First off let me inform you that Augustine of Hippo is in fact a male and not a female and Hippo is where he was bishop and not in relation to his stature….not that I ever would have thought that, my imagination is much too sophisticated to have the first image to pop into my head when I first read the name be of a rather jolly, older nun who maybe was a little on the chubby side……
But back to the point, despite first impressions, I have heard of this man before and always meant to read more about him but never got around to it. I will be heading to the library website after I am done writing this and hopefully will find something about him to read!
Yours truly was “teaching” (aka, actually reading the chapter (apparently not as easy to get done as you would think) and then asking what the different sections meant to everyone or if anything jumped out at them!) I really liked this one; it was about the way we should act while we are fasting. Basically don’t moon about all depressed and sad, letting everyone know what you are doing. Because then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons, for man’s approval and not Gods.
What really stood out to me is that we are doing it for God and if we are grumbling and feeling depressed and deprived how must that make God feel? It’s like someone who offers to help you then complains and grumbles the whole time, then after the job is done, still wants praise and a blessing, even though they made you feel like a heel for something they willingly offered to do for you.
We should find great joy in being able to do these things for God, He accepts and receives with gladness our paltry “gifts” of worship and praise, of fasting and time spent with Him. I really liked one of the things that the guy who wraps up each chapter said, he said don’t think of it as not feasting, but you getting the opportunity to feast upon God rather then food.(Okay, he put it in a much better way, but I don’t have my book with me so you get the slightly cannibalistic sounding version…..)
Then main topic of the night though was not really any of my doing, it was something that one of the other groupies brought up, how hard it can be to be act like a Christian when others are treating you like dirt. Like when your boss at work tells you to do something you may not agree with, but you’ve still got to pass on the order and not disrespect the boss in the process. Or one of the others groupies has a problem with her coworkers gossiping about the supervisor, she doesn’t join in, but should she say something to stop them? When do you put your foot down and say something and when do you stay quiet? Do you always stir the pot or should you never speak up?
My experiences in this are usually my employers (who have all been Christian by the way) asking me to bend the rules or outright lie, I have always managed to find a way to do what they want and satisfy my conscience, but I am anxiously the day when I can’t reconcile these two things and have to make that choice!
So, what do we do? What was decided last night is you just have to take it on a case to case basis and get to know your bible because the more you have Gods word internalized the more readily you can know what you should do in certain situations. There are reactions that are always a bad idea, like anger or revenge and of course if completely goes against how we know God wants us to live, you do have to make the choice to stand up for God and truth!
I am both dreading and secretly looking forward to the day when I have to take a stand for my God. I am quiet but do have a big temper (Yes I do, if you don’t believe me ask my family! I rant and rave with the best of them and if you make me mad be assured that I will be acting upon my righteous anger and indignation in some book worthy scene….. all in my head of course!) and while I avoid confrontation like the plague, I hope I will rise to the occasion and act how God wants me too when the day arrives!=)