Postmodernism tells us there’s no such thing as truth; no such thing as meaning; no such thing as certainty. I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts. He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.” I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?” He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.” I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?” He said, “That is correct.” I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?” All of a sudden there was silence. You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.
A great quote from Ravi Zacharias September 19, 2007
Colossians and Fanny Crosby September 18, 2007
I just began a study of Colossians for a Bible study I joined with some ladies from church. I’m really looking forward to the study. While I’ve always loved the book of Colossians, I have never done an in-depth study of the book. We were encouraged to read through the entire book, so I did that this morning. (Don’t be too impressed–it’s a short book.)
I was really struck by two things about the book. First, I had never really thought about the tone of the letter. Paul and Timothy wrote this letter to the Colossian church. (Can you imagine getting a letter from those two?) Not only did they write the letter, they wrote it to encourage this church, because they had heard about their testimony and had been praying for them. Now they wanted to encourage them. The Bible study guide encouraged us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of the original readers. The idea was to give us a sense of the excitement, and I definitely could imagine the excitement.
The second thing that struck me about the letter was the focus on heaven. The recurring theme in the letter is that God sent His Son to pay for our entrance into heaven, and that’s all that really matters. Colossians 2:20-23 really drives home the point–Christ paid the price, so what am I doing trying to add my own ideas of “shoulds and shouldn’ts?” I was reminded (again) of how much I love Colossians 3:2’s reminder to keep my mind on God’s view and not on the stuff of earth.
You’re probably wondering by now how Fanny Crosby fits into all of this. I’m sorry that this is a “sorta-long” story–I’ll try my best to sum up quickly. At school this year, we are celebrating the school’s 50th year. So, as a Jubilee celebration, we are studying Psalm 145. Each month, we study one character quality. This month’s character quality is “Joyful Praise.” I have also been charged with the responsibility of choosing music for chapel. (Days of Elijah made the perfect theme song for the year–if you haven’t heard it before, go listen to it here.) We are also celebrating our heritage with a different hymn each month. This month’s hymn is To God be the Glory by Fanny Crosby. This Friday’s chapel has no speaker because of a scheduling glitch with the room, so I was asked to lead a praise chapel with lots of singing. In addition to the singing, I’m planning to share a little about Fanny Crosby’s testimony with the students.
In reviewing her story and testimony, I was struck at how well she exemplified the Colossians attitude and the focus on heaven. She wrote at least 8,000 songs, and some sources believe it may have been closer to 10,000, since she often used pen names–and she didn’t write her first song until she was 41 years old. She was also quoted once as saying that she didn’t write a single one of those songs without first praying that God would use it to reach lost souls. Even though she was blind from infancy, most of her 8,000+ hymns speak of seeing Jesus.
Her biography is almost Job-like. She lost her sight at six weeks old and her father in her first year of life. She married another blind musician when she was 35. They had a baby who died in infancy, and Fanny’s husband died soon after that. Yet, despite all these things (that would leave most of feeling sorry for ourselves), she lived in an attitude of Joyful Praise that the first face she would truly see would be the face of Jesus. All I can say to that is “Wow!”
Good news! September 8, 2007
I have gotten several pieces of good news this week. Really it’s been a pretty good week. So, I thought, why not share it with my blogging buddies. If you aren’t as excited about this news as I am, I promise I’ll understand, but I just have to share it.
First, I was very glad to find out about an upcoming meeting. I am not normally a fan of meetings, and I can’t go into all the details of what this meeting will be about. I’ll simply say that this meeting will involve a group of people who have been doing some serious self-evaluation. In that self-evaluation, there has been lots of disagreement and tension. Now, in a way that I can only call a huge answer to prayer, we seem to be coming to some agreement. This meeting should be a time for us to come together and begin to move forward. I’m very encouraged by that.
My second bit of good news involves my father’s new job. He had been teaching at a local Christian school for the past ten years, but due to low enrollment this year, he was not offered a contract. He and my mom worked together and both taught math. Since the school didn’t see the need to keep two math teachers, they let my dad go. The job search has been very frustrating for him. He found several openings for second shift jobs which meant he would hardly ever see my mom. After 36 years of marriage, the last ten of which have been spent working together, that didn’t look very good to him. Other places where he applied weren’t interested in hiring someone who they assumed would want to retire in just a few years. (He’s 59 now.) When I talked to him earlier this week, he told me about the newest job possibility. This was the first possibility he seemed excited about. He will be working from home as an independent contractor for a local instrument maker making keys for beginners’ bassoons. It actually sounds really cool to me, too.
Then, my newest bit of good news is purely selfish. I found out yet another reason to love my Honda Civic. It’s one of Consumer Reports’ top picks for surviving to high mileage, and according to this article, that’s a very good thing.
Fashion Police September 1, 2007
I was questioned by a four-year-old fashion police officer this week. I think I’ve managed to recover from the trauma, but it will definitely make me think a little more seriously about my choice of outfits for school.
On Thursdays, my music class teaching schedule includes two sessions of the 4-year-old preschool. The morning class is large and very active. The afternoon class is small and very affectionate. I was enjoying the afternoon group when one of the little boys said, “Hey, those are the same clothes you were wearing last music time.” Now, I have a feeling he’s probably right. The last class was a week earlier, and my outfits for Thursdays are always chosen with consideration for the fact that I will be teaching the preschool classes which involve sitting on the floor. I don’t remember what I wore last Thursday, so I had no reason to think he was remembering anything untrue. So, I said, “Wow, you must have a very good memory to remember that from last week.” He fave a shy little smile. I could tell that something was still bothering him, though. Finally, he couldn’t take it any more. He leaned in close to me and quietly asked, “Did you wash them?” I laughed and said, “Yes, I did.” A look of relief passed over his little face, and he said, “Oh, good job!”
Well, from now on, I’ll give a little extra thought to my choice of clothes for Thursdays. I don’t want to be “that teacher” who always wears the same five outfits. However, I was relieved to have passed the most important test this little guy had to give me.