L'Abri Newsletter, May 2021
May 24, 2021
Dear praying family,
How are you getting on these days? It's so easy to get swayed by all sorts of news around the world. As we read Proverbs these days, I realize how foolish we can be, not listening to the invitation of Wisdom, the Word of God.
Recently, I was asked a question at an online book club. "The Word of God doesn't seem to give us specific guidelines in our ordinary lives. Do we still need to study the Bible and Christian worldview?"
Absolutely! While the Bible is not exhaustive truth, it is propositional truth that provides us with valid principles and wisdom in our practical domains, too. "Counsel and sound judgment are mine: I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just." (Proverbs 8:14-15a, NIV).
The skepticism behind this question and my own disobedience toward the Word made me reflect on why we don't apply the Word of God to our family life, our work, and my time alone. I would like to share here three reasons for our failure.
First, dualism has so profoundly distorted our view of the Bible that many Christians assume the Bible is true only when it touches religious subjects. But as Schaeffer says, "the Bible is true also where it speaks of history and the cosmos." Our God is the Lord of the whole universe, not a small god unable to deal with our practical life. He is also the God of love who loves to be with us even in our small and secret matters.
Second, we tend to hold the Bible and secular ideas at the same time. The precarious juggling confuses our identity as Christians. When our mind follows this world, our whole being distances itself further away from the Lord. That is why we must continue to pray for, reflect on, discuss, and practice "God's counsel, sound judgment, understanding, and power" in our everyday lives.
Last, it's so easy to obey our selfish desires over God's Word. It seems to be the most substantial factor. We all know this temptation very well. Several years ago, when Pukkyong and Cynthia Kim were working with us, we had a guest who strongly argued against the practicality of the Christian faith. Some agreed with him, while others gently suggested, "Have you tried this or that?" But he wouldn't listen. Cynthia, who had been quietly watching the whole discussion, said simply, "Why don't you just cling to the Word?" There was silence afterward in the room.
American and European L'Abris are reopening and welcoming guests, remaining cautious. While we are still closed under the restriction on social gatherings of five or more people, we are buzzing around, looking forward to the day that we can finally reopen. Regarding maintenance, we are happy to tell you that we had our old submersible pump replaced. Since we use underground water, having a good pump is a must. We were surprised and thankful when the mechanic told us that pumps don't usually last this long (we had used one for seventeen years) and that we got it replaced just in time before it stopped working. We've also passed a fire inspection recently and are scheduled to do some electrical maintenance for safety.
Please pray for our lectures and meetings online. We plan to organize a virtual Christian Worldview Forum this summer, where anyone can present his or her paper based on the Christian worldview. Whereas we only bound the submitted papers with attached comments last year, we would like to provide participants with an opportunity to give real-time presentations, engage in discussions, and exchange feedback this year. We will then compile the revised papers into a book.
Please remember in your prayers young people who keep working and studying hard amid the pandemic. At L'Abri, a long-term guest is on her journey to read and digest Charlotte Mason's Philosophy of Education and Calvin's The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Another person has written two essays on living in a post-truth age after reading books about a controversial political scandal in this country, The Cho Kuk White Book and The Cho Kuk Dark Book (The Unprecedented Nation: How Democracy Comes to an End). There is also an online book club called See Through, where about thirty people gather to study and discuss InKyung's Turning My Worldview Upside Down. Other than that, several people are working on translating and proofreading He Still Speaks, a collection of articles on Schaffer published by the English L'Abri. Please contact us if you wish to read the originals.
Now, I would like to ask you to keep praying for our old gas station -- one of our continued but urgent prayer requests. As you may remember, its owner has generously allowed us to use it for free for fifteen years. We asked him if we could purchase the old gas station only because the price he asked for exceeded what we could afford. However, we received the reply that he does not wish to sell the old gas station and the mountain in the back of the house separately and that he would like to put them on the real estate market.
Last but not least, please pray that God will send more workers. It is only with the special guidance of the Holy Spirit that even a single guest would visit or a single worker would join. As InKyung and I get close to 70, the prayer for workers is more desperate. Please pray that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The pandemic has forced the whole world to go through a long, dark tunnel of pain. But let us not lose this precious opportunity to learn and grow through. A psalmist confesses that "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." (Psalm 119:71, NIV) I pray that we will all be able to tell the same story. I'd like to express my deep gratitude to every one of you for working alongside us in faith and prayer always.