Posts filed under ‘faith’

a man, a plan, how banal

how much do you plan?

personally, i hate planning. attempting to anticipate the events of the future seems a bit futile to me, even bordering on hubris, and we all know what happened to icarus. ive heard it said that there’s no use in building the biggest boat when you can’t raise the tide, and that’s so true, it hurts.

but how about my decision making? don’t all my decisions point in a certain direction that i want to take my life in? for example, the choices i make at work affect my positive or negative standing at work, which determine which city i live in. and that has somehow led me to durham, north carolina, of all places.

i’ve learned that the harder you try to grip the control joystick of life, the more you realize that nearly everything is out of your control. when you learn this, you will look down and realize that what you thought was the control joystick of life is actually a slimy, wet trout. and the harder you grip it, the more it will squirm out of your hands.

so man the rudders, but have faith in the current.

September 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

blood drives, bbq, and team jacob

yesterday, the american red cross held a blood drive at my workplace. i used to think that the american red cross would be an awfully good cover for a secret group of vampires who masquerade as humanitarians as they live among us feeding off our donated bodily fluid. actually, i still think it is a good theory but the whole idea of vampirism has been tainted for me by twilight. in any event, i now routinely donate blood but not for the usual reason of saving lives.

first, giving blood is good preparation in the event you are injured and lose lots of blood. if i ever lose a pint of blood in a surprise bear attack or ninja ambush, my body will already be conditioned to function normally. which means i’ll properly soil my trousers.

next, it is fascinating that a part of me is now inside a plastic bag being stored in a freezer somewhere and even more fascinating that it might end up inside another person some day. even though red blood cells do not replicate and die fairly rapidly, there is a sense that donating blood immortalizes you in a way.

giving blood gives me an excuse to eat lots of meat in an effort to replenish iron. yesterday evening, i attended a terrific bbq dinner where i ate grilled chicken, a hamburger, steak, and a sausage. instead of shame, which would have been the normal reaction to such gluttony, i felt a deep satisfaction in the depths of my bones. perhaps the feeling was my marrow using the meat to make more blood.

lastly, every pint of blood donated undergoes numerous laboratory tests to screen out all sorts of horrible diseases in order to keep the blood supply safe. this occurs at no cost to you and the red cross will actually notify you if you test positive for anything. so a blood donation, at the very least, is a free blood test.

the red cross also interviews donors to disqualify people whose blood might be at higher risk of being infected. while this is a good practice to keep patients needing blood transfusions from being made more ill with donated blood, my donor interview yesterday made me realize just what a boring person i am. for example, i have not:

1) been to africa, south america, the UK, or eastern europe
2) had any tattoos
3) gotten any piercings
4) eaten any mad cow beef from the UK
5) exchanged sex for money
6) used any illicit intravenous drugs

so although i have many good reasons to donate blood, i hope that by the next blood drive, i can proudly answer that i am an interesting and adventurous person who has traveled to malaria-infested parts of the world and gotten tribal tattoos and piercings.

but my main point today is actually theological in nature. many people, when asked why they are not interested in donating blood, say that they don’t like needles, or the pain, or that they don’t weigh enough, or that they are training for a long distance race, or they are on team jacob. these are all valid reasons, don’t get me wrong, and hearing these reasons reminds me of jesus. jesus bore the cross, endured the pain, was worthy and selfless enough to not just donate, but give his blood, not that we could be cured of any earthly disease, but to cleanse our souls of the cosmic cancer that is sin.

and to back up my justification for eating meat after donating blood, one only has to look at luke 24:40-43, where after the resurrection, jesus appears to the disciples:

“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.”

May 28, 2010 at 3:22 am Leave a comment

bread and fellowship

bread and fellowship are quite similar.

you can mix the flour, sugar, milk, butter, salt, and water together and knead it until your fingers fall off. you can even glaze the dough and bake it in the oven. but unless you have added yeast and let the bread rise once or twice, you will not end up with bread.

in the same way, you can take christians, organize them in some sort of way. maybe they have talents that are useful for building each other up and teaching each other. they might even get put through hardship and trials together.

but unless God is with them, being the catalyst for their actions, leading them in the same direction with His goal in mind, it will not be a fellowship.

so let us remember the yeast when we meet, constantly looking for signs of its presence, letting God change us and transform us into something we couldn’t be by ourselves.

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?

exodus 33: 15-16

August 7, 2007 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

finished!

After an entire Saturday morning of reading, I finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! The book is by far my favorite in the series and it is, to sum up briefly, brilliant.

But more importantly, this last book will finally shut the mouths of all of the paranoid Christians out there who protest against Harry Potter and ban it from their homes and churches, saying that J.K. Rowling is evil and she drinks goat’s blood inside graveyards at midnight.

If these zealots would actually read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, they would find a staggering number of Christian references, some so blatantly obvious that it makes Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’s epic works seem allegorically tame. Spoilers ahead so stop reading here if you have not finished reading The Deathly Hallows.

Death and Resurrection
The most obvious reference to the Gospel is how Harry willingly let himself be killed, nary raising a wand, by Voldemort for the sake of both the muggle and wizarding world. After Harry’s death and resurrection, Voldemort’s powers are vanquished in the same way that Christ’s death conquers Satan.

Outcasts
Just as Jesus reached out to lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors, Harry Potter befriends elves (Dobby and Kreacher), saves the lives of goblins (Griphook), and rescues muggles (Ministry of Magic scene).

Crosses
There were numerous mentions of crosses in this book. Harry draws one over Moody’s grave. The Sword of Gryffindor looked like a silver cross to Harry. Harry goes to “King’s Cross” after dying and I don’t think that the location has that name by happy coincidence.

Scripture
Kendra and Arianna’s graves have Matthew 6:21 written on them (where your treasure is, there your heart will also be). Also, on James and Lily Potter’s grave is written 1 Corinthians 15:26 (the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death). Percy returning to his family is a pretty straight forward reference to the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the revealing of Snape’s true identity and purpose is a redemption story.

Temptations and the Hallows
I read this idea here but I wish I had been clever enough to see this on my own but I’ve expanded on the original concepts. The three Deathly Hallows are a good analog to the three temptations of Christ in the desert. The Resurrection Stone corresponds to the “stone to bread” temptation. When the Resurrection Stone is turned in the hand three times, the dead come to life. Likewise, Christ is tempted by Satan to turn the stones in the dessert into bread, which gives life. The Cloak (given to Harry by his father, James) corresponds to the “chuck yourself off the roof of the temple” temptation. Satan tempts Jesus to rely on his Father’s protection just as the Cloak could have allowed Harry to escape from Voldemort and his “fatal” end. Alastair puts it better than I can:

The Elder Wand corresponds to the final temptation (rule over the kingdoms of the world on condition of worshipping Satan). The Elder Wand gives the greatest power in the world to its owner, being the means by which the owner can rule over all others. Jesus is tempted to grasp at rule in the wrong way.

Christian objections to Harry Potter have been rendered flaccid by this last book and for that I am glad. But even more encouraging is how explicit Rowling made these allegories and how many copies of the book have been sold worldwide.

So to all those Christian naysayers who find conspiracy at the bottom of a bag of Doritos, there you have it.

July 28, 2007 at 5:15 pm 2 comments


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