A New Year

Greetings, once again. 
As 2012 begins, one of the things that I would like to improve is the use of my blog.  This post is a test of an app called Blogsy, which I am hoping will help make it easier for me to post more often.  
Anyway, I will have much more to say over the coming days/weeks/months, but for now I really must head to bed.  
Here’s to more productive blogging in 2012!

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My Soul is Silent Before God Who is My Help

The following is an excerpt from a sermon preached on 15 July 1928 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Barcelona, Spain.  I enjoyed it, and thought I should share it.

Our relationship with God must be practised, otherwise we shall not find the right note, the right word, the right language when He comes upon us unawares.  We have to learn the language of God, learn it with effort, we must work at it, if we too would learn to converse with Him; prayer too must be practised as part of our work.  It is a grave and fatal mistake, if one confuses religion with a heightening of the feelings.  Religion means work, and perhaps the hardest and certainly the holiest work that a man can undertake.  It is pitiable to be content with the remark ‘I am not naturally religious’, when there is a God who desires to possess us.  It is an excuse.  Certainly, some find it harder than others to do, but no one, and of this we may be sure, has achieved it without effort.  And here is the reason why being silent in God’s presence requires work and practice:  it takes daily courage to expose oneself to God’s word and to allow oneself to be judged by it, it takes daily energy to delight in God’s love.  But this brings us to the question:  What shall we do, in order to penetrate into this silence before God?  Well, about that I can only tell you, in all humility, just a little from my own experience.  Not one of us lives such a hectic life that he cannot spare the time, even if it is only ten minutes in the morning or the evening, to be still and let the silence gather round him, to stand in the presence of eternity and to let it speak, to enquire from it about our condition, and to gaze deep into himself and far out, beyond and above.  It may be done by taking up a few words from the Bible; but the best is to abandon oneself completely and let the soul find its way to its Father’s house, to its home, where it finds rest.  And whoever attempts this, working at it seriously day by day, will be overwhelmed by the riches which will flow from these hours.  Of course, all beginnings are difficult, and whoever sets out upon this undertaking will find it at first an unaccustomed experience — indeed it may be quite an empty one.  But it will not be long before his soul begins to be replenished and revitalised and to receive strength, then he begins to know the eternal quiet which rests in God’s love; stress and anxiety, hurry and restlessness, noise and clamour are stilled within him, he has become silent before God who is his help.

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Miracles and Belief…

But here is a paradox:  that mysteries such as these provided no disquiet for us, but comfort.  Because they granted us permission, and in fact made it necessary, to believe in a God to Whom all mysteries had solutions.  With belief in God comes the certainty that the world that He masters has an order.  That every single thing in it at least makes sense to Someone. — The Dream of Perpetual Motion, Dexter Palmer

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Before the Flood

So, here is the other book that I picked up at the library the other day.  Recent research seems to indicate that the Black Sea was originally a freshwater lake and that as the world sea levels rose at the end of the Ice Age, the Mediterranean suddenly and catastrophically flooded the region.  Mr. Wilson points to this research and claims that this event is the real-life basis for the Noah tradition.  He goes on to point out various cultural developments, such as domestication of animals, crop cultivation, metallurgy and religious beliefs that all seem to have originated in Turkey and spread from there.  The arguments are well-researched and persuasive, although I do not find all of them convincing.  The reading is a little dry in general, but if ancient history is your thing, you might enjoy reading this one.

I enjoy reading books that cover the intersection of science and faith.  Although many authors today address such topics with an unspoken agenda of proving traditional Christian beliefs wrong, I really don’t mind the challenge.  I find that my faith in God is strengthened in the process.  That’s not to say that I read these works only to dismiss them out of hand.  I believe that God gave us the ability to reason and a free will to decide because He expects us to exercise them.  Many books, although I do not agree with the argument they present, can still provide information that I find interesting and useful.

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The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one. — Honore de Balzac

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