Thursday, August 27, 2015

What's Next

All through life we move from one stage to another and not always by choice. We start of as infants with almost no choice except to cry when were not happy. The early stages of life are exciting choices around growth and change. Our parents guide us as we go through school and our teen years.

Then it happens - life! As I turned 18 I was faced with the "What is next?" question. What do I do now? How do I do what I want to do? Because of some family issues I choose to Join the Navy and for the next six years the navy made all my choices. Then life changed and I once again had some choices to make.

Where do I live? What kind of career do I choose? I felt the urges to love some one else and that brought on other changes and children. Talk about choices changing your life! When you are responsible for a new life the question of what is next is not always your choice. I am still responsible.

What is next comes at retirement and a set of different choices and then things to choose from is not always good stuff, just necessary stuff. Here we are again asking, "What's Next?"

Monday, August 24, 2015

When Christian Leaders Fail Us

It was all over the news that a priest of a church near my home had abused his position as pastor of the church. He had a lot of child porn on his personal computer including inappropriate pictures of the congregations children. He was a much loved pastor but is now reviled. In this age of awareness how did he think to get away with doing that? His church has changed from covering up for priest to exposing their evil actions.

Human beings often fail to live up to their most important ideals. The failure to realize ideals is often a mixture of apathy, baseness, cynicism, self-interest and ego. Even in our increasingly secular culture there is a conscious desire for people to find a spiritual dimension to their lives. Early Christians were first called the “People of the Way.” Christians are in essence members of a community of faith who follow a definite and certain path of the way of Jesus the Messiah. Church traditions sadly sometimes confuse the issues of following the way of Christ faithfully.

We say amen when something we see or hear confirms our own impression. We also become agitated or furious when something we hear is out of kilter with our personal beliefs. What are the truly basic beliefs of the Christian faith? There is a sense of beauty in the ideals of the total commitment and submission to God, the ideal Christian community, justice and peace.

It is sad that these same ideas are frequently corrupted to justify and legitimize the authoritarian and even brutal actions of people who contend that they are right. We must not confuse the ideal of the Christian faith with its misuse and abuse by people with political or power issues. This problem is not unique to Christianity as other religions are also hurt by mean spirited, power hungry; ego centric people who miss apply the tenets of our faith to their own perverted needs.

We as individual Christians must focus on what the Gospels teach us and seek to truly be people of the way of Jesus. We are each capable of focusing our lives on the teachings of Jesus first and saying AMEN to following those teachings. The way of Jesus was never easy for Jesus calls us to a different way of living than the way of the world. Say amen [ may it be so] and be a follower of the Way of Jesus.

I pray for the healing of that congregation as they deal with the results of a leader who was all too human and failed to live up to even his own Christian ideals. He is now under arrest and will face time in prison where his fellow inmates will not take kindly to his actions.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Interesting Scripture Translations

One of the many things I enjoy about reading Biblical Archaeology Review is some authors come up with a new way to translate a word in the Bible. When I studied New Testament Greek and Hebrew I discovered that English translations leave a lot of room for opinions. Language scholars can come up with a variety of ways to translate one word. How a word is translated can make a significant difference.

So it is with the September/October issue of BAR An author questions what really happened in the garden of Eden when Eve was created. She states that the Hebrew word "tsela" in the context of the story does not mean rib as it is usually translated into English. Adam did not give up his rib for Eve to be created but his "baculum" and I will let you look that up.

Part of her argument is that human males still have an equal number of ribs but they do not have a baculum. Just because a male looses a rib in one generation does not mean that succeeding generations will not have that rib as DNA will still create equal ribs. I got a good laugh out of the article and yet she may be correct but it makes no difference to me.