Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Polycarp - A Father of the Christian Church

We learned a little about Polycarp in our Christendom class this morning, so I looked up more about him and this is what I found.

"Polycarp is a celebrated figure in the history of Christianity. A direct pupil of the apostle John, Polycarp lived between 70 and 155 A.D., connecting him to both the biblical apostles and the age of the early church fathers. Several ancient sources document the contributions of Polycarp to Christianity, including his letters written to the church at Philippi, in which he encourages the members to remain strong in their faith and to flee from materialism. He also instructs the members in the proper handling of financial dishonesty that was creeping into the church. Polycarp served as the bishop of the church at Smyrna (modern day Izmir), and was recognized as one of the early combatants of Christian heresies. He rejected the teachings of Marcion, an influential heretic who tried to create a "new brand" of Christianity by redefining God and rejecting Old Testament teachings. In his well-known thesis, Polycarp combats Gnostic heresies that were beginning to spread throughout the Christian church.

Polycarp's greatest contribution to Christianity may be his martyred death. His martyrdom stands as one of the most well documented events of antiquity. The emperors of Rome had unleashed bitter attacks against the Christians during this period, and members of the early church recorded many of the persecutions and deaths. Polycarp was arrested on the charge of being a Christian -- a member of a politically dangerous cult whose rapid growth needed to be stopped. Amidst an angry mob, the Roman proconsul took pity on such a gentle old man and urged Polycarp to proclaim, "Caesar is Lord". If only Polycarp would make this declaration and offer a small pinch of incense to Caesar's statue he would escape torture and death. To this Polycarp responded, "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" Steadfast in his stand for Christ, Polycarp refused to compromise his beliefs, and thus, was burned alive at the stake.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Here is a portion from the book Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle. She can be a little strange at times, but also brilliant, as in these two paragraphs.

Robert Lindner, author of Rebel Without a Cause, The 50 Minute Hour, etc. Concludes in Must We Conform? That society today shows all the clinical symptoms of psychosis. This isn’t the first time that a civilization has suffered from collective insanity, but one of the gravest dangers is the loss of the distinction between vision and delusion. Far too often today children are taught, both in school and at home, to equate truth with fact. If we can’t understand something and dissect it with our conscious minds then it isn’t true. In our anxiety to limit ourselves to that which we can comprehend definitively, we are losing all that is above, beyond, below, through, past, over that small area encompassed by our conscious minds.

The result of this artificial limitation is rebellion. The destructive rebellion is the most apparent—the alarming rise in the number of juvenile delinquents, the school dropouts, the continuing dependence on drugs. But there is also constructive rebellion on the part of our kids, as in their rediscovery of fairy tale, fantasy, myth; needle-work, and stained glass and ceramics; dancing and singing and baroque music; surely their passion for the Pachelbel canon is a passion for order in a disordered world. And they love the combination of order and delight in a Bach fugue.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good Advice.

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say no to projects that won't fit into your schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and declutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in you every day.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus .'
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.
I thought I would share some pictures from around our place.

Here's Sarah with her 'I'll-smile-and-let-you-take-my-picture-if-you-really-want' face.

Magnificent basil plant in our front flower garden.

Row of fall lettuces my mom put in, also in the front yard.

Chickens in the front yard, right where they don't belong.

"Moving along..."

Peaches with her chicks

Part of our overrun garden, which my mom has been clearing out.

My garden! Tomatoes and Basil.

Some of my beautiful tomatoes, which need to start turning red now!

Red on the maples already?! :-)

This one always turns early.

Peach tree.


Walnut tree

You would think we were gearing up for a bonfire? ;-)

And the blueberry farm across the street.