Hawaii 2010

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wisdom cries from the streets, listen and live!

I thought this was hilarious and hope it is an exaggeration. In our congregation we are focusing on the preachers message in Ecclesiastes this month and Job for December. You may wander why I chose Job for Christmas....because this is the fifth anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the unprecedented loss of life that occurred on that formerly tranquil Sunday Morning. I am going to share some of the results of my searching into God's presence or absence in tragedy. I believe the incarnation of Jesus into this world is part of God's answer in the good news of God's love even in the darkest of moments.

Ecclesiastes is a powerful read and is crying out for us to listen and apply what Solomon learned from his fantastic wealth and freedom to search out truth, and his own tragic weakness as well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sinatra sings the Standards

One spring weekend in 1974 I took this girl to the symphony, and that night I told my roommates I had been out with my future wife. We are still dating and still loving the Symphony. Tonight we were treated to 20 great hits in an evening called "Simply Sinatra". Steve Lippia from Vegas is an outstanding vocalist whose interpretation of Frank was awesome. The Big Band sound and the greater orchestra were led by Grammy winning Victor Vanacore.

The point was made a number of times how wonderful those great standards sung by men and women became the uniquely American expression of great lyrics, melodies, and rhythms, and that our courser and louder music today just misses the point of romance, life, the blues, and drama.

I am so glad we have learned to love the music of this era, and I am glad to have this beauty at my side in the fall of 2009 after 35 years plus of dating pleasure.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Web surfing can be interesting

I do not follow hundreds of blogs. It is hard to say why one persons story grabs you or their authenticity keeps you stopping by. Some of my blogs contain people I feel I could call if passing through their town and have coffee.

Sometimes I read outside my comfort zone. One of those is a blog about personal performance by a guy who is definitely gifted and not a fan of Christianity in any way, having had a typically bad catholic upbringing.

Several months ago he announced that he and his wife were going to try polyamory.
This was a new word to me, but basically it means in a male or female friendship leads to a sexual encounter this will be alright without checking or telling your spouse. He had a long explanation of their agreement and was quite positive he was making a bold new move in marriage freedom. Keep your wife and experience the joys of sexual encounters without guilt. It was about emotional depth not the physical.

They announced their divorce today.........I think I saw that coming!
They have two elementary age children.

One Nights Rest

I took a pain reliever for an ear infection and lost one nights sleep, not a nod or a wink was had. Appointments the next day kept me from catching up. I lost the next twelve hours in restorative sleep. Five pm til five am.

The human body is a fragile gift, so useful, so full of ability, which must be maintained with food, water, rest, movement and a degree of watchful care. With aging all this becomes less successful. Still we are marvelously and wonderfully made, and Jesus took a body, and rose with a body, and ascended with a body. Thankfully His body is a psychikos soma, a spiritual body, with the flesh being led by the spirit, subdued, no longer "brother ass" as Luther called our stubborn flesh.

We will receive a body like His one day, when this tent collapses. This present one returns to activity, gently reminded of the gift of sleep.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The People of the Sea

More accurately, La Peuples de la Mer, is a song I got for a penny from Amazon. It was being sung in french or latin, and the tune was unmistakable. Amazing Grace. Hey those latin dudes stole Newton's tune. Well, not actually. Actually it took several decades for Newtons famous words of grace and forgiveness to find and latch onto The People of the Sea, or New Britain, an ode to the Celtic sailors who came across the ocean to Britain.

Now that our current contemporary music movement is 40 years old, I often run into the purist who says we are losing something when words are on a screen without four part harmonies. I have nothing against hymnals but the visual music and words are of fairly recent invention. Most of Old Covenant and Christian History has tunes being borrowed or written to fit a song and the mood hoped for.

We have been singing from an old Maranatha song book, no music, from the 70s, and it is amazing how many of those songs we all know, how many tunes we picked up. Music is new and ancient, passed down and dreamed up, linked and intertwined in so many ways that almost every musical genre has crossover characteristics. It is also the power of the emotions that carries transforming and uplifting grace or sorrow or joy.

I am a musical amateur, but thankful that we live in a digital age when music is so available, so reproducible, so accessible, so transportable. I hope those who create it can make a living from it, but you never know where a tune is going to end up in Kingdom reality.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Each Season plows up a bushel of memories

We are sleeping with the screen door open, that's fall for us. The annual spate of horror movies reminds me how much I detest horror movies. Reformation Day still means more to me than Halloween, but I am not trying to stop anyone from costume parties and innocent fun, and candy. I love the idea that truth can be recovered from a majority opinion sitting on a throne. It gives me hope.

I bemoan the loss of the Thanksgiving Holiday with its replacement by Christmas commercialism. But bemoaning is a bit pompous and stuffy, I just want each month to have its own set of special days. We are not decorators and celebrators anyway so our humble abode looks the same except my recent purchase of icicle lights.

The 46th anniversary of the assassination of JFK is bring out the history documentaries, and I love remembering the early 60s. I forgot how many men still wore hats. I still will wish people would not plot violence to get their way, and I will go to my grave being a peacemaker who dreams of peace. As a mesmerized 13 year old came of age and lost the innocence of youth that tragic weekend in November.

I wept today for a moment, as two situations that elderly people face occurred and reminded me how difficult aging can be, as our bodies betray us, or our minds dim and fail. I had an incident of sensitive feet on the beach last week that reminded me of the progression of my own disease. The grass withers..... and I still love life, and hope for the life to come.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

When poverty gets a face and a name

Meeting this family and sharing a few hours with them broke my heart and opened my desire to be a small part of the solution even more than before. They have so little, live so close to hunger and loss, are enclosed in a system they probably cannot escape, survive by creating places for Americans to relax and play, work hard, walk everywhere, live in sand, sand, sand.

Still they love their kids, who laugh and play however they can, including the water for the broken washer to spin.

Mariposa the dog had tried to take out Larrys heel earlier in the day, you can see how I won her heart and offered my lap for a while.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Priviledge and Poverty dwelling close together

Larry and his family have built five homes through Amor Ministries in Rocky Point.
Church groups assemble two room dwellings over a three day weekend with funds raised by the church and assitance from Amor carpenters. Larry, being bilingual, decided to continue visiting these precious and struggling Christian families and helping them in any way he can.

We spent Friday visiting and purchasing materials to help a family finish another bedroom and bath for their family of four. I will share more of them later. The Resort area is within a mile of this shanty area along the railroad tracks and the contrast is hard to observe. I think the most different thing that I was not expecting was the sandy desert nature of this area. The Sea of Cortez is quite lovely and these vacation condos are top notch. At four hours drive from our town it beats San Diego in distance and price. Gotta have a passport and survive the customs in and out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pastor Tito, Sagauro Cactus, and a Birthday

I enjoy taking first timers in Arizona up the South Mountain Preserve. Pastor Tito thought these cactus spring up in about a year and was impressed at how old they are.

Geneva shared her 90th Birthday with 20 friends. She is so proud of her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I will be traveling to Porta Penasco tomorrow and will return Saturday. No phone, no computer, my first time past a border town since Reynosa on the Texas tip in college and Elgodones last year for shopping.

Keeping it mellow, good old 3195

Twelve years ago I changed my mind about the future. We were being deluged, (pun intended) with teachings about the end of the world being Y2K. Now, lots of things have happened in the last twelve years, but the one that they said was about to happen did not happen and we conveniently forgot about it and went looking for the next thing that was about to happen.

Mellow is the English transliteration of a word that means "about to", and various translations give it the imminent feel it deserves or bury it in a less timely word.

The first century believers, beleaguered by the angry Jews for co opting their savior teaching for this weak man that died, were persecuting the Christians everywhere, and Paul promised that something was "about to" happen that would give them relief. First Century judgment upon the people, the city, the temple occurred just as Jesus said it would, it was right at the door, it was about to happen, and it did.

Look up Strong's 3195 and see if it might change your mind about predictions of doom and more importantly, about who God is in Christ.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Crossing the Border this week

Larry is escorting me for a two night excursion into the Rocky Point area of Mexico. Our purpose is to visit the friends made when homes were replaced with new construction done by church folks, and to show me that I need not fear travel in Mexico.

To look into the face of poverty without disgust, without judgment, without pride, without answers. To discover dignity in poor people, and to learn to empathize, to know I cannot fix everything, but I can do something.

Its sad and stunning that my internet over use equals the monthy income of families in other places. How would I live if that were me? Yet I find these Christian folks to be full of thanksgiving, hard working zeal to improve what they can, and determination to be generous even with the little they possess.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Odds and Ends to begin a new week

Random Thoughts:
I am using a Verizon Wireless device to board the web. It is very helpful if you use several different computers or have several users. We now can do emailing at high speed at the office, and Laura and I swap it to check our mail and for her educational programs, connection to her school computer, etc.

It was all working well until I felt confident that the limit of data usage was not easy to surpass, and this month, without really thinking about it, I surpassed it……big time. Turned out my enjoyment of Youtubes that friends recommend, music downloading, and picture browsing are data hogs, and I got kicked in the teeth for my joy of Flickr photo browsing. My idea is that the more you observe good photography the more you will develop your eye. So know I am checking usage after each session.

The flying saucer incident has renewed y commitment not to waste one minute watching these reality TV shows. Give me the day when you had to be an actor or actress and have a plot or comedy to command an hour of TV time.

In church today we reflected on Psalm 150, the musically involved, praising believer. Pleasing, music is a personal taste, but when it pleases and praises you receive the vibrating sounds of God’s love and comfort. When I lose my abilities to move around, I hope I will still be surrounded by the sounds of music, all kinds.
Today I listened to the rest of Ray LaMontaynes folksy album called Trouble. We had fun today listening to the part about trouble, trouble, trouble, worry, worry, worry.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Prisoners for Christ

Pastor's Consor and Tito live and minister near Manila Philippines. She is continuing her deceased husbands ministry and He is an ex-prisoner of the Prison he serves.

He was arrested for being a child of out of favor politicians during the Acuino/Marcos affair in 1974, he was 14 and spent another 16 years in prison as a political prisoner,even being put in solitary for a year before he was 18. Many of the prisoners they served in the maximum and minimum security prison are there unjustly. Many of their families live in tents outside to camp to be near them.
The struggle to live and eat in these countries is ongoing. Pastor Tito has established five churches in and outside the camp is bought some land with an inheritance to start a talapia fish business for his congregation to help them eat and thrive. God's heart is for the world, and so should our's be.

The government does not function as it should, professional wages for college graduates is about 400 dollars a month. One of his sons who trained for medical service can make more on the phones serving United States phone centers.

The dedication of these permanent prisoners for Christ is remarkable. They have friends in our church who are hosting their brief sabbatical for rest and making contact with other ministries and friends. He hopes his two sons can work here, as many Filipino's do to support families back home, but our economic problems have closed immigration through 2010. English is the second language for almost all Filipino's. Laura and I are thinking about visiting those islands to experience the mission field.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Dixieland Band Farewell Celebration

Springfield Community partied after the memorial service for Ginny Zajas this morning. What a wonderful way to say goodbye to a Friend and neighbor. I have been blessed to get to know Joe and his wonderful family this summer. Every thing went perfectly and the food prepared by the ladies group and all the families was delicious. Frank and Igor and his friends are excellent musicians and excel at Dixieland. I loved "I'll Fly Away and When the Saints" at the end.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Doors of the Sea

I am reading the above titled book in conjunction with an upcoming emphasis on Job, an interest in the ongoing debate on the web about God using weather to punish bad people, and after spending a summer studying the resurgence of natural theology books.

The author is an orthodox theologian who throws 20 dollars words around like penny candy, but he is worth persevering through, and he also reminds me that I am not really intellectual or philosophically well read.

Listen to this beautiful paragraph, and be impressed, very impressed.

"The natural world overwhelms us with its splendor, its beauty, its immensities and fragilities, its incalculable diversity, its endless combinations of the colossal and the delicate, sweetness and glory, minute intricacies, and immeasurable grandeur. It is easy and one of the most spontaneous movements of the soul,to revere the God glimpsed in the iridescence of the flowered meadows, the emerald light of the deep forest, the soft immaculate blue of the distant mountains, the shining volubility of the sunlit sea, the pale cold glitter of the stars. This is a perfectly wise and even holy impulse.

But at the same time all the splendid loveliness of the natural world is attended by and preserved by death. All life feeds on life, and each creature yields its place in time to another, and at the heart of nature is the struggle to survive and increase at the expense of other creatures. It is as if the entire cosmos was somehow predatory, a single great organism nourishing itself upon the death of everything to which it gives birth, creating and devouring all things with a terrible and impassive Majesty."

This is powerful prose, and as the 5th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami approaches I want to get this man's theology of evil, and natural calamity in my head and heart. Thanks to Marc V. for having this on his syllabus in Seminary, I have been looking for this book for a while and did not know it existed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Now that must be hot, and long lasting

One wonders how long it took for the name Hellfire and Damnation to be patented for a product, or if such a possibility of patenting those words is possible given their ancient origin, or whether one would actually choose to pour hellfire and damnation on their Chicken???? I think I would avoid even the taste of such a thing! You may have to click on the picture to read it, or course Toxic Toad and Toxic Tick are not all that appealing either.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spice up your life with service

The Hot Sauce Market must be extremely competitive. You can stand out from the crown by having a cute, inventive, and descriptive name Our monthly lunch ministry with the Phoenix Rescue Mission provides a spice of friendship, cooperation to reach a goal, laughter and welcoming others. I always feel proud of those who come out to help get our hands messy with needed daily bread.

Larry and I take the trip back to enjoy some local restaurants, and today was one of my favorite breakfast lunch diners, called Pepper Sauce. Named I am sure for the collection they have for sale. here in the center was one of my instant favs. Its See Dick Burn, probably drawn by contest or the families child. Whoever did it seems to know the part of the anatomy from which said fire erupts. Heh!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The passing of an era of Lego masterpieces

This is a convenience store built with character by a Pastor and his wife near Vicksburg Ms. It is adorned with about everything they could use plus lots of bible wisdom. The Pastors wife died after decades of minding store. You just do not see things like this in Gilbert,Mesa, Tempe, Sun Lakes.

We began buying Lego's when our children were young. On a budget a Lego set is an investment. I remember Pirate Legos and various Space Lego's. Eventually they ended up on one huge plastic container. I loved those huge square green boards that provide the foundation for a child's dreams.

Brian, our super artistic son, though each of our kids has the gift, was always building towns and ships and complicated things that were works of art. I used to take pictures of his more exotic creations.

Yesterday the box left our possession and entered into the full time lives of our two grand children. God bless those second generation Lego's as they give the satisfying click of connection to our two precious grand children.

The pieces of our lives are not so easy to build into something beautiful. I have been spending some time thinking about the 20 years that have piled up since I quit whistling Dixie. I had such dreams of building something lasting. It looks more now like I got nothing I wanted and pretty much everything I needed. Lets hope I can keep adorning the building for a while before I get put back into the box.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Like a Moonscape

We enjoyed a 420 mile day with the grand kids today. Sunset Crater erupted 1000 years ago, poured lava over 40 square miles, and ran the Indians out of the area with the permanent change in the environment. NASA used the area to train astronauts for the moon landing. You used to be able to climb to the crater till 30 years ago when they felt too much damage was being done.

After this we traveled further north to Wapatki National Monument to see pueblo ruins where the Navajos and their ancestors kept sheep and farmed with no water supply other than the rain, which caused them to finally abandon the area.

I love day trips, Flagstaff is a hoppin town during the school year, total traffic jam to get through at dinner time. Ben and Shannon are a blast to travel with, total fun.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Across the Border over the Ocean

My very first Passport came today. I have long dreamed of visiting overseas missionary locations, has not been the way it worked out in my ministry. I love the Asian countries. We are hoping we can arrange a trip to the Philippines next summer and to cross the border and see the work being done done near Rocky Point. Twenty years here and I have never been to Rocky Point. I guess I am proud to be an American, and happy that Hawaii is our 50th state, Ah, Polynesian Culture.
Tomorrow I get to dust off the camera to visit some of our State Parks up beyond Flagstaff and feel some fall air, and our grandkids in tow.

Tonight we celebrated Octoberfest with the Greens at the Bavarian Gardens Restaurant. Very German, Laura had the plate of Brats, and we had some delicious apple strudel soaking in cream sauce. Octoberfest has been celebrated since 1810 for some Kingly wedding, they moved it to September many decades ago but the original name stuck.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stainless steel knees and hips

I live in an active retirement community. We are supposed to be active and most of us are. Now that people who live in cooler climates are returning to the desert your winter becomes our summer, sort of like Australia, without the accent.

Everywhere I go my slightly older friends are sporting new hardware, in the form of knee and hip replacements. I sure hope these things are still available and affordable when I need them. I walked for 10 minutes, lifted weights for 30, and biked for 20 minutes an hour ago and I feel great. The muscles are not aching even though I am increasing reps and weight. It is very rewarding to be active.

Most of our health issues develop in the later years of life, I have no desire to leave people without care, I have seen the poor taken care of my whole ministry by generous policies and pro bono work by hard working physicians. I am not against reform, but to penalize future generations of seniors is a seriously flawed strategy.

The young people who cavalierly think people are too old for corrective surgery, life extention electives, and heart and circulation help do not know the seniors the way I know them after years here. These people are workers, and givers, and lovers and servers who made this country strong thoughout all their lives. Be careful congress, and executive branch, be very careful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Don't waste your life

I thought that title of one of John Pipers recent books was powerful. We are doing a brief study of Psalms and Proverbs and it reads like an enormous and exciting invitation not to mess up. It reads like a promissory note of a path that leads to joy and fulfillment and yes, wisdom that reaps a harvest.

The way of wisdom sounds so attractive you wonder why her wooing and calling and pleading and promising hit so many deaf ears and hard hearts. It really is love poetry, filled with warnings about the short cuts that seem to be the easy way to get ahead. As I was rereading those first chapters I had a thought of all the hundreds of thousands of people both simple and complex who were introduced the the wisdom tradition of the old testament and simply believed and followed her admonitions with all their heart and mind and strength. I think of Johnathan Edwards youthful resolutions of self discipline he set himself to observe, and fo the biographies of so many missionaries that felt the high calling to carry the message to primitive places.

I think of a boy who dusted off his little used RSV and read those words, and searched for the savior who drew and captured and opened his heart. Like a tree planted beside the waters, his leaf does not wither, he reaped a harvest in season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Birthday Celebration

Rogers wife through a great party for all his friends, lots of jokes and stories and laughs and good food. I love every member of my church, but there are always some by reason of interests or activities or connections that become special friends.

The Sherrian and Roger love movies, eating out, travel, and taking pictures, and the guys are golfers. It was nice to meet many other of their friends. Like one of the cards said, the only thing that is really affected from one being one day older is bananas!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Burns does it again

A tripod picture of me and the Grand Tetons.

History is not pretty, this history is, except for all the stuff they fought over to get these National Parks established. I have never been to Yosemite, and I intend to correct that soon. Summer of 2005 my bachelor's vacation took me to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. I loved it, although it was just a drive through on the way to a retreat on the Salmon River. These really are treasures.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

In joy and in sorrow

I hope each of you have a great weekend, and meaningful Sunday. Today I led a funeral service for a wife and mother and shared the decades of happy memories they had enjoyed in their journey through life, including working for one company all their life, and traveling all over the continental US and Canada in a 23 years retirement.

This evening a living celebration of Earl and Grace Golden Anniversary with four generations of children, and a sense of humor spread through all of them. Good time.

Friday, October 2, 2009

An historic golf course outing

wide fairways with lots of weeping willows

An older and historic home off the course

Played the San Marcos Golf Course today, built in 1911 even before the city was established, many movie stars and Presidents stayed here and played, the resort was upgraded and the course was in beautiful shape. The Duke enjoyed staying here when he was filming westerns and used his time to invest heavily in real estate.

We are having a John Wayne impersonator from Branson Mo. in our chapel in November with his yodeling wife. They say the physical and voice are amazing and the put on a very entertaining evening, she does a good Lucille Ball??? I think.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prattville memories on an LPGA weekend

Mary Richardson, Laura's mom, my parents Roy and Dorothy, probably the weekend I was installed a asst. pastor/youth minister.

The LPGA is playing in Prattville AL this weekend. I have really enjoyed the quality and standouts in woman’s golf this year. Many weekends it is more exciting than the other tour.

Prattville holds a very special place in my memory. I bought and placed an engagement ring on my wife the year I lived there. I preached weekly, had three strong youth groups and a very wonderful young adult bible study. We got married and had our first six months of honeymoon there.

It’s a bedroom community about 10 miles north of Montgomery, An old cotton mill town with a river running through it, rolling hills, great farm land, lots of hog production, good fishing and an all around good place to live.

On little claim to fame, was playing golf at the Air Force Base in Montgomery, and spotting Chuck Colson who was serving time there for his political crimes, as the time he was working on the grounds crew of the golf course.

This was a long time ago, 1974-75, and we were beginning our life together and I knew I could cut it in the ministry. People loved us and welcomed us into their homes and hearts. I still have an aluminum heavy duty stew pot that was given me during my bachelor months.

I think I made 600 a month that year, apartment provided, raise a bit when married. I got my first paycheck and bought that engagement ring and realized I had no money to live on the rest of the month. Love is stupid.