Hawaii 2010

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Living with low grade pain

Wialea Falls in Kauai is almost always two streams, with a third tiny one down on the right. This summer we must have caught the runoff of a storm on top of the mountain for this is a gusher.

A little over two weeks ago I began to have what I thought was a muscle pull in my back left shoulder. When the pain persisted but did not get better or worse with exercise I finally went to the chiropractor today.

Turns out my spine and rib were out of whack and I am hopefully going to feel better as a result of the treatment I had today.

I am struck by how much this nagging pain, which increased when I was driving or sitting in a regular chair, made me feel like doing nothing.

Visiting two fine men in hospice, both in pain, and we pray it will soon be over. Its quite a promise, no more pain.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rip Van Winkle Project????

Canon 15-85 perspective at Sun Lakes. It is an awesome tool for capturing images. This is from the same spot so you can see how far and wide it goes.

Richard Beck at Experimental Theology pointed me to a website of a friend of his who is going to go totally unconnected for a year. No TV, News papers, news on TV or print. He wants to analyze how he handles not knowing what is going on even by observing people on the street and purposely not listening to conversations about world events.

He also wants to examine how he will fill all the free time as a former news junky.
I would go crazy I think. Although I might be better off reading great literature or studying scripture.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Case for Civility 2

This is a huge Live Oak behind Aunt Jenny's Catfish Restaurant in Ocean Springs Ms where we enjoyed a meal this summer.

I am slowly working my way through Os Guiness book, The Case for Civility. He is making a huge point that our current culture wars can be lost by both sides if we lose one of the things that made America great, namely E Pluribus Unum. One out of many.

They found a way to have very different opinions without destroying each others lives and character, by learning to be civil with one another. This lack of civility will destroy our reputation around the world, and both sides are practicing character assisination and mocking with great glee, and it bothers me. Especially when I find how easy it is to practice myself.

On the news today someone punched someone trying to film a political speech...this is bad, very bad. Guiness says the issues are important..but the way we resolve our differences is just as important. I will keep you posted with his main points as I continue reading.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Country Club Worship

It's never where, it's Who. I have held church in the woods, in a business complex, in a hospital, in a tennis center, in a hotel, and in a funeral parlor. So it felt different but was a fine service.

A Tiger less Fedex Cup is enjoyable to watch. I am pulling for Jim Furyk, Mr. Nice guy, whose oversleeping disqualification caused him to really struggle to get back into the mix.

A brother in Christ Tom Lehman has won the Payne Stewart Award for golfers with integrity and service. Congratulations and good golfing Tom.

Laura has one week left in the first quarter, and a two week break, which is special for us to have her relax, rest, and do some personal projects.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday is a day of Preparation for me

The Redwoods are magnificent.

I try to get my mind, body and heart in a place to hear the Lord and allow Him to use my studies in the word and the things I have experienced, observed, and lived into a synched up unity.

Its only a sermon....not for me...for I am channeling a sacred trust, truth spoken through personality.

I am speaking on the Doxologies in ITimothy. God being given words that ascribe greatness to Him, words like...eternal, immortal, God only wise. I am trying to understand why both ascriptions value God's invisibility. No one has seen Him or can see Him.

I met some nice folks at a family memorial today. I was amazed at the activity taking place at Tumbleweed. Chandler won an award for the level of services and activities that parents have to offer their children. Tumbleweed was abuzz with Pee Wee Football, cross country track meet, and the regular excercise crowd. Bring on the cooler weather.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Out of our building on Sunday

Air Conditioning failure will take our Sunday Services to the Navajo Room on Sunday. It is nice to have a Club House to fall back on. Last Sunday the staff brought in large portable units blowing in the side door.

I will be interested to see if we are able to get all the details of sound and music working in harmony, and that we sense an atmosphere of worship and unity while we are doing things out of the habit of our congregation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Situation comedy keeps reaching lower for laughs

Bring back the classic woody caddy!!!!!

When a new situation comedy premieres you can expect rude, raw, and lewd humor. We have even come a long way from All in the Family days.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Giving down at Phoenix Rescue Mission

The mission is a model for most of the other Missions around the nation. They have always had a great support base both large and small, yet we found out today that many programs and employees have been layed off, including the Hope Coach ministry which we have helped for the last two years.

This is sad and indicates how long this downtown has been, that long standing missions like this can face fundraising crisis.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Steve and Michale, friends for life

An old family photo quickly snapshoted by me.

It is not always easy to keep up with folks after you move away, but since I did the wedding vows for Steve and Michale, I think they won't forget me. I am so proud of the decisions they have made in raising a large family and the way they balance the demands of a career in Dentistry with all the other commitments of life.

I also appreciate that grace has gripped them and will not let them settle for a gospel that is in bondage to anything less. We do not see each other very much, but we are bound together by love.

Happy Birthday Michale!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Compassion International Child

These precious children were watching our Amor ministries build last winter in Porta Penasco.

I am supporting my first Compassion International Child and she wrote me a letter today, so it is far more important that this little girl hear from us than that I write post 783, although both are rewarding in their own way.

Children living in poverty should be a priority in our efforts for helping the nations of the world. My time in Mexico last year really touched me when I saw how little the children had to play with and enjoy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Record end of September heat

Volcanic sand on Maui, not as dark as others but impressive color.

109 yesterday, 110 today, and snow in Bismark? What a great country.

Battling a back muscles strain that gets very painful when I am driving for some unknown reason.

Getting interested in making sure my vitamin, mineral, and health suppliments are filling all the gaps in my eating without wasting money.

Tried to combat a cold with the Emergen C massive dose of Vitamins and minerals and it really seemed to help.

I love my grandkids, and they can mess up a house very effectively. They always get to swim when they come and we enjoy that experience.

Praying for people with a positive expectation that God desires them to know the truth and to know Him, and He must therefore be....very patient in His love.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Church Basement Ladies

This upside down picture is of the biggest bass I ever caught at a Boy Scout Lake near Crystal Springs MS, in the pouring rain in the middle of the day. I think she is over 8 lbs. I have been trying to orient the picture for too long, so at least you get the idea.

We attended the Broadway Palms Dinner Theatre in Mesa for the first time last evening. They have been at this successfully for 10 years. The Theatre looks like it can seat 400 or so, and they have a fine buffet dinner followed by a musical.

This play was very cute. Set in a Minnesota small town church basement, the volunteers show the strengths and foibles of church culture as they prepare for a Lutefisk Dinner, a Funeral, a Fund Raising Hawaiian Dinner, and a Wedding of one of their own group.

Lots of Norwegian, Lutheran, Swedish humor, and a humorous look at generational change and how hard it is for older people to accept change. They had a parody song comparing the Twin Cites to Hell, very funny. An enjoyable evening. I see they are bring Annie, The Sound of Music, Chicago and others this year.

I continue in my message series from I Timothy, tomorrow...prayer for a calm and peaceable life. Which, to my great joy, I continue to have even when trials, which are necessary, come and go. Laura and I decided we could live and die without ever attending the yearly Lutefisk celebration, fish and lye do not go together in my vocabulary.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finally, flesh and blood honors war dead in France

I have spoken on several occasions of Laura's Uncle Wade who died in France after D-day and was buried in Lyon Memorial Cemetery.

Our son Brian spent a week in Paris and spent a day honoring his mothers request to visit the gravesite and pay our families respects. It is the first visit of kinfolk since he was buried. Brian will be sending us pictures of the beautifully manicured and preserved WWII memorial cemetery.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are you crying?

Great performances and great drama move me to tear up. It's true. The scene in Jerry McGuire when he says, "you complete me", and she says, "You had me at Hello"....down roll the tears.

Last night it happened when Micheal Grimm, the crooner from Waveland MS won America's Got Talent. Those sad world battered eyes, great soul voice, and story of loss all got to me and I was so happy to see him win. Believe me Waveland MS was pretty much wiped off the map five years ago.

I also tear up when I heard the angelic voice of Jackie Evanko singing some of the great memorable pieces of operatic music with a brilliance and passion far beyond her years. I was afraid our love for child prodigies would give her a win. At ten she does not need a Vegas Show, she needs to grow up in family and continue to develop her craft and be the next Charlotte Church.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WWAN is a mixed blessing?!

There are four computers in my life. Home has my personal laptop and Laura's Desktop. Our Church Desktop and my office laptop, a portable connection seemed the most useful and economical. Except when you leave it at the office and post with your Droid and.....when you run out of bandwidth the last week. Pictures return tomorrow

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Youth Group to Adult

Billy D was in my first youth group as a pastor. He was a high achiever, in the band, musically gifted, and a fine golfer. We continued to play golf and see each other from time to time after I left Crystal Springs. He came out to Arizona to visit us twice.

It is great when a young friend becomes an adult and succeeds in family and career as Billy has, and I am priviledged to count him as a great friend. We had many lovely friends in that first church, but none have stayed in contact except Billy and for that we are greatful.

Monday, September 13, 2010

An appreciation of friends

Since I paid tribute to my college friends Alex and Lynn, I thought I would continue the tributes for a few more days.

Eddie and Jill Moran also went to Belhaven College with us. We grew closer when Eddie to a teaching job in the same town we served in our first ministry. We worked together in business, and over the decades always touched based when we were back in town.

Now their daughter lives in AZ and we have seen them more in the last several years. What great memories we have of our little kids, now grown up with kids of their own, laughing and playing. Eddie and Jill have loved serving in the Church as teachers and leaders, and have developed a keen interest in world missions with a fantastic trip to Africa.

We love the Moran's and hope we get to hang out more in the future, both east and west.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Alex Beck and his fiance Lynn...what a beatiful couple. Alex died of morphans syndrome at 28. I look forward to seeing him on the other side and renewing our brotherhood. He left us 32 years ago. Lynn has never remarried, but has lead a great life of service and education.

I am reading Os Guisness next to last book entitled, The Case for Civility. He is arguing that Americans, and American Christians can show the world how we can co exist and stop the violence that has plagued our modern world. He reminded me of the word Pandemoniam, coined by Dante in his Inferno, the place where the devil and his demons rule.As I watched some of the private footage of the Twin Tower collapse and watched so many people running for their lives and trying to get off the island, that is the word that struck me. It looked like Pandemoniam.

May God help us to see the people of the world through the eyes of Christ.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Cool Down Weekend

Here is our son Matt during his Marine tour of duty.

The activity level around Tumbleweed Recreation Center shows that we are beginning to emerge from our purgatorial heat of summer. There were all sorts of events taking place on the large property...children's outdoor play, Pee Wee Football leagues beginning, a track meet. We enjoyed finding a parking space and starting our Saturday with a time of excercise.

I cannot stop tearing up as I watch the chilling images of a city in panic and lives being lost so cruelly on 9-11-01. I hate what those men planned and executed and the deception that lies at the heart of terrorism. May the Lord bless all those who mourn the loss of loved ones nine years ago.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Confusion and Conflict in my beloved Country

I cannot remember a time when so many Christians are riled up and angry. I cannot be sure if anything I say on the subject of religious freedom or Islamic/American relationships, or Presidential politics will find any kind of consensus among my own little flock.

The book burning controversy is sad and absurd, as is the reaction to one man's religious extremism in response to Islamic extremism.

All this being said, I join once again with I hope all the world in expressing deep sadness and sorrow for the horrific events we remember on the ninth anniversary of that day of infamy. I do not ask what Jesus would do? I have never thought that was a proper question. I will do what Jesus asked me to do, no debate. I will pray for my enemies. I will pray for wisdom in this changing world to deal with our religious tensions between the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian Religions.

I will continue to be a Christian without being religious, a follower of Jesus, kind of saddened by the way our current culture is handling just about everything. I understand it, I will not rail against it. I will love what is, and live in the present....presence.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Go Saints!

Even though many of my best friends are Minnesotans, this year I am unabashedly and excitedly supporting the Saints in their efforts to return to the Super Bowl. I know its next to impossible to do, but I saw all the good things that have continued to happen in New Orleans when we passed through this summer, and the whole gulf coast needs something to hope for and something to distract and entertain. I like the whole Drew Brees story as well.

Lots of respect for my fellow Mississippian Brett Farve though, wish him and the Vikings a great year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fall Cleaning at the Office

Gotta stop squirreling things away I think I might need later.

I have got to gain some shelf space, give away some books, sort through some piles of paper. This has been underway off and on for most of the summer. I find things I am glad to find, wonder why I kept so many papers I could have let go. Its the stuff of life and organization, or should I say disorganization. Let's just say, when I see those shows about the poor people buried under their hoarding disease, I feel some twinges of sympathy.

Secondly, I am thankful that I married a woman who will not allow clutter. She is not allowed to organize the office though, I created it, I fix it, with help from my very organized secretary, Genevieve.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Amazing Grace, the movie

This is the ledge in Kauai where Harrison Ford through Anne Heche in Six Days, Seven Nights, or at least their stunt doubles.

We began our movie season at SLCC on our 9 ft screen in the office. Amazing Grace was a drama of the English Parliment in the 1800s, but the actors, and the theme of abolition were so well presented that I found myself really involved with the story and so impressed that England had a man like William Wilberforce to end slavery without a civil war. They did a fine job of paying homage to John Newton, slave trader converted to pastor, whose song has been the favorite hymn of all time in most polls, and has been performed by hundreds of people in all musical styles.

We also were entertained by Toy Story 3, which is one of the most charming trilogies ever produced by Disney Pixar. I was laughing out loud and a six year old behind me was laughing out loud and she made me laugh out louder. Good times.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Vocation is God serving others through us.

There has never been a year of my ministry when some man I meet breaks the ice by commenting how nice it must be to work one hour a week. I know its just friendly banter, but vocation is serious business, as is calling. I would however, in thinking of the millions of under and unemployed tell you I would do anything to keep bread on the table...and I have. Here are a list of jobs that helped me qualify for social security even though my pastoral salary does not pay into the system.

I start at age 13. Lawn moving business built to 20 clients, Grocery boy, Lifeguard for 7 years, maintenance worker at college and seminary 7 years,Truck repair shop for my Dad, insurance salesmen for six years over several decades, bus driver, landscape maintenance worker, newspaper route for 3 years.

During one rather desperate year I cleaned up the automotive repair department of a Sears Store, tossing tires and cleaning oil from the bays. That was a "God help me" week.

I paid for four years of college and three years of graduate school, and a year of practical ministry to become ordained. I tend to work best with a messy desk and the pressure of deadlines, inspiration hits me late as night, in the middle of the night, early in the morning, and I read and study and think, visit the sick, and hopefully am available to go to breakfast, lunch, or sit on any ones couch who asks.

We are saved by grace, not by works, lest any man should boast, we are doing the works God prepared for us to do, yet, like Paul, I labored to be used of God....and to stand in the pulpit with something to say, with passion and conviction...even if it only came together in my mind and heart in the middle of the night.

Have a blessed labor day, and work is a blessing to us all.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Loving What Is, Living in the present...presence!

I will never forget driving the road to Hanna, Maui. This view was halfway at a much appreciated bathroom stop.

I have reached a place of peace with eschatology. It is a fascinating subject and it opened new worlds to me when I saw the beauty of fulfilled eschatology. Yet, I feel no need to fuss and fight about interpretation, about end times. I just want to be able to discuss things rationally and with some degree of humility on all sides.

The intolerance that has risen over the racial and religious and political climate has raised the stakes. I am a follower of Jesus, who would be with people of all stripes and leanings. We can no more take back our country than we can snap our fingers and be living on Beaver Cleaver's street. The only path is forward, and the only answer is truth, working through love.

Love is inclusive of those whose culture and religion and background are different, if we desire the way of Christ. Too much of the fear and distrust are fueled by the same hatred I heard in the south. I feel prejudice in our hearts about so many little things, I see pride in our hearts about so many unessentials. But I don't want to fuss and fight, I want to light just one little candle. Which by the way, is my earliest memory back in the fifties of Sunday Morning religious TV. "If everyone lit just one little candle....what a bright world this would be." Corny? True!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thoughts on Lost

I sense of beauty of nature and the presence of God so many times when I am near the oceans. This picture is of Shipwreck Cove near our Time Share in Kauai.

I continue to be a fan of the superb TV series "Lost". I watched the Final series in 40 minute serials last week and added the fine extra presentations included in the DVD set. When they talked about the core story they attempted to dramatize I realized again why the series resonated so deeply with me.

The writers wanted to pick normal flawed individuals and place them under incredible trials and see if selflessness, and heroic acts of love and service would overcome our own selfishness and self protection. They accomplished this so well during the six years of drama with great characacters who change and grow, whose weaknesses continue to haunt their decision making, and whose common experiences develope bonds that are the very essence of life, and as the series hints, are the stuff of the real life to come, when we "move on".

One of the themes they hoped to demonstrate through men like Sayid, and Sawyer was that nobody, absolutely nobody, is beyond redemption. I believe this is part of the gospel Paul preached.....and not a part of most of popular Christian teaching, which is far more interested in revenge and payback.

Friday, September 3, 2010

No Kidding, this really happened today.

I snapped this vehicle advirtisement in downtown Maui this June.

We were in the middle of a memorial service for one of our deceased members today. I had asked a dear friend and coworker to say a word of two. Just as she began to speak her Droid began ringing. She was very embarrassed. Then a thought entered her head....."A year ago Dow's phone range during the Pastor's sermon and I really jumped all over him and kind of hurt his feelings. After my dressing down his final remark was...."I bet it happens to you in church someday..." There was no one on the line and the phone burped out "Droid" and went silent. She confirmed that she had turned off the ringer when she entered church....or was that a zinger from beyond???
Gotcha girl!!!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September Finally

Our prayers and thoughts are with those facing hurricane dangers. For Arizona, September is still very hot, but the hopes and hints of cooler weather show up from time to time. Each week a few of our folks who summer in cooler places begin to open up their homes in our unique active retirement community.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Still Tumbleweeding after one year

I am trying to extend my life...through diet and exercise. I have no idea if I will succeed or fail, but the trying has been rewarding. Four to six hours a week I go through a workout. I used to think exercise would lead to easy weight loss. But it has not been easy or really all that successful. I have lost 20 pounds in a year, and for that I am grateful, but I need to lose 30 more, at least.

I have gained lots of muscle, but I am a long way from being as slender as I desire, if indeed, its possible. So in year two I am going to continue trying different types of eating plans, even the outlandish "eating less" diet.

Jill, who blogged at "Altared" died yesterday, and I am glad her struggle is over, for her and her family. It was really great to see how some modern technology helped her in her struggle, particularly an Ipad which kept her online and helped pass the time as her strength for a laptop diminished.