Thought For The OPEN Mind - Humor From American Culture!
First Published In The Last Century - July 26, 1997!
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An Amusement Park Of Ideas! #ProfHowdy
Dear Dr. Howdy,"I had the toughest time of my life. First, I got angina pectorisand then arteriosclerosis. Just as I was recovering fromthese,I got tuberculosis, double pneumonia and phthisis. Then theygave me hypodermics. Appendicitis was followed by tonsillectomy.These gaveway to aphasia and hypertrophic cirrhosis. I completelylost my memory for a while. I know I had diabetes and acuteingestion, besides gastritis, rheumatism, lumbago and neuritis.I don't know how I pulled through it.... It was the hardest spellingtest I've ever had."A UNC Med Student
Walking To School The First Day Backby Misty BusThe Day The Car Pool Forgot Meby I. Rhoda BikeCan't See The Chalkboardby Sidney BackrowPractical Jokes I Played On The First Day Of Schoolby Major CrackuppWhat I Dislike About Returning To Schoolby Mona LottMaking It Through The First Week Of Schoolby Gladys SaturdayIs Life Over When Summer Ends?by Midas WelbeeWhat I Love About Returning To Schoolby I.M. KiddingWill Jimmy Finally Graduate?by I. Betty WontWhat Happens When You Get Caught Skipping Schoolby U. Will Gettitt
Running in the House of GodI once lived in a house with an accommodating layout for a child hoping to escape punishment. If I dared to run away from the spanking that I knew was coming, this house made it seem like a valid plan. A large wall served as a partition between the rooms, such that the kitchen and dining room were on one side while the living room and sunroom were on the other. Thus, I could essentially run in endless circles, my little legs one step ahead of the parent on my trail.Of course, this split-second strategy always backfired. While I might have eluded capture for a short time, punishment was inevitable, and probably worse for trying to escape parental hands. But the attempt to run always ended with a troubling dilemma. I knew I couldn't run forever; yet once I started running, I was afraid to stop.For some reason, this escape scenario remains a vivid picture for me. Oddly, I'm not entirely sure it is a stunt I duplicated more than once; it seems Iwould have quickly learned of its ineffectiveness. Even so, the dilemma wrought from running in circles seems a vivid memory. From time to time, the image of my futile escape plan still comes boldly to mind.It is this picture that surfaces when I begin to feel distant from God. Whether I have been disobedient or I have simply been absent, once again I am a child in that old house running away from the hand of a disciplining parent. Once more I am struck with the dread of an impossible dilemma; afraid to stop running, but knowing with each circle that I am only making it worse. I want to return to God's presence; I want for all things to be restored. But I find myself unable to face the one I have disappointed, unable to face up to my offenses.The psalmist calls for an entirely different approach between child and Father. Facing the impossible dilemma of his own sin, David did not choose to run from God (once his offense had been exposed). He fell instead on his knees,facing his faults and inadequacies, facing the face of God. With a broken heart, he approached the one he disappointed. "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.... For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me" (Psalm 51:1-3). Grieving his sin and remembering his God, David discovered the tender and vulnerable worship that is fashioned within a broken heart. And he discovered how deeply pleasing it was to the one he had sinned against: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (Psalm 51:17). The heart most open toward the Father is a heart that is broken before Him.Contrition is a word we now use infrequently, though it remains a powerful call to one of the deepest places of worship. As David discovered, it is not an easy call to answer; it runs counter to our instinct to run, calling us instead to come near with a broken heart. The word "contrite" derives from the Latin word contritus,meaning pulverized or ground to pieces. While this may be exactly the fearful condition we seek to avoid, it is not a word meant to describe what God will do to the running child when she is finally caught. Rather, it describes what happens to the child’s heart when she catches a glimpse of her own sins. Yet, in the willful act of allowing our hearts to be broken in pieces by our own sin, it is here that God's mercy is nearest. The shattered soul is far closer to wholeness than the one who refuses in fear or vanity to return to the Father. To be contrite of heart is to stop running and to turn without panic or pride to the one who has been running with us all along.Oscar Wilde was a soul familiar with the entangling circles of sin. He at times followed fear or instinct and kept running; other times he found himself compelled to stop and face his depravity before the face of God. In a poem written after his release from prison, he spoke plainly of that which broke his dizzyingcycles.Ah! happy they whose hearts can breakAnd peace of pardon win!How else may man make straight his planAnd cleanse his soul from Sin?How else but through a broken heartMay Lord Christ enter in?The willful heartache of a child that knows she has fallen short is a heart that is open to the embrace of the Father. In God's house, we need not run in fear.Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.According to Richard Dawkins, there’s no difference between God and the Easter Bunny. Is God really just a trick or a deception like the Tooth Fairy? Join RZIM for a thought provoking evening featuring Ravi Zacharias as he addresses the intellectual assumptions surrounding atheism while contrasting the validity of the Christian faith in his special message, “Is Faith Delusional?” Click here for more:href="http://www.rzim.org/USA/Events/CivicCenter2009.aspx
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