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Stairway Perspective 
Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 12:50 PM - Extra Christy
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Get Down on His Level

A friend of mine mentioned that his dog never goes upstairs in his home.

When I asked, "Why?" he told me to kneel down and look at the stairs from his eye level. I did and stairs disappeared. In their place was a sloping wall extending forever.

My friend explained, "For him, the stairs never end!" It was an intimidating view even though I knew what I saw wasn't real.

I wonder how often I've encouraged large dogs, small children and even nervous Christians to climb a few stairs when they were looking at infinite walls. I also thought about the walls that fell when I took a few steps or changed my perspective to a higher plane.
Once a fourth grade teacher let her students share their perspective on geometry of circles after learning how to find the area of rectangles. They assured her that circles had no area. Why? Because the formula for finding the area of a rectangle required multiplying the length of two sides--and circles have no sides!

I hope you step up and look up this week and find areas you never suspected existed.
Been There, Didn't Do That

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:14-16


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Forgetting 
Wednesday, March 3, 2010, 08:11 PM - Extra Christy
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Remember When We Used to Forget?

For most of human existence, it was a great effort to remember. Think of time and work involved in cave paintings, chiseling words into stone tablets, etching letters on parchment, or wrestling with paper files before computer records.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger in the book Delete:The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age argues that now it is difficult to forget, or "delete" in electronic terms. The default is changing to remembering everything and requiring a special effort to forget.

I know someone who was a victim of an accusation years ago. Even though nothing came of the accusation, the newspaper article is still the second item that appears in a Google search on his name. Just a decade ago, that article would have been forgotten and inaccessible.

Part of what God offers us is not remembering our sins any more. I never thought of the difference between "forgetting" and "not remembering". Not remembering seems formal and forceful compared to forgetting, like going through old digital photos or emails and deleting the out of focus images and ideas.

I hope you forget what needs not to be remembered and remember that God is more forgiving than Google.
When Forgetting is a Blessing

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more. - Hebrews 8:12

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
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Bible Baking 
Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 06:43 AM - Extra Christy
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A Sacred Cookbook

My daughter's fourth grade class baked a cake as an exercise in following directions. They literally added two eggs to the prepared mix as instructed, without taking them out of their shells.

I have followed carefully a tragically incomplete recipe, where the lack of a key ingredient ruined entire batch. (My bread came out as cracker colored bricks.)

Preparing good food is an art enhanced by skill gained by instruction and practice. Ingredients are transformed by influence of other ingredients and the process of mixing them in different ratios and order. The caress of heat and the patience of time combine to make the separate, unrelated items into a harmonious whole.
Proper preparation techniques and full inclusion of all ingredients are necessary not only in creating edible food , but also in preparing soul food from our sacred cookbook, the Bible.

Too often folks offer me an ingredient found in the Bible, often quoting me the place in the recipe where it can be found, and telling me it is good to eat as is, because it is in the recipe! It is like giving me yeast and telling me it's bread.

When I kindly and gently suggest there is more to the Bible baking then collecting items on a grocery list by shelf and aisle number, they accuse me of not believing in cake because I decline to put candles on a pile of flour covering eggs still in their shell.

May folks give as much respect to the Bible as they do cookbooks: searching out all the ingredients, removing the shells, mixing the flavorful and nutritious elements responsibly, warming them in love, and enjoying them in good time.

Hope you find the Joy of Cooking and are fed both in body and spirit!

Bible Warning Label

...So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.-2 Peter 3:15b-16

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


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Wonder 
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 07:00 AM - Extra Christy
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What This Place Needs..

This is my final post on The Doorpost Film Project's 20 minute film called, The Butterfly Circus.The story of how Will, a sideshow "gimp", born without arms or legs, becomes admired instead of scorned.

The film is set in the time of the Depression. One bleak scene lingers over glimpses of a shanty town of destitute people. The master of the circus proclaims, "What this place needs is a little wonder!" Then the circus characters in colorful costumes emerge and engage the people in a parade of joy and confidence while giving them tickets to more wonder at their show.
Watching, our hero, Will, believes that the circus stars have been blessed while "God has turned his back" on him alone. But the movie audience is allowed to see the prior struggling steps of those now dancing. Through flashbacks, the despair of the performers former lives are revealed to exceed even the gloom of Depression camp they now divert into delight.

If you look for "wonder" in the Bible you will find that most of the references belong to the worst time in the history of God's people: when they were slaves in a foreign land. Yet it is also the most glorious time. For thanks to God's wonders they were able to leave slavery and begin their journey to the promised land of milk and honey.

How to get of out of depression camp? Seek wonder in the world: where aspirations instead of infirmities are celebrated. Where we see each other as "magnificent" instead of repugnant. Together we can leave the despair of slavery of the worse and in wonder journey to the promise land.

Out of Wonder

When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labour on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.- Deutronomy 26:6-9

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


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Transformation 
Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 09:44 AM - Extra Christy
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You Won't Recognize Him

This Sunday we consider again The Butterfly Circus. This short film is the story of how Will, a sideshow "gimp" becomes a star attraction.

The title includes "Butterfly". Yet a butterfly only appears at the end of the film. In the film a child is confused when his captive caterpillar is replaced by a cocoon. He is encouraged by his mother who tells him that the the caterpillar is in the cocoon and he "won't recognize it" when it comes out.
The child was reassured by this revelation. He could have been alarmed if he assumed the transformation into something unrecognizable was a monster to be feared instead of beauty to be welcomed. I think it was his mother's calm, happy tones that filled the prediction with wonder instead of terror.

I would like the church to be a place where calm happy tones reassure the confused to welcome the wonder of transformation instead of fleeing the threat of change. Where we happily expect each person to become a new creation. A place where caterpillars have a safe, calm cocoon to become a butterfly.
Butterfly Bible

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!-2 Corinthians 5:16-17

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Creative Commons License
This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


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