Balancing Mystical and Rational

Good morning. It is Monday, July 20, 2015. I am off work today, because I’m working this coming Saturday.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is longanimity. This is a noun, meaning, “a disposition to bear injuries patiently : forbearance.” The example sentence used is, “The fans showed longanimity by coming back year after year to cheer on the perpetually losing team.” Applicable, I believe to the Red Sox nation for the 86 years between 1918 and 2004, as well as to Cubs fans for over 100 years. Darned goat.

Today is Moon Day, celebrating 46 years since we first made footprints on the Earth’s only natural satellite.

As stated above, I am enjoying a rare Monday off, but will pay for it this coming Saturday. A three-day-weekend in exchange for a one-day-weekend. Not the best trade in the world, for my money, but it is what it is, at least for now.

I got to go see Jurassic World, yesterday afternoon, and it did not disappoint. In fact, it has replaced Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as my current favorite movie. Also, due to these circumstances, V For Vendetta has dropped out of my top five movies, to the number six spot. My top five movies are, in this order, Jurassic World, Sweeney Todd, Jurassic Park (only the first one, please), The Princess Bride, and Amadeus. While it may seem that this has happened only because Jurassic World is my most recent movie, that is simply not true. I am going to see it again, today. It has been a long time since I have seen the same movie two days in a row (perhaps the first Jurassic Park?). I knew, when I heard the original theme music in the first minutes of the movie, that it was going to be legen . . . wait for it . . . DARY! And, I am not ashamed to confess, I was literally crying at the end. And I mean literally literally, not figuratively, as is the idiotic custom for people to use in our current culture. There are multiple shoutouts to the original movie, one being the appearance of the original Asian scientist in the genetics lab. Another was the stumbling upon the original visitor’s center from the first movie, and, yes (mild spoiler alert), the appearance of the original T-Rex!!!! I’m getting goosebumps just typing all of this, folks! I can’t wait to see it again, this afternoon! This will be a DVD I will definitely buy!

Not much else happening today. I need to put up some laundry and do the dishes. Boring, household stuff. So, on to the fun and important stuff, in that order.

On this date in 1807, Nicephore Niepce received a patent from Napoleon Bonaparte for the Pyreolophore, the first internal combustion engine. In 1871 British Columbia became part of Canada. In 1881, Sitting Bull and the last of his fugitive people surrendered at Fort Buford, North Dakota. On this date in 1903, Ford Motor Company shipped its first car. In 1926, the Southern Methodist Church Convention votes to allow women ministers. And, as mentioned above, on this date in 1969, Apollo 11 made the first successful manned moon landing. Oh. One more. On this date in 1976, Hank Aaron hit home run number 755, which would be the last home run of his career.

Today’s birthdays include Alexander the Great (Greek King of Macedonia and conqueror of Persia), Sir Edmund Hillary (New Zealand mountaineer), Cormac McCarthy (American author), Natalie Wood (American actress), Diana Rigg (English actress), John Lodge (English musician, The Moody Blues), Kim Carnes (American singer/songwriter), Carlos Santana (Mexican-born American guitarist), Dan Shaughnessy (American sports writer), Chris Cornell (American singer, Soundgarden, Audioslave), Reed Diamond (American actor), Omar Epps (American actor), Judy Greer (American actress), Gisele Bundchen (Brazilian model), Stephen Strassburg (American baseball player), and Julianne Hough (American dancer).

John Lodge is the bass player, as well as singer and songwriter, for The Moody Blues, having been a member since 1966. Here is a clip of their song, “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band).”

Peregrine White, Francisco “Pancho” Villa, Bruce Lee, James Doohan, and Tammy Faye Bakker are among notable deaths on this date.


Today’s reading from my Bible reading plan is Genesis 5-6, Psalm 12, and Ephesians 3.

The Psalm reading from Heart Aflame is 84:7-10.

They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

There have been many theologians in the past who would insist that the knowledge of God “is above concepts. It is a knowledge that registers itself in the soul passively without an idea.” (Timothy Keller quoting Thomas Merton) The more mystical push toward not thinking about God or speaking to him.

Paul, however, in the New Testament, transcends this idea. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. (1 Corinthians 14:15) We are praying to the Father, using words, through the Son, who is THE Word.” Martin Luther insisted that we cannot go to God outside of using his Word. “We must first hear the Word, and then afterwards the Holy Ghost works in our hearts; he works in the hearts of whom he will, and how he will, but never without the Word.”

It is good to strike a balance between two extremes. J.I. Packer says, “there is [indeed] a place for silence before God . . . after we have spoken to him, while joy at God’s love invades the soul.” Consider the fact that, when two people love each other, sometimes they simply sit in silence and gaze into each other’s eyes. However, they will also, still, search for words to express the way they feel about each other. Such it is with us and God. God has found his Words, and given them to us. We, upon reading, hearing, and pondering those words, respond back to him with similar words.
(pp 56-59)

Father, as I pray to you, may my prayers reflect your Word back to you. May my understanding of you grow as I reflect more deeply on passages of Scripture that I read. May I also, like the Psalmist, be content to merely be a doorkeeper in your house, as opposed to having the highest honor in the tents of the wicked. Help me to balance silence and words in prayers, seeking to know you more, but also seeking to glorify you in word, as well as in deed. May I, like Paul, seek to pray with my spirit, as well as with my mind.

I pray for this day, that Christi will have a good day, today, free of drama and stress. May her travel home be safe, this afternoon. I pray for safe passage to and from the mall, this afternoon, and a good time of fellowship with Jacob, as we watch a movie together. I pray for your grace and mercy to rain down on the rest of our family, Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama, as they do what they need to do today.

I pray for more rain for the drought-stricken people of California. They got some rain last night, in areas from San Diego to Los Angeles. May they get similar relief as to what you gave us in Texas, back in May.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we find a good balance between the mystical and the rational as we continue to gain knowledge of our Father and how to pray to him.

Grace and peace, friends.