Saturday, April 28, 2007


God speaks about Abraham: "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." Genesis 18:19, KJV.

In all the other versions, this text starts with something to the effect of "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children..." (NKJV) "I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons..." (NLT) "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children..." (NIV) and so on. But I like the way KJV puts it, "I know him, that he will...." To me that sounds like God is saying, "I know this guy, I know that he's trustworthy and will command his children and his household...I know he'll keep My ways. I know him. That's why I'll reveal this thing to him." The other versions have a kind of predestination thing going on. Anybody know which is the most accurate translation?

(By the way, Patriarchs and Prophets p. 140-141 has some good commentary on this.)

I wonder also if this might be a clue to Paul's whole predestination thing. It's not so much that God has chosen us for such and such without our will, but rather that He knows us. He knows if we'll be trustworthy or not.

Of course, the logical question arises: What does God know about me?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Taking things literally

I made the mistake of listing our final violin group class rehearsal before the performance on the schedule as a "dress rehearsal." About ten students--and parents!-- have asked me within the last week if they are required to wear their concert dress clothes to the rehearsal. No, it is a figure of speech.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I have a crush on a new celebrity. Surprise?

Friday, April 13, 2007

A lesson in healthcare professionalism

Many of my friends who may be reading my blog are healthcare professionals or students. Here is a lesson in professional healthcare you may be interested in.

What the best nurse does:

1. Provide Sam Cambell nature books for the patient when she is in bed for 3 days with the flu. As soon as the patient's flu begins to show signs of bronchitis, make a house call immediately, and watch the silliest Fred Astaire song-and-dance movie you can find with the patient (preferably from 1950 or before). Wash all her dishes when she isn't looking.

2. If the patient develops a fever over 101 degrees, a resting pulse rate of 140 or higher, can only breathe with rapid, shallow, wheezing breaths and develops nausea and dizzyness from sitting up, call a doctor (preferably a radiologist) to listen to the patient's breathing with his stethoscope for diagnosis. Then pack the patient's belongings personally and immediately admit the patient to a hospital for overnight observation.

3. The nurse should choose the hospital carefully. Although there are a great many choices of excellent, world-class healthcare facilities in my area, the best of them all, a little-known secret--where I was admitted--is a small facility, in fact, a one-bed hospital with one doctor (the same radiologist) and nurse (the same nurse) on staff 24/7. This luxurious facility boasts a lovely hospital room (convenienly also serving as a bike storage room) queen-sized pillow-topped mattress bed with four huge pillows, silky sheets, a down comforter, windows opening to a garden, excellent food, and the best patient care around.

4. The next morning before the patient is discharged, sit in bed with her and read books and watch Wallace and Grommit cartoons on the laptop.

Lest anyone think this is an impossibility for a healthcare professional, I will testify that I personally received exactly this treatment from one such healthcare team this week! Thank you so much, Andrew and Monica!

Monday, April 09, 2007


Two Christians went for a walk in the mountains on a beautiful Sabbath day. One of the Christians was born and raised in the country, the other was from the city.

"Listen to the beautiful sound of the birds!" the country dweller said to his companion.

"It's a nice sound, but I don't understand what they are saying," replied the city dweller. "It would be much better if they sang with words, in English of course, so we could understand their songs of praise to God. As it is, I don't understand, so where's the spiritual meaning for me?"

"Just because they don't speak English doesn't mean their song is not a joyful hymn of praise to God!" the country man said. "But look here, see these beautiful rocks? Look at the way they sparkle as the water cascades over them, and listen to the delicate melody of the stream! See all the layers of design on each rock?"

"The sound of the water doesn't speak Bible texts, and the rocks say nothing either. See, wouldn't it be an improvement if we took a sandblaster and etched Bible verses on each of the rocks? Then we would get a real spiritual blessing from them! As it is, they're just lumps of hard stuff."

The country dweller scratched his head and looked around. He drew his companion's attention to the majestic trees all around. "Yes," the city man agreed. "Just think of how many Bibles and religious tracts could be made from all of these trees, if we made a plan to cut them all down!"

The country man grew more frustrated as he sat on a rock, listening to the sound of the water. "Let's sing some hymns!" yelled the city man as he whipped out a guitar and started strumming loudly away.

"Can't we just listen to the sound of God's nature for two minutes?" the country man tried to interject.

"Sounds mean nothing without words! Where's the spiritual meaning? I don't understand it. In the city, where I come from, we never lsiten to any music without spiritual meaning!"

"That's because you have so many sounds there masking the natural sounds God has given us that you've eventually forgotten how to listen," his friend replied. "Car horns, TV, rock music in stores, everywhere. Just sit with me for a minute and really listen to the music God has given us, the beauty He has created. The spiritual meaning is intrinsic, and you are free to assign any spiritual meaning to it that is in your heart, whether it's illustrative of a certain battle with sin in your life, the glory of Creation, thankfulness for the gift of life and friendship, or simply expressing something no poet could ever express in words--something we catch glimpses of in earthly beauty at times, something that we can chase all our lives but we will never truly experience fulfillment of until the Earth is made a new Creation."

But his city-dwelling companion, not interested in such sentiments, was already on his fourth verse of "Nearer, My God To Thee," still strumming loudly. Sighing, the country lover led his friend near a cozy little cabin at the edge of the woods. There was a beautiful rose garden filled with every variety of beautiful, sweet-smelling roses surrounding the cabin, well kept by an expert gardener.

"It's nice, but do we know that the gardener is a Christian?"

"Why does it matter? We are not talking about the gardener but the roses themselves! You might as well ask if the birds themselves are Christians!"

"Are they? If not, I don't want to listen to them!" he said as he put on his iPod and started listening to the Heritage Singers.

The country man threw up his hands with resignation and they walked back to his friend's Lexus SUV.