Saturday, December 31, 2016

Taking the Looooong-term view

We Americans, Christian and non-Christian alike, tend to focus mostly on the short-term.  We are micro-wave folks that can’t even wait for that.  I read several places recently that the Average American has only like $5000 is his/her bank account.  Wow!
One KEY problem with this short-term view is heaven.  Heaven is a ways off—at least we think it is a ways off.  We think, not about heaven, but about the tv show coming on next.  We think about something that is going to give IMMEDIATE pleasure.

One POSITIVE aspect of old age is that we realize that life is short, and that we do NOT have much longer on this earth.  These are good reminders to think looong term- eternity- rather than short term pleasure.  You are realizing probably, that I have said this over and over.  And, astute readers will realize I am MOSTLY talking to MYSELF!

Like most of you, I am struggling  to take this long -term view.  I want the here and now to be wonderful and I want to orchestrate all my circumstances to make it as great as possible- even if it is short term.

It is a struggle.  I write to you, dear reader, to remind myself- it is a struggle.

But, this too shall pass, and pass quickly.  On the other hand, eternity, as you can tell by its name, is the real-deal, long term.  Let’s think about that a while.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mistakes and Apologies- MINE

As we approach the New Years, and the time to make resolutions, let me resolve to make more mistakes.


Yes, that is not a typo- this time-  I resolve to make more mistakes.  I resolve it, because it is one resolution I will likely keep.  If you have been reading this blog long, you realize that my prediction is safe.  I make errors ALL the TIME!!  I just had to correct a typo in the post that came out today (early November).  It is likely I made other errors I didn't catch.  If you do stuff, you make errors.

Most errors aren't that bad.  I read a book recently which described a Company's policy as saying, errors aren't a problem... as long as we learn from them and get better.

At my age, I am not sure I get any better- in fact it seems I am getting worse at a LOT of things.  But I still accept my errors.  It's not that big a deal- as long as no one gets hurt but me.

That said, I apologize for my frequent errors and ask your indulgence and forgiveness.

G^d KNEW that man would make errors- sins.  He was NOT caught by surprise.  He tells us that the Christ as crucified BEFORE the foundation of the earth!   He was NOT caught off guard (that repetition was intentional, not an error).

G^d has made provision for my intentional and unintentional errors- what we call sins.  Christ gave his life to correct my errors.

Thank you L^rd for your grace and mercy!  L^rd knows I need them!

Good to know.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Celebrating Easter-- Christmas Day

My son-in-law has a dual role- he is also my pastor, and a friend too.  Because a LOT of people will be gone Christmas Day, a Sunday this year, including the pastor, he asked me if I would give the Christmas Day sermon.

Of course!

I prayed and meditated and heard G^d say, "Talk about Easter".


"You heard me!"

And so today's sermon was titled, "Celebrating Easter".

You see, without Easter, Christmas would NOT be celebrated at all.  Plus the distractions of Christmas are much LESS obvious at Easter.

The text of the sermon is Luke 24: 1-11, with a focus on v. 5, which asks the crucial question, "Why do you seek the Living among the dead?"

What does this say about Christmas?  Lots.  Our Christmas celebration starts with "Black Friday" wherein Americans spend  lots of money, thinking that the perfect gift will make the holidays joyous.  Sure, materialism rules!

It seems America, including Christians, and really the whole world is looking for life in the cemeteries.

Materialism, greed, the prosperity gospel- all are destined to die!  Why not invest in spiritual matters, that will not pass away!Image result for looking for life in the cemeteries

Merry Christmas!!

I felt compelled to change the usual blog schedule a bit, so as to post on Christmas Day.  As everyone knows, this is the Christian celebration of the most important birth in mankind's history.

As many have said before, the significance of the birth of The Christ often gets lost in the commercial and cultural distractions of the season.  "Merry Christmas" has been replaced with "Happy Holidays", and many other changes distract us.

Enough said. If you have lived very long, you have seen and experienced the de-spiritualization of a KEY spiritual event.

But, whereas we may have minimal impact on the larger culture, we can influence our own families and customs.  My suggestions:

  1. Stop right now and pray.  Thank G^d for intervening on our behalf, on my behalf!
  2. Remind those around you of the Birth, life, Death, Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, and what that means for us.
  3. Take a few minutes, either with others or alone, to savor the signficance of G^d become man and living among us, and saving us from our sins.
  4. Smile and forget the commercial, enjoy the event.  remember we will be rejoicing in it for ALL of eternity!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Organize your Emotions- Optimize your Life

On Friday evening last, I heard a key-note speech by a woman who has written a book with the title, Organize your Emotions- Optimize your Life.  That's a catchy/appealing title, eh?

She was an excellent speaker and had some excellent visual aids.  The talk seemed very well received.  Her thesis is that all humans have 9 emotions battling for dominance inside of us.  The emotion that is winning is the one we express at that time.  By understanding these 9 emotions and cultivating the ones we need the most, and recognizing the more dominant and recessive emotions, we can organize them and live happier, more fulfilled lives.  She used her own wrestling with her desire to "take brain breaks" to illustrate her points.

Soooo, apparently if I buy her book, and organize my emotions, most of my internal struggles will recede- and at a rapid rate!  Sounds good.

Some of my graduate students were sitting in nearby seats hearing the same presentation.  They asked me, "What did you think of that?"

Good question!  What do YOU think of that?- and I realize I have compressed a 45-minute talk into just a few lines.  But what do you think of her basic premise?

I answered, "She is a bright lady, and clearly she has given a LOT of thought to this and come up with a thoughtful, interesting approach to a very real problem.  In fact, she is addressing a problem brought up by the Apostle Paul over two thousand years back.

Romans 7:14-25  says,  "14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."
So, the author has addressed an age-old problem- the war within between our old sin nature and our desire to overcome evil.  The author means well in suggesting we overcome evil with better "organization".  Paul draws a different conclusion- "Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
I think Paul got it right!

Monday, December 19, 2016

To Whom Much is Given...

 We, or at least I, take a LOT for granted.  In the USA we have freedom, plenty of educational opportunities, plenty of economic opportunities.  And, as a Latino, I add, with very little regard to race, creed or religion.

We, as Americans have been given very much, the above freedoms a major part of this.  and, I think about the Scripture, Lk 12:48, "And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more."

We have resources lacking in much of the world.
  • We have access to information.
  • We have travel opportunities.
  • We have opportunities to earn a good bit of money.

So what are we, what am I, doing with the MUCH that has been given us.  The great temptation is to use what we have for our own isolated pleasure.  We earned it, we deserve to ENJOY it.

But, what have I that has NOT be given me by G^d??  

To whom much is given... that would be me.

Much will be required of me.  What shall I do with that which I have been given.  I have to ask myself that over and over.

How about you and the MUCH you have been given??

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I Have Been BOUGHT with a Price!

"...for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."  1 Corinth 6:20.

Ever consider this?  I haven't much- until recently.

I, you, we, have been bought with a VERY high price- the blood of the Christ.

We have been bought, so we are NOT our own.  Our bodies, our lives, our ambitions, are NOT ours, they belong to the One who bought us.  My plans  must be put aside.

What matters is the desires of the One who paid that great price.  My thinking MUST be readjusted.   Otherwise I continue to put myself ahead of whatever palns G^d might have, and continue on in my selfish- and improper- ways.

So all that advice about:

  • Follow your dreams!!
  • Go for the gusto!
  • Dance to your own music.
  • And lots more I can't recall right now!

It's all wrong?



Monday, December 12, 2016

A Bad Word-- Obedience??

Those who know me, know that I occasionally mention the "curse of the evangelicals".  Because G^d gifted me in prophecy (not telling the future), I am compelled to call out the church in some areas. One area where we evangelicals seem off base is in the area of obedience.

We evangelicals are strongly committed to "sola fide", that is, we are saved by faith alone, not by works.  This is UNDENIABLY TRUE!!  BUT.

Yes, a big BUT, that is important.  BUT being saved my grace alone does NOT obviate our need, indeed our requirement to be OBEDIENT to the G^d who created us and saved us (by GRACE alone, not by works).

Scripture clearly tells us, Obedience is better than Sacrifice!"  (I Sam 15:22).

Yeah, but that is OLD Testament.  Everyone knows that that OT stuff was superseded by the New Testament.

Ok, fair enough, I disagree, but let's go with that for a moment.  One of the verses I have mentioned over and over in this blog is a quote form Jesus, "If you love me, keep my commandments."   (Jn 14:23).

How about, "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. ( I Jn 3:18).

How about, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."  (Matt 16:24)

This has been driven home to me recently.  I want to be obedient to G^d, whether I am THRILLED about it.  I want to OBEY!

Easier said than done, but I'm a tryin!!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

God Loves You, but the Plan for Your Life is Kinda Up in the Air

The late founder of Campus Crusade, Dr. Bill Bright, was instrumental in creating the famous Cru gospel presentation, The Four Spiritual Laws.  Thousands and thousands of people have come to Christ thru that presentation.

The first of those 4 Laws says, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!"

The TRUTH of that Law is undeniable,  Our interpretation of that last part, "wonderful plan" is largely wrong, at least in my view.

Most people, at least most Americans, interpret a "wonderful plan" as a life filled with success and joy and other good things.  The "health and wealth" preachers play on that interpretation to the extreme.
But, I would argue, our interpretation of "wonderful plan" may NOT be correct.  G^d undeniably has a "wonderful plan" for us in eternity, but in the here and now, maybe NOT so much.

Consider some of the great characters of the Bible:

  • Jeremiah- known as the weeping prophet,
  • Moses- the leader of Israel, suffered greatly in his task,
  • David- did pretty well, but his sons were a mess,
  • Paul- spent quite a bit of his time in jail, only to be martyred outside the walls of Rome,
  • Many of the disciples were jailed and martyred,
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred,
  • Rachael Scott of Columbine, CO, was martyred,
  • Many modern day Believers are being killed for their faith. 

Now, we have to stretch a bit to consider those folks' lives as "wonderful".

But their eternity certainly is!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Few Thoughts on Happiness

I once heard the late Howard Hendricks speak of a "Happiness Cult".

He may have been only half right.  Happiness, and its pursuit promised in the Declaration of Independence, is MORE than a cult, it is full blown religion- even among Christians.

On Facebook, and other well-meaning outlets, we can read admonitions to:
"Dance like no one is watching",
"Pursue your dreams",
"Follow your heart",
"Use the good china".

Now, I don't really argue against any of this nice advice, but the end goal is arguable.

Somehow most of the world, including many, many Christians, are pursuing happiness as the highest possible outcome.  In fact, us very competitive folks, are seeking to have MORE happiness than any of our competitors.  We accept the advice without second thought.

But think a second time.

Is this really consistent with Christianity, with G^d's plan for man, with Scripture?

I think NOT!

Scripture constantly reminds us to "take no thought for tomorrow", to seek to OBEY G^d, whether or NOT this obedience makes us happy.  Consider the prophet Jeremiah, the leader Moise, the disciples, the apostle Paul.  None of these pursued personal happiness.  Paul ended up primarily ministering from prison before he was hauled outside the city walls of Rome, and beheaded.

Does that sound like fun?

What does sound like genuine fun?  How about eternity in the presence of the Holy Creator G^d? Perhaps G^d did indeed create us for fellowship, for obedience, to do some tasks that may NOT be fun.

For those who do NOT know the Christ, happiness for a few years is about the BEST we can do.  For the rest of us, I say we ought to aim a bit higher.

Now to put that to practice!!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Contrary to Common Thought... Following G^d Not Aways Joyous!

Somehow, I along with MANY fellow Christians, came to believe that following the Christ would be jolly good fun.


Some Health and Wealth proponents would have us believe that G^d's plan for us is universally joyous.  Remember, "God has a wonderful plan for your life"?

Well, that is TRUE, but our translation of "Wonderful" is often wrong.  We interpret "wonderful to be "Happy, healthy, wealthy, content, satisfied, fulfilled".


There is absolutely NO Scriptural basis to believe that G^d has a life of ease and pleasure in mind for us.  What do these names bring to mind?

  • The Prophet Jeremiah,
  • The Exile Daniel,
  • David, while being chased by his son who was trying to kill him,
  • Hosea, married to a prostitute,
  • The Apostle Paul being shipwrecked, beaten, threatened, tried, and ultimately killed for his faith,
  • Early Christians being burned alive in Nero's garden,
  • Detrich BonHoeffer.

Hmm, hardly the cushy life promised to, and expected by, many Believers in this day and age.

And how about me?  I hate to admit it, but somehow I had come to believe that Christians, when following G^d, ought to be happy, happy, happy.


We may well be happy in following Christ, but it is NOT a cause and effect.  We may be tired, persecuted, even martyred.  But it is WORTH it.  But that thought requires FAITH.

"I believe, help thou my unbelief!"


Monday, November 28, 2016

Now that the Dust has Settled- a Few Election Thoughts

What a debacle!  The US Presidential election was one of the strangest I can remember.  Neither candidate (D/R) was appealing, yet both had their staunchest supporters.  Numerous people reported crying because Sec. Clinton had lost.  I suspect numerous people would have cried, had Mr. Trump lost also.

The editorializing after the election has been very interesting.  There is much speculation as to how and why Mr. Trump, against all predictions except his own, won.  I haven't seen too much editorializing as to why those predictions were so inaccurate, though.

In my view, the BEST thing coming out of this election is my friends' comments on the Sovereignty of G^d.  G^d is in control, no matter who is President.  G^d's kingdom is NOT of this world, and our view, as i have written before, ought to be MORE directed towards His kingdom, than toward the here and now.

I recall many staunch conservatives lamenting when President Obama won his first term, and then his second.  Despite his 8 years running our country, the gloom-and-doomers were mostly wrong.  Things have been bad at times, and good at times.

My ultimate hope is, post-election, we Christians will renew our work in Loving G^d, and Loving our neighbor as ourselves. I hope we will NOT put our faith and trust in any government.  I hope that Christians will renew our efforts to feed the poor, shelter the homeless, and care for the ill.  The numerous Christian hospitals, shelters, food banks and other charities must continue their good work and enlist and grow even more.

A thousand years from now, it really won't matter too much who was POTUS.  It will matter whether or not we put our real trust in the Blood of Jesus Christ, shed for us.  It will matter whether we have laid up "treasures in heaven" (Matt 6:19-21).

So, let's all take the looooooong view!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age

A lady named Katherine Ozment has written a book titled,

Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age.

I have NOT read the book, and likely never will.  The advert says the author, "...takes readers on a quest to understand the trends and ramifications of a nation in flight from organized religion."  Further, "Writer, journalist, and secular mother of three Katherine Ozment came face-to-face with the fundamental issue of the Nones when her son asked her the simplest of questions: “what are we?”

What are we?  That's a good question, but I am not really very curious about what " a secular mother" might have to say about it.

Some insight can be gleaned from Betrand Russel's position that, "Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.”  With no purpose, the "what are we question" becomes indeed difficult.

In fact, as a non-philosopher (at least no training), it would seem that we cannot describe "what" without invoking purpose.  Some things have many purposes, others fewer, but, "What is a pencil?", "What is a floor?", "What is a bird." Seem all to be answered by what they do.  The bird is an animal that: flies (most of them), lays eggs, has feathers, etc.  Feathers have purpose, as do eggs and flight.

"What are we?"  Well what were we created to do?  Nothing?  Hmm, well maybe we weren't created at all, maybe we just happened.  In that case then what we are is the chance outcome of a random process that did NOT have us as the goal.  To translate, we are nothing but an accident.

Alternatively, perhaps we were created by G^d to praise Him and enjoy Him (fellowship with him) forever!  Forever?  Yes indeed.  

But which hypothesis (faith-based guess) is correct?  What evidence is there that we are the product of chance?  What evidence is there that we were created for a purpose?

As a physiologist, in my view, there is ample evidence that we are NOT a product of chance.  Our bodies are FAR too complex to be randomly assembled, even if guided by "natural selection".  Evolution is a faith position- and it's philosophical outcome is meaningless existence.  What are we, if the product of chance, we are simply a product of chance with no purpose, no meaning, no "what" at all.

Now, I do NOT suggest that outcomes dictate causality, I do suggest that we DO have meaning and purpose, and i do suggest there is CONSIDERABLE evidence that humans were created by Someone, and we do have an answer to, "What are we?"

So, though I have little interest in what a "secular mother" might think, I do have interest in what YOU think?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Remembering 9-11

As I write this, it is the 15th anniversary of 9-11.  yeah, I write these on different days than reality- partly to protect my family and myself when we are out of town, and partly because I need to write these weeks in advance, so I won't feel stress from being "due" to post.

I am guessing that you recall 9-11, both in 2001 and in 2016.  It was indeed a tragic day, and it greatly impacted out country.  If I recall correctly, church attendance spiked upwards sharply in the autumn weeks immediately following 9-11.

I am glad for the timing, because I want to remind us all- me included- that tomorrow is NOT guaranteed for any of us.  None of those who died in 9-11 went to work that day expecting NOT to survive the day.  I speculate, but am likely pretty accurate.  I speak out of my experience, as I seldom think about dying.  But, I do think about it, especially today.

I recommend it!  We all will certainly die, and we do NOT have the luxury of knowing WHEN the day will come.

So what to do?

Well, pop culture says that we ought to "go for the gusto!", we ought to "dance like no one is watching" (because they likely aren't), we ought to "follow our dreams".

Bad advice!

Don't get me wrong, I highly favor bad dancing, the only kind I can do, but I think most of this advice is MOSTLY distracting.  We prefer NOT to think about death.  Most of us, even Christians, also prefer NOT to think about what may come after death.

As Christians, we ought to be looking forward to being in HEAVEN- but NOT so fast!  Even us Christians, though we are loathe to admit it, are really, in truth, pretty unsure of heaven.  On the other hand, we feel like we have a pretty good grasp of what makes happiness in this life- gusto, dancing, and dreaming.

Surely we can do better!  But, it takes focus and effort- things I lack.  But... I keep trying.

It is ONLY with an eternal perspective, can we commit fully to following the Christ.  That's a strong statement, but I know enough of the other.  As long as I focus on "going for the gusto", I will focus on this life and not the things of G^d.  As long as I pursue pleasure, and $$ (facilitates pleasure), and "the things of this world", I will be too distracted to follow the Christ.

So, I pray, L^rd give ME an eternal perspective on this life.  Make me Christ-centered in thought, in intention, and in deeds.  Holy Spirit, I am counting on YOU to change me, again and again until I am enjoying eternity with the saints.

Amen = make it so!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

So the World is going to Heck in a Handbasket? Not so fast!

It does not take a genius to recognize that things are not going so well in the USA and the world in General.  The presidential race in the USA, the rise of ISIS in the world, the ouster of the president of Brazil, and even the mess in North K-r-a, there is much to mourn.

It's easy to conclude that we are going downhill at a rapid rate.  BUT, that view may be pretty self-absorbed.  Now I am NOT saying that things in the USA, and world, are not going badly, I am just hoping to offer a BIG-PICTURE perspective.

The world has ALWAYS been fallen.  Let's focus mostly on the USA, since most readers are probably more familiar with US history.

Our country was founded in rebellion against what was perceived as "tyranny".  Really?  Maybe.  Depends on perspective.  Our country ran headlong over the native people groups here, often totally displacing them in events like the "Trail of Tears".  Our country supported, at least in part, the African slave trade which only began to fade with the great US Civil War wherein brothers literally slaughtered brothers.  Then there was the roaring 20's... and lots more, including the US Civil Rights era where injustice was common.

Well, I can't resist taking a broader look.  Ever hear of the fall of Adam, of the homicidal tendencies of Cain, of the corruption so bad it led to the Noahic flood?  How about that Tower of Babel? How about that golden calf?  And the list goes on and on.

The people of our great planet are indeed fallen.  When you are at the bottom, there is no place further to fall.  Mankind has been at the bottom since Adam and Eve.  We have to be rescued.  Thanks be to The Christ who rescued us with His Blood!!

Nothing new about that!   I'm fallen too!

Monday, November 14, 2016

New sympathy for Abram

In Genesis chapter 11, we read that Abram's father, Terah, took his family from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan.  They come to Haran and dwell there.

To refresh your geography, Ur is over by Bahrain on the Persian Gulf.  Haran is up by Syria, north of Canaan- and still a ways away.  Apprently, Terah got tired or distracted and never made it quite all the way to Canaan.  So, at age 75, G^d taps Abram on the shoulder and tells him to leave Haran and move to Canaan.  So, Abram did!

I used to read over those few verses, (Gen 12:1-5) WITHOUT much thought. 

No more!

You see, at age 66, G^d called me to leave Tuscaloosa, and move to Lynchburg.

Boy it has been tough!!

We passed 32 very, very Happy years in Alabama.  We knew the place, knew how to get around, knew where to shop, where to eat, where to get things, where to get things fixed.  We had a home, a place to hunt, and a church family.

Now, we know nothing, and know few people.

We are slowly adapting, but I am HAPPY I didn't realize how hard it would be to leave family, friends and homes to come to VA.

But, one thing for sure... I have a WHOLE new appreciation for what Abram did.  And, despite Abram's stumbles at times, he was obedient, and G^d prospered him and blessed him.

In Hebrews 11, we read this summary: "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."

 L^rd, give us all the faith of Abram!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Job- Whew!

I have worked many different jobs, from shoeshine boy to Visiting NASA Scientist.  They all were different and they all began at some point in time.  So it is with the latest new job as Prof at Liberty University.

Change is never easy, but this one has seemed especially challenging.  Perhaps age has a bit to do with it.

So what changed? How about:
  1.  Philosophy has changed.  In the new job, spiritual expressions are ENCOURAGED.  Imagine that!
  2. Class size is MUCH better.  In the old job, the MORE students packed into a classroom the more $$$ income to the Uni.  Whereas this would seem a universal truth, the philosophy here seems to be to keep classes small enough to allow quality- which means individualized to some extent- instruction.  I hope that philosophy won't be lost.
  3. Travel to and from Uni.  For most of my 32 years at UA I rode my bike about 4 miles (to avoid road hazards) to work.  I tried to find a house to let me do this at the new job- but no success.
  4. Parking.  For MOST of my 32 years, we had about the BEST parking on campus.  Parking is still OK here, but it is a 4-story garage and requires a trek of a couple hundred yards- in the rain on occasion.
  5. Work outs.  For all of my 32 years, I worked within a few yards of a locker room and shower.  Not true of the new job.  Here it is a trek across campus.
  6. No tenure.  Hooray!  I do NOT think tenure is a good thing- anywhere.  That is a subject for a different rant.
  7. Clothing.  At the old place, anything was acceptable.  Here, khakis and a collared shirt are de rigueur.
  8. Faculty orientation.  I do NOT recall be oriented at any previous job.  You were expected to learn as you went.  Here there is a pretty rigorous orientation.  As a new Faculty I recall having about 5 orientation sessions, about 3 of which lasted all day!!
In addition there are new traditions, new facilities, new classrooms, new technology, new requirements.

But one thing NEVER changes.  G^d loves us enough to die for us.  We are HIs workmanship and we ought to work as to him.

And that Job never changes.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Long Day’s Journey (into Night)

After a great many evolutions, we are at last headed back to the USA.  All that’s needed tomorrow are:
A shuttle to airport,
Check bags and make it through security and emigration.
Make the flight, which indeed departs reasonably close to schedule.
Change planes in O’Hare in Chicago,
Fly to Atlanta.
Get our car to start, which has been sitting for 15 days.
Begin the 7.5-hour drive to Lynchburg.

What are the odds of all that going as planned?

Thanks be to G^d, it couldn’t have gone any better!  It is a modern miracle!

G^d is good.  It is less remarkable when we have major things go wrong, than the opposite.  The real miracle is what we just saw - things going well.  And, when things do go well, we ought to be profuse in our thanks to G^d!!

Can I get an “Amen!”?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Now that Halloween is past- some thoughts on DEATH!

I just read a New York Times editorial written by a Villanova Philosophy professor.  The subject?  Death!

What prompted this prof to think about death was his own 6-year old son who wrestles with the thought of death each night before dropping off to sleep.  Remember those days?

The Prof is QUICK to point out that religion has looooong been discarded as any solution to the problem of death.  He is quick to recognize that death is just another aspect of life.  He also points out that humans live in many dimensions, many shared with others, and some of what we do lives on long after our mortal bodies.  He also notes that he no longer struggles, as does his son, with thoughts of death; he has successfully banished those.

Hmm, has he really?  Perhaps he has merely suppressed them.  After all, we all shall surely die, as he admits.  He admits no knowledge of what might lie beyond the grave, and claims he is at peace with his ignorance.  Perhaps the lack of other alternatives has occurred to him.

I have written before that I have a hard time understanding how, as the prof gets older, he can live in peace with his impending uncertainty of death.  I guess the "no-other-choice" option is the one that wins the day.

I do find it a bit ironic that the prof did get something "dead on" to use a pun.  Indeed we do live beyond our physical death.  There is the reality that we don't really die in the spiritual sense.

Those of us in relationship with the Christ will live on into eternity, awake, aware, and functional. Likewise the prof will live on in eternity, just not so comfortably.  In fact Luke told an interesting story about this in Luke 16 where he talks about Lazarus dying at the same time as a very wealthy man.  It's too good a story for me to summarize, so take the time to read it.

Yes, there is something beyond the grave, something that lasts a LOT longer (not even correct to talk about eternity as "a lot longer) than this short life.

What will become of you after you die?

It's worth considering.

Friday, October 28, 2016

After the Cookout

You may have read a few posts from our time in Japan.  My favorite memory from that trip had nothing to do with waterfalls, or hot springs, or the interesting culture of Japan.  My favorite memory is of a cookout.  Yes, a very American-common cookout.

Our son David said that one night we were going to cookout.  I thought, this should be nice.  And it was. Together we built a charcoal fire- a bit more challenging doing it Japanese style.  We got the charcoal hot, and cooked some nice meat, which combined with trimmings produced a nice meal.

Nothing too unusual, but then came the treat.  After the food was grilled and eaten, Davey and I had a quite time sitting in the dark and discussing life, language and anything else that came to mind.  Brenda noticed us chatting in the dusk and then dark, and gave us some space.  How nice.

I didn't realize how much this mundane event meant until the opportunity came to do it again.  My enthusiasm for grilling out was so intense that I started the charcoal at 4:30 in the afternoon!!  What was I thinking?  I was thinking about the pleasures of sitting and chatting, and was anxious to get to that part.

David very patiently indulged me.  We grilled, ate, and most importantly, we had a nice quiet, not-so-dark after the cookout chat.  It was as good the second time as the first.

Who knew?   Who knew a simple after-dinner conversation could be so sweet.

It was to me.