ. As I spoke to her I began to ask myself, “Why do I want her to change?” Again, this should be a simple question, but as I began to unravel my heart, and as I began to try to get to the bottom of my motives, I was rather surprised at what I found.

Yesterday our pastor opened his sermon by talking about the many young men who have come to him of the course of his pastoral ministry asking him, “How do I know if I really love a girl?” He suggested this as a useful response: You know you love someone when you feel profoundly committed to them and to their good. And it does seem like a good response. This response helped me tie together some of the thoughts that have been trying to coalesce in my mind these past weeks.

I am committed to Aileen. There is no doubt about it. She is the one for me and there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to make her happy. I love her to death. This Wednesday we’ll celebrate our ninth anniversary and I love her now more than ever. I am committed to her good as well. But this is where things get tricky; this is where the lines seem to blur. What is her good? It seems clear to me that what is best for her is to have her character conformed more and more to the image of Jesus Christ. Her good is Christ-likeness. And thus when I challenge her on areas in her life, when I seek after her good, the ultimate goal should be to help her see where she is falling short of the example of Christ and to help her strive towards the character of a Christian. I hope she holds this out as the goal as well when she feels that she needs to challenge or confront me.

The problem is that often I confuse her good with my good. And this is what I’ve been thinking about and trying to write about all this time: how often do my concerns for change in her life really center around me? How often, when I address an area in her life am I really just trying to make my own life easier? How often do my exhortations, which I strive to make gentle and loving, revolve around how she has fallen short of my standards rather than God’s?

It turns out, I think, that my motives are often far from pure. Far too often I hold out my needs, my desires, myself as the standard. I’m trying to invoke change, not to lead her closer to the Savior, but to conform her to standards I’ve set for her. It turns out that in supposedly seeking her good, I’m actually seeking my own. How utterly self-centered of me.

So this has been my challenge. Am I really committed to my wife being a more godly woman, or am I content with trying to just make her a better wife (with better being defined by me)? It’s been an interesting process and I think and I hope that I am beginning to see it all through new eyes.

(I don’t often add this kind of note to the end of my posts, but I want to clarify that I don’t scold my wife constantly. Neither does she have an abnormal number of areas in her life where she is in desperate need of change. I think I’m discussing here the kind of conversations that happen in any marriage and between any husband and wife…)

November 03, 2006

Friday November 3, 2006

Conference: Information for the 2007 Children Desiring God conference has been released. Speakers include Piper, Grudem and Mahaney. (HT: JT).

Liveblogging: There will be liveblogging at this weekend’s Alpha & Omega National Conference which will include a debate between James White and John Shelby Spong. You can keep up with the conference here.

Audio: Paul has posted links to “Haykin’s History of the Whole Church,” a series of lectures delivered by Dr. Michael Haykin. “We crammed well over 100 folks into our gym and for one Saturday climbed aboard a luxury airliner with Dr. Haykin at the helm, guiding us over 2004 years of Christ’s work in preparing His bride. It was glorious!”

Interview: Here is the transcript of Dr. Mohler’s interview with Andrew Sullivan.

November 02, 2006

Thursday November 2, 2006

Children: Amy points out a phenomenon my wife and I also noticed: “Whoever invented Daylight Saving Time did not have a baby in the house.”

Health: Jollyblogger points to a strange and interesting story about “Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert - how he lost his voice and got it back.”

Audio: Earlier this week John MacArthur was guest on Al Mohler’s radio program. You can hear the discussion here.

Church: Thabiti Anyabwile shares pictures from a baptism service he conducted for his new church on Grand Cayman.

Politics: An article by SunMedia shows how many immigrants find ways of bringing parents and siblings into Canada - quite simply, they marry them!

October 25, 2006

Wednesday October 25, 2006

Humor: Phil Johnson shares a humorous story about getting in trouble after a Starbucks craving.

Law: In a rather disgusting abuse of the law, an American judge has chosen to punish a pervert by banishing him to Canada. The “Toronto Sun” reports.

Halloween: Lots of people are discussing Halloween, including Darrin Booker, whom I met for the first time a few weeks ago.

Technology: Al Mohler discusses the fifth anniversary of the iPod. “So, happy fifth birthday to the iPod. I celebrated the iPod’s birthday by loading several dozen new selections into my music library. Now, my iPod is armed with a whole new arsenal of music. It was the least I could do in recognition of such an auspicious occasion.”

October 17, 2006

Tuesday October 17, 2006

Health: Dr. Mohler discusses a new study which seems to have found a “ ‘statistically significant relationship’ between autism and early television viewing in children.”

Conference: Adrian Warnock has a roundup of the liveblogging done at the recent International Baptist Conference here in Toronto.

Blogging: I forgot to post this last week. Joe Carter reflects on three years of blogging. Many of the same thoughts have been rattling inside my head as I’ve also passed the three-year barrier.

September 26, 2006

Tuesday September 26, 2006

Courses: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is offering several courses free online. There are a couple by David Wells that are sure to be especially good.

People: Phil Johnson has begun a new series on TeamPyro and begins with an interesting “word of personal testimony” that describes how he was saved.

Music: I am a few days behind the times here (how am I supposed to know Bob has posted on his site when his RSS feed has stopped working!) but Bob Kauflin has posted some information about the upcoming Christmas album from Sovereign Grace Ministries, including the lyrics to a new song by Mark Altrogge.

Debate: Audio of the “debate” on Calvinism between Al Mohler and Paige Patterson has been posted online.

September 11, 2006

Monday September 11, 2006

Church: A new article in “Time” asks “Does God want you to be rich?” Alex Chediak summarizes the article and provides some quotes.

Education: Dr. Mohler writes about Gerry Garibaldi. He “was in the movie business for 25 years, then he decided to become a teacher. That was a brave enough move in itself, but he has now written a courageous essay arguing that the schools seriously shortchange boys in the classroom. It is an essay that demands close attention.”

Emergent: “The Washington Post” has an article lauding Brian McLaren for his non-traditional ministry. A compliment by the Post is a slap in the face to most Christians!

Conference: Carla Rolfe is putting a call out for Toronto-area bloggers who would like to get together on September 23.