Showing posts from June, 2016

A Passion for the Impossible

I am slowly reading Miriam Huffman Rockness' amazing biography of Lilias Trotter.  She and her colleagues were pioneer missionaries to Northern Africa in late Victorian and Edwardian England times.  I am about two-thirds through. 

I will quote a section from Ms. Trotter's diary about translation problems.  It seems appropriate in light of middle Eastern persecutions. 

There are side touches too that bring Him near-yesterday "Fear not little flock" came in the chapter that we were working on--& we were getting at the right word for "little flock"--"Would that expression--jelieb--I think it was--mean such a little flock that it would not be worth the shepherd's care?" asked M. Summers.  "No, if it were a very little flock the shepherd care for it all the more," answered Hadj Brahaim--and up shot the echo in thanksgiving to the great Shepherd who has such a very little flock in these Moslem Lands--He "are for it all the more.&q…


I am not one to encourage people to watch television, and especially not to binge-watch.  Life is too precious to spend anything but exhausted downtime in front of the television.  TV for me is a wind-down when my mind has been totally engaged for ten hours straight and it needs a break.  However, in some cases, what I am watching is still intellectually engaging and at the same time emotionally powerful.

Such was the case with a British show my husband got me watching on Netflix.  From the very beginning I was hooked, and that is saying something.  I have finished the first two seasons and I recommend it highly.  I will admit David Tennant's Scottish accent gets pretty dicey sometimes, but other than that, it almost seems like the show was made for Americans.

I did figure out the killer, well, the first one in the story, ahead of time, but that didn't keep me from continuing the watching.  It is interesting that an Anglican priest is one of the main, sympathetic characters an…

Everyone and their opinions

My son often says about our dog, She has an opinion about everything.  Pit bulls are strong-willed and bossy, read that as they can be a nuisance, and Nala likes attention and will make sure she gets it.

However, people have opinions about everything and social media and the Internet makes it possible for everyone to broadcast their opinions 60/24/7/365.  Not only in print, but in videos.

Nowhere has this been seen so much as since the Orlando mass murders.  Christians especially have taken to the cyberworld to express something.

These expressions almost always contain 1.  condolences,  2.  expressions of how horrific this is, 3. a search for meaning/call to spiritual renewal/prayer, 4. some reference to the cause--innate human sinfulness or an ideology, 5. sometimes a political reference that guns by themselves are not the culprit, and usually 6. a veiled, implicit, minute reference that despite our empathy and horror and prayers, we still have a difference of conviction about the &q…

Apologizing? Seriously?

People keep asking or demanding the Donald Trump apologize for his (cough, cough, I'll refrain from adjectives) statements.

Ok, number 1, he hasn't really done so yet.  This is the guy who says he has nothing to ask forgiveness for.

Number 2, at this point, he couldn't be much more outrageous or say anything worse that would disqualify him from having the whatever to be the president.

Number 3, to ask him to apologize is saying, "Maybe he really didn't mean it."  Good grief, of course he means it!  It may not make sense and it may be totally unacceptable, but he means it!

Someone wrote on a comments board, "We have 330 million people in this country, and this is what we end up with to choose between for president?"  That just about wraps it up.  Only the most outrageous and unlikable are eligible, I guess.

P.S. Please don't take my Trump comments as endorsement of anyone else!

Southern Baptists by a Southern Baptist

This link takes you to an opinion piece by Ed Stetzer, who is leaving Lifeway (interestingly, at the same time one of his associates is, possibly, to become our pastor) for Wheaton College.  I like Ed and read him a lot.

If people are leaving because of externals and not doctrine, that means we can do something about it.
We can stop treating women as less than.

We can turn away from the Republican party as a group (but not individuals if that is one's bent, which for 90% probably will be but we won't be broadbrushed as in their pocket).

We can focus on missions and ministry rather than buildings.  Seriously.

We can have shorter sermons (when did sermons start being 50 minutes long?)

We can stop blowing smoke in worship services (and I mean literally blowing smoke. Good grief, it's not a night club.)

But those who would say, become more accepting of the culture, well, I have to say that needs nuance.  It …

A few thoughts about blogging

Since my last post was about our narcissism as distinct from God's receiving of glorification and praise, I think I should say a few things about this blog.

I've been blogging here for ten years and have 1528 posts.  So it wasn't a fad.  Some days I post five or six times; other times I go for weeks, fasting or looking for something worth writing about.  My two most popular posts are the review on Twelve Angry Men and my posts on Kallman's.  Apparently is someone "googles" (which we all do habitually and I am trying to "yahoo" some) "famous people with Kallman's" they get me, although I didn't know I was famous.  Would rather not be, actually, although I would like to have my novels recognized.

Blogging is an outlet, and I admit that I prefer to give more substantial posts here rather than writing quickies on Twitter and Facebook, where I believe reasoned discourse is impossible due to the brevity.  The medium is, was, and always s…

Mistaking God for a Human

A couple of random quotations from the radio this week and my thoughts.

"God was being sarcastic with Job in chapters 38-41."  I think because our irony so often becomes sarcasm out of our need for self-glorification, we take God's use of irony and hard questions of Job as sarcasm.  Since I cannot think of any time when sarcasm (as distinct from irony or satire) is not used out of a desire to make ourselves look superior and the other look inferior, which are sinful motives, my syllogism concludes that God does not use sarcasm.  Sarcasm is beneath God.  It's like God saying "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" to someone.

We often say that everything exists for the glory of God, which could sound like God is incapable of being satisfied in that regard, that He is always craving glory and praise and has some deficit.  I think we should watch our language more. God does not need our glorification.  The whole universe is doing that, including the beings in heaven, and that i…

Women in New Testament ministry

I            I have posted below some verses from the New Testament about women ministering in the early Church.  Although Paul famously taught that women should be quiet in the church (service?), apparently they didn't take this to every level.  He commended plenty of women in the early church for their service and ministry.

What I also notice is that the phrase "men and women" often occurs, even when persecution, jail, and martyrdom is mentioned.  Why did the Jewish leaders want the women (and mothers of children) treated this way?  Why did the Romans later treat the women as badly as the men in the torture and killing?  If women are treated equally in martyrdom, why should they be unequal in other ways?
From a human perspective, these are logical arguments. I have mixed feelings about it.  When women are spoken to in an exhorting way in the New Testament, it is almost always about their "mouths"--gossip, strife, busybodying, etc.  That has not ch…

Do We Own Dogs or Do They Own Us?

Dogs apparently begin to think they have rights to expect and get certain human behavior.

Last night was lovely so I decided to sit on the front porch and read (actually surf the Internet, but I was reading things).  I had walked Nala and we had eaten dinner.  All good.  But she was inside and kept barking and growling, low, at something outside, even though nothing was there.

My husband came to the front door.  "What does she keep growling at?"

Me:  "I don't know. There's no one out here."  Idea.  "Maybe she's growling at me being out here."

I came inside.  The growling and barking stopped.  She wanted me to go to my room and read or watch TV so she could sit with me by the bed.  She was quite happy when I did.

This is like the time she wanted water and carried the bowl in her mouth to the room I was in and set it down.  Or the time we were walking in the Chickamauga Battlefield and I got turned around as to where the car was parked.  I start…

Prayer Thought


I hope no one comes to this site looking for real information about this condition.  Please go to WebMd.  I was diagnosed with this the other day and read the websites.  The nurse midwife who I saw for my appointment this year (my sweet gynecologist has moved to Texas!) says I need a Vitamin D test and to take 500 milligrams of calcium 3 times a day.  I bought some chewable ones that taste like gumdrops; it is hard to believe they are doing any good.

I do not fit the profile, other than white:  I am not Asian, thin, nor have I smoked and drank in my life.  I only had one child, but I don't drink much milk.  It is more likely that the Kallman's and lack of hormones for all these years has contributed to it.

I think osteopenia is a term for "take more calcium so you won't get worse." 

Another Generation Arose

I taught from the first two chapters of Judges this morning.  I had volunteered to teach my small study class before I realized it was about Judges, so I was challenged to find the meaning in it.  Since Romans 15:4 and I Corinthians 10 tells us there is value in the Old Testament narratives, I can't just pass over them, even though I have a note in my version of the Bible that the book of Judges is like a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Judges 2:10 was my message:  A generation arose that did not know the LORD.  As in Spanish, Hebrew made a distinction between intimate personal knowledge and just knowing what or how.  (Conocer vs. saber)  This know in 2:10 is intimate personal knowledge.  It was not a matter that the next generation was not told the stories of the past lives of the Jews; they did not share the faith and emotional experience of knowing God that Joshua and the elders had.

When we pass the baton on to the next generation, they must have seen the reality of God in our lives.…

Watching old Hollywood movies and shaking my head at the "racism"

i can't resist it--Cleopatra is on TCM.  It's on so I can look at the spectacle, not listen to inane dialogue.  Cleo is being drawn into Rome on a "float" shaped like the Sphinx, and being pulled by hundreds of slaves/warriors.  Wow.  This was the most expensive movie up to this time, $44 million, I think I read. 

The entrance of Cleo, AKA Elizabeth Taylor (still beautiful but way too old for the part and starting to put on the pounds) was preceded by dancing by scores of Africans in provocative dress.  I couldn't help think of Beyonce.  Please don't take that wrong--the camera focused on one woman dancer who was doing some pretty Beyonce moves; I've seen enough video clips to know.  True native dancers would not have worn bathing suit style outfits that were salacious enough to titillate the crowd but not hackle the censors.  If such dancers had really preceded Cleo, they would have been naked or more covered. 

The bad side of watching TCM movies is that…

Humor, Laughter, Satire and Good Taste

I have a colleague who is also a humor scholar (and has been a stand-up comedian and disc jockey) whose email signature bears the phrase:  "Laughter is not a luxury; it is a necessity." (Or something very similar to that). Since the book of Proverbs says a merry heart does good like medicine, I heartily agree with him.  I have a sense of humor about most things, love to laugh, like to post some silly things on Facebook, use humor a lot in my class.  Sometimes my humor is a little on the snarky side, like an incident today . . .

There are two Christian radio stations in our area that are right next to each other on the dial and share a great deal of programming.  One plays more contemporary music and the other probably thinks anything recorded after 1980 was of the devil, but there are times I like to listen to the "old-timey" station to hear old hymns.  My reaction is often, "I haven't heard that one in years," as was happening today.  One song that c…

Develop a relationship with Jesus

In the spirit of my last post, I would like to unpack this phrase.  What does it mean?  Who can develop a relationship with Jesus?  Why would you want to?  Jesus is in heaven, right?  What if he is not interested in developing a relationship with the person?  Doesn't he have a say in it?  What are the ground rules for such a thing?

Obviously I am pouring on the snark, so please don't stop reading.  I am not really so negative all the time.  But this phrase just bugs me, largely because I don't know who started it, what they meant theologically, or where it is in the Bible. 

To develop something means that the thing is already there.  If I develop land, the land is existent.  I building on it, bring in sewers, electrical wires, etc., but the land is there and, supposedly, I am increasing its value (to people and monetarily) through this work and investment. 

So maybe the person means to start a relationship, or to build on the relationship already there.  Not sure.  There …

Bad Advice?

I walk my dog, Princess Poops-alot at a complex that includes a very large high school and somewhat smaller middle school.  Since school is out for the year, the marquis at the middle school has this message:
"Schools out.  Have a good summer.  Don't ever change.  Stay cool."

I don't think that's the best message to send the young people, and they hopefully will ignore it as they do so much else that gets put on school marquis.  Seriously, don't ever change--stay like a thirteen-year-old for the rest of your life (as if one could?)  "Be the best you you can be" would challenge them and still affirm them.

Stay cool?  Well, considering summers in my region, yes, that makes sense, but not cool in that other sense.  Young people are perplexed with being cool--how to do it, what it means, how to sustain it.  Arriving at coolness is a fruitless and futile errand.

In that vein, I recommend this for young parents:…