Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

Carve a pumpkin without all the mess!

The Golden Rule

CNN has this story. Tracy Orr was about to lose her house at auction due to foreclosure. Marilyn Mock couldn't bear to see this stranger, Orr, lose her home, so she bought it for the purpose of letting Orr buy it back. Why did she do it? She says,


"She was just so sad. You put yourself in their situation and you realize you just got to do something," says Mock, who says she has trouble walking by homeless people on the street and not helping them out.

"If it was you, you'd want somebody to stop and help you."


I don't know if Mock is a Christian, but this is an example of true Christian charity. One thing that cannot be legislated is charity. No matter how good the intentions, if giving is legislated, no one really receives the joy that both the giver and the receiver gain when a gift is freely given.

By this good deed, freely given, Mock has sacrificed knowing that someone is truly being helped, and has probably gained a good friend on the way. Orr has the knowledge that someone has truly cared for her in her time of need. This can never happen when the transaction is carried out by a bureaucracy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Interviewed

I was interviewed last week by Shanna Flowers, of The Roanoke Times, regarding Sarah Palin coming to the Roanoke Valley. She got in touch with me through a friend of mine who is an editor at the Times. She was very pleasant and the article turned out well, unlike an article I was interviewed for with a reporter from The Guardian. I won't post that one here because most of what I said went unreported and what was reported was basically irrelevant to the article's theme - slam McCain/Palin.

So, kudos to Ms. Flowers. Read the article here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

When God Talks Back

My relationship with the Lord has been somewhat rocky over the last 11 months or so. In fact, I have barely been speaking to Him. I have only listened to Him for the briefest of moments.

When God speaks to certain of my friends, He always has wonderful things to say about how much He loves them and how dear they are to Him. He is so affirming and encouraging and always has something sweet to say. Sometimes I wonder why I do not experience His voice that way.

When He speaks to me, I often feel as if the very fabric of reality is being torn apart. I cannot help but feel completely overwhelmed with a sense of awe and am overcome by a sense of His holiness. Interwoven with those feelings is almost always a sense of fear, sometimes almost terror. His mighty voice always impacts me at the very foundation of my psyche. Sometimes His voice is painful. It always changes everything about my perspective. There is no voice that I love more than the voice of my Lord, but I will sometimes go for months avoiding Him. There is no presence more comforting than the presence of my Lord, but I will sometimes go for months walking alone.

When I can no longer stay away from Him and I feel desperate for His presence, I cry out to Him and He is always there, loving me. Sometimes I wish that He would simply say sweet, affirming things to me but He never does. His love is a truer and more authentic and sincere love than any human being is capable of. When He speaks to me, I understand what love is.

Last night He woke me up about about 1:30 am, inviting me to speak with Him. I surprised myself when I accepted His invitation. I spoke to Him last night about how frustrated and hurt I have felt. I asked Him how He could have allowed certain things to happen. I asked Him what was wrong with my perspective.

He answered me by simply saying: "The first will be last and the last will be first. I want you to cloth yourself with the fabric of being last. There is no fabric that is more alluring to me."

Well.... Where is the space to continue to feel hurt and frustrated when God says that to you? I think that when we fix our eyes on ourselves, we grow sicker and progressively more unbalanced/darker as human beings. It is only in fixing our eyes on God and on other people that we become balanced and more healthy in our minds and souls.

I went spontaneously into a time of meditation-- contemplating deeply the 7 demotions of Jesus Christ: He relinquished His equality with God, He made Himself nothing, He took on the appearance of a man, was made in the likeness of a man, became a bond servant among humankind, He became obedient to death and He accepted death on a cross. The Sovereign God of the universe did this, for us.

As I considered all of the goals that I have in my life, and how frustrated I have been in achieving certain of those goals, I could not help but consider what Jesus might have desired to have in His own life. All of the things that He gave up for us, so that we might live and have eternal life in the abundance that He promises.... The agony that He suffered so that we might be "healed by His stripes"... The complete abandonment of all of His personal interesets & intentions so that the will of God might be completed in Him... His masterful rejection of every temptation that would have led Him off of the path that His Father had set before Him....

He emptied Himself perfectly and His horrific visage on the cross was the pinnacle of all of the beauty in the cosmos. This is the beautiful garment of humility and servitude and love that God calls all of His children to put on, that we might be acceptable in His sight. The fabric is the blood of Jesus; His blood that courses through our own veins and somehow is seen by God as a radiant white bridal garment. We cannot put on this holy and beautiful garment without emptying ourselves and allowing ourselves to be filled with God.

How difficult it is-- this constant crucifying of our flesh and our desires! How difficult it is to surrender our lives to God! How unfathomably more difficult it was for Jesus though!

When God talks back to us, the clay of our flesh is remolded by His voice. How much easier it is to simply not listen for the sound of His dear voice and to become deadened to His presence. Then we can continue to fight for the things that the world tells us are of the utmost importance-- for those things that we feel that we are entitled to as human beings.

The first will be last and the last will be first. God's words, not mine. Who can hear His words and not be changed forever?

In Christ's Love,
Janine

Another Quiz?

Here's another quiz from Fred Sanders at The Scriptorium Daily. It's a vocabulary quiz from A Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis, that Fred put together for a college course he taught on the book.

I've been mulling over for some time putting together lessons to teach The Chronicles of Narnia for an adult Sunday School class. The only thing that has caused me to hesitate is that I'm afraid we'd have to rush through them in order to get the set completed within a year, but I still may do it. What has not caused me to hesitate, is that they are children's books. These books were written for children, but they are the best kind of books written for children, with the bigger themes of life woven through them, such as: our relationship to God, God's reaching down to us, Gods providence and our free will, sin, repentance, forgiveness, results of unrepentance, redemption of all of creation. Not exactly lightweight books, but lots of fun and very touching and relatable. If they help improve one's vocabulary, all the better.

Well, should you?




You Should Be Allowed to Vote



You got 15/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.



If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The overwhelming reason

I cannot vote for Senator Obama for POTUS is his extreme voting record on abortion. There are many other periphery issues on which I disagree with the senator, but this issue is at the center of how I vote. If we as a society will not protect the most innocent of human life, we will continue to disdain and degrade all of human life. Robert George, professor at Princeton University, has written a compelling article in which he say's,

What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama's America is one in which being human just isn't enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama's America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: ''that question is above my pay grade.'' It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator's pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy - and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.


Read the whole article here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Campaign 2008

This article, by Victor Davis Hanson, expresses the complete irony of this year's presidential campaign. I have always expected bias in the media, but this year, everything seems to be turned upside down.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October

is my favorite month.

I love the colors of the trees.


I love the crisp mornings that beckon for a fire on the hearth.

I love the azure blue of the sky when the sun is shining.

I love the rainy, windswept days when all that's called for is a pot of tea and a good book.


I love the quickening pace of preparation for the coming freeze.

I love that my favorite band has a song devoted to just that month and which captures its mood.

I love that most of my senses of longing, or as C.S. Lewis would call it, joy, have usually occurred in October.

October is truly a gift.

Come to Obama

Have you read about a Smith College girl's come to Obama moment? H/T Jim Geraghty

Or, perhaps you've seen this.

H/T Jonah Goldberg

Everyone has a faith, even Christopher Hitchens. To paraphrase Chesterton, "If you don't believe in God, you'll believe in anything.". I wonder if this looking to Obama as saviour is a backlash to the legalisms that must occur when one thinks God's law/love is too tough, and try believing in animal rights, global warming, social justice, etc. While all of these types of movements have their merits, they cannot save and and they are never satisfied. Are you against global warming? Then why have haven't you gotten rid of that car yet? Do you really love animals? Then why are you drinking milk? Do you love the poor? Then how can you possibly shop at Walmart?

False gods are never satisfied, and if someone thinks that Obama is god, woe to him when he finds out just what price he exacts.