Blogs

Ignorance is Bliss

     It’s a rare person indeed who hasn’t heard or used the expression “ignorance is bliss.” It comes from the last line of a poem by Thomas Gray (1716-1771) titled “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.” Gray attended that rather famous English school as a young man having that portion of his education provided for by his mother. According to most accounts and this poem he enjoyed his time there. The theme of the poem is that the paradise and bliss of youth is brief and will be lost as we mature and gain wisdom. Here is the last stanza:

What We Deserve and What We Need

     A lesson most of us have learned as a child is that there is often a big difference between what we deserve and what we need. I’ve told this story before, but as long as I live I will never forget my father telling me to leave the paint on the garage shelf alone. Of course, I didn’t. I opened all the cans to have a look. And then I put the tops back on. But I didn’t know at that stage of my development that one should pound the tops down tightly.

Modesty

     These days modesty is not a valued commodity. In our culture we value fame (and fortune if we can get it). Indeed, for a lot of people the most important thing is to be noticed. I suppose this is inevitable in our entertainment-driven society. We chuckle at the lengths some folks go to be noticed, but living in an immodest world has some substantial spiritual challenges.

Guyana Summer 2017

     Our Guyana Summer 2017 VBS and Gospel Meeting “finish” (as they say down there) with the safe arrival of our fine group Saturday night at the Huntsville Airport. Working on the campaign this year were Perry and Gina Martin along with their children Laura and Jacob, Brian Williams, Andrew and Ashley Sims along with Andrew’s mother Suzanne, John Colgan (known there as the “scientist”), and our only new person this year, Hollie Guthrie. We appreciate these folks using their time, energy and resources to make this year’s trip such a success. They did great!

No Longer Slaves

     Slavery has a long and varied history. There have been many kinds of slavery, most of it initiated by one group of people conquering another. Some slaves were highly valued for intelligence and ample skill sets. Others were viewed merely as a source of labor. The one thing most people agree about is that it is better to be a free person than a slave.

Still A Delivery Boy

     Ginger and I spent most of Monday hanging out together as on that day we celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. As is the case on days like that we reminisced about a number of things, one of which was our decision for me to go back to school and study the Bible with the goal of perhaps preaching one day. And, as you know, we did that. It was an exciting and sometimes stressful time. Money was tight but we worked all the time and the Lord took mighty good care of us.

Why Jeremiah Didn't Quit

     Jeremiah was not treated well by many of his hearers. His message was very unpopular because it was not what the people in his audience wanted to hear. He found himself being slapped around and worse than that from time to time. People like to hear what they want to hear. People like to be told that everything is just fine the way it is. People like to be told that whatever they are doing is just exactly what they ought to be doing. And it’s not just anonymous “people” who like these things, specific people, like to hear what they want to hear.

Implications of Liberty

     As I’ve said before, I haven’t been everywhere, but based on what I’ve seen thus far I prefer living in the United States of America. Our nation is far from perfect but it has some things about it that one just doesn’t find anywhere else. One of those things is a special kind of liberty. Liberty is not exactly the same thing as freedom but the two concepts are closely related.

Faith and Autonomy

     The dictionary says that autonomy is “freedom from external control or influence.” The word is also defined as independence. We hear the word used in a variety of ways. We are hearing more these days about autonomy in connection with the operation of automobiles. As someone who drives quite a bit more than average and enjoys being under the wheel, the idea of an autonomous car is both intriguing and a little bit scary.

The Fruit of Hospitality

     Bible students know about Elisha the prophet. He became what we might call the chief prophet after Elijah was taken up from the earth by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2). The sons of the prophets (likely preacher students) concluded that the “spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:15). Elisha had many adventures as God’s man and accomplished many remarkable things by the power of God up to and even a bit after his death (2 Kings 13:21). Indeed, the period in which Elijah and Elisha worked is one of the few times in history when God chose to work supernaturally.