the wolf that is clawing at your door

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Christianity, Wolf, wolves, fear, door, Sometimes…, when we are alone at night, we can hear things— creaking floors, expanding pipes, hissing radiators, or dripping facets, that oft become more than they actually are. Our senses play tricks on us. We imagine someone trying to break in, someone coming up the stairs, or something in the room. Our fear crescendos until we reach to turn on the light. We breathe a sigh of relief; nothing there:  but what about outside the door? We pull the covers up.

Nonetheless, could it be that something is genuinely there? Not in the creaks and cracks of the walls that surround us, but just outside the doors of our minds, of our souls. We cannot see it. We sense it. We feel it. We know something is “out there,” that wants us. We’re just not sure what.

Its clawing is relentless, constant. We can never quite evade the feeling that we are under surveillance, under assault.

As we move through our days, going about our business, getting things done, the scratching feels more subdued, less present, less a threat. It is when we are once again alone with ourselves that it returns— the wolf that is clawing at your door.

At times we toy with the clawing, imagining it to be an offer to open the door; an invitation to come and play with the beast, to see how close we can come to his claws, how close we can come to his jaws. We make a game of it, scratching back from the safety of our side of the door, 2½” away from certain flesh-shredding destruction. We find it exciting to play with evil so close to its fangs.

It is one thing to fall into danger, into the clutches of the wolf. It is quite another to play with it, as if it were a cuddly little puppy. He is not. For given the opportunity, the wolf would devour you and everything you hold dear. Yes, his games are exciting, tempting you to play outside in the dark; but in the end he would consume your flesh and crush your heart and soul in his jaws.

Life is full of vibrancy and celebration! Joy! But life is no game; though to avoid its uncertainties and difficulties we often pretend that it is. Wisdom dictates that we bear responsibility for our lives, our actions, and those within our safe-keeping. To do any less is to crack the door open for the wolf.  He would love to get his claws into you. Be on your guard. Always.

With caution,

Gary

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The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address

   It is likely that a majority of Americans recognize Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg AddressIt is just as likely that less than 10% of those know of it have even read it. Even less probable is, of those who have read it, few understand it. For it requires a knowledge of the Bible, European history, American history, and the political arena of the era.

But it also demands a firsthand knowledge of courage, sacrifice, and commitment. So, please, read what follows with an appreciation of the tasks to which Lincoln summoned us.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

November 19, 1863

            In these days of self- asserting significance and the pursuit of happiness (read $$$) above all else, we have become a people who, by in large, neglect our God given responsibility to the principles of democracy, diversity within plurality, and the protection of those with whom we differ. We each have a voice; let us speak out. We each have hands; let us work for the betterment of others. We each have a mind; never cease to use it.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Juvenile loons

Loons are seafaring birds, a member of the Gavia family, indicating that they are awkward on land. They resemble a large duck, with webbing between their toes. In general they are black and white, with a little grey on their heads & necks and white bellies. They feed by swimming across a lake, spot their lunch by sight, and suddenly up-end, diving under to grab their prey. Juvenile loons have a distinct call they make to signal other Loons, especially those of the opposite sex. It sounds like this—

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Loons.ogg

There isn’t anything quite like sitting on a dock on a New Hampshire lake, listening to the evening cry of the Loon. It calms the soul and draws one back to a simpler time where the sounds and movements of the natural world held such restful, tranquil majesty.

By contrast, a number of people with whom I have crossed paths could also be designated as juvenile loons. They have never quite grown up. It is not their playfulness or zest for life at issue; those characteristics are wonderful. It is a sense that they do not want to grow up. They only want to play; their life is split between earning just enough money so that they can play, or throw themselves into gaming, or collect things they cannot afford. They have never quite owned up to the responsibility they need embrace for their own lives. This is especially catastrophic when others must pay the price—parents, spouses, and children. Being a unremitting juvenile is not a life option.

The word Loon is a North American derivative from the Olde English lumme, meaning lummox, clumsy, or awkward. We have all crossed paths with people who just don’t seem to fit in, or who are obviously uncomfortable in social situations— proverbial bulls in a china shop. These people unsettle others, making conversation seem forced. Their lives seem to be a series of mishaps, one after another.

Some of these clumsy misfits can be retrained to be more socially appropriate:  some cannot.

The real issue is whether we can learn to honor and accept them as fellow human beings. This is no simple matter. It involves relinquishing condemnation, and forging a love out of loathsomeness. It means realizing that this juvenile could become a voice for justice: and this Loon a future leader.

All of us are at different levels, social strata’s, at different phases of our ability to contribute to the common good. This is how God would have us be— involved in the juveniles and loons of our society, while raising their status before God and men.

Have a nice week,

Gary