Thursday, May 28, 2020

Of Heavens Above and Stories

Back in 2014, I put my own interpretation of Judaculla Rock on canvas and posted the result here.  Who would have guessed that the image would reach a blogger in Pakistan who reflected on that star-map view. Zeeshan Ahmed posted this on September 26, 2015:

As I looked at the celestial objects, up-close, I wondered. I wondered of all the ages, and the people, who had seen it before. I thought of the prehistoric times, when the heavens were brightly lit, and had no artificial, manufactured light to pollute them. I thought of the people who looked above and wondered. They imagined all these fantastic stories, and attempted to give a meaning to everything they saw above. They saw the whole sky as a canvas on which there were these lights, and strange mists. They moved, every night, until the sun came up. The giant, yellow ball of light, hid everything else, until it disappeared and gave way to the celestial painting again.

Not all of them wondered about the heavens, I believe. Like today, there were these people, storytellers, if you will, who wanted to come up with the reason why the ceiling was the way it was, and why it was there. And why this ceiling anyway, which is such a wonderful sight, and not mere emptiness? Oh, imagine if there was nothing above, and just plain darkness. Of course, if that had been the case, we wouldn’t have come up with all these glorious myths, the kind we know of today. There would have been some other kind. These storytellers, I tell you, always find a way to come up with truly amazing tales.

So, if a storyteller belonging to those early days, were here, what would he say? Of course, he would be really surprised at the current state of the world, and its inhabitants. But I will try to keep him far away from the modern world, and ask him questions. I will ask him what he saw in the night sky and what fascinated him. Perhaps, he will tell me that the shimmering dots had their own tales. How some were grouped together, and some were far away. How that misty, hazy pathway above was a gateway to some other world. Then, he might get excited and tell me about these streaks of light which appear, and then vanish. He would perhaps tell me that these were little wanderers who jumped from here and there. They travelled quickly and left behind this wonderful trail of light. At that moment, I will think of these ‘streaks of light’ and think of him, and other such storytellers. Who keep jumping between stories, and worlds, and always have a lot to share with rest of the people. Oh, how fascinating indeed!  

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Ravi Zacharias, 1946-2020

“Love is a command, not just a feeling. Somehow, in the romantic world of music and theater we have made love to be what it is not. We have so mixed it with beauty and charm and sensuality and contact that we have robbed it of its higher call of cherishing and nurturing.”

“God often reinforces our faith after we trust Him, not before.”

“Teaching at best beckons us to morality, but it is not in itself efficacious. Teaching is like a mirror. It can show you if your face is dirty, but it the mirror will not wash your face.”

“Without God, you take man to be God, your body to be a soul, and time to be eternity.”

“Historic figures have homes to visit for posterity; the Lord of history left no home. Luminaries leave libraries and write their memoirs; He left one book, penned by ordinary people. Deliverers speak of winning through might and conquest; He spoke of a place in the heart.”

“We are commanded by God to love our fellow human being no matter how much we disagree with them.”

“An argument may remove doubt, but only the Holy Spirit can convict of truth.”

“We all want Canaan without going through the wilderness.”

“Television has been the single greatest shaper of emptiness.”

“Justice is the handmaiden of truth, and when truth dies, justice is buried with it.”

“Humor aside, I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him.”

“Unless I understand the Cross, I cannot understand why my commitment to what is right must be precedence over what I prefer.”

“It was not the volume of sin that sent Christ to the cross; it was the fact of sin.”

“It is easier to hide behind philosophical arguments, heavily footnoted for effect, than it is to admit our hurts, our confusions, our loves, and our passions in the marketplace of life's heartfelt transactions.”

“There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny.”

“Truth has been relegated to subjectivity; beauty has been subjugated to the beholder; and as millions are idiotized night after night, a global commune has been constructed with the arts enjoying a totalitarian rule.”

“Many Christians have so busied themselves with programs and activities that they no longer know how to be silent and meditate on God’s word or recognize the mysteries that are in the Person of Christ.”

“If you believe in subjective morality, why do you lock your doors at night?”

“Redemption is prior to righteousness. You cannot be righteous until you are first redeemed.”

“The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced the ultimate, and it has let you down.”

“In naturalism, man is actually very insignificant, but arrogates to himself stupendous power. In Christianity, man is actually the apex of created significance, but is called to see it in abject humility.”

“Jesus said, ‘Greater things of these you shall do…’ Become a peace builder, a bridge builder, not a destroyer, and the way you do that is through friendships and relationships, and through authentic character.”

“Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.”

“A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.”