Hawaii 2010

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Repeat after me....Platonic Dualism!

I finished reading N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope. He reconnects ends of our theology that are frayed or have been cut by well meaning but misguided preaching and teaching. He restores what he believes is the original emphasis of the gospel and the early church on the implications of the resurrection of the body.

The idea that physical is evil and spiritual is good, in all its historical forms, from Gnosticism to Platonic influence, needs to be rooted out of our thinking. As wonderful as Heaven is, it is not our final home. The victory of Christ over death will never be complete until we have redeemed bodies like His gloroius body. So, the message of the church is not believe and sit and wait for heaven, but get involved in the suffering and pain of physical lives caught in the destructive power of sin and death, and labor now to bring relief and truth.....and hope.

Of course He said it better, more completely, and with lots of proofs. But, I get it. This life matters, this physical body and this physical world matters. The redemption of the universe is physical, the new heaven and earth are not a totally destroyed cosmos, but a totally renewed cosmos. Its revolutionary if you are influenced by dualistic thinking, as we all have been.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not Raised on a Farm

I have not seen a day old calf in a very long time, if at all? My friend Jim showed me his, and it was beautiful. I watched Momma Cow come over and protect him, and it took him a minute to find the joyful end of the Cow, but as with all life, he found it and was nourished.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Red Mountain

This landmark north of Mesa is one of my favorite views. Just minutes from town you descend a hill and begin your drive along the scenic shortcut to Hwy 87. I saw the herd of about a dozen wild horses this morning, and tried my best to get a picture after they crossed the road two hundred yards ahead of me. You can see their tracks through the fence.

I looped back through Fountain Hills, a planned community of about 40,000 east of Scottsdale that is known for this beautiful fountain landmark that blows on the hour.
That herd of horses met me on my first drive through there 19 years ago. These must be the grandchildren by now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trusting your own discernment?

I have spent many years reading and studying theology. I am not bragging, just sharing that Biblical and Theological writing, Spiritual development, and any number of related concepts send me to the bookstore. I also pick up used books for future reading if they seem interesting or have been recommended. My life has been blessed immeasurably by this discipline.

But, I have to confess, when I am reading a well thought out book, I am a sucker for a good idea and and well defended point. In other words, I am easily impressed and converted. I don't always see the inconsistency or twisted logic that might be there. So, I listen to those who critique ideas as well to make sure I am not getting off balance.

On a couple of occasions I have traveled down paths for a while that I ended up backing out of when I realized I did not agree anymore with the things that brought me there.

I hope I am not that type of student who is blown about by every wind of doctrine, but rather one who learns by testing new ideas. For example, Brian McLarens "New Kind of Christian" trilogy of theo novels were so powerful to me as a reflective Christian in a conservative church. I am thankful for writers who put their ideas out there for readers to think and to grow.......and to discern.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Thrilling Story of Faith

You think retired folks just play golf? We have a gentleman in our church in the winter who started a company several years ago. He is an avid pilot and followed a dream to build a missionary airplane that would meet the needs and costs of modern missionary work. They have raised and invested millions and have a marketing plan to help Ministries purchase the plane at discount as they sell them to farmers, skydivers, and other types of business. The Plane is called the Kodiak and it lands and takes off on a dime, uses cheaper jet fuel, holds 8 people and 2 tons of cargo. It has been thrilling to watch this project develop and see the plane undergoing tests to be certified by the FFA. If you want one I can hook you up with the right people. My entrepenurial friend is almost 80.

Beyond Words

Kathy, who blogs at Beyond Words is back after a few weeks rest. When I read about her family, church and community life I sense two things, authenticity and involvment. Visit and enjoy a reflective life in Christ.

Surprised by Hope

I am 2/3s through N.T.Wrights lauded book that reexamines the resurrection and related issues. As you read it from a pastors point of view your theological background helps you see his points that much of our belief system is as much influenced by prevailing philosophy as by what scripture said in its original cultural context.

I find my self amening and marking excellent quotes, and being thankful for the price this scholar paid to be able to communicate in this fashion.

That night in a study, as I tried to communicate some of the concepts they seem to fall flat, like the average Christian seems to say, "so what?" The beauty of a redeemed physical universe and a redeemed and glorious bodily future is enourmously exciting to me.

I will keep absorbing until this gets deep within. That last part of the book is Wrights "So what" as it concerns ministry, message and the body of Christ.

Exciting times!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pray for Molly

Pastor Steve McCoy http://www.stevekmccoy.com/ has a beautiful wife and mother of four children who has had surgery a year ago for a brain abnormality called Chiari. Her symptoms have returned and he is asking Christians to join in prayer for her health and for her heart which is understandably troubled after recovering from a surgery that was supposed to deal with the problem.

Steve is a young pastor in the suburbs of Chicago whose blog is always interesting.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Things I liked about the Olympics

I was in a real silly mood last evening when I answered this question over at Praise Whistlers Abroad

Things I liked about the Olympics, (an odd reflection)

1. Flying Chinese

2. The hot tube the divers sit in after they dive. Now thats a sport I identify with.

3. Fireworks

4. Womens Beach Volleyball and my affinity for long legs. (is that sinful?)

5. drums

6. racing bycycle technology- Those things look so cool!

7. Hoping someday boxing will be banned as an uncivilized sport

8. Looking at the incredible long camera lenses people have when shooting sporting events

9. Reflecting on the sources of national pride and cultural differences

10. Micheal Phelps and his mother, who raised him alone and gave him values which I hope he keeps when Cereal and McDonalds endorsements make him a millionaire.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Chinese can fly!

Did you see it? The Chinese can fly! Hundreds and hundreds of them all over the place. Is'nt that going to make it easier to win medals next time? I hope they will teach me to fly, now that would be an awesome cultural export.

Look at me! I can fly, I can fly, I can fly.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Heart Has Eyes

My monthly theme in teaching this month has been the "seeing" words in scripture. The seen, the unseen, behold, look. It has been enlightening for me to be reminded that spiritual vision is a gift of God. The heart has eyes, as Paul's prayer in Ephesians one says. So the song, "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, I want to see you" is intensely biblical, as is the warning that if we do not love the neighbor we see, we are not really able to love the God we do not see. When did we do these things to you Lord? He who had done this to the least of one of mine as done it to me.

Tomorrows word is katalambano, to grasp, to comprehend, used in Paul's prayer in Eph. 3 where he prays that we will grasp the heighth and width and depth of the love of God which passes all understanding, and be filled with all the fullness of God.

I'm in Lord, open my eyes to that, every moment of every day, in the simplest pastime or the biggest challenge. Yep, the heart has eyes!!!!

I can't believe she likes me!

So, here is an example of a former Kodak Slide, digitized and placed on a hard drive for the digital age. This is a picture of Laura and I during the first intoxicating weeks of our relationship. In was the spring of 1974. We only had a few months together before I left for a year long ministry experience between my second and third year in Seminary. The rest of our time before marriage was by phone, letter, and a couple of rushed weekend visits. When I saw this picture again after it lay in a Kodak Carousel for many years, the memories of the joy of young love flooded into my heart. Her mother did not like the mustache, and it was really goofy looking.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Please don't take my Kodachrome away-y-yy-y!

My parents died over a decade ago, and I become the conservator of our family slide collection. From the late 50s onward we recorded our family vacations and special holidays with photos turned into slides.

Our Kodak slide projector broke, as did our interest in setting the thing up and getting the family together. So I have wondered what to do. This week I borrowed a Primefilm slide digitizer and have been going through a tray an evening, culling and trying to collect a representative sample. It has been fun, but of course the quality of many of the pictures and the durability has been less than spectacular. The Ektacromes went really blue or orange, and Mom's Kodak Instamatics over the years really took poor pictures. I will try to post a few when I figure out how these things transfer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today I am Nuke-u-ler!

I was told I would not be able to board a plane for a few days as I would set off their bomb detectors.

I had a nuclear stress test at my cardiologists office. You have to get a long picture of your heart taken after you are injected with radiation. Eighteen minutes for the first with you arms over your head, twelve for the second, but the highlight is the walking on the treadmill, with a heartrate goal your medication will not allow you to reach.

Each three minutes the speed and incline rise, You are OK after six if you are in shape and walk regulary, but those last four of five are heck. You end up with a report that shows how clogged your major arteries are, how it affects you under stress and enables the doctor to see trouble ahead and give advice.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heavenly Music

I have two CD's that do a marvelous job of presenting ideas and longings for heaven without getting too hokey. City of Gold is about 11 years old and has quotes from Pilgrims Progress along with wonderful songs put together by Phil Baggely. Some wonderful flute and saxaphone playing with a jazzy feel and a progression that is very satisfying.

Andrew Petersons The Far Country is a hopeful uplifting collection with an acoustic flavor and a very hopeful and positive presentation of the gospel in song. "There are mountains on the Ocean floor" reflects an emphasis on reconciliation that was refreshing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hurricane Season

Summer of 69, Camp Counselor at Camp Alpine, suddenly several of our campers are seen packing to leave as their parents picked them up. Reason, Hurricane Camille.
I still remember the years of recovery.

Forward to 1985, Hurricane Elena comes right up our street in Moss Point, MS. We stayed across the street in the Methodist Church Educational Building. It was the longest night of my life as we literally held the doors closed with ropes. For weeks we had no power and the streets looked like tunnels with debris piled up on the sides of the road. I decided upon reflection that I should not have stayed with my family, thinking that as a pastor it was the right thing to do. One reason I am thankful to no longer be whistling Dixie.

Katrina stunned me, my two trips back were filled with Katrina recovery stories. I always pray for those facing this kinds of weather, and am doing so today for South Florida.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goldfield Mining Camp

I don't know if you classify this place as a tourist trap or an effort to preserve the west. I have never toured it. but I have a delightful memory of performing a wedding ceremony on the balcony outside the Steak House with a breathtaking view of the Superstition Mountains behind the couple.

The memorable part was their plan to ride in on horses from the north and south and meet and walk up the stairs. We were all standing their waiting when the Bride's horse broke away from her and ran right through a crowd of tourists full gallop to get to the other horse. Turns out they were penned together and never get out of each others sight. Now that was romantic! But a disastrous start to the wedding. I also remember the couple could dance like pros. The Wedding Party was country western and lots of fun. I love being a transplanted Westerner. I hate country western music but it does'nt matter.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Trip to Tortilla Flats

Friday afternoon, my day off, after watching "Stranger Than Fiction" I decided to add meaning to my life while Laura was in school teaching. The trip to Tortilla Flats is a great short trip for guests who visit. One year my Cousins even saw a tarantula crossing the road on the way. You enjoy the Superstition Mountains after leaving Apache Junction. Their stark beauty dresses up the East Valley.

Passing Goldfield Mining Camp on the left you begin the climb to Canyon Lake. On the way back I saw a sports car that had missed one of the hairpin turns that had landed over 100 yards down the canyon. I had passed an ambulance going slowly before I saw the wreck. A bad sign for the driver I fear.

Tortilla Flats has a Post Office/Store/Souvenir Shop and Restaurant. You literally saddle up to the bar on saddles, and they have about 90,000 dollars stuck on the walls.

Canyon Lake is part of a string of lakes that hold and feed water to Phoenix in addition to the Canal water. It has some beautiful boat rides that cut through the mountains. My first year here I water skied and snow skied in Arizona in the same month.

Things Unseen

Over the years certain parts of scripture have become very special to me in the development of my worldview. Here is one of them from 2Cor.4:17-18 NASB "For momentary slight affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyong all comparison, While we look not at the things that are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal". That mysterious phrase "eternal weight of glory", excites me beyond measure, and the idea that this world which I so enjoy most of the time is not the final thing, nor the best thing, nor the longest thing we will enjoy.

It is pretty easy to live in the world of time, money and stuff, but Paul was able to put that away for the sake of his considerably difficult missionary work, which, instead of being lucrative and enjoyable, was, as he wrote that, creating a significant time of affliction. Now thats not a word I want to experience. I think Paul is saying, when and if affliction comes, set your thoughts ahead and try to picture the weightyness of that tangible glory of His presence and the enormous relief of age enduring life in a world without pain, or tears, and sorrow. I feel my worldview changing as I ponder that very thing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction

My friend Jim and I watched this DVD together this morning. On the surface it is a touching and interesting movie about a man who discovers he is a character in someones novel, and that the author is trying to kill him. On a deeper level it explores our fear of death, our wrestling with seeming fate and our questions about who is narrating our life, and encourages us to live our lives fully while we are alive. All the actors were superb and some of the special effects to create the unique character of Harold Crick were amazing. I recommend it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I am blessed

I graduated from College and my girlfriend broke up with me. A romance collapsed in Ft. Lauderdale the next year, and I was headed into the ministry without a wife. I drove 1000 miles from the fiasco in south Florida praying about the matter, and the next weekend drove back to my college campus and saw Laura walking across the campus with Piano Books. Not only was she beautiful, she played piano. I plotted with the Dorm Mother to get an introduction, (remember this is bolstered by a 1000 mile prayer meeting), and we went to the Symphony. I told my roomies at Seminary I had met my wife. We were married 10 months later. By the way, she was rooming with my ex-girlfriend at the time.

What I got, was a loving, quiet, sensitive wife and mother, and the 33 years have swept by too quickly. What I did not expect is that she would get stuck in some kind of time machine and have this incredible skin and figure that just makes her the hottest grandmother I know. Happy Birthday Friday Laura, I cannot imagine any kind of life without you.

Don, the older looking one

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why I love Golf

Don, there are souls to be saved, how can you take 4 plus hours and knock a little white ball around trying to get it into the hole? Here are a few of my answers.

A wonderful combination of relaxation and personal challenge. You are having fun outside, walking, talking, getting a direct shot of vitamin D from Ole Sol, yet you are trying to master an incredibly complex set of movements to creat enough clubhead speed and accuracy to make par, using different tools to accomplish it.

Beauty...... the grass, the trees, the flowers, the hills, the lakes, the mountians, all surround you and delight you.

Competition-it is one of the few things in my profession where I can brag about a good shot, a long putt, a good chip and not have to be humble about it.

Fellowship-men really open up in sporting situations, you would be surprised.

Being a part of a large fraternity and enjoying the exploits of professional golf, both mens and womens. Those guys and girls are good, but we use the same stuff and have the same goal. I never could have played football or basketball or Baseball, but I can pay and play the venue for the Phoenix Open, or the US Open.

I played today and enjoyed every moment, made a Birdie, hit some greens in regulation, barely broke 90, refused to swing smoothly and paid the price every time.
My first clubs were given to me by my pastor, my first lessons by a golf club my parents could not afford to belong to, and some of the most enjoyable walks have been spoiled for most of my life, and I praise God for golf being in my life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Joy of Photography is reliving a moment!

Laura was commenting the other day about how we take pictures all the time and never really look at them. I think this is a growing reality since we went digital. People are not printing and displaying their family photos.

Since her Birthday is this week I bought one of those electronic picture frames. I have been loading a USB drive with photos to demonstrate it when I give her the gift. I am amazed at how nice the resolution is, and how addictive it is to have a feast of memories always on display. I followed Consumer Reports recommendations, at least 8 inches of display, 800x600 resolution, multiple ways to get your photos loaded. I hope she likes it, I always fail when I try for jewelry or feminine stuff, and electronics makes me feel like I am getting the gift for myself, but her comment makes me feel good about this.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Authentic Mexican Food

After delivering our Lunches downtown [see below] we set out to find an authentic mexican lunch. First, we had word of mouth recommendation. Second, it will be family owned, not a chain. Third, it will be filled and a good portion of the diners will be hispanic. We had it all today and enjoyed a great meal. My golfing buddy Larry A will not eat onions in anything, so he is an eating challenged hispanic.

Helping the Homeless

For over six months our church has entered into an agreement to supply the Phoenix Rescue Mission with lunches from the Hope Coach one day a month. A former homeless drug dealer whom God rescued takes a van each day to the places in Phoenix where the homeless gather to speak to them and give them a bag lunch and offer more help when he can.

We gather in our office and make 250 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with prezels, cookies, and our own personal note of encouragement. Its a small step, but for us it puts shoes on the gospel. We also deliver bottled water which is life here to those who live outside. The volunteers have a great time and the personal satisfaction for me is profound, when I see all this happening.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Marge C-87 lbs...... 87 years

Thats her on the left. Marge went to the emergency room with bleeding this afternoon and is spending the night in the hospital. Her last visit to the hospital....childbirth, about six decades ago. Unbelievable! Her husband had a stroke in his 30s and she became the bread winner and loved and gave him a wonderful life until just a few years ago. She raised her kids, worked hard, raced a sports car in road rallies in her 60s. She has watched the churches books prayerfully and skillfully for decades. Still plays golf, voluteers with our helps ministry, and moves a mile a minute, and is stone cold hard of hearing, but still comes to bible study weekly. She is an total inspiration to us all.

My first meme

OK, I may not do this correctly, but Carmen at "In the Open Place" has tagged me and I am in, although I may not have enough blogging friends to contact. Here are the rules
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6).
3) Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are my random things.
1. I attended nine different schools during my twelve years of standard education and my Dad was not military
2. Joe Dimaggio asked me for directions in Ft. Lauderdale and shook my hand
3. My roller skates had rubber wheels way before they became popular
4. I had a decade long obsession with the Kennedy Assassination and read almost every book published on the subject
5. I boarded the subway in Philadelphia at midnight with a full set of golf clubs...long story
6. I used a credit card sized calculator I loved as a bookmark in my library twenty years ago, and have never found the book yet

Passing on the meme to be announced.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Musical Plug for a true artist

Our generation is priviledged to have Sir James Galway as an interpreter of music for flute. I have The Essential Galway Double CD and Galway and Coulter playing Celtic Music and as I was walking today I was so completely transported by the beauty and power of his playing that it was like a religious experience. The flute sound is one of the most expressive and moving sounds I have ever heard, and Galway is a master.

Out of Business

I needed to fax some documents to NYC this morning to help my son get an apartment. I thought I would stop by the business of an old friend I had not seen in several years who ran a Postal Store in the part of town I lived five years ago. I remember the joy she and her husband felt when they took possession of that store. We gathered for a prayer of dedication and laughed and admired all the amazing gadgets these mailing stores have, and all the streams of income you can generate.

The empty building gave me an empty feeling. The large grocery store had closed and a rebound effect pretty much wiped out that corner, which was thriving when I lived nearby. Later the owner and her husband divorced...his fault...and as I enquired at the UPS store down the street I discovered that she had sold the business and moved out of town. Though she made a good living for a while, this was a sad ending for me.
We hope and dream, and also face risk and loss.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

South Beach Diet Week 3

Well, the last several days of the two week period of my diet showed a marked decrease in weight loss after the day 9 time out. So my total is about 8lbs, which is a great start. I am now learning to add some fruit and carbs. My daily walking has been great. Just returned from an hour long walk in the malll.

Here is the After picture. The before picture is the lower one of me filled with catfish, hushpuppies, BBQ and a great roast prepared by our friends the Morans, who shared her diet success with me and got me interested.

Abouve is me a couple days ago at the end of day 10. same Shirt, hopefully less obvious lump. Look hard now, I am standing up tall but not holding my breath.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clipping and Pasting is fun!

Throughout most of the 80s two or three of us published a monthly newsletter for our church. I found the creativity exhilarating, and the precision needed exasperating. We would find images, copy them and cut them out, carefully spacing out typing to fit the image. All pretty crude, but it created a visual and informational mailing that was fairly cutting edge at the time.

I was always amused that after we had examined the finished document for over a week we would still find a typo after we mailed it.

Yesterday I bought the digital equivalent of the old clip and paste software, from an old name... Broderbund, and the image on this post is the first digital clipart I have ever used. "Small step for Pastor Don, large step for old guys who love technology". We do all this because God designed the human eye to be the most ingenious collector of information in the universe. I love vision. My humble photography hobby testifies to my joy in freezing moments of time for later consumption.

As my high School Reunion, Randy and I were warming up for golf, when I suddenly remembered my family buying shoes from him in a department store. We discussed his kinship to a family in my church in a nearby small town. That memory had sat embedded in my brain for over 30 years. I could still see him wearing a nice shirt and tie and chatting about things. Yes, the eye/mind connection is awesome, and I bet I left a mispelled word in this post.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer Bible Study

In recent years I have been studying the Bible through subjects and words. It is more organic and less systematic than I have in years past. It opened gold mines of related questions and deepens my appreciation for the words of scripture, the original lanquages, and the power of symbols and metaphors in scripture.
Each summer I choose a theme and developed it for four weeks. Over the last six years I did Bread and Spiritual Nourishment, Rivers and Spiritual Power, Sound and Silence, Sleep and Death, Fire and Purity, Time and Eternity. This year the theme is, The Seen and the Unseen.
Studying the five senses and the mind/body connection and hope to delve into the hope of the Unseen world. It is fun because our Bible Study room allows me to us a lot of multimedia with the overhead and music and visuals. I played a cut from Andrew Petersons wonderful CD entitled The Far Country, called More. "A golden sunset on a quiet eve, is like hope that's tugging on my sleeve, there is more, more than we can see." I have been talking about beauty, and the gift of hearing, taste, touch and even smell. I think folks enjoyed the teaching and got what I was trying to communicate.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cars…the necessary hassle and occasional thrill

Does this car look totaled to you? One year ago this month, returning from a prayer retreat, I had a fender bender. The tire was pushed back and the axle bent, and since it was a 1999 vehicle they paid me its value and totaled it. A sad day for me, as I truly loved the luxury of a Chrysler 300M. We were four months shy of having the car paid for, and my wife was so looking forward to life without car payments so we have still not bought a replacement one year later.

A generous friend gave me a 1992 Acura Vigor to drive. The Vigor was made for two years and was marketed as a more economical Legend. She drives nicely, most of the buttons and bells still work, and, since it belonged to a person in sales, has 236,000 miles on it. Yep! Impressive!

Meanwhile my son returned from college with our 2001 Saturn. He could not explain the scratches and dings, but when he drove up we understood that the radio had been played full volume for the three years he drove it to school and work. We bought that car brand new, with the Saturn sales staff applauding as the keys were delivered. Hokey but sweet.

Now shes got 100 K, showing signs of serious wear, and I am giving it away. To a couple who believed that that God would limit the size of their family without birth control. They had eight kids before they rethought the teaching. They have a passle of teens and getting them to school and work is complicated.

Over the 30 plus years of ministry I have been given a 69 Buick, a 79 Subaru, an 87 Toyota, and the 92 Acura, all were gap cars needed for a short time and deeply appreciated.

We are left with a Chevy Aveo with 50K, the old Acura, and now with $4 dollar gas, a commitment to see how many months we can go with this present transportation arrangement.
This summer we rented Crossover SUVs to travel, a Mazda RX9 and a Nissan Pathfinder, and that flung a serious new car craving on me that was near demonic in its intensity.

I am better now, and resigned to looking humble when I drive, but visions of Chrysler 300’s and Hyundai Santa Fe’s dance in my dreams. Is it idolatry to hope our good ole American ways of consumerism will return so I can drive hot wheels?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Two powerful movies to rent

Laura read the book "Atonement" this summer at our daughter's recommendation so I had sort of an idea of the concept. The movie version was powerful and beautifully tragic tale of an adolescent mistake and the fruit of ruined lives. Set before and during WWII the sets and recreations were outstanding, as was the surprising ending. It did remind me that some lives are intertwined with history in such a way as their hopes and dreams and loves become impossible to achieve. Movies like this cause me to strengthen my hope in some sort of recompense in the life to come for those whose lives and hopes are dashed.....yes, I do have some scriptures that lean in that direction which I will share someday.

"Vantage Point" is a thriller that used a very unique plot technique to illustrate a powerful point. The assassination of the president and the repetition of those fifteen minutes of chaos through the eyes and experience of innocent bystanders and guilty proprietors made for an exciting and rewarding movie experience.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Happy 97th Birthday Cinderella

Cinderella B. was a spiritual force in the foundation of SLCC thirty years ago. Starting Ladies Bible Studies and providing leadership and support to the young/older congregation. They secured their first pastor through rural missions because at that time Sun Lakes was isolated way out south of town. My granddaughter believes she is the real Cinderella of Disney fame, but her parents named her long before the fable became a cartoon favorite. She outlived two godly husbands and until two years ago she lived alone and drove her car and golf cart back and forth to church and social events. She is wearing a Sennhieser hearing aid because she lost the tiny ones that fit in the ears. Still gentle and pleasant, she is now in a care center because she broke her hip last year.

Her children and our church rise up and call her blessed.

Back in my Dad's Pontiac

I have always enjoyed the phrase "this is not your Father's Buick", which indicated that the tastes of young people have changed. This would certainly be true in our American culture when we describe the revolution that has occurred in Church worship gatherings in the last several decades. Of course in reality there is still a welcome, singing, text, exposition thing going on, but as you know its now casual, user friendly, filled with laughter, marked by contemporary instruments and singing, and the message is designed to be eminently practical to be of any value to the attendee. To speak broadly, some forms of seeker sensitivity going on.

I grew up with set bulletins, repeated doxologies, hymnbooks, robes, organs like most of you my age. Our youth groups had choruses, but most of us were happy with the switch between that and the formal service. I remember one evening service where I went in shorts and a T shirt, filled with the spirit of late 60s rebellion, to see if anyone would look at me judgmentally.

So, things began to change as my generation grew up and church changed and I changed. You know the stories, we all lived them.

But, in a unique slice of time reversal, these senior communities said thanks but no thanks, and continued on as they always had. When I visited SLCC the leaders question was not so much do I believe like they do, but.....can you worship in the old fashioned way the way we do.

Now, to be honest, our hymnbook has choruses, but we have no real connection to anything cutting edge. Just the time honored ones that entered the church decades ago, like "Open My Eyes Lord" and "O Lord, Your Beautiful" Our instruments are piano and organ of course.

So, for the most part, my decision to move here has been a decision to worship the way my parents were comfortable. And.....its not bad at all.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Where we meet to Worship

The is Sun Lakes All Faiths Chapel. Built about 25 years ago. The Church I serve meets in this building which was built on land donated by the builder of this community, and with funds from our original attendees and others in the community. After a few years residents began to desire more denominational expressions of their faith and various groups started services that shared the building. Land and buildings led to the off campus movement of the Methodists, Baptists, Catholics and Lutherans.

The original group which was the Community church and a United Church of Christ are left to use this building which we rent. If at any time services cease to exit the charter says the building will belong to Arizona State University. Though a bit dated, it is comfortable, seats 250 or so, and also hosts Friday night services for our two Jewish Congregations. Their Torah is in the closet and our Christian Symbols hang on removable clips. Odd but effective.
I love not owning a building. We give lots of money away to missions. We have an office elsewhere near the Country Club Clubhouse. That is why I am a few steps from a cafeteria, pool room, lending library, banquent facilities, swimming pool, workout rooms and a chip and putt golf course. Feeling sorry for me yet.
Someone in your family must be 50 to live here, You are asked to leave if you have a baby, and we have no youth group or Sunday School. I guess you would call it a niche market church. In a senior active community. They had five pastors they hired at 60 hoping they would stay till they were seventy, but all decided to retire at 65. They decided to try a new approach and hired me, a slighty wounded heart attack survivor at age 52, knowing I would need to work till 65. I am in my sixth year, so far so good. I will share some of the joys and sorrows of serving seniors in my next post.