Sunday, August 29, 2010

Working For Good

For as long as I can remember, I've heard Romans 8:28 heralded from church pulpits with no small amount of regularity. Here's the text, if you don't know it already:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 (KJV)

And again, in another translation (the one I most commonly read):

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,a whob have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 (NIV)

What a powerful verse, right?! And so many applications, from motivation to comfort to conviction (at least according to the various pastors I've heard speak about the verse). Check it out:

  • Is life without meaning? Nope. God has a purpose for you.
  • What do I get out of loving God? Good stuff happens!
  • Why did God make SOME_BAD_THING happen? It wasn't really a bad thing, you just haven't seen the good in it yet.
  • Nono. It's really a bad thing. So why did God make SOME_BAD_THING happen? Um... are you not loving God enough? KA-BOOM!

Pretty cool stuff, huh? It's like a spiritual bat utility belt (Bible Belt? Ewww...).

But did you notice those footnote markers up there in the NIV version? I didn't. At least not until tonight. The footnote markers each denote different ways that the text could have been interpreted and translated from the original sources. Check out how the verse reads if you substitute the alternate translation marked "b":

And we know that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good—with those who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Whoa! It's like a whole different verse now. Suddenly the responsibility for bringing about good in the world falls back in our laps. We no longer just get to live a detached existence, loving God in a vacuum and ignoring those around us and then reaping all the resulting good stuff. Now we have to work — with God, who we of course still love — to bring about that good for ourselves and for others.

Quite honestly, I rather like that interpretation much better. It somehow seems more… logical; more consistent with the action-demonstrated kind of faith championed elsewhere throughout Scripture. What do you think?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shooting Stars

Youth soccer season is here again, and my youngest son couldn't be happier. His team (and seventeen others in his age bracket!) will take the field this Saturday as the first matches of the Harrisburg Parks and Recreation Fall 2010 Youth Soccer season take place. Okay, I confess — I'm pretty excited, too. This is my first season as a head coach in this age bracket, but I've assisted at this level for two years now. I easily have as much fun as the kids do!

This season, our team chose the name "Shooting Stars" (which was actually suggested by my wife), and as has become the routine, I managed to squirrel away 30 seconds to whip up a general logo design (once again composed on the table cover at Supper Restaurant) and then a couple of hours of digitization time.

Here's the final Shooting Stars Soccer Club logo:

… and the sketch that served as its humble roots:

UPDATE 9/7/2010: My patch order is in. Once again, the fine folks at Team Jedi Marketing have done a great job with the order: