Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bartimaeus, Son of Timaeus

"And they came to Jericho... As he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside... He heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, and he began to cry out and say, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'

...Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. ['Shut up!!'] But he cried out all the more, 'So of David, have mercy on me!' And Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him.' And they called the blind man, saying to him, 'Take heart. Get up. He is calling you.'

Throwing off his clock, and springing up to his feet, he came to Jesus..."

Before the time of Christ, Plato had written a book called Timaeus. He was grasping at straws in the dark, hoping, and theologizing on who God is, who He must be. He came up with various ideas incorporating geometry and the world around him. Although, he could not know God by his own power or means, one of his characters in this dialogue did have the right idea:

"All men who partake of even a bit of sound-mindedness always call on God."

Plato knew that he must call out. But, he had been fated to remain blind. Perhaps, he gave into his own understanding of God instead of seeking and finding Him for who He truly is.

Either way, the point is that like Timaeus and the followers, sons of Timaeus, we call out to God, hoping to learn who He is. The difference is, we know that we are heard.

 'Take heart. Get up. He is calling you.'

We are answered. Jesus Christ calls out back to us, inviting us to come forward.We throw off our cloaks and the worries of this world and rush towards His voice. We are healed.

It is not by our own reason, merit, or strength. But, because of who Christ is and what He has done for us. Although, we may still not understand, He cleanses us and opens our eyes so that we may finally see His face.

"Immediately Bartimaeus recovered his sight and followed Him."

Check out Mark 10:46-52 and Timaeus 27C for references.

Not Alone | Lutheran Witness

"Today's cultural trends tend toward individuality, toward what makes me me and you you. And in our quest to be unique, we strive to set ourselves apart from all the rest, to be alone, to be different...

Jesus never intended for us to live this way. Instead, He set us into families, into communities, surrounded by those who care about us. 'For just as the body is one and has many members,' wrote St. Paul, 'and all the members of the body though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.' That is how Jesus would have us live: in and amongst His children, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

But we are a broken people, fighting to remain alone, where we can hide our sin, disbelief, despair and all accoutrements that evil trio brings with it. And so Christ, knowing it was not good for us to remain this way, broke into our self-made solitary confinement, setting chaos back into order, darkness back into light, loneliness back into company. And in so doing, He placed us again into His body: the body of Christ. There we find sinners redeemed by His death and resurrection..."

Adriane Dorr, Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Meditation in a Toolshed | C.S. Lewis

"I was standing today in the dark toolshed.

The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black.

I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.

Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished.

I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun.

Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.

But this is only a very simple example of the difference between looking at and looking along..."

C.S. Lewis' Meditation in a Toolshed

Flannel Films

"A couple of years ago we [Flannel] started "Give a Ticket/Get a Ticket". The idea is that for every dollar given to "Free Flannel Films" we give a free film to someone who can't afford a film. Thanks to you, people all over the world have seen our films for free.

As we approach the holiday season, our ticket stash is running low. We have under 900 free tickets left. Will you help us replenish? It's just a dollar a film. Please take a minute to share 5, 10 or 100 films!

And if you find yourself at a place where you are in need, please take a ticket and watch a film."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tribal Thinking | RELEVANT

"...The problem is, we are tribal in our thinking...

We find comfort in numbers and turn off our subjective reasoning in exchange for community. To grow and gain power, tribal leaders must create enemies, even if there are none. Creating false enemies then creates real ones. Liberals then, cannot work with conservatives. Arabs can’t work with Jews. Hutus can’t work with Tutsis. Powerful men can’t work with powerful women. Alabama fans can’t mix with Auburn fans. Baptists look down on Methodists. [And, vice versa.]

I call this the hate trade. It’s a tribal system with a very real social economy that trades in hate. We see it in shock jock pastors attacking theologians, in talk show hosts using fear to pedal books and in foreign politicians demonizing people groups to justify weapons of mass destruction.

What we see in racism is a problem universal to all men and, as such, is in the heart of all men.

Racism is a symptom of something else. [Hate.]

What I love, then, about the work of King, Morrison, West and Hughes, and perhaps the reason they’ve been so successful, is while scholarly, they went after the problem at its root, in the heart. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear,” King said.

Who can continue to hate a tribe who loves them? What greater argument is there for intellectual superiority than a philosophy that creates a loving heart? ..."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Christian Worship | Backwards Things II

"Christianity encourages, guides, elevates, and sanctifies human worship. It gives us clearer conceptions of the divine character, especially of the fatherhood and love of God.

It changes our nature through the new birth, and affords us immediate access to God through his Son. It gives us assurance of being accepted in our worship, and encourages prayer by repeated promises that our petitions will be heard and answered.

It brings the gift of the Holy Ghost, by whom we fervently say Abba, Father.

It blesses us even during our earthly existence with eternal life, by bringing us into harmony with the divine character and will.

When, therefore, it is said that 'Worship springs from the congregation, the congregation from the church, and the church from Christ,' the order of nature and of fact is reversed. Worship springs from the constitution of the human soul; and the congregation and the church are but aggregations of individuals who had been previously called of Christ (p.10-11)."

Christian Worship: Its Principles and Forms by Richard and Painter.


Here's the book for free!!!!
Or, buy the hard copy here!!!

Christian Worship | Backwards Things

"In the refusal of a soul to look up with adoration to the Creator and Preserver of all things, we recognize something monstrous. It is not strange that we find worship prevailing among all peoples. The idea of God may be very obscure or perverted; the forms of worship may be low and repulsive; but the impulse and capacity are there.

Let us listen to the words of a heathen writer, whose wisdom gave dignity [even] to a life of slavery: 'Any one thing in creation is sufficient to demonstrate a providence to a humble and grateful mind. If we had any understanding, ought we not, both in public and private, incessantly to sing and praise the Deity, and rehearse his benefits? Ought we not, whether we dig, or plough, or eat, to sing this hymn to God? 'Great is God, who has given us hands and organs of digestion; who has given us to grow insensibly, to breathe in sleep.''

Worship is thus seen to originate in the nature and needs of the human soul (p.10)."

Christian Worship: Its Principles and Forms by Richard and Painter.


Here's the book for free!!!!
Or, buy the hard copy here!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christian Worship | The Worship Instinct

"Worship may be regarded as an instinct. It is the result of man's natural endowments and of his surroundings. It is not the invention of priestcraft or the product of material evolution. Man has a spiritual nature; that is the power to conceive of a Deity and a supernatural world, and the capacity to adore, love, and trust.

In the course of his mental development these powers start spontaneously into action. By several different paths the mind is led to the idea of God. Behind the mutable objects of nature, the understanding seeks and finds an unchanging ground; and in the presence of obvious design, it recognizes an intelligent Creator.

Conscious of its weakness in the midst of mighty and mysterious forces, the heart seeks refuge and rest in an over-ruling and loving Father.

The feeling for beauty and sublimity, for truth and righteousness, finds satisfaction in the perfections of God. The imperfections of this world--its inequalities, sufferings, and failures--show that it is not complete in itself, and hence lead to the conception of another and higher life, in which justice, happiness, and perfection alone prevail.

With the idea of God and a future life in the soul, worship is inevitable. It naturally springs out of the relation between creature and Creator. In the words of Richter, 'Without God the human soul is lonely throughout eternity; but if it has God, then it is united more warmly, more intimately, more steadfastly, than by friendship and love. I am then no longer alone with my soul. Its great first Friend, and Everlasting whom it recognizes, the innate Friend of the innermost spirit, will no more abandon us than we will abandon ourselves; and in the midst of the impure or empty turmoil of trifles and sins, on the market-place and the battle-field, I stand with closed breast, in which the Supreme and All-holy One speaks to me, and reposes before me like a near sun, behind which the outer world lies in darkness' (p.9-10)."

Christian Worship: Its Principles and Forms by Richard and Painter.


Here's the book for free!!!!
Or, buy the hard copy here!!!