Sunday, September 29, 2013
Most Western Christians think their conversion and profession are the end of the matter and go on to live their lives with that confession at the periphery. It was supposed to be the beginning of a lifelong process of continual transformation into the loving image of our Creator and of His son our Savior, through the presence of their spirit of Holiness.
I am learning that more and more and challenging myself to see this present world as the very place where the hammering and fine tuning of our instruments with all the experience of love joy and suffering can give us.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
We found this great travel book that we used on Maui and Kauai in 2010 that promises to try everything they recommend or diss every year and we love the book and have used it to plan our week on the Big Island, and today I paid 8 bucks more for the Android app that tracks where you are and reminds you of the stuff to see in the area and how to get there and other facts to know in each area. Will share how it helped.
Meanwhile even though I am not taking the computer just our two phones, two cameras, and the xoom tablet, there are just a bunch of wires and extra chargers that have to go along. Being wired takes planing. Worth it not to have to bring the book along but to have the app and its help system in my carry bag.
When you take a bunch of pills to help you survive you need a system to get them straight without carrying a bunch of bottles. Done.
So now to think again about pain, suffering, death, and the hope of the life to come, as I end my month long series on putting our faith to work in this troubled world.
Friday, September 27, 2013
So I returned the yellow case and camera with the underwater 35mm, that weighed about 2 lbs, in a 5 lbs case, and got this plastic Dicapac plastic housing that fits hundreds of small cameras and allows me to take hopefully high quality pics and movies if we see something worth catching. Excited
I have enjoyed all the episodes of Hawaii Life which help families find homes on the islands. Its part real estate and part travelogue for the island lifestyle. Couple spends twice as much for a house in a resort area that is at the top of their budget and says they will enjoy the amenities of tennis and swimming as well, which cost another 800 a month.
Nice place to visit, would not want to live there. However, when we are there is feels like your could live there. We went to church in Kauai years ago and talked to a retired trucker and his wife who turned their visits into a dream to live there and were in year two of getting used to it. They said you get island fever when all roads circle or end and you can't get off the island, then you realize your grandkids are far far away.
Immersion for a week, but no real estate searching for us.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
It passed the airtight test completely.
both attachment flash and built in flash fired flawlessly.
To took decent pictures underwater and above water.
The biggest problem was making sure the film had actually moved through the camera, three times including your experiment the film did not catch on the little hooks, and although the film moved electronically through the numbers, no pictures were ever taken.
It is too big and the case is too heavy for the Hawaii trip, so this test was done in a pool.
and finally, of course, 35 mm film is passing away quickly, so sell it quickly.
The first few days in Hawaii your body is on AZ time so you wake up very early and ready to go.
This months Charisma magazine was all about modern Isreal and the end times, topics about which I have throughly investigated the interpretistic pluralism issue. In other words, no one really agrees about the issue, except the magazine assumes their views are the only and correct views because they stuck some verses taken out of the OT to prove their point, and said, God forbid, we cannot entertain what they called replacement theology.
Did the new covenant not fulfill, complete and replace the old covenant? Are there double covenants in place? They further implied that every Christian should take a trip to Isreal, within some precautional reason, so the Bible can come alive.
I do not really want my bible to come alive because my Savior came alive from the dead, and left the dead works of the law behind.
I do not really want to walk where Jesus walked, but to be taken to the place He has prepared for me, a country and a city in which God is the lamp and these fractured nations are healed.
I do not want to get involved in a land war in the middle east and be ushered by a guide through the parts of the city that are not divided and torn by religious warfare.
Nope, I prefer to walk the hills, and sandy shores of our 50th state, and feel the presence of God among the polynesian culture, listening to IZ, who now walks with Jesus, singing "I think to myself, its a wonderful world".
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
When things go wrong we ask, why me? And when things are good, we tend not to ask, Why me? Lord willing I am headed for a week on a tropical island and over a million families are refugees on the Syrian border waiting for their country to stop being torn apart.
This is why for me heaven should be like Hawaii, and not like an oasis in the middle east. But I was reminded that the writer of Hebrews used two logistical analogies of heaven, its a country and a city.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Air Travel, check. Condo Rental, check, Car reservation, check, Boating trips secured, check. Now we pack up this weekend and head to the Islands for a week of pure escapist sightseeing, smell smeling, wave crashing in the ears, feet touching black sand beaches.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Well,I am a preacher who performs weddings and a photography nut, and I have worked with many photographers, and have been myself an irritant to them at other weddings because I take pictures while they are taking pictures after the ceremony.
The Ceremony pictures are the subject, and this minister really broke the joy of the wedding with his grumpy tirade, and for that he rightly apologizes, and one would hope if their is a video it would be edited out.
The funniest thing that happened during a wedding I conducted was a zealous guy who climbed onto a pew in the choir loft and put his foot on the front railing, and it began to tilt forward, not being bolted down as he thought, loud bang and shuffle for balance and big temporary distraction.
It is a solemn ceremony, but it is also a very joyous one as well, major boo boo for that already scary countenance to get mad and threaten to stop the ceremony. And in this cultures anti clerical mood we get a black eye again. I love wedding photographers on the web, I am a fan of Jasmine Star, big time.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
As I turned right on Ina Rd. near the office where I served a church in Tucson, I glanced at the Safeway store, the place where a mentally challanged young man shot and killed several people in our congress womans gathering. Then I drove into the beauty of one of God's high places.
Then Monday I had an inside seat to the shootings at the Navy Yard as a friend texted inside information from her lockdown captivity a building away, remarking that she had just that week been transfered from the crime scene building and personally knew many of the wounded and killed.
And the violence and suffering of this world were highlighted by snagging a pre release copy of Yancy's career crowning thoughts on the subject after a lifetime of comforting people in the midst of excruciating pain and loss.
God is love, and has a grand design to undo and reverse this curse, we must continue to believe that.
Every life is precious, even those cut tragically short.
In tragedy, be the helper.
Do no harm, be a healer, a comforter, a cleaner upper, a bandager, and buryer if need be, part of the solution.
If God is to be held at fault, its for allowing too much freedom for His creatures on this planet, for he does not intervene as we hope He would and should, and His reasons have been clearly revealed.
Finally, He came here, and suffered with us, in identification of the issued.
His kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.
Find your thin place where God reveals His presence, and your happy place where you reflect on the Good and Beautiful in life and in God.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
You try to avoid pain and suffering, you protect yourself and your loved ones as much as possible, but when it comes know and trust God has been there, is there, and is actually working all kinds of transformational good in you. You live through it and help others facing it, and you protect and relieve suffering in others if possible, but you know if you cannot that God has been there and is there and is actually working all kinds of transformational good in them.
Everyone needs happy places and thin places, where they are reminded of lifes beauty and God's nearness. Hanalei Bay in Kauai will always be one of those places for me.
Everyone needs happy places and thin places, where they are reminded of lifes beauty and God's nearness. Hanalei Bay in Kauai will always be one of those places for me.
Friday, September 20, 2013
I am enjoying a salad bar in a popular restaurant yesterday, reading the account of the Newtown Connecticut slaughter of innocent children and teachers ar Sandy Hook Elementary last year, and I am overcome with sadness and start to weep and have to stop reading the book.
Mental illness and violence has become a big problem, at it reared it ugly head at Navsea again this week, and, as Yancy has the courage to confess, most things like this just play themselves out without any intervention from the creator and sustainer of the Universe.....whom we call God.
In the pre release of his book, "The Question that Never Goes Away, Why?" which like all his books is gripping and powerful, the conclusions are simple and powerful. All religions have an answer to some degree. The Buddists say life is suffering, live with it and find mind numbing nirvana, the Hindus say your suffering is deserved from sins of a previous life, bad karma.
Christian revelation allows us to question, to scream why, to complain, but its answer lies in Jesus, who entered into the worlds violence and suffering and said to us, I am with you, we will go through this together. A God interested not so much in what happened wbut who you become in the midst of what is happening.
The suffering of innocent children whether it is war, gun violence, hunger and famine, is where the saddness screams the loudest, and Yancy has had the difficult priviledge of being invited into most of those places during his writing career, and what a perspective it has given him to share reverently a few ideas about the why of it all.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Every day we kiss goodbye early, as Laura heads into the fray of public school education. My work is contemplative and relational on a person to person level, hers is groups and discipline and a level of developmental chaos that is hard to describe unless you are there to see it.
The breaks from classroom are precious to us, and this next one is much anticipated as we head to the big Island of Hawaii for the first time.
Yesterday a former teacher friend shared of a former student who lost her young Marine husband who fell into a sinkhole and died while lookng for a deer he had hunted with a bow and arrow. So very sad.
Life is so full of unexplainable suffering, and with wonderful experience. This written as a widow in Washington shares her grief at the loss of her very special husband to a deranged shooter. The mystery, the mystery.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Thanks to Tim and Donna for a sweet visit yesterday. They have returned to town after an attempt to move back home to the south that did not work out. They were on the pulpit committee that led me from the south the the west 24 years ago, and sadly they observed that dream go dreadfully awry when personal relationships fell apart and our time with them was short.
As we have aged we reflect upon the truth that our dissapointments are often God's appointments, which is a very old but useful quote. We hope every decision and change in our lives will yield great joy and success but life brings us down when we thought everything would come up roses.
These friends are in a rebuilding phase, as I have been before, and we just agreed that God is with us and we are blessed in the journey even when things do not go according to plan, and friendships are one of the reasons we can survive and go forward. I wanted to remind them of that truth, and to assure them that the pain of our early relationships in my families bumpy road were replaced with other joys and successes that came later. Its called life.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
My small Christian campus in the early 70s was a place of security and family. We threw Frisbees after dinner, groups relaxed around cement tables or around the cafeteria. Once evening we hear sirens and were told that the campus of Jackson State University was having riots and fear and uncertainty entered our young lives as we heard that angry blacks were driving around town to shoot innocent people, at least that is what we heard.
The shooting of innocent people seems to be the angry or confused persons last statement of rage against the world for whatever reason, and it is why so many think that guns should be a controlled comodity. Yet we supply them to those fighting against unjust government. What if our government declares marshall law and begins unjust and cruel actions against our minorities? It is a complicated issue, as are most today.
Toni, who was locked down yesterday and spoke personally of the sweetness and kindness of some of the victims, had to put her dog to sleep this week as well. There is no getting around the fact that life can be tough and very sad. Thank God for our inner resilience and hope and strength we have to keep going on and helping others in the midst of very bad circumstances.
Monday, September 16, 2013
My new friend Toni has been complaining that the building she is working in has been killing her health, its old and something is making her sick. This morning a shooter in that building in the Washington DC Naval Yard has injured and killed some of her co-workers, and the insanity of our present time extends into another week.
Jason and Toni are both veterans who have skills that have gained them civilian employment in the defense industry and we enjoy reconnecting with them this summer during our family reunion. Life is risky these days.
I make it a point never to read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, because I have had it with the pronosticators who are always attemping to plug Ezekiel and Daniel and Revelation to sell their books. Had it up to here. Had it up to there.
Begone you literalist phoney ambitious wackos. Its all about the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Most stunning quote. Vince Gill coming outside his concert to stare at the Westboro Baptist group who gathers to condemn his adulterous marriage to Christian singer Amy Grant. "I just wanted to see what hatred looked like" he said. I better get off, this is beginning to sound like a blue monday blog post.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Because in the new covenant God is not in the business of choosing one nation over another. We have a heritage of freedom, and opportunity and blessing, but it is possible for us to fall if we continue to lose the values, traditions, checks and balances, sacrifices and hard work that created a great country.
We also have a beautiful land of plenty to plow, and grow and mine and improve. And yes, I still pray for God to bless America, and for us to make wise decisions in our country and around the world.
Note to self, be careful where you put the new bluetooth mini speaker, the music vibrated it right off a chair rail.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Yesterday I did something similar to what I did a year ago about two weeks after a night in the hospital. I took a day to see something beautiful and to be alone to pray and ponder my life.
Mt Lemmon is the southernmost ski slope in the US. At the top of the slope it is 9,500 ft above sea level. It took 40 minutes to drive up to the top, plus my stops to take pictures along the way. It was almost cool at the top. It was a long driving day but very life affirming as I observed the incredible vistas of Tucson area.
I tried the beginner slope 20 years ago and took a fall that hurt my knee, I don't think I have been up the mountain since that winter so it was like seeing it for
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Yesterday I embraced a new technology, not new, but new to me, when I purchased a bluetooth speaker for our Hawaiian trip. Music is very important to me and I have many albums that celebrate the Hawaiian culture. Bluetooth allows you to play music from your smartphone or tablet without wires...very cool. I did enough research to choose this very small Logictech mini boom box which will fit in one of the slots of my camera bag and work through an ipod jack, which is the bridging part. Once I saw that, I bought it on sale...of course.
I own three Altec Lansing portable speakers which I plan to continue to use, here in the office, in our kitchen, and a roamer.
This little black box fills the room with sound, not like a huge expensive one, but more than adequate for room and beach, and so convenient for its small size and with a long battery life as well. So much for the plug.
Tomorrow I hope to go on a mini trip to the Tucson area which was postponed two weeks ago for the angiogram and stent placement.
I am planning a day of silence, conversation with God, and photography as I drive to the top of Mt. Lemon, and will probably play some Fernando Ortega music as I gaze across the landscape of the valley below and commune with the Lord, asking direction for the season ahead.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I was watching to all, stunned, engrossed, scarred, and scared for our countr y. The evil necessary to do this for Allah is beyond my ability to comprehend, yet acts of wanton violence against innocent people continue unabated to this very day.
That is the world I am in, but not off. And I make a witness to the world to come with my prayers and peacemaking and acts of love.
I focus on the healing from the wound, while still watching the event with horror. I sit just earlier this morning with two veterans of WWII one a D day survivor, and how long O Lord till we beat those swords into plowshares.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
David used to brood about his enemies in the Psalms and pray God would stop them and protect him, and punish them. We all do that.
Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and do good to them. The percentage of us who do that falls drastically I think.
Most of my personal attacks come from well meaning folks who are dissapointed with me over expectations unmet. It is not an attack upon my true self but upon a false self who people think always does the right thing, says the right thing, is in the right place as the right time and never fails to do the right thing. It is impossible, even though I try.
So, sometimes I just have to let it go. I wrote it, I thought about it, I am letting it go.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Hope Coach ministry day we traveled in the rain all morning, a real treat for the desert. A quick trip through Fry's Electronics which is always a dream trip for a gadget lover, the golf store for more product testing, a trip to see the restoration of Larry's 1967 Camero, in a back yard auto repair shop that was amazing.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
For two weeks I have cautioned my folks, and through them, the world....the danger of Anglo Isrealism. Once would think a rather dated and disproven view would fail to make any traction in the world, but times being what they are there is a bit of a revival of this view.
The essense, that God never really opened the gospel to the world, but just renewed a blood ethnic covenant, and furthermore, that blood covenant passes to true Israelites, who are ironically descendents of the caucasian people, which is us, Americans.
I have been listening to the reasoning of those fascinated and following this strange connection, and they really believe they are onto something true that allows us to practice ultimate racism, hatred of people of color, of the present jewish people, of arabs and I really don't know who else.
And Glenn Beck has bought into some form of this belief system. Not subscribing to the Blaze I will have to wait for details to emmerge, but this is going to set back conservatism a long way if he gets traction with this. I am no expert on this, but it suffers from some tragically twisted logic.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
I love/hate weight lifting. The hate part is eased by the use of this user friendly set of weights that you change by pulling knobs. Very easy to do but the real weight lifters make fun of you for using the circuit. I still stay there after four years in this gym.
I love weight lifting because it has maintained and created muscle tone which aids me in every way every day from posture to chores to golf swing to dressing to streching ect. After laying of for a week you can feel the loss of progress. Our physical bodies really do fail us if we fail to exercise. Not saying I am any more protected from other issues, but muscle and bone mass issues are really improved by lifting.
I love the gym because you see the ssme sets of folks and even if you don't know their names you give a friendly smile, like a bar only healthier.
Friday, September 6, 2013
I have not had a bagel in years. Delicious but too many carbs, but it was the best choice for the donut laden table at 3rd grade Grandparents morning at Ben's School, and it was savory delicious with a touch of cream cheese on top.
I swear we look younger than most of the grandparents but you know how the ego functions when we look in a mirror.
My executive assistant Genevieve has been with our church for 15 years this September, following her former pastor here and sticking with me for the last ten. I have been blessed with professional and competent and creative office help for all my professional ministry. Thank you Genevieve. Her husband just brought in a dozen yellow roses to congratulate her. Sweet.
We are just weeks from embarking on our trip to Hawaii, the Big Island and my excitement and anticipation are building. Using some time today to get the best deal for our car for the week.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Why can't service providers get a bit more precise with their calls in a day of cell phones and messaging. I came home at noon, have things to do, and its 2:45 and here I sit.
A free HBO and Cinemax weekend has begun on Dish, so I will save some movies for future enjoyment.
No golf this weekend.....two more weeks to go until the season is over.
I have my own opinion on Syria, and a prediction on how the vote will go, and some concerns about both options. I am listening to everyone.
Got to play golf today and look forward to grandparents morning with young Ben's classroom tomorrow.
One week since life extending surgergical rescue and I am very thankful to my healthcare provider, physicians, insurance company.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Last year Christian Smith explained the reality of "interpretive pluralism". What it means for people who love and respect the Bible as a revelation of truth is that sincere Bible believing folks have searched the scriptures with respect and reverance and still have come to opposite or at least radically different understandings of its teachings.
Billy Graham thundered out the comment 'the Bible Says' for decades and he believed it with all his heart and the message bore fruit but that fact was that his thundering was Arminian free will based gospel, while I have seen thousands come to Christ with a very different Calvinist, God has to make the first move gospel, and He draws you to Himself.
The end times is the absolute worst culprit in the multitudes of experts and the constant reprinting of last decades prophecy book with new nations names pretty much inserted over also rans.
I a looking at a book named, The Day and The Hour that documents 2500 serious scholars who named the time or date for the return of Christ and had followers who believed them. This does not include the recent one by the Radio Scholar that had folks cashing out life savings to warn us. This is interpretive pluralism at its worst.
Part of the problem is the basic issue of reading someones mail. In the bible there was not an end time, but a time of the end. It was the judgmental dissolution of the nation of Isreal for their fruitlessness at the end of their covenantal life. It was prophecied by Christ to occur within the lifetime of some of the living disciples and it did. Until we wrestle and discuss these verses we will continually missunderstand the nature and character of God and the radical movement of the good news away from nation punishing nation to people reach people in every nation, tongue and tribe.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Life is interesting. Thursday afternoon I am flat on a table with a tube exploring the arteries of my heart and averting a heart attack, and Sunday I lead services and do a large memorial service in the afternoon. Monday I am back in the gym exercising my heart and body.
Saturday our A/C starts gushing water all over the place and must be shut down. We sleep with the sliding door open and 92 degrees on the inside temp with fans blowing all around the bedroom. My heart goes out to suffering Sryian children, but I am suffering and my cat who has fur is really uncomfortable. Such is our issue with personal comfort in a suffering world, we are weak.
We go to the dollar cinema to escape the heat and the only 7 pm movie is White House Down, which turned out to be a heart pounding thriller with humor and frightening possibilty of a nut job takeover of America, very good action flick.
Then Sunday morning I am led to raise the issue of Anglo Israelism with the news of Glenn Becks decision that caucasians are Isrealites. This has been done before, not with happy results.
Then a memorial for a delightful loving family saying a fond farewell to a humble artistic father who embodied the American dream, one job for one company for his whole career, one wife for life, one long and happy retirement with golf and travel and watching kids have grandkids and great grandkids, and that is what labor day and the American dream are all about, and I am glad to still be here living it.
Monday, A/C fixed, a Swede wins a golf tourney and vaults to #1 over a very rich and very spoiled mixed parentage guy who could not putt this week.
I pass the day with a relieved cooler cat, and a wife I love who talks about weeks where when it rains, it pours, clogged A/C pipe, and clogged arteries......and I laugh, and agree with her, an odd Labor Day for the memory books.
Monday, September 2, 2013
I am occassionaly asked to lead a memorial service for someone I have never met. I am glad to do it because I feel it is important to connect to non churched folks and regular folks who have no church connections, and I also believe I can do the service with compassion and connection. You learn so much about someone from just listening to the family and responding to their wishes.
In this case the kids did the sharing of key moments of their Dad's life and it was very inspiring to see such a close and loving and happy family. He worked hard, and had two passions he pursued besides family....golf and piano, including classical piano, at which he excelled. It was very affirming and seeing how many friends came to pay respects I was quite impressed.
Still, I must confess a personal mystery, that having spent most of my life around God centered folks, it is interesting to observe the good folks around me who build their family and weekly lives and friends and activities without any inclusion of God, faith, or religious practice. They seem to be doing OK, and most of them are a little uncomfortable with my attempts to bring God language into their lives. Not rude,just uncomfortable. It's just not what they think about.
It is my practice to just love these folks and trust God to create interest in spirituality, it does no good to stoke the fear of the fires of hell in this secular culture, they are good loving folks, we should love them and share with them and be genuine with this part of our American life. This good man was an inactive Catholic, a loving, caring, kind and fun loving retiree, who left a legacy that shouted to me a life well lived. I commended him to God his maker with hope and respect and was greatful to be God's gentle ambassador.