Saturday, August 20, 2011

Please, bug me.

Some people don’t want to be bothered. God is not one of them.

Jesus told his followers of a man who banged on his neighbor’s door in the middle of the night because he needed extra food for an unexpected guest. The neighbor said, “Go away. It’s late, everyone’s in bed, I’m not getting up.” But he did. He got up and gave the man what he needed.

Why? Not because he liked the guy, but because he kept banging on the door.

Do we pray like that? Do we go to God and pound on the door until we get an answer? Jesus said we should. He told us to ask, seek, and knock.

Jesus didn’t speak English, so I don’t think He lined the words up like that so they’d spell out a neat little acrostic. I believe He was showing us three levels of communication—and commitment.

When I worked as a reporter for a mid-size daily newspaper, I used these levels nearly every day.

“Is flagpole one word or two?” I could shoot out a question in the newsroom while sitting at my desk, and hear someone throw back an answer. Asking required very little effort.

Seeking took a little more work. I had to stop what I was doing, pick up the Associated Press Stylebook and look up the answer. It meant searching, hunting, discerning, discovering.

Knocking involved total commitment. If I wanted to see the chief editor or general manager, I had to get out of my chair, go to his office and knock on the door. That was the only way to talk to one of them face to face to get my answer, find direction, lodge a complaint, or pick up an assignment. It took the most effort.

So what kind of prayers do we pray? How much effort do we put into talking to God? Yes, the Lord knows the very thoughts of our hearts, unlike the editor or general manager. But I believe Jesus gave us a bit of vital information when He said to ask, seek and knock.

How badly do we want to hear from God?

Are we pounding on the door?

Luke 11

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Catching Up in the World of Not

I just bought a Nook. I used to think they came with a Cranny, but this one didn’t.

It took one entire afternoon to get the thing powered up, set up, registered, online and everything else because I come from a different world. In my world, people watch TV on their television, not their telephones. They listen to music on stereos not earplugs. But I’m learning: I’m now reading via something that is Not a bOOK.

The most unsettling thing about my Not bOOK is the touch screen. Of course there’s not actually anything on it to touch, and after being told all my childhood years to keep my fingers off the television screen and the windows and the mirrors, I feel like I’m breaking some kind of universal law by touching it in the first place.

It depends, however, on what part I touch. Not that I can feel what I’m touching, like keys on a keyboard or a piano. It’s more like pointing than touching. I point my finger at an icon—a word that used to mean little statues in grottoes—and voila! the screen changes. Touch it for too long, like say, a second or more, and it changes again into something I didn’t want. I aim for nano second—that moment in time that is Not a second.

Another Not with a Not bOOK is the page. They’re called pages but it takes more than one screen’s worth to hold all the words on what was once a page, so when I “turn” one by barely touching the edge of the screen, I may get two or three screens before the used-to-be page number actually changes. So they’re not really pages on my new Not bOOK. Not that I care, mind you.

In a way, it’s fun playing catch-up in the Not world. What I need now is Nice-cream: dessert that does Not have sugar, fat or calories.