Matthew 22:1-14 is a parable, and it has nothing to do with ceremonial symbolic underwear.

We are told in the New Testament to put off the old man (Colossians 3:9 and Ephesians 4:22) and put on Jesus Christ (Romans 13:13 and Galatians 3:27).

The man without the wedding garment is cast out because he hasn’t been called by God and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The problem is not that he is wearing the wrong underwear, it’s that he wasn’t invited to the wedding feast.

Look at Ezekiel 16–the whole chapter is absolutely beautiful–God finds us wretched, filthy, and playing harlot, and He dresses us in glorious new clothing and makes us his bride.

Rituals and ceremonial objects won’t save you. Only the grace of God and the blood of the Lamb will.

(This post is adapted from a comment on Wheat & Tares, and that comment was mostly a paraphrase of John Calvin’s commentaries).

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” Philippians 3:17-19



I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, which meant that I had very few Mormon friends and many if not most of the people I went to school with were some kind of evangelical Christian. I often secretly envied them.

Even so the words and phrases they used to talk about their faith often really bugged me. It was so alien, and so off-putting.

Turns out those words and phrases were almost always actually from the Bible.

tree removal

This is from Baltimore County Public Schools’s “forest conservation plan.” The trees in red are going, the trees in green are staying. The law requires trees that are cut down to be replaced, but don’t hold your breath (or do, actually), because I’m told that to make up for cutting down huge, beautiful historic 270-year old trees that give our neighborhood shade, beauty and character and replacing them with a parking lot, BCPS is going to purchase forest land from a “land bank” somewhere else.

This is going to radically alter the look and feel of the neighborhood. It’s going to be hotter. We’re going to have stormwater retention problems. It’s going to be uglier. There will be fewer places to play.

And why do this? To make room for buses the school isn’t served by and parking lots the school doesn’t need.

The aggressively re-graded front of the school (which is also a problem) is intended to accomodate 15 buses. Dumbarton Middle School is currently served by 6 or 7 buses, and while the student body is growing, it is not doubling. And to accomodate 15 buses in the front, they have to move the parking spaces in front to the back.

Except there is already a modest parking lot in the back that is largely unused during the school day. So even if BCPS did abolish parking in front of the school to accomodate mystery buses, they’d need maybe 40 more parking spaces to take up the slack, not the 90+ that are proposed.

I am flabbergasted that in 2014 in Maryland of all places anyone is okay with doing this. What about sustainability? What about preservation? What about partnership with communities? What about greenspace? Or how about even minimal communication from Dr. David Dance’s office?

Nope. They’re going to pave it all. Because they can, and they’re apparently not accountable to anyone.

Rodgers Forge residents rally for trees – Historic trees could be cut down as part of Dumbarton school expansion

Angry Rodgers Forge residents are rallying around nine 100- to 250-year-old trees that could be cut down during expansion of Dumbarton Middle School. Neighbors gathered with signs in support of the trees June 27 despite assurances the day before that the trees will be spared.

One tree on the 20-acre property, a Cedars of Lebanon at the rear entrance to the school, is said to have been planted by Johns Hopkins himself and grown from a seed from Bethlehem.

The design for the $27.5 million addition and renovation planned for the 58-year-old school has somehow morphed into a “pave-fest” of the park-like setting that surrounds it, said Stu Sirota, president of the Rodgers Forge Community Association.

The design calls for “the needless destruction of the precious limited open space that is incredibly important to the community,” said Sirota, a principal in a consulting practice focused on sustainable community design.

We have the support of our state senator and delegate and our county delegate, but Dr. Dance and the school board are completely unaccountable and apparently uninterested in working with local communities.

A Dumbarton Middle School alum who is currently in a doctoral program at George Washington University asks:

Has anyone argued that the removal of many of those trees is going to cause massive erosion? Or that the chestnut tree in the courtyard single handedly provided habitat for 7 species of song bird, the occasional raptor nest, and over 30 species of ant/bee/wasp?

Not to mention the water runoff and retention issues caused by replacing huge trees with pavement. How are we still doing this in 2014? It’s absurd.


Read this!

Originally posted on Red Dirt Girl:


Have you driven through Rodgers Forge lately?  My family moved here a year ago because we saw that it is a unique neighborhood.  The rowhomes were built in the 40s, but the trees have been here for longer.  On any given day during the school year, the roads are littered with children and their parents. The green space is filled with shrieks of laughter, kids playing tag, and people walking their dogs.

We know our neighbors’ names.

In a country full of people staying indoors, hidden behind their screens, in the world where I grew up where I had never met my next door neighbors, this is where I want to raise my family.  I have four kids, aged 8, 6, 2, and five months.  I want to send my kids outside to play and know that they are being watched by me, but also by the people who…

View original 359 more words

The Baltimore County Public Schools’ vision statement, Blueprint 2.0: Our Way Forward, lists “Building Community Through Communication” as one of the top priorities.


Right now, there’s a plan moving forward to bulldoze precious community greenspace in the heart of Rodgers Forge, including the destruction of trees that may be as old as 270 years, in order to move and expand parking lots and create a new bus staging area for Dumbarton Middle School. And here’s the thing: this is all completely unnecessary. There’s just no need for any of it. There’s no parking problem, there’s no traffic problem, there’s no existing safety problem. This is paving for the sake of paving.

This whole plan is a Thneed.

And this isn’t just my opinion; a panel of architects, urban planners, landscape architects, and transportation planners from the community came together to independently evaluate the planned “renovations” and issued a list of serious concerns with the plan and suggestions for a plan that would actually address Dumbarton Middle School’s problems while preserving the character of our community and saving the greenspace that we love and use. And Baltimore County Public Schools ignored it completely.

The Rodgers Forge Community Association has scheduled to meet with Superintendent Dallas Dance twice now to discuss the concerns, and he has been a no-show both times. This is apparently what “clear, timely, honest, transparent, and widely available communication” and “building a culture of trust” looks like.

Antagonizing our community does not improve our schools.

Everything or Nothing

If Christ provides only a part of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, then we are still hopeless under the load of sin. For no matter how small the gap which must be bridged before salvation can be attained, the awakened conscience sees clearly that our wretched attempt at goodness is insufficient even to bridge that gap. The guilty soul enters again into the hopeless reckoning with God, to determine whether we have really done our part. And thus we groan again under the old bondage of the law. Such an attempt to piece out the work of Christ by our own merit, Paul saw clearly, is the very essence of unbelief; Christ will do everything or nothing, and the only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on His mercy and trust Him for all.

-J. Gresham Machen, on Galatians

Groups seek to save historic trees from demolition | Maryland News – WBAL Home

When Dumbarton Middle School was built in the 1950’s, careful care was taken to build around these trees. These trees were a part of the original Dumbarton Estate, and may be as old as 240 years. They are quite frankly irreplaceable. These magnificent old trees have an inherent value that cannot be expressed in utilitarian terms, except to say that removing them in the name of supposed traffic efficiency is the kind of horrid, small-minded bureaucratic action that makes our lives, communities and our world a worse place.

There’s no question that Dumbarton Middle School badly needs renovation, but the school board’s aggressive plan to expand the school’s footprint, pave over beautiful and well-used greenspace and destroy historic trees is just absolutely unnecessary overreach. Not only will it be an eyesore and a serious injury to the character of our neighborhood, but it will come at a large and unnecessary cost to taxpayers, without actually improving our schools.

picture copyright 2014 by my beautiful and sexy wife; used without permission

picture copyright 2014 by my beautiful and sexy wife; used without permission

This tree is in danger.


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