Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ministering to the Poor (of spirit and of material)

I encourage you to visit our Mere Discipleship Discussion blog. I have posted a comment from a man who knows from life-long, direct experience about being the hands and feet of Christ to the impoverished. He has much wisdom to impart.

Stephen Meeks currently heads up the Good Soils Ministries, ministering to the impoverished in Appalachia. Prior to this ministry, Stephen spent many years in Africa. He speaks from years of practical experience. He has practiced that which works and that which fails. Having met Stephen, I cannot speak highly enough of him, his heart, and his work. Thanks Stephen for your insight.

Stephen's blogs are very good too. They will challenge you and make you uncomfortable.

On a wierdly related note (I let each of you figure out how), I found this post and really enjoyed it. The author left a comment on my blog several weeks ago, so I check his out from time to time: Purgatory Penman.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Gospel According to Albus Dumbledore

I am reading the Harry Potter series to my daughter of 5 years old. Last night, I read a paragraph that I found so beautiful that I had to blog it. I am taking some editing license, indicated by [], to illustrate the beauty and profound statement that I read into it. This is my take and not intended to reflect any view by the author J.K. Rowling.

[Christ] died to save you. If there is one thing [Satan] cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realize that love as powerful as your [Savior's] love for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign...to have been loved so deeply, even though [the One] who loved us is gone, will give us protection* forever. It is in your very skin. [People], full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing [their] soul with [Satan], [can] not touch you for this reason. It [is] agony to touch a person marked by something so good.
-- modified from Albus Dumbledore's commentary on Voldemort, Harry Potter & The Sorcer's Stone, J. K. Rowling. Arthur A. Levine Books. 2003.

I give them [my sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.
-- Christ, John 10:28-30.

* edited from "some protection".

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Go 'Dores!

23 years ago, in Nov. 1982, my sophomore year at Vanderbilt we beat UT. I was there at Dudley field, in the rain, row 2, 45 yard line. It has been a long time. This time it was in Knoxville. I was watching on TV. This year is my 20th year reunion from graduating from Vanderbilt. What a fitting reunion celebration.

Jay Cutler, our senior quarterback, and the other young men who work so hard deserved this. I am so emotional for them today. Go 'Dores!!!!! You will be seeing alot of Jay in the pros.

I am headed to Vanderbilt to great the team when they get in.

It has been a long time since I rock 'n rolled, GO DORES!!! I love you.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Life Guidelines: Experience of a Father, for my Daughter

I am compiling guidelines I wish to convey to my daughter at some appropriate time in her life (she is five now). I try to live these and teach them when I can, but I want her to have a list she can reflect on when I am not around. My initial thought was to give them to her when she goes to college, but I think it will have to be much sooner than that in today's world. So here is what I have so far.

Life Guidelines: Experience of a Father, for my Daughter
by Anthony W. Arnold

  • Love God and follow Christ. The Bible will show you how.
  • LOVE!
  • Be happy. Ultimate happiness is found through the will of God.
  • Be kind. You will never regret an act of kindness.
  • Pray and talk to God about everything: your love, joy, sadness, pain, anger, frustration, temptation, confusion—everything. This personal relationship with the Father will save your life (read Psalms).
  • Virtue cultivates happiness, degradation of self breeds misery.
  • Crave righteousness and seek truth.
  • Thirst for wisdom and hunger for knowledge. Self-esteem and confidence are built in the pursuit of both.
  • Be passionate: in labor, in art, in music, in study, in relationships, and in love.
  • Cherish your salvation and your integrity. Compromise neither. The only one who can rob you of these is yourself.
  • Explore the world that God created before man destroys it.
  • You are special. Surround yourself with special people.
  • Recognize your weaknesses and surround yourself with those who can offset them (Proverbs 27:17).
  • Peer pressure is a farce. It is purely a method for others to justify their own doubtful behavior.
  • Do not confuse peer pressure with support or loving admonition. Know the difference, disregard the former and accept the latter.
  • Believe in the Holy Spirit and trust its exertions.
  • Every human will fail you at one time or another, but God will not. When humans do fail you, remember that God forgave them and let His Son die for them.
  • Holding onto grudges and anger requires your energy, not the energy of those toward whom it is directed.
  • Satan is real.
  • Satan cares not whether you believe in him or follow him. He cares only that you move one more step away from God. He has nothing to offer. He cannot give—only take.
  • God gave: His Son. God gives: Eternal life.
  • Your body is your gift to give. Give it in the ways of the Lord.
  • Please the Lord. If others are not happy with this, then it is their problem not yours.
  • You are created in the image of God. Therefore, you are beautiful!
  • Don’t let guilt consume you. There is no act you can do that Jesus has not already handled with His death. Nothing is too big for Him.
  • Do not attempt to be loved by everyone or by every action. Let your actions command respect. You can respect someone you do not love, but it is virtually impossible to love someone you do not respect.
  • Be kind and gentle, but firm. Be decisive and resolute in your morals.
  • Tolerate injustice only when it is done to you. Fight it when you see it being inflicted on others.
  • The only life you should value over another is the sacrifice of your own.
  • Forgiveness of a sin does not mean absolution from its consequences.
  • It is possible, despite modern opinion to the contrary, to take a moral stance with love and without being judgmental.
  • Force is power, but love is powerful.
  • Don’t agonize over not being able to change others. Sometimes it is enough just to be able to change yourself (Gipsie Ranney).
  • Physics, chemistry, and math are important. They describe how the universe works. God created the universe, therefore the understanding of these fields reveals a part of God.
  • Develop solid verbal and written communication skills. Without them, you can neither convey your point of view nor understand the point of veiw of others.
  • The definition of a simple life is peace of soul; contentment that is removed from circumstance. The path to it is through Christ.
  • Your strength is greater than you can possibly imagine. Unfortunately, you will only find this out when you think you have none left.
  • When you do not know what else to do, pray!

  • Copyright 2005 Anthony W. Arnold

    Sunday, November 06, 2005


    I have been reading several posts about hell, or the interpretations and misinterpretations thereof, or even the existence of such a place, especially within the classic Christian views of hell.

    I have no intention of refuting, agreeing, or debating anyone else's concept or context of hell. I offer three, and I feel very important, theological tenets we should carefully consider in our walk as disciples of Christ.

    1. That at some point God will endow man with the full knowledge of His purpose and full understanding of our existences.

    2. Regardless of what form a separation from God will take, that at some point God will separate mankind into two camps: those that will dwell with Him eternally (will not be separated from Him); and those that will be separated from Him eternally . Further, based on tenet #1, that separation will create an agony beyond bearing.

    3. We should have no fear of this separation. That's right. We should have no fear of this separation! I love what Thomas Merton had to say about this issue.

    My opinion is that it is a very extraordinary thing for anyone to be upset by such a topic. Why should anyone be shattered by the thought of hell? It is not compulsory for anyone to go there. Those who do, do so by their own choice, and against the will of God, and they can only get into hell by defying and resisting all the work of Providence and grace. It is their own will that takes them there, not God’s. In damning them He is only ratifying their own decision—a decision which He has left entirely to their own choice. Nor will He ever hold our weakness alone responsible for our damnation. Our weakness should not terrify us: it is the source of our strength. Power is made perfect in infirmity, and our very helplessness is all the more potent a claim on that Divine Mercy Who calls to Himself the poor, the little ones, the heavily burdened. [1]

    We do not need to be so concerned about the form of our separation of God. Our focus should be solely on Christ--The Way to a loving and permanent relationship with our Father. We freely and wholly have been provided an opportunity to know God and be with Him. The agent for this relationship is the Holy Spirit.

    We should focus on the union not the separation. And as JMG has posted, the time is now. Run to the Father, now. Do not waste time out of the relationship. Invest time in the relationship.

    [1] Merton, Thomas. The Seven Story Mountain. Harvest Book Fiftieth Anniversary Ed., Harcourt Brace & Company 1999. ISBN 0-15-601086-0.