Category Archives: Bible

Easily breakable

(Originally posted 08/25/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 05/07/14.)

06/25/12 I had to buy another flash drive.

I was downloading the music for The William Tell Show. I backed up the .mp3 files by attaching them to e-mails to myself. Problem: some files, such as the first movement of Tchaikovski’s violin concerto, exceed 25 MB and can’t be attached to a Yahoo! e-mail. What to do? Get another flash drive, to back up just those files.

My current flash drive consisted of an aluminum sleeve wrapped around a flat plastic stick. The stick had the USB contacts at one end, and the other end was shaped into a hook. By moving the sleeve back and forth, you could either expose the USB contacts for use, or hide them and expose the hook, to clip the drive onto, say, a key ring for storage.

The clerk offered me a different kind, with no hook or loop or anything that would let me attach it to something for storage. I don’t want to carry the drive around loose in my pocket or bag. So I asked for another like the one I already have. She said people have had trouble with those because “they’re easily breakable.” She said the staff at the Public Computer Center had seen this so much that they asked for the new kind instead.

I smiled and said nothing.

The drives aren’t easily breakable. Rather, some people easily break them.

Continue reading Easily breakable

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Victory in Jesus

This concept has puzzled me.  It’s prominent in a number of the hymns they make us sing in chapel at the shelter,[1] but no one explains it or preaches on it.  There is no Wikipedia page about it.

The chapel presenters seem to think that victory over sin and death pertains to what happens at the end of life, in that the real or born-again Christian goes to heaven instead of hell.  That’s not it.  It pertains instead to how one faces this life from day to day; as will be seen.

It appears that a doctrine of Christian victory as I shall explain it below was popular in some circles in the early 20th century, but has somehow been eclipsed by a now-more-prevalent view; as follows.  God has a plan (It says.), and the born-again or real Christian has access to that plan through prayer.  If prayer fails to bring clear direction, one should wait till such direction comes.  “Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14), “and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).  Under no circumstances should one “lean unto one’s own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Thus the real or born-again Christian need never take risks in life and need never face disappointment.  Consistent with this view, some say disappointment comes only from sin; one has deviated from God’s plan.  And risk-taking or taking initiatives is, itself, sin.

Hogwash.

Christian victory accepts instead that one faces inevitable difficulties in life, but says that by God’s grace one can take them all in stride.   “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).  “A righteous man falls seven times, but gets up again” (Proverbs 24:16).  In this way, it’s not that much different from what I call the Way of Peace, or from Stoicism.

Victory over sin and death, in this view, is like this:  every time one finds oneself in the midst of shattered dreams, it is a kind of death; every time one accepts the love of God and so gets back on one’s feet, it is a resurrection.

That’s victory in Jesus.

[1]Notably:
– “Victory in Jesus”
– “In the Name of Jesus”
– “Victory is Mine”
– “When We All Get to Heaven”

 

How I became homeless

This is the second of three posts about entitlement:
07/12 – “Entitlement(s): Attitude and policy”
Today –
“How I became homeless”
07/26 – “When needs are met”

This is a long post. One may want to avail oneself of a navigation resource here.

———— ♦ ————

I don’t write about easy things.

At this writing, a more immediate question is how I’ve stayed homeless, which has prompted no small amount of anger and depression in recent weeks.  The short answer appears to be that I’ve stayed homeless the same way I became homeless.

Continue reading How I became homeless

Hopes vs. expectations

I have been wary of telling this, because the thing hinges on an abstraction that not everyone may be in a position to grasp.  But in recent weeks, it’s been really prominent to me.  And one can tell from recent posts that I don’t much care for abstractions.

Continue reading Hopes vs. expectations

When prayer backfires

One is unlikely to understand this without first reading “From my diary: Learning to pray.”

Bookmarks:
1. Don’t come uninvited.
2. You don’t need an invitation to love people.
3. Name names.
4. Word for word.
5. What you “see” is what you’ll get.
[Conclusion]

I consulted several Wikipedia articles in preparation for this post.  All turned out to have been written by people who are hostile toward reports of anything that might involve a spiritual world.

As much as I try to give credit to all points of view, I cannot adopt the same position. My earliest memories are of the conviction that there is more to the world than we perceive with the five senses.  Since I began practicing silence, I have seen auras.  I have had precognitive visions and telepathic dreams.  I was compelled on one occasion to pray for my worst enemy, only to learn later she’d just been through an event I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  In the fall of 1990 I was compelled to pray day after day for a woman I’d not met and had never heard of; only to find, when I moved to another state in January ’91 to attend grad school, she was one of my classmates and had an intense interest in healing prayer, as I also did.  To deny these facts, I’d have to lie to myself more than I’m willing to.

There’s still the puzzle of unanswered prayer.
Continue reading When prayer backfires

Keith and Rodney

(Adapted from a letter to my brothers dated 06/22/13.)

For a while, I’ve wanted to tell you about a couple interesting guys in my world, Keith and Rodney.

Rodney is an older guy.  I’m pretty sure he’s the same fellow who, years ago (~2000-2003) I nicknamed “Stinky,” which needs no explanation.  He often got on the bus that I was taking to work at that time.  If he is the same guy, his life has drastically improved since those days.  He’s clean-shaven now, well-groomed, clean, well-dressed.  He stays at the Baltimore Rescue Mission.  He’s at the library almost every day, hangs out for hours in the Wi-Fi café studying books about topology.  He also typically carries a French-language Bible.

Keith is a big, husky guy.  Works for a temp agency 10 hours a day unloading trucks of foodstuffs and liquors throughout the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia).  With that work schedule, he only stays at the mission on weekends.  During the week he sleeps outside on the sidewalk — much too dangerous for me to do, but he can handle himself.  He displays no interest in getting his own place, though I should think he could if he wanted.  At the mission, for fun he reads the newspapers’ financial pages — in detail.  Markets, mergers, debentures, all that stuff I don’t understand, but he likes it.

Keith never talks about religion, but he’s got an e-Bible on his phone and spends a lot of time studying that, also.