Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rocky Mount, Redemption, and Dead Lions

“Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort.
Then he faces his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.
And at once there wells up from the depths of his soul boredom, gloom, depression, chagrin, resentment, despair.”
Number 622 of Pascal’s Pensées

Last night I went with a friend to Rocky Mount to see a movie. The movie was alright.

We got to the theater late. As I scanned the seats for a good place to sit I noticed that, for the most part, people sat together in clusters. After stepping in front of a seated couple, we took a seat. At the other end of our row sat an old man who was alone and had to leave in the middle of the movie with a bad cough.

Towards the end of the movie a group of kids ran into the theater yelling, screaming, and laughing. They left as quickly as they came.

After the movie, I was waiting for my friend to come out of the bathroom. As I leaned against the wall I noticed the group of kids that I suspect had been running around. An officer and manager were detaining them. They were a couple of girls and boys and none of them looked like they were over fourteen. Standing there, they shouted at passing friends, made phone calls, and snickered at the officer.

From the theater we went to Cook Out. In the past, a trip to Rocky Mount nearly required stopping at the “home of the best tray” around. I love a Cajun chicken sandwich with a corndog, fries, and a huge sweet tea (4.25 + tax). Now that there is a Cook Out in Roanoke Rapids there is less pressure to make a visit happen when in Rocky Mount, but we went anyways. It’s just too good. I am being sincere when I say that a chocolate cheesecake shake is a glimpse of glory...

I pulled my truck into the adjacent parking lot. I pulled up next to a couple of pimped out cars. The drivers talked to one another while they remained in their seats behind the wheel. My radio was off, but I am certain that the bass line on “Politik” didn’t stand a chance against the beats that came thumping across the two parking spaces between me and the group of guys in their cluster of Hondas.

As we sat eating our food, talking about the movie, musing about girls, and making plans for life we saw the kids cross the busy highway that was in front of us. They didn’t seem to have a care in the world. The one who kept his hand on his crotch attempted to leap over the deep ditch from the road to the parking lot.

Perhaps he should have pulled his pants up before making the jump.

As he grimaced in pain the girls laughed. One of the boys took little notice as he continued to grope the girl he was with.

Eventually they navigated their way across the ditch and passed us by. We saw them again about twenty minutes later. They were still laughing, shouting, and groping.

The whole evening was a reminder to me.
Last night I experienced the pleasure of friendship. It’s good to have someone to talk to and hang out with. The 50 minute drive, the movie, and dinner were all better (in my opinion) because they were experienced with someone else.
Last night I saw people all around me implicitly agree that life is enjoyed while in community.
Last night I saw the good of God’s solution to the problem that He assessed in His statement that “it is not good that the man be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
But I also saw that things are not the way they were meant to be. The effects of the Fall and the curse were visible everywhere. The good of life has been tainted and corrupted.

Last night was a reminder that I have not found anything that explains the world I see and experience better than Scripture. It explains everything. Not only does it assess our situation, but in it is offered a solution.
The solution to our broken world is Christ. He is the solution because He is the one through whom redemption comes.


“But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” (Ecclesiastes 9:4)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Week With Abigail

This past week I kept a dog for some friends. The dog’s name is Abby (it might be Abbey... I’m not sure). She’s less than a year old and, while being a good dog, she can become uncontrollably excited rather quickly. Here are some funny things from my week with Abby...

- She seems to be a bit afraid of the dark. So, if it was dark she wouldn’t leave my side. On Monday I went on a quick trip up to Richmond. When I got back to Littleton it was very cold and I was eager to get in bed. However, Abby had waited patiently in my kitchen for my return. I felt like she ought to play for a bit, so, around midnight, I took her ought to play. I tried to get her to just run around some, but she seemed skittish because of the dark and the leaves rustling in the wind. So, had you come by camp around midnight you would have found me running up and down the field with a flashlight and a dog close by.

- No matter how much I walked her around in the woods, Abby refused to use the bathroom until she got into the middle of the camp field. It is like she would hold it until I let her out of the woods.

- Wednesday night two friends came to camp at the end of the work day. They went down to the dock to watch the sunset while I made a quick run to the hardware store with Abby. Upon our return, Abby, along with Scott (who came with us from the store) headed down to the dock to join the girls. Abby started to use the bathroom in the middle of the field and I chased her to the woods. She just stood there and seemed to wonder why I had disrupted her. She seemed unwilling to go at that point so we headed down to the dock. We got about 15 feet out when she decided that she didn’t really like walking on the dock. She stopped. I continued. She whimpered. I continued. I joined Mallory, Catherine, and Scott at the end of the dock while keeping an eye on Abby. She left the dock and started playing in the rip-rap (rocks around the bulkhead/shoreline). Eventually she fell in the water. In spite of the fact that the water was cold she played in it for a bit. Seeing that she was fine, I sat down and turned my attention to the others. In the meantime, Abby got out of the water and finally attended to her previously unfinished business and relieved herself in the sand at the end of the dock. Then, somehow, she made her way down the dock without any of us realizing it. We knew she was there when she came running into our backs with her cold, wet, stinky, sandy body. I felt bad for the girls as they were wearing nice clothes. At some point, in her excitement to be at the end of the dock, Abby threw up. Ohh Abby.

- Thursday night: There was a report that someone in the community was missing (that person was later found). When I heard the news it caused a certain level of paranoia. While I had no reason to believe that anyone would go to camp, I was annoyed with myself for leaving the baggage car (my home) unlocked. I was doing some painting at someone else’s house when I got a call that an alarm was going off at camp. The person who called also indicated that his dog had been acting a little strange that night. This certainly increased the paranoia and I decided I better head over to check things out. I loaded Abby in the truck and we went over to camp. The time was about 10pm and it was dark. I parked in the parking lot next to the flagpoles and saw that the alarm was the car alarm on the camp car (it’s a Tracer – awesome). I grabbed a flashlight out of the truck and my camp keys. I made Abby get out and join me in the cold dark. I delayed investigating what was going on with the camp car to go check out the baggage car and upgrade my flashlight to a bigger one that I had in my bedroom. After checking all my rooms and locking up the baggage car I went over to the office to get the keys to the camp car. I walked over to where it was. I was very much on edge. I told Abby to keep watch as she reluctantly approached the Tracer with me. I couldn’t get the car alarm off no matter what button I pressed or even when I cranked the car. So, I decided to disconnect the battery. As I got a wrench out of the truck Abby barked at something and then ran under the truck. It scared me for sure, but I didn’t see anything. After coaxing her out from under the truck we headed back over to the Tracer. She growled at something again and then cowered away from the Suburban that was parked next to the Tracer (all this time the car horn is still blaring). I then became afraid that someone was in the Suburban. After making myself open the back door, I saw that it was empty. I popped the hood on the Tracer and got to work on the battery. It was really cold (in the lower teen’s) and I could hardly get the cable off the battery terminal. I was concerned that in the cold my hand would slip and connect the two terminals with my wrench (which would have been bad for me). I also told Abby to watch my back as I had my head under the hood and was afraid with every sound that I heard over the car horn was someone getting ready to kill me. Instead of keeping a lookout, Abby got excited and decided that she wanted to either jump on me or up on the engine. So, at that point I was trying to disconnect the battery in the bitter cold with a car horn blaring and a fear that I was in the last minutes of my life as a frightened dog made repeated attempts to jump under the hood of the car. Alas, I got the battery disconnected. The sudden silence startled Abby... which startled me... which made me drop the cable back onto the battery terminal... which reactivated the horn... which startled me... which startled Abby. I removed it once again, closed the hood, and ran to the safety of my truck with the dog leading the way.

It is my stated purpose on this blog, to try to point others to Scripture. I can’t say for certain what the truth is to be learned from what I have written in this post. It could be that life is exciting and contains in it good blessings of laughter and pleasure from the Lord. It could be the reminder that man is part of the created order. His relationships with creation has become distorted and in this fallen world in the age between the cross and the new creation our relationships with the created order are marked by both good and disorder. I guess there are any number of lessons. Whatever the spiritual truth to be gleaned, I had a good week with Abby.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"that strange invisible light of friendship"

The title is a phrase from William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

I have just recently read the book. It was a rush. Thanks Harrison.

A couple of other phrases/lines that I really liked:

"They walked along, two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate."

"hope was not necessary and therefore forgotten"

"the sun gazed down like an angry eye"

"a darker shadow crept beneath the swarthiness of his skin"

"that dreadful feeling of the pressure of personality"

"He sunned himself in their new respect"

There was alot of good stuff in the book. If you haven't read it, it's worth the time. A note about the title... Beelzebub (or Beelzebul) is a demonic name that shows up in the Bible a couple of times. Its literal translation is "lord of the flies."

things I thought I would have written about by now...

There are some things that I had planned on blogging about over the past two weeks, it just never really happened...

- I spent some time reflecting on how New Year's celebrations point to man's desire and intense longing for a new beginning... a new start... another chance, in other words, redemption.

- The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards are really interesting. Personal favorites:
#6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
#25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

- The mound of bat droppings in the episode "Caves" of Planet Earth is disgusting.

- During a staff reunion at CWR it is hard to believe that there is a better place on earth.