Monday, June 13, 2005

Still No Hebrews

I have been absent from blogging for several days now. Last week I had several projects due for my main employer. I also had a final to give and final grades to submit for my secondary employer. This took the time that I needed to prepare and present my sudy on Hebrews. This week, I am on a road trip with my family. According to AAA, my family will be putting 3058.2 miles on the family car over the next 10 days. I have never talked much about myself on these pages. So perhaps this is a good time to do so. Please note that the following thoughts are somewhat random. I am a computer programmer with 32 year experience. I have become proficient in Assembler language, C, C++, Visual Basic, and Java. I have combined this with 10 years experience with database design. I spend my days on a niche program named Paper Mill Manager, which is offered by a company named Greycon, Inc. Paul had his tent making, I have my computer career. Paul delighted in offering the gospel free of charge, and I have felt driver to do the same. This does not make me better than others, it is just my calling. What makes it easy is that I believe that I have a "spiritual gift" in computers. Computer technology has always come easy to me and I have had more words of knowledge about computer situations than I have had over human situations. When I need to know something about a computer situation, it is often that I just suddenly know the right answer. This gift makes it possible to provide good service to my employer and customers and have mental energy and time for ministry. I teach 2 Bible studies. On Sunday, I am going through the book of Romans and on Tuesday mornings, I am going through the book of Acts. On top of that I am blogging my way through Hebrews. For me to be simulataneously dealing with Romans, Acts, and Hebrews is an amazing experience. They are surprisingly connected. I also teach a Visual Basic class at Chattahoochee Technical College on 2 evenings a week. This is something that I have started this year. I have found that I am able to make the classroom a mission field--especially when the college asked me to make sure to include ethics as part of my instruction. I am able to compare and contrast "subjective" and "objective" values as part of this. I find it remarkable that I can be this busy in so many areas with a formal education that consists of a B.A. in Philosophy and a 2.2 GPA. Informally, of course, it has been a different matter. I have interest in science, technology, culture, and the Bible--and so I study and learn. A liitle here and a little there over 3 decades can add up to a lot. I avoid theological labels, so I will not give you any. The real advantage of this habit is that it has left me free to change my ideas several times. However, there are certain main points around which my teaching centers: 1. The mercy of God. Perhaps I over emphasize this. On the other hand, when I read Lamentations and see the depths of despair to which its author descends ("And so my strength is gone and so has my hope in the Lord." only to see him begin the climb to hope ("This I recall to mind and therefore I have hope, the Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease! They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness."). He sees hope in ground zero Jerusalem after God poured out His wrath. Wrath, he realizes, is the anomaly. It is His lovingkindess, His mercy, that is normative. 2. A future nation of Israel inhabited by saved Jews. This is a clear position for me in Scripture. Whether this is realized in a pre or post millenial context is undecided. I can see the points of those who would say that there is no literal 1000 year reign, but these same should acknowledge the strength of the promises to Israel as Israel. This, for me, makes the recent nationhood of Israel and the emergence of Messianic Judiasm very exciting. 3. The Holy Spirit is the key distinctive of the New Covenant and that salvation is the beginning of a new life in Messiah. I find myself relying on the Holy Spirit to be the source of change in myself and others--not regulation. It is a personal encounter with Jesus that will change lives, not our church rules. Correspondingly, I attend a church that is very welcoming to troubled people. 4. I consider a study of Judaism to be essential to a well rounded understanding of Christianity. All the New Testament authors were Jewish and their Judaism coloured their writings in interesting ways. I have been married to the friend of my life for 31 years. I have five children aged 29, 27, 17, 15, and 9. With the last child I achieved my goal of having a child in the house until I retire. I am very proud of all of them. My family and I attended a Messianic Jewish congregation for 5 years. During that time, I was given the privelege of walking the Torah. For that they call you up by your Hebrew name. I took Donald=Leader and Curtis=Courteous=LovingKindness and asked to be called up as Nagid ben Chesed, which means Leader son of Lovingkindess. This is how this blog got its name. I will be back to Hebrews either later this week--or more likely next week. Test everything. Cling to what is good.


Anonymous jacob keenum said...

Hey Don!

Wow! That was much needed! Really! It's good to fill in the gaps with colors...

Don, I've always considered you to be an excellent teacher, and I can never thank you enough for your time spent with us "slackers." *Cough* Me!

Another thing is I've been able to identify better with you than any other teacher (in my short years!)given how your mind is molded for science. As a result, you've always been one for facts! I love that more than anything; i.e. opinions! The bible studies I've been to by and large are an opinion forum. But you've always delivered the facts, and you've encouraged us all to search out the truth. Kind of like your motif "Test everything, cling to what is good." Or like the Bereans...

And what you said...
"Computer technology has always come easy to me and I have had more words of knowledge about computer situations than I have had over human situations."
That's precisely how I feel, but about mathematics. And that's where I feel blessed. I would be honored if someday, like the analogy with Paul and his vocation of tentmaking, that I could work as a mathematician/professor and serve in a ministry at the same time.

Alright, it's good to see a new update. I sent you an e-mail earlier asking about a verse from Romans 16. Please get back to me on that when it's convenient.


Jacob K.

8:49 PM  

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