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Rage Against the Machine with Love


“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:35


I recently read articles from two leading political writers on opposite sides of the spectrum. These gentlemen can often be found on talk shows or on the editorial pages of some of today’s leading newspapers and magazines, which is to say that I am told they are smart and worthy of my attention. Well they won’t get it.

One of them: “The experience of mass movements…seems to suggest individuals can do little to affect the course of events. When we do indulge our hopes and take seriously our wishes, they’re often frustrated by reality.”

And the other, “There are essentially two ways to maintain order and get things done in [our] society — politics or some form of dictatorship.”

To these two writers I channel my inner Whitman and “sound my barbaric yawp!” I offer the pessimists an alternative: real change can occur if we love one another.

In business it is often said “don’t try to boil the ocean.” It is simply too insurmountable a task to unilaterally alter the course of world events. Besides, to my knowledge only one person has ever accomplished that and you are not Him.

When I was a young, eager banker I was given a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Life changing for me it was not, but I do recall one principle from that book that stuck: know your sphere of influence and live inside of it. It is a complete and utter waste of my time to concern myself with things outside of my control.

Concerning myself with labor utilization in Siberia does me no good because what in the world can I do about it anyway? Instead I should focus my limited time and energy on matters where I can make a difference.

Instead of turning up the heat in the Pacific, I could dedicate my limited time and resources to things that may truly make a difference. Instead of being a clanging cymbal (Cor 13:1) I might be a spark that starts a fire. Instead of changing the world I may start by improving my neighborhood.

On a walk this week I picked up a discarded can near my street and threw it away. Did I impact global climate change? No. Did I stand on the corner and rail against global polluters and Big Aluminum? Of course not. Did I even tell anyone about my deed? Not until now (and let’s commit to keep this between the few hundred thousand of us international friends, OK?).

Want to end global poverty? You can grow food for every starving mouth in Asia, or volunteer at Larimer County Food Bank. They feed hundreds of children right here in our community, every day. Do you care about abortion? You can try to overturn Roe vs. Wade, or you can learn more about Lutheran Family Services or any of the myriad crisis pregnancy centers serving women who need your help. Do you wish people were less crude and more generous? Then model that behavior at work, at home and in public.

I take second place to nobody when it comes to complaining about all of that out there. I would be better served spending my efforts on all of this right here.

I’m sure I am not telling you something you don’t already know. So then why don’t we do it? Patience.  Aquinas identified patience as a necessary virtue for earthly happiness (felicitas). If you want to be truly happy, according to Aquinas, who is smarter than you, you must possess patience. This is the main reason that happiness eludes me.

So let’s try this:

  • Be patient.
  • Be a model for patience to others.
  • That will certainly lead to loving one another, which will make it much easier to…
  • Love One Another

April 2016 Whetstone Newsletter

“When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.”

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the April edition of the Whetstone Newsletter. I think I’ve found some good stuff for you this month. Be sure to check out the Ransomed Heart podcast on seasons of fatherhood. Good stuff. Oh and by the way The Whetstone now has a logo. Spiffy.


Fighting Lust With Lust Erik Raymond

“How do we fight lust? We fight lust with lust. That is, a ceaseless pursuit of the delight of God, which is a delight in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We all fight with lust. It’s not just a sexual type of lust, but anything that we put our own will and pleasure above God’s.


The Right Kind of ‘Code’ for Men to Live By Barnabas Piper

“A friend would be willing to go face the uncomfortable and push for things to be made right, to uphold the real code to which all men should hold themselves. “

What kind of “code” do you live by? Spoken or unspoken, we live by codes. A code is an  expected norm or behavior. These may (but shouldn’t) vary by context (ie locker room, work, church, etc). Do the codes you’re expected to adhere to agree with what you know is true?


Of Burner Phones and Busy Lives: Making the Best Use of TimeNathan Eshelman

“Time is something with which we all have a relationship. As in all of life, time is not neutral, but must be understood through the scope of Scripture. We must purchase, protect, position, and profit as we seek to make the best use of time.”


One of my favorite verses is “Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 At times life feels as if it will go on forever, but it won’t. We need taught that our time on earth is short and God has made us stewards of that time. Time is as important as our finances to manage. How are you managing your time? By the way, You’re not too busy.


Do you Know Your Calling? This Might HelpJJ Peterson

“When I look at scripture I don’t see God pushing people into specific careers, I see Him calling people to a new way of living. He doesn’t call people to be doctors or lawyers, He calls them to be a specific kind of doctor or lawyer.”


To broaden this a bit, we might ask the question, “What is God’s will for my life?” I believe that at times God has specific, detailed plans for parts of our lives (see Noah, Jonah, et all). But I also believe that more often than not God has a general will for our lives (love God, love others) and whatever you do as long as it doesn’t violate those two commands is in God’s will. Sometimes we just need to push on and stop waiting for the “right” thing to appear.


The Title of “Brother” Means Something – Josh Buice

“As we see Brother Paul affectionately referencing Epaphroditus as his brother in Philippians 2:25, it’s clear that there is a unique bond between those who have been saved by the blood of Christ and adopted into the family of God. “


A interesting read on the use of “brother” in the bible and thoughts on how we might use it today.


Seasons of FatherhoodRansomed Heart Podcast

Three dads from the Ransomed Heart team swap stories about the various seasons of fatherhood.



Where We All Get StuckGary Barkalow

“So, don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.  Offer what God has given and developed in you with humility, gentleness and patience (Eph. 4:1,2) as He reveals a need for it.”


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