Category Archives: Uncategorized

Categorization

It seems to me that folks in every field attempt to categorize everything. Perhaps it’s a method of being able to understand how things work by extrapolating from known to the unknown. Perhaps it’s a way of making predictions for the future. Perhaps it’s a way of manipulating facts and controlling behaviors.

Some examples? Astrology, Myers-Briggs personality typing (and all that ilk), IQ tests, Spiritual gift tests, etc. In the material world we categorize vehicles as sedans, SUV’s, trucks, passenger vans, cargo vans, etc.  In the animal world, we categorize by species. When we categorize, we develop a mental picture and expectations for that category. We would not accept a cat that looked like an elephant. In the material world, preparing our expectations through identifying the category of the object we are encountering helps to modify our reactions. Improper categorization can lead to unrealistic expectations and either disappointment or surprise.

When it comes to human beings however, I am beginning to wonder if the need and the effort we put into categorizing each other has some negative consequences. If I judge someone by their behavior, am I writing them off in the future, am I having expectations for them that are unrealistic or not in keeping with truth? It is definitely a challenge to note what God has to say about making judgements.

Here are some verses on judgement:

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgement.

James 2:13 for he shall have judgment without mercy, that has shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Psalms 37:30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh widom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

Psalms 119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments

Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall also be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Romans 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

1Corinthians 6:4 If then ye have judgements of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

1 Samuel 16:7b For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

In these contexts, I see judgment being exercised individually against individuals and corporately against both individuals and groups. There are lots of verses about judgment in the Old Testament, but much fewer in the New Testament. It seems that once God became incarnate in Jesus, He began to convey to mankind how far we had missed the mark of righteousness.

What I wonder about is why we feel the need to compartmentalize people? Is it self-protection? Is it our own insecurities about our weaknesses and fallibility? The older I get, the more I am aware of my own failures and limitations – and realize that those will only grow as my body and mind begin to grow weaker. I know that when this mortal shall put on immortality, all that I have known on this earth will be dust compared to what I will experience when I am with Jesus. My prayer and hope is that I will become more like Him, walk in the Spirit more with better spiritual discernment, and that I will point others to Him more clearly. The only treasures we can lay up in heaven are those that have eternal value – souls who turn to Jesus and can join us in praise and worship someday.

New Adventures

I am still in my practice working with moms in their own homes. Going to a conference tomorrow.  I keep telling myself, “this is the last one”. And perhaps it will be. I am still capable of learning and absorbing new knowledge and am so hoping that someone will have discovered something new and earth-shaking that will help the most desperate moms I care for. Here’s to continuing to learn!

In a bit more than 2 weeks, I will be heading back to Italy to meet my new grandbaby and see my little grandson who lives there. I am so excited. I love the fact that I will be able to provide the same kind of help for them that my mom did for me for my second, third and fourth babies. This will be new for me. My older son lived close by and really didn’t have space for me to come stay in the first days. Hope to be more help with Mini-Cooper number 2!

Life continues to move forward. I will be back to painting in a few weeks. The grave where Tim’s remains are is sinking – as they are wont to do. The flowers look a little beat up. But real life goes on.

 

The View from My Window

As I look over the fields from my office window, spring is blooming everywhere.  The redbuds are in full display, their fuchsia petals enhanced by the still brown limbs of trees not fully awakened.  Piles of old hay rolls, never claimed to nourish a hungry animal, lie rotting in the middle of the field.  Everything that nature reveals, has an underlying story for me.  The Bradford pears that bloomed last week in the neighborhood and looked so beautiful, are preparing to cast their deadly spawn which will fill my fields with nasty prickly sprouts that I won’t be able to eradicate.  I am in the process of preparing my garden plots for the seeds and plants that will bear fruit in the fall.  Grass is already overtaking the sidewalks.  Peach flowers are giving way to buds that will form the fruit of summer.  Deer and rabbits are looking for the tender plants they know will soon form a feast after winter’s long sleep.

So many stories lie before me, so many analogies.

Faith

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1) a :  allegiance to duty or a person :  loyalty   b:  fidelity to one’s promises :  sincerity of intentions

a:  belief and trust in and loyalty to God :  belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion   b:  firm belief in something for which there is no proof:  complete trust

:  something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially :  a system of religious beliefs

From Dictionary.com

1.  confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. belief that is not based on proof: 

3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion:  

4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.:

5. a system of religious belief: 
6.  obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise,   engagement,etc.:
7.  the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath,allegiance, etc.:
Webster’s 1913 Dictionary
1.Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony.
2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth.
3.  (Judeo-Christian Theol.) The belief in the historic truthfulness of the Scripture narrative, and the supernatural origin of its teachings, sometimes called historical and speculative faith.
4.  (Theol.) That which is believed on any subject, whether in science, politics, or religion;especially (Theol.), a system of religious belief of any kind; as, the Jewish or Mohammedan faith; the Christian faith; also, the creed or belief of a Christian society or church
5. Fidelity to one’s promises, or allegiance to duty, or to a person honored and belovedloyalty.
6.  Credibility or truth.
Above are three different dictionary definitions of faith.  I have deliberately left out the examples given by each site.   Dictionary.com is the most contemporary of dictionaries.   As you can see, it introduces a definition of faith that includes the statements “belief without proof”.   The 1913 Webster dictionary includes “belief based on authority and veracity, reliance on testimony.”  A secondary definition includes “firm and earnest belief based on probable evidence of any kind.”
The Bible has much to say on faith – “without faith, it is impossible to please God,” “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,”  “the just shall live by faith.”   In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word is actually faithfulness – meaning persistent commitment.  God is faithful – He keeps His promises.  This has great importance – what God promises He will do, will come to pass.  It cannot be stopped by anyone.
The problem I have with faith is when it is defined as a “belief without proof.”  Many folks will state that those who require proof are without faith.  When a scientist or a skeptic points out inconsistencies in a point of view, they are often castigated and pronounced heretics, instead of encouraged to investigate those inconsistencies and try to resolve them.  There are many scriptures that invite us to test God – but those invitations also demand action.  We test God (in a good way) by walking in the direction He is leading.  When we put our faith in Christ, we walk towards Him and away from our selfishness – a life totally bent on pleasing our flesh.  We rest in His accomplishments – His death, burial and resurrection – and trust that when we are buried with Him, we will also be raised with Him.  The walk by faith is not always an easy one, but the testing and trials we go through strengthen our commitment and character in Him.