Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some theses

Much of the content of Martin Luther's 95 Theses deals with specific problems in the church that are no longer applicable (in that particular form); I know I've never had to fight against the use of pardons. But nothing really changes, the outer trappings merely morph. It is a constant struggle to stay on the narrow path even in our individual lives, let alone as a church full of fallible human beings. We should never take for granted that our faith is safe.

One of the advantages to reading literature from the past is that it can give us a perspective of our own lives from our 'blind spot(s)'. I may not understand the significance of the finer detals of the practices which Luther was questioning at that time but I can gain from his warnings an insight into human nature and its tendency to attempt to cloak avarice in good intentions, its tendency to prey on the weak and trusting, and its general censorship of those who do not accept the status quo (to mention but a few).

I do not mean to say either that these tendencies are only present in others but rather since they are a part of human nature, all humans have the seeds of these tendecies within their hearts (and 'all' includes me). Therefore we must guard against similar corruptions (hiding in modern clothing) both from without and from within our own hearts.

Another little lesson to be gleaned from reading a few of Luther's theses is that humour can be effective in both softening the blow and driving home the point:
27. They preach mad, who say that the soul flies out of purgatory as soon as the money thrown into the chest rattles.
28. It is certain that, when the money rattles in the chest, avarice and gain may be increased, but the suffrage of the Church depends on the will of God alone.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. This treasure, however, is deservedly most hateful, because it makes the first to be last.
64. While the treasure of indulgences is deservedly most acceptable, because it makes the last to be first.
65. Hence the treasures of the gospel are nets, wherewith of old they fished for the men of riches.
66. The treasures of indulgences are nets, wherewith they now fish for the riches of men.

Happy Reformation Day!

The day of the 95 theses, the spark that lit the powder-keg. How could such a world-changing event be left out, forgotten?
But even if we forget the details of events & players in that moment, may we never forget the Holy Spirit who moved them.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

pumpkin-face Wilson

Stu captured this last year around this time. Certainly looks cheerful--his smile seems to glow: I'm sure it would light up the whole room...

smoke soup

My posts are tending toward increasing infrequency as the schoolyear progresses and work piles on. However, today my last class for the day was cancelled resulting in a couple more hours than I had planned on (so I decided to waste them) and I find myself at the computer catching up on one neglected section of my life.

Last night a previously promising soup was left too long on high (probably three hours too long). The ramifications of this are still being felt (or rather, smelled) as the smell has permeated the whole house. I had thought that my downstairs room would escape but did not take into account the circulatory tendency of the heating/fan system.

To fight smoke with smoke, we have lit several scented candles. I do not know whether the stench of badly-burnt-turkey-and-potatoes is preferable to bbt&p layered with varying shades and intensities of scent.

I was think how as we were walking out the door, had we remembered to turn the burner off, we would never have paid a second thought about what might have happened (ie what did happen). However, once the toothpaste is out of the tube, wishes that it had never happend are useless to the situation at hand.

Likewise if we resist a temptation we may never realize what suffering (for how long) has been avoided; yet if we lose our vigilance (the I-havn't-been-hit-crossing-this-road-recently-so-I-don't-need-to-look-anymore tendency) and slip up, the consequences are far-reaching.

I am also thankful that we only have to deal with the incinvenience of a little smokey smell for a few days. Perhaps this will help keep us more vigilant to prevent similar incidents since there is no use crying over burnt soup, yet a lesson can certainly be taken from it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

On Hair

I had my hair cut last week. It was the first time I've paid for such a service for at least four or five years. Not only was this experience a change from my monetary habits, my hair was cut to about shoulder-length (meaning 1/2 to 2/3rds of it was removed) and dried straight.

I love how my hair feels and behaves when it is straight and although there are many ways that it looks good when left to dry curly, when I have time I am planning on keeping it straight. I like variety so this arrangement actually should work out well (as long as I have time...).

Something that this haircut showed me was the difference a little bit of work can make on one's appearance. Although I am not planning on becoming a 'glam-queen' any time soon, I think this haircut will be an inducement for me to spend a little more effort on that aspect of my appearance.

What I have just said about spending more time on my appearance may sound shallow and vain but I truly believe that our outward appearance is important and certain care is beneficial in a number of ways. No one appreciates frumpiness and although so much emphasis is put on the outward appearance in our culture, a reaction to the other extreme is also wrong.

I find that when I take care of my outward self, I am more inclined both to reach out to others and to take care of my inner self. It reminds me of the way that I study better when my room is tidy and clean; I've tried leaving cleaning until I have more time (and sometimes this is neccessary) but in the long haul, keeping things relaitvely clean is the best option. So presenting a decent, pleasant appearance, I believe, helps in our duty as witnesses of Christ.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quote 1

I have had some time today to go through all the interesting e-mails that my my Mom sends my way. In my reading I came across two pithy quotes on issues that we are plagued with in our 'enlightened' society. The first is about discrimination, the second about terrorism.
"Discrimination is simply the act of choice. When we choose Bordeaux wine, we discriminate against Burgundy wine. When I married Mrs. Williams, I discriminated against other women. Even though I occasionally think about equal opportunity, Mrs. Williams demands continued discrimination."
-Walter Williams

Quote 2

"For too long, the world was paralyzed by the argument that terrorism could not be stopped until the grievances of terrorists were addressed. The complicated and heartrending issues that perplex mankind are no excuse for violent, inhumane attacks, nor do they excuse not taking aggressive action against those who deliberately slaughter innocent people...

Effective antiterrorist action has also been thwarted by the claim that... 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' That's a catchy phrase, but also misleading. Freedom fighters do not need to terrorize a population into submission. Freedom fighters target the military forces and the organized instruments of repression keeping dictatorial regimes in power. Freedom fighters struggle to liberate their citizens from oppression and to establish a form of government that reflects the will of the people...[O]ne has to be blind, ignorant, or simply unwilling to see the truth if he or she is unable to distinguish between those I just described and terrorists. Terrorists intentionally kill or maim unarmed civilians, often women and children, often third parties who are not in any way part of a dictatorial regime. Terrorists are always the enemies of democracy." - Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

fall bouquet

This is actually a bouquet from late summer. Oh, the summer... (I'm not really missing it too much, I just don't have any pictures of Autumn yet).