Results tagged “God” from Bill's Words

⚡ vs Ω

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Like other bloggers, I like the style of linkblogging which John Gruber has perfected with DaringFireball.net. While we don’t see eye-to-eye regarding politics, he’s insightful when it come to Apple and tech. Unfortunately, I got tired of the politics’ slipping into what was a tech blog, so I stopped reading it. (Me? I mix tech and politics and religion and everything else. With that kind of variety, chances are I’ll offend one or two of my 18 readers thereby losing 10% of my readership every week.)

When John wrote a long piece, he used a star in the title to denote that it was all-original material and not just a link with commentary. Shawn Blanc of ShawnBlanc.net—and presumably others—have adopted this style as well. So have I.

For a while, I’d been using the ⚡ lightning bolt, but when I watched Downfall last night, I realized it was just too close to the Nazi’s lightning bolts. Even though the bolts are ostensibly used for high-voltage danger signs everywhere, and even though I’m an electrical engineer, I thought I should change to something else. (Hitler ruined not only the lightning bolts but the cookie duster mustache as well.)

So I chose the Greek capital omega, Ω. It’s the symbol used in a play on words for the unit of electrical resistance, the Ohm. (I’ve always been somewhat resistant to things—especially the current federal administration.) And it’s also the last letter of the Greek alphabet, a symbol which Christians use (along with the alpha) to represent Christ (see Rev. 1:8). Electrical engineer and Christian that I am, it seemed like a good symbol for my long-form pieces.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have quite the visual impact of DaringFireball’s star or ShawnBlanc’s plus. But I like it.

[A note: I feel really, really sophomoric when I write this kind of entry, about Christianity or faith or something. I’m new enough in my faith (three years of “really knowing”) that I realize that I have a lot to learn, and the more I find out, the more I realize I don’t know. I guess that’s the “wise” part of “wise foolishness.” At any rate, I’m going to continue to put these kinds of entry out there, and if you find some flaw in my logic, reasoning, or faith, please point it out to me. As I already said, I have a lot to learn, and need all the help I can get. /Bill]

This morning, our pastor gave a great sermon (it will appear here in a while, for a while). His point bears repeating, but I’m going to expand on it in a “You know when” way because it helps me see the light, so to speak.

You know when you walk into a room at night, with the lights on, and you can’t see the light on the ceiling from the streetlight outside? Or you know when you walk outdoors at night and there’s a full moon so you can’t really see the stars around it? Oh, sure, you might be able to see some of the light or some of the stars, but…

But if you take the primary source of the light away, either by turning off the lights or repeating the activity with a new moon, you can see those lights on the ceiling or the stars in the sky. And suddenly, what was once a dim light on the ceiling or a faint dot in the sky becomes a brilliant light, enough to keep you awake at night or enough to see constellations you didn’t even know existed. That dim light, though certainly still there, was overpowered by the light from another source.

In this vein, Pastor Hakason’s message boils down to a fairly simple point: We are currently in a dark time, but in the darkness, our light shines all that much the brighter.

One more time just to make sure you got it: In the darkness, we shine all that much brighter.

He quoted a fair amount from Isaiah because, as he put it, the prophets weren’t really all that into telling a whole lot about the future that was all goodness and light. Indeed, Isaiah does a great job of being pretty gloomy. There are certainly exceptions, Isaiah 40:31, for example, and Pastor Hakason pointed out others, but essentially, he said, “Look, Isaiah was talking to us in this gloomy, dark time. But he also says that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” Yeah, that is a very, very loose paraphrase of what he said, but it’s true to his point.

We are called to be the light of the world. And now, in the gloom and doom, we’re being given an opportunity to shine brighter without doing a darned thing! That’s right, when all is “goodness and light” in the world, when the world “outshines” us, most of us are just like the stars around the moon: dim, hard to see, faint. But now that the “goodness and light” of the world (careful how much goodness you ascribe to the world’s light!) is, in many, many people’s opinion, fading fast, we are being given the opportunity to provide a path through the darkness, to show what the light of Christ can do.

If there were ever a time to let your light so shine before all the world that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father, who is in Heaven, this would be it.

Article here on HuffingtonPost.com. (Surprise! Not the Daily Koz!)

And in completely unrelated news,

Scientist Uncovers Miscalculation In Geological Undersea Record.

Huh. Scientists make mistakes (and that includes me, too). Whaddaya’ know.

Funny thing, though:

82% of the population are Christians, meaning that they adhere to beliefs which specify that a man rose from the dead.

One more time for extra-added emphasis:

82% of the population believes that a man rose from the dead.

Dead.

But then not dead.

And all according to some words written in a book. A very old book. Just words. No proof. No evidence. Just words. Written. Words.

And yet somehow they have a hard time believing that the earth is only 6,000 years old, according to that very same book. And its words.

We ridicule people who believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old. Openly ridicule them. Throw in dinosaurs and you become a laughingstock.

Don’t you think that the God who raised a man from the dead could possibly… just maybe… make the universe? In however long He felt like? And, more to the point, make it look however old He might want it to look?

Just askin’.

Article here.

Another take:

Note to normal-sounding smart kid Ryan Schallenberger:

We all hated the rich guys with the good-looking girlfriends. We hated how they seem to have everything handed to them on a silver platter. We hated how they wore their letter jackets around school and “their type” made fun of “our type.” We hated how their B’s in “regular” classes weren’t as hard for them to “earn” as our B’s in our AP classes. Hell, we even hated how C’s for them were acceptable. We hated everything about them.

But we didn’t blow them up.

Why not?

Anticipation.

At your 20 year reunion, when you’ve used all that awesome grey matter between your ears to invent the “next big thing” or work for that Fortune 500 company or make a name for yourself in the journals or heck, even become just the best father you can be while watching your kids grow up and become smart and make you proud, you can look down your nose and realize that you made it to where you got, that you didn’t have Daddy’s Corvette to impress the girls (your beautiful wife, who happens to be a wonderful, caring and superb mother and, say, doctor, chose you based on your merits alone because you moved away from the shelter of Mommy and Daddy), and that you didn’t need to show them up in high school.

Wait for it.

Your revenge will come later, my friend. Much later. But, like many things in life, it’s really, really worth waiting for.

It’s so worth it to hear them say that they took over Daddy’s business and married the girl they’d always been dating since high-school. (Boooorrrring. Though some turn out to be very bright and smart, you’d be amazed at the number of “girl geeks” out there who are looking for their intellectual playmates and, while they may not look HAWT right now, they do grow out of the same teenagerhood that you will grow out of , and then they become SUPERNOVA HAWT.) Or got their real estate license and, my God! what color jacket is that they’re wearing? Is it really green? Sweet as it sounds, most of them don’t grow a whole lot between then and now, and, despite beliefs to the contrary, there really are greener pastures elsewhere. But you won’t find that pasture unless (a) you go looking and (b) you’re not in jail.

Oh, sure, some of them will “make it” big and it’ll really piss you off at the reunion. And some of them won’t make it so big and will do the whole real-estate/married the cute girl from class thing, and it’ll be just fine with them, and even with you. Others? Others will do the whole (insert crappy future thing here) and you and your brood will go back to your hotel or to Mom and Dad’s and laugh. And laugh. And laugh a little more. Because you thought that being rich and popular would mean guaranteed success in the world.

Friend, you’re in high school. The only thing that guarantees you anything in life is… well, there’s nothing except (pardon this faith-based bit of knowledge) believing in what you read in your Bible. There are some good guarantees in there, by the way. Some that apply to you for later (check out that Jesus Christ guy) and some that apply to you right now. Try this one: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.” (Deuteronomy as loosely paraphrased by Paul). (I recommend using BibleGateway.com to find this stuff.) Let Him take care things for you. He’s a good God and He’ll do what He can.

And, oh, by the way, avoid getting on His bad side, you know, like by plotting to blow up things and killing people and stuff.

Don’t screw up your chances of getting “there” by doing something stupid like admiring some losers in Columbine and other places.

Trust me. It’s worth the wait.

December 25th, whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Tom Cruise, is called “Christmas.” Yes, it is called “Christmas” with a capital “C,” just like “the Fourth of July,” “Thanksgiving,” and that perennial favorite, “Presidents’ Day.” Millions of people around the world celebrate it, too.

So why is that big tree in the town green called a “Holiday Tree?”

I’ve been giving this some significant thought lately. (Perhaps you noticed the odor.) I just don’t get it.

After all, stores have sales called “Christmas sales” on which they make millions of dollars, yet their clerks wish us, “Happy holidays!” as we leave.

The day on the calendar is “Christmas.” And yet we have politicians wishing us “Happy holidays!”

The season is the “Christmas” season. And yet there are 8’-tall inflatable SpongeBob Squarepants yard art Santas sitting on packages… no, wait, that doesn’t help my argument. Never mind.

Anyway, you don’t hear people wishing you “Happy holidays!” on Veteran’s Day, do you? And don’t you think veterans would be a tad ticked off if we decided that we should take the “Vet” out of “Veterans” because it shows favor to one particular profession?

And you don’t hear people wishing each other “Happy holidays!” at Easter, do you? Instead, people sell you candy eggs, chocolate thingamabobs, and as many jelly beans as you’ll eat and say, “Happy Easter!” when you check out. Weird.

I’m a Christian. Ben Stein is a Jew. And I think he said it very well:

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Come on, America. The vast majority of you are Christians. So… er… what to do…

Well, last year, I wished every store clerk, “Merry Christmas!” as I checked out. You’d be surprised at the reactions I got. While most said, “Hey, Merry Christmas to you, too!” even after they’d already said, “Happy holidays,” nobody—not one person—said, “Shove it, pal,” or even anything remotely similar. Some merely stuck with their previous, “Happy holidays.”

But most smiled and returned the greeting.

Say it, folks, as if you understand what the true meaning of Christmas is (that Christ was born in Bethlehem to save the world) or even if you understand it as Hallmark understands it (that it’s a day about being good to each other, bringing cheer to others, etc.). Or even if you’d rather it be called “christmas” with a lower-case “C” (like folks who don’t believe in Christ, for example, but like the day off anyway), go ahead and say it, “Merry Christmas.”

Then go home and put the lights on your Christmas tree.

UPDATED 2007-12-08 I realized that I had a comma after “Christmas” in the title of this bit and that made the modifier “for Christ’s sake” sound like “fer chrissake.” And that’s not what I wanted it to sound like.

A Conversation with God

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“Our Father who art in Heaven...”

Yes?

Don’t interrupt me. I’m praying.

But you called me!

Called you? No, I didn’t call you. I'm praying.

“Our Father who art in Heaven...”

There! You did it again!

Did what?

Called me!

You said, “Our Father who art in Heaven.”

Well, here I am. What’s on your mind?

But I didn't mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.

I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.

Well, all right.

Go on.

Okay. “Hallowed be thy name...”

Hold it right there. What do you mean by that?

By what?

By “Hallowed be thy name.”

It means, it means... Good grief! I don't know what it means.

How in the world should I know? It’s just a part of the prayer.

By the way, what does it mean?

It means honored, holy, wonderful.

Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what “hallowed” meant before.

Thanks.

“Thy Kingdom come,

Thy will be done,

on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Do you really mean that?

Sure, why not?

What are you doing about it?

Doing? Why, nothing, I guess.

I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.

We’re kinda’ in a mess down here, you know.

Yes, I know; but, have I got control of you?

Well, I go to church.

That isn't what I asked you.

What about your bad temper? You've really got a problem there, you know.

And then there's the way you spend your money: all on yourself.

And what about the kind of books you read?

Now hold on just a minute! Stop picking on me!

I'm just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!

Excuuuse me. I thought you were praying for my will to be done.

If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it.

Like you, for example.

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.

Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.

So could I.

I haven't thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things.

I would like to, you know, be really free.

Good. Now we’re getting somewhere. We’ll work together--you and me.

I'm proud of you.

Look, Lord, if you don't mind, I need to finish up here.

This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.

“Give us this day, our daily bread.”

You need to cut out the bread. You’re overweight as it is.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this?

Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.

Praying is a dangerous thing. You just might get what you ask for.

Remember, you called me--and here I am.

It's too late to stop now. Keep praying.


...


Well, go on.

I’m scared to.

Scared? Of what?

I know what you'll say.

Try me.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

What about Ann?

See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up!

Why, Lord, she’s told lies about me, spread stories.

She never paid back the money she owes me.

I’ve sworn to get even with her!

But... your prayer. What about your prayer?

I didn’t... mean it.

Well, at least you’re honest

But, it’s quite a load carrying around all that bitterness and resentment isn’t it?

Yes, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even with her.

Boy, have I got some plans for her. She’ll wish she had never been born!

No, you won’t feel any better. You’ll feel worse. Revenge isn’t sweet.

You know how unhappy you are? Well, I can change that.

You can? How?

Forgive Ann. Then I’ll forgive you;

And the hate and the sin will be Ann’s problem, not yours.

You will have settled the problem as far as you are concerned.

Oh, you know, you’re right.

You always are.

And more than I want revenge, I want to be right with you.

Sigh.

All right, all right, I forgive her.

There now! Wonderful!

How do you feel?

Hmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all!

In fact, I feel pretty great!

You know, I don’t think I'll go to bed uptight tonight. I haven’t been getting much rest, you know.

Yeah, I know.

But, you’re not through with your prayer are you? Go on.

Oh, all right.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Good! Good! I'll do that.

Just don’t put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?

You know what I mean.

Yeah. I know.

Okay.

Go ahead. Finish your prayer.

“For Thine is the kingdom,

and the power,

and the glory forever and ever.

Amen.”

Do you know what would bring me glory, what would really make me happy?

No, but I’d like to know. I want to please you now.

I've really made a mess of things. I want to truly follow you.

I can see now how great that would be.

So, tell me: How do I make you happy?


You just did.


(Author unknown. I tried to find the source for this but have been unable to do so. If you know who wrote it, whose copyright it is, please let me know at Bill dot public at Eccles dot net. Thanks!)