Author Archives: MzEllen

"lunes linkage" is a collection of links, articles, etc. (anything) I've found interesting and might want to come back to.

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What Christianity Alone Offers Transgender Persons

The article is good and worth reading, but this line stuck out at me:

Creation isn’t right. The physical world has been “subjected to futility,” to frustration. It doesn’t work properly. It’s out of joint. It has been subjected to this frustration by God. The Bible’s wider narrative explains this. God cursed the ground as a judgment on human sin (Gen. 3:17). In other words, the world isn’t right as both a consequence and a demonstration of the fact that we’re not right.

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Campfire Blanket Scarf

Campfire Blanket Scarf - lunes linkage

Or maybe just a blanket 😉

This will be a good choice when I have spun all the alpaca fiber into yarn.

This piece will be easy and fast to knit, and it is just the sort of thing I like to curl up in when it's chilly, either indoors or out.

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California Could Learn From Puerto Rico Raising Minimum Wage

According to National Review, the impact on American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands was devastating. After only three of the ten scheduled minimum-wage increases after 2006, American Samoa’s overall employment dropped 30 percent — a 58 percent crash in for the critically important tuna-canning industry. Real GDP fell by 10 percent.

But that was much better than their Northern Mariana Islands neighbors, where employment had plunged by 35 percent, and real per capita GDP off by 23 percent.

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That's all for now (Tuesday)

I slipped up - at some point I changed the header pick and never told about it.

Two-and a half years ago, on our honeymoon, we took a walk in a slot canyon somewhere in Utah.  We walked along the stream, mostly looking up at the amazing artwork that God created.

I looked down and saw this rock.Layers

I 'm a geology nut, and this rock, layers upon layers.

Layers, lifting up, slanted toward the next, layers on top, covering and protecting.

How old are these rocks?  God knows...and scientists think they do.

Reason #ILostCount - I'm not going back"I'm not going back" is a refrain at our house, and we have reasons...we usually make up a number (reason #848) but I just lost count.

And I'm not going back.

My daddy died last week and  I know that he's with Jesus.  I heard another refrain:  If you want to see Jesus, you need to be holy.

Here's the thing - if you're holy enough to get yourself into heaven - raise your hand.

I'm not.

I'm not holy enough - far, far from it.  To paraphrase Mark Driscoll - this kind of teaching leads to either pride or despair.  Pride (I got this) or despair (I can't do this.)

Reason #ILostCount

When Dad got to heaven, I know that he lived his life in faith in Christ.  He never pointed at his works; he pointed to Jesus and the cross.

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 ESV)

What is "law?"  Law (simple explanation) is God's character codified.  In the law, we learn God's character, and His standard for holiness.  God is perfect and His law is perfect.

We are not and we cannot be, this side of the grave.

Since we are not perfect, how do we see Jesus?  How are we justified?

We are justified by faith, and not by works.

Yes, sanctification is a thing and for a person who is justified by faith, that faith will be evidenced by sanctification.

I asked a Sunday School student - do you do your chores because you are part of your family?  Or do you do your chores in order to become part of your family?

Do we obey the law because we belong to Christ?  Or do we obey the law in order to belong to Christ?

The difference is worth an eternity.

So...we're starting this book club thing...and the first book is Athanasius' "On the Incarnation of the Word."  The questions in this post are "pre-book" questions and will hopefully stay in our minds.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS:

Q. Who wrote the book?

St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria

Q. To whom was it written?

"Incarnation" was written to Christians who were being influenced by various heresies undermining the understanding of the life and death of Jesus.

Q. When was it written?

4th Century

Q. Where was it written?

Alexandria

Q. Why was it written?

The book explains why God chose to approach his fallen people in human form and defends the incarnation of Christ against the derision of 4th century non-believers

Exploratory Questions
  1. Why would one's view of creation influence one's view of incarnation?

All things were created by and through the Word. The Word created man, the Word became Man; because He because one of us, those who walked with Him gave testimony about Him

  1. Why is Christ's incarnation necessary anyway?

When we were separated from God by our sin, our very nature changed from one of perfection to one that is permeated by sin.

  1. Equally, why are his death and resurrection necessary?

Only the perfect could satisfy the Perfect.  Jesus’ death was the payment for sin, and His resurrection was proof that the Father accepted the payment.

  1. Should the death of Christ be seen as a triumph? Why or why not?

Absolutely.  When Adam sinned, the very nature of mankind was changed and without hope of reconciliation.

Because Christ died and was raised from the dead, we who are in Christ have hope for eternity.

My dad died a week ago today.  Because Jesus died, I know I will see him again.  Right now, my dad is reunited with his mom and dad, and his sister that he knew, and is getting to know his brothers and sisters who died before he was born.

That is a triumph.

 

  1. If Adam had not sinned, would God the Son have become incarnate? Why or why not?

I don't believe Jesus would have walked on earth to save us, if we didn't need saving.

  1. Has Jesus achieved anything since his incarnation that is not directly related to dealing with the consequences of sin? (You might like to take a look at Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:5-8.

Jesus holds the universe together by the word of his power.

  1. “Jesus died with his arms outstretched, showing his desire to draw all men to himself.” What do you think of this kind of exegesis? (THESE ARE NOT ON TheCity)

Jesus died with His arms outstretched because that fulfilled a prophesy that He would die on a tree (cross.)

I think this is not exegesis at all, rather it is eisogesis -

Exegesis takes what is in the text and allows us to determine what it means, and so it steers our beliefs.

Eisogesis starts with what we believe, and allows us to read into the text what we want it to mean, steering what we think is in the text.

 

Last week, we sang this at my dad's funeral, and we will sing it at my mom's funeral...remember...When We All Get to Heaven

my brother-in-law (Michael) reminded us that those who are in Christ will see each other again, "here, there, or in the air."

1. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus;
sing his mercy and his grace.
In the mansions bright and blessed
he'll prepare for us a place.

Refrain:
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!

2. While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
clouds will overspread the sky;
but when traveling days are over,
not a shadow, not a sigh.
(Refrain)

When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!
3. Let us then be true and faithful,
trusting, serving every day;
just one glimpse of him in glory
will the toils of life repay.
(Refrain)
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!
4. Onward to the prize before us!
Soon his beauty we'll behold;
soon the pearly gates will open;
we shall tread the streets of gold.
(Refrain)

When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!

My Father cigar band
Here's to you, Dad
Dad, here's to you.

My Dad, Thomas David Brown, died last Monday, January 2, 2017.  He was born on January 25, 1935 and in February, my mom and dad would have been married for 58 years.

There's still a lot of processing going on.  Memories shared.

A lot of back story - last August my mom fell and broke her leg very badly.  She's had several surgeries, and has been in several hospitals - she was in "Hills and Dales" in Cass City, MI. (I mention their name because the nurses are very wonderful!)

Dad took a really bad turn for the worst with his heart and lung conditions, and we spend Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital with Mom.  So Phil and I, and my kids, were able to spend Thanksgiving dinner with both of my parents for my Dad's last Thanksgiving dinner in this life.

I spent some good quality time with Dad before the rest of my family got to Sandusky, Michigan.  And I knew that he was ready to go see Jesus.  He made no secret that he didn't want to live like that.

After Christmas, my mom was released to an assisted living home (on Thursday.) My dad was released from a different hospital to the same home, in the same apartment with Mom on Saturday.  They were able to spend Saturday, Sunday and on Monday morning he was gone.

He wanted to be with my mom.

Mom and Dad at Stonegate
Mom and Dad at Stonegate
I think we were ready to let him go, but we weren't ready for him to go.  Are we ever?

I was going to commit to blogging from the very first of the year, but missed the whole first week because I was with my family saying "bye and I love you" to my Dad.

And still longing to hear him say, just one more time, "Love you back."

I intend to blog more this year.  Even now, I just feel a little more put together; my head, heart and spirit a bit more straight.  I have a few interesting projects in mind, including for my head, my heart and my spirit.

 

 

Lunes Linkage is the occasional Monday post linking to articles I have run across and found interesting...

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Here's one from a while ago (April) - Trump is a Fool.

Donald Trump is a fool—not because he is wrong about so many things, but because he is right about a few others. The fool is not only one who speaks nonsense, but one who speaks sense on the topic no one else will touch. He is the court jester pointing out the king’s failings. Were any sane man to make the same statements, he’d be put on a pole. But the fool, amid a general stream of nonsense, is able to touch on the rare uncomfortable truth.

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A possible treatment for the gene that I carry, and that affects my son,

Patients with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), a rare genetic mitochondrial disease that leads to vision loss, show sustained improvement in a follow-up to a Phase 1/2 clinical trial with GenSight Biologics’ therapy candidate GS010.

Patients recruited to the study had been diagnosed with LHON for approximately six years. After 78 weeks of follow-up, promising results were reported, with improved vision in the eye that was treated.

LHON is inherited through the maternal mitochondrial genes. It causes degeneration of retinal ganglion cells, a specific type of neurons in the retina. This condition begins with blurring and clouding, generally in a person’s teens or 20s.

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In the spirit of Christmas season, I want to be charitable to President-elect Donald Trump and express my thanks for his success in 2016.

While there still remains plenty of cause for concern, the continued boldness, energy, and vigor exhibited by the Trump transition team is giving me real hope and excitement. Here are 10 reasons this conservative is having a merrier Christmas season thanks to Donald Trump.

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At the heart of Christianity and the gospel is the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from the “Word becoming flesh” (John 1:14) and the incarnate Son of God living and dying in our place as our Savior, there is no salvation. Apart from the coming of the eternal Son, his taking on human nature and acting as our covenant representative, there is no hope for the world.

It is appropriate at Christmas to think more deeply about the incarnation. Here are 10 things we should grasp.

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Another from a while ago - courtesy Doug WIlson (there's a lot of political incorrectness, but good information.)

The Scars on Your Forearms -

Show me your forearms. Unless there are scars all over them, then I honestly don’t want to hear your views of the inadequacy of these cultural clashes (Gal. 6:17). When the barbarians are throwing their scaling ladders against the city walls, if the only defenders at the top of those walls are Chick Fil A employees in paper hats and hot grease from the deep fryer, and rednecks with their beards and shotguns, and nobody at all there from Red Brick Memorial Reformed, Rev. Forsythe P. Snodgrass, D.Min, minister, then let us be frank. We shouldn’t blame the folks who are there.

Here's a little civics lesson.

I'm hearing a lot of suggestions that The United States drop the Electoral College and move to a direct democracy.  So I started reading up.

(I'll put the "moral of the story" right up front:  CHILL OUT.  This is a design feature, not a glitch.)

The Founding Fathers feared the tyranny of the majority and set up a Three-Branch Republic. They designed a delicate system of Checks and Balances to insure that the government they set up would not allow this.

We know about "checks and balances" (if we paid attention in Civics Class)- we have three branches of government (Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial.) The three branches are supposed to put a check on each other*.  If one branch goes off the rails, the other branches are supposed to step in and stop them.  The three branches are also supposed to provide balance - roughly equal amounts of power to govern should not allow either party (in a two-party system) to control the country

I didn't realize (or it just didn't click) that all three branches of government are selected through different processes.

  • the Legislative Branch is selected by direct ballot (although originally, the State Legislatures voted on Senators)
  • the Executive Branch is chosen by the Electoral College
  • The Judicial Branch is chosen by the President and confirmed by the Senate

The Legislative Branch is selected through direct ballot

- each person in a state has one vote (in an ideal world, not accounting for fraud) to elect Representatives and Senators to represent their state.  Even within this branch, the two houses are different.

The Senate has two Senators from each state, allowing the *states* to have equal standing - the most populous states would have no more power than the least populous states.  Vermont knew that New York would have New Yorkers' interest in mind when voting.  In the Senate, those from the less populous states are protected from the tyranny of the more populated states.

In the House of Representatives, the number of Representatives from each state is based on the population of that state.  New York had way more Representatives than Vermont, so those from the more populated states are protected from the tyranny of the less populated states.

This is also "checks and balances" - it is also brilliant.  Each state is represented in two chamber - in one, the less populous states are "over-represented" and in the other, the more populous states are "over-represented."

The Judicial Branch is chosen by the President...

And confirmed by the Senate.  Supreme Court appointments (as well as some others) are for life (although justices can and do retire.)  A president cannot just appoint any old person - the appointment must get past the Senate.  Unfortunately, this process has been hijacked a couple of times, and as things get more fractured, will continue to be.

In my lifetime, there has been only one time that one party has held the White House for more than two terms.  This means that each party will be able to appoint justices during their hold on the White House, so that an *overwhelming* left/right split is less likely.

Granted, in the *impartial* standard was *impartial* adherence to the Constitution, none of this would be an issue - but it isn't the standard, and it is an issue.

The fact that both other Branches are involved in the appointment of Justices is another example of "checks and balances."

The Administrative Branch is chosen by Electoral College

The voters don't elect the president (like they elect Senators and Representatives.)  Each state has Electors, based on the population of the state and the voters elect Electors.  Many states have laws that insist that all Electors throw their ballots to the Presidential Candidate who won the majority of the ballots in the state, and two (Maine and Nebraska) split their Electors - 2 Electoral Votes go to the majority winner, and the remainder are split according to Congressional districts.  So Electoral Ballots can be split between Candidates.

Without this system of Checks and Balances, the most populous states would *CONSISTENTLY* be able to control the least populous states.

With a smaller country, a direct election might work.  But the United States is so vast and diverse, the Electoral College serves as checks and balances between the States.

It's brilliant.

*check - definition #2 - stop or slow down the progress of (something undesirable.).