The Garden of God

A Hollywood personality made a strong moral statement last week. I know that surprises you, coming from Hollywood. But there are some moral people there, and some Christians. In fact, as I recall, there had been a report not long before that this particular personality had become a Christian. Moments after he made his statement, the bullies came out of the woodwork, calling for him to be fired from his job, declaring that he was an intolerant bigot. The insults and abuse continued until he issued an apology, declaring that he regretted his “misinformed” statement. He would try to be nicer and more tolerant from now on.

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The Untamable Beast

Have you been on Facebook recently? Some of us are on every day. Some of us are on far too long and far too often. For many people, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media have replaced face-to-face relationships and conversation. Social media appears to set up each of us as the king of our own universe, the lone voice of expertise. We have, in my opinion, lost the meaning of the word “friend.” We number faceless people we have never met, and probably wouldn’t like if we did, as “friends.” We have hundreds and thousands of friends we don’t even know - except through social media. In the meantime, we have very few real friendships, people with whom we can cry and laugh and share a cuppa. The sad fact is that many on social media have no one who is truly a friend – they live in an artificial world filled with artificial relationships. 

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Fruitless Faith

I recently participated in a Facebook discussion on the topic of faith and works. The question was whether belief or repentance came first in the order of salvation, which seemed to me like nitpicking. On the one side were those who were saying that those who believe would be saved – and they had their Scriptures to prove their point. On the other side were those who were saying that those who repented would believe and be saved – and they had their Scriptures. I merely tried to point out that there were verses on both sides, but questioned how one was to repent unless they believed. And it is nitpicking. It’s a hair’s breadth theological issue that is actually irrelevant to the average believer (like me), and confusing to those outside the church. I stepped away and watched as the discussion became more and more heated. I began to wonder what the rest of the world thought of the kinds of battles we fight with one another. Well, I think I know. Those sorts of discussions may be fine “in house” among believers, but they should be kept “in house”.

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My Favorite Things

In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews sings, “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens; Brown paper packages tied up with strings – These are a few of my favorite things.” We all have our favorite things, favorite foods, favorite flowers and favorite pictures. We even have our favorite people. Our lives are enhanced by these sorts of things. And we have reasons for preferring them. The beach is my favorite place – a bad day at the beach is better than a good day anywhere else. I’ve found the beach to be a place of relaxation and meditation. It calms me. The sound of the surf seems to drown my cares and anxious thoughts and gives me time to ponder. I love chocolate, but I prefer a good dark chocolate. To some degree, perhaps, it is our favorite things that define life for us and even define us as individuals.

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In One Ear ...

I know this sounds weird, but have you ever driven down the street, seen a face and wondered if your face looked like that? I looked in the mirror this morning to comb my hair and shave. I know what my face looks like. I think. I mean, I recognize myself in the mirror and in photographs. But if I were asked to draw a picture of my face now? Not a clue. The problem is ... Well, a few years back I heard motivational speaker Don Lonie quote a limerick: “I know how ugly I are. I know my face ain’t no star. But I don’t mind it, cuz I’m behind it. It’s folks out front get the jar.” The problem is, I’m behind it. I can’t see my face, and so, walking away from the mirror I forget what I look like.

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