Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saber o Conocer (To know or to know)

In my line of work relationships and connections are very important.  Literally every day I am asked multiple times if I know this person or that person.  Most of the people in our lives are people we have become acquainted with through someone else.  We have a friend who introduces us to a friend of theirs and suddenly we have a whole new set of connections to new people. 

On the other hand, we know of people that we don’t really know.  These are people who may be in our industry or live in our town, but we haven’t met them.  We may know who they are and what they do but we don’t know them.

Today I was reading in the New Testament, John chapter 17.  I have been thinking about Jesus’ great intercessory prayer this week, mostly about verse 12 when he says, “While I was in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost…”  I have been giving a lot of thought to “none of them is lost” and what that means and how it applies to me.

As I began reading chapter 17 I stopped at a note I had written beside verse three, which says, “And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.  The note sent me to Isaiah 1:3 and another handwritten note.  In chapter 1 Isaiah lays out the roots of the Israelites’ problems and then provides a solution.  Verse three says, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his mater’s crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.  My note simply said “Saber o Conocer?”

The Spanish language has two words for the English word “know” and they have completely different definitions.  Saber is “to know” as in to have knowledge of; but conocer is “to know” as in to be acquainted with, two totally different ways of knowing.

In verse three Isaiah was saying that Israel did not have an intimate acquaintance with their God.  Based on the histories of Israel we have, there is no question they were full of knowledge about Him but that is not the same as being intimately aware of Him.  A child may “know” her mother loves her but that is not always accompanied with “feeling” her love.  To a child, or to anyone, feeling loved is more important, more real than knowing logically that he or she is loved.

My wife Susan has loved me for a very long time.  She hasn’t just gained knowledge of me over time but she has grown to understand, appreciate, value, empathize, sympathize and identify with me.  She can not only finish my sentences, but most of the time she knows what is bothering me before I recognize it.  This identifying with me isn’t just about the time we have spent together; it is the love and interest she has for me.  She watches out for me, is concerned for me, celebrates my successes and encourages me, because she succeeds when I succeed and she bleeds when I bleed.  We are one by choice and by effort.

Jesus prayed that we might become one with him and His father, “That they may be as one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou has sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one;

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  (verses 21-23)

As I go back and read John 17:3 I know that I must conocer my God and His son.  I can’t rely on my knowledge of the things He has said and done, I must be intimately familiar with Him.  I have to understand, appreciate, value, empathize, sympathize and identify with my Heavenly Father and this can only be done with consistent love and effort over time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What should I do?

Be prepared because this post requires audience participation.  I have had a couple of separate thoughts rolling around in my head for some time, this week they collided and created a mess so I could use some help.
My daughter Lilly does this thing every year where she makes a list of things she wants to do or accomplish before her next birthday.  Her list always correlates to how old she will be on the next birthday like, 25 before 25 or 26 before 26.  I have been thinking I need to a similar thing but I haven’t come up with a list yet. 
The second thought was abruptly thrust into the forefront this week.  I was looking forward to a new challenge that appears won't happen so I need to come up with something else.
I want 2017 to be a year of doing, so what should I do?  What are my 60 before 60?  This is the audience participation part of our show today.  I would welcome any idea or recommendation of what I should try to do in 2017.  Here is the start to my list:
Hold and love four new grandbabies.
Watch sea turtles with Scout.
Make a discovery with Stinky Pete.
Ride Segways with Susan in Hawaii
Read “The Old Man and the Sea” again
Read “A Farewell to Arms”
Hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail
Golf at a top course
Make a new friend
Finish writing about fathers in the Book of Mormon
Read Eric Segal’s “Friends” again
Take Susan to a Broadway play
Learn how to use my apple watch
Write my history
Run a 5K
Shoot a round of golf under 85
Read Dante’s “Divine Comedy”
Host a jam night
Write a significant and meaningful blog post
Learn to play "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" on the guitar

So there is the list but I need to add to it so feel free to give me your recommendations.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Jubilee in 2017

Through Moses the God of Israel gave very specific laws and ceremonial performances to His children.  There are five books of Moses in the Old Testament that document not just the history of man but these laws and performances.  In Exodus 20 verses 8-10  we find the law of the Sabbath:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.

But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God:  in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is in thy gates.”  Exodus 20:8-10

The Lord was serious about the Sabbath being a day of rest and renewal.  Moses received additional Sabbath direction part of which is found in Leviticus 25 where he lays out a requirement for a Sabbath year.  Every seventh year the Israelites were to rest from their labors and allow their land and cattle to rest for the year as well.

On top of the Sabbath year the Lord proclaimed that after seven, seven year cycles there was to be a year of Jubilee.  Beginning in verse eight:

“And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound…

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be jubilee unto you; and you shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”

Tradition has it that slaves would be freed, debts were to be forgiven and blessings from God were bountiful.

Verse 17 says;

“Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God.”

Imagine what a different place our world would be if we followed the jubilee principles today.  Every fifty years we would get to hit the reset button and start afresh.  Since I probably won’t get time on the floor of the UN to propose this solution to the world’s strife I will have to settle for starting within my circle of influence and talk to my family.

As the patriarch of the Terry Pyle family I hereby declare 2017 to be Jubilee unto us.  During this year I ask you to return every man his rightful possessions, forgive any debts , not oppress one another and most of all forgive and forget any old trespasses for which you harbor resentment or antagonism.

Please don’t think that this will be as easy as simply saying “okay” because it won’t.  We like to harbor resentments like old Scrooge McDuck hordes gold coins but to become what we all want, to be an eternal family, we need to let these negative things go away.  Please, just let the old issues go and stop anticipating old attitudes or slights to become real again.

We are all adults, living productive lives so let us treat each other that way.

In order to facilitate this Pyle Jubilee you all have one assignment for each week of 2017.  Once per week you will call one of your siblings and have a real life conversation about them. 

Rules to the assignment:

2.     Receiving a call does not fulfill your assignment to call a sibling that week.
3.     If you miss a call it becomes your responsibility to call back and make contact.
4.     You need to call each sibling before you can count another call to an already called sibling.  I.e. if Lilly calls Megan she has to then call everyone else before she can call Megan again to get credit for fulfilling her weekly assignment.
5.     My sons and daughters-in-law are included in this assignment too.

Obviously the difficult one will be Tyson because of the time zone difference and his work schedule, but there is always the weekend.  Reece’s work schedule will make it difficult every other week too.

To those reading this blog post who are not of my family, I encourage you to “cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound” in your life as well.  Forgive whatever negative you are carrying around with you that is just excess baggage and keeping you from the relationships you should be enjoying.  Let go of past offenses and start reaching out to those you love but are keeping at a distance because of some past deed.  Like by granddaughter sang all week, “Let it go, let it go.”  Trust me your life will be much brighter.

Happy New Year!  May 2017 be a wonderful year full of renewal and hope.