Category Archives: Modern Metaphors

Metaphors, parables, material roots for exploring devotional ideas.

Beware of Black Ice

Fun morning – started out as usual, headed to the office by the normal route, up a ramp onto a freeway. I’ve been doing it for 2 years now, and this winter has been decidedly un-wintery so far. No worries…. until I saw the ambulance backing down the ramp and the blue lights on the vehicle midway up. To my left, the subject, a truck that suddenly took a steep drop off the freeway and landed on the driver’s side.  Continue reading Beware of Black Ice

Unhealthy Alignment

In the past few years of increased driving, I’ve started to notice a tendency that I’m having significant trouble correcting. It’s the unhealthy alignment of my right leg – dominant for drivers in the USA. Naturally, as my thoughts tend to do (especially when driving), I found a devotional thought in this observation.

Continue reading Unhealthy Alignment

Obey, or Be (oy!)

The following is a tangent from the article “Computer, I want…“.  It explores the Babel story as recorded in Genesis 11:1-9 where God said, …  “nothing they plan to do will be impossible.”

Having one language and a small community of people who knew each other (they started with 4 couples emerging from Noah’s ark), the people of the world decided they would build a tower to reach Heaven and make a name for themselves.

Could they have actually built a tower that reached Heaven itself?  No – science has shown us that the atmosphere gets way too thin for our oxygen requirements.  They would have continued giving it their best effort, futility aside, and sacrificed many of their brothers pushing them to stack the next layer until they passed out & fell to the ground from whatever height they had achieved.  This concentration was in direct opposition to the command God had given – He had told them to spread out to explore and fill all the Earth that He had created for us.

We are still in the habit of sacrificing our brothers to focus on some futile effort that will make us famous for a little while, while God is still interested in sending us to all the world to speak of Him.  And so, in Genesis, He reset their language centers to a variety of languages, and groups who understood one another clustered together and wandered toward different areas.

Then, many generations later, He gave them a taste of unified understanding on the day of Pentecost.  The fledgling church grew, but remained in place, until God allowed (orchestrated?) persecution to scatter them abroad.  After all, there were people in other lands who had not yet heard that the Creator loves everyone, and He had specifically given the church the task of going to those people.

He has not rescinded that order (He doesn’t change), yet we as the body of Christ still cluster in like-minded groups and spend our resources building attractive places to draw people together.  This isn’t necessarily bad, as together is how we learn and share and polish character.  Yet, are we still somewhat guilty of futile focus?  Have we obeyed the command to go out?

I really enjoy word play…and it occurred to me while bouncing the idea of ‘obey God’ against pride’s assertion to ‘be God’, that the two opposite verbs have a core in common.  O BE Y… BE… the letters left over form a negative expression, ‘OY’.  So, the next time you’re toying with the question of whether to obey God, remember that the alternative is to attempt to ‘be’ God, followed by ‘oy!’ and a face-palm (unless you prefer a ‘Gibbs’).

 

Computer, I want…

Ahh, Star Trek… one of my favorites for several reasons.  What fun it would be to schedule holographic vacations where you could take trips to anywhere and dance with computer-generated figures of just the right build and character…  Then you could sit down to an actual meal of generated lobster with perfectly grilled asparagus…  What I’d really like to have, honestly, is a domestic android (ala Bicentennial Man) who not only dances well, but also enjoys removing spiders & dustbunnies and washing dishes.

That’s why we enjoy TV & movies, they feed our imaginations (which so often are starving these days because we’ve lost the art of exercising and feeding them ourselves).

It turns out, according to an article I just tripped over (and some overheard conversations), that we’ve made long strides toward making this fantasy a reality.  We have arrived at the place where, if you can imagine it, the computer can build it.  There are no food replicators yet, but as we continue converting to soy substitutes and making advances in 3D printing, it moves closer to the realm of possible.

We shouldn’t be surprised, because the Babel story in Genesis 11:1-9 records God as saying “nothing they plan to do will be impossible.”  (tangent available)

As with all creative efforts, we can applaud that science is making progress toward better prosthetics (reference my overheard conversation) and the ability to recreate outdated machine components (as opposed to storing them, just in case).  Someday, perhaps, everyone will be able to enjoy the flavor of lobster at the price of soy.

There’s always, unfortunately, a flip-side…a corruption of creativity that has existed since before Genesis…an exploitation of the possible in order to promote or keep a few people in the position of power, the image of God warped to the devil’s glee.  The ultimate illustration has been written down for a long time, in Revelation.  A careful reading of the article will show you that we’re closer than we may realize. When we get there, somehow, even dry bread will be an expensive delicacy.

Keep your eyes open, folks…even in the fantasy world of Star Trek, there are bad guys.

Birthday Guilt

Imagine sitting under a large shade tree in the best part of Fall.  Leaves are gently fluttering to the ground, one by one.  Suddenly, a gust of crisp air sweeps many leaves to the ground in a flurry of activity.  A few more leaves settle gently down, and peace is restored, though one more branch is now barren.  Cycle of life, if you’re watching trees through the seasons.

Now, as though in a dream, or perhaps imagine yourself as Alice in Wonderland…  each of those branches is a month, and each leaf a calendar page.  Some pages (leaves) are highlighted to represent a special date for someone you really care about, but each of the leaves will fall in their turn.  Except when many fall all at once.

This has been my experience, nearly always.  Most recently, I remembered a July birthday in February….and again in March… I wouldn’t miss my friend’s birthday this year – after 30+ years and her faithfulness to remember me, I wouldn’t blow it, not this year.  A familiar promise, I’ve made it about 5 years in a row now.  Mid-June, still too soon, but it’s on the radar.  We’ve arrived at mid-July, and of course, I missed it.  A gust of life came along and swept too many calendar pages off their branch in a single shot.

Come October, there will be a package in my mailbox, as always, because my friend never misses my birthday.  Enter the guilt.  I log into Facebook every few days or so, and the collection of comments invariably reminds me that I missed another friend’s birthday, and another.  Today, I have an opportunity to say “Happy Birthday” on the right day, but will our mutual friends with recent birthdays feel I rank them as less?  Increase the guilt.  Well meaning loved ones call me, because they know how my world works, and they remind me there’s an impending birthday… They try, bless them, and yet if they don’t tell me of their own birthdays, I’ll miss those (just did, actually). 

Let’s go back to the image of the tree….  Some will diligently write all they need for each day on its proper ‘leaf’.  Some will climb the tree with the sunrise each morning, grab that leaf and establish their day by its content.  Others, like me, gaze in every direction but up, not seeing the leaves until they are blown past our eyes.  We occasionally look at the colors strewn across the field, only to discover to our chagrin that some of those are birthdays.  We may (or not) follow up with a ‘belated’ card, since the card companies have discovered enough people like me to make a market.

So, my beloved friends, I do care…  I do pray for you, remember you fondly, and will do something special:  I’ll send a card or note on not-your-birthday, when everyone else isn’t doing so 🙂  I may even forget the timing in such a way as to accidentally send a card on your birthday for once – but don’t bet your branch on it.