Hawaii 2010

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Amish

A plantation in So. Louisiana.

I only saw the last bit of the PBS special on the uniqueness of the Lancaster PA Amish community. The Pauline passage, "come out from among them and be ye separate" spawned quite a history of similar groups and attempts like the Monks and Abbeys, the Christian communes and various other separatist groups.

The other tradition emphasized church purity but a willingness to enter society and its structures for the purpose of witness and compassion. In the world but not of the world.

The role of faith, values, religion in our present political season and the distinct sense that we are confused about church state relationships and the loss of religious freedoms is underlining my interest in this debate.

I still feel that the underlying legalism that created the Amish would probably play a role in those who desire to leave, but the recent tragedy of the murder of children in a school and the forgiveness offered to the offender was praise worthy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Half the Battle is just showing up

As the month ends I reach two and 1/2 years in my present workout regimen. I am always reading about ways to improve the time spent in physical exercise so last night I got the Kettle ball and did some work, and I am feeling it today, but its good to find deeper muscles to move.

Life has a way of eventually getting to the deeper spiritual issues if you just keep showing up for it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

This is another day of living

Eccentric gulf coast artist Walter Anderson had a room he kept locked where his theology of creation provided him a place to be alone, and his treks to the outer islands spurred his creativity.

I did not watch the Oscars last night except for the opening comedy sketch which is always hilarious.

I was moved in my own moviegoing by The Descendants, and The Help. I have been reading more lately and not watching many films. We enjoy Puss n Boots with the kids this weekend.

I took Ben to chip and putt at our little course outside my office and remembered my time with my son Matt learning golf. I wish I had been more patient and more encouraging back then. Matt loved the golf car more than the game but he had a good swing when we played.

Dean Reinmuth learned the game from his father and made a career out of helping others to play.

March marks the one year anniversary of the Love Wins debacle with Rob Bell. It proved to me that Christians do not like to discuss things that might challenge their core beliefs, but I already knew that. Love did not win in the way people responded in that one. For me, the issue remains the character of the judge, who will judge mercifully and perfectly. A punishment that lasts forever is not what the writers had in mind, and the translation of Aion is the straw upon which history will turn. Let's discuss it lovingly.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday afternoon relaxation

My mind has shared what my heart gleened from a week of reflection and preparation, and we have fellowshipped together.

The afternoon is an exercise in rest and freedom. Freedom to enjoy a sabbath breaking sport like competitive golf. A pleasure for me, hard work and concentration for them.

As an American I have lived many Sundays like this, and all share the quiet joy of being at the top of a mountain, before a nights rest puts me at the second day of the week with task ahead, today was the first day of the week, set aside for this weekly moment of grace, or song, of worship.

Part of me realized my extreme blessing, as the homeless, the oppressed of the world struggle. The armed services have another day of vigilance, the tyrannized hope to survive. God have mercy upon this dark world. Help me to help when I can.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Compton's Illustrated Encyclopedia

An automatic gravity driven gate closer on Laura Plantation in LA.

In the Hendricks home where I grew up we had one set of bookshelves and firmly ensconced on the lower shelf of the blond furniture was a set of Compton's Encyclopedia. They were blond like the furniture and I loved them, especially when we got a yearly update that caught us up on the events of that year. I believe those books and Life magazine had a lot to do with developing in me a love of pictures and knowledge.

When I first bought an XT computer in 83, it was to write and print, and with the advent of the internet era, it has increasingly become for me....Compton's and Life all bundled in a four pound package, and portable, and since Christmas, in a 10 inch Xoom.

I have not used my tablet to escape the world, but to bring the world very close. There is not a day that goes by where a thought or a question sets me on a search, or a spare ten minutes allows me to read a book, or a gentle bell reminds me I promised to be somewhere in 30 minutes, freeing me up by helping my aging multitasker. I have always found that reading allows people to have spiced up conversations, and I hope I never stop getting input.

Back on the Green

Enjoyed being out in the beautiful weather today. Just uttered a prayer of thankfulness to be with friends and playing at this crazy hobby called golf. A few hopeful swings but lots of things still not in sync.

Here come the grand children for a happy weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Many towns, One city.

Our Texas Sage blooms several times a year.

Driving home from Cave Creek Rd. I passed through Scottsdale, which in February is at the height of tourist season, deservedly so. The city is beautiful and filled with things to see and do, especially if you are of the shopping persuasion. I had intended to hit a few golf balls on the cities double Decker driving range but it was so crowded I passed on by. The Scottsdale Princess is building hundreds of new rooms, as the winter host to the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament.

North Tucson is being featured on TV this week at Dove Mountain as they host the Match Play tournament this weekend.

Its a large city, and.....the gas prices are going to really hurt alot of summer travel plans. We are saving for a trip to NYC to sight see and visit our sons.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spring is in the air this week

A warm front, shirtsleeves, early blossoming flowers in the desert. We love this time of year but it is way too short. 70 is ideal, 90+ is hot, 100+ can happen anytime in late March, till early April.

But today is a delight, and I have the solemn duty to lay a WWII veteran sailor to rest that the National Memorial Cemetery in north Phoenix. My parents are both buried in the Naval Air Station in Pensacola FL amid Live Oaks and acres of grass. Here we have acres of carefully raked rock and funeral bronze plates in uniform geometric lines that stretch for acres, quite stunning in its effect.

Words of comfort repeated from the military code, a rifle volley, taps, the folding of the flag perfectly before presentation to the family. My little role in this places me in a place of patriotism, privilege and pain, the pain of a final goodbye.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fear based is not faith based

Our mission group returned safely from Mexico without danger or injury and with more housing for the poor of Porta Penasco. The numbers of teen groups was down greatly due mostly to the warnings from news outlets in recent weeks. I can understand the reluctance of parents and youth group and church leaders to put the kids at risk.

I am glad they went, and glad God protected them, and glad that they did not give in to fear. It is such a dead end in life and work and just about everything. I was talking about comedienne Bob Newhart who said he raised his children in the Catholic Church but without the fear that so dominated he and his wives youth. If they were able to do that then they did a great thing.

Whenever I talk about the damaging effects of fear well meaning Christians quote the "fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" passages, which are fine, and true, but does not take God's new covenant adequately into play. It is grace that motivates truly, not fear. God's perfect love casts out fear.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday in Charge

Laura's mother Mary was a church executive assistant for several decades, including working with me for five or six years, also the height of professionalism.

I came to my present ministry on Easter Sunday 2003, which means a ninth anniversery next month. My loyal executive assistant had already been here four years. Genevieve and I are about the same age and share the same outlook on life, and she is organized and I am not.

Runs the office with skill, gentleness, thoroughness and warmth. She is home recovering from foot surgery and will not be at the helm this week, leaving me to handle the duty.

I will stumble through.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


It's a word I learned from Mark Sisson, a phychological term that describes human weakness in relationship to making poor choices that we know will not be good for us.

It is a very theological idea about human weakness.

The antidote is grace, forgiveness, and then disciplines built on the foundation of grace instead of law.

Youth is the time to test these freedoms that do not help us and decide that we need help, no generation is born with any particular ability to choose the right things, but the good influence of faith, parental love, and values helps many avoid the pitfalls of akrasia.

Here is a picture of me during those heady days of youth, when we pushed boundaries, even though I had the call of God upon me.

The two dudes with beards are me and my roomate Alex, who died four years after this picture was taken.


It's a word I learned from Mark Sisson, a phychological term that describes human weakness in relationship to making poor choices that we know will not be good for us.

It is a very theological idea about human weakness.

The antidote is grace, forgiveness, and then disciplines built on the foundation of grace instead of law.

Youth is the time to test these freedoms that do not help us and decide that we need help, no generation is born with any particular ability to choose the right things, but the good influence of faith, parental love, and values helps many avoid the pitfalls of akrasia.

Here is a picture of me during those heady days of youth, when we pushed boundaries, even though I had the call of God upon me.

The two dudes with beards are me and my roomate Alex, who died four years after this picture was taken.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cheap Grace, no, but at least Grace

Been focusing on grace and realize that the slippery slope would be anything attributed
to your own effort to merit the grace of God. Paul would not nullify the claim of grace on his life, but then he would put great personal effort in his ministry so that he achieved all that God had for Him.

When we say yes to this and no to that and practice disciplines for the purpose of Godliness it is still based on the grace that we entered into. Paul said he was nowhere close to perfect obedience in this race but that he pressed on to the high calling.

The hard part is watching self satisfied people who do nothing and claim everything, yet God continues to show grace

Lk 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.

Friday, February 17, 2012

62,72, 2012

We sent a good group of our church across the border to build an Amor structure for a Mexican family in Porta Penasco, keep them and their safety in your prayers this weekend.

My tablet computer tells me that John Glenn orbital mission was 50 years ago, and I remember sitting in sixth grade watching on a black and white TV and feeling exhilarated.

My 72 yearbook which has been lost in a box for years tells me that I graduated from college 40 years ago this June, and as I look at those young faces I remember the joys of my college years like they were yesterday.

Today, I am the composite of all I have experienced and learned through the decades in which God has been putting me through the process of life and wholeness (holiness) if you prefer. I am those past parts of me, but am changed.

It's a marvelous process.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A good man

Sunsets are part of life, and we all have our final one in this realm.

My friend Warren passed away yesterday. A special friend because he stopped by the office quite often to share, to get a pep talk, to talk about life. Eight years ago he was at MD Anderson Cancer center in Houston with a serious cancer in his cranial area and face. It did not look good.

He heard of a cancer treatment that was natural and took his pills religiously, and for 8 more years played tennis, danced, walked, worshipped and live an active life into his late 80s. We buried his wife a few years ago and he faithfully visited her after parkinsons had robbed her of most of her strength and communication skills. It was a stroke that took him, not the cancer.

He loved his sons, their sports, the out of doors, fishing, and was a widow who took care of himself and cooked and ate healthy. And, if I can say this of any man, a kind and good and gentle spirit. I will miss him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Decluttering Homes

Standing in front of the "chotzhe" house in Maui, 1987.

Our church storage room is being cleaned and as per usual a lot of the boxes were mine.
I finally found all my high school and college yearsbooks which I could not figure out their wherabouts.

So Laura and decluttered my stuff at home and now my office home is under a cleaning command.

I realized that my whole Arizona church life except for one brief ministry has been carried on in homes. I have a home office and my away office is in a home, as were the three ministries that have occupied my decades.

My problem is that I have too much stuff. My praise is that I have never lived far from my other office, in Mississippi our church owned homes were a short walk away, and here I am less that two miles from one home to another, and they are both cozy, and sadly....decluttered....where else can I put my stuff?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A love affair with our 48th State

She kissed me again this morning.

Happy Valentines Day, especially to my hard working spouse who is trying to keep a school day going in the midst of cards, candy, and play today.

Arizona became a state 100 years ago, and I became an adopted Arizonan 23 years ago. I vividly remember pouring over a Phoenix yellow pages in south Mississippi before moving here wondering what it would be like out here. For the first few years to mountain vistas kept me in a state of wonderment, and the early explorations of the state remain in my memory and on my hard drive as photos.

I am always adopting states, as my birth state was only the place of my birth and pre memory days.
Indiana- five years, Kentucky-four years, New York-four years, Alabama, five years, Mississippi-23 years, Arizona 23 years.

Random memories of AZ-My shock when I first encountered a man with a holstered gun walking around in a Mall, my first Tarantula crossing a road, my first view of a herd of wild horses living just 10 miles from our first home. My first attempt to dig a hole through "caleche" which is the name for desert hardened soil. The first time I snow skied and water skied in the same month in AZ.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentines Day Banquet

Jackson Square in the home of New Orleans Jazz.

Dixieland in the morning, romantic ballads in the evening, homage to Whitney, and the 60s bands, and to Glen Campbell at the Grammys, music plays such a role in all our lives, and I am thankful for all the creativity young and old, though I still struggle with some of the newer genres, but thats OK, just listen to what moves you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All kinds of music

Gimme that old time religion.

Today was our annual Dixieland Jazz day. It was so well done and such great choices of hymns like Amazing Grace, When the Saints Go Marching in, Precious Lord take my hand.

I am saddened by the loss of Whitney Houston. I wore out her second album of Cassette and often would listen to her version of I will always love you. When she really sunk deeply into drug addiction I feared she would shorten her life. Her voice was simply a gift of God.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another Golfless Day Off

Had a tour of one of our mercy ministry locations where some of our servants volunteer each week. Very well managed food and clothing and services ministry.

I am taking the month away from golf, to clear my mind of some poor play, to practice on the cute little pitch and putt course outside my office, and to save money to buy some more forgiving senior type irons.

Yesterday I combined a long drive with a stop at Golfsmith where I bought a used set of hybrid type irons, a barely used wedge, and a new three wood. Now to practice with the new clubs and hope they help.

Every now and then I pass by the home we rented when we moved here in 89. It is shocking what two decades does to the look and feel of a neighborhood.

Stopped at historic Milano's Music to pick up my flute which was in for a do over repair and now has great tone.

A splurge at lunch...In and Out Burger, and wow is that place popular around here.

To the gym to work off the spluge, home to a dinner date with wifey, who will be my valentine again this week.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Carrying Historical Grudges

Capturing an advancing duststorm several months ago. I love these shots.

Occasionally my seminary training takes hold and I wax eloquently about the evils of popish Catholicism and all the damage done during the dark ages by fear and superstition and priest craft....and my folks are a bit shocked at my ire.

A broad sense of history can be helpful, but sometimes that willingness to let history go and try to see where people and movements are in the present is better.

A respected seminary president has spent ten years getting to know Mormons to try to understand them, and shares that they are from bottom to top trying to move away from the errors of their origins and embrace a healthier Christology. It softens the fears of those who know a vote for Mitt will bring Mormonism to the forefront of American life.

The number of evangelical Catholics seems to be growing every decade, it seems Santorum is much more attune to his faith than JFK ever was.

Even my favorite target Joel Osteen has been presenting himself as more committed to deep Christology than I formerly thought. All in all things are changing for the better and worse all the time, and charity tries to see the best if possible. Labels are falling away, lets hope our new realities lead toward truth finding. It seems to fit better with a belief that God is working out things toward a glorious restoration rather than an ugly ending.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Desert Giant

When we purchased our present home we got two 20 year old Mesquite Trees with knarly back and incredibly fast growth in spite of not being watered. We finally cut down the one in the side yard, but continue to enjoy the shade and beauty of the front yard tree.

It does come with a cost, for each fall it sheds hundreds of pounds of tiny leaves and fills the rocks to overflow. After this happens we call our yard man who spends hours climbing up and trimming it back for another year and blowing and hauling away the debree, a huge an expensive job.

This might be its last year.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Syrian Sadness

I will never get used to the videos that portray violence and chaos in the streets of a city. Innocent families and children running through gunfire and wholesale slaughter taking place. It is so outside my frame of reference.

For the Syrian's it is life and death and future execution or freedom and so they fight.

The mideast is a cauldron of boiling anger and violence and my heart breaks for those who cannot escape.

Child Killing

The Sunken Hull of the U.S.S. Arizona in Honolulu.

That man who murdered his wife, and dodged it for two years, then murdered his children and himself is indescribably selfish, self centered, and evil. “I’m sorry, I can’t live without my children”, he said.

One wishes all the things that made up his violent personality could be studied and understood? One wonders if his murdered wife saw things that were wrong or was caught by surprise when he killed her and took the boys to dispose of her body?

One wonders what issues the father had were imprinted upon the son?

Somehow, in another dimension, justice will be done, and recompense to the victims will be made, for none is evident here at this tragic day of fire and destruction.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Performing under pressure

My friend Ray has a fine senior golf game, I can't stay in the game with him.

Kyle Stanleys one week turn around from total last round collapse to winner underscores the mental aspects of performing well, like one announcer said, the worst thing a young player can have is a six stroke lead on the final day, too much to protect.

Eli Manning did the same thing during the Super Bowl.

I hit it long and straight on the practice green but something misfires in the brain when taken to the course. It was something to watch both those victories.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

And the Winner is!!!

I always feel like a winner with my grands and Disneyland.

I am loving the fourth round of the Phoenix Open, young guy trying to win his first, guy who choked last week trying for quick redemption.

I am for the Giants in this years super bowl because I have a son who lives there, and Eli is a Mississippi Boy who still maintains a home there. Such is the twisted logic and heart of a man who realizes that a couple of years from now no one will remember except the die hard fans. I bought some hot wings which will make it happen with celebration.

I believe God Wins, all the time.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Comprehending Grace

This month to prepare for spring and Easter I have decided to focus on God's grace and our need to be gracious to others. It's a hot potato issue and should not be, because it is so central to the new covenant proclamation. Perhaps because it is so important we tend to lose the reality of walking and living in Grace. Because we are living in a world of tensions and differing views it is just plain easier to see people as good or bad, friend or foe, deserving of grace or wrath.

Behind it all is a worldview that asks the biggest kind of Question. Is God gracious?
For if He is not we are all in trouble. But I wonder how our lack of comprehension of the scandalous idea of "unmerited favor" really hurts our enjoyment of life and our ability to function graciously.

Friday, February 3, 2012

No Desire

So if this is a 10 story building under construction just how tall is that crane.

Sometimes I just feel like going home, and that is what I did after a breakfast, a visit to Van's Golf Shop, and a stop at Whole Foods.

On the way home I tried again to share the enormity of the crane that is being used at the Intel plant. This is the place Obama gave a speech from last week, and bussed in democrats to cheer him on.

Check back later

I rose up early to cross town to breakfast with a friend. A non golf day off. I have my camera and will post later today.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Resurrection, Time, Universe

We saw on Video a fine sermon with pictures from Hubble on the immensity of light years and the universe and our place in the Milky Way. He made a comment that struck me about God saying "Let there be Light" that it exploded from His mouth going 186,500 miles an hour, which is the speed of light.

I have been gently hammering at the idea that if Jesus has a resurrection body, then it may have qualities that are spiritual, obviously, but it also has qualities that are physical. If a physical object moves from point A to point B, then it has by definition taken "Time". It seems logical to me then, that if our future contains a resurrection, then it proceeds from eon to eon, from age to age, and is not, therefore, "when time shall be no more".

I share this and it seems as though no one has an "ah ha!" moment. So much for human logic and reasoning when standing against human tradition.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A big band width Oops!!

I have no idea how this snapshot took place, must have been a mistake, which we all make. This post is the story of another mistake.

We have a small group practicing introductory Spanish to help when they go on the Amor ministry shelter build next month. I have been using a free preview of an online spanish teaching program and decided to purchase and download it for last night.

I had no idea it was so large and it completely consumed the last gig and a half of my band width in 20 minutes. A big boo boo.

Internet access in our world is amazing, and now that is it so successful, many, including the government will try to make it more expensive.

This program is amazing, cheaper than the one they sell in the stores, and it teaches nouns by building on key verbs like , go, need, want, to help you get a flow to the language. Can an old dog learn new tricks??? You betcha!!!!! Hola, como uste usted?