Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Babel’ Category

There is a Biblical verse for every moment in life, so it seems. Today, I wish a verse existed that began with “Here’s the scoop…”

Working at Oklahoma Christian University, we often quote Isaiah 40:31: But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.They will walk and not faint.

Other translations begin this verse with “They that wait upon The Lord…”.

As a family who believes and trusts in Him, waiting seems to be the better fit in this moment.

In a world plagued by the babel we brought upon ourselves at Babel, the interchangeable nature of words in translating our languages provides a beautiful mixture of meaning and metaphor as we try to make sense of our lives on this broken creation called The Earth.

As I made the early morning drive today from our temporary sleeping abode at my sister’s to the medical suite that has emerged at our Mom and Dad’s, a song by Switchfoot was playing on the radio:

Fumbling his confidence
And wondering why the world has passed him by
Hoping that he’s bent for more than arguments
And failed attempts to fly, fly

We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside
Somewhere we live inside …

Dreaming about Providence
And whether mice or men have second tries
Maybe we’ve been livin with our eyes half open
Maybe we’re bent and broken, broken

We want more than this world’s got to offer
We want more than this world’s got to offer
We want more than the wars of our fathers
And everything inside screams for second life, yeah

We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
We were meant to live for so much more…

We were meant to live …

The medical experts have told us, daily, there are less than 24 hours remaining, and they’ve proved it by the level of medical and comfort care resources provided. And 24 hours later, they have re-approved the same assessment for yet another 24, and we remain as both “those who trust”, and “they that wait”.

A night or two ago, in this ever rambling week, a conversation I had with one on a blanket on the floor became a conversation among many, and ultimately a prayer I found myself offering with and on behalf of us all. We asked God to allow us to let go of our agenda, our understanding, and to rely on His timing. I’ve never wished to be in a patriarchal place in life, and yet, here we are.

In his final lucid and not so lucid conscious moments almost a week ago, our Dad proclaimed to all present for me to be “Second in Command”, and I wonder now if there is not an analogy in even those late moment words.

God is in command. We are His children. We were meant to live for so much more.

We have not lost ourselves, or each other.

And so, we trust.

And we remain “they that wait”.

20140705-100101-36061113.jpg

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

20120519-093332.jpg
I’ll admit, a Maroon 5 fan, I am not. A Mick Jagger fan, I am not. However, the artist once known as “de fif’d supa dude”? I will admit, I’m a fan. As evidenced at the bottom of the post, he’s got the moves.

However, I will borrow from the current pop genre to say “I want to move like Jagger”. Essentially, I want to move, especially when I’m older. I want others to move with me. TeamOC, 560 members strong, anyone? It feels right.

As for Mr. Jagger’s choice of attire? Wouldn’t be caught dead in it, unless it was for First Week Follies, and then only maybe.

20120519-093424.jpg

But, that never stopped the afore mentioned Supa Dude, aka Alfredo. He got the moves. As Jack Sparrow would say, “Spiritually, Ecumenically, Gramatically…”. I want to move like Alfredo.

He also tries to dance, and dive, as well, but that’s a whole ‘nother story entirely. Not going there, thank you.

I don’t even try to control you
Look into my eyes and I’ll own you
with the moves like jagger
I got the moves like jagger
I got the moooves… like jagger

Ohohohoh….. 🙂

20120519-093500.jpg

Read Full Post »

20120319-230619.jpg

Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God
. Micah 6:7-9

Travel makes me think. That may sound odd, but time away from my own element, especially extended time spent with strangers, many of which do not even speak my native language, causes me to reflect and consider things in ways I normally might not under more routine circumstances.

The realm of material things has been a consistent theme recurring on this trip. It began a week or so back during a visit to our campus by international travel writer and PBS personality Rick Steves. His message prompted me to “pack light” and make the current trip with nothing more than I could carry with me comfortably. With the possible excuse of carrying something with me to deliver for a friend, one bag became two, and yet an item or two of clean/not worn extra clothing went back into the bag as I packed tonight for the return trip coming in a few hours. Oh well, more room for Shokolade and Butterkerks to make the trip home, yah? I digress.

As I prepared to board the connecting flight to leave The States on Saturday, people were clamoring to gather their “Duty Free” purchases. That word for taxation takes on a whole “double entendre” context when it comes to buying for ourselves.

Back to my original point. The joyful and loving house church gathering I was blessed to attend yesterday was studying from Ephesians 5:

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.

As the discussion of these verses followed their reading, the conversation focused heavily, if not solely, on the concepts of greed and idolatry. At least, that’s what my sleep deprived ears gleaned from the one who was translating the dialogue into English for me.

Wait. What about the “heavy sins” that command so much of that text? These were my thoughts. We (my Euro based American missionary work friends and I) discussed this all over lunch, a very nice lunch, complete with extended time, sunshine, and ice caffee. “Europeans just don’t see the need for a bunch of stuff” was one of their insights. Touché. In exchange, most live on less, in turn buying less, in turn feeling better about their smaller spaces, in turn having more free time from cleaning, insuring, self storing, garage sale-ing, and so on, and so on, and visa-versa. And they don’t mind sitting, and sharing, for hours over coffee, and Communion, and prayer, and loving consideration, all before any of them worried about lunches not yet planned or eaten, and it already being after 1:30.

Covetousness, Idolatry. These were words they used. I even heard some of them switch to English for our benefit. Maybe these are “heavy sins” as well?. After all, they are included in Ephesians 5 right along with other “immoralities”.

If it takes you away (consumingly so) from time with God, it is an idol. These were their thoughts. If it takes us away from one another, equally so? These were my thoughts.

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God
.

Duty free? Not hardly. Hauling home the shokolade and butterkerks may be more taxing than I first imagined…

Read Full Post »

20111206-210204.jpg

“This feels like a dream; like I woke up and had never gone anywhere”.

She came home today. So did dozens of other students who’d been traveling the world of late. Some in Europe, others in the Far East, each now adjusting to their new normal back in the U.S.

New normals include the little things, like driving on the right side of the road, the English language all around you, and a shocking departure from accustomed culture. New normals also mean the small group with which you’ve shared your life over recent months won’t be together again, at least not in the same way.

Only hours after getting off the plane, reunions with friends were already underway. As “Little Frauline-Sahn” was not ready to drive anywhere other than the left side of the road, I gave her a quick shuttle over to where the gang was assembling.

On my way home, the 80’s Aldo Nova tune “Fantasy” was playing on the old
guy radio station. Portions of the lyrics were eerily relevant to the moment:

City Nights
Summer breeze makes you feel alright
Neon-lights
Shining brightly make you brain ignite…

…See the men pain their faces and cry
Like some girl, it makes you wonder why

City life
Sure is cool, but it cuts like a knife, it’s your life
So forget all that you see
It’s not reality, it’s just a fantasy
Can’t you see what this crazy life is doing to me

Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life

In actuality, life is not just a fantasy, even though it passes by quickly.

Now, Alboy ever growing to be that tall? That is a fantasy, most likely. Maybe he’s the one who’s been dreaming…

Read Full Post »

20111121-144518.jpg

This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:10-14

His name was Daniel, and best I can tell, he never got to go home. He had trial after trial. He was called upon to make hard choices. He defied a king’s decree as a young man, and was honored for it. He prophesied about the demise of another king. He defied yet another royal decree, this time as a part of another kingdom, and he was fed to the lions for it, at least the effort was made to feed him to the lions. And through it all, God loved him very much. Even more importantly, God had plans for him, but those plans did not include getting to return to the way things were before. Daniel was an educated man. I’m sure he knew of the 70 years prophecy, and that given his age he would likely not live to see Jerusalem again.

How did Daniel respond? He prayed. He refused to deny God. He prayed some more. He did not give up.

Which brings me to today’s brief thought: are you currently in Babylon? If so, how can God use you in the place where you find yourself today? If not in Babylon, maybe you feel like part of “the remnant”, those who were left behind in a desolated Jerusalem without the ones they held dear. The same question is true here: what are you called to do? Help others pick up the broken pieces and rebuild, like some did with Nehemiah?

Maybe your captivity is disease or chronic illness, with little if any hope for cure. Maybe Babylon for you is unemployment, or underemployment. Maybe captivity means being courageous and doing the hard thing, again, and again, and again, knowing full well that it will never really get any easier.

Daniel did not give up, as I understand it, and neither should we.

Daniel’s account closes with him receiving a promise, and I think we have hope and a promise for the same.

Daniel 12: 8-13 I heard what he said, but I did not understand what he meant. So I asked, “How will all this finally end, my lord?” But he said, “Go now, Daniel, for what I have said is kept secret and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means. “From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration[b] is set up to be worshiped, there will be 1,290 days. And blessed are those who wait and remain until the end of the 1,335 days!

“As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.”.

Read Full Post »

Heartplatz…

Platz = Place.    Strasse = Street.    Gasse?    Same thing.    No, Herrengasse is not a man who had something bad for lunch.

Which brings me to this short, hopefully fun, topic.   My friend and co-worker have been all over the city this week, and when we see something unusual, noteworthy, or funny, the language butchering comes alive.

George Michael Strasse.     Insane Gasse.    Grandpaplatz.     The good ones from the week all escape me at the moment, as it is late and I should be in bed.

Accordingly, here’s “one for the road” before we fly off from The Continent:   Heartplatz.

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

My Heartplatz is waiting for me in Oklahoma.   Time to go.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

 I’ve decided that blogging is often times essentially a conversation.   One person talks, and another person listens.   Without the listener, there is no conversation.   Other times,blogging may be a soliloquy on a street corner.   Either way, you want people to listen because they are interested, not because they are in the area and can’t escape the conveyance of the message.

Which brings us to this morning’s thoughts…

Matthew 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Das ist alles.   “That is all”.  We said it enough times, and he finally walked on.   Gratitude was obvious, but so was the want for more, and more we could not provide.   He was from Romania, as we understand, and we understood little more.   “Nicht Vertsehe?”, he kept asking.   “You don’t understand?”.    We understood that he wanted money.   A few moments earlier, we understood that he was hungry.    That much was obvious.

As our student group was finishing dinner in a resturaunt with large windows opening out to a nearby street corner, and you could see if you were outside paying attention that there was a lot of food on the table.   “Two wheelbarrows, and two swords”…”that is what you should order”.   Those were the directions from our co-worker back in the states who had planned all of the logistics of this trip.   And there was plenty of food to be had, and plenty left over.   Not twelve baskets full, likely, but twelve to go bags?    Maybe.    And out students would not need the food in their refigerators, for they were leaving at dawn for a retreat to the woods, and my co-workers and I were leaving for a return trip home.   Most, if  not all, of this leftover food would go to waste.

He entered the restraurant under the guise of trying to sell us some tabloid newspapers.   People are present all over Vienna trying to do just that.   I don’t know what they get paid, but it is likely off books and well below the minimum wage and work standards guaranteed by the State in Austria.   As mentioned before, we learned he is from Romania.   Not much else was known, but his hunger was evident.   His sales pitch was dismissed, “Nein, Danke”, but he did not leave the table.   His eyes said it all.   Most in my party had their side turned by the alignment of the tables, but I could see his eyes.  

In all due respect, it reminded me of my dog and my cat.    He was almost beyond containing himself as the food was bagged.   “We need to give him some food”, someone finally said.   He took the first few bags and with enthusiasm promptly left, but within minutes he was back, the same look written on his face.  This man was hungry.   It was not a comfortable moment.    As he took the second set of bags from us, he began to eat in front of us, very quickly.   After finally filling up, he place the remaining bags in his shoulder bag/satchel.    And he appeared grateful, kissing his hand and pointing to heaven, but then he would kiss his hand again and hold it out to us.

Mark 7:24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.  27“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  28“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”  29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

This issue is hard for me.   In the States, we most often equate beggars with wanting money for beer or drugs, and it is obvious.   There are far fewer beggars seen around in a Socialist system like Austria.   The State provides, and the Poliza arrest and detain.   But, they are here, and the few you see appear more desparate.   We have responsibilities.   This night, it was to our students, and they had finally left before my co-worker and I were alone with the man from Romania.   We each finally gave him the coins in our pocket.   For me, it was not hard to part with the 2,50 or so in Euro coins in my pocket (about $3.90, U.S.).   I had planned to stop at the market on the way back to the hotel and exchange the coins for some candy bars.   After all, you can’t spend Euro in the U.S., nor can you eat it when craving Schokolade.   But this money was better in the pocket of this man than being spent in satisfaction of my sweet tooth.

Matthew 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I only hope and pray I can respond appropriately the next time some situation is presented, not looking out for my wants or needs, but rightfully discerning when to help someone before me…

Das ist alles. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »