Continuing in Chapter 1

It’s true, we do take our time in studying God’s Word. It’s a treasure. It’s a delight. It’s a joy, well worth our time. We can snicker at ourselves when others tease us, saying things like, “By the time you finish going through I Corinthians, you’ve also read the entire rest of the Bible in that Sunday school class!”

Here’s what we did today:

A Quick Review of Where We’ve Been over the Last Few Weeks? Months?

1 Corinthians 1:20–25 (RSV)

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

A book I’m reading, “Gnostic America” by Peter Burfeind, underscores how similar 1st-century Corinth and 21st-century United States really are. I can’t say that I’m enjoying the book, but I’m glad I’m reading it. How can you NOT get something out of a book when the website for the book uses phrases like “Medieval-Gnostic perversion of Christian theology”?

Verse 26

1 Corinthians 1:26 (RSV)

26 For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth;

 

this is a white board with Bible references  to
Notes from Bible Study on I Corinthians 1:26

Home from Church, but I will listen to the sermon later…

Breathing issues and sciatic pain kept me home from church today. I don’t like that. It took me so long to learn that hearing God’s Word preached and receiving God’s extravagant gift of forgiveness is a treasure! I don’t ever want to take it for granted. I probably do take it for granted, I just don’t want to.

Part of that is because I don’t want to break the third commandment (by the Roman Catholic/Lutheran numbering scheme, fourth commandment by the Episcopalian/Baptist/Methodist/etc. numbering scheme). I want to “fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.” There will be many times when I will be unable to participate in the “Gottesdienst” (a.k.a. “the divine service,” in some circles, “worship”), so I want to get “the goods” at every opportunity. Granted, I can read the Bible and pray alone, but these privileges and delights flow out of being part of the Body of Christ in this world. Being a “Lone Ranger Christian” doesn’t really seem to have biblical support.

I also want to go to church in the name of those Christians in other parts of the world where being a Christian is a deadly proposition. In Christ, Christians in Iraq (just one example) are a part of me. Their wounds are mine. Their struggles are mine. Their joys are mine. My Facebook profile picture may not always show the letter “nun,” but I think of Christians (yes, and others) who are facing incredible struggles for their beliefs. I do hope that we can begin discussing these kind of stories with each other.

Perhaps we can start by talking about something a little bit more distant, not the immediate past. The issues are similar. People have not changed much in the last 3000 years, even if we have gotten some really nifty electronic gadgets in the last 30 years.

One of my favorite places to read about is Japan. I think my interest started when I was about eight years old and Dad visited that faraway country. He showed us where it was on the map. He brought us pictures, fans, little dolls, and a tea set. The delicate porcelain was wrapped in newspaper. I couldn’t read it. None of the grown-ups I knew could read it, but I knew that somewhere in the world there were millions of people who thought that reading these miraculous pages were everyday experience. Somewhere in the world, people thought that these miraculous pages were trash-fit only to wrap a doll -sized tea set.

I read a few novels set in Japan and read a few Japanese novels in translation. I learned enough to know that Shusaku Endo is an artist. Now one of his books is being turned into a movie that I want to see, even if it deals with persecution.

The movie also deals with real questions like, “Where Is God in my struggles?” It phrases it also, “Am I praying into silence?” While I appreciated this review, I am looking forward to seeing the movie for myself. Unfortunately, I can’t get the book in a Kindle version. I can get it in an audible.com format, though. I may have to do that next month…

quote from “Hammer of God”

He had never taken theology very seriously. The great philosophers had interested him most. But in all of Leibnitz’ Theodicée he could not recall a single line that even remotely dealt with such things as this. As a matter of fact, he could eliminate everything he had ever read, with the possible exception of Concordia Pia. In that volume there had indeed been something definite about the anguish of a frightened conscience. But what was it? He regretted that he had studied Concordia Pia so carelessly. He had, of course, always viewed the confessional writings as remnants of medievalism, understandable only against the background of papal darkness.

–Giertz, Bo; Giertz, Bo; Giertz, Bo. Hammer of God (pp. 12-13). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.

Zion’s Facebook “READING RING” is tackling this book, beginning this week. Now… Online reading groups are a new thing for me. I’ve just read because I like it, but it’s kind of fun reading stuff with other people who enjoy reading stuff.

And this book is going to be a kick!

It is a cluster of three novellas, so even folks who don’t like reading will find this to be less painful than a tooth extraction. It deals with Lutheran teachings, but it isn’t preachy. Cocky and self-righteous doctors of theology wind up learning that they know less about faith than simple people who trust what God says.

As you can see from the quote, things have not changed much.

Written by a man who started life as an atheist, no less. I’m going to enjoy this so much!

Nifty quote I read today

In my devotions, I have been reading Johan Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations. While it is very Law-heavy, ever so often I find such joyous tidbits that I cannot help but find them… BEAUTIFUL. Here is an example…

johan-gerhard-sacred-meditations-adam-fell

 

Adam fell from God’s grace, and lost, by his unbelief, the Divine image; but we are received into a state of grace, and are formed anew in the Divine image by faith. Through faith Christ becomes ours and dwells in us (Eph. 3:17); but where Christ is there is the grace of God; and where the grace of God is, there is the heritage of life eternal.

Johann Gerhard, Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations, trans. C. W. Heisler (Philadelphia, PA: Lutheran Publication Society, 1896), 65.

ANOTHER NIFTY QUOTE FOR THE DAY

‘The great mystery of Ephesians 6 is that God bestows his own armor on his people. The medium of the great gift is first Jesus Christ, God’s Champion, who is depicted by the OT and the NT as clothed in the same armor as YHWH, wielding his ferocious long sword against his people’s enemies (Is 11:4–5; 59:16–17; Rev 1:13–16; 19:11–15). But Ephesians takes this one step farther by arguing that, since the Christian is mystically “in Christ,” this armor is bestowed on everyone baptized into him.’

Winger, T. M. (2015). Ephesians. (D. O. Wenthe & C. P. Giese, Eds.) (p. 748). Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

My RESOLUTIONS for the year…

Writing and Reading still go hand in hand, at least in my head. Reading is easier for me, unless I’m doing it with a specific purpose. That makes it easier for me to simplify things, I’m combining my multilayered lists into one simple one. It will combine reading and writing goals.

That doesn’t mean that making healthy life changes is an important. That doesn’t mean attitude adjustments are trivial. That doesn’t mean that focusing on how I relate to people doesn’t need my attention.

It simply means that I need the simplest and shortest list possible. Sometimes, I have the attention span of a squirrel on crack cocaine. These items will distract me enough!

  1. 8 Minutes daily (except Sunday) on the snowflake outline of the science fiction novel that I’ve been threatening to write since I was 10.
    1. MASTER Level: 3 sets
    2. ACCEPTABLE Level: 1 set
    3. STRUGGLING Level: try to figure out why I’m struggling
  2. 250 words daily (except Sunday) on other projects. Facebook, twitter, and email do not count. Blogging only counts one third of the time.
    1. MASTER Level: 3 sets
    2. ACCEPTABLE Level: 1 set
    3. Twitter and Facebook account, figure out why you’re struggling.
  3. My GOODREADS 2016 Reading Challenge (10 books for now, I can increase it)

 

Lisa's bookshelf: currently-reading

Great Expectations
tagged: currently-reading

goodreads.com

Writers and Teachers = READERS

Lisa's bookshelf: currently-reading

Great Expectations
tagged: currently-reading

goodreads.com

Two old sayings need to be combined:

All writers are readers.
All teachers are readers.

Ever so often, I may let you into part of my current reading lists. Maybe, I think.

Past, Present, and Future… We Are Still Tied to Them All

Most of you know that I get books from the TEXAS TALKING BOOK PROGRAM. While I get to do most of my reading via Kindle-apps, this is a great program for when I’m not connected to one of my digital devices. (Yes, it happens!) A cartridge comes with a book on it. I look at the title and author, and either listen or send it back.

Usually I listen.

It is sort of the closest thing to the way I used to go to the library when I was 10. Meandering stacks of books, randomly picking topics I didn’t know anything about by people I had never heard of. It’s hard to do that digitally. There is just too much stuff to randomly browse like that. You used to be able to go a few feet and get something totally different. Now, I don’t know…

Somehow we’re missing the past, present, and future because we are so tied to our devices. Don’t get me wrong, digital tools are blessings to me! I’m no Luddite!

I just miss the time when the words and ideas mattered. I miss savoring a book slowly.

Anyhow…

I just finished a real treasure. It was a surprise, I didn’t really think that I would like it. I did!

THE FIRST TYCOON by

TJ Stiles is a fun biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Don’t get me wrong, it is well researched and well written. I don’t know what I expected, maybe something as interesting as listening to the phone book being read.

It was a real roller-coaster ride alongside the man who went from brawling sailor to transportation tycoon. Cornelius Vanderbilt may not have created modern America, but he sure contributed DNA.

The whole way through, I kept thinking, “NOTHING has changed in 200 years. The past, present, and future are still tied together.