Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Bee Positively Encouraging

October 29, 2016

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREI love autumn and watching God’s creatures go about their business. There is plenty we can learn observing nature. While doing yard-work this week I witnessed Canada geese in formation hastening noisily to their southern retreat. Around the house my wife’s purple asters are filled with foraging bees. My kids enjoy watching the bees, (my dogs enjoy snapping at them). Sometimes we like to look at them with a magnifying glass. The whole family loves to watch the hive installation at the Franklin Public Library as well.

This past weekend while visiting Pittsburgh we happened to catch a lecture on bees at the Heinz History Museum. It was fascinating to learn about the behavior of bees in the hive. I have heard of the “waggle dance” which is their way of telling others where they just found some great pollen and nectar. We have seen the dance many times at the library. But what I didn’t know is that they also have other “dance moves.” They have a grooming dance which is their way of asking for help from the hive to either take care of mites on her back or clean some pollen off some hard to reach areas. There is also the tremble dance which is akin to a coach’s huddle encouraging each other with a vigorous pat on the back to get out there and produce for the good of the colony.

animals20waterfowl_wild20formationPositive communication goes a long way. Just as the bees use positive and helpful dialogue so do those geese flying overhead. Have you ever wondered why they are so noisy? I thought maybe they were complaining, “Are we there yet?” or, “He should have taken a left at that second cloud.” What researchers have discovered is something the opposite of the ways human talk and travel – they are encouraging the leader. See the geese use the formation to reduce air resistance for the flock but the one in the lead thus must work harder than the others. They aren’t complaining, they are cheering their champion through the resistance.

I think humanity needs some encouragement these days. Everyone seems to be bashing, muttering, complaining, and posting on social media. When the company is going well the praises are few and far between because well, it is supposed to be that way. Once production decreases then the meetings begin with reprimands. The Country, company, church or couples need plenty of positive communication.

This country needs a morale booster. Your neighbor, your church volunteer, your young and old need some tremble dancing. They also need to know that a grooming dance won’t receive ridicule but rather a faithful friend to help. And it starts with one to set the example.

teacher20stamp20kitWe are on this faith journey together. Let us, “encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13). Those receiving the most resistance need our honking approval. Let’s goose our flying V with encouragement. Where others bicker and complain let us “be the bee” cheering on the hive. We’ve got this!

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The Christian History of a Thing Called a “Book”

December 5, 2015
'Book of Books' Exhibition Opens In Jerusalem

An original handwritten Facsimilia of Khabouris Codex complete New Testament in Syriac from the 11th century (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

I take delight in books. I even married a librarian. If we ever move I think the foundation of our house will rise when we box up the books. This format, where leafs (or pages) are bound on one side, was propagated by early Christians. Prior to that scrolls were the common choice for documents. Sacred texts like the Old Testament were a collection of scrolls kept in urns. The Jewish community continued using scrolls. And even to this day they are used in the synagogue liturgical readings. But the codex (the early concept of what we call books) was an innovation used extensively by the early church and became so popular that the use of scrolls in the secular world followed suit.

muse_reading_louvre_ca2220_cropped1One question we should have with the above information is, “Why?” I mean the Romans used scrolls. So did the Greeks, the Arabs, and the Jews. All religious writings in Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East used scrolls excluding the Early Church. This made us very unique, “people of the book.” One prominent reason was the study of the Old Testament.

The Advent Season reminds us that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. The sermons of Peter and Paul in Acts all cite the Hebrew Bible concerning the Messiah. The Gospel was foretold throughout the Old Testament. These scriptures are the foundation of the New Testament and its theology. Just think, 1,071 verses of Matthew are quotes and passing references to the Old Testament. 1 Peter, Jude, and Hebrews individually are about 69% from the Hebrew Bible. Roughly 2,600 of the 8,000 verses of the NT are from the OT with 343 direct quotes of passages and 2,309 paraphrases.

In order to facilitate the reading and understanding of the Gospels and Letters of the New Testament it was helpful to place the pages in a stack so one could flip back and forth to the Old Testament references in the same binding. Often the allusion or quote was meant to express a larger context than just the verse mentioned. IMG_1992.JPGA scroll was cumbersome to unravel in order to find a passage and had no easy way to save your place as you rolled over the original passage. Thus, a book was created so Jews (who knew their Scriptures could then verify the Gospel), and Gentiles (who were not so familiar) could keep their finger in the New and look up the source in the Old.

Every time I look at a book I think of the ingenuity of the Early Church creating an easier way to get the most from one’s devotionals. 004580_w185I’m also reminded that our faith is a reasoned one based on thousands of years of prophetic literature. The Old is important in amplifying the New. Paul used a “Soul-Winner’s Old Testament” to evangelize; could we? Let us embrace the Christian history behind “the book.” And let us use it as intended by Paul who exhorts us to read, “The full councel of God.”


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