Tag Archives: the presence of God

(part 1) The Living God vs. our dead idols

 

The Holy Fire did not consume the bush

 

Fire:

1. Normally destructive

2. A consuming chemical reaction

3. In art, symbolism, movies, and maybe in the human psyche, fire is seen as a living being, of sorts.

For example, witness lines of the film, Backdraft, 1991.

Robert De Niro’s character-¬†Donald ‘Shadow’ Rimgale: It’s a living thing, Brian. It breathes, it eats, and it hates. The only way to beat it is to think like it. To know that this flame will spread this way across the door and up across the ceiling, not because of the physics of flammable liquids, but because it wants to. Some guys on this job, the fire owns them, makes ’em fight it on it’s level, but the only way to truly kill it is to love it a little. Just like Ronald.

Many times we function in life as if God is an idea. God may be getting frozen in our mind. Static. Stiff. Or maybe we think of God in relationship to things past: Bible stories, fixed doctrinal positions, the holy and immovable One.

Yet God is the only Living God. The Highest. All the other things we worship are dead, or they can make us numb, dead-like. Getting our fix of whatever…people, gossip, technology, gadgets, velocity, power, status, (etc. maybe you can think of others) are all tertiary distractions, fool’s gold. They don’t bring life, or growth, but instead more craving.

Let’s share a bit, shall we? Please list a dead god you’ve worshiped. (If you can, include some adjectives about it.)

Thank you for reading. ūüôā

Shadowlands: This Real Life illustration pictures ‘Divine Love’

old spice guy

Old Spice gives us a great take on manliness; √ľber coup for Isaiah Mustafa today!
link

Is God manly?

We live in the shadowlands. The goodness and love we find is a shadow of perfection, of the Eternal Mind. God, the Divine. The source of pure love and goodness, or mercy and grace.

God is not the father you had, God is the Father (or mother) you wish you had, and still need.

At the moment, I don’t think it can be better shown than in this clip of precious love that sees us through. (Olympian, Derek Redmond and his dad. It’s great stuff.)
Friends, let us love each other this way.
VIDEO LINK

Rickroll = Godroll -Part 1

 

Rick Astley '80s pop

 

by Psalmist Rick Astley

Never Gonna Give You Up 

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but you’re too shy to say it
Inside we both know what’s been going on
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

And if you ask me how I’m feeling
Don’t tell me you’re too blind to see

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but you’re too shy to say it
Inside we both know what’s been going on
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

You’ve been Rickrolled

&

You’ve been Godrolled

Did you have fun? Share with friends and Leave your thoughts… ūüôā

Still, clueless? Click here.

Jedi Training, coming in 8 weeks.

 

jedi-t

Anyone can be a Jedi... eventually.

 

No, Mr. T is not officially endorsing my program, (which is really a focused learning group) but if he knew about it, he might.

If you’re curious, and ready to be a Jedi, click the tab at the top that reads “Jedi Training – Info.”

Only 10 people will be chosen, at a time. We begin in January.

May the Schwartz be with you.

 

Perspectives- Ease and Struggle

We all have our troubles, and our issues. We all have pain, and problems.

In American, Jesus has often been sold like a product. When there is still struggle, disappointment,and ¬†pain, the “Jesus is the Answer,” for some people just feels like a broken promise. Maybe even, a crappy snake oil kind of product. It’s quite a consumerist mentality.

ChineseJesus

Asian depiction of Jesus painted c.1880s

 

In many parts of the world though, being a follower of Jesus means one pays dearly. Perhaps in health quality, comfort, safety, status, personal/family economics, and in quite a number of cases, with one’s life. Is Jesus still the answer? Well, in the gobal South and East more adults have willingly claimed Jesus as Savior and Lord in the last 35 years, than in ALL the last 1,500 years combined. Christianity is booming like never before worldwide, and greatly outpacing any other belief system. One missiologist suggested, where there is struggle, oppression, and suffering, Jesus shows up.

(note: You may have heard Islam is the fastest growing relegion in the world, but consider that Muslims claim any one living in an Islamic state (at any age from birth on) and those under newly-changed Muslim governmental¬†regimes, or anyone converted by force to Islam are considered Muslims in these tallies. A personal faith, or a conscious and unforced decision to choose one’s faith is not considered a criteria for Islamic adherence in these statistics.)

Simply put, the gospel message, and a person’s receiving¬†of it, doesn’t result in an easier life. Maybe even the opposite is true, but it continues to be the hope and healing many give their lives for. ¬†The affluence of America, and other Western countries, has seemed to create an entitlement mentality or expectancy of a time of comfort or ease for the spiritual journeyer. That concept seems to be a cultural construct, more than anything. And it seems a childish one, at that. We are here to help each through life, which can be very difficult indeed. There is something about the struggle that helps us grow, and makes us better than before, by grace.

I won’t kid you. Some people honestly need to be chemically helped with medication to feel well. That is in a different category, in my opinion. A doctor, and probably both a spiritual director and therapist can assist here, for those who cannot see life as anything but gloomy, or can’t get out of bed in the morning.

How does this play out in the real world, and in the blogosphere?

It’s quite interesting. I have stumbled on SO many blogs. So many perspectives. In them, people reveal who they are, and what they really believe in, value, or to whom they sacrifice. They tell who they count as important, whether they put themselves and their comforts in the center of their lives, or if they use their time to inspire. I have been saddened to see so many negative Christian blogs, consumed with bemoaning one thing or another.

Here are two authors whose blogs I visit. X & O

They are WILDLY different, and I still get baffled by it sometimes.

I visit one more than the other. One is a professing Christian, and one is not. Since I can’t be in the mind of either author, I must admit, I really can’t know what they experience, much at all. I can’t condemn either one, I don’t want to, and I won’t.¬†

Yet, one insight emerges after witnessing these two perspectives, when I ask myself,

“Who would I rather emulate?”

I ask myself, “How do I want to be in this world?’

I’ll leave general observations and summations to you.

If the exploration reveals anything for you‚ÄďI’d be quite interested in your responses.

Who has inspired you, as you read various blogs?

And why?

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?

Choose wisely- funny FAIL photo

 

This hotel has some strange amenities!

This hotel has some strange amenities!

Here’s an odd photo that reminds us that choosing wisely DOES matter.

 

Stay healthy.

Faith and Fleecing God- Hoodoo Part II

Gideon and wool

A common tactic among Christians who seek God’s guidance and direction is to follow the example of biblical hero, Gideon. (see Judges 6:1-8:32) Many people¬†searching¬†for God’s will, lay out a “proverbial fleece,” and ask that God show them which way to go. They hope for a sign, or at least a strong feeling.

Let’s think about Gideon for a moment. When God called Gideon to lead his people in victory over their oppressors, the man was hiding out in the bottom of a winepress threshing wheat. Remember, to thresh wheat, one needs the wind, and open air, so the chaff can blow away, and leave the kernels behind. (One doesn’t get much of that, in a pit of a winepress.) This man was scared silly. One can’t expect to feel even much of a breeze in a hole! God calls him “mighty warrior” too. HA! What a sense of humor! He was either being totally sarcastic, or meant Gideon could be this with God’s divine intervention‚Äďin the future. (or maybe both, I wasn’t there to hear the Angel of God’s actual tonal inflection) ūüėČ

Then,¬†Gideon starts mouthing off, acting all bitter, and asks that the Angel of God to actually prove he is really God. To my knowledge, no one else in the Bible is this brash. Graciously, God permits this, instead of just smiting his sorry butt, he¬†obliges¬†him, and burns up a meal, right in front of Gideon. This, of course, scares the snot out of Gideon, and he believes, sort of. He’s still a big-time coward. God instructs him to take down his family’s idols that they all worship. God’s not a big fan of idols. DUH. God was already putting up with a lot of¬†bologna. This garbage removal is an obvious “first things first” order of business.

Everyone in Israel knows you should not worship idols, EVER (they all are aware of those 10 Commandments, and laws of Moses stuff.) Gideon is totally justified to rip them down immediately; so he marches over and does it, no problem. NOPE. Not at all. Gideon goes the cowardly route, and tears down the family idols, by sneaking out to do it in the middle of the night, with a few buddies.

After gathering troops, still, Gideon struggles to feel right or the least bit courageous about God’s calling, or God’s Almightiness. This unlikely victor asks for, not just one miracle, but 2, yes two, miracles,¬†before he follows God’s direction. Very¬†presumptuous, indeed, not to mention faithless.

Here’s the kicker sometimes left out in this hero’s story. After a mighty, and completely miraculous victory, over a powerful and oppressive enemy, the Midianites (with a tiny fighting¬†force of just 300), Gideon constructs a sacred golden object in his town that is soon worshiped by him, his family, and the whole community. WTHuh? I think Gideon and his ways boarder on ridiculous. He’s quite ordinary, in fact. Just like you or me?

While some use the fleece part of the story as a¬†prescriptive¬†idea for¬†determining¬†God’s will‚Äďa genuine way to find God’s guidance and will‚ÄďI believe the Bible includes it as a failure of faith on Gideon’s part, one of several. Really the entire story is part of a greater witness to an idolatrous and unfaithful era in the times of the Judges. It’s really not a picture of Gideon as a good follower, at all, but instead a picture of God, and his¬†forbearance with a very weak individual, a supremely unlikely leader, and a faithless people he has called his own, and wants to save. God continues to use misfits, and losers in his is amazing Story, but we don’t have to emulate these folks in their weaknesses.

In reality, Gideon was like a lot of godless inhabitants of the region; he was a superstitious sort. This was an unfaithful and¬†tumultuous¬†time in Israel’s past as they co-opted with many ungodly practices. Are behaviors of Gideon’s type really the best for us, or the most advisable? I say, “No.”

So if not, what should we do? I’d love for you to weigh in here on this! But, I’ll put in a few ideas.

First, we shouldn’t think of spirituality/the Divine as magic. “If I do this, I’ll know I should do this thing here, if this such thing happens.” Totally hoodoo. That is trying to get God to jump through hoops, so we feel more comfortable. Yes, sometimes God works with this shortcoming in us, but we should also understand that God will purposefully let us flounder sometimes.

Which way to go, or what to decide, might be part of our growth process. Also, Biblical narratives show that God will purposefully allow us to encounter temptation, or the opportunity to make an unwise choice.

Loyalty, and a close walk with him is one of the best guards against going hoodoo with God. (I call this close walk, Practicing the Presence of God. So did Brother Lawrence.) If we are being loyal/obedient, and we thoroughly love God with all we are, it is much easier to choose what God wants for us. And I really think it’s not always just one specific thing we have to pick that is his “will” for us. Sometimes, it’s the situation of good, better, and best. God doesn’t bite his nails wondering if we’ll pick the right thing, and then viola– “be in his will.” He redeems situations, even the foolishness we get ourselves into. It’s that much better if we pick wisely, and make him the center and glory of our decision making.

Yes, sometimes God will open and close doors, and almost seem to force our hand. If we love and trust him, we’ll be okay with that, knowing that he will do that sort of thing for our best benefit and interest, (though it may be hard to see what that is at the time.) To test God, by fleecing him, is to deny ourselves the opportunity for a close intimacy with God. He is a relational Being. He gives us opportunities to walk with him by faith, and not just by sight.

I would love to hear your responses to this post.

Leave a comment, if you will.

Let the Wild Rumpus start! -my movie review

 

max, the king of the wild things

max, the king of the wild things

 

I’m going to see the film “Where the Wild Things” are today. I’ll post a review, of sorts, on here after a little reflection. Then we can discuss it, along with how the book has had an effect on you over the years.

Leave any comments you have about the movie, (whether you’ve seen it or not) or your thoughts and feelings about the book.

MOVIE REVIEW (of sorts)

OKay I saw it.

General thoughts: If you think of this movie strictly as an adaption, not film based on book, you can fully enjoy this work. It takes different turns then the book, so I kept noticing that, and it got in the way for me.

The movie has some sweet moments, of both innocence and profundity; and Max is a boy dealing with his faults and fears, in a way that the best he can do alone, with wild things doing the same sort of thing. All the same, the movie has a middle area with a slow spot, and it seems like the plot has disappeared. What plot there is at the island meanders hopelessly, but that’s not all bad. Max is a boy who cannot, after all, be King for long. The dialogue of the monsters often left we wanting, but the puppets/actors/CGI is done in a way that carries the entire wild thing off. Jonzes’ movie-making style is ¬†suited for this type of piece, and he does many creative direction work I loved. Wildly effective.

Of a 100%, I give it a 78%. It’s worth seeing, if you drop your expectations of the beloved classic tale. Nothing can recapture Maurice Sedick’s work in feature length, so far. However, Spike Jonze has made a good, but not flawless, film.

(for parents) *I detected 2 language usage¬†(damn was the word I think), for those of you who don’t want children exposed to this sort of thing. As far as me taking my 6 and 9 year old, I might wait until video. This is mostly because Max is so unruly at the beginning, I picture my kids imitating his antics as fast as they get a chance. The “scariness” was there, but wasn’t all that terrifying. It wasn’t so much TEETH, or realistic gore, but suspense. A creature loses an arm, but it’s not blood that comes out, and he complains, but doesn’t appear to be in pain. It could be that the dull spot in the middle, could make children, teens ¬†(and some adults) bored, or worse, whinny. This movie is fine for children over 8, in my opinion. Under that age, I think the parent would have to decide based on the sensitivity of their particular child.

Ask questions, or leave comments:

Hope this was helpful.