singing in church

January 19, 2010

Today, the white elephant is going to copy someone’s entire post, because it so accurately and scarily sums up my thoughts about this. Thank you very much to a “net-friend” at John Mark Ministries.

Another Net-friend’s contribution:

1. It will be a sad day when we stop singing in church and instead accept performances from other people. Singing is a way of participating instead of observing. It is a way of affirming our faith. The words and tunes gently slip into our memories and our souls. It is probably the most important source of knowledge of the Christian faith, even in an age of almost universal literacy. I believe it is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit transforms us. Singing – of any sort – is extremely healthy. To sing well, one has to be aware of one’s own body. To sing well with other people, one has to be aware of what other people are doing – their pitch, timing, etc. Singing is also a way of breaking through people’s inhibitions. When people observe performances, they are reduced to being consumers instead of participants. Part of being counter-cultural, and resisting the slide into consumerism and individualism, is to sing in church. If people are uncomfortable, then lets find hymns and tunes that they are comfortable with. Let’s work out whether they are more comfortable sitting or standing. Let’s do lots of other things that people are comfortable with. But let’s not give up singing.

2. Most of the charismatic and pentecostal churches engage in a lot of singing. It is part of their attraction. As those churches are growing, it is clear that at least some people want churches where people sing.

So it’s day 4 of January and I have just remembered that the theme for the month is “best”. I’m not sure what happened in the last 2 days posts (especially yesterday) but now I’m thinking it’s probably “best” to stick to the theme.

So in light of the season I am doing the 10 best things about Christmas (memories, themes) that I can think of: –

1.  The birth of Jesus. OK yes I had to tediously put this one first, and yes I am one of those dreadful Christians that have hijacked Christmas from the pagan / consumerists.

2. Christmas day 2009 carol service at C5 church. These guys were amazing with a great choir and band, fantastic solo voices, lovely arrangements and harmonies, accapella numbers and rocking rhythms. I am generally quite ho hum about Christmas carols but this was right up my cup of tea (so to speak).

2. Margarita Christmas – this is a memory of my brother serving up the most fabulous margaritas to the whole family when I catered Christmas in my parents home. The margarita somehow created the most lovely festive mood, we all ate in the garden and the food was yummy. I can’t believe this was almost 20 years ago now.

3. My twin 4 year old boys dancing with glow in the dark tubes on Christmas night. These boys are generally not that interested in music or dancing but give them some disco tunes and a glo stick and they were somehow transformed.

4. The Secret Santa. This year I was lucky enough to be involved in 3 different secret santa events and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. For our family Christmas this year, each adult was assigned to one other to buy a present. Children of course received presents from every adult. This was great because it gave us the opportunity to put a lot of thought into a present for one person rather than buying for many. I also had secret santa events, coincidentally for my 2 jobs, which was heaps of fun and allowed us all to get to know each other.

5. Finding the perfect Christmas present. This is related to the above, and does not happen very often. When I was younger I used to strive for this every time and spend hours in the shops agonising over choices. These days I am a lot more flippant and time poor.

6. People coming together. Spending the day with relatives you wouldn’t normally keep in touch with, inviting strays and ring-ins or watching your children learn inappropriate jokes from older cousins.

7. My boys jumping up and down, literally, with excitement at the thought of Santa coming. It’s so easy to generate excitement in this age group. I know, I know, people that there are very convincing ethical and rational arguments against the practice of deceiving children in this way. My friends who choose not to have a Santa tradition are probably “right”, but to see their little faces alight with wonder and joy I for one do not resist.

8. Brandy butter.

9. In another vein, the non-Christmas, Christmas. Going to India, for example, one year to experience a refreshing lack of hype, decorations, shopping, carols, turkey or any of that stuff.

10. Christmas lights on houses.

4 out of 10 of these points relate to this year’s Christmas. I have to say that this year I discovered some Christmas spirit, something that has really been lacking for me before. I guess there are several reasons: having a spiritual & musical aspect to the day was really uplifting for me and made it about more than just food and presents. This year my boys came to an age (4) when they are fully aware and excited by the whole concept, and also having a fairly stressful year made being on holidays a huge relief!

Here is a new angle on the tsunami dreams – since the majority of visitors to this website are still looking up this topic (warning long post)

Dreams were seen as an important means of symbolic communication from God, in the Bible. Dream interpretation was an accepted activity and the most famous dream interpreter in the Bible was of course, Joseph. He had many dreams, made famous by popular musicals but none of them actually involved tsunamis or waves.

(Updated 20.10.2011 – have finally realised there is a Biblical connection to the Great Flood (duh!)

The word “tsunami” doesn’t occur in the Bible, HOWEVER I believe that the closest Biblical symbolism to a tsunami is the Great Flood. Therefore I am putting in the passage about the Flood from Genesis. It should also be noted that although it is hard to search Carl Jung’s writings about a “tsunami” it is easier to find references to a “flood archetype”.

The Great Flood

Genesis 6 – 8

Genesis 6

Increasing Corruption on Earth

1When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Noah and the Flood

9These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark… of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

Genesis 7

1Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. 2Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, 3and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. 4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5 And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.

6Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. 7And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark,14they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. 15They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.

 17The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. 22Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. 24And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

Genesis 8

The Flood Subsides

1But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, 4and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

6At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. 9But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.

13In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. 15Then God said to Noah, 16“Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.17Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.

God’s Covenant with Noah

20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

There are also quite a few Bible passages about waves. So to help people interpret their tsunami dreams I have listed the main Bible passages which talk about strong, powerful waves. There are a few main themes

– God stirring up the huge waves (Old Testament)

– God calming the waves (OT)

– The story of Jonah: who disobeys a command from God, who then sends massive waves against him and Jonah ends up being hurled into the sea. He then prays to God and is rescued via a large fish!

– And in the New Testament, Jesus naturally calms a storm on the water.  There are a few verses comparing people to waves, which suggests immaturity / infancy, or lack of belief, or worse.

I guess it depends on the individual which, if any of these are relevant! Here are the Bible passages.

Waves in the Bible

Psalm 42: 7

Deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

Psalm 65: 5-7

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.

Psalm 93: 2-4

Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity. The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea the LORD on high is mighty.

Psalm 107: 23

Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.

Isaiah 51:14-16

The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar the LORD Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’ ”

Jeremiah 5:21-23

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away.

Jeremiah 31:34-36

No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.”

Jeremiah 51:41-43

The sea will rise over Babylon; its roaring waves will cover her.

Jonah’s Prayer (Jonah 2)

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’

…. And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jesus Calms the Storm (Matthew 8)

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Unity in the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4: 1-17)

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

James 1:5-7

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

Jude 1:12-14

These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

today’s sermon: giving

November 9, 2009

This blog is getting very preachy, so why stop now?

This is my very own sermon about “giving”. You know, like those encouraging speeches that are given prior to passing around the collection plate (or credit card form) in the mega-churches. Here is my version of the giving speech.

First Bible verse:

“Give to anyone who asks, and if they take what belongs to you, do not demand it back” – Luke 6:30. This leads into the universal golden rule “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This suggests that giving should follow a request rather than just occur in a willy nilly fashion, making it somehow easier to decide who or when to give something.

Things we can give to others:

– time

– money

– praise

– care

– energy

– possessions

– hospitality

The list is probably endless, think of anything you have ever been given or given to someone else.

Next Bible verse:

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12: 48

Then put the two things together. Think of something you have been blessed with or given abundantly in your life. Maybe you are someone who has been loved extravagantly, or received a lot of praise for something, or you are just filthy rich. You might have been cared for through a long illness, or someone has just given you all their baby clothes. Anything.

The point is, maybe the thing you have been given, you are also expected to give to others. Hand it on down the chain, that sort of thing.

Whatever you are rich in, maybe it’s praise and accolades, maybe it’s love, money, caring or even time. Find someone who has less than you have – and give them that.

So this is not original, but comes from famous book “What Colour is Your Parachute” – Richard Bolles.

The final chapter is a spiritual perspective on finding your “mission” in life with an emphasis on Who provides the mission. Fascinating stuff. He presents the mission side of things in three stages which are really intriguing. So I thought I’d share them with you.

1. Your First Mission
Your first mission on earth is to “seek to stand, hour by hour, in the conscious presence of God, the One from whom your Mission is derived”

2. Your Second Mission
The second mission is “to do what you can, moment by moment, day by day and step by step, to make the world a better place, following the leading and guidance of God’s Spirit within you and around you”

3. Your Third Mission
a) To exercise the Talent which you particularly came to earth to use – your greatest gift, which you most delight to use
b) In the place(s) or setting(s) which God has caused to appeal to you the most
c) And for those purposes which God most needs to have done in the world.

The first two Missions are shared by everyone. Which means if you haven’t found the third mission yet, you still have something to get on with. No need to sit around twiddling your thumbs because we all have two missions to do without a lot of soul searching.

I like this theory and I’m going to give it a go. He also emphasises that there is an essential process of self examination that needs to be done before embarking on a career search.

Let’s face it, no one sticks a giant inflatable Jesus on the front of their house for the Christmas season. No sir, it’s just Santa and the reindeers, some mistletoe, maybe the occasional angel. No one even puts a baby on there to suggest that someone was being born on the day in question.

Not that I really want to sound like one of those boring preachy people who drone on about the “commercialisation of Christmas” ad nauseam and advocate against any kind of fun-having behaviours. I’m all for fun and celebration, wine etc, as I’m sure was Jesus himself.

But I really think it’s worth asking the question. What would He do, if He was to drop into our century for Christmas. Firstly, he would not be in the shopping mall. Actually, if he was to go to a shopping mall, look at the Christmas trees and decorations and listen to some hideous Christmas carols, I’m sure Jesus would be outraged (or quietly contemptuous). What’s more, he’s got his name attached to this dreadful festival which I’m sure was never intended. He might overturn a few tables. Yell at a few moneychangers. I’m sure His encounter with the shopping lunacy would not be pretty.

After that, he might start changing some water into wine for a real celebration somewhere. But he’d be unlikely to restrict this to “just the family”. He’d simply round up everyone who was willing and crowd them onto a large hill probably. He’d then supply loaves and fishes all round and the aforementioned wine. There would be a massive crowd, all listening to some profound wisdoms and eating and drinking. No presents. Not a single Playstation to be seen. We wouldn’t have tedious party hats and plastic favours and dreadful fruit cake. No having to listen to Aunt Whoosie drone on for four hours, because she’d get lost in the crowd and have so many people to bore.

Some of us might get the idea. We might be sitting at our family lunch, opening the zillionth tie or bath gel from our relatives and gaze in surprise at the huge party on the hill. We might invent an excuse “walking off the dinner” to wander over there. Grab some fish and a cup of wine. Chat to the local homeless guy, who thinks it’s Christmas. Sit down with the lonely, the dispossessed and the refugees, sharing the simple feast. Hang out with our friends.

In addition to the feast, Jesus might perform a miracle or two, just to test if we were concentrating. He might cure some illnesses or eradicate a couple of demons. He would possibly create a new parable just for the occasion.

I think it would be fun, if Jesus was here for Christmas.

technologies of faith

November 8, 2006

OK here’s another PhD idea for when I’m 40. Examine the “technologies” of the major religious faiths ie prayer and meditation, psychology from the Bible and the Buddha. Compare to psychological therapies.

Invent a form of cognitive therapy based on Jesus’ teachings.

the illusion of money

November 5, 2006

Really scraping around for an original thought today but I finally got there at 10pm!

Right, well, how does it go again?

Money is an illusion that distracts us from the true value of things. That’s why it’s dangerous. The camel and the eye of the needle etc.

When making decisions remove the money element. If choosing between options imagine that all the options are financially the same, then it’s easier to reach the right conclusion.

It works both ways: sometimes you have to spend more and sometimes less. It’s great to be frugal, not buying things you don’t need and there’s a certain freedom that comes from living with less. However frugality can also lead to hoarding and miser syndrome. It’s also good to be able to let go of the money – either spend a lot on something you really love or give it away to someone who really needs it.

If starting a new business, think about the product you are selling – will it benefit people? Is there a need? Will you enjoy doing this business? Don’t think dollars. Of course it’s very hard not to think dollars in this sense, but think about what you’re actually doing – first.

thanatophobia

November 2, 2006

Here at the white elephant, we are not afraid to tackle the big issues… It’s almost my bedtime here and I am just scraping in with a post on the second day of NaBloPoMo.

So what is thanatophobia? It’s defined as a fear of one’s own death and is apparently very common. Why is it interesting? Because there are so many layers to it.

Firstly, thanatophobia is a form of anxiety. It’s a phobia, which is classed as anxiety. It comes with physical anxiety symptoms such as shortness of breath, increased heart rate, muscle tension, nausea, dizziness etc etc. It can be associated with panic attacks. It’s a fear of something which is at once inevitable but also quite unlikely at any given moment in time. The person is afraid of something which they know is definitely going to happen, but they have no way of knowing when.

Thanatophobia also has an existential, even theological component. If someone is afraid of death, what do they fear? The actual fear must relate to the person’s beliefs about death. What do they think is going to happen to them when they die and why is it so frightening.

Here’s a range of possible beliefs about death:
– nothing happens, you cease to exist (materialist view)
– you may go to heaven or hell, depending on some kind of judgment of your actions in this life (Judeo-Christian view)
– reincarnation (Hindu, Buddhist)
– some people believe in ghosts, or spirits of the dead who somehow just float around the earthly plane making a nuisance of themselves

For those who believe the first option, a fear of death is not very rational. After all if you don’t exist, what does it matter? You won’t be suffering. For Christians, and similar viewpoints, a fear of death could be related to some kind of guilt. You feel you have done wrong and you are going to hell. In that case all that is required is to repent and you’ll be forgiven – easy.

Those who believe in reincarnation may be afraid of their own karma. They may have done wrong and fear a horrible next life. It’s understandable. It’s also understandable for those who believe in spirits or ghosts to feel afraid. Who would want to be floating around forever, feeling cold and scaring people?

I get the feeling that most people with this fear haven’t quite worked out their own beliefs yet. They may be searching, and the fear could be a healthy sign that they are moving towards some kind of spiritual growth.

Some writers (like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Victor Frankl and also in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying) emphasise the need to confront one’s own mortality in order to grow or really be able to live well. Death is a necessary step on the road to rebirth in a number of ways, some of which are symbolic. There’s a cycle.

Fear of death could also be related to other problems. It could be due to narcissism (fear of one’s own nonexistence) or fear of the unknown. It could also be related to a death-wish as sometimes we fear what we really desire.

I don’t have thanatophobia and I’m frankly quite unconcerned about the whole thing. I don’t fear death and I don’t pretend to know what is going to happen to me there. I have some kind of faith that tells me it will be OK. But I find the whole thing very interesting.

too many books

October 26, 2006

I don’t know what goads are, but does anyone think there are too many books in the world?

The other day I bought “The Authoritative Guide to Self-help Resources” written by psychologists. With great excitement I perused the 400+ pages of true gems of literature. Surely this would be useful for work, I even went to the library to check out some of the titles. After a while I was overcome by a great weariness. What was I doing there, exactly? I didn’t know.

Going to the library is often stressful because there are too many books. I’ll never read all of them and I don’t know where to begin. I have 11 month old twins, and reading one chapter of one book is a great achievement. Even with all the time in the world (as when I was pregnant) I still couldn’t read everything.

It’s a bit like life, really. There are too many options. How do you narrow them down? There is a lot of stuff I have to do but still more things I’d like to do, so I write lists. I spend 5 minutes on one item and then a baby calls, a month passes and I’ve lost the list.

I don’t blame the babies or the lack of time. It was still the same in the old days, when there was plenty of time. Different things, people take over and it’s hard to prioritise.

Too many books, too many ideas, too many people?

The Conclusion of the Matter
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. – Ecclesiastes 12: 9-14