God Is Big: How Facebook Helped Jana Riess Grieve

A pinecone along Lake Michigan. Photo 2007 Barbara Falconer Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

A very touching story on Patheos by author Jana Riess about how Facebook helped her grieve.

Apparently, FB has a policy of shutting down a FB account if it hears that the owner has died — much to the distress of friends and family members who have grieved together on the deceased person’s FB site.

Your thoughts? Have you had this experience?

 

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Wrestling With the Bible: Is God Inspecting My Thoughts?

Ferns growing wild near Lake Michigan

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

By the looks of this week’s scripture, God has high hopes and standards for the human race.

There are the Ten Commandments, of course. Our lives – spiritual and earthbound – will go a lot better if we love God heartily, banish our idols, keep the Sabbath, honor our elders, and eschew murder, theft, adultery, lies and covetous scheming. Read More »

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Wrestling With the Bible: What’s My Cross?

Photo 2011 BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

What does it mean to take up one’s cross and follow Jesus? What does it mean to imitate Abram who said yes when God Almighty asked him to leave home and family and “walk before me, and be blameless”?

Are we supposed to quit our jobs and join the Peace Corps? Take monastic vows? Give all our money to Save the Children? Turn our guest rooms into homeless shelters?

That’s the feeling I get from Jesus’ stern words to his disciples and the crowd, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Read More »

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Wrestling With the Bible: Is God Just Trying to Keep Us in the Game?

Peter at 6. Photo 1987 Barbara Falconer Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

God is a lot like my son Peter.

When Peter was four or five years old, he spent an afternoon with a little friend who was developmentally disabled. Peter was ready to play that afternoon. That is to say, Peter was ready to play – with somebody.

I watched my son try strategy after strategy to engage the other little boy. Patiently, he put aside one superhero figure after another, one truck, one train, one pile of blocks until at last he found something that held the other boy’s attention and allowed him to interact genuinely with Peter as his friend.

A few years later, Peter discovered Monopoly. Read More »

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Wrestling With the Bible: God Is Not Nice

the helix nebula photo from NASA

The Helix Nebula, NASA photo

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I like to think of God as nice.

Nice as in helping out with some extra wine at a wedding when the host’s supply runs out. Nice as in “Suffer little children . . . to come unto me.” Nice as in forgiving everybody’s sins, Jacob’s, David’s, an adulteress’s, mine.

In the 2 Kings passage, a chariot and horses of fire descend to the earth as the prophet Elijah is taken up to heaven in a powerful whirlwind. It’s all the loyal Elisha, standing by his mentor till the end, can do to hold his ground and keep his eyes on the disappearing Elijah. Read More »

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© 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Barbara Falconer Newhall. and www.GodsBigBlog.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog's author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Barbara Falconer Newhall and www.GodBigBlog.com with appropriate and specifc direction to the original content. Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA. The Psalms are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. Material originally published and copyrighted by the Oakland Tribune is posted here by permission. WordPress theme adapted from Thematic Theme Framework