As I wrap up the series _Delighted in God_, we look at the judgment of God and how even judgment is a call to delight in the one who shows us mercy.
I hear a lot of consternation from quite a few people I know about Apple removing Parler. I’ve spoken out against deplatforming on a number of occasions — whether I agree with the views or find them distasteful — but I think this particular case is a more nuanced issue. I also suspect, if anything, Parler was given an extra long leash, not a short one. Here’s why I say that.
So far, I take Apple at their word, because I think they’ve earned it by years — or rather decades — of consistency. In the 12 years since the App Store was first offered, I’ve seen them remove both Left and Right leaning apps that, for example, fail to meet Apple’s standards for illegal content moderation. Most often this requirement has been invoked due to failure to moderate explicit or illegal drug related content — something much of Big Tech rarely seems to care about, but Apple consistently has.
I strongly believe Apple is sincere in saying Parler would be allowed back on if they implemented an effective form of moderation, something Parler actually agreed to do by submitting the app to the App Store in the first place. I doubt many people have read the App Store agreement every single app submitted is required to agree to, but the terms are clear and Parler was violating Apple’s terms of service (this wasn’t a new requirement Apple created).
I learned this afternoon of the death of one of the best pastors I’ve had a joy to know, Pastor Herbert Stemler. This is a photo of him and me from the night of my ordination in 2012.
Barring some surprising twist as key states recount votes, it appears we are going to have a new resident in the White House come January. I am going to write the exact same thing I posted on Facebook almost two weeks ago about Justice Barrett’s confirmation:
If you are celebrating the election of Vice President Biden as the next President, please pray for him (and Sen. Harris, too). If you are upset about the election of Vice President Biden, please pray for him (and Sen. Harris, too). We desperately need to spend more time praying for our leaders than politicking over them.
This is very much what the Bible commanded us to do over the last four years for President Trump and Vice President Pence, and it is what it will continue to command us to do for President Biden and Vice President Harris (1 Tim. 2:2, 1 Pet. 2:17).
Too often, my own heart wants to pray for and respect leaders who are in the party I choose and not “the other party.” I (and I suspect most of us) need to constantly be repenting of that.
Every time the White House switches parties, it is good to do a check to see if we are aligning with the Scripture’s call to give honor to and pray for our leaders. If my intentions about prayer and honor change as the administration changes, I have either been sinning or am about to be sinning (perhaps both!).
We shouldn’t honor and pray for President Trump and then stop when we arrive at President Biden. Likewise, if we’ve been failing to honor and pray for President Trump, we shouldn’t just start with the next administration, we should repent and pray for the forty-fifth president even as the time is fast approaching for a forty-sixth president.
I shared more on these matters in my message for Little Hills this past week, prior to the election. It’s embedded below for anyone interested in digging more into what Scripture says on these things.
I had the honor of getting to know Lou Brock just a tiny bit over the time I served as chaplain at Lindenwood. In the picture I have attached to this post, we are awaiting the start of the May 2013 undergraduate commencement exercises at LU. I first met him the evening prior at the pre-commencement dinner President Evans always hosted. I had the opportunity to have a very nice conversation with both Mr. Brock and his wife over dinner that night. The Brocks were always incredibly kind and they were excited about Jesus and their church.
I almost missed the chance to ask to take a picture with him. I had figured he might want to get away from being pestered by fans when he had the opportunity to hang up his Cardinals Hall of Fame red jacket and swap it for a black suit (in the role of a spouse of an LU board member). When I finally worked up the nerve to ask — after all, I was actually killing time in the presence of Lou Brock — he was happy to oblige and was just as gracious as he had been the evening before and in the times later on when I would see him at other LU events.
Mr. Brock is now with his Savior, freed from the illnesses that had beset him the past few years. Praying for his family today and praying for their comfort in Jesus.
Today is FaithTree’s second ever online prayer walk and several hundred people have already spent time going through a loop of prayer prompts that help us to think about what to pray for, listened to encouraging devotionals from God’s Word and shared their own prayer requests. It isn’t too late to take part (if you are reading this on August 20) and you don’t have to live in St. Louis to take part — we have people from all over the world participating! Check it out here
A Fork Not Taken and the Calling to Plant
A year ago last night, I stared out at Table Rock Lake far more in turmoil than I can ever remember. Table Rock has always been a place I unwound from the stresses of life, but that night it felt like life’s prickliest bits were staring back at me from the lake. Dominating the briar were two dramatically different paths for ministry in front of me and all the ramifications for life surrounding them. For the first time I can remember, the place I have always said I would love to live at felt alien.
Last week, I posted about getting started with sourdough starter. While I started my starter ostensibly for bread, pizza is what has utterly sold me on the process. I cannot commend this recipe enough, with just a few slight changes I’ll describe.
After trying it several different ways, I think the best crust comes from planning ahead one day before you want the pizza. When you go through the daily discard and feeding ritual, place the discard in another bowl and feed it, just like you do for the main starter, similarly to what I mentioned last week. That should produce just enough “fresh discard” the next day for the pizza recipe and it gives the pizza crust a milder flavor and flakier texture than using several days of accumulation of discard. In sourdough terminology, this is the “levain”.
Doing this the day before, and not just a few hours ahead of dinner, is essential if you want thin crust pizza.
Not realizing apparently everyone else was thinking the same thing, it occurred to me back in March that the pandemic shelter-at-home time would be a perfect time to learn about the art of making sourdough bread. I wasn’t trying to be trendy, I just am fascinated by the idea of sourdough. In a way, raising your own “yeast colony” is sort of like a vegetable garden: sure you can buy produce at the grocery store, but everyone knows those tomatoes and peppers and peaches will taste better if you buy them from a local farmer when they are fresh or if you raise them in your backyard.
My adventure into becoming a yeast farmer took a little while for my brain to properly make sense of, so now that I think I have at least the basics down, I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered, especially since I’ve discovered raising my little sourdough farm is not only relatively easy, but makes some of the most incredible pizza I’ve had. If you love St. Louis style pizza, you can use a simple sourdough pizza crust recipe I’ll include in my next post to make what I believe is a St. Louis-style pizza better than many pizzerias’ version.
(Admittedly, several months in, I’ve only made bread once, but I’ve found some other things I love that it can make and I wanted to share them here both for your enjoyment and for my safe keeping lest I lose the recipes.)
Modern technology makes hard things — like live streaming — that would have all but required a full behind the scenes staff just a few years ago relatively possible with just a couple of people.
Until something malfunctions.
As we’ve been preparing at FaithTree and Little Hills for the FaithTree Online Community Prayer Walk, we’ve had more of the issues possible with streaming pop up than ever before. Today almost every aspect of the live streaming setup for Steadfast (pictured) malfunctioned at some point in preparation for the livestream and, if you tried to watch it live, you noticed the audio was missing (please check out the reposted version with audio here).
Like every other aspect of life, of course, this is a good opportunity for prayer. I would be most appreciative for prayers both for what I expect will be an incredible day on Thursday for the Prayer Walk and also for the livestreams to come at Little Hills. I’m grateful for your prayers and also your patience if you “attend” Steadfast on Monday nights and couldn’t hear anything tonight. On to Thursday and then next week’s Steadfast!