Chris Tilling and Bryan L. have been doing some book shopping which forces me to say, “for I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy…” It’s not a covetous jealousy because although some of their books look really good, I can do without them. But this godly jealousy makes me want to go on a book shopping spree and get a few new titles for myself, but alas, I won’t. And with the anniversary of the births of two of my favorite bloggers (i.e. Esteban Vázquez and Jim West) coming up soon (both on Aug. 29), I couldn’t possibly afford to get myself something. As the good book says: “it’s better to give than to receive…”
When I was a kid I used to love the Goose Bumps and Fear Street series of books. I have no idea how many of each series I read, but trust me, it was a lot. Anyway, I used to start at the back of the book and read the end and then work my way to the beginning. This was always fun because rather than building up anticipation for a huge surprise ending, I was making sense out of the ending I had already read. In my estimation, there were many more ‘aha!’ moments by reading the book that way than by reading it the traditional way.
Fast forward to now. Now I start at the back of the book for a completely different reason, i.e., the bibliographies. I love reading bibliographies, and my library has increased exponentially because of this tendency. If I see the same book listed in the bibliographies of numerous other books that I own and enjoy, then I conclude it’s at least worth my time. I also like to see what scholars other scholars favor in their research. I like to see which publishers put out the most books that the particular author utilized in their work. So on and so forth… The possibilities are many.
Is anyone else a bibliography junky like me?
I attended my friend’s church again this week and today’s sermon was quite good. He preached out of Luke 15:11-32 (the parable of the two sons). At the end of service though, he asked a young Jewish guy who was attending if he knew any b’rakhot (i.e., traditional Jewish thanksgivings/blessings) and if he did would he close out the service with one. The guy said that he didn’t know any (I imagine the kid wasn’t raised in a religious home), but it got me thinking… Nobody in that church speaks Hebrew and would have understood a word of what the guy would have been saying if he did close with a b’rakha. My mind immediately raced to 1Corinthians 14:6-19:
Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you speaking in an unknown language, how would that help you? But if I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching, that will be helpful. Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody. And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? It’s the same for you. If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space. There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning. But if I don’t understand a language, I will be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will be a foreigner to me. And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church. So anyone who speaks in tongues should pray also for the ability to interpret what has been said. For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand. For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying? You will be giving thanks very well, but it won’t strengthen the people who hear you. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you. But in a church meeting I would rather speak five understandable words to help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language. (1Cor. 14:6-19, NLT)
As beautiful a language as Hebrew is, it’s only edifying to those who understand it. A b’rakha in the context today’s service would have been an uncertain sound (1Cor. 14:8, KJV).
On the way home from church I decided to stop at my daughter’s school so she could play on the playground for a few minutes. She was headed for the monkey bars and I was shooting a couple of baskets when out of nowhere a bee or wasp just flew up and stung me in the back of my head! First thing I did was shout, “JESUS!” Then I laid hands on it and prayed and the pain subsided almost immediately. I still can’t believe I got stung. It’s been like fifteen or sixteen years since that’s happened.