Really, the title of this post should be "How God Taught Me a Lesson Through Little Francis." It’s funny—I wrote the story of Little Francis Falls Asleep years ago, but through the process of updating the text and drawing new illustrations for it, I really felt the message of the book affect me anew. What message is that, you may ask? Well, you might call it a message of self-forgetfulness.
As the philosopher-poet Billy Joel once sang, “We didn’t start the fire; it was always burning since the world’s been turning.” The world being filled with trouble and sorrow is nothing new. But certainly, the last two years have felt particularly troubled in the West — from an increasingly vitriolic cultural and political landscape to terrorism and the Syrian genocide to fears of war and global warming.
Artists in the church. For many, that’s an emotionally loaded topic. I’ve talked to a lot of creatives who work at churches and feel frustrated, and I think there are a variety of reasons for that. Sometimes it’s because of practical issues (like pay), and at other times it may be because some staff members (including pastors) unintentionally devalue what the artist has to offer.
For centuries, the Church has been known favorably as an agent of good throughout society. The Church’s reputation of kindness, love, and good will toward fellow man went forth powerfully and widely, all in the name of Jesus. However, today’s postmodern, western Church finds itself in a very different situation.
As we venture into another aspect of this historical man’s life, it is absolutely critical to understand Martin Luther’s utter hatred for anything that would hinder the truth of the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone and how he rightly recognized that any type of works righteousness was (and still is) Satan’s calling card.