Monthly Archives: May 2007

links for 2007-05-31

links for 2007-05-30

Morality, Justice, Stubborn Satellite Dishes and a Few Other Things on My Mind

I’ve been a little rough on the Prez lately. I’m not a fan of political blogs, so I’ll keep this brief and then move on to something else.

From the standpoint of morality and justice I believe that America has committed a grievous wrong against the Iraqis. The regular features on NPR by Iraqis tell the stories of people living as prisoners in their own home. Those who flee as refugees lose everything, are sometimes forced to work in horrible conditions, and are in a position to be exploited.

Whether or not you believe the US was justified in attacking Iraq–we weren’t by the way, but I’ll let others disagree–we can all agree that the Kindergarten rule holds true, “If you make a mess, clean it up.”

America has some repenting and repairing to do. One of the ways I believe the church can repair some of the damage our misguided foreign policy has done is by supporting Iraqi families who are traveling to Israel for open heart surgery. That sort of kills a bunch of birds with one check.

I’ve been supporting Shevet Achim lately and I’m really happy to see all of the good work they do. I encourage you to find out what one group of Christians is doing to bring reconciliation to the world.

In other news, the sudden influx of blogging is due to the sudden influx of internet in my life. Not in my home unfortunately, if you thought satellite internet was slow, you should see how slow the customer service is.

Thankfully Manchester has plenty of internet for the masses. Blogging will be spotty until they fix my wayward dish.

Though my internet connection has thwarted me at every turn, there has been some progress in the “writing” part of my life and I hope to spring some big news in the near future. Until then, my short story “A Bittersweet Land,” a memoirish sort of essay on the Israelis, Palestinians, et. al., is now available in the Southshire Pepperpot.

The cafe is about to close, and so must this blog post. Sigh. It’s been fun while it lasted.

Scripture Immersion: The Memorization Alternative

Sometime after college I figured out that scripture memorization is a lost cause for me. It’s quite simply one of the most demoralizing things for me. I’ve fasted for days, prayed for hours, read the Bible, journaled, and done all kinds of other disciplines.

My memory fails me.

So I did a little searching, trying to figure out what was going on. What I found is that I’m a big-picture person, the kind who prefers writing essays instead of multiple choice. After being challenged by another Christian to read five chapters of the Bible every day (trust me, I’m not 100% on that!), I found something.

I call this kind of reading “immersion.” When I read five chapters of the Bible, I dig into a nice chunk of the story and bend my mind into a Biblical framework.

Since I’m reading such a large section at each sitting–at least when compared to my standard “chapter a day” approach in the past–I have to spend a lot more time engaging the verses. In the process I find myself–surprise, surprise–memorizing scripture.

More importantly, when I throw myself into the world of the Bible I am often challenged and God tweaks my fragile world, challenging me with his truth. The Biblical world invades my own and leaves its mark, and part of that residue is scripture memorization, or at least a decent paraphrase.

Immersion is not “the way” to read or memorize the Bible, but for a wordy, narrative-loving guy like myself, it is refreshing to find other ways to deposit the scripture into my mind.

Technorati Tags:

The Pitfalls of Scripture Memorization

Well, it’s actually not all that dangerous, but bear with me and my provocative title . . .

It’s generally assumed among many Christians that one must have a “life verse” or at least pocket an index card with some passage of scripture scribbled out for memorization. Committing a chunk of the Bible to a slab of one’s mind can be a very good thing, but we often overlook the dangers that may arise.

First of all, scripture memorization can become a barometer of one’s relationship with God. Can’t discipline yourself to recall that slim block of text? Then you must not be very zealous for God. It sounds silly to say it, but I know it happens far more often than we would like to admit.

Secondly, some people are not wired along the lines of memorization. I confess, I’m like that. I’m much more concept driven. I had to claw and scratch for B’s in my science classes if I was lucky because I couldn’t unravel the facts I rolled into my head.

Third, it is very easy to hack a small verse of scripture out of context and apply it to any situation that comes down the pike. Come on, I know you have that verse posted somewhere about God supplying all of “your” needs from his “glorious riches.”

Having noted a few of the problems we face when memorizing scripture, I’ll step back and say that memorizing the Bible is wonderful. David–as in King David, the Psalmist–was bonkers about it, commanding Solomon to know the Law of the Lord, not to mention his ongoing chorus throughout the Psalms singing the praises of memorizing the Scripture.

Put in its place, scripture memorization has many benefits for Christians. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that this discipline does not a holy Christian make.

I think Christians often beat themselves up over failing at a discipline. While disciplines are important, I think a broad perspective is important.

There are other ways to deposit the Bible into one’s mind other than straight memorization, and I’ll touch on that next.

Technorati Tags:

Finding a Home For Blame

I found myself in a situation last week in which I was apologizing to a lady for something that someone else had done and wasn’t there to take the responsibility. As a representative of the institution, but someone not directly involved in the wrong done against this woman, I found myself both apologizing and sympathizing.

By the time she left there was little I could do to settle things. She spoke how he felt, let it known she was not pleased, and turned to go away. Things would have been bad enough at that point, but then she wanted to get one last dig in, starting into a hopelessly cheesy, almost hallmark movie like rendition that took shots at more people than the one person involved.

It seemed that at the crucial moment she wanted to drop the blame somewhere. It wasn’t good enough to know the blame hung over another person not present. She wanted to drop it on whoever can be remotely implicated.

Before I dig into this person too much, I can say that I’ve certainly fallen into the same trap. How many times have I been in a poorly run restaurant with overworked staff and blamed my poor service on the nearest person, namely: my waitress?

Having friends with waitressing experience opened my eyes to their plight. I repent. But isn’t it something that when we are wronged we want to drop the blame on someone immediately. It’s not enough to walk away feeling wronged, and we often don’t go through the trouble of finding out who’s really at fault.

Blame is one of those things we give out very easily.