Monday, December 31, 2007

Recovering Pharisee

I am a Pharisee.

Full of pride and self-righteousness. Often I don't let it show (well, except to those closest to me), but I know it's there. God knows it's there.

A friend recommended this book, "12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee".

I chuckle when I read it. Not a haha funny chuckle, but a sort of wow, I can't believe he just said that and it's sad but true. I have those same thoughts and feelings! I chuckle at the uncanny likeness of bad attitude I share with the author as he describes my attitude at times to a T.

You know those thoughts Christian! Yes, you! Christian! What exactly are your thoughts when you are behind that slow driver whose left turn signal is still blinking from the turn a mile back when you are running late? Or, what are your thoughts about that woman in line in front of you at the department store that can't find her credit card, then when she does it doesn't work, so she fishes for another card that doesn't work and you have places to go things to do. Are your thoughts Christlike?

Do you roll your eyes back into your skull when the prayer request list at Sunday School goes into it's third hour?

How have you treated your loved ones today? Quick with the tongue? That small part of the body that James says is so full of evil.

Anyway, it is a book of self-examination and of helpful encouragement for attitude adjustment. I've finished only the first chapter, but just reading through the list of the "12 Steps" I feel hopeful that I can admit my failings and work toward building my relationship with Christ to take on more of His likeness.
The 12 Steps

1. We admit that our single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people.

2. Have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind.

3. Realize that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven't worked for it and don't deserve it.

4. Have decided that we don't want to get what we deserve after all, and we don't want anyone else to either.

5. Will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves.

6. Are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.

7. Embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning.

8. Are looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us.

9. Are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider other better than ourselves.

10. Embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.

11. Choose to rid ourselves of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to others who think that Christians are better than everyone else.
This should be a very challenging book and I pray that I don't just read it and add to the stack of books on my shelf that collect dust. I'm hopeful that by allowing God to shine His Light on me, and my Pharisaical attitude, that He can heal me and grow me. My hope is in Him...only He can change me!


Went to see a loooooooooong and boring movie today. I don't recommend "P.S. I Love You", but it did lead me to discover a new game. Actually, I've learned it's an old game, but it's new to me!

Took me awhile to figure it out, now you go see what you can do.

Snaps is the Name of the Game!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I Become

"I become what I behold"
Heard that lyric in a song today. (Earthsuit - Osmosis Land)

Made me consider what do I behold?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Can Our Brains Sense the Future?

I had a freaky type of an experience today. Nothing earth shattering, but something that made me go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

You know Deja Vu?...we've all experienced that sensations of "I've been here before" = weird.

I didn't have an "I've been here before moment", but more of a "can I tell the future moment?"

Well, today after seeing a movie, I was waiting for Justin before we walked to the car and I started humming a melody that I am familiar with having performed arrangements of it in various ensembles I have played in. I was humming "Bacchanale" from Camille Saint-Saƫns's Samson et Dalila. It's got a really cool melody and I think it could be transformed into an energetic rock tune (which probably already has somewhere along the line but I am not aware of it.) Anyway, that was that. I thought it, hummed it to myself, and went on with life.

Justin and I get in the car...and I hit SCAN on the radio (WSCAN is my favorite station on FM) and THE FIRST STATION IT CAME TO WAS PLAYING BACCHANALE!

I've never heard that piece on the radio before and there it was! That was just too freaky! I was like "NO WAY!" I can tell the future! (To listen and watch it performed click here. I was humming the finale which starts at about the 6:12 marker.)

It does make me wonder if our brains do have the capacity to have an inclination as to what is up ahead, in the immediate future. And...what if we could tap into that? Maybe we could practice and tap into the not-so-immediate future? ...would we want to?

It bloggles the mind!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

If It Doesn't Have a Tail Its Not a Monkey

I just love Larry...he's sooooo cute! Here he is with Bob teaching us how to tell a monkey from an ape.

This is the part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yule Be Entertained!

Amy posted this YouTube video and calls in the Best Christmas Performance Ever. I followed a link from her comment at the Moral Science Club where Jim was calling the Bing Crosby and David Bowie duet the greatest ever. I do recommend viewing the above video, yule get a chuckle from it and be impressed by the talent as well.

I have so many Christmas favorites, it's hard to call any one of them the "greatest ever", but it sure is fun to bring out the old tunes year after year. It seems my true Christmas favorites are songs that take me back to my childhood.

Do they make any "classics" anymore? What is the most recent song that has become a Christmas standard? One might say "The Christmas Shoes" by Newsong, or possibly "Mary Did You Know" sung by many artists in the past few years. I'd say the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has created Christmas classics with their rock opera styled music and show, but classics are few and far between. Then again, that's what makes them classic.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Diversity: Strength or Weakness?

I found an interesting article, Can Diversity Destroy Us? by Pat Buchanan. In it, Buchanan theorizes that there is an ongoing "deconstruction of America", and places some of the blame on the diversity of its people. He disagrees with those leaders who constantly point out that America's strength is its diversity.

I must say I agree with Buchanan.

Diversity is a good thing when there is a common purpose, but the whole "melting pot" thing isn't working. It doesn't work when the "ingredients" in the pot don't "melt" together. It's not working because many in America demand this and that for their own selfish purposes rather than the purpose of the country, which is totally lost in the confusion. How could a baker make a cake if the ingredients all did their own thing and the eggs didn't blend with each other let alone the vanilla? And the flour refused to blend with the sugars? The "melting pot" only works when there is a common goal and "melting" happens to blend into that one purpose, that one common goal.

America doesn't even have an official language. Americans no longer worship the One True God, but many gods. I think Buchanan has a can we be a strong nation when our residents speak different languages, have cultures that practice different "laws", and worship different gods?

America doesn't have one vision, we don't have one purpose. There is no strength in that.

Buchanan uses some excellent examples of countries and governments that have failed and cites diversity as a major cause in those failures.

I find it a scary prospect that a nation can lose its identity. Nations fall when they lose their identity, lose their sovereignty, and are not unified in purpose.

We can be a diverse people, but we must be unified in purpose.

*edited for grammatical errors as per Arron's correction.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Working Faith

A gifted communicator, Russ Pflasterer, shared a message from James at Northbrook Church, 11/18/07.

It was a powerful message and I was inspired to put some excerpts together with some pictures, to draw attention to Russ's point that love is action (as was Jesus' love so great for us he went to the cross...a BIG action!) and that being a Christian is about having a relationship with One you are in love with.

It ends rather abruptly, but I think I was still able to capture one of the points Russ made in this message.

If you want to hear the message in it's entirety go here.