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Fellowship of Christian Bloggers
At my church last week, one of the worship leaders showed a video clip of starlings in synchronized flight over Scotland. Some of the fascinating statistics made me think of God’s plan for His people: Christians. A correlation can be made between starlings and the Body of Believers.
Starlings, in their dance of motion, are responding to a predator. They become more synchronized with greater threats. Because they share in a flight for survival, they create and perform at majestic levels.
To watch a flock of starlings is an extraordinary sight. Thousands of birds move in unison like one body of liquid motion. The term is “murmurations” and is a result of thousands of pairs of wings producing a low, continuous distinct sound. In this manner, starlings are splendid singers, making up a heavenly chorus.
More recent scientific tools for video analysis reveal patterns of the starlings’ movement. Their systems are poised to tip and instantaneously become completely transformed. Each starling is connected to and influenced by every other bird in the flock. They move in unison like a single entity, called “phase transition.” When a bird moves or changes speed, so do all of his neighbors, whether they be near or far.
Could they be governed beyond the usual rules of biology? The instantaneous speed in which flocks process signals simultaneously is still unknown, but in doing so, they create glorious patterns. The phenomenon transcends science.
Without a leader of the formations, any starling can change the path of the others. All birds in the flock remain equally responsive to signals.
Wouldn’t it be lovely for Christians to join in the dance of motion?
When the evil one comes along, the body of Christ bands together to ward him off. Prayers are whispered in unison producing a distinct sound in the ear of a faithful God. When a neighbor is threatened by financial loss, family disappointment, or failing health all believers in God’s flock petition their Father. Prayers are heard by God even before they are uttered…talk about instantaneous speed transcending science!
Who will take the leadership? Any believer in tune with the Lord can do it. I want to be like a starling. How about you?
Be sure to “Follow” my blog. Thank you for reading! Also visit http://www.EffieGross.com.
Click on this link (or copy and paste) to watch a YouTube video of starlings in flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eakKfY5aHmY
I am a businessman. This is what I do each and every day. I love it. I love coming to work. I never have a bad day. ~~ Magic Johnson
FOUNTAIN HILLS~~FOREVER FIRST
Most of us remember our first time doing any number of things: first day of school, first roller coaster ride, first job, first car, first kiss, first surgery, or first trip abroad. One of my most outstanding “firsts” was in 1982, visiting beautiful Fountain Hills, Arizona.
That first impression and love for the town has lasted 35 years. Granted, Fountain Park has evolved over time, but even back then I sat on the grassy knoll and was mesmerized by the fountain shooting up 560 feet, powered by three pumps. The rainbow I saw on that first visit promised more than a pot of gold. Little did I know that someday I would move from Iowa to what I now call “Paradise.”
When Robert P. McCulloch first bought 4,500 acres in 1960, he changed a once large cattle ranch into a new town. Helping to put Fountain Hills “on the map” was Charles Wood, Jr. who had worked with Walt Disney on designing Disneyland. His concept provided the landmark we admire today…The Fountain.
McCulloch first planned to attract property buyers with the then “World’s Highest Fountain.” His 1972 “fly-before-you-buy” sales program flew in prospective buyers from the Midwest and back East. They were then given tours in white jeeps to select their properties.
At first, the community was remote from the rest of the Valley. “Why would anyone want to live way out there?” With a current population of around 24,000, hardly anyone would ask that question today. Residents and visitors alike enjoy a resort-like community with renowned golf courses, unique shops, restaurants, hiking trails, great entertainment and events, like the Great Fair, the Fountain Festival of Arts and Crafts, and the only Thanksgiving Day parade held in Arizona.
Fountain Hills boasts of excelling schools for pre-school through high school. We welcome the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) as the town’s latest addition, offering students options for vocational training.
Situated northeast of Scottsdale in the Shea Boulevard corridor, Fountain Hills is less than 30 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport and the Phoenix Valley. McDowell Mountain Regional Park is minutes away. The town of Fountain Hills neighbors the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. As of the 2006 census, Fountain Hills was the eighth fastest-growing place among cities and towns in Arizona.
For me, the first visit to Fountain Hills will always be the most memorable, but the town’s progressive moves with Park Grand and possibly Crystal Lagoon make it even more impressive. I’ve watched roads being built, signal lights added, businesses move in, Eagle Mountain, Eagle’s Nest, Sunridge Canyon, and Fire Rock custom homes being built, while a sense of small town community thrives. When I drive from Shea Boulevard to Palisades and round the curves in the road at the top of the hill, I see a beautiful and breathtaking sight. Blue sky over luxury homes with desert landscapes, million-dollar views of mountain ranges, and the famous fountain jetting upward remind me of how blessed I am to live here. Fountain Hills will be my forever first place that I call home (aka “Paradise”).
MCO Realty is proud to have had the privilege of developing the town. Need a first-class realty company? Want an experienced agent? Expect excellence? Call MCO Realty FIRST.
“Spoiler Alert” This is an opinion piece. (Above: Effie’s childhood home in Des Moines, IA)
When The Shack by William P. Young was first self-published and became a Best Seller, I heard of some readers remarking as to its spiritual and entertainment value. Other religious leaders, like Chuck Colson, however, called the book out for its “low view of Scripture.” Here’s what I think…
Effie’s Literary and Biblical Views of The Shack
- The repetitious literary device of flash forward and flash backward was confusing. It caused a pause for the viewer, interrupting the flow of the story.
- The major character, Mack, was never sorry for killing his own father.
- Mack was punished (though not his fault) for his daughter’s tragic death.
- The woman (later we learn that she is God) who fed Mack cookies and milk did nothing to protect him physically from more beatings. She should have called the police.
- The church deacons didn’t intercede for the boy or his mother after learning about the beatings. Them saying, “It’s okay” is not okay.
- First mention of “the shack” is when Mack is about age 30 when a letter from “Papa” (God) invites him there. So, is God masculine (Papa) or feminine (the same woman who gave Mack cookies)? Inconsistency.
- Why in the world would a middle-aged father tell his little girl, Missy, about human sacrifice, tears, a waterfall of father’s tears? Where does Missy come up with these profound questions? Unbelievable.
- At the exact same time that Mack saves his other two children from drowning, Missy is kidnapped. Really!
- Missy’s clothes found soaked in blood by FBI and police. Mack’s wife says it’s not his fault. The guilt is layered.
- Apparently everything to this point only happened in Mack’s head while he is knocked out after he slipped on the ice getting the letter from “Papa.”
- Sometime between Mack with his three kids and his fall on the ice, a funeral occurred. Really!
- Mack hears voices…Missy’s voice on his way to the shack. Is there a psychologist in the house?
- Inside the shack he sees a “murderer” and screams at him.
- Outside the shack he sees a friendly man; even though, that man has a gun pointed at him. How many times have you invited a gunman into your house to warm himself and talk to someone inside? Really!
- I did like the scene where the snow disappeared as he walked along and the path and woods are beautiful. The shack becomes a large beautiful home. The symbolism works for me. This earthly home for Christians will someday become a heavenly and eternal home.
- Enter the representations of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit. Biblical issues here. God and the Holy Spirit are portrayed by women. The trinity is interrupted by Jesus being a man in the movie. I’m surprised that the author/producer didn’t show Jesus as a woman—heresy!
- God (aka “Papa”) says Mack couldn’t handle a father right now so gave the feminine version of God. This indicates that God is like an earthly father; when in reality, it is supposed to be the other way around. Earthly fathers should emulate God. Wouldn’t the loving characteristic of God the Father have been more beneficial…and truthful?
- God doesn’t judge based on our clothes or appearance. Trivial.
- The idea that Mack had been punished enough is not biblical. We have consequences, true. God does punish sin and that’s why Jesus went to the cross. He took our punishment for all who believe. No one needs to choose one of our children to die or offer to die instead. Jesus accomplished the task already. God doesn’t choose any to go to hell. He did all he could do to keep everyone out of hell, the place designed for the fallen angels. Believe.
- So, in the end, the audience discovers that Mack was hit by a semi truck and never made to the shack. All is well and they return to a happy life.
Here’s my assessment, I would have preferred a non-fiction version of The Shack, the metaphor for a life built by guilt and pain. Fiction should read like non-fiction, believable. As hard as I tried, I could not willingly suspend disbelief in order to enjoy the movie.
Did you like it? Why or why not? How do you view the trinity? Next time, I’ll conclude with the song lyrics for “This Ole House” by Stuart Hamblen.
Since I was a little girl, I watched my mother write letters at the main Post Office in Des Moines, Iowa. Back then we didn’t have zip codes or forty-nine cent stamps, not that those things matter. The letters Mom wrote were in cursive and sent to those she cared enough about to take the time and effort to let them know. Mom took the city bus, because she never drove a car.
When I was with her, I stood and looked up at a glass top table in art deco style. The atmosphere inside the post office was friendly, brisk with business people frequenting the main lobby. It wasn’t a place to stand and chat; like the libraries of that decade; it was quiet. Men and women were composing “gifts from the heart.”
Appropriately enough, I launched my letter writing campaign, of sorts, in April–National Letter Writing Month. When you visit my website: http://www.EffieGross.com or go to YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8X9N3OtdC8 you will be inspired to write a long overdue letter.
On my website, I offer stationery packets that can be ordered and paid through PayPal. I hope you will like my YouTube video, Face Book page, and everywhere else you see my name in electronic media.
The images below are from a postcard showing the old Des Moines Post Office.
Would you like to see letter writing revived? Why or why not?