30 November 2012

Five Minute Friday ~ Wonder

Joining up with Lisa Jo for her last Five Minute Friday of 2012 (she's taking the month of December off)...

"Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right. 


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks!

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on..."

Wonder…

Ever wonder what this world just might be like 


if we spent more time 
gazing through the eyes of our hearts...

and celebrating our differences instead
of majoring on them?


I know... some are probably rolling their eyes at that sentiment and so I hesitate to actually write it, putting it down in black and white and jettisoning it off into cyberspace where it will be exposed, where, in a sense, I will be exposed...

What prompted thoughts along those lines this morning?

I have to be at school early, before school actually begins, to meet with students for speech and language work. We were going to play charades so that hopefully, they'd have opportunity to use some of the different sounds we've been practicing this past month.

That meant I had to hop through the shower before the kids actually left for school instead of a more leisurely one a bit later in the morning. While I was standing, eyes closed enjoying the hot water and lathering my hair, the electric went out. So when I opened my eyes, it was dark. I couldn't see anything. Even though I knew immediately what had happened, it was a still bit of a shock. Then I wondered, "What would it be like to open my eyes someday and really not be able to see?"

That happened to a character on a TV show I watched, once up on a time.

Although a tragic, heartbreaking story, I'll never forget a comment that character made after only listening to a conversation between several of his friends and neighbors. 

He said, "Sometimes, I see people better now than I could when I had my sight."


Why?




So often, what I perceive physically with my eyes blinds me to the reality I need to observe... contemplate... accept... with my heart.

I wonder why I don't pray more often, "Open the eyes of my heart..."




Celebrating differences doesn't mean always agreeing. 

Celebrating accepts and appreciates learning that bubbles out of examining another's perspective as well as re-examining who I am and why I believe either the same or differently. 

Celebrating recognizes that God revels in the uniqueness and individuality of each one He has made, that life would lose some of its magic if everyone was just like me. 

Celebrating implies we can learn something more about God from every other person because each one was created in His image.

Isn't that a responsibility?!! 

Others might get glimpses of God when they do more than just glance at me? The corollary is also true...

Isn't that a wonder?

(Note: this was a 10 minute Friday!)

29 November 2012

Introspecting & Reflecting

Rachel Pieh Jones writes a blog I follow (time permitting), and  this fall she ran an interesting series I can't stop thinking about. So, I thought I'd throw it out for some of you to voice your thoughts and opinions...

I've included an excerpt from each post, a screen shot and a link. If you take the time to read, please comment. 


What would Muhammed (PBUH) Do?

"I wrote PBUH (peace be upon him) because it is a respectful thing to say. In the three weeks we have been back in Djibouti, my husband and I have each greeted dozens of people by saying, in Arabic, 'Peace be upon you.' 99% of them respond with, 'And also on you.' A few stare at us, silent.

One said, 'You can’t say that.'

'Why not?'

Silence, then, 'Well, I won’t respond.'

'You don’t wish me peace?'

This public conversation stirred up a passionate discussion about whether or not Muslims and non-Muslims can wish one another peace. The eventual, general consensus was yes, they can. And yes, they should.

That doesn't mean people agree on everything. I don't even agree with my husband on everything but we can live in peace, we can sharpen one another, we can make each other better and stronger and braver and more faith-filled...."


What would Moses Do?

"Yes, I’m writing about Moses. Why not throw some of his story in here too? Mainly, I’m writing about Moses because I read this verse in the Tawrat, or the Old Testament, or the Torah, depending on how you like it.

It was strikingly fitting.

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”

You need only to be still.

Lovely.

Stillness.

Do you know where Moses was when he said this? He was between the Red Sea and a raging army of furious Egyptians, recently deprived of all their slaves, and led by Pharaoh, father of a recently dead son.

This might have been a good time for the people to brandish their swords, to pick up stones from the desert, and to work on their aim. It might have been a good time for Moses to give a moving sermon on how evil Pharaoh was, to describe a caricature offensive enough to stir the people to bloody passion.

Instead he advocates stillness.

Let God fight for you. Let God defend you and protect you...."



What would Jesus Do?

"...The way of Jesus doesn’t guarantee power or honor or fame or beauty or ease or worldly success. It doesn’t guarantee anything except that, “through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus never promised or tried to create world peace. Instead, he loved the unlovable, forgave the unforgivable, healed the shattered, comforted the grieving, strengthened the weary, gave honor to the shamed. He tore open the curtain between heaven and earth. He took on disgrace and abuse and became our peace.

And so, today, people try to walk in his footsteps, to live like he did. No one can succeed at this, we are all weak and needy and selfish. But people can press on in hope because Jesus didn’t force peace, or wish it, or wait still-ly for it.

He became it."



What thoughts run through your mind 

after reading these ideas? 

Do you agree? 

Disagree? 

Why?

27 November 2012

L'élégance du hérisson... or, in English? The Elegance of the Hedgehog

American culture has shifted - one of the key outcomes of recent events in the United States has so clearly proven this fact.

Thus, when I started reading this book and initially found it slow and even, at times, offensive (i.e. post-modern thought, some vulgarity, characters with whom I found it hard to relate, occasional philosophical wanderings that required careful reading to understand the point), but I kept reading beyond the first 80 pages because the title intrigued me.

We have a bit of experience with hedgehogs - and I kept reading because the title intrigued me. I wanted to find out why and how someone could describe a hedgehog as elegant. Cute? I totally got that. Interesting? No problem seeing that one either. Sweet personalities? They are... but also in our experience, they scurry along, a bit awkwardly, they don't climb well - easily tumbling off steps and ledges. Regardless, they are gentle and shy creatures who slowly warm up to people, but retreat to a prickly ball as soon as they are startled and are then difficult to get to open up again...

After the first 80 pages, though, I had finally grasped the ebb and flow of Barbary's writing. I enjoyed the distinctly European flavor (the book was originally published in France) and I certainly found the characters intriguing. And then, I began uncovering treasures in the text
"...tea is no minor beverage. When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment? The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a licence granted to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and of the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, the autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And with each swallow, time is sublimed." (p. 87)
"True novelty is that which does not grow old, despite the passage of time. ...The contemplation of eternity within the very movement of life." (p. 96-97)
Profound Though No. 8
If you forget the future
You lose
The present
(p. 121)
"...just by observing the adults around me I understood very early on that life goes by in no time at all, yet they're always in such a hurry, so stressed out by deadlines, so eager for now so they needn't think about tomorrow... But if you dread tomorrow, it's because you don't know how to build the present and when you don't know how to build the present, you tell yourself you can deal with it tomorrow, and its a lost cause anyway because tomorrow always ends up becoming today, don't you see? So we mustn't forget any of this, absolutely not. We have to live with the certainty that we'll get old and that it won't look nice or be good or feel happy. And tell ourselves that it's now that matters: to build something, now, at any price, using all our strength. Always remember that there's an old people's home waiting somewhere and so we have to surpass ourselves every day, make every day undying. Climb to our personal Everest and do it in such a way that every step is a little bit of eternity. That's what the future is for: to build the present, with real plans, made by living people." (p. 124-125)
"Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside, she's covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary -- and terribly elegant." (p. 139)
"So here is my profound thought for the day: this is the first time I have met someone who seeks out people and who sees beyond. That may seem trivial but I think it is profound all the same. We never look beyond our assumptions and, what's worse, we have given up trying to meet others: we just meet ourselves. We don't recognise each other because other people have become our permanent mirrors. If we actually realised this, if we were to become aware of the fact that we are only ever looking at ourselves in the other person, that we are alone in the wilderness, we would go crazy. ...As for me, I implore fate to give me the chance to see beyond myself and truly meet someone." (p. 141)
"Eternity: for all its invisibility, we gaze at it." (p. 246) 
   "...maybe the greatest anger and frustration come not from unemployment or poverty or the lack of a future but from the feeling that you have no culture because you've been torn between cultures, between incompatible symbols. How can you exist if you don't know where you are? What do you do if your culture will always be that of a Thai fishing village and of Parisian grand bourgeois at the same time? Or if you're the son of immigrants but also the citizen of an old, conservative nation? So you burn cars, because when you have no culture, you're no longer a civilised animal, you're a wild beast. And a wild beast burns and kills and pillages.   I know this is not a very profound thought but after that I did have a profound thought, all the same: I asked myself, what about me? What is my cultural problem? In what way am I torn between two incompatible beliefs And in what way am I a wild beast?" (p. 253)
"...beauty consists of its own passing, just as we reach for it. It's the ephemeral configuration of things in the moment, when you can see both their beauty and their death.    ...I thought, does this mean that is how we must live our lives? Constantly poised between beauty and death, between movement and its disappearance?    Maybe that's what being alive is all about: so we can track down those moments that are dying." (p. 268-269)
"When did I first experience the exquisite sense of surrender that is possible only with another person? The peace of mind one experiences on one's own, one's certainty of self in the serenity of solitude are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship..." (p. 273)
"If you want to heal
Heal others
And smile or weep
At this happy reversal of fate.
(p. 286)
   "They didn't recognise me," I say.I come to a halt in the middle of the pavement, completely flabbergasted.   "They didn't reconise me," I repeate.He stops in turn, my hand still on his arm."It is because they have never seen you," he says. "I would recognise you anywhere."   ...And I wonder how well I myself can see."(p. 299-300)
   "I have finally concluded, maybe that's what life is about: there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never.    Yes, that's it, an always within never.   ...from now on, for you, I'l be searching for those moments of always within never.   Beauty in this world." (p. 320)
Not only is the writing/translating captivating... encapsulated within, I stumbled over such exquisite truth. And, as you can see also see, I eventually did discover the meaning behind the book's title. More significantly, however, I glimpsed how God has created bridges through the longings within those refraining post-modern thought - doors flung wide open to share the reason for the hope within. God has called His people to be His ambassadors. How can we relate to others if we don't understand where they are... from where they are coming? 

I firmly believe that every culture (even post-modern ones) will contain elements of God's truth and His beauty, because man is created in the image of God.

Themes like
  • longing for eternity and for significance, 
  • seeing beyond the surface to the person within, 
  • the dichotomous struggle between beauty and death, 
  • the basis of true friendship and how we need other people, 
  • how the future is built on the little choices made today, 
  • the benefit and beauty of serving and helping others
  • our selfish, self-centered eyes are generally blind to others and therefore we only find ourselves reflected instead of knowing and truly being known,
  • seeing infinity in a moment.
reflect our amazing God and therefore we should use them to build...

Any of these ideas could become a bridge to connect otherwise seemingly unconnectables. 

I'm facilitating a discovery learning unit about bridges for a group of gifted 2nd graders  (they will eventually design and build their own bridge) and last week we discussed how balanced pushing and pulling forces are what makes a bridge stand. Somehow, I don't think that concept only applies to purely physical bridges... When we seek to link two seemingly incongruent thoughts or perspectives, there will be some uncomfortable tension - or pulling; there will also be some squeezing and pushing - or compression. And that is good, for that is what prevents catastrophe and collapse.

It is those forces, in balance, that not only cause the bridge to stand alone, but to also support the weight of those crossing back and forth.

In this book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, I hope I've found some tools to begin building such bridges. I hope I'm brave enough to start using them.

***************************************

What are you presently reading that challenges you and forces you to consider perspectives outside of your typical box?

Do you see God reflected in aspects of the culture in which you live?

What do you think about this idea of building bridges... and the uncomfortable tension and compression you might feel as a result?

26 November 2012

Encountering Jesus ~ "Come and you will see."

 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).(John 1:35-41)
Last week, I looked at John the Baptist's encounter with Jesus. 

In today's portion of Scripture, John points two others their first encounter with the Lord.... 

I love this thought: 
The next day, John returned to where he had already encountered Jesus... anticipating meeting with Him again, in that place. 

Most of the commentators I read remarked that John presence "there again" on the next day contains within the idea of hoping, standing, waiting, expecting. He believed Jesus would come to him again if he sought his Lord where he'd found Him before. While there is no "formula" or "recipe" for encountering Jesus and I've often been surprised by Him, one of the best strategies to consistently meet with Him incorporates this idea of being in the same place and position (referring to heart attitude) where I've previously met with Him.

And He did see Jesus again. This time the text does not record any interaction between those two men. Instead, John did what he had already been doing: preparing the way, pointing others to their own, personal encounters with Jesus. As a missionary, that is also my heartbeat - that somehow, my presence directs the eyes of others towards the Savior.

The more I think about John the Baptist, I am convinced that he must have been a phenomenal, charismatic teacher. John's disciples, well taught, immediately applied what he'd been teaching them - that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was the One they needed to follow. They immediately took off after Jesus. One of the two men is clearly identified as Andrew. Most commentators agree that the second man is probably John, the apostle and author of this Gospel account.

When Jesus turned around and saw them, He asked them what they wanted... "Why are you following Me?" These men were about to have a Jesus rendez-vous. I wonder if He asked this question to help them be sure of their motives... What were they hoping Jesus would do for them? 

Jesus initiated deeper, more personal, interaction. Have you ever seen someone you knew you wanted to know better? And so you try to position yourself so that you have opportunity to converse, work alongside or simply spend time listening and learning from him or her? But breaking the ice? That can feel awkward, like you are intruding. Jesus intercepted that whole scenario by gently accosting them. After they answered, He welcomed them to join Him, for the prospect of spending time with them pleased the Lord as well.

I find it fascinating how John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God - a clear foreshadowing reference to His sacrificial death. Later, when Andrew tells his brother about meeting Jesus, he referred to Him as the Messiah... or the Anointed One... the eventual One chosen and set apart to be king. I wonder if even in that first day, they imagined they'd found a promised political savior instead of a Savior of men's souls?

Messiah was not the first title, however, they used for Jesus. When He asked them why they were following Him, the men replied Rabbi. By identifying Him as teacher, they immediately placed themselves as disciples at the feet of One from whom they desired to be taught. One of the aspects I found very interesting as our children went to local schools was that the students did not call teachers by their name; rather, they referred to them as  "Maîtresse" or "Maître"  ...in other words, teacher. Using a title in that way shows the high esteem, even reverence, these men already felt towards the Lord. This sentiment must have developed and grown as they sat at the feet of John the Baptist, soaking in whatever he had to prepare them for this moment, this encounter with the Son of God. Then John removed himself from the picture and pointed them on to the One Who would teach them even more.

After spending that day with Jesus, Andrew couldn't stop talking about this man. In fact (and according to the Biblical text), his very next step was to return home and tell his brother all about the One with Whom he'd spent the day... the One for Whom they'd been waiting. Andrew immediately became a tool of the Holy Spirit, preparing another for his own personal encounter with Jesus.

Briefly, Scripture challenges me on several fronts as I study this passage: 
  1. Authentic encounters with the Savior leave a burden to see others have that same opportunity.
  2. Placement is everything. It is imperative to be in a position likely to lead to intimate time with Jesus.
  3. Living, talking and walking the Jesus road allows others to recognize Jesus when they they personally encounter Him.
  4. Jesus gently, graciously welcomes all who are willing to follow.
  5. Each encounter with the Lord only deepens esteem, respect and awareness of desperate need for Him.
  6. Genuine heart encounters with the Son of God prompt proclaiming the wonders of His love, mercy, truth, teaching, as well as announcing that He is here! What a wonderful thought with which to enter this Advent season!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What has the Holy Spirit impressed upon your heart 
as you read through this Jesus Encounter?


this week's gratitude list:
(#'s 3307 - 3333) ~ I didn't plan landing on that number on purpose, either!

Joe and Andi are engaged

and now there's a much anticipated summer wedding

future plans falling into place

dancing the night away with friends

remembering favorite dances from college days

these photos of my nana and my pop-pop - I'm looking forward to seeing them next summer



turkey and ham for Thanksgiving

leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast 

finding pinto beans and cornmeal in town the same week

Christmas carols


roasting pig out by the river

lovely Friday evening float/ride on the river - it's been too long since I've done one of those

Christmas carols!

lost luggage arriving

finding out that we can fly from Niamey to Glasgow... and trying to decide if we want to go from there to Michigan or LA???

lovely evening with friends @ Les Roniers - nothing beats the salade Novelle Orleans with steak au poivre vert!

three solid hours of sleep without waking up once

Reese's peanut butter cups... 

Little boy planning to build a bridge, first with legos... then we'll see

hotdogs roasting o'er an open fire

hearing all about the first snow

progress reports completed for this semester

Christmas holidays... three weeks and counting!

thinking and planning for Parc W... Lord-willing the entire family this year

the best soup made with turkey bone leftovers


24 November 2012

Every Day, Driving a Gauntlet


I was driving to one of the actual grocery stores here in town recently. (That means aisles, shopping carts or baskets, meat counter, bakery, refrigerator and frozen section - even Kellogg's Special K, sometimes... It's not Walmart or Winn Dixie, but "I ain't complainin'!") I don't often navigate this section of town, at least not this year, and there are a few trickier round-abouts... or rotaries... or round points, depending where you are from... I thought I'd run over a guy on a bike at one of them just a few months ago. Now, nervousness tags along each time I try and merge into the traffic fray in that place.

That morning, after successfully merging and driving up the hill amid the bikes, motorcycles, large and small vehicles as well as pedestrian and animal traffic, a Land Cruiser goes flying around me, crosses the double yellow line, weaves through thankfully minimal head on traffic...


******************************************


To read the rest, please join me as I post today over at Missionary Mom's Companion!

23 November 2012

Five Minute Friday ~ Thank YOU


Linking up with Lisa-Jo for another Five Minute Friday!

"So grateful for you guys, for this space, for the God who gives us the gift of creativity and community.

Thank YOU.

Five Minute Friday is going to take the month of December off. We’ll start fresh in January.  So for now, let’s write our fingers off with gratitude. Today we get to pause and count out loud the gifts the God of all good things has given us. Let’s count together – at least five minute’s worth...


Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks!

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on..."

Thank You…


Sometimes, it is the littlest things...
REALLY!

It isn't something that drastically changes our lives,
but instead helps us feel loved and remembered.

~ Yeah ~
Little things like that that mean so very much.

And you know just what I mean.


...like a package of OREO COOKIES!

From America, even
(i.e. no foreign writing... French, Arabic, Portugeuse... ANYWHERE on the packaging)!


Especially when you just can't run to the store and buy 'em
 any time you get a hankering for 'em! 


They taste great.

They even make powdered milk taste lovely!

They bring huge smiles to our kiddos' faces.

We have to hide them from Daddy or they'd be all gone before the rest of us got home from school the next day - and that is itself a kinda sordid sorta fun.

One package... 2 per person... Oreo Cookies can change the whole atmosphere of the entire house and our family of 10 in nothing less than an instant.


So we want to say thank you to friends from Florida 
who sent this little package of joy our way


gratefully received on Thanksgiving Day!

Thank you!

(P.S. Lisa-Jo is taking a break from 5MF for December... but December is actually when I have a bit more time to write, since school is off for a month... so I'll probably keep up with my own 5 minute writes.. just because it is a lot of fun and I love the challenge! Put some topics in a bowl and draw a different one each Friday and keep on writing. I'm planning on it!)

21 November 2012

Generating Grumpiness? Or Gratitude?

Thanksgiving is this week, and so I feel a bit stupid starting out like this – but…  I REALLY can’t stand listening to a generator.

I know. You’re wondering, “What’s the big deal?”  

First, I’ve listened to them an awful lot lately.


Additionally, generators are noisy, they stink, there’s usually a big puff of black smoke as they start up, I’m quite sure they can’t be good for the environment and they consume a whole lot of diesel fuel and that gets expensive. Those might actually be considered valid reasons. They aren’t the ones behind my stronger than ambivalent dislike....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please join me @ A Life Overseas if you are curious to find out why I so dislike generators! It's my first time posting in a brand new place, and I'm very excited to be a part of this new-to-me community!

According to the site's editors, Laura and Angie
"This collective blog-site will be a space to encourage, challenge, and help missionaries and humanitarian workers living overseas. Our articles will spark honest conversation, ask hard questions, and give glimpses into the realities of the missionary lifestyle."
Head on over and visit... feel free to hang around for awhile!

Wordless Wednesday ~ Hairstyles and Haircuts






(All photos in this post have been scavenged from Facebook. 
I think they were taken by Latoya Asia.)



20 November 2012

...no different than the Roman Colosseum?

from en.wikipedia.org

recently read an a book review by a guy named Matthew Lee Anderson. He was reviewing a newly released book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. (I'm also planning to read the book... maybe over Christmas vacation?) If you look on my blog reading list, you'll see that I do read her blog, and while I frequently disagree with her ideas, interpretations, and perspectives...

from en.wikipedia.org

...I'm also frequently challenged... forced to examine once again what I believe and why I believe it. Many times, I've discovered that her point of view deserves closer examination rather than mere dismissal because it doesn't line up with what I've always thought and been taught, even if after that examination I still find myself holding closer to those original beliefs. At least I know why I say I believe as I do. 

But that's not really the point of this post. Mr. Anderson, in his review, utilizes a powerful metaphor that has detained many of my thoughts of late. Let me share his exact words (emphasis mine): 

from en.wikipedia.org
"I am increasingly saddened by the state of our Christian discourse online, including my own involvement in it.

I’m no Roman history expert, but I take it that it was their love of entertainment that led them to the [Colosseum].  It’s a bloodthirsty idol, entertainment, for it knows no boundaries nor respects no persons.  Over the past two years, Christians have engaged in a variety of controversies—which they have been doing for a long time, but which seem to be coming and going with a greater rapidity while being discussed at a significantly more shallow level.... 

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, byJean-Léon Gérôme (1883)
In each, the form of arguments have rarely been commendable and the level of discourse ennobling.  We have increasingly, it seems to me, been taken by these controversies and fought for page views in the midst of them.  And that has meant mostly fighting each other, clashing verbal swords and letting the digital blood flow in the streets.  I know well that there is a time to disagree and to draw lines.  And I also know that when the controversy is upon us, the drumbeats of war always beat the loudest, and it is usually in such moments that we should speak of peace.  Perhaps we would all do well to wield our intellectual swords with a good deal more care....

Pollice Verso ("Thumbs Down") by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1872
...I thought that blogging held promise for the church to improve its dialogue and help minds think more Christianly. I now wonder whether that is true, or whether the intrinsically shallow nature actually induces an entertainment-oriented mindset that prefers the action of a controversy to silence or to the boring, mundane work of saying the same old thing. I see the tendency toward degrading speech in myself and have watched it come to the fore over the past year. And I am not at all certain it should continue, either in me or in the rest of this small corner of the internet. Because if evangelicalism continues to be a movement that lives on controversy, then it is certain that it will someday die by it." 

As a reader of blogs... 
perhaps as one who comments, or one who shares poignant 
or meaningful-to-you posts 
on Facebook or some other social media outlet, 
what responsibility do you think you have to prevent 
the type of electronic gladiator games of which Mr. Anderson speaks?

If you are a blogger, do you believe you have a responsibility to steward your words? How do you go about doing so? 
Do you have some method to keep yourself accountable?

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