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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Modern art in Washington, DC

"Man's Foolishness"

Message summary: Some things are just plain foolishness!

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For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate” (1 Corinthians 1:19). “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

As we drove through Washington on our bus Saturday to get dropped off for the prayer march we passed the smashed car with the boulder in our lead photo. I wondered if it was left over from some of the riots and destruction this summer. Or it looks like something a group of rascally teenagers would do if they broke into a salvage yard and used a skid loader to drop a boulder on a car (although I imagine it took a very expensive crane).

As we finished the march we walked over to where I recalled passing the car to take a closer look. It was an actual art display in front of the Hirshhorn Museum of Art (located here). I am so embarrassed to admit my utter lack of sophistication that I didn't recognize this as a "work of art" worthy of being placed in front of one of our nation's supposedly premier art museums. There were other art displays around the building that looked like they were just picked out of a metal scrap yard. I see nicer looking material at the fabrication shop we visit!

Actually I am not embarrassed one little bit by my lack of sophistication in admiring such displays of modern art. I suppose if I was in the "artsy" crowd and made it my ambition to understand the incredible skill of the artist I could come to more appreciation. However, in all honesty, I feel more like the little boy in Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes" (See below for summary). In looking at the car with a boulder on top posing as "art" I say that's just plain foolishness!

I can appreciate art that reflects the beauty and wonder of God's creation such as Michelangelo's painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and so much more that actually takes skill. Our world is richer for art that reflects God-given creativity.

Regardless of where we live, we encounter the secularized “foolishness” that prevails in our “postmodern” culture. This “foolishness” is now rampant in our culture and is even impacting many Christian colleges and churches who are forsaking the wisdom of God for the foolishness of the world. Sometimes my head spins as I see the rapid decline and the accumulative effect of years of living according to the ever-changing human philosophies of this world.

We must heed the Scriptural warning, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

The first daily verse is such a powerful expression. “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate” (1 Corinthians 1:19). Paul is actually quoting Isaiah 29:14 in the Old Testament, thus the expression, "It is written". In this window of the times we live in, the wisdom and intelligence of the world seems so prevailing, but God’s promise stands, and one day it will be destroyed.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”  The Apostle Paul is saying that wisdom from a worldly standpoint is foolishness to God who is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Human based wisdom does not form a bedrock foundation of genuine truth.

I want to know the ways of God, who is all-wise so that I can properly discern the foolishness of this world presented through academia, political, cultural, or even the entrenched religious circles may be saying it’s wise. Consider this rather obscure statement from Daniel. “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning” (Daniel 2:21). Amen, may God give us this wisdom and discernment today!

I want to continue to grow in my understanding of God’s ways. And that begins when I recognize that ultimately all wisdom apart from God is foolishness. This day join me in seeking to know the Lord and His ways better!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer: Father, when we gave you our heart, we made the willful choice to no longer conform to the trends and philosophies of this world.  Instead we ask You to daily renew our minds so that we see this world and its philosophies through the eyes of Christ. We are put to the test daily in deciding what is truth and what is error. May Your Holy Word be our reference point and Your Spirit be our Guide as we are exposed to countless philosophies based on human understanding and the basic principles of this world rather than Your eternal, foundational truths. Sharpen our discernment and grant us courage so that we readily know truth from error and are fearless in saying so. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Summary of the “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

The tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a child’s story that teaches an important lesson for everyone to learn. The story follows a vain emperor who only cares about how he looks in front of his kingdom. Two jokesters come to his court appearing as tailors who create beautiful clothes in order to trick the emperor and make a fool of him publicly. The two tricksters promise an emperor new clothes that are invisible to those unfit for their roles because they are incompetent.

The emperor agrees to allow the men to "make" clothes for him. They present him with an invisible suit that the emperor puts on and begins wearing in front of his court. The emperor’s advisers cannot see the clothes but pretend they can in order to keep their positions. Meanwhile, the emperor struts around the court naked, thus making a fool of himself.

The emperor proceeds to leave his palace and show off his new outfit to the entire townsfolk. The people cringe but play along because they do not want to insult the king or appear stupid. Suddenly, a child who is too young to understand what is going on begins crying out that the emperor is naked. He actually states the truth! (from here)

A corollary way of expressing the daily verse is, “The wisdom of God is foolishness to the world.” And that is really the viewpoint of many in the world. Many, who in one way or another acknowledge God, actually live as if the statement were true since it is essentially the way they practice their lifestyle.

“But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). I desire to have the mind of Christ processing my thoughts and understanding today. I seek to hear and to heed the words of Scripture, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). I want to walk in the wisdom of God.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Want To Know Christ"  Video  Let There Be Praise Singers

Note: Yesterday in identifying several of the Convene group members we saw in Washington I mistakenly misidentified a couple. In this photo the couple on the left are actually Kevin and Heidi Tancrel not Brian and Elizabeth Gerhart, another Convene couple.

Washington Prayer March
September 26, 2020

On our way to look at the crushed car we passed the Enid A. Haupt Garden which has many amazing plants and flowers

Plant in Washington, DC
"Little Oranges" - this broad leafed plant had clusters of hairy oranges in its center and sharp thorns on its leaves.

Yucca plant in Washington, DC
Related to the Yucca plant

Flowers in Washington, DC
The most eye catching color in the entire garden.

Back closer to home!

Old Windmill Farm tree
This tree is changing on the Old Windmill Farm

Petey the goat on the Old Windmill Farm
Petey the goat relaxing. He is quite ornery and gets into everything, but for now the fall pumpkin sits unbothered.

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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