Song from God

In the shadow of the cross, I leave my fear and woe.
In the radiance of his love, I let my anger go.
He is my Savior. He rescues me. He is my lord for eternity.
He is my shepherd. He comforts me. He is my love for eternity.

In the shelter of his wings I come his love/my lord to know.
Even when I feel alone, I trust it isn’t so.

I’ve already lost the lines with XXXs. Hopefully the Holy Spirit will give them back. And he did.

He is my Savior. He rescues me. He is my lord for eternity.
He is my shepherd. He comforts me. He is my love for eternity.
I have his love for…
I am his love for eternity.

In the shadow of your cross, I leave my fear and woe.
In the radiance of your love, I let my anger go.
You are my savior. You rescue me. You are my lord for eternity.
You are my shepherd. You comfort me. You are my love for eternity.
In the shelter of your wings I come your love to know.
Even when I feel alone, I trust it isn’t so.
You are my savior. You rescue me. You are my lord for eternity.
You are my shepherd. You comfort me. You are my love for eternity.
You are my love for…
I know your love for…
I have your love for….
I am your love for eternity.


BBC News: Last Sin-Eater Celebrated with Church Service

Sin-eaters were generally poor people paid to eat bread and drink beer or wine over a corpse, in the belief they would take on the sins of the deceased.

Frowned upon by the church, the custom mainly died out in the 19th Century.

It was prevalent in the Marches, the land around the England-Wales border, and in north Wales, but was rarely carried out anywhere else.

Believers thought the sin-eater taking on the sins of a person who died suddenly without confessing their sins would allow the deceased’s soul to go to heaven in peace.

While most of the sin-eaters were poor people or beggars, Mr Munslow was a well-established farmer in the area.

Locals began the collection to restore the grave, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years, believing it would be good to highlight the custom and Mr Munslow’s place in religious history.

Too bad that didn’t work. Wonder how the poor felt. Were they just glad to have the money and food? Or were they concerned about the 1,000 years of purgatory they were adding? Did the vicar really turn a blind eye? Or were the unshriven allowed full rites?

He Will Command His Angels Concerning You

nofearwiththelordStaff Sgt. Edward Rosa reads the Bible and extends a cigarette to Pfc. Jorge Rostra Obando, who was stunned by an explosion in Afghanistan’s Arghanab Valley. One comrade was killed and two injured in the blast. Pfc. Rostran asked the sergeant to read Psalm 91, a favorite from his childhood. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova for The Wall Street Journal) — Photo Journal – WSJ

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91, NIV, from BibleGateway

Integrating Two Things

As part of a job application I have to write a philosophy statement of faith and learning.

Goofing off, I wrote this:

Education without faith is dead. For degrees will pass, classes will cease, and intellectual stimulation is not the be-all and end-all of life. Faith calls us to an eternal experience that supersedes all education, but can use our education to the benefit of others.

Today is Ash Wednesday

And for Lent, I am giving up procrastination.

I am struggling with what that means, but I think that God called me to that, so I am going there.

We will see how it goes.

Last year’s giving up of romance novels was much easier to begin with, at least. I knew what a romance novel was.

A Home in Nazareth has the archaeological news of a house from Nazareth from the era when Jesus was born.

The dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about four acres (1.6 hectares). It was evidently populated by Jews of modest means who kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority

The house, to date, is 900 sq ft, a pretty small home by American standards, even for a small family of four.

“According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,330 square feet in 2004, up from 1,400 square feet in 1970.” from Info Please.

My friends in Austin have a home from the 50s and theirs is typical for that era and area and is about 1200 sq ft. Another set of friends have a home there from the 40s and theirs was about 1400 sq ft. Our home in Abilene from the 40s was also about 1400 sq ft.

According to these sites the average was about 1100 to 1200 square feet in the 1950’s.

I know the three houses my family lived in the the 1950’s ranged from about 900 square feet to about 1400 square feet.
Outside the Beltway

Article on house size matters

from Yahoo! Answers

Talking to God

I was driving to Austin yesterday and talking to God. I think he was talking back, but I am not totally sure. I think so, though, because he kept asking for stuff I didn’t want to do.

I asked him what I should do and he said, “Slow down.” I asked if he meant my speed and he said, “That, too.” I said I wasn’t going to slow down my speed, but I did anyway. I mean, if God points it out…

So, we talked a bit. One agreement, no more conferences next semester. The three I have only. AND if my SLAC turns down the February conference, I won’t go. (I hope they don’t turn it down. It was very fun. I learned a lot. Gotta put together a persuasive packet on that.)

Then I got off topic and don’t remember how I left the conversation. Basically I’m still teaching six courses next semester and next fall, because I have committed to them. But next spring, I will only teach four classes unless I have a full-time job. We talked about that, too, but he didn’t say anything definitive. I still feel that it is unlikely.

Anyway, I had a weird dream (an affair which produced a baby–I’m not having either one of those things.), and when I woke up I realized that the experience was alluding to a job-ish offer that I was planning on accepting. I think I need to turn it down.

Weird the ways God has to get my attention. (Both the ways he is able to get my attention and the effort he has to go to procure it.)

Double Standards

based on religion are becoming more common. Perhaps I would not notice them except that they are discriminating against my religion.

from American Daughter:

Army Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin openly expressed his Christian world-view in public…. But negative coverage of his public expressions of his faith by the liberal mainstream media brought an end to his distinguished 36-year military career, and forced his retirement.

Army Major Nidal Hasan also held strong religious views. A devout Muslim, he openly expressed his approval of a jihad, or holy war, against western culture and our way of life. He even had business cards that declared him a soldier of Allah. … His outcome was the killing of thirteen people at the Fort Hood military base in Texas.

Who are you?

Maybe I need to rethink my attitude.

It’s about one’s theology of human nature, particularly one’s own. Those who are most likely to say, “I’m a good person” are least likely to actually be good people.

from The Common Room

Economic Effects of Religion

From the Boston Globe comes an interesting article, “The Curious Economic Effects of Religion.”

Their results show a strong correlation between economic growth and certain shifts in beliefs, though only in developing countries. Most strikingly, if belief in hell jumps up sharply while actual church attendance stays flat, it correlates with economic growth. Belief in heaven also has a similar effect, though less pronounced. Mere belief in God has no effect one way or the other. Meanwhile, if church attendance actually rises, it slows growth in developing economies.

Religion can, quite directly, affect what you earn – fundamentalists and evangelicals in the United States tend to have lower savings rates and incomes than members of other religions, in part because they have larger families and give away more of their money.

Similarly, literacy seems clearly connected with economic development, and mass literacy is a Protestant invention, says Robert D. Woodberry, a sociologist at University of Texas at Austin [italics mine -ed]. He has mapped how missionaries spread literacy, technology, and civic institutions, and finds that those correlate strongly with economic growth. He argues in part that this helps explain why the once-poor but largely Protestant United States surpassed rich, Catholic Mexico after 1800.

Fascinating stuff.

5th day of Thanksgiving

Eyes. I’ve always liked the color of mine and enjoyed my excellent vision. But when I lost some of my vision two years ago, I came to realize just how important eyes are. So I am most grateful for my eyesight.

Thank you, God, that I can still see.

November Blessings

uncle-sam-thanksgiving-dinnerThe Common Room recommended keeping a “thanks” list in November. Each day give a new letter of the alphabet. I’m a tad behind, but I can certainly list twenty-six things for which I am thankful.

A Animals. I’m grateful for my dog Serenity who is sitting beside me all curled up showing how much she loves me by being content to be beside me. I thank God for animals, especially this special beagle.

B Books. This is me after all. I am totally, absolutely, one hundred percent grateful for books. Thank you, God, for pens and paper, printing presses, ideas, bindings, and publishing houses. Thank you for bookstores and libraries and friends with good book collections. Thank you for everything that involves books.

C Children. I am also totally, one hundred percent, absolutely grateful for children. I am grateful for my two wonderful boys who are almost grown. They are my pride and my joy. I am grateful for my sister’s children, because they are still children and are a lot of fun to be around. And I am grateful for my friends’ children, especially as they grow up and become my friends. I am also just thankful that the Lord sent into our care and stewardship these fragile beings who adore us and who need us. Thank you, God.

D Dinosaurs and dragons. I’m thankful for the creativity of a God who made amazing creatures. I’m grateful for the stories about dinosaurs and dragons (perhaps the same stories) throughout history. And I am thankful that my boys loved both those sets of animals. I am also thankful that I got to teach Dinosaurs and Dragons to a bunch of homeschoolers. It was so much fun.

I want to keep going, but it is time to stop for the day. I’m going to have to think of E next. Elephants? Eggplant? (Yuck, not for me, but for Angie.) Ears? Ethiopia? Eternity? What will I say I am thankful for tomorrow? You will just have to check in and see.

The picture is from Son of the South’s Civil War site.

Ultrasound and Abortion

from Fox News comes this:

The former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in southeast Texas says she had a “change of heart” after watching an abortion last month — and she quit her job and joined a pro-life group in praying outside the facility.

Get Religion has a discussion of local coverage and the dearth of coverage.

Compilation of Sunday Notes

1 Sunday-
throw a pity party and bring my own refreshments

arms too short to box with God

trouble has a reserved seat in your family

death runs in my family

God took the bullets out of Satan’s gun

“You make oceans from the rain.”

2 Sunday

camping lamp= a picture of a Christian

The church is a bunch of coals heating each other up.

3 Sunday

Lay up experiences not possessions.

Your greatest asset becomes your greatest stumbling block when you aren’t using it for God.

Fragment from Codex Sinaiticus

The Independent has the news that a fragment from the world’s oldest Bible has been found in an Egyptian monastery.

Nikolas Sarris spotted a previously unseen section of the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates from about AD350, as he was trawling through photographs of manuscripts in the library of St Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt.

The Codex, handwritten in Greek on animal skin, is the earliest known version of the Bible. Leaves from the priceless tome are divided between four institutions, including St Catherine’s Monastery and the British Library, which has held the largest section of the ancient Bible since the Soviet Union sold its collection to Britain in 1933.

The Codex Sinaiticus is available online.

Using the Courts to Blast the Christians

A non-believer writes Judicial Home Invasion. I read Big Lizards’ blog regularly.

If this story in the Washington Times is at all accurate, a judge has just ruled that a little girl must be removed from homeschooling and sent to a government school — because the judge hoped that would cause her to lose her religious faith:

Go read it. Scary stuff.

I’m not a right-wing wacko. They really are out to get me.

Well, that’s not sectarian for sure.

I saw a CFP for a journal I hadn’t heard of before. It sounded fascinating and I sent the CFP on to several friends without checking out the journal.

We are interested in both creative, and critical approaches to the discussion of faith and literature. The journal is not denominational, and does not take a sectarian approach to religious questions.

Doesn’t that sound fascinating and right up my alley?

Unfortunately, when I went to the CFP on the site, it came out just a little differently.

Submissions that are ultimately chosen will engage the theme in a unique and unexpected way. Please, no anti-evolution or creationist diatribes – we are interested in radical, interesting, and unusual explorations of the philosophical concept of creation – not fundamentalist bullshit.

Because, wow, we don’t care about sects as long as you aren’t a fundamentalist.

They easily could have said this without being offensive.

“We are not looking for diatribes or rants.”

Then they could have just thrown out any “fundamentalist bullshit.”

Dang. Makes me want to send them some just to be annoying.