Of Special Units of Measure

Seeing the word “dab” for the One Day at a Time blog carnival brought back memories of my mother’s cooking. Yes, this is another non-fiction entry. I just can’t resist.

My mother is a pretty good cook, at least if you like food for the health-conscious. If you’re into extremely sweet or very low fiber, perhaps not so much. But amongst our friends when I was younger, her food brought many compliments.

My parents believed in hospitality, and would frequently invite visitors home for lunch after church. If there was a pot-luck meal, we’d always be there with the appropriate dish prepared.

With the compliments would come the inevitable request for the recipe. But my mother doesn’t really cook with precise recipes. Rather than things measured in cups, teaspoons, drops, or any such precise quantities, we would take “some” water, add a “dump” of flour, perhaps a pinch or two of salt, a splash of oil, and so forth. Then one might put a “dab” or two of oil in the bread pan before using it for cooking. Of course I’ve skipped ingredients and much processing, but you get the idea.

I never really could get the idea, and neither could most other people. A “dump” doesn’t remain the same size. Four loaves of bread take a larger dump of flour, not to mention that “some” water changes in quantity. Mom could always get it in proportions, but it was very difficult to provide a recipe to those who requested one. She’d sometimes write one out, trying to figure out the proportions in “real” measures as best she could.

To this day I can’t cook that way, even though I had to learn how to cook a number of different dishes, not to mention learning how to bake bread when I was younger. I need a detailed recipe. If the recipe happens to skip a step, no matter how obvious, it doesn’t happen.

I was comparing this to giving instructions regarding how to do some process on a computer, something I find easy. My wife is less “loose” about her cooking than my mom is, but she still has a tendency to cook something until it’s done, rather than for 11 1/2 minutes. I set the timer to the second. She was telling me that I should know how to cook pasta by now and be able to tell when it’s finished. I asked her how long it had been on the stove. Then I pointed out that she likes her computer instructions to be very precise, probably for the same reason as I like my cooking directions detailed. Neither of us is comfortable in the other one’s natural space.

So perhaps the special unit of measure we all need is several dabs of understanding. When you know what you’re doing and you’re comfortable with the equipment and the process, less precise units work just fine. But when you don’t really understand the process, the only option is to get—and follow—precise directions.

(This story was written for and submitted to the one word at a time blog carnival, dab.)

Not Trusting New Cars

Every since I first found the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival it has been my habit to write a short story based on the chosen word. Last week I wrote about an experience I had, and today I’m writing a few reflections based on family history rather than a work of fiction. Of course, if these stories were passed around at a family reunion, I’m sure we’d find enough versions to make one think they were fiction. The word for this carnival is “new.”

Both my dad and my Uncle Don (Neufeld) had a suspicion of new cars. I recall a couple of times when we had a new or nearly new car, but generally we got something that was substantially used. I’ve inherited enough of that suspicion that my preference is to buy a car that has 20,000 miles or so on it. I lose the new car high price, and still have a reasonably recent vehicle for maintenance purposes.

That wasn’t the way my dad looked at it. For him, a car was not so much a means of transportation as an occasional hobby. He could take it apart and work on it. Whenever anyone wanted to go somewhere, he could complain about the various problems the car was having, thus providing an excellent reason not to drive the car at all. There were many times we thought we might go somewhere when my dad would say that the car needed work, and so it sat in the carport or garage as the case may be.

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When we were in Guyana, South America, a number of folks at the hospital where he worked were quite unhappy with his choice of vehicle. (He was a doctor and medical director of Davis Memorial Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana.) A number of people in the administration thought his car didn’t look respectable for a doctor, especially a hospital’s medical director. But he stuck with his purchase of a Morris Minor. I don’t know the year, but it looked a great deal like the 1960 model shown at the left. It was about that old as well—this was 1971.

It did run from time to time. I recall a few trips across country and it ran fairly well. There was a joke amongst our friends about needing to feed the hamsters well, but that was an exaggeration.

Nonetheless, people thought the car just didn’t look like a doctor’s car.

My dad didn’t care. He spent many hours tinkering with that car. I don’t know whether he was keeping it running or making sure it stayed up on the jacks.

He wasn’t always unwilling to use his cars. When we lived in Chiapas, Mexico, we drove a Mercury station wagon. I could tell a few stories about that little vehicle. It went any number of places it was not designed to go. For one thing, it’s 14 inch wheels made it pretty low, and we lived close to 90 miles from the nearest paved road.

One of the forms of mulch we used for gardening at the little mission station we had there was coffee hulls. We’d haul these in by the van load. One day the folks who had driven their van to get the coffee hulls hiked back in. The van had broken down. They were going to take the four wheel drive vehicle we normally had available and tow the van in, but it wasn’t working. Dad had purchased a new tow cable on his last trip to the U. S. and had never used it. This was his opportunity.

Everybody said the Mercury station wagon wouldn’t tow the van, especially with a full load of coffee hulls. But he was undeterred. I was only 8 or 9 years old, but I got to go along to see how this would work.

We drove out to where the van was stranded, hooked up the cable, and eased that little station wagon off and believe it or not, that van came right along. We managed to tow it all the way back to the top of the hill where it could just coast on in to home.

My first year in college I lived near my Uncle Don, and I discovered that he was no fan of new cars either. He had an old Chevy station wagon that had more than 200,000 miles on it. It ran quite well. He had a newer station wagon as well. My aunt Maxine told me that he bought the new station wagon just before making a trip across the continent. He chose to make the trip in the old vehicle because he didn’t trust the new one yet.

She also told another story about that older car. My uncle was fairly high up in his church organization. Once he was the main speaker for a camp meeting. He was turned away from the pastor’s parking lot because they didn’t think his car looked like a pastor’s car.

I conclude that perhaps there’s a reason to have fun with older cars!

When the Orange Sky Gleamed

“I’m going to tell you a story about the time when the orange sky gleamed,” said the old man.

The children gathered around the fire moved closer. Some of them leaned forward so that they could hear the story. One of the older children wasn’t quite as interested.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between persons, places, and events and those in the real world are purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012
Henry E. Neufeld

“The sky is blue in the day, and black at night. There are clouds. Sometimes they turn orange in the evening, at sunset. But the sky is never orange and it doesn’t gleam.” He was just into his teens and pretty smart. He wasn’t going to be awed by eerie sounding opening lines to old men’s stories.”On this day, it was orange, and it gleamed,” said the old man. Before the confident kid could interrupt him again, he continued. “We got up in the morning and there was just a bit of orange in the southern sky. It was a bad omen.” The confident kid rolled his eyes.

“The shaman said it was a bad day. ‘When there’s orange in the south, stay under your roof,’ he told us. But the chief wouldn’t listen. He needed to get a caravan going to pick up gold, gems, and various items of bronze, iron, and even steel from the south. The shaman told him again not to go.

“‘How long should I wait?’ asked the chief. ‘Until the orange sky no longer gleams,” said the shaman. But the chief wouldn’t listen, especially when the shaman wouldn’t tell him how long the gleaming would take to go away. So he sent out the caravan anyhow. In fact, he went with it. I begged to go. I was about your age.” He pointed to the confident kid. “I was just as stupid too. But they wouldn’t let me go.

“Days went by. Almost the entire sky to the south turned orange, and it gleamed, sometimes with white, sometimes with various colors, but always with an orange tint. To the north, over the sea, the sky was pretty much clear. It was windy, but the whether was not too bad. Nobody had an explanation for the time when the orange sky gleamed.” The confident kid rolled his eyes again. He wasn’t going to be taken in by the repetition of the eerie phrase.

Other children weren’t so jaded. “What happened?” they asked eagerly, leaning forward to hear the old man’s answer.

“A week went by, and the orange started to fade from the southern sky. But the caravan didn’t come back.” The old man paused for a moment and pretended to be falling asleep. The children started to ask what happened next. They were acquainted with waiting for a caravan to return. It was how their town made its money. But they couldn’t remember a time when a caravan just didn’t return.

“Another week went by and the sky was completely back to normal. But the caravan still didn’t return. The shaman didn’t say ‘I told you so,’ but one could see it on his face. It was really quite obscene to be so happy about a disaster. The chief’s son, who was in charge in his absence still thought the caravan might have been delayed. Maybe the load hadn’t been ready. But after three weeks it was hard to pretend that there wasn’t something terribly wrong.

“So the chief’s son sent out a patrol to look for the caravan. They rode horses, so they moved faster than a caravan. They couldn’t find any sign of the caravan. They did find that the sand dunes looked somewhat different. The men were used to the sands moving about some with the winds, but this was like they were traveling through a different country. Finally they arrived at the foot of the southern mountains where the town was where they usually picked up their loads.”

He paused again and pretended to be falling asleep.

“What did he find there?” asked an eager voice.

“Oh what?” The old man pretended to wake up suddenly.

“What did he find? Did he find the caravan? Did they get back home?”

“So many questions!” said the old man. “Well, no, they didn’t find the caravan. In fact, they didn’t find anything at all.”

“You mean, except the town,” said the confident kid, not sounding quite as confident as he had before.

“No, there was no town there. They could see the mountains rising up from the sand. They had all the landmarks. But where they were there was nothing but sand.”

The confident kid made a dismissive motion with his hand, got up, and walked away. The other kids were horrified. They demanded another story, claiming they couldn’t possibly go to sleep now.

The confident kid grew up, and he never forgot the story. He became a caravan merchant himself. New towns had grown up at the northern edge of the mountains. They bought things from the miners in the mountains as they always had. Caravans from the northern coastal towns came and carried them across the strip of desert land between the mountains and the coast and then sold them to trading ships. The winds rearranged the sand a bit, but not so much that one couldn’t find one’s way.

Then one day the confident kid sat down around another campfire and heard another story. It was an old man from the mountains. He also told about the time when the orange sky gleamed. His story was a bit different. The gleaming started to the east and built quickly. He described a bit of fire in the sky to the south as well

“What did everyone do?” asked the young man who had once been the confident kid.

“Oh, nothing in particular. We just stayed inside for a few days mostly,” said the old man. Then he paused, expectantly. But the confident young man wasn’t going to ask. Finally he couldn’t resist. He had to finish his story. “After the sky cleared we took our next load north to the town at the base of the mountains, but the town was gone.”

The confident young man was startled. He thought it had been an old man’s tale, but here was another tale to match. He wasn’t sure it was the same town even, but the stories matched so closely.

It took him some weeks to find someone who knew where that town at the base of the mountains had been. The current town was in an oasis which had a spring. It was entirely a new town. The elder who finally admitted to remembering where the old town had been could only tell him it was no more than a mile or so off to the east of the new one.

“But the town is lost, young man,” he said. “There’s no reason to worry about it. It’s buried in the sand.”

That was precisely what the young man thought. “Who owns that land?” he asked the elder.

“Owns a piece of the desert?” said the old man slowly. “Well, nobody.”

“So the confident young man went back to the coast to hire some men. Nobody was very interested in his plan, but he was able to find enough people who needed the work. He took them back to the place where the village had disappeared, and set them to digging. It required a month of digging.

The townspeople were delighted with all the money they were paid for food and water for the men digging in the desert. It never occurred to them to question the motives of the crazy man from the coast. But after a month he found what he wanted. There was the town, and there was the bodies of people, hidden in houses and covered in sand. He found even more than he expected. Though there was no way he could identify the people involved, he could tell there had been a caravan in town, and their cargo was well preserved under the sand.

The confident kid who had grown up into the confident young man became quite a rich man. But he never told the townspeople what he had found. His workers were more than happy to share the wealth and head for home.

Every few months after he returned home he would go to the great campfire in the town square and tell children a story. It was often the story of when the orange sky gleamed. And then he’d tell them the moral of the story. “Pay attention to the stories your elders tell. They might just have something important in them to help you grow up and become rich.”

(This story was written for and submitted to the one word at a time blog carnival – orange.)

There was a new town by the stream near the base of the mountain

Her Sincere Belief

“This morning, as I was praying and asking God to show me his will for me today, I heard his voice.” Mrs. Olenco’s* voice had a penetrating quality even though it wasn’t really very loud. It was a determined kind of sound. Those who liked the lady said she radiated sincerity. Others had less complimentary terms.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of anything in this story to anything in the real world is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012
Henry E. Neufeld

The church board fell silent. The issue was the building of a new recreation center at the church. The finance chair had already reported that they didn’t think the church was in a position to pay for the project or to borrow money and keep up the payments. Several program coordinators had discussed how much the project might benefit the church. The young pastor had asked whether this was the best way in which they could use the church’s resources. Were there other places they could accomplish the same things? Were there other needs that were greater?

But now they faced the problem. How did one respond to Mrs. Olenco? She never left any room to maneuver. What she heard from the Lord was unambiguous and final. So it was with great misgivings that the chair asked her the question.

“What did the Lord tell you?”

He didn’t like the question. He wanted to say something like, “What do you believe you heard from the Lord?” But that would lead to arguments and recriminations. You see, Mrs. Olenco didn’t think she heard from the Lord. She heard from the Lord. She would say so with complete and utter sincerity. When anyone questioned her she was hurt.

“The Lord said unto me, ‘Ye shall build me an house, a place where my children can play and be joyful. A place that will glorify me. A place where the children of my family can learn and grow. Ye shall build it. I shall supply!’ saith the Lord Almighty.”

It was mercifully short for once, but then the message was fairly simple.

“I am sure the Lord can and will supply,” said the pastor. Mrs. Olenco smiled and nodded. The young man was coming along nicely. “But,” he contined, “I still wonder if this is the right way to build this church. We have many other needs, and diminishing funds.” The young man was uncertain and the look on his face and the tone of his voice showed it.

“All these years I’ve served this church! All the times I’ve heard these messages from the Lord telling us how to build his kingdom here in this community! But I know I must endure questioning. All God’s prophets have endured questioning. A simple messenger such as myself cannot expect to escape if the holy prophets didn’t. But it’s hard, very hard, young man. I can only imagine that some of the doubters of the church have influenced you. ‘Heed not the words of the faithless, the doubters, those swayed by merely human knowledge,’ saith the Lord.”

Silence reigned in the room again. Nobody wanted to face her tremendous sincerity. And she was sincere. She truly meant every word. Anyone listening could tell that was the case.

It was a voice vote. Not one person raised their voice to say “no.” The church would proceed to build the new center.

*****

Six months later the church board met again. This time they were to listen to a report of the finance and the building committee. There was a simple problem. The building they hoped to build would cost nearly one and a half times what had been planned originally. The bank was unwilling to loan the funds to the church.

“While I was praying this morning, the Lord spoke to me. He said, ‘There are those who do not believe in my provision. They shall be exposed when they stand in the way of my work.'” As she said it she looked directly at the chair of the finance committee and at the pastor. Everybody knew what she was saying. Everybody wondered how to respond.

The finance committee chair looked abashed. He was indeed an opponent of the project. Further he knew that he would have denied the loan had he been in the position of the loan officer of their bank. But he didn’t know what to do in the face of Mrs. Olenco’s clearly sincere belief that God had spoken to her. It was a choice between impossibilities: facing to that incredibly deep and sincere spirituality and finding some way to make this project move forward. He couldn’t see a way to do anything.

Finally the young pastor spoke. “There is sincerity,” he said, “and there is manipulation.” The room fell into a silence that could be felt. Not even Mrs. Olenco was making a sound. “I too prayed this morning, but I didn’t hear a voice. I simply was filled with a calm conviction that this project was the wrong thing at this time and that it was my duty to make that clear.”

His voice wasn’t penetrating. It was even weak. The people in the room could feel his reluctance to say what he was saying.

“I’d rather not have to say this, but I have to do it. I will not support continuation of this project. I do not believe it’s God’s will. Mrs. Olenco,” he said, turning to face her. “I would rather have said this somewhere else, but I had hoped that with the failure of your previous plans you would let wisdom prevail. I believe you are sincere, but I also believe you are sincerely wrong. That shouldn’t be such a major issue. All of us have been wrong many times and will be wrong many times in the future. Despite your obvious deep faith and sincerity, this is one of your times to be wrong.”

This time there were no tears from Mrs. Olenco. She was angry. “If you won’t accept God’s message, then I will have to leave you to your own devices. I shake the dust off my shoes.” She reached toward her shoes but came nowhere near. “I’m leaving,” she said.

She hesitated, clearly expecting someone to tell her to stop. But for the first time in 20 years the church board was unwilling to listen. Nobody moved to stop her.

Then they took a new vote on the recreation center project.

*****


* I want to emphasize that my use of a woman as the manipulative speaker in this story has nothing to do with gender. I have experience in real life of both men and women who manipulate church politics through claiming God’s authority for their ideas. I also do not deny the possibility of hearing the voice of God, but everybody must exercise discernment. I discuss this in my post The Advantages of Stoning False Prophets.)

(This story was written for and submitted to the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival – Sincere.)

Christian Carnival – September 2012

Introductory Ramblings

AKA pursuing rabbits through the brambles …

As I write and edit this post, it appears that GoDaddy serviced web sites are down, and a member of Anonymous is claiming credit for causing the problem. There were a couple of posts I couldn’t access, and I believe that was due to this problem.

This is my first time hosting the Christian Carnival since it went monthly, and I’m impressed with the quality of submissions. I give you all a “great notes” award for actually telling something about your posts in the notes! That was great. I just had to confirm that your post is about what you said it was and that it was within the date range, and off we went.

And speaking of dates, Posts should have been just from August, but I let a couple of out of date posts go through because they were so good, and besides, people are still getting used to this monthly thing, right? So it’s a one time indulgence, and you don’t even have to pay John Tetzel, nor must anyone post 95 theses to make me stop. Speaking of which, what’s with 95 theses? Loquacious fellow, this Luther, methinks!

Unlike me, who never strays from the topic.

At all.

In any case, I will throw around the odd award [noted in brackets] and then I’ll add a few posts from around the blogosphere. While I do feel that we might recategorize these posts (and my spell checker doesn’t like “recategorize”), I’m going to (mostly) leave yours where you put them, even if I create new categories.

So on with the posts!

(Putting an incomplete sentence, or better fragment, on a line by itself, as in “at all” is a literary device, not an error.)

Apologetics

Danny Kofke offered How Much Money Should The Tooth Fairy Pay? at One Money Design
Notes: How much do you think the tooth fairy should pay and how can you explain the difference in the amounts she leaves different households. This is never an easy conversation with your kids! [Papa’s critical information award!]

Luther Wesley offered Friendship with the World is a Siren Song at LivingNGrace
Notes: I want to follow…it looks so easy and my legs are so weary. My heart is heavy and my soul burdened with the trials and cares of this world. My failings, both past and present, play like a never-ending High Def screen show with the rumble of surround sound filling my ears. These sins…..these chains that so easily beset me are cumbersome…dragging me down to the depths of despair. The song, the allure of the Broad Path, and Friendship with the World bids me come…..and my knees buckle under the weight…..

Chris Gehrz offered Mister Rogers: “An Offering of Love” at The Pietist Schoolman
Notes: Yes, that Mr. Rogers — sharing his profoundly Christian vision of how “you can be an agent of what’s good and not have to be terribly direct about it.”

Maryann Spikes offered JC Lamont’s “Prophecy of the Heir” on the problem of judgment at Ichthus77
Notes: My absolute favorite thing about “Prophecy of the Heir” is how Lamont unapologetically, yet with the prowess of an apologist, answers the problem of the harshness of judgment.

Rob Kuban offered Should Churches Borrow Money? at One Money Design
Notes:  Churches shouldn’t over extend so much that they have trouble paying operating costs and carrying out God’s ministry.  Churches, like you and I, need to make sure they are good stewards of God’s resources.

Tom Gilson offered The Professor Who Thought He Knew Bigotry When He Saw It at Thinking Christian
Notes: A University of Central Florida prof sent an email to 500 students claiming it is bigotry for Christians to proclaim ours is the “most valid” religion. The email has gone viral, and yet it still appears the prof doesn’t recognize his own self-contradictions. [Finding the nutty professor award!]

I will nominate (and promptly accept) Allan Bevere’s post Science and the Eschatological Challenge to Theology (Part 4) (no less). Allan is a major force in United Methodist blogging and gets pretty deep on some of his theological material.

Devotional

Dan Chesney offered God Think Man Think at getlifegroup.com
Notes: God thinks very differently than we do, and the more we understand this the more successful we are at living a vital Christian life. [Christianity is not for the fainthearted? This gets the “a bunch of people will be disappointed and they should be” award!]

Maurice Kande offered Make a start with little things at The Dreamcatcher
Notes: This post aims at teaching people to value the little things in life. Understanding that everything started small becomes a defining moment for those who have hard time starting to live their Divine Purpose.

Josh Wiley submitted 22 Quotes About The Cross by Daryl Evans at What Christians Want To Know
Notes: This article was sobering to write as I again wrestle with the amazing gift of Jesus being the sacrifice for me willingly on a cross over 2000 years ago. I hope these quotes move you to thank God today for Jesus.
Gbenga Owotoki offered Celebrate Your Marriage Union at Gbenga Owotoki – Impart for Impact
Notes: Marriage is honorable. You should be thankful you are married and had remained so. Many had gone that way and never enjoyed the ride. For some, it resulted in their demise. But eh! You made it. You may argue, you may sometimes find the marriage voyage turbulent but in all of your challenges, you are still together. You should celebrate this. Your once-in-a-year wedding anniversary is not enough. Find reason to spend more time together in a celebratory mode. When you do this often, it helps to keep the bond of love intact.

Krista Manchuck offered Unleash the Beast at Run For Your Life
Notes: Being a Christian is about more than going to church a couple of times a week and reading your Bible. It is about living out Biblical principles in every area of our lives. As a Christian and as a runner, the Lord has taught me a lot about Him through the discipline of running. This post talks about how who God has made us on the inside effects who we are on the outside.

Josh Wiley submitted Apostle Paul Biography and Timeline by David Peach at What Christians Want To Know
Notes: We are first introduced to Paul when he was Saul of Tarsus. He was standing over the first Christian martyr Stephen looking on as Stephen was stoned to death. From this gruesome introduction to the completion of his missionary journeys Paul has become a champion and hero in the Christian faith.

Shannon Christman submitted The Simple Gospel by Ridge Burns at Ridge’s Blog
Notes: ” . . . we need to go back to determine what the essence of our faith is. What is it that we need to believe?”

Benjamin Williams offered Yes, Really, The Armor of God at The Form of a Servant
Notes: If you’re anything like me, when you read Paul’s command to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11) you immediately want to know what it is that constitutes the armor of God and how it is that we might put it on. Anything to stand up to the schemes of the devil would be welcome; it’s no surprise to anyone who has been a Christian for any length of time that there is a constant battle against the spiritual forces of evil.

I submitted my wife Jody Neufeld’s post Heart Check from Jody’s Devotionals.
Notes: How do we really think about others? How do we respond to those who are different? Can they tell that we are welcoming?

Other

Stephanie offered 3 Ways To Parent the Way God Has Called Us To Parent at The Christian Housewife
Notes: “How many times have we, as mothers, been subjected to a thoughtless comment or even a look from another person that leaves us feeling like we are complete failures at parenting? Unfortunately, all too often, people are too quick to throw out their opinions and thoughts on how we are choosing to parent and this can often leave us questioning our abilities in the role God has put us in.

So, how can we remain confident in the choices we’re making as moms while still remaining teachable when the time comes? It’s a delicate balance, that’s for sure, but one that is very important to maintain. We certainly want to learn from others, but we need to guard our hearts to make sure that only the truth is penetrating our views on child rearing. The enemy’s lies can quickly ruin the good work we’re doing. Sometimes one person’s “helpful advice” can be misconstrued as an attack on us. Pretty soon thoughts of inadequacy and failure settle into our minds and our hearts and those feelings can wreak havoc on our self-worth.

So, here are 3 ways that I believe we can be sure we’re parenting the way God has called us to parent.”…..

Chris Price offered The World of Historical Revisionism Turned Upside Down at American Church History
Notes: Christians frequently complain of revisionist history that attempts to relegate the founding fathers to the background. What about those that attempt to revise history to make even the most unorthodox religious thinkers among the founders into orthodox Christians?

James Nakamura offered That Punky Kid In The Youth Group: Ode To My Hero Jeremy Powers at Nakadude – Knowing the Extraordinary from an ordinary’s perspective.
Notes: Remember that rough, loud, crazy kid in the youth group? The one that was in the youth group that I led is one my personal heroes. I know that when Christ sees him, He smiles at his reckless passion to live. My hope is we all continue to live from the heart.

Shannon Christman submitted Running Late by Kristen Cain at InFaith’s Mission Blog
Notes: Kristen Cain was reminded of God’s abilities when she ran late for a ministry meeting.

Bob MacDonald offered Muttering and perishing, a thought on Psalm 1 and 2 at Dust
Notes: the consequences of the mutterings we listen to

Carl Ayers offered Jesus’ Pronouncements on Divorce and Remarriage, 2 of 2 at Theological Pursuit
Notes: This post is a continuation of an ongoing series on how the bible views divorce and remarriage. This is the second post of 2 specifically on what Jesus (or better, the gospel accounts of Jesus) have to say about the matter. Wasn’t Jesus very strict? We find that Jesus was both more and less strict than we often see it. [This gets an award for complexity. But it’s an important and complex topic!]

Dan Navin offered Love at Pursued By God
Extract: The love I focused on in the former paragraph was one that was often closely tied to my same sex attractions. This love lied, manipulated and deceived the object of my affection into lowering his defenses. It was a love that sought comfort through sex as repayment for my good deeds and loving actions. It was a love that always saw the end game as being conquest through sex. And when the goal was attained, the “love” often revealed itself to be little more than lust or excitement which came from pursuing the challenge.

I’m offering my own post Silly Who from The Jevlir Caravansary.
Notes: I wrote this story for the one-word-at-a-time blog carnival. You can find links to the carnival in the post. The word for the carnival was “silly.” I like to look for various ways to use it and to do it in a short story.

 Politics

Paul Kuritz submitted Voting in Two Kingdoms by Paul Kuritz at Paul Kuritz. Opinions
Notes: How does a Christian think about voting in this election?

I’m adding Rachel Held Evans with her post God and Our Political Platforms.
How important is the presence of the word “God” in our political platforms? What does it mean?

And for a very different view of the same topic, I submit (and accept forthwith) The Truth in an Unscripted Moment by Elgin Hushbeck, Jr.

Moving in yet another direction, Bob Cornwall of Ponderings on a Faith Journey believes God has a preferential option for the poor in God’s Preferential Option.

I have a bunch more links available, but I have to stop somewhere.

Don’t forget to submit posts for next months carnival to be hosted at American Church History on October 3, 2012. You can submit your posts through the submission form.

If any hosts are interested, I created a spreadsheet for OpenOffice Calc. You can download the submissions and it will create the basic links and formatting. Doubtless it could be improved a good deal if someone wants to take the time.

If I missed something, comment, and if it fits the criteria, I’ll promote it into the post and you get your link.