Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I've been tagged???

OK, The Bride Who Wore Black has tagged me, so I will submit. While I am very tempted to respond with Wild at Heart for every answer, I decided to play nice - for today.

1. One book that changed your life: Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman. It opened my eyes to the way the news media shapes and influences opinion, and to how much we have lost the ability to digest complex ideas - we want sound bites.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: I'm gonna cheat and give two - The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) and The Stand (Stephen King). I read both while in high school, and many times since. LOTR edges out The Stand by a wide margin, but the Stand has some of Stephen King's best characters (of his older stuff, I quit reading him after IT). They are a little similar in that the characters in both are on quests where they have to face evil both from within themselves and outside. I hate the way King ended The Stand, but the 500 pages before that are pretty good.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: That book from Myst, where you open it and get transported somewhere else. Or one with a map to all the Dharma Initiative hatches.

4. One book that made you laugh: "I've got it again, eerie feeling like there's something on top of the bed." The Far Side Gallery by Gary Larson. A true geek's geek.

5. One book that made you cry: Wild at Heart. I won't try to defend it theologically, I'm not qualified. But it touched something in me that had been dead for a long time.

6. One book that you wish had been written: How to Make a Fortune from the Trivial Knowledge You Already Possess!!

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Prayer of Jabez. It's a cool prayer, but I think it gets blown out of proportion.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Nothing currently. I just finished Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. I like his perspective on some things. On Monday I will be up to my eyeballs in textbooks (final 15 hours of coursework, yeah!) whose names I do not yet know.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Gospel of John in the original Greek. Not to boast, because I'm not sure that I can do it. That's why it's on my "meaning to read" list.

10. Now tag five people: Sorry, this really is a dead end. You got off the superhighway when you made that left turn in Albuquerque.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What's in your basket?

A few weeks ago, our pastor spoke about faith, how it is the foundation of God's plan for successful living. For his text, he used the account from John 6 of Jesus feeding five thousand with five loaves and two fish. Essentially, a large group of people had been following Jesus around as he taught. Jesus had gone to a mountain with his disciples, but the people were on their way. And it was Passover. It was obvious that the people needed to be fed. Jesus asked Philip "Where are we going to buy bread to feed these people?" Philip responded with a financial estimate: "It would take over 6 months wages to feed this crowd!" About this time, Simon Peter's brother Andrew brought over the five loaf, two fish lunch he had gotten from a boy in the crowd. We all know the rest of the story: Jesus gave thanks for the food and from it passed out enough food for five thousand people to eat their fill. Then he told his disciple to gather up the leftovers (that nothing would be lost - that part puzzles me). When they gathered the leftovers, there were twelve baskets full.
This last part is the what interests me. As our pastor noted, Jesus was trying to instill faith into his disciples. Isn't it interesting to note the number of baskets? Twelve baskets for twelve disciples. Before the crowd was fed, the disciples probably all stood around and looked into the basket Andrew had brought to Jesus. They would have laughed at the idea of feeding more than a few people from such a spartan meal, much less this huge crowd. Then, after the fact, they each gathered a full basket. Each one of them held a basket that alone was filled with more food than they started with. Each of them held proof that the miracle had occurred. Each had eaten his fill, and still held a basket with more food than in the original lunch. I find a wonderful generosity in Jesus' teaching through this miracle. John didn't have to rely on Peter's word, Matthew didn't have to believe Nathaniel - each had all the evidence in his own hands. In total it was especially awesome, but each had a miracle in his own basket.
All of which leaves me wondering: Is it possible that I have been allowed to gather the remnant of some miracle into my basket, just so that Jesus can show me personally that he is who he says he is?