What Do You Want Me to Sacrifice?

Lately I have been going through some very difficult situations in prison. Interpersonal conflicts form a massive proportion of them, in addition to heretical doctrines trying to subvert the people I care for here (not little issues either – things like the deity of Christ). I am struggling desperately to understand how I ought to respond to them, especially since everything I know and am used to doing in situations like this only exacerbate the problems. I do right, and seek to do right, and I am attacked and slandered for it. In situations like this, my life becomes a burden. I cannot find rest or escape from the issues. I cannot simply go an easier path. There is no other path.

In turning to Christ to cast my burdens on Him and seek wisdom in how to handle these problems how He wants me to, I have come to several realizations.

One is that life is not easy. You would think I would know this by now, but it is incredible how hard the flesh struggles against accepting that fact. My flesh longs for an easy life – to cuddle in a cocoon of non-conflict and simply wait out my days here, happily blessing everyone I come in contact with, growing in the knowledge of God without sacrifice. It doesn’t work that way. Life is a war, and I am being savagely attacked on almost every front right now. I need to face that.

The next among many was incredibly eye-opening and challenging. I was reading an anthology of theological articles edited by John Piper, which included a piece by Francis Chan (the title of the book, if I recall aright, is ‘Thinking, Loving, Doing’ and it is very good). A certain thing he said struck me and I heard God point out my fallacy. I had been seeking Him and asking Him to help me survive and bear up under the pressure and frustration and persecution, for Him to give me peace and to solve my problems. Those aren’t always bad things to ask for. But I suddenly saw the mind of God in this situation, and realized the prayer I should be praying. “Father God, what do you want me to sacrifice of myself in order to gain more of you in this situation?”

As my father would say, this is an investment opportunity for me. This suffering is my share in the sufferings of Christ, and for that suffering I will receive recompense from His life. On earth and in heaven. But He is asking me in this to sacrifice myself. To humble myself and bow, not to my persecutors, but to Him. It is in effect a theological version of the old exercise maxim: “No pain; no gain.”

And so I ask for your passionate intercessory prayer on my behalf. Yes, for me to find peace and accord with those around me; yes, for me to be enabled to teach and reveal God’s glory to those who have ears to hear; yes, for me to bear up under the pain and insults and mockery and persecution and humiliation; yes, for me to have protection physically from attacks; yes, for me to have rest and respite from my trials. But also, for me to find the humility, contrition, and crazy love that God desires me to have; for me to have the courage and faith to sacrifice myself on the altar of service to my God; for me to have the Holy Spirit’s living insight into myself to recognize my own errors and sin that hinder me; for me to be able to eradicate those sins.

In Jesus name and in the power of the Holy Spirit, let us pray these.

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Why Do I Want to be a Mom at Home?

Baby-global

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* chuckles * Ahem. Well, I don’t want to be a mom at home. But several of my friends do, and one of them gladly offered to write a guest post about it for me. Wasn’t that nice of her? Yes, it was.

Anyways, without further ado and preliminary pontification, here is Kaitlyn’s post.

In today’s rampant feministic culture, there are two terms viewed as the most degrading titles that could possibly be attached to womankind.  These are the “Stay at Home Mom” label, and the “Homemaker” designation.  These two words, when spoken, immediately lower your status as a woman.  Why is that?  When did fulfilling the most rewarding and influential job become a social death?

Being a Homemaker is one of the most rewarding jobs womankind can ever have. Society says you aren’t a productive, contributing member of the social order; I say, hogwash!  These women spend their lives pouring into the next generation.  How can there possibly be no power behind she who molds the future?

Society’s expectations require most people to sacrifice their own integrity and identity, turning them into something they are not, simply to fit a norm. If you don’t go out of your way to fit that norm, then you’re shunned. You have now fallen into a no-win situation.  We allow society to run our lives way too often. As humans we have a propensity to follow what culture says, not necessarily what we actually believe.

Let me ask you this; have you really looked at what society wants?  Do you want to be there for your daughter’s first laugh, her first steps, or would you rather have someone else tell you about them because you had to be in a corporate meeting?  In essence, when all is boiled down, you are being asked to give up your life with your child for a dog eat dog world.  For many it is a very hard decision, one with lasting effects either way, but one that is worth the contemplation. In my exodus from feminism, I have found that a child can never be replaced.  This is a serious issue we are discussing, one that often just gets swept under the rug.

I was once antagonistically challenged about why I wanted to be a Homemaker.  What glory could ever come from such a role?  In an effort to keep my tongue from running needlessly and becoming defensive towards my contender, I wrote this response:

A Homemaker?  Why?

In today’s culture I believe it is vitally important for a young woman to know why she wants to be a homemaker.  In response to said question I have thought out my answer.  I want to be a homemaker because…

I can stop my children at any time of day and say ‘Let us praise the Lord’.

We can lay by the fire and listen to Daddy reading from the Bible as our imaginations act out the story of David and Goliath.

I can be there whenever they need; I’m available for them at any time of day!

I can knit a feather soft blanket while I rock in my rocker, teaching a little one to read.

My children will get to lick bowls and spoons of chocolate cake batter (home made of course, and no white flour please!) and smile with chocolate covered lips.

We can play Legos on an old rag rug that we made ourselves.

We can finger paint.

I can make little iced cookies in the shape of hearts.  Then me and the little people who call me Mommy can sit down and eat them with the goat’s milk we milked ourselves.

We can play with peanut butter play dough and then eat everything we have constructed.

I can spend the time to make the house warm and inviting for the man of my castle who has spent a long hard day on the battle field.

I’ll get to be my husband’s wife, and not the boss’ secretary.

I can spend life with that special man and be his help mate.

I can learn to read my husband’s thoughts.

I can sprawl across my fourteen-year-old’s bed and just listen.

My boys can bring in frogs to show me, or display their 12’’ snake they just caught (no poisonous ones please, mommy doesn’t like that kind).

I can grab the camera and capture that Kodak moment of the boys in a full blown mud fight (no cow pies please boys).  I proceed to smile and shake my head; hand on my hip of course, at those mud spattered boys who want to come in my house.

Then I get to send them out to the hose and spray them off myself!

I can fill mason jars full of pretty honey jellies and preserves, then watch my six year old slather his whole wheat toast with it, licking his lips in anticipation.

We can catch tadpoles in the pond and watch them grow.

When we go shopping at the store I can proudly say, ‘Yes, they are all mine, and yes, we are having more!’

When the kids get sick I don’t have to call the baby sitter or cancel from work.  I can just nurture and comfort them without any hassle or groan.

We can snuggle on the couch under our thick colorful quilt and drink homemade chicken noodle soup from our favorite mug while watching Facing the Giants.

Snuggling is good for the soul!

We can go outside in the fresh snow and build a snow family.  Then we can come in and warm our hands around a nice big mug of hot honey cocoa.

I can crawl around on hands and knees in the garden looking for wooly worms with my ecstatic diapered helpers.

My two year old can kiss me whenever he wants, and I can kiss him whenever I want.

We can put vinegar and baking soda together into a jar and cap it with a balloon for our science experiment.

My little girls can come to me and ask how long to cook their stew.

My boys can bring me their newest addition of holey jeans to patch.

We can read G.A. Henty before nap-time; every child should grow up with those.

I can spend the time to French braid my little girl’s hair.

I can give my baby a bath and spend that extra moment just breathing in their fresh skin.

I can simply make the house feel like home.

I can dictate what I want to do and when.  How many high, well paid officials can do that?

I can be a role model for my girls.

I can raise my baby instead of the baby sitter or daycare doing it.

I will know where my little ones are and what they are doing because they’re with me.  I don’t have to ask “How was your day today?”  I already know!

I want to be a homemaker, because no one will know that man’s heart like me, and no one will have the hearts of our children but us (well, and Grandpa of course).

Don’t think I won’t be busy; my work is never done.  I will have “the time”, but not for worldly pursuits.  I will have the time for nurturing and growing, for teaching and training, for watching and raising my children to grow to maturity.  I will have “the time”` because I have made my family and my home my life.

I wear many corporate hats.  Teacher, Doctor, Psychologist, Therapist, Coach, Referee, etc.
I don’t put in a time card, my work is twenty four seven.  I don’t drive away for work; I need not leave my home to find my purpose.

My job is the most fulfilling womankind has ever known.  After all, my occupation is encapsulated in the beautiful words of Wife and Mommy.

Why will I be a homemaker?  Because I get to be at home, and that is just where God intended me to be.

Envy me my friend, or think ill of me for my choices, but never never pity me; for who could pity love?

I never received an answer to my letter.  Perhaps it was just as well, but let me ask you all a fundamental question.  When did it become wrong for a woman to spend her life loving and caring for her family?  When did it become wrong to be servants of the Lord pouring our lives into eternal souls who will not fade away with time?  The corporate world will one day end.  Will woman kind be found having poured their lives into objects that fade into dust?  Or will her legacy live on in the lives of her children and their children’s children?

Society looks on this role as demeaning, degrading to women.   I have found quite the opposite.  I view society’s demands that woman leave this sacred sphere of influence to be the height of degradation.  Give up my most sacred and glorified calling? For what, may I ask?  I’ve never found anything more rewarding then having my three year old sister run to me, her little arms entwined around my neck, her face nuzzled against me; and she’s not even my child.  I have never found anything that made me feel more loved or needed than my 16 month old brother grasping my finger, his heart rate easing as I softly sang to him in his times of distress.

I believe that women are very capable in the work place.  They are strong, intellectual, articulate, and devoted.  We as women want to change the world, make it a better place.  But I pose this closing thought to you.  Why isn’t strong, intellectual, articulate and devoted women changing their families vitally important?  They aren’t just changing their sphere of influence; they are crafting and molding the next generation, and, by default, the world and its future.  John Piper once said a mother on her knees had more power than any high dollar big shot in the corporate world.  When the women of our culture realizes that women have been changing the world for centuries in their homes and through their children, then we might see a massive change in our world as we know it.

Children need consistent and constant love and attention, parents united together to guide them through childhood so that they may learn to steer by the time they are adults.  Families now are broken apart, and that fragmentation is damaging for everyone. Mothers need to be a safe place for children again; a source of comfort and nurturing.  Fathers need to be a leader and sheltering protection from the harsh cruelties of the world their families are placed in.

When the world can see that it doesn’t have to be one or the other –changing the world or being a mom with a full time dedication to her family–then we will be making progress toward a more productive society.

-Kaitlyn

Deep in the heart of the Midwest, Kaitlyn tries to live out her life is service to her Lord and Savior as a writer and child of the Most High.  She juggles the many gift and passions the Lord has given her while remaining at home to help her family in their daily lives.  Kaitlyn is passionately committed to her younger homeschooled siblings, and is devoted to exposing the lies of the Feminist movement that so many young women and men buy into.  She blogs at http://prayforsamuelian.blogspot.com/

Growing Smaller

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Image by this is your brain on lithium via Flickr

A while back, a friend of mine mentioned (after I had made an observation that was more mature than usual, haha) that I was growing up. She meant that I was becoming more mature.

I thought about that for a while.

And then I thought, “I’m not growing up, I’m growing smaller.” That little phrase stuck with me, its poetic paradox kind of intriguing me.

So I kept on thinking, and the thought grew. And I started writing it.

Like this:

Growing smaller

Like a little child

I’m not getting older

My head isn’t larger

My heart is growing weaker

It is growing wider

Because God is in there

He is growing bigger

not me

God is getting older

not me

His heart is growing larger

mine is falling away

in awe

at Him

Like a little child

Just a little baby

Reaching up

Smiling big

Love bigger than that smile

Because God is in there

He is growing bigger

not me

God is getting older

not me

His wisdom is coming in

my mind is fleeing

away

from his

They say I’m getting older

Maturing into a man

They say my heart is bolder

My head is thinking straight

Growing smaller

Like a little child

God is getting bigger

And I am growing smaller

Darkness giving way to light

You see my life is changing

New me dawning on your sight

Cause I’m not there at all

Growing smaller

Like a little child

God is getting bigger

And I am growing smaller

Like a little child

Like a little baby

Reaching up

Open wide

Love bigger than that smile

Growing smaller

Like a little child

God is getting bigger

And I am growing smaller

Oh No! A Disagreement!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

Laugh. 🙂

That comic is funny, but it is also very true.

How many times do we get bent out of shape, and spend precious moments of our time (and every moment is precious), trying to convince someone just because they are wrong?

Think about it: there are over six and a half billion people on this planet. That is a lot. But that number pales to insignificance when you consider the amount of knowledge available in the universe. Every detail of every action of all time; every fact of every attribute of every event and every object that ever occurred or existed; every thought of every human in response to every stimulus in history.

That still blows me away.

When you consider the vastness of total knowledge, the amount you think you know becomes a tiny spot, indistinguishable in a lake of ink that spreads as far as the horizon.

And then when you look at what you know, with an honest mind, how much do you really know? How many times have you held something with absolute conviction, yet only to renounce it as complete foolishness a few short years later? Hopefully many, many times. There is very little we can be sure of. I won’t say, like many, that there is nothing that we can be sure of, which is foolishness. But the vast majority of our knowledge is on very shaky ground.

So when you couple these two considerations together, you must realize the self-evident fact that the huge, vast majority of people in the world are just simply wrong about almost everything, including yourself. (By the way, no one is wrong about everything: each person has a certain measure of absolute truth in their keeping.)

This is a humbling, and a daunting prospect. Only God is absolutely right, with absolute knowledge. And it is insufferable arrogance to assume that we are anywhere close to Him in that regard.

So what do we do when we find out that someone * gasp * is wrong?

Well most of the time we can simply pass on. We have other things to do. At least, hopefully we do. There are only a very few, very rare situations in which it is appropriate and helpful to address someone’s perceived error.

And even then, first make sure that you are really in disagreement. The vast, vast majority of perceived disagreements are just that, perceived. It is extremely easy to mistake someone’s point of view. And it is even easier to assume that they believe things that they really don’t: you might be in agreement on everything they say except for one small point.

Then, don’t attack. Being mistaken is never a sin in itself, even in matters of doctrine, and it is rarely very bad either. It can be dangerous, though, which should motivate us to be as kind and unselfish as possible in helping the other person.

And above all…

Don’t lose sleep over it. 😉

Don’t You Hate Being Wrong?

It is no calumny to be mistaken. Indeed, it is not even a very great fault. And although it is preferable to be correct, other matters of far greater importance ought to pull rank on any division over a matter of correctness.

There are, of course, matters in which correctness is of vital, nay, crucial importance, but this import is not derived from the correctness itself, but from other matters and considerations. Salvation is a prime example. For to be perfectly accurate (though not necessarily precise) on the matters upon which our eternal souls depend is a matter of eternal import. Yet it is evident that this importance is due to the immeasurable stakes which are upon this belief, and not to the details of the belief itself. Thus we must be perfectly accurate in this, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the consequences of that belief.

You will say that God is Truth, that He values truth, that He abhors false witnesses, that He is Holy (and thus no fault or mistake is in His nature), and that we ought to be like Him. You will moreover assert that God commands us to hold to those standards, so to neglect to seek Truth would be to sin against Him. I do not contest these assertions.

I do, however, contend that these truths to not make mistakes in accuracy sins themselves, but merely the neglect to pursue the eradication of these errors. I still further contend that there are other duties held so much higher in God’s esteem that when these come in conflict with out quest for truth, we must relinquish said quest for their sakes.

This philosophy has two manifestations in practical life, insofar as I know. Each of these are sadly quite common, and ought to be solidly addressed.

The first is where you find yourself in a situation in which another person is mistaken, and because of this difference in belief between the two of you, there is potential for discord and other undesirables. The Biblical example is eating food. Some people mistakenly believe it is sinful to eat certain foods, others do not have this misunderstanding of the Bible. Paul says that it is more important to avoid conflict with the person than it is to confront them. We ought to, as far as reason allows, trick them into thinking we agree with them, more or less. It is more important to help keep them from feeling like they are sinning than to help them see their mistake. (Of course we still ought not to avoid preaching and teaching the truth. (Paul didn’t)) This conclusion is clear to anyone who has read Romans 14-15 honestly.

The second is where you find yourself in a situation in which another person is mistaken, and that person is in significant authority over you. This is something that has a lot more emotional charge than the last, and I do not expect many of you to agree with me. But here ’tis. There are situations in which we ought to submit certain beliefs of ours to another in the cause of obedience, submission, and creating a good witness.

What kinds of situations? Well the most solid one is that of husbands and wives. If a husband believes that a wife ought to wear headcoverings, and she doesn’t believe that, it is her duty to submit to her husband’s belief and wear them. Same thing with other topics like eating certain foods, going to church, etc. This is being a witness to her husband, and God will bless that, possible even turning her husband to the truth. Mistakes in minor doctrines like these are so unimportant that they are hardly worth mentioning, especially if doing so would be an act of rebellion, disrespect, or conflict. This principle is not so obvious, but just as strong. Study 1 Peter 3:1-6 in coordination with Romans 14-15 if you want to see it.

This principle also applies to children who are under their father’s authority. (Don’t ask me when they go out from under his authority, that is another post entirely.)

The basic principle is that seeking truth is good and profitable, as long as it doesn’t conflict with other, more important things like submission and charity.

What are your thoughts on this concept? This is a hot topic, but I would like to see what you think.

Go Kill Yourself

I really hate myself.

I really do. I do stuff that is just plain evil. I seek after the wrong things. I do things that are utterly unpleasing to God. I am so far from God’s desire for me that it isn’t even funny. Every time I try to do right I don’t make it. It seems like everything I do is a waste a lot of the time because I simply am not doing it for God but for myself.

Bleach. Why don’t I just kill myself? I mean, that is what the Bible says, right? Paul said he ‘dies daily’ and that we are ‘dead to sin.’ The Bible also says that the heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things, so why bother keeping it? Why not just go to heaven and cash in on that great and glorious body that doesn’t sin?

Yes, I do feel like that sometimes. I honestly do. Quite a bit actually.

But it is wrong. And you know it is wrong.

God loves us unconditionally, and He has a plan for us on this planet, even while we struggle daily with sin. That is clearly stated many times in the Bible, and we need to turn to those Scriptures when we feel down about our sin. We need to realize God’s glory in our lives.

But I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding underneath that attitude that is not commonly addressed as wrong, and which, I think, is actually commonly taught and promoted by godly pastors and teachers.

That is sad. And I want to address it here if possible.

The Bible talks extensively about the Old Man. It also talks about the New Man. It talks about our Flesh. It talks about the Holy Spirit. It talks about a lot of things. But how are these particular things connected?

Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him,] that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.

So that is pretty clear, right? Our flesh is bad, really bad, and it needs to be as good as dead to us. Really dead. Seriously dead. As dead as we can make it. That means that anything that pleases our flesh ought to be completely cut out of our lives and treated as an abomination to God, right?

I mean, that is what the Bible says over in Romans 8:13 that “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” And then if you throw in 1 John 2:16 (“For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”) it becomes even more obvious. Our fleshly bodies are absolutely horrendous things, incapable of doing anything good or liking good things.

Actually not that simple.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

Oh.

God wants… our fleshly bodies to be alive? And not only that, but somehow they are supposed to be holy and acceptable unto God! It almost sounds like we are talking about two different fleshes here.

That is because we are. We are talking about the Old Man and the New Man. Or, as we could also put it, the Old Flesh and the New Flesh.

To see this we are going to take a little trip through some parallel passages in Scripture.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We have seen that one already, but I want you to focus on the key phrases highlighted in bold, and keep them in your mind as we go on.

Ephesians 4:22-25 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Okay, I want you to notice the parallels between the mentions of renewing of your mind, and between the connection implied thereby between the Living Sacrifice and the New Man. And now we can continue this series with:

Colossians 3:8-12 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new [man,] which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

There is an obvious equivalence between the New Man and the Living Sacrifice, especially when you stack these passages up. And in connection with that is an equally obvious fact that the Old Man and the Flesh is the same thing.

So what does that mean?

It means that our flesh doesn’t have to be bad. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Think about it: God made us with bodies. He invented pleasure. He invented our flesh. He made its desires to be the way they are.

But He made them for a particular purpose: to be a Living Sacrifice. He designed us to live in submission to His Holy Spirit (which is the power that makes us able to obey His Word and become like His Son), so that the flesh does not serve itself only, but rather, Him.

A Living Sacrifice. We trade allegiances, and that makes our flesh into a New Man.

And suddenly passages like 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 make more sense:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

God wants our flesh to become like the flesh of Christ: wholly submitted to Him. So what does that mean for us, today? It means that we don’t just kill the Old Man, our flesh: we need to resurrect our flesh as the New Man by the power of Christ.

Romans 6:4-5 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

We can stop being miserable with our Old Flesh, and start living in victory with our New Flesh. Our ‘fleshly’ appetites are not our enemies… when submitted to Christ and His glory.

So, does that make sense? How do you see this affecting your daily walk?

My New Mascot

Greetings all!

We just got a really nice package from some really nice friends of ours in the States (the Manns). One of the items in it was to me, from 5-year-old Matthew. It was a nice little bear (he sent me a few other things too, very nice). I am 20. A professional web designer and developer, a project leader and a rebelutionary. So what do I do with a little bear from a 5-year-old?

I make him into a mascot.

I am serious. I am very pleased with my little gift, and I really appreciate Matthew sharing one of his little toys with me. I am four times his age, but he is definitely one of my friends, and I enjoy talking to him over the internet.

Matthew is a perfect example of a principle that I hold very passionately: non-segregation of age.

I am just as comfortable talking to people who are 4 times my age as to people who are a quarter my age (talking to people my own age is a different story, but we shall pass that over for now). And I believe that is the way it should be. We should focus on family-to-family communication and not peer-to-peer communication. This is the way that God designed things to work.

My gift from and friendship with Matthew is also a prime example of something else that I love.

My online network: my overseas friends. I knows hundreds of people online that I would never know existed if it wasn’t for the internet. Most of my best friends are on the other side of the world (practically), and known entirely through the internet. It is a tremendous blessing from God that we are able to do that now. And Matthew is a prime example of that.

And so, in honor of these principles, and of Matthew (and in honor of the other 3-5 friends I have that are named ‘Matthew’), I am naming my new mascot ‘Matt.’