Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

This week's wonderful links:

    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:36 PM PST
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:36 PM PST
    "A common misbelief about sex trafficking is that the United States is only a destination country, that all of the victims of sex slavery within the U.S. have been carried across international borders. The truth is that literally untold numbers of U.S. citizens are trafficked within our own borders and in our neighborhoods every year."

    "We must pursue sexual holiness and boldly teach our children that the threshold for healthy sexuality only begins at sex within marriage. We are called to be God's light in the world and this starts with prayer. We must recognize that our fight is not against the traffickers or the johns, but the powers and principalities over this present darkness. If we combat these forces in the spiritual realm, bonds will break and we will have access to the brokenness of the commercial sex industry.  We must stop idolizing straight, married sex. We must pursue sexual holiness as something more than meeting these biblical standards; sexuality must of course be purspursued within Biblical boundaries, but it is so much more than the boundaries themselves. If we live in the land of sexual holiness instead of on the boundary markers, we can show the beauty of mutual respect and love in intimate relationships and compel the world toward a higher calling. We must value those in prostitution as beloved children in a world that so quickly condemns them (John 8:3-11)."
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:32 PM PST
    This is how you do an apology. You own it. You don't delete the old post. You just apologize. So refreshing.
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:31 PM PST
    Um, yes, I struggle with this. Probably anyone who really likes the Internet does, though, right? I guess probably most people from our generation can relate, though.  Heck, not even our generation.  I physically laughed out loud just now thinking of the many nights when I was in high school that I would find my precious mom up playing computer solitaire in the wee hours of the morning.  Bless Minnie's heart, she lives for digital single player card games.
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:30 PM PST
    Possibly I mainly love this letter for this phrase: "the Boss on vinyl—Nebraska, that grand, sultry album."
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:29 PM PST
    "You've known it four times now, the way my body sprawls all out for a baby. To my surprise and possibly also to yours, I would grow, skin stretch, and you still found me what you wanted." I am in love with this "Marriage Letters" series. Gotta go back and read them all.
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:28 PM PST
    Such beautiful writing. Such a poignant experience.
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:27 PM PST
    "If we don't like someone's preaching or teaching or writing, we brand them an 'enemy of the Gospel.'"

    "When we brand each other as enemies, we become the enemy of the Gospel."
    Posted: 30 Jan 2012 09:24 PM PST
    "1. Don't take too much credit for their good. "
    "2. Don't take too much credit for their bad."
    "3. Don't try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult."

    My mom was so good at not worrying about us being "good girls". She told me that once before. I'm sure that was hard for her, because she's very much into etiquette and being "respectable"...as I've said before, she works at a bridal registry and considers it a noble calling to inform the uneducated brides of today what a demitasse cup is. And yet? She let go of those things a LOT, especially with me. She focused on the important. My character. Not her appearance.
    Enjoy them!

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Weekly Happenings Post #150 (January 23-29)-- Momma Gets the Sickies

     Totally random coincidence AP is holding her current favorite book, So Sick.

    This week started out pretty typical and was actually a really nice, stress free week.  We didn't end up getting to go to Bible study on Wednesday morning (Peyton had Graves's car seat), we didn't do anything with Carrie and her kiddos, and we didn't have any random extra night activities outside Wednesday night church and our standing date with my parents for red beans.  NOW, I love all of those things, but it's nice to just breath sometimes, too, you know.  And be home and clean and organize and read and do small projects.  Then on Saturday, I came down with the stomach virus.  It was pretty mild and I've made a full recovery at this point!

    This post hardly has any pictures and after last week when I said I was going to do better, too.  It's a goal for February!

    Peyton and I decided to get up early on Monday.  It ended up that I got up a little after eight.  For a day when he's here, that's kind of early. Ha!  I know it sounds bad how much he gets up with the kids in the mornings, but he's so much more of a morning person than I am.  And also, I'm the one who wakes up with Graves and feeds his at 5:30 in the morning.  Anyway, Ann Peyton was still asleep and Graves played for awhile and we read some in our Christian Believer text, talked and watched part of a DVRed Mary Tyler Moore episode.  Peyton made breakfast and we put Graves down for a nap.
     Peyton always thinks that there looks like there is something wrong with our kids in the pictures I think are super cute!

     I took a bath and called the breastfeeding clinic to discuss Graves's weight. Peyton and I moved around the shelves in the shelving system in the laundry room and I put stuff on it and organized.  Ann Peyton finally woke up at TEN THIRTY.  I guess she really needed to catch up.  Peyton fixed her some "brunch" and then when Graves woke up, he took them outside to play while I finished in the laundry room.  He was meeting another pharmacist for lunch, so I stayed outside with them a bit and we had a snack and then came in.  I fed Graves an avocado and unloaded dishes and then Peyton got home.  He cut out windows and a door in the box the shelves came in and he played with the kids while I talked to the nurse at the breastfeeding clinic.  She said she thought I wasn't feeding him often enough.  Um, he eats more often that most kids his age (like six times in a twenty four hour period), but I decided I'd try to do it more.  Literally, I think every hour on the clock saw me nursing, feeding him solids or eating something myself.

     Peyton left and I gave the kids baths.  It was a good morning and I felt like we got a lot done AND enjoyed time as a family.  I guess I need to make myself get up before nine thirty or ten more often when he's home!

    I put Graves down for his nap and read to Annie some and put her down.  They both slept awhile and I had lunch and read my Bible some.  Graves woke up and he played and I got on the Internet and changed over laundry.  When AP woke up, they played some and I cleaned up some dishes in the sink and loaded the dishwasher and then we ran some errands.  I wanted to see if I could find some insulated cups and a planner at TJ Maxx, but no luck.  Then we headed to the grocery store for a few things.  We got home and I fed them dinner and put them to bed.  I read blogs and then when Peyton got home I cooked some beef and brocoli stir fry for supper.  I got on the computer again and went to bed late.

    We had Mother's Day Out on Tuesday and I had everything packed up the night before and got up a little early and we were on time, even though Graves had to have a bath due to his diaper leaking.  About half our class was out with sickness and we had a teacher go home sick.  I was hoping to avoid of all that. We got home and I fed the kids lunch and unpacked the diaper bag, straightened a bit, and ate some lunch myself.  I put them down for naps and uploaded pictures onto the computer.  Graves woke up and I played with him, but he was cranky and yanking on my hair and I was tired and kind of stressed.  I could feel myself getting a headache.  Peyton got home about the time Annie woke up and I laid down for a bit.  Peyton decided to take the kids to see his parents so I got up and took a bath and took some medicine.  My head felt better and it was nice to have some solitude.  I rewatched some Christian Believer videos and read a few blogs.  Everyone got home and we put them to bed and then Peyton and I talked.  I put some pictures on Flikr and renewed my driver's license and wrote some thank you notes and then went to bed.

    On Wednesday, I woke up when Peyton did and we chatted a little until Baby Graves interrupted.  I took a bath and gave him a bath and got Annie up to get ready for Bible study when Peyton called and said he had Graves's car seat in his car.  Annie wanted to get back in her bed.  Weird, but I let her.  I got Graves a banana and started unloading dishes and cleaning up the den.  I reloaded a full load and then put Graves down for a nap and decided to work on some deep cleaning in the kitchen while AP played.  I moved things around and scrubbed the counters and then wiped down the high chair and cleaned the toaster oven.  My mom came over so I could run some errands since I didn't have the car seat.  I went to Lowes for lightbulbs and for some glue for Peyton to glue down a wood strip where the hardwoods meet the new kitchen floor and then I went to the grocery store.  I was speed shopping, but I took a page out of Peyton's book and stopped a manager to brag on how helpful the people in the deli were about offering to order me some pita bread.  I got home and visited with my mom some and then she left and I started cooking some chili.  Annie helped me chop onions with our new chopper thing and when it was ready she had a bowl for lunch.  I gave her a bath and put the children down for naps.

    Annie slept great, but Graves didn't sleep long at all and was so fussy. I did manage to get my own bowl of chili.  Peyton got home and we took turns with him.  I baked some cookies and Peyton glued the wood strip and read for Christian Believer. We got ready and headed to church a little early so we could drop off some chili and cookies with the Howies since they had all sorts of ailments at their house ;)  Christian Believer went well and we got home and put the kids to bed.  I got on the computer and messed around and then worked on our finances. Peyton and I had a very nice chat and then I got some things ready for MDO the next day and went to bed.

    Thursday we were staying at MDO the whole time (meaning until 2:00).  It was a long day and the kids were pretty worn out by the end of it.  Neither fell asleep in the car, to my surprise (and delight), but I put them down immediately when we got home.  Graves took awhile and then had a dirty diaper, but he finally went to sleep.  Annie never did.  To be honest, even though it's annoying because she calls me in her room to get her books and things (I limit it, but I think it's only fair to indulge her some since we require her to stay in her bed), I've gotten to where I really prefer her not to nap because it makes bedtime so much easier.  Funny it used to be the exact opposite!  Anyway, I still think she needs the quiet time in her bed, but like I said no naps really make for easier nights.

    While they were resting, I just chilled out.  I got on the computer and sent a couple of LONG emails (one to Carrie since we missed our lunch date and one to someone inquiring about cloth diapers) and played on Twitter some.  Peyton got home and we got the kids up.  We played with them for a little bit and talked about our days and then tried to figure out what we wanted to do that afternoon/evening.  We talked about going to the park, but then decided that we'd take Annie swimming at the Y.  We got ready and headed to the pool.  Graves and I observed and Peyton and AP had a blast.  She was so mad when it was time to leave! We stopped by Lowes on the way home because I had gotten the wrong kind of glue for the floor and then headed home.  We fed the kids and put them to bed and then I watched Lost and grated soap for laundry detergent.  I got on the computer and uploaded some pictures to Flikr and straitened up around the house and then went to bed.

    Friday was another day at home.  Graves woke up first and I snuggled with him and nursed him and then I took a bath and changed his clothes and fed him solids.  Annie woke up, but she wanted to stay in bed a bit again.  I started dishes and laundry and took out the trash.  I vacuumed in the kitchen and AP and I had breakfast when she got up.  Graves took his nap and I went through some piles around the house and culled some of the magazines AP likes to look at in bed.  Graves woke up and we read some and then I fed Graves lunch and fixed Annie's.  I put them down for naps and had my lunch.  I watched Lost and folded laundry and then Peyton got home.  AP never did take a nap, but Graves got a good one.  We got them up and Peyton took both kids outside to wash my 4Runner.  Annie played and he put Graves in the saucer.  We decided to clean it up because we're trying to sell it.  I finished folding clothes and helped them clean out the inside of the car.  Graves had gotten bored and Peyton had put him in the driver's seat and strapped him in with the seat belt.  We finished that and Peyton gave AP a bath and we got ready to go to my parents' house.  We had a good time, but I got so tired and kept dozing off while watching TV.  We got home and put the kids in their beds and I talked for a few minutes and then I got on the computer. I finished a post and worked on my blog design for February.

    I woke up in the middle of the night throwing up.  UGH.  I was pretty sure it was the stomach bug since several kids at MDO had had it.  I woke Peyton up and got him to move to the couch and went back to bed and slept until morning.

    Peyton had an important meeting for a church committee he's on that had been on the calendar for months on Saturday.  His mom was supposed to keep the kids that morning so I could go to a baby shower and so thankfully, she was able to just come on.  I did get up with Graves while Peyton was showering and he was crying in the high chair so I picked him up.  Bad decision.  I threw up all over him.  UGGGGH.  Peyton gave him a bath and I took one, too and his mom got here and I went back to bed for the rest of the morning.  Around one my mom came over so Denise could leave and then Peyton got home at two.  I woke up around three and Graves took a short nap and Annie rested for a bit.  I laid on the couch and watched a PBS documentary on Thomas Jefferson on Netflix instant streaming while Peyton cleaned up the study and played with the kids.  He fed them supper and I helped him get them to bed.  They both had a hard night and after they went to sleep I went back to bed myself. 

    I woke up feeling MUCH better on Sunday.  I still had a headache, but I took a BC powder and started running my bath.  Peyton had to teach Sunday School, but we decided to keep the kids home since they might have been exposed.  I got AP up and put her in our bed with a movie (on retrospect, why would I put her in our bed before I changed the sheets/Lysoled???) and got Graves happily playing on the floor.  By the time I had gotten my bath and dried my hair, this had happened:
    1) AP spilled water in our bed
    2) AP "spit up" in our bed (her words)
    3) AP teeteed in the tub while I was cleaning her up
    4) our new crawler got into the trashcan in our bathroom

    So...I got Graves down for his nap and set up Annie watching a video in the den and I just took some deep breaths, texted Peyton, updated my status on all social media outlets, and decided to try and smile.  I opened the blinds and started cleaning up the den.  It was a total disaster from the day before and I had just left it that night.  I got everything picked up and even started working on some piles on the buffet.  Ann Peyton and I had a very light breakfast and Graves woke up.  Peyton got home and he played with the kids and I started washing our sheets and picking up around the house some more.  He took the kids outside to lay pine straw and I went through some piles and filed stuff in the study.  I also worked on taping up some of AP's books that had gotten ripped up.  Anybody else relate?

    We fed the kids lunch and put them down for naps and I ate my lunch and talked to Peyton about a picture I found in the piles that was really how I wanted to do our floors:

    He said exactly what I didn't want to hear.  That he wished we would have to, that it would have been cheaper, and that the issue would the grout would have been a non issue.  I started crying.  But then we decided to read Radical.  Because martyrs and orphans have a way of making my floor grief seem really small.  I got ready and left for church.  Peyton kept the kids at home, even though we had pretty much decided AP's throw up episode was a fluke. Our Radical study was good that night and I got home and helped Peyton get the kids to bed and then ran to Target for a storage bin (what else?), a big file folder, and some wipes.  I also found some kid pajamas and a purse for me.  I got home, rocked Annie one last time, and got on the computer and wrote a post.  I went to bed too late.

    Christian Believer: Week Fifteen {Lord}

    Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
    Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
    Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
    And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
    ["Crown Him with Many Crowns", Mathew Bridges]

    The lesson week before last was "Jesus Christ: Lord" (Jesus Christ Is Lord).  I loved this lesson, but I didn't realize until typing it up that it may well be one of my favorites.  I actually remembered a lot of our discussion, this time, as well (a benefit of doing these posts in a timely manner), so I think that's interesting.  I realize this is long and tedious, so I took the liberty of bolding my favorite things.  I may have been a bit liberal with my bold button, however ;)

    We started with the video, which had some interesting points.  First, when early Christians said "Jesus is Lord", they applied a title used by pious Jews only for God.  The term they used for Lord, Yahweh (which means "I am who I am") was so sacred Jews wouldn't say it out loud. They began using the name Adonai and that later became Kyrios.  That earliest Christian confession, "Jesus is Lord", somehow, in some way, meant nothing less than "Jesus Christ is Yahweh".  This formula seems to include an inequation, though.  Because Jesus's lordship and superiority were fundamentally different than God the Father.  For example, Jesus announced God's kingdom, called God the one good God, prayed to God, distinguished his own will from the Father's, felt forsaken on the cross, said the Father was greater, and explained himself as an emissary who "lived to do the Father's will, speak the Father's word, and finish the Father's work".   As the video states, "This all seems to make the words 'Christ is Lord' strike a false chord, because he points beyond himself to the Father". 

    However, we see from the Bible that Jesus, as the Word of God, was "in the begining" and "was God and was with God".  We also see perhaps the most powerful declarations of Jesus's lordship in the "I am" sayings found in the book of John.  Jesus says I am...the Bread of Life; the Good Shepherd; the Ressurection and the Life; the Way, the Truth and the Life; and the True Vine.  As modern day Christians, we tend to place emphasis on the object (for example, the Good Shepherd), however, when we look at the Greek, there is strong emphasis on the "I am" part of the phrase and its strong ties to the name Yahweh. The most notable instances are when Jesus was before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling body) and said "Before Abraham was...I am" and when he was before Caphias (the high priest) and was asked "Are you the Messiah?" and he replied, "I am".  The Sanhedrin and Caphias both sought death because he was claiming to be Yahweh. 

    The video ended by saying that the confession "Jesus is Lord" reveals Christians' faith in the full divinity of Christ.  I liked this last little tidbit, especially..."This is knowledge not open to reason or any human ability.  You could be richer than the highest paid corporate executive and not be able to buy this knowledge.  You could be more pious than mystics of old or saints today and not be able to achieve this knowledge.  You could lead more people to Jesus Christ than the world's best evangelist and not be able to earn this knowledge.  It comes only through faith in Jesus Christ and faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit."

    The workbook was full of great insights, too.  It first started by saying that the existential question is "Not what do I do?" and that this is where the "rubber meets the road".  We all have some lord, the trouble is confessing it and sometimes even recognizing it.  I really liked these lines, because they are SO convicting-- "...the lordship part is inescapable.  Call it the determining principle in your life, or your grand passion.  Or don't call it anything, but ponder what calls the shots in your life.  Or become honest with yourself and call it God, with a big or a small g.  Everybody has a Lord." Well, then. 

    However, whereas many of these "little g" gods (money, ambition, sensuality, ect.) slip in unconsciously, Jesus never does.  It may be so gradual that we don't recall exactly when it happened, but Jesus never slips up on us without our agreeing to it.  He values our integrity and personhood too much to do that. He becomes our Lord only by confession, "first of all, to my own soul; then to God; and then to others and to the life I lead".

    The book then talked about the necessity of also confessing our sin and said "the only ones who say it easily are the saints who have come to a wondrous openness to God, or the spiritually naive whose conception of sin is so superficial that they feel nos discomfort in confessing".  This lead to several discussions in our group.  For one, we discussed which comes first, the confession of sin or the confession of Christ as Lord?  It seems to be a bit of a chicken and the egg sort of conundrum, but we resolved that though we are continually confessing both in our daily living, the initial confession of Christ as Lord ultimately includes the confession of sin (which we must be made aware of in order to truly confess him as Savior).  I liked how the book phrased it- "We confess sin because we fall short of the glory of God.  We continue to confess our faith because with each day of living, we know more of the greatness of our Lord and see larger areas of life we wish to commit to his Lordship".

    The book also discussed the possibility of the fields of therapy and counseling having replaced the relgioius confession of sin.  This lead to Peyton discussing his Catholic background and also to the group dialoging about the importance of accountability.    We also discussed how the book noted that in our age of individualism and independence we are less likely to confess our need.  However, when the our bodies are in pain or our relationships are damaged, our spirit sees more clearly its need for a savior.

    We see, though, that the New Testament speaks much less often of the confession of sin than of the confession of Christ as Lord.  The later is simply more substantive than the former, because it means that I give God the one thing that is mine to give- "my commitment, my confession, my person". 

    Finally, the group discussed if a verbal confession is always required and who God was refering to when he spoke of the "hot", "cold", and "lukewarm".  

    Here are the Scriptures and readings I enjoyed most that week:
    "For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." -Psalm 116:8

    "Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with washing soda, you would plunge me into the slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me.  He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.  If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God's rode from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot." -Job 9:30-35

    "How, then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news'." -Romans 10:14-15

    "That if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and belive in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." -Romans 10:9-10

    "So because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth." -Revelation 3:16

    "Just as the four extremities of the Cross are held fast and bound together by the bolt in the middle, so also by God's power the height and depth, the length and the breadth, that is, every creature visible and invisible, is maintained." -John of Damascus

    "Let me love to sit at Thy feet, and suck in with my ears and heart the sweetness of Thy hold sermons.  Let my soul be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, with a peaceable and docile disposition.  Give me great boldness in the public confession of Thy name and the truth of Thy gospel, in despite of all hostilities and temptations.  And grant that I may always remember that Thy name is called upon me, and may so behave myself, that I neither give scandal to others, nor cause disreputation to the honour of religion; but that Thou mayest be glorified in me, and I by Thy mercies, after a strict observance of all the holy laws of Christianity.  Amen." -Jeremy Taylor

    "Someone has said that all great discoveries are reduction from complexity to simplicity.  But of all the reductions from complexity to simplicity the greatest and profoundest was in the earliest creed: 'Jesus is Lord'. Three words, and yet three worlds are in them- heaven, earth, and hell...How did it happen that this phrase arose out of a fiercely monotheistic people whose central confession was: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord' (Deut 6:4).  His impact upon nature and human living was so tremendous that they found their unwilling lips making the most momentous confession that ever fell from human lips anywhere at any time.  It was life's central revelation.  And the revelation was this: 'This man, who walked our dusty roads, slept upon our hillsides, was crucified on one of our trees, and was laid in one of our rock tombs, was at the right hand of final authority- was Lord and would have the final say in human affairs.' That confession was breath-taking".  -E. Stanley Jones

    "We repudiate the false teaching that the church can and must recognize yet other happenings and powers, images and truths as divine revelation alongside this one Word of God, as a source of her preaching...We repudiate the false teaching that there are areas of life in which we belong not to Jesus Christ but to another lord, areais in which we do not need justification and sanctificantion through him." -Barmen Declaration

    "We are fighting to-day for costly grace...It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son.  Above all it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.  Costly grace is the Incarnation of God. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    "'You shall remember the Lord, your God!' We are not asked to remember God in general.  We are in constant temptation to think of some abstraction when we pronounce or hear the word 'God"...The Lord, your God is a God with a name, a face, a personality." -Karl Barth

    Because we the church believe the proper human response to God's gift of grace is our confession of sin and of faith, I choose to make my full confession. 

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Christian Believer: Week Fourteen {Atonement}

    When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
    Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
    ["When I Survey the Wondrous Cross", Isaac Watts]

    The last lesson we had before our break was "Atonement" (Restored to Union with God).

    We watched the video first. It discussed how Jesus death relates to our human condition- our distorted relation to God and how Jesus's death overcame sin.  It's so much easier to view his death as an example of a good person fighting evil or as an event that exposes human sin.  These aren't wrong, but they don't fully describe atonement, an event by which our relationship to God is changed.  Atonement is a difficult doctrine for several reasons.  First, the word atone is not really commonly used in our vocabularies.  Second, it is rooted in an ancient practice that we have never (and will never) see- ritual killing of an animal and the use of it's blood in the temple.  Finally, some object to the idea that God would even be involved in Jesus's death, and see this as cruel.  The video ended with these lines, which I thought were really good- "The atonement is not something Jesus did to change God from a God of wrath and vengeance to a God of love and reconciliation.  God's reconciling love is not the result of atonement, rather atonement is the result of his reconciling love". 

    The workbook started out by saying that some concepts are just to large to grasp simply by looking at factual data; we need an image.  "So it is with atonement.  The concept is too big for words; but when we turn to images, we are also in uncertain territory. In careless hands, images may seem confusing, or even unpleasant.  Also, we discover different people need different images, and what conveys the concept to one is only bewildering or distracting to another."  It then stated that the word atonement, unlike many theological terms, actually appears in the Bible.

    There is probably no human experience more universal than the sense of separation from God, it continues, and the longing that sense of separation creates. We need somehow a way to be "at one" with God; a way for our sin stained relationship to be reestablished.  Notably, this sense of separation is seen in all cultures, modern and primitive, even though standards of morality vary so widely between cultures.  Many modern thinkers discredit this thought process as "primitive".  However, they might better say it is "unspoiled by rationalization".  Our basic instinct tells us we ought to be in right relationship with God.

    The book went on to discuss and differentiate theories of atonement. The first, taken from the letter to the Ephesians, was redemption, meaning the human race is "mortgaged" beyond it's own power to redeem; even to the point where we are sold into slavery to sin.  But our closest kin, our "divine Elder Brother" comes to pay the price of our redemption, the price being his very own death.  The second theory, based off of John the Baptist's hailing of Jesus as the "lamb of God", is the expiation theory. Expiation means appeasing or purifying through a sacred rite, in this case through the blood of Christ, the perfect lamb.

    The next theory was the moral example or the moral influence.  This theory states that because Christ's death was the perfect example of God's love, those who recognize this love will be moved to salvation and will be influenced to live lives of love. During the twentieth century, this theory gained promince an was sometimes presented with more emphasis on Christ's life than on his death.  It reasoned that there was "transforming power in the moral grandeur of Christ, so when person see the beauty of his life, teachings, and death, they will be moved to live in accord with Jesus' ways".  This approach appeals to the idealistic nature, but some say it minimizes the importance of Jesus's actual crucifixion. I kind of agree with this criticism.  The most often referred to theory is probably substitution and is based on a very simple idea, one life for another. It shares some of the same insights as the redemption and expiation theories and Scriptures that apply to those could apply to the substitution theory as well.  The next theory one that focuses on reconciliation; it suggests that sin has put a great barrier between God and humankind and Jesus reconciles us to God by his death.

    Yet another theory is the theory of wrath.  Many theologians, especially during Medieval times, reasoned that Christ's death appeased the wrath of God, a wrath that a sin infected humanity deserved.  The final theory is the ransom theory.  Some contemporary theologians think that this is the oldest theory of atonement and the "classic theory".  It states that the Adversary, Satan, had a claim on the human raise because of our sin, even to the extent of us being in his possession. Christ's blood is seen as a ransom for this horrific bondage.  It's a great answer to the wrath of God theory because it puts the emphasis back on the goodness of God.

    The book again goes back to how hard it is to convey accurately this doctrine, even with the images above.  It says at some point we may have to stop analyzing and speculating and realize that we really have no satisfactory language to successfully convey it.

    Here are my favorite excerpts from the text and Scripture from that week:

    "The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those whoa are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God." -Hebrews 9:13-14

    "Yet everyone becomes more righteous- by which we mean a greater lover of the Lord- after the Passion of Christ than before, since a realized gift inspires greater love than one which is only hoped for." -Peter Abelard

    "Finally, since as God only he could not suffer, and as man only could not overcome death, he united the human nature with the divine, that he might subject the weakness of the one to death as an expiation of sin, and by the power of the other, maintaining a struggle with death, might gain us the victory." -John Calvin

    Every week at the end of the workbook reading, it ends with an affirmation.  I think I will start ending each post in the same way.

    Because we the church believe Christ has made us at one with God, I accept the divine love and will seek to extend it to others.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Weekly Smorgasbord

    Here are last week's posts:

      Posted: 24 Jan 2012 06:07 PM PST
      "We are tethered to our own usefulness, big-headed with our own accomplishments, crushed by our shortcomings. We miss the soul breath. We miss the smallness, the doorway through which we must walk to find freedom from the ever moving treadmill of time. Even if we steal time from our productivity to find the sitter, pack the bags, pay the money, sit through the layovers and fly to the shore to relax, sometimes once we get there we forget how. And I realized as I tapped my foot on sand that I have shed my truest identity. Instead of being the beloved, I feel more like the doloved."

      I constantly feel "tethered to my usefulness". Can I just be?
      Posted: 24 Jan 2012 06:02 PM PST
      This is one I'm linking to less for the actual content and more for the thoughts it provoked. Peyton and I talked about this awhile back and how we feel so BLESSED because we have a good many friends (mostly at church and a few couple friends) whom we would feel totally comfortable with them disciplining our children. I think it's neat to be able to have friends close enough you can feel confident putting that trust in their hands.
      Posted: 24 Jan 2012 05:58 PM PST
      "There is just no dignity when you are pushing a double stroller. The kind gestures and open doors you get when you are pregnant? Those completely disappear when you are trying to squeeze this monstrosity through a swinging door, with two other children in tow. I always felt as though I could exchange that thing for a shopping cart of my belongings in trashbags and the level of disdain from the general public would be about the same. The world is not kind to the double stroller dependent. Being untethered from this thing feels like a new level of freedom. I'm walking a little taller now. Literally."

      I'm not sure I totally agree. There is the occasionally person that helps you out, but they always look at you like you're so pitiful.  Again, less about the content, more about my feelings. This post is bigger than a double stroller because it had me thinking about a lot of things. We are packing up so many baby things with the knowledge that it's going to be awhile before they come out again. I've got our big travel system stroller ready to go to the attic and to be honest, there is a bit of pain and fear that comes with it because, although we want more children, we've decided (assuming it's God's will- we're always open to surprises, hehe) we want a bigger space between Graves and our third.  It's been a complicated thing to process lately and clearly it deserves it's own post.  Which I will probably write soon.
      Posted: 24 Jan 2012 05:55 PM PST
      Found this via Ann Voskamp. Cannot get enough.
      Posted: 23 Jan 2012 10:42 PM PST
      This made me so angry. In fact, I had to retype this about five times to take out all the expletives. There is a part of me that really wants to put my hands around the last lady's neck and strangle her like she did her babies. But that's not Christ. The other part of me wants to find a woman like her and tell her not to kill her child- WE WILL TAKE HER. And love her. And tell her she's a little princess, just like we do Ann Peyton. Dammit, I want to so bad now.
      Posted: 23 Jan 2012 10:32 PM PST
      "...with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees"

      "At times my invisibility has felt like an affliction to me. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of self centeredness; it is the antidote to my own pride."
      Posted: 23 Jan 2012 10:08 PM PST
      "I hesitate in venting because when I'm doing that it so often seems that other mothers assume I'm saying I win the Hardest Award, or that I'm wishing away my life. But I'm not. I'm just talking. I'm seeking validation and there is nothing more refreshing than another mother who simply sees me and acknowledges The Hard and nods and says, Yes, it's so hard, isn't it? The End."

      Posted: 23 Jan 2012 10:08 PM PST
      Seeing a theme here? Also, love this:

      "Strong enough to be left. That's what we're trying to become, ladies. In one very large sense, we are never left - our identities are in ourselves, not in our children. And many of us are blessed with spouse-best-friends who will, Lord-willing, grow old with us. But in a very real sense, they are all going to leave. They will fly the coop, just like I did, just like Paul did, just like any healthy person does. We leave. So will the children. We pray it every day."

       I mean, I also hate it though.
      Posted: 23 Jan 2012 10:06 PM PST
      This post was so honest. I love it when I read a blog and someone lets me in and trusts me with their secret thoughts.
      Posted: 23 Jan 2012 10:01 PM PST
      "'I know," I answered. "But none of the other girls have five children in their family. The fact that we get to work for your lessons is actually a generous opportunity from the studio owner. We should be thankful.'"

      I want my children to experience this. Having to work for something that's important to them.


      Weekly Happenings Post #149 (January 16-22)-- What With the Tiny Babies I Keep Raising???

      This past week was nice.  Not too busy, not too boring.

      We did have Graves's nine month check up and he's slowed down on his weight gain a lot.  It looks like we're back to doing weight checks and stressing over how often they eat.  I really thought we were going to avoid all that with him and I swear if you look at him he looks like he has plenty of chub. And then there's the fact that he and AP are literally like one size apart in several sets of pajamas (12-18 mo., 18-24 mo., respectively).  His height is in the fiftieth, so I guess that throws things off.  UGH.  Honestly, I really think it's just their metabolism.  Y'all know I have had my own weight issues and- I do NOT say this to brag- the only times I've broken a hundred pounds in my life is when I was carrying them.  Also, I've had to just stop carrying Graves in his carrier at all because it hurts my back so bad.  I really feel like God knew what he was doing because if I had one of these twenty five pound kids that still has to be carried everywhere I'm not sure I could wake up in the morning.  Peyton did also say he thinks it might be how I kind of stopped worrying about sticking to my diet plan as much when the kitchen was all torn up.  I ate way too much junk and skipped eating as often as I should have.  Anyway, this week I've tried to do better with that.

      In other news, my pictures are either of terrible quality or they're non existent this week.  I looked back to last Summer and I did SO much better taking pictures with the camera.  I think it's partly because I have a decent phone now and then also when we got the floors redone it threw me off and I was just surviving each day. [I blame everything on that dumb project!] Anyway, this week, I'm trying to do better! Here's a few examples of some of the great photos from last week:
      Peyton said I had to put this one up.  Someone's dedicated to blogging, yes?

      Kid looks ill, ya'll.

      This is actually a fun one that I missed last week.  Peyton has gotten so much closer to BG lately.  I think he's incapable of truly bonding with his children until he can flip them upside down and induce hysteical laughter.

      On Monday, we had Graves's nine month visit to the pediatrician. We got up and all got ready since Peyton was going with us this time.  We were right on time and then on the way there, someone rear ended me.  It was just a small bump, but it kinda shook me up a bit.  We didn't even file a report and we made it just a few minutes late.  Well, things continued to go downhill.  Graves had a good check up, overall, but he's now in the third percentile.  I swear he looks like a chunk to me, but Dr. Denney is so cautious (which I really do appreciate) and we're coming back in six weeks for a weight check.  I left the appointment early to go have brunch with Carrie and Ashley.  Ashley was leaving town right after, but we got a one last fun meal in.  Peyton had our kiddos, but Aubrey and Jude were there.  We had a nice visit and some yummy food.  I got home and Peyton told me the rest of what Dr. Denney said and we cleaned up the kitchen and from where Peyton had cooked breakfast.  AP was eating and I fed Graves and then Peyton left and I put the kids down for naps.  Annie never slept and I had to keep helping her potty.  I watched Lost and got some clothes folded and then the kids both got up.  I straightened some, but Graves was SO fussy.  Annie stuck her hand in the toilet and made a huge mess with the water and then as I was going to get towels to clean it up, she slipped and busted her lip really badly.  It was awful and Graves was SCREAMING.  I was so thankful when I heard someone unlocking my house and Minnie walked in!  We visited with her and I fed the kids dinner (Graves ate a ton!) and then she left.

      I cleaned up some more and straightened up the nursery.  I got Annie's bed cleared off (she has SO many books in it!), vacuumed in the kitchen and the nursery, put up some of their clothes, and got Graves ready for bed.  I nursed him and put him to sleep and then AP played in our room while I put up laundry in there.  I put her to bed and she fell asleep quickly and I got on the computer for the first time all day!  Peyton got home and we chatted and then went to sleep.

      We had Mother's Day Out on Tuesday, so we got an early start on our day.  It was a good, but uneventful day.  Peyton came up to the church to make some copies and bring some tea for our Ultreya group that night, so it was fun seeing him.  We got home and I made AP's lunch and fed Graves and then Peyton got home.  He had to leave for work right after and I put the kiddos down for naps.  They both fell asleep SUPER fast and I took a nice, long nap, too.  I also talked to my friend Amy on the phone about Graves's weight issues and called the pediatrician's office.  I got up and got ready and then woke the kids up to go to Ultreya. We had to get there early because I was one of the hostesses that night and needed to get everything set up. We had a nice meeting, but there was a small turnout. Maybe because of the weather? Anyway, we got home and I fed the children dinner and put them to bed.  AP was up late, but she stayed in her bed (or on the potty) for the most part.  I got on the computer and then Peyton got home.  We talked and I finished a post and went to bed.

      Peyton had the day off on Wednesday and we started it off with dentist appointments for the both of us.  We decided to just take one car and alternate taking care of the kids.  Peyton gave them both baths before we left and then we left.  I went first and Peyton took the kids to Primos to pick up some breakfast. I got a good report!  They got back and he had his teeth cleaned while I watched the kids in the waiting room. AP and I split a blueberry muffin and I fed Graves some applesauce.  We had a small orange juice spill so I lugged them both back to the car to get some wipes to clean it up.  When Peyton finished, Dr. Toler did a very quick first visit with Annie.  I was still feeding Graves, but Peyton said she did GREAT.  After we left the dentist, we went by Target for some storage bins and to look at a new shelving system for the laundry room.  We also went by Hob Lob to get a stool for Annie's bathroom so she can wash her hands without help.  I got one, but it was too short.  We got home and all had lunch and then we put the kids down for naps.  Peyton went for a run with his brother and I did some reading for Christian Believer. I also got some stuff together in a bag to take to Goodwill.  He got home and we packed up the kids to go look at a couple of antique/consignment stores for stool.
      close up of her busted lip from the bar fight, um, playing in the toilet, incident

      We didn't find anything and it was getting close to time for church, so we got a snack at Krispie Kreme and I fed Graves and then we headed to church.  We had a good meeting and it was fun to start back.  We got home and I fed Graves and put him to bed and then we fixed AP supper and put her to bed, too.  Peyton and I ate and I cleaned up the kitchen and picked up toys in the living room.  I got on the computer for a few minutes and went to bed.

      Peyton had the day off again on Thursday and so he kept AP at home for some Papa Daughter time and Graves and I went to MDO by ourselves.  We didn't have to stay late and the day just flew by.  Also, getting in and out is SO much easier with one kid.  Like whoa.  After we got home, I fed Graves lunch and then Peyton and Annie got home from the grocery store.  I unloaded the groceries and AP ate lunch and then we put them down for naps.  I played on the Internet and ate my lunch and then I Choloroxed some of Peyton's pharmacy coats and worked on a little painting project outside.  I organized some around the house and started marinating a brisket and then the kids woke up.  We played a little bit and then went to run some errands.  I had to return the stool to Hobby Lobby and we had some child safety things we've been trying to return to Babies R Us for months (they wouldn't let me make the return because my license was expired...what??).  We also went by Lowes to get a shelving system for the laundry room.  We got it to the car and I really thought I was going to have to go home and get my 4Runner to pick it up.  Peyton made it fit, though:

      Once we got home, we fed the children dinner and put them to bed.  I ran to Target to look for a new planner and some duct tape and to the grocery store for some corn for a casserole I was making.  I got home and Annie was still up, so I rocked her and put her to bed.  Peyton and I watched a CNN presidential debate and ate dinner and fell asleep on the couch in front of a fire. I woke up a little later and put the leftover food up and went to bed.  Graves woke up once and then was up pretty early on Friday morning.

      We all got up around sevenish on Friday and Peyton helped me give the kids baths.  He got out the latex gloves he uses to paint because he didn't want to get the band aid he was wearing wet.  He's so funny!  I fed Graves some solids and then Peyton took the kids to the park for an hour and I took a bath and got ready.  We were planning on meeting Carrie and her kids for lunch, but he didn't realize and got back later than I expected.  It cut Graves's nap short and he had picked up donuts for himself and AP (and me).  I figured Graves would be sleepy and fussy and Ann Peyton wouldn't eat (and not want to sit and be still) and lunch would be a bust.  I tried not to be too upset, though, after all he was trying his best to help me every way he knew how.  I woke Graves up after thirty minutes and we met the Howies at Broadstreet. Lunch actually was one of our best ones lately.  We got to talk more than we usually do and everyone was really well behaved.  And Annie decided that she liked holding hands with Aubrey this week, so that was fun! AP mostly recapped the lunch here, but it also included Carrie using the phrase "throw you under the theological bus"...it's quotes like that totally affirm our friendship.  Anyway, we got home late and I hadn't fed Graves at the restaurant like I meant to and by the time I got the kids fed and diapers changed and Ann Peyton took a few trips to the potty and all that it was close to three.  They both fell asleep and slept GREAT and I really let them nap too long.  I was trying to put a couple of apps on my phone and they kept saying "waiting".  I Googled the problem and tried everything everyone recommended short of deleting every app on my phone.  I really wanted to figure it out myself, but I decided to just wait and ask Peyton after a couple of HOURS of trying.  I kind of assumed it would take him awhile, too, and be a few days before he could get around to it.  I did get out the double stroller and put the two canopy things on it and tried to attach the front tray like I've been meaning to do.  I couldn't figure out the tray, but the other stuff was easy.  Dumb they've been sitting in our living room for weeks. I finally woke the kids up and we got ready and headed to my parents' house for beans and rice.  We had a nice visit with them and supper was great.

      We got home kind of late (intentional since the kids slept so late) and I put them right to bed.  Annie took awhile to go to sleep, but Graves went right down.  I wrote a post and Peyton got home and I fell asleep on the couch.  Graves was up a few times and I didn't sleep great the part of the night I spent on the couch.

      Graves woke up pretty early, but I snuggled with him on the sofa and he went back to sleep.  I transferred him to his crib and climbed in my bed for another thirty minutes.  Peyton had to get ready for work and he was waking back up, so I went and got him.  Annie woke up right as Peyton was leaving and we got our day started.  I sorted a bunch of laundry and started a load and then started running my bath.  I forgot to stop it up and the water got cold, though, so I had to wait awhile for it to heat back up.  I fed Graves breakfast and straitened up our room some and then took my bath while AP watched Veggie Tales and Graves played.  I got ready and then put him down for his morning nap.  Annie and I cleaned up the kitchen and it took a good while because it was such a mess.  I've really gotten lazy about just leaving dishes in the sink at night.  Graves woke up and I straightened up some in the nursery and fed him and then we went over to my parents' house.  Ann Peyton fell asleep on the way.  We had a good time- we had lunch, colored and baked cookies and then my mom and dad took the kids on a short walk so I could just have some time to myself.  We left and when we got home, I put Graves down for a late nap.  Annie and I read books and hung out and then Graves woke up.  Peyton got home and I vacuumed the bedrooms and straightened some and then it was Graves's bedtime.  Peyton took AP to run some errands- to two Walgreens and to the Dollar Tree for some supplies since I was doing children's church the next day.  They got home and AP was fast asleep.  He told me that at the second Walgreens (their last stop) she was asleep and he carried her around the store for five minutes without her waking up.  Poor thing!  I did some stuff on the computer and when they got home and he dropped her in bed.  We chatted and then heated up leftovers for supper.  We watched the end of Love and Other Drugs (Peyton had seen the beginning earlier) and then an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show off the DVR.  I folded some laundry and then got on the computer again.  I got my stuff ready for children's church and went to bed.

      I woke up, got ready, got all our stuff together and then started feeling really sick on Sunday morning.  I ended up throwing up a couple of times.  I think it was just the vitamins I took on an empty stomach, but Peyton said not to risk it, so he ended up doing children's church for me and I stayed home with the kids.  I had already woke AP up, so we got going.  I fed Graves and started some laundry and the kids played. I fed Graves his solids and then put him down for a nap.  I was pretty tired and still feeling kind of nauseous so I put Annie in our bed and we read stories and watched a couple of videos.  Graves never did go to sleep and was fussing on and off, so finally I just went and got him up.  I was feeling better and we got a lot done around the house.  Graves played well independently and I straightened, stripped the beds, swept the hardwood floors, cooked some carrots, and did more laundry.  I put the cover I had washed back on the high chair fixed the kids' lunch.  I put a mattress pad and fitted sheet on AP's bed and then put them down for naps.

      Graves only slept for forty five minutes but I did manage to clean up their lunches, eat my lunch, and read a chapter in Radical and a bit in my Christian Believer text.  After he woke up, I folded a bunch of laundry and then I went and got Annie up.  She never did take a nap, but she rested pretty good.  We watched Galloway's service from that morning (I had DVR'd it) and I did more laundry.  Annie was so cute; when they sang Come Thou Fount, I was singing it too and she was trying so hard to sing, but she didn't know the words. We started getting ready for our Radical study really early and actually left on time.  Graves didn't fall asleep in the car (surprisingly), but Annie did.  The study was good and Graves had fallen asleep when we picked the kids up.  We got home and Peyton left to go run with his brother.  I put the clean top sheet on on AP's bed (we only have one top sheet) and hung up some clothes in the nursery and then put Graves to bed. He had SUCH a hard time going to sleep and I felt terrible for him. There was just nothing I could do and my nerves were shot by the time he finally fell asleep.  I let AP stay up for a bit so he could get into a good sleep.  I read Pooh to her and we prayed and read her Bible story.  It was about God making the world and I told her God made everything.  I said "God made Annie. And God made Baby Graves." and then she said "And God made Momma.  And God made Papa.  And....God made AUBREY." I'm glad she loves her friends!  I got her to bed and Peyton got home and we just chilled out and went to bed early.

      This week I'm starting back my morning Bible study and Peyton is working every day.  He has something on Saturday, too, and I've got a baby shower.  I think it'll be a good amount of busy, again!

      Friday, January 20, 2012

      Annie's Lunch Recap: Children Not Run Around

      I am so terrible about taking videos of the kids these days.  We have countless (okay, a couple of hundred) ones from Annie's first year of life, but lately I haven't made it a priority.  Really, I am without excuse, though, because even though the video camera can be a pain, our DSLR camera has a video setting and of course, my phone has video capabilities.  Anyway, today I took a couple of videos on my phone, just for fun.

      Here is Ann Peyton discussing our lunch date we just arrived home from:

      [Playlist is on the right.]

      A few observations:
      1. Thank goodness Ann Peyton has such a strong role model in her dear little friend, six months her elder.  It's so nice for me and Carrie when Aubrey keeps tabs on things and makes sure the "children [herself and Ann Peyton] not run around".

      2. Annie has clearly picked up my uh/um habit.  She probably doesn't have much of a future in public speaking. 

      3. I'm pretty confident I didn't mention where we were eating at all today.  However, it seems she can identify Broadstreet upon entering Banner Hall.  Girlfriend knows her Jackson eateries.

      4. In the second video, you can hear one of her new things.  She will quote someone or imitate an animal noise and then say "like that".  Sometimes, she even does it for non verbal things.  For example, the other day Graves was playing on the floor and I was in the other room.  He started screaming and was face down on the floor.  I knew exactly what had happened; he had fallen over and face planted.  I asked Ann Peyton, though, and her response? "He say" [imitates the forceful face plant] "like that." Well, then.

      5. After these little interactions, she got out her play telephone and pretended to call Aubrey.  Their "conversation": "I don't know where my toothbrush is.  I don't know where my pink ring is.  I don't know where my STUFF is."  Welcome to life, Baby Bunny.

      6. Re the second video: I've kind of been debating when is the appropriate age to stop sharing pictures of her in just a diaper.  It's hard because, like her Papa, her skivies are her uniform when we're home for more than five minutes at a time.  Y'all may have observed this is about 50% of my weekly family pictures.  Peyton says he thinks four is the cut off.  I'm unsure.  Opinions?

      That seems like the most awkward place to end this, but I have nothing else.  So there's that. 

      Wednesday, January 18, 2012

      Weekly Smorgasbord

      Well, this is WAY late and I don't even have many links this week. I guess I just didn't do as much blog reading last week.

        Posted: 17 Jan 2012 10:33 PM PST
        "Could we rejoice in the season of waiting, believing that God who brought Jesus out of the black tomb and brings green shoots out of hard earth will bring new life out of all dark seasons too? Could we know that beauty is in this whole process, the waiting part too, not just the end result?"

        I think Katie's story is SO neat and inspiring. 
        Posted: 17 Jan 2012 10:32 PM PST
        Smart idea!
        Posted: 17 Jan 2012 10:32 PM PST
        "We've lost a sense of discovery, hard work and independent thought when it comes to learning about other faiths. We take to our computers and scan Wikipedia for a few bullet points. We ask our friends. We maybe read a book or two, but even that is rare these days."

        "Don't get me wrong, I think at some level, it's healthy to not engage emotionally and it's healthy to know where I am in the steadiness of my faith. I should always be evaluating that and making smart decisions."

        "But, at what point will I decide to grow a pair & be intellectually honest? How can I engage a thoughtful, genuine conversation about the LDS faith WITH people OF that faith, without even knowing what their Scriptures say? Without ever touching the pages and reading the words for myself, how can I talk about it with any kind of integrity? It's too easy to slip into hearsay and assumptions. And frankly, I'm tired of assuming."

        I think this is really fascinating.  I do think you have to be pretty solid in your faith before you approach something like this, though. 
        Posted: 17 Jan 2012 10:30 PM PST
        This was a really bold post. I so appreciate transparency in blogging.
        Posted: 17 Jan 2012 10:29 PM PST
        Interesting and informative.

        Hope you enjoyed the small selection!

        Tuesday, January 17, 2012

        Christian Believer: Week Thirteen {Savior}

        Hallelujah! what a Savior!
        Hallelujah! what a Friend!
        Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
        He is with me to the end.
        ["Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners", J. Wilbur Chapman]

        The topic of week thirteen was "Jesus Christ: Savior" (The One Who Came to Save).  To be honest, I didn't have a lot of new notes from this lesson.  I think partly it kind of restated some things we had already studied in a different way.  It was a good lesson, but I definitely have less to share.

        That particular week I got more than usual out of the video.  First of all, it explained that before Jesus, in Jewish though, a savior was someone who delivered the people from oppression and conquered their enemies.  Jesus not only conquered the worst of all evils, but he created a new community.  Just as sin is not purely individual, salvation has a communal aspect.  The video then discussed how for most Christians our behavior doesn't seem that different from the secular public and we rationalize the commandment to be perfect "as your Heavenly Father is perfect".  It then stated how most the the influential intellectual movements of the past century (Marxism, Freudianism,  Nietzscheism, ect.) are all radically atheistic and interpret absolute claims, truth, beauty and God as "smokescreens behind which privilege and power hide their greedy intent".  The video stated that such criticisms have some truth and that's why we have a need for a Savior. [I'm not sure I agree there.  More thinking required.]  It did say that our sin only has the power God grants it and God's last word on sin is the Savior, Christ.

        Finally, the video stated that we should have a "heightened sense of Earthly evils" if we are "truly ruled by the compassion of our crucified Savior".  It went on "Does our confidence that God can redeem the tragedy of human existence lead us to self serving resignation (nothing of final significance can be accomplished, God must do it all) or does it lead to an intense passion for the triumph of God's kingdom, passion so focused on the resurrection that it sees the eternal significance of everything that takes place upon Earth.  Does the salvation in Christ drive Christians to a ceaseless resolve by prayer and service and self sacrifice to manifest that salvation to the world?"  I feel like I've been asking myself that type of question a lot lately.

        The workbook talked about how the phrase "Jesus Saves" seems so simplistic for such a broad, important principle. However, "saving is the reason for his birth; the ultimate subject of his teaching, the cause of this death; and his resurrection, finally considered, is the purpose of authenticating his right to be the Savior.  If 'Jesus Saves' seems so terse as to have no dignity, remember that when one needs to be saved, dignity is hardly the issue.  Urgency may well be the primary issue". It then goes on to talk about Mathew 1:20-21, which is where an angel tells Joseph Jesus' name, which is given to him because he "will save his people from their sins".  In Jewish culture, names were very significant and believed both the sound and meaning should reflect the child.

        We then read about what seems to be a "disproportionate structure" of the Gospels.  Nearly a third of their content focuses on the death of Christ.  However, the gospel writers understood that Jesus came to die and told his story accordingly.  The book stated that any reading of the Biblical record that ignores this focus is "intellectually irresponsible".

        It goes further and says that a martyr's death is a powerful thing and may even bring new levels of commitment from others, but it cannot effect the balance of the spiritual world or the universe.  However, if the one who died is "the firstborn of all creation" (Colosians 1:15) and the one in whom "all things hold together", then the death is cosmic and the "structures of the universe" are shaken.  This is the "power inherent in naming him Savior".

        The word "Savior" has no meaning unless we need to be saved and we don't really want to be saved until we come to understand our inability to save ourselves. So a savior is offensive to the "human sense of adequacy". The fact that he saves us by way of dying compounds the offensiveness of the story.  If Jesus had saved by "writing exquisite literature, by mounting a political structure, or by the sheer nobility of his life" the saving would have been more palatable and attractive.

        During our group, we mainly focused on discussing the Scripture and we also talked about why it was that the Jews didn't recognize Jesus as the Messiah. 

        Lastly, my favorite excerpts from Scripture and the text book readings:

        "I know my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the Earth." -Job 19:25

        "...by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities." -Isaiah 53:11

        "...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -John 1:10

        " I am the good shepherd,  The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep." -John 1:11

        "...that being reduced to the measure of our weakness, he might raise us to the measure of his power." -Clement of Alexandria

        We have our next meeting tomorrow and I still have one more "catch up" post to do.  I'm going to try to do both of those in the next week.