Good Advice

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Do not be afraid of men’s sins, love man also in his sin, for this likeness of God’s love is the height of love on earth. Love all of God’s creation, both the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love animals, love plants, love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin tirelessly to perceive more and more of it every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an entire, universal love. Love the animals: God gave them the rudiments of thought and an untroubled joy. Do not trouble it, do not torment them, do not take their joy from them, do not go against God’s purpose. Man, do not exalt yourself above the animals: they are sinless, and you, you with your grandeur, fester the earth by your appearance on it, and leave your festering trace behind you–alas, almost every one of us does!

Love children especialy, for they, too, are sinless, like angels, and live to bring us to tenderness and the purification of our hearts and as a sort of example for us. Woe to him who offends a child.

–Elder Zosima, in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

voices from the past

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Mona lisa, mona lisa, men have named you
You’re so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only cause you’re lonely they have blamed you?
For that mona lisa strangeness in your smile?

Do you smile to tempt a lover, mona lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, mona lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

Well, now it seems she’s a little less cold. Now you can hear what she sounded like. Some Japanese researchers examined her facial structure and made a recording of Mona Lisa’s voice. Of course, there’s no English to be found on their website, so read more about this feat here.

yeah

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Like I was saying about immigration. It is the Christian thing to respond to people with dignity. It is also the Christian thing to respond to the source of the indignity.

Help the man beaten up on the side of the road. But stop the thieves from beating him up if you at all can.

The Church, in all its forms, needs to move the spotlight to where it belongs.

a good choice

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Bush has seemingly picked a winner to be the new Treasury Secretary. Not only has Henry Paulson led Goldman Sachs to huge success, which is really interesting to folks interested in things monetary, I note another quality with excitement:

Paulson, who was known to favor bird-watching in New York’s Central Park to playing golf, is chairman of the Nature Conservancy and the chairman emeritus of the Peregrine Fund.

This, my friends, is my kind of Republican. Healthy economy helps everyone, healthy environment helps everyone. Here is a man with good common sense and right values. Methinks Bush has turned a corner finally.

exploration

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Pardon this next quote, it’s a wee bit full of theologicalisms. I’m working my way through something and need a place to mark my progress and see where I’m going:

This is from Kilian McDonnell, a Benedictine Charismatic:

Perhaps better than any systematic area, Christology demonstrates the hermeneutic funciton of pneumatology, the doctrine of the Spirit as horizon, because it determines the rules for speaking about the Christ who is the Present One. In Christology, one is speaking about the “what” which in the classical Chalcedonian formulation is the two-nature doctrine. One is also speaking of the “why,” or the purpose of the Son’s coming: salvation. But this is not yet a full reflection of the biblical doctrine because one neglects the element of “how” God and the human person met in Jesus the Present One. And the Spirit is the “how”.

That last part is one of the biggest issues facing the church in the last several hundred years. The Spirit is the “how”.

I had a lengthy conversation recently with some people who are part of traditions which do not see the “Spirit as the how”. Instead, and they rely on centuries of habit with this, Christ has become not only the what and why but also the how. This then is reflected in the whole of their ecclesiology in which everything which Scripture relates to Christ then becomes instantly reflected in practice. With this is an intensity of gender focus, a heightened emphasis on the symbolism, and very strong representational and hierarchical ministry. If Christ is the “how” then models of the church must reflect Christ’s being in full. We are the body of Christ, it is said, and thus the “how” must be set up to guard the sanctity of Christ’s incarnation as the model of presenting Jesus to the world. We must be to the world just as Christ was to the world, for he is the both the content and the method of the message.

When the Trinity becomes a binary, however, then the Church runs into problems. Problems of power, control, sexism, racism, and so on are the curious consequences because as one part begins to see themselves as the direct authoritative representatives of Christ, or control that which represents, or are gatekeepers to who represents, the whole model becomes a distortion as the human will cannot ultimately bear that much responsibility. Even when there are the occasional lights, the shadows of the sin filled soul eventually becomes a cloud.

That is why the Spirit is the “how”. Of course, now all we need to figure out is how the Spirit is the how. I think this is the challenge of those in the Church in coming generations, all while enduring the flack from those who are used to approaches that are not quite as God intended all because if the Spirit is the “how” then things get rather adventurous.

congratulate me

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I got married today.

In fact I got married today for six years. I’m not sure when my anniversary is, but six years ago I got married.

Writing fiction and basing the first person character loosely on oneself, using my own name at least, can lead to all sorts of surprising lifestyle changes.

And while it is past the one year that etiquette suggests, I am perfectly fine with receiving presents still.

a curious quote

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Here’s a little ditty by George Fox, a rather un-CC (Christianly Correct) sort of statement. It’s the kind of quote which makes a person nod their head then look around to see if anyone saw them do that. Speaking of a morning he visited a church in Nottingham, just when the pastor began his sermon:

He took for his text these words of Peter, “We have also a more sure Word of prophecy, whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.” And he told the people that this was the Scriptures by which they were to try all doctrines, religions, and opinions.

Now the Lord’s power was so mighty upon me, and so strong in me, that I could not hold, but was made to cry out and say, “Oh, no; it is not the Scriptures!” and I told them what it was, namely, the Holy Spirit, by which the holy men of God gave forth the Scriptures, whereby opinions, religions, and judgments were to be tried; for it led into all truth, and so gave the knowledge of all truth. The Jews had the Scriptures, and yet resisted the Holy Spirit, and rejected Christ, the bright morning star. They persecuted Christ and His apostles, and took upon them to try their doctrines by the Scriptures; but they erred in judgment, and did not try them aright, because they tried without the Holy Spirit.

Interesting. This is, of course, precisely what Jesus said as well, but that doesn’t mean it’s culturally acceptable to say in churches today. Might get you thrown out, or called a heretic, or tossed into a nasty, stinking prison where the smell gets into your nose and throat so it annoys you very much. That last one is what happened to George Fox after his little outburst.

It turns out after a few days “great meetings” were held at the sheriff’s house. So maybe there is something to what he had to say, reminding me of that other fellow who once mentioned not having wise words but instead he had the power of Christ.

Interesting.

pressed

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Pat Robertson apparently has claimed he leg-pressed 2,000 pounds. The appointed day for his speech about the matter is coming up soon I hear.

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Christianity Today’s Quote of the day:

“God’s got another plan right now.”

—Former Enron chief Ken Lay, to his family after being convicted of fraud and conspiracy charges. He later told supporters, “We’ll all come through this stronger and more reliant on God. … God will answer prayers.”

This is all really true. I mean St. Paul would heartily agree as well. He says almost the exact same sort of thing in 1 Corinthians 5:3:

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Rather than a life of luxury, God has a different plan, which is judgment. So, Ken Lay is being handed over so that he may be saved in the day of the Lord, his body destroyed (or imprisoned at least) so that he’ll learn how to be stronger and more reliant on God.

This is surprisingly good theology from a convicted felon.

good work

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So, I occasionally get a little bit of spam around these parts. No big deal, most of it gets stopped by the filter. I just get a little note asking me to have a look at it, to approve it or not. There’s a nice little button called Spam, which labels the comment as, well, junk mail (you thought I was going to say spam didn’t you? Well I didn’t. Except just now, then I did but that was merely to say that I didn’t use the word spam. I did it again, sorry. I won’t say spam anymore in this note. sorry, it keeps happening, anyway. So how much can a person add in a single set of parentheses. Are periods acceptable in these boundaries. Like I was saying…).

I occasionally get spam… junk mail. I occasionally get some junk mail, which isn’t that irritating except for the principle of the thing.

Now the nice thing is I know the address of the computer it was sent from. That’s helpful because if you know that, then you can find out all sorts of other information, such as birth date, social security number, bank account information, web provider, last five places of employment, blood type, religious preference, and suchlikes.

One of these at least. And when you find that out (it’s web provider in case you were running to the phone to change all your vital information) you get a bit of extra information, such as email addresses to said web provider. I occasionally will forward said sp.. junk mail to the said web provider so they can do something to the said emailer who sent said junk comment. It’s always an exercise in utter futility as I generally get no reply, and nothing happens, and I soon realize it was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.

However, this very day I got a junk comment, I sent it to the darkest regions of rejection, then as my optimism was at a particularly high ebb I sent it to the folks who provide the fellow with web access.

Well, sometimes being optimistic pays off. I just got a note which said:

thanks a lot for the information. We have informed our customer to take care
of the problem. If you have trouble with one of our servers furthermore,
don’t hesitate to contact us again.

Sorry for the problems.”

Well, thank you. That is service. That is helpful, good old fashioned service. I get spammed, I tell the folks in charge, they tell the guy to quit it. This, my friends, is how the world is supposed to work. If things happened like this on a constant basis we would know precisely what Jesus was getting at with all those cryptic comments about pearls, fields, and wedding banquets.

This kind of service really should be honored, so if you get the chance I heartily recommend you use Hetzner online. They are a German company so that might rule out some of the customer service help, though I did take a risk and write my brief note in English, and got a nice reply in English so apparently they do habla anglais. Of course for at least one person I know even no English would be fine, and for a few more it wouldn’t be a problem as long as they used the sort of German particular to theological conversation (Theologiegeschichte).

Anyhow if you are looking for a good company, especially if you are German or German oriented, go ahead and use Hetzner (that’s a good company, not just good company, follow the spam if you’re looking for that but you really shouldn’t). They have shown themselves to be good folk.