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January 2017

the elephant man

The death of John Hurt reminded me of the many characters he portrayed in his acting career: the man who "birthed" the alien from his chest, Olivander in the Harry Potter movies, Oxley in the last Indiana Jones movie, and so many others.  But I remembered the one film where he was so totally lost in the recreation of an historical figure, that he seemed to become the person - John Merrick, the Elephant Man.

Hurt was one of those rare actors who made the characters he portrayed so memorable that when he appeared in the movie, you really couldn't see anyone else in the role.

but, why?

OK. Here's what I think.

If a newspaper cannot give a reason why something happened, then it fails in providing a complete story.

The other night there was a shooting and a stabbing incident at a local convenience store. The first story our local newspaper published was very skimpy on details. Somebody was stabbed, somebody was shot, one person went to the hospital and one person fled the scene of the incident.  Understandable that details would be lacking.

The follow-up story the next day provided a few more details, so a little more clarity.

But there still has not been an answer to one very important question - WHY?

All the details in the world are fine, but if the WHY? question is not answered, the story is incomplete.

Reason is extremely important. Knowing who shot who and who stabbed who and how the individuals were apprehended are nice, but there really is no full story unless the reporter can give a reason WHY things happened. Why was there an altercation to begin with? What happened that would cause two men to grab a weapon and use it on another person? Reasons often complete the story; mysteries are solved when the reason for the incident is explained.

Hopefully someone working at the local newspaper will keep checking for reasons for this incident. Inquiring mind still want to know WHY?

through the windows of the soul

Windowsquote"I don’t want to live in the kitchen of religious activity, distracted with all my preparations. I don’t want to live slumped over some steamed-up stove, worried and upset about so many things. I want to live at the Savior’s feet, gazing into His eyes, listening to His words, and seeing as many windows as He’ll show me. At His feet is where we learn to pause at those windows. It starts by loving Him and longing to hear His voice. When we’re slaving away in some kitchen where the pots and pans are clanging, it’s hard to hear that voice. But when we’re at His feet and our heart is still, we can hear Him even when He whispers."

Gire, Ken. Windows of the Soul (p. 36). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

"...He has infinity to listen..."

SilentplantMy first exposure to C. S. Lewis was through his classic science fiction tale, Out of the Silent Planet. I read it my sophomore year at Washington Bible College when my dormitory room was on the northeast side of the building facing some pine trees and the road which rounded down the hill from the main entrance of the college. I still remember those hours when I would sit back in the desk chair and rest my feet on the desk and read Lewis' story about a man from Earth ("the silent planet") to the planet Malacandria. The book is rich in description and the experience of reading it has stayed with me for many years.

And he is the author of the Narnia books as well as many other books on theological ideas. I loved reading him.

As I wandered around the internet I found an old interview he gave to the BBC that is related to his book "Mere Christianity".  It features Lewis' gift of being able to explain theological concepts using everyday examples. I especially love his explanation of the eternal nature of God to our finite existence:  "... [God] has infinity in which to listen to the split second of prayer..."


was that sarcasm?

Ah, sarcasm. Humor wrapped in a question mark.

It's the kind of humor that has to be heard to be understood.

Believe me. I've tried. Try and be sarcastic in social media like Facebook, and there will be at least ONE person who just doesn't get it.

Another reason why written social media is a dangerous foundation for society. 99% get that the comment sent in response to someone else's observation was meant in jest, with maybe the twinge of a hint of honesty. 1% end up thinking you're an idiot or believe you and chide you for being flippant.

No win. Best not to play.

downton abbey inspiration

I landed on PBS one evening - I'm not sure now what program I watched - but the one thing I DO remember is the advertisement that appeared after the program. 

It featured a young lady who suffered from Tourette syndrome who found that her love of the Downton Abbey series created a desire within her to read about Edwardian England. Her research led to her being inspired by the lives and times of that era. Despite the painful effects of her condition, she started to write her thoughts and stories down. Now, her inspiration inspires...

How many times do I give up because the way ahead is painful? What truly counts truly costs.


teach me to pray

Pray1While I was doing some dishes yesterday - and fixing a piece of toast - I was listening to a radio broadcast of local church. A prayer was being offered by a lay leader and I found myself listening as he spoke. My initial thought was "Oh please, you're not at a racetrack. Slow down. Think about who you're talking to..."  The prayer was a rushed mess instead of something intimate, or inspirational, or influential.

Continue reading "teach me to pray" »

The Poirot Bible

He is for me the ideal Hercule Poirot - Agatha Christie's unflappable Belgian detective. And yet many do not know that he is also a Christian with his conversion experience beginning in the late 1980's with a reading of the book of Romans from a hotel Bible.

Now he has a complete reading of the New International Version of the Bible to present; "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)

the lonely Christmas ornament

LastChristmasWe were headed to see my niece. Just as we neared her house, at a stop sign I happened to turn my head and notice that a single Christmas ornament was hung from a scrappy little evergreen tree at the intersection.

Sis and I both laughed and I snapped a picture of it.

It's things like this that make a person think.  Who placed the ornament there? Why was it here? Is there a meaning to such a display? I don't know and I'm not sure I'll ever know.

But it makes me think. Something so simple and so unusual reminds me of the reason for the season.

God displayed his most wonderful gift of love in a simple way. Many must have passed by that night completely oblivious to the beautiful display of God's plan to redeem mankind. Some saw it and realized this was something special. They were not sure how God would accomplish what he had planned, but faith stepped in and began to shine as people began to realize that God was still working his will in his way.

Simple beauty in an unexpected place. There for those who had eyes to see that the "something unusual and totally unexpected" was actually a reminder that sometimes Gods most beautiful gifts are found where they are least expected.

The last time we drove by the little evergreen tree, the ornament was still there. I hope it remains, and I trust that those who pass by will see and understand the wonder and the beauty of God's plan.