Thursday, March 29, 2007
There will be a conference here on the UIUC campus on Reclaiming the Christian Mind.
It sounds very timely, but I'll actually by in Missouri during that time!
We are so blessed as Christians in this country: there is still the opportunity to "dialogue" on these issues. Some of our brothers and sisters don't have that opportunity. Instead, they face death because of their committment to Christ. Just today I read an update that on March 21, 2007, three Indonesian school girls were attacked and killed. Their remains were dumped into neighboring village. A fourth girl survived the attack, but had significant injuries including nerve damage and a dislocated jaw.
God be with this little sister.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
and I cannot see around it.
Now the whisper "There's no grace"
slowly burrows in my hair --
It surrounds me with the fear
that It is right.
It's so easy to live here: in a permanent state of guilt. And yet, in that state it's so hard to face life.
Today I read a passage from Zechariah (it's chapter three, verses one through ten). I don't remember ever seeing this before! It reminds me of a story Mr. Bollenbacher handed out on Sunday, which showed a Christian in a court custody battle: Satan was accusing him, and recommending damnation...
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes."
Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you."
Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.
The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
" 'Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day." 'In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,' declares the LORD Almighty."
What a picture! Satan lives to accuse. In fact, his name means "accuser"! But God, our God, doesn't delight in accusation. He loves mercy, not condemnatation. He does not point the finger. Instead, when we confess it all to Him, He lifts us up.
Confronting Guilt in Motherhood
How to Handle Guilt
2 Corinthians 3
Monday, March 12, 2007
I didn't expect to feel the wind so strongly. I had just climbed the steps up to the Chapel, and the wind was blowing through my hair, and whipping through the building. You see, the walls had come down.
A bunch of people were working on the Oak Hill Chapel. What had started with a reevaluation of the roof had led to wide renovations, including the reconstruction of the walls. Now there was a team of people tearing down walks, knocking down chimneys, and planning how best to redesign the Chapel.
I got to watch for a bit on Saturday, and I couldn't believe how quickly the group (Donald, Patti, Duck, Hazel, Chad, Nathaniel, David, Ann, Lori, Tida, and Rebekah) had worked! Where there had been brown metal siding there was nothing. Where there had been insulation, dry wall, paint, and windows, there was just plain ol' air.
But that was how it had started. Dr. Carl Painter had an idea for the chapel, and began building it on a beautiful hilly spot overlooking a valley of trees. That was before the electric company decided to run a line within feet of the Chapel. Dr. Painter (I called him "Grandpa" more often) took it in stride, and negotiated a contract where he helped to clear the trees for the line. With his sawmill, some grandkids, and the LORD, he felled trees, and then planed many of them into boards.
He built a solar kiln in his sideyard and began curing his own lumber. And he continued his building. I have memories of Grandma cooking a fantastic supper. The family would gather around, and then the question would come: "Where's Grandpa?" Somehow, he usually managed to be the last to stop working, and the last to the supper table!
Grandpa didn't sit in just rock a rocking chair: he rocked the world he lived in. He often wore white slip-on shoes, jeans, a red-flannel shirt, and a baseball cap. He climbed all over the ladders at the Chapel, and was the overseer of all that went on. Of all the times that I saw him at work, he never appeared to be anxious or worried about how the Chapel would turn out. He just kept on working, whether those of us in family could be there to help out, or not.
We all had different amounts of construction experience: Some knew roofing and wiring backwards and forwards, and someone showed a lot of us cousins how to nail a nail right. (I think one of the pieces of advice was -- don't hit it like a girl!) Some could whirl a Bobcat around like it was on ballbearings, and could level the parking lot next the chapel. Some installed the ever-present yellowsandstone into the Chapel itself. Some laid the tile in the baptistry, and showers.
As time went on, the door widened for jobs beyond construction. Some had incredible visions for the future of the chapel. Some brought signs to point the way to the Chapel and the Intelligent Design Resource Center. Some painted I-beams. Some decorated the Chapel with flowers, and tablecloths, and pictures, and curtains. Some brought beautiful plants to decorate the ground around the Chapel. Some brought brooms, and dustpans, and trashcans. Some labeled the drawers in the classrooms and kitchen. Some organized the books on the shelves. Some made even more bookshelves.
And for every event that was held at the Chapel (it seems to me!), there was always a feast. Somehow the most talented cooks in the county seemed to convene at Oak Hill Chapel and make the most delicious food imaginable.
But even as Christ said -- the food the soul lives on is more than just bread. Through creation meetings, Bible studies, work days, and youth retreats, the nourishment of God's Word was spread as a feast.
So here was the wind, back again. But it couldn't whip away the work that was going on. It wasn't strong enough to blow away the people who were determined to carry on the project. And so it was that one man, living for God, started something that continues to bless people, and spur them on. Even when an electric company's plans seemed to limit the man's plans, God made a way. And He continues to make a way: just as in the times of Nehemiah, God raises up men, women, and children to continue His work -- in His time.
Tonight I felt like the ogre of the universe. I messed up on the copper sulfate/sodium ascorbate/alkyne solution I was making, so everything was worthy of grouchiness.
Am I short-sighted, or what? My uncle has a brain tumor, my aunt has taken on a new job, my sister and Mom just ended spring break and started back to classes... there's so many more things important than my stupidity. Why can't I ever just realize that?
But no, I trump up my "setbacks," and forget about the bigger problems that people around me are facing: a grandmother dying, an uncle being diagnosed with cancer, brothers and sisters in India and other countries enduring persecution, and the list goes on.
In short, whenever I try once again to become ogre (or is it ogress?) of the world -- I need to take a look around me.
Then my pitiful self will realize: you need to stop your stupidity.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
One passage I just thought of is 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."
The following comments are in reference to Eli's blog from yesterday.
You might want to reverse the names you've applied to Libby and Berger. I started reading Libby's bio on wikipedia, and couldn't get through his "Creative Writing" project. This man has a seared conscience. His writing and Anna Nicole Smith's life are indications of the crude sexual perversions in this culture. And, boy-o-boy, it's everywhere. And I hate it.
Frankly, I was surprised to hear your opinion on Ann Coulter. It seems that the verses "Answer a fool according to his folly" and "Don't answer a fool according to his folly" apply here. Not every worldview is rational, and not every person will listen to logical, well-explained reasons.
Amy Carmichael was once trying to explain who God was to another woman. She tried all sorts of approaches, and tried all sorts of good phrases. But the other woman just didn't understand. Finally, Amy pointed to a flower near her bedside. She told the woman, "God made that." Then the glimmer of understanding shone.
It's definitely a stretch to compare Ann's approach to Amy's, but if Ann's object is to make her liberal colleagues think, then she may be close to it. Her approach still has to be perfected, though: it seems she's elicited a spinal reflex, and bypassed the liberals' cortex.
Finally, I think it's hilarious how quickly the three Republican frontrunners hasten to distance themselves from her. They sound like three blind mice scampering after public opinion.
My observation, for what it's worth: people may passively agree with an idea that they do not want to actively defend. When Ann Coulter denigrated Edwards' moral character, it put her opponents in a rather awkward position. To disagree with her was close to vouching for Edwards' moral uprightness. If you could not vouch for his character, then the strongest statement you could make would be: "Well, that may be true, but you shouldn't have said it!"
Thursday, March 01, 2007
(A photo from February 26th showing the ossuaries exploited by the Film "Jesus' Tomb." Simcha Jacobovici (farthest left) was the director, while the film was produced by James Cameron (next person right) -- Photo from the National Geographic).
Sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes you just pretend you do. A recent article in National Geographic tells about ossuaries attributed to Jesus, Mariamne (possibly Mary Magdalene), and their son. But of course, this has been decried as nonsense, because everyone knows they actually had a daughter.
Scratch that last sentence: my authority is not the latest best-selling thriller, but Scripture. There is no evidence from Scripture that Christ ever married. But this seems fact is deliberately rejected by some, possibly in the interest of a fortune to be made.
While the Discovery Channel's president talked about the extreme significance and ramifications of the find, Israeli archaeologists and a Greek Orthodox priest (among others) presented another side. Stephen Pfann, from Jerusalem's University of the Holy Land stated that "The pool of names that was available during the 1st century A.D. in this country was very limited," and tombs have been found in the past which list the occupant as Jesus son of Joseph. The ossuary is not remarkably decorated, and there is no absolute evidence linking Christ to the remains of the poor guy in the ossuary who just can't stay buried.
Where has this world come from, anyway? I'm kind of surprised that the movie which trumps the 20-year-old, already-published find was even made when a ridiculously similar movie ("The Body") starts with the exact same story, minus the wife and kid.
Scripture, though still pure and God-breathed, is not regarded by many people as an ultimate authority. One person (who questions the film's intent) maintains that Christ and his family were from Nazareth, not Jerusalem. While he is well-intenioned, he is overlooking the Biblical account which gives the location of Christ's murder and burial (and resurrection, raise God!) as Jerusalem.
I am increasingly led to believe that tomb raiders aren't just interested in the booty inside the tomb anymore: there's plenty more to be made in the movie theatres. If people swallowed "the DaVinci Code," their esophaguses may be extended enough for more swill. And if watching people slurp it up isn't enough, it's sickening to hear the words "Good stuff!"
Line Street C of C is hosting a praise gathering in Evansville, IN. There's a bunch of info at www.linestreet.org. There's going to be a "musical explosion" on Saturday, and you are oh, so invited! Our choir is going to practice every Wednesday night up until then! Exciting times!