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Sunday, March 31, 2013

"A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin (Hunter, 2009)

Mrs. Sommers, having come into possession of an unexpected windfall, chooses to temporarily escape from the dreary responsibilities of a rather common, penny-pinching existence to enjoy some of the finer things in life for a fleeting moment of lightness, free from the usual shackles of conscientiousness expected of a wife and mother. We are given no reason to believe that Mrs. Sommers had ever previously neglected the necessities of her family in order to selfishly enjoy such a fleeting pleasure as any woman would be entitled to by virtue of her gender. I see her purchase of the silk stockings and subsequent indulgences as inevitable temptations given the sudden circumstances of unexpected cash in lieu of the regular obligations being as satisfied as they ever were. This momentous event of hedonism could hardly tip the scales of justice when weighed against a lifetime of abstention, temperance, and moderation for the sake of honoring the unwritten contract to satisfy matrimonial obligation and motherly pride. Hence, the theme of escapism herein is universal. We often consider subservience as a key issue addressed by the women’s movement and feminism. However, in “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” the issue of economics is brought into focus with both gender and class taking center stage. I do sympathize with Mrs. Sommers.

This short story makes clear the fact that to be a wife and mother one has to be an excellent bookkeeper and administrator in order to meet the ever-changing and abundant needs of her family. I would imagine that rare was the occasion when time, opportunity, and disposable income would be available to any one of the lower or working class, whether they be male or female, in order to enjoy such a mildly opulent day as Mrs. Sommers had on the day described in this story. She was a victim of circumstances and to call her selfish is to ignore the greater contexts of class, gender, precedence, and economics indicated by the author. I am convinced that Mrs. Sommers betrayed neither Christian ethics nor her family by her actions. No amount of Scripture considered in context could dissuade my conclusion that this woman had consistently practiced self-sacrifice for her family and also suffered unfathomable indignities as a "have not" in American society up until that day.

There is also no reason to believe that she will not return to her selfless and dutiful life as thrifty wife and mother at the story's end. From the standpoint of developments and movements in American society and how they are reflected in the Literature written throughout our history, taking into consideration the setting of this tale, I am trying to have an open mind to the complexities of Mrs. Sommers’ dilemma and not take the easy route of pointing my finger at an act of sin. The point I am trying to make is that there is more to this story than that. Mrs. Sommers usually shopped for her family’s needs at the expense of her own. She usually never treated herself to anything nice, not even an occasional luncheon or the theater. She would usually fight tooth and nail to secure the necessities of life at a bargain for her family’s sake. This story does not paint her as a terrible sinner, but rather as a woman usually inclined towards sainthood.

This story is about a very unusual day in the life of an extraordinarily virtuous woman who, having otherwise sacrificed life and limb for her family for years, had enough self respect and self esteem left to take advantage of a fleeting fortuitous circumstance and temporarily break out of the box of her usually studious and exemplary way of life. Her thriftiness had perhaps saved her family fifteen dollars a thousand times over throughout the years of her marriage. I am not so quick as others to cast a stone at her for one single, documented, isolated incident of non-puritan action in the 1890s when women were beginning to be thought of as more than chattel in a male-dominated society. Consider that Mrs. Sommers had likely been ordered by her husband occasionally to bring home a thirty dollar box of cigars or some other frivolity for him to enjoy with his buddies. I am moved, not to condemn, but to defend the honor of this heroine.

© 2009 Brian L Hunter


Sunday, March 24, 2013

"But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless." (1 Corinthians 13:10 NLT)

Husbands, that good thing by which we obtain the gracious favor of the Lord (Proverbs 18:22) is only a hint (Romans 8:23, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:14) of salvation eternally fulfilled and the absolute fortuitousness of God's glory to be revealed when the perfect has come (1 Corinthians 13:9-10).

© 2009 Brian L Hunter


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Poema 115

Do I really need to tell you?
If God has made you awesomely, what is my mortal word?
The sun shines no less brightly if I wear the darkest shades.
And, liberty not taken, neither hinders nor affords
Vicissitudes regarding you and all your splendid charms imbued
Inherently with autumn hues and scent of ambergris,
Of pine, and moss, and morning dew upon a dale so green
And whispering, ever faintly.

In the background of pure minds
Are all the things you are to Him whose smile you satisfy.
So be not bored my love, my friend, for truth is not denied.
I’ll wait for you, forever now; this love I cannot hide.

For God has placed it deep within and thrown away the key.
No mountain, sea, or ocean shall prevent our wedding day.
Sleep on, sun shining brightly; burn on to meet the night.
I know I need not tell you this, my honest pure delight.

In Christ you live and move and have your being all in Him.
To me you are a dream come true, forgiven, new, and free.
And so I find myself now highly favored to the core, and
Existing in His mind with you, one flesh forevermore.

© 2009 Brian L Hunter


Friday, March 22, 2013

Poema 113

Slipping, gripping, and dipping
Into the outer realms of sensuousness, you find
The honey-pot of enticing nastiness seems sweet
Until the bill comes due and you're left wanting wine.

But then, you say, your heart is good and sweet.
You're numb from being broken, lost, and crying.
You're dying breath by breath with no retreat.
And love, the dream, has left you deaf and blind.

But wait; your chariot is yet to come
And cart you off to lands before unseen,
Where you'll be safe from all your past mistakes
And love divine shall make you ever clean.

Oh sleep today, perchance to have this dream.
While dangers of the night predict your doom,
There is a Savior praying even now for you.
Accept and know He's right there in the room.

And so from wallowing in sinful pride,
The Lord's corrective lenses show the light.
Where thirsty travelers meet with living water,
And selfishness moves towards abundant life.

© 2009 Brian L Hunter


Thursday, March 21, 2013

To My Beloved Daughters #23

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug." (Isaiah 51:1 ESV)

To my beloved daughters, allow me to say this. No matter what anyone in this world communicates to you, never forget that you are as beautiful and desirable as the perfect and holy God who has created you in His image. Therefore, value yourself as we who are in Christ appraise that great and precious promise, the royal diadem (Isaiah 62:3) whose kingdom is without end (Luke 1:33) and of whom all the Law and the Prophets spake (Luke 16:16), aim and press to be high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1) living and moving and having our being in Him (Acts 17:28). Hallelujah! May these temples be filled only with that which is holy, wholly imitating the Rock from whence we were hewn (Deuteronomy 32:4, Numbers 20:8, Psalms 95:1, Isaiah 28:16). Glory to our preeminently excellent El Elyon, our shield and our exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1), The God Most High who laughs at those who would limit His infinite continuum of creative possibility to the dungeon of any one name! Hallelujah, oh great and mighty Father of all spirits, Earth, and all who dwell therein! Praise Him from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below! Praise Him above ye heavenly host! Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! 

© 2009 Brian L Hunter


Poema 49

Static, isolation in the afterglow of glory.

I've been with Him again and felt the flow of life’s purest perfection.

In the rain of effervescent joy, propelled to praise and bliss so intimate,
I'm gleaning in the fullness of the light. God's presence?

Worship? Who can fully comprehend the infinite measure of love's perfection (1 John 4:8)?

Exhaustively? Intrinsically? I know. Convinced there's only one presence that caresses every fiber of my being.

Who should I be? Who have I been? How can I persist when today is just tomorrow’s yesterday?
Renewed, transformed, I contemplate the manner in which this moment within encompasses eternity like a magnificent hologram.

He looks at me, His countenance brighter than a thousand infant eyes.
I’ll never understand just what He sees in me.

I could have been who I thought I was. But now, progressively more conformed to His image (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18) despite myself, and looking desperately into the perfect law of liberty (James 1:5), I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, whose love has rescued me (2 Corinthians 5:21).

© 2009 Brian L Hunter


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beware the Humanist, Hip Hop, "New Grace Flavor in Your Ear" Prosperity Gospel of the Princedom

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)

If you allow me to walk unwarned into clear and present danger, how does your silent indifference prove that you love me? Should liberty lead to a cessation of life? Nay! I have judged that Russian roulette endangers life and the giver of life has condemned suicide and all murderous acts from the beginning. Such reasoning makes me a legalistic preacher of the law in the eyes of new gospel wolves in sheep's clothing. However, by the compass of God’s Word I have judged and chosen this day whom I will serve (Joshua 24:15).

I will not spare the rod and spoil the child of God (Proverbs 13:24). I would prefer that my hands remain free of innocent blood. And, lest I act ignorant of God’s will and His righteous ways, I would rather be counted among those who have trusted God’s benevolent fatherhood, stood upon His gracious Word, and decidedly obeyed His irrevocable command to be holy because He is holy (1 Peter 1:13-16). Go ahead and call me a hater if you will. Name calling is what people on the low road do first and foremost, and, hell is enlarging itself daily by way of people with a limited understanding of another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). In all our getting of bestselling books, television ministries, and conferences, please let us get a full measure of the full gospel illustrated throughout sixty-six full books which facilitates mature understanding (Proverbs 4:7).

© 2013 Brian L Hunter

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Sound

“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2)

Sound helps us to focus and has been taken advantage of for this purpose throughout antiquity. Evidenced by Isaiah 55:12 and Isaiah 44:23, pure sound preceded language as a component of worship. The syllable om from Sanskrit, the original language of India, considered sacred and centrally important in various Dharmic religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, has been included in mantras repeated to aid concentration on various aspects of the divine during meditation since ancient times. Why then should I, having tasted the sincere milk of the Word and experienced proof that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:2-3), let the cat have my tongue and let the Ancient of Days find me silent? No rock will ever need to cry out in my stead (Luke 19:40), for I shall not be silent regarding the Lord’s infinite goodness. Hallelujah!

“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” (Psalm 34:1-2)

If you don’t hear me giving the Lord praise, I must be asleep. Hallelujah! If you don’t hear me singing a song of gratitude or adoration, please check my pulse. Praise God! If you pass my space and fail to hear the resounding tone of a drum or sustain from a high sounding cymbal, please pray that I am either in prayer (Matthew 6:6), studying to show myself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15), or resting in the bosom of my Father who art in heaven (John 1:18). For now, as annoying as it is to God’s enemies, I shall continue to make a joyful noise! Hallelujah! “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 150:6)

© 2013 Brian L Hunter

Monday, March 18, 2013

Expect Discouragement

"Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me." (Nehemiah 6:14)

The most extreme opposition and discouragement does not come until the light at the end of the tunnel has come into our vision. When deceit and distraction failed to hinder the work of Nehemiah, condemnation and threats followed. The enemy of God’s purpose uses no new tricks today as he, the father of all lies, seeks to abort the gifts and tasks our Lord and Savior has given us. Note that the lying workers of iniquity against Nehemiah were quite comfortable in the religious places, even taking unto themselves titles of prophetess and prophet. Yes. Remember this. Discern the work of God.

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

© 2013 Brian L Hunter

Friday, March 15, 2013

Miracle of Faith

“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)

I am saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yes! The work is in what I labor zealously to believe, not in what I do with anything other than my heart and mind. This work does not save me and yet this work is more than worthwhile. Hallelujah! Reverence is work. Fervent prayer is work. Obedience is work. Believing is work. Money cannot buy me love. Love is work. Confession is work (Romans 10:9-10). The entire full gospel is all about the work God is doing in those and through those who have opted to believe the good news that Jesus’ blood and righteousness are sufficient to atone for their sin. All things therefore work together for their good (Romans 8:28). Oh yes. “Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4) Work with the Lord, saints. “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.” (Proverbs 20:4)

Yield and allow the Lord to work His miracle of faith in you once you have surrendered to do the work which pleases the Ancient of Days and pays the dividend of peace eternally. “Jesus, the Messiah, is the same yesterday and today—and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus, the Word who became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14), God Almighty, changes not (Malachi 3:6, Hebrew 13:8). I stand by His Word and not by the clever ramblings of today’s bestselling authors seeking filthy lucre (1 Timothy 3:3).

I don’t know much and I may understand even less. I am alright with the fact that God’s thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). I acknowledge that God is an infinite continuum of possibility who must speak baby-talk in order to communicate anything to my comparatively miniscule, finite human mind. Where my understanding ends, faith picks up the baton and looks unto Jesus as the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). Hallelujah! Who and what am I that this talking God who parted the Red Sea should cause all things to work together for my good? Bless His holy name forever and ever!

© 2013 Brian L Hunter

All or Nothing Gospel

“But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing." So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.” (2 Samuel 24:24 NLT)

Many are being wooed away from the Old Testament altogether by the enticing words of man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:4) reducing the multidimensional God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob down to a one dimensional God who consists only of pleasing aspects such as grace, peace, love, prosperity, and forgiveness without repentance. Such a god pleases the flesh because such an unrighteous deity requires nothing of the flesh. Such antiquated concepts as obedience fall by the wayside and are condemned by the new warm and fuzzy gospel best sellers with perfect hair. The new school theologians say that Jesus abolished the Law and therefore, today, the gospel is all about grace and nothing more. Coincidentally, it is common practice now to lead lost sheep to slaughter and simultaneously grow our own kingdom by selling millions of books to those we have successfully beguiled.

There is such a thing as a full gospel of Jesus Christ which begins with the Book of Genesis. The father of all lies grins with satisfaction every time orthodoxy is annulled. I will therefore gladly pay the price for orthodoxy and endure the ridicule. I will believe the truth of the entire canon of Scripture, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I know that God’s wrath and perfect judgment are every bit as holy as the love, grace, and mercy He sovereignly administers. He is not a god of man’s making. I will surrender to the chastening as well as to the goodness and the blessing. God is an infinite continuum of creative possibility. “Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (Romans 11:33)

Inasmuch as tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes are graceful, I concede that responsible exegesis of Scripture in conjunction with a prayerfully systematic examination of nature shall prove that sometimes God’s grace is most evident in His unfathomable justice. Repentance comes at a price. The chastening of the Lord is not fun (Hebrews 12:6). Perhaps this is why His love is so much more advantageous than the love we find in a Harlequin romance novel. I will not condemn the passages of Scripture my flesh disagrees with and I will not close my eyes when it rains simply because I prefer to go outside and play forever in the sunshine. A life of submission to God’s will is going to require a faith that survives the hard sayings (John 6:60) and the harsh realities of life, embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly business of picking up my cross daily and following Jesus (Luke 9:23), who, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Can my eyes be so fixed upon Jesus as the author and finisher of my faith that I can ignore each new fad and fashionable gospel that blows in on ever new winds of doctrine?

Grace on a silver platter and a bowl of cherries happily ever after is not what the whole counsel of God’s Word illustrates. There is a cost for right relationship with God. The cost is the sum total of repentance which entails brokenness (Psalm 34:18, Psalm 51:17), submission which involves loving obedience to God’s Word (John 14:15), and perseverance in steadfast love which equals freedom (John 8:31-32). “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16) All means all, not half. The whole roll (Ezekiel 3:1-3) may be tight. However, it is the whole roll and not merely part which is right. The new gospels, other gospels as Paul labeled them (2 Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:8-9) sound appealing because they allow us to reign instead of Christ. This is humanism of the highest world order. Don’t stake your eternal destiny upon perfect hair, a professional stage and light show, and a best-selling book. That 2003 comedy starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell was onto something. Sometimes old school really is the best school.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are personal journal entries of Brian Hunter and are in no way endorsed by any church, fellowship, or ministry with which Brian Hunter is affiliated officially or unofficially. The author has not sought to place any argument or opinion above God's (Romans 3:4). Peaceful discourse is only possible where the fruit of the Spirit resides. Thereby is doctrine proven to be sound and God, who is peace, is lovingly glorified. 

© 2013 Brian L Hunter

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Whole Truth

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” (1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV)

If we water down the truth of the gospel so that we please each and everyone, we become servants of Antichrist. Though such enticing words of man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:4) are always politically correct, likely to charm filthy lucre out of unsuspecting rattlesnakes, easy for lynch mobs to focus their hatred and rally around, and meticulously fashioned into their own zealous form of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5), these words prove nothing more than the cunning artistry of Beelzebub who is the father of all lies. Such deceit will always help one grow in popularity. People are more likely to return phone calls, respond to emails, and comment on social media posts when our message is so homogenous that not one heart is convicted or motivated to repentance and godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10).

I am not willing to take a chance on winning the world’s approval lottery while failing to fulfill the function for which God has called me. If I wear the moniker of trouble maker, then all is well. As I am delighted when God opens doors of opportunity, so shall I be thrilled when He closes others. I am learning to let go when God says let go. The only real gain in this life is from Him, through Him; and, to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36).

Therefore, I do not believe in chance. I believe that the full gospel of Jesus Christ, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of God’s Word “is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Hallelujah! My hope is built on nothing less. Hallelujah! My conscience is therefore clear because my righteousness, my godliness, is not my own. I have believed and shall hereafter believe in the promises of my King, Jehovah. Bless His holy name forever and ever. Amen.

“ No victor believes in chance.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844–1900 German philosopher)

© 2009 Brian L Hunter