Friday, August 31, 2007

Private Confession And Absolution

As a Lutheran Christian I have the privilege of going to Private Confession and Absolution whenever I feel the need. I really should go more often because it helps me recall who I am and who God is. Well, since I'm "The Angry Gnome" I went to confession last night. Our church has regular hours posted for Private Confession and Absolution prior to the Thursday night Holy Eucharist. There I confessed my unreasonable anger and my tendency to mock others and my excessive sarcasm along with my myriad other sins. My pastor counseled me, after absolving me of my sins, that this behavior is a sign of false pride. Looking down on others, I attempt to exalt myself, this is, indeed, The Original Sin of Adam. "I will be like God!" Of course the cure is to put to death the Old Adam through daily repentance and recollection of my baptism and to immerse myself in the Holy Scriptures and in prayer. Thank the Lord that He has provided us this consolation in the church, Confession, Absolution and the Lord's very body and blood shed for us for the forgiveness of sins given to us personally into our hands and mouth through the Holy Supper. Praise the Lord!

Two good explanations of the benefits of Private Confession And Absolution are here:


and

An Explanation of The Small Catechism, Confession

Luke 14: 7-11

7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8"When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guilt Post

Now that I have invited some people to actually read my blog I am feeling the pressure to actually write something down, even when nothing has popped into my head so far today! The purpose of this post is to tell all of my many readers, all two of you :-), that I may not post each and every day. I sometimes post several days in a row and then skip a week or even more if the urge is not there. Just know it is a sometime thing and not an every day thing.

Today in Dublin it is supposed to be over 100 degrees, this is only our second hot spell of the summer so we can't really complain.

Weather for the next 5 days:

5-Day Forecast for ZIP Code 94568

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

102° F | 60° F
39° C | 16° C
101° F | 59° F
38° C | 15° C
94° F | 57° F
34° C | 14° C
90° F | 56° F
32° C | 13° C
91° F | 56° F
33° C | 13° C
Clear Clear Clear Clear Clear

On days like this I stay home and huddle under the air conditioning :0 By Friday I'll feel safe going outdoors again though so I may take the opportunity then of going on a nice long bike ride by myself. Going with Serenity or Lora is fun but I don't get very much exercise at 6 year old speeds.

That is it for this morning, I'll post more later if the urge strikes, for now I need to wake up Serenity and take her to school.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Angry Gnome?

I suppose you might wonder about the title of this blog. The Angry Gnome? Say what?

I chose this title after talking with a coworker, Tom Byrd, one day. He was looking at a photo of me standing on top of Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park and made a little red pointed hat out of paper and stuck it on the computer monitor. "Watch out for the angry gnome" he said.

Here is the photo, you'll just have to visualize the red hat because I don't do photo-shop things:

Well, after that conversation I thought about starting up this blog as a replacement for my regular one. But that still doesn't explain the Angry part of the name. Anyone who doesn't know me would have no problem with the Gnome part, just look at the photo! :-) But the Angry part? Well, I am sad to say that the Angry part is due to my day to day behavior. :-(

Somehow I have gained a reputation for being somewhat "prickly." Even when I'm trying my hardest to be nice I come across as quite harsh. I recognize this in myself but have not been able to shift my speech and manner very far toward the gentle side of things.

So I am the Angry Gnome, mostly to remind me to think about how I'm presenting myself to the world.

Anger is not always a sin. That being said, anger is almost always a sin. The only time it is not a sin is when it is on behalf of another, righteous anger. Sadly, that is not the sort of anger that I exhibit 99.9% of the time. No, what I show is simply ill-tempered crotchetiness. Like last night on the way home from work I encountered a swarm of tourists at the entrance to the train station. They were unfamiliar with the system and were sort of milling about in confusion. My reaction was anger that they were delaying me when I was running a shade late, I was afraid they would make me miss my train. I wove through the crowd in a huff, muttering things about stupid tourists, and dashed down to the platform where I caught my train with seconds to spare. Still flush from my encounter above I entered the train and there I saw a mother and young daughter spread out over 4 seats, toys and purses blocking the seats next to them. I gave out a loud and disgusted sigh and glared at them, thinking in my mind of all the cutting things I could say to them, "Did you pay for 4 seats you jerk?" for example. The thing is, there were dozens of perfectly good empty seats all around that I could, and did, sit in. They caused no harm to anyone, and actually moved their things after I huffed at them.

All that is to explain where I'm coming from here with the Angry Gnome. I doubt my nature will change all that much, sure I hope that I will gain on the issue, but this side of heaven I will, without doubt, continue to battle this sin.

So I'll be writing down my thoughts here, sometimes angry and sometimes not, but always, due to the title, I'll have a reminder to keep my anger in bounds. Or so I hope.

OK, to be totally honest, mostly I just think "The Angry Gnome" is an amusing name and everything else I said is just an excuse to use it :-)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Photo Map

Flickr has a cool feature that lets you put your pictures on a map. I've posted up my three most recent trips on it as a sample. Check it out at http://www.flickr.com/photos/devich/map/

Now that is just too cool :-)

Reminding myself of the obvious...

This something that ought to be obvious but is really something I must remind myself of each and every day of my life:

I sin and I repent, every day. That is something that is so frustrating to me that I can hardly stand it. I want to see improvement, but it seems that I don't. Even when my outer behavior seems to be better my heart remains filled with hate and lust and sin of every sort. Thanks be to God for the salvation we have in our Lord Jesus Christ! In Him we have eternal life, our vile sins covered and our old man drowned and dead forever, new life in Christ is in me NOW, and this is a wonderful and indescribably joyous bit of news! My salvation depends on Christ alone, not on my behavior, thank the Lord!

"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 7:14-8:1, ESV)

[1]

[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Photos uploaded to Flickr

Welcome to my new Blog, The Angry Gnome. I've set up this blog because my previous one was hosted on devich.org and I couldn't set up "feeds" from it. Feeds allow you to get an email notice whenever there is a post to the blog for example. Just use the form at the top of this page on the right to sign up.

We, Lora, Serenity and I, went to the Renaissance Fair in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco yesterday where we met up with a co-worker, Tom and his wife Lucy. There are a few photos on my "Flickr" site.


There are also a number of photos there of our trips to Six Flags in Vallejo and our camping trip to Sequoia National Park. Sort of a "what I did on my summer vacation" thing. :-)