Monthly Archives: January 2009

Retroactive Prayer…

This is one of those timey-whimey subjects that my husband and I love to discuss, and that I find quite interesting to kick around.  The thought is basically this; God is in all times at once, He is in the past right now, as He is with me in the present in this exact moment.  God is not bound by time.  When Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I AM” illustrates this concept quite well.

So, what has that got to do with prayer?  Let me present an example; if I accidentally forget to pray for someone at the time of their surgery, say Wednesday at 12:00, what is to stop me from praying for the surgery and it’s outcome the day after the surgery?  God is at all times in all places, so He hears my prayer on Thursday, whilst still being with my friend, at that exact same moment, in surgery on Wednesday.  Now, that might not change the outcome of the surgery, but God would indeed hear me, and note my prayer, or log it, or factor it in, however you want to phrase it.

CS Lewis discusses something similar (I can’t remember which book at the moment) surrounding the idea that God knew all prayers even before setting our world in motion.  God, being throughout time at all points, heard us as He created the water, the earth, the skies, the animals, and mankind himself.

This is actually one of those great, comforting thoughts that we can ponder, but never quite rap our entire brains around. 😉 The idea is so foreign to the way we normally think, it is hard to remember that God is in no way bound by time as we are.  He knows what happens in our past, present, and future because He is with us at all those times at once; He’s omniscient and omnipresent.  What an awesome God we serve!


Filed under Musings, Prayer, Theology

“Making the blanket fit;” via Dead Poets Society…

One of my all time favorite movies is Dead Poets Society.  It is actually one of the reasons I enjoy teaching so much, and gave it a try in the first place.  If you’ve never seen it; shame on you. 😉  On to the point; there is a scene where Keating is trying to get Todd to open up, and tap into his inner poet.  Here’s a snippet of what Todd finally comes up with:

Todd Anderson: Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.
John Keating: [
some of the class start to laugh] Forget them, forget them! Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket!
Todd Anderson: Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us.

I loved the image of the blanket, because most of us have had an experience like this with something that we are trying to cover ourselves in, especially blankets.  Your feet’re cold, hands, back, even your ears…and no matter how you attempt to comfortably cover up, that blanket will not seem to fit.  You know it’s big enough, but you can’t manipulate it into the right shape to both be warm and comfortable in how you are laying.

In Todd’s attempt at self-expression he uses this imagery in connection with the truth.  To me, this connects with people and religion as well as truth.  We are always attempting to make the truth fit us, because of what we want out of it, just as with the blanket.  We kick at it and try to stretch it and shape it to our will, and it never seems to quite cover; when our backs get warm, we notice that a foot is sticking out, so we readjust the blanket…now our shoulders are draughty (or drafty for us Americans).

But, here’s the rest of the imagery added in by me:  The blanket will fit, we know it’s big enough, do you know the easiest, pain free way to get all snug and warm and wrapped up?  Ask someone for help.  The two most common people I’ve sought out with the literal blanket issue are people who actually care about my well-being; my mother and my husband (and every now and again, my brother).  It is such a relief, when one is really trying to get covered up, to simply ask, “Help me get my feet in here too…cover me up.”  The person helping easily picks up the blanket, gives it a shake and oh so casually lays it over you so that it covers.  They can do it because they are seeing the situation from a different perspective, and are standing up, thus can properly fit it, and they are in a much better position to fit it to us, without us trying to manipulate the blanket.  (If they really care for you, they’ll even mummify you on request; tucking in all the corners so the blanket won’t cause problems for you in the near future.)

So, what’s the point here?  Making the blanket fit is a lot easier if you ask for help.  The blanket of truth is God’s domain; He made you, He made the blanket, He is the Truth.  Sometimes people are struggling so hard with the truth, trying to make it do what they want it to do, it isn’t working for them, it isn’t covering what needs to be covered in their lives.  If we quit struggling, and ask our Father to help, He can pick up that blanket, give it a shake and cover us properly.

So many people try to twist the idea of God into their own shape, they try to manipulate the truth to suit them, usually so they can attempt to dismiss it; it doesn’t work.  When we finally realize that we don’t define God, that we don’t manipulate Him, or His truth, that He is indeed the great I AM, we should also realize that it means asking for His help in understanding ourselves, understanding Him, understanding the Truth, and fitting it to our lives so that we are covered, and warm.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Sacred Secular

Movie Review; The Invisible…

Yeah, I know, it was released in 07, but I just watched it, so deal with it.  😉

I haven’t watched a movie in a long time that makes me think about it after I’ve shut the DVD player off.  This one actually stuck with me and made me ponder what the filmmakers included in the show; the point of the story.  I’ll not spoil the very end, but there will be spoilers in this review.

First, the basic overt plot; guy gets beat and left for dead…his “spirit/soul” is still quite active.  He, Nick, can interact with the world around him, but cannot change it.  What I mean by this is he is pretty much “invisible” and can, say, hurl a glass against the wall and it shatters, but as soon as he turns back, the glass is hale and whole, and right where it started out.  He can shove someone off a roof, but when he turns around, there they are.

The other main player in the movie is Annie, who just happens to be the one who beat Nick so soundly.  So, we have Nick, the nice rich boy with the overbearing mother who aspires to be a writer.  Nick is played by Justin Chatwin (who, BTW, is playing Goku in the live action movie of Dragonball).  Annie is the juvenile delinquent that has the bad home life, attitude and aggression to spare, and the loser/abuser boyfriend Marcus.  Annie is played by Margarita Levieva, a relative unknown.

Through an event in the movie, Nick realizes he’s not dead, just unconscious, thus begins his efforts to get rescuers to find his body.  He and Annie seem to have a connection, and he uses that connection to try to get help to his helpless physical form.  Annie, tough and streetwise, fights against her emotions in order to remain tough and above it all, but of course, in the end, she fails mainly due to the fact that she begins to “see” Nick.  She sees him, not physically, but by learning about him from a friend, and also by breaking into his house and scouting out his room.  At the same time, Nick begins to “see” Annie; the reasons why she is like she is, but also the hurting human underneath.  Eventually, Annie begins to sense Nick is still alive, and with rapidly rising feelings of regret, she starts to frantically find a way to save him.

Browsing different reviews, people don’t seem to grasp the meaning of the title, let alone the meaning the movie is trying to convey.  The “Invisible” isn’t so much about Nick, or Annie, but rather about the fact that the people we interact with everyday are, in effect, invisible to us.  Their inner lives, even their home lives are a blank spot.  The idea here is that there are people we physically see in our day to day lives, that we don’t really see.

Yes, the movie has cliche’s, and teenage angst.  But, it also has an interesting point that doesn’t come across to the audience as preaching.  Why aim the movie at teens?  Because they tend to both feel the most invisible, and to treat others as invisible at the same time.  If I’m digging for the sacred in this secular movie, I note the fact that Nick’s spirit/soul maintained his personality, and it obviously hinted at some kind of metaphysical existence beyond the physical.  The ideas of forgiveness and reconciliation were well played too.

A lot of reviews didn’t like the acting job by the two leads, but I have to disagree there.  Yes, Justin played Nick as being very “internal,” not a lot of emotion whilst in the land of the living, though that changed when outside of his body and fighting for his life.  I enjoyed the character of Annie very much, or rather watching her change, and loved the use of the beanie prop, covering up an aspect of her personality at the same time as it covered her physical hair.  Which brings me to another aspect of the movie I liked; the soundtrack.  Nothing like a bunch of alternative rock songs paired with teenage angst…what can I say?  I’m a sucker for noise.

The movie is PG-13, and has violence, and dark themes, such as suicide.  This isn’t a movie for everyone, and don’t watch it with high expectations.  It isn’t one that I would have went out of my way to watch, but some of the issues it raised interested me.  I’ve written many times on here that we should help out our fellow humans when we can, and sometimes that just starts with trying to “see” the other person.

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Jason Castro’s testimony…

Here’s Jason’s testimony, yes, he’s one of the contestants from last year’s American Idol.  His bro made it through to Hollywood this season as well.  I always enjoy hearing people talk about music and Christian spirituality…

posted by IamSecondVIDEOS over at youtube


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“Why does God need our worship?”

This question keeps cropping up in various forms lately in different quadrants of the internet, so I figured I’d blog about it in a post all of its own.  I mentioned this before in another post, but it does keep rearing its head, so here is another go at it.

First, I have to admit that the phrasing of the question itself is a bit puzzling, as I don’t know of anyone or any scripture that claims that God needs our worship in the least.  God doesn’t need anything.  Even if you want to discuss God from the general philosophical point of view of God being the sum of all perfections, that leaves no room for a need, which implies a lack.

There was one atheist/agnostic that seemed to keep returning to the idea of, “maybe God needs our worship because He draws power from it?” asked in a hypothetical way of course.  This reads just like a plotline from Stargate; SG-1 with the Ori.  No, God’s power doesn’t come from outside of ourselves, and this way of trying to figure it out shows human arrogance once more.  The implication is that God is really relying on us for His power, which makes no sense at all.  He had absolutely no issues in creating from nothing without us around, nor in making any of the major decisions about life, the universe and everything.

I feel the question in it’s legitimate form is closer to, “why does God request/command our worship?”  I’m absolutely positive there are many reasons.  Another popular reason non-believers put forth is that God is somehow ego-maniacal…that He demands worship to somehow stroke His ego.  Again, this would imply a lack which does not fit.  Many non-believers delight in trying to paint God as some kind of petulant tyrant.  I do believe that is why this question occasionally makes the rounds.

I think that one of the main reasons that God requests/commands our worship is that it is good for us, as I’ve mentioned before.  Anything else we worship doesn’t work out to benefit us, and in fact, brings harm.  Once more; food, money, other humans, nature, false gods, etc… it never works out.  Stick with worshiping The Perfect Being who loves and cares about you, it works out a lot better in the end.   Another aspect came up when a non-believer insisted that worship is really what keeps someone out of Hell, basically they presented a straw man argument about the nature of entrance into Heaven, or winding up in Hell.  Here is a very revealing bit of scripture:

Matthew 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

It isn’t all about worship folks.  There can be those that worship in a way that is completely meaningless.  The worship is in vain.  Salvation isn’t about worship, it is about faith, trust, love, etc…  Worship flows so naturally from these things that many Christians get a bit confused when non-believers get stuck on the idea of worship.   Yes, we get it, you don’t want to bow down to God, but don’t try to twist the idea of worship into something negative, nor some kind of lack in God.

I enjoy this passage too because the disciples are still learning, “but, but, but, you offended the Pharisees.”  Many miss Jesus’ straightforward answer, “Let them alone,” don’t bother with their offended pride, and off they go, the blind leading the blind, let ’em fall in the ditch.  You see, it was the Pharisees caught up in this fake style of worship that was done, not from love, but from some odd sense of self-pride.  They worshipped all right, but that worship didn’t amount to a hill of beans; again, worship itself is not the point.

Does God deserve worship?  Now, there’s a question.  The answer is absolutely 100% yes, He alone deserves worship.  He’s the Alpha, and the Omega, He is absolutely Holy, Righteous, Just, He is Love, He is our Saviour.  Worshipping in spirit and in truth flows naturally from faith, love and trust.  It is never a negative thing when directed at God from the proper motivation.


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Need a laugh…


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Lives change…

It’s a fact. Just like the weather, lives change. Our existence shifts and morphs, part of the consequences of being time-bound. Sometimes the sun is shining and it is a beautiful, balmy day…then the rains come.

Oftentimes it is while we are in the middle of a storm that we need to remember that lives can and do change. There are some people that can’t fathom the storm passing, and some even take their own lives because of it, and that’s truly a shame because there is always hope and always a chance for chance. Often the storm is of our own making…other times, life just seems to happen.

This is a reminder to hang in there if you are in a tough spot because life moves onward; it must, yes, it is one of those time things again. It is also true that we never really know for sure what is on the next corner. And, yes, this is where God comes in. Well, He’s been there the whole time, really, this is just where I bring Him up in the post. God is with us in the past, present, and future whether we believe in Him or not. He can never be caught off guard, He can never be surprised, He never stops being present at all times.

There is no life so screwed up that it can’t change, or be changed. Sometimes we humans feel so very alone…but we aren’t. Sometimes we think a storm will never pass, but it will. God never promises that even if we believe in Him that our earthly lives will be perfect. No indeed. In fact, He promises us that there will be tribulation. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. As I pointed out in a previous post, a call for calm, we should realize Who precisely can control the very weather.

Regardless of whether or not we are believers, it is always nice to also have humans around that care for us too. God is always with us, but every now and again it is pleasant, and comforting to be consoled by other humans. If we find ourselves in a position to provide that comfort to another human, we should. And if we find ourselves in need of comforting, we should be able to turn to others whilst we wait for things to change.  Pray for people if you like, or, if you don’t believe yourself, ask someone who does to pray for you…what can it hurt?

Don’t give up if you feel life is screwed up for you right now, hang in there. Life moves on.  And, if you happen to find yourself in the sun right now, give thanks and enjoy it, and maybe “reach out a helping hand” to someone else who may need it.

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Does God have a sense of humor?

This question comes up both in serious and lighthearted conversations quite a bit.  I always answer with, “Yes, I believe He does.”  Now, we have to be careful and not “see” God as human, in the sense that He is so far above mere “human” status that He is indeed fundamentally different than us (not going into the deep theological considerations of the Trinity here).  Having said that, there isn’t a believer out there that will convince me that they haven’t felt God either being amused, or outright chuckling at something we humans have done.

We get such a clear picture of Christ’s humanity in the scriptures, one can feel humor in certain passages.  Also, we have different writers including humorous incidents.  I recently had someone point out this passage from Kings, from a different translation, and it is pretty funny, at least from my perspective;

1 Kings 18:27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

This is of course after Elijah took on the prophets of Baal in a bit of a “dare.”  Baal failed to “show up” and light a sacrifice fire, and that was Elijah’s reply.  The interesting thing is that the word translated “pursuing” here, is the Hebrew word  siyg.  It can also mean to go off privately to relieve oneself…  Heh.  They story ends with Elijah calling upon the Lord to light his pyre, after it had been trenched out and doused with water…God’s fire consumed everything present on the pyre, including the water gathered in the trenches.

God gave us a sense of humor for sure, and we are made in His image.  We all love being around people that have a good sense of humor, and are often put off by those that don’t, or those that have a truly mean sense of humor.  Irony, sarcasm, outright jokes…they all add a bit to our lives.  What believer hasn’t imagined having a good laugh with Jesus at one point or another?

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

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“Global Warming,” just another human ego trip?

I caught the ending to a show about global warming on TV and got a hoot out of one person’s comment.  It went something like, “we’ve got to realize that our generation has the fate of the whole world in it’s hands, etc… etc…”  Now, this person was apparently serious and I don’t believe that they intentionally employed hyperbole, but the sheer arrogance of that statement actually made me chuckle.

Humans have such an inflated view of themselves, and honestly the environmentalists have less respect for the environment than most of us regular type folks (and of course leave God completely out of the equation).  What I mean is this; the environment was set up to handle massive variations…look what happens when there is a volcano.  There is more pollution released by a volcano than we piddly little humans could manage, yet the environment copes.

It just struck me even more forcefully that there are humans pushing this idea because they are indeed on an ego trip, just thought I’d share.

Tell those poor people up in Alaska that (manmade) global warming is real, and is a bad thing…negative seventy-eight degrees…bleh.

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Human beings; neither angels nor demons…

I’ve been thinking on something recently; and that something is the tendency of humans to either put other humans on pedestals, or else so far in the dirt as to not warrant a second thought.  We tend to bestow some kind of odd sainthood on some, whilst having extreme negative feelings toward others.  I believe that we should aim for a realistic balance.

There are people that we like, that we love…and sometimes we can put them up on a pedestal.  There are people that we somehow believe don’t struggle with this earthly life like everyone else.  These thoughts can, and do, cause problems.  First, the person up on the pedestal can get rather tired of it.  Secondly, if we put someone up on the pedestal, that means they can fall off, instead of letting them be on even ground like everyone else…we humans have enough trouble maintaining our balance as it is (even on our knees sometimes).  Adding the extra burden unrealistic expectations on someone isn’t a good idea.  It’s also got to get really tempting to jump off that pedestal.

Also, those people that we seem to think don’t have problems and struggles in life are sometimes neglected because we all expect them to be the strong ones.  Let’s face it; every human is a sinner, everyone has troubles, everyone needs friends, everyone need someone to talk  things over with.  We are all hurtling around the sun on the same ball of mud as everyone else, and life is life.  We are all in desperate need of Christ, and even when we become a part of The Church, even when we become believers, we are still human beings, and in fact that joining of The Church should be something special indeed betwixt all our brothers and sisters.  We believers need to make sure we are there for each other.

The danger in painting someone as “perfect” in our own minds is that no one is perfect except Christ.  Therefore, all humans will disappoint us at some point.  That’s not a pessimistic statement at all, just a statement of fact.  Even if it is something small, we do disappoint others.  People in those phases of infatuated love often think the object of that infatuation is perfect…then it really hits the fan when they find out they are not.  Kids often have an idealistic version of “parents” in their heads and it can be a punch in the gut when they finally figure out their parents are just as human as everyone else.  Same thing goes with parents and their view of their own kids.

On the flip side, we sometimes view someone we dislike or are mad at as something other than human.  The truth it, that person is in the image of God, just as we are.  They are going to face the same types of things in this life as us (like death and taxes…and life and taxes).  We mentally throw mud on others, when it might do us good to remember their humanity.  And, yes, I’m talking to myself here too; I tend to do the exact same thing, and it would be very hard to change.

I think it is interesting that when someone does something truly heinous, we often term it “inhuman.”  The scary thing is that it is indeed human.  Sometimes we don’t like to face human faults because it reminds us of our own…or, rather, it reminds us of what humans are actually capable of. It adds a lot of meaning to the phrase, “There but for the grace of God…” or for the smaller things we should actually be able to connect with the person, because we’ve all sinned. I guess the thing to remember is that there is a person involved in those heinous events…not “only” demons or Satan, but a willing flesh and blood human is indeed involved.

We are human beings, and being human means we are all sinners and we will all have our faults.  We will all sin, without Christ, we are all deserving of judgment.  We are all also made in the image of God…each one of us.  Elevating people to “angel” status, or shoving them in a pit to “demon” status robs them of the fact that we all have to face; we are a bunch of humans dealing with a bunch of other humans.  Praise God, He’s above all things, and still deals with us too…or else we’d really be screwed.  I also praise Him because when He does the elevating, He holds us up in His hand and He begins to change us and work on us…it’s the only way any of us have a chance.

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.” – CS Lewis, Prince Caspian

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