1 Corinthians 13:8 - Tongues Have Not Ceased

November 13, 2018

When the subject of speaking in tongues comes up, some people will tell you that tongues are no more and that they were just something that was only for the time of the early church. This sounds plausible on first hearing, especially in some parts of the world where there are very few people who speak in tongues. Where I live, in the upper Midwest of the United States, very few people have heard of speaking in tongues and even fewer actually do it. No matter how true it sounds, there are many tens (likely hundreds) of millions of Pentecostals in the world who speak in tongues. This is a significant amount of observable evidence that cannot easily be dismissed. Further, the scripture that the assertion is based upon is easily shown to have been taken out of context.

The scripture that everyone quotes is 1 Corinthians 13:8. Now, as everyone also knows, this is the love chapter. Lots of reference to love here. And that's fine, love is an important topic. Yet, what all of these 'everyone' manage to miss is that the love chapter is part of the three chapters where Paul explains about the gifts of the Spirit. This means that the love chapter is not just about love, but about the importance of using the gifts of the Spirit in love, else they become meaningless. Love is the strongest force in the universe and is primary amongst all others. Hence, even though the gifts of the Spirit are awesome and powerful, they pale in comparison to the power of love.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:8

Looking at 1 Corinthians 13:8, we do indeed see that tongues will cease. Of course, we also see that prophecies and knowledge will also cease. I would argue that knowledge hasn't ceased in the world yet (wisdom is another matter entirely) so why would we expect tongues to have either, but the context of the verse tells us that we are dealing with gifts of the Spirit, so that argument doesn't fly here, tempting though it is to make it. Instead, knowing a little about Biblical Hermeneutics, we consider the verse in the context of the surrounding verses. Verse 8 is the first sentence of a paragraph, so we consider the entire proceeding paragraph and see that it discusses the supremacy of love, so that explains the first part, but sheds no light on how, why or when tongues will cease. Looking at the immediately successive verses, we get more useful information.

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Cover Song - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) performed by Simply Three

October 23, 2018

I haven't run a cover song in a while, so let's dip into my collection and go with a classical version of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) originally written by the Eurythmics and here performed by Simply Three.

I've always loved Annie Lennox's singing voice, but in this version the violin does a wonderful job of capturing the vocal part.

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Life Principle - Make the Best Decision You Can With What You Know Now

October 18, 2018

Make the best decision you can with what you know now.

My father

If you learn more later, you can make a better decision then.

Me (as a corollary to the above wisdom from my father)

In the world of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), the inability to arrive at a decision is known as analysis paralysis. Those of you who don't live in that world may know it more simply as being indecisive. Either way it's a bad thing. It's frustrating to the indecisive one and those around them and at the end of the day it brings more problems than it avoids. Voltaire captured the heart of the matter with his saying "Perfect is the enemy of good". (And then the computer science world reduced it down to "Worse is better".)

Voltaire understood what most indecisive people do not, and that is that if you are trying to decide between two almost equally good options, then it really does not particularly matter which one you select in the long term. If the decision were between an good option and a bad option, there would be no indecision, so we can ignore this scenario. The closer the options are in expected outcome, the more likely most people will be to experience decision making paralysis. Yet, despite this truth, most people will agonize over their decisions, clinging firmly to the belief that they must make a perfect decision or they will have failed.

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School Bus First Week Thoughts

October 4, 2018

Peter and I in a school bus

A quick follow-up to last weeks post about my new job as a School Bus Driver.

I had my first solo route drive last Thursday. My morning route is known as the Blue Route and it is pretty much driving due North out of town, picking up students until I get to my furthest pickup and then heading directly South while picking up a few more and then delivering them to their appropriate schools.

It's not a complicated route, but suitable for the newest driver. I have the route memorized now and am most of the way through getting my timings right. I'm still working on getting my turnarounds perfect and then I'll get to work on learning my students names.

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Big Yellow School Bus

September 28, 2018

Me in a big yellow school bus

I posted this picture on Facebook on Monday and I thought it might be time to update everyone on the life of a freshly licensed school bus driver.

For my non-U.S. readers, this is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, but the "big yellow" part will likely mean nothing to you. School buses are not unusual in other parts of the world, nor in Britain. The biggest difference is that U.S. school buses are bright yellow (well, technically they are Federal standard "National School Bus Glossy Yellow" and there is an interesting YouTube video here if you want more explanation.)

I've tried a number of other approaches to earning a living that will fit well with being a pastor and this seems like a good fit. Perhaps not what most people might expect me to do after working for more than a quarter of a century as a computer programmer, but corporate computer programming has a pretty long list of reasons why I'll never miss it, so I'm happy to be driving a bus. (I'll rant about being a programmer in Corporate America another time.) My priority is pastoring and living and working in the city that I'm called to, so no more driving into Madison every day if I can help it.

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