Religion

My friend, if you’ve got religion, I suggest you get rid of it and exchange it for Christ. Now I personally do not think you can call Christianity a religion. There’s no ritual given, none whatsoever, with Christianity. Have you ever stopped to think that? And that’s the reason you can have all kinds of churches. You can sing the doxology if you want to, there’s nothing wrong with it. And there’s nothing particularly right about it either, because you are never given a form to go by. Why? Because Christianity is a Person, and you either have Christ, or you don’t have Christ. You either trust Christ, or you don’t trust Christ. And religion just hasn’t been very helpful to man.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Introduction to Ecclesiastes 5 (audio version)

Something happened on the way to work

Yesterday I planned to write something about fathers or fatherhood. But something happened on the way to work.

Last night’s weather forecast predicted a long snowy morning commute. So, I had set the alarm back an hour to 4:00 AM.

The alarm goes off, playing radio static. This is on purpose, so that I am not lulled back to sleep by talk or music. I silenced the static with a slap. Somehow my hand knows where the target it. I quietly grumble into consciousness. Do I really have to get up this early? Yes, to avoid the snow. Any other reason? No.

No?

Hey, getting to work an hour early means I don’t have to make up time. I have to leave work early, so I can attend my son’s class program at school tonight. The alarm goes off again. I turn it off for good and get up.

4:46 AM. I am ready to go a with a few minutes to spare. The snow has already started. I can just hear it fall through the trees. I get in the car. John MacArthur starts talking. Why is he on? Oh, yeah. I’m starting out an hour earlier. He is toward the end of the of the broadcast about praying at all times [Ephesians 6.18-24].

Wait a second… What was J. Vernon McGee talking about yesterday morning? Oh, yeah. Prayer [Philippians 4.6-7].

The roads are already slick, but at this hour traffic is light. The LED sign at the church I pass daily catches my attention. This morning it says, “A.S.A.P. Always Say A Prayer.”

McGee, MacArthur, and now a church sign.

When was the last time I talked to my Father? I have to admit much too long ago.

Yesterday I planned to write something about fathers or fatherhood. Maybe I just did.

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger! I could say that I wrote this for my Zero to Hero blogging challenge assignment for day twenty-eight. But Someone suggested a different topic.

Zero to hero: eleven

After yesterday’s assignment I am really glad for this one. Without further ado, here we go with

Today’s assignment: hello, neighbor

Follow along as I say hello and a little bit more to some fellow bloggers on their blogs. It may take a little while for my comments to be approved and visible on each. And if you like the post, why not leave a comment of your own?

  • Zero to Hero Challenge Progress on Heart of a Southern Woman. I have been meaning to leave a comment on Helen’s post since the day I found it. Finding it again, to my horror and disgrace, I find I forgot to follow her blog the first time around. Sorry, Helen! Helen packed six days’ worth of challenge assignments into her post, and I am looking forward to her next one.
  • About Me on Helps to Write. Josh’s latest post announcing New Sight Design is what pulled me in, given my own desire to change the look of my own blog. Once there I remembered why I followed his blog in the first place: his struggles with Christianity. His about page says he has fallen away, but I see he just started seminary. So I had to ask Josh if it was time to update his about page.
  • My Wildest Dreams on Let Go of the Brakes. Rick wrote an awesome post about childhood dreams that fade away to an even better dream. You might think his even better dream is making two wheels go fast under his power, but that’s not it. I read through a number of his posts and saw myself in some of them. Rick plans to write at least one post a week in 2014, and I am looking forward to them all.

I could go blog hunting for hours more, but it is time for me to come back up for air. Still, are there any other blogs you recommend I explore on my next hunt?

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!You have just read my eleventh post for the Zero to Hero blogging challenge. Join me in using the challenge to liven up our own little corners of the web, blogosphere, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. Don’t worry if you are behind, you can go at your own pace. I seem to be on the day-and-a-half-behind schedule.

Zero to hero: four

I’m running a little behind. As I write this the day five assignment is about to be unleashed. But I fully intend to do every assignment, so let’s begin with today with yesterday.

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics and five new blogs (and bloggers) in the Reader

WordPress’s Reader is one of the coolest things I have ever found on the web, blogosphere, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. You don’t even have to have a blog hosted on WordPress to take advantage of the Reader. Just create a WordPress account, and start following topics and blogs.

I have found the best way to following topics on WordPress is to head to the Reader, scroll down to Tags in the sidebar and click Explore. Then, on the Tags page type the topic of your choice in the Search Tags box, and you’re on your way. You can also click on one of the tags displayed on the page, but since that list only shows the most commonly used topic tags by blogs hosted on WordPress.

Tags, a.k.a., topics

I am already following quite a number of topics, but let’s see what new ones pop up and say “Pick me!” today.

  • zerotohero. It never occurred to me to follow the official tag of the challenge! Slap a big Duh! on that.
  • Ancestry.com. I spent a lot of time over the holidays exploring the family tree again, and most of that on Ancestry.com. This topic appears to have blogs with some good tips on using the service. I recently received a renewal notice for Arhives.com, so I tried that as a topic. Zilch. Archive (without the .com) overall didn’t strike my fancy.
  • Personal. On a whim I scanned the list on the Tags page. Part of the challenge is following a topic a little off the beaten path, and this one fits the bill. Glad I took a look.
  • Bohemia. Shortly before the birth of Czechoslovakia, my not so distant ancestors left Bohemia in search of a life of opportunity in America. Somehow, a scrolling stroll through Bohemia felt familiar, like seeing Grandma again after far too many years. (Sometime I’ll have to post about that.)
  • Hebrew. I have been fascinated by the Hebrew language for ages. Reason enough to follow the topic.

Blogs and bloggers

The second part of this challenge activity naturally flows from the first. While I might click Like an individual post, I generally only click Follow on blogs that resonate with me in some way. About pages tend to be a gold mine of interesting content.

  • Tea & Testimony. A post called The “catch-up” illusion caught my eye while browsing through the results of the topic search on Archive a few minutes ago. I can’t imagine why… I also like the blogger’s discussion of her journey through different churches and denominations, similar to my own current “re-reformation.”
  • Vows to Myself. A brand new blog I found in the Personal topic. Long Lost Friends is the first and, at the moment, only post. It will be interesting to see where the author goes with this.
  • Braman’s Wanderings. What started as a quick peek in the Bohemian topic turned into twenty minutes of fascinating reading. Everything from a little history of about Good King Wenceslas to tales of his travels around the world. Even Antarctica!
  • The Lives of Serfs and City Folk. I admit it, I had to follow because she also has Bohemian and Norwegian ancestors. She also has significantly more experience navigating the sometimes foggy roads of family history than me.
  • Reformedish. I found Derek’s blog after repeatedly clicking the refresh button on the You May Like list on the WordPress Tags page. I spent most of an hour reading and pondering his posts and pages. My favorite so far is his about page. He admits to needing a reformation of his own, and so do I.

This assignment turned out to be quite enjoyable, though time-consuming. I found myself lost in dozens of blogs today. Fortunately, I had the day off work!

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!This is day four of the Zero to Hero blogging challenge. New to blogging? Give it a try! Seasoned vet? Give it a try! Somewhere in between? Give it a try! Follow along with me as I use the challenge to liven up my own little corner of the web, blogosphere, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

2014 in preview

Gasp! Did I just use a multi-word title for a non-reblogged post?

I thought I would start the year with a list of resolutions. But I’m not sure “resolutions” is the right word. The word almost connotes goals that are started but quickly discarded. Instead, this is my list of possible accomplishments for the year. I expect the list to change some over the next 365 days.

  1. Make an initial list of accomplishments to achieve for the year There, that wasn’t so hard!
  2. Read the Bible deliberately and consistently, and learn more of what it really says
  3. Get back in the saddle again, and ride my bike farther and faster than I ever have. Getting fitter than I have ever been would be an awesome side-effect
  4. Be a better husband and dad
  5. Reconnect with relatives I have ignored over the years, and connect with those I have never met
  6. Learn Czech and Hebrew, and improve my Norwegian
  7. Extra credit: build a simple conlang that incorporates at least one feature from each of those languages
  8. Clean off the keyboard and learn how to play a few songs with skill
  9. Run a half-marathon. There’s that getting fitter than ever thing again
  10. Tend to this blog more often
  11. Declutter

Alrighty then, let’s see where this goes.

Why Phil Robertson is the Most Dangerous Man in America

This sums up the artificial scandal over what Phil Robertson said pretty well.

DeaconCast

philThe headline reads: “A&E declares war on ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Christian values.”  It seems the patriarch of the Robertson family made some “offensive” comments in an interview with GQ Magazine.  Before we go any further, mull that over for a moment.  A camo-wearing, bearded, red-kneck duck hunter being interviewed in a magazine called “Gentlemen’s Quarterly”?  Is the world as we know it coming to an end.  I’d say it is, but I digress.

For the uninitiated, Duck Dynasty is the saga of the Robertson family of West Monroe, LA.  The patriarch of the family, Phil, invented a duck call that sounds very much like a real duck.  (Several ducks actually.)  This duck call has made the family and their company, Duck Commander, very successful.  Phil’s son Willy has parlayed the success of Duck Commander and the unique lifestyle of the family into quite an empire, including the hugely…

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