"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bandwagon Christians

      God gave us a new song of praise. Must we climb onto a bandwagon to sing it? Bandwagon Christians fear individuality because evangelicalism condemns free thinking, even outside our creedal boundaries. Just try wearing spiked, brightly colored hair, tattoos, and body piercing to most evangelical churches(no, looking weird isn't necessarily free thinking). Though the Bible has nothing to say about style outside of looking like a whore and cross-dressing, you will be shunned.
      Legalism is carnality, and God will judge it as such.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Practice of the Presence of God--by Brother Lawrence

      Joseph de Beaufort, representative and counsel to the Parisian archbishop, could not have known how his conversations with Nicholas Herman, known in the monastery as Brother Lawrence, would change his life. De Beaufort took note of Brother Lawrence's appearance with the comment that he was "rough in appearance but gentle in grace." During four conversations and numerous correspondences with the reclusive monk, de Beaufort recorded the simple practices Brother Lawrence used to cultivate God's continuous presence in his life.       When Brother Lawrence first entered the monastery, he expected to sacrifice his life and pleasures to God for his shortcomings. But instead he met only satisfaction in the sacrificial, monastic life.       His vow of obedience notwithstanding, Brother Lawrence found the highest joy in communing continually with and meditating on God, and though his mandatory prayers only distracted him from that sweet fellowship, he said them anyway.       Faith is to bring us to a high degree of perfection by ruling all our conduct, rather than amusing our religious sense through rituals and trivial devotions. By giving ourselves up to God spiritually and temporally to satisfy His will, both suffering and consolation will be equal to us.       He admitted that our prayer lives will ebb and flow as God tries our love toward Himself. Only by remaining faithful in prayer, regardless of desire, can we advance spiritually.       Brother Lawrence was surprised the world's sin caused no more misery than it did. His part was to pray for sin's victims, and to trust God to heal according to His mercy. Beyond that, he refused to worry about the issue.       He suggested a method for resolving our concern for the tragedies of life: He said, "We should carefully watch over all the passions that mingle in spiritual as well as temporal things. God will give light concerning those passions to those who truly desire to serve Him."       At this first interview's conclusion, Brother Lawrence cautioned de Beaufort not to return if his motivation was not to sincerely discuss how to serve God.       Subsequent posts will deal with sixteen of his letters and visits between him and Joseph de Beaufort. I pray that through these posts I will learn how to faithfully practice God's presence. And if someone else happens by, perhaps he or she will profit as well.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Not For the Faint of Heart

      I'm sure at first blush, Brandilyn Collins is a nice, Christian lady, but in Web of Lies, she again reveals her darker side. This page-turner not only packs the punch demanded of the suspense genre, but does it with the sensitivity and intuition I've learned to expect from the best female authors.
      If her intent was to keep the reader hooked, she's succeeded. If her intent was to tease those readers who must read Web of Lies in snippits because of time constraints, she's one sadistic woman.
      I know whereof I speak.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Memory--Bits and Pieces

      Toni Morrison's comparison of water's memory to a writer's memory caused me to look back in my own life and ask, "What do I see in my past worth recalling on paper?" I see only the product of an efficient shredder; disjointed bits and that spell nothing memorable.
      Would that I had been given such a gift of memory. Every life is rich with experience--passing time has that effect--but much of mine is lost in a foggy dusk.
      I long to express myself with words, vibrant and precise. What am I to express, however, but thoughts birthed only today?
      Yet I write transient bits and pieces out of compulsion, because writing is what I do.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Internet Linguistics

    DEBRA WIERENGA has some ideas about electronic media's effect on language.
    Artistic expression can range from Gimped fractals to free-verse poetry. To the degree that it is subjective, precision becomes a non-issue.
     Objective, business communication, however, requires a system of parameters for common understanding. Literature blends artistic expression with systematic communication, applying aspects from both. There will always be art, literature and business, and the web won't change that.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Loving Differences

          Maybe we'd get bored if we didn't have something to keep us busy between watching mindless TV, expending ourselves in sports, going to church, or enduring our despised jobs. So we kill time by engaging in ideological and religious warfare--politics by any other name stinks just as much.
          But we're more sophisticated than those towel-headed mumblers of the Middle East. We don't blow people up or shoot folks--for the most part--simply because of our religious differences. We prefer to assassinate the character of those with whom we lovingly disagree by spreading malicious half-truths and generalizations.
          An example of our Christian jihads is battling over God's name ... in God's name. We who insist He's YaHWeH bitterly brand Jehovah's Witnesses as cultists, while they brand us as apostate.
          Another battle ground is the Sabbath. Most Christians favor worshiping on "the Lord's day," while some insist the Sabbath is God's chosen day of rest. And never the twain shall meet.
          Then there's the end times debate, or Eschatology, if you're one of the theologically elite. You're certainly a better Christian if you're a pre-millennialist, or not.
          And we can't forget our divine sovereignty battle ground. Some like to consider themselves eternally secure while others can only make it to heaven by living holy ... with lots of euphemisms for what others call sinning. Both sides claim to love the same Savior, yet they usually refuse to unite in His worship.
          Our lists of differences are practically endless. We exhibit incredible creativity at finding issues to debate, but finding common ground(or a common Rock on which to stand) is beyond us. I can imagine King Jesus sitting on His heavenly throne, weeping over our failure to love one another between fits of laughter at our infantile antics.

Douglas Gresham Interview

         Infuse did it again! Joe Battaglia's interview with Douglas Gresham breaks new ground in Internet journalism candor.
         But you're probably asking, "Who the heck is Douglas Gresham?" Why, he's only C. S. Lewis' stepson, and one of the few people still living who was intimately acquainted with the author of Chronicles of Narnia and a multitude of lesser-known works.
         Lewis' own story is no less compelling than the fictional ones he invented. His tragic love for Joy Gresham is the stuff of which great romance is made, as witnessed in Shadowlands, the movie produced about them.