Above All, or Else. I need some help.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 4:23 New International Version

Anybody ever pin you with an “or else”?  What a strange little word, else.  It can either mean a vague way to refer to an additional person, place, or thing, or be used as a threat.  The above verse can imply both meanings if one meditates on it a while.

This blog’s purpose is not to pick apart Bible verses and lay out a sermon, so do not look for a lacquered pew and start doodling on a visitor’s card.  A preacher I am not.  Rather, I am looking for some help.

Recently I used my “smart” phone to access the comment portion of a post on my blog.  It was a thought provoking (I thought anyway) piece and I wanted to acknowledge someone’s visit and comment on their thought therein.  In the lower part of the screen an advertisement popped up about a subject not even remotely related to the post.  It was a fart app ad.  Yes, I wrote fart.  Yes, I see you grin.  (I am pushing 51 and I still find noises coming out of our cabooses odd.  I often laugh right along like I was still in Mrs. Lambert’s boring English class in seventh grade when Karen simultaneously sneezed and passed gas.  “Passed gas.”  Who came up with that phrase anyhow?  Here is a phrase you never hear at the dinner table…”Please pass the gas.”) What was I writing about?  Oh, when I saw the advertisement my heart sank.

Then last night my wife told me that when she accessed my blog with her phone, explicit advertisements popped up.  This is not why I write or share my thoughts.  It seems to be happening only when accessed from a phone.  Please accept my apologies for this uninvited visual attack if this has happened to you.  For years and years I have heard my wife tell the kids when they spent the night at a friend’s, or were invited to a party, “guard your heart.”

I am looking into this situation.  I will be checking my phone security levels and such and the security level of this blog.  Will you do me a favor and please let me know if this has happened to you.  Bloggers, any clue?  Any suggestions as to why this might be happening?  I certainly don’t want to contribute to the myriad of “else’s” that we contend with everyday in this overstuffed information culture.  Our hearts are worth guarding so we can offer pure wellspring life to those around us.

I am sorry.

Bonhoeffer by Metaxas

I am about half way through the book Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.  It has been very enlightening and challenging to observe a life threaded into a volatile and unbelievable time in our world’s history.  Metaxas’ writing of Bonhoeffer is 500 plus pages long and goes into(thus far)a very detailed look at religious angles of the Hitler ascension to power, starting with the anti-Semitism and eventually the spiritual war against all the Christians also who didn’t give allegiance to the Reich Church.  Ultimately Bonhoeffer gave his life for his resistance.

Metaxas’ writing surprised me a few times.  Descriptions added in contexts that would stop me short and think…”Now that is brilliant writing, that is funny.”  The book is very serious in a lot of respects, but the insert of apparent humor parallels Bonhoeffer’s wit amidst the fortitude he had against the impending suppressive Reich.  Here are a couple of examples:

From page 208  “Bonhoeffer followed every detail of these hemorrhoidal isometrics from England via  his mother’s almost daily updates.”

From page 242  “Heckel evaded speaking on the Jewish question by pursuing a strategy of double-barreled flatulence:”…

Metaxas descriptions often stop me  short for a moment.  Writing envy might be a way to describe it, and not only the humorous descriptions.

But this morning it was a quote from Bonhoeffer that stopped me short.

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety.  For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe.  Peace is the opposite of security.  To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself.  Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes.  Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God.  They are won when the way leads to the cross.”  Page 241

I am still thinking on this.