Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Practical Proverbs

I've been doing a study on the Proverbs. It's actually quite a simple study. This is how I do it: I read a chapter. After I'm done reading it I go through each individual verse and put it into a category. For example, Proverbs I would put 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" in four different categories. I put it under a "Fear of the Lord" category, a "Knowledge" category, a "Fool/Foolishness" category, and a "Wisdom" category. There are so many categories that I have made (I'm in chapter 12) that by the time I'm done, I'm going to have a great resource for studying Proverbs and use. If I want to look up verses that have to do with money, I go to my "Money Issues" category, and look up the verses there.
Not only is it going to be a great resource, but it also forces me to think about what I'm reading. There are many verses that I have to figure out what the meaning is. For example, today I struggled for about 15 minutes with 11:15, "Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure." I had to go to some commentaries for that one. It has forced me not to breeze through the Proverbs without thinking about them, cause that's all I've ever really done in the past. The cool thing I've found is that these Proverbs, once understood, ARE SO PRACTICAL. They hit on the everyday issues. This is the kind of wisdom that I need. This is the kind of wisdom that we all need! And, according to chapter 2, if we diligently look for it we will find it-- God will not with hold it from us!
I'm pretty pumped about my Proverbs study. It's true that the more you dive into the Word, the more you WANT to dive into the Word.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Seeing and Hearing

My mind is vacuum.
Everything I hear and everything I see gets vacuumed up into my brain and stored away. And, by the way, my brain has an incredible amount of space of its hard drive. That means that all the things I see and hear are the things that are on my mind. The more I hear them and the more I see them, the more I think about them. Paul tells us to think on specific things:

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

It is a goal of mine to think about these kinds of things more than I think of the other kinds of things. How can I change that? By altering all the things I see and hear. Listen to Christian music, stay away from immoral movies, READ the Bible, READ books about the Bible, read books about your world. Write. You cannot practice this verse in Philippians unless you control what you see and hear. You will automatically think about the things that you let into your brain. That's why you protect your mind from the poison of worldliness that can corrupt it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

This whole reading thing has been great. I have set goals for myself, as you know. 25 books in 2008. It is the beginning of the third month of the year, which means I should have read four books by now; and should be getting ready to go for 5 and 6. I will have you know that I am on track.
I have read four books. Three of them have been for class, but I've also been able to get some pleasure reading on the side. I read Life of Pi over the course of a week in between books I had to read for my Autobiography class and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I don't think it's as deep as people want it to be. It's good simply because it's a good story with likable characters. It is my opinion that people who make it out to be a philosophical tome have been mislead; it's a good book because it's a good story. It's as steeped in philosophy as you think.
Out of Africa, an autobiography written Isak Dinesen, a woman who left her homeland of Denmark to live in Africa on a farm amongst the natives, was my favorite read of the first four. It was a required read in the class. I started out reading it with determination; I had to get through the book-- I was committing to it. Ten pages in I was hooked to Dinesen's magical prose; it was the kind of prose that reminded me of C.S. Lewis-- it didn't matter what she was writing about; her simple eloquence and keen insight made for an astonishing account. I would have liked to meet her.
Poetics is a classic work by Aristotle. It is the most basic piece on writing tragedy. If you ever want to write any kind of story, Poetics must be strongly suggested. After all, Aristotle and his works helped found Western Civilization.
Just ten minutes ago I finished reading another book that was assigned to me in my autobiography writing class. Memories of a Catholic Childhood by Mary McCarthy. It was hard to me to get through; I didn't like the protagonist. The most interesting part of the book was the chapter where she "lost her faith." Other than that, I didn't feel like she had much to say. It was about her family life; her friends; the life she lived at school. Where as Dinesen always made an effort to attach it to the real world, McCarthy didn't, and her work suffered for it.

Anyway, I am just happy that I've been on track so far.

If you haven't got the point yet-- START READING. Carry a book around with you and read it in the 5 minutes you are waiting for your friend to meet up with you. Exercise your mind! People who don't read are fast on their way to senility.