Hawaii 2010

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos and videos from Don in AZ. Make your own badge here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I have never enjoyed Halloween

I never enjoyed our attempts to replace is with Reformation parties, although we had some nice ones.

There is just nothing in the costume and candy and doorbell ringing that has any appeal to my soul or spirit.

For seven years we lived at the end of a cul de sac and it was especially excruciating to man the door for three hours, as it started with kids and moms before dark and ended with teens too old to be doing it.

I do like the reformation and the release we had from the terrors of all saints day and the night before. I do like stripping the superstition away from God. I guess this day represents the fact that death should not be feared, and evil not celebrated.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Calm

There is a calm before a storm, and a calm after the storm. They are different. One requires preparation, the other, damage control and cleanup.

Living for a period of my life in Hurricane alley in the gulf coast taught me that storms are a part of life, and that we have work to do before, during and after each storm. But the calm, the realization that you have done all you can and accepting your fate and the changes that will follow is a part of it.

Am I talking about Sandy? Or the Election of 2012? Or my health? Or Life?

All of the above.

I am calm about the future, but there will always be in my life from now until I die, the need for damage control, the need for cleanup, and the need to go forward with what is left after the storm, for good or ill.

The Lord is my Shepherd, through life, through the valley, through death, to the final dwelling place.

God bless those picking up after Sandy, all of American who will live with the decision made in a week.

P.S. I have reached my free limit for photos stored on blogger so I was not allowed to post a picture today, will make some choices about what to do. Also, I finally got some serious meds yesterday to deal with what is now called "walking pneumonia".

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sleeping alone

Dear friends, Blogger has suddenly begun acting up and not allowing paragraph spacing so be patient until I figure out what button I pushed wrong. All night long I make unconscious grunts and groans, hence I am sleeping on the air mattress in another room. In the middle of the night I heard a pop and I guess the seams on one side let loose and balooned up one side of the mattress and forced me into a gully. Curse you mucus and congestion. Watching the perfect storm with interest and concern for the huge population areas affected, and successfully resisting any preacher who thinks he or she can speak for God about the purpose of said storm and its location and timing. Been there, done that, its spiritual manipulation and demagoguery. Yes God spoke to Elijah, but not in the storm but in a still small voice. In these last days He has spoken to us through His Son, follow Him.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Last President of my working years

Thought about the Last Forty Years of Presidents 1972-2012 Nixon/Ford 4 Carter 4 years Reagan 8 years Bush 1 4 years Clinton 8 years Bush 2 8 years Obama 4 years Forty Years Republican had the Office for 24 of the last forty, Democrats 16. After this next term I will be 66 and at the end of my working life, although I am not sure preachers really retire if they are able to help churches with preaching. I am pretty sure a lot of political ups and downs occured, a lot of mistakes were made, a lot of compromises made. I am pretty sure lots of life was lived, some news saddened me, some encouraged me, some infuriate me. However, the next President has to protect the retirement investments of those who contributed to social security, and provide for some kind of medicare benifits, and providing for a strong defense. This next four years are important in my journey, and I suspect....in yours.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An epic tale of good vs. evil

I am a total fan of pictures that deal with time and eternity and major life issues. Cloud Atlas is not for people offended by lanquage and graphic content, it is a long, complicated, morality tale about mankinds ability to trample on the downtrodden or to use greed, power, and violence to rule the world. I was impressed by the effort, and I think the movie will be panned by many but I saw the heart of the message that ties together six different times and stories in a clever way, one with a blockbuster revelation. We must fight evil wherever it manifests in our lives and we must practice kindness and caring for we are all related, we make a better life or a nightmare existence. All this movie going represents an entrance back into life after a week of feeling real low, my lung are still way to congested to try breathing the are of a golf course, but just getting with friends for a meal and conversation on my day off was good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

This is my current Timothy Green who teaches me about life from his perspective everytime we are together. Caught the film on its run through the dollar cinema and was enchanted by it. It brought back memories of small town life in Oneonta NY where the fall colors were so spectacular and the leaf raking season so much a part of life in the northeast. I can still smell the odour of burning leaves and the joy of falling into a huge pile of them. The movie is about giving parents who desperately desire a child a chance, and whatever power that produced Timothy Green enabled him to represent for the movie goer everything that is good and right and joyful and the mistakes and fulfilments of raising children. It presented Asheville NC in all its glory as well, and demonstrated that real life is what we give away in love. Who cares if it was a corny set up, this is what story telling is all about, this is a chance to be reminded how precious it is to have children to love and protect, to teach and to learn from. Very highly recommended for the saps like me who love a love story.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

God's Modus Operandi

Two years ago I struggled my way through a thick scholarly tome written by a theologian challenging other theologians to reconsider two chapters of the Book of Romans not as Pauline in origin but as Paul writing a diatribe where he characterizes the opposing teaching so it will contrast when he gets to his message.

The book had over one hundred textual and critical defenses of his thesis and it was discussed by his fellow scholars for months. His bottom line is that the church has a confused and tragic flaw in thinking that God's wrath is still in effect, that he is still heading this human mess toward judgement day.

Just this morning I read another book by a man who by his own confession was not a scholar or a reader of many books, but one whose life message was the power of the idea that in the cross of Christ, God left all his wrath against the wrongs of humanity, against our sin, and began to operate by grace and grace alone.

It was the same message as the previous book, you cannot have both grace and law operating at the same time, it is either grace for all or law for all.  This is to me the essense of Paul's gospel and the true explanation for Jesus teaching about the law and his death for mankind being a rebirth to a new way of life, a gracefull way of life.

Both of these men are onto something big, and when I bring these thing up among regular folks there default mode is law, judgment, fear, and references to God judging American like he did Sodom and Gommorah.
This is sadly why many Christians who say they are born again have never really been born again to see how God changed his mode of operation 2000 years ago from law to grace. He put down the hammer and picked up the scalpel to operate on the real issue, the human heart.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Long life

This is the place they filmed in Soaring Over California when the camera flew into a driven golf ball.
How long is a long life. The Bible says 70 is normal and 80 is a bonus. I keep asking God for some good reports on my heart disease and am cooperating each day with choosing healthy whole foods and high glycemic index carbs, the good kind. I would love to reach 70.

We have two ceiling lights in our bathroom over the shower and the tub. They apparently have an auto off feature which turns them off if they stay on too long. The shower bulb finally gave up the ghost this week and I have not replaced it yet, but when I get in there I want to study the bulb because it have not been changed in ten years of service.  Now that is long life in the life of light bulbs.

Got sent home by the ladies in the office and bible study after coughing my lungs out again, so another day of recuperation.

Here's wishing you and me a long life. And a walk in the light.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Day of Rest

Yesterday was lost to the world, with a chest full of congestion I slept most of the day, taking over the counter medicine, and finally making a huge pot of my own chicken soup, which cures the soul.

Every muscle in my chest and stomach is sore from coughing, but today I am back at work and feeling more stable.

I will be so glad to get past this election season. It brings out the worst polarization in us who would normally live and work together as citizens in a culture with broad viewpoints. If my candidate wins or loses I will still have to live with the outcome. I voted by mail yesterday, my deed is done. I love my country. God have mercy, God bless us all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

This is the courtyard of the old San Marcos Hotel, the closest thing we have to a landmark in Chandler. It goes back to the 40s and 50s when John Wayne brought his buddies here to golf after filming Westerns up in red rock country or out in Apache Junction where they had a western town set.

Just to the south we have two blocks of restaurants and shops that make the place alive during the tourist season that is just beginning and will continue till summer.
I am home today with a very painful throat and cough. My lungs are congested and I just have no energy. A day for resting and reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Interpretive pluralism

or Biblicism, is the belief that every verse, speaks to every person in an understandable way, making the bible a handbook for life, and that furthermore, when two sincere persons read the test of scripture literally they will come to one unified conclusion on any text.

The problem is that this has not happened, there are plural meanings and interpretations of almost all key issues in the Bible, so much so that we have divided and segregated ourselves from those with differing opinions so that today we simply call them views.  Views of free will, views of heaven, views of baptism, views of worship,  views of the fate of unbelievers, views on election and reprobation, views on the sovereignty of God, lots of views, little unanimity.

All is not despair when  reading the bible as a narrative, an unfolding story with a point of view, and a context that is really cohesive in its forward look to the new covenant and its links to the past and the present. All the the big issues will be clarified, and we will have a unity at the core. This helps me when I stand to teach or preach. I know there is a message, I must search the context and find the threads in the story to Gospel, and it will be about God and his last day revelation through the Son.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Military Honors

I never get jaded by the Flag Ceremony and the Military honors given at Memorials and gravesides. Yesterday was my fourth funeral in two weeks and I am thinking alot about life and loss and the amazing way our lives weave in and out with so many people and places. Rogers active duty grand daughter received the flag on behalf of the US Navy and the US government.

Rogers family started in Minnesota, then California, the Arizona, Joe was born in New York, and lived in Oregon and Arizona.

Roger had Norse blood, Joe was German and Polish, both were Americans and both served in time of war.

Enjoyed some good old Polish Polka music at the celebration, roll out the barrel, we had a barrel of fun remembering a good couple that were so must a part of the life of their community.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cart Path Only Golf

A cool August morning in Spirit Lake Iowa this summer with Jerry, my friend.

Every fall golf courses in the desert sow winter rye seeds into freshly scalped fairways and pray for sub 60 degree nights and lots of water cover to germinate a beautiful yet fragile green for all the snow bird golfers who will visit. The other kind of birds love it as a feast is laid out for the doves and ducks.

The fairways were nice and lush, now we get the privilege of playing after two weeks of growth of parking and walking to hit our shot and walking back to go to where the ball landed. This requires often choosing several clubs to carry with you and judge the one you need, or in  my case hit the ball with the wrong club, swing to hard and mess up the hole.

If you play behind beginners this type of golf makes for four and one half to five hour rounds, no longer a fun walk ruined, but a grueling endurance test of waiting and wacking as you tire yourself out.

The reseeded greens putt like obstacle courses of partially filled in grass, ruffles and ridges so you just end up no longer trying to make the three footers and give them to yourself and your partners.

I still love golf, but I love it a little less passionately during overseeding time, I should just get a small carry bag and march right down the middle with seven clubs instead of fourteen.

By the way, all the other parts are functioning well, the sun, the cool air, the smells, and the camaraderie between friends.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photographic tributes at Memorial Services

Newly wed version of Don and Laura.

Today a group gathered to remember a Husband, Father, and Grandfather who passed away. We read and sang and spoke, but then watched a series of pictures tracking his life from infancy to a photo taken just days before he passed.

I love these tributes. My ministry is about being with people whose youths are memories, and I see the shattered remains of their physical bodies toward the end. To view a couple married 63 years when they were dating, to see the man with his own father, to see years of birthday and anniversary and wedding photos was precious.

Roger was a swimmer with massive upper body strength and huge hands, and his Norwegian heritage was so evident in his youth, a strapping lad, and during his working years you saw the weight fluctuations the growing wrinkles, so real, so undeniably part of the process God has ordained for us to be living with the reality that time will run out, the engine will slow, the body will age. It moves me when families can keep and organize those memories and share them with us.

I have the pics, sure do need to work on the organization part.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why are there any undecided voters?

My parents split their votes in 1960 for Nixon and Kennedy. I imagine it was my Mom who bolted from Ike Eisenhower to vote democratic because her maiden name was Kennedy. Who would not want to be asked if you are related to the President.

After that we were pretty much republican from the little I picked up in my family. It is one of God's amazing levelers that our children's values often are chosen in opposition to parents, they hear a different drummer and my boys are independent voters who really like our present President and are not all that sure that going back to the conservative ways is all that desirable.

What I cannot figure out is why we spend millions every four years to influence the undecided voters. Why have they not looked deeply into the political and philosophical and moral issues that are always before us and get a worldview.  If these people are really that clueless I wonder why we place our national hopes on them election after election.

Maybe there are people who say I vote for the person not the party, but I would hope it would be based upon some kind of political understanding of the issues. Just a rant, and a breath holding few weeks to see which way our country goes, more hope and change, or bring back the days of American exceptionalism and
fiscal responsibility. Or thats the way this son of a Kennedy mom sees it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

David Phelps has a Voice

David Phelps sings with the Gaither Group, earning money and adding to a fund to provide retirements for  generations of old time southern gospel singers who traveled and accepted pitiful love offerings from sweet and tight Christians and need assistance to survive their old age.

David Phelps last two albums have moved him away from Gospel to pop and gospel in his Album, The Voice, and in the just released Classic. My wife says his voice moves her unlike any she has heard and I agree, theress the tenor highs that amaze, but a velvety sound in his normal range.

In addition the person arranging and orchestrating these pieces needs to be recognized for putting songs together in a way that highlight the voice. There are still spirituals like Joyful, Joyful, and Morning has Broken, but also greats like Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, and You will never walk alone.

Highly recommended for music lovers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

South Mountain State Park

The end of 2012 will mark the beginning of our 24th year in my adopted western home. I came here to pursue dreams that never came true, but found realities better than I could have planned, for God is far more interested in my growth in grace than my personal ego needs.

The view from South Mountain has always been a touchstone for me, a place to get away quickly from the "madding crowd", to pray, to admire the breadth and length of the Valley of the Sun. I took Charlotte and Lucy up there yesterday to share this place of renewal. Before the trip we stopped by a senior care home to see the couple that had first introduced Lucy to our congregation, she has known them for over forty years. It always comes down the the balance between people and places in our physical lives in this world.

Yesterday at worship some of our friends returned from their summer homes and I was so encouraged to see them again, as these people have become such a key part of our time here in Sun Lakes. I still remember sitting in a Mississippi Library looking at a Phoenix Yellow pages and wondering what the city was like, and now I could point to every area, to the west where 80,000 people were watching the Cards lose in the Dome, to ASU and the Airport, to the Superstition Mt range in the east. It's my home now.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dr. Luz

Set aside as a Christian worker at age 20, educated in America, Lucy returned to her home country to share the gospel. Since 1990 she has led the ministry of Source of Light, a literature and witnessing ministry to the poor people of the Philippines; in prisons, hospitals  on the street, in the churches they ground people in the gospel and help them to be disciples.
She is single, enthusiastic, interesting and has learned to relate well with people of all ages and cultures as she lives her dream of influencing people to believe and enjoy the Lord.

We enjoyed her this visit. She says they want her to retire when she turns 76 so she is planning her next career in ministry.

She comes to see us every three years to share with her mission group in GA, then travels to visit her supporters.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spend a day, spend a life

Yesterday I was at Sky Harbor, the coolest name for an airport. Six years ago I met a tall vibrant friend there on the way to a conference. She told me she was raised in the Grand Canyon. Yesterday the work of her Father Bruce Aiken was prominently on display, a lifetime of painting the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas has made him an artist of local and national fame.

His bio says he desired a life near an object of beauty, so he took a job at a pump station and raised three kids a five hour hike and 125 mile drive from a grocery store. Thirty years living, working and painting. Mercy was formed by the dreams of her father and it made her a most unique person.

I picked up Luz Nacionales, who for fifty years has been a Christian worker in the Phillipines, where she distributes literature, visits prisons, and tries to get people to believe in Jesus and go to heaven. She spoke about her parents love, and following the dream of her father she has become a unique person.

Last night I spent two hours at Oregeno's enjoying a wonderful salad and talking to lively and interesting children about religion and education and politics, trying to hear each over the crowd and music. They were my family and they lived my dream of following the Father to a big city in the desert, where we each became unique people.  You spend a day, you spend a live.

Waiting for Luz, I watched thousand of travelers of all shapes and sizes, airport workers changing shifts, children returning from school break visiting grandparents, it was a panoply of life and it always amazes me about our nation and the ability to fly so many places. And I wondered how Father knows and seeks to direct them in paths that will lead their children to be free and fulfilled.

Friday, October 12, 2012


This photo showed up on facebook this morning and it indicates the way many younger people feel about the political system, and it may be truer than we fear, but it still saddens me that this skepticism has reached the level it has. I hope things get better but our politicians need to hear that the lots of people trust "nobody" any more and are voting for them by not voting at all.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mr. Conspiracy Voice

I watched this Hassidic Jewish father lead his family through the museum in Nebraska, it was a hot day and I know he was hot.

I wonder what Mr. Conspiracy Voice does between elections.  He is the guy who turns attack commercials into this sinister secret that he makes you feel he is telling you along over the TV.

I am being cautious in my speech, because frankly, I am weary in my spirit and body. I have had this nagging shoulder pain which robs me of sleep and increases its pain level during the day and I just frankly have not handled it well. In addition I have an eye that refuses to stop watering and my visit to the doctor on that produced no ideas as to how to stop it, although I am on antihistemes for a while to see if its allergy.

All I want to do in the evening is lay down and try to make the dull pain subside. I will beat this thing but I must share that it is clouding my normal enthusiasm for life.

My cardiologist said everything is working normally and see me in three months. He has no idea what to tell me to do other than keep tight control on blood sugar and lose more weight. I am down five since the event,

The shoulder has kept me out of the gym which has not helped my outlook, I believe exercise is therapy for the emotions as well as the body.

The good news about having the blahs is that I do not need to have God do anything, my peace and understanding of Him are more secure that the ups and downs of my physical and emotional state.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gettin my groove on

Every year it is getting harder to make the transition from an unstructured week to one filled with appointments, I forgot to do some shopping for Monday until the last minute and I am forgetting to consult the calendar as I ought.  I am glad they have beepers that go off for the things I enter.

I am doing a bunch of followup medical calls this week and trying to stop my right eye from watering profusely.

Yesterday I was invited into the Cath room at the hospital where I was treated to pray for a friend. It was weird seeing the room standing up, as we are carted in and out and see it from lying down.

I also had a reunion with one of my lovely nurses from my January repair job.

Our choir director plays two instruments professionally and is over committed playing with three or four groups, and the whole question of staying busy and active over against sitting on a couch or being inactive is always before us. I like being active, but I need to be grooved in.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The imprint of culture

Fashion is always affecting by and affects our culture.

Years ago there was a famous quote about the relationship of Christ to culture. As I have aged and thought and rethought through some major issues, the effect of a constantly and rapidly changing culture has made me realize how hard it is for people to communicate across cultures at times.

I grew up reading Francis Sheaffer and admiring his experiment to communicate with questioning young people, (which was my generation at the time), and now his skeptical son Frank has the ear of culture as he reflects not so admiringly on his parents fundamentalism.

This week we are entertaining three people who are in Christian work in the Phillipines, and the last time we visited I was struck by how much her age and her culture affected the way she lived and communicated her faith. It seems that she was stuck in a type of permanent childhood experience. Do disrespect intended at all but there were just obvious differences in the way she spoke about issues and faith.

I am going to try to learn more about them this week, to get below the surface of politeness if I can. Reinhold Neibhur was his name, and he believe Christ was above and in culture, and that he could transform people in and through culture as well. We tend to dispise youth culture because it is always different than ours, but God has not abandoned this present generation of kids, as he did not abandon mine. He understands us even as we are changed with changing times.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly

A plague of grasshoppers on a Kansas wood pile this August.

I bought a bunch of jelly to make sandwiches this morning, and we already had plenty of peanut butter, but when the checker gave me the receipt there was a warning about the peanut butter recall.

Peanut Butter and Jelly are just about the perfect combination to give kids and to distribute to the poor in an unrefrigerated van, so I am hoping they get to the bottom of this bacterial problem.

When we finished our last half and half bottle yesterday we noticed some mold growing on the inside of the lid, an unsettling discovery to be sure....you just can't be too careful these days for invisible creepy crawlies and things that go bump in the night.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

More humility, more mystery, more hope

A lot of evangelists use the worn out version of the story of the teenager who refuses to come forward at the meeting and leaves to be killed in a carwreck to go into a Christless eternity of punishment because he failed to make a decision. It is designed to create an urgency to respond.  I think it reflects poorly on the gospel.

One of the most powerful moments in the discussion during the documovie HellBound? was a graphic that showed three collections of scripture verses side by side, about a dozen or so in each column, and they pointed out that one list emphasized eternal punishment, one list annihiliation, and one list ultimate reconciliation. Our viewpoints are fashioned by which list we place our emphasis upon and therefore prioritize.

The discussion of opening the doors to other views simply emphasized that during the churches long history each of those views has had significant support from loyal followers with high views of the authority of scripture. It was a plea for a more serious handling of the issue and allowing the fact that it is hard to be as dogmatic as we have been in modern evangelicalism.

Some believe Hell contains 99 point 999999 percent of all humanity.  Now that's the narrow view of the sign holding, nation condemning Westboro Baptist Church. My big push is to see that punishment can be restorative and not just punitive, that the God we meet on the other side may allow, as the movie hinted, us to see who He really is without all the limited vision and twisted ideas and painful things that have clouded our understanding. We will be corrected, we must me, but eternal concious punishment may not be what God was describing in the judgement passages.  Think about, be humble, allow for more mystery, and perhaps more hope for that poor teenage dude who wrecked his car after the baptist revival.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Farewell Mary Ellen T

She was laid to rest next to her husband in the Mausoleum across the street this morning. 91 one years young and so full of peace, joy, and gratitude that it was a pleasure to be around her.

Her family is close and they were very much guided by her loving spirit. We shall miss her presence but not be sorrowful for she is seeing what was once lived by faith.

He high tech kids scanned a bunch of photos of her various stages and celebrations of life and, as her daughter stated, her struggle to be lean and not fluffy. Though fluffy won, as it does with us all, you could see her inner strength and beauty all through her life, including getting a degree in nursing in her fifties, and changing careers from homemaker to nurse.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hellbound, the Movie

Took some friends to see the documovie Hellbound, at Harkins in Tempe in crowded ASU territory.

I was very pleased about the way the film was made the fairness of a much needed airing of various views about the afterlife and obviously Hell. You will have to work had to see it as its showing just today, but I imagine it will be for available soon.

 When I got back to the paid parking lot I realized my window was open with my computer and tablet sitting in the back seat, all thankfully safe, which is amazing when you think about it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hes been gone so long, his influence lingers

This is DRI owned Kannapali Beach Club in Maui, they are offering great deals on Amazon to visit. Just don't drink the Kool-aid.

We all assume our Biblical views come directly from the Bible, but mostly they come from systems of thought developed over time. These systematic theologies form world views that are very hard for each individual to challenge   We learn when we are young and we have truths about God imprinted from our early learning, our favorite teachers, our denominational literature and creeds.I have found that even those who say they are willing to change if shown they are wrong have so many built in defenses that changing views is nigh on impossible without some real world view challenge.

To be post Augustinian is to confess that some of the ways in which Christianity formed itself from his early writings needs to be challenged and changed. When the fortress of thought comes under attack, it will be defended by those who have lived under its ramparts, but if it is a "tradition of the elders" it will not ultimately stand because God will not be on its side

God is "the Last Thing of the creature. Gained, He is its paradise; lost, He is its hell; as demanding, He is its judgment; as cleansing, He is its purgatory.

This is a quote from Augustine which seems to imply that when we meet our Maker, He becomes what we deserve, need and must experience. Rewards for some, punishments for some.....cleansing for all????? A purging time?????

Maybe I am not as post Augustinian as I thought, maybe he saw the bigger picture of ultimate restoration and restorative justice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bye Bye Books

Said a final goodbye to 40 boxs of books from my years of collecting. I remember in the early years I would stare at the bookshelfs until a book would call to me and I would find an idea and be thankful. For years I just have had no shelf space so I finally got the get up and go to go through each shelf and determine if I had used the book in the last couple of years, or would anticipate using it someday and little by little we fill forty boxes which when to a charity book sale.  Goodbye friends.  Reading makes the full man.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1600 year old thinking, too Greek for me.

A year ago fall break we visited Disneyland, my wife begins to miss it if we do not return yearly. She loves it there and its just "Donald Ducky" OK with me.
We both agreed not to go during the Halloween decoration time.

Just how wide is orthodox Christianity. If Presbyterians and Methodists who do not agree on freewill both go to heaven, if Pentacostals and Episcopals who do not agree on the amount of control and decorum to be practiced in public worship both go to heaven, if Baptists and Church of Christ people who disagree on the meaning of baptism both go to heaven, just how big a door do we have?

I am reading a paper on the etymology of a certain biblical word which has theological implications, and over the years I have reflected on scholarship in this area quite a bit. The paper is a treatise on why Augustine had it right, and I find it based on a number of reasons, no longer convincing.  I am therefore post Augustinian in this area.

It has led me to a larger conclusion about the being and justice of God. Augustine believed God's ultimate justice was retributive. Lock them up and throw away the key.  I believe now that the Bible has always taught a restorative justice, lets let them do the time and pay for the crime but lets return them eventually to society. I believe it to be more in line with God as He is revealed in Christ, and with the new Covenant, the primary truth being proven by God's promise to save unbelieving Jews and restore them in due time. Ultimate restoration of all as a hope for the power of God in the Gospel.

Do post Augustinian theologians go to heaven? Because, unless by reason and scripture I am convinced otherwise, here I stand, cautiously, testing the post Augustinian waters.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Campus Living

Taken on a crisp fall morning a year ago.

This month my college will welcome alumni from the various decades, especially the class of 1972 on its fortieth reunion. I cannot go, but I have fond memories of living for three years in the dorms and building our life around the rhythms of campus life. It was good for me to attend a small Christian College that was not legalistic but had standards and values to be lived.

I am still struck by how much my present life is like that college experience. I study a lot, I live on a campus although the dorms are private domiciles. We have a lunchroom, a library, a recreation room, swimming pools and most of the folks dress down in shorts and sneakers, think about enjoying life, and know how to have a good time. The only down side is that our college bodies are a distant memory, but nothing lasts forever.

Add to that the fact that as much of the country is preparing for cold weather, we are entering shirtsleeve and  weeks of wonderful refreshing cool mornings and perfect days. I love this time of year, and with another extension of health I plan to drink in God's good creation, to revel in the cool mornings and evenings, to be outside everyday not searching for shade but drinking in sunshine, bring on another Arizona fall.