Failed Again

I had a doctor visit today. I should say “we” had a doctor visit because this stuff affects Carol as much as me, and we are hip-deep in it together.

The doctor recommended, and we accepted, that we discontinue the current treatment we are on. The reason is simple: we are doing more harm than good.

On the way home we counted up failed treatments over the last three years since I was diagnosed with cancer. I guess we settled on seven. The perfect number.

In the doc’s own words, he doesn’t have any more bright ideas right now, so we very well may stop at seven failed treatments.

How do we feel about this? Well, it’s a mixed bag.

On the one hand, we have another failure. Hopes up and let down. We are not quite accustomed to that, but we are familiar. Also, the side effects have been pretty brutal and have made me feel much sicker than I did before the treatment.

On the other hand, going off the treatment should reverse most of the side effects pretty quickly and I hope to feel better soon. I am still transfusion dependent, as I have been for three years, but the doc says I can go on like this for a long while.

I’m always tired because of the anemia. Add in sick and you get sick and tired. The idea of going back to just plain old tired doesn’t seem too bad.

I hope to feel good enough to think better and write better. I have a pestering thought of trying to lead an online Bible study. Not sure how that would work, but I might feel good enough to give some thought and effort.

I also hope to get out and take some photos. Looking at my catalog, I can see that I stopped taking new pictures about the same time I started taking these meds. I hope I can reverse that effect too.

I’m still trusting God, my Father, our Father. I’m not discouraged because I sit comfortably in his grip. Thank you all for your prayers. I’m not dead yet.

The Emperor

For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
(1 Peter 2:13–17, NRSV)

OK. We are to honor everyone, even the government.

OK. We are to love our faith family as if it were our blood family.

OK. We are to fear God.

OK. We are to honor the emperor.

I could probably make some improvements in all those areas. Especially, I fear, I do not allow myself to really be part of the church family. Yes, I’ve had some bad experiences. No excuse.

I am glad for God’s word. I am open to correction.

Went to Church Yesterday

I was able to attend church yesterday. I went fueled by this thing I had read earlier in the week.

Question 16. Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?

Lewis: That’s a question which I cannot answer. My own experience is that when I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; and then later I found that it was the only way of flying your flag; and, of course, I found that this meant being a target. It is extraordinary how inconvenient to your family it becomes for you to get up early to go to Church. It doesn’t matter so much if you get up early for anything else, but if you get up early to go to Church it’s very selfish of you and you upset the house. If there is anything in the teaching of the New Testament which is in the nature of a command, it is that you are obliged to take the Sacrament, and you can’t do it without going to Church. I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit. It is not for me to lay down laws, as I am only a layman, and I don’t know much.

CS Lewis, God in the Dock, Essay 4 “Answers to Questions on Christianity” [Emphasis mine.]

Milk

I’m still reading 1 Peter.

Toward the end of chapter 1 there is an increased emphasis on the characteristics that keep a community going, and also on God’s word. In other words, we need one another and we definitely need God’s word.

Chapter 2 starts out in the flow:

1 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), 1 Pe 2:1–3.

Look at the list in verse 1. Malice, guile, insincerity, envy, slander. Let’s say evil, deceit, hypocrisy, competition, and evil talking.

These things will tear any community apart. Many of us have seen it happen in the church. Peter is trying to protect the church against this kind of poison.

Then he admonishes the church to be fed on the milk of God’s word. This interpretation is allowable based on the increasing emphasis of the word in this letter, as in 1:23 and 1:25.

I arched my neck at that this morning. Based on the words of Paul, I tend to think I’m past milk and onto the meat of the word.

But this context is different. Peter is saying that the longing for the word should be like the longing of a baby for food, which is milk. Milk is the only food available. Babies have milk. Christians have the word. We must yearn for it like for nothing else.

So, I unarched my neck and started drinking. The Lord is good and his word is nourishing.