Err Boldly!

Our daughters grew up learning to play a variety of musical instruments. When learning a new instrument or piece of music, they often played timidly— one uncertain note or chord followed by a similar one, Notes_on_the_stafflike an urchin uncertainly knocking on one door after another, testing, hoping for admittance but not knowing if a welcome was forthcoming.

Knowing that part of their timidity was simply the fear of playing a wrong note or chord, I wanted to inspire them to greater confidence and accomplishment. So, I began repeatedly telling them, with gusto, “Err boldly!” They loved it and it became a watchword in our house.

“Err boldly” wasn’t an invitation to make more mistakes, but an invitation to not fear them. “Err boldly” meant not being afraid of mistakes so progress wouldn’t be retarded by unnecessary timidity.   “Err boldly” became the call to push forward, to boldly experiment, to try what fear might otherwise keep them from attempting. Continue reading

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A Wife’s Plea to Christian Men

Tim Challies blog site     tim-challies

One of the most heart felt, emotionally laden and compelling pleas I’ve ever read for men to stop using porn.  I highly recommend it. Mike

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Is That Legal?

Some laws are illegal.  Sounds oxymoronic I know, but we are talking about politics and the unholy fruit of legislators here.

Some laws don’t pass judicial muster as “legal” legislation when a court or a judge determines that they are not sufficiently specific.  Laws have to be clear enough that a reasonable person knows what is prohibited or required, and what the consequences for the “illegal” activity being legislated might be.

“in general, a statute might be called void for vagueness reasons when an average citizen cannot generally determine what persons are regulated, what conduct is prohibited, or what punishment may be imposed.”      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Void_for_vagueness

That makes sense: if the government is going to hold us responsible for our actions and UnitedStatesCodetheir consequences, the legislation that speaks to each area of life being regulated should be specific enough that we know when we are in, or out, of bounds and what the repercussions of our out-of-boundness might be.

Theologians, ministers, priests, and all those who claim to speak for God should take note of that common sense rule because, if it applies to things in this life, it should apply all the more when talking about things that transcend time and space.  

I was in a Church service recently and was struck by how “illegal” the commentary offered would be deemed by a common sense standard of “legality.”  The officiant intoned repeatedly that in order to save our own souls we had to become loving people.  Wow!  Great! I consider myself a loving person— my soul must be saved and already on holy ground.  What a relief.  Or, not… Continue reading

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Of Acorns & Oak Trees

Mark 6: 1 Jesus went out from there and *came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. 2 When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  6 And He wondered at their unbelief.

When Jesus the prophet of God returns to his hometown of Nazareth the townspeople he’d grown up with can’t see a prophet, only a carpenter’s son.  Verse 3 is the key: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon?  We need to inject in our thinking the word “only” when we read the text to get the nuance here:  is this not “only” the carpenter…. is this not “only” the son of Mary…. is this not “only” the brother of James, Joses, etc….? Continue reading

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Make the Tree Good, or ….

NT Wright is, by any estimation, an incredibly smart and disarmingly gracious man.  Quick to request you call him “Tom”, the former Bishop of Durham and now Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland, is British academics and affability at it’s best.

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Tom has authored apologetic books such as The Resurrection of the Son of God, and Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church,  works typically hailed for their erudite defense of Jesus’ resurrection, and for the Christian faith and mission generally.

I heard Tom speak at a conference a few years ago.  He was representing his position on the Pauline theology of justification against the rest of those on an august panel including a seminary president and authors on major works on that same subject.  Tom quoted the pertinent biblical passages by memory in their Hebrew and Greek originals and blithely pirouetted verbally around all opposition.   I don’t remember his specific points as much as his humor, depth and breadth of knowledge and the winsome way he won over the audience, if not by argument then by his very persona and demeanor.  We were indeed, blinded by his light. Continue reading

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I Get to— Living our Dreams

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Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams, the alternative rock/alternative country, singer-songwriter interviewed on a recent Austin City Limits and spoke about his busy schedule following the release of a CD. He was lamenting the demands on his day to a friend, telling her:

I’ve got to get up and do three interviews today, I have to go do a performance on the BBC and then I have to go do a show— I was really tired.

And she goes, “Yeah, actually, the way you start that sentence is, ‘I get to.'” And I never forgot that; it was unbelievable advice. I get to get up and do this today. I don’t know how it’s going to be but I’m going to have an amazing time doing it.

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How Big is Your God?

How big is your God? Or, at least, how big is your idea of God?

The universe is big, really big, by any measure.  Space.com says the universe is around 92 billion light years big; that’s an extrapolation from assuming we can see 13.8 billion light years distance in any direction, and that during the time this visible light was getting here, the universe kept expanding. This distance is simply so big that I don’t even try to imagine it.

But if that dwarfs your imagination like it does mine, consider the distance from earth to the closest star (other than our own sun); that would be Alpha Centauri, in fact a star system of three stars, about 4.4 light years away, says UniverseToday.com. Since a light year is about 5.9 trillion miles, that closest of stars is around 26 trillion miles away. Again, though far Constellations smaller than the guess at the size of the universe, I simply can’t wrap my mind around this distance and these numbers.   But by any measure, these are vast distances comprising space and time that simply beggars the imagination of man.

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