25 July 2005

How do you know?

Lately I have been pondering many things too huge for my head and probably my heart. So if you want to know where my thinking has taken me; sit right there. You might want to get a drink or visit the loo first as I think we are going to be here for a while.

Last weekend a wonderfully sweet friend came to me for advice. She had been leading a Bible study but had become uneasy doing so because of a verse she had read.

I Timothy 2: 11-13 New International Version

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

She was wanting to know if I thought this was an absolute or was it perhaps something cultural that need not apply today. Because she believes the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God she thought it should still hold true. This was hard for me to answer. There are many instances of the import women played in the early church. Is it possible this Scripture is representative of how women were to behave in this culture? Even as Christ hung dying on the cross He made provisions for His mother. This He did because He knew she would need the protection of a male to reside in her society. I also believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. Does this mean I should do everything it says?

Just keeping up with the Old Testament regulations could give you a permanent headache. Fortunately this has already been answered for me. I am saved by the Grace of God through His Son Christ Jesus. I have no need to follow all the laws laid down before Him. He came to abolish the law. This is good news for me and makes my life much simpler,but there are still other questions to be asked.

I have worked for all of my adult life in the cause for life. I've prayed, worked, counseled, and been handcuffed for the cause. I am totally committed to the preservation of all life. Over the years I have come to expand my belief that all life is sacred. Even the life of those who have taken others. This seems to put me at odds with the Old Testament command to stone anyone who has taken the life of another. It also allows for the stoning of a bride who does not go to her marriage bed a virgin. I find I cannot find it in my heart to do either.

This total approach to the Sanctity of Life has put me at odds with many who protect the unborn but feel it is right to kill criminals. We both read the same Bible yet differ greatly on our views.

This caused me to ponder what I would have done had I lived in the middle of the 19th century. Many Christians were divided over the issue of slavery. Most on the pro-slavery side used the Scriptures to support their ideas. Even the New Testament called for slaves to be obedient to their masters. They often wrote that slavery was present in Christ's time and He did nothing to stop it. Jesus did not go around freeing all the slaves He found. He came to free us from the bondage of sin, not earthly masters. How then did the abolitionists come to the conclusion that slavery was wrong? Some spoke about the difference between the slaves of their day and the Hebrew slave system. I think they did some serious soul searching. I know that is what has wrought the change in me. I believe that my continued study of the Scripture has left my heart ready for where the Holy Spirit guides me.

This leads me to question the popular but inaccurate; what would Jesus do? In the first place I am not He nor can I ever be. Secondly I should do what He wants me to do, not only what He did. He didn't address the atrocities of His day. He remained outside of the political realm. He didn't fight the customs of the day. Does this mean I should not? Some would argue that my past history of being civilly disobedient means I do not support the inerrancy of the Scripture as I seek to make change where I should be obeying my government.

Romans 13:1-2 New International Version

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

So am I wrong it what I do? How do I live the way I do and then reconcile the Scripture above? I have come to the conclusion that there are many things I do not understand. Most of these I attribute to the Divine Mystery that is my God. I am unable to understand all that He is and how He works. This in no way lessens who He is. It just means that I as a flawed individual cannot grasp all that is God. My finite being is unable to fully accept His infinite being.

Each day I ask God where I should engage my heart. This has led me down some wandering difficult paths but they have always led to peace. I have decided I can wrap my brain around the commands given me by Jesus. They are the lighthouse I use to guide my journey.

Mark 12:28-34 The Message by Navpress

The Most Important Commandment

28 One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: "Which is most important of all the commandments?"
29 Jesus said, "The first in importance is, "Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; 30 so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' 31 And here is the second: "Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."
32 The religion scholar said, "A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate--that God is one and there is no other. 33 And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that's better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!"
34 When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, "You're almost there, right on the border of God's kingdom."
After that, no one else dared ask a question.

....and neither will I.

23 July 2005


There were many strange things which happened at work today. While I was working the register there was a woman who has flossing her teeth while she stood in queue. Now call me old-fashioned, but that is not something that should be done in public.

We had a Saudi princess and her entourage shop the store thoroughly. Her staff is well trained and quick to respond to any direction. It's kind of fun to watch.

Lastly we had a couple who made themselves comfortable in my shelving display. They settled in to canoodle. One of the things that made the scene odd was the picture they set up of the Virgin Mary. I admire Mary and her place in history as much as the next person. Still I don't go shopping with her picture. Even odder I don't think I would feel comfortable snuggling with the same in a public place. At one point I thought we were going to have to tell the couple to "get a room". My sales manager did finally ask them to move as they were keeping our other customers from seeing the display. Now at this point the whole episode becomes downright ridiculous. This couple had met in the store. They didn't even know each other before today! In this instance I think the British term of "pulling" would be a better choice than a pick up. After all it took this guy several hours of hard work to achieve his objective.

16 July 2005

Happy Birthday Sis!

Today is my baby sister's birthday. I can call her that because she now lives in another state and is too far away to hurt me. She of course is no longer a baby and has five children of her own. One whom I'll get to meet early next year when he ventures outside his mommy.

While I think of her as all grown up I can't help but remember how sweet she was as a youngling. She had an impish grin and a happy heart with a flair for the dramatics. All-in-all a great little sister.

I hope you have a fantastic birthday.

My Hero of the Midnight Madness

Last month my roommate and I had pre-ordered copies of the newest Harry Potter book. I was being hopeful I would somehow find the money for this. I knew by Monday this was not going to happen. We still planned to go to the after hours party and get her copy. I hoped to get her to read it quickly so I could borrow hers. She, like me, is very particular about her books but I knew she would share.

Monday afternoon a friend asked if he could go with us to the Midnight Sale the store would be hosting. Since good friends only add to any excursion, he was more than welcome. I got off work last night around 10:20. I swung by our house to pick up Roomie and we headed off to pick up the last of the three Musketeers. We got to the store about 11:30 and while busy it wasn't too crowded. In the parking lot I was given a belated birthday card from the person I'll now refer to as, my hero. In the card was a sweet note and the cash to buy a copy of the book for myself. Needless to say I was overwhelmed. Friends are fantastic. Not because they give us things but because they care enough to do so. My hero had just come along for the fun. He wasn't even going to get the book for himself.

Roomie and I checked in at the front and got our numbers for the sale after midnight. We met up with another person who was crazy enough to want the book last night. We all spent the time waiting searching for a second book for the roomie to buy. We each received a coupon for 25% off an additional purchase. I have often told her she has missed many great works of literature. I truly think she needs to go home to Indiana and slap her old teachers for short-changing her education.

As we wandered around the store we picked up several of the freebies being offered. My hero eventually became my carry-all as he carted around the freebies that were starting to pile up. He was well suited to the task as he had a Coke and was on a good sugar and caffeine high.

Eventually it was our turn to join the queue as our numbers were called. Here we picked up even more items and I won a box of Bernie Bott's Every Flavour Beans for knowing Harry's birthday.

We finally left the store and headed for home. Once there I dealt with a few things that needed to be done and then settled down with a large bottle of water to read. I started the book at 2:00 a.m. I read it straight through until 6:30 a.m. Drinking water keeps you awake without the excitement of caffeine. This is good because once you are finished you can go right to sleep. That is until you are forced to wake up because you have to pee. I talked several times with a friend from California who was up reading as well. We had spent part of last week exchanging ideas about what we thought would happen.

I got some good sleep until a friend in from Florida this weekend called at 11:00 a.m. It was just as well the pee issue would have woken me soon.

While you may not want to read it straight through in one sitting, it is a very good read. There were several good lessons to be gleaned from the pages. I'll not go into any detail here as I don't want to spoil it for others. After you have read it please feel free to share with me what you think you learned from the book. I have read all of the books with a godchild and even set a course in study for him. We have had many great discussions about valuable life lessons he has extracted from their pages.

07 July 2005

Never give in

Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

In their attack on London they have shown their stupidity. They have obviously forgotten the years that city was under siege. They have forgotten the resolute way it's citizens carried on with their lives. They have forgotten how neighbor reached out to help neighbor.

Once again cowards have tried to change the world through horrible evil acts. Reporters have been bringing up the similarities of today's attack to September 11. If I hear one more reporter make reference to terrorists as "martyrs" I may have to hurt them. A martyr does not kill others for a cause, he dies for his own.

Thankfully I have heard from all those I love in London. They are o.k. Mostly surprised and angry. Surprised because you expect your hometown to be safe. Angry because they can never feel that way again. Please keep the families and friends of all those lost in your prayers. They will need our support.

04 July 2005

Beginning America

The signers of the Declaration of Independence came from all walks of life. They were landowners, metal smiths, writers, farmers, businessmen and solicitors. Only one was a clergyman.

I have often wondered about that. It seems that all of the founding fathers were men of faith. Why was there only one clergyman? What was it that made John Witherspoon the lone representative of his profession?

Mr. Witherspoon was born and raised in Scotland. He was a Presbyterian minister. He came to America to become the President of what is now known as Princeton University. He continued to preach and educate young men even after the Revolutionary War was being waged. He lost his son in a battle. The First Continental Congress of fifty-five men had nine graduates of Princeton. Five had been his students. His later students included one President, one Vice President, nine cabinet officers, twenty-one senators, thirty-nine congressmen, three Justices of the Supreme Court and twelve state governors.

One man can have an enormous impact on the fate of a nation. Remember that when you are wondering if you can make a difference.

02 July 2005

Almost molested

Today there were many fun moments at work. I enjoy working with people who understand that it is good for folks to be happy doing their jobs. Good for the individual and the company.

One moment today had me struggling not to laugh out loud. A woman asked me to help her purchase some foam and bubble wrap. While I was busy counting out the amount she needed her husband wanted to return a tape measure he had borrowed earlier. He could see I had both of my hands busy so he tried to place the tape in my pocket. At work I wear an apron with pockets. He bypassed those and went for the front pocket of my jeans. It was at this moment my struggle to contain my laughter began. I continued with what I was doing. His wife finally noticed his efforts to return said tape and blurted out "Honey, watch what you're doing. You're molesting her." He got flustered and then reached back into my pocket to retrieve the item. At this point I could be silent no longer. I laughed and thanked him for his efforts to return the tape measure. I explained that I was truly grateful as many times I loan out my tape and it doesn't find it's way back. Both of them joined me in laughter. We all had many a chuckle and talked about how wonderful it was to be in a place where laughter was welcome.