Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gone with the . . . ?

The movie “Gone with the Wind” celebrates 75 years this month. Probably number two only to The Sound of Music, most of the older generation and many of the younger will have seen it, or at least be aware of its risqué start—quite tame by today’s low standards.

But few know that both the Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek use the same word for wind or breath and spirit, context determining which word is meant. This leads to some interesting word play in both Testaments.

In the Old Testament’s story of the valley of dry bones , Ezekiel 37:4–14, the “breath” of new life for the dry bones, could be translated “Spirit” as it is in the last verse. The breath of God is His Spirit. In the New Testament, Jesus uses a similar wordplay in John 3:8 with Nicodemus
This led me to parody the film title for my latest book, “Gone with the Spirit,” a trek through Scripture observing the Spirit of God “breathing” over the world and on its human inhabitants. I used a similar technique for the title of my previous book, “Guess Who’s Coming to Reign” from the film: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

Information about these books is on our website, and the books are available on line and in bookstores. I trust you find either book informative and enjoyable.

Life’s priorities will determine whether you find our books as enjoyable as “Gone with the Wind.” Earthly resources, as pleasant as they can be, provide only a shadow of the joy and meaning for life that daily living and future expectations with our Creator provide.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Them and Us

I’m sure we are all glad that Ratko Mladic has joined his erstwhile leader Radovan Karadzic in being brought to justice for Serbian crimes. But Mladic only joins a line of vicious leaders that span the last century and since time began. I’ll leave you to name many of them—they are household words.

Unfortunately, Mladic’s capture only leaves the field open for other aspiring stars to fill the vacancy, Gaddafi in Libya and Assad of Syria currently vying for top honours. I assume that these men at some point will face justice for the evil they perpetrate.

Naturally, oppression and atrocities are committed for positive reasons, forced French in Quebec preserves the French culture, abortion preserves a woman’s right to her body, and like Hitler preserving the German race, Mladic was preserving the Serbs—and plenty call him a hero for doing so.

It’s too easy to place ourselves in the “them and us” category. We’re not perfect, but cannot be compared with “them.” And. of course, we still belong in the “us” category when it comes to interpersonal relationships. We are adept at perceiving the evil in others closer to home.

Unfortunately, Jesus saw the thought as the deed (Matthew 5:22–23). Our anger and hidden wish against the welfare of “them” is different only in degree from Mladic and the violent expression of his wishes; it is no different in substance.

That is why Jesus said: “The world . . . hates me because I testify that what it does is evil” (John 7:7). No wonder so many of us reject Him—we reject His judgment of them. It is only as we recognize our sinfulness that we hear His voice, become His friends, and love Him.