My Biggest Weakness

I always know how to answer that interview question.

Initiating a phone call makes me nervous. It always has. Sometimes, I even write out a flowchart for the possible paths the conversation will take. I still make the calls, but I tend towards awkward pauses and long sentences. No, I'm not asthmatic. No, I'm not daydreaming about your delicate ankles. I just forgot to breathe.
  • bdoc
    I know how you feel. Well, almost. The difficulty breathing part never came into play, but I would sit for a few minutes, thinking about what to say before placing a call, and sometimes I would write notes. Although, I never went with flow charts. Anyway, the longer I've been an adult, the less this has mattered to me. I'm just too busy doing too many important things to waste time being nervous. I just gotta get stuff done now!
    by bdoc at 09/20/11 10:31PM
  • ominie
    ^I like that.

    And I know what you mean. After I graduated, I forced myself to call my friends so we could stay in touch. Sometimes I talked on the phone 6-9 hours a week, just catching up with people. Those calls really helped, but I still get nervous sometimes, and only recently have I started to feel more comfortable calling someone spontaneously (as oppose to planning a time to talk with them). Good luck!
    by ominie at 09/21/11 12:42AM
  • kailua
    Hmmmmm, I never have considered having a phobia about phone calls - very interesting.

    I have had an issue once in a while, whether it be telling someone NO about something or giving someone bad news but never a general phobia. That must make life difficult :-(
    by kailua at 09/21/11 1:40PM
  • jabberwock
    I also hate phone calls. They feel like such an imposition: "Drop what you're doing and talk to me Right Now!" Facebook has been a great blessing for my work as a preacher.
    by jabberwock at 09/22/11 5:06PM
  • didow
    I'm not one to talk on the phone too much either. A flowchart? Never thought of that one.
    by didow at 09/26/11 8:05AM
  • garrettw87
    Yeah, the propensity for awkward pauses does make me apprehensive. Unless it were with someone I'm extremely close to, and there's very few people who fall under that classification. (Not because I don't want to be close to anyone else, but because for whatever reason I'm just not yet.)
    by garrettw87 at 12/09/13 6:13PM

A thing of beauty.

This weekend, my country is remembering her reasons for warfare. She recalls the lives of her sons and daughters that were taken, lives who were not worthy of death. She unearths the glowing embers of memory that once engulfed deserts in the flame of vengeance. Some who died in that fire were guilty; many others were not guilty of anything worthy of death. And still the memory burns, ten years later.

War is rarely, if ever, just in its execution. Just, that is, if one were to use the standard of justice that dictates, Punish the guilty. Spare the innocent. It might be necessary for the survival and prosperity of a group on this earth. History is never short of "What if?"s. But I doubt it, and earthly survival and prosperity are secondary concerns to me.

For me, I try to build faster than the destroyer can destroy. I would like to create a thing so beautiful that all people who gazed upon it would see that their enemies, too, were created in the image of God. Their enemies, too, have sinned and fallen short of His glory. Their enemies, too, may be redeemed. But I despair, because so many in this world do not accept these three things when applied their own selves. I despair, for many beautiful things already exist. They teach us to suffer wrong in order to teach love. But so many cannot hear those lessons, for their hearts are already filled with hymns to Pride and prayers to blind Vengeance.

I despair, but still I build.
  • bdoc
    While I believe it is past time to end the wars, I am not convinced that pursuing vengeance in war is wrong (Romans 13:4). Although vengeance must never be sought by the individual (Romans 12:19), government is the proper means of accomplishing it. What is your understanding of this verse (13:4)?
    by bdoc at 09/10/11 9:08PM
  • kailua
    September 11th is also my son's birthday :-)
    by kailua at 09/11/11 4:14PM
  • tom_bombadil
    13:4 does not describe war, inasmuch as war does not execute wrath on only the ones who practice evil, nor does it minister to the good. It describes a ruler who judges guilt (rightly) and punishes the one judged guilty while sparing those judged innocent. War ain't under consideration in Romans 13.
    by tom_bombadil at 09/12/11 12:27PM

Prognostications International

Within 5 years:

China's housing bubble will burst, creating an Asian economic crash that will dwarf what the US is currently going through.

The price of gold will continue to rise as western citizens and eastern governments continue to buy it up.

Iran will be at war with whoever is controlling Iraq by then. Let's hope it's the Iraqis and not us.

Chile and Singapore will continue to prosper. New Zealand will still have more sheep than people.

China will implement bolder measures to assimilate Hong Kong, and the Hong Kongers won't like it.

There will continue to be civil wars in Africa.

Libya will be controlled by a regime hostile towards the US.

There will be wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, etc. etc..

None of these takes any special insight.

  • lindsey
    I enjoy seeing the 'projections' for the future, meanwhile knowing that each sentence can conclude "And my God will still be in control."
    by lindsey at 08/26/11 11:44AM
  • jabberwock
    Not sure that we'll see another Iran-Iraq war. Iran is pretty happy with a predominantly Shiite regime in Iraq. Other than that, everything sounds reasonable.
    by jabberwock at 08/27/11 7:21AM
  • ominie
    Wow, you're quite the cheery man, Zach!
    by ominie at 09/05/11 11:23PM

What am I becoming?!

"Now, as we all, in our political relations to the Government of our country, occupy positions at least inferior to that which a bond servant holds toward his master, we cannot of right as Christian men obey the powers that be in anything not in itself justifiable by the written law of the great King - our liege Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Indeed, we may advance in all safety one step further, if it were necessary, and affirm that a Christian man can never of right be compelled to do that for the state, in defense of state rights, which he cannot of right do for himself in defense of his personal rights. No Christian man is commanded to love or serve his neighbor, his king, or sovereign more than he loves or serves himself. If this is conceded, unless a Christian man can go to war for himself, he cannot for the state."
-Alexander Campbell

Here is the double-edged sword:

If a Christian cannot rightly do in defense of his government what he cannot rightly do for himself, then
He cannot rightly do for himself that which he cannot rightly do in defense of his government.

Self-defense and national defense go hand-in-hand. It is evident that a Christian may not defend himself with violence. Mat. 5:39, "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."

Here's the point:

A person cannot consistently be anti-war and pro-self-defense. Nor can a person consistently be pro-war and anti-self-defense.

On a related, but less complex train of thought:

When a person uses the quote, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," to support violence in defense of a perceived good or defeat of an evil, he argues against the teaching of Jesus in Mat. 5:39.
  • jabberwock
    I disagree. :) God does not grant the individual the right to kill, but He does grant that right to the state. See Romans 13. How can government "bear the sword" without human action? Should Christians leave it to non-Christians to carry out God's work? Even assuming that Matthew 5 is an absolute prohibition against violence (I think the issue is more complex than that), a man may still do in the service of his country what he could not do on his own account.
    by jabberwock at 08/03/11 10:39PM
  • deusvitae
    That assumes that a Christian would participate in the state, an assumption that would be extremely suspect in the first century church. After all, the state was the oppressor. Romans 13 is not written to the Roman government to describe their function; it was written to the Roman Christians to explain why they needed to obey the earthly authorities.
    by deusvitae at 08/03/11 11:45PM
  • bumba
    Sounds like you've been battling with a question that has caused me to spend many, many hours in thought. I don't think I've completely settled as a pacifist when it comes to the self-defense question but I know I have when it comes to the question of war. The Romans 13 part of all of this, I believe comes into play in carrying out God's righteous justice within its own borders. I'm not sure it comes into play with nation's attacking other nations. We do know that God has used wicked nations to carry out those just punishment wars.

    The only verse that causes me to be a complete pacifist is when Christ instructs his disciples to sale their cloak and buy a sword (Luke 22:36). I do know that swords could fend against animals and had many practical uses in travel other than fending off human attackers but it does give some room, should personal faith lead you to it, that a person could defend themselves and those with them from an attack, human or otherwise. Not a necessary conclusion by any means but a possible one none the less. Again I'm not completely settled on that because every time man came to arrest or attack (stoning, beating unrighteously without a trial, etc) children of God never defended themselves with violence. I'm not sure if the nature of the attack comes into play with self-defense or not. If the time comes, which I pray it never does, I'm not going to take the time to ask my attackers their intentions. Defending my family is the only thing that I could see me doing what it took to protect them.

    Just my thoughts.
    by bumba at 08/04/11 1:14PM
  • sparker
    I don't believe the Bible instructs us to not defend ourselves, families, and nation. We are to deflect personal violence with good, but we should stand up for the weak. I may chose for myself to take a blow, but I would never chose to stand by while a child or elderly person was attacked. I also see no reason to submit to violence if it were random, but if it were persecution for my beliefs then I would rejoice in it.
    by sparker at 08/04/11 9:14PM
  • jabberwock
    @ Ethan: To the contrary, we know there were Christians in the first century who participated in the state. Just for starters, Cornelius was a Roman centurion, Sergius Paulus was a proconsul, Erastus was the city treasurer of Corinth, and there were Christians in Caesar's household (what we would think of as the Roman bureaucracy). Although Romans is several years earlier than Philippians, there's a good chance that some of those governmental officials were among the original recipients of Romans 13. I think the instruction of Jesus and Paul to men like that would have been about the same as John's word for the soldiers in Luke 3:14--"Don't extort money, don't levy false accusations, and be content with your wages". Conspicuously absent from the list is "Don't serve as a soldier anymore."
    by jabberwock at 08/05/11 5:43PM

I am being persuaded.

For my own part, and I am not alone in this opinion, I think that the moral desolations of war surpass even its horrors. And amongst these I do not assign the highest place to the vulgar profanity, brutality, and debauchery of the mere soldier, the professional and licensed butcher of mankind, who, for his $8 a month or his 10 sous per day, hires himself to lay waste a country, to pillage, burn, and destroy the peaceful hamlet, the cheerful village, or the magnificent city, and to harass, wound, and destroy his fellow man, for no other consideration than his paltry wages, his daily rations, and the infernal pleasure of doing it, anticipating hereafter "the stupid stares and loud huzzas" of monsters as inhuman and heartless as himself. And were it not for the infatuation of public opinion and popular applause, I would place him, as no less to be condemned, beside the vain and pompous volunteer, who for his country, "right or wrong," hastens to the theater of war for the mere plaudits of admiring multitudes, ready to cover himself with glory, because he has aided an aspirant to a throne or paved the way to his own election to reign over a humbled and degraded people.

I make great allowance for false education, for bad taste, for the contagion of vicious example; still, I cannot view those deluded by such sophistry, however good their motives, as deserving anything from contemporaries or posterity except compassion and forgiveness. Yet, behold its influence on mothers, sisters, and relatives; note its contagion, its corruption of public taste. See the softer sex allured, fascinated by the halo of false glory thrown around these worshipped heroes! See them gazing with admiration on the "tinselled trapping," the embroidered ensigns," of him whose profession it is to make widows and orphans by wholesale! Sometimes their hands are withdrawn from works of charity to decorate the warriors' banners and to cater to these false notions of human glory! Behold, too, the young mother arraying her proud boy "with cap and feather, toyed with a drum and sword, training him for the admired profession of a man killer."

This is not all. It is not only at home, in the nursery, and infant school that this false spirit is inspired. Our schools, our academies, our colleges echo and reecho with the fame of an Alexander, a Caesar, a Napoleon, a Wellington. Forensic eloquence is full of the fame of great heroes, of military chieftains, of patriotic deliverers whose memory must be kept forever verdant in the affections of a grateful posterity, redeemed by their patriotism or rescued from oppression by their valor.

The pulpit, too, must lend its aid in cherishing the delusion. There is not infrequently heard a eulogium on some fallen hero, some church service for the mighty dead, thus desecrating the religion of the Prince of Peace by causing it to minister as the handmaid of war. Not only are prayers offered up by pensioned chaplains on both sides of the field even amid the din of arms, but Sabbath after Sabbath, for years and years, have the pulpits on one side of a sea or river and those on the other side resounded with prayers for the success of rival armies, as if God could hear them both and make each triumphant over the other, guiding and commissioning swords and bullets to the heads and hearts of their respective enemies.

And not only this; but even the churches in the Old World, and sometimes in the new, are ornamented with the sculptured representations of more military heroes than of saints - generals, admirals, and captains who "gallantly fought" and "gloriously fell" in the service of their country. It is not only in Westminster Abbey or in St. Paul's that we read their eulogiums and see their statues, but even in some of our own cities we find St. Paul driven out of the church to make room for generals and commodores renowned in fight. And, last of all, in consummation of the moral desolation of war we sometimes have an illumination - even a thanksgiving - rejoicing that God has caused ten or twenty thousand of our enemies to be sent down to Tartarus and has permitted myriads of widows and orphans to be made at the bidding of some chieftain or of some aspirant to a throne.

But it would exhaust too much time to speak of the inconsistencies of the Christian world on this single subject of war, or to trace to their proper fountains the general misconceptions of the people on their political duties and that of their governments. This would be the work of volumes - not of a single address. The most enlightened of our ecclesiastic leaders seem to think that Jesus Christ governs the nations as God governed the Jews. They cannot separate, even in this land, the church and state. They still ask for a Christian national code.

-Alexander Campbell
  • granny
    Clever fellow to plan that seagull project!
    Mr AC definitely wrote some good words. Thank you.
    by granny at 07/05/11 1:15AM