Ignatius of Antioch (35-98AD) reminds Christ-followers of a simple truth that is mostly hard to follow. He Says, “It is better for a man to be silent and be [a Christian], than to talk and not to be one. “The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” Men “believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth,” the one “unto righteousness,” the other “unto salvation.” It is good to teach, if he who speaks also acts. For he who shall both “do and teach, the same shall be great in the kingdom.” Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, first did and then taught, as Luke testifies, “whose praise is in the Gospel through all the Churches.” There is nothing which is hid from the Lord, but our very secrets are near to Him. Let us therefore do all things as those who have Him dwelling in us, that we may be His temples, and He may be in us as God. Let Christ speak in us, even as He did in Paul. Let the Holy Spirit teach us to speak the things of Christ in like manner as He did.”
Ignatius finished well in his journey on earth and heeded his own admonition. On his way to Rome after his arrest, he expressed that, “From Syria even unto Rome I fight with beasts, both by land and sea, both by night and day, being bound to ten leopards, I mean a band of soldiers, who, even when they receive benefits, show themselves all the worse. But I am the more instructed by their injuries [to act as a disciple of Christ]; “yet am I not thereby justified.” May I enjoy the wild beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray they may be found eager to rush upon me, which also I will entice to devour me speedily, and not deal with me as with some, whom, out of fear, they have not touched. But if they be unwilling to assail me, I will compel them to do so. Pardon me [in this]: I know what is for my benefit. Now I begin to be a disciple.”
The last sentence intrigues me: “Now I begin to be a disciple.” When all the talk is done and action is required, what will we do?
 Ignatius of Antioch, “The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians”, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers With Justin Martyr and Irenaeus ( ed. Alexander Roberts et al.;Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 56.
 Ignatius of Antioch, “The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans”, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers With Justin Martyr and Irenaeus ( ed. Alexander Roberts et al.;Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 75-76.
“Glory be to God in the highest, and upon earth peace, good-will among men.” We praise Thee, we sing hymns to Thee, we bless Thee, we glorify Thee, we worship Thee by Thy great High Priest; Thee who art the true God, who art the One Unbegotten, the only inaccessible Being. For Thy great glory, O Lord and heavenly King, O God the Father Almighty, O Lord God,10 the Father of Christ the immaculate Lamb, who taketh away the sin of the world, receive our prayer, Thou that sittest upon the cherubim. For Thou only art holy, Thou only art the Lord Jesus, the Christ of the God of all created nature, and our King, by whom glory, honour, and worship be to Thee.
 “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles”, trans. James Donaldson, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume VII: Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies ( ed. Alexander Roberts et al.;Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 478.
In the face of current trends that emphasize getting a diploma over getting an education, this article sums up well the importance of a liberal arts education over other approaches. The author states, “This individual is likely to be a productive contributor to the organizations he or she joins later in life; he or she is likely to be an engaged citizen and a moral person; and he or she is more likely to embody the qualities of respect and civility that are crucial for collaboration and public life.”
One of the most fundamental and distinctive aspects of the American approach to undergraduate education is the priority given to making sure that students receive a broad “liberal education.” What this phrase means has nothing to do with “liberal politics”; instead, it is a theory of education that holds that the undergraduate student needs to be exposed to a wide range of ideas and perspectives from all the liberal arts: the humanities, history, mathematics, the natural sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences. The student is required to take a broad range of courses that provide exposure in all of these areas. He or she also has a major subject – an area of greater specialization; but the course work in the major discipline is usually only about twenty-five percent of all courses. So the American system usually emphasizes breadth as an important academic value, and specialization in a discipline…
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In reflecting on the life of Neil Armstrong last week, I read several short stories (quotes really) about the Apollo astronauts’ view of their missions. Many of them, including Neil Armstrong saw little probability of the success they enjoyed. However they embraced the opportunity to be a part of something much larger than their own personal success, that is the movement of the space program further along. Even though I live in Florida and enjoy following the space initiatives of NASA, the mission of the gospel comes to mind for me. How often do we forget as Christ-followers, that in claiming Christ’s name, we are now part something larger than our own personal life and comfort? What are we willing to sacrifice to move the mission along? Billy Graham in one of his final interviews, reminds the church that this inner conflict is nothing new. He insists that,
“…the most important issue we face today is the same the church has faced in every century: Will we reach our world for Christ? In other words, will we give priority to Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel? Or will we turn increasingly inward, caught up in our own internal affairs or controversies, or simply becoming more and more comfortable with the status quo? Will we become inner-directed or outer-directed? The central issues of our time aren’t economic or political or social, important as these are. The central issues of our time are moral and spiritual in nature, and our calling is to declare Christ’s forgiveness and hope and transforming power to a world that does not know him or follow him. May we never forget this.” Christianity Today, 1/21/2011
The question remains the same, what will this generation sacrifice for the mission of God? Will we develop a comfort mindset or a mission mindset? Will we seek obedience to Jesus’ commands or seek refuge from oppression in the walls of a church? How will we teach our children to engage a culture increasingly hostile to objective truth? Will we over-protect them or launch them into the fray emboldened by the gospel and empowered by the Spirit? We can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure, or even temporary setbacks. The mission is won through Christ’s work for us, we now just need to run the race. On my morning run, these are some of the many questions on which I reflect (between distractions of snakes, bicycles, and cars).
Good Summary of outside observations, when one helps those most in need: “Of course, the harsh contrast between our culture and the “scandalous” grace POTSC promotes often “results in uncomfortable confrontations with ways of thinking, assumptions about people groups, and even deeply-held personal beliefs. This may put people on edge, since radical grace can be painful in the face of a society that often encourages victimhood, revenge, and apathy,”