What's Inside

The theological ramblings of a simple man.


Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.

Dean Koontz

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

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Monday, September 11, 2006
Yet This I Call to Mind
Five year ago, along with most of the nation, I watched as the devestation in New York City unfolded. Like many others my first thought was, "pray for America."

Why is it that the same force that leads some to kneel in prayer will drive others to blow up buildings?

2500 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah overlooked the fallen city of Jeruselem after it had been destroyed by Babylonian armies. "The Lord has done what He planned...He has overthrown you without pity, He has let the enemy gloat over you." (Lam. 2:17) So much of Jeremiah's lament sounds familiar today.

Iraqi press called 9/11 our punishment from God. But I believe God was with those who escaped before the buildings fell. He was with those who sacrifice their lives to save people trapped inside the towers, and with the thousands of volunteers involved with the recovery efforts with those who escaped before the buildings fell. And much like those firefighters and rescue workers, Jeremiah had many of the same thoughts. Why?

I can imagine hearing a New York resident saying the same words spoken in Lamentations while overlooking ground zero, "I have been deprived of peace...My splendor is gone...I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I remember them
and my soul is downcast with in me." (Lam. 3:15-16)

We will always remember what happened that September morning. Those images of plane crashes and collapsing buildings will always be a part of our memories. But life must go on. And if we continue in faith, we will be stronger and more confident in our victory than ever before. "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him...Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverence." (Job 13:15-16)

So how do we cope? How did Jeremiah cope with the destruction of the city he loved? "Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness." (Lam. 3:21-23)

Despite the attacks on the world trade center and the pentagon, despite the war and continuing attacks around the world, we have hope. We are still one nation under God. His love never fails.
posted by nicholas casey @ 12:32 PM   0 comments
Thursday, September 7, 2006
What I Know and What I Don’t Know
The difference between what I know and what I don’t know is growing. The more I learn, the more there is to learn. The more that I understand, the more there is yet to be understood.

When I was younger I knew that if I dialed a phone number and someone answered we could talk to each other. I didn’t know how my voice was transmitted to the person I called or how their voice was sent back to me. It didn’t matter, what mattered is that I could use the phone to talk to some one far away.

Now I know that if I call my parents in Seattle there is more involved than just a couple of tin cans on a string.

When I dial their number a signal is sent from my telephone through a wire to a phone jack. Wiring inside the walls connects the jack to a box attached to the outside of my house. From there, my call is connected to the network that services my neighborhood. This is through a wire buried underground or an aerial wire suspended from the house to a terminal. Sometimes that terminal is on the ground and sometimes it’s attached to a telephone pole. The terminal connects my call to a local network and through an interface that services my neighborhood and several others. It is then sent through a larger network to an office operated by my telephone service provider. Inside the office, my call is routed through a distribution network; this is where my local line ends. Distrtibution leads into a switch that determines what office my calls need to be routed to, and then sends it to that office via a transmitter. Transmition could be done through a copper wire, fiber optics, or radio waves. Because my parents do not live in the same calling area (crazy geographical areas made up by the FCC that bear only minor relation to area codes and state lines) my call is then sent to a transmitter inside yet another office operated by my phone company. That office also contains a switch and a second transmitter that sends my call to my provider’s long distance office where it is received by a transmitter sent through a switch and another transmitter to the long distance carrier’s offices in my parents’ area.

From there the call travels in reverse order to my parents’ phone. Though a transmitter / switch / transmitter in the long distance office to the offices that connect the long distance network to the local network and another transmitter / switch / transmitter combination. It is sent to a transmitter inside the offices of their telephone provider, through a final switch and into distribution network that begins their local lines. Then, though the various networks and interfaces my call arrives in their neighborhood. It is sent through either a buried or aerial wire to the box on the side of their house, through internal wiring and a jack, where at last… my parents phone rings. Hopefully, they answer.

Before, there was only one thing that I did not know: how a phone call got from point A to point B. Now I know that one thing but by learning that one thing there is much more that I do not know.

I don’t know how my phone converts my voice into an electronic signal. Or how that signal is changed from an analog signal in copper wiring to a radio wave or digital on fiber optics. I don’t understand how the supercomputers inside the switches know where to direct my call, or why my call is sent through so many different switches. And I don’t know how that call is completed in less than a second.

The same rings true with ever other aspect of learning, in or out of a classroom environment. Music, history, science, careers, family, medicine, electronics, media, communication… the more you know, the more there is to be known.

The same is true of God. Your relationship with Him is an art of discovery. To know God is not about knowing every detail of His existence, but a continued search for things unknown.

Paul writes about the mysteries of God in many of his letters. In Ephesians he writes “With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.” He continues in Colossians, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

It’s amazing to think that everything there is to know, all wisdom and knowledge, is hidden in Christ. It is there in Him for us to grasp hold of. But we have to know Christ Jesus to get it. You may know who Jesus is, but that doesn’t mean you know him. You can only know Jesus… truly know Him the same way you would get to know anyone else, by spending time with him. Learn from Him. There is always more to discover.

Learning is an ongoing process. It should be a lifelong quest. In ‘How Much I Don’t Know’ Scott Silletta writes “If You just keep opening doors, I promise that I’ll keep testing the locks.” We should always be exploring what life has to offer, opening every door… or at least trying. God opens a lot of doors in our lives; each of them leads to more. We should always make the most of the opportunities He gives us.
posted by nicholas casey @ 7:07 PM   0 comments
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