Friday, September 22, 2017

A Remarkable Mind


The last paragraph in the book Miracles, by C.S. Lewis, is so inspiring to me. I slog through a lot of material sometimes through which I allow my beliefs to be sifted, challenged and then... when I feel very fortunate indeed... inspired. I am thankful that this atheist turned Christian and then used his talents so genuinely by writing his journey down so we can read it today. I enjoy his wit which at times seems innocent and slipped into difficult passages it alleviates the heaviness of his topics... which, by the way, are all heavy. I can only surmise but I would suggest that a person who has been an atheist and then becomes a Christian is going to feel the burden of the years of unbelief something to, possibly, have a need to make up for?
One thing he does that I really understand and appreciate is... he is often explaining what his goals are and what they are not. Direct... he is direct in his helpfulness.
Quote- "But behind all asceticism, the thought should be, 'Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?' Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body? These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies were given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may someday be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bareback, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged shining and world- shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King's stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else- since he has retained his own charger- should we accompany him?"
In these few words he describes the mortal life and the responsibility of it as a training ground for the next life by using imagery from the Revelation. 
If I could be thus inspiring to all the atheists I have met... 
thus my training will not have been for nought.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pure Intelligences

In the half sermon I read today... it is long... I wrote down this quote... by Spurgeon...
'Christ has power over all pure intelligences.'
I had read that before but I was not quite ready to try to use this information in conversation... the place where I think all good and fresh ways of encouragement can best be seeded into the lives of others. I even think there is a very good way to include this on a resume or in a job interview. You may say something like, "In existential intelligence I can communicate with almost anyone I meet but being as this is not a very comfortable topic for most people I use this very intelligence and watch the body language of the person I am speaking with to ensure that I am using my interpersonal intelligence... you know, being people smart. Intra- personal intelligence is evident in philosophers, spiritual leaders and psychologists. The capacity to understand oneself usually produces people who are very little trouble for others. They use this understanding to think through and map out solutions for their own lives. 
Nature smart, musical smart, number- reasoning smart, body smart (athletes), word smart, picture smart (3D thinkers- pilots, architects, painters, daydreamers). I've already mentioned self smart and people smart. 
I am thinking this could be a great way to encourage anyone. Identify some sprout of pure intelligence in a person and tell them you can see potential there. 
It may develop and if your motive is pure... ahhh, good things will grow. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Untitled

Miracles by C.S. Lewis... that is what I'm currently reading. I am trying to encourage myself in my job, relationship, and sphere of influence search. Many days I want to give up on this search so encouraging myself takes effort and a logical approach to shoring up foundational principles that I live by. This requires checking in on what I believe. That subsists of  recalling past experiences of what I would term miraculous happenings... things that cannot be explained or if someone tries, the explanation usually falls short and leaves an unexplainable gap. Yet some good thing has happened anyway.
Many people believe in science, yet do not believe in Christianity, yet science is by no means a closed canon of explainable knowledge that is known from inception to final stages of, so what is the difference then... I asked myself, this week. In my reading a simple clear sentence... 'This kind of person has had no experience of Christ (the one who cannot believe in Christianity).' This I found to be very sad because that sure does put a lot of pressure on any person who must solve problems day in and day out. And, each person has problems to solve each day.
  Now, I am very happy that science has come as far as it has to be able to say... if an earthquake happens, in nature, or if mankind makes an earthquake happen using scientific knowledge, in nature... and both measure the same magnitude on the Richter scale... both are the same magnitude. Science would decree that.
Why, then, is one reported as a natural disaster and the other as an experiment or test?
I do not think that God views both of those events the same.
I certainly do not.
So, every day I still rely on God to deliver a miracle of help and healing, when I hear of something difficult, because so many times... He does.
In this world of uncertainty I rely on God to do that. It takes the pressure off and produces good results. I've seen it time and time again...
but first, I believed it.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Vulnerability Opportunity

It takes courage to be vulnerable and, in my opinion, vulnerability either comes to one innately or through much practice. I have often thought, "Why do I have to be in this vulnerable position again?"
It can be hard to be vulnerable so why put myself into that kind of situation?
Well, I have read that vulnerability is a form of strength if you are open to new environments and situations and people. You just have to have enough courage to handle yourself and be yourself while happily taking direction from others who are in charge or taking charge of what you've been given direction to do; and knowing how to do what you put your hands to... because, individually, we are all doing a small part of something, collectively.
Tact... it takes tact to handle little situations that come your way. Tact is described as adroitness and sensitivity. That is a wonderful skill to develop if you do not have it innately.
I am often surprised by little difficulties that I did not think I would have if I agree to do a task. I even listened to a sermon this year which had this line as its preface to each point... I do not want you to be surprised when... and I thought... this speech is for me! I am too often surprised by little hiccups. Now, some surprises are good... like conversations that clarify my thoughts and direction in life.
I've been thinking a lot about wording... how people word things has so much to do with whether or not I apply for a job, per se. If there is a near perfect description of one of my innate abilities, in a job description, I will sometimes apply even if I am needing to develop a technical skill.
And... there is such opportunity to find out what you believe when talking to someone you don't know very well. This week, in conversation, I said this... "I have no problem with giving benevolent spiritual blessings or giftings."
I wrote that down in my journal and then have been thinking about those words for the last few days and how that ability, gift, and role gets implemented by anyone who encourages others.
Almost any opportunity will involve some vulnerability but that can actually be a gift when one learns to implement it in beneficence.
Conversations are great ways to hone this skill.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vulnerability

High winds on Monday tossed this flower container off the ledge like it was weightless. I saw it happen and I was amazed at how fast it was. Snap your fingers... about like that. Most of the flowers in this container are Cosmos. It worried me as I thought... oh, oh, our Cosmos is in trouble and I don't mean just the flowers. The first container of Cosmos that fell, August 1, broke the big plant right off and just a small branch is now growing from the roots which I left in the planter. These plants, a different planter, were still in fairly good condition so I transplanted them into a different container because this one broke in two. I thought about tossing them but we had warm weather into November last year and as soon as the plants are gone... everything looks so stark and unfriendly. So I rescued these plants and a bee was enjoying my efforts as soon as I had the large plant a bit more sheltered on the balcony.
I took a photo of this planter, on Sunday, because I spent a couple of hours studying the topic of 'glory' and as the heavens declare the glory of God so nature is His beauty that is also necessary for life itself. Clear away too much green space in a city and the troubles seem insurmountable when storms devastate it. The news has been reporting that fairly clearly these days.
So, I knew this plant was way too large for its container so I snapped a quick pic just as a reminder of what can be grown with diligence and care and work. It survived the storm on Monday but was slammed onto the balcony Tuesday. Sigh! The wind, yesterday, destroyed about half my garden.
  On Sunday, I gathered a seed pod that looked so perfectly ready to pick. It seemed like such an old- fashioned thing to do but these are the hardy stocks that just did not freeze until late in November last year, therefore, I planted them this year again. The Global Seed Vault was threatened this year by flooding... something that seems to have surprised many... so it seems gathering seeds still has a lot of value in the small and big scheme of things. Like most things in life, it is best not to leave all your seeds in one place.
Now, this rosebush is tough. It went sailing off the ledge on Monday right along with the Cosmos but it did not flinch.
This is a photo of it after its fall. The container is busted up but the bush was completely intact. The thorns on this bush are big and painful if you get stabbed with one but is that also its strength, maybe? The browallia, one of my favourite plants, broke off in large sections and will give me a bit more enjoyment in vases.
What are the lessons in the last few days?
Vulnerability is something we are all subject to.
Plant.
Grow... do everything that is required to make something grow... watering, weeding.
Enjoy the good results.
When storms come, rescue what you can, clean up what you can't.
Collect seeds... real seeds and in knowledge and experience as well.
Prepare to plant again, in season.
And above all, pray.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Writer

I just finished reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. When I started reading the collection of letters, put into book form, I was confused as to what this Christian writer was trying to accomplish with these diabolical letters. I thought, why is he writing these things? They are not good. And, thankfully, by the end of the book he writes, "Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment. But though it was easy to twist one's mind in to the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp. Every trace of beauty, freshness, and geniality had to be excluded."
I will most often take pictures with flowers or quilts or something I have created and made to add to the beauty of the story. Many people I have met find it very difficult to read hundreds of pages of black and white scripted words and give up long before they are finished reading a book. So, I often give little book reviews of books I have read. I like reading them, before I buy a book, so I feel I am doing a good service if I give a book review as well. My recommendation is to read Mere Christianity before reading The Screwtape Letters because unless you know your Bible fairly well... reading those letters may not be very helpful to understanding the Christian writers' method of teaching.
Once you catch on to what Lewis is trying to do with his writing, you will find the teaching he provides a useful manual of all the perils and pitfalls that a person would dearly love to avoid as either perpetrator or victim... Screwtape or Wormwood.
Truly, you never want to be either.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Gardening Marriage

In my opinion, marriage is like gardening in many ways. Gardening is so much work that many people do not have the time to do it or think it is a waste of time because they are too busy doing other things. But, without gardens, there would actually be no life at all... no food, no oxygen... the whole life cycle would just stop. God had it planned right at the beginning. I think everybody knows that old story in Genesis already so I'll just talk about the current conditions of my garden and how I dealt with the issues this year and what my experiment has produced.
I was apologizing for the size of my ledge garden today, when I thought it might be a problem for the owner of the building, but I was interrupted with, "I really like your garden."
Well, that changed the tone of the conversation immediately. A word spoken in due season, how good it is! Now, the mutual interest in how the plants got so large was something I was happily willing to discuss. I, myself, am just amazed at how large these plants have grown. I did not have a garden plot to put the soil into last autumn so I just weighted down the soil with water so the planters wouldn't tumble off in winter. Frozen water is heavy. Spring arrived and I looked at this soil with a bit of skepticism but I wanted to plant so I decided I would try using the soil just as it was... full of roots from last years' plants. Roots from plants do have nutrients that can replenish soil but this is such a tiny bit of soil I was unsure if it would work but I planted the little starter plants in this tight web of roots that I had tried to break up to create a little semblance of soil loaminess. It was a slow start I would have to say. The plants looked spindly and unwell for a while. So, I used a little MiracleGro.
The plants quickly started to look much happier and were growing so well that I stopped using that MiracleGro because the height of some of the plants caused the wind to pitch one of the containers right off the ledge one evening. Rearranging their positions to support each other better has kept all the planters nicely supported and also caused more growth in other plants due to the sheltering. You can find a few lessons in there. Simply put, some plants need more sheltering to grow better. Now the plants are so thick and dense that I have to deal with some mould on some of them because not quite enough air is able to get through and the higher than normal amounts of organic matter to sand may also be causing some of this and we've had a lot of humidity.
So, how do I equate this gardening work to marriage? Well, every year each person is still the same soil that they were from the year before with any changes happening mainly through what they've learned and applied to their lives. We are all made of the original dirt God made us from and we are, kind of, expected to take care of this earthly dirt called a body if we want it to last for any length of time. Individually, we all must handle our own care of the body we live in but within marriage there are many ways to care for each other that can bring very fine results of emotional wellness that then translates into healthier bodies as well. Fulfilling the intention of fidelity creates fertility of good will. Loyalty to the marriage partnership for mutual help eases the stress for both the man and woman when neither has to carry things alone. Doesn't that sound appealing?