A Polar bear walks into a bar and says to the bartender, "I'll have a gin.........................and tonic."
The Bartender says, "What's with the big pause?"
The bear answers, "I don't know. My father had them, too!"
Comment & Forward>>>
We Remember Jill Carattini
Aldous Huxley likened a person's memory to one's own collection of private literature. Housed within the confines of memory are countless pages of our own stories, perspectives, and thoughts--vast libraries uniquely existing within our own heads. It is this personal nature of memory that no doubt feeds our dismay when minds begin to slip. Forgetfulness is a fearful quality particularly because it is a quality that seems to erase part of the very person it describes.
The implications of memory are made known in the earliest pages of Scripture. But added to the cultural adage of Aldous Huxley is the idea that this literature can be edited. What we choose to remember affects who we are. And at that, our private literature is not entirely private. There is a community aspect to memory as well. Surely we see this played out within the grumblings of the rescued Israelites. From the wilderness, the writer of Numbers reports:
Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, 'Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at'" (Numbers 11:4-6).
Recollection, like resentment, is often contagious. In this moment of hunger, Israel remembered Egypt as a place of produce instead of prison, and together they declared their longing to return to the place God had rescued them from. Together they wept; together they remembered; and together they remained lost in the wilderness. What we choose to remember affects who we are.
The great creeds of the Church aim themselves at a similar principle. We confess what we need to remember, what we long to remember. We confess the promises of God; we confess who we are. The word "creed" comes from the Latin credo, meaning "I believe." Confessed in unison, we follow the command of the LORD: "These truths I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
The earliest creeds were used with this power of memory in mind. Affirmations of belief in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit were bound to hearts and minds. For persons standing on the precipice of faith, the creed was the statement with which they prepared themselves to jump, and in so doing, found they had been given something on which to stand--and to stand in good company.
What we remember in creed and confession is a vast library accounting for an exciting narrative. As novelist Dorothy Sayers wrote more than 50 years ago:
"The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man--and the dogma is the drama.... Now we may call that doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating; we may call it revelation or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull, then words have no meaning at all. That God should play the tyrant over man is a dismal story of unrelieved oppression; that man should play the tyrant over man is the usual dreary record of human futility; but that man should play the tyrant over God and find Him a better man than himself is an astonishing drama indeed."(1)
What we remember in doctrine and history, faith and belief, so holds our identity within this great drama. God has given us much worth remembering, and God has called us to remember it together. "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him" (1 Thessalonians 4:14). These things we choose to house within the confines of memory are like a great collection of stories--stories that tell who we are when we stand with Him.
Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
(1) Dorothy Sayers in Creed or Chaos (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949), 3-7, as quoted by Michael Horton in "Creeds and Deeds: How Doctrine Leads to Doxological Living" Modern Reformation Magazine, Vol. 15, Number 6.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright (c) 2006 Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) "A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day, tell them they can sign up on our website at http://www.rzim.org/slice/slice.php. If they do not have access to the World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
Since 9/11, numerous Western leaders have insisted that Islam is a peaceful religion, and that violence committed in its name contradicts the teachings of the Koran and the example of the prophet Muhammad. But is this true? Now the new DVD, Islam: What the West Needs to Know, takes an unblinking look at the so-called "religion of peace" - and demonstrates that Islam is, in fact, a violent and expansionist religion that seeks the destruction or subjugation of other faiths, cultures, and systems of government.
Featuring interviews with noted Islam experts Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, Bat Ye'or, Abdullah Al-Araby, and former terrorist Walid Shoebat, Islam: What the West Needs to Know examines the Koran, other Islamic texts, and the example of the prophet Muhammad to reveal that violence against non-Muslims is and has always been an integral aspect of Islam.
The Islam: What the West Needs to Know DVD reveals:
How warfare -- even terrorism -- in the name of Islam stems directly from the teachings and example of the Prophet Muhammad and the commands of the Koran
The truth about Muhammad: a warlord with the blood of thousands on his hands -- and how Muslims are expected to follow his example, as Christians are to follow Christ
How the Koran -- considered by Muslims to be dictated word for word by Allah -- explicitly commands violence against non-Muslims who resist conversion or surrender
"Jihad": an "inner struggle" over temptation, as some Muslim apologists claim? Not so: how the Koran makes it clear it denotes warfare against non-Muslims in order to bring about the universal rule of Islamic law
How violent death in jihad is, according to the Koran, the only assurance of salvation
How, following Muhammad's death, his 'rightly-guided' successors carried his wars to three continents -- fighting, enslaving, and massacring countless Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and others
How Islam, unlike Christianity, flourished and spread primarily through conquest, not peaceful evangelism
How the Crusades, mischaracterized as a violent assault on peaceful Muslims, were largely a belated response against centuries of Muslim conquest of Christian lands
The Islamic principle of 'religious deception' -- which enjoins Muslims to deceive non-Muslims to advance the cause of Islam -- and how Muslim groups use it today
How, throughout its history, Islam has never recognized a distinction between religious and civil authority
How Islamic "sharia" law governs every aspect of religious, political, and personal life -- amounting to a form of totalitarianism analogous to Communism