Your login attempt failed!

Chapter 15

After the great flood, humanity began to multiply and spread across the earth. As they migrated eastward, they settled in the land of Shinar. The people of Shinar decided to build a city with a tower that would reach the heavens, symbolizing their unity and power. They yearned to ascend to the heavens, to bridge the chasm between mortal and divine. With each brick, they endeavored to log into the celestial realm, to access the divine beyond.

Reading from Genesis 11:1-9

But their ambitions knew no bounds, they sought to erect a monument that would pierce the very veil of the heavens. With relentless determination, they labored to fashion a tower that soared ever higher, reaching towards the celestial sphere with each brick laid and each stone placed.

Have you ever experienced this issue with one of your accounts?! I know I’m taking a far reach from the important story of Babel in history to a failed login attempt on an email or other account, but bear with me!

The tried to log in;

Your login attempt failed. Your password must include a capital letter, a lowercase letter, a number and a special character.

Your login attempt failed. Your password must include a letter, a number and a Chinese character.

Your login attempt failed. Your password must include an uppercase letter, a Chinese character and a Disney character.

Your login attempt failed. Your password must include a capital letter, a number and a hieroglyph from the dynasty of Amenhotep IV.

Your login attempt failed. Please retype a previous password in Sanskrit.

Your login attempt failed. We’ve sent a recovery code to the first hotmail address you created in the fall of 1996. You can access it through your MySpace account.

Your login attempt failed. We have sent a 16-digit login code to your mother’s email address. To ensure your security, the email also has the last 300 pictures taken with your cell phone.

Your login attempt failed. Please fill out this Captcha to access your account. Click all of the pictures that show despair.

Your login attempt failed. Because you enacted dual verification, we are contacting your former spouse and previous employers to verify your hair color in selfies recovered from your deleted photos. (smile, sometimes it really feels like this! )

In our quest to bridge the gap between the earthly and the divine, we often encounter hurdles that challenge our resolve. Just as the people of Shinar faced obstacles in their quest to reach the heavens, so too do we encounter login failures and setbacks on our spiritual journey.

The frustration of failed login attempts mirrors the trials and tribulations we face in our quest to connect with the Divine. Whether it’s navigating the intricacies of password requirements or grappling with the complexities of faith, the journey is not always straightforward.

The people of Babel were punished for their arrogance, but they were also enriched by diversity, including languages and cultural variety! While not every failed login attempt leads to confusion, it can lead to the enrichment of language, tribes, groups, and a sense of God reaching out to us. Just as many of our daily login attempts fail, reminding us that we cannot reach high enough to get to Him.

Therefore, take heart! Although the path may have obstacles, remember that even a failed login attempt can be an opportunity for growth! As we navigate spirituality, may we find comfort in knowing we are not alone – despite failed login attempts, God reaches out to us!

Philemon

The ants go marching … mostly

Chapter 14

Good day to this new week, despite it already being Thursday.

I am currently reading a book about quitting. “Quit” by Annie Duke makes the case for an undervalued and important skill that can lead to success: knowing when to quit. The power of knowing when to quit, to walk away, adds nuance to the old-school advice that only grit and perseverance are necessary to achieve goals.

But that’s not why I didn’t write this on Monday. First I wasn’t in the mood, I lacked inspiration, I was tired, then the week started with a rush of all the unattended to-do’s of the week. So no, I’m not going quietly!

Here is a nice little story from the book. The ants go marching … mostly

Have you ever watched ants walking in a single line toward a common destination? The ants go marching one by one, hurrah! That’s how we imagine them. And forager ants really do march that way.

Mostly.

When you look closer, what you’ll see is that while most of the ants are marching in line to and from the food source, there is always a certain percentage of the foragers that seem to be wandering around aimlessly. They aren’t following the program. They look suspiciously like freeloaders, shirking their responsibility to bring food back to the nest. Are they ants with an attitude? Are they rebels? Lazy malingerers? Ant anarchists? Anti-establishments ants? It turns out these ants serve a crucial purpose and that purpose has a lot to do with quitting.

When ants enter new territory, all the foragers are wandering around scattered across the area, the opposite of that classic marching-in-line that we expect to see. That’s because there is no established food source yet and that ants are searching for one. When an ant finds food, it brings it back to the nest. Along the way, it lays down a chemical scent called pheromone train, which is faint when it comes from just one ant. Any other ant that picks up that scent will follow the same trail. And if the food source is high enough in quality, they too will find food on the same path. As the chemical scent gets stronger, other ants begin to follow the trail, soon the traffic is greater which makes the trail stronger and stronger and you end up with the ants marching in one line.

But what about the others, the puzzle of the wandering ants? The answer is that these ants are continuing to explore the territory. This serves a vital purpose for the colony. First, some will be forced to quit the food source which can be unstable or disappear. Second, if the food source remains stable it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a better food source available than the one they’re currently exploiting. If all remain in the march in lockstep, they’ll never discover a better food source, because none of them will be looking for it.

Here is a lesson for us. Quitting might not be quitting at all, but a resistance to stop exploring.

The story of the wandering ants teaches us a valuable lesson about the importance of knowing when to stop and when to persevere. In our quest for growth and fulfilment, just as these tiny creatures explore new territories in search of nourishment, we too can be willing to venture beyond the familiar. Rather than being an act of weakness, abandonment (quitting the line) can sometimes be an act of wisdom and judgement, allowing for the redirection of our efforts towards more fruitful pursuits.

As we navigate our way through life’s complexities, we are reminded of the words of Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the will of God, His good, pleasing and perfect will. “

By renewing our minds and aligning ourselves with His purpose, we gain the clarity and discernment we need to navigate the twists and turns of our journey, the journey of others and the big picture of the journey of God and his people. So let us have the wisdom to know when to stop (quit the line) and when to persevere, trusting in God’s guidance every step of the way.

Have a good rest of the week.

Philemon

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

Chapter 13

Late last night I listened to a beautiful version of George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord performed by Billy Preston. To see an older Billy Preston playing a favourite Harrison song was most emotional. Not to mention Clapton and Harrison’s son on guitar with Paul and Ringo. Hard to describe the emotions this video made me feel, wonderful performance, well worth seeing and listening to!

At this point, I would like to express my deep appreciation to my dear friend Sandro. Every Monday, like clockwork, I send him the Monday Morning Blog full of thoughts and reflections. Shortly afterwards I am so often greeted/surprised with a perfectly fitting song, expertly chosen by Sandro. His deep understanding of music spans genres, including gospel, Negro spirituals and a host of other melodies. It’s truly remarkable!

Should we ever embark on the journey of co-authoring a book, we already have a treasure trove of songs to complement various themes and occasions. Imagine starting our book readings with a harmonious blend of prose and melody – a truly enchanting experience awaits us!

A few examples
In the rhythms of ’41, echoes the divine truth, God Told Nicodemus by Vocal Union

God told Nicodemus, God told Nicodemus
God, oh yes He did, He told Nicodemus
a man he must-a be born again

Well there was a man among the Pharisees
By the name of Nicodemus who did not believe
Same Nicodemus came to God by night
Talkin’ ’bout religion from the human sight
He brought along his silver, diamonds, and gold
Wanted to buy his way to Heaven and save his soul

Or to the Chapter 01 of 2024. Right time, right place, harmony of time and faith:
I received the fitting song by Dr. John – Right place wrong time.

I been in the right place
But it must have been the wrong time
I’d have said the right thing
But must have used the wrong line

Talking about Social Justice, Israel and such topics since October 7th 2023
we of course came past the song;

Go Down Moses by Louis Armstrong 

Go down Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell old Pharaoh
To let my people go!

Another; “Down by the Riverside”

Gonna lay down my burden
Down by the riverside (3×)
Gonna lay down my burden
Down by the riverside

What about the song about overcoming and longing for deliverance;
We Shall Overcome descended from “I’ll Overcome Some Day,” a hymn by Charles Albert Tindley.

We shall overcome, We shall overcome, We shall overcome, someday
Oh, deep in my heart, I know that I do believe, We shall overcome, someday.

Let us conclude with an old hymn by Fanny Crosby in 1873. “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine” Fanny J. Crosby, an American missionary, poet, lyricist and composer, was a prolific hymn writer who wrote more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs. Crosby was known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers”.

At six weeks old, Crosby caught a cold and developed an eye infection. Mustard poultices were applied, which Crosby said damaged her optic nerves and left her blind. At the age of eight, Crosby wrote her first poem describing her condition. She later said: “It seems to have been intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow, I should not accept it. According to her biographer Annie Willis, “Had it not been for her affliction, she might not have had so good an education or so great an influence, and certainly not so fine a memory.

While visiting a friend in 1873 she heard Feeby playing some music and asked Fanny what it made her think of… the words came pouring out of her mouth.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of his Spirit, washed in His blood

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission, perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Hebrews 10.22
So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water.

As we draw closer to God with sincere hearts and unwavering faith, may we find solace and inspiration in the timeless melodies that accompany us on this journey of life.

Philemon



Say it ain’t so

Chapter 12

There is a teen on TikTok who translates Bible stories into Gen-Z lingo. I’m not fluent in Gen-Z speak, so let’s have a look at it by Kyle Chastain and ChatGpt.

If you’re feeling prophetic, here’s some verses from Isaiah you may recognize.

Isaiah 9:6–7
Check it out: We’re getting a baby boy, a son’s coming our way, and he’s gonna carry the whole squad on his shoulders. They’re gonna call him Awesome Advisor, Super Strong God, Forever Dad, CEO of Chill. His rule and peace game? Straight-up endless. He’ll rule from David’s throne, bossing his kingdom, keeping it legit and righteous from here to eternity. And it’s all gonna go down ’cause the Lord Almighty’s got mad passion to make it happen.

Now, how about a few beatitudes from Jesus?

Matthew 5: 3–10
Big ups to those who are low-key, they’re gonna own heaven.
Shoutout to the ones grieving, they’ll get all the comfort.
Props to the chill peeps, they’ll score the Earth.
Big respect to those craving to do right, they’ll be totally satisfied.
Hats off to the kind-hearted, they’ll get kindness back.
Yay for the straight-up folks, they’ll def see God.
Cheers to the peace-creators, they’re gonna be known as God’s fam.
Huge respect to those getting heat for being righteous, Heaven’s all theirs.

Here’s an all-time favorite with a twist.

Psalm 23
God’s got my back, I’m all good.
He’s like, “Chill in these awesome fields, take a break by these calm waters.”
Totally rejuvenates my vibe. Keeps me on point for the right reasons.
Even when things get sus I’m not stressing, ’cause You’re right here with me. Your guidance and support? They’re my comfort zone.
You set me up with a feast, right in front of the haters. You’re treating me VIP style; my life’s just overflowing with blessings.
Count on Your kindness and love chasing me every single day, and I’m hanging in God’s crib for the long haul, forever.”

Okay, one more. This time with Jesus again.

Mark 9:35–37
Jesus gathered his crew and was like, “If you wanna be CEO, you’ve gotta be the ultimate helper, serving everyone else”. Then he brought over a kiddo, gave them a hug, and was like, “If you’re cool with little ones like this on my behalf, you’re cool with me. And being cool with me? That’s like being cool with the One who sent me.”

Yo, wishing you a lit Monday morning to kick off this fresh week!

Phil

Le Rêve


Chapter 11

Dbmaj7 – Eb – Db – Cm – Fm – Eb -Db – Cm – Fm -Eb – Dbmaj7

A progression of chords, not unusual, yet unique as each piece of muisic, put together by Moayad Aljabal, an Arabic self-taught pianist and composer. With his pieces he write tales of beauty with music, as this one called Le Rêve .

Embedded between rolling hills and whispering pines, lived a soul. It’s days were painted with the shades of a unique chord progression, like that of a daydream Dbmaj7 – Eb – Db – Cm – Fm echoing in a melody that echoed along the pine trees, the wind brushing through the rivers and reverberating on the riverbanks. As the evening dusk was bathed in a golden glow, the progression of the strings embraced the soul, bringing back memories of childhood laughter, sunlit afternoons as the mind wandered past familiar faces in the towns and villages where time was spent. The narrative took a turn with the Fm, with rustling leaves, contemplative moments, shadows of nostalgia, a silent witness to a long journey. In the midst of this near melancholy, a burst of optimism emerges on a hilltop, returning to Dbmaj7, bringing a look to the horizon. A sense of clarity and resilience with Eb standing tall, looking to the horizon. Le Rêve is not just a place; it is a state of mind, an embodiment of dreams of life’s unexpected twists and turns. Alive with much exploration, guided by curiosity, the symphony plunges into depths and heights, always with that extra peak of the 7 to the D-major. Sometimes it’s more of an opening, or it’s the closing of an evening air, with a stern sense of resolution, drifting into the pleasurable calm of a night’s sleep. Le Rêve unfolds with harmonies of joy, introspection, hope, resolution, bringing elements of timelessness.

I wonder if King Solomon had this tune playing in the background as he was in his contemplateive mode writing Ecclesiastes 3:1-8?

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Le Rêve – a time and new season for you this week!

Philemon

Generational drift or relay race

Chapter 10

Shortly before the passing of a preacher, he had a dream, revealing an athlete in a coffin, gripping a baton tightly. The symbolism, profound and enigmatic, beckons us to ponder its significance. The customary phrase “passing the baton” takes a nuanced turn in my preference – a notion of “passing the baton around.” It evokes the cyclical nature of life, a relay of generations where we collectively traverse the track.

The dream’s imagery, however, introduces a somber note. The athlete, once vibrant, now rests in a coffin with the baton still held firm. What interpretation lies within this scene? Could it be that the preacher failed to pass the baton on, hesitating in the relay of life? Or did he, perhaps, withdraw from the race altogether, bringing it to an unexpected halt?

As we reflect on the dream, it prompts us to consider our roles in the generational relay. Do we embrace the baton, passing it around with intention and continuity, or do we, at times, find ourselves on the sidelines, not ready to take the baton again? The dream shares a message, urging us to run together, ensuring the baton’s journey persists, and the race endures beyond our individual strides and waiting to the baton to come again and again as we journey together.


Hebrews 12:1 b – Therefore, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

In the grand stadium of an relay race, life unfolds,
A generational run, a tale to be told.
A track where all generations partake,
Some sprint ahead, some at a slower pace they make.

The baton of time, passed hand to hand,
An interwoven run, generations understand.
Some have run the course for years untold,
While others take their first steps, bold.

Cheers echo for the swift, the ones who lead,
Yet each runner, no matter their speed,
Contributes to the relay, this dance of faith,
Weaving a narrative, generation by generation, innate.

Some race with vigor, a fire in their stride,
While others with caution, in shadows they bide.
Yet life is a relay, not a solo affair,
We depend on each other, our burdens to share.

The track bears witness to stories untold,
Of triumphs, struggles, and moments so bold.
For every swift sprinter, there’s a steady pace,
A testament to the diversity, faith and grace.

The baton is passed, from youth to the old,
and again from old to youth not to get cold.
A relay of stories, more valuable than gold.
And as we run, our turn will soon arrive,
To carry the baton, to keep the flame alive.

So let us run with purpose, together as one,
In this generational race, until the race is done.
Cheering for each other, regardless of the speed,
For in unity, we fulfill the relay’s profound creed.

Wishing a good start to this new week!
Philemon

Doubt is a ladder not a home

Chapter 9

Luke 24:38 “He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?'” See,” he seems to say, “I give you my peace: why are ye troubled? why do you allow perplexing, harassing thoughts to arise in your hearts? The past is forgiven and forgotten.” “I come not, as a wrathful Judge to reckon with you for your unbelief and unfaithfulness. I bring to you something very different”.

Doubt from Cambridge Dictionary: (a feeling of) not being certain about something, especially about how good or true it is.

Why is doubt so appealing, even trendy, in today’s society? Why do some religious figures suggest that doubt signifies spiritual growth? Is doubt truly the companion of faith, or is it something else entirely? What does it say about our theological understanding when doubt is elevated as a virtue?

Brad East, Associate Professor of Theology at Abilene Christian University, has written about the basics of faith for the spiritually hungry and shares his thoughts in an essay. I’ll summarise some of the key points.

There are several pitfalls in embracing doubt. First, proponents tend to universalise a particular experience, presenting doubt as a pervasive challenge for all Christians, which may not be true in different historical and cultural contexts. Second, they elevate doubt as a necessary aspect of a mature faith, ignoring the diversity of experience and background among believers. Third, they exalt doubt as a virtue when its role in the spiritual journey is ambiguous. Finally, they fail to recognise doubt as a tool rather than an endpoint, akin to lingering on a ladder rather than reaching a destination.

At best, doubt is a ladder to climb. But ladders aren’t ends in themselves. We use them to get somewhere, to complete some job. Dwelling forever in perpetual doubt is like making one’s home on a ladder—technically possible but far from ideal.

Questions are not the same as doubts. Thomas Aquinas asked thousands of questions in his short life. Augustine’s Confessions alone contains more than 700 of them. But there’s the rub. Doubt begins with a loss of trust or credibility; questions do not. My children ask me questions every day, not because they doubt me, but because they trust me.

For this reason, saints and mystics adore questions, including questions that cannot be answered in this life. Questions arise from and foster our trust in God. Questions grow faith.

Doubt often entails questions, questions do not always entail doubt.

Faith, on the other hand, is not this desperate maintenance of inner certainty. It is just as accurately translated as faithfulness. To have faith is to keep faith, to remain faithful to God, to trust Him and to become trustworthy in return.

Doubt can be part of that struggle. The struggle is real, lifelong and common to us all. But the struggle is not the point. The point is where we are going. The point is who we follow. We are not condemned to struggle and suffer and wonder forever. Doubt may have been, is now, a ladder, but it’s not a home!

Wishing a good start to this new week.
Philemon

Writing on the wall

Chapter 8

Good Monday Morning to this new week!

Daniel reads the words “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” and interprets them.

Meanwhile the Persian Empire had invaded Babylon. Today it would be like Iran invading Iraq. Geographically, ancient Babylon was Iraq and ancient Persia was Iran. And Nabonidus had left his excavations to try to lead the Babylonian armies against Persia, but he was being defeated. Back to the story; The king and everyone else was intoxicated, and the banquet had become a drunken orgy. What was happening in this room was X-rated. It was vile. In his intoxicated state, the king’s inhibitions were lowered and he impulsively decided to commit an act of sacrilege against the God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar had taken holy vessels from Jerusalem fifty years before, and they had remained in the royal museum or treasury. In his drunkenness and arrogance, Belshazzar made sacrilege against the holiness of God. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking. The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled. The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. Don’t be alarmed. Don’t look so pale! There is a man in your kingdom who had the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, king Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners. He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”So Daniel was brought before the king; Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means. You, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. Daniel was blunt. But he was also calm and confident. That is, he is simply telling the truth and letting his words do the work. He isn’t out of control. He isn’t frantic. He is calm, but he is as blunt as an anvil. Daniel continues;  The Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms of earth and sets over them anyone He wishes.

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

In short; Numbered, weighed, and broken in two. History repeats itself? The expression “the writing on the wall” is often used metaphorically today to convey the idea that there are clear signs or indications that something is about to happen or that a situation is not favorable and yet …

Summing up these reflections on division, the writing on the wall, and their consequential impact, the undeniable truth emerges—the writing on the wall leads us to one of the most captivating aspects of our God, Jehovah: His profound understanding of grace.

I draw my conclusion, resonating with the sentiments expressed in Lamentations 3:22-23.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.

The kindness of LORD JEHOVAH that does not fail and his mercies that do not end

Wishing you a good start to this new week!
Philemon



Lessons from Masada

Chapter 7

Yahweh is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I have taken refuge, my shield and the horn of my deliverance, my stronghold. Psalm 18.2

Upon arriving in Israel on October 6th in Bethlehem, none of us had any idea of what lay ahead for Israel, Palestine and the whole region. Reflecting on these events from last year, I’m drawn back to a particular visit amidst the tumult of October 7th. Despite the unfolding events, we managed to embark on a day trip a few days later to the remarkable historical site of Masada.

Masada from the word Metzuda for fortress – a mountain fortress overlooking the shores of the Dead Sea where Jewish insurgents held out for three years against the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem. In Short, at 70 AC, after the second temple in Jerusalem was demolished by the Romans, the last known fortress for the Jews was Masada. Its location- near the Dead Sea and not so far from Jerusalem made it easy for refugees to escape to Masada. For the Romans to break into this fort, it took them a very long siege using three Roman legions, just to find out that the whole people of Masada committed suicide saying “It is better to die free than live as slaves”.

There are two main gates for the stronghold: the main gate, where one can enter by car-cable or a very organized trail- the snake trail. The minor gate (the ramp gate), is known where the Roman soldiers entered the site. The ramp trail is much shorter than the snake trail, but no car cable on this site. Between those sites, there is a small and sometimes very steep trail. It is known as the runner trail, which was the path of the Legion’s runners.

Though the breadth of the violence was great, and the implications overwhelming, the message conveyed by the Sicarii was undeniable:

We will fight for justice, we will fight for what we believe, and we will not give in.

Perhaps there’s something to be learned from this story. On the surface, the terrible and stark realities are evident. There’s a deeper lesson, though, a lesson of resilience and perseverance.

This story consistently underscores the significance of steadfastly upholding our beliefs and advocating for them without wavering.

Wishing all a good start to this new week!
Philemon


Domino or Butterfly effect?

Chapter 6

Hosea makes this enigmatic statement; quite the opposite of the domino effect – but we’ll just get to that!

They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind. Hosea 8.7

When making decisions, we may be drawn to ideas that seem appealing at first but fall apart upon closer examination. I recently read a passage that caught my interest, to be honest, really bothered me as I also heard a conversation in which the same concept was mentioned.

‘If you base every decision on the Bible, then one good decision will lead to the next; it’s a domino effect. But bear in mind that the process also works in reverse.’ If someone chooses not to base their decisions on the Bible, it can lead to a negative domino effect – a chain reaction that goes from bad to worse.

The domino effect, also known as the Domino Theory, was originally based on the fear of communism spreading from the Soviet Union, which was America’s former ally in WW2 against Nazi Germany. It suggests that if one domino falls, it can trigger a chain reaction where all the dominoes fall.

Causal reasoning and the connection between cause and effect imply that everything in our lives is intricately linked. However, this idea leaves me unsettled as I question whether it accurately captures the complexity of our experiences.

What if life isn’t entirely governed by causality? What if peculiar and unexplainable events occur? Perhaps, at times, we are merely recipients of good or bad luck, and it seems as though a higher power, through God in moments of mercy, intervenes in our lives.

I prefer the “butterfly effect.” While the domino effect suggests that one event triggers a sequence of similar events, the butterfly effect, on the other hand, is a concept from chaos theory that suggests small, seemingly insignificant actions or events can lead to significant and unpredictable consequences. It implies that a minor change in one part of a system can have far-reaching effects throughout the system.

Hosea prophesies that those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). The small decisions made along the way can have far-reaching and devastating consequences.

Jesus speaks of the ultimate rewards associated with selfless, kind, and humane decisions, as opposed to those who live for themselves and ignore or abuse the weak and downtrodden.

At times, I feel as delicate and unsteady as a butterfly in a hurricane. Reason can sometimes appear unreasonable, and outcomes may seem irreconcilable with our beliefs.

However, we must choose whether to trust in the God of order amidst chaos or to reject Him and be tossed about by the winds of controversy. I choose faith, having witnessed a lot of His grace to believe in His goodness and received much of His patience along the way.

Butterfly, will you fly on your wings or rest in the cleft of the rock? Your choices also, not only, not just a domino in a long chain of events, have a significant impact on every circumstance, situation, and decision, whether you perceive it amidst the chaos or not.

As for now, I prefer a butterfly effect over the domino effect!

Wishing you a great start to this new week!

Philemon