Untouched

“Untouched by human hands”

That makes me wonder if it was touched by animals hands and they’ve found a loophole.

Alternatively, I suppose it could be touched by alien hands.

Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.

Genesis 27:23

Leaning Tower

Gamma made me a craft thing out of adhesive-backed foam that he cut into shapes and stuck together.

image of leaning tower of pizza

image of leaning tower of pizza

It is, of course, the leaning tower of pizza.

The temple servants living in Ophel made repairs as far as the front of the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower.

Nehemiah 3:26

Sent from Phone

I think if you want to mess with someone, a fun thing to do would be to have your email signature say “Sent from your iPhone X” or “Send from your Galaxy S8” or whatever phone you know they have.

Even better would be if they read it while at their computer, not on their phone.

But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.”

Exodus 4:13

Distracted Driving

Since it’s football season, that means I’m watching TV.

And since I’m watching TV, that means I’m seeing commercials.

One things I’ve noticed about the various car commercials is that various car manufacturers are promoting their version of collision avoidance or pedestrian detection or the like.

The most common theme seems to be showing distracted people darting into traffic. The next common theme seems to be showing distracted drivers not noticing normal traffic patterns.

Either way, the message is that one (whether driver or pedestrian) doesn’t need to pay attention closely to traffic or road conditions or potential hazards because the car will handle it.

I realize there are emergency situations where the car can detect and avoid a collision better than a person can. The commercials are trying to sell “safe car” but they are not accounting for human psychology. The commercials are training the millions of viewers to trust that cars will fix their mistakes and they can relax behind the wheel, which I think will make the roads less safe.

Remember people, the way the law is written, if you are driving a vehicle then you are responsible for what it does.

He led them safely, so that they did not fear; But the sea engulfed their enemies.

Psalm 78:53

When I Grow Up

I don’t remember what responses I had back when I was younger and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

But now that I’m older and know better, let me tell you the answer I’d like to give:

Retired.

Aim high, kids.

But at the age of fifty years they shall retire from service in the work and not work any more.

Numbers 8:25

Happy Reformation Day!

As you may know, today is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I won’t go into all the history and details of the reformation, as there are many other knowledgeable sites with good information if you’re so inclined.

Today’s topic is actually better suited to John Wycliffe than Martin Luther, but I think they would share the same sentiment, along with a bit of Aldous Huxley.

Luther (and Wycliffe) was fighting against church officials and the rules they imposed. Not because they rules per se, but because they were not part of the Bible. Luther’s cause was to obey God, and if man’s rules didn’t comply with God’s then it was man’s rules that lost out.

The reformation started by Luther and continued by Wycliffe included putting God’s words in the hands of the people. Rather than needing a priest to tell the people what God thought, the people should read the scripture for themselves. The main point being that people should read the Bible for themselves, pray to God themselves, and generally interact with God directly rather than through a middleman.

Luther was known for writing songs that were to be sung by the congregation, rather than sung by a choir and heard by the congregation. Wycliffe was known for translating the Bible into the common language of the people, rather than keeping it in the fancy academic languages of Latin/Greek/Hebrew.

What do we see happening today? Rather than church leaders forbidding people to sing themselves or read their own Bibles for themselves, we have the Brave New World approach: have an entertaining worship band that is so loud that it doesn’t matter if the congregation sings or not, and put the Bible verses on the screen so the congregation doesn’t need to look in their own Bibles.

I don’t think it’s being done on purpose to make lazy/uninformed Christians, but it can get there pretty easily. Make things so convenient that congregants don’t need to practice any individual disciplines.

To throw a little bit of Orwell here (more Animal Farm than 1984), what’s to keep the pastor from rephrasing the verse he puts on the screen, to better make his point? What’s to keep him from dropping Bible verses from the slides after a while? Put something on a giant screen, and people will pay attention to it.

We’re coming full circle from the start of the reformation in that people are happy to have a middleman do the work of reading, singing, and praying for them so they don’t have to.

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Acts 5:29

Oxford Comma Wins Again

I recently read this sentence in a publication:

In life’s darkest moments, when nothing can minimize the unveiled devastation of a terminal diagnosis, news of a loved one’s death, a wayward spouse, drug use turned into addiction or crushing debt, do you value the offer of rescue?

You know what I thought when I read that?

How does drug use turn into crushing debt?

I realize debt usually goes along with drug use, as people waste money they have, run out, and still have to find money to continue their addiction. Plus, as we all learned in school, Drugs Are Really Expensive.

But I think that was not the idea they wanted to convey with that sentence. And I think the Oxford Comma would have helped clarify their thoughts. Here’s how I would re-write the sentence:

In life’s darkest moments – when nothing can minimize the unveiled devastation of a terminal diagnosis, news of a loved one’s death, a wayward spouse, drug use turned into addiction, or crushing debt – do you value the offer of rescue?

See how there is a comma between each separate item in the sentence, leaving no ambiguity for the reader. I see why they thought they should avoid the comma – it made for too many commas because of their clauses. But using hyphens to separate the clauses frees up the commas so that one can be used for the list.

Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness.

Psalm 6:4