Tiglath-pileser III

Pulling on the leash (Psalm 119:32)

I run the way of your commandments,
for you enlarge my understanding
(Psalm 119:32 NRSV).

Yesterday, I took our dog Tiglath-pileser IV (named after the Neo-Assyrian ruler, TP III: see 2 Kings 15:29) along with me for a run.  We were going to leave Tig behind for the day to go white-water rafting down the Lehigh River gorge.  (It was thrilling to almost be ejected from the raft numerous times into the churning waters of level III rapids in the midst of lightning, thunder and torrential rain).

I was feeling guilty because we were going to ditch Tig, so the run together was sort of a consolation prize.  Tig loves to run.

I love to run too, just not with Tig.  While I like these activities as much as most other bipeds, I’m not quite as interested in sniffing and chasing as Tig is.  Yesterday, we saw robins, bluejays, squirrels (of course) and for a bonus, a bunny, each of which warranted the required leash tug.  “Tig, No!  Come!  Stay with me.”  Tig loves to run, but it’s hard for him to run the way of my commandments.

I wonder if that’s how God feels with us as we pull on the leash. 

While many of us are often distracted by “chasing” and “sniffing”–things that take us away from the path God has for us–the psalmist runs the way of YHWH’s commandments.  The psalmist does not just tolerate God’s laws, he runs after them like Tig runs after a bunny (no that’s not Tig in the picture, for an image of Tig click here).  Running suggests a joy and reckless abandonment in pursuit of divine direction.

Why?  God enlarges his “understanding” (NRSV above) or “heart” (ESV below).  Either translation works well.  Both communicate there’s a large blessing associated with the reckless pursuit of God and God’s word.

God help us run after your directions as enthusiastically as a dog chases a bunny.

Psalm 119:32 is the eighth and final verse in the Dalet section of Psalm 119.  After a week break, I’ll start the He (pronounced “Hey”) section of Psalm 119 (verses 33-40).  Here are links to the first post on each of the previous 3 sections:

1) Aleph (“How blameless are you?” Psalm 119:1)
2) Bet (“Got purity?” Psalm 119:9)
3) Gimel (“Let’s make a deal” Psalm 119:17)

Image from http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/hunting/traditional-methods/best-hunting-dog.htm

The Luddite Chronicles Part 2: Newpapers

At 5:30 in the morning my alarm went off.  I jumped out of bed, went outside, shoved the pile of newspapers (The Des Moines Register-I grew up in Iowa) into my paper bag, climbed onto my bike and rode around the neighborhood placing papers inside screen doors, in mailboxes, in milkboxes or through mail slots.  None of the “throw it anywhere on the driveway” thing.  We put it exactly where people wanted it.  They didn’t want to step outside.

I did this every day for 2 and half years.  I was a young teen.  It was great most of the time, except when it was 20 degrees below zero (F) with a wind chill of 60 below.  That wasn’t great.

My early years as a paperboy gave me an appreciation for the newspaper, but that’s not the only reason I still like to get a daily paper.  There’s more.

This post is Part 2 of “The Luddite Chronicles“.  The Luddites were people opposed to technological advancement.  For more background read Part 1.

So, I’m a Luddite when it comes to still getting a morning paper. 

While I get most of my news on the internet, I still like daily newspapers.  I like the rhythm it brings.  At the beginning of the day I go out at 6:15 with Tiglath (our dog, named after the Neo-Assyrian ruler, Tiglath-pileser III, 745-727 BCE) to get The Philadelphia Inquier.  At the end of the day, I take the plastic bag that enclosed the paper and reuse as a receptacle for Tig’s feces during our evening walk.  Thanks to the newspaper, my day has perfect symmetry.

There are 6 people living in our household (four in my family, and David and Herman, two friends who rent rooms with us).  We all get our news on the internet, but everyone also reads the paper.

We don’t want to have a computer on the kitchen table, but we all want to read what’s going on in the world as we eat our breakfast.  I could use my iPad, but don’t want to.  I would cry if I spilled milk on my iPad.  On the newspaper?  No big deal.  Fixing my iPad would cost more than several years of newspaper subscriptions.

We know you can find the daily comics on the internet.  In fact you can have them emailed to you.  But we like reading them all on one page while eating.

Local news can be obtained in a lot of places online, but I like finding in the Philadelphia Inquier on my breakfast table.

Call me a Luddite.  Are you a Luddite too?  Where do you get your news?  Why? 

Next time: Dumb phones vs. smart phones.

Image from http://jesda.com/2011/04/11/disappearance-of-the-paperboy/