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roaringlamb
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 1519
Santa Cruz California

 Re:

Quote:
An Ode to Ronnie/Mike Balog



Thank you brother for sharing this, it is very good!!


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patrick heaviside

 2006/10/28 11:14Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


 Re: Embracing our death

Paul, you certainly dwell in a unique place in society – I call it the “in between” – where few wish to hang out. You will never be without employment.

In a sense my life has hovered on both sides of your “dwelling place” – as a nurse fighting death all the time, and helplessly watching the futility of our attempts; and then, on the other side, being an organist/pianist for funerals. The in-between seems so hidden, so silent, not what we talk about. You sure portrayed a fascinating (yet gruesome) picture. Sometimes I wonder why we spend so much money to hide all that – to make a body look good for a brief time? I guess it helps with the grieving process – to facilitate closure. That would make a college paper in itself.

The hospital unit where I used to work was situated between the ICU and the elevators. Every time a body was to be transported through our ward we were warned by phone. Then we closed all the patient room doors, so no one would see that death was coming through. The gurney would be carefully draped so as to draw as little attention to the content).

In spite of the eerie silence about death, I believe that humans are always trying to understand the passage between this life and the next life. I think about the Greek Mythological River Styx in the Iliad - where Kharon ferried the souls to the other side.

The other day I said in a conversation, “We just can’t go there for a day, and try it out to see what we thought of it.” Death is so final. Yet it is also the beginning of life – pictured throughout nature.

ACCEPTING OUR MORTALITY:
I think that Solomon, in Ecclesiastes really came to embrace his own mortality, only after years of trying to be something more than human. Other writers in the Bible also embraced death in ways that humans tend to deny. The comparison would make a good study.

They say:
From dust to dust…
As the flowers of the field fade….
As the grass withers …
We are destined to die…

On the other hand we humans frantically attempt to prevent it, and deny it’s inevitable approach. What a prison! You can never know what it is to live!


Is it true, that soldiers are trained to consider themselves dead before they go to the field? When they are “dead” they will fearlessly enter any danger.

There is a spiritual truth to that.

Before we can fight the spiritual battle, we must embrace our physical mortality – our death. Paul did. “It is no longer I who life, but Christ lives within me.” “I die every day.” 1 Cor. 15:31 Death set Paul free to be fully human, and fully dependent on God. It set him free to die for the cause of Christ. So, too for us, until we embrace our own death, we will never be free to really live.


“ It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

St. Francis of Assisi

.... just some philosophical thoughts on the subject...


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Diane

 2006/10/28 12:26Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Hi Diane,

Quote:
You will never be without employment.



Yeah, I hear the bad jokes all the time: "I bet people are just [i]dying[/i] to give you work." And the death and taxes thing, of course. Thank you for stating the truth soberly!

Quote:
I wonder why we spend so much money to hide all that – to make a body look good for a brief time? I guess it helps with the grieving process – to facilitate closure.



You're exactly right! Funerals are for the [i]living[/i] and not the dead. Psychologists feel the body must be viewed in an asthetically pleasing environment in order to provide closure. I'm not so sure I agree with this. I don't think you can cookie-cut the bereavement process. I know plenty of families that opt for direct cremations (from the hospital to the morgue to the crematory to the urn on the mantle), and never once view the mortal remains after the first death call. They're fine with it! They get together and have a memorial service with the urn on the altar. To each their own. Cremations, certainly, are the [i]cheaper[/i] route, and once the baby boomer generation vanishes, the funeral industry will see fewer and fewer burials. We are beginning to see this even now - especially since the Pope has decreed that cremations are now permissible for Catholics.

Quote:
The hospital unit where I used to work was situated between the ICU and the elevators. Every time a body was to be transported through our ward we were warned by phone.



Funny you mention this - my wife is an RN in the ICU here. I get alot of her patients (hope she doesn't read this!) I joke around with her, the fact that she kills them, I chill them. Well, they do the same thing at the memorial hosptial here; they pull the curtains closed, etc. Can't let anyone see [i]this[/i] part of life. Sweep it under the table of ethics. Just like sin, put it off to the side of the road, like guilty Joab throwing a cover over Amasa so as to not distract the soldiers.

Doug, you're sure getting alot of information for your paper!

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2006/10/28 13:13Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Eternity beckons

Dear saints,

This is something that I just have wished could have the curtain of it's stark reality pulled back on. All people to be sure, but even the saints far too often perhaps have been just as conditioned to not dwell here, to cast off to more future pleasantries ... [i]another day[/i].

Quote:
Well, they do the same thing at the memorial hosptial here; they pull the curtains closed, etc. Can't let anyone see [b][i]this[/i][/b] part of life. Sweep it under the table of ethics.



The reasons are manifold, some have begun to get an articulation already. One of the factors that often has kept me grounded and humbled when it arrests my attention is to bring present circumstances to this point of remembering death. When everything seemingly is coming unraveled, when pride gets a leg up, when too much is given to anxiousness, worry and problems. It sets the mind and affections back to eternity and the door that leads unto it.

When Paul was speaking of the tougher sorts of men breaking down and weeping profusely at a funeral it brought back to mind the difference and the incredible change the Lord has wrought in this one. About 5 years or so before my cousin died, his father, my uncle, died and we had grown fairly close in the last couple of years before his death. It was sudden in that I did not know of his rapidly deteriorating health at the time and his death was a blow. More so in that I was then still in great darkness and varieties of sins then even though the Lord had been searching after, hounding ... 'not quite saved'. To look back on it it was I and pretty much myself alone that had the gut wrenching and uncontrollable sobbing, great rivers of tears throughout his service and then some, devastating, Paul's expression there exactly.

At the time of my cousins death ... He was found in his trailer some 4-5 days afterwards and I took on the responsibilities of that which I could, cleaning up, helping move belongings, putting up the trailer for sale, the funeral, the pastor (Lord bless him)... All this has been expressed before elsewhere... The difference was being now the Lords, the uncanny and remarkable peace that carried throughout the whole process would have been utterly impossible had He not brought me out into the light of His Son. The evenness that is His was mine and only after everything was over was I allowed to grieve quietly before Him. Precious God.

There is a sister here who recently spoke of a similar thing with her father, perhaps it can be found and brought forth again.


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Mike Balog

 2006/10/28 14:34Profile
InTheLight
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2763
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: Writing article on death at Christian College

Here's something from John Bunyan on death for the Christian...

[b]The Pilgrims in the River[/b]

Now I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate was a river; but there was
no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore,
of this river the pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went with
them said, You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.

The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate. To
which they answered, Yes; but there hath not any, save two, to wit, Enoch
and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the
world, nor shall until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then,
especially Christian, began to despond in their mind, and looked this way
and that, but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the
river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth. They said,
No; yet they could not help them in that case; for, said they, you shall
find it deeper or shallower as you believe in the King of the place.

Then they addressed themselves to the water, and entering, Christian began
to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep
waters; the billows go over my head; all his waves go over me. Selah.

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother: I feel the bottom, and it
is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death have
compassed me about, I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey.
And with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he
could not see before him. Also here he in a great measure lost his senses,
so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet
refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the
words that he spoke still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and
heart-fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in
at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the
troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and
before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled
with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits; for ever and anon he would
intimate so much by words.

Hopeful therefore here had much ado to keep his brother’s head above water;
yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would
rise up again half dead. Hopeful did also endeavor to comfort him, saying,
Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us; but Christian
would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; for you have been hopeful
ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah, brother,
(said he,) surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my
sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful,
My brother, you have quite forgot the text where it is said of the wicked,
“There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm; they are not
troubled as other men, neither are they plagued like other men.” Psa.
73:4,5. These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters,
are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you
will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness,
and live upon him in your distresses.

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was in a muse a while. To whom also
Hopeful added these words, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.
And with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again;
and he tells me, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Isa. 43:2. Then they
both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until
they were gone over. Christian, therefore, presently found ground to stand
upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus
they got over.

Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining
men again, who there waited for them. Wherefore, being come out of the
river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to
minister for those that shall be the heirs of salvation. Thus they went
along towards the gate.

Now you must note, that the city stood upon a mighty hill; but the pilgrims
went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them up
by the arms: they had likewise left their mortal garments behind them in the
river; for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They
therefore went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation
upon which the city was framed was higher than the clouds; they therefore
went up through the region of the air, sweetly talking as they went, being
comforted because they safely got over the river, and had such glorious
companions to attend them.

-from [i]Pilgrim's Progress[/i] by John Bunyan


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Ron Halverson

 2006/10/28 14:50Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re: Is the Sentence Just?

This Isaac Watts song deals with what we've been discussing. The noncomformist writers of that day had a wonderful habit of getting straight to the point and not mincing words. This poem is no exception. Can we, like Watts, agree that God's sentence of mortal death is just? That the skin you bathe, the teeth you brush, the hair you comb, and the lips you kiss all have an appointment with the eyeless, flesh-eating worm? That the faces of your childen will one day go beneath the earth to satisfy the wage? I have seen glimpes of sin through heaven's light, and I, for one, agree with Watts - the sentence is just.

Great God, I own Thy sentence just,
And nature must decay;
I yield my body to the dust,
To dwell with fellow clay.

Yet faith may triumph o’er the grave,
And trample on the tombs;
My Jesus, my Redeemer, lives;
My God, my Savior, comes.

The mighty Conqueror shall appear
High on a royal seat,
And death, the last of all His foes,
Lie vanquished at His feet.

Though greedy worms devour my skin,
And gnaw my wasting flesh,
When God shall build my bones again,
He clothes them all afresh.

Then shall I see Thy lovely face
With strong immortal eyes;
And feast upon Thy unknown grace
With pleasure and surprise.

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/g/i/ggiotsju.htm


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Paul Frederick West

 2006/10/28 18:24Profile
roadsign
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


 Re: Such a pretty song

Quote:
Though greedy worms devour my skin,



Oh, my! What lovely lyrics! I'm surprised that I have not seen this one around.

Actually, it works with the tune to "Amazing Grace" (line 3 takes a little bit of fitting)

I'll teach it to my choir next week. ;-)

Diane


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Diane

 2006/10/28 19:00Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
Oh, my! What lovely lyrics! I'm surprised that I have not seen this one around.



This is yet another example of avoiding an untasteful reality for the sake of appeasing societal ethics. Churches, for this reason, have edited much of Charles Wesley's hymns (cutting most of them down from 12 stanzas to only 3 or 4) and are going practically "bloodless" in all their worship. You'll never hear hymns like this sung in church today; they're just too offensive, too real, too remindful of our mortal appointment. To sing a song like this in a modern, pretty church building would be tantamount to putting a cockaroach on a wedding cake. It's too naked, it conjures up too hideous an image! Let's rather desensitize everyone with talking vegetables and hip-hop and country/pop music, call God "you" like He's some guy off the street or a nice boyfriend or some fawning bellboy.

Everything now is just so sanitized, so streamlined. How is it these 'uncensored' and crude Puritans had real power in the pulpit and possessed unsurpassed scriptural wisdom? Well, I believe they saturated themselves daily in the Word of God, and thus their writings reflected the straightforwardness of biblical tenor. Are we equally offended when we privately read of King Herod being eaten by worms at the end of Acts 12? Then why can't we sing the pious truth during public worship as it applies to all of us? This should not be considered grotesque, it should rather provoke us to cling more tightly to the bloodstained altar of the cross, where the fountain of eternal life has defeated the greedy worm's sting.

(edit) Diane, I am not implying you condone any of the things I wrote about, and this by no means was written to mock your post! I've read enough of your posts, and have a pretty good idea where you're coming from, sister. Plus, I sensed a bit of wit in your last post! Funny! You [i]should[/i] try it out with your choir - perhaps a spirit of brokness will invade the sanctuary.

Bro. Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2006/10/28 19:22Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


 Re: denial

Sadly all the sanitizing in the world cannot take the “sting” out of death. (1 Cor. 15) You just end up with massive denial (another essay topic). And then such words as the following are rather limp:

Quote:
Yet faith may triumph o’er the grave,



Hymns of the past almost always had a closing verse about the glorious home-going – heaven. That seems to be conspicuously missing in our modern songs – surely an indication of the denial of death. I have a hunch that subconsciously our society thinks it is immortal. It views THIS life as the resting place.

Edit:
Quote:
That the faces of your childen will one day go beneath the earth to satisfy the wage?


It is divine justice that makes the mercy so beautiful.


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Diane

 2006/10/28 20:03Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Devastating reality

Quote:
It's too naked, it conjures up too hideous an image! Let's rather desensitize everyone with talking vegetables and hip-hop and country/pop music, call God "you" like He's some guy off the street or a nice boyfriend or some fawning bellboy.

Everything now is just so sanitized, so streamlined. How is it these 'uncensored' and crude Puritans had real power in the pulpit and possessed unsurpassed scriptural wisdom? Well, I believe they saturated themselves daily in the Word of God, and thus their writings reflected the straightforwardness of biblical tenor. Are we equally offended when we privately read of King Herod being eaten by worms at the end of Acts 12? Then why can't we sing the pious truth during public worship as it applies to all of us? This should not be considered grotesque, it should rather provoke us to cling more tightly to the bloodstained altar of the cross, where the fountain of eternal life has defeated the greedy worm's sting.



Do not even know how to begin here... Paul, there is so much of this stark reality throughout the scriptures, how did we ever get to the point of ... denial? Surely a catering to the whims and fancies of our own kind, either it must be seen and expressed in an obnoxious, prideful, careless overture or just covered up, glossed over, pushed aside. On to practical pursuits! How to deal with your boss, how to ... I digress, the last thing I would want to do is to become cynical.

There is so many vast and incredible things that just go left un ... thought, unchecked, not contemplated. There are times in this walk that the common place can just over (or is it [i]under[/i]) whelm us, eternity seems far off and away, the Lords real, present return ... How long, Oh Lord? The sinister doubt's that want to steal away today for the one true day. Let's face it, faith is often times a difficult matter, [i]hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?[/i] Yet, just when everything is being tempted towards the abstract... [i][b]Death[/b][/i] brings the reality back into focus. It is the end of life as we have known it. Of course for the saints ... But! Isn't this where the road diverges, too quick to run past this all encompassing and devastating reality? What Paul touched on earlier is not some clever prose or verbiage. It is fact. It is and ought to be at the least somewhat disturbing... My goodness this is coming from a brother who deals with this every day and listen to [i]him[/i] dear people! There is something being missed wholesale from our understanding of the Lord and the incredible slaughter, the bloody sacrifices ... Wish I could recall the Katz message where he expounded upon all this, equating the animal lovers in most of us with these practices amongst many other stark, eye opening truths. Even just this morning reading part of Jeremiah and the scattered bodies and decaying flesh and then over to The Revelation of Jesus Christ looking for something to post here to draw our attention back to His Holy Name as just a diversion from the ... diversions. But what did I come up against in that, the wrath of the [i]Lamb[/i], and ...

[i]And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;[/i] Rev 20:11

Gasp ... to where would be the cheap answer, the fact ... It's just incredible. Seems rather strange, wondering how this 'sounds' out there in the ears of others reading. The demeanor is quite calm, peaceful even, not exercised or excited about all this in that sense of things. Awe struck and wondrous at our God, at His incredible power, baffled by His long suffering towards us, towards all that walk on His green earth. Why not the flood again, why not go back on His word ... who is to challenge Him? Please don't misunderstand, the point is ... what is stopping Him from destroying everything right this next moment?

What [i]kind[/i] of love is this?




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Mike Balog

 2006/10/29 0:51Profile





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