Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Our big lumbering middle son has moved in for several weeks while he makes final plans for a European adventure. Yesterday all kinds of good news arrived. First his passport which will open the doors to other countries. Second, his official Honorable Discharge from the United States Marine Corps. Eight years, four on active duty and four on call for national emergencies.
I love what the Marines taught Matt and the places he got to see like Japan and Afghanistan and San Diego and places inbetween. I admire that he saw combat duty, and even lost a buddy from the Bible Study to sniper fire during their deployment.
I love the way he is preparing wisely for safety and security on the trip. I love that he is being driven by a life long love for history, some of which was first introduced through historic battle games on the computer, and later reading history. He wants to walk those Roman roads and see those ancient ruins. He bought an Olympus Digital that is small and portable but has enough clarity to come home with memories.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Our son is storing his worldly belongs here after clearing out of his apt today. He has a dream and has decided to go for it. Matt returned from military four years ago and has been working and finishing college. He has lived frugally and saved enough for an extended time in Europe. He will hike and Eurorail thru Europe with the goal of spending a lot of time in Italy. He seems to have a good plan although he will be learning how it all works on the go. This following a road trip from AZ up through Colorado to New York to see his brother.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Subject studies in Hot Potato areas have been immensely satisfying for me. Eschatology led me to so many other lovely discoveries that I am being transformed by. The Age of the earth and creation studies, the development of atonement theories, its all been good. I do not tend to argue with Christians about these things but I can be pretty opinionated if the environment is safe, which it often is not.
The two books above have been edifying. Dallas Willards approach to Christianity is so refreshing. I attended a Renovare Conference to meet him and others discovering more about discipleship and had the change to speak to him on the street one day and thank him for his writing. This Easter, our men's bible study is discussing some of the ideas in N.T.Wrights book about rethinking the issues of Easter and resurrection. I have always believed there was life after life after death that would include the universe and it felt good to be affirmed and given good biblical proof by this scholar.
Friday, March 27, 2009
This book challenges most of the myths we were raised with about finding God's will.
Everything from the crazy fleeces, to the bible dipping, to the receiving of impressions. Well written and really helped many college students when it came out.
Sorry you have to crane your head to read it. Anybody know how to tilt a picture in Blogger??
Thursday, March 26, 2009
When I briefly lived in Tucson, AZ we had a Wycliffe Translation Center north of town and a number of missionaries involved in Mexican Translation worshipped in our church. I met tall skinny wiry haired Phillip Yancy one weekend at a retreat there and my love and respect for his sensitivity and willingness to tackle deep subjects grew. I own every book he has written, and they all are strong, I am looking at several across the room in our formal bookcase area. Laura has enjoyed him as well, one of the few writers we share enthusiasm for. READ Phillip Yancy, you will be blessed and strengthened.
So I have been blogging about my relationship with books and reading. My present office which may be my last, has overflowed into a walkin closet. I need to find a young minister to give books to, as was done to me long ago.
I have made the claim that I read and study what I believe is more than the average minister. (Crowns in heaven Im sure?????) But there was a specific incident, shrouded in shame and ugliness, that triggered by mid life blossoming into a person loving the search for understanding. And forgive me if this sounds all pompous.
19 years ago when I moved west, though the little church called me, there was opposition on the pulpit committee. Long story short, there was division on the pulpit committee between wanting someone who would be popular and grow the church and someone who would be scholarly and deepen the churches already deep dedication to the truth.
One scholarly type guy thought I was not smart or theological enough. He asked me during the weekend I was visiting if I was a Van Tillian Presuppositionalist?.....
and for the life of me, I remembered the arguements between evidentialists like R.C. Sproul and Van Till.....are you following me????? But I sounded dumb and felt dumb.
And from that moment on this turkey was after me, and did many ugly things in the name of God, and the church would fall apart, and he and his family would keep looking for purer churches until I think he joined a denomination with only a couple thousand pure theologs.
At first I wanted to prove to myself I was not dumb, and I started reading scholarly and serious books. And I enjoyed them, and I began to do my own studies in the subjects of controversy or cloudiness.....and what a journey it has been. I have been blessed and changed by the efforts, which became a joy, and like I was told way back in seminary.....reading makes the full man. Thank you Lord. I am not brilliant but I am steady.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Favorite book from the 70s, Knowing God by J.I. Packer Randy Alcorn was in conference with the gentlemen recently. He is a giant of the faith.
Worst Book from the 70s, The Late Great Planet Earth-a really bad theology that we are still attempting to survive.
During the 80s I had learned that preaching comes best from the overflow of a full head and heart. My reading and study habits improved as did my involvement with community and people. I met with many young men for lunch and our conversations on spiritual truth was wide ranging and edifying. I was learning theology, psychology, and finding real treasures in my library. One book was out of print and had been declared a Classic. When I discovered it I devoured it. A.B. Bruce The Training of the Twelve. I still remember my thirties as a time of really developing the habit of expository preaching so I read commentaries and theologies quit a bit. You can see my present office has a neat commentary bookshelf and a chaotic reference and general book shelves. The 80s were a time of fruitfulness in a good place. I read a blog post last week where a young preacher said his favorite part of sermon preparation was going to movies to get illustrations......duh. It was not like that in the 80s in my denomination....really.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Three historical realities for me.
I know this may come as a shock to many, but obtaining formal degrees did not create a list of finished books for me, but a pile of class sylabuses that told me what I could and should read on the subject someday. Four years in a Presbyterian College earning a Bible/English major, while working on the work crew 20 hrs a week and pursuing attractive Christian women as a steady pastime did not allow me to read complete books.
Three years in Seminary allowed me to go into great debt purchasing Scholarly books and reference books, but did not allow me time, with 20 hrs a week on the work crew and two years of pursuing attractive Christian women, and one year of enjoying my attractive Christian wife to actually read books.
The early years in ministry brought the acquistion of partial libraries from retiring pastors, and those old books became friends as I search for ideas, illustrations, and content. My motto for a one salary family with little kids was, never buy a book you will only read once. In those early years I loved John Stott, Francis Shaeffer, everything C.S. Lewis ever wrote. My early commentataries were The Tyndale set, Hendrickson, and the Calvin lectures, and an almost complete set of biblical commentaries that was the hottest thing going in the 70s and 80s with authors like Leon Morris, but the name of which now escapes me. I only stare at them every day for 30 years, duh!
More tomorrow, a slow and unimpressive start for sure.
Yancy, Wright, McLaren, Willard, Capon.
It occurs to me, that since this blog is a daily life blog, you might not know how much I appreciate reading. This is not a Theology Blog, but a life long love affair with reading and study have made me what I am, at least the part thats well rounded.
I have been on a slow period the last year, because some of the major paradigm shifts are still settling in, but I am always listening for a tip that will send me into a serious interaction with a serious author who believes his or her ideas and reflections are worth reading.
This week I will share some of the writers that have influenced me greatly in hopes that you might delve into thier body of work and be blessed.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
My perspective on so many things has changed since I embraced a generous orthodoxy several years ago. I see Jesus, the humble donkey riding savior as the Creator and sustainer of the Universe. I see the colors in these spring flowers as a declaration of God's absolute love of beauty and variety and things that can be seen.
I see by faith the time when evil is erased, and earth restored and lost and hurt lives recompensed beyond asking or imagining. Right there, in that bunch of flowers, see it? It's right there before your eyes. Love, beauty, victory, new life.
Friday, March 20, 2009
The fragrance of spring capped our hour long walk, me with camera, this Friday evening. I am not pleased with the quality of my flower and shrub photography. I think I am too far away and too touristsy in my approach. I will add a couple for you to observe. Remember to click for a full screen.
We have one neighbor who has developed a wild flower yard, very pretty, hope this does it justice.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I noticed that the present building in Fantasy Land are not original, but very improved at some point. The attention to detail in the Thatched roof of the Mad Hatter store and across the street are impressive, as is the improvements called Tarzans Tree House, which was Chip and Dales Tree House decades ago.
I am going on a blog hiatus until Sunday to properly enjoy my wife being home and to prove to her that I am not hooked on blogging, which I am. See you Later, Enjoy.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I am uploading pretty large jpgs so you can click and enjoy the Canon Xsi with an 18-55 mm lens.
It's a good gig, being a duck in Disneyland. I worry about the effects of leftover bread and buttered popcorn on our feathered friends. But in the tradition of Donald Duck, who has been a thorn in my side my whole life...."Hey Ducky" ....you just don't mess with ducks. And these guys are so used to being surrounded by pedestrians that they act like they own the place.
Today was the farewell performances of the 50th Anniversary movie starring Donald Duck and Steve Martin who started his career as a teenager working at Disneyland.
They will be refitting the theater in town square for a return of Audio Animitronic Abe Lincoln. I wander if they will have improvements in the technology?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Walt Disney has a dream for creating a place where parents and children could experience happiness and fun together. It worked and keeps working. I always notice with each visit that things are changing at Disneyland. New updates, old things being let go. We saw a sign pointing to Tom Sawyers Island, but now it is pirate island. Same place, newer and more gripping concept given the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean. The one restaurant on Main St which was run by a chef who had worked at Disneyland for all 55 plus years was now closed. Many changes but never losing sight of the original dream.
I wonder about God's dream for a Kingdom of grace, peace and mercy. I have been leading our church through the teaching of Christ, emphasizing Kingdom, grace, and judgement. It was very clear that Jesus had come to change things, to bring some things to an end, to create new things to meet new dreams. History is not pretty and it is really hard to keep score, but deep down, by faith, I see that God provided the King, the Priest, and the Prophet, who was also the Lamb, and this eternal, invisible, incorruptible kingdom is succeeding just as He planned.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
We are home. 770 miles round trip, seven hours driving with normal stops door to door. Just a little too far away for an easy week.
We wandered into the Golden Corral, which in its heyday hosted many shows, and while we ate fish and chips and chicken nuggets, caught an old time vaudeville type show. We enjoyed it very much and sat with a couple who have year round passes. They said when they have a bad day at work they come and walk around the park. Very nice if you live nearby, but LA is way too crowded even by my Phoenix standards.
All in all, in spite of occasionally unruly grand kids, we had a delightful time. Couple of years ago we were there during a 100 plus degree july and decided we would never come in the summer again. Laura's semi year round schedule has allowed us an October and now a March visit, and both were much nicer in terms of crowds and temps.
We liked the Fairfield Marriott, a cut above the Harbour Blvd motels and less than five minutes from the gate.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Two Days Down and one to go. We have walked ourselves silly, dealt with irrational childhood fears, had lots of magic moments, observed that there is never a slow day at Disney, and wondered why camera batteries don't last longer.
Beautiful crisp weather, full moon, families are beautiful.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
A Birthday Celebration for Don with Cathleen, a Reunion with Palmer and Dee, continued friendship with Ray and Harriet. We have endless conversation, laughter, and friendly theological reflection with me always being too bossy. Thank the Lord for friends and good times.
We have our Grand kids and were are headed for Calle Fournia and the Magic Kingdom.
Many pictures will be made.
Friday, March 6, 2009
The Phoenix Symphony and Ballet meet in the remodeled Phoenix Convention Center downtown about a half hour drive from our home in the evenings after rush hour. We park a block away, price was up to $12 bucks and I felt I had to remind the guy there was a recession on.
It was a pops concert featuring the music of the Big Band Era. Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artey Shaw. Total enjoyment. The conductor suggested that most of the audience between 65 and 70 were conceived around the playing of some of those pieces.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
ABC got broken last night and we missed the Lost Recap and 20 minutes of last night's episode. My sweet wife was miffed. I just caught the whole episode. That Sawyer is cool, and he has become a good leader, and he always gets the pretty girl.
Time travel books and movies have always fascinated me. Lost has hooked me like no other TV series with the exception of Everwood, which I thought was absolutely terrific each week, watching the father struggle with finding his way back into his kids hearts and filling the void left by his wifes death.
Back to Lost, it is so wierd seeing characters who appeared briefly suddenly have a role in 1974. Darhma is obviously a deteriorated shell of its original years. Now at the end we have the beginning of the reunion of the absent cast. What on earth is going to happen when Locke shows up with Sun, and who on earth or other planet is eternally young Jeremy Benson.
Shannon broke her wrist yesterday. Will Disney let her on the fast rides????? Will we have fun on our fouth year in a row???? Why is so much of the park under contruction and yet they are still charging full price????? What if I go on Pirates of the Carribean and end up in Pirate times???? AARRRGGH!!!!!!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Sunday afternoon we leave with our two grandchildren to Anaheim for three days in Disneyland and California Adventure. Our fourth year in a row. I never went to Disneyworld until college and so missed out as a child. But this vicarious enjoyment through the eyes of my kids is amazingly fulfilling. Laura and I let the magic rule our hearts. I am gaging their growth by a repetitive picture taken in Toon Town at the limp weight bar.
Unfortunately, see my Daughter blog today, entitled "This Life" which tells of a broken arm last night. She was never to keen on the rides you have to hold on tight for, so we will be floating on the river rides a lot. And Ben's first visit too, how exciting for him and us. He is a great traveler and his folks will be on a four day cruise to Mexico during this time as well. I am excited about the photo ops of course.
Monday, March 2, 2009
We had a nice group at our bible study room watching The Ultimate Gift, from a Book of the same title by blind writer John Stovall. Very touching, well acted, and to me what a movie with a message is all about, not preachy but with values, not trying to convert, but telling a story with compassion, wit, and something believable.
Loved Abigail Breslin, James Garner, Ali Hillis was sweet. See it if you have not yet, and bring hankies.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
After our small remodeling project, two coats of paint, we are returning our living room den to a semblance of order. As empty nesters, we keep a pretty orderly place until the grandkids visit and pull out the toys and games.
When you consider your life, the space you spend your days and evenings really defines you. I can walk in my mind through each of our dwelling places and see the strengths and flaws of each.
Our present home of five plus years was not our first choice, we had some time and availability issues with selling our other home. But I really enjoy a roomy bedroom, a large bathroom, an office with reading chairs, and slowly, the things we would like to change are changing. Next project, tile and moderate kitchen update and remodel, the largest project and waiting for more secure financial times.