Month: September 2011

The enemies of blogging

Blogging has many enemies.  I’ve been doing it for a few months and posted over 60 entries.  The battle, however, is how to make time to write a blog post.  I blog 3-4 times a week, but have friends that post daily, or even multiple times a day.  Perhaps, I’ll get there someday, but it’s hard to imagine how with all the enemies that attempt to thwart my blogging prospects.

During the summer, a big enemy is the lawn.  Right now, our grass is about 12 inches high and the dandelions are back.  Both blogging and mowing typically occupy my late afternoon slot.  Neither the lawn or the blog are apparently getting the attention they deserve.

Another enemy is my family.  If I could just manage to ignore them, I’d have a chance to reach that 7 times a week threshold.  (I’m speaking only about myself here and not suggesting that bloggers who post more frequently than me ignore their families.)  But I have too much fun playing ping-pong with my teenage sons, or watching part of a video with them in the evening.

I also coach soccer in the fall (and basketball in the winter).  Perhaps, if I were to stop coaching my sons’ sports teams, I’d have more time for blogging (and their teams would have a better record).  Although, the forecast for the weekend is rain, which may mean games get washed out, which would then give me more blogging time.  Since I spend most of my life with Christians (at seminary, at church, at InterVarsity events), coaching is my only forum for interacting regularly with people outside my Christian “ghetto”.

Sometimes my blog just needs to lose the battle.  (Although, the blog is winning at this moment, and the lawn losing–it’s raining.)

Hoping to see Moneyball tomorrow with the family (which may prevent me from blogging).

What “enemies” does your blogging (reading, writing, posting) have? 

Planking in the Bible?

Planking is the new craze.  You lay face down, keeping your hands at your side, and remain stiff (hence, a “plank”).  (A bit like “Petrificus Totalus”.)  Then you find a bizarre spot to plank, have your picture taken, then post it on the web.

I’ve been doing this for years.  I sleep like this.  When I was in high school, if we were at a friend’s house late on a Saturday night, and I started to get tired, I would lay down like this.  My friends said I assumed “The Dave Lamb” position.  No pictures were taken (that I’m aware of), and since this was before Al Gore had invented the internet nothing was posted.

For an interview about what kids think of planking, check this out this CBS news video: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504784_162-20108946-10391705.html?tag=cbsnewsSectionContent.11

But does planking pre-date even me?  I think so.  We find early forms in Scripture.  There’s the demonized boy who gets dashed to the ground by an unclean spirit and becomes rigid (Mark 9:17-18).  So perhaps planking is a sign of possession?

Even further back there’s Elijah who lays down on top of a dead boy and stretched himself out (like a plank?) three times (1 Kings 17:21).  Surely that video would have gone viral.  While Elijah’s behavior seems a little creepy to us, apparently God was impressed since the boy was brought back to life.

So, planking can be both bad (the demon boy) and good (Elijah).  Apparently, some one was killed planking recently, so the children on the CBS news video recommend “safe planking” only.  Sounds like good advice.

Do you plank?  Any other examples of biblical planking? 

“Xylophones I will use to praise your word”

What inspires poetry?  Most often it is romantic love.

The inspiration for the longest love song in Scripture is Scripture itself.  This particular song is also the longest prayer in the Bible, and the longest chapter.  Psalm 119.  176 verses singing the praises of God’s word.

There’s a reason for that number.  The psalm is an acrostic.  The first eight verses all start with the first Hebrew letter Aleph.  The next eight start with the 2nd Hebrew letter Bet, and so on.  There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.  22 x 8 = 176.

Acrostics are useful to help people memorize important things.  But they take a lot of work to construct.  There are many words that begin with some of the more common Hebrew letters, but it would difficult to find words that begin with the less common letters.  Can you imagine coming up with 8 verses that all begin with the letter “X”?

“Xylophones I will use to praise your word,”

“Xerox your commandments onto my heart,”

“X-ray me with the truth of your laws”.

Now, I’m stuck and I had to resort to a dictionary.  The psalmist was clearly in love with Scripture, but not just Scripture in general, God’s laws, commands, rules, ordinances, statutes, decrees and precepts.  For the psalmist, that meant Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (and Genesis and Exodus).  Is that how you feel about Leviticus?  Perhaps not.

I’m going to start a series of blogs on Psalm 119 on Sundays, one verse each week.  It should take over 3 years to finish.

 What Psalm 119-ish verses in English can you think of for X or Z? 

Bible quiz time

I’m constructing a Bible knowledge exam that students from my seminary will need to take before they graduate.  I’ve constructed over 30 questions so far.

They need to be graded easily, so I’ve chosen to make many multiple choice.  Here are four questions that generally share a certain theme (answers are written in invisible ink at the bottom, highlight them to make them appear):

  • Absalom
    • a) Murderer of father’s son
    • b) Usurper of father’s throne
    • c) Rapist of father’s wives
    • d) Victim of father’s general
    • e) All the above
  • Tamar, the Canaanite
    • a) Had sex with Judah’s son Er
    • b) Had sex with Judah’s son Onan
    • c) Had sex with Judah
    • d) Is an ancestor of Jesus
    • e) All the above
  • David
    • a) Murderer
    • b) Adulterer
    • c) Warrior
    • d) Ruler
    • e) All the above
  • Rahab
    • a) A prostitute
    • b) A traitor
    • c) A worshipper of YHWH
    • d) An ancestor of Jesus
    • e) All the above

While crafting these questions, if struck me how the Bible is full of stories of really messed up people.  (I’d fit right in.)  And God works powerfully through them, even including them in his family tree (see Matt. 1), which should give those of us who are as messed up as this batch hope. 

So how’d you do on the quiz?

Answer here:

 All the above for all the above.