Neil MacGregor: 2600 years of history in one object

•February 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Faith and Doubt (part 1)

•February 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“…if ever a monk could get to heaven through monastic discipline, I was that monk….And yet my conscience would not give me certainty, but I always doubted and said, ‘You didn’t do that right. You weren’t contrite enough. You left that out of your confession.’ The more I tried to remedy an uncertain, weak, and troubled conscience with human traditions, the more I daily found it more uncertain, weaker, and more troubled.” Martin Luther

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” Jesus Christ

Is the opposite of faith doubt?

One of the most quoted (or miss quoted) verses in the Bible has to be: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” Romans 8:28a. It is often wielded like a club by well meaning Christians when someone they know is struggling…

Lost your job? “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”

Car accident? “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”

Terminal illness? “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”

Unfaithful spouse? “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”

The problem is (aside from being taken out of context) to the person in the tempest that is racked with doubt and fear this can be quite offensive. And rather than drawing them closer to God it often has the opposite effect and drives them away.

It can be worse during times of self-flagellation where Believers beat themselves up with the same scripture searching for relief, groping in the dark for God. Only to find doubt.

I don’t believe that the opposite of faith is doubt but inaction.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17

In the storm we all ask why. Even Jesus on the cross cried out, “my God, my God why?” Mark 15:34

If we didn’t doubt or question God we are not being honest and ultimately any relationship that does not have honesty at its core is doomed.

My God is big enough to not be offended by my doubts.

10 Years of Noah

•October 4, 2011 • 4 Comments

Black Friday

•December 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“This will go down as one of the earliest and most promotional Black Fridays in history. Many stores opened earlier than ever before and retailers offered unbelievable sales and discounts to get people shopping.” Tracy Mullin President of the National Retail Federation

“All I want is what I… I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.” Sally Brown

I don’t understand Black Friday shopping. I have been once… and didn’t find what I was looking for. If I wanted a “blood in the water” I would watch Shark Week on Discovery Channel…

What I really don’t understand is how, within a few short hours we, as a society, go from celebrating thankfulness to being consumed by dissatisfaction and greed.

In 2008 Jdimytai Damour (age 43), a temporary maintenance worker at the Long Island, NY Wal-Mart was trampled to death by crowds hoping to bag a holiday bargain. A police officer on the scene was quoted, “Even officers who arrived to perform CPR on the trampled worker were stepped on by wild-eyed shoppers streaming inside”.

 

And in despair I bowed my head

“There is no peace on earth,” I said,

“For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

 

“His body was a stepping bag with so much disregard for human life,” Ernst     Damour, 37, said. “There has to be some accountability.”

 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Maybe it is appropriate (if not historically accurate) we celebrate the birth of Christ at the winter solstice; the coldest, darkest time of the year. It is to a cold dark world, full of hate, selfishness, hurt… that He comes… to be held “accountable” not for anything he has done but for everything we have done.

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:3-6 (NKJV)

Obama can’t seem to catch a break on his oil spill response

•June 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

By Courtland Milloy at The Washington Post

“When it comes to oil, we seem to be stuck in some infantile stage where it’s okay to suckle on the gas pump till the well runs dry. We don’t care where the oil comes from, and we’ll do anything to get it. Boycott BP? You’ve got to be kidding. Our appetite is insatiable, and now that gorging has got us in trouble we want Obama to burp us and jump-start our sense of outrage.

Outrage at anybody other than ourselves, of course.” (link)

Memorial Day 2010

•May 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

‘Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God’.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
   Scarce heard amid the guns below.

   We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

   Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
   We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields. ~Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae 

“They fought together as brothers-in-arms. They died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation.” ~Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

I can envision a small cottage somewhere, with a lot of writing paper, and a dog, and a fireplace and maybe enough money to give myself some Irish coffee now and then and entertain my two friends. ~Richard Van de Geer (11 January 1948-May 15, 1975) The last official American casualty in VietNam.

“Unhappy it is, though, to reflect that a brother’s sword has been sheathed in a brother’s breast and that the once-happy plains of America are either to be drenched with blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous man hesitate in his choice?” ~George Washington

There is a port of no return, where ships May ride at anchor for a little space And the, some starless night, the cable slips, Leaving an eddy at the mooring place….. Gulls, veer no longer. Sailor, rest your oar. No tangled wreckage will be washed ashore. ~Leslie Nelson Jennings

If Anyone is Thirsty.

•May 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of this. From the seller:

“THIS VERY UNIQUE STAINLESS STEEL FLASK IS 8 OZ. AND DECORATED WITH AN IMAGE ON THE FRONT ONLY.”

It is only $16. I’m not sure that this is what He meant when He said, “come and drink”.

 
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