Saturday, January 24, 2009

Producing Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.

                        Philippians 1.9 

Lost in the Love Talk

We talk a lot about love here and rightly so. Since God is love, talking about love is talking about God. Loving Him and our neighbors unconditionally as Jesus commands makes His living presence known to the world. This explains why love is the first fruit of the Spirit Paul lists in Galatians 5.22. Love outranks all other spiritual traits because it alone identifies us as Christ’s followers. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” He says in John 13.35. In 1 Corinthians 13.2, Paul writes, “Without love, I’m nothing.” And 1 John 4.7 admonishes, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

No believer could possibly question love’s priority position. Yet what often gets lost in the love talk—in the Word, here, and anywhere else it’s discussed—is how to develop the kind of love we’re all talking about. Paul sums up the love God gives us to give others like this: “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13.7) This is no ordinary love for the asking, and it’s imprudent to confuse it with human affection. They are not the same. They’re born of different origins, pursue different objectives, behave differently, and are measured differently. Human affection, romantic or friendly, seeks rewards: companionship, completion, validation, and so on. It draws like unto like, meaning it inherently discriminates according to each person’s preferences and needs. Christ’s love is the opposite. It’s its own reward, received by loving indiscriminately without expectation. It’s crucial we understand this before attempting to love as Jesus taught. If we force-fit His love into the narrows of human affection, we’ll quickly be frustrated, disappointed, and discouraged.

The Art of Love

Producing love that meets Christ’s standards involves a non-instinctive, totally counterintuitive process. It’s altogether divorced from feelings, coming and going. We don’t love out of a sense that people deserve or need our love, nor do we love to brighten our emotions or situations. Yes, some merit our love and others hunger for it. Yes, love makes us happy and turns bad to good. But, no, none of these factors is a motive for love. We love because we're born of God, we know God, and God is love. For followers of Christ, love is the truest expression of God, an art requiring skill and discipline. The harder we work at it the more adept we become at bearing love’s fruit. Thus Paul prays our “love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” Increasing all we know and understand about God’s love, he says, enables us “to discern what is best,” to “be pure and blameless,” and “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1.10-11)

Remaining in Love

“I am the vine; you are the branches,” Jesus teaches us in John 15.5. “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” He continues in verse 9: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Producing love happens by remaining in love—clinging tenaciously to the knowledge and understanding of Christ’s unqualified love for us. We never allow awareness of His great love to slip from our minds. We’re ever strengthening our connection to Him by prayer, meditation, and study. We can't love properly and effectively our own; without Him, we can do nothing. Remaining in His love causes our love for others to blossom and grow like ripe summer fruit—enticing to the eye, sweet to the taste, and healthy for all who receive it.

Love is a summer fruit.

(Tomorrow: Blooming Joy)

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's All Legal

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

                        Galatians 5.21-23

How We Live

Christ’s followers lead productive lives. We grow stronger every day. When times are sunny and bright, we flourish in the warmth of God’s blessings. When storms darken the skies and blistering torrents pound on us, we bend with the wind and soak up the rain. Winters of hardship and discontent leave us brittle without breaking us. Our fallen leaves are never lost; they replenish the ground and we re-absorb their nutrients into our lives. Year after year and season after season we gain new height. We broaden our reach. Our roots deepen to ground us more securely in God’s love and knowledge. As we draw more of His Spirit into our beings, we blossom anew to produce increasingly richer fruit. This is how we live.


In this respect, spiritual life splendidly mirrors creation’s perennial cycles and changes. Yet we defy nature because the fruit we yield is not all of a kind. Our limbs hang heavy with a wide variety of flavors and shapes that thrive in various ways, respond to different circumstances, satisfy different tastes, and ripen in different seasons. We produce summer fruits bursting with color and sweetness, winter fruits that nourish and sustain, and useful fruits encasing seeds of rare qualities. Useful fruits are less conspicuous and tasty. They’re meant to fall—sometimes stripped away by hostile weather—in order to propagate the virtues housed at their cores.

In Galatians 5, Paul identifies nine fruits of the Spirit every productive believer bears. His assortment is so widely embraced many of us can recite it blindfolded. Simply because the list is familiar (and because it’s a list), we tend to lump its items together as characteristics we display all the time. Yet reading it as a sort of what-are-good-Christians-made-of nursery rhyme severely reduces its force and relevance. A way to mine its riches is organizing the fruits in three groups—summer fruits (love, joy, and peace), winter fruits (patience, kindness, and goodness), and useful fruits (faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). Over the next nine days, we’ll adopt this approach as we dissect one fruit at a time. I pray we’ll conclude the series as bona fide connoisseurs of spiritual fruit.

Denying Nature

Before jumping in, we should note what prompts Paul to itemize the fruits of the Spirit. He starts by saying, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5.16) He proceeds to call out myriad sinful activities: sexual promiscuity, false worship, self-centered strife, and insatiable pleasures. It’s a long, ugly roster of natural desires that directly contradict the ways of the Spirit. “Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God,” Paul writes in verse 21, immediately turning from what we shouldn’t do to fruit we should produce.

There’s a reason for Paul’s abrupt segue. No New Testament writer is more committed than he to steering minds from negatively motivating “don’ts” to positively challenging “do’s.” After the Law’s pernicious power in his own life drove him to murder Christians before his conversion, Paul was determined to rip out any legalistic roots before they entangled and destroyed faith’s tender seed. In verse 18, he stresses, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law,” and resounds this note after listing the Spirit’s fruits: “Against such things there is no law.” Bearing fruit, not obeying rules, is our focus. We produce fruit that defies nature by denying nature and behaviors it yields. We ignore what we shouldn’t do to do what must be done. When our sole concern is what’s right, what’s wrong is irrelevant. From our perspective, it’s all legal. There is no law against fruit.

We bear various kinds of fruit in varying conditions and seasons for different purposes.

(Tomorrow: Producing Love)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Family Tree

Consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.

                        Romans 11.18


The Early Church’s first crisis revolved around identity. Was Christianity its own religion or an offshoot of Judaism, a post-Messianic sect of Jews who interpreted the Law through the prism of its adopted Savior? Our view of it as distinctive from Judaism makes it tough to imagine the passion firing this controversy. Once Peter and Paul took the reins of the Church and declared it unique unto itself, they definitively opened its doors to non-Jews. This set off a second round of debates and problems, which Paul addresses at length in his Roman letter.

It was a question of background. Christ came to fulfill God’s promise to the Jews. As the Church expanded to include non-Jews, the issue became including them in a way that also entitled them to the promise. (A few went so far as advocating circumcision for male Gentile believers to render them Jews in the flesh before accepting them as Christians in spirit.) While the apostles were adamant Jesus died for all, there remained a hint of prejudice in some congregations, as some Jews viewed Gentiles on the order of stepchildren. In European churches, where non-Jewish members comprised the majority, a sort of reverse snobbery took effect with some Gentiles boasting their inclusion resulted from Jews’ rejection of Jesus. Pulling everyone together made for messy work.


Assuring the Romans of their equality in Christ is the crux of Paul’s letter. It’s written with the thoughtful care of a judicial opinion, building arguments, citing precedents, and upholding Christianity’s distinguishing core principle: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1.17) In chapter 8, Paul confirms that everyone in Christ is made equal by adoption. “You received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children,” he writes in verses 15 and 16. But he also realizes merely saying that doesn’t fully explain the mechanics of how it works. He gets to that in chapter 11, with the grandest imaginable metaphor.

Paul likens Israel to an olive tree, rooted in God and nourished by the sap of His love and favor. Down through time, however, many Jews fell into unbelief. In the previous chapter, Paul describes how emphasis on observing the Law instead of trusting God’s promise blinded to them to its fulfillment in Jesus. “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge,” he writes. (Romans 10.2) When time came to believe, they resisted. Doubt caused them to be broken off, pruned like useless limbs from a tree after which God grafted non-Jewish believers in their place. The nurturing sap would then bring Gentiles—whom Paul compares to branches “cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature”—into conformity with the remaining “natural branches,” so the whole tree could bear the same fruit and grow at the same rate.


Although the Church eventually resolved its Jew-Gentile issues, it continues to suffer an identity crisis. It consistently relapses into the same mistake many Jews made: focusing on behavioral codes without believing God’s promise of acceptance. Millions of Christians today are more concerned about breaking rules than bearing fruit. Like legalistic Jews, they choose this approach out of self-interest, namely, to ensure their safety in the afterlife. In their zeal for God, they’ve lost vital knowledge of His purpose. They’re dead and don’t know it. They’ve been pruned from the family tree to make room for wild branches hungry for God’s nourishment and eager to produce fruit.

A lot of us are wild branches. We’ve grown up in isolation, fear, and shame. We’ve been shaped by harsh winds and weather. Yet none of this has hampered our desire to believe. One by one, God is grafting us into His family tree, feeding us with His love and mercy, and rejuvenating our spirits to bear fruit. As we take our places alongside other thriving branches, however, it’s important we not abuse God’s grace by boasting over the dead branches we replace. We’re there because God loves us, not because He needs us or we’re better than anyone else. As Paul put it, “You do not support the root, but the root supports you.”

We are grafted in God’s family tree to receive nourishment and bear fruit.

(Tomorrow: It’s All Legal)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you.

                        Leviticus 25.10

A Fresh Start

When I was little, one my favorite songs was “Rise and Shine”, a spiritual we sang in children’s church. I loved it for being full of magical-sounding phrases and brisk—a real toe-tapper, by far the happiest tune in our kiddy hymnals. Each verse repeated a phrase three times: “Rise, shine, give God the glory, glory!” in verse one; “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder, ladder” in verse two; and, “Every round goes higher and higher, higher” in the third. They all ended with: “In the Year of Jubilee.” If our teacher explained the Year of Jubilee, it didn’t stick. In our minds, “jubilee” conjured images of picnics, carnivals, and sunny celebrations, which was what made it so happy.

Once I understood Jubilee, I saw how closely our young imaginations captured its spirit—and why an unknown slave built a song replete with optimism on the premise. “Rise and Shine” is about life cycles, based on Leviticus 25. God instructs Israel, “When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD.”  They’re to farm the land for six years and let it rest during the seventh, eating only what it yields on its own. After repeating the cycle seven times, a marvelous thing happens. The fiftieth year is declared a Year of Jubilee. All outstanding debts are settled. Property liens are lifted. Transactions that scattered tribes are nullified and families return to their roots. The Year of Jubilee gives Israel a fresh start—freedom to begin again with knowledge gained from the past to create a more prosperous, secure future.

An Escape Clause

Leviticus lays out a restitution formula for those who lose land and laborers when everything returns to its original condition. But it adds an escape clause for people without means to redeem themselves and restart their lives. Their debts are forgiven outright, leaving those who prospered to absorb the loss. Mistakes and misfortunes of the past stay in the past so the entire nation can turn to the future. Forgiveness is final. Mercy is granted without hesitance or condition. Advantages acquired via unavoidable circumstances are dismantled. It’s this that inspired the spiritual—the promise of rising and shining in freedom, no longer held back by injustice and discrimination, at liberty to ascend heaven’s staircase step by step alongside believers of every race and kind. And while slavery was long ago abolished, the hope in “Rise and Shine” still rings true.

Prompt the Promise

Jubilee is promised to all who suffer inequities and loss. Sadly, millions are overwhelmed by insuperable poverty, oppression, ignorance, and discrimination. Like American slaves, it’s beyond them to overturn obstacles between them and jubilee. On the other hand, we in societies founded on equality, freedom, and progress have the power to prompt the promise. We start by declaring a Year of Jubilee in our own lives, planting its principle and spirit in our families and communities, and celebrating its virtues in all we do. One by one, it spreads, gaining potential and momentum to arrive in dismal quarters and distant shores where the possibility of jubilee sleeps in a blanket of hope.

It sounds like a grandiose undertaking. Yet if we approach it as people who’ve prospered, it becomes a much more achievable task. Instead of demanding restitution from those unable (or unwilling) to pay, we absorb the loss. We forgive debts and renew respect for others. We close the books on past differences. We clear the record of insults and expectations. We show mercy, discard prejudices, and give any we hold to account a fresh start. Many, possibly most, will disregard our forgiveness and enter the new cycle immediately racking up new debts. But the few who seize the chance to start again, debt-free and unencumbered by guilt, in turn will declare their Years of Jubilee. Change creeps more often than sweeps. A global jubilee will take decades to achieve. Yet the longer we wait to declare it, the later it will come for those unable to make it happen.

Let’s do this thing. Let’s rise, shine, and give God the glory in the Year of Jubilee!

The Year of Jubilee enables us to erase debts owed to us and offer others a fresh start.

(Tomorrow: The Family Tree)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Authority Figures

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

                        1 Timothy 2.1-2

Once in a Lifetime

Every generation is given a defining moment—a once-in-a-lifetime event that irrevocably changes the course of history and redefines a people’s understanding of what’s possible for generations following. My generation’s moment came on Sunday, July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11’s lunar module touched down on the moon’s surface and the gates of the universe opened to human discovery. My parents’ generation was defined on Monday, August 6, 1945, when the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima unleashed fears of destruction and reckless reprisal that haunt us to this day. With solemn gratitude and indescribable joy, I’m convinced the current generation will be defined today, Tuesday, January 20, 2009. Like all other previous, defining moments, it will take years to fully absorb what today means. Still, there can be no doubt that nothing will ever feel or look the same after Barack Obama—the biracial son of a “broken home”—assumes leadership of the free world. Yes, racial, family, and political strife will persist. Yet today deals them, and every other mutation of injustice, a thunderous blow that proves in no uncertain terms they can, and will, be overcome one day. We join the Psalmist, singing, “The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118.23-24)

At the Altar

The song goes on, and we sing along: “O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” (v26-27) This processional leads us exactly where Paul advises us to stay: at the altar, praying, interceding, and thanking God for our authority figures. As we’ve learned all too well these last eight years, their failure is our failure and their success will be our success. The media continue to reduce global events and politics into a sideshow and their skill—coupled with the outgoing Administration’s misanthropic schemes—has done a superb job of persuading us those in power are impervious to influence. Not so, Paul says. We wield enormous power when we stand united in prayer and thanksgiving at the altar.

First of All

Paul urges us to lift our leaders to God first of all. But He’s very clear in his reasoning for this. We don’t pray “for kings and those in authority” first because they’re more important than the rest of us. Indeed, making prayer for them a priority is done on behalf of everyone, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Prayer and thanksgiving for our leaders bless them with wisdom and compassion. If they’re receptive to the guidance of God’s Spirit, they in turn guide us in peaceful, godly ways. They govern according to what’s best for us, rather than exploiting their authority to satisfy personal ambitions and special interests. They nurture optimism and confidence for the common good instead of leveraging pessimism and fear to pursue hidden agendas. Proverbs 16.15 says, “When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.” Upholding our leaders in prayer brings renewed growth.

Paul expands his teaching in verses 3 and 4, asserting, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” Any community—global, national, local, ethnic, ideological, religious, sexual, etc.—embroiled in conflict soon falls out of touch with overriding, eternally imperative issues. Turmoil and cataclysm can turn a people to God, but Paul reminds us a peaceful, moral society remains open to God. Corrupt leadership compels us to question lies; righteous leaders inspire us to seek truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” Jesus says in John 8.32. Political and social cultures that value truth create climates of integrity promoting spiritual sensitivity and progress. Truth sets people free.

Lift Up Holy Hands

The finishing touch on Paul’s admonition to pray for authority figures comes in verse 8: “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” After the sun sets on this, the most extraordinary day of our lives, it will rise tomorrow on a future fraught with tremendous challenges. If not tomorrow, a day will dawn when we awaken to see Barack Obama is more than an icon. He’s a human, as vulnerable to error and, alas, failure as anyone else. The problems he’s inherited appear absurdly insurmountable, more than one man can possibly resolve to the satisfaction of all. And while I adamantly believe the world’s sweeping faith and hope in President Obama are neither unmerited nor misplaced, we can’t burden him with impatience and unrealistic expectations. He will falter. He will disappoint. He will confuse. He will enrage. But, despite these things, if we continually keep him in our prayers, he will succeed.

God’s Word implores true followers of Jesus everywhere—in the US and around the world—to lift up holy hands in prayer. We surrender compulsions to fuel controversy and vent anger in order to intercede and give thanks for our leaders. Today changes the past, undoing centuries of malignant efforts to undermine ideals and dreams of freedom and equality. But, in the words of our President, change that matters lives in the future. By now, I hope we’re convinced that arguments and outrage can change nothing. Prayer, however, can—and will—change everything.

As people of faith, we lift up holy hands in prayer for our leaders, without anger or disputing.

(Tomorrow: Jubilee)

Monday, January 19, 2009


I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.

                        Romans 1.16

Minority Mentality

Unless we cloister ourselves in community with fellow believers, the decision to follow Jesus likely places us in the minority among family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. I also venture it separates us from the majority of “census Christians”—people who identify with the Church, participate in its rituals and rites of passage, and embrace its principles without making their practice top priority. I’ll go further still, suggesting we who’ve learned to reconcile our faith and individuality, whether that’s sexual orientation or personal worldview, constitute a minority within the minority of practicing Christians.

One of the more common side effects of feeling outnumbered is reluctance to reveal what distinguishes us from the majority. This minority mentality is a basic survival strategy often framed as “fitting in.” In our case, however, a dangerously thin line divides discretion from shame. Often it’s so quickly and easily crossed that once we’re on the other side we recast hesitance to own our faith as consideration for those who neither share nor understand it. “I don’t want to offend anyone,” we say, camouflaging our shame in faux kindness. In the final analysis, however, nothing could be more offensive to non-believers—whether or not they realize it—than permitting embarrassment and social insecurity to stifle our witness. (To fully understand this, I strongly encourage spending five minutes with the video below. It’s by far the best argument for Christian candor I’ve ever heard.)

A City on a Hill

The Adversary has preyed on human vulnerability to peer pressure from Day One. Jesus clearly anticipated this strategy, which is why He stressed the importance of openly expressing our faith in all phases of life. “You are the light of the world,” He tells us in Matthew 5.14. “A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” In other words, when God illuminates our lives, nothing—not even ill advised shame—can shutter His presence. It’s obvious for all to see. People may not recognize it for what it is. But if we’re truly intent on expressing God’s love and acceptance, they can’t help but notice we’re different. Like a city on a hill, we can be seen from miles away and all directions. So shameful urges to hide God’s light are useless deceptions we’re wise to ignore.


“I’m not ashamed of the gospel, because it’s God’s power of salvation to everyone who believes,” Paul writes to the Romans. There’s a marvelous tension in this declaration that leaves no doubt how he regards the question of social conformity versus spiritual candor. Rather than view it from the perspective of what non-believers will think of him, his sole concern is what he thinks of non-believers. He has something of supreme value to offer them—the power of God’s grace. He’s so convinced God’s acceptance of them trumps their acceptance of him his enthusiasm for the gospel makes him brazenly shameless.

Paul builds up to this with an earlier thought: “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.” (Romans 1.14) That pretty much rules out any exceptions. People of all persuasions and levels of sophistication look the same to him, and he has no qualms about treating them the same. We’re no less obligated. No matter whom we’re with—friends or strangers, Christians or non-Christians, smart people or silly ones—it’s our responsibility to convey God’s saving power in word and deed. Hebrews 2.1-3 advises us to pay careful attention to the gospel we’ve heard “so that we do not drift away,” asking if we don’t take its message to heart, “how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” When minority mentality persuades us to shy away from shining God’s light, we ignore all we’ve learned and experienced through Christ. We owe it to God, others, and ourselves to be shameless.

Penn Jillette, an avowed atheist, brilliantly breaks down why true followers of Jesus must be shameless. (Hat-tip to Fran for previously bringing this to her readers at FranIAm.)

(Tomorrow: Authority Figures)

Sunday, January 18, 2009


May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.

                        1 Thessalonians 3.12

Each Other

In John 21.12, Jesus tells us people will know we’re His followers if we love each other. Our Christian claim, good works, worship, scriptural knowledge, church attendance, holiness, and everything else so many of us assume to bear witness of discipleship are secondary at best. To use an awkward analogy, they’re window dressing, no more than appealing, valuable things we display. Love is our brand. More specifically, love for one another is the thing Christ expects us to be known for. When people observe how fully and unconditionally we love each other, their desire to experience such love—in the giving and receiving—becomes irresistible.

Why aren’t people lined up around the block to come into the faith and knowledge of Christ? We don’t live up to our brand. Shiny gewgaws we showcase may spark attention. Yet many non-believers look past the displays to see a shop in disarray. Taking the metaphor to its extreme, when they see us tearing one another down, no wonder so many say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” There’s an easy answer to this, although it calls for a most difficult thing. We must love our brothers and sisters in Christ without prejudice. Their beliefs and behaviors may bear no resemblance to ours. They may directly oppose us, doubt our faith, and despise us for even thinking we can claim Calvary’s inheritance. We may feel likewise about them. But their opinions (and ours) are irrelevant. It’s not our task to dispute, correct, or condemn them. Our job is to love them.

Everyone Else

Wow. That’s asking a lot. (If you’re the slightest bit clairvoyant, you may be picking up certain thoughts about a certain minister and invocation at a certain upcoming ceremony.) Yet Christians must love each other for this reason. If we can’t love one another, the love Christ commands us to show for all holds no credibility. And His law to love our neighbors as ourselves contains no qualifiers. We love indiscriminately, straight from the heart without a detour through the mind to consider why this person or that “deserves” our love. We love friends and enemies, allies and foes, lovers and haters equally. That’s a lot of love, more than it’s humanly possible to possess or give. Nonetheless, it can be done.

Increase and Overflow

Paul’s prayer in 2 Thessalonians holds the key. “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow,” he writes. Needing more love than we can naturally produce leaves us no option other than asking God to provide an unnatural quantity of love, increasing it until it exceeds our human capacity and spills out of us before we know it. It’s no longer a matter of who merits our love, because it’s no longer “our” love. It’s God’s love pouring into us, through us, and running over. There’s nothing neat or tidy about His great love. It flows unrestrained and seeps into otherwise impossible-to-reach crevices. As 1 Peter 4.8 says, love covers a multitude of sins. Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as neighbors who don’t believe, hides their sins from sight so we see them without judgment.

What we display in our windows matters little if our shop is in disarray. 

(Tomorrow: Shameless!)