Word of the Week – Aug. 25th

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Every once and a while, I come across a word in the Bible (in Hebrew) that really touches me.  I almost think “dang, if we even came CLOSE to matching this word I would use it….” but many times English just does not. One of these words is “ruach” or “breathe, spirit.”

This word is the same word used in Genesis 1:2 to describe the spirit of God hovering over the blocky-chaotic water.  And yet, its the same word to describe the Holy Spirit of God. God’s spirit is like a breathe of fresh air, a wind.  Its unseen, a felt concept, and yet when it reacts with other things, both good and destruction can come from it.  The word just screams uniqueness.  Not only is it used in a very specific context in the Bible, but the underscore-looking item under the final letter chet actually is not common place in Hebrew.  Typically most Hebrew words are balanced between consonants & vowels. Rarely do you see two vowels next to each other.

As for the theological implications–the words relates to the breathe of life.  The Holy Spirit is meant to be God’s source in all life.  This is the word that describes God “breathing into ” humanity the breathe of life.  The imagery is just astounding.  And from my class w/ Dr. Tremper Longman last year, this image of God breathing is contrary to other Ancient Near Eastern stories, where gods live in the world, fighting, and create humans out of spite so they do not have to do anything. It’s an interesting perspective when you think of all the similarities from early creation stories to the Biblical story.

So next time you come across the term “Holy Spirit”, your meaning of God’ presence will grow deeper instead of thinking of white-sheeted floating people muddling “BOOOOoooo” in your face


Divergent by Veronica Roth (No Spoilers)

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Occasionally, for my book reviews I think I will search back into “completed” section of my bookshelf.  There are several good books I have read over the years with interesting story plots and much deeper than cover indicates meanings that I personally EVERYONE should read.  Yes, I will try & include books I normall would not choose…that might happened more when school starts or when I finally get back to the book group at church. (which I also recommend to anyone who reads…join a book group!)

Anyways, I was recommended this book from a friend at work.  I was reading through the Hunger Games books when she said if I liked those I should check out this new author.  So I picked up a copy.  And I could not put it down.  If  you like Hunger Games, enjoyed reading the Giver as a kid, honestly this is a book for you, at any age.

The book tells the story about a young girl coming of age. Yet, in her society, everyone is divided into factions and when they reach the appropriate age, you are placed in the faction that you will live in the rest of your life.  Each faction handles different aspects of society and you conform to that group’s duties.  Even if it is different from the group you grew up in.  Honestly, because I don’t want to reveal too much about the book, I will leave the plot summary to that.

In regards to the writing–it is fantastic.  Roth writes with clarity and definition–that you can picture exactly what she is trying to describe in every scene.  The book flows very well, jumps right into the story from the beginning and doesn’t leave you begging for interaction by the last chapter.  I do saw, it is part of the trilogy, so when you finish, you want to pick up the next book, for sure.

Overall: 5 stars, but must be a fiction reader and let your imagination take you where Roth writers!

click book to amazon link

A True Musing of an AfterThought

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I couldn’t name this a movie review, because its not. But honestly–movies get my mind thinking, and what better movie to talk about thinking differently than the man who taught us to Think Differently–Steve Jobs.

Monday night I saw Jobs … a movie about the innovator of Apple, Inc. And the movie portrays Jobs as a man who risked at nothing to have the unique, the amazing and the creative all come together.  And it got me thinking.  When I was in 6th grade I remember —  i didn’t want to grow up to be a doctor or a teacher. I wanted to invent something.  Something totally unique and original.  As I get older, original ideas become scarce.  People specialized, conformed and fit themselves into their little notch of society–which now includes the “crazies & misfits” of yesteryear.  See 21JumpStreet and any 30-40yr old will relate to the main character who realizes what he did in high school 10-15 years ago is now cool.  See how the store Hot Topic is more of a trend store than an out of the box idea.   And I have had several people tell me how I’m “well-rounded”, the epitamy of the modern renaissance woman, a utility player.  All things that are contradictory to what society tells us we must do as modern people.  I guess its good to know I’m half way there to my dream.

So I asked my husband these questions tonight– Where do you go when the uncool becomes cool? What do you when you want think or come up with something that no one else has? What happens when you’re told what you’re thinking is not possible?

Maybe someday God will land that unique, crazy original idea into my head.  Until then… I hope I continue to think differently.

Every Thing has their Own Story

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In my recent work to provide more book reviews, I have notice something I have in common with most, if not all my books.  They all have a story.  And I do not mean the one between the front and back cover.  I mean a story beyond the pages.  Then i began to think if someone were to come through my house, how many items have a story.  I used to tell people that I could always tell a person’s character by two items in their house: their kitchen and the bookshelves.  For the most part– i was right.  Here’s my example

Homemade Deodorant

1)The Kitchen– After my mother passed, i decided our/my house needed some color.  One of the first places I upgraded a little was the kitchen.  I got a new countertop (which is awesome!) and painted the walls “Ariel’s Song.”  The color made it feel like the beach (same color is in my living room.) There are some major things you can notice about our kitchen…. First, there are a lot of appliances. Most not plugged in, but definitely all in use.  We like to take risks in our cooking adventures, try out new things and have no excuse not to properly enjoy some food.  You can also see that by the utensils we keep.  And the mountain of snack items stacked on the counter.  And I will say—if you come over we make sure you don’t go hungry 😉

2) Bookshelves: in my house i have 4 wall shelves & 4 small bookshelves.  I have several books, mostly about theology, Christianity, some about dog training and linguistics, several old textbooks from my favorite classes.  That’s pretty much what you can tell about me.  Those topics are my number ones. And you can tell which shelves I use the most, because books have creases and tabs in them and some have bookmarks.  And I would argue any book would start a conversation 🙂 I could tell you the many places I got the books from.  Why I got the book originally (which will lead to another story I’m sure) and how much i’ve read/not read/ignored (if at all.)   Also, many of these books have walked with me–seen my travels.  Trust me, some of their conditions reflect so.

So just something to think about next time you get a book.  Or repaint your kitchen

Word of the Week!

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As promised, I’m trying to switch it up the languages in my Sunday “Word of the Week”

Today’s word:

lo/goß Logos


Language: Greek

Translation: word

This “word” in Greek has a plethora of meanings. Of course, its basic meaning can refer to an actual “word” or “element of speech.” However, in John 1:1-14, the term Logos has a much deeper meaning. John uses it to refer to what Strong’s accordance refers to as “The Divine Expression” or otherwise known as Christ. (Strong’e 3056-Electronic version)

Mostly recently, I read a book about Jewish expectations of the Messiah, and the importance of the word Logos in that context. A Rabbi indicated that “The Word” is a known concept in Judaism, referring to several Jewish texts and scriptures that connect the Hebrew equivalent devar to Logos represents Christ, the Messiah who is God. (return of the kosher pig , see my book reviews for book info.

Altogether, the term logos is filled with theological meaning as well as standardized meaning, giving it a unique character and value in any vocabulary.  Plus, its a fun word to use if you need a unique name for a Christian group 😉

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker

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Pages: 525 (everything… so more like under 500 reading) published in 1994 originally. Keep this in mind as some of the technology has advanced massively. Maybe for the 20th anniversary there will be an update with that.

Moving into more linguistic books, this is probably the next most important book that someone should read if studying Linguistics.  It is another topic at the cutting edge of linguistic study.  Pinker believes that language is a human instinct.  He travels into each aspect of linguistics starting with.Syntax and and moving through etymology.  He also indicates that there are some basic inheritant understandings that help define why we park on driveways and drive on parkways.  It is a jam-packed book filled with stories about how language is crated and adapted over time–something unique to explore and to understand. Pinker also includes chapters about phonetics, how speech with works with language and what is known up to the time of publishing about how the brain, language and speech all work together.

The book is a little daunting.  It is not meant for the “lay” reader  and definitely directed towards adults. In fact, I would consider it more for a classroom, as there are sets of text that are more formatted for such structure than for “casual” reading.  (of course your definition of causal reading may include university level text books, who knows?)  There is SOO much material to go through, all related just lots of information.  It would be comparable to get a history and development of AIDS research because its extensive, involves a lot of everyday “unnoticed” actions as well as very medically detailed descriptions.  However, in no way is the topic depressing or disappointing–its interesting to think of how different accents even provide rules and guidelines of how to say “ride’ and “write.”

Overall, 4 stars. Unique material, plenty of information, easy to understand but still an overwhelming amount of details.

Spiritual Gifts

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I remember the first time I was told everyone was blessed with a spiritual gift from God.  It was college, the (of course) the Christian groups I was a part of, there was every year a time when the group would review what are the spiritual gifts and sometimes offer surveys and suggestions about how to determine your own.  And it was probably the first time I felt “funny” about figuring something out for my faith. Not that I have never heard of the spiritual gifts–its just in the church I grew up in your focus as a child was to memorize the Apostle creed, eventually make it up to communion (which was more of a remembrance time instead of impacted with Christ–again, kid’s perspective) and know all the good stories of the Bible.  I guess you can say figuring out where you fit in the description of the Kingdom wasn’t a priority for a child. (no offense meant to those who were about or who still practice in my childhood congregation.)

So, back to college and figuring this out.  I was all for this.  After hearing the verses on gifts myself, i was all for taking a survey that told me what category I fit into.  Surveys made solving life easy.  You didn’t have to adapt–you just had to learn who YOU were and APPLY.  Easy, no?

HA! I struggled with this for several years… I would take one test, of course it would tell me I was musically inclined (which was not much of a guess cause i grew up in that environment) but I never consider that an “important” gift.  I would take another test and it would tell me a completely different set of gifts.  The problem is (which I found is a default of pastors and psychopaths) I can read people really well–aka read surveys really well and almost tell you exactly what categories are there without knowing the answer.  I enjoy taking surveys not because I want to figure out who I am, but see if I can fit my life into a definition.  Something I think all of us try to do.  And yet, thinking back on it–I didin’t need a survey to tell me who I was.  I only needed God and His Word, and when I do things that are of God, that are good, I should be thankful they are his gifts.  And then I should use them for His glory and to help others.  That’s the point, really.  Kingdom focused, not self-centered.

Despite this rediscovery–I did learn a lot about myself.  First, I learned that I HAD faith.  I think for years, because I grew up in church and didn’t actually get it when they talked about finding Christ in the lives because I have honestly never not known who Christ is, I believed I didn’t have real faith.  I wasn’t like this person who found Christ or that person who went on a mission trip.  I was just me, who went to church, who loved it and wanted to spend time with the people who matter (church friends mostly) and do fun stuff at church.  It was shocking when I actually accepted the idea that I had belief in God and could inspire others (if worked upon) to have belief.  Again–That was a shock to me, since I had never known anyone that I had personally “brought to Christ.” Yet, somehow I was still acknowledge for having faith.

I also learned that I have the gift of knowledge. Now–honestly, what in the heck (sorry) am I suppose to do with that? I love learning.  I love knowing everything about what is going on. I don’t like being left in the dark.  Honestly, just ask my husband.  He surprises me all the time and it can truly freak me out sometimes.  And I think in trying to figure out what to do with my gifts I have figured out the whole point I mentioned earlier.  The gifts are God’s, for His people, and as a community of the Living Word we are to work towards His Kingdom with the tools He has already given us.  Again, Kingdom Focused, not human-centered.

Finally, I learned I did not have one specific gift (and I already knew this but its kind of a  big one)– Prayer.  I noticed prayer was not on my high point of spiritual gifts. And as a challenge I worked on trying to be more active because prayer is emphasized so much in the biblical text as something needed for faith and working for God.  However, as time moved on, I realized that God didn’t NOT give me this gift.  It’s just defined a little differently.  Yes–I struggle (as most younger adults do) with silence and meditation.  But I feel like I pray every time I take a moment and stop, consider God, talk with Him and acknowledge Him.  My “pause buttons” are not defined movements where I write a letter (explain to me again why all prayers start like this…) to God who is probably already in tune with my wants, needs, my prayers and my concerns.  They are truly as if I hit “pause” on the remote of life and turned my way towards God to get a little feedback or talk about something I just saw on the television “LIFE.”

So next time you get to Corinthians and see Paul talking about spiritual gifts and wonder “There’s no way I fit into that bubble”, I hope you consider some things first, talk to God first and enjoy what crazy stuff He has to offer.