Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 9 - Presbyterian on a Treadmill

Today's scheduled run: 3 miles

Today's completed run: 3.1 miles (a nice, even 5k)

The yucky side of fall -- rainy and cold -- has descended upon Baltimore, so I took to the treadmill once more. I felt good and figured I'd bump my 3 miles up to 3.1, just for fun. I kept a pretty steady 9:14 pace; I'm pleased with the run.

Rather than music, I tried a new form of "entertainment" today -- podcasts. I know people have been talking about podcasts for the last decade, but I never quite got on the bandwagon. Well, I'm on it now. Today, I listened to a Timothy Keller sermon, titled "Praying Our Tears." My only regret was that I couldn't take notes while running! It was an excellent sermon, just as I'd expected, and it kept me going. Of course, I'm an "mm-hmm"-er, so I'm sure people thought I'd lost it.

Here are a few things that really caught my attention:
- Religiosity tells us to stuff our tears (feelings), and secularism tells us to dump our tears. What are we really to do with our tears? Expect them, invest them, and pray them.
- Becoming a person of faith will cause you to weep more. [Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26 - "I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh."]
- Planted (invested) tears produce joy. [2 Corinthians 4:17 - "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.] The knowledge of this frees us to involve ourselves in the messiness of the world, as well as others' lives, because we can expect joy if we plant our tears.
- Keller notes that the psalms, a majority of which are laments, end with psalms (146-150) of pure praise. He quotes Eugene Peterson: "What the psalms are teaching us is that all true prayer pursued far enough will become praise. Any prayer, no matter how desperate its origin, no matter how angry and fearful the experience it traverses, will become praise. It does not always get there quickly. It does not always get their easily. In fact, the trip can take a lifetime! But the end is always praise. This is not to say that other kinds of prayer are inferior to praise, but that all prayer pursued far enough becomes praise. Don't rush it. Don't try to push it. It may take years, it may take decades before certain prayers arrive at the hallelujahs of Psalm 150. Not every prayer is capped off with praise. In fact most prayers, if the psalms are a true guide, are not. But prayer is always reaching toward praise, and if pursued far enough, will arrive there."

I'm certain I'll be listening to more of Keller's podcasts, as well as some TED Talks, to make the miles fly.

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