Archive for December, 2016

A fall scene

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Some days thinking back and imagining a previous season is just plain fun.

11

Phrases that stuck with me

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

In the last while, I’ve been jotting down some phrases that might make for good titles, beginnings of blogs and just fun word play.  Here are a few:

  • Stumbling blocks or stepping stones
  • Passion leads to impatience
  • Forgive:  suffer to become less intense
  • True hearted and right minded
  • Reverential work
  • Our voices are a treasury of sampled sounds
  • Instructional versus relational
  • When purity of doctrine trumps love of others

Living on the water’s edge

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

I’m looking out my relative’s window at a small pond.  Our Christmas festivities will be fun, with possibly cleaning off the pound and shuffling around the ice.

The water’s edge was the location of cities in the past.  We all need to have water.  Without ease of access to aqueducts and pipes, the easiest thing is to locate next to the water.  Simplicity of access and maintenance sure beats some of the headaches of pipelines.

The water’s edge was the location of fun times and beach play.  We all need to have re-creation time.  Without ease of access to internet and video games, the easiest thing is to locate next to a space that allows for games and adventure.  Simplicity of access and the ability to just walk out the door sure beats some of the headaches of digital complications.

The water’s edge reminds us that things change and we need to take advantage of whatever comes our way.  From the choppy waves to the smooth ice, you can enjoy the environment.  Or you can choose to complain. 

So, even if all I do this festive season is look at the water’s edge, I’ll be reminded that creation is a good thing – and the creator intended this world for our enjoyment.

What we repent into

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

What a great title!

I guess for quite a while I have struggled with the word repentance.  I’ve come to see the term as referring to a change, a turning around, a conscious choice.  Unfortunately, I have seen the term used to bludgeon others, to condemn others who aren’t like us, to expect that the turning is all that is important.

The word “into” is the term I would like to attach to the term “repent”.  Just knowing what is bad is bad enough.  Not knowing what is good is really bad.

The list of bad needs to be accompanied by a list of good. 

Into the later decades of life, few people repent of the learning that they have done over the decades.  Merely pointing out to them that something is bad is not enough.  They have survived the bad.

Pointing out what they are repenting into is much more effective.  Building a picture that portrays paradise, when they are surviving in hell, is much more effective than painting a picture of the hell they already live in.  They know that hell, and they are surviving in that hell.  They want a hope of paradise – of a resurrection from death into life.

I like the term “Merry Christmas”!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.  Christ came into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.  (Scripture passage – John 3:16-17)

Obviously!

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

I finished a first draft of a book on funerals back in the summer.  Since then I’ve done very little to edit the book and next to nothing to promote the book (which I guess a finished product would be good to have in hand before promoting).

So, time to get down to the editing. 

Which I enjoy.

When I’m not distracted by cooking, cleaning, cooperating with others on their projects, cleaning up gmail and carousing around Facebook.

My latest temperament analysis shows that I am focused when I’m not distracted. 

I love the obvious.

Twas the week before Christmas

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Twas the week before Christmas

And all through the house

We just got stirring, quiet as a mouse.

When to our amazement, the sun finally rose

The weather was cold, well, that’s how it goes.

Our relatives visits are planned for some days

We’ll see each other briefly, then part our ways,

A church service or two will remind us again

Behind all the tinsel there is something that’s plain.

Christ came as a baby to die in our place

Across the ages and down through space.

His birth would provide peace and joy

For every Mom and Dad, girl and boy.

Merry Christmas, tis the best news there is

Jesus come to earth, the story is His!

90 years old and still ageless

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

These past two weeks I have had three female relatives who turned 90.

Hard to believe they know what outhouses are and can tell you when electricity finally reached them.  Their hair is gray, their eyes still sparkle, and you have to watch what you say – their hearing aids (or lack thereof) make them quite attuned to life around them.

This afternoon is a cake and ice cream time for one of the relatives.  We’ll swap stories and laugh.  We’ll drink tea and cry.  We’ll say good bye at the end, and never know when the end will be.  Much sooner than they thought when they were 9 instead of 90.

I love these times.  Their lives have been lived in ways that I can emulate – and so I watch them closely and find out what to imitate.

And that is the mark of a well lived life – when you stare through your eyes you find others whose eyes have been awakened by what you have seen.

May you have a day of seeing as you look to those around you.

Engage and enrage the culture

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

In my post secondary days of education I took culture courses.  These included things like ethics, morals, isolationism and assimilation.

I chose for my own life to be a part of the culture around me.

That has been a task that has not been easy.  My own conscience has more than once been assaulted by the possible compromises I was asked to own.  Sometimes a realignment of my own convictions meant my own small sense of truth was invaded by a greater truth.  And every once in a while I just had to stand up and buck the winds of change.

I prefer to engage our culture with hope.  I am willing to enrage the culture.

But most of all, I want to stand the  breezes of culture always with Jesus in view.  Wipe away fog, shield myself from the pelting of dust, even wear glasses to protect my eyes.  However I can see Jesus, that’s what’s important.

Vision / Consensus

Monday, December 12th, 2016

I had a most interesting talk with a former politician.  His view on consensus was interesting.  Basically the idea was that you start with your vision, put that forward, extract those who aren’t helpful to the fulfilment of that vision, and then you have consensus.

Of course, Obama’s and Trudeau’s election wins were related to another kind of consensus.  The idea was to poll the people, pulling from them their ideas and visions.  Then you put those all together and see if you can come up with a consensus.

The truth of the matter is probably found in context.  A fragmented group needs a vision.  A homogeneous group needs conversation. 

The recent election in the United States seems to indicate that there is a fragmented group that needed a vision.  Consensus through conversation was not about to be found.

My own inclination is towards conversation.  I think we work best when we feel together, when we agree without coercion.  But, perhaps there are times where a benevolent dictator is the best option.

OK, these are starting thoughts for an editorial in the next few months. 

Any further thoughts or feedback??

The nightmare of reading the Bible

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

I was sitting in a Sunday class studying the Bible.

In my usual fashion, I opened my mouth and something fell out . . .

“One of my greatest nightmares is reading the Bible.”

I’ve thought a lot about that in the last few days.  Funny how we can sometimes even teach ourselves.

I find the Bible convicts me.  As God opens the pages to me, I see how little I really am concerned for others – their needs, feelings, and even wants. I find that lists and narratives tell me when I am doing wrong.  That has a nightmare quality to me.

I find the Bible condemns society.  I see how others have taken a light approach to God and how they have been disappointed when God takes a light approach to them.  Anger is a part of God’s nature.

I find the Bible sets some of my presuppositions on edge.  I thought I had life and people and God all figured out.  Until I read the Bible.  And when I read it again, I had to rethink things.  Sometimes I think I should stop reading – having to change my opinions is a real nightmare!

And so, I read my Bible every day.  Somehow when I walk through to the other side of the nightmare, a new day is dawning.