Tuesday, November 29, 2005

 

God's kindness . . . a brief rant

Ps 25:4-10

4 Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow. 5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. 6 Remember, O LORD, your unfailing love and compassion, which you have shown from long ages past. 7 Forgive the rebellious sins of my youth; look instead through the eyes of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O LORD. 8 The LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. 9 He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way. 10 The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees. NLT


Where are words?

Where shall I find a vocabulary worthy of the kindness of God?

Where can I find the language necessary to thank God for his faithful love, for his mercy, for his lovingkindness?

In every generation he has shown himself not only merciful, but faithful to the children of Adam and Eve. Sons and daughters have often received of his grace great rewards and mercies, yet so often we have ignored them, even in some cases despised them.

God in his patience has waited, he has held out empty arms to us, longing for his arms to be filled with grateful, even playful children.

He longs for us, and we despise him

He loves us, and we hate him.

He waits, we run.

The story of humanity from Genesis to Revelation is that of a patient Father searching for his wayward children. “Adam, where are you?” God continues to cry even today.

And we continue to hide—in our arrogance, our wrongful actions, and in our hurtful ways. We would rather be “right” than reconciled. We would rather be “esteemed” than accepted.

We are jerks, total idiots.

Why does God love us?

Why does he continue to show us patience and kindness?

I don’t pretend to know, but I am learning to be grateful that he does.

“Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so.”

What a great idea! I’m glad God thought of it. I hope in some way I can live worthy of it.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 14, 2005

 

What Middle Earth race are you?

This will be interesting for all you Tolkein fans out there. There is a web site that offers a test to show you to which Middle Earth race you may belong. You can find the site at What Middle Earth Race Are You?

Here are my results:



Thanks for reading!

 

Nothing in particular

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be away from my computer for the majority of this week, so I will not (in all likelihood) be posting much to my blog. That being said, here are some bits and pieces of rambling.

I've been seeing some cool advertisements for the C. S. Lewis movie coming out soon. In preparation for it, I have been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on CD. I just finished The Horse and His Boy, and there is an interesting interchange between Aslan and the boy Shasta in which the boy asks Aslan for information regarding his friend. Aslan responds by saying that he will not tell the boy anything about his friend. His reason is this--"I only tell each person their own story." Some of you are no doubt aware that I have an interest in the idea that God is telling our story. In one of my first posts to this blog, I mentioned the writings of John Eldredge (especially his book Epic) as influential on my thoughts regarding our lives as God's story (for more on the idea, see my post here Our Stories Matter). At any rate, the other day I was listening to some old T-Bone Burnett music. On his "Talking Animals" album, he has a song entitled "The Strange Case of Frank Cash and the Morning Paper." Here are the lyrics:

it was late september two years ago
frank cash was down on his luck
he'd made a killing at churchill downs
and that left him somewhat thunderstruck

so he rented a place down on lonely street
he was looking for somewhere to hide
the paper showed up at the door every day
and he'd go through the classifieds

then one morning he turned to the sports page
and he noticed that something was strange
the race results were from the day before
but the football scores were from next week's games
frank felt a scared and a little deranged
but a switch board lit up in his brain

that sunday he watched in amazement
as the scores flashed by on his tv set
monday morning he ran for the paper
and made it to the phone and began placing bets
he put ten thousand that night on the jets
ten grand he didn't have on the jets

it happened like that the whole season
he couldn't even count all the money he'd made
he started buying italian women and shoes
which he kept on a sprawling estate on the lake
and by that i don't mean by the lake
i mean ON the lake

he waited all summer for the football to start
the maiden brought him the paper every day
but all he could find was yesterday's scores
the damned paper had ceased to prognosticate
then a look of horror crossed his face
it finally dawned on him but too late

his rolls hit the pavement at a hundred and twenty
heading for lonely street
he rang the bell and a john walker answered
frank pressed his luck against the door screen

frank asked if he still got the paper
john walker said "what do you care?"
frank answered "i need to see the sports section
just for a minute" and john walker stared

frank tried to push through the doorway
john pulled a real forty-five
the dogs were all barking as the rolls pulled away
john walker was no longer alive

the judge looks down through his bifocals
the peers of the jury squirm in their seats
the courtroom is silent except for his footsteps
frank cash is about to speak

and frank says:

your honour and ladies and gentlemen of the jury
all this has been happening to me because of this guy
named t bone burnett. he's been making all this up
and i just want to say i don't believe in him
in fact i don't even think he exists and not only that
BUT THIS SONG IS OVER

frank got a suspended sentence
the jury ruled it was self defense
they ignored his statement
on the grounds it didn't make any sense

frank cash had a pretty good year
considering the dizzy chain of events
that paper was never delivered again
but i gave him back all the money he'd spent

and he married a woman with a lot of soul
and his first son will become president
if you see him tall him i said "hello"
and that i'm happy to be able to call him my friend


Burnett examines some interesting themes here, but the one that got my attention is the idea that God is telling our story (or writing our song), and not only can we be aware of it, but we can also ignore it or choose not to believe it.

Did you get that point?

We are aware that there are forces acting on our behalf (and sometimes against us), but we simply choose to ignore that fact. We simply do not believe it.

Is God busy writing our stories? If so, what does that tell us about our dreams, our desires, our choices?

Are we locked in a song like Frank Cash? Are we, like Shasta in The Horse and His Boy , merely driven by circumstances beyond our control?

If so, how is it that we can choose to deny those forces? How is it that we can choose not to beleive in them?

I will be dealing with some of these issues in my philosophy class soon. As I think about them, it is fascinating to think that God is writing a story about me, but that in some small ways I may also have the privilege of composing some part of that story with him. What an opportunity to be co-workers with God!

What kind of story am I writing?

What about you?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Professing to be wise . . .

Hymn: Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, by John G. Whittier

“Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our feverish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper rev’rence praise.

“In simple trust, like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious call of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee . . . .”

Romans 1:22 struck my attention today. Paul is writing to a congregation who doesn’t know him, and he appears to be explaining his preaching of the gospel. At any rate, in a section dealing with the sinfulness of humanity and our seemingly incessant idolatry, Paul makes the following statement—“Claiming to be wise, they became morons.” Actually, modern English translations usually use the word “fools,” but the Greek verb here has at its root the source of our word “morons.” The Greek version can be translated variously as “fools, foolish, stupid, silly, insipid, or tasteless.” These words call to mind some aspects of modern Western culture, don’t they?

Seriously, I think it is highly ironic that Paul is comparing self-proclaimed wisdom to stupidity. “Professing to be sages, they became morons.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We’ve all been there, proclaiming our incredible abilities far beyond those of mortal men and women. We are the best at what we do, why shouldn’t everyone consult us? We know what we’re talking about, right?

Then, in the back of our minds somewhere, we hear the sanity of God’s grace whispering, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

If we are honest and sane, we will admit that we did nothing to earn what we have. We are not the greatest nor the brightest, we are humans who sometimes think too highly of ourselves. We are morons. We are (or, at least, can be) fools.

Thank God for the wisdom of grace. Thank God for sanity poured out in a bludgeoned and bloody sacrifice on a cross on Calvary. Thank God for his inexpressible gift of grace through his son, Jesus Christ.

I don’t want to be a moron.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 07, 2005

 

Some news items from National Review

Three members of Bucknell College’s Conservative Club were dressed down for their use of “offensive” language. Their offense? In an e-mail promoting a speaker, they wrote, “Where were you during the months following September 11? Major John Krenson was hunting terrorists” in Afghanistan. The offending part isn’t immediately clear, but it turns out that in the cosseted world of Bucknell the phrase “hunting terrorists” is verboten. University president Brian C. Mitchell called it “unfortunate language” and said that he wished to “prevent this from happening again.” Got it: Next time, make it, “Krenson was trying to start a useful dialogue on sensitive issues with freedom fighters subjected to U.S. imperialism.”

An interesting example of cultural cross-fertilization showed up on our TV screens the other day when Martha Stewart, our national icon of middle-class domesticity, played hostess on her talk show to rapper and pop-music entrepreneur — he is the founder of Bad Boy Entertainment — Sean Combs, a.k.a. “Diddy.” Mr. Combs taught hip-hop slang to Ms. Stewart, and watched with approval while she rapped: “It’s Miss Martha from Jersey City / I’ll bake you a cake and make your crib look pretty . . .” Ms. Stewart’s venture into street culture seemed to us to fall into that category of performances famously remarked on by Doctor Johnson: It was not done well, but one was surprised to find it done at all. We doubt Ms. Stewart will have much of a career as a rap singer. The other side of the exchange was more promising. Mr. Combs learned how to make Chinese dumplings, how to personalize wrapping paper, and the proper way of watering house plants, accomplishments that will no doubt enrich his future life, broaden his horizons, and elevate his standing among his peers.

On October 3, 1995, O. J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. On September 30, 2005, Simpson was back in Los Angeles, autographing sports memorabilia for a horror-movie convention. “I don’t keep these dates in my head,” Simpson remarked of the near-coincidence, no doubt because his pursuit of the real killers has been all-consuming.

From National Review, OCTOBER 24, 2005, VOL. LVII, NO. 19

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 04, 2005

 

The worth of a blog

My blog ain't worth much evidently. There's a blow to the head! Ah well, I'll write anyway.


My blog is worth $0.00.
How much is your blog worth?


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

 

Some thoughts and Sarah Kelly

This week has been a bit of a blur. I've been a bit overwhelmed in my mind and heart by circumstances and events, some of which are quite beyond my control. I haven't quite been sure how to put things into perspective lately. My heart hurts for friends in Waco, my mind swirls with a hundred possible scenarios to make that hurt go away, and yet I know that sometimes life just has pain. The hope that comes to me first looks a bit like the sun at dawn. It peeks over the fog and the dark clouds of the night. It seems almost timid, not sure whether or not to make its presence known. Then, the bright light pierces some part of the darkness. That little bit of light brightens the space, makes it seem lighter, more accessible.

Hope has been like that to me the past few days. By God's grace I see hope peeking into a dark time of life. The sun has not fully risen to its zenith, but there is a shaft of light shining into a dark place, making it livable and alive. In the midst of this darkness, I have taken solace in some music. One song that has encouraged me is "Take Me Away" by Sarah Kelly. It can be found on her album by the same name. Here are the lyrics:

no more weary teary eyes
just sunny skies
never have I felt so alone
my how I've grown
maybe that's the way it's supposed to be
as I'm walking down this street
maybe if it's just you and me
we'll never even miss a beat
maybe

Take me away
Take me away
All that I love is you, is you

captured by your love
I'm such a fool for you
the day you laid your hand upon my heart
tore my world apart
there's been so many times that I have prayed
to hear you speak my name
and though I've never seen you face to face
I search for you everyday

Take me away
Take me away
All that I love is you, is you

come what will and come what may
I know your love will remain
through the joy and through all the pain
I surrender and it makes me want to fly

Take me away
Take me away
All that I love is you, is you

I have this sense that God is there. He cares. I want to run away to him, to be in his lap for a few minutes. I want the ugliness of this fallen world to disappear, just for a minute. I want to experience the joy of Narnia without any evil. I know that a day will come, a day unlike any other, a day when we can tread the streets with no names and find what we are looking for. That hope is what drives me today. I'm not depressed, I'm sad that the ugliness of this world necessitates the death of so many who are too young to die. Kyle is an isolated event and a friend, but he isn't alone in the tragedy of human existence. God is beyond that tragedy. He is there. I turn to him, he is my hope. Without him, it just isn't worth the work, it isn't worth the effort, I'd just stay in bed.

Thanks to God for hope, thanks to God for his inexpressible gift. The sun will rise, life will continue, good will happen. Joy comes in the morning. I look forward to joy.

Thanks for reading!

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