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Showing posts from November, 2014

vive la différence!

Over the past few weeks and months I have spent a bit more time than usual with people who have slightly different views or priorities than I do. It has happened in church meetings, at school, in social settings, and in random encounters. My conservative heritage tended toward steering clear of people with different worldviews, but I have found that real connection with those who adopt another way of looking at things is, in general, good for my personal growth as a follower of Jesus. Instead of responding to different viewpoints as threats (fear-based), I have learned to see them as instructive occasions. This is because they challenge me to differentiate between core values (guiding principles that I live my life by) and superfluous add-ons which are mostly based on preferences, tradition, or culture and which can change in different circumstances and times.

As important as this personal discernment process is, there is another, equally important, relational aspect to hanging out w…

The Perfect Gift

The cat is sleeping on the bed behind me. An early snow is resting softly on the balcony outside, deaf to my passive-aggressive hints that it take a hike. The kettle has just boiled for my second cup of chai green tea. After a few busy days and weeks, including another research trip to University of Notre Dame, I am back to reading, researching, and thinking about the idea of "gift."

My Name is Matte and I am a Control Freak

There. Now you know. I have little problem identifying this tendency in my life now, but it was not always this way. Control, like pride, can be difficult to identify in oneself. Business writer Shelley Prevost believes that controlling people seldom know that they are acting in inappropriate and unhealthy ways. She says: "Control freaks rarely know that they are one. They believe that they are helping people with their 'constructive criticism' or taking over a project because 'no one else will do it right.'"

So...what is a control freak? A control freak is someone who is focused on controlling outcomes. They attempt to control their own lives, the lives of others, and circumstances in general. An extreme form of control can be found in Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder where people are rigidly preoccupied with details, rules, lists, and dominating others at the expense of flexibility and openness. Control freaks can be perfectionists and often strug…

Names of God - Lord of Hosts (Part 5)

Here is the summary of the talk I gave on Sunday, November 2, at my faith community.

This week we are looking at the name of God, YHWH Sabaoth. You will remember that the word, YHWH, often pronounced Jehovah, means the Existing One and suggests the idea of "to become" or "to become known." YHWH is translated LORD in most Bibles. The most common compound name used with YHWH is Sabaoth, occurring 261 times in the Hebrew Bible. Sabaoth means hosts or armies and can refer to angel hosts, armies of heaven, and every living thing. Therefore, YHWH Sabaoth can be said to be the military name of God. It means the all-powerful ruler of the universe, the One who commands armies of heaven and will eventually defeat all enemies. All power and authority belong to YHWH Sabaoth. We find the Sabaoth name (also used together with Elohim) frequently in the writings of the prophets, especially Isaiah (84 times), Jeremiah (80 times), the short book of Haggai (14 times), Malachi (25 tim…