Last night I had a bad dream that these people, who were called “the emergent church” in my dream but who were really a lot like the autumn people in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes–still one of my favorite books of all time–were chasing my beautiful and sexy wife and me. We kept trying to get away from them by losing them in big stores or on busy streets, and at one point we had to get back my wife’s phone, which had some sort of important photo on it that I think our pursuers did not want us to have. We stashed the phone in a garbage bag and then had to go back and dig around for it.
Eventually we got away and lived on top of a snowy mountain in a cabin, and were worried they would find us. And then this man came along, acting like a friendly visitor, but we knew he was one of them and that since he had found us, the others would be coming. So I killed him with my bone-handled CRKT Natural and we started running again, back into the city, back through the same streets and stores, never stopping, always just barely keeping away.
I woke up cold and pretty scared.
Posted in Running | Tagged Autumn People, Cellphones, CRKT Natural, Dream, Dreams, Emergent Church, Knife, Marriage, Murder, Nightmare, Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes | 4 Comments »
My mind was totally blown a few weeks ago when I read the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah in the amazing Jesus Storybook Bible.
Growing up Mormon, I’m used to thinking of this story as Jacob and Rachel’s love story, about how if you are patient God will give you the blessings He promised (i.e., Rachel), and about how through Jacob and Rachel, Joseph was born, who saved his family through famine and whose descendants became the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, with such an enormous role to play in the latter days.
But in the Jesus Storybook Bible, it’s the story of Leah, “The Girl No One Wanted”:
‘No one loves me,’ Leah said. ‘I’m too ugly.’
But God didn’t think she was ugly. And when he saw that Leah was not loved and that no one wanted her, God chose her–to love her specially, to give her a very important job. One day, God was going to rescue the whole world–through Leah’s family.
Now when Leah knew that God loved her, in her heart, suddenly it didn’t matter anymore whether her husband loved her the best, or if she was the prettiest. Someone had chosen her, someone did love her–with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
So when Leah had a baby boy she called him Judah, which means, ‘This time I will praise the Lord!’ And that’s just what she did.
And you’ll never guess what job God gave Leah. You see, when God looked at Leah, he saw a princess. And sure enough, that’s exactly what she became. One of Leah’s children’s children’s children would be a prince–the Prince of Heaven–God’s Son.
This Prince would love God’s people. They wouldn’t need to be beautiful for him to love them. He would love them with all of his heat. And they would be beautiful because he loved them.
How did I miss that? How did that fail to register all these years? God’s covenant with Abraham isn’t about “restoring the gospel in the latter days.” God’s covenant with Abraham is about Jesus Christ redeeming a fallen world. And the royal lineage, the lineage of David and finally the lineage of the Messiah, the promised lineage that would not only one day reconcile Israel to its God but would reconcile the entire world to its Creator, that lineage was the lineage of Judah. Leah’s son. God fulfilled his promises to Abraham and to the world through Leah.
“Your descendants will be AWESOME” may seem like a booby prize to modern Americans, but that’s because we have a relatively unique set of cultural assumptions about value, self-actualization and individuality. Keep in mind that this promise, this “consolation prize” that God gave to Leah was functionally the same as God’s original convenant with Abraham. To be the father of many nations, to be the father (or mother) of the lineage that would include the King of Israel–and one day the King of all Creation–was everything.
Like I said, my mind was blown.
(The Jesus Storybook Bible is really good and my kids actually fight over who gets to read it; I recommend it most highly.)
Posted in Religion | Tagged Abraham, Art, Bible, Christianity, Covenant, David, Dutch Painting, Ephraim, Genesis, God, Hendrick ter Brugghen, Israel, Jacob, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus Storybook Bible, Judah, Leah, Love, Manasseh, Mormonism, Old Testament, Painting, Praise, Rachel, Religion, Sally Lloyd-Jones | 11 Comments »
An old favorite of mine. Be patient with it and it will reward you. Also, turn it up.
Posted in Music | Tagged Classical Music, Colosseum, Finland, Finnish Music, Helsinki, Jean Sibelius, Kervo, Music, Nightride and Sunrise, North, Romantic Music, Sibelius, Spirituality, Sunrise, Symphonic Poem | Leave a Comment »
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Posted in Religion | Tagged Art, Bible, Bowyer Bible, Christianity, Etching, Illustration, Jan Luyken, Jesus, Jesus Christ, King James Bible, King James Version, Kingdom, Kingdom Of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew, Matthew 13:31-32, New Testament, Parable, Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parables, Religion, Scripture | Leave a Comment »
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Posted in Religion | Tagged Abraham Bloemaert, Art, Baroque Art, Baroque Painting, Bible, Christianity, Dutch Painting, Jesus, Jesus Christ, King James Bible, King James Version, Kingdom, Kingdom Of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew, Matthew 13:24-30, New Testament, Painting, Parable, Parable of the Weeds, Parable of the Weeds in the Grain, Parable of the Wheat and Tares, Parable of the Wheat and Weeds, Parables, Religion, Scripture, Wheat and Tares | Leave a Comment »
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Posted in Religion | Tagged Art, Bible, Brueghel the Elder, Christianity, Dutch Painting, Fruit, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Joy, King James Bible, King James Version, Kingdom, Kingdom Of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Landscape, Matthew, Matthew 13:18-23, New Testament, Painting, Parable, Parable of the Sower, Parables, Religion, Scripture, Wealth, Word, World, Worldliness | Leave a Comment »
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith,
By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Posted in Religion | Tagged Antonio Balestra, Art, Bible, Blessing, Christianity, Conversion, Esaias, Isaiah, Isaiah 6:9-10, Italian Art, Italian Painting, Jesus, Jesus Christ, King James Bible, King James Version, Kingdom, Kingdom Of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew 13:10-17, Mystery, New Testament, Old Testament, Painting, Parables, Religion, Scripture, Understanding | Leave a Comment »
Today I pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria.
Today I pray for the safe return of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi.
Today I pray for the people of Maaloula.
Today I pray for the innocent victims of war, no matter what their culture or creed.
Today I pray for those that have blood on their hands.
Today I pray for Bashar Assad, Walid al-Moallem, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov.
And today I pray that the President and Congress will make wise decisions about if and how to intervene.
I believe that God can do all things. I believe that God created us for something better than killing women and children. And I believe that the blood of Jesus Christ is more powerful than war, politics, sectarianism, totalitarianism, jihad, chemical weapons and even death itself.
Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged Assad, Barack Obama, Bashar Assad, Bishop Paul Yazigi, Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, Blood, Chemical Weapons, Christianity, Civil War, Death, Eastern Orthodoxy, God, Greek Orthodoxy, Islam, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jihad, John Kerry, Military, Military Intervention, Murder, Orthodox Christianity, Peace, Politics, Power, Prayer, Sectarianism, Sergey Lavrov, Syria, Syrian Orthodoxy, Totalitarianism, Vladimir Putin, Walid al-Moallem, War | Leave a Comment »
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Posted in Religion | Tagged Art, Beelzebub, Bible, Blindness, Christianity, David, Deafness, Devils, Exorcism, God, Healing, House Divided, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Judgment, King James Bible, King James Version, Kingdom, Kingdom Divided, Kingdom Of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew, Matthew 12:22-28, Medieval Art, Medieval Painting, Meister von Müstair, Miracles, New Testament, Pharisees, Possession, Prince of Devils, Religion, Scripture, Son of David, Spirit of God, Telepathy | Leave a Comment »
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