Thursday, May 31, 2007

faith and health

Life goes on. I was putting in a new circuit for a rental house we own and had the electrical panel off so I could run the wire. I took the two screws out and stuck them in my mouth, because I was late for church (Wednesday PM) and I was teaching the Bible study, so I was in a rush. Next thing I knew, my mother-in-law came around the corner (she lives in that house) and started asking me questions in Chinese.

I tired to answer her, but couldn't talk well with the screws in my mouth. Anyway, I satisfied her, got the wires connected, and put the covers back on. But . . . No screws! I looked all over, and finally, concluded that I had swallowed them.

I went to church and taught the lesson but told the people to pray for the safe passage of the screws to their ultimate destination.

More than ten days passed, but the screws didn't. :) I started having indigestion and feeling something was "in my craw."

Finally, I went to the doctor. He made X-rays. They showed no screws, but they didn't image near my prostate, so they could be headed out. He prescribed some expensive antacid ($83.00) and I went home, expecting to be rid of the screws, shortly.

Unfortunately, they didn't come out. I finally went to my mother-in-law's, again and started searching for the screws. I took the covers off, and found both of them, thrown into the far dark recesses of the panel.

I felt stupid and that I had wasted a doctor visit and $83.00, but began thinking about something I have always kind of believed, about faith and healing. I had demonstrated clearly that what I believed could make me sick; what was to stop me from believing that what I believed could work towards my healing, just as well?

I have had prostate cancer for 8 years, now. So far, I have had confidence that the prayers of the people I talk to, plus the vitamins, herbs, and changed diet, make a difference. They have.

When I chose my treatment path (i.e., no conventional treatment), my family and friends, after discussing PCa with their medical friends/practitioners, were genuinely concerned that I had chosen a death sentence rather than treatment. That was 8 years ago.

I tried to get them to come up with some reports showing that there was a difference in outcomes based upon treatment (including watchful waiting). No one could find such information. I did refer them to the side effects associated with each treatment.

The bottom line: Ten year survival rate (whatever that means) is the same, but quality of life differs drastically between treatment vs. non-(conventional)-treatment. And most of the suffering comes from iatrogenic causes, i.e., the cure is often worse than the disease.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. -- Proverbs 3:6

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

child discipline

We went to a Memorial Day gathering with several Chinese friends and had dumplings. Very good! One of the ladies wanted to know when to begin disciplining children.

"When you know they know what "No!" means."

Ultimately, we want to raise children who are able to copy Jesus' words and say, "Not my will, but Thy will be done" to the Heavenly Father.

If they haven't learned to say it to their earthly father, how can we expect them to say it to God?

Discipline trains children like the Law trains Christians. When they are older, their character will have been shaped the way a Christian's heart gets shaped by the Law. Then, as mature people, that Law written on their hearts constrains their behavior from the inside, out.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Preaching in the Chinese Church

When preaching in the Chinese Church, I generally make slides that contain both English and Chinese versions of my outline.

Since I can read very few Chinese characters, producing these slides takes a lot of time. Since I am frequently making them the day before preaching, I don't have time to get them proofread before displaying them on the overhead projector as I preach.

I use Babelfish to help me make the translations. First, I type in my English phrase, then have it converted to Chinese. Then I copy the Chinese phrase that is generated, and paste it back into the input of the translator, and have it translate that phrase into English.

If I get out the same English I began with, I paste that Chinese into the PowerPoint slide I am making. This procedure gives surprisingly good results.

I found out a weakness one time when I accidentally typed the homonym of the word I thought I was using, principal for principle. What I typed in was what was returned by Babelfish, so I used the phrase. Unfortunately, the Chinese phrase that was produced was nonsense!

The person who was translating my sermon into Chinese asked me to explain in different words, and, as I did, he smiled a big smile and told the congregation what I should have said.

It all works out for good!