have spoken wrongly

Retraction/Correction: Fine. Maybe I had it all wrong. I posed the question "Why represent frailty?" Duh, because of this, the anti-this.

I still maintain that they need to have a separate hallway or corridor for people over 60, and another for people who can actually walk faster than 1 mph.

is performing many signs

This is no revelation. In fact, it is the confirmation. But you aren't making the statement you think you're making. The only statement you're making is the holding up of a sign that says "I am" in answer to the question on JDay "Who's interested in a tour of hot water?"

if it is received with gratitude

Numb11 is remarkable; it may be the most human chapter in the Bible in terms of interaction and personality. Here's what I mean:
* You have the start which is the presence of a few people crying like girls about camping out
* You have a greedy rabble
* You have people so used to reliance on God they take it for granted; imagine getting sick of food from Heaven? Since Exo, we've forgotten that all this time, He's still providing! Sad thing is, it isn't that hard to imagine getting sick of this.
* You have Moses trying to calm God down -- but instead of defending the Israelites, he takes a different tack, and uses his relationship with God to wonder what he did to deserve all this mess.
* You have God relenting and providing meat -- but also displaying His anger. You want meat? You want meat? Have all that you can handle till you're sick of that too. This is so something I'd do.
* You end with what you started with -- greedy rabble punished for not valuing how good they had things.

This is the perfect picture of dysfunction. In case you're struggling for the deja vu memory I'll give you a hint. It starts with "golden" and ends with "calf".


be quiet and come

Continuation of the theme...

"Elijah's Final Exam" {IKings17:17-24}
* Context & Atmosphere
- Humbling exp for Elij: testing & reliance on God alone
* Widow's Anger (v.18)
- Aroused guilty conscience
* Elij Faith/Prayer (v.19-21)
- Initial calmness reveals faith (no argue; no loss of coolness)
- Where's your quiet room to meet w/ God?
- Note: Up to now, no resurrection in OT, no precedent (reliance on Him not history)
* Elij Response (v.23): no credit-taking
* Widow's response (v.24): Acknowledges Him in situation
* Apps:
- Calmness & Contentment
- Gentleness & Self-control
- Undiminished faith
- Humility


and said, Father I

About time I comment on it seeing as how I'm straddling the Cath-Prot line closer than two rosary beads hanging on an empty cross. He needs to buck history and step down is my thought. (1) He can't do his primary job; (2) he gets more attention for his frailty than his leading; and (3) as the symbolic head of a church, why represent frailty and illness?

I actually feel this way about every elderly person over 60 doing any job, so this is nothing extraordinary, pointed hat or not.


because of their rebellious way

Be very clear that when reading articles like this or this that you understand this point: they only want to know so that they can perform some death blow to religion. It is not because of some romantic notion of furthering the bounds of scientific knowledge. It is not to answer the question "Are we alone in the universe?" No, this is all to prove on some other planet what they cannot prove on this planet: that life can somehow be spontaneously generated. And if life can be created at random, there is no God.

That is their little syllogism of ignorance and arrogance. Still no proof that something bacterially little can somehow morph into intelligent beings, no. Just want to make the leap into death.


earth be filled with His

Lev4:20 brings up something interesting. Aaron and his sons are commanded to help the tribe of the families of the Kohathites (right, beats me who they are) with their work in the temple, with the strong caution that they are not to even glimpse the holy objects lest they die.

Here's the interesting thing: objects can be holy? "Holy" means something when it refers to God -- completely pure and good that the slightest sliver of sin is more noticeable a stain than you can imagine; holy to the realm of searing brightness obliterating all with the slightest trace of darkness. "Holy" when it refers to His followers makes sense. They are to cast away their lives of sin for something purer, the pursuit of brightness.

But how does this apply to objects? Catholic relics and the like mocked by Prots, what of them? Is holiness something transferable to something nonliving? Is sin a concept even grasped by a toaster? And free will to tables, what of that?

My mind hurts.


split apart like a scroll

I can barely read the book of Numbers because it nearly drives me insane every time I try. There's a scene in The Matrix at the end where Neo gets up after having been shot, and when he looks around the hallway at the Mr. Smiths, the camera perspective switches so that we see what Neo sees. And what Neo sees are the scrolling green numbers of the Matrix behind the visual images; he sees into another dimension.

Part of my OCD is this different perspective on usually obvious imageries, related particularly to numbers and words. When I hear or see or read numbers, I don't just see the number. I mentally see what makes that number special. Is it odd? Is it prime? What are its factors? What are its unique characteristics? If I see two numbers used in conjunction with each other, I try to see what their numerical relationship is. Can one divide into another? Do they share common factors? When added or subtracted or multiplied does something else happen?

That's why Numbers drives me crazy, especially chaps 1 & 2. I know that every word and every letter and every number used is used purposefully. And thus, as the seemingly rounded tribe counts appear, and as they relate to each other successively or aggregately, I'm left looking for connections.

These numbers, they're still scrolling, ten minutes after finishing up. Someone help me.



another, at a loss

I didn't say anything about it yesterday because I didn't think I could speak about it rationally. Not sure I can now. But the thing is, I tend to blame others for it rather than facing it head on -- the whole growing up quickly thing.

It hit me harder than I imagined it would, the cub being a boy and all. Maybe I thought that the tiger-baby tigress thing was somehow all the more heartbreaking. Turns out the breaking happens either way.

No blame here, that I understand. Still not sure why the loss sits there and hurts. I was right. Can't speak about it rationally even now. Posted by Hello

by name and leads

Growing up not in the Word, I never understood the context for lots of commandments, nor understood the severity of breaking particular laws. The best thing about the OT is that it provides such a context, and clarifies such severity. Case in point: Name in vain.

Who doesn't have friends who occasionally Namevain? I on occasion growing up did such vaining. And these breaks are never because of purposeful spite, but rather of complete ignorance of how clearly this vaining is to end.

Lev24 makes it more than clear. Shelomith's rascal blasphemes the Name and severity could not be more. This touches on the identity thing we've raised here on multiple occasions. You can try to argue and see which of the many names He holds is under scrutiny here, but you're wasting your time. Name=identity, ergo it doesn't matter.


day of trial in

Disjointed: me, not the message.

"When Your Barrel Runs Dry" {IKings17:8-16}
* Dry Brook Univ: Cherith = to cut; to whittle away
- He knew where he was
* Empty Barrel Grad: Zarephath = to smelt; to refine
- He knew where he was going
- Of Sidon: Jez's land
* Elij obed (test of 1st impress; test of phys imposs)
* Apps
- His leading is often surpr - no (over)analyz
- Beginning hardest - no quit
- Promises hinge on obed - no ignore your part
- Provision enough - no fail thank
- Purposes are for salvation - no forget


take special note of

Been bugging me for a couple of days -- why the specificity of lobe, thumb, and toe? That, my friends, is what google is for. Quick search later, and we find this.

Not satisfied, really.

What I see is this: parts with absolutely no value (lobe), no secrets (thumb), and no beauty (toe) maintain value in the greater order of things. That's what makes Him so special -- that a lobethumbtoe like me can be made to feel like there's no one else He'd rather see.


in the removal of

I saw this yesterday, glory over water, and it hurt my heart in ways I didn't expect -- a loneliness born of desire, as if I were looking at my own body from the ceiling tiles. Presence-basking is such a full-time job it's a wonder everyone doesn't long to be in seminary. Posted by Hello


man in dirty

Lev14 continues our thoughts on the whole tough-to-get-through-but-worth-it readings. Looks like it's all about washings and bird sacrifices and leprosy. But check out that last line:

"to teach when they are unclean and when they are clean. This is the law of leprosy."

There's a lesson here about sin and its consequences. Small -- like a leprous scab -- or not, the infection and the dirtiness and the uncleanness spreads. Everything in contact with that very little thing -- even big things like houses and stones and plaster -- is ruined. A whole household literally and figuratively and spiritually can be completely ruined by one little sin.

Tough words for a father to hear.


but is completely

For many, Lev presents the greatest challenge to reading through the Bible. Lev focuses on so many very specific details and laws and this and that that everything seems to bog down as a matter of course. You have law after law saying the punishment for this is this, unless it was that in which case that, unless the this is female then this. You then have the building of the this and that with this and that material in this and that pattern facing this direction. Then you have the whole uncleanness with the this being unclean and then touching that making that unclean unless this thing disappears after seven days or until that appears after seven days.

And I'm not even mentioning the sin and the grain and the wave and the guilt.

All of this is done on purpose, methinks. Because in the thick of it comes Lev11:44-45 clarifying the reasoning for all of it. And Lev (and Ex and Deut and Numb, don't forget) all paint the early context of the impossible-to-meet standards of perfection. Bog down now and appreciate the cleanness and directness of the only means of satisfying a perfect law.


and you are right, for so I am

Short -- tired and lonely.

Lev8:23 cracks me up, not only for the specificity of parts, but also the specificity of sides. On the parts, lobe, thumb, and big toe. There really are not funnier parts of the human body than these three, with the possible exception of the kidneys.

On the side, hate the left. Hate it. Seems God's partial to one side to. Hear that, blue state?


has filled your heart

I know today you think you know what you want. You want a surprise; you want roses; you want chocolates and pieces of sweet nothings.

Not love.

This is love. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." {Rom5:8}

Your eternal love, your valentine, is the only one with a true undying love. That romantic red? Not more lovely than cleansing red. Posted by Hello


in it the toughness of

The only thing I want to mention before the outline is that Elijah officially has the best name in all the Bible, names being one of the important themes in this space. El=God, jah=yah as in Yahweh, i connector=My.


"These are the Days of Elijah"
* Times of Eli {IKing12-16}
- Evil after evil (worsening even)
- Ahab main adversary for Eli (married to Jez who brought baal)
* Person of Eli
- From Tishbe (rugged)
- Convinced of His reality
- Dedicated to His service (When special need, special people found)
* Boldness of Eli
- Possible source for prayer {Deut11:16-17}
- Secret {Jam5:16-17}
* Preparation of Eli
- Commanded to leave, be alone (training & prot)
- Obedience
- Lessons of boot camp
-- He who gives can take away (still there)
-- Be as willing to be set aside as used
-- Where He leads, He provides


only, but in order

I'm beginning to think maybe the whole OCD thing is not the defect or mutation I've always thought it was. Two reasons: first, coincidence or not? Growing closer in the presence right now; also feeling like the thing is getting worse. Linked?

Second is most of Exo. God is very specific in the instructions He lays out to Moses and crew about what is to be made, how it is to be made, how it is to look, how it is to fit together, what direction these items should face, and so on. Very, very specific. Detailed and exacting. This is the heart of OCD -- that there actually does exist an objective right way of doing things and an objective specified order for doing them.

I'm not defective; I'm simply Godly.


will not be weighted down

Exo36 has the Israelites turning over vast amounts of their own resources for the building of the materials commanded by God. In fact, so much stuff Moses has to virtually throw out an edict to stop. That level of complete faith and proper response is the model for how we should respond to grace/mercy.

This occurs, however, directly after the whole calf incident, so there's no purity in the action here. I'm sure some of them were reacting out of guilt for their earlier participation; some were probably acting out of stark terror (what with the whole killing of the brothers thing after the calf); and some were acting out of a changed perspective.

I think it's easy to fall for the trap of trying to see how the good does or does not outweigh the bad, since the majority mentality is that sin is this zero-sum game, and that good works matter. Cancel that line of thought, sheep -- bad math.


because of the tender mercy

Exo33 contains one of the most overlooked and underpreached stories in the history of the world, and that's the story of Moses and the rockcleft (as Barry might say, good name for a Hebrew band). God passes by Moses and allows him to literally see God Almighty in some form. Repeat, he saw God.

That alone should astound beyond all manner of belief, the physicality of seeing a deity. But the more remarkable aspects of this story flow from the heart of God. This is a God who:
* Wants to see us
* Wants to be seen and met by us
* Wants us in the presence
* Cares enough to cover us in a cleft for our protection
* Gentle enough to use a fatherly hand as the protection

One of the few stories in the Bible that by its lonesome delivers everything you need to know about salvation.


by this time there

Only in NY could you find Fast Food Religion. At St. Patrick's Cathedral every year, you can stand in long lines to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday (TODAY, you lapsers, you) without having to sit through mass. Men and women in business clothes patiently making their way through the drive-thru line for the mark of repentance.

On one hand, it is the clear symbol of our culture -- too busy, too harried to take more than ten minutes to commemorate the Lord, too concerned with the hustle to do more than receive a cursory thumbsmear. Really, there are too few minutes in the day for work, sleep, meals, AND God? You're cutting the minutes out of the wrong grouping, hardheart.

On the other hand, in a city of ten million, with several million Catholics to process in the course of a few hours in a locale where there isn't a church on every corner, this is perhaps the only way to manage helping everyone find a means by which to publicly identify with God and proclaim a repentant heart. In which case, the cynics are the hardhearters.

Hear that, me? Didn't learn about prejudging enough from the whole Tesh thing,?

He who was going to redeem

I don't know what to say. I'm sorta stunned by it all. At 1:00 am, what do I see? But this on TV? This is John Tesh we're speaking of. Entertainment Tonight fame, right? After ET, I associated him with this garbage, New Age instrumental crap along with Yanni. But it turns out that he's more like this than I could have imagined.

Where have I been? Apparently in the woods, judging a book by its cover, missing the power of the Cross to redeem all.


they became fools

Let me guess, "scientists" -- you want to make some headlines for doing absolutely nothing; you're jealous of meteorologists who can get paid for guessing and being wrong; you're finding some way to justify wasting hours and hours of time thinking.

I got it. Let's make a CNN article about complete speculation and unproveable guesswork. A diamond planet. No, wait. How about a gold planet? Hey, is platinum the in thing this year? Let's guess a platinum planet. No, diamonds are forever.



nothing wrong

Here's the thing, Wallis (and referring to you as "Reverend" gives you way too much credit, huckster): God does care about all those other issues, which indeed are moral issues. But to assume that God has a broad perspective on particular issues, or that there's a deeper conversation that can be had about issues like infanticide completely misses the point.

You can make the argument that we need to change the discussion from right-wrong to compromise-solution, and you'd be partially right. But don't assume that there isn't also an underlying objective right/truth. You can make the argument that since a strong minority won't back off of infanticide rights that we can move toward reducing the rate as a good next step. But make no mistake that God is against infanticide altogether. Don't preach compromise when doing the right thing completely is the better option.

Also, make sure you bring a pen to the Great White Throne. In the Lake of Fire, a bunch of your fans will want autographs.


and said I feel compassion

Here's all you need to know about this morning -- best quote in a while, speaks for itself:

"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." -- Rev. Robert Pierce

That says everything you need to know about, well, everything. But we'll include the rest just because.

"Marks of True Success" {Mark1:29-45}
* Servant's heart: 1) Even after long day, still willing; 2) Defers own needs; 3) Risks rejection
* Longing heart: Desire to be with God and know God's will
* Committed heart: God-pleasing, not people-pleasing
* Compassionate heart: the quote, obviously

Not going into X for 4, here. Let's not give shadows any foothold.


to look more closely, there came

Exo 19 has a perfect imagery that begins with a wondrous sentence, v17: "And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God" -- as if a man were bringing out his folks to meet his new fiance. It's an intimate introduction to someone who'd been aiding them all this time. A better analogy now that it occurs to me is of a man introducing a newly-woken patient to the benevolent stranger who'd recently sight unseen given up his kidney to save the patient's life.

At the same time, the imagery continues, and it's of a horde at the base of a smoky, thundrous mountain. Lest we fall into the Jesus-as-my-best-friend trap that befalls many Prots, the people are kept at a clear distance, with clear demarcations, and clear warnings -- for their own good.

Intimate, yes. But still awesome in ways only the Creator of All could be. And that means more firm handshake than hug for the Father. The Son is a different story, one not to be covered here.


is divided, or the east

Already established, me and OCD. Thing about it: particulars. Specificities mean something. Even numbers? Goodness, no. Odd numbers all the way. Certain letters (B, D, and R for examples)? Hate 'em. Other letters (X, I, and T)? Collect 'em, if you can.

The question is if when He's setting up systems (numbers, letters, directions, etc.) if He means for certain choices to always be objectively bad? Case in point, the compass. OT has lots of refs to the East Wind -- and they're never good. Doing the quick Con check, I see 18 refs to East Wind, all terrible. Broaden that look to just east? Too many to run through.

Let's just assume, like me, He hates the left. No coincidence, blue state, no coincidence.

and to leave me alone

Yesterday mentioned I didn't care about the whole knowing-about-everything thing, and while that's still true, nice to actually maybe know some things. Case in point, this morning, grouped, relevant to Psa16-20, thought about the whole hardening. Here's the guess:

Cement hardening, setting? Mud/clay caking, baking?


That's the thing about Him. He's not distant and inattentive, but active, right there. While we're busy sidestepping left and right, path clear but untaken, the crook of that staff is shepherding, just as He said. He's a stepping-in God, a sleeves-to-the-elbow God.

And the hardening? Nothing but leaving us to our own devices, letting our own choices harden/set/cake/bake. Scary thought to be left to the inner recesses of own heart. Who knows what's in there.


a secret one for fear

Here's what I don't get about this whole sea-parting episode: why on earth would an army think that following a horde of people through split water was a strategic move? Which part of the supernatural did they think was so commonplace that God wasn't involved? Which aspect of walls of water on their right and their left gave them any sort of comfort?

I imagine the Israelites were completely frightened they could pass through the split without harm -- and they believed they were chosen. The kind of fright passing through the Egyptians must have been even worse. Sure, Pharaoh was hardened, but what of the rest?


answered, are there not

Exo brings up lots of questions around free will and The Hand in our decisions. It is in the early chapters that Exo reveals a startling detail: God stating that He hardened the heart of Pharaoh. I'm not here to question the metaphysics of the situation. Instead, I want to focus on what's upsetting to us.

On the side of believers, I've heard Biblical scholars try to rationalize why this is not a point of disturbance. On the side of unbelievers, I've heard them use this as proof of their disbelief. Similar arguments over other topics (evolution, creation of the world, disparate gospel accounts, etc.) only mimic the underlying tension here. Believers have an innate need to explain everything in terms man can grasp/understand/swallow. Unbelievers have an innate need to question everything to perverse ends to sate nothing.

My point is this: as a believer or an unbeliever I can accept that I do not know or cannot understand everything. I don't care what your favorite color is, and I don't care that I can't tell you why quarks behave the way they seem to behave. The existence of God does not rest in my limited ability to fit together these puzzle pieces. If your (un)belief rests on your moving the cardboard around, I'm here to tell you you're in the wrong game altogether.


and turned a stubborn shoulder

Exo4 applies like everywhere (and actually begins halfway through Exo3). Interesting dynamic twixt Moses and God. Broken down it looks like this:

* God calls Moses; Moses meets God
* God gives Moses a mission, a calling; Moses asks for clarification
* God clarifies and promises a blessing; Moses throws up a weak reason for turning away
* God gives him not only one support, but three; Moses asks for someone else to do it
* God, burning, gives him Aaron; Moses finally accepts his calling
* God mentions one last thing -- the task will be hardened against him

Perfect analogy of the calling of all Christians, I suppose. Won't be delving further here; too obvious.