HI! For a while I have been meaning to write something here, to explain why I am not writing anything here. I am still alive and doing well. I just got really busy, and it has been difficult to overcome inertia to get started here again. We’ll see what happens over the summer. Thank you very much for stopping by.
Most, but not all, of the bibles in our home, rounded up together. At least one was out-of-town when the photo was taken, and one was retrieved a week later, after a year-long exile in a Quaker Meeting lost and found. There is a massive exhaustive concordance hiding under the pile, a relic I imagine in this Internet age. Readers here may recognize the cute animals front and center.
I just sold the boxed “PERSONAL SIZE GIANT PRINT BIBLE” on the left. It went for $35 in case you are wondering what you would have to shell out for one of your own. :^)
How many bibles do you have?
Here is a picture I took at a stop light a couple of weeks ago. I would have liked to meet the owner of the van, with their interesting combination of bumper stickers; one from a fundamentalist university which once banned a student Democrat club, and the other showing support for
the anti-christ now President Obama. I wonder what kind of looks they would receive from passers-by at an alumni weekend back in Lynchburg?
Which reminds me of the bumper sticker on my father’s car, which attended a couple of conservative evangelical church conferences with us. We would always wonder if it raised any eyebrows.
A friend of mine told me this story, quoted verbatim below, which he witnessed first hand at a family gathering. It was a conversation between an elderly aunt and her nephew, who is gay and out of the closet to the family (but apparently not to her).
Aunt Bernice: You’re getting older, aren’t you ready to settle down and get married?
Nephew (in annoyed and firm voice): Aunt Bernice, I’m gay!
Aunt Bernice: You need Jesus!!!
End of conversation. Dramatic silence fills the room while laughter is stifled…
Though this is an extreme example, I think the same dynamic affects a lot of conversations. It is not hard for me to imagine a response like that (though maybe not so blunt) to any number of expressed or perceived problems. This is not necessarily evangelizing on the Christian’s part, it could be said with the same conviction to another Christian.
One problem is the person dispensing the advice (“You need Jesus”) is assuming they have the right answer for the other person. Would it sound differently if it were, “You need Buddha/acupuncture/Prozac/gummi bears/a smack upside the head!”? Do you really know what someone else needs?
I wrote this post on a bad day (a while back). I had lost sleep the night before, was stressed about work, got angry with one of my children, and had frozen pizza for dinner. Basically, one of those days when I had a feeling deep down inside saying, “You shouldn’t have done that.” It was a day when I did not want to be told I needed Jesus.
When I feel really bad, I usually want a little compassion, I think that is true for everyone. Sure, there are times when we need a kick in the seat of the pants to get over a bad attitude. And there can be a danger of enabling bad attitudes by offering unqualified affirmation. But sometimes, maybe a bad day is just a bad day. And we don’t need Aunt Bernice to tell us otherwise.
“Most of us have never really been thirsty. We’ve never had to leave our houses and walk 5 miles to fetch water. We simply turn on the tap, and water comes out. Clean. Yet there are a billion people on the planet who don’t have clean water.”
Rachel Held Evans posted this week on a project she is a supporting, charity: water. This non-profit works to obtain clean water for people who don’t have it. If you have a moment, I recommend the video below, it’s about five minutes long. Or click here for a brief overview.
I am not an expert, but have long been interested in appropriate technologies for developing nations, and currently work in water and wastewater engineering (in one very developed nation). It seems to be an area where a little financial and logistical help can really go a long way.
From the charity: water website:
“They didn’t choose to be born into a village where the only source of water is a polluted swamp. And we didn’t choose to be born in a country where even the homeless have access to clean water and a toilet. We invite you to put yourself in their shoes. Follow them on their daily journey. Carry 80 pounds of water in yellow fuel cans. Dig with their children in sand for water. Line up at a well and wait 8 hours for a turn. Now, make a decision to help. We’re not offering grand solutions and billion dollar schemes, but instead, simple things that work. Things like freshwater wells, rainwater catchments and sand filters.”