Tag Archives: soul

Soul, mind, and heart: Not understanding the Biblical text

Which one sounds wrong?

A. Do you have the guts?
B. Put your heart into it.
C. Make up your heart.

What is the heart?
The answer might surprise you.

In modern times, the “heart” has been called, “the feeling mind”. That sounds pretty good to me. What do you think?

A recent visitor responded to my post Is Chocolate Filling my God-shaped Hole? with the comment below (edited down). I think it would help to respond through a post, also. Now we can open up the whole thing to dialogue a bit more. Thanks for your contribution on this topic.

Visitor Response to Post–Submitted: on 2010/12/03 at 3:10 pm
The way I look at it, viewing the heart and mind as separate is extrabiblical; thus, in fact, “that thing that ‘falls in love’ or gets sentimental” *is* the mind. So the modern “follow your heart” does not connote the *opposite* of the biblical “heart,” but rather only *part* of it. Bottom line, I can’t trust my mind or my heart, or even my own spirit completely… only God is 100% trustworthy. As for filling our “voids” with things “besides” God, I try to remember that God gets the credit for all good things anyway…

My response:
I should have also pointed out [within that post] that the Hebrew equivalent of the emotions or passions (what many now consider the “heart”) were also referred to differently than the mind (i.e. set a different category, if you will–the bowels or “guts”).
The “guts” implied connection with those qualities of emotion, and so forth.

To sum up: In the Bible, (most especially in the Old Testament)…

1. What is translated as “heart” (in the KJV and others) is closer to what we now term as “the mind”. More specifically, the individual’s command center, or the place where decisions are made– which includes the will.

2. What we may think of as “the heart” that is, passions, desires, emotions, in the Hebrew language is connected with “the guts” or “bowels” of a person. For instance, “In his guts he loved her”. Yes, it sounds awkward, at best.

Even more controversy:
THE SOUL

There is a big dissimilarity in the Hebrew vs. English renditions of the word often translated in English as “soul”. In Hebrew, it refers to the whole being. The whole person (So, no. It does not mean a ghosty thing that floats to the clouds like in Warner Brother cartoons). We can understand it in our context more this way when we say, “30 souls were lost [died] in the shipwreck.”

Hey, everyone, please, weigh in.
This post is open to opinions, thoughts, comments, or if you’re of the particular stripe…exegesis.
(Yes. That’s the BIG word of the day.)

Exegesis (EGGs -eh- Jesus) is this definition hereIt’s not a variant, or French spelling of “Eggs and Cheeses” which we may be tempted to think at first blush, right? 

"Eggs and Cheeses" (Not Exegesis)

(click photo to find its source)

Tomorrow’s post–
“Does your Breakfast (and your deity) make you AWESOME?”

Evelyn Underhill -On Prayer, and mysticism

In the next few weeks, I’m concentrating my studies on Evelyn Underhill (1875-1942), one of  the most read, and prolific writers in the first half of the 20th century on the topic of Christian mysticism and prayer. Her devotion to God in prayer, and her insights on growth in the spiritual life put her at the forefront of those disciplines in the Anglican Church.

Here is my first fascinating thought from Evelyn, I’ve come across. Chime in with your comments, or insights. Maybe you can Google her, or look up some of her work, and place a quote that strikes you powerfully.

On mysticism:

The soul’s real progress is not toward some mysterious, abnormal, trance-like condition; but rather towards the unspoilt, trustful, unsophisticated, apprehension of a little child.

-Evelyn Underhill

Andrew Wyeth – natural surroundings, autumn

Some of you know that I used to claim fellow-Pennsylvanian, Andrew Wyeth as my favorite living American artist. He died this past January 16, in his sleep at the age of 91. His 7 decades of artwork are a profound legacy to the world of art, and culture in general. He was a master of the difficult egg tempera medium, and dry brush watercolor. Technically, Wyeth has superior talent as a drawer and painter, having been tutored by his father, skilled illustrator N.C. Wyeth.

At this time of year, I am attracted by the changing seasons, and the brilliant landscapes. Wyeth did many paintings of landscapes, and I’m drawn to his works at this time of year. Please enjoy a few samples, and these links to his collections. I hope you get a chance to visit them in person.

Links to museums with Andrew Wyeth’s work:
Andrew Wyeth’s website
Brandywine River Museum
Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center
Smithsonian Magazine Article on Andrew Wyeth

A sample of Andrew Wyeth’s work: (click on the image to see it, or enlarge it)

Please leave your comments to this work. Thanks for visiting, today.

Coffee bowls and 2-handled mugs- Jehovah Java

I’ve posted two other posts on coffee, (Free coffee post,and “is coffee spiritual” post) and how the enjoyment of it is a true spiritual practice. I’ve wanted to find more information about the Carmelite monks who use no handle mugs so they can be fully present, and appreciative to their Creator during their daily practice of sipping their warm brew.

Jehovah Java-the God who provides coffee? Okay, I’m not sure about the Hebrew on that one, but here are more information and links for coffee lovers, or people who love them.

What is a coffee bowl? Used is Peru, France, and various other places in the world, a coffee bowl is grasped with two hands and coffee is sipped. This also keeps the hands warm. (You can locate the one pictured below, here.)

coffee bowl

café au lait bowl

 

Here’s another item that promises to warm up hands when filled with hot cocoa or coffee. (find it here)

no handles

This “Mystic Monk (2-handled) Mug” looks like a practical joke. It harkens back to the idea of the hands-on method of drinking coffee, and it’s a bargain among the others here, at only $6.99. Mystic Monk Coffee is a brand created and Carmelite monks in Wyoming who roast their own blends to support their solitary life of prayer. They have many varieties, including a fair trade blend, Carmel, Cowboy Blend, Hermit’s Bold Blend, and Midnight Vigil, among them. They also have a sampler pack with free shipping, and a coffee club-how handy.

Modern monk style mug

Modern monk style mug

 

 

Coffee Taste-tester Monk

Coffee Taste-tester Monk

 

What’s your favorite container to hold coffee, and why?

No Fun Allowed? Not so fast!

 

(actual sign) Creepy!

(actual sign) Creepy!

When the kiddos where swarming Jesus, his disciples started barking at the parents. They said Jesus couldn’t be bothered with that sort of thing. Jesus harshly rebuked his helpers. He had time for the kids. I can picture him ruffling their hair, smiling at them, and blessing them, as they crowded around him.

 

He went on to say that to come  in the Kingdom of God you must be like a child. I think he was primarily speaking about “child-like trust,” and perhaps “purity” of heart, but let’s also think about the nature of children for a minute.

Most kids aren’t super serious, most of them find joy in the present, most can be fairly easily amused, most of them assume they need some help to get by. Oh, and another thing–THEY PLAY! So, maybe those of the kind of people Jesus enjoys the company of. 

Have you grown up? I should say, have you gotten old? Have you forgotten how to play? How to play with all that you are-like a kid-all out? Can you shelve your crotchety outlook, and have a good time, without feeling awkward, bringing someone down, or looking at the negative?

I’ve met so many Christians who are so “grown-up,” they could meet up with God, and he’d seem more like a boy to them. In other words, they would have no idea how “youthful, innocent” exuberance looks, or sounds like. Look at the world of created things. God must have been laughing when he fashioned some of those creatures! Tough-skinned grown-ups aren’t much able to id joy, or what is joyful, if it hits them in the face with a cream pie. They’ll probably say, “Oh, thanks joy! Perfectly good pie, and YOU wasted it! Now clean this up.”

God sings, smiles, and laughs. Shocking! (Actually, only to some people.) Open your eyes. God is good. God is even fun!

Maybe we should remember that he gives us this world to enjoy. He give us others to enjoy. This world is our playground, and we may be happy here. Tag-you’re it!

Strikingly Awesome-tallest tree photo EVER

The ingenuity for taking this this photo is pretty unbelievable.

Three cameras, and a composite of the tallest tree photo ever.

300 feet. 1,500 year old California redwood.

Be amazed. As you scroll down, watch for the people stationed in the tree.

(Full article here)

 

300 foot tree captured on film!
300 foot tree captured on film!

Tell me what you think!

 

Welcome Schuylkill-News Readers!

Welcome! If you’re visiting because of reading my column Notes From the Footpath in the Schuylkill-News, please let me know in a comment below.

Also tell me if you have any questions (about my SN article, this site, or Christian spirituality, etc.).

Poke around. There’s lots to read, think about, and challenge yourself with too. I love to hear your take on things, so feel free to post. You should know, I like posting funny things (photos, videos, etc.), and mildly amusing little, cosmo-style quizzes. And I give away gifts!

(Do a site-wide search on the blog home page for what interests you, or check the archives listed.) I post almost every day, so come back again soon.

So glad you came by. 🙂

Why does embrace mean so much?

When I first saw this video below, I cried.

It showed me the power of offering connection and love. The largely untapped, healing power of embrace–which connotes acceptance–seems to be too absent today. The distance between us grows, even though technology has supposedly drawn us together.

Luke 15:20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

If you would, please response here, and explain your feelings about embrace, or any reactions you had to this post, the video, or the artwork. Thank you.

An idea for plumbing deeper:

Your challenge-

Bring these pictures to mind the next time you pray, and speak about them to God, honestly. If you have fears, joy, sorrow, gratitude, or other feelings, express them, using this theme as a vehicle to interact in your next intimate time with the Lover of your soul.

My Top 5 Reasons/signs you may be burned out on church

1. You find yourself thinking up illnesses that would suffice for excuses for staying home. Sometimes you even invent names like Snufflititus or Schnozatigo: The serious redness and inflammation of the area beneath the nose from too much tissue rubbing. Rx Coffee, remote control, rest, snacks, and tissues with lotion built-in.

2. You suddenly realize how cool, smart, and savvy the early Sunday morning tv shows are, and feel like you might be getting a raw deal but missing them.

3. You feel deeply offended that your church doesn’t care too much that the coffee offered tastes something like armpit, and you start to identify this characteristic with an inherent spiritual problem of your congregation. (perhaps the misusing of the gift of hospitality) 

4. You start to pick apart the pastor’s sermon with a graph, and two columns of hatch marks on your church bulletin, adding up the times he is substituting a self-aggrandizing story instead of using a true parable to teach a point.

5. You find getting tapped for nursery duty a welcomed relief, because you won’t really have to talk to anybody, watch a worship performance you won’t enjoy, or try to not yawn an ungodly amount of times as you try to get through a sermon the pastor must have downloaded from somewhere late Saturday night.

Okay, this was a purposefully whacky list. If you can relate to any of these internal excuses, signs, or avoidance qualities, in some sort of way, then maybe the experience of attending church has grown stale.

It’s normal to have spiritual slumps. It can’t be wise to think of walking with God as a continual emotional high, and when it’s not experienced as such, something is horribly wrong. Like any journey, there will be hills and valleys. Faithfulness demonstrated as a choice done continually, (rather than a feeling-based action) can really see us through times like this. God is always with us, whether we “feel” him or not.

However, I’ll make a different point. There is also a tendency to fall into a consumer mindset, and feel like church-going is like shopping, and picking out something you like. We probably all do it, to an extent. Have you ever walked out of the service on Sunday thinking, “That wasn’t really what I was hoping for,”? Yep. Unmet expectations are common. But, it doesn’t have to wreck the whole bit of it.

Church doesn’t have to delight us every time, and soothe us. Most times it won’t feed us, not in the deep ways we crave. Those times are often found in community that can plumb to greater depths, and do the harder work, but build the stronger bonds that make genuine growth possible. (Think small groups, or spiritual directors, spiritual mentors, and discipleship situations.)

Church isn’t just some way to get recharged for your week, and be poured into. But, have you noticed how easy it is to slip into that bare minimum, and consumerist outlook of it? I have. I’ve been guilty of it way too much.

It’s not about just an experience, nor is it just meant for worshiping God with others. We worship God all the time, whether we do it poorly and unawares, or we tune in and give him our whole selves. We are his creation, our lives lived are a form of worship, like it or not.

Church-going, and the whole of the spiritual walk, are about applying the gospel to our lives in every circumstance and situation, the whole way through. God’s grace and love came down. He draws us to him. He restores. It seems we co-opt and yield to his mighty, gracious work to changing us radically, to be more like him.

Sometimes it just comes down to sucking it up. Sometimes it means you have to change, not your local church.

Have you ever been burned out on church, like I have, at one time or another? What helped you?

Leave any kinds of comments you’d like.

Quiz/Survey: Can your soul fit into a mailbox?

mailboxWelcome to the most popular survey at this blog!

Can your soul fit into a mailbox? Take this Survey to Find Out!

(For some, this might seem like a silly question, but let’s have some fun, okay?)

Answer these simple questions, True or False, add up your score, and I’ll give you some instructions at the end.

1. T or F On cold, windy days, sometimes it feels like the wind goes “right through you”.

2. T or F Cats and dogs bother you when you don’t want them to.

3. T or F The wrong mail has been delivered to your home.

4. T or F This wrong mail to your home stuff has happened more than once.

5. T or F Sometimes you feel lighter in the morning time.

6. T or F After a hair cut, sometimes you miss your hair.

7. T or F You feel like you’d like to “go home” sometimes, even though you might be at your own house when you think that.

8. T or F Babies and crazy people sometimes stare at you…knowingly.

9. T or F Your fear of heights has gotten worse over the years.

10. T or F You don’t wear out shoes like you did ten years ago.

Now, give yourself 5 points for every T, and 10 points for every F. Add them up.

If you scored 50-100, your soul is pretty hard to define, size and shape-wise, but I won’t lie to you, you have one. It might fit into a mailbox.

If you scored over 100, you have a soul, and a mailbox is no place to put it. Use your mailbox for letters, and small packages. Take larger packages directly to the post office, and take your soul and spirit with you.

We may not think about our spirits and souls in an everyday way, but if we hold our breath for 20 minutes, a lot of questions get answered. The life breath goes right out of us. The Greek word for spirit is literally “breath of life.” It seems there are a lot of things that aren’t incredibly easy to define. If we think we can use the Bible as a glossary, we’ll find out, there isn’t a definition of the word “soul,” “spirit,” like there would be in a glossary, which would clean up the confusion, nice and tidy-like. But, most of us realize our life experience isn’t just surface level. Are we simply machines that live a few decades, and then die? That’s the harder thing to believe, especially when we take in Beauty that is all around us.

Things like Beauty, Hope, Love, Innocence, and such, are *Ideals* that point deeper, or further out, than we can clearly perceive, or could ever accurately measure. Knowing God (who is infinite and personal) works the same way. So does a life that includes an acknowledgment of soul and spirit, and a journey toward the heart of God who is “Other,” the Source of Good, and the best of the ideals written on our hearts.

Thanks for playing.

I hope you stay, read some posts or try the other self-tests, and leave comments where you’d like to.

-Lisa