Exercising Body and Mind

Yesterday I discovered that it’s probably NOT a good idea to exercise BOTH body and mind at the same time. Now that Spring hath sprung, I have been taking daily walks. Usually I listen to books-on-tape or read fiction while I walk, something I have done for years and gotten quite good at. I can see the edge of the road in my peripheral vision as I read and have never experienced a problem before. (I DO look up and pay attention when a car comes, btw…) But yesterday I received a used copy of a classic archaeology book in the mail about religion in the Ancient Near East and I just couldn’t wait to read it. So arming myself with a pencil to mark important spots, off I went. Apparently reading NONfiction takes more concentration than reading fiction, because after walking about a half mile, my left foot went off the edge of the pavement in a place where it had built up pretty high in comparison to the dirt on the shoulder…and down I went. I spent several minutes writhing in pain and then realized I had to get up and hobble my way back home…on my injured ankle! Pain…pain…pain… Mr.C. actually passed me in his dump truck, but because he was coming from behind me and because I was limping…he didn’t realize it was me and went right past me!! While I am thankful he doesn’t pick up strange women on the side of the road, I really DID wish he had given me a ride back!

But nothing is broken and I just have to remain in an air splint and on crutches for a week. It is turning out to be quite problematic, however. How do I transport books from the office to the living room? How do I carry my coffee and breakfast into the living room in the AM? And then there are household tasks…carrying laundry, ironing, picking up, vacuuming, making meals, etc. that are just beyond me right now without a little help. We’re on spring break from school this week and I HAD intended to do some badly needed catching up (especially work on my paper for Greek, exegeting I Peter 3:18-22…I’ll let you know if I become the first person in the modern world to be able to exegete this passage definitively ;)…), so it looks like I’ll be FORCED to read and study since that is the only thing I can do right now while keeping my foot up. That’s what I wanted, right…?

Hebraisms & Fleas

I came across a great line while translating a passage out of Hebrews today. [Btw, if you feel your life is not exciting enough…I highly recommend trying to translate and exegete the Greek in the Book of Hebrews 😉 It’ll clear your sinuses right out…]

In Hebrews 2:6, the beginning of the verse literally says “But someone testified somewhere saying…” “But someone testified somewhere”? Even I, a Gentile, know who said the following quote and where it’s from. It just sounded funny to me in the English, as if the writer of Hebrews couldn’t remember where he had read it before, like us saying “I think it says SOMEWHERE in the Bible…”. Of course I know he didn’t mean it that way and it’s probably a Hebraism, but it made me chuckle when I read it. [Btw, if you’re ever translating and you’re not sure of an unusual construction, it’s a pretty safe bet to say “It’s a Hebraism”. It’s sort of like little kids answering “Jesus” to every question you ask them in SS. ;)]

I also saw an interesting news item on MSNBC just now. “LA Woman Diagnosed with Bubonic Plague”. Now that’s a headline you don’t see every day, and I thought it interesting that it occurred in LA (I don’t know if she was from Beverly Hills or not…probably not.) Reading further I noticed they were trying to allay fears by telling us that it hasn’t happened in LA for a long time…not since 1984!! That’s a long time? C’mon…a “long” time is 1346-1351 when the Black Death decimated Europe. THAT’S a “long time” ago! [The article does mention that it’s not contagious in this early stage, and that the woman had been exposed to fleas (the carriers)in her home. So…T&L- let’s take care of ANY fleas you may happen to find! Use flea bomb on the place! And NO PETS!]

Beverly Hills

The little lady and I spent the afternoon in Beverly Hills and Bel Air on Saturday. It was one of those trips that we just wanted to see those things when we had the opportunity. We drove on Santa Monica Blvd through West Hollywood (San Francisco South) and it was just amazing to see the change of scenery when we got into Beverly Hills. Everything was suddenly so much nicer, no dumpy shops, so dirty streets. Next thing you know, you’re crossing Rodeo Dr and cars that are worth more than you’ll make in 10 years are driving by.

We got out and walked down Rodeo Dr. We went in Giorgio Armani and Louis Vitton (sp?). We saw a pair of shoes for over $750. They were just high heels. We also saw all the great designers, jewelry shops, and salons. After walking around for awhile, we got back in the car and went to go see all the great gates of the really nice houses. you couldn’t see any houses because the fences and bushes were so high. We drove all the way to the top of the hill on Bel Air Dr. and got a gorgeous view of the whole downtown area. It was so high up and you could see everything, including down onto some of the nice houses with tall gates.

After descending the hills, we got back out and walked down Beverly Blvd, which is one street over from Rodeo. there were more normal shops there, like Gap, Starbucks, and one shop that had everything under $15. I was somewhat expecting a .99 cent store the next street over, but there was a Rite Aid: Beverly Hills there. I wish I took a picture of it because it was so funny. It had the normal ‘Rite Aid’ sign, then Beverly Hills in cursive under it. An elegant and rich Rite Aid.

We also went to the Museum of Television and Radio. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting, but was still fun. They basically have something from every show there, and you just search for it, print off your selections and then they take you to this room with tvs and headphones and you can watch your program. It’d be really good for home schoolers to watch the old tape of historic events. But Leah and I watched an old episode of Newsradio ( a very underrated sitcom from the 90’s).

here’s a picture for my dad, the closest thing to a farm or tractor for him.

Then we made our way back to San Gabriel, thankful that we aren’t slaves to the things of that town. There were so many people there just in awe like they reached their Mecca. Then there others that were blowing $800 on a pair of shoes.

Urban Submersion

Sorry for not posting. It may have something to do with the fact that I was in LA this weekend and couldn’t post. For those of you who care, here’s how it went.

The big secret of the weekend was that it was going to be a poverty awareness simulation. The kids were told that they were going to be playing the role of a single mother of two, and that they have ‘lost’ all of their things. They were allowed to keep two items. They were given $25 to spend on used clothes, meals, showers, and lodging. No one ended up purchasing lodging or showers, so they all had some meals and warm clothes. One person was made homeless, meaning they had no items and no money. They had to rely on the charity of the others to give them money for food. Throughout the weekend they also got ‘chance’ cards. These cards would tell them about something bad that would happen and they’d lose something. They’d get a chance card for being late, or just for the heck of it. One card said that they got arrested on false charges and released, but lost their belongings, so the kid lost his personal items. Another card for everyone said that the sweat shop got closed down and everyone lost all their money that they had saved to use on other things. Other kids lost items and sleeping bags.

The kids slept outside behind someone’s house, and it got cold and wet at night, so no one slept too well. On Saturday they helped out with some work projects and did a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt had them going to the area of the Staples Center (where the Lakers, Clippers, and LA Kings play) and they had to beg for money to buy lunch, interview a homeless person, an elderly person, find out what WIC, SSI and other things were. They had to find out where a person in need would go for help, ride a bus, and help out someone in need. They had to collect recycleables and find something usefull out of a dumpster. The hunt was very challenging, but the kids realized what the people go through on a daily basis.

Each night we went on tours of Skid Row, which was very eye opening. We did a prayer tour, praying for different things at each spot. The kids were told about the cycle that the homeless find themselves in and how hard it is to work your way out of that situation. They were told about the addictions that are formed and the kids that have to grow up in that environment. We hope to return there in the future to the Union Rescue Mission and help out with the homeless services there.

I could go on and on, but I don’t have the time for that. I will end with this interesting bit of info. While my group was on a scavenger hunt, we saw this really nice Rolls Royce on the side of the street. The kids were talking about how nice it was, and I looked at the driver and I said, ‘He guys, I think that’s Simon Cowell.’ We went back and sure enough, it was. He rolled down his window and gave the kids autographs and chatted with them. He was a really nice guy, not what I was expecting. I told him to tell Paula to calm down and he said, “I know, I know… I do!” So after meeting him, the kids in my group weren’t really thinking about poverty simulation anymore. oh well…

1st Interpretation, THEN Application

As I have been studying through Matthew, it has struck me how the correct pattern of interpretation has been stood upon its ear by so many of us. Pastors, in particular, I expect are anxious to get to the points of Application for their congregation, often resulting in the congregation never hearing the Primary Interpretation, the actual meaning of a passage, which can result in all sorts of misunderstandings.

Let’s look at the Parables of Matthew 13, for example. My bet is that few of us ever consider the Primary Interpretation of this chapter. Matthew’s literary structure is pretty cool here, too. He opens with an Introductory Parable (The Soils/aka The Sower). He TELLS it to the crowd, but only EXPLAINS it privately to His disciples. He gives His reason for teaching in Parables at this point in His ministry (v.11) – that His disciples would be given “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”. [As a really good Jew who is writing to a Jewish audience concerning the Messiah and the earthly Messianic Kingdom; Matthew usually substitutes “heaven” for “God” – a Jew considered the name of God as extremely holy. (Mark & Luke, having different audiences/purposes, call it “kingdom of God”.] Matthew is referring here to the earthly Messianic Kingdom promised in the Abrahamic & Davidic Covenants & all that OT prophecy…NO church yet remember. Think earthly…think Jewish…think OT!] Then he explains that those who have responded to the Messiah will have more information concerning the earthly Messianic Kingdom (which John the Baptiser & Jesus have been preaching is ‘near’). So the “sower” is Jesus (and John the Baptiser), the “soil” are the Jewish listeners (Chpts.3-11), the “seed” is truth about the earthly Messianic Kingdom/King (v.19), and the “fruit” is greater comprehension concerning the earthly Messianic Kingdom (v.11) [new info is to be given – a NT “mystery” is info concerning God’s program not previously revealed]. The Jews who have been observing His authenticating miracles and hearing His “gospel” message – that the earthly Messianic Kingdom is near (don’t jump ahead to the church yet!)have responded in the several ways mentioned in the parable. But only those responding in faith have been “good soil”, and as a result they will now receive MORE information with the exposition of 3 “mysteries” concerning the earthly Messianic Kingdom.

There is a cool Hebrew literary structure in the next 6 parables, which are presenting these 3 “mysteries” about the earthly Messianic kingdom in pairs:

1. The Tares/The Dragnet = same “mystery”; in the world there are 2 groups of Jews – those who will enter the earthly Messianic kingdom and those who will not. [Up to this point the Jews believed ALL descendents of Abraham would enter the Messianic Kingdom.]

2. The Mustard Seed/The Leaven = same “mystery”; the earthly Messianic Kingdom will start small and grow exceedingly large, permeating the whole world [Up to this point the Jews believed it only pertained to them.]

3. The Hidden Treasure/The Pearl of Great Price = the earthly Messianic kingdom is of great value and will remain “hidden” for a while [until the 2nd Advent of the Messiah]. There will be a postponment of the earthly Messianic Kingdom (because of the current national rejection of their Messiah).

NOW can come an “application” to the church [an unrevealed “mystery” itself at this point!!]. But you can see how reading Matthew 13 in the context of the first 12 chapters of Matthew is so very important! We really need to work at FIRST establishing Primary Interpretation IN CONTEXT. We’ve gotten out of the habit!

Narnia Night

Last night we had a little schindig called ‘Narnia Night’ to celebrate the release of the DVD. We just had a new projector hung in the youth center, so we officially broke it in and showed Narnia up on the big screen. Mix that with the subwoofers turned up a bit to make Aslan’s roar shake the ground a bit, and it was like we were at the Theater. We brought couches from around the place and popped a ton of popcorn, sat down and enjoyed the movie with over 34 kids. It was a night that really makes youth ministry fun, just hanging out with kids and having fun. At the end we had a raffle and gave the DVD away to one lucky kid.

One thing that did bug me was this group of 8th grade boys. It seemed like through almost the whole movie they sat there and just mocked it, because that’s the cool thing to do. I know that I was exactly like that, but these guys were just bitter and angry. Its this attitude that our culture breeds in young men. They always have to be critical and mock anything they can. This makes it difficult to do anything that is serious because their first reaction is to mock it. This critical attitude only bitterness and anger, which doesn’t make them any better, but may earn them good standing in the eyes of some of their peers because they can mock anything.

on a different note, this weekend we’re having a little thing called Urban Submersion. We’re taking a group of our high school leaders into inner city L.A. and opening them up to inner city ministry. Its going to be a challenging weekend with what they’ll be doing, but I think it will be great. I’d really appreciate your prayers for safety and effictiveness this weekend. I’ll be sure to give more details later!