Monday, July 30, 2007

On Bible Promises and Chocolate Fondue to go with them

Yesterday I enjoyed a lovely day with my best friend Monica in Pasadena. Unfortunately, her husband Andrew left that morning to go to Washington DC until early September for AFIP. I was having kind of a tough day myself, so we indulged in a trip for some girly "retail therapy" (although neither of us bought very much, but it was fun to window-shop). We also splurged on a four-course dinner at a restaurant called The Melting Pot. This restaurant is unique in that every table has its own stovetop burner, on which they put the pot that you can dip things into. The first course was a cheese fondue, with bread chunks and pieces of raw vegetables and apples were dipped in the pot of melted cheese. Then a salad, and the main course, which in our case was the vegetable plate, for which they bring out pieces of all sorts of different raw vegetables. The pot is now filled with boiling vegetable broth to cook all the vegetables and things in. But, of course, the crowning glory was the chocolate fondue, with strawberries (my favorite), banana, pineapple, poundcake, and cheesecake pieces to dip in the chocolate. Not a meal I'd indulge in very often, but after all, I had a duty to console Monica! :)

Speaking of consolation, I get the feeling nowadays that many Christians pretty much use the Bible solely as a source of "nice verses" of consolation, wisdom, etc. For that alone, we might as well consult Confucius or Hallmark. I've been studying the book of Deuteronomy lately, which has some beautiful moments (ch. 7:12-26; ch. 28:1-14), and some not-so-pretty ones (ch. 9; ch. 28:15-68). I'd pretty much sum up the book of Deuteronomy with the words from 11:26-28--

"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known."

I believe that everyone who wants to claim the beautiful promises in the Bible should also read and claim the words from the books of the Pentateuch and the Prophets.

With that in mind, here's a tiny list of texts I've been looking at lately that have brought courage and hope. (I'm going to make my blog readers do some homework and look them up for themselves!)

Exodus 33:18-23

Psalm 27:13

Psalm 68:6

Daniel 12:12

John 14:14

Revelation 21:1

Friday, July 27, 2007


Of all the spectacular, mind-boggling events that took place in the process of Creation and Earth's early days, it's difficult to imagine which ones would have been the most beautiful. Perhaps the process of God speaking the words of Life to bring everything into existence (or, as C.S. Lewis imagines it in The Magician's Nephew, He sang the words, which brings an interesting picture to the imagination), or Adam's first look into God's eyes, or Eve's eyes? Of course. But also, as I imagine it, I think one of the most fun parts would have been when Adam named the animals.

Names have always held such a special meaning that you could almost say that part of a being's personality is in their name. I am thinking of Parsnip the Opossum. Of all the forest creatures which came to the back porch, Sam Campbell-style, of my childhood home in the Ohio woods, the opossum was not necessarily one of the loveliest. It rather looked like an overgrown rat. But when someone in my family (I can't remember who it was) came up with a name for him--Parsnip (think of the shape and color of the tail)--suddenly, he was a cute pet.

From what I gather, names of people in ancient languages, especially Hebrew, held more meaning that names today. People named their children according to the characteristics they wanted them to have, or what was especially important to them, or describing some event or experience surrounding their birth. I can only imagine that Adam used his language to name the animals the same way. But what characteristics would he have chosen for each animal to describe it?

I can only imagine the bonding experience between Adam and God as they discussed what Adam thought of God's creatures. It would have been so much fun for Adam and God to share thoughts on what these creatures seemed like to them. Maybe the first ancient name for "cat" meant "that furry thing that won't stop pouncing my ankles." Or, "dog" meant "whenever I throw something like a stick away, it brings it right back." Maybe "spider" meant "too many legs" or "penguin" meant "oddly-shaped birdlike creature that doesn't fly and wears a tuxedo." "Giraffe" meant "get a load of that neck!" and "pig" meant "really pink with a weird nose." And, of course, "opossum" meant "overgrown rat with a tail like a parsnip." I can see Adam and God just rolling with laughter together at these descriptions.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I'm writing this blog because I am bored--this is my practice time, and I would really like to practice (most of the time I don't; I'm suffering from severe lack of motivation right now), however, I can't--my A string is breaking. You would think that I would actually follow my own advice I tell all my students: "You must have an extra set of strings, in case one breaks," but I'm not smart enough for that. I ordered one today, and it should arrive later in the week or early next week (holiday Wednesday...sigh), but until then I can either practice only Air on the G String or something comparable, or not practice at all. So I'm writing, to pass time.

Today's subject: plums. I have a nice medium-sized plum tree in my yard, next to the sidewalk. My landlord planted it before I moved in. Last year, it yielded all of 3 lovely plums. Just as I was going to pick them, someone came along and ripped them all off. I was very upset. I had been thinking of putting a sign on my tree this year, "Thou shalt not steal plums" or something to that effect. But this year, the tree yielded such an immense profusion of plums, I took a few just before they were quite ready to ripen inside (they were amazingly sweet and tasty), and planned to harvest the rest in a few days. I was looking forward to the plum harvest so much, because growing up in Ohio, we didn't have lots any fruit trees to harvest. I thought it would be safe because I had so many plums that even if someone came and stole a few, that would be OK, I would share some with my neighbors, and they wouldn't possibly take all the plums.

That was the plan. So a few days ago, I went out to harvest my lovely plums which I had waited so long for, patiently watching as they slowly ripened, to see the sad fact--every last one of the plums was gone! I was shocked that someone would possibly be rude enough (and in Loma Linda, of all places!) to steal every single plum off the tree in my yard, on private property. Needless to say, this tormented me bitterly inside. I went around grumbling about the stolen plums all week. Which made me think--if I am this bitter about some stolen fruit, which wasn't really mine anyway, how would I react if someone did something really bad to me?