Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Good Pruning

So many thoughts are swirling through my head this morning...perhaps it's the coffee, perhaps it's the aquarium in the kitchen that is needing water.  With all the talk on the news about the gorilla, the mother, the little boy, Donald Trump, Veterans, Hillary Clinton, Thunder basketball, bad teachers, good teachers....the truth is really hard to discern.  Who is right?  Who is wrong?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why do good things happen to bad people?  Maybe if someone had "raised their kids right" we wouldn't have kids falling into enclosures, scary politicians, bad teachers, etc. but my mind keeps returning to the pink ink pen I was using yesterday taking some notes.  Let me explain...

I've been reading a book along with some good friends.  We are looking forward to meeting the author (Heath Bradley) for he will be our minister come July.  It's handy that he's written a book so we can get a bit of a feel for some of his thoughts and views.  The book is on hell and universal salvation.  Not a subject I'd normally select however I'm finding much more in this book than the title suggests.

Yesterday I was reading chapter 3, "A Hell of a Problem for Biblical Interpretation" and was really impressed by his well thought out arguments for the belief in universal salvation.  But what really struck me was the discussion of Matthew 25:31-46 (simply click and read if you're not familiar or to refresh your memory) he included the following paragraph from Polkinghorne God of Hope:

We are neither wholly sheep nor wholly goat.  Perhaps then, judgement is not simply a retrospective assessment of what we have been but it includes the perspective offer of what we might become.  Perhaps judgement is a process rather than a verdict.  Perhaps its fire in the cleansing fire that burns away the dross of our lives; its sufferings the consequence of the knife wielded by the diving Surgeon who wounds to heal.  Perhaps judgement builds up the sheep and diminishes the goat in each one of us.

I don't know about you but this, this really got me.  I know sometimes the goat in me is, punishment such negative imagery.  Last week I even said to my friends "not punishment, discipline...punishment has such negative connotations."  Then yesterday I backed it up and re-read about punishment in Heath's book where he explains punishment as taken from the Greek word kolasis and I felt a sudden "whoosh" of relief.  My Mom has always been very fond of the imagery in the Bible relating vine, branches, etc. she was one of the first teachers of Grow Your Faith and Give It Away in the late 80's/early 90's!  I love gardening so I was over the moon excited to read that kolasis is an agricultural term which meant "the pruning of trees to make them grow better." (Barclay)  Wow! Can you say epiphany?  Because that gave me a HUGE one!

Those of you who have been reading my blog know that I am a firm believer in garden analogies and comparisons.  Here is an excerpt from Mama's Treasures August 2011

Angel Girl Anna
Those of you who know her can see she is 100% Anna and true to herself every moment of life.  She is strong, confident, well spoken and willing to go that extra mile for those in need.  She has that something and as a Mom, I'm not sure how she got it.  Since she was small, I have sprinkled not with water but with little morsels of wisdom.  Little things that seem so simple and not important when viewed alone but add up to something significant when you stack them all together.  Funny thing is, it is difficult to pinpoint which of those sprinklings could have made the difference in her having something to stand for; I think each and everyone was vital in her becoming the confident Anna who stands for something.  I love the young woman she has become; when I pick her up from class, a 4-H meeting or simply hanging out with friends, she extends her hand anticipating that I will place mine in hers then begins the babble...sharing with me the important things that have happened.  I treasure her in turn sprinkling me :)  I hope one day when I am old, she will visit and continue to hold my hand as she shares her life with me.
So in essence I guess it's the sprinkles that = something!  In the world, God holds the watering can--through Jesus' life, Bible stories and prayer/meditation, He sprinkles us with the bits and pieces that allow us to have something worth standing for.  I hope and pray that as I sprinkle Melissa and Jessica they will develop that something as they grow.  What are you sprinkling on your kids?  Are they growing strong 'spines' to stand for the something you believe in?

So according to Barclay and the Bible  "punishment" or "kolasis" which is meant to make one more productive or bear more fruit is kind of like my sprinkles theory.   I've been blessed to have incredible parents who generously applied sprinkles and I've been crazy blessed to have three awesome kids who understand and respect the importance sprinkles.  Now I have a better understanding the something of sprinkles is we are like a beautiful tree that has a strong trunk and root system that has been grafted with lots of love and tended with kolasis so that we can be more productive and produce wonderful fruit!



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