Beginning in the Fall of 2014, I commenced a serious personal study of The Book of Job. This ancient biblical account relates the gripping story of Job. Today, we’d say he was highly-privileged and experienced the perks of life few of his contemporaries may have enjoyed.
The book begins with an unremarkable statement: “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.” The next sentence tells us Job was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” But within just a couple paragraphs, the situation turns bad — really bad — for Job.
Thus begins an ages-old dialogue probing the goodness (or monstrous cruelty) of Almighty God. The question begs to be answered: why must a righteous man endure suffering? If a man is indeed “blameless, upright and God-fearing” (as the narrative proclaims Job was), then doesn’t he have every right to be exempt from humanity’s pain and affliction?
Little more than a week ago, I posted about what was then the upcoming oral arguments presented to the United States Supreme Court dealing with same-sex marriage. That post, titled Children In The Crosshairs, related one of my personal concerns about the impact this decision (due in June) may have on innocent children.Now that the arguments have been presented and the attorneys have fielded interrogatories from the Supremes, I’m noting another concern being expressed. The ominous death knell for Christian organizations (churches, schools, etc.) appears to have sounded and was summed up by author Joe Carter in his opening paragraph here: “With six words –’It is going to be an issue’ – the U.S. government signaled to orthodox Christian colleges and universities that if they don’t drop their opposition to same-sex marriage they will lose their tax exempt status.”
The world is a fascinating and diverse place, isn’t it! When I peer out my windows in the morning, I see the gently-fluttering leaves on half a dozen different kinds of trees. (Unfortunately, with nary a leaf between them, two apple trees my Beloved planted a year or two ago appear to have succumbed to the elements.) I’m fond of this season as trees transform almost overnight from bare-naked stick figures into full-bodied lush green finery! Diversity.Outdoors isn’t the only place where diversity is easily recognizable. We have eight splendidly diverse grandchildren … five grandsons, three granddaughters. Each of them exhibits a completely unique personality with divergent interests and proclivities.
Since he was old enough to make basic motor noises, our youngest grandson, near to celebrating his fifth birthday, has expressed an interest in vehicles of all kinds (more diversity). He can identify things about trucks and tractors and farm implements that I’d never have known without his explanations!
Another grandson, soon to celebrate his tenth birthday, is less expressive, but his brain is absorbing everything he sees. His specialty (among other things) is grasping how mechanical objects work. Diversity. Continue reading “Vive La Difference!”→
Perform a Google search for the term Doomsday Warning and a curious mixture of results pop up. On one side of the coin stand the naysayers who earlier this year advanced the symbolic Doomsday Clock two minutes because of concerns about global warming / climate change / or what people sometimes call weather.On the coin’s reverse are other naysayers (so-called preppers and survivalists, economic forecasters, purveyors of precious metals, etc.) who are just as certain we’re moving closer to midnight … but their basis for saying so differs from the Doomsday Clock crowd.Continue reading “Three Minutes To Midnight”→
All of us appreciate hearing Good News. Am I right?! When a person has waited on Good News the better part of fifty years, it can’t come too soon. Nearly a year ago, I posted about my good friend Joseph Wood who has been researching the details of his parentage, having been abandoned as an infant and found wrapped in a blanket-lined basket, mere hours after his 1965 birth.
Joseph’s delightful story has now made its way to the pages of the Chicago Tribune where it will (hopefully) garner attention and lead (at long last) to a reunion with the family of his birth. (Thanks to Mary Schmich for kindly featuring Joseph’s story!)
There’s already a basket-load of Good News related to Joseph’s story … even as he was abandoned, he was lovingly placed where he’d be found, he was lovingly adopted, he was nurtured in a loving home and all along the way, God had His hand on the lad – who grew into a man, husband, father, as well as a respected and admired friend who currently serves the State of Arkansas as our Deputy Secretary of State. Continue reading “Looking for Good News”→
When considering Christian praise and worships songs, a cursory examination confirms many of the songs associated with faith refer to God’s greatness. Consider one song as an example: How Great Thou Art, a worship hymn based on a poem written in 1885 but commonly associated with the baritone voice of Billy Graham’s long-time associate George Beverly Shea. He first performed the song at a Billy Graham crusade in 1957.
Though How Great Thou Art may be one of the best-known songs that speaks to God’s greatness, there are so many more! Chris Tomlin‘s How Great Is Our God has been a popular standard over the last decade. From the late 1980s, Rich Mullins enjoyed great success with his composition, Awesome God. It would be difficult to count how many such songs there are, but I imagine you have several that come to mind.
Resuming my study of The Book of Job, this week’s post brings us to Chapter 26 where Job responds to Bildad’s brief statement in Chapter 25. It’s an interesting chapter because Job isn’t going to argue with the truth of Bildad’s assertions in the previous chapter – what Bildad said was true! But there’s no getting around the sarcasm in Job’s reply. (If Job were living in the 21st Century, he’d possibly heave a sigh and say, “No duh!“)
The trailer for the DC Comics superhero film, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a hot item this weekend. Watch the trailer here. As a one-time fan of both Batman (the Christian Bale film series from 2005-forward) and Superman (the George Reeves television series of the 1950s), I’m not particularly enthusiastic about forthcoming productions. For me, I want my superheroes to remain the way I remember them.The upcoming film was originally set to release in 2014 and then was delayed to be released this year but was once again pushed back, this time until 2016. The delays are puzzling and the story line has been, so far as I can tell, kept under wraps but the title is intriguing. Are Batman and Superman going to participate in the ultimate challenge and meet face to face in the UFC Octagon? Continue reading “Heroes Or Villains?”→
Back in February, I posted about a day when I made a specific appointment to prune the raspberry bushes in my garden. I mentioned my reluctance to perform the task because I believed the productive plants might – given my notoriously purple thumb – take offense at being pruned and simply refuse to produce another crop! About two weeks ago, I took a hopeful gander at the raised-bed garden. I’m afraid it wasn’t good news.While I can’t confirm that said canes have actually given up the ghost, I’m beginning to worry. While the usual complement of weeds have begun to flourish (and propagate without any assistance), if there are new canes sprouting, I have not spied them. I will go out tomorrow and confirm. Granted, the temperatures may be fooling them into thinking it’s still late winter! Continue reading “Raising Canes . . . Maybe”→
With ABC’s Dianne Sawyer conducting a two-hour interview scheduled to air tomorrow night, stories and pictures of Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner are everywhere online as well as on the front pages of various tabloids. Jenner reached the pinnacle of success, snagging two Gold Medals in the grueling decathlon. Esquire described him as “the greatest athlete of his time.”The picture above shows the young athlete I remember admiring, proudly holding one of his medals. I can’t deny my amazement that this man – and he is a man, no matter what extent his body is or will be mutilated – could be the same individual the news outlets are now covering.
Forty years separated from his last Gold Medal achievement, the recent picture below makes me think of a tortured and lost child, someone so despondent he’s chosen an extraordinary (some would say irrational) path in hopes it will bring him some measure of peace. I look at this second picture and it breaks my heart. How does an individual arrive at this point of utter desperation?Yes, life can be a meat-grinder … even for someone who is perceived to have success, all the perks of a fine life and seemingly not a care in the world. With three marriages and three divorces, Jenner fathered six children but did not (apparently) find the transformative experiences of family suited his neediness.
Growing up during a time when my daddy was attending Bible school, I absorbed theological concepts from an early age. Attending Bible school for a year right after high school (and after that a Christian college), I digested even more theology. Eventually, I married my Beloved who entered seminary before we’d been married a year. It’s accurate to say I’ve had lots of opportunities to consider and personalize theological principles.
That being said, I am not a theologian! Even “armchair theologian” is far too lofty and official a term; I’m simply a lifelong student of the Bible. To my shame, I’ve not always been a devout student. Some theological concepts have stuck in my mind over the years while others seemingly evaporated. This being the time of year for tulips, most people call up an image of colorful flowers, but mention tulip and my brain swerves over to theology! Continue reading “Calvinistic Mnemonics”→