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Archive for November, 2006

He Who Is

So my morning devotions are on forgiveness and one of the verses to look up was 1 John 1.9. I almost didn’t look it up. I can quote it. But I looked it up anyway. And the wording of the New Revised Standard version that I read was slightly different than the NIV that I had memorized as a child. And the difference, to me, was striking.

the NIV says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

the NRSV says “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

There are two differences. The NRSV uses ‘cleanse’ where the NIV uses ‘purify.’ But that’s not what struck me.

What struck me is that the NRSV says “he who is faithful and just” rather than just “he is faithful and just.”

I immediately liked the NRSV better and it took me a few moments to figure it out. The NIV can come across as formulaic. We do this and God does that. We put in the quarter and get the candy of our choice. We confess and he forgives.

But the insertion of “who is” in the NRSV shifts gears a bit. He forgives us when we confess not because of some formula or quid pro quo, but because of WHO HE IS. He who is faithful and just. This suble difference takes us out of the formula and gives us a glimpse at the Person behind it and the amazing love of God.

As I typically do, I was wondering if the NRSV translators had a basis for the subtle change and if what I was so awestruck by was really there. So I pulled up my Greek class work. I had translated the verse in class. Here is what I got from the Greek, “if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just, so that he might forgive us the sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing (or all injustice/sin).”

It’s not quite like either, but looking at closely it, too, seems to avoid the formulaic and point to the character of Jesus. He is faithful and just and that is why He forgives us… not that He has to, but that He chooses to. And that’s awesome.

“Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou my God shouldst die for me?”

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chicken or egg

Which came first?

I was told as a child never to use the abbreviation “X-Mas” because it was taking “Christ” out of “Christmas.”

Then in college I learned that X is the Greek Chi which is the first letter in Christ (in the Greek) and was actually used as a letter symbol for Christ.

So was the abbreviated “X-Mas” begun as a way to avoid saying Christ and then some Greek-loving Christian said “don’t worry, we can use it because X stands for Christ”…

Or was the abbreviation started as a way to save space/ink (or handcramps) knowing that X is the Greek Chi and then someone later said “Hey, it’s a way to avoid saying Christ”?

I have run across people who are terrified to use “X-mas” and are often adamant that it is just one more way the world tries to remove Christ from Christmas as well as those who are not bothered by it. I’ve heard it argued both ways.

Can we ever know on which basis the abbreviation was started?

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Who I Am – Part 3

So I feel I’m an oxymoron.

When looking up name meanings a few months back it struck me that even my name is opposite.

“Lori” comes from “Laura” which is Latin and refers to the laurel tree, which was used to make victory wreaths. So the name means “victorious one.” (And I rarely feel victorious.)

“Ann” comes from “Hannah” which is Hebrew and generally means “gracious.” And though I can’t remember where I read it I remember finding something where it was a quiet, suffering sort of grace. It implied the opposite of victorious.

Which I found amusingly ironic. Victory is such a loud word. And grace such a soft word.

Victorious grace.

What is more amusing is that my parents didn’t have my name picked out. In fact, I was nameless for a few days because they couldn’t agree on anything. They finally settled on Lori Ann.

Now in ancient times, and still in some cultures today, people were named or renamed to fit who they were or what they did. Jacob (“he who grasps the heel”) was named such because of what happened at birth. God renamed him Israel (“wrestles with God”) to signify an event in his life and his future. And that’s just one example.

It actually fits in with what I have deemed my “life verse.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (as I translated it in Greek class) reads:

“But we are having this treasure in vessels made of baked clay, in order that the surpassing quality of the power might be of God and not from us; in every (thing) being pressed hard but not being crushed, being at a loss but not being in despair, being persecuted but not being abandoned, being knocked down but not being destroyed, carrying in the body the death of Jesus in order that the life of Jesus might also be revealed in our body.”

Victorious grace.

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Who I Am – Part 2

Sometimes I feel at odds with myself. I know I’m not the only one to ever feel this way. But sometimes I think it is more – or that there is more to it. There are some things that I definitely am.

I am female. I am an introvert. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, granddaughter, friend. I am creative. I am a Christian.

But on many things and in many ways I feel as though I defy definition, I straddle opposite categories, I am on the line that is supposed to distinguish….

I fall on the line and have traits of both Busters (Gen X) and Bridgers (Gen Y).
I have the characteristics of both the baby of the family and an only child (often paired with the eldest).
I use my left and right hands.
I am creative and I think logically.
I am emotional and I am rational.
I do well at English and the “arts” as well as math and science.
I am a perfectionist and yet I am apathetic.
I love symmetry and asymmetry.
I love to read and I hate to read.
I love to travel and I hate to travel.
I love hospitality and cooking for and serving people, but I am not a people person and do not make a good hostess.
I love to cook and sew and I love power tools and building things.
My mind soaks up information like a sponge, but it is also as porous as one because often I can’t think straight or remember simple things.

I am an oxymoron.

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night person

I used to be a morning person.

I woke up early, naturally. I was awake and ready to go. I was cheery. I was chipper. 10 AM felt like midday to me. I liked it.

All through college I was out of place. I went to bed early and got up early. After 9 or 10 PM my brain and body turned to mush. I remember my peers telling me I needed to change and my professors telling my peers that when they had families the late night/late morning thing would have to go. I figured I was just ahead of the curve.

But something has happened.

Suddenly mornings are hard for me. I can’t get awake. Even if I go to bed early. Though most of the time when I do get to bed early I can’t sleep or don’t sleep well. I am more awake at night. My brain is firing off and my adrenaline is pumping.

I hate to blame everything on the fibro, but with the sleep issues it is my best guess as to where this is coming from. I love mornings. I don’t think I altered my sleep patterns by my own habits. I’ve tried readjusting but it doesn’t seem to work. What’s happening to me? Where have my mornings gone and why do I feel so much better after the sun goes down than during the day?

I don’t like this. Not at all.

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i am thankful for:

avocados. breezes. chums. dance. embers. family. greek. home. imagination. Jesus. kaleidoscopes. laughter. mime. narnia. optics. photos. quesadillas. redemption. sunrises. theology. understatements. voices. words. x-men. yellow. zippers.

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The Way I Am

So today’s devo was countering the lie that “I can’t help the way I am.”

And I agree that it is a prevalent lie that has become accepted in our society. One of my pet-peeves (esp. in college and grad school where this was a hot topic) is people who use those personality tests to excuse their behavior. I can’t tell you how many times I would hear “Oh, I’m ESTJ (insert any personality test category) and that’s just how I am.” It’s one thing to use it to understand yourself and your tendencies, but to use it as an excuse is a bit much…

When I first started reading the chapter today and reading over her examples I was at first defensive. Because it is true that some things are hereditary and the way we were raised does have profound impact on us. And she seemed to neglect that. (But the study guide to go with it does not.)

Her point, however, is to rail against the ‘victimization’ of society and urge us to take responsibility. Sure, we may have been dealt a poor hand, but our responsibility comes in how we play it.

Reminds me of the Charles Swindoll quote saying that life is “10% circumstance and 90% attitude.”

Or the Max Lucado book “Just like Jesus” which is introduced by saying “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.”

The word “responsibility” comes from the word “response.” It is our response to what we are given that is going to make the difference. Now for the hard part – living out what I believe!

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