Wednesday, January 31, 2007

One Body

by Rachel Starr Thomson
Excerpt from Letters to a Samuel Generation: The Collection
Available March 5 from Little Dozen Press

Imagine, for a moment, the following scenario.

A hand and a mouth have gotten together over lunch to “fellowship.” Somewhere in the conversation, talk turns to a common acquaintance—a foot, to be exact.

“Did you see Foot last week?” Hand asks. “He was down in the mud, trudging alongside the rest of the world.”

“Hmm,” Mouth hums in agreement. “I was witnessing at the time.”

“I was praising the Lord. Poor Foot seems to have his priorities messed up.”

“He would find life a lot more fulfilling if he'd spent less time in the mud and more time telling people about Jesus.”

“Praise the Lord we've got our priorities straight. Ministry comes first.” Hand thinks for a moment. “Hey, do you know what Eye was looking at yesterday...”

Meanwhile, Foot and Eye find it hard to throw themselves into their work of trudging and looking. After all, some rather more exalted members of the body seem to think there's not much purpose in mud and surroundings. Still, Foot and Eye don't have much choice about their work—but since it doesn't do any good overall, why bother working at it?

Of course, this creates some problems. Foot doesn't bother to go many places, so Mouth doesn't get much chance to witness to new people. Eye doesn't see needs, so Hand can't meet them. And so on.

The Apostle Paul writes about this very thing in I Corinthians 12.

“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is is therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, but yet one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be feeble, are necessary...” I Corinthians 12:15-22

I've often noticed (and been guilty of) a strange phenomenon among Christians. We have got it into our heads that some professions are infinitely more valuable than others. An evangelist is worth more to the Kingdom than a carpenter, for example. Or a missionary does more for God than a grandmother.

The Bible has a completely different criteria for workers in the Kingdom of God then that which we seem to live by: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossions 3:23-24)

Whatsoever ye do. Be it babysitting, preaching, mothering, rocket science—whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord. We are commanded all through the scripture to be faithful in that which God gives us to do.

How many Christians resign themselves to the fact that they are not called to the mission field—meaning Africa, or Indonesia, or some such far-off place—and completely miss the mission field that God has already placed them in? We admire those Christians who are full time servants of God, without realizing that we share their position. In whatever we do, we are the servants of the Lord Christ.

Perhaps we classify “ministry” as something someone else does as a way of avoiding responsibility. Anyone with some talent can preach a sermon, but who dares live one? We can all “do” church every Sunday, but are we willing to live as the Body of Christ all the rest of the week?

On the other side of the fence, many in ministry seem to be using the “lower” callings of others to give themselves an ego boost. Instead of humbling ourselves before the Lord and allowing Him to lift us up, are we guilty of exalting ourselves before men? Does our pride get its weekly fix by trampling other Christians down?

How much are we, in our thoughts, words, and actions, crippling the Body of Christ? These are the people that Christ gave His life for. Every brother or sister in the Lord is a temple of the Holy Spirit, whether they work at a gas station or a mission station.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly; according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” (Romans 12:3-5)

Please feel free to pass this article along! It can be forwarded or republished online, in ezines, in church publications, and anywhere else you like. I do ask that you keep the author byline intact and include a link to

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

from the mouths of three year olds

"Oh, that's so cute," Tabithah tells me...

"... I wish I had one of those."

"I wish this whooooole house was mine," Tab says, her face a centimeter away from mine. "Even your room."

"What would you do with it all?" I ask her.

"I would have forty beds, probably," she answers.

"What would you do with that many beds? You couldn't sleep in them all."

"I'd sleep in this bed this night, and that bed the second night, and that bed another night, and that bed the fifty night, and that bed the last night."

(Does wanting a red deer stag make her sort of like me? I'M the weirdo who's got it for a desktop background.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Vote! And Listen!

My favourite Cajun(ish) band and homeschooled family, L'Angelus, have made it to the final round in U-Turn's Last Band Standing competition with their song "Ca C'est Bon." Everyone should go vote for them. Scroll down to the bottom of the page; the voting box is down there, underneath the ads ;). You can vote as many times as you like.

L'Angelus is not the only exciting thing you can listen to online. You can also listen to, and WATCH, the entire webcast from Urbana 2006 here. Sermons, skits, songs, videos: a lot of encouraging and enlightening material on modern missions around the world. I listened to nearly all of the 2003 webcast and loved it, so I'm excited to see the new one up.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

where were YOU for Robbie Burns' Day?

I was at the Kildare House, a local pub, with Alexis, Becky, and Leah. We had British food and tea and stomped the table while Tartan Army, a local Celtic band, played rousing folk music and men wearing kilts and tam o'shanters sang along. My sisters, who did not order tea, filched mine with shocking regularity despite my protests. I drank very little of it, nor did I eat more than two pieces of the kidney in my steak and kidney fries. But the steak was good :).

After that we drove to Chapters just before it closed, and I used the gift card Deborah gave me for Christmas to buy three lovely hardbound books: a copy of Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, and two small books of poetry by Christina Rossetti and William Blake.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

(from Blake's Auguries of Innocence)

On an entirely different note, I spent an hour or two fiddling with the page on which features all of my Samuel Generation articles, so the contents page now includes little quotes and descriptions and is hopefully much more accessible to the general browser. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

happy birthday, Robbie Burns!

But tent me, Davie, Ace o' Hearts!
(To say aught less wad wrang the cartes,
And flatt'ry I detest)
This life has joys for you and I;
And joys that riches ne'er could buy;
And joy's the very best.
There's a' the Pleasures o' the Heart,
The Lover an' the Frien';
Ye hae your Meg, your dearest part,
And I my darling Jean!
It warms me, it charms me,
To mention but her name:
It heats me, it beets me,
And sets me a' on flame!

O all ye Pow'rs who rule above!
O Thou, whose very self art love!
Thou know'st my words sincere!
The life-blood streaming thro' my heart,
Or my more dear Immortal part,
Is not more fondly dear!
When heart-corroding care and grief
Deprive my soul of rest,
Her dear idea brings relief,
And solace to my breast.
Thou Being, All-seeing,
O hear my fervent pray'r!
Still take her, and make her
Thy most peculiar care!

All hail! ye tender feelings dear!
The smile of love, the friendly tear,
The sympathetic glow;
Long since, this world's thorny ways
Had number'd out my weary days,
Had it not been for you!
Fate still has blest me with a friend,
In ev'ry care and ill;
And oft a more endearing band,
A tie more tender still.
It lightens, it brightens,
The tenebrific scene,
To meet with, and greet with
My Davie, or my Jean!

from Epistle to Davie, A Brother Poet, by Robert Burns, whose birthday was today.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

something's happening in the northern swamp

The sentence has become a paragraph, and the paragraph a scene: birth of a character with requisite new ideas festooning every line, a hunt for zoological references while "As the dawn was breaking the sambhur belled/Once, twice, and again!" repeated itself in my mind, evening spent sniffling over the unexpected sadness of my own imagination.

I do love to write :). More Taerith shall appear by the end of this week, I hope.

I hope to start posting Writing Tips again shortly. The new semester has begun and I am teaching 55 students: lots of material for Tips!

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Monday, January 22, 2007

where are we now?

I'm studying the Book of Acts at the moment, and while it's a glorious history, it makes me painfully aware that we seem to have fallen down somewhere. The Southern Review of Books (not a Christian publication) ran an article last week on Bibles as business. This quote is from the article:

According to Radosh, the Bible, in addition to being a religious roadmap, has also become an entertainment product, a fashion accessory and a lifestyle icon. You can get Bibles in almost any color of the rainbow now. “It’s not uncommon to hear women saying that they've got a new dress for church and they want a Bible with a purple cover to match it,” he said in a recent interview. “There are Bibles with matching handbags. Or, if you're, you know, a teenager and you want to look cool you can get a Bible with a weathered metal cover or one made out of duct tape, or that glows in the dark. Basically, the Bible has become, like the pair of shoes that you wear - a way of expressing your individuality.”

But then there's history...

And when they had prayed, the whole place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Acts 4:31-33

Signing off with a quote from A.W. Tozer:

"Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of Christ scarcely at all."

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007


"The earth beneath Taerith's feet sank as he crept over it, the boggy reek of the mud rising to meet the close darkness of branches that hung down from old, spindle-rooted, thick-trunked trees; dripping long strands of black leaves."

One and one-half hours.

One complete sentence.

It's either writer's block or shocking procrastination.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Amazing Grace

I'm featuring a new article on entitled "Amazing Grace."

His voice is gentle as He asks, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”

She raises her eyes, just a glimmer of hope beginning to warm her heart. “No one, Lord.”

And oh, so quietly He says words that cause the heavens to shiver, that cause all of creation to draw in its breath and gasp in astonishment. “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”

Did you hear it? Did you hear what He said? “Neither do I condemn you!”

Do we understand that God does not wish to condemn us? That though His justice must demand the ultimate penalty for our sins, it breaks His heart to do so? This is why He died! In that moment on a dusty bit of Israeli earth, the Messiah proclaimed His heart and the reason for His coming! He threw His mantle of protection, the ransom of His blood, over the woman and set her free.

Read the whole article here.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007


I am a Canadian...

A homeschool graduate...

An anti-abortion activist, as much as one can be called that who just stands out in the cold with a sign every weekend and prays a lot...

A writer, editor, publisher, coach, and critiquer...

A Scrabble player, poetry reader, lover of tea, ranter of rants.

I am a Christian. Before tea, writing, and homeschooling, I represent Christ and His Kingdom. Nothing, absolutely nothing, comes before that. No identity is mine except it is mine in Christ.

Therefore, in all that I do, Jesus Christ and His concerns must be the cornerstone. Not national identity. Not political affiliation. Certainly not fear ("The Muslim is mandated to slay the infidels," said a local pastor in an interview with the Windsor Star. "Islam is committed to the domination and destruction of the West. There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. . . Frankly, we are frightened to death. We are concerned about the Islamic threat to Canadian security").

Jesus sent His beloved disciples out to die, in the same breath promising them that not a hair of their heads would be harmed. In the end, resurrection overcomes death in all its grisly guises. We are not to fear.

There are threats in this world. To what extent do we, as Christians, have the right to confront those threats on a nationalistic/political/cultural/purely flesh-centric level?

To what extent is it our responsibility to put aside all worldly things and speak solely and strongly as representatives of the One King?

We do have to live in this world. Where's the balance?

I welcome your thoughts.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

I could mourn...

This article was on the front page of the Windsor Star this morning. The story was also all over the news. And yes, I was at the meeting in question, wishing I could crawl under a pew... or take everyone firmly by the ear and make them speak nicely to each other.

Rage Over Anti-Islam Rally

You could pray for the church in Windsor and the people we're supposed to be reaching, if you think of it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

new article featured on

"Safety and security are terribly important to us as human beings. I can't remember being born, but I imagine a baby is asking the same question as it enters the world... Is this safe?

"God built this instinct for safety into us for a reason. After all, if we didn't have it, we might have run ourselves off of the face of the earth a long time ago, jumping off cliffs because, well, it looked like fun at the time.

"At the same time, God gave us the will to deny that instinct for safety. He built other desires into us as well - desires for freedom, for growth, for new horizons. And that's a good thing, because He very rarely allows us to live in safety for long. It takes a crazy sort of courage to follow in the steps of the Lord; the same sort of courage it takes for a soldier to go into battle. Even if that soldier is guaranteed victory in the end, as we Christians are, there are no promises that the journey to the end will be a smooth one."

Read "A Question of Security" on

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Monday, January 01, 2007

every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

It's been a full, good year. Full of life, though death has touched us more than once. Full of love, though there have been frustrations and misunderstandings and times of getting off course. Full of God... always full of God.

One of my "discoveries" this year has been the work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, so I'll let her words ring in the new year.

Oh, the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west.
And I smiled to think God’s greatness
flowed around our incompleteness,
Round our restlessness
His rest.


Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

And finally, one which has sung itself in my mind over and over this year, from her incomparable Sonnets, that "God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame."

Happy New Year!