Hawaii 2010

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Friday, August 31, 2012

A One Night Fan

For one night, Larry, Matt and I saw what a season ticket holder in professional footballs Phoenix Cardinals experience on game night.

Forty five miles of bumper to bumper traffic at 7:30 at night. Being directed down a parking row only to find no spaces and no way to turn around.

Great seats near the goaline, but 80 percent of the game was played near the other goal for some reason, so we watched the replays on TV like those at home.

I got to see Payton Manning in person as I had seen his father Archie, but he did not play a snap in this last pre season game.

Had a really bad comedian behind us acting like he should lecture the team on every play. Shhhsh?

We lost with a last second field goal.

75 dollar ticket 100 mile round trip, nightmare to get out of the parking lot, expensive snacks, Wow to be a fan of pro football. But the tickets were a gift, and we passed on the snacks, and I got a 40 cent discount on
at Frys to refill the tank this morning.

Good parts, the cheerleaders, the music, some fine passing and a runback after a kickoff for a score. Seeing Peyton Manning running on and off the field. 70,000 happy people in a huge impressive stadium even though its 40 miles away from the east valley.   Being with my son and friend.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Could Isaac help drought stricken areas?

The clock room and the typewriter display from the Pioneer Village museum in Minden Nebraska.

My friend Carter posted a 30 second video from his back porch of the steady soaking downpour during Isaac. Suddenly a hummingbird appeared to take a drink from his feeder, seemingly not phased by it all.

Hearing about lots of flooding, and power outages, but now I am hoping the prayers of many in the drought stricken areas will be answered.

Still working on saying goodbye to clutter in the office, getting closer each day.

I was having a conversation with an intelligent man about where my views were on various hot button issues in evangelical faith, and I realized again how much we need to go back and test everything we have been taught about who God is and what the gospel is all about. Not fighting, but questioning and listening and reflecting.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Left turn on Val Vista Dr?

Still rebuilding along the gulf coast after Katrina, this church is in Gulfport Ms.summer 2010.

Being built on flat desert, the east valley was built on grids, major roads north, south, east, west, every mile with half mile roads as well.  As the valley exploded with growth, those roads are widened from two to four lanes, starting at the interstate and going north and south. In our 23 years here we have moved enough to always be encountering the latest widening project.

Laura commutes 10 miles west on Chandler Heights Blvd. As the traffic has grown anyone taking Val Vista South backs up traffic unbelievably fast.  I always wonder why those folks don't realize what a disaster it is when it takes five or six lights to get through.  Today I drove Laura to work and...thankfully they had an officer helping ease the situation. As line waiting is one of my worst nightmares, I am thankful, but my comment to Laura was this.  "I would rather be living in a town with growth issues than dying issues".

I am watching a news man standing on Washington Ave in Ocean Springs which is underwater, now that is a transportation problem I no longer have. God bless the gulf coast through this storm.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Summer of 69 via transistor radio

Gulfport as seen from the boat to Ship Island, summer of 2010, I talked to Carter Bise that day who just shared on FB that he is preparing to ride out another one today.

Just short of two weeks after the moon landing, Hurricane Camille blasted the gulf coast with a category 4 wind and storm surge. I listened on my tiny transistor radio that summer to apocalyptic songs like, "In the year 2525'. My parents were living in Houston Tx, but would move to Gulfport during the recovery years after that storm. I remember it had a jack with one ear bud so I could listen without bothering my campers at Camp Alpine.
During that summer on the mountain that little radio was my link to the real world.

It was Hurricane Elena that roared up Market Street when I was Pastor in Moss Point in 85. It took a year to pick up downed trees and repair homes without roofs from that one. We felt the power close up from the Methodist classroom annex across the street.

Katrina anniversary seven is here, and we have visited the coast every other year to see how long it took for recovery, and once again they face the test of Hurricane season. In the years that intervened the tiny transistor radio turned into the Boom Box, and just yesterday I unpluggd my Aiwa boom box to give away to charity. It has been replaced by an Ipod, about the size of my tiny transitor of 69, but now with a jack that amps to my many Ipod players, and if I need news, I jack into my smartphone.

We' e come a long way baby, but we still cannot mess with Mother Nature. Prayers for all affected.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dinner with adults

Having my adult children and grandchildren at my favorite pizza place catching up on each other is surreal in many ways. My pictures catch them during their growing up years in this place and that house, and in spite of our success and failure as parents, guides, supporters, they are grown up and facing their own grown up issues in a world that has changed in some ways and is the same in others.

There was a time when I fell into the idolatry of believing that my kids had to reflect honorably on me or my reputation as a clergyman would be sullied. What a load of bull hockey. What my kids always needed was unconditional love and a dose of correction when needed, along with the knowledge that they would be guided and find their own way, as I did. Sometimes our church life helped in this process, sometimes in hindered.

I know that I was unable to really change the benevolent neglect that was my parents style for me, and I wish I could have done more, but it was what it was, and we are what we are, and God knows how to bless this mess that is the American family.

What we have is common memories, common turf, common family ways, that can be adapted, rejected, modified, or modeled when they are on their own. I love my family, we are not large or prolific, we are small, and we split our lives between the south and the west, an odd sort of southwesterner, we still say, ma'am and sir, but we add "howdy" on occasion.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Isaac begat wind and rain

The prairie lands in the center of the country looked like an ocean at times. I actually passed by the geographic center of America one day in my travels.

As someone who lived near the gulf of mexico for decades I always have a special feeling for those in the hurricane zone in gulf from New Orleans to Apalachicola FL.

This morning I remembered the summer of 69 when Armstrong walked on the moon, and Camille devastated the Mississippi gulf coast.

When we lived on the coast we got bashed in 85 and for the life of me I cannot remember her name.

The came Katrina, and wow, the damage still hangs on.

So, we will see what the morrow brings, and it know its not political because he sends rain on the just and unjust alike in this covenant.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

40 and 400

Water on the glacier made Lake Okaboji.

The walk on the moon was very special to me, for I was on the porch at Camp Alpine for boys with a camp full of boys and counselors watching a small TV.  Since we can remember that we have a bit of a guage about how a generation feels.

Forty years Israel roamed in the wilderness before entering the  promised land.

Forty years from Jesus announcing that the temple would be destroyed until the event in 70 AD

Ten times forty really carries the event to an epic level.  Israel was in slavery in Egypt for 400 years, a long, long, long, long, time.....and then God spoke to Moses, and a people were born again.

400 years of silence from a prophet of God after Malachi, a long, long, long. time of silence, and then God spoke to an old priest and his wife, you are going to have a child, a prophet of God and his name will be John, which means God is gracious.  A people who longs to hear from God a fresh word, and that word is grace, and they are called to turn around and receive it and prepare for something even more astonishing, the Lamb of God.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mall Date

One of the original cabins on Lake Okaboji and the scene of an Indian raid and massacre and the attempted ransom of some of the women.

Matt joined us for our traditional cheap friday nite date. Eating in the food court, checking out a few stores. The Apple Store, Barnes and Noble etc. I bought the anthology of songs by Vangelis for my ipod, I love his sound.

Its my youngest Sons Brians birthday and he is flying out to see us tomorrow so all the family will be together for a few days in the same place.

Best monsoon in recent years

We have had a wonderful rainy monsoon season and I hope the lake levels go up a bit as a result. I have no great ideas in my head this morning as I wait to see if the gentle rain will stop for a round of golf.

I helped my son purchase a car the last two afternoons and we have had a running conversation as to whether the rude treatment we have gotten by salesmen is just ignorance or deliberate psychological manipulation. We made an appointment to see a particular car at a specific time and when we arrived the car was not there and took almost two hours to arrive. We should have walked.  The popcorn in the waiting room was the only saving grace, and the car was just right.

My broken credenza is in the hands of the wookworking hobbyist and I know it will come back stronger than it was. Fiber board furniture is pretty poorly assembled stuff.

The news of the day makes me wonder where we are headed as a nation. Pockets of good and lots of crazy going on. I dreamt of seeing a random shooting last night and woke to see news of a real one in NYC.

Hope your weekend has moments of bliss and beauty, or at least some satisfying moments of engagement with life and peace.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Disaster averted at Credenza collapse

So, we cleared the credenza for its relocation, and it fell apart, which it easily could have done with all the electronics I use being crushed by the weight of the books that were bowing the top. One of our handymen is assessing the situation.

I keep reminding myself, that in the art of fall cleaning, and being a lifelong office hoarder, it has to get worse in order to get better.

The first picture is my hidden library in my closet which I am culling as well. Major hoarding problems on the floor as well.

The second is work yet to be done.

The third is what is left of the credenza without the top.

I am having fun.

Brokeback Credenza

Here is a picture of me back in my early book buying days getting some attention from my dog Don Anna, and Laura's dog, Noel.

One of the reasons I am culling books is because my reference library was causing the credenza to bow badly, almost 3/4 of an inch in the middle, so now it will be braced and holding very little except computer/printer/monitor. The heavy desk with take the reference shelf with less books and be placed against the wall and allow a central visiting space so I won't be hiding behind my desk. Six more boxes should do it and we will begin to move the items.

I admire a well written book, a book that brings knowledge and insight, or diversion, or light. I glanced at a book named "Best Evidence" which used physics to see the snapping of Kennedy backward from a forward shot and transcripts to show that Kennedy's body was surgically altered after his death to change the direction of his entrance wound. My friend got so worked up about it we called the author.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Saying goodbye to genres of futility

That old house on the prairie once got power from somewhere as these old electric connections were obviously added in a rather haphazard fashion. They were all cut and left hanging.

As I was packing up books and gleaning from shelves I remembered periods of my life when I read extensively in certain areas and ended up with a large collection. One huge area was Christian psychology and counseling during a period when I was trying to "scratch in the dirt to see where I got hurt" I am sure I was helped by many of them but most of them I let go today.

The second huge genre was the books where a famous preacher would tell you how to make your church come alive and grow. Way too many, and goodbye.

Some authors will be with me till I die, thank you C.S. Lewis, Andrew Murry, and bunches of great novels I read and enjoyed.

I said goodbye to many very old hardbacks of sermon series from bygone eras, great old Presbyterians, and lots of Spurgeon. Reading makes the whole man, and I am feeling free from my labors today, and I plan on continuing my march toward E technology to carry a library in my hand.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If my library could speak

The Library of the Nebraska one room school house at Pioneer Villige

When I entered seminary in 1972 book purchases were a major part of my life. We had to have some for our classes and more as we began to hear of authors and subjects. Someone told me I should not purchase a book I would only read once, so most of my were commentaries and study tools.

When I entered the ministry I was the fortunate recipient of several hundred fine books as retired ministers would give me parts of their library.  I turned nothing down.

Over the years, many books would whisper to me to open them and I would find just the idea or thought I needed. Sometimes in periods of spiritual dryness they gave me messages I had no power to create myself. This is unfortunately true of most preachers from time to time. But thankfully it was early and rare and I found my voice and sermon prep becoming my own. The tools of study remain a part of every student of the world and person wanting to read widely.

As we moved the boxes of books were an enormous project to keep in our possession, and during crisis they often were stored in less than ideal places. But through thick and thin it continued to grow with the help of used book stores, Christian books stores, and Amazon. I have never counted them but estimated something over 6000 books.

In recent years I set some valuable resources to the mission field....but today I began a project to cull at least  a third of those who I have outgrown, never read, or know need to be passed to someone at a stage in life I have passed.

It will get really ugly before I end up with a rearranged office and a feeling of manageable size. Pictures to follow.

Monday, August 20, 2012

This is the day that the Lord has made

I am so glad to have this day to enjoy being alive and knowing I am secure in Father's love.  Today's picture is of the monument to the plains Indians in downtown Wichita, Kansas.

Hoping some will come to see a screening of "What Dreams May Come" on Tuesday, I have never seen a movie made in Hollywood attempt to deal with life and death and hope so beautifully.

I continue to sleep better after removing my retirement savings out of the equity market and into the new growth annuities. It took the last four months for the Dow to return  to the level they were when I got out, meaning folks lost money or treaded water, while I was bonused for my purchases, and am going up at a decent rate with no cliffs to fall off.  Look into it as you get closer to retirement.

I am totally committed to practicing civility with my life and tongue as the political battle heats up. We have a free country and a vote and a voice, mine is not going to pile on vitriol and slander and ridicule and half lies and buffoonery to the serious issues that need to be decided.

I am cleaning the dust and grime off some decade old fishing rods and reels and planning on buying a fishing license to enjoy some moments at our lakes in the early morning and late afternoons.

I am hoping you have a great day as well.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back in my life

According to his parents this outdoor loving dog who rules all he sees becomes very paranoid when it begins to thunder and lightning and heads for cover.

Enjoyed seeing the sweet folks at church, and sharing some ideas and slides from my seven years of summer sabbatical weeks.

A friend who reads my blog gave me some fishing equipment to start enjoying our Sun Lakes Ponds.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Use It or Lose It

A collection of dental equipment from America's past. Thought about this as I toured Dr. F's new office last week.

“Use it or lose it” is a maxim I believe is true about many things. After 10 days away from the gym my weight lifting showed a loss of strength.  I also know that a mind that is not engaged with constant exercise begins to atrophy. “ Reading makes the whole man” was a quote ole Dr. Strong reminded us of in seminary long ago, and so I try never to go a week without bodily exercise and mental discipline.

Now in my sixth decade I see the inevitable effects of aging and grudgingly accept them, but not without doing my part to keep the system lubricated with good nutrition, good sleep, and good thoughts.
This has not always been true, sadly there were many long years when I allowed the demands of life to make me sedentary and stressed, which became the seedbed for many of my physical issues, and I ate to deal with emotions, which is still a constant struggle.

So, fellow strugglers, the good news is that it does not take hours and hours of physical exercise to reap a positive benefit, get out and walk, stretch and lift heavy things a bit. Always have a book or an article nearby, and eat clean, healthy fats, proteins, and carbs from fruits and veggies. Not preachin, just sayin, its makes me feel younger and alive.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tiny new pleasures

Here is a marker to some little things I did that made my special week memorable.
1) Driving a Hyundai Tucson- zippy, comfortable, good gas mileage
2) Fishing with Peter, I have not put a lure in a pond for a long time and it was fun. I am going to get a rod and reel and begin to fish the lakes behind my office.
3) The steam shower-you get a refreshing cleanse of your pores while starting your day. Confession, I did envy that cool thing.
4) A Hardees mushroom sauce hamburger, have not eaten at Hardees for years, very good.
5) Braddington-Young Leather recliners, theres one in my future.
6) Lake living-I could get used to it.
7) Arnolds Park Nutty Bars, they are square, not rectangle, and good.
8) Fried Chicken Livers-been a long time and I just had two off my new friends plate.
9) Reading on my older Kindle, still love the inkjet on grey.

10) Sarah Groves in person-I cannot remember being spiritually more blessed by live music and the gritty reality of her message of hope and grace.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stepping out of your life

An original prairie moter home, and a real one room school house rebuilt as it was.

Sarah Groves has a song called, "I just stepped into my own life" that I enjoy. Sabbatical, which is what my study leave really is, is about stepping out of your own life to view another reality, to take the time to see and sense someone else's reality, and to ask God to refresh the life you are living.

As I drove through or passed by cities whose names were only a dot on the map, like Wichita, Topeka, Omaha, Lincoln, or little towns where I stopped for gas I try to think about those who reality is defined by that location in the midwest, those values, those limitations. I am fascinated by these almost bygone towns with one intersection of businesses downtown.  Some have died, some are thriving, all of them tell a story.

When I am around people whose work created enough money to create a dream like existence I am able to enjoy it without falling into envy because you find out we all have the same needs and heartbreaks and struggles to deal with. A lot on Lake Okaboji that was purchased for thousands a few decades ago is now worth millions, and the descendants of those first owners often lose family connection fighting over who it belongs to and who gets to cash in on the profit. Lots of good things in this world, but in the long run much of  it is like chasing the wind.

The Pioneer Museum taught me the same lesson by collecting the outward things that people used decades and centuries ago, now collectors items long discarded like our first black and white TV or the old heavy typewriter whose keys we banged, and struggled with eraser pens or whiteout to correct. Nightmare!!!!

So now I am plugged back into my own life, starring at my office sadly in need of organization, and facing a new season of activity in our little version of reality. Have seen the life and places of others, mine is no better or no worse than theirs, it just is, and is my age, my health, my freedoms and limitations. Take joy from it, learn from it, step back into your own life and live it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A dark and stormy night

Harley dude and Harley dudes nephew at Arnold's Park, Iowa who took the boat trip with us.

I left parched Nebraska and Kansas and landed in desert Phoenix in a lightning and rain storm. They could not deplane our baggage because of lighting in the area, so we sat and I arrived home near midnight after a day of driving 400 miles. I loved seeing the states from different roads, and even drove the Kansas turnpike with gas and McDonald's in between the roads, a full service obesity stop every 30 miles.

Air travel amazes me, there was not an empty seat on the Houston to Phoenix flight on a huge plain, while Wichita to Houston had maybe twenty of us aboard.  Any how, its a hassle but worth it to save time and....."look at clouds from both ways now".

I did not gain weight on this trip, a miracle considering some places I had to eat on the road, but I still am in need of getting back on the healthier eating and exercise  routine again. My guest hosts fed me well and really excellent food.

The change of pace and scenery and the good conversations, the reading time and reflecting time, they were all good. The corn belt is vital to our prosperity in America and the effects of this bad crop will be kicking us in the wallet for a good while, and for me, that which was only in pictures, the rolling fields, the picture perfect farms, the aging barns, are now part of my study leave experience for which I am thankful.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Heading Home Tomorrow

Today we golfed the Stein Memorial, took a boat ride around Okaboji Lake, and enjoyed a great meal in Arnold's Park. Time to drive south to catch a plane to Phoenix and to my home.

Lots of talk about the price of vacation homes along the shoreline and a picture of our Sun Lakes and friends from Iowa Golf outing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sarah Groves in Concert

She sits at a keyboard, bass player on one side and drummer husband on the other, an older veteran of the contemporary gospel scene at 45 with three kids, and she is honest, in sharing her faith and struggles, in revealing a God who withholds no good thing, who is in control of the things that we question in life and is altogether the Creator of beauty and hope.

I was deeply moved, if she is new to you check out a couple of her albums, a sweet clear voice of authentic faith that is very real, rooted in her past but sharing with an audience not as sure as their parents of the things of truth. Her videos of family and her past and her story telling were just perfect in introducing her songs.

Glad I got to see Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, a lake, a cornfield, a drought, the prairie land, my friends old and  new, and I miss my wife and want to go home after one more day of reunions.......OH, and the worlds largest ball of twine.

The Stein Memorial

This week I have combined a number of dreams, a road trip, a reunion with old friends, a study leave, a Bible Conference, and a get together with a bunch of friends who played golf with Don Stein who passed away almost three years ago.  Don was a caregiver for his MS inflicted wife until she died, and then began to get out and golf again and found wonderful friends who added so much to his life that he never stopped sharing how much this late life bonding meant to him. He was a kidder and a talker whose sudden passing left a hole in our group.

Tomorrow a dozen or so will come to Okaboji View to play and laugh. Then I must head home while they play a second day at another course.  I have been able to enjoy so many things this week, including a concert this evening by writer/singer Sarah Groves, but it is time to get back to my dear wife and my life in Sun Lakes and move into a fall and winter schedule.

Driving through the Iowa hiways I was impressed by the absense of litter on the road and figured these good farming folks have such reverence for land that they do not mistreat it, for the breadbasket of this great country is alive and well.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Away

i told Jerry the corn looked stunted and he said it was over six feet tall, and he was right. No drought in this part of Iowa.

A beautiful Iowa day in the 70s, gentle breeze,  a great quick morning round of golf with no one pushing or pulling us. Now some reading while the last golf major plays on the TV.

My host Jerry has been wonderful and a bachelor as well as his wife is visiting grandchildren. He hias one of his daughters living in the guest house as she and her husband develop a photography business. They are doing a wedding today and I see how much the digital world still requires hours of post processing.

I passed 1500 posts this week, one day at a time. Looking forward to visiting a new church tomorrow and praying for my own church as they worship in Sun Lakes.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Enjoying Iowa

I have added Nebraska and Iowa to my list of visited states this week, and boy do these Okabojians have a lovely lifestyle. It was very cool early this morning for golf, and by mid day perfect weather had arrived. During lunch we watched colorful orioles feeding on grape jam outside the porch as jealous squirrels watched them enter the cage with envy.

The outdoor tabernacle service last night had well over 1000 in attendance with a fine praise band and an 8 piece brass ensemble that entertained with jazz and a march and then beautiful harmonys for the offering and special music.

The Author of Becoming a contagious Christian spoke on evangelism last evening very effectively. The crowd is clearly older, although they had a good number of elementary kids leave before the service for there own teaching, but the music is quite loud and contemporary.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Okaboji Lake Iowa

Yesterday I stopped to photograph an abandoned homestead in the Nebraska prairie lands where Willa Cather wrote her novels.

Today I am enjoying a cool afternoon breeze on Jerry E.s porch. The property has been in his family for 50 years and he remodeled and added to the lake front home when he retired.

The farmland between here and Lincoln Nebraska is breathtakingly beautiful.  Rolling hills full of corn and soy beans, and the tidy homesteads on each side of the road every half mile.

I stopped for lunch in a farming town and watched the locals chatting and realized once again how amazing community is. Two teens whose world is so different than ours are talking non stop, several multi generational families are talking, and I am in small town Iowa for the first time in my life.

Okaboji/Spirit Lake is awash with vacation boaters everywhere and in an hour I will try to find a parking space for the Bible Conference.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back roads in the Heartland

What a fun day, I headed north and got off the main drag to head to the Pioneer Village Museum in Minden Neb. When I got on I80 there was a complete shut down caused by a fatality wreck. It took forever to get people rerouted and so I am spending the evening in Lincoln Neb.

Miles of struggling corn fields, aging small towns, farming of all kinds.  The museum has just about everything ever connected to our generation and history. Hundreds of car and planes, and preserved items of every kind.
When you get to see the worlds largest ball of twine you just know your living the trip that "Micheal" made in the movie, or something close.

Stepping into the rhythm of someones life

Drinking coffee overlooking a parched Kansas cornfield with a houndog on the left and a kitty on the right, the siilence of the country air fills me with a sense of God's presence.

After lunch and some morning reading I play surrogate grandfather with Peter while his mom and dad work. We fish, twice in the pond behind the office playing catch and release. I have not made a cast in decades but the practice returns to me and I win the fish catching prize, which is the joy of gloating.

We go to the golf course for a lesson and some practice in the midst of a threatening storm, and then enjoy another evening of conversation, in which our friendship flows as if it had never stopped when we moved away so long ago. You see the children that resulted from the union and the joys and struggles of helping them learn and grow, and its exhausting and frustrating and the very essense of what is good.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Road Trip Day 1

Steve and Michale  practice Dentistry in Wichita KS, and we spent the day conversing
 about life and experiences over the last 25 years since I performed their wedding ceremony on the Gulf Coast.

We saw their kids when they were small and now they have a house full of almost adults. I really enjoyed the flights from Phoenix and the airport security routines were not too bad.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Change of location for a few days

Marilyn Monroe found dead 50 years ago today. Here she is larger than life. I find it very hard to see her as an 86 year old, I am sure given a chance she would have much preferred aging to celluloid immortality.

My farewell study leave begins early in the morning. The midwest corn field tour of parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Two new books and lots of others to finish on Kindle, some sights and sounds to discover, some old friends and new friends to connect with, and a new fall season to think about. Some sermons to hear and songs to sing with other believers as well. And, photos of interest, of course.

Today I spoke about our desire to see the kingdom of God come and the fact that we live in a broken world that is part of the plan of our testing, and growth and service to this world. Good government and helpful laws can make the world function better, but it will not ever become the visible Kingdom of God that we would hope to see.

On the other hand, I believe it is truly possible to see the upward movement of culture and civilization in a positive direction, we can grow, we can make peaceful coexistence happen when we value human life and live with good laws, opportunity, and freedom. In that sense we and many other countries have been "a city set on a hill, a new jerusalem".

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Puzzling Diversity

This is the field looking at Tumbleweed gym where I practiced the art of "grounding", or walking barefoot last week. Bet you outlanders did'nt know we could grow grass in the desert, it takes a soaking from groundwater weekly to keep it looking like this.

One of the issues that has most affected my adult life is agreement or disagreement on doctrines. Some major, some minor, all problematic when full fellowship is disrupted or denied over said teaching.

As I have been a searcher and a tester of truths all my life there have been some major areas of belief where I have taken minority opinions or variations. Its a bit like putting a puzzle together where you turn the ideas around to see if they fit and how they fit and how they affect the look of the puzzle once inserted in place.

One summer I was asked to explain my teaching on "wrath", and I really studied and put together a good defense of my views, and they were well received and I won the brother to my emphasis, mostly.

This week I was asked to defend my teaching on the word "aionian"  from which our bibles get the word eternal. That is why its called a study break, and I look forward to my dear brothers inquiry and the articles he gave me defending the traditional understanding.

One reason I love Biblical theology is that the doctrines grow from the texts rather than doctrines developed by groups or sects trying to make a peace of the puzzle fit by artificial force or tradition.

Though the times of conflict were painful and too often personal, I think it important not to lose sight of the benefits of these puzzling issues, and the progress that can be made when we take a fresh look at the picture we present to the world.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Study Leave

Fathers Day Conference 2007 Peculiar, Kansas, a tiny suburb of Kansas City named a hundred years ago when the town leaders told the Judge they wanted to name the town with a unique and not common name, something different and....peculiar?

Several years ago I desired to expand my understanding by spending time with some Christian conference outside my own family of faith. It has been a yearly time to think, read, pray, see another part of the country and because Laura has a short summer, it has been a solitary trip. She always complains gently that she does not like to be alone that long, so I have agreed that this will be my last bachelor trip and she will begin to go to conferences with me, Lord willing. Most of next summers vacation will be back to our southern roots so I will be looking for a meeting in June or July in the Bible Belt.

Here is my list of places and events since this quest started.
Renovare in Denver, followed by a private retreat on the Salmon River-many changes in my life from this
Fathers Day Conference in Kansas City a very ecumenical group from all over emphasizing God's love for all
Presence in Colorado Springs Group that left the Church of Christ over eschatology
Presence in Little Rock  (It took me two years to understand where this group was coming from.)
The Nazarene Pastors Conference at Point Loma San Diego.  Ah the ocean coolness and a group of godly people.

This year the Christian Missionary Alliance Mission Conference in Okaboji Iowa,  never been to Iowa, no ocean coolness, but I am looking forward to it and some visits with friends along the way. I always do a bit more photography when I am traveling alone which is fun.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Strange Things are Happening

Hey Dr. Spock, have the Klingons been using my old blog posts.

My title today is actually the title of a song by Red Buttons that played repeatedly from a 78 record disc when I was growing up. The song is hilarious. I went back to see when I started this blog to celebrate the date and I noticed seven comments on almost every post.  While I appreciate your comments this blog is really not designed for anything more than just a daily sharing of a thought to connect with you during you time of browsing.

Turns out those comments are all in Chinese, all the same length and they have a few english words interspersed that refer to engineering parts.  Is my blog being used by someone? Anyone ever hear or see anything like this?

So, happy blog birthday a bit late, I actually started on July 24th 2008 so I am in year five. I have been thinking about starting a theo blog to share more in depth the things I believe about God and the gospel more deeply. I want to join the growing conversation about the role of truth in our strange world. Strange things are happening all over, strange things. Janet, do you remember listening to that record with me in the basement of the home on Ceperly Dr. Oneonta NY??? What a memory to pop into my head today?!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Masonic Rites?

I caught that magic moment between sunset and evening at the mall with the mall lights competing with the evening sky on my android camera.

 My father was a mason, and never once did he mention it. He wore the ring, and had a masonic ceremony when he died. I have observed a number of them including yesterdays funeral. It is clear that they have a departing ritual and that they use lots of scriptural and christian phrases in their service. I especially was struck by the idea of moving from the lodge to the celestial lodge.

It seems to be mostly an aging group, and I struggle to understand the draw.  They have all kinds of names they give each other to honor achievement.  Is this a grown up boy scout organization with religious overtones? It's ancient linkage seems to carry it back to a time when it exerted a more pervasive influence in the world.

Decades ago one of our presbyteries tried to enforce a rule that no man could serve in the masons and be an officer in the church. There was lots of heat stirred up over that fight.

Was my fathers silence based upon the fact that he did not see me as masonic material? If it played a role in his life in the past why continue the outward wearing of the ring if it meant little to him? Is it a type of works righteousness organization where you need to feel superior morally by working up a ladder?

I don't think it sold that well to the crowd at the funeral,