Doing Christianity

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We all tend to read complex Christian books analyzing the Scriptures, analyzing the various doctrines. And all that does is complicate the issues. God sent down all his rules and regulations; they were ignored. He sent the prophets; they were ignored. Jesus came down himself to tell us how to live real human lives, and he was ignored. Since then, scholars have written critical and analytical things about the Scriptures. But C. S. Lewis wrote in his books, This is how to do what Jesus taught. His message is, “Stop talking about it, stop studying it, just get out there and do Christianity.” Jack did it.

Douglas Gresham on his step-dad, CS Lewis.

The last question of this interview, and answer, is especially timely.

Happy Halloween

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Rather, Happy Reformation Day.

Or should I say, um, Merry Christmas.

The Christian attempts to reclaim a holiday through stretched Biblical analysis is alive and well. Indeed I think it a fun effort, even if not exactly spot on. Specific dates are a tricky business, especially when the Bible makes perfectly clear the date of certain things and seems to not make note of others. Once again, it seems the Bible tells us all we need to know for salvation, but not all we want to know.

Have a happy day, whatever your chosen reason for feastin’.

Dual Ravens

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Huginn

Raven

Mountain Quail

Scripture, theology 1 Comment »

I heard a beautiful new song this morning so turned to look out and see what it was.

There on the woodpile was a mountain quail, lifting his head back and singing for the world to hear, his plume bouncing as he sang. The Mrs. was nearby. Here are some pictures.

Mountain Quail

Mountain Quail

Mountain Quail

I should also add it wasn’t just mountain quail I saw. The forest was quite busy this morning. In a morning walk the skies seemed filled with flying band tailed pigeons, jays, chickadees, juncos, and some who I couldn’t quite determine. When I stood on my balcony to try to get better pictures of the quail it was like I entered into a Disney movie. Animals were everywhere, and didn’t seem to mind me. Chickadees came and took seed a foot away. Several chipmunks scurried in and out of the woodpile. Three squirrels seemed intent on chasing everything, just for the fun of it. Two flickers flew from tree to tree, letting loose an occasional plaintive call. Two nuthatches went up and down the nearest cedar, looking for a spider or a bug for breakfast. The mountain quail stayed in the shadows for the most part but ventured around cautiously amist the commotion. The local acorn woodpeckers seemed to like the big oak nearby. All the animals were busy and active, putting me into a state of awe as they swirled about me. The only thing missing was a song sung by us all celebrating the morning. Though, in a way, this song was indeed sung, with many different voices and languages.

Steller’s Jay

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We have visitor’s and we have regular visitors. Steller’s jays are residents. If you hear a bird in this forest, it most likely will be a chickadee or a steller’s jay. If you hear a new bird you haven’t heard before, it most likely will be a steller’s jay. They have their normal harsh calls, but then they have a whole vocabulary they save for special occasions, such as a contentedness or a beautiful morning. I’ve watched for a hawk and realized it was a jay making the call. I’ve heard a squeaky bed and have seen jays making the sound. Once, while walking the dog, R2D2 was sitting in a cedar tree. It turned out it was just a jay making electronic beeping noises.

Steller’s Jay

morning

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the front yard

Pine needles

Front yard

At what point…

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Today I’m reminded of this little scene from Life of Brian:

REG:
Yeah. All right, Stan. Don’t labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?!
XERXES:
The aqueduct?
REG:
What?
XERXES:
The aqueduct.
REG:
Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah.
COMMANDO #3:
And the sanitation.
LORETTA:
Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like?
REG:
Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done.
MATTHIAS:
And the roads.
REG:
Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don’t they? But apart from the sanitation, the aqueduct, and the roads–
COMMANDO:
Irrigation.
XERXES:
Medicine.
COMMANDOS:
Huh? Heh? Huh…
COMMANDO #2:
Education.
COMMANDOS:
Ohh…
REG:
Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
COMMANDO #1:
And the wine.
COMMANDOS:
Oh, yes. Yeah…
FRANCIS:
Yeah. Yeah, that’s something we’d really miss, Reg, if the Romans left. Huh.
COMMANDO:
Public baths.
LORETTA:
And it’s safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg.
FRANCIS:
Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let’s face it. They’re the only ones who could in a place like this.
COMMANDOS:
Hehh, heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
REG:
All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

I’m a little curious. At what point of Iraq progress does the “no exit plan” argument finally lose steam. At what point does the Vietnam comparisons, quagmire calls, and “end the war now” proclamations become tired. Of course it is exactly like Vietnam, except for the bit about overthrowing the primary enemy, dismantling the army, occupying all major cities, establishing an elected government, training a new army and police force, having an embassy and walking through the process of now passing a constitution approved by the People.

Wait, a second, methinks there’s a problem somewhere in the analogy. Let’s see. Ah, that’s it. All Asians, in fact do not look alike.

So, there’s no “exit plan”, except for the bit about the elections, training, empowering, tribunals, Constitution, etc. and so on. Yeah, there are still people dying. But, if that was a sign of failure, we’d have long left Los Angeles and Detroit by now.

Just goes to so, that saying something, even a lot, doesn’t make it true. May God bless the Iraqi people as they continue to rebuild.
Oh!: a better link than the “glass is half empty” one above: Iraqis back democracy four to one. Which means, oddly enough, that everything Bush has thought about the situation thus far has been right. Now if only the anti-”war” folks could admit this, quit their belly-aching so the folks blowing up bombs in Iraq would no longer have an audience.

That’s really worth another post right there, only I haven’t quite developed the thought enough. The anti-war movement has, curiously, been likely the indirect cause for at least a 1000 deaths in my estimation. By keeping up a political opposition they have diluted the effects of overwhelming force by giving the enemy a rationale for victory. In this way it is Vietnam like, as the enemy understands there is no chance for military victory but does see the chance for victory through political defeatism. Thus, because of the protests against death, more deaths are caused. If America was 4 to 1 in favor of democracy in Iraq, the terrorists would go elsewhere. This means that Cindy Sheehan, oddly enough, is likely more to blame for her son’s death than is President Bush.

Overwhelming force must be accompanied by overwhelming resolve. This doesn’t mean all political opposition is wrong, rather it’s more a matter of timing and methods. If Bush had 80% support, there was no anti-”war” movement, and there was not the slightest indication of political fallout from our military presence there, the bombs would stop and the military would come home.

I am of the increasing conviction there’s a lesson in this.

change of pace

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escape

A lily

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Lily

Good Words

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From Sacred Space this week:

Our faith is a mixture of light and darkness. We look to the holy people of history to give us some light on the quest for God. Saint John of the Cross, who reformed the Carmelites and was imprisoned for his pains, distrusted whatever removed the soul from the obscure faith where the understanding must be left behind in order to go to God by love. One of his greatest Carmelite followers, Thérèse of Lisieux, lived her religious life in darkness. Her biographer described her state in these words: The whole area of religion seemed remote and unreal to her, not arousing the least response, either friendly or antagonistic, in her mind and heart. It was as though religion had become simply something remembered, grey, cold and unimportant.

St Paul wrote about our inability to pray (Romans 8,26): The Spirit helps us in our weakness; when we do not know how to pray as we ought, that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. The dialogue with God continues even when our mind and heart are weary.

Words true and much appreciated today.