Dogs at the Table

...or to put it another way, "Perish, priest!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fixing the Lamp

It seems that the lamp that has always burned bright to light my workspace and favourite reading (and sleeping) chair had worn out. For the last year or two, I've turned this lamp of mine on and off by unplugging it. The twisty switch at the top didn't function, but the fixture itself seemed fine. But last weekend, whatever bit of plastic or ceramic or wire that kept the bulb connected finally let go.

I spent part of the day trying to buy a new work lamp, but the only one I could find at a local hardware store had a magnifying glass attached, and poor though my vision is, I thought it an unneccesary and expensive extra. But I found, instead, a similar fixture by itself, and decided to make a stab at fixing the lamp myself.

When I got home, I discovered that the wires were soldered into the old fixture. This meant that I had to dig out a seldom used soldering iron that was about 30 years old, and remarkably, it worked as soon as I plugged it in (this was a good thing, as it reminded me to unplug the lamp, which I hadn't done). Changing the fixture was a snap -- two screws and the mounting bolt -- and within 10 minutes had my old cherished lamp back fully functioning.

Jesus says that God's word is like a lamp to my feet. I wonder if that lamp is like the one beside my chair? It's not much good if it isn't pointed the right way, or if the bulb is too dim. If it is swung away from my shoulder, I can't read; if it's too close, I can't see anything else in the room; if the bulb is too bright it gets hot and fries the critical bits inside the switch. If God's word is a lamp for me, it needs to be at the right distance: neither too dim, nor too bright; too diffuse or too tightly focused. Like my study lamp, God's word is only one of the sources of illumination for my life -- it provides clarity but doesn't hold me captive -- in other words, I don't spend my whole life sitting in my chair, comfortable though it is. In the Anglican tradition, perhaps Richard Hooker was sitting in his chair and noticed that scripture need tradition and reason in order to be effective.

And for people that say that the lamp is all that we need, perhaps they should get out of their chair once in a while and notice that the dog is under the coffee table next to them.

Today's weigh-in: 223 lbs. (still too much light on the supper table)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Lamp Burns Dim

It's late. I've spent the last two days in Diabetic School -- it's where you go to learn how to manage diabetes. Yup, I'm an overweight old guy. All the things that didn't make a difference a year ago changed when I turned 50 (that would be February if you're counting). Borderline cholesterol, marginal high blood pressure, and the blood sugars that were simply a curiosity in January became a stern warning from the doctor and the old-guy cocktail: lipitor, altase, metformin and avandia. Lose 20 pounds. Reduce the stress in your life. Manage your life, don't let it take control of you. You can read about it for yourself if you want (or talk to 15 of your friends since chances are one of them is diabetic) -- -- but if you're like me, you won't until the good Dr. Bruce shows you the bad news. Or the good news. It turns out I'm the captain of a team that includes medical specialists, dieticians, nurses, a psychologist, a social worker and maybe even the people that are part of my life. I wasn't even allowed to be on the team until the diabetes clicked in.

Diabetes is never cured, only managed.

Faith is a lot like diabetes. It will never really fix anything, but it is a constant part of life that is always present. It asks you to monitor and keep track of things. It invites a different level of awareness. It requires you to remember and recall things that once seemed inconsequential but are now important. Meaningful conversations about faith, like diabetes, tend to take place only among those that are persons of faith (or diabetic). And faith invites you to the table in a different way, just as you will always approach the table differently with diabetes.

But there is a carefully prepared place for you at the table.

Today's weigh-in: 225 (it must be fluid retention)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Even the little dogs...

The church is not the easiest place to be making one's life. I am reminded of Jesus' encounter with the woman with the 12-year haemorrhage, where she suggests that even if she wasn't one of the chosen, the little dogs still feed from the scraps at the master's table.

I am one of the little dogs.

Since I'm not a biblical fundamentalist, a conservative doctrinaire, nor a bond-servant to orthodoxy, I have been told I'm not welcome at the master's table.

But I'm willing to feed on the scraps.

Today's Weigh-in: 223.5 (well fed)