There are a lot of people who object to my God because of the rules.  Well, they generally object to any God who lays down rules.  Rules more specific than, say, “treat each other with respect and don’t hurt anyone without cause.”  They see this life I live, and how I abstain from different things, and they wonder why anyone would submit to that willingly.  It’s gotten so far that there’s a common belief that God is too picky for humans.
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Time to think

I hate it when my computer sits and churns and thinks and doesn’t actually do anything. That happened this morning at work. For some reason, it had failed to log off properly when I last left. This morning when I tried closing out the error boxes and telling it to log off already, it just sat there with the little “processing” cursor going, while the CPU chittered away to itself. Eventually, I unplugged it to force it to restart. I knew the system wasn’t doing anything vital at the time, just chasing its tail trying to deal with errors. And I didn’t want to waste my time.
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Not too long ago, I was helping lead a Bible study on the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. One study focused on 1 Corinthians 13, the famous “love chapter” quoted so often at weddings. Which is sad, actually, because Paul wasn’t even talking about marriage when he wrote that part, and the whole of it is supposed to be applied to the whole of life: family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, everybody. (It’s something to keep in mind that “love is patient, love is kind, it keeps no record of wrongs” applies to your supervisor as well as your spouse.) During the leaders’ prep, an interesting question was posed. Out of sheer curiosity, someone asked who in the room felt that they tended toward the “knowledge” side of life, and who was more on the “love” side. Hands went up for each, and to no one’s surprise, the discussion quickly dissolved into which was better.

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Do you know what I know?

I have a soft spot for the movie Cars. I know that when people rank Pixar movies, it generally ends up on the bottom; although, given that this is Pixar we’re talking about, their worst movie is still better than 90% of what’s out there. I like the plot, and I like the message, but besides that there is one simple moment early on that stands out to me. It’s when Mack is driving down the Interstate in the evening. I remember watching that in the theater, and I had this little sting of recognition.
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Years ago, I created a classification system for the books I read. (Are you surprised?) It wasn’t anything formal, and the criteria was simple, and completely subjective. There were (and are) three kinds: books that stuck in my mind like mud, that left a kind of stain that had to be cleaned or broken down; books that didn’t have much of an effect on me at all; and books that were the mental equivalent of a spring cleaning, where just reading them transformed my mood. The middle group covers most everything I’ve ever read. There are far too many of the first kind. The last, though, are precious, and I rejoice when I find one.
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In the head

So there’s this thing in my head, and I want to write it down…

That’s not actually how most of my notes get started. Usually it’s, “I have to write something, what should it be about?” But before that, when I wasn’t doing this weekly, there would come times where I’d get this thing in my head, and I’d have to write it down. And I have come to wonder if this is a rare trait, or if many people have things in their heads, and just don’t write them down.
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For the sake of

Back when I was taking Ethics in college, my professor laid before us various situations of various stickiness, things that had different opinions and perspectives interacting in them, and asked us to make judgments of right and wrong. I remember one of them concerned a man who was evangelizing aggressively at work, praying loudly and pushing pamphlets and tracts on people. His coworkers were complaining and his boss threatened to fire him. The man claimed freedom of speech and that he was being persecuted for his faith. When my group had read out the scenario, there were a few moments of uncomfortable silence, and then we all agreed. The man was wrong. Our justification was simple: we believed that God has called us to evangelize, but he has not called us to be jerks.
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I have decided that I don’t own anything.

I don’t even know how the subject came into my head. Maybe it was one too many attempts to control what goes on around me. I do that. Especially when I’m tired or scared; I shut things and people out and say “No!” because my equilibrium has gone missing and I want it back. Which is not in itself bad. When you’re not yourself, when you feel like you’ve been slammed by something or upset by something, when you’re worn out or stressed and need a moment, well then, take a moment. Injuries need healing and exhaustion needs rest.

But then I’m spending my moment on worrying about the things that I have no control over. My mind gets all full up of them and goes whizzing along at a hundred miles per hour. And I forget that the main thing is that I have no control over them.
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The more I write, the more convinced I become that all things that are true, and all things that are right, and all things that are beautiful, edifying, and healing, are more than just related. They are more than dependent on one another. They are more than complementary. They are, at the heart, all born of the same thing.
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In place

And this week’s subject is humility.

I had some fun with this one, if you define “fun” as working through labyrinthine connotations of a word most people recognize but few have given a lot of thought to. As with “faith” a couple weeks back, I took some time to look up definitions for the word “humility.” This one, from an ostensibly Christian website, had me looking crosseyed: “Humility or humbleness is a quality of being courteously respectful of others.” (TwoPaths.com) Seriously? Wikipedia was marginally more helpful:
“Humility (adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing.”
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