We spent a few days in North Carolina this week visiting friends. We lived there many years ago when I was a young graduate student at the Divinity School of Duke University (Go Blue Devils!) In any case it was good to see long time friends we have have come to cherish. Friendship is a wonderful gift not to be taken for granted.
The good life is lived in gratitude. Grateful people know that life is not something they deserve. Every new day is received not as payment on a debt owed, but as a gift given for no other reason than the One who gives it wants to do so. Even each breath is taken not as something only understood physiologically, but as a reminder that the One who gives each day is also present in each moment. Grateful people are astonished by the blessings they have received because they know that such joys are not deserved. Thus, persons who live their lives in gratitude focus on what they have been given, not on what has been denied.
Physicists have found what is likely, possibly, hopefully, statistically probable evidence of the Higgs bosen, the so-called "God particle." I am continually amazed at how science is discovering so much about our universe, and even more amazed at the universe itself. As the Psalmist notes, "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).
It has been hotter than the blazes the past couple of weeks. I must say that I much prefer the heat to cold. I don't mind winter in general, but in Ohio it simply sticks around for too long and summer is much too brief.
Speaking of the heat, the battle of Gettysburg was fought 149 years ago this week (July 1-3), and it was hot and humid. On the last day of the battle the temperature reached 87 degrees during Pickett's Charge. Casualties (killed, missing, and wounded) are estimated at just under 50,000 total for both armies. If history teaches us something it's that we human beings manage to encounter what we wish to avoid, and the outcome is usually tragic.
Andy Griffith died this week. He was a good and decent man who made us laugh and reminded us that there is plenty in life to smile and laugh about. Good and decent women and men die; but goodness and decency live on because the good and the decent pass their virtues on to others.
Some conversation this week caused me to reflect on the story of King Solomon in the Bible. When God offered to give him anything he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom... and then spent most of his reign failing to use it. Just because God gifts us doesn't mean we will automatically use what God imparts. It is a great tragedy when those in the church, who have been gifted by God with talents and abilities and dispositions, never reflect upon or ponder how God may wish them to use what they have received.
Life is too short for human beings to trifle away their time, but they also must take time for the trivial, and there is a difference. T.S. Elliot said, "Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time." I'm not sure that is true because God has things for us to do. But the purposes God has for us are so important and so significant, we must take time for the trivial. We must take time for leisure in order to get centered once again and be refreshed that God might continue to work his will in our lives. So take time for that vacation this summer.
Apparently men and women have different preferences when it comes to social media. Women are more into Facebook and Twitter while men seem to prefer Google+ and LinkedIn. What does this mean? I have no idea. I report. You decide.
I am planning to return to Cuba in November to engage in mission work after several years absence. I cannot wait. Christians are made for Christ's mission in this world. The church was created for Christ's mission in this world. When individual Christians and when the church forget that, they lose their purpose; they lose their identity.
Time management experts tell us that each and every one of us has all the time in the world to do what is truly important to us. People who like to play golf will regularly have a tee-time. Those who enjoy working outside will set aside time to landscape their yards, and those who like to read will do so. And yes, those who believe church is important will volunteer their time and be involved. Those who don't are not too busy; it's simply not high on their list of priorities. Need I say more?
Silly Season in Politics: Supporters of President Obama and Governor Romney clashed this week during a fourth of July parade in New Hampshire. Isn't it possible to support your candidate and act like an adult at the same time? Trying to hide each other's signs and shout down the other is quite immature, if you ask me. I think all of them should have been put in a time out.
This Week in Christian History: On July 5, 1865, William Booth founded what would later be named the Salvation Army. I wonder what Booth would think of all those red kettles and bell ringers at Christmas time?