Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Refronting the front of the house

Our renovations on our house have come along quite well.  A bit more sanding of floors and touchups and the inside work is done.

Now for the outside.

We had a professional landscaper over the other day.  Discussions ranged from driveway to decking to under-tree treatment of the ground.

Yesterday I took down a few branches that would be obstructing a deck.  Sometimes one step at a time signals the beginning.

Our hope is to have an inviting front yard by year end.  All a part of our desire to provide hospitality and gracious space.

Friday, June 2, 2017

A new word for the English language

Chatting with my brother today. 

At one point I was talking about my passion in life.  He mentioned that the word “passion” is so passe.

So I said maybe we could coin a new word!  Strong emotions come from the gut so I said we could be “gutrified”.  Didn’t work for him.

Being the teacher of biblical Greek that he is, he mentioned the word “splanchna”.  Since he lived in Germany for a number of years he added a bit of a German twist – which meant I didn’t understand him at all.  Mixing languages makes for strange syllabic bedfellows.

Having straightened that out, we went onwards. 

If we are looking for that intense desire, that deep passion, then a combination of “strength” and “splanchna” was in order.

So, the new word for the day is SPLANGTH. 

I have a splangth for writing.  I have a splangth for ice cream.

And so this warm day finishes with splangth!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Forgiveness – an introduction

I remember studying biblical theology in my younger years.  At that time the machinations of scholars were often portrayed as unfinished (of course they were – they were just dipping their feet in the water of discourse with other academics so you didn’t want to proclaim the “truth” without first checking it out with your peers). 

The title for books included the following – “an introduction”.  So, here is an introduction on forgiveness.

The Christian viewpoint is strong on forgiveness.  In fact, so strong, that if you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven.

Below I have outlined in my own language some definitions of forgiveness that I have run across.  I’m not sure I agree with them all.  After all, this is just “an introduction”!

Some initial thoughts on defining forgiveness:

Give totally – as though your loss was actually not a loss – you gave it to the other freely.

Give as though nothing has happened – consider things to be as they were before, as though the most recent incident had not happened.

Don’t take offense – refuse to take account.  Actually pre-omit the sin perpetrated against you before it happens.

Don’t receive what is given – instead of wearing a velcro suit attracting offenses, you wear a teflon suit that sheds offenses.

Don’t judge in the first place – there are no offenses where there is no wrong.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dwelling on the street

We all have a place we live.  Homelessness is not without a dwelling place.

We may not call it home.  We may not call it comfortable.  We may not even call it good.

Our real response to homelessness is based in a desire for human dignity.  Dignity is about sensing a greatness within each person that cannot be denied.  We degrade dignity when we shame others – expecting them to live within our standards.  A person degrades their own dignity when their own standard is not reached.

Let’s throw into this mix a far greater standard.  Let’s consider that there is a God who fixes a standard for humans.  To be like God would be the greatest goal – for surely a created being fashioned after God would be at their best, their most glorious, when they are most like God.

With that in mind – a person can be homeless and live with dignity.  A society can be oppressed and live with dignity. 

When we seek to live up to the glory that is God’s. 

Just a thought for the day!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Life is More Than Ethical Culture

Yesterday stirred up in me a return to research on A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  Here is an interesting excerpt from his magazine “Living Truths” (a magazine that ran for a few years in the early 1900’s).

Practical righteousness is a fruit of life, but it is not life, and to cultivate it apart from union with Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is just as unsatisfactory as it would be to try to cleanse a foul river by putting disinfectants into the body of the river rather than the fountain head.

Morality may exist without life, but life cannot exist without morality.  There is a good deal of reform abroad today without spiritual power, just as we fear there is a good deal of religion without righteousness.  Both are wrong.

Living Truths, Vol 7, No. 3, March 1907, p. 122.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In memory of Valerie Jill Baker–July 1, 1953–May 17, 2012

Five years have passed since the passing of my wife, Jill. 

Columbarium plaque - Jill 2012

I constantly remember.

Her laugh and love of life

Her music from the heart

Her love for family and friends

Her food for body and soul

Her love for me

I sometimes forget.

How quickly life passes

How grief is seasonally adjusted

How friends are precious

How God’s love is huge

How heaven is just around the corner

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Rethinking Holiness–Bernie Van De Walle

Well, I feel like I’ve been away from my blog site for a considered time.  I would consider it about a few weeks!

I’ve just finished reading through Bernie Van De Walle’s book RETHINKING HOLINESS.  Good read.  In fact I would go so far as to say a great read.

I’ve been thinking along the same lines as Bernie (a professor at Ambrose University).  We are living in a day and age where many people are trying to figure out holiness.  They may express it as a desire to do what is right, or they want to be better than they are or . . .

Bernie makes the point that holiness is not morality but rather the wellspring of morality.  Holiness is a way of being.  

Our world is currently assailed by many moralities (moral pluralism) which cause division, death and defeat.  Stretch your thinking and you come to the conclusion that holiness is rooted in God alone.  Life requires us to have only one focal point for holiness – Almighty God – if we wish to live in harmony (OK, that’s getting off into my own pet peeve, but I think Bernie would agree).  Finally, Bernie makes the point that holiness is grounded in union with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The 151 pages of readable text fill in the gaps.  And yes, Bernie, this is good Alliance theology.  A.B. would be proud of you – he might even have published this as a series of articles in his magazine!!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Moral Relativism is Dead

The article I was reading said moral relativism is dead.

The extreme of moral relativism is the statement – “Do your own thing.”  There is no guilt attached to whatever you do, whether helping the old lady across the street or killing your next door neighbour for being obnoxious.  You are your own god and make your own rules.

Doesn’t work too well!  I’m not so sure you can do whatever you want and claim what you did is right!  Otherwise we will all live in fear!

So then groups of people decided that the “tribe” could determine what was right.  And terrorism soon reigns.

And that leaves us with having to live by faith that there is a god who has a set of societal rules that we can all live by.  That god must be good, just, loving.  That god must have an overall sense of creation (better yet if that god created us creatures).  That god must have the best in mind for us as humans!

I believe our society is looking for that god.  As the USA states – in God we trust.  As Canada states – God keep our land. 

There seem to be many answers put forward – and thus we have moral pluralism.

The question is, which god is the God over all gods?

And now you know why Christians make the claim that God, as revealed in Jesus, is God over all gods – not because they are arrogant but because they believe that there must be an Almighty God.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spilling words

As I was doing my library studies, I took the opportunity to look at the great reference work called the Oxford Dictionary.  Each word contained some explanation of where that jumble of letters originated.  Some words seemed to ooze out of the ground in primordial days.  Other words were relatively new.  Oxford experts were assigned to follow and assess current usage of words that were not yet in the dictionary.  With an often misguided idea that change is slow and gradual.

With texts and ebooks and memes and Facebook and LinkedIn and . . . people are reading more and writing more than they ever have.  To accompany this trend, there are constantly new aberrations of the “olde” language.  4U and for me, this means having to constantly learn a language that spills out new every morning.

For a moment of reflection.

When you reshape words into new definitions, you create personal and societal insecurity. 

Often a new definition of a word arises out of an attempt to gather the old word’s noble qualities and attach them to the new definition. 

In this attempt, there is a possible explosion of lies and deceit – in order to gain power and authority.   By masking a word with what sounds good to the public, words can actually be reshaped to turn a previous evil into a perceived good.  We sense there is something wrong but can’t immediately pinpoint the lie.

And in the end, we are left seeking for truth. 

Jesus encountered this redefining of terms by those in the current administration.  Finally he was just plain blunt about the reshaping of language by the religious elite for their own gain.  Interestingly he retorted with – You say/but I say. 

And then the clincher!  Imagine how he stirred up the crowd by saying, “I am the truth.”  Imagine how deeply he stirred up commitment in his followers.

No wonder Christians continue to be on the cutting edge of societal change.  No wonder Christians continue to be persecuted.  No wonder Christians continue to love God and love others.  All words of truth that Jesus spoke.

Look at the horizon that a Christian sees – and all you will see is Jesus.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

On library funding

I’ve been thinking about writing an editorial for our local social media outlet.  This is a little bit personal.  I’m starting with this blog – where I have an audience a little more attached to me – THAT’S YOU!!

I have a Master of Library Science degree.  Obtained in 1986.  With a specialty in Archives.  I served as a volunteer archivist for a number of years, but have not been directly employed in the library area for awhile. 

As I watch local libraries – whether public or institutional – I see a great change happening.  In the late 90’s a friend, who was a library IT person, predicted the decline of libraries as warehouses and book distribution centers.

That day is now here. 

I recently read a research paper presented at a conference in Alberta.  The arguments were well written and the logic backed by research,  Of the over 20 books and articles cited and researched, only four were actual bibliographic entries that would indicate a “paper copy”.  All the rest were obtained digitally.

As I was taking my library school studies 30 years ago, there was a tip of the iceberg visible in the distance.  We knew that information was valuable.  Accessibility would be the key.  Google soon stood as the symbol of just that accessibility.

Some were suggesting that libraries expand their mandates – from mere parts departments dispensing books to something else.  The gamut ran to providing reference librarians for expert searching, to storytelling and literacy campaigns, to provision of community meeting space, to provision of internet access, to . . .

Have we lost the pinpoint accuracy of the library’s mandate, or have we expanded to take on the greater social good?  Have libraries become social service centers or are libraries best at doing a more focused service of providing access to information?

I would dare to say that the answer to these question has dictated funding in the most recent Saskatchewan budget.

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