Sunday, November 19, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be a bit shorter than usual this time. This has been a busy week. I am part of an organization of artists that seeks to serve our community through the arts. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we held what we called Art Party. It was an event with art hung in various galleries, studios, and businesses around town. Friday ended with a very interesting play, and Saturday night we capped off the event with a dinner, with a speaker and a local band. We are all exhausted, but it was a wonderful time.

Funny animal pictures.
Good question then. Still a good question.
What really causes violence.
Keep up with the trends.
Freedom!

Good one from the Bee.
Jesus' blue collar outfit.
Giftedness and goodness.
Unfaithfulness.
Why Christians should read poetry.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

Wow. It's November already. This year is zipping by. It seems like every year goes by quicker than the last. If you pay attention, you already know what the news is, so let's get straight to the links:

A little something for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Amazing story.
Here's a world record to try and break.
The other reformation.
Ruth Whippman on happiness.

Interesting place.
Looking for a new house?
Don't try this at home. Or anywhere else.
Not exactly setting a good example.
Clearing the path.

What is real wealth?
Putting the gas can down.
Good post from John Frye.
Accidental dictionary.
What matters.

Good post from Scot McKnight.
John 1.
Classic post from iMonk.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Anger

A while back, I wrote a post about the number of folks that were letting their lives be ruled by fear. It seems to me that a growing number of people are also angry. This anger may be driven by their fear. We do have more of a tendency to get angry when we're fearful or when we don't understand something or someone.

Some of the prevalent images in the news or social media lately have been images of anger, from the white supremacists with their garden party torches, to the folks on the other side who just want to tear things down. They are angry. Angry because this group of people are getting what seem like advantages that they don't have, or angry because that group is trying to assert their rights. Neither side is interested in sitting down and trying to have a conversation because they are too busy being angry. Road rage is becoming a bigger problem. Some folks will shoot you if you don't go fast enough and they have to slow down.

There are things to be angry about. Some of the folks who are expressing their anger have a legitimate gripe.  I see situations almost every day that make me angry. The problem is not anger as such. The problem is letting that anger become so big that it takes over and drives everything we do. We focus on being angry and don't take that anger and let it be the fuel for positive work.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul writes that we should "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." Things are going to happen that make us angry. That anger may spring from selfishness or it may be justified. It may even be "righteous anger." In that anger, we are not to sin. We are not to let that anger cause us to harm or even denigrate another person. We are to deal with that anger and whatever is causing it. If I am angry at someone because they have done something I don't like, the first thing I need to do is ask my self if the anger is justified. As I have grown older, I've become more convinced that most things are just not worth getting angry about.

The second thing that I need to do is ask if there is anything I have done against the other person. Maybe their action was a reaction to something I had done. If so, I need to try to make it right. The third thing I need to do is ask if there is anything I can do in a positive way to help the situation that I am angry about. I can be angry about injustice, but I must realize that there is only so much I can do. A hard lesson for me to learn was the fact that I can't save everybody. I can only do what God gives me to do and trust him for the outcome.

Those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus should be the least angry people. We are to be gentle, compassionate people. Others should see the hope that is in us and want to ask aboutit. We should live lives that make people thirsty for the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus. May it be so.   

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

It's the weekend again! Sports fans love this time of year. The World Series is beginning, football is in full swing, both college and pro basketball are getting underway, and hockey season is starting. For those whose interest tends toward other pursuits, the second season of Stranger Things is on Netflix this coming weekend.

On to the links:

Praying after Vegas.
Challenging words from Charles E. Gutenson.
This would make for some interesting conversations.
Here's something for those of you who want to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
This is good.

Being true to yourself.
Good article on the psychology of religion.
This is interesting.
Important read.
Go right ahead!

Are you sleeping enough?
Funny article from McSweeney's
Brutally honest job titles.
Here we go again?
Don't overthink!

Timely post from The Babylon Bee.
What if it's really finished?
The politics of the Lamb.
The subversive kingdom.
Advice for entrepreneurs.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Weelend Wanderings

The first weekend links post of autumn is here! The weather is beautiful here in the sunny South. It was fifty degrees on our back porch this morning. There is a lot going on in the world these days, from the inconsequential things that get lots of attention to the important things that seem to not get a whole lot. I wonder about our priorities sometimes. Well, in the scheme of things, it's probably one of those inconsequential things, but here are the links:

Nietzsche's google search history.
Images from Cassini's mission to Saturn.
More excellent photos.
Good article from Benjamin L. Corey.
Jeffrey K. Mann on privilege.

Good post from Bob Edwards.
Erika Christakis on public schools.
Discernment.
Good question.
The cost of the opioid epidemic.

Is it really work?
Good post from Kathy Strauch.
Carina Chocano on distraction.
Drowning?
Technology and perception.

Beauty.
What do we worship on Sunday?
Authority.
The Jesus shaped life.
What to look for in a mentor.

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fear

Franklin Roosevelt famously said, "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," as he tried to encourage the American people to see the future as full of possibilities rather than full of terrible, fearful things. Not as famously, he also stated that the "common difficulties" concerned "only material things." I think what Roosevelt was saying that the economic problems in the country at the time were not the most important thing, that there was something greater. That something was the spirit of the American people to pull together to do what needed to be done, including defeating the greatest worldwide threat the world had seen.

Centuries before, Jesus said to his followers, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom." He could easily have also said that difficulties they would face are not the important thing, that they paled in comparison to the kingdom. For at least a few hundred years, Jesus' followers went about their day-to-day fearlessly; facing rejection, misunderstanding, persecution, torture, and death. They were able to do so because they had confidence that the kingdom had been give to them, that they were subjects of the King of Kings, and that everything he had was theirs. They knew that absolutely nothing could separate them from their Father's love. These early Christians also could live fearlessly because they knew that the sufferings they did endure somehow were what the King used to bring kingdom on earth as in heaven. As Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

Today, I look around and see a group that is fearful. All it takes is some time spent on social media to see the fear that controls a great deal of what people say and do. Whether it's fear of a certain political party taking away freedoms, fear of the other side waging a war on Christians, or fear of a certain group coming and taking away jobs or our lives. This fear can lead to saying and doing things that hurt others, ruin relationships, and cause the name of Christ to be slandered. We can easily tend toward fear in our day-to-day as well. We fear that disease will strike us or those we love. We fear that we may lose friends. We fear that we can't do our jobs well. We fear that we simply aren't good enough, that eventually people will see through our charade and reject us.  This fear drives us to perfectionism, to overwork, to self medication. We hide behind masks because we fear that others will reject us if they learn the real us. Sometimes we fear facing ourselves.

There is much that can make us fearful. But, as FDR said, those are only material things. Those are things that are inconsequential compared to the kingdom. Compared to the great inheritance that is ours, all of the things of this earth are nothing. Compared to the life that we have been given, the life we fear losing is nothing. Because Jesus died and was raised, the new creation has begun. We are citizens of a kingdom that will never be defeated, that will never pass away. The King has come! We don't always see his reign in this life, although we do catch glimpses now and then, but he is in control. All the stuff of life that hits us, all the things that our enemy throws at us has already been overcome. We need to live from that reality. Will we still experience bad, even terrible things? Yes we will. But, those things can not wrench us out of our Father's hands. They can not ultimately harm us because our destiny is settled. It's hard, I know. I have to remind myself constantly that the things of this world are not the kingdom. Let us all continually remind each other of who we are and whose we are, and of the glory that will be revealed in us when the King finally comes to sett all things right.

Fear not, because your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.        

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

I'm back from my trip to California to meet our newest grandson. Jan is staying until a week from today. The Friday before we left, we were able to see our son, his wife, and our first grandson for a couple of ours. So, it was a good week and a half. This week, it was a bit hard getting back into some sort of routine, especially since I am working more hours now. It's beautiful here in the sunny South, with what seems like a touch of fall in the air. I'm sure summer is not finished with us yet, but I'm looking forward to cooler weather.

On to the links:

Did any of you see any of this during the eclipse?
I've heard that a fruitcake can last forever.
People are tearing down all kinds of statues these days.
Looks like a good time was had by all.
Inspirational posters. Or not.

Eclipse myths.
Skinny jeans.
Smartphone problems.
Have you been tricked?
Arms race.

Eclipse theories.
Salvation insurance.
Yeah, sometimes we do.
Seems the Babylonians knew their math.
THIS IS SATIRE!

Reputation.
The ghost in the machine.
Good post from Chaplain Mike.
Pharisee spotting.

Have a blessed week!





Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be a bit shorter than usual this time. This has been a busy week. I am part of an organization of artists that seeks...