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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dreams...I am really not a "the LORD showed me in a dream" kinda guy


Justus, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.


     Early monday morning, I dreamed that my wife and I were in a bar in (presumably) Newport, Ky. on thanksgiving evening. As is characteristic of my dreams some things are instictive and some things are vague awarenesses. There were some family members there, on my (wife's side) and I also remember that one of our waitresses had let slip some personal details in her life, about a certain situation, (Icouldn't tell you what) and we were rooting for her desirable outcome. also, this waitress was evidently on probation, after making some mistakes at work. We left the bar, having ate thanksgiving dinner there, and proceeded to virginia highlands, to an old house that I used to live in about 15 years before actually met my wife. Somehow in the dream, it was where we were spending the night. We headed north to get to this house that was actually some 400 miles to the south, and strangely, my wife an i were driving different vehicles( this is almost never the case). I missed my turn to get off the interstate, and ended up attempting to take another exit ramp which turned out to be a drawbridge across the Ohio River. suddenly I was on a bicycle and had to actually bump against a barrier that then retracted allowing me access to the drawbridge. Unlike the drawbridges of reality (as far as I know) this one was made up of several sections that came apart in consecutive order. some how I got behind in my progress and was forced to jump/leap/swim from one section to the other while dragging my bicycle. Though not in a state of panic, I was aware that this was an emergency situation, that to fail to make it across this river would not be good. I did succeed, and arrived on the other bank at a bike shop (go figure!). I went in to use the phone, since bicycling home at this point was not an option. As I explained that I had just crossed the drawbridge with a bicycle, and that I was broke and needed to use the phone, The attendant offerred to repair my bike at no charge. This was very convenient, since my bike had come through the turbulent river crossing without wheels as I was waiting for the bike to be repaired an amputee came in with some gold carvings and suddenly my bike shop was also a pawnshop. several other things happened but what was most interesting was that I drifted in and out of deeper sleep and at one point wished fervently for an Interpretation. I then felt as though God revealed that the river represented tobacco addiction, and the drawbridge represented the multiple failed attempts to become nicotine free. The the bicycle was of course the vehicle through this life, and the wheels represent my health I feel today that God gave me a conditional promise to restore my health/and or lungs (I have many other health issues) if I quit. so there. I hope this post hasn't become two wacky or mystical.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

An analogy of grace

2008 10 05_coosa trip with scott_3822

I have been reading The Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll, instead of studying my Bible as much as I should (thank God for grace, lol), and he paints a wonderful picture of God's grace in the story of David seeking out a random descendant of Jonathan's family who he can shower with kindness, simply for the sake of his deep, unconditional love of Jonathan. Swindoll finds "no fewer than eight" points of comparison (pg. 63)

  1. Mephibosheth once enjoyed fellowship with his father, as did Adam and Eve
  2. When disaster struck, it left permanent crippling in it's wake
  3. The King, for the sake of his beloved, sought out anyone upon which he could shower unconditional grace
  4. The cripple did nothing, did not even seek the blessing.
  5. The cripple was restored from a miserable existence, to a place of blessing and honor (though, he was still lame)
  6. The undeserving was adopted into the royal family.
  7. The crippling limp was a constant reminder of grace recieved
  8. When seated at the table, the adopted son was treated indistinguishably like family.
A thought or two occurred to me
  1. The King sought the recipient of grace by commisioning his servant. This is inarguable, to me
  2. The servant, Ziba was less than enthusiatic ?(Swindoll acknowledges this though it is not included in his analogy...and I might add, it is an opinion, and I disagree. scripture seems neutral, though intuitively, culture and human nature encourages us to discount those less priveledged than ourselves, both then and now.) as I read the story, the servant of David is much too aware of his place to seem anything but neutral...unlike the servants of Jesus (many denominations and individuals come to mind) who are much to busy being blessed to tolerate the prescence of someone at the table who is morally "lame".
  3. The servant's task is simply to bring the cripple into the King's prescence, It is the king himself, Who makes it clear that there is nothing to fear, and the blessing that flows, is beyond Ziba, or Mephibosheth's ablitiy to affect. I do not get the sense that Mephibosheth must "Accept the free gift of Grace, or be cast into the outer darkness". He acknowleges it, in fear and trembling, and puzzlement. (And he boweth himself, and saith, ‘What is thy servant, that thou hast turned unto the dead dog—such as I?’ 2 Sam 9;8 ) after all, people in his position are traditionally put to death. I personally see David as blessing Mephibosheth regardless, so where does that leave us? Has the analogy broken down, as they all do, eventually? or Is the Doctrine of Minimal Entrance Requirement yet another heresy perpetuated my the modern pharisee?
Here is the passage:
2 Samuel 9

1And David saith, ‘Is there yet any left to the house of Saul, and I do with him kindness because of Jonathan?’ 2And the house of Saul hath a servant, and his name is Ziba, and they call for him unto David; and the king saith unto him, ‘Art thou Ziba?’ and he saith, ‘Thy servant.’
3And the king saith, ‘Is there not yet a man to the house of Saul, and I do with him the kindness of God?’ And Ziba saith unto the king, ‘Jonathan hath yet a son—lame.’ 4And the king saith to him, ‘Where is he?’ and Ziba saith unto the king, ‘Lo, he is in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel, in Lo-Debar.’
5And king David sendeth, and taketh him out of the house of Machir son of Ammiel, of Lo-Debar, 6and Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, son of Saul, cometh unto David, and falleth on his face, and doth obeisance, and David saith, ‘Mephibosheth;’ and he saith, ‘Lo, thy servant.’
7And David saith to him, ‘Be not afraid; for I certainly do with thee kindness because of Jonathan thy father, and have given back to thee all the field of Saul thy father, and thou dost eat bread at my table continually.’ 8And he boweth himself, and saith, ‘What is thy servant, that thou hast turned unto the dead dog—such as I?’
9And the king calleth unto Ziba servant of Saul, and saith unto him, ‘All that was to Saul and to all his house, I have given to the son of thy lord, 10and thou hast served for him the land, thou and thy sons, and thy servants, and hast brought in, and there hath been to the son of thy lord bread, and he hath eaten it; and Mephibosheth son of thy lord doth eat continually bread at my table;’ and Ziba hath fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11And Ziba saith unto the king, ‘According to all that my lord the king commandeth his servant, so doth thy servant;’ as to Mephibosheth, ‘he is eating at my table (saith the king) as one of the sons of the king.’ 12And Mephibosheth hath a young son, and his name is Micha, and every one dwelling in the house of Ziba are servants to Mephibosheth. 13And Mephibosheth is dwelling in Jerusalem, for at the table of the king he is eating continually, and he is lame of his two feet.
Young's Literal Translation

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Me

  at 3:30 a.m.-in time to do my homework, after prioritizing family and health...oh yeah, my dad gave me a night vision scope. can hardly wait to go camping , now...and check this out, this is an israeli photographer ( Ilia Shalamaev)and this bird is local (to him). Being the Birthplace of My God, mention of israel makes me sit up and take notice, lately. and this guy's online portfolio is amazing...along with a couple of dowloadable powerpoints. I think of israel as desert wasteland... what a reminder . http://www.focuswildlife.com/

Monday, February 18, 2008

Habits and Such...

discipline, structure, routine... these things have a power to reduce chaos in the life of man who practices them, but they rely on the cultivation of habit, which is birthed by repetition, which requires a conscious effort of will...My only ingrained habit in my starting routine is the rising at 5:00 a.m. most mornings. There are others, but let us look at this one, first.About 15 years ago I began the struggle against chronic substance abuse. It was a commonly accepted precept among those who I approached for help that, if addiction had set in, a "conscious contact" with God was indespensible, in the pursuit of abstinence from the more difficult substances, such as cocaine, opiates, alcohol, ect. It seemed to me, and I am not unique in this, that conscious contact that was not 2-way communication, was a joke, the worst kind of mental masturbation. For me, ongoing faith requires, even now, some level of relationship/reciprococity. The only problem was that HE WASN'T ANSWERING ME. not in any way that I felt sure of. For some reason, I began to believe that silence was needed to hear God's response, and the only silence you were gonna get in this culture was early in the morning. I don't know how long it took to begin arising earlier than most of the surrounding population (I damn sure havn't been doing it for fifteen years!) because I simply cannot remember. (I am actually amazed that I can string together whole paragraphs, and am never sure when i should begin a new one...oh, how i miss my brains)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Once again, woken up spontaneously

Me

  at 3:30 a.m.-in time to do my homework, after prioritizing family and health...oh yeah, my dad gave me a night vision scope. can hardly wait to go camping , now...and check this out, this is an israeli photographer ( Ilia Shalamaev)and this bird is local (to him). Being the Birthplace of My God, mention of israel makes me sit up and take notice, lately. and this guy's online portfolio is amazing...along with a couple of dowloadable powerpoints. I think of israel as desert wasteland... what a reminder . http://www.focuswildlife.com/



 

Monday, February 4, 2008

Whoo Hoo!!! gotta 100 on my psych test. Thank God. I recently re-listened to the Andy Stanley sermon "Choosing to Cheat" about how there are simply not enough hours in the day to address all our concerns and troubles. His premise, is that everybody is cheating somewhere...the question is, where? and the answer better not be in you relatiuonship with God or Your relationship With your Family... and I didn't. I feel great, and I am so greatful. I can hardly wait to see what comes down the pike.

Friday, February 1, 2008

How many blogs is too many?


Well, I struggle to write consistently. It does me good, I think, to get my thoughts out onto paper, even the virtual kind. I pause a lot in my thoughts, and obviously, at some point, I was taught that pauses are to be punctuated by commas. Fortunately, commas do not require the shift key or possibly, I would have given up on keyboarding long ago. It would also be nice if my typing ability kept pace with my thoughts but this would require the aggressive pursuit of a new skill, and my plate is full.As well as struggling to write Consistently, (in addition to overusing the comma, I will sometimes reflexively Capitalize something for no reason that I can ascertain, and yet will leave the article/pronoun “I” in lowercase…go figure. I am reminded of the savant Charlie Gordon in Daniel Keyes' novel, flowers for Algernon. ) I struggle with the fact that I wish to write in several different arenas. I would like to free form journal, like this, Journal some of my prayers/thoughts/interactions(I hope) with God, as well as write structured essays/ blurbs on specific topics. For instance, On Tuesdays, I attend a Men’s Breakfast where men, who are older and wiser than me, assemble to relate to one another and be taught by a friend of mine. This last Tuesday, I began to wrestle with the paradox, at least in my mind, of relating to a person with a combination/coexistence of fear/reverence/intimacy….More on this Tommorrow.
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