Saturday, October 29, 2011

Love your neighbor.

It seems that I have been going through some sort of blogging slump lately. Not too many pictures or meaningful posts. The same goes with certain other social media venues that I employ (except Twitter, which I have no problem using on a minutely basis). Facebook is becoming more and more like email to me. Checking it only to see if there are any notifications, or if I need to get ahold of anyone (and skimming through pictures of people's kids...and quickly skimming through all the political unrest, etc). Little blurbs about what is going on in my life, but nothing too thoughtful. I have really yet to see the use for google+, as I forget to check it, and don't really know what service it provides that I can't get elsewhere. Ho hum. Doo dedoo.

Anyway, since I have no problems coming up with things to say on Twitter, I went there to see if I could find something to blog about. Last Sunday, I posted this tweet:
Thinking about what it really means to "love our neighbor." Considering Galatians 5:13-15, 6:1-10 (esp 2), Romans 13:8-9, &; Luke 10:25-37.
Sounds like the perfect thing to blog about, thought I don't have too many solutions to offer. Just thoughts and some Scriptures.
I have been failing at taking pictures lately, though have enjoyed the occasional impromptu stovetop photo shoot to try to illustrate something. These two are neighbors. And saltshakers. If you think the girl is salt, you would be mistaken.

There's probably little disagreement among Christians that we need to love our neighbor as ourselves, it is in the "how" we love our neighbor, and the "who" is our neighbor question that we can't seem to figure out/agree on. 

Jesus, when He was asked the question, "And who is my neighbor?," launches into the familiar story of the good Samaritan. Now, there is a lot that could be said about this particular story, of the history of why the Samaritans weren't liked by the Jewish people, or why the priest and temple assistant didn't even want their shadow to touch the man who was beaten and robbed, but let's look at the answer of who the neighbor is.  The neighbor is the one who showed mercy on the person who needed it. Jesus says that this is what we are to do in order to be a good neighbor. So, who needs mercy? Probs everyone at some point, right?  Even ourselves!

Ok. I have lots of thoughts that I've typed and then deleted. They are merely speculative, and not sure if they are helpful.  I guess a lot of what I have been thinking about lately has to do with two things (that could have to do with each other, but not necessarily).
1. How do we care for the poor, both among us, and in the world. If we just give them the resources we think they need, are we really helping? What can we do on a relational level with people before we just give them yesterday's t-shirts? If we go downtown and start up 10 businesses, will it really help, or will it just force the poor to live somewhere else? If we know the people, and what businesses they would shop/work at, it would be better. But that takes a lot of time, and we are not creatures that are known for their patience. If we are doing relational ministry, there are a lot less statistics that we can give to people who want to give us money to help.  What do we base our "success" on?
2. How do we care for and show love to people who are difficult to love/care for? It is easier to love our neighbor who is just like we are, for better or for worse. How can we show love for those who drive us crazy, or who have a different worldview, or whose sins are seemingly different from our own? Is it ok if one person's style of loving his/her neighbor is different from our own?

Lots to consider. There is a lot, a la-hot, of Scripture that is all about loving our neighbor. The last 6 of the Ten Commandments are all about loving our neighbor. Both old and new testament talk about loving our neighbor. There must be something we can glean from this and apply to today. Here is the tip of the iceberg:

In Deuteronomy, the people are told to leave some of their hard work behind during the harvest time, so that the poor can come and take what they need afterward.

In Leviticus, the idea of leaving part of your harvest behind and following the neighborly part of the Ten Commandments is discussed (This is not meant to discredit the first four commandments. Loving God and loving your neighbor tend to go hand in hand).

Galatians 5:13-26 points to the entire law being summed up in, "love your neighbor as yourself" and gives examples of how to live in the Spirit.

Galatians 6:1-10 also talks about harvesting, but harvesting good. I especially like verses 2-3, "Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." How can we practically share each other's burdens? This could start in the home/family, and reach out to the community, and to the world. Sharing burdens implies that both parties take on each other's burdens. It isn't just one important person with seemingly no burdens helping out the poor person they don't know. No one has the upper hand when burdens are being shared. There are probably implications that joys are being shared as well in this scenario.

Romans 13:8-9. Sorry Mr. Ramsey, but I don't think these verses are so much about being a good steward with your money as they are about loving your neighbor.

Hebrews 13:15-16 says that sharing with those in need and doing good are ways that we can give a pleasing and continual sacrifice of praise to God.

Ok. Lots to think about. What do you think it means to love your neighbor? How does that look? What verses help you to think of this?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Going through paperwork and old mail. Going to throw this away, but wanted to remember what it said.

Today I am going through our stacks of paper...receipts, mail (junk or otherwise), etc and trying to declutter.
Found this newsletter from New Wineskins Missionary Network, and thought I would like to remember what it said (though, I don't want to keep it in a stack of papers in the guest bedroom. Posting it here so I can throw it away).
Anyway. I know. I need to take some pictures and post them here - not just copy other people's words that I want to think about more.
But for now, in a letter written by Sharon Steinmiller, the Director of New Wineskins:

September 26, 2011
Dear Friend, 
Last month I was asked to speak on China at St. David's Vacation Bible School. I showed the children pictures of the Great Wall, panda bears, and two Buddhas. I told the kids, "This one is carved out of a cliff, and that one is covered in gold, but do you know what the Bible says?"
               They have mouths, but they cannot..."Eat!" said the kids. "That's true. What else can't they do?"
               They have eyes, but they cannot..."Blink!" said the kids. "That's true. What else can't they do?"
               They have ears, but they cannot..."Hear!" "That's right. They can't hear our prayers, but Jesus does!"
               They have noses, but they cannot..."Sniff!" said the kids. "That's true. What else can't they do?" 
Muslims, by contrast, do not believe in idols, but they believe Allah is so far removed that he is unknowable. They can't know if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, so they never know if they will go to heaven. 9/11 is a sad reminder that in Islam the only sure way to heaven is to die in holy war. 
You and I are surrounded by messages saying, "All religions are the same," and "There is no absolute truth." Sometimes we forget how blessed we are to have a God who hears and answers prayer, who sees our need and cares, and who has spoken to us in his Word and come to us in person in Jesus Christ. 
If it's easy for us to forget, what is it like for the millions of people -- according to Operation World 41% of this world -- who have not heard the message of God's love and salvation in Jesus Christ? Buddhists need to know that God loves them and Jesus came to rescue them from an endless cycle of suffering. Muslims need to know they don't have to die for God because Jesus died for them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Profundity, part 2

One last quote from The Hunger Games

It's funny, because even though they're rattling on about the Games, it's all about where they were or what they were doing or how they felt when a specific event occurred. "I was still in bed!" "I had just had my eyebrows dyed!" "I swear I nearly fainted!" Everything is about them, not the dying boys and girls in the arena.
Page 353-4

Sunday, October 16, 2011


So we're a little late on jumping on this bandwagon, but Steve and I have started reading The Hunger Games trilogy. We're both in various points in the first book.

Last night I read this quote, and thought I should write it down.

What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?
Page 65

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thinking about this. Too long for a tweet, not enough time to try to respond to people if I were to post it on facebook. Might develop it more later on here. Maybe. Maybe not though.

Sometimes we have only seen the tail of the elephant & assume we're looking at the whole animal. Confusion ensues when someone who has only seen the trunk tries to tell us about elephants.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some of my faves from Gettysburg

Made some pictures this past weekend. More pictures are on Facebook with people in them....these are just a few of my favorites as far as pictures go.

Silohuettes. Devil's Den.

A kid wearing a cowboy hat.

I don't know these people. But I like this picture.

One of my favorites.

Took a long time to get this. I couldn't sit still enough because I was worried that there might be snakes in the grass.

Canon. Shot by a Canon camera.

Me and my doors.

A statue representing hand-to-hand combat...and using the gun like a club.


Brilliant Autumn Colors on the way home.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reminded again this morning why I love Isaiah 55

Isaiah 55 

Invitation to the Lord’s Salvation 

1 “Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
it’s all free!

2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.

3 “Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

4 See how I used him to display my power among the peoples.
I made him a leader among the nations.

5 You also will command nations you do not know,
and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey,
because I, the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.”

6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.

7 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.

11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

12 You will live in joy and peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands!

13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

One more from Moorman, on the conversion of John Wesley. Beautiful.

Arrived in London he again made friends with the Moravians, and it was while worshipping with them that he underwent that spiritual experience, on May 24, 1738, which he always regarded as his conversion. A preacher was expounding the doctrine of Justification by Faith when Wesley began to feel things happening to him. ‘I felt my heart strangely warmed,’ he wrote. ‘I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death; and then I testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart.’ Wesley had been a priest of the Church for several years, but he always regarded this as the great turning-point of his life and the real beginning of his ministry.

New class, but still reading Moorman on a weekly basis. I still enjoy.

Sometimes I wonder what this would be like, for better/for worse.

The latter half of the 18th century marks one of the great turning-points of history. Up to this time, although minor changes were bound to take place man's life still went on very much as it had done for centuries. The only sources of power were the human body, domestic animals and a little wind and water. Consequently life was slow; and, because it was slow, it was constant and unchanging.
Page 293

Peaky peak at the soap

Now for it to sit and stew for a couple/few weeks. I snuck a little chunk of it and tried to make a little lather. I was delighted when it worked!! We got some soap here people!

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