Sunday, October 25, 2009

Purity and Idol Factories

My sweet friend Lauren once described our tendency to love things other than Christ in such a poignant way. She described our hearts (biblically, the seat of our emotions, thoughts, and reason) as little idol factories--"prone to wander" as the hymnist writes.

This morning in Sunday school we talked about God's attributes of righteousness/justice and mercy. Righteousness, we learned, is bascially meeting the standard of what is right, and we know that God is the only thing that is right. He defines right by his very existence (if he didn't, then he would not be God, because the ultimate being must be the ultimate standard).

We began to discuss our righteousness as humans and it got me thinking about the human condition. Though we all wish to believe that in and of ourselves we have redeemable qualities, by observation of humanity, especially a small child, it seems to be quite clear that selfishness and ungodliness are at the core of our being. How is it then that one would hope to produce some sort of pure thing from a flawed source? Most scientists do not expect impure things to beget pure things. Would you expect a diseased mammal to give birth to a completely healthy one? Would you expect fresh water to come from a salt source? And yet we somehow expect that our little idol factories can produce something worthy of the Pure and Holy one. On our own it just isn't so.

Luckily this isn't the end of the story. God has made a way for us to become pure, by offering us the blood of the only perfect sacrificial lamb, Christ Jesus. By sprinkling us he makes us clean. (See Hebrews 9,Isaiah 1:18, 1 Peter 1:1-2)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flowers and Fall

"For, 'All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.' And this is the word that was preached to you." 1 Peter 1:24-25

Last week I was walking through campus and saw the most beautiful tree. It was a vibrant yellow-orange, frosted with sanguine and overall dripping with color. I felt if I got any closer, I would be dusted with color as well. I just stared as I walked by, enraptured by its beauty.

Today, while walking through campus, I looked again for the tree. Much to my dismay it's enchanting beauty had vanished and the branches that once supported such a glowing array were now speckled with the greyish-brown remains of it's youthful glory. It was at this point that God brought to mind a verse from 1 Peter, which gave me a new perspective and comfort. It reminded me that as I go throughout life, it is not my glory that matters, but the Lord's and his everlasting word.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soil Not Oil

Because I'm a college student, I have these sweet opportunities to go to interesting lectures from time to time. Dr. Vandana Shiva came to my campus recently to speak about her newest book "Soil Not Oil: Food Security in Times of Global Climate Change." I have to admit that the topics she addressed were ones I haven't thought much about (ecology, feminism, world politics). The take-away for me was that it is difficult to impute American culture (in all of it's facets) into Indian culture and be very successful. There is too much of a contrast, and their way of life was apparently working. I also learned that there is a monopoly on the seed market (who knew?), and so many small farmers are under the thumb of this large, American seed company. She also discussed seed patents and intellectual property. It was rather interesting overall and I'm glad that she is giving a voice to the many women in India whose livelihood depends on agriculture, but do not have a say in its politics.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Thought of Today

We need Jesus today...

We needed Him yesterday...

and we will still need Him tomorrow.

We need God to love us, discipline us, test us, push us, mold us, cry with us, comfort us, rejoice with us, and most of all...

tell us who we are.

I think that's what I'm remembering today.

I need Jesus.


"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Well, I've had good intentions for the last month to blog about a few things, and today marks a month since my last post. Maybe instead of "hell" the above quote should say "boring blogs" or something of that nature, but you get the point.

Blue and Pink Lenses

To begin, a conversation I had with Nathan after getting some guidance on how to improve my resume:
Me: "I feel so much better about life now that my resume has been critiqued."
Nathan: "Hmm... don't you mean you feel better about being able to get a job."
Me: "No, I feel better about ALL of life."

Later I was thinking about this conversation and I think it reveals a lot about the difference between men and women. Females tend to see connections between all parts of their lives, while males are more apt to be one-track minded.

A good illustration I've heard is this: imagine a set of drawers. If this set of drawers were male, it would only have one drawer open at a time at any given moment. In contrast, if this set of drawers were female all of the drawers would be open at all times in varying degrees and the clothes would probably drape from one drawer to the next. Another helpful example is that men are like waffles, their minds are compartmentalized, while women are like spaghetti, with all things being connected and overlapping.

This explains why I felt better about ALL of life because ONE part of it was in order. If it were Nathan, he would probably not have felt the heightened stress that day anyway, and once his resume was complete, he would check it off his list and go on to the next thing. (Or something like that... I say that as if I've figured men out, but I promise I haven't!)


The other thing I wanted to write about has to do with remembrance. I was reading through my journal from the Forge and came across something that seemed so logical and freeing at the same time. I think I originally got the idea from the book, Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller.

In my humble observation of life, I've noticed that everyone seems to almost constantly compare themselves to everyone else. This is a tiring and often frustrating thing, and to further that thought is a much different conversation. The point I want to make is this. We are created in such a way that we find our identity outside of ourselves. We intuitively search for someone else to tell us that we are valuable and that we have a purpose and a reason for being on this earth and living and breathing. Our insistence upon comparison points to our innate desire to know and be known by God. This seems to be a better answer than "simply stop comparing yourself." Let your desire to compare yourself to someone else (and therefore add or subtract value) point you to the One who says you're so valuable that He sent his Son to die for you so you could have life.