February 29, 2008

Who's My Neighbor?

I have this phrase on a post-it-note by my computer and it's reminding me of what I just read this morning. The note says -

"From head to heart to feet"

I was sitting with scripture's Good Samaritan story. So often in my self-righteousness I get mad at the priest and Levite
wondering what kind of spiritual people they are?! But when you really think about it, they were very much loving God in strictly obeying the Torah - you became impure when you touched a dead body, even if your shadow falls upon the body. And this guy laying in the road looked dead. But they didn't turn aside to look closely, so they didn't really know, but looked straight ahead, quickly walking on by.

Maybe their hearts moved with some concern and compassion, but the 'letter of the law' forbade them. Their hearts weren't connected to their head knowledge. But if you were a religious person wouldn't you know God and see a disconnect between how you were interpreting scripture and who God might really be like?

But then I think about me - I've got my day planned ... I don't want to be bothered ... someone else will do it ... they seem kinda weird. So in a sense my own feet and hands don't follow through on what my heart might be suggesting. God does like obedience, but the spirit of the law would want us to love others, not just recognize needs, but wanting my attentiveness in following through in some way.

So I'll be pondering this for awhile and pray for attentiveness; seeing eyes and listening ears, and asking God how He might want to show His caring for others through me, not me inviting Him into my plans, but how I might join into what He's already doing.

February 28, 2008

Faith Quote

This quote is currently at the bottom of my friend Barb's emails. And this is so true of Barb - she so loves the One who is leading, and does not really know right now where she is being led - but she's trusting.

~ Faith never knows where it is being led, 
but it knows and loves the One who is leading ~
~ Oswald Chambers ~

February 27, 2008

Spiritual Birthdays and Tacos

Yesterday was Dawson's Spiritual Birthday and next Wednesday is Travis's. When our kids were little there'd be God-talk-times, but there seems to be a definite time when children ask deeper questions and want to commit their life to God. Monte said he did it when he was eight, soon after realizing that his dad wasn't 'God' and in control of everything. He simply transferred that trust in his dad to trust in God.

I wrote these times on the calendar for each of our kids, calling them their 'spiritual birthday'. Then each year we'd celebrate that birthday with a special treasure hunt meal. The meal needs to have a lot of condiments that we can hide around the house. Since curry (which makes a great treasure hunt meal) isn't a favorite of my kids, we tended to do a taco meal. We'd make up riddles as clues to be left with each food item, guiding them to the next. Eventually everything is at the table and we can eat. There's a final note at their plate reminding them of their treasure in Heaven.

I quick fry corn tortillas so they're soft. Then there's bowls of cooked ground meat, grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, and sour cream, and sometimes guacamole, chips and salsa, and maybe beans. It's one of my favorite childhood meals I grew up with, and my family loves it too. I prefer the soft cooked shells to the traditional crisp shells because the first bite tends to crack the shell down the middle and everything falls out! If you travel to Mexico soft corn tacos is traditional.

I still remember the first time we did this - and we usually retell the story. Heather was just learning to read. Monte was out of town and my sister Kelli was living with us (and that's another story!) so I wrote out very simple clues. Travis, not able to read yet, was practically hanging on to Heather's shirt tails waiting for her to sound out the clues so they could run and find the food. Like she'd be saying, "Look in the re-frig g g g ..." with a hard 'g' sound, as she was slowly walking upstairs. Finally I said, "The refrigerator is not upstairs!" And they'd take off running and laughing.

When Deuteronomy says several times, "teach the children diligently", "tell the children" - this is kinda like another commemoration as is the Lord's Supper and Passover. I'll tell you, our kids never grew up wondering if they were a Christian or not. And what great memories we have celebrating (partying) together around God's Truth and Presence in our lives!

February 24, 2008

"Atheists" and Polycarp

February 23 is the Feast (remembrance) of Polycarp. I was thinking of posting about him but didn't, but I just read a wonderful article at Christian History & Biography that had a word in it I decided to post about. Rather than me telling you all about him, go to the link and read the wonderful eye-witness account of who he was and why Rome burned him to death in 156.

Actually, they tried burning him alive, but when Polycarp's 86 year old body would not die, they had him pierced and his blood extinguished the fire. The eyewitness account says the captain of the Jews took his dead body and burned it. The Christians later took his bones, "more costly and more valuable than gold", and laid them to rest in a place that could be visited, and remember "the athletes who have gone before". So this is the first recording of collected relics.

During his trial, the proconsul tried getting him to say phrases that would be a denial of his faith, but Polycarp wouldn't "blaspheme the King who saved me". But it's interesting that one of the phrases they wanted him to repeat was "Away with the Atheists", which he did repeat. We, and apparently Polycarp would agree with that phrase. But here's the thing ... in those days of Rome they had many gods and the first use of the word 'atheist' was used describing Christians.

Christians were called Atheists because they only believed in one God.

The blood of the martyrs proved to be the seed of the faith - the church.

February 23, 2008

Quote of the day

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other."

by Eric Hoffer

February 21, 2008

Thought Question

If there were no heaven and there were no hell, would
you still follow Jesus? Would you follow him for the
life, joy, and fulfillment he gives you right now?

Amazing Grace History/

This truly is amazing! And I love his intro of music history before he sings. It's moving ... be prepared!

February 20, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls

It was on this day in 1948 that some scrolls found in a cave by a Palestinian Bedouin shepherd were acknowledged as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which confirmed the accuracy of the Old Testament and shed light on the years just before Christ's coming. They were the greatest archaeological discovery of the twentieth century.

Purim Katan

Purim actually falls on Good Friday this year because of the 19-year cycle of the Jewish Leap Year. So in leap years they actually celebrate Purim twice. Today is the early Purim - Purim Katan.

Purim celebrates victory over enemies, like the redeemer in Esther. Mordecai self-sacrificed himself in raising and teaching Esther - passing on the Torah by educating the children. The lesson of Purim is to not lose hope and continue to teach the generations.

In the story of Esther lots were cast ("pur" in Persian) and a day was chosen for the annihilation of the Jews. Persian law could not be changed, but the people were allowed to defend themselves - but only because of Esther's intervention. She was called, and she obeyed, saying, "If I perish, I perish".

Purim is a carnival celebration full of hilarity. It's celebrated with costumes and the story of Esther is either read or dramatized. Every time the name 'Haman' is said, everyone noisily stomps their feet, hisses and boos. Lots of cheering with Mordecai's name.

It celebrates survival, and the question is asked, "How do we live with people who hate us?"

Some years I make Hamantaschen (Haman's pockets) cookies. Sweet dough is rolled and cut in circles. A filling is added in the center and the edges are folded over to make three corners. The filling is either a poppy seed filling or fruit (often prune, but any jam can be used).

My first thought when I saw Purim and Good Friday fell together was, "Oh great, such opposite emotions." But it's only seemingly opposite when Purim is a 'Hilarious' holi(y)day. But maybe Good Friday (it is called 'good') should be celebrated hilariously too. With hissing, booing, and stomping of feet (much as Jesus did to the snake in the Garden of Eden in the "Passion" movie) over Satan, and cheering for our Redeemer Jesus who sacrificed his life for us, that we might have life.

And ask myself, "Who am I for such a time as this?"

February 19, 2008

Work Quote

"Work is much more fun than fun."
- Noel Coward (1890-1973)

Work might be a four-letter-word to some people, but not to Monte and me. We agree with this quote, but I guess it's because our life is not compartmentalized.

There's a book called The Three Boxes of Life with the boxes being Play, Education, and Work. The idea is to keep all the boxes open and a continuum.

My thought is that when one follows the boxes as sequential seasons or compartments of focus in life, at some point they will stop working and expect to enter their final box, only to discover that they have forgotten how to play.

It's important that we not forget to play!

February 16, 2008

Religion and Politics

"In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination."
- Mark Twain

I've spent a lot of time studying and just sitting with scripture, wanting to make the faith I grew up in and the image I had of God be my own. I want my relationship with God to be 'first-hand'. I don't want to just know about God, I want to know God.

Politics? My salvation is not there. But I may take some time to know more about who's running this year, rather than relying on second-hand, and often third-hand info.

February 14, 2008

The Trinity's Heart

I could tell you Valentine history, but it's all rather sketchy. Supposedly there were some men named Valentine, with varying stories, and possibly the Church wanted a memorial to replace Rome's Lupercalia fertility festival.

But Valentines Day is usually full of heart images. So here's my heart message -
I read John, starting at 14:15, about the Spirit Jesus was sending, and on into John 15, from the Message today. In the Vine and the branches story I love Jesus' words: "Abide in Me. Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in You". Earlier in 14:20 He says, "I am in My Father, and you are IN Me, and I am in you".

It's easier for me to envision lots of Christians as branches connected to a main vine. But when I try picturing all of us actually IN Him - all our hearts in His heart~!

In the book Deep Unto Deep, Dana Candler talks of each of us as a song originated in the heart of God. So that within His great musical heart are many songs.

And then there's the image of me as a window into the Beloved's heart. And that I am but one of many windows. Imagine this. I'm sure God reveals His love and who He is to each of us uniquely. It changes my perspective of people - like looking at them with expectation of a glimmer of God. There might be more loving of each other if we see each other as revelations of Jesus' heart. We can glean fruit from each other's lives as we see through each of our windows.

His heart's gotta be so big, and in him I am! John goes on to say "Make yourselves at home in My love." I picture Him waking each of us morning by morning with love for a new day. In John 17, Jesus sums it all up in desiring us to know God, know Jesus - the goal is that we might be one heart and mind with the Trinity.

Isn't this unity, going back to the song/music theme, like a great orchestra - with all the varieties of harmonies and tones and pitches coming together as a whole?

It reminds me of a dream I had near the end of my teen years (one of those God 'ahas' to awaken my desire for Him) The hymn "I come to the garden alone ..." was being sung by a huge (heavenly?) choir. It was beautiful.

Monte made me a Valentine years ago that I treasure. He had flaked crayon chip colors into the center of construction paper, folded it and ironed it. The front message said, "I tried to make you a card but every time I thought of you, my crayons melted."

February 13, 2008

Spouse Story

I did a devotional for MOPS this morning. With Valentines Day tomorrow I thought of love and marriage, and thought of a personal story in connection with our family. It has a "rest of the story" aspect to the original story.

When our kids were little we used to have fun with them telling them the future person they'd marry could be alive right then living somewhere in the world - like Australia, or down the street, or so-and-so. "Naw!"

Monte and me are almost eight years apart, so it's fun to tell young kids that that person might not be born yet, or even worse (to them, when they're say 5) that that person might be 12 years old! "Naw!" But we talked about praying for that unknown person. And as teens - that whoever was dating your future mate, they'd protect and honor them and the same goes for you with who you're spending time with.

When planning Travis and Sarah's wedding with Sarah's parents we were sitting around sharing stories. For some reason we talked about the time when Travis was three he got very sick. After me sleeping at one hospital with him for a week (I couldn't leave such a little one alone!) and him undergoing lots of tests, they sent us to the National Jewish Hospital. They did more tests and were about to diagnose him with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis...

Travis was unable to walk. Every four hours when the aspirin wore off, he was in pain. I had to do everything for him. His joints hurt too much to crawl. Monte was imagining his little boy not able to run and play and ride a bike, climb trees ... But then after a month, there seemed to be a turning point ...

Sarah's mom asked his age again. She was quiet a bit, then said that at about that time she got an urging to pray for the person Sarah would marry. (I always start tearing up at this point.)

We never know what praying may be doing, but we have to believe and trust that it is powerful! I then went on to play a recording of a song Monte wrote about praying for our kids future mates and the hope "that they love Jesus just like I do". We had sung it as a family and captured Dawson's voice at 5 and Travis singing as a teen.

Hardly a dry eye in the room.

Telling Stories

"Those who tell stories rule society."

I like this quote because the Bible tells us "to remember", to "tell the children...", more than 300 times! The remembering and the telling is connected to stories of God-in-our-midst.

It's why I write and talk about stories associated with the calendar and history that really are just extensions of Acts - what I call The Third Testament.

Stories remind us of who we are - we shouldn't have an identity crises!

February 12, 2008

Spielberg and the Olympics

It's been reported that Steven Spielberg has decided not to participate in the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing as an artistic adviser, citing the lack of progress in ending the genocide in Darfur.

How is it China is related to Darfur? I read about it in the book What is the What, a story of some of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. It told of the northern part of the country as being politically driven by China's huge need for oil, which the southern part of the country has - thus the warring atrocities.

Felted Booties

I finished knitting a pair of baby booties and at the same time finished an audio book.

As a MOPS Mentor Mom, I've tried several booty patterns. This one is a knit and felt, but the original pattern is just the felted foot part. I think it would easily fall off the baby's foot, so I added a ribbed cuff.

Tomorrow at MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) I'll try both styles on a baby's foot. First I have to see if it's the right size! Do I need to felt it more or less? And then see if the cuff makes it better.

The audio book is a James Patterson book - Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas. It is so different from his popular books, some made into TV and movies. This one was still emotional and full of suspense, not a murder mystery, but a beautiful love story of a new family.

TV? Gum?

"TV is chewing gum for the eyes."

-Frank Lloyd Wright


I just saw this painting by a Barbara Stuart, inspired by one of the massacre sites in Australia, depicting the spirits of Aboriginals. It intrigues me. I was just reading about Aborigines in the book In Defense of food - An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan, who wrote The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I highly recommend as a good read.

A study was done in 1982, following a group of ten middle-aged, overweight, and diabetic Aborigines, as they were asked to return to the bush and it's lifestyle of food gathering. It was an experiment to see if the process of westernization they had adopted when they moved near towns, could be reversed. After seven weeks their blood was drawn, showing striking improvements in virtually every measure of their health, and the type II diabetes was either greatly improved or completely normalized.

Then another weird connection just showed up too. Today (or the 13th in Australia) is 'Sorry Day'. They are saying sorry to the descendants of the "Stolen Generation" for decades of horrors. I watched a video clip of this current event. I read and watched about this because of having read the book and watched the movie "The Rabbit Proof Fence".

I recommend the movie over the book since it tells more 'why' these aborigine children were stolen from their families in Australia. It's a true story, and maybe today's "Sorry" can be a beginning of healing for these families and a positive turning point against prejudice.

Lent Abstinence?

40 days of abstinence really originated from a Chaldean festival devoted to the pagan worship of Astarte, where our word "Easter" comes from.

Just for your info... hmmmmm.

February 11, 2008

A Good Friend

"Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are -- chaff and grain together -- certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."

-George Eliot

This made me think of people I know ...
Thank You God for just such people in my life!!

February 10, 2008

Life dreaming

This morning I thought I'd journal about paint-by-number vs life as a drama ...

But I went down to eat something and make a pot of English Breakfast Tea ...

And got distracted ...

Other than going to church and eating lunch out with friends, I'm dreaming and planning my garden for this year. I got caught up in my gardening seed catalogs ...

Travis and Sarah ... we helped you get your garden set up and planted last year. Are you dreaming about your garden for this year?

February 9, 2008

Mantra - Shema

I have a new mantra I'm saying daily.

I like sitting and imagining, often putting myself in other's shoes. Well in Jesus' sandals I've already posted during Advent about Jesus growing up knowing his genealogy. Jesus heard, probably asking Mary to tell him the stories over and over, of Tamrah or Rahab or Ruth or Bathsheba ... And women weren't usually listed in genealogies, but throughout the Gospels you see Jesus living out the results of those stories.

And I visualize Jesus growing up watching his mother every Friday evening lighting the Sabbath candles just before sundown, saying a blessing, as did every woman of every Jewish household every Friday evening. And too, like every other good Jew, Jesus said the Shema two times a day.

When asked by an expert in the law the most important commandment Jesus shaped his own version of the Shema. Typically Jews quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-9 two times a day. Jesus summarized it and added a verse from Leviticus 19:18. So instead of a Love-God Shema, Jesus made it a Love-God-and-Others Shema. Making loving others a part of his own version of the Jewish creed shows that he sees loving others as central to our spiritual formation.

So my new daily mantra or Shema is the Jesus Creed:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.

So as I sit, walk by the way, lie down, and especially when I rise, I will say to myself Jesus' Shema. As Jesus said, "There is no commandment greater than this".

February 8, 2008

A Quotidian Quote

Christ moves among the pots and pans.

- Teresa of Avila

Adventure Quote

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.
An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered."

- GK Chesterton

Needlefelt Class

I finished up another felting class last night. Everyone always loves the class. Each class has such different dynamics - from artistic talent to the talking or lack of talking. There's usually four to six people. I don't think I could do it with more, unless they already had some needlefelting exposure.

I've been taking my camera, though most don't think their things good enough for a picture. I think everyone of the pieces has wonderful character. I think everything 'turns out', though most wish they did better.

I always suggest they jump in and do more at home after the class is done so they can try again with more skill. Many people do more at home during class and bring things in for 'show and tell'.

We start with a two-dimensional work the first class and some people say they prefer that. Though they're glad for the three-dimensional techniques they learn and think they might add some of that to a flat background.

Others love the three-dimensional and want to do more and try animals, etc ...

Fruits and Vegetables

A Coincidence????
A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye...and science shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. All of the research shows
tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuron-transmitters fo r brain function.
Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Eggplant, Avocadoes and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? .... It takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.

Onions look like body cells. Today's research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes.

"The news isn't that fruits and vegetables are good for you, it's that they are so good for you, they can save your life."
-David Bjerklie, TIME Magazine, Oct. 2003

February 7, 2008

Applied Mathematics

A good friend from church passed this along to Monte and me. It's pretty cool!

The Beauty of Math!

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?

And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Now, take a look at this...

From a strictly mathematical viewpoint:
What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?
Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%?
We have all been in situations where someone wants you to GIVE OVER 100%.
How about ACHIEVING 101%?

What equals 100% in life?
Here's a little mathematical formula that might help answer these Questions:

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 3 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:
12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:
While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there,
It's the Love of God that will put you over the Top!

Lent Quote

Hold a true lent in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow! Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross ... this will bring back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the tenderness of our heart.

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

February 5, 2008

Quote to contemplate

I just read this quote and want to post it here so I don't lose it. I want to ponder it.

And it's funny, her book title, cuz she's sure not 'modern' and been dead for a long time (1941), but her thoughts are beyond 'modern', in the sense of what modern means today in what's being called 'post-modern'.

"The Eucharist is the very heart of Christian worship because it is so rich and far-reaching in its significance; because it eludes thought, eludes emotion, relies on simple contact, humble and childlike receptiveness, sense quenching soul. It mixes together the extremes of mystery and homeliness; takes our common earthly experience of suffering, love abandonment, death, and makes them inexpressibly holy and fruitful; takes the food of our natural life and transforms that into a channel of Divine Life."

- Evelyn Underhill
Daily Readings with a Modern Mystic

Fat Tuesday-Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras

Lent begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. I didn't grow up with Lent, but I like these 40 day periods, like Advent too, to have a spiritual focus that can bring more meaning with anticipation to ordinary days. The word Lent comes from 'Lenten' meaning a 'lengthen'ing of days into Spring (yeah!).

Baptisms used to be done on Resurrection day in the early church and they'd have a 40 hour fast in readiness for the event. In 330 AD it was stretched from new converts to all Christians and for 40 days - believing it commemorated Jesus' 40 day desert fast. So the Tuesday before became a time for confession and repentance, and called Shrove Tuesday ('shiriving' means confession).

Prohibitions seem a thing for Lent, with giving up rich foods as the focus, which has turned Shrove Tuesday into Fat Tuesday. Since people were wanting to rid their homes of some ingredients, they started having meals of pancakes, becoming tradition. Meat is sometimes given up too. Mardi Gras has become a revelry, a 'carnival', which means 'farewell to meat (flesh)'. It seems the given up items are being worshiped, and the time of self-reflection has turned into a self-indulgence!

In the movie "Chocolate" we see what some people do in giving up things for Lent. In the book Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner (a good book), she gives up reading for Lent. Ugh, that would be a hard one. A couple years ago friends of mine wanted to wear a tasseled bracelet (Numbers 15)(which I made for everyone) for a reminder of something - for me it was to exercise everyday, Sunday's excluded (which I think I'll do again this year - without the bracelet).

Some people will use tonight as a carnival celebration of looking inside ones self. People need to haul up aspects of personality they choose to bury and tend to remask a persona. I have friends who one year came to such a party with masks representing their hidden self, and maybe ridiculing egos. When Adam and Eve lost innocence what did they do? they sought to cover themselves. Paul asked us to "put on the new self" to "put on Christ".

Because meat, cheese, cream, butter, milk and eggs were typically avoided, small breads began to be made. Germans named theirs "pretzels" - "little arms". They were visual reminders for the heart, since formed in the shape of arms crossed over the chest - like praying.

God looks at the intentions of the heart, the spirit in which we do things. It's not just a matter of ritual but a matter of the heart!


I just got my calendars set up last week for this year. Rather late for me since I usually do it the week between Christmas and New Year, and I'm known as The Calendar Girl. First, buying a certain calendar is an event, since we're all going to be seeing it over the year in a prominent spot. And then setting up the calendar is a very special yearly ritual.

In fact I suggest everyone has one main calendar that everything gets written onto, especially if there's several people in the household. But organizations and churches need one main calendar too, so everyone's not only aware of facility uses, but just knowing what others are doing! (I say this because we used to schedule a yearly event at a local college campus and found facility conflicts on the day of our event.)(But too, aren't community, the body, and family members important - knowing what's going on in other's lives?!)

My ritual starts with a nice atmosphere and beverage. Since I work from last year's calendar, I remember happenings, and reminisce. I write people's birthdays, anniversaries, and spiritual birthdays I want to remember. I often at the time will wonder what's going on in their lives and ask God to hug them or give them a wink. Some dates are in parenthesis because they're divorced or dead or just a memory I still want to remember something in connection with it/them. I write saint and holiday notes not already on the calendar.

This year is a bit weird. It's our leap year, but that's no big deal since it's just one day addition and we've no birthdays on that day. It's also the Jewish leap year, which happens every 19th year. Maybe I already said this earlier but, because they add in an extra whole month, Passover happens 27 days after our Easter. I hate when that happens, because I have to figure out when Pentecost Day is (though now you can just google and find it easy, but I used to do the counting thing).

Why is this so important to me?! Most churches may not celebrate Pentecost, but I want to. We celebrate Christmas and Easter - why not Pentecost? Are we afraid of the Holy Spirit? What would Christianity be without Pentecost? Why don't we yearly make a big deal of remembering what the Holy Spirit means to us?! Well ... if we count 50 days after our Easter, Pentecost ends up on Mother's Day. Pentecost, for its deeper significances has to end up on the Jewish Shavuot Festival. So 50 days, seven sevens, has to count from the Sunday following Passover - Pentecost is June 7-8.

If you really want to think about this ... 2008 has us crucifying Jesus after he's Resurrected!

February 4, 2008

The English Bible

On this day, February 4, in 1555, John Rogers was burned at the stake in the center of London for translating the whole Bible which was called Matthew's Bible (his pseudonym) and later, The Bishop's Bible. "One of the sheriffs, first came to Mr. Rogers, and asked him if he would revoke his abominable doctrine, and the evil opinion of the Sacrament of the altar. Mr. Rogers answered, “That which I have preached I will seal with my blood.” - Foxes Book of Martyrs. He was the first martyr during the violent reign of Bloody Mary. Oh such a bloody history of the rise of Protestantism and that of the Bible to be written in the common language of the people.

Rogers was a friend of William Tyndale who had already been martyred for translating the New Testament published at Worms in 1525. Copies were smuggled from Germany into England.

February 1 is also a day in history of note to remember. Luther may have 'hatched the egg that was laid' when it came to asking for church reform, but his contemporary Erasmus is a part of the story. I wrote a bit about it on Reformation Day, October 31. With the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, many Greek scholars fled into Europe with their original manuscripts.

Jerome's Latin Vulgate for centuries had been the only Bible. With these new manuscripts Erasmus made a new translation, constructing the original as best he could. He also annotated the text with notes pointing out the church's flagrant departures and errors.

On February 1, 1516, Erasmus dedicated it to Pope Leo X saying, "We do not intend to tear up the old and commonly accepted edition, but amend it where it is corrupt, and make it clear where it is obscure." He was recalling the church to its roots. Though not his intention, he made reforms to come possible.

William Tyndale worked from original Hebrew and Erasmus's Greek. Originally, a handwritten copy took about ten months and cost a lot to produce, then came the printing press. Some people were burned at the stake with their Bibles around their necks. While burning at the stake Tyndale prayed, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."

Until the Authorized or King James Version in 1611, translators had to be careful and many remained in exile on the continent. But neither book burning nor killing the translators could stop the movement that brought the Bible to ordinary people in their own language.

The first few lines of Psalm 23 in the Bishop's Bible -
"God is my sheephearde, therfore I can lacke nothyng: he wyll cause me to repose my selfe in pasture full of grasse, and he wyll leade me unto calme waters. He wyll conuert my soule ..."

February 3, 2008


I'm sick. I have a fever and my body is achy. I've not been sick for ages! It's good to get sick once in awhile - it strengthens your immune system according to Dr Monte. I wasn't sure what I was feeling this morning, so I did go to church.

Philip Yancey is preaching all February and I didn't want to miss him. I love his books and am glad he's a part of our body.

We just had a bunch of geologists at our house. They left this morning. So I've been preparing some nice meals for them. I love listening to them talk about the origin of oil, peak oil, global warming, the origin of life, lakes of oil on Titan, platinum in gold (or was it a silver mine?), and subjects I can't pronounce. I can picture what they're talking about, but couldn't very easily explain it to you, though I am understanding it more after years of listening and seeing their maps. It's another world, a world of stories written in the Earth.

Several days ago I posted about a movie trailer. It's pretty powerful - the scientist writing on a chalkboard like a reprimanded kid having to write something 100 times.

Those of you who are Christians would experience sad and mad emotions over the movie coming out this spring.

I have to tell you that over the years we've had some pretty brutal experiences with Christians. You see, Monte's being a geologist who is a Christian, is viewed by some Christians as a walking oxymoron. Apparently you can't be a geologist and a Christian at the same time.

So it's as if we're in the middle of a war and being crucified from both ends.

Groundhog Day?

So what day is February 2? Groundhog Day!
Yes and No.

On the Christian calendar February 2 is Candlemas Day. This was the day Jesus was brought as a baby to the temple. Old Simeon and Anna were there waiting for years! for the Messiah, and proclaimed Jesus the Light to lighten all peoples.

A meeting of the old and new.

In some places candles may still be brought to the church to be blessed.

Folklore: "If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again."

Groundhog Lore: If he sees the sun ...
and is frightened by his shadow he'll crawl back to sleep for 40 days.
If it's cloudy ...
and stays above ground; it's a harbinger of early spring.

Did dislike of religion bring the change from Candlemas to Groundhog Day?

Watch the movie "Groundhog Day".
Bill Murray, a TV weatherman seems condemned to live the day over and over again. He tries every role or small story he can think of. When all fail him, does he discover the real meaning of life?

It's Ecclesiastes in modern film--all is vanity. I love the fact that you can find a part of the Gospel in most every film.

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