Archie Bunker rides again?

Does anyone out there remember William F. Buckley?  I enjoyed just listening to him, even if I didn’t understand all the multisyllabic words he used!

“The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.”   

See?  My word processor automatically underlines “usurpatory” in red, which means even my computer doesn’t understand the word!  But here’s one that’s pretty clear:

I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”  Continue reading “Archie Bunker rides again?”

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Pick up your mat and walk…where?

wood 2I don’t mean to be a cynic. In fact, most people who know me probably wouldn’t think of me that way, if they thought about me at all, which they probably rarely do anyway.

How’s that for cynical?

But no, that’s just realistic. 

C’mon, we all do it, see the world through our own eyes, at least to begin with.  What’s their angle and what’s in it for me.  Everything from Wall Street to Main Street to the garage sales on my street, we want the best bargain with the lowest possible personal sacrifice. 

Perhaps, such was the case of the man lying crippled for thirty-eight years by the Pool of Bethesda.  The treatment modality of the day had to do with waiting until an angel stirred the waters, and whoever got in first was healed.  (Not sure about the veracity of this method, no double blind studies back then, but hey…)

Jesus shows up and we listen in on the conversation:

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well?’”

I love how Jesus (a) doesn’t assume what the person wants, and (b) requires the person to verbally identify what it is they desire of Him. 

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

So, in reference to (b) above, notice that the man merely makes an excuse for why he must stay infirmed, not what he actually desires.  Hmmmm….

Undeterred, his Creator makes the decision for him:

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’”

“Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected.”

(So what else is new?)

“They said to the man who was cured, ‘You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!’”

“But he replied, ‘The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

“The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, ‘Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.’” 

Initially, one would think this man, being in the Temple, was worshipping God for his healing. That’s a possibility, maybe.  However, we have lots of folks going into church buildings for reasons other than God in our century also.  I’ll leave it at that, because after Jesus’ injunction about changing his lifestyle, this guy seems to have second thoughts, as in, “Wait, you mean there are some moral ramifications???”  

“Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.”

This man was no dummy.  Don’t think for a minute that there wasn’t plenty of time sitting around that pool to hear loads of town gossip about Jesus and the Jewish leaders.  I don’t mean to impugn someone’s motives who isn’t here to defend himself, but…

“So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.”

Blessings without change, salvation without sanctification, affected holiness without hardship. It is the church’s undoing.  Subsequently, we become mere subculture instead of counterculture. Where’s the modern-day Job who says, “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him”, rather than merely showing up for the church picnics?

Seems like many want a piece of the pie, but few can stand the heat of the kitchen.

That’s not cynical; it’s just realistic.

John 5:6-16 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved

Whazyurhurry?

wood 2Oklahoma—where the wind comes sweeping down the plane….

…but what Rogers and Hammerstein don’t bother to tell you is that many times “the wind” comes in a twisting form; so here’s the place on the planet where occurs the highest number of tornadoes, but you can’t have a basement because the soil content is too poor. 

Well isn’t that’s just fine. Continue reading “Whazyurhurry?”

Ayn Rand meets Moses

IMG_20150103_172451138Bob reads to me while I sit in my great-grandmother’s rocking chair and crochet, complete with the dog on the rug—seriously, we look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, only in blue jeans. 

Our most recent book (at this writing) is Ayn Rand’s tome entitled Atlas Shrugged.  Not for the faint of heart, mind you, and not something you’ll find in the religious section of Barnes and Noble, but with some very timely and important ideas on economic integrity, possibly more applicable now than when it was written.

In her novel, she refers to the conflict between the “producers”, those who put their hand to the plow and make stuff, and the “looters”, those who somehow feel entitled to live off the hard work of the producers without significant contribution of their own, simply because they feel they need it.  Of course, “need” is precariously defined to the destruction of those who produce.

Sound familiar?

My disclaimer: I’m not an economist.  Anyway, that’s not the thought I want to convey here. 

Context: the Hebrew nation is (still) about to step into the Promised Land, and Moses is (still) giving them last minute instructions.  Check this out:

 “When the LORD your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land,…”

I see a definite partnership with God here—the Almighty will destroy the enemy while at the same time the Hebrews are to clean house (“drive them out”, which is dirty work as well) and occupy.  The Promised Land was just that—land that was promised, but that didn’t mean they weren’t going to have to work for it.  And hard. Sweat, blood, sacrifice, mistakes, and try again.  (Read about it, it’s pretty dramatic, and makes me feel better about myself…)

Interestingly, when I compare that to my personal salvation, and that 21st century idea that turning my life over to Jesus is “all there is to it”, uh, I don’t think that’s what God has in mind:

“But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’”

…and:

“He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

…and:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

…to quote only a few.

Do we earn our salvation?  Of course not!  Do we partner with God to change into the likeness of all He purposes for us to be after He saves us—absolutely!  And it calls for blood, sweat, and tears, hard work, mistakes, and (oftentimes) self-forgiveness. 

historically-1093192_1920Because I don’t want to be a “looter” of God’s amazing grace, but a “producer” in His kingdom on Earth. 

Hand to plow, and keep it there.

Deuteronomy 12:29; James 2:18; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:2  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

In other words…

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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Hardhats required

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280My friend Linda works as a church secretary.  The church a beautiful old red brick building, but as old goes, it needs occasional repair.   When I talked with her this summer, the blessed old place was going through another face lift, this time with concrete.  That meant her office was anything but quiet.  I can only imagine the pleasant sound of jackhammers outside her office walls…

Which makes this phrase from the building of the Lord’s temple during the reign of King Solomon even Continue reading “Hardhats required”

No need for a boil order?

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Cultural differences aside, Old Testament prophets were, um…a little weird.  I say that respectfully, but I can only imagine they may not have been at the top of an invitation list to any aspiring social event.  Things like walking around naked, burying underwear in the dirt (and retrieving it some time later!), marrying a prostitute, and a list of the bizarre continues—it certainly caught the people’s attention.

It would’ve caught my eye, to say the least.

Not respected, rarely believed, probably ridiculed, and usually hunted down, the job description was not for the faint of heart.  Clearly, one was not chosen by Continue reading “No need for a boil order?”

The “Like” button

wood 2Bob and I have an ongoing debate about the “like” button.  He will peruse a post but not necessarily fully read it, hitting the “like” button “to encourage” the writer, and then of course, he will leave a comment only if he has something more substantial to say.  I’m not saying I’m always above doing that, but I’m more along the lines of “liking” something only if I “read” it.  Perhaps I am being a bit legalistic here?

Akin to that discussion is the “follow” button.  Hitting the follow button is likewise effortless, but authentically following is something else, because to really get to know someone takes time.  I want to “read” what’s on their hearts: how they process and interpret their experiences, and how they position themselves for the future.  I want to understand our disagreements, and guess what!  I might even change my mind on some things, or vice versa—how cool is that?!?

Unfortunately, the various WordPress conveniences seem to Continue reading “The “Like” button”

Expecting bird poop

bird picmonkeyAt this writing, I’ve just come in from sitting on my patio before going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning.  I mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.   The sky has been swept clean (wish I could say that about my patio…), the birds are singing, the sun is coming up over the horizon, the trees are sporting their new greenery—I even have some new things planted in my garden.  And I had a special treat this morning—two Canada geese flew overhead!  Great!

We live in southern Missouri in what’s called a “fly-over zone”, so the geese are frequent residents in transit.  But we also have a Continue reading “Expecting bird poop”

George Jetson lives!

IMG_20150103_172451138

I grew up with the Jetsons.  I mean the cartoon family, their boy Elroy, Astro the dog, and “Jane, stop this crazy thing”, etc.  One of the staples of that futuristic show was the TV/phone where you could see the person you were speaking with. 

Yeah, right.

So here I find myself still alive and well, video chatting with my daughter half a continent away.  It’s amazing, regardless of the pixelatingly bad reception they get in L.A.   However, one day I set up to “call” and noticed my image was upside down.  This is unfortunate, as I would really like for my one-year-old granddaughter to recognize me right-side-up when she sees me again. 

I tried everything I knew how, and just about everything I didn’t know how and went online to learn.  I even resorted Continue reading “George Jetson lives!”