Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Searching" and "Seeking"

Search engines, bots, apps, information... information overload. Is there an app for seeking God? We go a little nuts if we can't get google to display what we're really looking for... ever seeking but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. How do search technologies shape the way we think about, or don't think about, seeking God? How can digital technologies help us seek and find God, and how can they get in the way? With so many access points into our lives--cell phones, social networks, pings and pokes, and on and on--how do we create time and space for God to find us, and us to find him?

55 comments:

Bruce said...

Ummm...busy-ness is specially pointed out by Jesus as winning over our faith in spiritual rock-paper-scissors. Being busy too much, being spread too thin, attentive to too many voices, forgetting God's Word, having too much stuff: they all trump faith.

I suspect that being prosperous enough to have all the distractions is part of why rich people hardly ever get into the Kingdom of God. But God does miracles sometimes, so they do get in sometimes.

I sure wish the answer were something better than what I'm suggesting, which is to get less busy and less prosperous and willfully move in that direction. I'm not there, by any means, but I'm aware enough to shoot my worldly advancement in the foot. I don't know...doublemindedness or determined disobedience? What to do? Which, to mix metaphors, it to keep one's hand on the plow and eyes focused on the city not made by hands. Or, a long obedience in the same direction, only tweaked to include the stuff.

Billy Long said...

The increase of multimedia and technology has given us more access to more information, but the speed and overwhelming amount of info has probably created a society of more shallow individuals. We experience a little of more things, but fail to reach a depth at fewer things. The speed, fun, and flash of things have created a shorter attention span and a need to be entertained. We “speedboat” across the surface. It is more fun (and safe) to snorkel than to dive. This principle shows up obviously in the academic and intellectual areas of the upcoming generation of kids, with the exception of those who have clear academic and career goals.

If you read Pride and Prejudice you will be pleasantly shocked at the vocabulary and depth of conceptualization that is placed in the mouths of the characters, who are most likely in their late teens and early twenties. Nowadays it takes Ph-Ds to carry on such conversations. Also, in the general population today it seems that novelty and video have replaced the classics.

All this technology in spite of its real benefits may be creating a people who will have more difficulty at perseverance and at waiting, which is necessary in our walk with God. Internet searching can be fun and entertaining, but real spiritual search may involve pressing in, waiting, suffering, and sometimes obedience when it is painful. Ed Chinn asked if in our search for God would we struggle diligently to actually find “the Presence?” We should not forget that the glory is often hidden beyond the suffering and diligence during the waiting process.

just joe said...

speaking of "struggle" I remember being impactec about 20 years ago when I read "The Struggle of Prayer" by Richard Foster.

If we are not diligent in seeking God, he will help us. One aspect of grace is a cattle-prod. Of course the scripture says "don't be like the horse that needs a bit and a bridle" ... but to respond to the still small voice that says "this is the way, walk in it."

I have always struggle with the concept of holiness as a list of rules, probably because of my upraising in a holiness church.

Recently, I redefined holiness in a meaningful way for me:

"Holiness is the journey to wholeness and inner integrity inspired and motivated by the love of God and worked out in love for others."

Laurel Long said...

Language is such a fascinating creation. Our brother Ed Chinn has used technological vocabulary familiar to us all, who at the very least posses basic computer literacy skills, to make a very important spiritual point. We do not serve a “point and click” God. For this I am very grateful!!!! Ed may have made this point in his book, but I have only had the privilege of reading small excerpts of it, so forgive me if I am a bit out of step or obviously redundant.
His very welcome challenge to us all presents itself in this question: How much capacity do we really have for the Lord and His presence?” We seek Him, we find Him, we run from Him, hide from Him, and then when we can’t stand the separation and alienation any longer, so, we seek Him again, we find Him again, etc. and begin the cycle all over again. At least this has been my own personal experience.
I ask the Lord for more of Him and His awesome presence in my life; He always shows up and answers me with His presence (“I will never leave you or forsake you”- I always take Him at His word). I am ashamed to admit that I can’t handle His presence but for so long. I then begin to run, which is manifested in very small baby steps backwards and then accelerated by more momentous backward motion, from Him, not because I don’t love Him but because I am so completely overwhelmed physically and emotionally by His presence. My flesh can’t stand it!!!! That is when the reality hits me that what the Lord desires for me is very different from what I desire from Him. That subject is an entirely different discussion.
I am so glad and thankful that He is tolerant of my “hide and seek” ways. My broken and humble appeals for closeness with Him always end in acts of distancing myself from Him. The thing I don’t understand is that He is very patient with me when I do this. He never gets His feelings hurt; He just continues to encourage me to seek Him, and promises that I will find Him. Oh, Lord, remember that we are dust- You are God and we are NOT!!!!!

Brian Emmet said...

At the same time, I suspect that technology effects, and perhaps even changes, the ways our brains and minds work. Aren't we sounding a bit like the folks who say things like, "I just can't worship the Lord with those guitars and drums! The majestic pipe organ is the only instrument that truly glorifies God in worship!"

Digital technologies may indeed make it more difficult to think linerally, to focus on one idea for a length of time... but they make it easier, or make it easier for us, to keep multiple things in front of our minds simultaneously. Might these capacities add something of value to what we mean when we speak of "seeking the Lord"?

just joe said...

example: I used to be able to cite scripture (lots of them) with book, chapter and verse. Now I cannot other than a few famous excaptions (John 3:16, Gal 2:20, etc).

my memory has exported all of that information to computer search programs.

steve H said...

Don't mean this to be critical of your use of technology, Joseph, but I am rediscovering the spiritual discipline of Scripture memorization. It is interesting how powerfully new insights come as I work to memorize/meditate phrase by phrase.

Also, I'm making an effort to refresh my grasp of the flow of content in the various books, which is the way that years ago I inadvertently developed the ability to cite references and quickly find passages -- to the degree that some friends jokingly called me a walking concordance. That grasp of content had gotten rusty too.

I'm finding it interesting that these old disciplines are refreshing my love for the Scriptures and stirring up my heart toward the Lord.

John M. said...

Steve,
What version are you memorizing? I found that when I left King James, many years ago, that my ability to quote scripture from memory rapidly declined. No I struggle along with my students to memorize verses from the NIV.

Robert said...

On technology...turn it off in a Sabbath sort of way. The Sabbath is an act of worship that states that our future depends upon His blessing...not our resources. We have to disconnect from what we do to engage our true source of life. This applies to our connectedness. Technology is not bad...how it influences the way we live can be. Using it productively can serve useful ends...allowing it to become an invasive presence that consumes our devotion can become our new new devotion. When we can't say "no" to it, it has taken control and our identity and future is being defined by it. Awareness and responsibility in the face of expanding technology will be important matters. I anticipate that to be the underlying point of this string.

It is proposed that we are confronted 800+ times each day with marketing efforts to influence how we invest our time, energy and resources. That's scary. We have to choose what rules the day. And that is really scary...I gotta go check my Blackbery.

steve H said...

John-- I tend to memorize either from the CSB or the ESV, the versions I use most. But I also will memorize from the version out of which a passage "speaks" to me. For instance, when I was in the hospital with a blood clot last January, the Lord "gave" me Psalm 27:6-9 from the Orthodox translation of the Septuagint. (That's 28:6-9 in our versions.) I have memorized the Orthodox version and I have also worked on the ESV version so that I can acknowledge the differences if I quote it.

In the spring the Lord gave me the word, "The grace of God teaches us to say 'No'..." which turned out to be from the NIV (which I rarely use anymore. Therefore, I memorized Titus 2:11-14 from the NIV), and then began to work on the ESV rendering also, since I use that version more often.

You bring up a great point here. I think many of us slowed down on Scriptural memorization because of the multitude of translations. Which one to use? However, from the standpoint of using the spiritual discipline of memorization as an aid to growth in grace, the version is not so important as is the ministry of the Holy Spirit who works through the word as we ingest it and digest it to work that word into the fabric of who we are and how we live.

Sabbath... dealing with busyness... Now there's a different issue for me. I have not gone far in developing the spiritual disciplines of silence and rest. And then there is resting from my work but not from showing mercy where God has mercy(Isa 58). Aren't all of these helps to seeking God?

just joe said...

Steve: I was not giving my example of technology as a "good" thing, but more of a consequence of over dependence on technology. I slaced off on bible reading and memorization while in the PhD program ... I felt that the Lord gave me a "bye" and told me to just check in with him thorought the day. I suspect that season is coming to an end, and it is time for me to find some fresh ways to seek him.

I am currently involved with a more active social life than ever; also, my experience of "community" includes a significant number of unbelievers, and non-churched believers. during this time my appreciation for periods of silence and solitude has grown enormously, to respond to Robert's comment on sabbath. When it is not too hot, I like to go out on the bay in a kayack and spend several hours alone.

just joe said...

John: I have not been memorizing, but Deb and I read every morning from the Message: I find that I am starting to quote certain passages from the message that didn't make such an impact on me in other translations. For example I never got that much out of Matt 5, the pure in heart shall see God--I suppose it felt like an impossibly high bar to jump. But the Message brought it alive for me:

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

just joe said...

Lets go back to Ed Chinn’s original email and see if it can help “refocus” our conversation. Here is what Ed sent out on August 3. ~ JH
………………………….
Dick Staub has an excellent online article
about a genuine cultural dilemma:

"If a search engine repeatedly yields unsatisfactory results, we try different key words or use a different search engine entirely. Search-engine companies are continuously introducing ways to generate more and better results. Motivated seekers are not satisfied with seeking and not finding.
"It's not unlike America's spiritual journey. National surveys repeatedly identify a large portion of Americans who describe themselves as spiritual seekers. In the decade I've been watching this phenomenon, the percentage has stayed firmly in the 82-percent range.


"Which leads to an obvious question. If everybody is searching, how come nobody is finding? Why would a culture accustomed to successful searches be satisfied with always turning up empty?"

From that setup, he gives some very good explanations. One of the best is that we tend to honor the idea of "search," but devalue "finding." We seek, but do not want to find.

We tend to project the mass-think (TV, music, Facebook and other social media, Internet etc.) onto our own small canvas. You end up, as "The Message" interprets Romans 12:2 "so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking."

All of that hit me with unusual force in January of 2008 in a hotel room. That Sheraton had serious problems with their Internet provider and I struggled for an hour to get connected. Suddenly, I had an overwhelming sense of God and this simple question: "Would you struggle this long to find connection with Me?"

Shot through the heart.
I hope you find all this helpful.
(Ed Chinn)

Bruce said...

Maybe a little cynicism is warranted here. If people say they are searching for God, that probably means that they aren't willing to find God. As in, "Yeah I'm a Christian" for old timers means the same thing as "spiritual but not religious" which means the same thing as "searching but I still haven't found what I'm looking for." Someone who is *really* searching would probably be willing to identify with the truth they already know (join a church, maybe) but be less certain about it than a settled believer.

Or another possibility: if the forced choice is either "searching" or "believer", then a real believer would choose "searching" to indicate that the New World of the Day of the Lord has not come yet, or that he doesn't have it all yet.

Billy Long said...

Joseph, In response to Ed's original email, I am posting here my original response to Ed's eamil since some of the guys on the blog may not have read the email.

I am amazed at this particular topic, since I have been carrying around in my Bible some personal notes on the subject of "aggressive seeking and pressing into the Lord." I will resist saying too much, but will give these "tip of the iceberg" [by no means comprehensive] thoughts on why so many are searching and not finding.
1. So many in our culture want to find spiritual reality but without moral accountability, and thus the rise of the new age movement, etc...
2. So many seek the Lord with the same motivations as the self-centered multitudes of John 6. They "sought" Jesus to a point but stumbled over truth and turned away when He said the hard things.
3. John 2: 24 has always been an interesting verse to me. "Many believed but Jesus did not commit (entrust) Himself to them, because He knew all men."
4. But then what about the genuine sincere followers who hunger and seek. Maybe we could learn from Elisha. Elisha (2 Kings 2: 1-15) is great example of searching, and persevering in it, in the face of what appears to be "divine" resistance. Three times Elijah told Elisha to "stay here while I go on" and three times Elisha refused to sit back, but aggressively pursued his master.. Most of us would have taken Elijah's word as a divine directive and would have sat down and watched Elijah go on without us. I think God is looking for the type of aggressive seeking that we see in Elisha, Jacob (Gen 32:26),and the Canaanite woman (Mat 15: 21-31). Jesus ignored her the first time, then told her His business was with Israel, then compared her to a dog. Most of us would left on the first point of being ignored.
I am among those who are still seeking, seeking for more than I have, for more of Him, and yet groaning inside at missing the mark in so many ways. I think that when we stand before the Lord, we will get some credit for hanging in there and for keeping on. Sometimes I wonder if a lot is not being accomplished in the spiritual realm during and in the searching.. Maybe more is being done in the searching that we can imagine. Also, how do we know when we have arrived. God is so infinite that no matter where we are in Him we will always have something to hunger for that is beyond us. This is why I do not understand the apathy and complacency of Christians! How can we not hunger and thirst and cry out to know Him with the same passion of the Apostle Paul that we read about in Phillipians 3!!!

There is another issue. People often want to know God but on their own terms. They want God but not His rule. In religious people it shows up in the complacency and self-satisfaction with the ritual and routine. People want God close enough to keep an eye on them and look out for them and be there in times of need and emergency, but not close enough to interfere with their lives. The lost man is afraid of God. The religious man wants Him but at a distance. The real questions for me are around the struggles of the spiritually hungry man and his quest. In my daily prayers as I go over my list of family and friends I often ask the Lord to answer the cry of those who sincerely seek and even "grope" for Him. I often include the prayer of Isaiah, "Lord, rend the heavens and come down." I personally long to see the greater fulfillment of Jesus' promise, "The world will not see me, BUT YOU SHALL SEE ME." I think if we really see Him, the world will also see Him, but first through us.

Bruce said...

Billy Long said what I was trying to say.

just joe said...

I have been thinking more about our topic of seeking the Lord. I realize now that many of the ways that I thought I was seeking to know and please the Lord in my past life were actually a mixture of seeking; maybe 40 or 50 percent seeking the Lord and 50 or 60 percent seeking affirmation, identity, personal fulfillment, etc.

This morning I am very aware that the desire and ability to more deeply and passionately seek the Lord must also come from the Lord. God’s grace within me, stirs the desire to seek him without and above me. Does that make sense? This is a good topic for me as I come to the end of one intense phase of my academic studies. I need to stir up within me the desire to seek to know him.

There are two different verbs in Greek, and also in Spanish for the English verb “to know.” One means to “know about” in the sense of being aware of information; the other means “to be intimately acquainted with” in the same sense that Abraham “knew” Sarah. I think most of the time we are satisfied with knowing theological facts about God; but few of us pay the price to be intimately acquainted with him; after all—he is a man of sorrows acquainted with grief.

John M. said...

Thanks, Billy and Joseph.

Bruce said...

Joe and everyone,
I think we don't have to be too precise in our motives for prayer and seeking God unless scripture nails something specific. I say this because I can think of twice in Jesus' teachings when He commends someone to us, someone who seems to have mixed motives in prayer. One is the publican sinner who won't lift his head to God but can only pray, "God be merciful to me, the sinner." This guy is desperate, to be sure, and it's probably mixed with serious personal needs. The other one is where Jesus, on the great day of the feast, raises a loud voice and says, "Come unto Me, all ye who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That sounds like He's inviting people to seek God who have more needs than desires.
One more thing: the self-righteousness frame of mind urges us to purify our inner thoughts and outward actions to some standard that we set, either one we can meet and so commend ourselves, or one we can't meet, and so condemn ourselves. But as the old hymn goes, if I waited until I were perfect, I would never come at all.

Ok, another thought. James says you have not because you ask not--so go ahead and ask. Then, you ask and do not receive--so change your motives. The pattern here is to get onboard the Gospel Train, ain't got no ticket, just get onboard. Then the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires as we wait for Him.

What do you guys think of these thoughts? Some response?

just joe said...

I agree Bruce, a bad motive to seek the Lord is better than no motive at all.

steve H said...

Good comments, Bruce. Good perspective.

Bruce said...

I don't know how to send a separate post, so please indulge me here, with my off-topic post.

Do any of you guys have access to some good preaching on this 2 Thessalonians 3, which has to do with having a purposeful and focussed, and money-making at that, Calvinist-appearing, approach to life.
I wonder if most retirement falls under the same category as would a young able bodied man who juggles his finances so he doesn't have to ever work, living around poverty level. Paul doesn't make a prudential argument here about caring for your family with money, he's arguing for the importance of simply being aggressive with laboring in this life.

About being busibodies, I'm suspecting that the essential feature is that one is not preoccupied with aggressive labor in this life, and one is instead turning attention to things that keep one occupied without a purpose. This would seem to include chatting with coworkers as the main thing you do at work, or attending to hobbies, or surfing the net, or surfing the tv, and other things that seem similar (tho popular and legal) to drinking and abusing drugs for amusement. Probably a life devoted to amusement is related here. People devoted to creative arts and intellectual labor don't seem to be laboring, but they are; and those devoted to being busibodies and ahem "chambering" look occupied but aren't, in the sense Paul writes.

I'd like to know especially if there is anyone who is accepted among young evangelicals who actually addresses these unpopular-among-young-folks topics.

It seems like anyone who would teach on this would come across as a fundamentalist and mean spirited at that.

Print commentaries are ok, but I'm wanting to hear preaching and Bible exposition. Thanks for your help.

just joe said...

yeah, you are describing Marc Driscol ... he is in his late 20s or early 30s and leads a large church of 20-somethings.

steve H said...

One thing that I heard (from Steve Clark formerly of the Word of God Community, if I remember correctly) is that the word busybody in Greek is related to the meaning "a bishop out of his sphere." In another words, a busybody is one who concerns himself or herself with things that are not his or her assignment.

Ed said...

I have really appreciated all the entries on this subject. You are a very bright and thoughtful group. I wish I could sit with each or all of you on bales of hay in a barn on a rainy afternoon.

Another way of stating my concerns on this: this age is a centrifuge. It spins us away from our own life. We are pulled away from the private into the public and away from local culture into mass culture.

We tend to think if we don't blog it, Facebook it, or Twitter it, then it doesn't count. We live in an airy dimension which has little traction with a local life.

That's why it's easier/more compelling to fight for an Internet connection than to struggle with connection to the Lord. One will join us to an addiction to "fame and significance." The other is invisible, humble, private, spiritual communion.

One seems to be a life indulged. The other is life poured out.

just joe said...

I think you just stepped on my toes, I resemble that comment!

"Bales of hay on a rainy afternoon..." now that brings back some delightful memories for me as a farm boy.

Your insight is profound, I will chew on your comments some before responding more in depth.

edchinn said...

Oh, no, Joseph. I am not trying to correct or even influence anyone. I love the conversational capacities which the Internet provides.

I guess I should have qualified my post a little more. Every time we gain something, we also lose something. So, with this new and expansive capacity for viral community, we also loose a little of the local, the private, the contemplative.

In other words, this wonderful new highway has deep ditches on both sides. Being a broken icon, my "car" is always out of alignment and tends toward the ditch.

Sorry for typing too much too early.

I appreciate all of you folks and this fine conversation.

just joe said...

no need to apologize or qualify Ed ... I have worked for several years to overcome my need for "significance" ... it really is an ego-addiction. Your comments were very helpful and have given me something to think about. I used to get that "fix" at conferences and "apostolic" involvement with Covenant guys... INSTEAD of finding my place of contentment and face-to-face fellowship locally ... your comments showed me that I need to be very careful not to transfer that to facebook or this blog.

If we were siting on those bales of hay, I would have winked at you and you would have caught my ironic humor.

Thankfully, I am very VERY involved in lots of face-to-face local interaction, with both believers and non-believers. I just need to keep thinking through the balance ...

Just wait until they invent teleportation technology...the lines were really be blurred between local and global!

Brian Emmet said...

Not sure I want to volunteer for the "beta testing" of teleportation! It's one thing to lose a document "in transmission"; to lose oneself...

Ed's centrifuge picture reminded me of Lewis' portrayl of Hell in "The Great Divorce": the houses in Hell keep moving further and further away from all the others, because everyone in Hell can only seek to live in "splendid isolation"--a good picture of where "the autonomous self" inevitably ends up.

I've been rereading "Screwtape". Wonder how Screwtape would perceive the opportunities offered by technology. Yes, the problem is with us, not with the technology, but I also wonder about the ways in which we seem to be drawing ever closer to Hell's ultimate objective (according to Screwtape)--the creation of "the materialist magician."

Billy Long said...

[Brian quoted from C S Lewis' writing saying that "the houses in Hell keep moving further and further away from all the others." I knew a fellow who tragically did not believe that. He was from a very non-Christian and very wild family. A friend of mine approached him when this guy when was dying as asked Him if wanted to give his life to the Lord. His response was, "Well...all my family is in hell. I just as well go on there so I can be with them." He was very serious, and as far as I know, he died in that condition].
Regarding the centrifuge, it seems the enemy tries either to
"spin us away" as Ed said, or pull us way inside ourselves. I guess in either situation we go flying past the significant places where we should be planted. That'why the heart has to be "fixed" in the Lord.
And regarding motives, they get exposed in the searching---either for good or for bad. God is infinitely everywhere and we have opportunity to find Him from the prayer closet, to fellowship, to the internet. And human nature can find the "ditch" (that Ed referred to) in any situation. When it is blessed it forgets God, and when it is poor it steals. In the pit, if it does not seek God it will be angry at Him. And if the motives aren't right, on the mountain of glory it will want to build three tabernacles, instead of the one to Jesus.
Searching definitely takes us on a journey. In finding the Lord we often get introduced to ourselves.

Bruce said...

amen, Billy

Billy Long said...

We often get befuddled by the spirutal paradoxes around us. To the spiritual man God is everywhere, but to the hardened heart He seems to be nowhere. And when the hard heart does see Him, it see Him as an adversary. It seems that part of our search is not only to find and know Him, but to bring Him into correct focus in our spiritual eyes. Israel fled from the mountain of His presence. Moses went up and heard the cry of God's heart. "Oh that they had hearts to obey me!" This sounds like God's desire to have people that He can actually draw unto Himself and reveal Himself to. It is difficult for us to understand that in our searching and struggles in the searching that God really does want to bring us in and reveal Himself. I don't think we realize the "dilema" and great Divine wisdom involved in God's desire and effort at drawing us unto Himself.

Brian Emmet said...

I appreciated Robert's counsel to "sabbath" from technology--there can be great benefit in simply turning things off (in order to turn other things on) on a regular basis. Maybe "tech fasts" will become a new spiritual discipline? (Hey, there's a possibility for our next conversation: "spiritual disciplines in/for a technological age." How could traditional disciplines [prayer, fasting, solitude, etc.] be developed and practiced in a digital culture...what new forms might they take?)

But back to searching and seeking!

just joe said...

I agree Billy and Brian, especially about the "sabbath" from technology idea (are you reading Robert? or are you on a sabbath?).

I think there is also a need to monitor our own interior state and to "remove every hindrence" (Heb. 12) in order to deal with the root issues that lead us to any kind of addiction -- the emotional voids for afection, affirmation and significance that can only truely be filled by the Lord.

Robert said...

Bri...:"Tech Fasts" I love it..write a book and retire...but, then, you won't do that...but make enough money on the "how to's" of a Tech Fast to help you...and the rest of us to to what we need to do to in the coming years. Talked to someone today who is publishing...looks like they are in serious yogurt...so get the message out. Peter Pintus does good stuff on "Path to Simplicity:Cetltic Spirituality"

Robert said...

Bri...:"Tech Fasts" I love it..write a book and retire...but, then, you won't do that...but make enough money on the "how to's" of a Tech Fast to help you...and the rest of us to to what we need to do to in the coming years. Talked to someone today who is publishing...looks like they are in serious yogurt...so get the message out. Peter Pintus does good stuff on "Path to Simplicity:Cetltic Spirituality"

Robert said...

Sorry for the double post...don't know how that happened.

Billy Long said...

Robert, to quote one of your statements I heard you speak years ago: "We are going to have to report you to the Department of Redundancy Department."
Billy
Billy

John M. said...

Billy and Robert,
Repetitive redundancy is one of my specialties...sometimes I repeat things several times...and sometimes I say the same things over again more than once...sometimes I also repeat myself.
John

Bruce said...

What are you guys talking about? I don't remember saying this stuff.

Besides, I don't remember talking about this stuff either.

Mix in a little bit of interest in obscure, arcane topics; leaps of logic; and partial deafness; and you get, voila, typical conversations at my household.

Brian Emmet said...

Back from my "tech fast" at our annual church retreat: nearly five full days off-line! World seems to have gotten along fine without my digital presence and input... amazing how time and space opened up for other things. Yes, I know: it's not either/or, but both/and when it comes to technology (or just about anything else).

New phrase: "teched off" (from "ticked off": frustrated with the failure of a device to perform as promised).

Joseph steered us in a good direction. We need to remember that God has "searched me and known me" and that we are to pray, "Search me, O God" (from Psalm 139). Kinda puts a different spin on this topic of "searching and seeking"--how easily we forget how devotedly and relentlessly Father-Son-Spirit come looking for us. Thanks be to God!

Bruce said...

I often find comfort knowing that God seeks me out.

Billy Long said...

[Gentlemen, don't mean to belabor the point, but here is a poem I wrote to Laurel a few years ago after I was exhorted about my tendency to repeat myself].
Billy

My emails will say hello, communicate, and engage.
They may even dazzle you with eloquence and prose.
Expert tools of grammar will be utilized on each page.
But no trite phrases, and no repetitions. No. None of those.
Your heart will be warmed by thoughts so expressed
In simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and other additions.
But in the end you surely will have confessed
The thing has a glaring absence of those annoying repetitions.
His heart and mind are drawn with words
Telling revelation, his schedule, truth, and no fiction.
Impressing that pretty lady with things he’s heard,
Messages fresh and new, but no nasty repetition.
You can trust what I’ve said, you can trust what I wrote.
Repetitions are over, in the past, no longer to offend.
You can believe the truth of this note.
Repetitions are gone. As proof I’ve said it again.

just joe said...

Billy; you are simply AMAZING ... humorist, poet, essayist, and roof inspector and much more.

Billy Long said...

Thanks, Joseph. I enjoyed my own punch line in the poem.
Billy

Billy Long said...

Hey,guys,
Did the topic play out or did I run everybody off with my poem?
Billy

Bruce said...

I say drop back and punt.
Your poem was close to perfection, and who could compete with that?

About the Department of Redundancy Department, I was surprised to hear it mentioned when I was relistening to Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him, by the Firesign Theatre. Just last night.

Those guys will mess your spirituality up, big time.

steve H said...

Joseph had his oral exams (passed!) on Thursday, then went to be with Brian (and whoever?)in Boston this weekend. Suppose that's why they haven't written.

I have not said much because (choose one) (a) I am the quiet type; (b) I am so far along in spiritual development and discipline that I don't want to put anyone else to shame; (c) I am too needy to add much.

If you chose (c) above you deserve a treat today!

Bruce said...

I met Joseph today for the first time. That was great! (At Brian's church.)

just joe said...

hi Bruce: actually, I was not at Brian's church today. We left for the airport at 7 am ... you probably meant Jamie Johnson and thought it was "joseph." I am sorry... I hope to meet you next time.

Hi Billy, we all loved your poem ... we have just been busy. I just walked in the door from Boston and on Friday had more oral exam. It appears that Deb has a blood clot in her foot and we maybe on our way to the ER.

Bruce said...

It was one of the other guys and his wife.

steve H said...

Did you have to go to ER? Praying that there is no blood clot and no complications.

just joe said...

good morning ... got home at 2 am ... no blood clot and no broken bone. They don't exactly know why Deb has some much pain in her foot, but it may have to do with a tissue infection. She got a big painful anti-biotic shot in the butt.

Bruce: that was Dr. John Norton, a really cool guy and an occasional contributer to this blog. He teaches Shakespearian literature (and Reformation thought) at Concordia College in California. I hope you and I can meet the next time i am up there.

Bruce said...

*THAT'S* right! Argghh, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
John and I had a great little discussion after church. He's an impressive man of God, and his wife is a lovely and impressive woman herself! (I heard about her having organized and arranged a number of difficult things on her cell phone while everyone was at a water-balloon party by the Charles River! LOL)
I've been trying to not push myself toward you guys, but I would very much like to meet everyone here, so if you would remember me when you see Brian, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

just joe said...

I just posted a possible new topic for discussion if you are interested.