Sunday Afternoon Time Capsule: August 13, 2005

I inadvertently posted today’s post yesterday. So, I am going to pull something out of the vault. The following is a post I originally made on another blog. It’s still up but I haven’t posted there in years. I’m sharing it here because I plan to revisit the topic tomorrow. I plan to examine my choices and then decide it I want to keep them or update them. Should be fun.

Top Ten Songs Ever

I was watching some folks on a message board I frequent try to compile their top ten songs ever. It was interesting seeing some of the people and tunes they picked. I will be honest, I didn’t know a lot of them. Some of these people are what I call “music snobs” and their lists looked like resumes for music snobbery. It did get me to thinking about what songs I would put on such a list.

I don’t know that I can even begin to make such a list. Do I limit it to certain genres or time periods? Do I only include sacred music? Do I leave off sacred music? What sort of criteria do I use? After pondering it for two days I have even less of an idea how to do it. I tell you what I will do though. I’ll give you ten songs that made a huge impression on me. They aren’t what I’d call the greatest songs ever, but they were instrumental in making me who I am right now.

Sweet Is The Night – Electric Light Orchestra
Judas’ Kiss – Petra
Once In A Lifetime – Chicago
Have You Ever Seen The Rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Hank Williams
I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones
Overdose – George Huntley
Reach Out – Stryper
The Trees – Rush
Near The Cross (the hymn)

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Right Here Waiting

What is it about cheesy ballads that draws me in? I know that I am not alone in this, but I do feel as if some people look at me like I’m a freak for enjoying songs like this. Maybe it’s a guy thing. It seems as if ladies are allowed (even encouraged) to love them. I don’t think it’s fair. Let’s think about it for a minute, most of the good ones are written BY men (with the exception of Diane Warren’s output). Even hard rock bands record them. Now I realize that they do it so they can hopefully get girls to buy the albums and come to the shows.

Like I said…not fair. Why can’t I enjoy the smooth vocal stylings of Peter Cetera or Richard Marx without having some buddy of mine give me a bunch of grief? It’s pop music. It’s not a measuring tool for my masculinity. The truth is that most of the sappy love songs I love have memories attached to them. I don’t just listen to this stuff indiscriminately. There are certain bands I like (Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Journey, etc…) that have padded their careers with these songs. There are also certain singers (the aforementioned Mr. Marx being one) who I like. I don’t feel like I should have to turn in my Man Card for doing so.

With that being said…I give you one of my absolute favorites. It’s a great song and it just so happens to have sentimental thoughts connected to it because it came out while I was beginning my relationship with Robin. In fact, this is one of our songs. Sit back and enjoy.

I just realized that I posted this a day early. It was supposed to be Sunday’s post. Oh well…today you get two for the price of one.

The Way Life’s Meant To Be

The Way Life’s Meant To Be is track five on side one of the original LP. I still have the copy I got for Christmas in sixth grade but I’m sad to say that it is scratched in a couple of places. It is on my current wish list if any of you would like ideas for my birthday. I did get it on cassette in high school and played it until the tape disintegrated. I did update to CD in the Nineties and downloaded the Special Edition off of iTunes a few years ago. None of this is really important to this post but I thought I’d give you a little bit of my history with this album. Back to the song at hand.

If there is a theme song for the entire album it is this track. That theme is idea of finding yourself in the future and realizing that home is no longer home. I think my favorite verse is this one.

Although it’s only a day since I was taken away

And left standing here looking in wonder (It’s your life, It’s your life)

Oh the ground at my feet, maybe it’s the old street

But everything that I know lies under (It’s your life, It’s your life)

And when I look what they’ve done to this place that was home

Shame is all that I feel

Oh, and I wonder, yes I wonder

Is this the way life’s meant to be

Unlike the protagonist of the album’s supposed story, I don’t get to return to 1981 at the end. All of the changes (both good and bad) are here to stay. All the confusion and disillusionment remains and I am left to deal with it. I have read that beginning with Time, Jeff Lynne was pretty much phoning it in so that he could get out of his record contract. While there may be some truth to that, I find it hard to believe that those albums (Time, Secret Messages, Balance Of Power) are nothing more than filler material that have no meaning. If nothing else, they all spoke to me during my teen years. I have difficulty accepting the fact that Jeff Lynne really wasn’t trying to say anything significant with those songs, especially since they say so much to me on a personal level.

I don’t feel this way as much as I used to, but there were many times during the past thirty years when I looked at my situation and wondered if it really was the way life was supposed to be. I made a lot of mistakes and took a lot of missteps that sent me down some crazy roads. The thought that life had somehow gotten messed up crossed my mind more times that I can count. I would be lying if I said that there are times even now when I wonder if I really ended up where I am supposed to be. I am more confident these days but I am still human, there are still doubts that arise from time to time. I can honestly say that this type of thinking doesn’t permeate my thoughts like it did fifteen or twenty years ago. I feel that God, even with my mistakes, has brought me to a place where He intends to use me.

So, when I hear this song nowadays it doesn’t being up the angst and doubt that it once did. I may pause and contemplate where I am, wondering if I am making the best out of my current situation, but I no longer fret about past mistakes and fear that my life is somehow out of whack or missing something. I give God credit for that. I believe that there are an infinite number of places I could be right now and that God would redeem any of them. For the first time in many years I am truly happy doing what I am doing. I feel like that this IS the way life’s meant to be and I am trying my very best to make the most of it.

Getting To The Point

My buddy Paul is the one who introduced me to the music of Electric Light Orchestra back in sixth grade. There are times when it feels just like yesterday, even though I have lived three-fourths of my life since then. It is hard to believe that it has been thirty-four years since we first sat on the floor of his house in Nashville, North Carolina, playing K.C. Munchkin on his Magnavox Odessey II. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, it was a first generation gaming console that was out at the same time as the Atari 2600. K.C. Munchkin was their take on Pac-Man. It wasn’t much better than the Atari version but it did give you the option to create your own mazes, which was pretty cool at the time.

Paul has two older sisters but to be honest, I don’t remember seeing them much. I am sure that I must have at least bumped into them a time or two but I don’t recall it. What I do remember is that one of them had some Electric Light Orchestra albums on 8-track tapes. This is another detail that I may be confusing after 30+ years. I think they belonged to one of his sisters but for all I know, they could have been his. He will have to chime in and set the record straight. The three albums I remember listening to were: Out Of The Blue, Discovery, and the soundtrack to Xanadu. I was immediately hooked and got their newest album (Time) for Christmas that year. I have discussed that particular album many times and in great detail. It may not be considered their greatest work, but for many people of my generation it is their best album. It is probably my favorite album of all time.

I have told many people that sixth grade was one of the defining moments in my life. It was the best year of my childhood and I don’t even have to stop and think about it. It really is the point at which most of my memories begin. I can recall various things from my early childhood but for the most part, I don’t remember much about it. Third grade sticks out for several reasons. The most notable one is the loss of my unborn sister Katherine. That is a moment that has never left me and I doubt that it ever will. I do remember certain teachers and a handful of friends between kindergarten and fifth grade but it’s not until sixth grade that I have vivid recollections. I don’t know if that’s weird or not. Paul and I have even discussed this and he has a similar experience. I don’t know what it was about that year that has made it so pivotal. I can’t begin to explain it. It just is.

Perhaps it is because it was so short-lived. I changed schools the next year and Paul moved to Kansas the following year. We did still hang out and do things during seventh grade but it wasn’t quite the same. Our little clique had been split up. Some of us stayed at the same school and some of us were shipped off. I do remember the first part of seventh grade being absolutely dreadful. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit it now, but I cried for the first week or so. I hated leaving my friends and I wasn’t too terribly excited about making new ones. I eventually did and before too long, Paul and I had lost touch with one another. It’s one of those things that happen in life and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Two years earlier I would have laughed at anyone who would have even suggested such an absurd idea.

You may be thinking, “Great story, but what does it have to do with the song you posted?” I’m glad you asked.

Sometime during the Nineties, Paul and I reconnected. I don’t remember the exact year but I know it was after I got married but before Geo was born. I want to say it was around 1993 or so. Perhaps Paul could chime in here as well. I know that we had started to correspond sporadically by the time I went to Bible college the first time. That was August of 1994. We would write the occasional letter and include a mix tape. It wasn’t regular correspondence by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a start. There was another lull between us until social media began to take off and we connected through various outlets. If I had to guess, I would say that we have been consistently corresponding for at least the last ten years or so. Facebook (for all its evils) has made it very easy. My family and I even had a chance to briefly visit Paul and his family a couple of years ago.

Once again, you’re thinking, “Yeah…what about the song?” Be patient, I’m getting to it. In fact, I’m getting to the point. Ha! I kill myself.

The song in question comes from Electric Light Orchestra’s 1986 album Balance Of Power. It was the last album Jeff Lynne released under that name until 2001’s Zoom. Balance Of Power is NOT considered a classic album by many (if any) fans of E.L.O. Truth be told, I’m the only one I know who really likes it. It came out right about the time that my high school girlfriend and I broke up for good. I was also beginning to realize that life was flying by and that things were starting to spin out of control. That may sound a bit melodramatic for someone who was sixteen at the time. However, that is exactly how I felt. Everything that I had planned and wished for were starting to fall apart and I didn’t feel like I could do anything about it.

Up until the middle of my senior year of high school I had wanted to go to UNC and become a teacher. I thought I would teach English (or History) and write books. That is what I dreamed of. The truth was that ever since I changed schools back in seventh grade, my academic life had gone down hill. I had never made anything less than a B until then. When I got my first C in seventh grade, I was devastated. I swore that it would never happen again. By the time I hit tenth grade my interest in school was gone. I still had the dream but I foolishly believed that I could coast along and achieve it with little to no effort. I soon discovered how wrong I was.

That is what I think of when I listen to this song (the entire album actually). I had gotten it through Columbia House (Ya’ll remember them?) and I played it constantly. At the time I was mostly listening to bands like Def Leppard and Whitesnake but hearing Jeff Lynne’s voice reminded me of sixth grade and of all the things that had changed. Even then I understood how important that one year was. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t one of those kids who sat around in the dark feeling depressed all the time. I was pretty carefree. I had a job and I had friends. I did things. I wasn’t at home contemplating suicide or anything like that. However, by the time I reached graduation and realized that I was never going to get into UNC, I was never going to be a teacher, and I was never going to have another girlfriend…well…you could say I was feeling a bit melancholy.

With the exception of third grade, the last half of my senior year was the worst time of my life. My grandfather died in January and that began my relationship with alcohol. I had experimented some before that but it wasn’t until he died and all of the other things in my life seem to spin out of control that I began to drink regularly. I worked somewhere where alcohol was readily available and there were adults in my life at the time who didn’t mind providing it. When I saw all of my friends getting accepted to college or joining the military and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do, it only made things worse. The one thing about school that I did like was being in marching band with my friends and for reasons that still baffle me, I dropped out my senior year. I honestly felt like my life was over.

So, when I popped that tape into my boombox (yes…that’s what we called them) and hit play, Jeff Lynne’s voice came booming out (see what I did there) and his lyrics touched me in a way that no others had done before that point.

It’s out of control

And there’s nothing I can do now

Out of control

Spinning softly through the blue now

You look beyond these walls

As the meaning starts to dawn

It’s getting to the point

Getting to the point

It’s out of control (Nothing I can do)

Like a fire that keeps on burning

And nobody knows (What I’m going through)

And the thoughts just keep on turning

And all you had to say

Is that you were gonna stay

It’s getting to the point

It’s getting to the point

I am not exaggerating when I say that he was expressing the thoughts that were in my head. There have been very few songs that totally captured the way I felt at a certain moment and this is one of them.

It’s getting to the point

Where nobody can stop it now

It’s getting to the point

Of no return

And all that I can do

Is stand and watch it now

Watch it burn, burn, burn

Fortunately, when I hear the song now it reminds me that I was able to leave a very dark place in my life. There is still a tinge of sadness when I think about what might have been but I know that I am where I need to be. I used to dream about going back and changing a lot of the things that I did back then. Some of them still haunt me to this day. However, if changing even one of them would prevent me from being where I am today, I’d leave it all alone. I have finally gotten to the point where I have made peace with my past and have moved on.

Dave Or Sammy?

There are some debates that have been raging since the dawn of time. For many in my generation, fans of hard rock music in particular, none is more divisive than which version of Van Halen is better. In fact, most people actually refer to the eras as if they are different bands. There is Van Halen and then there is Van Hagar. I guess there may be a bit of truth to this but you still have to remember that up until the most recent reunion with David Lee Roth, both incarnations had three of the same guys. Eddie, Alex, and Michael were the core of Van Halen and remained so, even with the ill-fated attempt with Gary Cherone on vocals. I guess it is only normal that I have my opinion on this topic that still continues to divide us.

I would like to begin by saying that my two favorite Van Halen (none of this Van Hagar nonsense for me) are the 1978 debut album with Roth and 5150, which, coincidentally, is the debut with Sammy. The two albums were released eight years apart but I discovered them at pretty much the same time. I turned sixteen on June 2, 1970. I got my driver’s license and my first car at that moment. The car was, also coincidentally, a 1978 Toyota Celica. It was a really nice car, with one glaring exception. It still had an 8-track player in it. Mind you, it was a very nice 8-track, but it was still the car stereo kiss of death in 1986. I made the best of it and borrowed a couple of tapes to listen to while I was driving. My parents did have some but they were mostly gospel groups and one live Elvis album. In a previous post I talked about gifts changing my life, the first two 8-tracks I was given did just that.

The first was Hi Infidelity by REO Speedwagon. I knew some of those songs from the radio so it was a totally acceptable album to crank. To this day, I still know every song on it by heart. However, it was the second one that really make a mark on me. I honestly don’t remember who gave them to me, my brain is saying that it was George (we called him Kelly) Winstead, but I’m not 100% sure. What I do know is that the first time I popped in the debut album from Van Halen, it blew me away. I had heard of Van Halen. I knew some of their stuff. At that point I’m pretty sure I had 1984 on cassette. All of my friends who were serious about their hard rock and metal assured me that nothing beat their first two albums. I soon discovered what they were talking about.

What’s interesting is that by the summer of 1986, when I was discovering the wonder of Eruption and Jamie’s Crying, Roth was already gone and 5150 was spawning video hits on M-TV. As odd as it may seem, I was hearing Runnin’ With The Devil and Why Can’t This Be Love for the first time…at the same time. I know that is probably odd but it is the way it happened for me. I can’t say for certain that I had never heard the first album (I did have friends who listened to a lot of hard rock and metal) before then, but like Rush, I really didn’t have a point of reference outside of Jump, Panama, and Hot For Teacher. Even with Sammy singing, 5150 seemed like a logical extension from 1984 so it didn’t phase me. I didn’t delve deep into Van Halen’s catalog until much later.

If backed into a corner I will probably say that I like Sammy’s stuff better. I say that because it is true. The fist Van Halen album got played a lot in my car (I know all those songs by heart as well) but 5150 got played the rest of the time. It continued to stay in my personal rotation after I got my second car and the 8-track was gone. I admit that both of those albums have deep sentimental feelings attached to them. I am probably more drawn to the memories associated to them than the actual songs.

Freeze This Moment A Little Bit Longer

I can remember riding around the back roads of Nash county with Ken Medlin, listening to WRDU 106.1 FM out of Raleigh, North Carolina, and hearing a song that I had never heard before. We were just driving around; talking and killing time on one of my nights off from Pizza Inn. Ken lived in Stanhope and I lived just outside the city limits of Rocky Mount, which was about 20 miles away. I did a lot of driving around back then. Sometimes it was with Ken and sometimes it was with one of my friends from work. Back in 1987, gasoline was cheap enough that we never considered how much we were wasting. We got out and drove and didn’t think about it.

There were nights when I would cruise up and down Sunset Avenue in Rocky Mount (which was called The Strip), looking for friends to hook up with. Cruising was much more fun when you had a car full of people. I did a lot of that between the ages of sixteen and twenty. There were several places where you could park and hang out and that is what we did. The police usually left us alone unless the crowd got too big or too loud. That is why I enjoyed driving out in the country with Ken. No distractions and no trouble. But…back to the song.

Ken and I liked a lot of the same music but we weren’t 100% compatible. I listened to a little more hard rock and pop than he did, but the rock format (classic rock in today’s terms) of WRDU played enough stuff that we both could listen without too much discomfort. I don’t exactly remember the time of year that we were riding around but I know it was before Christmas of 1987. The usual suspects were getting played when the announcer (it may have been Bob “The Blade”) came on and said that they were getting ready to play the new song from Rush. I had heard of Rush and knew Tom Sawyer but that was about it. I honestly didn’t think much of it until the opening arpeggios of Time Stand Still came chiming through the speakers.

I was mesmerized. It didn’t sound like what I thought Rush was supposed to sound like. I later learned that Rush were known for their stylistic changes. It was the one thing that both impressed and annoyed fans. At the time, I had no real point of reference other than Tom Sawyer. I can remember thinking, “This doesn’t sound like Rush to me.” It wasn’t heavy enough and it featured Aimee Mann from Til Tuesday singing along with Geddy. It was an incredible pop song but stood out from most of the stuff on the radio because of the incredible musicianship of the band. There have been very few songs that made me an instant fan of a band, but Time Stand Still is one of them.

Ken bought me the album for Christmas that year. That’s how I know it was before then. I honestly don’t remember what I got him. It may have been something by Genesis. He may not remember either. I don’t guess it really matters. What matters is that he gave me THAT album. There are very few presents which legitimately changed my life. Getting that Rush cassette from Ken was one of them. Even though many Rush fans don’t like that album, it was one of my favorites because it was the point at which I became a fan. I soon bought every album they had released and bean to absorb them. By the time I graduated the following June, they had become my favorite band; replacing Def Leppard and Stryper. They also opened me up to trying different kinds of music. U2 and R.E.M. soon followed.

I think the reason this particular Rush song spoke (and speaks) to me so loudly is the lyrics. Neil Peart is known for his lyrics and I believe these may be some of the finest he has ever written. The title of this post comes from the song and it is a feeling that seems to have haunted me my entire life. I often lament the fact that time seems so fleeting. I will be 45 next week and I am really feeling old these days. It was one thing to watch my kids grow up and go through things that I don’t remember experiencing, it is something different when they are hitting all those benchmarks that I still vividly recall. Neil’s lyrics seem more timely to me now than they ever have. In fact, I don’t think I truly understood them at seventeen or eighteen. I thought I knew what he was trying to say but it was just a vague, scary concept. I now know.

The final verse is my absolute favorite part of the song. Neil’s drum fills are a close second. Right after the musical build up, the final lyrics go like this:

Summer’s going fast, night’s growing colder

Children growing up, old friends growing older

Freeze this moment a little bit longer

Make each sensation a little bit stronger

Experience slips away

Experience slips away

The innocence slips away

Very few pop/rock songs can bring a tear to my eye. I always get a weird feeling in my chest when I hear it and I can honestly say the one time I heard it live, tears were in my eyes. It is weird how music can affect us that way. This is just one example of it in my life. I imagine that I will be sharing more as this thing continues.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Don’t let the incredibly goofy video through you off. I honestly don’t know what they were thinking when they made it. The song is still great.

In My Dreams

I met Robin sometime during the summer of 1988. I had just graduated from high school and was working at Pizza Inn in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. She had just finished eleventh grade and was working at the delivery store. I didn’t think much about her until the end of the summer when they closed the delivery store and moved it into the main building. She transitioned to being a waitress and I began working with her nearly every day. By the time September rolled around we had become very good friends and I realized that I was attracted to her…VERY attracted to her. There were a couple of other girls in the picture at the time but there was something about Robin that captivated me. She did show interest in me so I was hopeful that something would develop.

Once she went back to school I saw her less. I was playing in a band and by the time November arrived I has left Pizza Inn and was working third shift at Abbott Labs. I did take some classes at the community college but I wasn’t very serious about it. I continued to call Robin and even wrote her letters. For those of you who don’t know anything about that, perhaps I’ll dedicate a future post to that. I’ll include the art of making mixtapes as well, since most of the letters included one.

I often joke about how Robin and I got together. I like to tell people that we met and it was love at first sight for me. I then like to give her a hard time and say that I chased her around for a year until she got tired and gave in. While certain elements of that are true, it was a little more complicated than that. During the year between September 1988 and September 3, 1989, the day we officially became a couple, I had a girlfriend who I was fairly serious about and I even reconnected with my high school girlfriend briefly. I say all that to show that there was a slight possibility that Robin and I might not have ended up with one another. In fact, the month before we started dating I almost gave up on her completely. That is a story for another post though.

I posted the REO Speedwagon video because that was the song that defined how I felt about Robin during that year. It originally came out when I was in eleventh grade but got a second life in May of 1988 when it was included on a greatest hits album. I honestly don’t know how many nights I sat in my room, slaving over a letter that I would never send, while this song played in the background. This was before Nirvana (and their cohorts) made “teen angst” a catchphrase. I guess that goth kids probably understood that level of melancholy but they were listening to The Cure and The Smiths. I was part of the M-TV crowd and Kevin Cronin perfectly summed up the despair that I felt every night as I lay in bed dreaming about a world where Robin loved me.

Yeah. I know. I probably just lost any cool points that I might have had. I don’t know how many of my friends can imagine me as a lovesick eighteen year old kid. The very thought of me sitting cross legged on the floor, trying to craft the perfect mix to demonstrate my love, may make them laugh. However, those who REALLY know me probably aren’t surprised at all. I am not an overly emotional person and I don’t wear my feelings on my sleeve, but I am a hopeless romantic at heart. Ask Robin and she will confirm it. It is true that my youthful exuberance is long gone, but there is still part of that kid inside. I still sit and try to perfect the perfect mix for birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t take hours these days because I usually put them together in iTunes and burn them to CD. I admit, it’s not as romantic and it doesn’t take anywhere near the amount of time. The thought and the intent is still there though.

I hope you enjoyed this little autobiographical rant. I have a birthday in a week so I’m feeling my mortality. Expect more in the coming days.

Monday Rewind: 5.25.15

scouts

Chris marched with the Boy Scouts this morning in the Memorial Day parade over in Troy. This is his second year doing so. It’s hard to believe that we have been up here almost two years. November 11 will make two years since I packed up the U-Haul and made the drive. The time has flown by so quickly. There are days when it seems like just yesterday that we showed up here in Bradford county. However, there are days when it feels like we have been here for years. Part of me will always feel connected to eastern North Carolina but this truly feels like home.

We had a fairly uneventful weekend. I preached my second sermon in my series on the book of Romans. I feel like it went well. There is just so much stuff to cover that I either have to gloss over some of it or take three or four months to preach through the entire book. I’m trying to hit the key points but I still feel like its’ going to take at least ten weeks. We’ll see how it goes. At least I’ve gotten through the first chapter.

Spring is finally here. There have been a couple of cooler days and some that were unseasonably warm but for the most part, it’s really nice right now. I haven’t brought the window unit up from the basement and fired it up yet. I really would like to hold out until the end of June but we will see. I’m trying to keep the electric bill down since we had such a long (and cold) winter. The church does pay it but I still like to be a good steward when it comes to it.

We’re already working on VBS. It will be here before we know it. I’m also trying to finish up all the stuff I need to have for my week of camp in July. That’s going to sneak up on me if I’m not careful. I’m excited about the opportunity but am still a little anxious because I’ve never been the dean for an entire week like this. I’ve co-deaned some and I’ve worked a lot of weeks as an adult volunteer but those aren’t the same as planning out the entire week.

So yeah…that’s about it for tonight.

Dang…I Missed A Day

Well…my goal of posting every day this week is shattered. Yesterday was extremely busy and I just did not have the time to sit down and write anything. By the time I got home from the Board of Directors meeting for Sylvan Hills Camp I was beat. I actually fell asleep on the couch trying to watch the Golden State/Houston game. I did wake up in time to see the final two minutes so I count that as a win.

Even though I didn’t post every day I do feel as if I am making progress. My goal (for this thing) is to be a consistent blogger who has something meaningful to say. I know that I have mentioned different things that I would like to write about but I have yet to find a groove and stick to it. I have been all over the place but the truth it, that’s the way my brain works. Some days are spent pondering theological issues, some day are spent pondering my own mortality, and some days are spent just jamming on old music. That’s real life for me.

I made my very first attempt (ever) at yard beautification this afternoon. Other than mowing grass and pulling the occasional weed, yard work has never been high on my list of things that I enjoy doing. I don’t know if it is because I am getting older or if it’s because we already have some nice looking flowers that grow naturally but I decided to plant some flowers. Here is a photo.

IMG_2168

We will see how successful it is. It looks nice for now. These are supposed to be high sunlight so I put them on the side of the house with no shade. The stones are all from the yard. We’ve got TONS of them laying around and have decided to start using them. Our next project is in the front by the porch but we haven’t quite figured out what we’re going to do yet. I admit…I kind of enjoyed it. I guess I need to get some proper gloves and tools.

God Revealed In Creation: Thoughts On Romans 1

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)

How much can we know about God from creation alone? Paul begins this section by proclaiming that the effects of God’s wrath are already evident in the world today. We do not have to wait for Christ to return to see His judgment in action. It is already being poured out on those who consciously hide the truth of His existence. It seems that Paul is saying that this isn’t a case of people not seeing or understanding. He says that God has clearly revealed Himself in a manner that is plain to see. It has been on display since the creation of the world.

Paul also says that they have no excuse. Creation is enough proof that there is a God. However, they denied Him and worshiped created things instead. The next two verses go on to say that God surrendered them to their own impure thoughts.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

I’m still turning this over in my mind but it does make me wonder about those who only received general revelation. If denying it is enough to condemn you, does accepting it save you if you receive no other revelation from God?