God’s earth is so full of His beauty that even ordinary grass suddenly finds itself crowned with it. This spread of little purple flowers just had to force its way up and out of the ground — right in the midst of my yard — to give a colorful tribute to the Creator.
The subject of tithing in the New Covenant seems to be a mystery to a majority of Christians. Many of them assume, since the subject gets so much attention in Old Covenant scriptures, that it is necessarily a part of the life of a New Covenant believer as well. And in some circles church leaders consistently preach that failure to tithe under the New Covenant still carries a curse, as it did for the Israelites under the law.
This short booklet sweeps away all the mystery surrounding the subject of tithing and explains, via numerous clarifying scripture passages, what the New Covenant believer’s attitude should be toward tithing, and toward every kind of giving into the work of God’s Kingdom. Only 16 pages of actual text. Easy to understand and share.
The Daily Post Prompt today is the word inchoate. It’s a word I never use. In fact, I consider it a rather worthless word. But when I saw it, I was consumed with a sudden desire to see just how many useful words I could make from it. So here goes. If you readers find some I’ve missed, feel free to post them in the ‘Comments’ window below.
in, inch, it, hi, hie, ate, at, an, ha, hot, hat, hate, hen, oh, ah, heat, hint, hon, con, coat, cot, cat, can, chin, ten, tan, ton, tone, teach, the, than, then, thin, nich, oat, hone, cone, cane, note, not, net, neat, chant, can’t, echo, ice, nice, taco, nacho, cinco.
(That makes 50 regular words.)
In this video, Robert Florczak, artist and illustrator, shares a succinct and lucid exposition on how we have allowed creativity to be taken over by man’s lowest and most base qualities of character. He’s referring specifically to painting and sculpture, but it’s just as true in the field of literature.
I see it most predominantly in poetry — with the modern attitude toward poetry being one that snubs its nose at any work that is based in the strict disciplines of meter and rhyme. These two characteristics of poetry have literally been the major components of judging a poem’s quality and excellence for generations. Now, everybody and his brother claims he’s a poet because he writes a few prose lines of symbolic jargon, breaking those lines in a helter-skelter pattern (which translates to NO pattern), and which says absolutely nothing that makes sense to most reasonably intelligent minds. (Let me hasten to add that everyone who writes free verse is not guilty of this sin, but a huge number of them are guilty.)
And the publishers of poetry overwhelmingly cater to these works, turning up their noses at the skilled poets who have expressed beautiful thoughts in forms that required them to actually discipline themselves and apply real mental and psychological effort at creating their work.
I recently read a piece of free verse by a poet (whose name I will not give) who was being praised and promoted in a publication that is available world-wide. I read the piece. Then I read it again. I could not understand it at all. Now I admit I’m not “the smartest person on the planet,” but I have a substantially high IQ, I have a college degree, and I have spent years teaching English, composition, and literary interpretation to high school and college students. With that kind of experience under my belt, if I literally COULD NOT even understand that piece, then it was trash. It’s good for nothing. Why was this publication promoting that particular man and that particular poem when thousands of other poets had written perfectly understandable and exceptionally beautiful works in the same year? I’ll tell you why. Because the public has bought into the lie that art is now supposed to be something that insults our intelligence and our highest moral instincts.
We see the problem, not just in poetry, but in all literary art. To me poetry stands out, but in truth, the dedication to ‘trash’ in literature is most easily seen on the movie screen. Where do those scripts come from? Well, to be sure, some of them are written specifically for the big screen or for TV, but a great number of them are taken from the novels currently on the market. So what does that say about those written works? You’re right. They fall into the category of trash as well.
So am I saying all modern literature and art are trash? Absolutely not. But we as a society have stopped discriminating between what is real art and what is trash. We’ve let the trash mongers take the lead and take over. As Robert Florczak says on this video, we need to get back to taking the time to judge the works put out there in the marketplace and refuse to purchase, visit, celebrate, advertise, or support the counterfeits that offer us no genuine excellence or beauty.
Let’s get back to truly appreciating genuine art — the works that actually inspire and enrich us because of their profound and life-elevating qualities. The works that required all-out commitment to excellence and tireless work and discipline on the part of their creators, so that they would be worthy of being accepted as true art. When we get back to judging art as we should — and responding appropriately with our money and our time — we’ll start seeing the trash tossed into the garbage heap where it belongs. And we’ll start seeing more real artists stepping up to the plate to create pieces that will make our lives richer.
This week’s photo challenge called for writing poetry or a short story. However, the photo reminded me so vividly of my real-life experience that I took the liberty of writing a memoir instead.
My Grandpa Elmer was a Rambler man. Not a ramb-ling man, you understand. But a Rambler owner. He drove one for years. It was sort of a soft light green color, and I have special memories of that old car that still warm my heart today. Of course, the memories are really of my grandpa, but he and that old car were buddies, so wherever he went, the Rambler went as well.
During the years that Rambler was in the family, I contracted for my first teaching position — in a town about an hour away from my home. It was a very hard time for me. I had just gone through a divorce, and I was broken-hearted and seriously doubting my abilities to succeed at very much. But I did love teaching and had been trained for it, so I took the plunge when the job became available.
I was not to know that the school system itself had very serious problems. The teacher turnover that year involved 20 resignations and new hires to replace them. At the end of that year, the turnover was again abnormally huge — with 13 of us leaving. It was a truly negative experience for most of us who had gone to work there that year, but we all learned a lot — mostly about how to choose our employers with a lot more care. But at least everyone of us did finish the whole year and completed our contracts without giving up due to the bad treatment.
However, I had another particular problem personally. I had no car. I located another teacher from a town very close to my hometown who had taken a position at the same school, and I managed to work out an agreement to ride with him. I paid for the gas, and he drove his car. Unfortunately, his schedule didn’t click with mine on a number of occasions, and when he had to drop me off about half-way home, I was stranded. Getting through each day of teaching in a very bad school environment to start with, and then having to sit for an hour or more, waiting to get a ride with someone else in order to even get home was really dragging me down.
But Grandpa decided to come to my rescue. I can’t count the times he drove that Rambler many miles to come and get me on those very late afternoons when I got stuck part-way home. And he’d always get to my drop-off point within minutes of my arrival.
I was discouraged with that job. The school system was run by irresponsible and foolish people, and the whole experience was a struggle every day. When I added the driving situation to that mix, I was just about ready to resign from the position, cut my losses, and try for a different position the next school year.
But Grandpa knew that quitting was never the way to go when the only reasons to quit were difficulties and disappointments. There are times in life when we may be led to resign a position in order to move upward and onward, and but those times are positive experiences, and they do not amount to “giving up” or “being beaten” by the circumstances. Grandpa had lived his life overcoming obstacles and circumstances, and he didn’t want me to give in too quickly. He knew it could set a pattern for life if I didn’t learn to stick with a job and finish it once I’d committed to it.
One afternoon I sat in the passenger seat, smothering in the heat pouring from the car vents — Grandpa always wanted his car nice and warm (read that boiling hot). I was so downhearted that particular day that I spoke my thoughts out loud and said I was thinking that maybe I just needed to resign. Grandpa didn’t look at me. And he didn’t raise his voice. Very quietly, he said, “No, Sandy. You don’t want to quit.”
Tears come to my eyes even now when I remember that day. He didn’t add anything else to that statement. But it took root in me. I realized at that moment that my grandfather cared so much that I learn to keep my word and take responsibility for finishing what I committed to that he got into his car and drove all that way, time after time, to make sure I was able to keep that commitment. I decided that if he cared so much about my “making it” that he gave so much of himself, then I owed it to him to stick it out and make myself end the year successfully.
Grandpa’s Rambler didn’t have balloons lifting it into the air. But as I looked at this picture and remembered those rides in that old green car, I realized that I had something even better than balloons lifting me during that year. I had my Grandpa Elmer. And he was truly the “wind beneath my wings.”
Hi. Come right on in and make yourself at home. I’ve got coffee in the pot — and a cup of “senior coffee” from McDonald’s as well. It’s one of those days.
If we really were having coffee together, I’d probably show you my newest coffee mug — which was a Valentine’s Day present from one of my former high school students. I’ve included a picture of it, so you can enjoy it as well. I taught high school and junior high, both public and private, for many years. I retired from that arena, but now I teach creative writing classes at a junior college. I’ve been very blessed to have many of my former students stay in touch with me for decades now. It’s much easier these days with so much social media and e-mail. I appreciate the love and gratitude my students still show me. They are special people.
I’d probably also tell you that this week I finally took one more step into the digital age. I’ve had my own books available in digital format for quite a while now, but I seldom read anything in that format. However, this week I downloaded two whole Bible translations onto my Nook. As a minister, I do enormous amounts of Bible study and Bible teaching, and often I use at least two or three translations in any given lesson. That fact makes for a pretty heavy load to carry around in my briefcase — or briefcases as the case may be — so this week I decided that two of those translations could go digital.
It’s a great relief to grab up that little Nook reader instead of two heavy books. In this morning’s service, I had to carry only one regular-sized King James Version and my digital reader with the Lamsa Translation and the Amplified. I think I’m going to appreciate the new digital age even more now.
Also, if we were having coffee, I’d probably tell you that this coming week is going to be a big event in my life. Perhaps to some, it might sound like nothing much, but for me, it’s major. I’ve shared a couple times on here about losing my very best friend last August. Because he was also my main editor for my books, that loss was made even more tragic, and I was having a very difficult time getting back to working on new books — three of which were in progress and had been contributed to by him. Every time I tried to get back to work on those books, the sorrow was just too heavy and the creativity for those projects too deeply buried.
But I’ve experienced more healing recently, thanks to the Lord’s grace, and this week is the week to pick up where I left off in August. So I’ll be pulling at least one of the works in progress off the shelf and stirring the ashes, so to speak. Hopefully, the creative flame will take over from there. I’m actually looking forward to it, and that’s a major breakthrough for me.
That’s about all I have to share today. My McDonald’s coffee is pretty well gone, and I’m headed back to my own pot for a refill. Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend — and your coffee. Hopefully, we’ll be able to share again next weekend. 🙂
Thanks to Eclecticali for hosting our weekend coffee shares.
St. Patrick’s Day’s approach
We celebrate in March:
‘Tis not about shamrocks,
Green beer or leprechauns.
But ’twas Pat’s love for God and man
That sent him ‘cross that heathen land.
And with great miracles in hand,
He preached God’s Word and took his stand,
Until the devil made retreat.
And Patrick, with such victory sweet,
Did then depart, his Lord to greet,
With tens of thousands souls redeemed.
And Ireland then, sent forth in streams
Men armed with faith in Christ the Lord
And shared Him with more heathen world.
If we were having coffee today, I’d probably tell you that this has been an extremely busy week, but has also been a week full of starting things that didn’t get finished. I did, however, finish editing and polishing a novel that I actually wrote 6 years ago, but never carried it through to publication. I wrote several novels after that one, and they are all on the market, but this one just didn’t get off the shelf for some reason.
But this week I finished my editing and polishing — with the help of 3 readers who caught several typos and other various and sundry errors. I posted the book one chapter at a time as I was editing, so I could get some good reader feedback, and I certainly did. Most people seemed to really enjoy the story. Frankly, I’m hoping that they enjoyed it enough to go purchase some of my other books.
[ Hint, Hint 🙂 ]
Anyway, THE PROFESSOR’S EDUCATION is finished and on its way to the market place, where it will join my other 15 books. I feel very satisfied with the finished product, so I have high hopes for it. Of course, once it’s in the marketplace, it won’t be posted on my website any longer. But I warned readers that it would be gone after tomorrow, and everyone who was interested has finished it.
During our coffee chat, I’d probably also tell you that I’ve been going through the car-repair mill again. There are several things wrong, and my mechanic is trying to schedule the most important things first. But several obstacles have interrupted the work getting done, so I’m starting to feel a little frustrated. But the car is still drivable, and as the old proverb says: “This too shall pass.”
The weather’s still crazy here in Southern Illinois. My daffodils are in bloom, and it’s sleeting right now and is supposed to snow this afternoon. But that’s par for the course. Every year, when my daffodils pop out, the weather turns mean and nasty for a few days. But bless their hearts, my little daffodils just take it in stride. And that reminds me of a little Life Lesson I recorded on YouTube a couple years ago about daffodils and what they teach us about life. I’ll put the link on here in case you’d like to check it out.
Well, I’m going to go refill my coffee cup and prop my feet up for a while. Hope you have a great day and a happy and successful week.