Man and Woman were walking by a range of hills. Suddenly, a gleam of light caught Woman’s eye. She glanced up, and saw a beautiful blue sparkle high up on the side of a cliff. “Oh my,” she said, “how lovely! I wonder what that is?”
Without a moment’s hesitation, Man ran over and started climbing. Woman held her breath as his fingers and toes sought out tiny ledges to hold onto, and gasped once when he almost fell. But before she knew it, he had retrieved his prize and was kneeling before her, holding up a nearly transparent rock that glittered with all the colors of the sun.
That night by the fire, while she was admiring her gift, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “You were so brave, today. I bet you aren’t scared to do anything!”
Man stiffened. Without a word, he got up and walked away into the darkness.
He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”
The Woman smiled and said to the serpent, “Not at all. Actually, God did not tell me anything.”
The serpent was puzzled. “Wait, you mean you think you can eat from any tree in the garden?”
“Yes, that’s right,” she said, humming to herself as she sniffed a flower.
“This is too easy,” murmured the serpent. “Well then, have your tried the fruit from this tree here in the center? It is the best in the garden. In fact, it will make you smarter than your husband, as smart as God! You really need to experience it for yourself.”
The Woman saw that the tree was beautiful, that its fruit was good to eat, and that it would make her wise.
We acknowledge you as our King.
Free us from sin so we can be happy with you
Teach us how to respect each other,
and help each other feel valuable,
So we can work together to spread your Kingdom.
In Which We Gain Power Over Money By Giving It Away
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” — Matthew 5:7
Even if we escape the pride of trusting completely in our own “name”, we still must guard against trusting in things instead of God. The purest form of this is greed or avarice, which can be defined as treating money as an “end” — i.e., an extension of the self. This is in contrast to generosity, which considers money primarily a “means” of showing mercy to others.
In Which We Are Rescued from Our Folly by God’s Love
Love is the primary virtue of the Heart. It is both a Decision that gives rise to Emotions, as well an Emotion that gives rise to Decisions — and it needs both to thrive. It can be defined as “the ability to pursue another’s glory — even at the cost of your own.”
Love is particularly needed by the Fool, whose emotional damage drives a cycle of self-punishment disguised as the pursuit of pleasure. The only way out is to purify our hearts by receiving God’s love and forgiveness, to the point where we love Him more than the false gods we’ve served — and discover what it means to genuinely love ourselves…
Still, it only takes me about four hours per class, which is two late night waiting-to-feed-Rohan sessions (assuming he behaves), so I should be able to keep up.
The real problem is that my lesson topics have gone in a completely different direction that originally envisioned. More, my pastor has a slightly different vision for how things should fit together. Given the time timeframes, it is essential we get on the same page (and stick to it, if possible).
Here’s my current vision for what is now being called “Theological Foundations”. Hopefully my pastor and I can converge on this syllabus soon (once he’s no longer busy with his new grandson 🙂