Monday, January 30, 2006

Progress on my book

In a previous post (12 December 05) I was talking about the book I'm writing. Well, I've finished the next draft, which is again totally amazing. The next step is to ask half a dozen people to read it and get some feed back which is very scary. It is one thing to sit at a computer typing your thoughts and beliefs it is quite another to let those same thoughts into any sort of public arena, no matter how small. I guess we do this when we blog but I must admitted to being fairly guarded on my blog, not so in my book.

The book is currently called, "10 things we hate about God". Here is a bit from the introduction: The reason I wanted to use the word "hate" is to encourage Christians to be more honest. Simply put we hate the fact that God won't run the world the way we want Him to. This book looks at why we don't embrace some basic Christian truths with a lot more enthusiasm.

Little children go through a developmental stage where they will put their hands over their eyes and say, "You can't see me!" In a spiritual sense Christians sometimes think if they ignore any struggles they have with God that somehow God won't notice them either. We know this to be completely illogical but logic doesn't seem to play much of a role in these issues.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Things that make me come alive

Over the last week I have been thinking about the question, what makes me come alive? I remember some years ago we lived in a small country town and I went to a writers' group. The group was made up of many people who lived alternative lifestyles. I was the only the Christian. They were an amazing honest bunch of people. They didn't pretend to have life worked out and they didn't pretend to be something they weren't. I would go home from their meetings, which were on Saturdays, feeling incredibly alive. The next day I would go to church and find that the people there seemed plastic in comparison (and probably I was adding to the plastic–ness as much as anyone).

The second thing I thought about that makes me feel alive is going to work, though not to the same extent. Currently I am doing some casual work at some public libraries. It is the interaction with people that makes me feel alive.

The third thing that can make me feel alive is writing which is probably to do with using my giftedness.

So I have come up with three things that make me feel alive: honesty, interaction with people and using my gifts.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What makes you come alive?

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Quote from "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge.

I received "Captivating" by Sasti and John Eldredge for Christmas and after I read it I decided to read "Wild at Heart." The books cover similar ground. I have heard mixed reviews about the books. Many themes in the books have been covered by others but I found it to be a refreshing read. The themes are presented from a different perspective using original illusions but the themes themselves are not new.

I first came across the theme of romantic love when I was reading Selwyn Hughes' Every Day With Jesus March/April 2000, that edition being called "The Beloved" and in it Hughes draws much from the Song of Solomon. The Eldredge are also highly influenced by Neil Anderson and quote several times from him. Neil Anderson is also a favourite of mine.

Having read the books several weeks ago two thoughts have stayed with me. One is that the devil will particularly attack anything that is beautiful, which explains such things as pollution, the oppression of women etc.

Secondly that Christians have tried to make the Christian life safe and in doing so have made it boring. In trying to make the Christian life safe men have become passive and reluctant to take risks. Women have become distracted with careers, home making etc. In retrospective I'm not sure if the Eldredge's actual say this but that is what I thought after I read the books. To start to solve the problem we need to ask ourselves what makes me come alive? Which I have found to be a difficult question.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

More on Desert to Destiny : the daughters of Zelophehad

One further thing I want to say about Desert to Destiny : the daughters of Zelophehad by Wendy Yapp is the very interesting thing she points out at the end of the book. In Jeremiah 22:30 it states that the kingly inheritance will not pass through Jehoiachin yet he is listed in Joseph's descendants (Matthew 1:11). On the other hand Mary's line of descendant as recorded by Luke, (Luke 3:23 actually says it is Joseph's but it differs from the account in Matthew and it was customary to record a woman's line under her husband's name) goes through Nathan rather than Solomon, thus by passing Jehoiachin. Some Biblical scholars believe that Mary had no brothers and she did marry within her tribe (both Mary and Joseph were from the tribe of Judah). Therefore Yapp concludes that the kingly line which leads to Jesus actually goes through Mary's descendants and not Joseph's. Wow!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Enneagram

The Enneagram : A Journey of Self Discovery by Maria Beesing, Robert J. Nogosek, Patrick H. O'Leary (Dimension Books, Inc. 1984) is a study of the way people are motivated to behave. It uses the premise that Jesus lived a perfectly balanced life. But we are born with a sin nature which has caused us to move away from this balance and choose a way of behaving that is off centre. So we have taken a virtue, a good attribute, exaggerated its importance and made it the way we live our entire life. In so doing, we have become unbalanced. In the Enneagram it is taught that there are nine virtues which have been taken to an extreme and every person has unwittingly chosen one of these as a child to be the way they live. It is not easy working out which virtue a person, even yourself, has chosen because we need to think about why we act the way we do and sometimes it is not obvious. It can also be very challenging to admit to ourselves what our true motivation is.

There are several different ways the Enneagram identifies these nine ways. Sometimes it is just through numbers and sometimes through description. Basically the nine are these: Being a perfectionist; Being helpful; Being successful; Being unique; Being knowledgeable; Being loyal; Being fun; Being strong; Being peaceful. As you can see none of these things are bad in themselves but taken to an extreme can be unhealthy. One of the reason I like the Enneagram is because the emphasis is on growing away from our natural inclination towards more healthy ways of behaving in the world.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

God calls His daughters Tirhaz

I have just finished reading, Desert to Destiny : the daughters of Zelophehad by Wendy Yapp which was a Christmas present. The daughters of Zelophehad were fatherless and brotherless so they went to Moses when he was working out the inheritance for each of the tribes of Israel and asked for their father's inheritance (Number 27:1-11). Pretty gutsy thing to do in a male orientated society. Nevertheless without an inheritance they could well have entered the promise land destitute. Later there was a condition added which said they must marry within their own tribe. Since God didn't want the land to transfer ownership between tribes (Numbers 36). (Wendy Yapp seems to think because of the time gap between Numbers 27 and Joshua 17 when they actually took possession of the land that the girls were probably married, which seems to me to defeat the purpose of them being given an inheritance?)

Anyway it is a very interesting story. Wendy Yapp sends a fair bit of time discussing the meanings of their names which does get a bit long winded but considering the girls are mentioned by name four times in the Old Testament (which is unusually high for a woman), it seems that their names were very important. The name I found most interesting was Tirzah which was the name of his fifth daughter. I mean to say the father has got to be hanging out for a boy to carry on the family name and he gets another girl. (He didn't know that they would be granted an inheritance.) Yet he calls her Tirzah which means, "delighted with, pleased with, favoured and object of affection" so there's absolutely no sense her father is disappointed with her and as Yapp points out, we are all "Tirzahs" as far as God is concerned.

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