Intelligence and Wisdom

There seems to be a correlation between a person’s intelligence and the amount of time it takes them to complete a task.  I learned this today as I was loading a new class set of laptops into their storage cart.  For each laptop I had to remove a tray and attach the power supply using a combination of velcro straps and twist-ties.  Then I had to label the laptop, its designated space in the cart, and its corresponding power outlet.  The first time I attempted this it took me nearly 15 minutes.  As simple as the task sounds, it took me awhile of studying the cart’s design and reading the instruction manual to figure out how everything fit together.  Securing and labeling the next laptop became much quicker because I had learned some of the basic steps.  Then I found ways to be make the process more efficient so that by the last laptop I had reduced my time to under 5 minutes.  Practice and routine helped, but truly it was a problem-solving approach that allowed me to speed up the process.  My knowledge of the materials – that is, my intelligence – grew.

There are exceptions to this principle, but I think we can find numerous applications beyond my own.  For example, a fluent reader is able to work their way through a text much more quickly than one who is developing their reading abilities.  An auto mechanic is able to change an oil filter much quicker than a new car owner reading their owner’s manual.  An experienced chef can execute a recipe and even serve a large number of people in little time.  And by this logic we might even evaluate the creative processes of this universe.  If the evolutionary science holds that chaotic matter spawned life forms over an extended period of time then what would those same scientists be confessing about a God who speaks life into existence within a matter of seconds?

Proverbs 9:10 says, “Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”  This is not a troublesome cowering in fear, but a reverent awe-full fear.  A respect for God in His holiness but also a respect for God in His judgment.  He not only sets laws but He is the standard and will punish all violators.

My previous reflections on intelligence cause me to look at this verse a little differently.  If the wise man is one who fears the Lord, the wise man would, therefore, be one who learns quickly.  One who recognizes what brings glory to God and what grieves Him.  And the wise man not only has knowledge of these things, he furthermore acts rightly upon it.  We are all intelligent in our own ways, but wisdom is a higher calling.  Wisdom is a learned (and demonstrated) obedience.

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Unexpected Blessings

The last three years of my life have been…well, less than ideal.  At one time I had a certain anticipation of what I would be doing, where I would end up, what my life would look like.  Since graduating college, those visions were obliterated and now, three years later, my prospects of achieving those dreams are no closer to reality.

Today a number of decisions and trials caused me to reflect upon my station in life and all that has transpired.  While I never would have asked to be where I am today, I can still be thankful for where God has brought me.  Here’s a quick snapshot of some unexpected blessings:

MCC_Cook Auditorium

Past Wish: Attending traditional, perhaps even liturgical church
Present Reality: Attending modern, multimedia heavy church


Unexpected Blessings:

  • Participating in a church where attitude of love, unity is highest priority and lived out to fullest extent
  • Opportunities to get involved with or support countless ministries, missions
  • Ability to observe church growth strategies
  • Healthy social outlet built among many other young adults where I may not otherwise have found such treasured friendships

Teacher ClassroomPast Wish: Career in ministry, youth pastor or discipleship pastor
Present Reality: Career in education, school teacher


Unexpected Blessings:

  • Work in a Christian environment has expanded my knowledge of scripture and strengthened my faith
  • Teaching enables me to present Biblical truths on a daily basis while pouring into the lives of many students – same as youth ministry but with a more consistent schedule
  • Perhaps feeling more appreciated than in any other job/work environment

Monopoly ManPast Wish: Modest but comfortable income to establish independent lifestyle
Present Reality: 
Low income to require dependence on others and forced fiscal responsibility



Unexpected Blessings:

  • Multi-dimensional perspective to see, understand, even experience obstacles affecting those in poverty/impoverished communities
  • Necessity to balance and prioritize living expenses, professional development
  • Greater trust in God’s continued provision, whether in plenty or in want

Home OwnershipPast Wish: Home ownership
Present Reality: Living at home with parents



Unexpected Blessings:

  • Increased appreciation and love for family
  • Support in all the typical household tasks which I have been unable/set as a low priority
  • Ability to save, become better prepared for future independence

Fingers IntertwinedPast Wish: Steady relationship and/or marriage (with kids?)
Present Reality: Prolonged singleness


Unexpected Blessings: 

  • Appreciation for gift of singleness (unhindered focus on loving people/loving Christ, flexibility in schedule/commitments)
  • New eyes to sympathize with, understand emotions or trials of others who are single
  • Ability to learn about love and relationships, avoid some of the pain in sin and heartbreak by observing these through others
  • Numerous experiences to filter through good and bad counsel, to compare worldly models of dating with Biblical standards

So as not to misunderstand me, many of these desires are still very real and present.  Whether they are to be achieved soon or never, I put this list into writing to say I have a lot to be thankful for!  How could I imagine trading this life that God has blessed me with for a mere fantasy that I would have created on my own?  Granted, I am not where I want to be, not even who I want to be, yet God has placed me in a position where He could mold me into someone better than I was before.

To Capture the True Beauty You Must Look and Listen

This is fantastic for so many reasons!

I only wish I could have been there when it happened.  The look on peoples’ faces is remarkable, their delight at an unexpected symphony in the streets as memorable as the experience itself.  It is regrettable, therefore, that only a handful of people will, in fact, remember the event.

A guide from my Costa Rica trip wisely advised us travelers to have a no-technology zone.  When you see, hear, or experience something that takes your breath away, don’t be so quick to pull out the camera.  Take a few minutes at least to absorb the sights, the sounds, to process all of your senses.  This is the act of creating a long-term memory.  Then, and only then, should you document the experience using a cell phone or a camera.

That is our faulty habit, our natural instinct.  That is what these citizens did on the streets.  Many will only recall what they recorded on a 3″ LCD screen.  They didn’t see or hear the symphony for themselves.  Their memory is too small.  Only adults could make such a foolish mistake.  In contrast, a child sits in the front row with an attitude of admiration.  A child walks away with a rich, genuine memory.

Video

Even Greater Than This

This past weekend was a big one in Maryland for two reasons.

First was the Chris Tomlin concert.  His “Burning Lights” tour came to the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore on Friday.  You would think  all of my neighbors, co-workers, and friends were in attendance.  Every time I turned my head someone would be talking about it or posting a picture/status update on Facebook and Twitter.  The local radio station had this to say about the event:

951 ShineFM

Second was the University of Maryland Terps basketball game against Clemson University.  A win set their record at a 2-1 ratio and makes MD a formidable foe in March Madness brackets.  But speaking of UMD, check out the flash mob that the crowd enacted just a few days before:

What do a Christian music artist’s concert and a major university’s basketball game have in common?  For starters, they both generated a lot of attention.  That is to be expected with any large crowd, but mass media was also very influential in the manufacturing of these two events.

Concerts cannot sell tickets, flash mobs cannot be arranged without the aid of mass media.  Whether it be a pillow fight, a food court musical, or a no-pants prank on the New York subway system, they are easily facilitated through texting, mass emails, and social networking sites.  Subconsciously, these events then appeal to raw emotion.  Concerts, flash mobs, any social networking tools allow people to feel important because they can be a participant in something greater than themselves.  (It is a great irony, as I see it, because the individual is actually lost in a crowd, but I digress…)

We all want to have meaning or feel significant.  I suppose participating in a rock concert, a flash mob, or any large scale event is one way to achieve that.  Still, I am reminded that Jesus had a larger vision for us – an EPIC vision – and he presented it to humanity about 2000 years before the first cell phone, computer, or website was accessible to him.  The prophet announced to his disciples: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these… (John 14:12)”

Really?  Is that possible?  Can I do anything that will draw more attention than a flash mob or even the miracles Jesus performed?  Is this attainable by myself, insignificant little me?  I can always organize or attract more people to an event, but is Jesus saying that our lives or our activities can have a large-scale impact, even without the crowd?

Certainly, because if we follow Christ he promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We have access to the inner life of God.  And if we act in obedience to Him, it is by this authority that we can share life-giving news to the world.  That power, that purpose is far greater than any concert or flash mob I can envision.

What are you going to do with your one and only life?  Will it be caught up in entertainment and self-glorification?  Or will it be an eternal investment?  Allow God’s spirit to work in you and make your life EPIC!

Peter’s Imperatives

I’m reading 1 Peter right now, the first published letter and eventual New Testament book of the Bible written by the apostle Peter.  Given that Peter walked with Jesus in his lifetime and was part of the inner circle, he would be a ripe candidate to give insights on the Christian life.  Indeed, he does and I appreciate the counsel he offers to believers throughout the letter.  But what I am struck by the most in this reading is the overwhelming number of imperatives that Peter gives to his audience.  Specific commands or guidelines which will ensure that one is on the path to holiness.

Maybe there are more, but here is the list that I have compiled:

1:13  Prepare your minds for action (a good place to start with a list this long!)
1:13  Be self-controlled
1:13  Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed
1:15  Be holy in all you do
1:17  Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear
2:1   Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind
2:2   Crave pure spiritual milk
2:11  Abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul
2:12  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God
2:13  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men
2:16  Live as free men
2:16  Live as servants of God
2:17  Show proper respect to everyone
2:17  Love the brotherhood of believers
2:17  Fear God
2:17  Honor the king
3:8    Live in harmony with one another
3:8    Be sympathetic
3:8    Love as brothers
3:9    Repay evil with blessing
3:15  In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord
3:15  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have
3:15  Do this with gentleness and respect
3:16  Keep a clear conscience
4:1    Arm yourselves with the same attitude as Christ Jesus
4:7   Be clear minded and self-controlled
4:9   Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling
4:10 Use whatever gift you have received to serve others
4:11  Serve with the strength God provides
4:13  Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ
4:16  Do not be ashamed if you suffer
4:16  Praise God that you bear that name
4:19  Commit yourself to your faithful Creator and continue to do good 
5:12  Stand fast in the grace of God
 

Just to be clear, there are also negative imperatives:

1:14  Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance
2:16  Live as free men…but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil
3:9    Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult
3:14  Do not fear what they fear
3:14  Do not be frightened
 

And directives towards specific types of people:

2:18  Slaves, submit to your masters with all respect
3:1  Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands
3:7  Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives
3:7  (@ Husbands) Treat them with respect 
5:2  (@ Elders) Be shepherds of God’s flock
5:5  (@ Young Men) Be submissive to those who are older
5:5  (@ Young Men) Clothe yourselves with humility
5:6  (@ Young Men) Humble yourselves
5:7  (@ Young Men) Cast all your anxiety on him
5:8  (@ Young Men) Be self-controlled and alert
5:9  (@ Young Men) Resist the devil, standing firm in the faith
 

There is one imperative that is cultural and therefore only appropriate in a particular time/place, though probably not the particular time/place which we had in mind:

5:14  Greet one another with a kiss of love
 

And one imperative that unites all of these commands into one.  It is so important that Peter inserts it twice throughout his letter:

1:22  Love one another deeply, from the heart
4:8  Above all, love each other deeply
 

I did not realize previously that this can be found twice throughout the book.  It only reinforces a core truth:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:36-40)
 
 

Incongruent Laughter

Sometimes I laugh at inappropriate times.  I laugh too loudly or in the wrong company.  Sometimes I don’t laugh when others clearly think I should.  Sometimes my sense of humor is a little twisted and I let on to how immature I really can be.  This can be a tricky business, particularly between cultures.  Yet what is most important is now how we laugh, not when we laugh, but precisely that we laugh.  It is essential to the human condition.

What makes us laugh?  Or why do I sometimes laugh at a different time than others around me?  One of my favorite authors, James V. Schall, suggests that “our laughter depends on our seeing the incongruity of things.”  (The Order of Things, p. 17)  The world was created a natural order, with categories, and our minds built to recognize them.  When those categories don’t match up or when our rational mind perceives an apparent irrationality, it does not interpret this as foolishness.  Instead, we find comedy, laughter.  Perhaps like these pictures below:

Art for Arts Sake

Google: “Did you mean battleship?”

Customs Sniffing Dog

Ronald Reagan on a Velociraptor

(Ok, maybe you didn’t find that last one as funny as me.  But if you shook your head rather than smiling, I guess that validates my introductory statement.)  The point is this, we find something humorous when it is not as we would expect; two things dissimilar aren’t meant to go together, but yet they do.

We have much to laugh about in this life, even when the world seems dark around us.  That is not by accident.  The Creator of this world, who transcends time and space, stepped down from his post and limited himself by taking on human flesh (John 1:14, Philippians 2:6-8).   The savior and king who was sent to deliver this hurting world arrived in a manger, surrounded by filthy animals, travelers and misfits (Matthew 2:9-11, Luke 2:7-11).  And one day the lion will lay down with the lamb without hesitation or fear (Isaiah 11:6, 65:25).

The Lion and the Lamb

What peculiar images!  Maybe these don’t inspire us to laugh out loud, but they are indeed reasons to give us joy.  This Christmas season, amidst parties and family gatherings, I hope you have found much cause to laugh.  More richly, I hope the incongruency of this season brings joy to your soul that laughter can only begin to describe.

School Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial…   (James 1:2-4, 12)

What rich words from the letter of James!  So many people embrace James as their favorite book of the Bible and, from my experiences, it is the most requested book for a Bible study.  Christians in all stations of life appreciate the simplicity behind the text.  And so these opening words are familiar to many.  Too familiar to others.

We are three weeks into the school year and many are confronting the words of James head on.  In less than a month, my friends and colleagues have already faced “trials of many kinds.”  For example,

  • The church (and subsequently the school) hosted two funerals for fallen police officers in the community.  One of these officers was family of school staff and had strong ties to a number of our members.
  • One teacher’s grandfather died and she needed to drop her responsibilities, get on a plane, and fly to Alabama in the middle of the week.
  • One teacher has been sick all week and doctors now believe it is a festering case of lyme’s disease.
  • One teacher’s newly issued laptop did not work right out of box and has been without it for three weeks as the manufacturer makes repairs.
  • New teachers are feeling all the pressures of the job, trying to figure out the querky schedules and programs at our school while fighting little sleep in order to prepare lessons and grade papers.
  • Phone lines are dying sporadically and teachers are encountering incompatibility issues between the computer and their updated smartboard software.

Many around me are facing trials greater than I can imagine. Though my trials are not as publicly evident, I too am being tested in several ways.  So many are feeling the pressures, not only of the job but of life!  We mourn, but we also persevere.

In times like these, James urges us to “consider it pure joy.”  He says that we are “blessed.”  While it does not always feel that way, God is cultivating a greater maturity in us, both individually and corporately.  And if we persevere He is going to take our character, our families, our school to great heights.  Rarely can we comprehend the reason for suffering and trials, but there is always a greater plan at work behind the scenes.  This gives me reason to rejoice.

Most Valuable Real Estate

If you are reading this right now, you most likely own one of the most valuable pieces of real estate.  Best of all, you don’t have to pay any taxes on this property.  You might even be able to profit from it if you have an entrepreneurial spirit.  But don’t get to thinking that you are so special because, though it may surprise you, millions of other Americans share the same wealth.  And so many that have it aren’t even aware of its value.  Curious yet?  Do you know what it is?

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YOUR CAR’S BUMPER!

This thought occurred to me today as I sat at a traffic light reading two political statements carefully positioned on the car in front of me.

I used to think that bumper stickers are tacky, that they are meant for mindless consumers or people who under-appreciate their vehicle.  I often made the premature judgment that the drivers of such vehicles had a mouth bigger than their brain.  Now my outlook has changed since I recognize the overwhelming influence this space holds and the sheer volume of information that is communicated through one decal.

You are more likely to find a bumper sticker on a student’s door, locker, or laptop computer than you are on an automobile.  This is because bumper stickers are often permanent fixtures whereas vehicles are an indispensable product.  Few vehicle owners are willing to tarnish their pricey investment in order to make a statement.  Therefore, a man of sound mind can never say, as I once did, that bumper stickers are inconsequential.

This affirms my original idea that your car’s bumper is perhaps the most valuable piece of real estate you own.  Anyone, any idea, or any company that is able to make its mark while making you compromise the appearance or value of your car is worth its weight in gold.  Advertisers do not give the same consideration when splashing a display on a billboard or a bus stop as they do if they want that same image imprinted upon your private property.  Whether by great products, great ideas, or great persuasion, they have to convince the driver that their message outweighs his costs in the long run.

Why, then, do people still pay for bumper stickers?  The system is somewhat illogical.  To pay for something that is going to result in honks and glares from other drivers or result in a lower resale value seems ludicrous.  But beyond our opening discussion of market value, there is also a personal value for which it is impossible to put a price tag.  A bumper sticker shares so much about who a person is, what they value, and how they interpret their world.

Consider the all-too-common oval stickers with three letter abbreviations.   These are not popular simply because we live in an age of texting.  They remind the driver of a place called home or of memories made while on vacation.

The trendy family car stickers are appealing not merely because they are customizable, but because they reflect a family – one of God’s divine institutions and, presumably, something that the driver cherishes.

Ribbons are not collected like trading cards for their different colors or patterns.  They are displayed to support a cause with which the driver, undoubtedly, has a personal connection.

                  

Political candidates (who should be the most grateful) get their names affixed to the rear of a car because the driver believes they have some message or policy which will bring greater hope.

              

Religious symbols give a glimpse into the soul, revealing that the driver finds meaning in his existence while crude or crass messages suggest that the driver finds no meaning behind anything in existence.

The list might continue indefinitely, but each of these examples carries a message and a meta-message. Perhaps there is no quicker way to know someone than to read the bumper of their car.  Every day I drive past people whom I have never met yet I feel like I know a bit about their personality, their values, and their history already.  Even if I disagree with their message, I love them all the same.  In fact, I must thank them for sharing their property with me and for providing me with content to strike up a conversation.

Violence All Around Us

Last week’s movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO is undoubtedly fresh in everyone’s minds and, as a result, there has been much discussion surrounding the nature or prevalence of violence in American society.  The media networks are pouncing on this as a hot topic, politicians are using this event to drive gun control debates, and ordinary people are raising ethical questions as they share their thoughts and fears with family or friends.  It is a serious and sobering topic, especially as we draw a connection between violent images and real life tragedy.

I, too, have been vocal on the issue of violence in entertainment.  In particular, I am discouraging people from going to see The Dark Knight Rises in theaters or from pumping any more money into the franchise, just as I did four years ago with The Dark Knight.  Not surprisingly, my position is met with a lot of opposition and that is OK so long as my ideological opponents are willing to balance their cravings for entertainment with a critical mind.

With that preface in mind, this seems like a good time to clarify some personal views which I have voiced in conversation and to share some broader biblical truths related to the issue of violence:

#1 – Violence is all around us. This is one piece of evidence that we live in an abnormal world.  In an ideal and normal world, that may not be the case but the fact is that man sinned.  His rejection of God’s perfect order injected violence in the forms of both human aggression (Gen. 4:8) and natural rebellion (Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 8:19-22).

#2 – Violence is inescapable.  Some will argue that God is all powerful and God is loving towards His creation; therefore God will intervene and stop the violence.  As a meta-narrative, their conclusion is accurate.  God will ultimately deliver His children from evil, but that is through the wide lens of a telescope. What we experience in day-to-day living is likened to a view through a microscope.  From that more narrow perspective, the premises are true but the conclusion is not.  Evil is a major problem to the original design for this universe against which violence must happen to eradicate it.  An all powerful and loving God will bring justice to counteract this disruptive evil but judgment is a very ugly, violent thing in itself.

What I mean when I say “violence is inescapable” is that it prevails for both parties in this abnormal world.  Those who are set on doing good will still encounter violence around them.  Those who are bent on doing violence will be met with violent judgment in return.  Biblical examples of this include the very controversial “holy” war carried out by Israel against the surrounding “wholly” corrupt nations and the plagues brought upon Egypt (respectively).

#3 – When violence originates in man, it does not take long to see the horrific effects.  Consider that when Cain slew Abel he invented the act of murder.  Humans, at that time in history were vegetarians – they didn’t even slay animals for food much less another person of their own kind!  And this was only the second generation of humans to walk the face of planet earth or, in other words, the first generation of humans to be born on planet earth.

With minimal effort, one can find many other biblical or historical examples of violence carried out in a hurried manner, above all the illegal and state-sponsored crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

#4 – When violence is carried out as part of God’s divine judgment, it is preceded by grace and thereby delayed.  Take, for instance, the violent flood that drowned nearly all of humanity and reshaped the entire planet.  God made his decision to eliminate the wicked human race (Gen. 6:11) but gave men the opportunity to repent and change their ways – over the course of 120 years! (Gen. 6:3)  He drove His own people, the nation of Israel, into captivity under a violent and oppressive regime as a means of purging their wickedness but only after warning them by dozens of prophets across several hundred years!

God’s judgment is violent because that is the only fair or truly just way of addressing the problem of evil.  It is likened to a calendar where you can rip the pages off and count down the days.  Until that day of judgment arrives, God extends his grace in more ways than we recognize.

#5 – Violence in shooting sprees of recent years is not new.  Some have claimed that we are experiencing a rapid increase in violent behavior and the world is a much more dangerous place than it was decades or generations ago.  I will allow the statistics to determine whether or not violent acts are more frequent.  I simply do not have, nor am I capable of interpreting, those hard numbers.  What I do know is that we have a heightened awareness of violent or large-scale crimes due to mass media as compared to previous, pre-internet eras. Also, in the words of Solomon, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc. 1:9)  The crime is never original although maybe the artistry associated with the crime shows more creativity and boldness than before.  The Bible as the oldest history textbook in the world is thoroughly violent and graphic; 21st-century Americans didn’t invent this stuff.

#6 – Violence cannot be legislated effectively.  In light of recent events, a few are  awakening to the widespread presentation of violence and calling for its censorship from television, movies, video games, music, and literature.  Contrary to what you might expect from me, I must contest that government or otherwise public censorship is not the solution.  Besides the inherent flaw in this plan (revisit my point #2), this will result in more of our freedoms being taken away and it will only address the problem on a surface level.  The violent behaviors broadcast through news outlets arise fundamentally as a matter of the heart. Therefore, violence can only be monitored and censored effectively in the private sphere. Everyone, convicted felon or not, needs to re-examine their heart and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  He submitted himself to the horrors of this world and died under violent conditions in order to free us from sin, from fear, and from eternal death.  He rules over this chaotic world and He alone can perform invasive surgery within the depths of our hearts.

Repetitiveness and Abounding Vitality

An excerpt from Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton:

It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork.  People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact….

The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. 

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. 

For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.

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