Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Do Not Despair"

As we prepare to go to the polls, reflect on these words by Charlie Chaplain, playing the part of a Jewish barber mistaken to be the dictator of Tomania (from the film "The Great Dictator, released in October 1940 before the fall of France by Nazi Germany):

Death Beth Knows . . .

Find out if you're going to die . . . before it's too late.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Underlined

Anyone who knows me knows of my love for books. My office shelves are quite packed and no room is found on any shelf in the house. While I like books neat and orderly on the shelf (and I am not as ordered as some--often visitors are astounded that my books are cataloged, like in the library. I could be like one individual who arranges his books by size and color . . . ), I am finding there is a particular beauty in stacking them where there is no room. I am moving from “library” to “thrift shop” in terms of style. 

Isn't the (above) picture beautiful? No, they are not mine. :-(

Given my love for the bound word, believe me when I say I find it extremely difficult to pass by any stack of books for sale, particularly used books. Being that I am in an academic setting, boxes of books often appear in various places ranging from $1.00 or more a piece down to twenty--five cents or “Free.” I know these “free” books--books that never sell and need to be cleared out. True treasures to be found, even in free books (“one man’s trash” and all that).

Browsing a shelf recently I picked up a title I found intriguing. Never heard of the author. Without opening I correctly identified the to be of the 1980’s. Self-help-ish. The title matters not, nor does the author--the contents of the book make these details irrelevant when it comes to describing them.

Every line of every page, save the last ⅓ of the book, was underlined. Every line underlined.

Blue ball-point pen. Sentence after sentence. Phrase upon phrase. Paragraphs in their entirety. Page after page after page. Underlined.

Except for the last ⅓.

Suddenly, the subject matter of the book mattered nothing. I was intrigued by what must have been going through the readers’ mind. I can’t help but continue to wonder:

Why underline so much? Why underline at all?

Was the subject that interesting?

What was the most important?

What did the former owner get out of it?

Does he (or she) remember any of what was read?

Was underlining a tool to scan the page--was it read at all?

Why does the last of the book remain untouched? Were they finished at such-and-such a chapter? Did they lose interest? Die?

Should I buy the book and finish it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Driving in the Dark

The sun had not yet risen but growing light was blooming color back into the world. My headlights pierced fog’s cloak, the friend of the night that wrapped trees and road in a cold gossamer veil. Sliding quietly up the road, a large dark shape suddenly filled the opposite lane. I did not see the vehicle except by the deep shade that blended in with the shadows of the banking curve and the trees. My headlight beams bounced off shiny surfaces as the driver of the other vehicle drifted on his way the other direction--no lights burning. Glancing in the rear-view mirror, I slowed and watch the car until out of site, no signs of light anywhere, driving in dark’s diminuendo.

I watched the vehicle long enough to realize this fellow had no intention of turning on his lights. How could he see? Could he truly drive safe with the light he had? Perhaps, but the driving is slow and even poses a danger to other drivers--especially when the unspoken rule of driving around these parts is “when approaching a vehicle moving the opposite direction of your route of travel, steer into the center of the road.”

Curiosity got the best of me. I turned my lights off, to see what the other driver saw. Not much. I knew where I was going, but could barely see. I slowed down, cautious. The questions came flooding.

Why was he driving without lights? Did he just wake up? Did his headlights work at all? What’s the purpose of driving blind?

The spiritual principles collided head-on.

God is light and intends for life’s journey to be illuminated, which means there must be a relationship between God and the individual. The light must be “on” to the eyes that need to see.

When I turned my lights off and drove for a moment, the picture was clear that in these conditions, light was necessary. So why turn off what is needed most? If the world is without light and I have light, what is accomplished by quenching the light except that I now try to be like what I am not. This is dangerous to me and to others.

Can I keep it between the ditches of life if I hide my light?

How am I helping those who need to see? Sure, I may know where I am going--perhaps I could continue on with eyes closed, but God is not in that business: He is the eye-opener and intends for us to journey not by our “feels” but by what He plainly reveals before us.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kids and Classical Music

Great concept, but . . . couldn't help but could'nt help but lol a time or three:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Every Person Important

One reason many stop reading the Bible is the genealogies. The names are tough enough, but the smallest amount of confidence can lend to an acceptable pronunciation--a list of names is no reason to stop reading. The list of names is given for a reason and discovering that reason can be quite satisfying. Sudoku, crosswords, word searches and assortments of puzzles provide hours of entertainment, so why should a list of names slow us down? Isn’t is amazing that so many people have lived on this planet and are forgotten? These names are recorded in God’s Unchanging Word locate specific people at a specific time in a specific place. They must be mentioned for a reason even if all we have is a name.

We belong to a movement with the primary distinctive of teaching through the Bible book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse. Running the risk of sounding critical, one cannot help but wonder why when we approach many of these passages our teaches say to the effect, “see that list of names? Good, now let’s move on to where the action is.” Either we should change our distinctive, or do what we say and find what God would have us know concerning these elusive individuals.

One distinctive passage stands out that is worth investigating: 1 Chronicles 1 is a nice list, so go find your Bible and let’s make a few observations. The passage opens with no explanation, just names. So what? What is the author saying? What does he want us to know? In order to find out, one must slog through to Chapter 9 verse 1. This shows we have not asked the right question, but we did not know we were to ask this and now we can’t help but wonder about this “exile” business, can we? Let’s return to the Chapter 1.

What strikes you about verses 1-4? Who is mentioned and what do they mean historically? We have the history of all men, starting with the first man (Adam) and ending with Noah and his sons, the patriarchs of all nations. There’s our first clue on what to expect from the next verses. Notice: Japheth is mentioned last. I find it helpful to get out my pencil and start marking . . .


The last-mentioned son (Japhet) gets first treatment in verses 5-7. The reason why the last is first will become clear shortly (almost sound like a biblical principle, doesn’t it?). Here we find a list of everyone who settled (generally speaking) in the furthest reaches, as far North and West as Asia Minor, Cyprus, Turkey and as far East on the opposite side of the Persian Gulf. The genealogy goes no further because their mention only sets the world stage. The rest of their history does not fit the direction of the writer.

The descendents of the second-born son (Ham) are described in verses 8-12 describing those who settled in the general regions of Babylon, Canaan and Egypt (the Hebrew word is “Mizraim”). Speaking of Canaan, look who becomes the focus of verses 13-15. Sort of like zooming in through a microscope. As before, these are other characters on the world stage and their mention only helps to establish national relationships (no pun intended).

The first-born son of Noah (Shem) is the basis of everyone else that follows, so he gets the greatest treatment, through Chapter 8 as a matter of fact. This why he is mentioned last, not first. Verse 17 lists nine of Shem’s sons, one of whom is Arpachshad. One of his descendants (Eber) is serves as an eyewitness to the “days the earth was divided.” His brother was Joktan, now listed with his descendants.

Verse 24-27 reiterates the direction of the genealogy being recounted (in case the reader gets lost) going back to Shem, focusing on Eber and carrying us forward without incident to Abraham.

Verse 28 tells us Abraham had two sons. As before, the second-mentioned (who we also know is the eldest) receives first-treatment through verse 33. Verse 34 now focuses on the first-mentioned (the younger son, Isaac) and his two sons: Esau and Israel. Verse 35 is the head of the rabbit trail where we chase the descendants of only two sons of the five who are mentioned.

Are you paying attention? I hope so because if you are, coming to verse 28 we find a person who suddenly appears on the scene with no introduction--where did Seir come from? The descendants of only five of his seven sons are mentioned--what’s going on?

Please consider this:

verses 1-7 describe the genealogy of all mankind, verses 8-16 detail the genealogy of the nations, verses 17-27 explain the descendants of 1st-born of the nations verses 28-42 introduce the sons of Abraham among whom we find the Edomites, sons of Saul, the inhabitants of the land as described in Genesis 36:20-21.

Now that we understand this, we understand that this final section describes the Kings of Edom “before the sons of Israel reigned” (verses 43-51a) and their tribal chiefs (verses 51b-54). This is only the first chapter.

Every person is important and God keeps a record in books of His own. So much is packed into a list of names and the intrigue only grows! Don’t think for a moment that any person is insignificant. One need not be Abraham or Abraham Lincoln to make history. We each have a role in God’s plan.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Randoms

Time to meet your sole mate! Find the perfect workout shoe for your routine and find what to do after you make a purchase (where was this article when I needed it?).

Who do you luv?
(ht: cheezburger fail blog)

Think of it as a tribute to invention:

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Photoblog: Wed Design

Amazed at the wonders of Creation. These two were found merely inches apart.

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