Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Genesis Notes: Adam's Descendents

Genesis 5 shows the descendents from Adam to Noah and is one of those endless seeming lists of names that make my eyes glaze over.

There's nothing for modern people in these lists. Right? Au contraire!

The Phillip Medhurst Picture Torah 43. Adam's descendants. Genesis cap 5. Schenck

The Bible contains several lists of ancestors, called genealogies. There are two basic views concerning these lists: (1) they are complete, recording the entire history of a family, tribe, or nation; or (2) they are not intended to be exhaustive and may include only famous people or the heads of families. "Became the father of" could also mean "was the ancestor of."

Why are genealogies included in the Bible? The Hebrews passed on their beliefs through oral tradition. For many years in many places, writing was primitive or nonexistent. Stories were told to children who passed them on to their children. Genealogies gave a skeletal outline that helped people remember the stories. For centuries these genealogies were added to and passed down from family to family. Even more important than preserving family tradition, genealogies were included to confirm the Bible's promise that the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, would be born into the line of Abraham.

Genealogies point out an interesting characteristic of God. People are important to him as individuals, not just as races or nations. Therefore God refers to people by name, mentioning their life span an descendants.

Life Application Study Bible, emphasis added

Monday, September 26, 2016

Well Said: The most dangerous thing you can do ...

The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials "for the sake of humanity," and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Worth a Thousand Words: Fall Landscape

Julian Onderdonk, Fall Landscape
via Arts Everyday Living

Friday, September 23, 2016

Well Said: Wherever there is love, there is a trinity

Wherever there is love, there is a trinity: a lover, a beloved, and a fountain of love.
St. Augustine

Worth a Thousand Words: Hand in Reflecting Sphere

Hand with Reflecting Sphere, M. C. Escher
via Lines and Colors

St. Pio's Feast Day

I will stand at the gates of Heaven and I will not enter until all of my spiritual children are with me.
Today is St. Pio's feast day. I just love this guy, an Italian priest who knew how to throw his head back and laugh, who would scold a famous actress for being shallow, who suffered the stigmata for over 50 years, who knew (and could see) his guardian angel from the time he was a tiny child, who could bilocate and read souls, who was one of the greatest saints in living memory ... and who I share a birthday with (although his was 70 years earlier - May 25).

Finally I have found the original photo which attracted me to him when I was leafing through a book of saints in our church's library ... it communicates a sense of joy and light-heartedness that was striking. I thought, "Now there is someone I could talk to...that is what a real saint should look like."

Deacon Greg Kandra has, in years past, featured a homily he gave focusing on Padre Pio and tells this story which reflects the saint's fine sense of humor and irony.
One of my favorite stories about him happened during the early 1960s.

Italy was in crisis. The Red Brigade was sparking violence in Rome, and it was considered dangerous to travel around the country. For protection, people began carrying pictures of Padre Pio.

During this time, Padre Pio had to leave his village to visit Rome, and one of the other friars asked him, “Aren’t you worried about the Red Brigade?”

“No,” he said. “I have a picture of Padre Pio.”
Here is an extremely brief and incomplete look at the saint, which nonetheless is not a bad summary.
While praying before a cross, he received the stigmata on 20 September 1918, the first priest ever to be so blessed. As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII, the priest himself became a point of pilgrimage for both the pious and the curious. He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back. Reportedly able to bilocate, levitate, and heal by touch. Founded the House for the Relief of Suffering in 1956, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. In the 1920's he started a series of prayer groups that continue today with over 400,000 members worldwide.
You can read more about Padre Pio here

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Well Said: A Seven Year-Old’s Experimentation with a Life of Crime

I walked with purpose and carefully replaced Batman in the comic’s rack. I passed the shelf with the Life Savers. I glanced at the old woman behind the register. She was reading a magazine. I bent down quickly and pretended to tie my shoe. I reached up and grabbed a roll of Wint-O-Green and jammed it into my pocket.

I was surprised by a revelation: I was already guilty. I never thought of that. I always thought that I wasn’t really a thief until I left the store. Not true. I was a thief now. I became one as soon as I demonstrated my intention to steal by putting the candy in my pocket.
Stephen Tobolowsky is a master storyteller as I've mentioned before. Be sure to read the entire piece.

Worth a Thousand Words: The Blue Grotto in Capri

The Blue Grotto in Capri, Jakob Alt

Genesis Notes: Cain's Resume

We may feel that we know much more than we want to about Cain. He is the familiar character who doesn't do what he is supposed to, defies authority, and never sees the light. The Life Application Study Bible profile helps us see the key lessons from Cain's life.

Cain, Henri Vidal, Tuileries Gardens, Paris, 1896
Strengths and accomplishments:
  • First human child
  • First to follow in father's profession, farming
Weaknesses and mistakes:
  • When disappointed, reacted in anger
  • Took the negative option even when a positive possibility was offered
  • Was the first murderer
Lessons from his life:
  • Anger is not necessarily a sin, but actions motivated by anger can be sinful. Anger should be the energy behind good action, not evil action
  • What we offer to God must be from the heart -- the best we are and have
  • The consequences of sin may last a lifetime
Vital statistics:
  • Where: Near Eden, which was probably located in present-day Iraq or Iran
  • Occupation: Farmer, then wanderer
  • Relatives: Parents - Adam and Eve, Brother - Abel, Seth and others not mentioned by name
Key verse:
"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7)

Cain's story is told in Genesis 4:1-17. He also is mentioned in Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Worth a Thousand Words: Gloria Swanson Reads

Gloria Swanson reading “The Shulamite,” the literary basis for her film called “Under the Lash”. c. 1921
via Awesome People Reading

Well Said: Happy Enough

Miss Celia stares down into the pot like she's looking for her future. "Are you happy, Minny?"

"Why you ask me funny questions like that?"

"But are you?"

"Course I's happy. You happy too. Big house, big yard, husband looking after you." I frown at Miss Celia and I make sure she can see it. Because ain't that white people for you, wondering if they are happy enough.
Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Monday, September 19, 2016

Worth a Thousand Words: Canning

Joseph Susanka, Canning

Well Said: Who Knows What You Become

“Oh I know what people think. They think big, strong Minnie, she sure can stand up for herself. But they don’t know what a pathetic mess I turn into when Leroy’s beating on me. If afraid to hit back. I’m afraid he’ll leave me if I do. I know it makes no sense and I get so mad at myself for being so weak! How can I love a man who beats me raw? Why do I love a fool drinker? One time I asked him, “Why? Why are you hitting me?” He leaned down and looked me right in the face.

“If I didn’t hit you, Minny, who knows what you become.”

I was trapped in the corner of the bedroom, like a dog. He was beating me with his belt. It was the first time I’d ever really thought about it.

Who knows what I could become, if Leroy would stop goddamn hitting me.
Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Heinlein, Identical Imposters, and Politics

Jesse, Maissa, Paul, and I talk about Double Star by Robert Heinlein. Get it at SFFaudio.