Saturday, February 12, 2011

You Know You're Old When ...

you're talking with your co-worker about enjoying history. She agrees. She tells you that they didn't learn enough history in school. She tells you that she has been watching a mini-series documentary on the Kennedy family, and she's been loving it, and why didn't they teach her any of this in school?

And I'm thinking, they didn't teach it to me in school either. A lot of it hadn't happened yet ....


I don't like to be wrong. I don't like to be corrected. I suspect nobody does.

So maybe I get just a bit annoyed when I try to "do the right thing" so that I can avoid being corrected ... and still screw up ... and run afoul of somebody. And then I get corrected anyhow. Dang it! I wanted to avoid that whole scene. When I ask questions in hopes of doing the job right, in hopes of not being annoying, I may be told, "So, what's the problem? Why not just be corrected? Chill out. Who cares if you botched it?" Uh ... I care. That's who.

But sometimes I understand that mindset much better because I'm on the other end of the correcting. When I have to correct someone else, I just want to throw up my hands in frustration when the response is "Well, I'll just go away then" or "I'll never say anything because I don't know what is okay to say and what is offensive." It doesn't make you a bad person when someone has to say, "Please stop that." It doesn't mean a child is less loved by the parents if the parents must issue a correction. It doesn't mean an employee is in hot water if the boss gives a clearer set of instructions (which may include corrections). When God chastises, it is because He loves, not because He's ticked. Honestly now, we don't really think it would be better for the person in charge to refrain from correcting someone; do we?

Is it really that demeaning for someone to say, "That behavior is going to result in a problem"?

Vote Tuesday

You folks in Wisconsin -- mark your calendars for the 15th. Supreme Court race.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Glorifying God

After God whopped the Jewish Christians upside the head with the evidence that His grace and mercy were for the Gentiles too, we read that the Christians of the circumcision party in Jerusalem glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life." (Acts 11:18)

I don't know about you, but I find it enchanting that it "glorifies God" to say that He is bringing sinners to Himself, saving people whether they're like us or not.

That's His glory.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bad Fathers

Human fathers get their title because they are called after the true Father. It's not that we call God "Father" because He is like fathers; it's the other way around. If you were blessed with a super-duper dad, or even if you had a wretched scoundrel of a father, we need to learn that every failing (small or large) in our fathers does not show us who God is; He is different; He does no harm -- never ever; He does not love conditionally; He does protect and provide.

The Fast God Has Chosen

Sunday's [3-year] appointed Old Testament reading was from Isaiah 58:
Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the heavy burdens,
to let the oppressed go free,
and that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
when you see the naked, that you cover him,
and hide not yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
your healing shall spring forth speedily,
and your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and He will say, "Here I am."

We hear this passage and immediately think of what God demands of us, what we are to do. We are to share our food and clothing, to help those who are captives and in need. And that's true.

But this passage is also a picture of the cross of Jesus -- not merely the fast He requires of us, but even more, the fast He chose to undertake. In His death, He loosed His people from bondage to Satan and sin. He gives His body that we might eat the Bread of Life. By His death, He gathers us poor into His mansions. He was not ashamed to be naked on the cross, but covers us with the robe of His righteousness. He cried out to the Father, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" and the Father answered, "Here I am" and raised Him up on the morning of the third day that we might have light and healing.