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Showing posts from March, 2008

Preparing for Fear

For several years I was a member of a volunteer fire department. It was the 70's and not too many women wanted to be firefighters. In fact, I wasn't there because I wanted to be a firefighter. I was there because I wanted a job with the county's emergency dispatch center and I needed some emergency experience to get my foot in the door.

Being a volunteer was a transforming experience. Not only did it prepare me for working in public safety, it helped me to think systematically. The hours spent training and drilling were helpful to me, though most of the things I learned to do, I never had to use. I could put on my SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) in the same time as the rest of the crew, making certain the seal was good and the regulator working, but when it came right down to it, I wanted to be in the dispatch room, not the room that was on fire. Years ago there was a 20 minute rule; if the fire was 20 minutes old, you assume the structure was unsafe. I had…

Stones of Remembrance

In preparation for my posts on fear I have been doing some reflection on the path my life has taken and how different fears have motivated me. There are healthy fears, reasonable fears and unreasonable fears. I have been compelled to act by all three with varying measures of success and/or catastrophic results. One thing that has remained a constant, God's faithfulness.

The college I used to work for had special chapel services once a semester. They were called "Stones of Remembrance." As I reflect on my time at the college, besides some people, those chapels are the thing I miss the most. The idea was that someone would select a stone to be added to a pile that was placed in a prominent place on campus. He or she would give testimony to a time in their life that God demonstrated His faithfulness in a unique way. Then their stone would be added to those of other students, faculty and staff who had also given their testimonies. The idea was based on Joshua 4:9ff

Books, DVDs and Fear

I am not feeling very good. I think I have picked up the virus that has been going around. Lucky me. Normally when I don't feel well I have some ritual behaviors I indulge myself in. I make Lipton Chicken Noodle soup, drink Seven-Up and watch my favorite dvds. Band of Brothers is on the top of that list. I know, women aren't supposed to like war movies. I am not like most women. Band of Brothers is one of the finest productions I have ever seen. I get thoroughly involved with the characters and my favorite parts are the interviews with the actual men the story is based on as they recall what it was like.

Today I decided it was too much work to change the dvds. I have been dvr'ing the series John Adams that HBO has running now. I have watched the first three episodes and am looking forward to the last four. I am going to be sad when it is over. I think I would like to read the book. Ah... so many books, so little time. Speaking of time, it's time for a confess…

Phil Johnson On Politics and the Church

I have to share this because Phil Johnson nailed it. He delivered a sermon on how pastors should shepherd their flocks during an election year. It is wonderful. Because he is a brilliant, clear thinking communicator he is easy to listen to, because he is a solid believer what he has to say is valuable. He has succinctly put what I have been trying to say regarding the Obama/Wright controversy. His first point is preachingnot lobbying is how we make the truth known. You'll find the link here. He is teaching a group of pastors. If you're not a pastor, don't let that keep you from listening. It is valuable for all. By the way, you can find more of Phil's mp3's to download here and his Pyromaniacs blog here.

I will warn you, you will be challenged and stretched, but you'll be blessed.

Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals, Even in Politicians

The news is still buzzing, bloggers are still writing and television talk shows are still discussing the Obama/Wright controversy. I suppose that our ability to discuss the issue is evidence of how far we have come since the Civil Rights Movement and how much further we have to go. It is also evidence of our inability to think logically let alone biblically on the matter of racism.

The political arena is a messy one. Let's face it, we all think our politics are better than those who disagree with us. I maintain there is room for disagreement on some political issues. The bible says that we are to be as iron sharpens iron to one another. The sharpening process happens because of friction. Conflict does not have to be unhealthy. Conflict was assumed and written into our constitution as a way of making certain there would be checks and balances in our system. We call that conflict bureaucracy and we complain about it, but it was placed there for a reason; to keep one party or perso…

The Day After - Knowing How the Story Ends Changes Everything

The disciples and those on the periphery of the ministry must have been miserable the day after their friend and Lord was crucified. The shock and horror of Jesus' treatment, their abject fear for their lives all coupled with their grief and despair had to leave them physically spent and emotionally vacant. Have you ever been there? When you've cried so hard that the only thing you feel is the knot in the back of your throat? Your body all but shuts down and you move through essential activities as though you are operating on tracks. You are walking wounded.

I can only imagine what they felt and what they talked about. Surely there were some in stunned disbelief and some who were making plans on what to do if the crowd should turn on them. For three years their lives had been focused on one thing and now their one thing was gone. How would they survive? Who would they be? Where would they go? Would the pain ever stop? They had no idea what was in store for them.

For me the Ea…

Good Friday and Diamonds in the Dust

About two months ago I lost the diamond out of my ring. I was out with my sister and this was the second time we had gone out together and I had lost a stone from my ring. It wasn't a tiny chip that fell out. It was the 1.5 carat center stone. I was heartbroken in the sense that I liked the ring and could never afford to replace the stone, but that particular ring didn't have a single bit of sentimental value. It wasn't the one a prior love had given me or the stone from my grandmother's ring. It was just something I liked and so I let it go. I put the setting away and wondered if one of the loose stones I have inherited would fit in the setting or would it be something my kids find in my jewelry box after I am gone and wonder what happened. OK with the loss, I said "Thank you that it was just a rock, Lord."

I have learned to let a lot of things go. I have learned when you try to grab too tightly, your hands are closed to the possibilities of something e…

More Opinions On Obama

The folks at Triablogue have a post worth reading on Barak Obama's speech. You can find it here. My posts are here and here. The more I think about Obama's speech the more I want to rail. Geraldine Ferraro may not have been politically correct in her statements regarding his candidacy, but she was right on the money. If Obama was not black, he would not be running for president as a serious candidate. Not now any way. Those people who have been grooming him for this political move were either too quick or they were willing to sacrifice him to test the waters.

It seems that there are a few black pundits who are willing to speak out and some of them agree with me. Shelby Steele has an article in the Wall Street Journal. Ken Blackwell has weighed in as well in a post on the Family Research Council. To be fair there are more speaking out that do not agree with me. Some are ardent Obama supporters and some are suspect of the motives of white people when it comes to politics.…

The Bruised Reed- When You Feel Overwhelmed and Under Able

I woke up this morning with a headache that made me understand why headaches are often described as 'splitting.' I felt so miserable I considered amputation at the neck as my only option. Of course, that would be a permanent solution to a temporary problem and the side effects outweighed the benefits at that point. I opted for some Advil and some caffeine. It took some time, but eventually they worked. There is no mistaking that I am coming down with something.

Once I had the headache under control, I made my way to the pharmacy to purchase more medications. If I become "Nearer my God to Thee" sick, I don't have anyone to run to the store for me. I appreciate the wisdom of preemptive strikes. I registered my identification and runny nose with the pharmacist in exchange for the right to purchase some Pseudofed. It irritates me to have to write my name in their little book but it's the law. Besides the stuff you can buy OTC doesn't work nearly so well…

Vote for Ashley Not Obama

I wasn't able to listen to Obama's speech live. I am sorry I missed it but I am grateful for the internet where transcripts of his speech can be found here . Limited analysis can be found in several places. A sampling of them are here, and here, and here. And of course YouTube has posted the speech. I am sure it's gone viral by now. Since I have earlier posted that Obama's church affiliation matters, it seems only fair to me to comment on what he's done to address the issue.

My first reaction to the speech was to want to applaud his writing staff and then I read that Obama has written the speech himself. The compliment stands. He did a great job of trying to diffuse and distance himself from the controversy. He delivered the message with poise and charm. What he failed to do was address the core problem of the double standard I pointed out earlier and as such, he is no more trustworthy now than he was prior to clarifying his position.

Look, I do not disli…

The Dirt and Snowflake Principle.

Some posts I mull around for days and days before I actually write them. Some just come flying out as I rant with my fingers clicking the keys on the keyboard. You're not likely to tell the difference in the execution of my writing. I have grown careless in my old age. I suppose that it is proof of my rebellious nature. I resented having to learn to write in APA, MLA and Turabian styles. It would be so much easier if there was one style to learn. A common expectation among disciplines is that you're going to have to write a paper, but one style of writing and documenting sources will never do. Or so it appears. If you ask me it is just one more way we try to separate, categorize and distance ourselves from others.

In the United States we value our individualism above all else. Striving to be recognized individually while desiring to be part of a herd has us conflicted. I think this is why we struggle so much with being offended. We want acceptance and yet, we want to…

Wild Irish Rosemarie- and her reformed heritage

Following family history is fascinating to me. If you were to see me you would have little doubt of my Italian heritage. My father's family came to the United States through Ellis Island. What may not be so obvious at first is my Irish heritage. I can trace my maternal heritage back to Isaac Taylor Taylor Sr. was born October 08, 1710 in Armagh, Antrim, Ireland, and died October 08, 1781 in Virginia. Isaac served in the Virginia militia and it is my relationship to him that would allow me to be a Daughter of the American Revolution should I ever desire to join. It's not clear to me when, but it seems Isaac's family immigrated to Antrim, Ireland. They were Scottish Covenanters. So it looks as though I am Irish but only by way of being a Scot and a Presbyterian Scot at that. Since the Scots don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, we'll just stick with my Irish heritage for now.

Isaac built a life in Virginia and had several children. Each of those children sprea…

Profound Thoughts...... or not....

I have been searching for something profound to think about all day and I haven't had much success. I know there are many things worth thinking about, it's just that I can't seem to hang on to one today. Normally my brain is flooded with too many topics at once and I weed most of them out to find something to peruse. Today the garden of my mind lies fallow. Perhaps I have finally spun out and just don't know it? I am quite prone to information overload but if I am to be honest, I enjoy it.

I enjoy learning. If it weren't for the outrageous student loan balance I have already accumulated, I would return to school for yet another degree. It hardly matters to me what it would be, so long as it's not mathematics. Despite my quest for knowledge I am never tempted by math. I get the concepts, it's just those silly numbers that get in the way.

My mind tends to retain the bizarre and useless facts it encounters. Did you know they used Jello to change the &qu…

Barak Obama's Church Affiliation Matters

The news is full of stories regarding Barak Obama's association with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. You can read about it in Europe, or in the US. You see and hear it on the Net and your nightly news. I am glad it's out there. I anticipated it. You might have even read my take on it here in my little blog. I was shocked that the church the senator attended had such a racist agenda and no one had said anything about it. They have now.

Obama is now trying to do damage control. They have changed the church's website. They have added some videos of a white, female pastor to speak for the church and Obama. The senator is denouncing his pastor's remarks. For twenty years Jeremiah Wright has pastored a church whose very mission statement betrays the racism it promotes and suddenly Obama is saying my pastor doesn't speak for me? Give me a break. I wish with all my heart that my black brothers and sisters in Christ would call him on it. Why? Because my calling him …

Random Thoughts While Driving Home

I had a series of random thoughts today. I was driving down a highway that is being upgraded from two small lanes to four divided lands. I seldom drive that way but I was trying to avoid being caught behind a school bus on my way home. Ever have a landmark on a familiar drive that you really look forward to seeing? On this drive mine is a second-hand appliance store. Someone has carefully painted "Refiguators for Sale" on the front window. It cracks me up each time I see it. I have decided if ever I need a 'refiguator' I am buying it there! I began wondering what would happen to the merchants along the old highway. Surely their business was dependent on drivers stopping in to see what they sold. The old highway will almost certainly be deserted in favor of using this new bypass. Tourists would cease stopping in to see and businesses will likely fold.

From there my mind went to the old saying "location, location, location" as being the most important c…

A Lament for the Frito Bandito

I am fed up with political correctness. It has never been a good thing and it never will be a good thing. I want to shake people who are willing to throw away the hard won freedoms we have in the United States because they think that they have a right to go through life without being offended. I have news for you. Going through life without being offended isn't one of your inalienable rights. For that matter your happiness isn't an inalienable right, the pursuit of happiness is. There is a difference. People died to give you the freedom to be different from me. The whole point was to get away from intolerance and you're trying to breed it back in! Diversity tolerance does not equate with the right to go through your life unoffended.

I have been building up to this rant since I was a kid and the Frito-Lay company took the Frito Bandito away. Why? Because some Chicano or LaRaza political activists thought that the character had a negative social impact for Latinos and Hi…

Thunder Snow, Crashing Points and Near Normality

Unhappiness is when your back finally heals enough that you can walk, drive and sit without screaming in pain... Sunday morning comes and your driveway is covered with 2 inches of ice. I really don't want to complain though because the ice was part of an amazing demonstration put on by Almighty God. We had thunder and lightning while it snowed. Prior to the snow fall was a bit of freezing rain. When the lightning flashed it lit the night sky so the freezing rain looked like glitter flying in the wind. The resulting slab of ice was worth the price of the light show. However, when your driveway looks like an ice-skating rink, there are choices that have to be made and none of them are good. Do you risk sliding down your driveway in your automobile and hope that your car doesn't slide into the telephone pole? It only helps to have a four wheel drive when some of the wheels can get traction.

Speaking of traction, the other option was to risk putting my back out again by grabbing th…

Happiness is Being in the Right Church

I know I am in the right church.
Want to know how I know?

---I am growing from equal parts of conviction and encouragement.
--- I miss the teaching as much as the people when I cannot attend.
---My pastor reads my blog- so I know I have accountability.
---My countenance is quieter though my trials are not fewer.

Confrontation and Repentance in Action

I read a lot of blogs. Today I read a post on Challies blog that ties into my theme of repentance. He posted a portion of an audio of Mark Driscoll speaking to his congregation. You can find that here. Unless you live under a rock or have little to do with Christian blogs, you know that Mark Driscoll and his preaching have received a lot of attention. The whole of Mars Hill Church where he pastors has been under scrutiny. As a matter of fact, I have commented on Mark Driscoll here, which is why I want to comment on what I read and listened to on Challies.

The point that Challies seems to be making is that Driscoll's friends, who are men of God, C.J. Mahaney and John Piper, went to Mark and confronted him about sin they saw in his life. Yahoo! I get goosebumps when men (and women) of God act like it! Confrontation is exactly what they should have done. It is the biblical command and standard to which believers are held. All believers, laymen and clergy.

I have already posted

Ophidiphobia , Hamartology, Repentance and Fearing God

I am an ophidiphobe. Snakes of all shapes and sizes terrify me. I have to admit though that I also have a strange fascination with the creatures. I do a pretty good job of disguising my fear of them though. I have never wanted to admit I am afraid of them because I am certain that knowledge could be useful to my enemies or friends with warped senses of humor. In fact, in what could ultimately be the world's best acting performance I actually held a live rattlesnake to prove that I wasn't afraid. The man who had the snake held the working end, and I held the part that rattled. He was impressed and thought I was cool. What he didn't know is that I went home from that experience and trembled for hours.

When I was in kindergarten I walked to and from school with several older children from my neighborhood. I lived with my grandparents at that time and they were not inclined to drive me nor walk the five or six blocks with me. It was a small, rural community in the East…

Repentance

A while back I posted something on an anticipated big change in my life. God has been laying out a theme for me and each day it becomes more difficult to ignore it. The one constant in all the material I am being sent, in each book I decide to read, and most of the blogs I frequent is repentance.

It shouldn't be too surprising to come across the word repentance in the Christian world. It is easy to see there are a lot of people out there who need to repent. Now, I could delude myself into believing that God is bringing this idea of repentance to my attention so I can point out the sins and faults of others. You know, like He is grooming me to be a crusader of sorts . That's it! I am being called to start a new club for super-Christians called "Speck Patrol." Ha! I wish. No, the more I try to wiggle out from under the conviction, the more pressure God is placing on me to re-evaluate my concept of repentance. Not mine alone, but how we as the body of Christ v…

When Hard Things Happen

Sometimes this world is ugly and I don't want to be here any more. I know this seems a sharp contrast from the post I made here about how everything we do matters. It's not really. I still believe those words. In times like these, I cling to them. It's just that I know that heaven will be so much nicer. Here I am free from the penalty and power of sin, there I will be free from the presence of sin and sin is very ugly business.

Today my oldest girl miscarried her baby boy. She was 5 1/2 months pregnant. I am heartbroken for her and her husband, they are grieving the loss of their son. I am grieving the loss of my second grandchild. His death was traumatic and trauma always changes people. Always. I know that this is something that his parents will survive, but they will never be the same, nor should they be. Life can and will be good again. There will be time to enjoy the blooms of spring and the warmth of sunshine on their faces. Time will pass and the pain wil…

More Deep Thoughts

It's been a few days since I have posted anything, not that I have been missed. It's more that I have missed the chance to put some thoughts down and think them through. There is a nagging feeling I have that that I am missing something important. That somewhere in the list of strange things I think about, there is one worth pursuing. Do you think about things you never hear anyone else mention? I do.

I had a lovely conversation with my friend, Carla. You know you are building a great friendship with someone when you feel comfortable in sharing those strange things you think about and they don't run away in terror.

So what do I think about? What does God think is funny? Can you know everything, be sovereign in all matters and have a sense of humor? Our humor is tainted by sin, God's is not. Does he laugh at pratfalls? Or does he have more of a sense of enjoyment? I laugh when I watch little piglets play. Does he?

What does God think is beautiful? Are some things m…