Sunday, 15 November 2015

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

For Remembrance Day

First nephew is in the Navy. It didn't really strike me last year on Remembrance Day, but this year I've been thinking about him. I'm proud of him for joining the ranks of men who will defend our land and stand for the weak. He's a good man. And I prayed for him a little bit extra today as I remembered what the price of freedom has always been, and what it might be again, and what it might some day be for me. Second nephew wants to join the Air Force one day, and I will be just as proud of him. And I will pray just as much for him.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

I am Not a Vegetarian

One Sunday I was talking with my class about the idea of giving up meat if it caused a fellow believer to sin. They were horrified at the very thought. I love that class. One of them argued that squirrels are fruit because we get them from trees. It was an interesting thought (and yes, he has shot and eaten a squirrel).

Anyway, I bring you my justification for not killing vegetables:

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Opening Lines

For your reading enjoyment, the opening lines of books I've been reading lately:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . ."

"I hate my father. I hate school. I hate being fat."

"I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war."

"Many people today are somewhat familiar with the parable of the prodigal son, found in Luke 15:11-32."

"The joy of fearing God? It sounds like a contradiction in terms."

"On the first page of Romans in my Greek Testament, I have scribbled at he top of the page a few significant dates."

"It was midnight in Ankh-Morpork's Royal Art Museum."

"There was once a woman who had three daughters, of who the eldest was named "One Eye," because she had only one eye in the middle of her forehead."

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Stories That Didn't Happen

From some old notebooks, I give you the start of some stories.

First, an introduction to a fairy tale or fantasy:

The problem with being a princess in a small kingdom like Kalden, though Marlynda, was that you got all of the restrictions and inconveniences, but none of the perks, of being a princess.

That's as far as that one got. This one may have been based on real life:

She took eight buses every day, and all eight of them were noisy. There were the crowds of students (high school and college) chattering loudly, and not always in English either. Too bad, because that cut down greatly on her eavesdropping. There was usually at least one crying baby or cranky kid, and a mother's constant refrain of "sit down...I said sit down...properly...sit down now!" She didn't know why they bothered; even if the kid did sit down, it was never for longer than half a minute at best. Which isn't to say that there weren't some good kids on the buses; just not all that many.

This next one just stops part way through a sentence:

A state of utter confusion is not always a bad thing. It can keep you from seeing what is truly terrible by keeping you busy trying to understand what really is. Plus, it can be a lot of fun. Take, for example, the classroom of James T. Barker. The grade four students

I have no idea where that sentence was going. I was either interrupted or realized that I didn't actually know what was up with those students!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Adoniram Judson

I've been reading To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson. It's the story of Adoniram Judson. I've read about him before in the Christian Heroes Then and Now series, and last year I read My Heart in His Hands, the story of Ann Judson, his wife. This book is longer and more in-depth than the others and I'm really enjoying it.

There are two things that stand out so far. The first is how real this book makes Mr. Judson. Many missionary biographies gloss over faults and paint a beautiful picture of the man. This book shows the whole man, including his mixed reasons for becoming a missionary, his battles with himself, and his struggles with pride. Along with all of that, of course, are his joys and successes and his hard work. Showing the whole man is more honest than just showing the good parts, and it is encouraging for those considering missions (or any type of ministry) but don't feel "good enough".

The other thing was the challenges he faced in translating the Bible. There were no words in Burmese for many of the ideas in Christianity because they didn't have the same concepts. They had no concept of an eternal God, for example. His struggles mirrored how I sometimes feel when speaking with non-Christians: we don't always speak the same language (even we are at least using the same words). The solution people give is to stop using Christian terms, but I don't think that works. Sometimes the alternatives end up lacking. We can't talk about an eternal God without some ideal of eternal: not just a long time, and not just forever from some point, but eternally existing from before all time. Mr. Judson used words from a separate language, one that the Buddhist monks used, that had the ideas he needed. We use the words we have, explain what we can, and pray that they will understand.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Thoughts at the Beginning of a New Year

As a teacher, I find it hard to accept that the new year begins in January. It's still winter and cold and snowy (at least in my part of the world). For me, the new year begins in September, with the start of the new school year. This actually caused some confusion once with the elders at the church. I said, late one fall, that we might need to start a new Sunday School class "next year". They thought I wanted to start it in January. I wondered why they thought I would want to change things part way through the year. Really, they should understand that "next year" in a Sunday School context is the next school year.

I don't have any New Year's resolutions this year. They always seem so pointless to me: this year I'm going to change everything and be wonderful and do everything perfectly! No I'm not. I'm going to be the same person I already am. Of course I'll change; we all do, and usually it's good. I'm just not going to set up some unrealistic expectations and then feel guilty when I don't live up to them.

On that note: I'm also not doing a "read through the Bible in a year" plan. I find it very stressful and either I rush some days or I get behind and then read all of Revelation in the last three days of the year just so I finished on time. This year I found a "read through the Bible in 3 years" plan. It works for me. Each day you're supposed to read 1 chapter (and on occasion 2 short chapters). Now I just follow the reading plan (it alternates between Old and New Testaments), and read how ever many chapters I want to that day, taking time to think about what I'm reading rather than just reading to get it done for the day. If I read more than one chapter (and I've been doing 2 most days so far, but it's only the 6th), that's fine. If I have a busy day and don't read (by which I mean "Tuesdays" when I work 9-5, and have Bible Study in the evening, and often don't get home until 11), it's not the end of the world. I'm also doing my reading in the evenings instead of mornings. I don't like to feel rushed in the mornings, and I need something to focus my thoughts in the evenings rather than spending all evening on the computer.

I do have a goal for 2015: the 2015 Reading Challenge. It looks like a fun way to decide what to read and maybe try something new. I've already finished one book (The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde) and I've started 3 others. I'll see how it goes.

I'd also like to write more this year. No promises there, though!