Saturday, October 12, 2013

House Painting

Check out that color.

Our house was orange. Yes, yes, a brownish orange, indeed. But oranger than I liked. So when it was time to paint, we were looking for darker and browner. But when the paint was mixed and the first strokes applied to the siding, it was obvious that my paint was brighter and more orange than what we had before.

But with my work schedule and the weather forecasts and how late it is in the fall, this is the color we've got for at least the next half-year. I keep telling myself that the point of paint is to protect the wood from the elements. And orange paint will do that just as well as brown.

Three afternoons. That was all it took. Of course, my body aches from the work. But the job is done. (Well, it's done until we decide to change to a better color.)

Maggie helped with toting and fetching. She helped with getting supper on the table. She even tried her hand at a bit of the painting.

Note to self for next time: A four-inch paint brush is too big.  It's ridiculous that holding a paintbrush full of paint wears out my hands and wrists so fast.  In that vein, I need to allow more days for the task next time.  I realized this week that all the painters I know are men under 40, thin men, men with muscular physiques.  Painting is more physically draining than I recognized.

Second note to self:  A neighbor suggested using drop cloths on the driveway, concrete stoop, and the ledge that sits atop the brick. Boy, I'm glad he said that! I was thinking that being outside meant I didn't have a floor to protect. But as messy as I think the paint job turned out, it's still neater and spiffier than the previous two paint jobs. I could correct only a few of the errors that were tucked under the earlier paint jobs. But even that helped erase part of the old Sloppies.  Gary commented that it all looked so clean and tidy when he drove in tonight.  I'll count that as a Success!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Does the Bible Have Errors?

"Not everything in the Bible actually happened."

Some people think that. 

Some people think that God didn't really say what's in the Bible, but some humans made it up.  Or at least, people added stuff to jazz it up.

A)  If the Bible isn't entirely true, then how do we know which parts are and aren't true?  If the part about miracles were iffy, then how would I know whether the Bible is right when it says "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"?

B)  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  How could the One who is truth give us His en-scripturated word with errors?  That would mean He wasn't the truth.

C)  Who was it that suggested in the Garden of Eden, "Did God really say ...?" 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Pharmacy Without the Abortion Pill

About a month ago I was horrified to see the abortion pill on sale at Walgreens, big and bold, obvious and in-your-face, on the shelf next to the Claritin and Zyrtec.  I was wishing for a pharmacy that didn't carry the abortion pill.  Or at least didn't push it quite the way Walgreens does.

Well, guess what?  A new pharmacy has opened in the Pick-&-Save strip mall at 164 and VV.  It's next to George Webb.  I went in today and asked if they carried the abortion pill.  The pharmacist apologized that she didn't have any.  She said she'd planned to order it but hadn't yet.  I explained that I had been shocked and offended over the situation at Walgreens, and I was stopping by to determine if I might want to change pharmacies. 

I also told her that, when I asked friends about a pharmacy that didn't push abortion, I heard from several people that they'd want to patronize such a pharmacy if there were one available.  She said she wanted to fit in with the community and serve the community, and she was open to not-carrying the drug.  She said that, if she did decide to carry the pill, it would be more appropriate for it to be behind the counter instead of out on the shelf.  She said that, if Walgreens has it, it wouldn't be like she was preventing access to the pill for someone who really needed it.  So if you're interested in encouraging this pharmacy to not-carry, now would be a good time to stop by and kindly ask if they might make a decision to win your business.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Unjust Steward -- Shrewdness

Shrewd.  It sounds sneaky.  And slick.  And cheaty.  And bad.

So in Psalm 18, it seems weird to pray,
With the merciful, You will show Yourself merciful.
With the blameless man, You will show Yourself blameless.
With the pure, You will show Yourself pure.
And with the devious, You will show Yourself shrewd.

God is shrewd?  IF I were merciful and blameless and pure (in and of myself) I could look at this psalm and say, "Whew!  God needs to ante up.  He owes me.  He's going to be merciful and blameless and pure to me because I am SO good."

There's just one small problem with that ....

So with the devious, He shows Himself shrewd.
I've never been keen on that verse.  It seems damning.

But ...
if it's true that Jesus is "unjust,"
if it's true that Jesus is "shrewd,"
if it's true that the Father commends Him for
"shrewdness" and for "wastefulness,"
(Luke 16)

maybe ...
I can comfort myself in thinking that His shrewdness includes mercy to us who don't deserve it, thus changing our devious hearts.  Maybe He "brings down haughty looks" not by smashing people, but by bringing them to repentance so that they are no longer haughty but can humbly receive His wasteful forgiveness.

Shrewd indeed.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Unjust Steward -- Wastefulness

Pastor has been having fun recently pointing out connections between stories.  He keeps reminding us that the chapter/verse divisions weren't in the original manuscript of the Bible.  We tend to isolate the stories into the chunks we read as a unit.  But Pastor keeps pointing out how a story in one chapter is connected to a story in the preceding or following chapters.

For example, the parable of the unjust steward is in chapter 16 of Luke's gospel.  Well, if we have a hard time understanding it, what can we learn from the parable's location in the gospel? 

The stories immediately preceding the parable are the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (also known as "the prodigal son," and occasionally known as "the prodigal father").  We've got this wasteful shepherd, leaving his flock in danger to go search for one naughty lambkin.  We've got this wasteful son, frittering away his father's money.  We've got this wasteful father, loving the wayward son, and then throwing a wasteful party for the boy when he returns.  Wasteful wasteful wasteful!

And what instigated those parables in chapter 15?  The Pharisees were all crabby because Jesus was being wasteful, hanging out with scumbums, and frittering away forgiveness on people who obviously didn't deserve it!  Oh, such wastefulness!

And then we come to chapter 16.  "There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods."

Yup.  That was the accusation against Jesus.  That was what got Him killed.  They said He was wasting God's goods, wasting God's forgiveness.

And the Master commended Him.

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Unjust Steward

Remember the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16)?  It's one of those confusing stories -- the master commends the guy who did something unfair.  At first blush, it sounds like God is saying, "Good for you, Mr Cheater." 

Jesus did something very unfair: He doesn't require us to pay what we owe.  That is, what is due to God [perfection, and punishment for imperfection] is something we can't pay.  And we don't have to.

But there was one thing that kept leaving me unsettled about the parable.  The dude in the story says that he's going to cook the books so that, when he's fired, the folks he helped will receive him into their homes.  Well, that's self-serving manipulation.  That's not like Jesus!  And I kept getting stuck on that point.  Of course, I realize that parables aren't exact in their correspondence.  But still....

Pastor explained that the motivation of the steward-in-the-story was irrelevant to how much help the people received.  They benefited, regardless of whether the steward was trying to benefit them or trying to benefit himself. 

Okay.  That helped.
Now I can get back to paying attention to the rest of the story.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Law Within the Heart

Sixteen hymns in our new hymnal by Timothy Dudley-Smith, several mentioning God's sovereignty.  Overall there's not really anything wrong with them, but there are so many richer options.  And I tend to get cranky over the line that says Christ's sacrifice for sin begins "the covenant of grace, the law within the heart."  When the line flies past during a church service, it always strikes me as equating grace and law.

Now, if we understand "the law within the heart" not to be a new law, new rules, new demands, maybe this turn-of-phrase could be okay.  Between Hebrews (10 and 8) and Jeremiah (31), the "law within the heart" appears to be freedom from the written code of the law, the mercy of God poured out on you so that you are made new, and so that you joyfully and freely do what is good and right and of service to the neighbor.

Is that what the hymn indicates?  I don't know.  But this is what I'm trying to convince myself it's saying.