"...since God is both omnipotent and good, we must conclude that in His omnipotence and goodness there must be a place for the existence of evil. We know that God Himself never does that which is evil. Nevertheless, He also ordains whatsoever comes to pass.
"I don’t want to live in the kitchen of religious activity, distracted with all my preparations. I don’t want to live slumped over some steamed-up stove, worried and upset about so many things. I want to live at the Savior’s feet, gazing into His eyes, listening to His words, and seeing as many windows as He’ll show me. At His feet is where we learn to pause at those windows. It starts by loving Him and longing to hear His voice. When we’re slaving away in some kitchen where the pots and pans are clanging, it’s hard to hear that voice. But when we’re at His feet and our heart is still, we can hear Him even when He whispers."
Gire, Ken. Windows of the Soul (p. 36). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
My first exposure to C. S. Lewis was through his classic science fiction tale, Out of the Silent Planet. I read it my sophomore year at Washington Bible College when my dormitory room was on the northeast side of the building facing some pine trees and the road which rounded down the hill from the main entrance of the college. I still remember those hours when I would sit back in the desk chair and rest my feet on the desk and read Lewis' story about a man from Earth ("the silent planet") to the planet Malacandria. The book is rich in description and the experience of reading it has stayed with me for many years.
And he is the author of the Narnia books as well as many other books on theological ideas. I loved reading him.
As I wandered around the internet I found an old interview he gave to the BBC that is related to his book "Mere Christianity". It features Lewis' gift of being able to explain theological concepts using everyday examples. I especially love his explanation of the eternal nature of God to our finite existence: "... [God] has infinity in which to listen to the split second of prayer..."
Ah, sarcasm. Humor wrapped in a question mark.
It's the kind of humor that has to be heard to be understood.
Believe me. I've tried. Try and be sarcastic in social media like Facebook, and there will be at least ONE person who just doesn't get it.
Another reason why written social media is a dangerous foundation for society. 99% get that the comment sent in response to someone else's observation was meant in jest, with maybe the twinge of a hint of honesty. 1% end up thinking you're an idiot or believe you and chide you for being flippant.
No win. Best not to play.
I landed on PBS one evening - I'm not sure now what program I watched - but the one thing I DO remember is the advertisement that appeared after the program.
It featured a young lady who suffered from Tourette syndrome who found that her love of the Downton Abbey series created a desire within her to read about Edwardian England. Her research led to her being inspired by the lives and times of that era. Despite the painful effects of her condition, she started to write her thoughts and stories down. Now, her inspiration inspires...
How many times do I give up because the way ahead is painful? What truly counts truly costs.
While I was doing some dishes yesterday - and fixing a piece of toast - I was listening to a radio broadcast of local church. A prayer was being offered by a lay leader and I found myself listening as he spoke. My initial thought was "Oh please, you're not at a racetrack. Slow down. Think about who you're talking to..." The prayer was a rushed mess instead of something intimate, or inspirational, or influential.
He is for me the ideal Hercule Poirot - Agatha Christie's unflappable Belgian detective. And yet many do not know that he is also a Christian with his conversion experience beginning in the late 1980's with a reading of the book of Romans from a hotel Bible.
Now he has a complete reading of the New International Version of the Bible to present; "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)
I love musicals -- the OLD ones. It's something about how everything seemed to come together in the OLD ones which were crafted after the old Vaudeville shows with singing, and comedy, and of course dancing.
We were headed to see my niece. Just as we neared her house, at a stop sign I happened to turn my head and notice that a single Christmas ornament was hung from a scrappy little evergreen tree at the intersection.
Sis and I both laughed and I snapped a picture of it.
It's things like this that make a person think. Who placed the ornament there? Why was it here? Is there a meaning to such a display? I don't know and I'm not sure I'll ever know.
But it makes me think. Something so simple and so unusual reminds me of the reason for the season.
God displayed his most wonderful gift of love in a simple way. Many must have passed by that night completely oblivious to the beautiful display of God's plan to redeem mankind. Some saw it and realized this was something special. They were not sure how God would accomplish what he had planned, but faith stepped in and began to shine as people began to realize that God was still working his will in his way.
Simple beauty in an unexpected place. There for those who had eyes to see that the "something unusual and totally unexpected" was actually a reminder that sometimes Gods most beautiful gifts are found where they are least expected.
The last time we drove by the little evergreen tree, the ornament was still there. I hope it remains, and I trust that those who pass by will see and understand the wonder and the beauty of God's plan.
I was watching some TV talking head several days before the new year talk about resolutions vs. aspirations. He believed that making resolutions has the seeds of failure already sewn in. "Resolving" to do something is a decision that is hard and fast, and even with a great deal of will power behind it the resolution is more like a wall that needs to be scaled. Most people find they run out of steam and fall to the ground shortly after taking the first few moves up the wall. And with failure comes so many negative feelings.
With an "aspiration", a person can indeed fail, but the failure doesn't seem to carry the same weight of finality. An aspiration is a hope - it's being ambitious and as the Google definition indicates, it's primarily a desire, a dream with determination. Rather than a wall, it's more of a squiggly line. There is direction, but the end point is undetermined. One may fail, but the failure is not final. The aspiration is still a valid objective.
Now, granted, one's feet may not be held to the fire as firm and as fast as with a resolution, but the direction is there - and isn't that better than having no direction in mind?
So with that mindset, I've determined that for this year, I will ASPIRE to do the following:
- Spiritual aspirations: daily quiet time (Bible reading and prayer), weekly worship at FCP (completion of the Gospel of Luke).
- Physical aspirations: regular exercise (goal = three times a week), lose weight (goal = 50 lbs); eliminate sugar from diet.
- Personal aspirations: read a book each month (goal = 12 books this year), publish first novel (goal = February 2017), complete second novel (goal = December 2017).
Eight aspirations. To the glory of God (TTGOG).
Last year I downsized my library and gave away many books to two churches. As I was sorting through them and trying to decide which ones to keep and which ones to give away, I found myself remembering them - like old friends known but rarely seen. I remember dropping off the books at one church and driving way, looking at the boxes remaining on the curb and wondering where they might end up and who might benefit from them. It made me wonder if this was like to drop off a child at a preschool and instantly start to miss them.
I can't remember now what year it was, but one New Year's Eve with Mom and Dad, I remember her recalling that there was a tradition of "sweeping out the old, sweeping in the new" - and with that those of us who had gotten together to celebrate the new year grabbed the broom, filed out the front door, ran around the house, and swept the new year into the back door.
But now, new year's celebrations for me involve munching something, watching something, tuning in to some television station to watch the crystal ball descend in Times Square, New York City, and then crawl into bed.
Whenever I hear someone pray like this, I am humbled to think how anemic my own prayer life is. Yes, even though it's an actress delivering lines in a fictional story, I have heard prayers like this - students in prayer meetings at Bible college, seminarians who know the reality of "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so", and worshipers on their knees praying throughout the night for the spirit of God to move mightily in the world for guidance, and protection, and mercy.
The new year is quickly approaching, and if there is something I need to see change in my life, it's a deepening of my prayer life -- to be one of those raised up to pray for this time, and the generation to come.
"Wet Paint" Oh yeah? And my finger just has to test whether or not it really is.
"Delivery Date Will Be ##/##/####" And I click "Track Package" when the email confirmation appears, and then keep checking it to see where the package is.
Disbelief causes stress. Being untrusting brings a level of tension in life that isn't really needed.
So what if it doesn't turn out the way it was supposed to? Why do I conclude the result is disappointing? Why can't I just accept the idea that sometimes things are as they are because they just are? Can I complain and get what I want? Sure, but is that necessary? Why am I so quick to conclude something as disappointing when it might be that the supposed disappointment might be the better way or the better thing?
Disbelief is what happens when someone or some thing proves to be wrong in their warning or instructions. But doesn't that ultimately make life more interesting?
I am expecting lemonade - but I get a lemon instead. So? What can be done about that? What makes life interesting is trying to creatively use what life gives me and see where that will take me.
That's what gives joy in the journey. Sometimes the detour takes me to the more wonderful adventure.
And I'll get to it -- just as soon as I see whether or not this really IS wet paint...
I noticed this posting on Facebook the other day:
"I didn't get a chance to call but I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas! Love and miss you!!!"
Is it not sad that someone could spend time executing a text message on their cell phone, but not use the same phone to dial 10 numbers and spend five minutes to call someone and wish them a Merry Christmas.
As convenient as they are, there are times when I wish they would have never been invented.
“An old friend of mine told me she would always keep the first page of every notebook blank.
I never thought much of it until I started writing more regularly –
Until that one day I threw out a whole journal because every time I opened it
all I could see was mistakes.
The unexpected gift is always a wondrous thing. A collection of carols based on poetry by G. K. Chesterton arranged by Samuel Pegg.
Typepad has been my blog home for over 10 years. Over 1600 posts and growing.
So when Typepad contacted me and told me I could have my own domain, I said, "Sure. Why not?"
So now it's easier to get to my tiny cobblestone on the internet highway. All one has to do is go to www.pilgrim57.com and BOOM - you're there.
Of course, the blog also contains links to my two Tumblr accounts - Pilgrim Progressional and Snips and allows readers to subscribe to the blog so they can be notified of new postings.
With the new domain, I may be changing the layout from time to time. The domain gives a blogger a great deal more flexibility with their internet real estate. Plus it gives me new opportunities to learn about technology and web design and other things. More fun that should keep me busy for another 10 years - hopes, helps, words, music, memories, lessons learned, and much more. It's all here. Enjoy!
"I don’t see why faith should be seen as inconsistent with science. There is nothing illogical about miracles if a Creator God exists. If a God exists who is big enough to create the universe in all its complexity and vastness, why should a mere miracle be such a mental stretch? To prove that miracles could not happen, you would have to know beyond a doubt that God does not exist. But that is not something anyone can prove.
"Science must always assume that an effect has a repeatable, natural cause. That is its methodology. Imagine, then, for the sake of argument that a miracle actually occurred. Science would have no way to confirm a nonrepeatable, supernatural cause. Alvin Plantinga argued that to say that there must be a scientific cause for any apparently miraculous phenomenon is like insisting that your lost keys must be under the streetlight because that’s the only place you can see."
- Pastor Tim Keller from a NYTimes interview with Nicholas Kristof
Read, every day, something no one else is reading.
Think, every day, something no one else is thinking.
Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do.
It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
I was faced with deactivating or deleting my Facebook account. I chose to become a deactivater.