Weekly Meanderings, 6 April 2019

Weekly Meanderings, 6 April 2019 April 6, 2019

I had a good time at the Wheaton Theology Conference this week — I presented on Romans 12:1-2.

Once again, check in to The History Channel Monday night … Jesus: His Life at 7pm and 8pm Central. Two new episodes.

A beautiful post by Beth Allison Barr about praying for those who suffer.

But even when prayer doesn’t change our circumstances, the act of praying helps heal our souls. C.S. Lewis is often attributed with saying, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.” His character played by Anthony Hopkins in Shadowlands is actually the one who says it. But, even if Lewis didn’t say it word for word, I think he would have agreed with it. As he wrote to his brother in 1931, “When you ask me to pray for you—I don’t know if you are serious, but the answer is yes, I do. It may not do you any good, but it does me a lot, for I cannot ask for any change to be made in you without finding that the very same needs to be made in me.” Lewis often doubted how much prayer changed the mind of God, but he was certain that prayer draws us closer to God. As he explains in Mere Christianity, “An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God…God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers.” Through prayer we experience God.

As a historian, I find prayers from the past soothing. They remind me, as do the words of W.H. Auden and The Epic of Gilgamesh, how shared our human experience is. They remind me, like the prayer of Margery Kempe, that people have always cried out to God for help. The faith of women like Margery Kempe in the past strengthens my faith in the present. I am comforted that the God who heard Mary, that young Jewish girl who found herself pregnant with the son of God, is the same God who hears me today. I am also certain, like C.S. Lewis, that prayer draws me closer to God–even in the midst of my uncertainty.

Francis Collins and BioLogos!

A beautiful idea in Elkhart IN:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WSBT) – An Indiana school district is taking steps to make sure kids have enough to eat.

Elkhart Community Schools students usually get breakfast and lunch at school, but on the weekends at home, they may be without food.

That’s where the South Bend-based non-profit Cultivate comes in: it provides weekend meals to a small group of students in the elementary school pilot program.

“Mostly, we rescue food that’s been made but never served by catering companies, large food service businesses, like the school system,” said Jim Conklin, Cultivate. “You don’t always think of a school.”

It rescues the unused food.

“Over-preparing is just part of what happens,” said Conklin. “We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it.”

Twenty students will receive a backpack with eight individual frozen meals every Friday until the end of school.

Thank you Jimmy Carter:

Jimmy Carter appeared on radio show of conservative pundit Laura Ingraham recently.  Here is what he said about the Democratic Party’s position on abortion:

“I never have believed that Jesus Christ would approve of abortions and that was one of the problems I had when I was president having to uphold Roe v. Wade and I did everything I could to minimize the need for abortions. I made it easy to adopt children for instance who were unwanted and also initiated the program called Women and Infant Children or WIC program that’s still in existence now. But except for the times when a mother’s life is in danger or when a pregnancy is caused by rape or incest I would certainly not or never have approved of any abortions.”

“I’ve signed a public letter calling for the Democratic Party at the next convention to espouse my position on abortion which is to minimize the need, requirement for abortion and limit it only to women whose life are in danger or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest. I think if the Democratic Party would adopt that policy that would be acceptable to a lot of people who are now estranged from our party because of the abortion issue.”

That would be fun.

(CNN) — When Skirmantas Strimaitis booked a one-way ticket to northern Italy he never imagined he’d be the only passenger on board.
But the Lithuanian national, who was flying from Vilnius to Bergamo for a skiing trip on March 16, was in for a shock when he discovered he had the entire Boeing 737-800 to himself.
His only companions on board the plane, which has a seating capacity of 189, were two pilots and five crew members.
Strimaitis suspected something was amiss when he went to check in at Lithuania’s Vilnius International Airport and was told the crew were waiting for him.
After asking why, as he was by no means late, Strimaitis was informed that he was the sole passenger on board.
Tour operator Novaturas confirmed to CNN Travel they chartered a flight from Bergamo to Vilnius for a group of clients that day.
In order to avoid the aircraft coming back empty, one-way tickets were put on sale for the return trip.

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