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World Views

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Listening in On Silence

We live in a world where silence is a precious commodity. How many of us have noise canceling headphones? We are constantly inundated with background noise. Muzak in elevators, stores and restaurants, phone ringtones, electronic beeps and pings,  ubiquitous tv monitors blare news or sports, not to mention music from car stereos, so loud that you can't hear yourself think, often accompanied along with the thump, thump, thump of bass so intense it makes your teeth rattle, throw in sirens and motorcycles, each one adds to the incessant assault on us.

 Music and silence–how I detest them both!….[Hell] has been occupied by Noise–Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile–Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end….The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. (The Screwtape Letters, emphasis added) . C.S. Lewis aptly points to the spiritual  dimension and source  of  "Noise-Noise." It is interesting to note that Lewis published "Screwtape Letters" in 1942, if he were alive today he would have to publish an updated and revised edition.

Silence can be a punishment for the prisoner in solitary confinement, or for some, silence is a refuge from the din of daily life. Jack Bogut a KDKA radio personality, coined the term "audio aspirin." For me taking an "audio aspirin" as a kid was walking into the Carnegie Library on a Saturday morning or St. Joseph's Church on Sunday, both places were like entering into a "cone of silence," a sense of peace washed over me. I still have fond memories of doing so. Heaven is ‘the regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence.’ (C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters)                                                  

Do you practice silence? Silence is a spiritual discipline where we create an environment for God to speak to us , by reading and meditating on the Word, prayer and worship. "For God alone, my soul waits in silence" (Psalm 62:1), "Let all the world keep silence before him." (Habakkuk 2:20), "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10), "He leads me beside still waters . He restores my soul." (Psalm 23:2b-3a). These are just some of many Bible verses that talk about being silent before the Lord. 

I have been practicing silence since I was a kid. I have always enjoyed getting up at 0: dark 30 before everyone else to read a book and think. I enjoyed the quiet time before my family trickled down the steps for breakfast and the start of the day's commotion. Now, decades later it is a time where I read my Bible,  pray and meditate. I find it to be an anchor for the day ahead. I have a habit of being 30-45 minutes early for work and I use it to catch up on email or to pray for my work shift, co-workers, patients ,doctors and the nurses we serve. I walk through the door with a sense of peace, often into a high stress environment, the difference it makes in the shift and my attitude towards it is palpable. 

Socrates considered by many to be the wisest man in Greece once stated, "The unexamined life is not worth living." What did he mean? He meant that an unexamined human life is deprived of the meaning and the purpose of existence. Like all Greek philosophers there is wisdom and truth to what he said but it falls short of the Christian worldview. Christian's examine our lives in the light of Scripture, we are sinners in need of a savior. The Spirit convicts us and leads us into all truth. We need silence before the Lord to listen for that "still small voice," that spoke to Elijah many years ago, and still speaks to us today.  Zechariah 4:6 tells us that God's work is "not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit." Do you hear him, are you listening? Take time and be quiet before the Lord. "You will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left.'" (Isaiah 30:21)  AMEN!

 

 

Posted by Art Flickinger

Twentieth Anniversary of 9/11 and Why World Views Matter

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. We will never forget the 2,977 souls taken from us that day nor the acts of evil that perpetrated them.  For most of us it is a yearly remembrance, but those who lost a loved one, it is the empty chair around the dinner table, that vacant spot next to you in bed, or wondering what your mom or dad would think and asking  yourself, "Do you think they would be proud of me?"  It is a lingering emptiness that never will be requited in this world.

For the last 2000 thousand years western civilization has flourished under the influence of the Christian worldview. The fact that this worldview recognizes a transcendent truth that is absolute, has enabled science, mathematics and the arts to flourish. Christians started the first hospitals, orphanages and universities and this worldview has enabled many advances in medicine and science. Other truth's contained in this worldview are that we live in a fallen world, man is intrinsically sinful, however all men are created in the image of God and therefore have dignity and self worth. This worldview allows for the existence of good and evil and the need for a Savior, namely Jesus Christ. So what happened? Well along came "The Enlightenment" whose philosophy did not recognize absolute truth, man being the center of all things, can use his reasoning and intellect to discover any truth that is knowable. No longer was God necessary to be the arbiter of truth, religion just got in the way. This philosophy has wormed its way gradually into the Academy and the ruling elites that are the products of it. They don't acknowledge the existence of evil and man's true nature. 

We are in a battle of worldviews. To put it simply it is the west against the rest. We are and have been at war with the Radical Islam's worldview. According to them the world is divided into two parts, Islam and those who must be conquered, subjugated and forced to live under Shariah Law. It is a religion of conquest. There is no appeasing or reasoning with these folks. A plane load of cash left on the tarmac of a airport is a foolish way to persuade them to stop refining uranium, they will take the cash and do what they want to do anyway, they will just have more money to accomplish their goal. In America we are divided and the Christian worldview is being pushed aside, much to our detriment. Radical Islam will have us for lunch if we continue to try appease and please them. What motivates them is a Hellfire missile blowing up their fearless leader's Toyota pickup truck, with him in it. That's why Worldviews matter.

As I listen to the bell toll as it echoes across the 911 Memorial plaza, along with the names of those who died there, I am reminded of  the last two lines of a John Donnes poem, "For Whom the Bell Tolls, It tolls for thee." Each person that died that day tore a hole in America and in all of our hearts. May God bless them, their loved ones they left behind and God bless America.

 

Posted by Art Flickinger

Reflection on Abortion

 

                                                                                                                                  

Was I conceived in love, lust or violence? No matter, I am here. I have been blessed by the creator and have been given the gift of life, made in the image of God. I rejoice in the Creator, for he knew me before I was formed in my mother's womb. He knows all the days of my life, and he loved me first. My inner voice and soul where created the instant I came into being.

I am content and I am growing every day. I move my arms, legs and I found my mouth, my thumb is a perfect fit for it! One morning, perfectly content , I sensed an alien presence. I am frightened. I was being poked and prodded, it hurt. All of a sudden a searing pain, made me scream in agony, but no one could hear me. I saw my leg being torn off, the pain was too much and I lost consciousness and then nothing. I felt my soul leave my body. Hovering above the room I saw my remains being tossed into the trash. I am safe now in Jesus's arms. There are many like me here, and we all ask the same question, WHY?

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart..." Isaiah (40:11)                                        

 

Posted by Art Flickinger

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