Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Our Way!

Well, I'm a bit sleepy to do a thorough report, but we're going! Flew into NY this morning, and we are currently *enjoying* an eight hour lay-over. Oh, the joys of flying.
But it's all well worth it of course.
We always appreciate your prayers and love : )

Monday, July 20, 2009

Here I am

...Wow. It's been a while. I feel like it used to be as though I over-posted, and lately they've been all too seldom. And no, it has nothing to do with getting a facebook. ah-hem.

Anyways, I just did a money count and I'm excited to announce that we have surpassed our goal! (which is probably necessary for "what if?" purposes, and if any is left over it will be donated right to Caminul Felix. Cool stuff!

Today is July 20th, so I officially have 11 days till depature. Ahh! So exciting! I'm a little nervous truth be told, but I think that's healthy at this point :)

And don't worry - thank you cards are coming. Slowly, but they're coming :)

Well, please stay tuned via Romanian Escapade and facebook. I can't wait to share my adventures with you and I look forward to receiving encouragement while I'm away.

If you'd like to email me your address I will certainly send you a postcard. Think of it as a little race to see who gets theirs first :) (which may be several months from now considering what I know of RO postal services :)

Thanks guys!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Is There Christian Eloquence?"

For rhetoric today, I had the opportunity to read the article that follows. I can't help but share it with you.


Is There Christian Eloquence? Clear Words and the
Wonder of the Cross
Desiring God 2008 National Conference
September 28, 2008
By John Piper

I begin by showing why this question is urgent for me, and in the process I hope to clarify what the
question means and what eloquence means. The question is urgent first and foremost because the
apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says in 1 Corinthians 1:17, “Christ did not
send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of
Christ be emptied of its power.” Christ sent Paul to preach, not with eloquence, lest the cross of gutted.
That’s why I am asking the question Is there Christian eloquence?
Even if you use the NIV (“not with words of human wisdom”) or the NASB (“not in cleverness of speech”)
or the KJV (“not with wisdom of words”), the point remains the same. There is a way to speak the
gospel—a way of eloquence or cleverness or human wisdom—that nullifies the cross. I dread nullifying
the cross, and therefore it is urgent that I know what this eloquence-cleverness-wisdom of words is, so I
can avoid it.

An Urgent Question

Or consider 1 Corinthians 2:1 where Paul says, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come
proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” Or the NIV: “I did not come with
eloquence or superior wisdom.” Or the NASB: “I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom.” Or
the KJV: “[I] came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom.”
For a pastor, or anyone who wants to speak the gospel to others without emptying the cross of its power,
this is an urgent issue. “Is there Christian eloquence?” means first, for me, if I choose words, or ways of
putting words together, or ways of delivering them, with a view to increasing their life-giving, pridehumbling,
God-exalting, Christ-magnifying, joy-intensifying, love-awakening, missions-mobilizing, justiceadvancing
impact, am I doing with my word-selection and word-arrangement and word-delivery what is
only supposed to be done by the cross of Christ, and so emptying it of its power?
In other words, is Paul saying that the pursuit of impact on others through word-selection, wordarrangement,
and word-delivery preempts Christ’s power and belittles the glory of the cross? Answering
this is urgent for any of us who would speak or write about the truths of the gospel.

Is the Bible Eloquent?

Complicating the question is this: Most Bible scholars throughout history have drawn attention to the fact
that the Bible itself has many eloquent parts. For example, John Calvin said, “Let us pay attention to the
style of Isaiah which is not only pure and elegant, but also is ornamented with high art—from which we
may learn that eloquence may be of great service to faith.”1
Or similarly consider what the poet John Donne said: “The Holy Ghost in penning the Scriptures delights
himself, not only with a propriety, but with a delicacy, and harmony, and melody of language; with height
of Metaphors, and other figures, which may work greater impressions upon the Readers.”2 In other words,
Donne is saying that there is eloquence of language in the Bible, and some of the impact of the text on
readers is owing in some way to that eloquence.

Spirit-Led Eloquence?

Or consider what Martin Luther says on Galatians 4:6: “The Spirit makes intercession for us not with
many words or long prayer, but only with a groaning . . . a little sound and a feeble groaning, as ‘Ah,
Father!’ . . . Wherefore, this little word ‘Father’ . . . passes all the eloquence of Demosthenes, Cicero, and
of the most eloquent rhetoricians that ever were in the world.”3 So Luther says the Holy Spirit himself
leads us at times to a kind of eloquence—even in prayer.
So if these observations of Calvin, Luther, and Donne are right, what did Paul mean when he said he
renounced eloquence for the sake of the cross? Or are Calvin and Luther and Donne missing something?

The Eloquence of George Whitefield

Another way to feel the urgency of the question Is there Christian Eloquence? is to compare what was
said about two giants of the First Great Awakening, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards. These two
men were deeply unified theologically and significantly different in the way they preached.
In the Spring of 1740, George Whitefield was in Philadelphia preaching outdoors to thousands of people.
Benjamin Franklin attended most of these messages. Franklin, who did not believe what Whitefield was
preaching, commented on these perfected sermons,
His delivery...was so improved by frequent repetition, that every accent, every emphasis, every
modulation of voice, was so perfectly well turned, and well placed, that without being interested in the
subject, one could not help being pleased with the discourse: a pleasure of much the same kind with that
received from an excellent piece of music.4
Here is preaching that is so eloquent you can like it without believing anything in it. In other words, the
language itself—the word-selection, word-arrangement, and word-delivery was such that it was
pleasurable to Franklin who cared nothing for what the language meant. Franklin loved his eloquence and
rejected the cross. Was Whitefield emptying the cross of its power?

Eloquence in Our Day

And just in case the generation of younger preachers, who don’t give a fig about this so-called eloquence,
think you have this one solved, because you don’t care about that kind of eloquence, beware. There is an
“eloquence” of “hip” and “dress” and “slang” and “savvy” and “casual” and the “appearance of
artlessness” that can have the exact same mesmerizing effect in our day that Whitefield’s eloquence had
in his: People like it without sharing any of the convictions. In other words, none of us escapes the
urgency of this question. We all need an answer.

The Eloquence of Jonathan Edwards

But now consider Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield’s contemporary and friend. Edwards did not receive such
accolades for dramatic eloquence like Whitefield’s. But he did have another kind of eloquence. One
eyewitness answered the question whether Edwards was an eloquent preacher like this:
If you mean, by eloquence, what is usually intended by it in our cities; he had no pretensions to it. He had
no studied varieties of the voice. And no strong emphasis. He scarcely gestured, or even moved; and he
made no attempt, by he elegance of his style, or the beauty of his pictures, to gratify the taste, and
fascinate the imagination. But, if you mean by eloquence, the power of presenting an important truth
before an audience, with overwhelming weight of argument. And with such intenseness of feeling, that the
whole soul of the speaker is thrown into every part of the conception and delivery; so that the solemn
attention of the whole audience is riveted, from the beginning to the close, and impressions are left that
cannot be effaced; Mr. Edwards was the most eloquent man I every heard speak.5
In either case—Whitefield the dramatic orator or Edwards the motionless, intense logician—the question
remains: Were these forms of eloquence an emptying of the cross of Christ? Were they following Paul’s
example when he said that he preached the gospel “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of
Christ be emptied of its power”?

James Denny’s Haunting Statement

There is a statement that James Denney made over a hundred years ago that haunts me. Whether we
are talking about the more high-brow eloquence of oratory or the more low-brow, laid-back, cool
eloquence of anti-oratory, Denney’s statement cuts through to the ultimate issue. He said, “No man can
give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.”6 This has been one of the
most influential sentences I have ever read regarding how we talk about Christ. Does this mean that any
conscious craft or art in writing or speaking elevates self and obscures the truth that Christ is mighty to

Eloquence as an End in Itself?

There is one last angle that shows the urgency of this question Is There Christian Eloquence? Earlier this
year in the journal called Books and Culture, there was a review of a book by Denis Donoghue, Professor
of English and American Letters at New York University. The title of his book is On Eloquence. It was just
published this year. I was so aggravated by the review that I got the book and read it over the Summer.
Donoghue’s contention is that eloquence is a surprising, impacting style that is an end in itself. He says,
for example,
A speech or an essay may be eloquent, but if it is, the eloquence is incidental to its aim. Eloquence, as
distinct from rhetoric, has no aim: it is a play of words or other expressive means. . . . The main attribute
of eloquence is gratuitousness.7
Eloquence does not serve a purpose or an end in action. . . . In rhetoric, one is trying to persuade
someone to do something: in eloquence, one is discovering with delight the expressive resources of the
means at hand.8
He agrees with E. M. Cioran that this notion of aimless eloquence began with the sophists 2,000 years
The sophists were the first to occupy themselves with a meditation upon words, their value, propriety, and
function in the conduct of reasoning: the capital step toward the discovery of style, conceived as a goal in
itself, as an intrinsic end, was taken [by the sophists].9
So eloquence is a style of speaking or writing that is intrinsically pleasing without any reference to other
aims. It has no aim. It’s gratuitous. That’s what makes it eloquent. If it had an aim, it would be rhetoric and
would stand in the service of some cause or ideology.

An Enamored Reviewer

What aggravated me about the review of Donoghue’s book in Books and Culture was that the Christian
reviewer was so enamored by this view of eloquence that he thought all thinking evangelicals should be
reading this book. Donoghue himself thought that the Bible—and Jesus in particular—put significant
obstacles in the way of this view of eloquence as aimless, gratuitous, pleasing language.10 But the
reviewer, on the contrary, was effusive about how this view shed light on the way God lavishes the world
with superfluous, gratuitous eloquence:
Is it really so hard to make the case for eloquence on Christian terms? What could be more eloquent,
more blessedly superfluous, than Creation itself? All those beetles, those unseen creatures of the deep,
those galaxies upon galaxies—all unnecessary. Shakespeare was unnecessary. My new grandson Gus
is unnecessary.11
I don’t think so. This is too cavalier about the purposefulness of God. Did God create this little boy Gus,
and Shakespeare, and the galaxies, and the thousands of species of plants and animals we have yet to
discover—did God create them whimsically, or purposefully? If purposefully, they are not gratuitous. And
they are not superfluous.

Not Deep Enough

The problem with Donoghue and his reviewer is that they haven’t gone deep enough into the implications
for eloquence of the existence of a God who governs all things and does all things purposefully—indeed,
with the purpose to magnify the glory of his Son. “All things were created through him and for him”
(Colossians 1:16). Galaxies and grandsons are not gratuitous or superfluous. They are created for the
glory of Jesus Christ. Even the galaxies we have not yet seen will serve to magnify of the greatness of
So what shall we make of all these varied witnesses to the goodness of eloquence when, in view of
Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17, “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and
not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power”? And what of 1
Corinthians 2:1, “When I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God
with lofty speech or wisdom”?

An Interesting Link

There is an interesting link between Donoghue’s reference to the sophists and the context of Paul’s words
to the Corinthians. Donoghue traces his view of eloquence back to the sophists. They were the first to
treat style “as a goal in itself, as an intrinsic end.” One of the most compelling books on the background of
Paul’s words about eloquence in 1 Corinthians is Bruce Winter’s Philo and Paul among the Sophists.
Winter’s argument is that it is precisely the sophists and their view of eloquence that form the backdrop of
what Paul says about his own speech and how he ministered in Corinth.12
So consider with me Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians to see if he gives us enough clues to show what sort of
eloquence he is rejecting and what sort he is not only not rejecting but using.13

Clues from 1 Corinthians

Notice first in 1 Corinthians 1:10-12 that the Corinthian believers were forming divisions by lining up
behind their favorite teachers, and there is pretty good evidence that the divisions had to do with the kind
of eloquence the teachers had. It says in verse 12, “What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow
Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’”
We know from 2 Corinthians 10:10 that Paul’s opponents mocked him as lacking eloquence. They said,
“His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account (ho
logos exouthenemenos).” And we know that Apollos, one of the favorites at Corinth, was eloquent
because Acts 18:24 says, “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was
an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.” The fact that he is from Alexandria is significant. Philo
worked in Alexandria and tells us how prominent the sophists were there in training people to be

Opposing the Sophists

We know from at least six sources that the sophists were also present in Corinth.15 They put a huge
premium on style and form as evidence of education and power and wisdom. They had probably
influenced some in the church to admire their kind of eloquence and look for it in Christian teachers.
Apollos probably became their celebrity because he was so good with words. Bruce Winter says, “Paul
deliberately adopts an anti-sophistic stance and thus defends his church-planting activities in Corinth
against a backdrop of sophistic conventions, perceptions and categories.”16
That’s what we find in verse 17, which is where we began this message: “Christ did not send me to
baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be
emptied of its power.” So the way Paul is going to oppose the eloquence of the sophists is to show that it
empties the cross. Why is that? Why does this view of eloquence empty the cross of power?

Undercutting Pride and Exalting Christ

Verse 18 gives part of the reason: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us
who are being saved it is the power of God.” The reason the cross can’t fit in with the eloquence of the
sophists is that it is folly to them—that is, it is so destructive of human pride that those who aim at human
praise through “rhetorically elaborated eloquence”17 and “an elitist educational system”18 could only see
the cross as foolishness. The cross is the place our sin is seen as most horrible and God’s free grace
shines most brightly. Both of these mean we deserve nothing. Therefore, the cross undercuts pride and
exalts Christ, not us, and that made it foolish to the sophists.
We see this confirmed in verse 20: “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the
debater of this age?”—the debater, the man who is so nimble with his tongue he can take either side and
win. He is smooth and clever and verbally agile. Truth and content are not the issue; rhetorical
maneuvering is. Paul says at the end of verse 20, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
The wisdom in view is not any deep worldview over against Christianity; it’s the sophistry of using
language to win debates and show oneself clever and eloquent and powerful.
So the eloquence Paul is rejecting is not so much any particular language conventions but the
exploitation of language to exalt self and belittle or ignore the crucified Lord. Notice the contrast again in
chapter 2, verses 1-2: “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the
testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus
Christ and him crucified.” The point is: Wherever I meet scribes and debaters who bolster their ego with
language jousting and leave the cross in the shadows, I am going to bring it out of the shadows and
showcase it totally. I will refuse to play their language games.

A Two-Pronged Criterion

Notice one more thing in this context which gives us the two-pronged criterion of good and bad
eloquence. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Paul turns the tables on the sophists’ love affair with boasting.19
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many
were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the
wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in
the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast
in the presence of God.

1) Self-Humiliation

God’s design both in the cross and in election is “that no human being might boast in the presence of
God.” That is the first prong of our criterion of good and bad eloquence: Does it feed boasting? Does it
come from an ego in search of exaltation through clever speech? If so, Paul rejects it.
Then he continues in verses 30-31:
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and
sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

2) Christ-Exaltation

The second design of God, not only in the cross and in election, but also in the sovereign grace of
regeneration (v. 30, “Because of him you are in Christ Jesus”) is that all boasting be boasting in the Lord
Jesus—the one who was crucified and raised. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
So the second prong of our criterion of good and bad eloquence is: Does it exalt Christ—especially the
crucified Christ?
So here is my understanding of Paul’s two denunciations of eloquence. In 1 Corinthians 1:17 he says, “. .
. not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” And in 1
Corinthians 2:1-2 he says, “. . . [not] with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among
you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” The point of both is this: Pride-sustaining, self-exalting use of
words for a show of human wisdom is incompatible with finding your life and your glory in the cross of
Christ. So let your use of words be governed by this double criteria: self-humiliation and Christ-exaltation.
I think, if we put these two criteria in front of all our efforts to make an impact through word-selection and
word-arrangement and word-delivery—that is, if we put them in front of our attempts at eloquence—we
will be guarded from the misuse of eloquence that Paul rejected. And now I see more clearly what was
behind James Denney’s dictum, precisely, these two criteria: “No man can give the impression that he
himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.”20 Self-exaltation and Christ-exaltation can’t go

The Bible Is Eloquent

So when we go back to Calvin and Luther and John Donne—all of whom said that the Bible is filled with
eloquence—I conclude they are right. The Bible is filled with every manner of literary device to add impact
to the language: acrostics, alliteration, analogies, anthropomorphism, assonance, cadence, chiasm,
consonance, dialogue, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, meter, onomatopoeia, paradox, parallelism, repetition,
rhyme, satire, simile—they’re all there, and more.
And it seems to me that God invites us to join him in this creativity of eloquence. He beckons us with
words like:
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! (Proverbs 15:23)
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)
Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. (Proverbs 26:7)
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God
the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
In other words, give thought to the aptness and seasonableness and fitness and timing and
appropriateness of your words. And make all of them an honor to the name of the Lord Jesus.

What Difference Does It Make?

There is one last question I want to take up. If we are permitted to pursue eloquence (powerful verbal
impact), indeed if we are invited to, and if the Bible is an abundantly eloquent book, and if we are guided
in our pursuit of this impact by the double criterion of self-humiliation and Christ-exaltation, what would be
our hope for our speech or writing if we succeeded? Since only the Holy Spirit can perform the miracle of
new birth and actually raise the spiritually dead, and since he can do it with mundane, pedestrian
witnesses to the gospel or eloquent witnesses to the gospel, what difference does it make if we strive for
any measure of eloquence or increased impact through language?

Five Benefits of Christian Eloquence

Here is a starter list of five things that we may hope for, knowing that anywhere along the way, God may
step in and make our words instruments of salvation with or without eloquence.

1) Keeping Interest
Artistic, surprising, provocative, or esthetically pleasing language choices (that is, eloquence) may keep
people awake and focused because they find it interesting or unusual or pleasing for reasons they cannot
articulate. When the disciples fell asleep in Gethsemane, Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is
weak” (Matthew 26:41). We need to help people’s weaknesses.
This is not conversion or even conviction or sanctification, but it is a serious means to those ends.
Sleeping people or distracted people do not hear the word, and faith comes by hearing and hearing by
the word. Therefore, eloquence is like a good night’s sleep. It won’t save your soul, but it might keep you
awake to hear the word which can save your soul. So a person’s style may keep you interested and
awake to the same end.

2) Gaining Sympathy
Artistic, surprising, provocative, or esthetically pleasing language may bring an adversarial mind into
greater sympathy with the speaker. If the language is interesting and fresh enough, obstacles may be
overcome—boredom, anger, resentment, suspicion—and replaced with respect and attraction and
interest and concentration. These are not conversion, or conviction or sanctification, but they don’t drive a
person farther away like boredom does. They may in fact draw a person so close to the light that Jesus
says, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:34).
For example, return to George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin for a moment. Whitefield’s eloquence
overwhelmed Franklin. He did not think Whitefield was a sham. He admired him. He became one of
Whitefield’s closest friends. Whitefield’s biographer, Harry Stout says, “Franklin allowed himself to be
drawn out on the subject of personal religiosity with Whitefield as with no one else, finding in Whitefield a
listener he could trust—if not agree with.”21 Therefore, Whitefield could speak to Franklin about Christ as
no one else could. He explained to Franklin with a smile: “I must have something of Christ in all my
letters.”22 Who knows how close Whitefield came to winning Franklin to the faith—and all this because
Whitefield’s eloquence overcame Franklin’s disdain for the Revival.

3) Awakening Sensitivity
Fresh, surprising, provocative, esthetically pleasing speech may have an awakening effect on a person’s
mind and heart that is short of regeneration but still important as an awakening of emotional and
intellectual sensitivity for more serious and beautiful things. If a poetic turn of phrase can cause a person
to notice the magnificence of the sun, their next step might be to see that the heavens are telling the glory
of God (Psalm 19:1), and then they might confess Christ as the great sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2).
Is that not why David, the great poet of Israel, first says, “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalms
19:1), and then says, “In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving
his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy” (Psalms 19:4-5). Why compare the rising
sun to a bridegroom and a runner? To help the dull mind awaken to the joyful beauty of the rising sun in
the hopes that this natural kind of awakening might lead to the spiritual sight that nature is all about the
glory of God.

4) Speaking Memorably
Certain kinds of eloquence—cadence, parallelism, meter, rhyme, assonance, consonance—may not only
interest and awaken the heart, but increase that impact by making what is said memorable, that is, more
easy to remember or memorize. Consider the title of this conference. I am very picky when it comes to
cadence and consonance and assonance. I worked on the title the same way I work on a poem: “The
Power of Words and the Wonder of God.” I want it to be pleasing and memorable.
􀀀 So first, there is an intentional cadence or meter that I find pleasing: -/- -/- -/- -/ (The POWer of
WORDS and the WONder of GOD).
􀀀 Second, there is consonance or alliteration between the W’s in Words and Wonder. Compare
“The Power of Language and the Wonder of God” or “The Power of Words and the Majesty of
God.” Both cadence and alliteration are lost.
􀀀 Third, there is assonance. Six of the nine words are dominated by the sound of the letter O:
power, of, words, wonder, of, God. Compare: “The Strength of Language and the Marvel of
􀀀 Finally, I think the juxtaposition of “words” and “wonder” and “God” is unusual, provocative, and
All of that I think helps people remember the title, not because it is displeasing the way nine-eleven is
remembered because it hurt, but because it is esthetically satisfying. (Next year: “With Calvin in the
Theater of God”—iambic pentameter—so we can’t add “John,” Calvin’s first name.)
I presume that this mnemonic purpose is why some parts of the Bible are written in acrostics. For
example, Psalm 119 is 22 stanzas of 8 verses each and each stanza begins with a different letter of the
Hebrew alphabet, and all 8 verses in each stanza begins with that letter. That is not careless, but
intentional, artistic, eloquent.

5) Increasing Power
The attempt to craft striking and beautiful language makes it possible that the beauty of eloquence can
join with the beauty of truth and increase the power of your words. When we take care to create a
beautiful way of speaking or writing about something beautiful, the eloquence—the beauty of the form—
reflects and honors the beauty of the subject and so honors the truth.
The method and the matter become one, and the totality of both becomes a witness to the truth and
beauty of the message. If the glory of Christ is always ultimately our subject, and if he created all things,
and if upholds all things, then bringing the beauty of form into harmony with the beauty of truth is the
fullest way to honor the Lord.
Or another way to think about this unity is this: If a person sees and delights in the beauty of your
language, but does not yet see the beauty of the Lord Jesus, you have given them not only a witness to
his beauty but an invitation. You have said, “It’s like this, only better. The beauty of my words is the
shadow. Christ, who created and sustains and mercifully accepts imperfect beauty, is the substance. Turn
to him. Go to him.”

Creating Eloquence for His Name’s Sake

Yes, there is Christian eloquence. It is not the decisive factor in salvation or sanctification; God is. But
faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word. That word in the Bible is pervasively eloquent—words
are put together in a way to give great impact. And God invites us to create our own eloquent phrases for
his name’s sake, not ours. And in the mystery of his sovereign grace, he will glorify himself in the hearts
of others in spite of and because of the words we have chosen. In that way, he will keep us humble and
get all the glory for himself. Amen.

1 Quoted in “Calvin and the Bible,” from Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 1, pg. 7-8
2 John Donne, The Sermons of John Donne, vol. 6, pg. 55
3 Martin Luther, A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H.
Revell Company, 1953), 369-370
4 Harry Stout, The Divine Dramatist, 104, emphasis added
5 The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 1, p. cxc
6 Quoted in John Stott, Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century, 325
7 Denis Donoghue, On Eloquence, 3
8 Ibid., 148
9 Ibid., 136 emphasis added
10 “The most forceful rejection of eloquence I am aware of is Christ’s: ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’” Ibid.,
11 John Wilson, “Stranger in a Strange Land: On Eloquence”
12 “The wise, the well born and the powerful epitomized the class from which the sophists came and
which the latter helped perpetuate through an elitist educational system which emphasized the art of
rhetoric. Given the great sin of the sophistic movement was it boasting . . . Paul made the Jeremiah
prohibition against boasting about wisdom, status and achievement a primary text in this critique of the
Corinthian sophistic movement.” Bruce Winter, Philo and Paul among the Sophists: Alexandrian and
Corinthian Responses to a Julio-Claudian Movement, 2nd ed., 253-254
13 For example, 1 Corinthians 1:25 is eloquent for its conscious shock value because it refers positively to
“the foolishness of God” and “the weakness of God.”
14 “There are . . . forty-two references to “sophist’ (sophistes) in Philo, apart from fifty-two references to
cognates, and numerous comments on the sophistic movement.” Winter, Philo and Paul, 7. “There can be
no doubt . . . that sophists and their students were prominent in Corinth and played an important role in
the life of the city.” Ibid., 140
15 Winter, Philo and Paul, 7-9 gives six sources for our knowledge of the sophist movement in Corinth.
16 Ibid., 141
17 Ibid., 144, note 16
18 Ibid., p. 253.
19 “The great sin of the sophistic movement was its boasting.” Ibid
20 Quoted in John Stott, Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century, 325
21 Harry Stout, The Divine Dramatist, 228
22 Ibid.

Pampered Chef Fundraiser... You're Invited!

The last Pampered Chef party we hosted was a hit.

And it was suggested to me that hosting another fundraiser might be a good idea.

In recent days I've recieved some affirmation of this, so here we go!

What: Pamerped Chef Party Fundraiser

When: June 8, 7:00 pm.

Where: South Carrol Full Gospel Church

Why: Raise funds to benefit Marilyn's missions trip to ROMANIA this summer.

A percentage of each order will go directly towards the effort!

Other Info: ...Some of you may have recieved an "e-vite" in your inbox... If you're unable to attend you can order online (I'll send you the link) -or- I can get you a catalog and you can place your order that way.

I'll probably need all the orders no latter than one week after the par-tay. Thanks you guys!

Sound like a plan?

If you have any questions at all please let me know!!



Saturday, May 9, 2009

All Systems Go

And We Have...
Pretty cool, huh?
Oh, and get this: I have a 50 minute layover in Prague. That makes me happy :)
Wow, guys, it's in paper. I'M GOING TO EUROPE.
Hello, Beautiful.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

...Pampered Chef...Again??

A few of you have expressed some interest in another Pampered Chef Party fundraiser...
So, I ask, should we do it?
We'll do this the democratic way. All in favor of the resolution: "Marilyn ought to host another pampered chef party" - say "aye". All who stand in negation say "nay". Majority wins. Irrational ideas not supported by the majority are at the mercy of the filibuster.
And yes, I'm a home-schooled poli-sci fanatic :)
(thank you, Miss Hidey :)
Does it show at all by any chance?

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Date Change!
New Trip Dates: August 1-15
(I'm super compelled to attend DEBATE CAMP (woot!) -- and the dates coincided just a bit. Luckily for me the kind folks at Caminul Felix are, well, kind)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Peles Castel"

Sooooo... my last post sparked a flame. The first couple photos in the second video featured none other than Peles Castle.

If you've ever heard of Romania, it was most likely in relation in castles of some sort. And it's no wonder why.

Say hello to just one of the homes belonging to the late King Carol I of Romania. He was a distinguished Romanian ruler and conquerer of Nation Independence. Upon visiting Sinaia, Peles' hometown, the great King fell in love with the scenery of the land. And there his home was built. It was originally destined as a hunting preserve and summer retreat for the monarch, and later served several busniess purposes aswell. As of late, Peles was donated to the Romanian government and now houses eager sight-seeing travelers.

Alright, alright, enough talk. On to the pictures:

(Peles Courtyard)

(Peles Innercourt)

Gorgeous, isn't it?!

[anything intelligent that I may have said above came from none other than wikipedia]

Oradea, YouTube Style

It occured to me that quite a few of my readers aren't all too familiar with Romania.

Or Oradea for that matter.

Regrettably, pictures (even those worth a thousand words) can only do so much. Sure, they're pretty. But as for getting the quaint European feel? Not so much.

And thus, YouTube:

This one's pretty... well... thorough. Plus it gives you the feeling Romania's a little wealthier than it is. Even still, it captures the lovely Romanian architecture quite well.

Oh! This one's a must. It really captures the landscape of rural Romania.... not to mention CASTLES! The first castle- "Peles"- was the one I took a tour of while sight-seeing (it actually has a fake-out wall-pretty awesome) ... and the second is indeed dracula's castle. Take a deep breath- he was no vampire. Just a king with thrombocytopenia.


Blast Through The Past

Here's one from last year:

vbs. oradea. romania. poor apartment complex built in communistic era. cutest kiddos ever.

enough said.

Friday, March 27, 2009

[Jaw Hitting Floor]

I do believe there comes a point in the process of fundraising when God just reminds you that He's serious about what you're doing-- and He's going to get you there.
My friends, that's exactly where I am.
These past couple weeks, I've had donations coming out my ears. And today, today I counted them up!

Grand Total: 1,580.
One thousand five hundred and eighty dollars! ! !

I send hugs and thanks to all you guys who are so generously supporting me both financially, and prayerfully. I can't do it without it you!

So.... I'm off to re-explore plane tickets! And after that I'll let you know what we're looking at, as far as how much we have left to go. Even though this will definitely cover the travel, we still have my room and board cost, which is another thousand.

[Romanian for "thanks"]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Concerning Donations

Hey, it's me again. I've been getting a lot of feed back conerning my letter, and it has been brought to my attention that I didn't make the donation aspect too clear. I'm so sorry about that! Here's some clarifying:
Since I am going on my own, I just figured people could make the check straight out to me. I recently discovered, however, that you can also make the check out to "South Carroll Full Gospel Church", with "missions" in the memo, and a note attached letting them know that it's for Marilyn's trip to Romania. That way it's tax deductable for you! Although, I do think it would keep things easier if you could just mail it on over to me.
Sound good?
Please let me know if there's anything more that I neglected to clarify!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Heavy Sigh

Today I finally started looking at good old plane tickets. Right.
I knew flying was a costly endeavor, but seriously? It's outrageous. Over one thousand dollars. Which I don't have. Yet.
I was searching via Travelocity... not too sure if that was a good choice (?)
Ok guys, any suggestions on how to search for plane tickets?
Marilyn needs you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Banana Nut Cheerios- Review and GIVEAWAY!

Cereal's great.
There's nothin' in the world like that grainy crunch in a splash of milk.
Really, there's something just so familiar and cozy about it. And its good to know that the good folks over at General Mills hold your cereal cravings high on their priority list.
I mean, after all, they are the ones who brought you the Cheerio. And what's not to love?
They have watched and observed tirelessly to discover trends in America's love for cereal snacking. And their latest discovery? Why, this: that there is nothing that goes better with a bowl of the best cereal than a little fruity flavor. I mean, come on, ya got the oats, the creaminess, and what's left? Some refreshing fruit, of course!
There are plenty of people who have implemented this fruit concept into their pre-cereal prep work. And now, your friendly-neighborhood Cheerio is going to relieve you just a bit :)

Introducing.... all new, 100% naturally flavored
Banana Nut Cheerios!!!

Banana Nut Cheerios combine the whole grain goodness of Cheerios with the great taste of real banana - a breakfast your whole family will love!
Yes, I said it- REAL BANANA. Not some fake banana wanna-be. And boy oh boy, is it tasty!
I have found this thing hit home with me in more than one way. So, I'm going to break it down for you.

Tasty. I'm serious, these have they perfect amount of banana tastiness to perfectly compliment the already wonderful Cheerio flavor. I love it! Really, truly- my new favorite.

Nutritionally Savvy. Not only to they taste great, there good for you! Here's the run down:

  • Each serving of Banana Nut Cheerios comes equipped with 8 grams of whole grains, only one gram of fat, and absolutely no saturated or trans fat. Yes, my friends, they call this heart healthy.
  • Banana Nut Cheerios are packed full of vitamins A, C, D, B6 and B16, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. Check plus.
  • Real banana. yep, the ingredients actually read (now, get ready for this) "banana puree". Enough said.

So, yes, I'm sure you've gotten the hint: I'm fond of these things. Banana nutty-ness added to Cheerios is like whip cream on a latte. And that makes me smile.

So, how about you? Want to give them a try? Well, if you answered yes, keep reading!

I am giving away 3 Banana Nut Cheerios gift baskets!

This prize pictured to the left includes: a coupon for a free box of Banana Nut Cheerios, a fruit basket with an attached banana tree, a bread loaf pan, and two cereal bowls! Yay!!

How to WIN:

You have up to three chances!

  • First, leave me a comment and tell me about what you add to your bowl of cereal to make it your own!
  • For another comment, give your creation a name. Yes, a creative one! Have fun with this!
  • And, for a third and final comment, post a link to this giveaway on your blog! Leave a link to it in your comment. Not into blogging? Email three people (+ me) and share the fun by sending them a link to this review/giveaway!

Be sure to leave me a name and email address I can send a note your way should you win!

Sound like a plan? Awesome. By the way, this giveaway ends on March 1st. Oh, and one more thing: visit for discount coupons, great recipes and additional information.

Have fun and I hope you win!!!


I decided to end this one a little early, since comments stopped comin' in. To those of you who won... CONGRATS!!!!!

Be sure to check back for more fun :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

**My Fruit Roll-Ups Review... GIVEAWAY!**

I told you guys it was coming... and here it is!

Ok, here's the scoop:

We're all quite familiar with the popular chewy candy with it's fruity flavor... and we've all stopped to wonder how on earth the pictures they impict were selected. Well, my friends, say no more to fruit roll-ups with random pictures, because let me tell you- that idea has been defenestrated. Say hello to YOUR fruit roll-ups. Yes, you knew the day would come and now it is finally here. Your chance to design your very own custom fruit roll-ups! Fun stuff, right? Let me tell you from my own experience: YES. Yes, indeed it is.

I was so generously given the opportunity to create my own fruit roll-ups! What did I think? Let me tell you:

The "My Fruit Roll-Ups" web page makes it nice and easy to pick the design for your fruity goodness. They give you several different templates to work with, and once you pick one, the fun begins. Basically, you can do this a couple different ways- you can upload your own pictures, select some they have available on the website, type in your own text, or do a little of each. If you feel like sticking with their pictures, there are also some fun and festive backgrounds to choose from. Me? I decided upload some of my own photos. You can use up to three... which I did.

The title for MY fruit roll ups: Three Bugs in A Rug. Yep.

There we are. On a fruit roll-up. How seriously awesome is that?!?!
This is a picture of my design... not an actual fruit roll-up (because it was way to hard to capture a picture on a piece of glossy candy).

True, sometimes the pictures came out a bit deformed, but I suppose that's a little predictable for a gooey kinda candy. But let me tell you, they're yummy. And even yummier when you know your picture's on it! :)

All in all- I think this just may be one of the FUNNEST things EVER!! Come on you guys, seriously. You know it is.

Now, I would never go on and on bulking this up just to tantalize you. As always, there's some fun to share!!

If you find "My Fruit Roll-Ups" as fun as I do, leave me a comment describing how you would design your fruit roll-ups, and I shall randomly select a winner Saturday, February 7th at twelve noon. The winner will receive a promo code for a box of 30 individually wrapped Fruit Roll-Ups - custom designed by none other than YOU!!! Yes, for absolutely no cost whatsoever. No shipping, no nothin'. Be sure to leave your name and email address so I can notify should you win!
Happy commenting!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh yeah, Way Cool

Introducing our BRAND NEW blog template!! Funs stuff, huh? I rather like it.
(Ok, I know this is the shortest blog entry ever, but I had to do it).

On a slightly more constructive note, the problem with the images refusing to load on here... is still here. Apparently Blogger knows that a ton of people can't see the pictures on their blog, and they have actually reported the problem as "fixed". Right. Any suggestions here? I couldn't find an email address or something I can report issues to (but I did find one for reporting abuse, and I did send them an email. Any response? Nope. None).
By the way you all- the excitement is building. I think Europe is my second home, and I cannot wait to return home to it. I left part of me back there last time I went, and I'm glad I get to recover it so soon. And then I'll have to leave it there again. But let's not think about that aspect. It's the landing part I can't wait one more second for.

Oh, and one more thing. We have a GIVEAWAY coming up, so stay tuned. It oughta be a pretty neat one, too. Hopefully by then you'll be able to see pictures...
Go ahead, leave me a comment and let me know what you think about this new look we've got going :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Hi everybody...
So, is it just my computer, or are the pictures not loading throughout the blog? If you could leave me a quick comment and let me know if you see pictures on here I would greatly appreciate it. If it's not just my laptop having a mind of it's own, I should probably report it to Blogger or something like this.

Thank you!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reminiscing: Episode One

Well, here it is! And no, I didn't forget as I seem to with everything else I promise I'll get to later. Pat yourself on the back, Marilyn. Way to go.

And this is an awesome photo, too. And yeah, most likely I'll say that for every one I post up here, but that's becuase I love them all.

Ok, so see that stain glass window directly to the left of the clock in the tower? I want that to be my bedroom window. Wake up to the chiming of a clock in a Romanian tower built hundreds of years ago in the quant city of Brasov? Oh yeah.

Ok, so the last few days of my trip were devoted to touring some Romanian territory that so many people seem to overlook. And I think that's what made it all the more daydream-ish. We had driven for about 48 hours through mountains and forests, to arrive upon this darling little town. One thing that I think holds true for every bit of Romania is that the more of it you experiance, the farther back in time it feels as though you're in. I really, really love that.

We had hiked up about 200 steps (which really isn't much for a country with no elevators) right up to this gorgeous clock tower that is neighbored by all these little shops and homes, all huddled around an uneven cobble stone lane. Priceless, right?

Yeah, I happen to think so.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Hello to my wonderful readers!

Well, I just thought I'd update you on the VERY successful fundraising accomplished at the Pampered Chef party! Twenty percent of the each order cost was donated to help support me in my efforts to venture out to Romania this summer. The Grand total? $407.01!!!! (Which means you guys spend way too much on cookware) (haha, just kidding :)

So, altogether I have raised $795.01!!! Horaay! That puts the "awesome" in "awesome-ness". Totally.

I hope to purchase the plane tickets some time this week. Seriously, I'm getting more stoked about this as each day goes by and brings me closer to June twenty-fourth. But that's a whole other blog entry entirely. :)

Well, I was going to post one of my favorite photos captured two summers ago, but sadly dear old Blogger is not cooperating. However, to add a little flava to "Romanian Escapade" I will be adding a new weekly feature displaying a pic from my last hike up yonder and some reminiscing... so enjoy them! ...once they get here.