Monday, May 30, 2005
Walking Flesh Breathing Spirit
Breath, she tells me, travels around the world and is shared. I breathe your breath and you breathe mine. Do you have an illness? I do and it is only curable by death.
We are due, he said, for a great correction. The human race has found diversion in every possible baseness or triviality. The great correction may come. What will your view be of it?
"Can you see?" I asked her. "Not well", she said, "I have fear." She was doing dishes and talking shallow. It is why I asked. She wants to see of course, and I am more blind than she, so I was not able to help much. We did pray though. There is a swing waiting for me, and a Book and a yellow pad. You may hear about it. You may not. You may create your own.
"Butterflies" I told her, "have a conflicting task this time of year. They must hide from preditors and at the same time attract mates." This can cause insanity. Bright colors attract mates. The shapes in which the colors are configured give the illusion of eyes and may scare away creatures who wish to eat but do not wish to be eaten.
Poisonous animals have a toxin in their body (or in some parts of their body)
which may kill or sicken an animal that eats it, bites it or even licks it.
Monarch Butterfly: There is no hope or protection against this dangerous animal.
Poison Arrow Frog: The bright coloration of the poison arrow frogs warns predators that they are poisonous. Once a predator has even licked a poison arrow frog, it gets very sick and will never try to eat one again. The poison protects them from most predators (except the snake Leimadophis epinephelus, which is immune to the frog's poison).
Pufferfish: Many parts of the blowfish (including the liver, muscles, skin, and ovaries) contain an extremely strong, paralyzing poison called tetrodoxin. This poison is about a thousand times deadlier than cyanide. There is no known antidote for this poison. Fugu (torafugu or fugu rubripes, Japanese pufferfish) is eaten in Japan, but is only cooked by specially-trained chefs who can minimize the amount of poison. Even so, many Japanese diners have died from eating this poisonous delicacy.
Queen Alexqandra's Birdwing: This is the biggest butterfly in the world. The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing has a wingspan of 1 foot (30 cm). This huge, poisonous butterfly lives in the rain forests of Papua, New Guinea.
Toads: Toads have poison glands (called parotids) behind their eyes, a chubby body, and shorter legs than frogs. Toads have no teeth, and most toads have warty skin. The largest toads are over 8 inches (20 cm) long. Females are larger than males.
When will I see you again?
Will any of you brilliant savants fix our comments?
- posted by -g @ 10:27 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
. . .As long as He lendeth me breath.
Being visited by the man known as "-g" our humble blog host, (and his wonderful companions) always ends too soon, we just barely get going and, well . . .you know how those kind of friends make you wish for eternal Heaven right now.
As mentioned below, I was an overworked Cobbler by trade, had some severe back pain, bedrest didn't help, checked into the hospital hoping for cortizone shots and some pills and get back to work, spent eight days in critical care where they saved my kidneys from calcium poisoning, and was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma aka: bone marrow cancer. Prognosis: 1-2 years unless I get a bone marrow transplant, then 5,10 or even more years of remission.
So, at age 45 I have the privelege of joining those with terminal cancer, treatable but not curable, as an outpatient at the chemotherapy clinic.
These are now my people, we go in for our chemo, we all have a companion to drive us, and stay for the 2-5 hours it may take. The nurses here are different, they know that without the chemo, we die from our various cancers real soon. They put the needles in us painlessly. They have unlimited soft drinks, with perfect crushed ice, lotsa crackers, really nice big reclining chairs for us. There are always clergymen talking to the patients, Rabbi's, Priests, all kinds of Pastors. It's a busy place.
But I'm the new one, the young one. I still make jokes and kinda over do it, it's quite obvious I've only been going for about 5 weeks. My new people have been coming here for years. They are frail, weak looking, wearing the easiest clothes, the easiest shoes. They all have that worn out face, those wiped out eyes, that faded countenance.
Yet these are the mightiest warriors on the planet. They fight, and fight year after year against the inevitable. They sacrifice all that they were, all their resources. They battle against an enemy within. Each day is a victory, sometimes each breath is a victory. The longer they fight the less they have to fight with. Yet they don't give up.
I feel unworthy with my new people, I'm untested as a warrior, I really haven't suffered much yet, I'm sort of whiner about my discomfort, I'm not a very good patient, I get testy. I hope I can learn from these warriors just by being near them, just watching their faces and praying for them.
I'll check back with useful observations -- (Ps. 18:1)
- posted by greg @ 8:34 PM | | 0 rocks in pond
Waves of Thought
Thank you Bruce. Your studies bless us all. I hear voices, and in regards to your last post, one of the voices asks: What does that look like?
Cathy - you are much on my mind. Are you well? What are you doing? Send pictures.
Some time ago, I introduced to this small community - my cobbler - Greg. He is a man full of wisdom and joy and peace and dread? Perhaps not dread now. I was touched with dread a bit ago. It debilitated me. I manufactured many reasons for why it was with me. Perhaps it was simply a gift from God so I would know my wife's suffering better. Perhaps God was reminding me that he is my refuge and stronghold, and help will come from no other place. Perhaps it was many things. In my weakness, I called to a number of people for prayer support. I felt those prayers. I felt them deeply. The dread left me, and I felt a bit embarrassed by my foolish weakness. I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for you. Greg sent me an encouraging word in my dark time. It went like this:
Greg is a selfless man. A holy man. He recently was diagnosed with bone cancer. This has altered much for him, his family and all of us who know and love him. When I first heard the news, I walked around doing meaningless things like moving salt shakers on tables or adjusting chairs to line up visually with the edges of tables. I moved curtains to the left and then back to the right again. I was computing this man's removal from my life and what it meant. I was shaken and saddened - again for myself more than anything - I am immature that way. My wife is a researcher, and she researched the details of the illness. She also baked him a cheese cake. She is a good baker. After things settled down a bit, and we all searched our hearts for bearing, Greg contacted me again:
- posted by -g @ 3:02 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
Monday, May 23, 2005
Whenever a man desireth anything inordinately, he becomes restless in himself. The proud and the covetous can never rest. The poor and humble in spirit live together in all peace.
The man that is not yet perfectly dead to himself, is quickly tempted and overcome in small and trifling things. The weak in spirit, and he that is yet in a manner carnal and delights in the pleasures of the senses, can hardly withdraw himself altogether from earlthly desires. He is often afflicted when he withdraws himself from them, and easily falleth into anger when any opposition is made against him.
True quietness of heart therefore is gotten by resisting our passions, not by obeying them. There is then no peace in the heart of a carnal man, or in him that is addicted to outward things, but in the spiritual and devout man.
Thomas a Kempis 1380-1471
- posted by Bruce @ 7:10 PM | | 0 rocks in pond
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Relating to God - Relating to You
In regard to God we are always wrong, this thought spots doubt and appeases its sorrow, this thought gives courage to and enthusiasm for action. Doubt is the destroyer of joy. The task of doubt is to frighten and startle us - to make us tremble and burst and fear and scream aloud everywhere. Suffering or sorrow is a necessary condition for edification. It effects the required adequate fright - otherwise edification is mere illusion. In regard to love, there is Spirit and Flesh. Mingling the two opens infinite possibilities for dramatic stories to be shared. Have you any to share?
Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac,
whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.
Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering
on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
- posted by -g @ 4:55 PM | | 0 rocks in pond
Monday, May 09, 2005
DOES GOD EXIST?
Last week I listened to John Clayton give a lecture at Greenfield High School auditorium using science to prove the existence of God. It was fascinating. He was a former atheist who discussed the cosmos, cave men, dinosaurs, and fossil displays to prove there's an intelligent design to the universe. He believe's the Bible is true, word for word, fact for fact.
But he also argued against the typical creationist side of the debate. The Bible doesn't say the earth is 6,000 years old, as he proved by holes in geneologies and many missing eras from the Biblical account. Dinosaurs and men never existed together, since dinosaurs cannot exist in the same ecological medium as men, and modern dating methods are not wrong. He should know, since he does rock dating for a living as a consultant for petroleum companies.
That there's someone who believes the Bible to be true and yet is wise enough to understand that we live in an old earth, proves to me that God really does exist.
- posted by Bruce @ 9:54 PM | | 0 rocks in pond
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.
1 Peter 1:13-16
So, How do you be holy? Where does discernment come from? What words have sparked you to action? What actions have you seen that have sparked you to match or surpass that action? I have acted in odd ways lately. I have handed tissue to crying kids; opened closet doors for distressed kids to scream in; given colored plastisine to angry children so they could mix it and feel better; called social services; been written up for questioning proceedure; spoken a word of encouragement here; said a prayer there; and basically allowed myself to be used by others for a verbal punching bag. I am disconnected from it, as if I am an observer of it. I wonder how my words have been a catalyst for action - or if they have. Words are tricky. Perception is trickier. What do you perceive? How 'off' is it?
Some conceive the universe as a closed system from which humanity cannot escape. This is an old idea, and I think immediately of Plato's myth of the cave, of the people whose knowledge consists of shadows of reality and who refuse to believe the message that there is an outside, a real sun that lights objects, and real objects that cast the shadows. Most people live contentedly in the closed universe; rebels and seekers try to escape from it and that tension gives us frustration as a catalyst for poetic thought and the tease of great writing. Thus Hamlet exclaims in frustration, "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams".
The theme of living in a nutshell is fascinating, but leads to new dimensions and a new urgency for us. The closed universe of the Enlightenment was a source of optimism - now it is a source of alienation. Empiricism became the standard of what could be thought, and art responded to science by producing stories that served up a "slice of life." - with very little sauce.
As I put the facts and observations and words of my life into some semblance of order for understanding, I invariably turn to fiction. I will find my way to A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay, but first I must spend a little time in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. Lewis' heroes, who, along with Puddleglum the Marshwiggle, are on a quest to find the lost Prince Rilian, become trapped, for a second time, in Harfang, the castle of the giants. For a second time, they go from a warm but repressive environment, the giants' kitchen, out into the cold. For a second time, language provides them with the knowledge and the means to escape. Looking out the window, they see the words "Under me" and realize that they should be looking for a way under the ruined city. Reading the cookbook recipes for preparing man and marshwiggle they learn that the giants intend to eat them. They use language to mislead the giants into thinking they have no intention of escaping, and so they escape.
Escape is the theme. Escape is the idea that becomes essential. What closed system are you in that you may need to escape from? What words are leading you to this escape? The children and Puddleglum fall into Underiand while hiding from the giants. They are taken to the castle of the queen, where they meet Rilian without knowing who he is. Rilian is dressed in black and looks like what I imagine Hamlet to look like. He has been captured and bewitched by the Queen of Underiand, so that he lives contentedly in the nutshell of his underground prison. The bewitchment is expressed partly by the loss of language: he does not recognize his own name. When according to nightly routine he is tied in the Silver Chair, the enchantment is lifted. He knows who he is and is able to use the name of Aslan. He begs them to release him, saying, "by the great Lion, by Aslan himself, I charge you!." Puddleglum says, "It's the Sign," but Eustace cautions, "It was the words of the Sign". They decide to believe that the words really mean what they say and release the Prince. Faith Hope and Love were at work here - obedience and duty as well I think.
Alas, they are not yet free. The Queen of Underiand, who is none other than the Green Witch, suddenly returns. Seeing the situation, she tries to renew the enchantment. Like some twentieth century enchanters, she uses a drug, and music with a monotonous, impelling rhythm. Gradually Jill forgets the names of things in our world, so that her memories become dreamlike. The Witch's enchantment primarily stems from twentieth century language analysis, which destroys the translucence of language, just as Enlightenment science destroyed the translucence of the physical universe.
In order to understand the action, it is helpful to review one of the pioneer works of language analysis - The Meaning of Meaning by Ogden and Richards. It posits two kinds of language, the referential and the emotive. Referential language refers to facts and objects; emotive language merely expresses feelings. Theological, moral, and esthetic judgments are by definition emotive, since they do not refer to physical facts and objects. The Green Witch tries to restore Prince Rilian's mental imprisonment, his confusion, by denying that words can point to anything outside of her kingdom, to anything transcendent. Rilian and the others tell her that something-the sun-exists outside her closed universe, but when they try to describe it by comparing it to a lamp she replies, "When you try to think out clearly what this sun must be, you cannot tell me. You can only tell me it is like the lamp. Your sun is a dream; and there is nothing in that dream that was not copied from the lamp". She almost convinces them that their language refers only to make-believe, that it is derived from her closed world, the empirical world of the senses(see comment by CH for origin of this).
But there are senses and senses. Puddleglum breaks the enchantment by treading out the fire and burning his foot. As Lewis comments, "There is nothing like a good shock of pain for dissolving certain kinds of magic". Puddleglum's pain helps him to realize that the Queen's underground world is dull. He says to the queen: "Suppose we have made up a dream world by playing a language game. Then all I can say is that... the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones." He adds, "We're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland."
What will your discontent with the shadows you call reality lead you to set out and discover? What are you looking for? What constrains you? What pain sobers you? What arms do you lean on and what are they attached to? Dragons? Angels? Puddleglums? In any case, your actions are guided by language and described by language and understood by language. What language do you speak? What are you saying? What do you understand? Questioning is easy. Doing is less so. Carry on then, and if we should meet, I will make every effort to encourage you with honest love, holy action and no answers.
- posted by -g @ 5:59 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
Sunday, May 01, 2005
The Word of Life
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched?this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our joy complete.
Walking in the light
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
- posted by -g @ 8:39 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
You will Know by Your Actions
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense?Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world.
3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God's love[b] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
7Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him[c] to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
12I write to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children,
because you have known the Father.
14I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Do Not Love the World
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world?the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does?comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
Warning Against Antichrists
18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[d] 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist?he denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us?even eternal life.
26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit?just as it has taught you, remain in him.
Children of God
28And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
29If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
- posted by -g @ 8:34 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,[a]we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 9No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
Love one another
11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
- posted by -g @ 8:32 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
Test the Spirits
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
God's Love and Ours
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son[b] into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
- posted by -g @ 8:29 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
Faith in the Son of God
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
6This is the one who came by water and blood?Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us?whatever we ask?we know that we have what we asked of him.
16If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
18We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true?even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
21Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
- posted by -g @ 8:22 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
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