Saturday, January 30, 2016

Only on Facebook

can you see, in juxtaposition, within 30 seconds
  • Videos of how to make a chicken casserole with 3 ingredients
  • reminders that Jesus loves you
  • Memes of the Most Interesting Man in the World
  • Political arguments (and I don't mean that in the sense of reasoned political discourse, but snipes at various candidates and their afficionados.  Translate this to mean ad hominem arguments.)
  • Lots of selfies and updated photos, making me wonder how often the people I know take photos of themselves
  • Photos of children and grandchildren (which I thought was the point of FB)
  • Lots and lots of Jack-ass or "America's Home Video"-type videos
  • Plugs for products, advertising either paid for or not
  • click bait about everything imaginable:  how the Victorians photographed corpses, incognito gay politicians, secrets of "Full House," ad infinitum
  • invitations to online games
  • and more inspirational quotes
and much more jumbled things.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

This blog is for others, but it is also a repository for me.  I'm posting this because it's cool but also for future reference.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/28/464447490/track-jupiters-path-like-an-ancient-babylonianalify as

I am working on a book about Daniel as a leader in a secular setting, although Babylonia does not quite fit as secular because they were religious, just not Jewish like Daniel.  This article shows how ahead of their time were the Babylonians Daniel was dealing with.  Thank you, NPR, for helping me do research.

30 Years Since Challenger Tragedy

This morning when I was planning my day, I thought, "It's January 28.  What is it I am supposed to know or remember about January 28?"  By the time I was at work, I learned; today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

I remember that day very well.  I didn't see the explosion on television, and only knew about it until an afternoon class.  That evening President Reagan gave one of his most memorable (and studied) speeches, and we have had 30 years of research on what went wrong.  Edward Tufte wrote about it in his book on data display (Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative)
and how it can me misleading.   I even wrote my first real short story (at 30 in a Fiction Writing class) about that morning.

But I was heartbroken anew by this story.  Listen and feel the tragedy.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/28/464744781/30-years-after-disaster-challenger-engineer-still-blames-himself

Sunday, January 24, 2016

No, thank you, Planned Parenthood

For some unknown reason, I received a solicitation in the mail this week from Planned Parenthood.

At one level this is rather funny, considering that I give money to Right to Life groups, have volunteered in a crisis pregnancy center, and even wrote a novel on the issue.  I am thinking about sending them a very formal letter thanking them for the letter since it means (a) I can see first hand what kind of rhetoric they use, and (b) letters to me that get thrown in the recycle bin and shredded means that they are wasting money.

My first comment is that, since they get so much money from the federal government, why are they trying to get me to give them money? 

My second comment is, why me?  Where did they get my name?  I imagine another organization that I belong to may have given them my information (I have suspicions, especially since I do work in higher education and am supposed to be liberal).

My third comment is, get a load of this dramatic, over-the-top appeal:

"We have been through a year like no other--facing terrible laws that put women's lives at risk, fake videos, unfounded health center investigations, major defunding campaigns in Congress and multiple states, and more.

"And all of this was driven by rhetoric so hateful and extreem that it has incited real physical violence.  One Planned Parenthood health center was burned to the ground and another was heavily damaged by a man wielding a hatchet.  Then, tragically, there were horrific events that unfolded in Colorado Springs over Thanksgiving weekend.  Our opponents have stooped to unimaginable lows.

"But we're still standing and our doors are still open.  We will not be stopped. . . . "

Good for you, folks.  The details of those "attacks" are sketchy, aren't they?  "Unimaginable lows" apparently means exposing them. 

PP has had free reign for years and has benefited from millions in federal dollars that people like me have had to pay, despite the Hyde Amendment.  Sorry, no tears here for you. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dr. King Day

This link is to an excerpt of a book, The Birmingham Revolution, by Ed Gilbreath.  I hope to read it sometime.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/january-web-only/angry-martin-luther-king.html

Last year I made a smart remark that Dr. King Day could be called "White people go out to lunch day."  Many of us are off work because it's a government holiday, and most of us white people are not going to get anywhere near some sort of celebration (I'm being snarky again.).

Everyone should at least read "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."  It is brilliant, angering, poignant.  The article referenced above discusses it.

An elderly friend recently told me that he used to require students to read the "I Have a Dream" speech but he found out Dr. King was unfaithful to his wife and turned to Communism.  The first is true and acknowledged; the second is harder to get into because his life was shortened.  And of course some of the beatification can be a bit much, just as it can be for any flawed human.  Sometimes the message is what endures,  His words were not just symbols, but a brand into our consciences.

Addendum:  The term "white privilege" gets under the skin of many Caucasians.  I will not go into the ramifications of that term here, but an observation:  Empathy is harder than sympathy.  The ingrained feeling that the white middle class way is the really best way is hard to shake, even to recognize.  We (I) lapse into excuse making for the way things are.  Twenty years ago my husband and I went to a multi-ethnic church.  I liked much about it except that the services didn't start on time. White people want church to start on time.  White people have other things to do.  Now, I can make an excuse about "doing things decently and in order" but I truly doubt Paul meant starting at exactly 11:00 a.m. Sunday with the service (and thereby finishing at a specific time).  For most of the world, church and worship are about being there with God and other people, not an agenda item.

One type of nonverbal communication is chronemics, and it is my master.  

Forgiveness: Thoughts

Forgiveness hinges on total recognition of the wrong done.  While the wrong done may not be the worst thing that ever happened, diminishing its importance or injury is not part of forgiveness (neither is going on and on about it).  In other words, it does little good to say, "It was no big deal."  Especially if the person asking forgiveness felt the need to ask it.

"I forgive you," should never be followed by "but" or advice.  The statement is enough, if sincere; move on.  Thanking for the apology might be good, though.

I cannot grant forgiveness because I have moral superiority.  I cannot grant forgiveness because I haven't done something as bad.  I can't grant it because of tit for tat.

I can only grant it because I am forgiven for much worse by God.  Grace for grace.  That is the parable of the unjust steward, the world's most concise sermon on forgiveness 

Oh, Downton Abbey, Where Art Thou?

Could this show get any more mawkish?  I watched episode 3 last night wondering why I was supposed to keep watching the same scenes.

I do have to say that the clothes are still great.  And the theme of the dying of the great estates has some interest for me.  But it seems like I am just watching to fulfill some sort of commitment.

Figuring Out Humor

My friend and colleague the standup comedian/communication professor/former radio host tells me that if my classes don't find me funny, "you're too hip for the room."

Humor, as I tell my students, is highly personal, contextual, and volatile.  Some say that anything, any topic can be made funny; I don't think so.  For example, The Producers uses Hitler as a comic foil, but not really--the foil is over-the-top Broadway productions.  And I do laugh every time I think of "Springtime for Hitler and Germany," because the two scammers are trying their best to make the most awful, tasteless play in history--and it backfires.  So the Holocaust is not funny; it just is part of the mix.

I recently was watching an old Woody Allen movie where he and Diane Keaton were making jokes about rape.  Shame on her.  But I should not expect much better from actors, who will do anything for a buck.

These thoughts keep me awake because I watched the first (and only for me) episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  While I did laugh at her antics and Carol Kane is always funny (a la Princess Bride), the whole premise is tasteless and disturbing, and it seems that the writers and producers are tone deaf as to the tragedies undergone by women imprisoned, tortured, and raped by men--whether religious cultists or just run-of-the-mill fiends--for years.  I can't watch a show that doesn't seem to see that is astronomically unfunny. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Trump, Revisited, NOT

At the academic conference I attended this week I outed myself as a Republican, but said I was appalled by Donald Trump's rise.  This article articulates my feelings exactly.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/opinion/campaign-stops/why-i-will-never-vote-for-donald-trump.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Spirituality and Being an Academic


Sometimes I wonder if having an academic career is detrimental to being a Spirit-led disciple of Jesus Christ.  I present, as an academic would (especially one who was a debate coach for several years), the arguments.
1.     In a career in academia, we must be merit mongers.  In order to achieve tenure and promotion, the only two big monetary awards outside of the move to administration, or to be eligible for grants and awards, one’s accomplishments in all things teaching, service, research, and professional development must be documented, recorded, and broadcast.  Volunteerism for the institution is not valuable for it own sake, but for expanding he CV, or at least, one starts to feel that way.  One begins to question one’s motives.  Of course, one could leave things off the CV, but . . . it’s absence may mean the difference in a promotion or award.
2.     Academic teach, which usually involves some level of lecturing and talking; therefore, we talk a lot, even the introverts.  Of course, 21st century pedagogy warns against lecture as the primary method of teaching, but most of us have not eschewed lecture totally if at all.  Silence is not golden in this paradigm, but listening can’t happen when one is talking. 
3.     We are experts; we know a lot, more than others.  Knowledge puffs up.  So we can become prideful; we define critical thinking idiosyncratically and egotistically and therefore are capable of rejecting ideas out of hand.  Someone who disagrees with us cannot possibly have been a critical thinker about the issue.
4.     Knowing can get in the way of caring. Does academia attract emotionally stunted people or make them that way?
5.     We can become very annoyed by conventional wisdom or misconceptions that fly in the face of what we know to be true of our discipline. 
6.     We live in a world of text, ideas, and data.  We spend time away from people while engaged with these things. 
7.     Depending on our disciplinary training, we see and do not see certain parts of the whole picture.  For example, I study politics and social trends and am more conscious of the trends than the individuals.  But as a Christian I cannot minister to social trends, only to individuals, one at a time.  I saw this in a recent reflective string on single mothers (see below). 
8.     We can become very stressed over incredibly insignificant things; we can convince ourselves we are doing what is best for students when it is really just best four ourselves; we can believe we are protecting our discipline when we are excluding learners. 

On the other hand . . . How can academia help>
1.     We should be slow to pass judgment, having been trained in data collection and the knowledge that there is always more data and evidence to be gathered.
2.     In light of the exponential growth of knowledge, we should doubt our own opinions and hold them lightly rather than graspingly.
3.     We should see God in the details.
4.     We should be able to read Scripture deeply, fully, informedly, and contextually.
5.     If we are social scientists, or natural scientists, or textual critics, we should be able to bring our unique perspective to the discussion, but humbly.
6.     We should get out of our nests of colleagues and be friends with all kinds of people, even if they initially bore us.   We should listen to others and realize that, as hard as we worked to earn the doctorate, God’s world is wide.  We should appreciate different points of view.
7.      Rejection is part of the discipleship life.  We work hard to be accepted as part of this community called the academy, which might make us compromise.  Compromise for the sake of being accepted is not an option.


In terms of reflection as a learning tool, I did this recently about single mothers.  I was getting annoyed by the “I am a single mother” routine that students use, as if it were the instructor’s fault or as if it meant they should get special treatment.  I realized how judgmental I was being, judging them for immorality, for doing something I didn’t, for using it as an excuse, for not putting their children first in going to school, and for symbolizing a societal problem.  All of these are off-base; some are divorced and dumped by husbands and some regret their pasts; but for the grace of God go most of us; well, maybe they do act like martyrs but some of that is from fear; they are trying to create a better world for their children (although a father would probably help); and they are individuals, not social problems.  I am overweight, so am I symbolic of the social problem of obesity? 

 

GOD'S ABSENCE


“God is not speaking to me . . . “
“I haven’t heard from God in so long . .  .”
“God is silent now and has been for . . . “
“For five years we endured God’s silence . . . “

I don’t understand these sentences and believe they come from either the innate narcissism of modern evangelical theology and practice or wrong expectations of God, or both.

There is enough in the Bible and history and our own experience to know God works and is working, so lack of immediate evidence does not seem like much of an argument.

But maybe I am just unsympathetic, unempathetic. 

We are told that God knows every detail of our lives, the He loves us supremely, that He is sovereign.  Why, if these are true, would we need to “feel” His presence?  Lack of feeling means there is something wrong with me, not God.  Lack of internal sensory input does not change reality. 

Perhaps these people (who like to get on Christian radio and write books) are just pointing out that we go through periods of fatigue, isolation, semi- or real depression.  I myself feel an ennui about certain things right now, mostly major writing projects, which take so much out of me with little reward.  These are part of the human condition.  But what if they go on for years?

Is this feeling of God’s silence based in unanswered prayer?  Prayer is supposed to work, and sometimes it doesn’t, so does that mean God is silent?  Maybe God is only silent about that one thing, and not others. 

Do we think God abandons us emotionally?  Wouldn’t that make God sadistic?  Do we think God is actually cruel?  So many are suffering great privation and injury who might have an excuse to feel abandoned by God (certain Pastor Saaied did), so do we have a right to feel emotionally abandoned by God because of some of the things we do feel abandonment over? 

God is not cruel, but I do not understand why some people suffer so. 

Instead of wallowing in a sense of being abandoned by a God who seems to have chosen to be silent to your personally (which seems like a childish way of thinking about God when put that way), two thoughts.

1.     Act. Do something.  Obey in what you know to do.  Stop overthinking it and see who needs more than you do.
2.     His grace is sufficient.

Have I ever felt this way?  Of course, although I will not discuss it here.  But I didn’t say God was silent.  I took responsibility for my choices.  Victimization attitudes will get you nowhere.  But this is the value of reflection—I start by questioning others and realize I should question myself and readjust my attitude.  In the end, the Word of God is there to confirm He is not silent; we just have to fine-tune our receiving equipment.

Reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, Entry One


For many years I have heard the name Bonhoeffer, have reads bits and pieces of his life and writing, and thought I knew rather a bit about him.  I bought The Cost of Discipleship years ago, but never really cracked it open, although in retrospect I am not sure why.  But because I am a “fan” of Eric Metaxas—at least I listen to him on the radio every day—I decided that 2016 would be the time to actually study this person.

When I went to buy Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Amazon, the reviews gave me pause and I decided to hold out to find another one.  I will not the repeat the reviews here, as they are publicly available.  It’s just that I have far too many books, and unless I get it from the library or already own it, I am not inclined to bring another into the house.  So I decided to go to Bonhoeffer’s own words for two reasons: I had already read   Life Together and found it readable and wise, and I already owned The Cost of Discipleship.

In the past I had read “warnings” that DB was not “evangelical”  By that was meant, I think, that he had been educated at liberal, mainline seminaries (such as Union in New York) and that, well, he was not American and would not see church/state separation or even authority of the Scripture and the deity of Christ the same way as “we” would.  So I walked into The Cost of Discipleship with a wary eye, al,ost with a sense of intellectual do-goodism:  “I should read this because it’s an important historical text even if he doesn’t have anything to say to me personally.”

Whether or not he could sign the same statement of faith I would is unknown and probably moot at this point.  He would probably sign the Apostles or Nicene Creed with a couple of disclaimers.   I set aside that prejudice to understand the book.  I started with the New Year.

As with many classics, Christian speakers and celebrities like to quote random sentences, often out of context.  The most common is “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”  This is from Chapter 4, “Disciple and the Cross” which is quite profound and which I am reading three times.  That quote is rather taken out of context or misinterpreted for drama’s sake.  In context he is talking about living in light of the cross, which means both suffering and rejection.  It is the rejection that is more painful, in DB’s thinking, and I agree.  Humans have suffered with or without faith in Christ. It is the suffering related to rejection due to allegiance to Christ that “signifies,” that distinguishes us and is what we are called to. 

I plan to follow up with more essays on reading Bonhoeffer at various times.

Higher education – the biggest conflict – ideational and aspirational

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Getting back into blogging after a couple of weeks thinking and writing.  I attended a higher education leadership conference this week (will keep the name and place nonpublic) and have been thinking a great deal about higher education and my place in it.

After reading Chancellor Dirks view http://news.berkeley.edu/2014/01/29/the-true-value-of-higher-ed/ and trying to listen to Liz Coleman’s Ted Talk http://www.ted.com/talks/liz_coleman_s_call_to_reinvent_liberal_arts_education and attending a conference on higher educational leadership, I have been reflecting, or cogitating as I used to call it, on higher education’s purpose, problems, and future.  Actually, I was doing so before the last few days, but I find some time to write about it with a long weekend.  I do live in a better-than-average place to comment on these questions, since I have a doctorate, have taught in college for 36 years, and work as a college administrator.

It seems that there are three basic views: 
1.     Higher education should be responsive to the free market and the needs of potential students to be economically upwardly mobile, and as such continue its slow evolution toward this goal, one it has either intentionally or unintentionally been pursuing for quite some time.  This means greater access, emphasis on return on investment, innovation to cut costs through alternative delivery systems.
2.     Higher education should keep its traditional goals of educating the capable young people for leadership through an emphasis on the traditional liberal arts and sciences but update approaches to these subjects; higher education should cast a wary eye toward too many calls for short-term adaptation just to deal with any short-term problems in higher education we seem to have.  A long-term view (backward and forward) will provide the best foundation for educating those who will approach societal problems.
3.     Higher education should totally transform itself to solve societal problems of climate change, poverty, diversity and exclusion, and war.

#1 is what I have been most exposed to in recent conferences about reimagining college because of (a) rising costs, (b) questions about the monetary value of college, and (c) pressure from governments, accreditors, new learning methodologies and technologies, and the business world.  I recognize the value in it but find it short-sighted.

#2 is what I read in Chancellor Dirks’ essay, or at least my interpretation of it. As someone in the liberal arts, I lean toward this one, except it doesn’t seem to take into account economic realities of the huge sector of the population who want to pursue higher education to improve themselves economically and socially.  He at least gives space to the idea that faith, religion, and spirituality have “skin in the game” here.

(In the ‘70s, when cults were becoming more prevalent at least in the public perception, someone said that the appeal of these groups was partly due to the failure of parents to raise their children with strong spiritual foundations of their own, ones based in the long-held traditions of their faith.  There is also the view that the rise of “fundamentalism” of the radical kind may be due to secularization.  Elites can dismiss faith-based institutions, but to me that only shows their own egocentric arrogance, as seen in the last view).

#3 is essentially leftist utopianism.  The mandate to higher education is to redefine the curriculum so that students will be ready to address social problems—and I think this is important—in a way that we elites say they should be addressed.  In this case, then, any talk of critical thinking and creative problem-solving is moot, because the goal is to achieve that vision of government or state-run healthcare, education, and economic efforts, but not to find another vision. 

Needless to say, I found the Bennington President’s message abstract, somewhat incomprehensible, and to the extent I did grasp it, untenable.  Lots of commenters on the Ted Talk posted how overcome with emotion they were by the talk, which got me to thinking about my own propensity to be impressed with something an intellectual says before truly digging through it. 

Perhaps the value of higher education is its institutional diversity, even if that is largely stratified into the Carnegie classification system.  Bryan College is accredited by the same organization that accredits the University of Georgia, but they have little in common in any way, except that they are “post secondary,” “higher education” and as such the students can get Pell Grants and loans to study at both. 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

And just for fun

A song hard to get out of your head:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A

The past, present, and future--Update for January 9

Going back to work after a two-week break has been a challenge, not the least of which is listening to everyone else whine about it.  After a nine-hour stint in the office, spending most of the time putting out fires, answering emails, and processing minutiae, I came home to a dog walk, dinner, and semi-mindless TV-watching five nights in a row.  Perhaps now I can get on track, although I am flying to a conference in Miami this week. (As one of my students said, "That sucks for you.")

As it is, I have several writing projects I want to pursue and that means a hiatus from the blog, with the hope that when I come back I will have lots to post of value because that is one of the things I am working on--a series on spirituality and one on Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I also have several book ideas that are incubating, and a play to submit to a contest, and my job gives me no time during the week to pursue these.  Plus a house in need of repairs!

I will say that we watched the last season of Foyle's War, a great show, this week on Netflix.  If you have not watched this, it is one of the most worthy things on Netflix to watch.  Iy also thought it was funny that the only three shows I watch all have Julian Ovenden in them!

As I have mentioned before, I have five novels available and lots of past blog posts. Sorry for the self-promotion.  A friend who works in Hollywood actually pitched two of my stories to some investors this week--it was rather sudden, but I massively appreciated it.

I will say I have noticed some memory issues in the last few weeks and it is probably due not as much to age as an over-filled brain and limited reflection time, so I will take William Wordsworth's advice on poetry, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility."  I am not a poet but it applies to all kinds of writing, which must be based on reflection. 

Be well!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Palliative Care and Assisted Dying

I found this program on NPR interesting: Morning Edition

The doctor who is quoted says:

"'Patients feel as though their choices are between untreated suffering or physician-assisted suicide,' she told NPR's Renee Montagne. 'Palliative medicine, when it's applied skillfully and at the right time, often relieves most of the suffering that prompts people to ask for [death] in the first place,'" she says.

"Van Zyl is head of palliative care medicine at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health New/Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News
But palliative care, which is focused on managing symptoms and relieving pain, isn't available to everyone, van Zyl says. There are smaller hospitals that don't have palliative medicine teams, and it may be hard to get treatment even in urban areas. Van Zyl thinks more work should be done to make palliative medicine more accessible. 'I worry that we make [lethal medication] available before we put the necessary effort forward,' she says."

I think that is the point: saying the patients have a choice in dying means they also have an opportunity to be pressured into something else.  As long as someone doesn't have all three options and doesn't have legitimate information, "aid in dying" is a tragic proposition.

Addendum: Janet Parshall had an interesting program this week about the new rules in Canadian medicine.  Her guest, Wesley Smith, made the point that we are moving from eliminating suffering to eliminating the sufferer.  I tend to agree.  Is this a slippery slope?  I have often felt that slippery slope is an over-used accusation of logical fallacy, and that the law of unintended consequence is stronger than the pull of slippery slope logic, especially when death and life issues are involved. 

A student last year was going to give a speech on "death with dignity" and I asked her if she was saying my mother, who had just died in hospice care, had not died with dignity.  I think I made my point with her; she at least had enough sense not to use the phrase in the speech. 

I do understand the concerns of people with terminal illnesses.  But it seems letting nature (or dying processes) take its course with the help of pain meds and making people comfortable would be the more humane thing than hastening death.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Welcome to 2016: Focus on Sent

After a two-week break, I return to work tomorrow and am trying to get in the frame of mind.  I plan to present a series of blog posts on spirituality and on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but want to emphasize quality rather than quantity and will probably keep it to one a week.  In fact, that is my goal for 2016:  simplicity, quality, less is more, focus.

I taught (although my time was curtailed and I didn't get it all in) on the word "Sent" in the book of John (and I may do a series of posts on John, too, my favorite book if that is allowed).  It is below, with caveats that I am not attacking another religion (in this case Buddhism) but making observations about the American version vs. the original.

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Which diagram seems to describe God and His world? (the small circles represent the world and the big ones God)

I tend to go with the third, although the second might make sense to some of us.  The first reminds me of the Bette Midler song about twenty years ago, "God is Watching Us from a Distance."  According to the Bible, God is not just watching us from on high in a sad but disinterested way and letting us do whatever we want.   When Jesus came to earth, he didn’t come like an alien to check us out or just bring a message.  He was fully a human and fully God Himself. 

The word for this lesson is “Sent.”  This is probably one of the most important words or verbs in the Christian faith, and very important in the book of John, where it is used sixty times to describe Jesus the Son, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, and us.  The word “apostle” means “sent one.” (sort of like post office!)

The word “sent” speaks to me of action.  God acted, Jesus acted, we act in the power of God.  We do not just take things as they are, we act upon the world around us, enter into it, do not shy away from it.  But at the same time we do not act upon our own initiative and power, but at God’s command. 

I am reminded of an experience I had in 2014, one that I have had much opportunity to reflect upon.  I was faced with people of other religious persuasions in a classroom setting.  One was a Buddhist, a religion that some Americans have been drawn to in the last thirty years.  She was trying to show how meaningful it was to her, and seemed very sincere.  In many cases Americans have reinterpreted Buddhism to fit our culture, but they end up with something that really isn’t the original Buddhism in Asia.  Whenever you see a picture of Buddha, what is he doing?  Sitting, either fat or thin (due to fasting).
Buddhism is about meditating in a certain frame of mind to find inner peace. Buddhism is also atheistic (in the sense that worship of a God being is not the point), so being a Buddhist Christian is impossible.
What did Jesus do?  He took action.  He said to pray to change reality. 

John 8:18.
P 132. 
What is the significance of Jesus referring to Himself again and again as sent by the Father?
Why do you think John emphasized this truth so much?
Quote on p. 133.

John 20:19-23
Think of all the post resurrection appearances of Jesus.  What did he say?
 Believe it’s me.  Don’t be afraid.
Dealt with Peter’s betrayal and Thomas’s and Mary.
Tell.  Go.
As the Father has sent me, so send I you.  Our faith is an active, going, moving faith. 
It is interesting that he said “Peace.” 

What is the place of peace in our lives?  What is the opposite of peace?
Anxiety.  Worry.  Anger.  Restlessness.  Impatience. 
So peace means security.  Confidence, rest, lack of anger.  Patience.
My story yesterday.  I was upset, not for waiting but for two people going ahead of me.  I was cranky about it, though.  How do we keep patience without being used?

Ultimately, we are sent into the world the same way Jesus was (not as aliens into a world that is not our own, but as people who belong there).  That is why we study the life of Christ.  He was in the flesh, he always told the truth, he was not fearful, he came to save not condemn, he served, he healed, he went to places that where “unclean” (lepers), he prayed, etc. 

Finally, the Holy Spirit was sent.  Not so much to replace Jesus, but to take on the next stage of the mission. 

John 14:26:  the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.  Not new stuff.  This is actually a big debate now in Christian circles.  Did the revelation end in the first century, or is God giving us new truth today?  No, we are being taught to apply and understand, but not given new doctrine. I have been guilty of saying, “God told me” and I think I will stop that.  I do believe the Holy Spirit talks to us to remind us of the Bible but we must be careful.  The heart is deceptively wicked and we can convince ourselves of all kinds of stuff. 

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Counselor or Consoler.  What kinds of thing would the Holy Spirit remind us of if He is our Counselor?

In a sense, Jesus elaborates on that in John 16:5-11.
The Holy Spirit indwells, teaches, counsels, guides, and empowers

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