Thursday Thoughts


Just a few things I was thinking about or read elsewhere and thought were worth sharing…


Given the hoopla over this “revival” in Florida (which I spoke of earlier this week) and the rise of prophetic ministries across this nation, consider what revivalist Leonard Ravenhill said were the marks of a true prophet and see if any of those characteristics match prophets in today’s modern charismatic movement. (Ravenhill’s comment that “The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity” should be a good indicator of direction.)

Also in this vein, with people obsessed with signs and wonders, consider what David Wilkerson authored in his message “A Christless Pentecost: Is Christ Becoming a Stranger in Our Midst?

What is it with people acting like animals at some of these supposed revivals we keep hearing about? Nothing disturbs me more than to hear this kind of nonsense. The late Derek Prince offers some discernment that is much needed but rarely heeded.

Had enough charismatic-bashing from me, a charismatic? Well, how about this for positive spin?

Because I write Christian fiction, I’m all too aware of the traps that such an endeavor poses. It’s very easy to lead one’s readers into a ditch. Tim Challies does a worthy job dismantling the questionable theology of the über-bestseller The Shack.


I’m finding that the latest version of WordPress is much slower than previous versions, not only in the Admin pages, but in loading the blog itself. WordPress dropped gzip compression and their object caching. Without them, this site loaded like molasses, so I restored that functionality and cut load speeds to a third of what they were after the upgrade. I’ve spent several hours trying to optimize Cerulean Sanctum for faster loading.

Firefox 3.0 RC1 is a fine update, but it proved devastating to the way my computer ran. I have an old PC running XP that has 512 MB of RAM (and the cost of 1GB of 168-pin ECC PC-133 DRAM for it is ridiculously high, so I’m stuck with the following issue and solution). Between all the bloatware updates on Windows and most other software out there, my processes were paging, including my satellite Internet drivers, causing them to spontaneously unload when Firefox grabbed all the CPU cycles and RAM. Grr. If you have a similar problem, setting Firefox 3.0’s process priority to “Below Normal” will solve that problem. Don’t understand why the software slams the CPU so hard, but there you go. If the upcoming update of Firefox were a kid, the verdict would be “Doesn’t play nice with other children.”

Creation Care

I’m surprised that no one is looking at the upcoming Beijing Olympics as the cauldron of some future pandemic. You’ll have people from all over the world descending en masse on China—the world’s petri dish for disease. The Asian continent, and China in particular, serves as the birthplace of many communicable diseases, influenza being only the most prominent example. The Beijing Olympics will concentrate groups of far-flung people who normally never congregate and do so in that disease-spawning region. It not only offers the possibility that people dispersing after the Olympics will take disease worldwide, but also that people will bring diseases into the region that may find the environment to their liking, either mutating into something more virulent or finding some combination of factors that encourage DNA-swapping. No matter what occurs, we should keep our eye on this.

I think this is one of the coolest, wettest springtimes I can remember. What does this say about global warming?

On the other hand, scientists are finding that the massive increase in carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere since the 1950s has created ultra-potent poison ivy. As someone who never used to be bothered by the stuff during my years in Christian camping ministry, I can attest to the change.

As an Audubon member (and treasurer of my local chapter), I keep a lookout for birds. My neighbor, the chapter president, and I both note an alarming lack of bluebirds this year after years of increases. Anyone out there seeing bluebirds or noting changes in their numbers?

On the other hand, we have plenty of meadowlarks on our property, a bird that is rapidly dying out due to the overdevelopment of pasture land. This article at Audubon notes other familiar birds that were once common but are now in trouble.

I continues to grieve me how carelessly we trash the world God gave us in pursuit of avarice. On another blog, a commenter lambasted me for my concern that putting in a massive Wal-Mart superstore in my little town would ruin the night sky. He told me in no uncertain terms that if I cared about that loss I should move out of the area. My valid question: Are there any such places left, and if so, how long before they, too, get turned into a strip mall? Sometimes I am just staggered at our willingness to defecate all over our living spaces and think nothing of it. Heck, even dogs don’t do that.

Think deep thoughts this weekend. When we get opportunities to relax, we need to be considerate and thinking people. Christians, more than any other people, must be wise. We know the Source of wisdom, right?

Be blessed.



I maxed out last week. Every day filled with activity and left me scurrying from place to place like a squirrel on amphetamines. I swore at one point I heard a hummingbird yell, “Dude, slow down! You’re like wearin’ me out.”

Around dusk last night and late this afternoon, I took a break in my favorite place, the outdoors. My halcyon time of the year is that holy month of days between mid-May and mid-June. The late spring grows pregnant with possibility for the upcoming summer. Hallowed days swell with life. The sky pulses cerulean. The trees fluoresce with green.

I picked up my binoculars, hoping to catch some stragglers on the spring warbler migration. The gorgeous Cape May WarblerWhile showing my son a Red-winged Blackbird atop one of our sycamores, I happened to spot a Cape May Warbler. On my own property! My neighbor across the street, an Audubon Society local president, blew my mind when he said he saw one of these uncommon birds in his stand of pines last year. Not having a Cape May on my life list, I thought I’d lost my opportunity forever. But it showed up when I least expected it.

Saw a Wild Turkey, too. It’s nice to know America’s bird is coming back. I’ve seen more in the last three years than in the previous twenty-five.

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak surprised me, since I hadn’t seen any on our property before. You tend to see more of them in winter in Ohio, but this one happily flitted through the canopy blissfully unaware of his being out-of-place in May.

An Eastern Wood Pewee hunkered on a spare limb by our pond…patience, patience. Then, zip! Snared a moth mid-flight. Back to the branch. Waiting….

Two Flickers tended their nest in a hole in an ash tree. Yellow Warblers, a Myrtle Warbler, a Yellow-breasted Chat, then pow—the eye-socking sight of the setting sun catching a Baltimore Oriole’s tangerine feathers. Two happy Chipping Sparrows watched me as they hopped around our gravel driveway, scouting for food, chipping as they searched.

Later, I left our forest, walked back to our porch, and pulled up a chair to watch the half acre of trees nearest our house, looking for tiny flashes of movement in the increasingly dense canopy. Here, the locust trees come late to the spring show, fighting with the walnuts to be the last to leaf. I hear the “drink your tea” of a Towhee, spot a Red-bellied Woodpecker as it digs for bugs wedged in tree bark, and hear a tiny Chickadee—its weight not more than a nickel, dime, and quarter together—scolding all 215 lbs. of me. And I’d probably lose that fight, too.

I saw a Cerulean Warbler a couple weeks ago, and I guess the reference to that color should bring me out of my reverie and back to the blog. People don’t want to read about a bunch of birds, do they? No time. People come here to skim some hard-hitting commentary on the latest ecclesiastical buzz, right?

A wise man once wrote,

Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.
—Proverbs 30:24-28

I don’t know what happened to wonder. It seems to be in short supply today. In a disposable world where people toss cigarettes and half-eaten bags of fast food out their car windows while on their way to their next appointment, I suppose there’s not much place for wonder.

Wonder goes missing in busyness. Spring warbler migration? What? When? Oh, I’ll pencil that in my calendar for next year, I promise.

Entertainment tramples wonder, since wonder may not be as flashy, not as trendy, not as immediate. Wonder takes a little work. Just a little.

We might not see wonder, but we do see truckloads of pragmatism in our churches. We can teach and preach and prophesy on how to have a great marriage, but most people will leave without any sense of wonder at the person sitting next to them on the drive home. We can spend an hour in worship, yet the second the last note dies out in the sanctuary rafters, we’re scanning our bulletins to see what’s next, hoping that the sermon won’t be too dry or lengthy.

Because we don’t wonder, we don’t pray. We already know what God’s like. Jesus won once and He’ll win again. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Hope He comes back soon—but not too soon. Amen.

When wonder goes missing in our churches, answers replace it. Not questions, just answers. Questions accompany the first signs of wonder, especially when the answers for those questions don’t come easily. And where wonder reigns, sometimes neither answers nor questions matter, only the wonder.

I wish I saw more wonder in American Christians. I suspect that many of us are too caught up in living our best life now to wonder at the way the Wood Pewee pirouettes in space to outmaneuver a zigzagging moth. Or how the craters on the moon form patterns. Or how the brook teems with tadpoles, mayflies, and tiny fish. What are the names of those fish? Does it matter?

I think it matters. I think we’ve lost something in the last hundred years in this country. Our wonder’s fled. I think it’s one reason why so many people take psychoactive drugs. Strip away the wonder and the world turns frightening, cold, and distant. It becomes the enemy. Life takes on a winner-take-all mentality where some win and others lose, and God help us if we’re not one of the winners. Now pass the damned Zoloft, thank you very much.

I think a loss of wonder means it’s far easier to take a gun and shoot at cars passing by. I believe a loss of wonder makes it that much easier for an angry husband to take a fist to his wife’s face. I know that a loss of wonder makes us shallower people.

Loss of wonder is a sin.

We won’t hear that sermon on Sunday, though. Because if we did, it would mean we’d have to start dealing with our culture, a culture that successfully murdered wonder and got away with it. Nothing pains me more than to hear some five-year-old say, “Ah, it’s just a stupid old bird.” Because I know that any child who says that will one day grow up to say, “God? What do I need God for?”

Something to wonder about.

“Arise, My Love, My Beautiful One, and Come Away”


Last Monday, the FedEx driver delivered a package for Christmas, the gift I bought my wife this year. Due to some good fortune, I found that gift for ten percent what it normally cost. We can't afford to have a big Christmas this year, so ninety percent off comes as a real boon.

Since we're literally the last house on the line, the people who built our house needed a power booster box in order for the electric to work right. For some reason they elected to put that box close to the house. When they added a second garage later, the bulky box wound up in the middle of the newly expanded driveway.

Typically, delivery drivers knock and hand me my package. I warn them about the box and all is well. But at Christmastime, drivers hustle, so they don't knock. The FedEx driver didn't, therefore he got no warning from me. You can guess the rest.

Homeschooling got derailed that day as I spent the afternoon contacting all the right parties to ensure that no one got killed from the damaged electrical box. My electric company brought out a crane truck to put the box back in place, then tested to make sure everything was safe.

Jump to this past Thursday morning.

I typically write this blog for the following day after 10PM the night before. Then I date it for just after midnight. For some reason, I wrote "We Need a Gospel That Speaks to Failure" early in the morning on Thursday, then posted it for just after midnight. Unbeknownst to me, as I was writing that post, failure poised to strike the Edelen household.

Shortly after taking a shower that seemed a bit chill, I walked down into my basement to find our hot water heater had exploded. Think how the Tasmanian Devil balloons after Bugs feeds him a cake made out of dynamite, freeze that image at the point of maximum Taz expansion, and you have a perfect image of what our hot water looked like.

Well, I know a man in our church who stood up at a recent men's meeting and declared his plumbing business needed more clients. Being a freelance writer, I know how hard it is for independent contractors to get work. So even though my tendency would be to go with the plumbing company I would typically call, I called the church guy instead.

The thought of another big, unexpected expense heavy on my mind, I contemplated the irony of the post I had waiting to go out later. Of course. Write about a trial; face the trial.

The church plumber tells me when he arrives that it wasn't the hot water heater that failed initially but the pressure regulator on the water line. With no pressure regulation, the hot water heater then blew. He didn't have a new pressure regulator with him.

Now I had a problem.

When you live in a town of 2,000 people, the sidewalks roll up at 6PM. My wall clock read 6:10 PM. To my surprise, a call to the local hardware store reveled they had extended hours that evening—and they had one pressure regulator in stock. Huzzah!

Wanting the job to go as quickly as possible, I told the church plumber that I'd go into town to get the regulator if he wanted to keep working. So my son and I jumped into my truck to head for the hardware store.

Pulling out of my garage, I had to maneuver into a portion of my gravel driveway I never drive over so I could avoid the plumber's truck. By the time I got to the end of my driveway, I noticed my truck handled sloppily. I didn't get 0.05 mile away from home before the thud, thud, thud behind me told me a sad story. Turning around, I limped up the driveway, and found a cotter bolt sticking out of my back tire. Between the tread and the sidewall. Where it can't be repaired. On an expensive 4×4 tire only ten months old.

Merry Christmas.

Oh, the bitter irony that the electrical company's crane would toss a cotter bolt that ended up destroying a perfectly good tire. Oh the extreme bitter irony that I should drive over that part of the driveway in order to get around the plumber's truck. Oh the heart crushing irony that all the money I saved on the item I bought for my wife that the FedEx guy delivered would be more than wiped out by the cost of a new tire.

And Thursday's trial's not over yet… 

{Tonto mode on}

Friday, much filled with appointments. Thirteen-year old spare on truck leak slowly. Ruined tire must be replaced. Appointments must be kept, else great trouble arise. Tire stores in town that can be reached on slowly leaking spare do not have tire. Dan must make dangerous trek over many miles of prairie to procure tire elsewhere, while making many appointments under far less than many moons.

By grace of the Great Spirit, Dan succeeds. Dan very much tired and grinding teeth. Dan not happy with last rising, setting, and rising of the sun.

{Tonto mode off}

I didn't go to church on Sunday. Once a year, for most of the last thirty years, I volunteer for the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. I've been a birder since I was twelve, so I've got a little experience. The local Audubon Society president lives across the street from me, so we've gone out before to count. It's a good time with a friend and neighbor.

While I normally play drums every Sunday morning for worship, I'd already arranged for someone to fill in for me. Most of the Christmas Bird Counts I've done have been the Sunday after Christmas, but different Audubon clubs run the counts differently, so any Sunday over a four week period is possible. The Sunday before Christmas, I'm sure, wasn't the best time for me to be shirking my rhythmic duties. 

I don't miss church very often. I don't like to miss church. I need to be with God's people every Sunday.

The alarm goes off yesterday at 5:20 AM and I roll out of bed. The day is gorgeous, partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-60s—a rare confluence this time of the year in Southern Ohio. My neighbor, Rob, and I head out, eat breakfast with the counting crew, and hit our region to count.

Within hours, all the garbage from the week before drained out of me as I walked through God's Creation. I spotted a beautiful Ring-necked Pheasant and marveled at the power God built into its legs as it sprung into flight. Ring-necked PheasantI considered the Red-bellied Woodpecker's head, so wondrously made that it doesn't give itself a concussion hammering for bugs under tree bark. I watched the Northern Harrier hover in place, then trace lazy circles in the cerulean blue sky. I stood awed at a flock of Starlings twisting and turning in flight, but with no single bird leading the dizzying formation. The perfectly aerodynamic V formation of Mallards. The Belted Kingfisher's plunge into cool waters. The Kestrel's patient hunt for food.

Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings' palaces. Three things are stately in their tread; four are stately in their stride: the lion, which is mightiest among beasts and does not turn back before any; the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king whose army is with him.
—Proverbs 30:24-31 ESV

I worshiped God outdoors today. Carolina Wrens and Song Sparrows provided the special music. In the power and mystery of God's Creation, I heard the same words the Lord spoke to Job, and I asked myself, Who am I in light of so great a God?

When I walked through the doors of my house, I realized I hadn't considered my troubles all day. And I doubted that a Sunday spent in church would have led to the same release I found from the Creator's sparrows:

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
—Matthew 6:26-34 ESV 

Sometimes, God will speak to you apart from the fellowship of believers for a time of special, intimate healing. Listen for that time; this is what He'll say:

My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.
—Song of Solomon 2:10-13 ESV 

Then let yourself be swept up in His arms.