learnings: August 2015

August was a month of heavy learnings: things like the Ashley Madison leak and more Planned Parenthood videos served to underline the depths of a sinfulness to which I pay lip-service while often treating it flippantly in my behavior.

But wherever sinfulness is shown to be sinful, oh, God’s grace is shown to be gracious indeed! When God made Him-who-knew-no-sin to be sin for us, Christ put on adultery and infanticide and lying and gossip and idolatry and disobedience — the sins of the world — and bore the immense wrath of perfect justice. So that we, who by rights should suffer for our adulteries and murders and lies, when we put our faith in Jesus, get to wear His perfect obedience: the righteousness of God. Let that sink in, and as you mourn for sin, oh, sing the praise of this glorious grace!

What-We-Learned-in-August

Still, there are other things I’ve learned this month, so I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share some of them with you.

  1. Belatedly, I learned some things about the origins of American English and why it isn’t it’s own language, and why the British sound different even though the colonists came here speaking British. (Here’s a spoiler: “The accent has changed more in British than in much of American”!) Read about it on the BBC.
  2. Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure is a depressing book. I recommend that you just don’t read it, which is probably the wrong attitude for an English teacher to take, but there it is.
  3. I found it so depressing, that I had to read something really light, so I turned to a book long-recommended to me by a friend, and I finally read Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. Apparently I’m way behind in that, since it’s a children’s book and all, but I do recommend that you read it; it is marvelously clever.
Here's a freebie: an obstinate dog who Won't Go for a Walk unless her favorite person goes, too. I am not her favorite person.

Here’s a freebie: an obstinate dog who Won’t Go for a Walk unless her favorite person goes, too. I am not her favorite person.

4. I learned about not being involved in the first day of classes for the first time in five years, as I’m not teaching or taking classes this fall. It’s weird, and was a little sad not to give my first day of class talk about the importance of words and The Word. But it’s also exciting to be working on a wedding instead.

5. I learned that addressing invitations is not nearly as difficult as it sounds, once you begin doing it. I’ve actually enjoyed that process.

6. This one is fascinating to me: recent evidence suggests that portions of the Koran may predate Muhammad — as in, they existed in written form BEFORE he claimed to have had his visions, and long before the Koran is supposed to have been officially written and compiled. Such evidence has serious implications for Islam, which is founded on the assumption that the Koran is direct divine revelation from Allah to Muhammad. Read about that here.

7. Then there’s this chart from the Joshua Project, with an overview of the 50 largest unreached people groups in the world, and including this sobering statistic: “For ever dollar of Christian resources less than a penny is directed at reaching unreached people groups.” How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? 

8. Speaking of people who need the gospel, I learned that South Korea — in the news last month for its stand-off with North Korea — has the highest suicide rate in the industrialized world, with suicide being the top cause of death for people aged 10 to 30. Read about that here. (Not from that source, I also learned that suicide is extremely common among North Korean defectors to South Korea.)

I also learned a lot about fears and about love to cast out fears and about my future married home. And so I can say, on this first of September, that August was very good.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

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