August 6, 2016
I’m not exactly sure where to start with this rumination. I have a number of things to share so if it seems out of sorts… well… it is.
First of all I did write a rumination last week but it was very political and very cynical so… I didn’t send it. I guess we have all had enough of that these days.
Second, Ellen is in New York at a camp with my two daughters. Young Life (a ministry primarily to unchurched High School students) has an outreach to teenage unwed mothers. They also offer a one week camp for these young women and their babies. Ellen, Rebekah and Alissa are watching little ones for a week. They are in their glory. All of that to say this… Ellen edits all of these ruminations and also posts them. Grammar is not my thing nor do I know how to post this so we shall see. If you get it then I guess I have figured it out.
Before dropping Ellen of in rural NY for the camp yesterday we spent a few days on vacation… two of those days in Philadelphia. It’s hard to believe but I have lived most of my life in Pittsburgh but have only visited Philly a couple of times and only once to actually “see” anything and that was the Franklin Institute. We had never toured the city or seen any of the historical sites such as Independence Hall or the Liberty Bell. I had no idea how I might react to either of these national treasures but both of us teared up standing in front of the bell. Appreciation for our nation’s history seems to grow on me as I get older. No doubt we leave much to be desired but that’s the cool part… we are free to work on the things “to be desired.”
In regard to political things… a friend shared a quote with me yesterday that is required reading for all Christians. I’m guessing most of us are familiar with C.S. Lewis. Lewis was probably the most prolific Christian writer of the 20th century and no doubt impacted the lives of millions of people around the globe. One of his landmark books is entitled “Mere Christianity.” A quote from Lewis:
“I feel a strong desire to tell you – and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me – which of these two errors is the worse [becoming an individualist or becoming a totalitarian]. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.”
Does that sound familiar to anyone! I suspect we will see more and more of this quote in the next few months in Christian circles.
When I was a kid (6 or 7) my dad took me and my sisters to a drive in theater to see a scary movie called “The Mask.” (A remake of sorts featuring Jim Carey was made a few years ago.) I remember pulling into the drive in and them giving each of us cardboard glasses to wear when we were instructed to during the movie. It was an early 3-D and we were only to wear the glasses when the main character put on “the mask.” One lens was green and the other was red. It wasn’t like todays 3-D movies where things jump off of the screen. Naturally I was curious to see what the screen looked like without the glasses during the scenes we were required to wear them. It wasn’t much. Mostly the screen was blurry with red and green mashed together. You could sort of tell what was going on… it just wasn’t clear. Why do I mention this? Well I think we as believers need to look at our lives through Biblical/Jesus lenses. Do you know what I mean? Then not unlike the movie we will be able to have all of the blurriness of this world focused and made clearer. Not “fixed” mind you, just clearer. One of the things that will become easier to see is the wickedness that exists in creation. For those that see the world as a “good place getting better…” they are obviously looking through the lens of deception. For those trying to make a “Christian” argument for the lesser of two evils… um… at the end of the day they are still evil. I suspect we need to direct our energies toward something else. You can spend your time over the next three months debating which of two evils you want as our next president… or you can talk about Jesus. It’s up to you.
As some of you know I am want to frequent Chinese restaurants. I am always on the lookout for a “fortune” at the end of my meal. It has been years since I have had one. How is that you ask? Well the short if it is this… they no longer give “fortunes.” They give us “proverbs.” Fortunes tell the future. Proverbs comment on the truth of life. Well I actually got a proverb a few days ago that I really liked and I thought I would share it with you: “Four basic premises of writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity.” I sort of like that.
I hope you find these writings clear, short, easy and identifiable.
August 6, 2016