Archive for the ‘Tangents’ Category

I recently went on a journey of putting the dewey decimal system into action on my library consisting of 730 books. Yes, the dewey decimal system. SOme might say, what a nerd, this would not be too far from true at many leverls. Others might say, Why? Others, might just be in utter dumbfoundedness at the randomness of it all. Yet, I have to tell you that this is the nature of the beast. However, none of the responses are really behind the Why? of the dewey decimal system. You see, I finally got tired of the constant search for books that I was looking for. I honestly could care less if I loaned a book and it has not been returned or if I gave it away. The problem is that I am looking for it and though it is probably right under my nose, I just can’t find it. Well now thanks to the good old dewey decimal system and a great software Delicious Library I can add, delete and check out books that were in my library thus knowing exactly where it is. For a guy who uses about 35% of his books regularly and the rest depending on mood and my own self paced further education, this helps tremendously.

OK, I write this to set myself up. I wonder when too much knowledge is too much. I wonder at what point we find the truth of scripture “knowledge puffs up” begins to be the status quo of those of us who read pretty much non-stop. It is true that I have read so much that I could argue with myself for days about any given theological topic and still never really speak the truth I believe deep down is true. It seems that in this day and age this is a reaction to something. What, I don’t know exactly. Specifically regarding theology and religion, I think we have reacted to the once closely held truth of scripture that was so heavy handedly used to beat people down, to convert one brand of church to another brand. I believe that the science of multiple truths began to wain our confidence in the one true Word of God. I wonder if my books are little more than a tool to manage (as if this is possible) my Father –a new mode of mastering the Master– that hinders me from truly ever experiencing the fullness of His truth as revealed in Scripture and submission to Christ as head of we His body.

What I am afraid of is that the dewey decimal system justified by the size of my library, is nothing more than a reflection of my own insecurity OR connection to the Holy Spirit who promises to reveal God’s Word through discernment and communication that is two way, not just one way. Lord grant that we may know you  more, trust you more and discern the work of the Spirit in our midst once again. Father, may your Spirit rest upon your people as the tongues of fire burned upon the apostles. God be with us.

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Funding Fears

From: Worldmag.com, “Obama,” November 15, 2008

Will the nation’s economic storm zap U.S. charities? While the data won’t be in until well after the holiday giving season, the nation’s nonprofits are already bracing for a blow.

World Vision’s Phillipe Guiton, for example, said his group plans to trim hiring, a move that will likely affect the delivery of overseas aid. “What we are going to do now is to issue an order to reduce spending, to delay recruitment, delay purchases of capital assets, etc., until we can see clearer how much our income has dropped,” Guiton said

Other groups, such as Catholic Relief Services and CARE International, say they’re watching to see whether major donors will recover from portfolio shock in time to continue year-end giving at previous levels

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As I read this the words that came to mind were from the Kingdom Prayer (aka. The Lord’s Prayer). “Give us this day our daily bread.” We pray this prayer out of the surplus of our lives. Granted we spend on borrowed money, we often partake in bread bought at a high interest rate but we also play hard and collect toys that are so far superfluous. Though spending may go down this holiday, it is highly unlikely that we will stop to consider if God’s provision really intended we buy the Nintendo Wii go along with our PS3, or to replace our 2006 model Chevy pickup truck with a 2009 because of all the good deals (Here’s a shout out to all my car dealer brothers and sisters in Christ who readily demystify these bogus incentives), or a new doll to sit next to the other five dolls that sit in our daughter’s closet. At the risk of an overgeneralization, it is difficult to imagine that out of the great generosity of God that we operate in this American culture, that we could even consider giving up our contributions that go to aid the poor, the hungry, the widow, the prisoner, etc. OR hold back on our giving in order to protect our own skin as though we have ever had control over this in the history of the world.

In Acts, one of the most challenging stories for us “New Testament Christians” (whatever that means) is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. The story goes like this. This is after Pentecost and the outpouring of Spirit, over 3000 people were saved and daily people were selling everything they had and giving to those who had need. To be sure, radical at best. Enter Ananias and Sapphira. (more…)

WARNING! All tangents, rants and meaningless opinions (which this is) are barely edited and typically thrown out there without a concern for correct spelling, punctuation or grammar.

Perhaps you are concerned that I would even ask such a question. However, I felt compelled to ask this today because I am amazed how fearful of times we live in. We are quite frankly seemingly afraid of our own shadow. Then again, perhaps it is just me. Perhaps, I am the only one who wants God to make things simplistic for me. I try to define him, to control him, to excuse him, to defend him, to protect him, to make him sound big (as opposed to realizing he is big) and the list could go on. So I ask you, how big is your God?

Well, I must admit for sometime there is another closely connected idea that has been troubling me. It is the idea that people love God but hate religion OR that they love Christ but hate the church. Now, these words at first may bite us a bit, if not make us cringe but let’s really listen to what people are saying when they make such claims. As such, there must be a realization that, while we would rightly say that as the bible defines the church that one cannot possibly hate it and love Christ. Yet, this is not necessarily what I think people are saying. It is my own humble opinion that what they are really saying is that they love what Christ stands for but are extremely questionable about how distinctly different the church (Christ’s body) lives that out. Hence, you hear things like the church is full of a bunch of hypocrites. What I have found this to mean is, they say that we are to be Christlike and yet instead of being sent ones “like sheep among wolves,” they have built bigger and more expensive sheep pens to keep the wolves out. (more…)

On complaining.

Why complain? More importantly how do you deal with complaining without complaining? Moreover, what is complaining?

I have just begun a 40 day fast from unnecessary talk, which I have failed miserably at already. But tomorrow is a new day and the next minute is a new minute so we will see how God works powerfully in our lives. I look forward to it.

So here is MY answer to these questions. It seems to me that complaining is nothing more than an expression of our inability to control things that were never in our control to begin with. Complaining is nothing more than another form of GOSSIP because in complaining about anything people are often attached to such complaints and it serves to raise self up over the situation without having the need to take any responsible action toward a solution. It easily tosses the responsibility off on someone else. Now mind you I am not talking about true issues that need resolving. I am speaking of the types of complaints that restate the obvious time and time again without any productive solution to offer. I am speaking of the possibility that perhaps I, with God’s help, can tame the tongue with thanksgiving and move to a life where I am less concerned about having things in the way I think I should get them or believe I am owed.

So here is my hope for myself. It is my goal to come to the table with solutions, a willingness to be a part of the solution and a tongue that is bit not loose. It is my intention to realize that sometimes constructive criticism is beneficial but it is not constructive beyond a single mention, especially where I have no alternative to offer. Yes, I do want my concerns to be heard but dwelling on them seems to only create within me a very American mentality of I am owed something.

That said, I also understand that, I will fail miserably in this regard. IN such a case, it is good to remember that our complaints are a reflection of our estrangement from our true home. In the kingdom we will have no need to complain for we will have more than we could ever imagine. God’s rule will be all sufficient and our lives will be sustained by his glory. So in the discontentment of our present circumstance, may we realize that God is using our estrangement as a way to keep us longing for vaster things. Lord come quickly for I am weak and a wretch of a man.

Today I write with a heavy but joyful heart. Today, I am officially without a grandparent from my side of the family. While Heatherly and I still have one grandmother and one grandfather, in the past two week we have lost my dad’s dad (Dale McDaniel) and my mom’s mom (Sarah Woodruff). We have also lost my cousin Grant Hinds to early and in a tragic way. Death has been ever present. We mourn, we weep and yet for each we are grateful and excited for their new and eternal life. For these, time is no more, only eternity.
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I received and email today, which was later confirmed as false by the one who sent it but nonetheless raises an interesting question. Here is the rumor and the debunking of that rumor.

In short, the rumor has people up in arms about the fact that our government has removed the “In God We Trust” from the new dollar coins. Well, first off this appears to be true but snopes.com reveals that it is actually placed on the side. This brings up the second point, which is that placing it on the side is the first step to removing it all together. Perhaps, this is true. My response would be a gentle, “So What?”

There, I said it. Forgive my cynicism of such notions that this issue even has a slight connection to the mission of the church. Here is my take. First, the irony of “In God We Trust” is thick when you consider, the luxury cars, large homes and huge trusts we set up for our retirement. Sure this is the land of opportunity but opportunity somehow seems to land most often in the lap of those who already have the money to spend. We place more belief in self sustainment than we do in God’s sustenance. “Give us this day our daily bread” seems more a reference to dough from our stocks and interests check than yeast for that day. Meanwhile, the poor child goes without a place to lay his head or food to calm his hunger pains. (more…)

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

– Martin Luther King, JR.

You know when I hear the “I have a dream” and the “Let freedom ring section of MLK, JR. famous speech I am moved deeply by the drive that calls humanity to humility before their (more…)