Sunday, August 21, 2011

Puppies and the Mountain Lion

The puppies have been protecting the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks from local mountain lions.

Better make sure the mountain lion isn't penetrating the perimeter.

I suppose you'd like to see a mountain lion?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Not Nominated

I’m under a bit of pressure right now; I have until 9/12/11 to respond to the National Geographic Society and I’m not sure what to do.

When I retrieved the envelope from our roadside mailbox my heart quickened. Maybe the Society is recruiting for a great exploration? Having just finished The River of Doubt, an account of Teddy Roosevelt’s expedition down an Amazonian river of the same name (it was renamed for TR during the expedition), I felt myself sufficiently steeled for whatever adventurous summons might lie within the number 10 envelope. Of course, fully realizing that what I was about to open was unlikely to be a recruiting solicitation for a first-class adventure, I settled for the next best thing, in the spirit of George Bailey of It’s A Wonderful Life, I anticipated a nomination to membership in the National Geographic Society.

In the house I went, putting the mail on top of the microwave in the kitchen, sorting through the pile, taking the National Geo envelope in hand, opening it…only to read the words, “Preferred Customer Rate Summary”.

“Oh great”, I said to Vickie, “I’m not even nominated for membership in the National Geographic Society; they’re just giving me a preferred-customer rate.”

Where was George Bailey? Jimmy Stewart? Bedford Falls? How can a Preferred Customer Rate compare to being nominated for membership in the Society?

Having subscribed to National Geo years ago I was in the mood to do so again, but my mood was driven by the idea of a nomination to membership – oh the indignity of being considered a Preferred Customer, as if I were a simple led-by-the-nose consumer who valued a Preferred Customer Rate over a nomination to membership.

Now granted my Preferred Customer Rate includes a full year’s membership in the National Geographic Society, but that still falls short of my expectation for nomination to membership.

Well, I have until 9/12/11 to “reply”.

Wait! I see that if I am to reply that it is to be to Preferred Customer Services; not even Member Services – George Bailey, where are you? I think the marketing department (which should be the membership recruitment department) of National Geo needs you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Missed Witness of Repentance

Recently I had two work experiences which reminded me of the disconnect between Sunday and Monday in the lives of many Christians. In both of these instances individuals had an opportunity to repent of an action and to ask forgiveness; in neither case did the professing Christian do so; in both of these cases lying was involved. In both instances non-Christians were the objects of the lies. Sad to say, the two non-Christians may have seen nothing incongruous in the behavior of the professing Christians because Christians tend to live like everyone else.

In one of these experiences I was unaware that the lying party was a professing Christian until the person raised the subject of church in the discussion. At that point I suggested he ponder Psalm 15:4, “He swears to his own hurt and does not change”. The person injured by the lie was in the room, and yet rather than repentance there was justification for the lie. Another person’s reputation had been damaged – but justification for the lie, for the sin, was all that mattered to the one who had perpetrated the injury. How much better it would have been for the professing Christian to have repented and asked forgiveness.

In the second instance I gave the professing Christian a number of opportunities to say to the injured party, “If I have done something without realizing it, I’m sorry.” But even that was too much for the Christian to contemplate. How strange that the next time I saw this person the person was going on and on about church – and yet this same person couldn’t reach out to another person in a spirit of humility.

The insidiousness of lying is that lying has its root in Satan, the father of lies. The double insidiousness of lying that damages reputation is that slander is of the devil; the word “devil” meaning “slanderer”. Since our Father is the God of truth, since He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all; when we lie and walk in darkness we are living in contradiction to the Person and character of the True and Living God.

While a consistent and gracious life in Christ is a powerful witness to coworkers, repentance and asking forgiveness can also be a powerful witness – for it shows others that we have a source of cleansing in a world of sin, and it demonstrates that other people are important enough to us for us to make things right with them.

How sad when our lives are so full of toxicity that the presence of lies within us has no effect on our hearts and minds – that is, no effect that drives us to repentance. This is one reason why I fear the effect of sin in my own life; I have been there and done that in the diabolical trade of lying and deceit – and it is a reason why I endeavor to be quick in repentance and in asking forgiveness when I am aware of sin – for a sin not repented and forgiveness not asked soon becomes the master of the house…and it is a house of darkness.