Monday, April 30, 2007

Appropriate Words for the End of the Semester

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV) 1 Peter 5:7

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Devotions -- The Upper Room

My devotion passage a few days ago, before I got sick, was from Matthew 23:23-8. Here is the ESV version. I love this passage, and often think of it when people complain about hypocrisy in Christianity. Well, Jesus hated hypocrites, too, and it shows a picture of Christ's love that includes mercy, justice, compassion, selfless, and understanding.


Here is the passage from Matthew, in the ESV and taken from Biblegateway.com:

23"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thoughts on my Devotions

Okay, so I meditated for a bit on what I read today and then I thought about it while I was doing work and going about my day. I thought it appropriate to pursue Quaker readings, as I am currently dog-sitting and house-sitting and cat-sitting for a Quaker family. I've always been curious about the Religious Society of Friends, especially more recently, since I've come face-to-face with a few again (I knew some in PA, of course). After the VT massacre last week, I read more about peace churches.

I am interested in how George Fox (the founder of Quakerism) links truth and oneness to being in peace, love and the power of God. Everything must be done in love in order to understand the "mystery of the gospel," and one must do things in love and not in strife to edify the church. This is so different from how I was raised, and these words were penned in the seventeenth century! As with the second comments about the equality of women from Margaret Fox, I am reminded that a teleological view of history and culture is often inaccurate. Although my family subjugates women against men and views violence as necessary, in seventeenth-century England and Pennsylvania, our ancestors upheld the opposite beliefs.

The VOtD from the Bible Gateway web site was also very edifying. I love the Gospel of John; it's such a mysterious and nerdy book of the Bible. In the verse just before, Jesus talks about his sheep, who know his voice (which I understand as the theology of the 'efficacious call'), and follow him, and to those who listen and respond he will give unconditional love and acceptance. See how tolerant and loving our Christ is?? Isn't it a stark contrast to how so many understand Christ and how they try to project Christ?

I am doing a topical study of love in the Bible, and specifically, the love of Christ and how it embodies God's love and how it is bestowed upon humanity. So, in this verse, I see very unconditional and accepting characteristics of Christ's love.

Christ's love is ...
* Unconditional
* All-encompassing
* Non-judgemental (Christ will love and accept forever anyone who responds)

P.S. If you want to sponsor me on the arthritis walk, please comment or send me an e-mail and I'll send you the necessary link.

Eragon and Arthritis and Devotions

First of all, I just realised that I was supposed to update on Eragon after I had read it, since it was written by a homeschooler. I read it over the Christmas break, so my memories of the book are less-than-perfect, but I will say a few things.

As far as fantasy goes, it was a pretty admirable effort, esp. considering he was fifteen when writing the book. The characters were fairly compelling, and the world he created was pretty interesting, esp. for a kid. My problem is that I am an avid Tolkien fan and therefore judge all subsequent fantasy against Tolkien's standard. The problem with the book was that I didn't find it compelling enough, not to the point where I wanted to read it all day long. I would find it compelling for an hour or so, but then need to do something else. It was a reasonable effort, and I might read the others, but it seemed to be striving for the kind of epic that Tolkien created and was constantly falling short.

Secondly, I wanted to announce on my blog that I am doing an arthritis walk on June 30th. I will be doing it to raise money for arthritis research and awareness. As you probably know, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was fifteen months old, followed by a diagnosis of fibromyalgia at the age of twelve and lupus just this past October. The walk will be in Philadelphia, and I am hoping to raise $100.

And now for my devotions.

Like many Christians, I have been struggling to find a comfortable format for daily devotions. I find reading the Bible on the regular basis to be an important discipline, both for my spiritual and mental health. I find it easy to be distracted by the outside world and have therefore found it difficult to be completely faithful with my devotional exercise. It is my hope that blogging will help this to be easier and also encouraging.

My current devotion format is to read one e-mail devotion a day, one full chapter of the Bible each day, and one excerpt from a writer of faith. I have been blessed by both Episcopal and Quaker writings in the recent past, and oftentimes I go through the Anglican Daily Office or read from George Fox's writings. Today, my e-mail devotion is from Psalm 40, and my Bible passage is John 10. I have also read a passage from George Fox's writings and a passage from Margaret Fox's writings.

From George Fox's letters, 291-315:
"
Therefore keep your meetings, and dwell in the power of truth, and know it in one another,
and be one in the light, that you may be kept in peace and love in the power of God,
that you may know the mystery of the gospel; and all that ever you do, do in love;
do nothing in strife, but in love, that edifies the body of Christ, which is the church."

From Margaret Fox's defense of women in the church:
"And first, when God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them, male and female; and God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply: And God said, behold, I have given you of every herb, Gen 1:27-29. Here God joins them together in his own image, and makes no such distinctions and differences as men do; for though they be weak, he is strong; and as he said to the apostle, his grace is sufficient, and his strength is made manifest in weakness, 2 Cor 12:9. And such has the Lord chosen, even the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty; and things which are despised, has God chosen, to bring to nought things that are, 1 Cor:1-27-8. And God has put no such difference between the male and female, as men would make."

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. (NIV) Psalm 40:3

28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one." (NIV) Jn 10:28-30

Figuring Things Out

As you may or may not know, my worldview has been evolving in the last three years. I was raised by a traditional, conservative, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Christian, Republican family in rural Pennsylvania. I was homeschooled, and while I was always the pensive type, I was too busy trying to excel in music and academia to question things much. I attended a small Christian college because it was easier than dealing with the big, bad world at a public university.

After living abroad in England, I began to re-evaluate my political and religious beliefs. I'm still figuring things out, but one thing I've realised is that I absolutely need to have a relationship with God. I'm just figuring out how I can be a dedicated Christian and also a dedicated Libertarian.

This is where this blog comes into play. I've been wanting to blog here because I have other cool friends on Blogger, but I couldn't really come up with a theme or a purpose. My new purpose will be to blog about my journey as a Libertarian Christian. I'm going to read devotionals and talk about faith and my newfound political and academic beliefs.

Feel free to join me. :)

Currently Listening...

  • Pearl and the Beard
  • The Dodos
  • Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha
  • Anna Ternheim
  • NOFX
  • Fairiborz Lachini
  • The Clash
  • Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Does Judy
  • Radiohead: In Rainbows

Currently Watching...

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Mad Men
  • South Park
  • Zach Galifinakis

Currently Reading...

  • Bill Bryson: A History of Nearly Everything
  • Gabriel Garcia-Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The House of Leaves
  • Robertson Davies: The Rebel Angels

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