Sunday, August 29, 2010

Healing

Although I don't want to confuse the Christian faith with some kind of therapeutic nicety, one cannot read the Bible and come away without a sense that healing is central to the work of Christ. Now, different people will interpret that according to experience and theological training. Teaching about healing is tricky business, because there are no definite promises about healing in the Bible and lots of indications that faith doesn't solve all sickness, not in the least.

I say this because our pastor recently gave a testimony of healing after prayer and annointing, which is of course the biblical mandate. But what about those who don't get healing? Are they just not special? I don't want to throw cold water on anyone's healing testimony--we have a precious one ourselves, because our son was healed of his epilepsy. I am only saying that any healing testimony must be given tentatively and sensitively, since
1. not all will experience the same healing
2. physical health may be temporary; this illness being taken away doesn't mean there will never be illness again
3. those who suffer from long-term illness have enough insensitivity to deal with without an authority figure adding to the burden.

In short, give God the glory, and make sure it's God alone getting the glory, not your faith or perseverance.



Two lovely North Georgia Water Falls.


A little scarey, isn't it? (giant peach outside Gaffney, SC).


We are now the proud (?) owners of a boat that has questionable provenance, doesn't run, and takes up way too much space in the front yard. Can you say redneck?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yikes! 400!

400 posts on this blog. I will celebrate with randomness, as I don't have a coherent set of paragraphs in me tonight.

I just saw I have four followers on this blog! Thank you folks.

Tonight I went to a Sunday School kickoff meeting. The speaker was quite interesting, although he committed a couple of logical fallacies.

Our pastor was quoting a writer from Time who said something about Satan being the personification of evil, blah, blah, blah, one figure can't do that, etc. That writer misses the point. Satan is not the personification of evil. And we don't need Satan to achieve a pretty high level of evil as human beings. Satan is a liar and the father of it. I think that's his biggest contribution to it all.

Fred Thompson is funny. Or he has good joke writers and is blessed with good timing.

The Subaru commercial of the dad talking to his three-year-old getting ready to drive the car is wonderful. Good creativity.

I am tired of this August North Georgia heat and humidity.

We have finished our first week of classes. I'm exhausted, for a number of reasons.

I have a cynical streak, and I don't like being manipulated.

My son and his stuff return to college this weekend. I get my house back. He is staying in an apartment with three other guys. We'll see how this goes.

I might see my brother next week.
I am reading Olive Kitteridge. Pretty good, except for some of the language. The writer is a master of prose.

Trying to sell copies of my novel. Help me out!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Article Recommendation

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2010/08/an_open_letter_to_anne_rice.html

In Christ means in his body, his church. It’s easy not to want to be in the church, but we really don’t have that option. That doesn’t mean every commitment and minute is busy with church work, and I think that is the problem. People who want to serve the body get bogged down in being here and there and providing this and that and volunteering up and down. Church leadership is often trying get the laity to work harder to “build the church” but who really then gets the credit? Jesus? or the pastor—he now has a larger church and other churches want to offer him a job to come do the same thing. And the people are left looking for another pastor. This is just wrong. . . I see the “being part of the body” is commitment to the people and their struggles. The time commitment should be in terms of spending time with people, not programs; in prayer, not cleaning up after meals (although, yes, I know, all service to Jesus is service. But sometimes we are just spinning our wheels.)

Just have to weigh in on this . . .

Of course, Democrats all over the country are cringing about Obama's statement endorsing the mosque near ground zero. Some observations:
1. His timing is horrible.
2. His actual statement, in context, is not really objectionable. Taken on face value, the words make sense. But that is really not the issue here.
3. Why does he think he has to get involved in local issues??? Didn't he learn his lesson in that Cambridge police issue last summer? He's supposed to be a constitutional lawyer. Does he not realize there are limits on the presidential jurisdiction? Is he so full of himself that there has to be a pronouncement on everything??? Yet, when the gulf coast states are drowning in oil, he does nothing. When illegal immigrants are pouring into the country, he does nothing. Those are local issues he is supposed to deal with. He doesn't seem to know what his job is.
4. He could have stopped with defending freedom of religion. He didn't have to endorse the mosque. He was playing to the tiny minority of Muslims in this country and to the millions outside America, just like he plays to the tiny minority of activist gays. He was not playing to Americans. He was showing the same insensitivity as those who want the Mosque.
5. There is still the two main issues about the mosque being there: who is paying for it, and what does it mean to the Muslim community? A victory?
6. I guess he wants to be a one-term president. He's doing a good job of it. I don't think his own people realistically expect a re-election.

Meditation

I am to teach on II Cor. 5-7 tomorrow. I am stuck on 5:17, "If any one is in Christ, he/she is a new creation .... " "In Christ" is the operative phrase, of course. Below I have listed various statements about our identity in Christ below(thanks to help from http://www.sw-mins.org/identity.html), with the disclaimer: These are not really about you. The only reason these statements are true is because of Christ's person and work.

I have a strong desire for Christians to understand their identity in Christ, and to be full stewards of the salvation we have received. The Christian experience is a heavenly reality walking around on earth. We have access to so much more than we act upon. BUT--none of those benefits is really for self-use and definitely not for self-aggrandizement and absolutely not because of any merit of our own. And this is as hard for us humans to fully grasp as for us to grasp the riches of His grace in Christ Jesus.
All of the following are statements about what it means to be “in Christ” and have a changed identity, to be a new creation. Let these verses guide your study and meditation this week on II Cor. 5.

MY RELATIONSHIP
I am reconciled to God - 2 Cor 5:18
I'm a child of God - He is my Father - 1 Jn 3:1,2
I am a saint - Eph 1:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Phil 1:1
I am Christ's friend - Jn 15:15
I am a fellow citizen in God's kingdom - Eph 2:19
I am born of God - 1 Jn 4:7
I am adopted by God - Rom 8:15
MY INHERITANCE
I am a citizen of heaven - Phil 3:20
I am an heir of God - Rom 8:17
I've been rescued from Satan's domain - Col 1:13
I am a joint heir with Christ - Rom 8:17; Gal 4:7
I am hidden with Christ in God - Col 3:3
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing - Eph 1:3
I am chosen of God - holy, beloved - Col 3:12
I am a child of promise - Rom 9:8; Gal 3:14
I am a child of light, not darkness - 1 Thess 5:5
I've been given great promises - 2 Pet 1:4
I am a partaker of Christ - Heb 3:14
I'm one of God's living stones - 1 Pet 2:5
MY TRANSFORMATION
I'm a member of a royal priesthood - 1 Pet 2:9
I'm redeemed and forgiven - Eph 1:6-8
I'm to be a stranger to this world - 1 Pet 2:11
I've been justified - made righteous - Rom 5:1
I'm an enemy of the devil - 1 Pet 5:8
I am a possessor of eternal life - Jn 5:24
I am dead to the power of sin - Rom 6:1-6
I am a new creation - 2 Cor 5:17
MY CALLING
I am free from condemnation - Rom 8:1
I am to be salt on the earth - Mt 5:13
I have received the Spirit of God -1 Cor 2:12
I am to be light in the world - Mt 5:14
I have been given the mind of Christ - 1 Cor 2:16
I'm chosen and appointed to bear fruit - Jn 15:16
I have been crucified with Christ - Gal 2:20
I am called to do the works of Christ - Jn 14:12
I am His disciples - Mt 28:20
I have been made alive with Christ - Eph 2:5
I have been given spiritual authority - Lk 10:19
I am God's workmanship - Eph 2:10
I have received fullness in Christ - Col 2:10
I am a minister of a new covenant - 2 Cor 3:6
I am a minister of reconciliation - 2 Cor 5:18,19
I am a soldier of Christ, 2 Tim 2:4
MY POSITION
I am connected to the true vine - Jn 15:1,5
I am a partaker of a heavenly calling - Heb 3:1
I'm a willing slave of righteousness - Rom 6:18,22
I am a temple of God - 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19
I am one spirit with the Lord - 1 Cor 6:17
I am a member of Christ's body - 1 Cor 12:27

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Post Trauma Post

I spent five hours in the dentist's chair today. I had three teeth "rebuilt" essentially, and two old fillings replaced. I am exhausted; I can barely type. Who knew dental work could be so hard?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Time to Pay the Price

There is a part of me that does not like confrontation. That part is largely fueled by fear of the consequences, which can often (usually) be messy before they get good, if ever. Because I teach at a state (public) college, I am reluctant to state strong opinions on this blog, because students read it and I don't want my classroom and my relationship with them to be about me or my opinions. They don't pay for that, I don't get paid for it, and it's not professional.

However, I am a human being and an American with free speech rights. I can say what I want, with the understanding that some people won't like it and some people will find ways to retaliate against me, even though I would not retaliate against them (for example, reporting on them to the administration of my college) for their communication behavior.

I signed the Manhattan Declaration because I agreed with its viewpoints; at the time I did not realize that doing so also meant I was saying I would pay the price for my stands if the time came. Maybe I shouldn't have signed it, but I did, so I can't act like I didn't. Otherwise all action and speech becomes meaningless. I believe everything we do in this life, or at least everything we choose to do and affirm, has meaning and matters. That was one of the key themes of my novel.

All that to say the following:
1. I am appalled by Justice Vaughn Walker's decision, both its conclusions and its reasonings. I am against same-sex marriage. It will ruin this culture, and my reasons are not just religious, despite his assertions to the contrary.
2. I am unapologetically pro-life, although I don't always like what some prolifers do to support the cause. That doesn't change the fact that abortion is morally wrong, that those who have had or supported an abortion need forgiveness and healing, and that those who believe there aren't enough abortions in this country already are evil (despite what office they hold). Any restrictions on abortions that states can get away with imposing are fine by me.
3. I respect Muslims as human beings and support their religious freedom. I do not understand why they feel it is appropriate to put a mosque near ground zero, but they do have a right to do so, I suppose, as long as a synagogue or church would not be disallowed in the same place. However, I do not believe the feeling is mutual with very many Muslims. I disdain what some elements of Islam want to do to this country. This story http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/08/07/medical-charity-americans-killed-militants-remote-area-n-afghanistan/ is frightening. Show me a time in the last 500 years (or more) where Christians attacked and killed Muslims trying to do humanitarian work.
4. The present state of the economy should be a wake-up call to our materialism, lassitude, and selfishness. Maybe if a family goes down to having one wage earner, that's a good thing. Maybe if the state of Georgia and the Board of Regents or any other state agency has to survive on the funds allotted to it (and not depend on presidential stimulus money), we might omit useless programs, focus on teaching instead of pointless research (especially in the soft sciences and liberal arts), and pay our administrators less (their overblown salaries are well documented.) The stimulus was a disaster.
5. I don't really care why President Obama loses the next election (other than Hillary winning), but I hope he does. I suspect if he does get defeated (and he may very well win another term, God help us), it will be because of profligate spending. We cannot afford the man, whose only solution to every problem is to throw federal money at it and blame Bush when it doesn't work.
6. I am tired to bloviators on the right. You do not speak for me. Quit talking for a while.

My opinions do not matter. But if they make you mad or scared, ask yourself why rather than thinking me an idiot

What I Learned about Empathy Last Night

Last night in the English as Second Language that another teacher and I conduct at church, we had a class of six.  One Chinese young woman w...