My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Monday, October 31, 2005

Decisive qualities: to do what is right

A wonderful girlfriend of mine and I talked about “the one” two evenings ago. Maybe you know how it is when girls get together … Personally I am convinced that I have found him, my friend is single right now. Anyways, while enjoying soup and a sip of wine we started talking about men and how to detect a possible “the one”. She told me that already years ago – when her sister asked her about something her future husband absolutely needed to be like – she told her surprised sister without thinking about it: A man who does not leave me when I give birth to a handicaped baby. So I shared something with her that I had thought about last weekend and shared with my beloved that day.
Last Sunday we watched the movie “To kill a mockingbird” on TV together. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the movie (with Gregory Peck) or the book, so here is some context: In the early 20th century, Atticus Finch, a widower with two young children, takes up the defence of a poor young black man who is prosecuted for supposedly having beaten up and tried to rape a white young woman. And even though Atticus knows very well the consequences his decision will have, he proves in court the black man’s innocence and the guilt of the girl’s father. Nevertheless, the jury finds the man guilty. Atticus has to face misunderstanding and even hatred by some of the town’s white population.
But he did what was right. Even though doing what was right brought negative consequences with it. It would have been easier to just let it go, not care (it was obvious the jury would find him guilty anyway), to take the “easy” decision – the comfortable decision.
Personally I think, that doing right because it is right is not “in fashion” anymore in the eyes of the majority. First check out the consequences, than take the decision – the decision that offers the better results for you. If it requires “bending the truth”, do it. If it requires letting somebody down, do it. If it requires breaking some rules or even laws, do it. As long as there is enough in it for you and the risk not too big, do it. It seems to me that very often this is what modern society tells us. Maybe not openly, but the tendencies are surely there. First myself and then who cares…
This is not what I want. I want a man who does what is right. Not because of what he can gain from doing the right thing, but exactely and “only” because it IS the right thing.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Trials are beneficial to true faith

Nobody enjoys trials. Nobody will actually claim to like them. But everybody - yes, everybody - has to face trials. Of course we can try to hide, we can try to run. But I think that at least most of us know the truth that we have to go through them. Which does not make them easier to bear. Jesus told us that there would be trials and tribulations in our lives. Especially if we are His followers. So we try to brave ourselves for what is to come. But rarely we think about the lessons we can learn or the character we can gain. Very understandable. Last week I read in one of my parents' birhtday gifts to me, the complete works by Jonathan Edwards. And he had some very intersting things to share about trials. They really made/make me think. So here they are (from his "A treatise concerning religious affections"):

Such trials [as of the recipients of Peter's letter, see 1. Peter 1] are of threefold benefit to true religion. Hereby the truth of it is manifested, it appears to be indeed true religion. Trials, above all other things, have a tendency to distinguish true religion and false, and to cause the difference between them evidently to appear. Hence they are called by the name of trials [...]. They try the faith and religion of professors, of what sort it is, as apparent gold is tried in the fire, and manifested, whether it be gold or not. And the faith of true Christians, being thus tried and proved to be true, is found to praise, and honour, and glory.
And then, these trials not only manifest the
truth of true religion, but they make its genuine beauty and amiableness remarkably to appear. True virtue never appears so lovely, as when it is most oppressed: and the divine excellency of real Christianity is never exhibited with such advantage, as when under the greatest trials. Then it is that true faith appears much more precious than gold; and upon this account, is found to praise, and honour and glory.
Again, another benefit of such trials to true religion, is that they
purify and increase it. They not only manifest it to be true, but also tend to refine it, and deliver it from those mixtures of what is false, which incumber and impede it; that nothing may be left but that which is true. They not only show the amiableness of true religion to the best advantage, but they tend to increase its beauty by establishing and confirming it; making it more lively and vigorous, and purifying it from those things that obscured its lustre and glory. As gold that is tried in the fire is purged from its alloy, and all remainders of dross, and comes forth more beautiful; so true faith being tried as gold is tried in the fire, becomes more precious; and thus also is found unto praise, and honour, and glory.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Like the morning mist

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you.
Isaiah 44:22 (NIV)

This is my verse for this time of the year. It really stuck out to me when I was reading Isaiah last weekend. Instantly my mind conjured a picture of the autumn morning mists and how they vanish when the sun rays are strong enough. Here we have fall already. Leaves are turning and most mornings, mist lies over the whole city and covers the Rhine and the surrounding mountains. But later in the day it disappears due to the sun coming out. And not a trace of mist is left. Very pretty.

Our sins are not pretty. Every sin wages death, not matter if it appears just stupid to us, or excusible or evil. Sin wages death. We are stained by sin. But for those who believe, this wonderful promise stands: God swept our sins away! Just like the fall storm chases the clouds and the sun makes the morning mists disappear. And not a trace is left. Not a trace of our sin is left.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Just a quick note to y'all: I started a new job this week, so I am busy. And that PhD is still waiting to be finished as well :). But I'm still checking your blogs, just don't always have the time to comment. And I'll blog something more substantial again soon :).
A propos blogs: please head over to the fabulous life of erin and welcome my friend Erin who just started her blog! She is the high school youth director at my church. I'm sure some of you are interested in what she has to say about that - and life in Germany as an American.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Creation and creativity

The beauty of God's creation amazes me again and again. I love to watch nature: mountains, trees, the sun on some flowers, clouds, turning leaves... It is all so detailed, so wonderful. Last weekend we were at our annual church retreat and talked about recapturing the awe of God in different ways, one was through looking at creation. It is just so true: when I gaze at the wonders of God's creation, my soul is amazed by the creator.
We are created in God's image. So he gave us a desire for creativity too. He is the ultimate creator, but he shared his desire for creating with us. The things I create are far from the beauty and perfection of God's creation, but still they are an expression of myself and precious to me. I really love to be creative. This side of my personality lay quiet for quite some time, but over the last year it has resurfaced. I developed a new interest in scrapbooking - I love being creative that way. And I love photography, I always have. I also started having an interest in altered books (havent done it yet though) and card making (haven't tried it either). And I have always loved to cook :). That is a creative outlet for me too. It is so wonderful that God made us creative too.