Friday, November 25, 2005

Standing on Shoulders

Some days just can't be fathomed. Some days are seemingly normal until you stop to think. Today was such a day. Four generations of family, Numerous grandparents, great aunts and uncles, parents, children, cousins, my theology professor uncle telling me to get a Ph.D., brother, nephew, etc.

While we get to hold on to our individuality, we still must examine where we come from to know who we are. What a heritage of sweet people (even with our shortcomings).
The obvious parallel that can be seen here is the heritage of faith that is possessed by a believer. That is why tradition is respected and examined, not passed idly by as out of date and worthless. It defines.

Enjoy the UF thrashing of FSU tomorrow (I hope).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cry of the Postmodern Soul

Always hesitant to use "post-modern" in any setting, I should probably pen "contemporary, but that just sounds stupid. So what is the cry you may ask; and I say it is a cry for belonging and peace.

Some people fall into laziness and despair. Others go the opposite way into the land of achievement driven by insecurities.

"Today we need to hear again that God alone is worthy of our worship and obedience. The idolatry of affluence is rampant. Our greed for more dictates so many of our decisions. Notice how the fourth commandment of the Sabbath rest srikes at the heart of this everlasting itch to get ahead. We find it so very hard to rest when, by working, we can gt the jump on everyone else. There is no greater need today than the freedom to lay down the heavy burden of getting ahead (p. 21)."

The beauty of simplicity is that by letting go little by little and being filled with the spirit, one begins to cease their frenetic pace, let go of the hold others' opinions have on them and are set free (sometimes painfully slowly) from the lust for power and wealth that mainly corrupts and destroys. Foster writes beautifully how simplicity grabs a person:

"It slips in unawares. A new sense of wonder, concentration, even profundity steals our personality. We change our lifestyle, even taking up the ministry of poverty when it is clearly right and good, out of inner promptings, knowing that when the call is made the power is given. The tailor-made fit is perfect. Simplicity is a grace (pp. 8,9)."

Simplicity brings out a desire for Justice, love and respect for all people. In a phrase, it begins to transform a person from what they have become back to the person they were created to be. But it is most certainly not easy. Blessings.

[All quotes are from Foster's Freedom of Simplicity]

Thanks be to God, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Up yours, Cold-America!!!

I often chuckle in amazement when people tell me they couldn't picture having thanksgiving without it being cold outside, or Christmas without snow. It's akin to people saying they couldn't have church in a barn or in someone's house...Ludicrous.

If you examine the picture, you will determine that this is in fact a sunrise, and a sunrise at Sebastian inlet is an amazing time of communing with God. In addition, Sebastian has great surfing waves.

Florida takes a lot of crap about being Heaven's Waiting Room and "not part of the true south", blah blah blah...The issue is of course that many people will give you this, "The pilgrims founded the new world and thanked God after over half of their number died in the first year..." This is all well and good, but some Spaniards made it to the coast of Florida long before the Pilgrims got here, and they could at least steer a boat correctly. I just wonder why we don't give Ponce a little more credit. Dude had it right all along.

He got to Florida and said, no mas chaqueta! God has obviously smiled on this place. I can go run 6 miles at night in November (62 degrees, but he probably was thinking celsius). Anyhow, good to be home, My nephew is sweet, and Florida is still a good place.

Oh and if I've offended your Upper East Coast or Midwest sensibilities with this: Get over it and think about where you'd like to vacation in January; that's right, some place warm. Oh and don't take yourself so seriously, it's just weather and you have no control over it.

Also, next time we'll be running over some points from Richard Foster's Freedom of Simplicity. Oh and I need some more thoughts on the Fear/salvation thing. Engage your mind!

And don't forget to thank God for what you have (and of course the awesomeness of the State of Florida). Happy Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fear and Love: Paradox or Pragmatism

Question: should fear of hell play a part in salvation?

I've heard people speak honestly about what brought them to God, and sometimes they admit (as would I) that a fear of hell played a small/large part in their salvation. This is an interesting quandry. I can say that I've avoided doing things that seem tempting to me because I fear the negative consequences.

I know and agree that we are to have a fear of God, and that this is more than a healthy respect. However, knowing the Creator as I now do leads me to question the motivations of fear. Are we not called not to have a spirit of fear but of power of love and of a sound mind? I know that's a bit of proof-texting (sorry), but the point is still valid. If we love Him because He first loved us...interesting.

This could of course very quickly become a semantic discussion, so let's try to avoid that. But what brings someone to Christ? What brought Jesus to be a sacrifice. He overcame fear with love, but he is by far the scariest person to read in all the Bible. He just lays it out on the table and essentially says "Deal with it." He says to Pharisees, "How can you escape being sentenced to Hell?" (matt. 23:33) Christ certainly wasn't afraid to talk about it.

I guess it becomes a two-part question here: First, is it wrong for fear to drive the decision? If not, one part question, if yes, then is some form of pragmatism/utilitarianism okay? Does the end justify the means?

Love your thoughts...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Season for Celebration...almost

A quick disclaimer: this will be one of the few posts where I write largely about myself. If you don't like it, read someone else's blog.

Why is it a season for celebration you ask? I mean honestly, the leaves are falling off the trees and the sky is grey. Celebrate What? I'll tell you what my little poop stain: the completion of my masters report. That's right. You better believe it. Just today, I got the ok from my advisor to bind it up and give it to the members of my examination committee. Thus, December 1st will mark the day where I only must complete a final examination in my dynamics of structures class to be finished.

You know, I obviously couldn't see it, but if someone had seen me high-stepping and running down the third floor hall of the engineering building, they likely would have laughed...a lot.

Now to the true cause for celebration: had it not been for a great deal of providence, I would not have been able to complete this task. The project I had been working on was not close enough to completion, and I got to adapt a project I had completed at work this summer and fall. Praise Him!

Later on,

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Humor for you O.C. Freaks

Click on it and you can read it easier.

Bridges for the kids

I was asked to post some pictures of bridges I liked by a friend. Here you go, Nate.

Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee
Concrete Deck Arch

Old Steel Arch with Cable stays in Pittsburgh

Millau Viaduct in France
Cable-Stayed Bridge

Beauty and the Call of "Home"

For some reason, pictures like this always awaken in me a somber nostalgia. The funny thing is that I was born and grew up in Florida. I certainly don't think of Rural Vermont in Autumn as Home.

The picture seemingly portrays two things: beauty and peace. It is my contention that the nostalgia portrayed in images like this is the result of a soul created in the image of God. An almost deja vu knowledge of something I haven't seen before awakens a piece of me to life that I feel destined for.

Although I fully agree that the Kingdom is here for those who see it, we must also recognize that this place is not our final home. Or even if this place is, that we currently have separation from our Creator, and this causes us pain and a sense of longing. This is what we groan against in times when everything is fine and anxiety persists in the face of peace.

These are constant reminders to find my life and my being in Christ. Relationships, possessions, drama, hobbies, etc. can not fill the void left by broken relationship in our current state. May we seek ever to remember this and not waste our time and energy trying to run after things which will not satisfy, but will only leave us thirsting for more.