A favorite, inspirational video

So let us cut to the chase and view exactly what is going through my head and inspiring me to write.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, just going through the post-Christmas pre-New Year’s part of the year pondering the next.
Traditionally, we’re still going through the 12 days of Christmas.
Jesus’ birthday seemed even less spiritual this year despite repeated viewings of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and reading the nativity passage from the Gospel of Luke.
The holiday seems over and done with as the decorations come down and the gift wrap gets thrown out.
Trying to find ways to keep entertained, I’ve been watching classic movies I’ve missed such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” on my new Kindle Fire.
Also re-reading “Spellsinger” as noted in my last blog entry. I’m sure I’ll write more about that next year.
A big thank you to my thoughtful roommates for the Kindle Fire gift.
Haven’t figured out how to text or write effectively on the Kindle yet, though.
Any movie suggestions welcome.
Will probably watch “The Hustler” next as it is considered a classic.
I’ll go out with a new video that showed up in my Facebook newsfeed thanks to Zooey Deschanel.

Zooey, I’m free but would need a babysitter for my daughter if you’re thinking about Times Square.


God’s desire

One of the authors listed in my blogroll consistently pokes a stick into my conscience and makes me think.

John Shore’s Dec. 7 blog entry “Suddenly Christian” http://johnshore.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/why-would-god-create-humans/ succeeded in doing that again.

The post leads with:

“There are only two reasons anyone ever does anything: because they have to, or because they want to.That means that God either wanted to create humans, or had to create humans. We must be the result either of God’s desire, or of God’s need.”

In addition to scurrying to the Bible to see what God says this post had me scurrying to the bookshelf to the expanded “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer and “The Purpose-Driven Life” by Rick Warren.

Off the top of my head I go with “God wanted me for His own” and so all creation followed, including God injecting Himself into the human timeline via Jesus Christ. God went so far as to blowing the Holy Spirit into those who accept that Jesus was all man/all God and died as a sacrifice for us, then arose to provide us new life for us. Seems ego-centric of me, thinking God thought of me when creating time and creation, but understates the awesomeness of God’s love.

One comment mentioned God outside the time stream looking at His creation much the same way an author looks at a creation displayed on a page. Not coincidentally for some reason I read words very like that in Lewis’ work last night. This tied my brain up and. Whoa, but then there’s that free will bit. Can the words jump about on the page and form a totally different story?

I was still sorting it out when John wrote his enlightening post.

You are right, John, in saying this is philosophy – deep, life-giving meaningful philosophy.

It was so much easier as a child to just sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Walking out from Sunday School, there’d be a warm glow. I’d think God who made a lot of really big stuff, some of it cool – some of which I couldn’t figure out (like mosquitoes) – really cares for a nerd like me who wins all the Bible drills?

Shore went on to ask:

But why would God make that choice? What’s in it for him? What desire of God’s are we satisfying just by being alive?

I like the answer given above by Dan Carpenter:Here’s the scripture for that. Revelation 4:11 says, “Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” Colossians 1:16 reiterates the point: “All things were created by Him and for Him.” Warren’s work, “The Purpose-Driven Life,” expands on that. I’ve only made it to chapter 13 and that’s a few years ago. My short-term memory has deteriorated to the point I’ll have to go back to it to go beyond my purpose as being to glorify God.

The entry regarding Deus as pater familias, so to speak, rang true as my own view of God for a while mirrored the way I viewed my father. My father was usually asleep during the brief time he was at home because of the long hours he worked to keep us in that home.This brings to mind lyrics from the Tom Waits’ song “God’s Away on Business.”

Ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking

There’s a leak, there’s a leak in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves and lawyers

God’s away, God’s away
God’s away on business, business
God’s away, God’s away
God’s away on business, business

Waits later sings (or what ever it is he does) that there’s “always such a big temptation to be good… There’s always free cheddar in the mousetrap baby.”

It’s hard to get past the view of God as a deal-maker, do this and God will do this. Or the view of God as a dad you too infrequently get quality time with as in Harry Chapin’s “The Cat’s in the Cradle.” Waits’ song poses an even bleaker view that God’s not paying attention and if God is, He’s going to smack you down in the end.

This in turn leads me to wonder if I’m pleasing God or annoying Him the way those pesky mosquitoes annoy me.

I believe God’s word to be true and so when it says “those who love me keep my commandments” I see this as one way to please God. Not because I have to because if not there’s a smackdown coming but because I want to in response to God’s love.

And so then this led me back to Morse’s comment asking if John believes God to be omniscient, how can an omniscient God have desires? Etc…

As John said, either God “had” to or “wanted” to create us. All we have to go on is that we’re here, and a great majority of us believe the reason is God put us here for his pleasure, whether we consciously realize it or not.

My experience began as a child when I was fortunate enough to sing those songs mentioned above and read about God’s love for me. I’ve experienced God’s love as he worked through others to bless me. I accepted God’s love when realizing the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection for me.

I’ve spent more than three decades since wandering around like the Israelites in the desert, shameful to say even going back to visit Egypt on a few occasions.

And I find that God still wants me. 

This God-created life is meaningless when I’m not communing with God.

Christmas time is here…

Ho, ho, ho and have a holly, jolly Christmas.

Yeah, right.

Try feeling that way when you’ve been called incompetent and someone yells to speak to your supervisor.

But I’m still feeling good this season despite what seems like determined attempts to bring me down.

One reason, for all six of my readers, is a comment from a reader who said “You write good friend. Check out my website at….” Of course, I couldn’t go there because it was blocked by Bluecoat, a sort of net nanny corporations use. I think he was trying to pitch something, sort of like all the girls on MySpace telling me they want to be my friend and then leaving a link to a website you have to pay to enter to see their photos. I don’t want to. Not interested.

By the way, I started a blog here because I got tired of such solicitations there and at another site. I wanted to focus more on news, but then repented and wanted to focus on Christianity. Then I couldn’t decide whose Christianity because it didn’t seem like there was a consensus out there. So then I started reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis and decided maybe I should give it a rest for a while lest I write something that steers someone the wrong way.

Those latest kudos from my “friend” were the closest thing to a Christmas present I’m getting except for the usual coal. Not that anyone including myself cares. I’m happy despite this. About half my Christmas shopping is done.

Along with the coal this year there also seems to be a more malevolent attitude. So I’m going to be brave here and put out a request for a Bobblehead Jesus. Here is the site link http://shipoffools.com/Products/gadgets/bobble.html .

The hope for levity arose about the same time Black Friday took place, brokered by a tide of calls where customers seemed a bit more on edge than usual.  Yes, I work in a call center where employee benefits are handled. These callers have just gone through annual benefits enrollment. Many missed it. More didn’t and are still unhappy.

I’m not a grinch or Scrooge. This is my favorite time of year. But this year either I’m more sensitive or people really are being a bit nastier to each other and I than usual.

Maybe it’s because the Dallas Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East Division.

Maybe it’s because I keep reminding people that and that I grew up in Dallas and once worked in Texas Stadium as a fundraiser with a Boy Scout troop.

Or it could be the weather – snow today. Or the news.

Allergies did seem to be running rampant around here.

One caller apologized to me after barking into the phone and said it’s the stress of the holiday season. Okay, apology accepted. Accept mine if I retaliate with a bad attitude instead of realizing it’s not about me.

And we need to focus people.  

Like this – what happened at my son’s recent decade of decadence celebration (aka 10th Birthday). He selected my daughter’s seemingly insignificant gift of a short kid’s book to read to the guests.
I’d tried to talk her out of it. It seemed self-serving – a child’s book with flashing lights and music aimed more at a 6-year-old.
My boy told everybody to quite down and reverently read the book – the lyrics to “O Little Town of Bethlehem” – to the 10 males and one tiny female gathered in the 15 x 15 basement.

My son read the first verse of the song, but the all the lyrics bear repeating, especially the last verse.

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel