Mark Anderson

Prayer?

Posted by Mark Anderson Oct 24, 2013

I have long struggled with prayer...

 

I grew up in a Christian tradition that memorized a series of prayers word for word and then regularly recited through them.  In my college years (at MSOE, by the way) I moved away from this.  One reason was that I didn't think that God was answering my prayers.  On the other hand, I was challenged with the idea that prayer is supposed to be a dialogue with God.  Rather than reciting prayer, I fell into a repetition of petition.  I was much freer in my prayer life, but I seemed to be asking for the same things over and over.  Also, my "dialogue" with God was basically a monologue with me doing all of the talking...

 

I recently read the first chapter of the Gospel according to Luke where the birth of John the Baptist is recounted.  John's parents, Zachariah and Elizabeth, were godly, old and childless.  Zachariah had an encounter in which the angel of God said to him that his prayers had been answered and that they would yet give birth to a son.  To this Zachariah responded: "Do you expect me to believe this?" (Luke 1:18 The Message)  Apparently, Zachariah had been praying for a child and likely at some point had given up. 

 

There is another similar account in the book of Genesis 12-21.  This is the story of Abraham.  He and his wife Sarah were also godly, old and childless.  Abraham had also been asking God for a child.  The striking difference, however, is that, in the account of Abraham, God gave Abraham a promise that he would have a child.  This promise was repeated time after time to encourage Abraham and Sarah as they ended up waiting 25 years for the promised son to be born!

 

It seems that Abraham's prayer life was much more of a dialogue than that of Zachariah.  Abraham brought his struggles to God and God met him in the struggles.  Zachariah asked, but for whatever reason, does not seem to have heard the similar promise from God.  The great thing is that God heard both of them and gave a perfect answer at just the right time! 

 

But...I want to be one hearing His voice all along...

 

Thoughts?

Mark Anderson

The Hunger Games

Posted by Mark Anderson Sep 17, 2013

I just read the book The Hunger Games.  I haven't seen the movie.  A few thoughts on what I read:

  • It was certainly a gripping read.
  • I had conflicting feelings feelings inside throughout the book.  There is an underlying--well probably overt--contempt of the audience in the "Capital" that they could be so captivated by such gruesome bloodshed.  Real people were made trivial in their existence because their battle to survive served simply to entertain spectators.  Ironically, this is what makes the story so gripping to read.  I was stuck between being repulsed and wanting to know what happened. 
  • One thing that kept me reading right up to the end was the hope that there would be a redemption of some sort.  I was disappointed that this did not seem to come, at least not in this, the first of a three book series. 
  • The ending of "the games" was chilling for me.  I think that the author finally touched on a level of evil that made me put the book down and forego reading any further, including the sequels.  With the appearance of the "mutts" I sensed that humanity had been violated in that those who had already been so brutally killing & killed were now resurrected into a state of violent hatred.

-->  I am reminded that evil is real--and that it can be really evil!  Unfortunately, far too many of the horrors of this novel have been played out in the course of human history.

-->  In the course of staring down things like evil, hopelessness, despair, injustice, etc., I was reminded of how incredibly valuable hope is.  ***** said, "In this world, you will have trouble.  But, take heart.  I have overcome the world!"

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