Saturday, June 30, 2018
Friday, June 29, 2018
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Beauty that does not disguise the wound,
but reads through the lack of it,
the one-armed man lifts himself again
on the assisted pull-up machine—
sleeve of sparrows and morning glories
swelling with each upward pull.
In the locker room, I praise his ink
and he turns to thank me, and so I notice
(what you can't restore, inscribe)
the blue wing needled on the socket.
Monday, June 25, 2018
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Usually, after dinner time, everyone leaves to clean up or return to their previous activities. Although, there's nothing quite like sitting around the table and talking, enjoying one another's company. Maybe it's remembering the same old stories or laughing about the day's events. After lingering around the table, there's nothing more satisfying than being with those you love. Try sticking around the table this evening and taking part in the satisfaction of table talk.
Friday, June 22, 2018
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Now the guy in this picture, I could definitely take. He may not have the slim cut body that I normally feature on this blog, but he's still cute. I love the nipple piercing, and he obviously likes cats. I even like his moderate hairiness. Yes, I could definitely go for him.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Amid the Roses
by Alice Dunbar-Nelson
There is tropical warmth and languorous life
Where the roses lie
In a tempting drift
Of pink and red and golden light
Untouched as yet by the pruning knife.
And the still, warm life of the roses fair
That whisper "Come,"
Of sweet caresses, close and pure
Has a thorny whiff in the perfumed air.
There are thorns and love in the roses’ bed,
And Satan too
Must linger there;
So Satan’s wiles and the conscience stings,
Must now abide—the roses are dead.
Monday, June 18, 2018
Sunday, June 17, 2018
(CNN) — It's been called one of the most important and most misunderstood passages in the Bible: Romans 13:1-7.
Likely written by the Apostle Paul around 57 AD, Romans 13, including the snippet cited by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday, instructs Christians to submit to "God's servants." That is, the government.
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established," the passage says. "The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."
Romans 13 has been cited by Nazi sympathizers and apartheid-enforcers, slave owners and loyalists opposed to the American Revolution. Modern Christians have wrestled with how to apply the passage to issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and taxes.
"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Sessions, saying, "It is very biblical to enforce the law."
In some ways, Sessions' citation of Romans 13 makes sense. Many of the "church friends" to whom the attorney general addressed his speech had quoted scripture to criticize current immigration policies, particularly the separation of children from their parents.
But what did Paul really mean when he wrote his letter to the Romans? Should Christians be expected to obey all human laws and cooperate with all regimes? And why would Paul counsel submission to a state power that had executed his savior?
Here are five ways Christians have tried to answer those questions:
1. The Bible is full of civil disobedience.
In citing Romans, Sessions made a small but telling slip. He said Paul commanded Christians to "obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them."
But Romans doesn't quite say that. It says obey the "governing authorities" -- that is, the government, not the laws. You could argue that one implies the other, but the Bible teems with examples of heroes who disobey the law.
Take Daniel, for example, who was thrown to the lions because he wouldn't obey an edict requiring all subjects of King Darius to pray only to him. Daniel went home, threw open the windows for all to see and got on his knees, defying the edict. It was a blatant act of civil disobedience.
2. Paul thought Roman spies were reading his letters.
Big Brother wasn't around in the first century, but life as a Christian, especially a Jewish Christian, wasn't free from state surveillance.
Just a few years before Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, the empire had expelled Jews from Rome for "rioting at the instigation of Chrestus," according to the Roman historian Suetonius. Some scholars believe Chrestus is a misspelling of Christ.
It's not too big a stretch to imagine that Paul, writing to a small band of religious subversives in the capital of the empire, would suspect that his letters could fall into imperial hands.
"He knows that this letter will find its way into Caesar's household and into the hands of the civil authorities. He wants them to understand two truths. One is that Christians are not out to overthrow the empire politically by claiming Jesus, and not Caesar, is Lord."
The other thing Paul wants the Romans to know, Piper says, is that their authority is based on God's.
3. Paul was talking about angels, not attorneys general.
Who, exactly, are the "authorities" that Paul is urging Christians to submit to?
Oscar Cullman, a New Testament scholar who died in 1999, posed an interesting theory: Paul was talking about cosmic authorities, not civil ones. Or rather, he was talking about both.
As Cullman noted, some early Christians, like some first-century Jews, believed that guardian angels -- "the angels of the nations" -- sat above the earthly rulers, somewhere between God and man.
In other parts of the New Testament, Paul sometimes using the same Greek word to describe earthly and angelic authorities.
On a practical level, you could understand why Cullman, a Lutheran who lived in Europe during the rise of Hitler, would be attracted to this idea. It's easier to counsel submission to angels than to Nazis.
But many scholars have dismissed Cullman's theory, saying the "authorities" in Romans 13 refer to the earthly government. Later in Romans 13, Paul notes that Christians pay taxes to "God's servants" -- and, as we all know, the taxman is no angel.
4. Paul was worried about a Jewish uprising.
Much of Paul's letter to the Romans is about Jewish/Gentile relationships. This was a time when Christians were divided about whether "true" Christians had to be one or the other.
Some Bible scholars theorize that Paul feared Jewish Christians would rebel against the Roman authorities. He had good reason to be worried. Jewish Christians had just been allowed back into Rome after being expelled. A governmental crackdown could have crushed the small and fractious Christian community.
"His concern was pastoral and local. ... Paul was advising against anti-Roman and Palestinian nationalist sentiments among the Jewish Christians in Rome."
5. Paul was being ironic.
But Paul was likely aware of the Jewish expulsion from Rome, as well as other persecutions, Carter argues. So it's hard to fathom why he would portray the government as divinely sanctioned.
Paul's praise for government authority so over the top, it's possible that he meant to be ironic, Carter says. In other words, Romans 13 is not praise, it's a cleverly disguised critique.
"By using the technique of irony, Paul was able to express his criticism without fear of repercussions from the authorities, who may have been oblivious to the disparity between the ideal he portrays and the reality of their government."
Carter acknowledges that his interpretation is somewhat idiosyncratic. Many Christians take a more straightforward reading of Romans 13, even as they struggle to apply to modern life.
"It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the history of the interpretation of Romans 13:1-7," says New Testament scholar Douglas Moo, "is the history of attempts to avoid what seems to be its plain meaning."
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Friday, June 15, 2018
Another exhausting week has gone by. It’s finally Friday. I’ve been job searching since around the end of October last year. I think that’s the most exhausting thing. It seems like a never ending search. I find plenty of jobs that I’m qualified for, but they just don’t pan out. Then there are jobs that I’m perfect for, but they don’t pan out. Right now it seems like there is no end in sight, and I’m exhausted. I want a good job I’ll enjoy. I don’t want to have to settle for something. I know I may have to. Ideally, I’d love a job in the South, preferably in a progressive city (yes, they do exist), and a job I’d enjoy. I pray that it will happen but so far nothing has come along. I will just keep searching and keep hoping. It’s all I can do at this point. The only other option is for there to be some rich man out there who’d love to take care of a 40 year old, sweet and kind, intellectual.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing
by Walt Whitman
I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,
Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,
But I wonder’d how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there
without its friend near, for I knew I could not,
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and
twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room,
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)
Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary
in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,
I know very well I could not.
Monday, June 11, 2018
Sunday, June 10, 2018
We often think if only I were more witty, if I had more intelligence, if I were more attractive, my life would be much different. If we actually matched our ideal qualities but failed to grow a love for others, it would all be pointless. Paul even says if he had all the faith in the world, he would be nothing if he didn't love others. Do you spend more time thinking about self-improvement or on growing your love for others more?
Friday, June 8, 2018
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967
This morning I looked at the map of the day
And said to myself, “This is the way! This is the way I will go;
Thus shall I range on the roads of achievement,
The way is so clear—it shall all be a joy on the lines marked out.”
And then as I went came a place that was strange,—
’Twas a place not down on the map!
And I stumbled and fell and lay in the weeds,
And looked on the day with rue.
I am learning a little—never to be sure—
To be positive only with what is past,
And to peer sometimes at the things to come
As a wanderer treading the night
When the mazy stars neither point nor beckon,
And of all the roads, no road is sure.
I see those men with maps and talk
Who tell how to go and where and why;
I hear with my ears the words of their mouths,
As they finger with ease the marks on the maps;
And only as one looks robust, lonely, and querulous,
As if he had gone to a country far
And made for himself a map,
Do I cry to him, “I would see your map!
I would heed that map you have!”
Monday, June 4, 2018
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Do you ever feel like you are stuck in your thoughts, they seem to be cyclical returning to the same point? Perhaps you are battling anxiety that chokes, or building an argument in your head to justify your anger, or you are stuck in the rut of self-victimization. Each of these are attitudes do not reflect our identity as a cherished child of God. He has the power, through the Spirit, to change the way you think and feel. Call on Him in prayer to renew your mind.