Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Paying My Fine, Insomnia, & Taking History Seriously

I originally wrote this article back in June 2002... then revised it in 2005. What you're reading here is a revised edition of that revision. Wish I could say that I've learned everything in this article and no longer need to hear it, but that would be lying. Big time.

Paying My Fine

Right around the time Braeden was born (wow... 12 & a half years ago - time flies when you're having fun!) I didn't turn in and/or renew a number of library books. (Don't try this at home, campers... just ask Shari about nearly getting her Aunt Martha arrested for a book she'd lost.)
Anyway, the fines piled up and I stopped going to the library out of embarrassment. Not the best way to fix the problem, eh?

Around Christmas (some 6 months later), I finally paid off my fines and started checking stuff out again! Back to borrowing piles of nonfiction books - focusing on history & the social sciences. (Shari has given me no end of grief for reading a book entitled Salt: A World History with comments like, "What next? Pepper?")


Stress & exhaustion tend to conspire to give me LESS rest... I have difficulty falling asleep. My usual solutions: 

   a. play board games via computer with people in Germany via the Internet

   b. read a particularly weighty book (most recently, the second part of a biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson and/or Dallas Willard's Renovation of the Heart) [2013 note: as of yet, I have not finished either of the books mentioned, some eleven years later]

   c. watch TV
If I choose to watch late-night TV, I end up watching re-runs of Law & Order or C.S.I. or documentaries on PBS.
Taking History Seriously

So with a steady diet of PBS & nonfiction library books, it's not surprising that I think that history is pretty darn important. "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it" - at least, that's how I remember the quote (meaning it's probably not quite right).

Since I've already paraphrased it once, I'll do it again to make my point(s):

"Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past."

"Those who ignore the Bible are doomed to repeat the mistakes chronicled in the Bible."
"Those who ignore their own sins/screw-ups are doomed to repeat their sins/screw-ups."

Ignorance is NOT bliss - it's a round trip ticket to the same ugly destinations we've seen before.

Ignore the history of racism and we'll end up with ethnic cleansing & more incidents like the razing of Rosewood, FL, and the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, OK.

Ignore the history of war and we'll end up with continent-shattering mistakes like the 100 Year's War, the multiple wars in Vietnam, or tragedies of Somalia.

Ignore the Bible and we'll end up indulging in the same stupid sins that plagued the people of Scripture - adultery, greed, lying, pride, etc.

Ignore our own past and we'll end up making the same mistakes over and over... end up committing the same sins.

Paying My Fine, Part II

How do we run from that kind of ignorance?

It starts with "going back to the library." I know that in my life, I spend way too much time running from my mistakes - and from anything that might remind me of them.

Like the Bible.

Anyway, just like I had to go "face the music" (and the librarian), we've got to turn to God and acknowledge that we have messed up.

The question for the week is: What's your library?

   A broken relationship?

      A business deal you reneged on?

         Words that should have never been spoken?

            Casual disregard for faithfulness, sexual or otherwise?

The second question is: How do you step off the cycle of ignorance?

   Join a small group and/or Sunday School class to better study the Bible?

      Spend more time in Scripture on your own?

         Ask yourself & God some very honest questions?

            All of the above?

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