Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The Bible reads, “The serpent told the Women, ‘You won’t die.  God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on.  You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil'” (Genesis 3:4-5, MSG).

The Teacher’s Bible Commentary reads, “When God created Adam, he created him innocent but not virtuous. There is a difference. Innocence is one’s condition before he knows the difference between right and wrong.  He is innocent because he is not aware of evil. A person is virtuous when he comes face to face with temptation and rejects the evil in favor of the good. Adam had not yet become virtuous; he was innocent. God intended that Adam should progress to the point where he could overcome all temptations; then he would become virtuous, or righteous.  However, he fell short, and we have been following his example ever since.”

Parents understand the importance of keeping their children away from certain images, activities, or events for at least a portion of their life.  In fact, there are some things that we should never be exposed to no matter what age or experience.  We refer to this as protecting a child’s innocence.

But isn’t the most important aspect of good parenting not protection as much as preparation?  Not that they stay the way they are but that they progress in maturity?  That our children are ready for what they will one day face?  That they have the adequate devotion, direction, and discernment needed to follow Christ for a lifetime?  But when are they ready to take those steps?  To spread their wings?  To learn from their failures?  To face tests and temptations?

The goal is not that we leave this world with our innocence in tact.  But that we are righteous in Jesus Christ through repentance and restoration.  That no matter what we have done and what has been done to us … that we no longer strive to be gods but to know God.  

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

I just finished listening to a free download of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short Christmas story titled, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle courtesy of Audible.com.

A fun Christmas read, indeed.  The ending pays homage to other Western holiday classics.

I so enjoy his way of including so much detail in such few words.  My only complaint, and maybe this has more to do with me as the reader than it does with Doyle as the writer – but it seems that these mysteries unfold with Holmes solving the mystery more than it allows the reader to discover the hidden truths for themselves.

I don’t think there is a Sherlock Holmes story I have not yet enjoyed.  And yet, I have not read that many.  Some time next year (maybe on my summer vacation), I plan to re-read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (it was a free download on my Kindle app a year or so ago).  Any specific Holmes’ stories (or collections) that you would recommend?  

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Do You See What I See?

During the Christmas season I thought that I would finally read Ross Parsley’s Do You See What I See?: Exploring the Christmas of Every Day.

The author writes, “God allows us to see, hear, and experience things for a reason.   They are important to God’s overall plan, and we have a role to play in helping God accomplish that plan.  In the final analysis, this is all we’re responsible for:  to respond to what God lets us see and hear … You and I are not responsible to make miracles happen.  That’s God’s job.  But we are responsible to participate in the experiences God presents us with, to watch and listen, and then tell others about what we’ve seen and heard” 65).

Such a timely reminder for Blue Bridge Church as we are on the verge of going weekly beginning in just three weeks.

There is this nagging temptation for me to make things happen. The pressure of significance and success.  To make God proud.  When in all reality, this is and and always has been, his Story.  I am only accountable for what he asks me to do, when he asks me to do it, and how he asks me to do it.  The rest is his Narrative.

He promises to get his hands dirty.  He promises to do what only he can – and in a way that only he can.

He receive all of the glory.  

Do You See What I See?

Everything Changes [Later]…

Today is my fifth and final reading out of Touching Wonder

The author wrote from Simeon’s point of view:  “There is safety in years of prayerful expectancy; you can always say, ‘I’m still waiting.’  But when the wait is over, everything changes.  You are then released into what’s next, the unknown” (110).  
Blase makes a great point.  The prophet was promised that he would see the Messiah before his final breath.  And he did.  But little if anything ever really changed within his lifetime.  He probably went home celebrating.  But how long did his songs last?  I am sure a whole lot longer than mine would have.  But Rome still ruled.  The sacrificial system was still incomplete at best and corrupt at worst.  Sin and death still seemed to have the last word (for a few more decades at least).  
And this is where we find ourselves.  Christ came once.  The war is over.  But the battles still rage.  We know that he sits at the right hand of the Father.  I just wonder if he is on the edge of his seat.  Every knee will one day bow.  But right now people fool themselves into thinking that they don’t have to.  Little has changed.  Or at least that is how it seems.  
It is hard enough to be obedient.  But to be obedient and then not to see any tangible difference?  
But what if our obedience has less to do with our present circumstances and more to do with the Coming Kingdom?  
Peace on Earth.  He is making things right again.  
Everything Changes [Later]…

No Bright Lights

My fourth day reading from Touching Wonder.

The author writes from Joseph’s perspective: “I am dismayed by the way that night is remembered.  There are those who tell the story as it if were a production, a staged affair.  That is blasphemous.  It was no production.  It was a birth.  I was scared.  She was scared.  He was Mary’s first.  I had witnessed cattle being born, but never a child.  There were no bright lights.  The animals did not move on cue.  No one sang.  He came as all men come, bathed in the lifeblood of His mother.  His conception was divine.  His birth was of the earth” (122).

The miracle behind the moment.  But don’t neglect the very human element.  The King of Kings arriving to the earth that he created … in this way?  Alone.  Painful.  Dirty.  Real.

Jesus had this uncanny (and holy) way of humbling himself when he had every right to be praised.

This tells me that he is not afraid of less than ideal circumstances.  We don’t have to conjure up or create a place fitting for his presence.  He is often already involved in the places where you and I are hesitate to be seen at.

But make no mistake, once he is there, that particular place (or heart) will never be the same.

No Bright Lights