Hawaii 2010

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Hoping for some rain

A spring storm in Jackson Mississippi in the late sixties, I think this was the first day of spring that year. Nothing changes.

We are very dry out west, and will be grateful for whatever moisture that comes our way. Enjoyed the beauty of a very springlike day on the greens where there were flashes for decent golf surrounded by explosions of really poor ball striking.

The Christian critics are really up in arms about the latest Jesus movie. I am staying out of it. Still remember the blood stained hour in the Passion of the Christ that
caused me to realize some things can be way overdone.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sinners in the Hands of an _______God?

For a few years we tried to get rich, and were encouraged to visit large homes and dream of living there to motivate us to sell product. Now, decades later, my hope is to make the last payment on my modest little bungalow and be very thankful that I have had food, shelter and clothing, a home in glory......Oh, just to not get all super spiritual....some great memories of staying in spectacular hotels in breathtaking places.

The Angry young reformed believe that God's love is only covenental and only really is shared with the elect. While God has a general good will to normal folks during their brief stay in life, He really does not love them savingly. They really have no opportunity to repent and believe. We don't know who they are so we are supposed to offer them the gospel anyway and let God do the choosing.

Though they were never elect and had no power to respond to the Gospel, they will however suffer the full consequenses of their rebelion and the broken nature they were born with.

I may or may not have overstated that case, and I absolutely agree with the teaching of Jesus that tells us we must abide in the vine to bear fruit and that apart from Him we can do nothing. The new covenant for me was changed when I began to understand that Jesus came to reveal the true and everlasting character of His Father. Jesus is not running compassionate interference for a very _______God, He is revealing the kind and compassionate God who identifies with sinners and understands their weaknesses and saves them from themselves.

I keep hearing from those in my conversation that God just gave us all the gift of free will and then its up to us to do the right thing and make the right decision and do the obedience that will win us heaven. We then feel really justified and good when those who failed are punished eternally. Sometimes you can drive a truck between the implications of Arminian and Calvinistic theology.

I live in neither camp these days. But lean on Jesus revealing the loving, compassionate, forgiving and long suffering nature of His Father. If I am wrong then we are all in trouble.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Could the Reformation have been avoided?

Kissing cousins Melissa and Jason decades ago.

Shared some risky ideas last night, waiting to see if people dig in to fight or open hearts and minds to consider, even if they don't agree.

I wonder when Martin Luther posted his 95 points of discussion on the church door in Wittenburg that if his position of respect, service, study would have led to a local discussion and then perhaps a widespread defense of ending of practices that had really gotten out of hand. No way to know....

because those threatened by the questions to tradition vowed to extinguish the discussion before it ever occurred. Thanks to the printing press, and the internet, his and our discussions have broken from the magisterium of the authority structures.

Always bloody in some way even if metaphorically. Oh the joys of sharing a minority report.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


My Dad sold Todco aluminum sliding doors.

It always causes me to ponder why many Christians are so uncomfortable discussing differing views and beliefs in the church. I ts like they are saying, "my minds made up, don't confuse me with any facts". This hardening of the worldviews really hinders personal growth, I think.

Even if you are not convinced by another thought, you are helped by the discussion and can help others who are thinking things through. I have lived long enough and with enough different Christian groups to know you can find a proof text for just about any idea you desire to promote, like the fellow on the web yesterday who said Jesus would return with a AK 47 to mow down his enemies.

Thus the teacher and the learner always face a certian degree of risk in questioning fundamentals of the faith. A fundamentalist mindset is dangerous in any faith for it foments enemies, pride, and self deception.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend joys

Affection moment from the late 70s.

Swimming with grandkids, Wendys with grandkids and son Brian. Playing Wii with the family. Relaxing with final rounds of mens and womens golf. Feeling that you did your best with a difficult subject during your message.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Orley Hood

Found a picture of Mac Nelson, my high school teacher, who just joined my facebook family. Mac worked at Belhaven for a time.

At my college there was a bit of a seperation between the athelets and the other kids. They were rowdy, stayed together on the second floor of the dorm, and many were there on scholarship for sports instead of the Christian influence of the school.

Orley was short, and was a manager type, very likeable although we never had a close friendship. This week he died of leukemia at 65 and I remember his career as a sports writer and columnist for the Clarion Ledger. Turns out he was full of lore and stories of Mississippi. There was some bitterness when the paper fired the high paid folks and went for corporate drivel from another place.

His friends say he was upbeat and never down about battling this disease. Reminds me that I am getting to that age when my generation begins to depart a few at a time, then a flood.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jesus is the spirit of prophecy

Shannon playing over ten years ago.

That simply means that Isreal does not advance the agenda of the future, Jesus does. He does not fit into the finish of their story, they fit into the beginning of His. Any other conclusion has us waging WWIII and thinking we are hastening the rapture. Big mistake in my opinion, and that of many others who do not buy into the false literalism of reading Revelation as a may of our near future.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thank you Hal Lindsey

Needy Mexican family get new shelter and bunkbed for the teenagers. First photo from the weekend Amor build.

I have been ranting for a couple of weeks about the feelings and reactions that occurred in me when The Late Great Planet Earth ended up in the used book bins of evangelical history.

It made me less gullible and more careful not to jump on bandwagons....so Thank you Hal Lindsey

It made me focus on the immediete and pratical in my ministry, not speculations...so T Y H L

Eventually when I was healed enough to think it through studying the history and reasons for interpreting apocalyptic literature helped me find some views that were helpful....so T Y H L

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hello HTC One

For the last four years I have owned an HTC Incredible, which introduced me to a world of fingertip information that has never failed unless the handler mishandled it.

My second phone I thought would be the popular Samsung until my sales rep showed the this large screen phone. So I admit I am moving away from miniturization on this, but barring buyers regret there is a method to my madness. Here goes.

Using a tablet as your modem works fine, but you have to always ask to turn it on and off, and it is the most expensive form of band width, even though we are at the beginning of a price war.

My tablet is now almost three years old, and at times it gets to be a chore to haul it around, especially since Laura wants and needs to be online when I am out in the evening.

An inhome modem supplied by Dish Network will not only handle our inhome use, but allow us to use some TV connections we have been unable to use.

I may take the table offline permenantly and just use it at home as the generous sized motorola product will allow these aging eyes to read the screen quite effectively. So I am hoping to reduce my overall cost of phones and tablet for the transition in a few years to a retirement income.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My son is an extrovert

Two of my favorite Chihuly works of glass art in the garden.

Brian no sooner landed than friends from his past started desiring to reconnect, and he is now in Tucson, the place he enjoyed and loved during his years at the University of Arizona. We got home Sunday evening tired from a long day at church and at the Desert Gardens but he left to visit a friend who got off work at 11pm. He is wired for friendships.

I used the last day of the Valentines Day to upgrade to my second smartphone. My first one is over four years old and the battery life was waining. I wanted it to break but the darn thing was a warhorse, so I justified my replacement with a plan that will in the long run cheaper as I am know running my web access through the most expensive way, direct from Xoom to the satellite. I need an inhome wireless router that will enable me to conserve bandwidth use out and about. Bought an HTC One, same family, larger screen, very nice new features. I am an Android guy, not an Apple guy, that's just the way it is.

I paused to reflect how much the smartphone helped my day to day and my life as a student of life. The direction finder map alone changed my life, and the calendar and reminder apps helped me way more than the days of to do lists and post it notes. Do not diss technology in front of this happy traveler.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chihuly in the desert

The Desert Botanical Garden is an amazing living museum, and when Chihuly brings his sculpture the crowds pack in. We enjoyed the late afternoon and early evening when the lights transform the works of art. Some of the art from the last visit was here again but everything was replaced in different areas and there were new blends that were quite creative, like the white bulbs in the wood pile in this picture.

Enjoying having Brian here to share an evening with.

Brian is visiting from NYC

He arrived 2 hours late, and we are tired. Dixie Land Sunday was fun, and this afternoon we will enjoy the Chihuly displays at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines Day 2014

I chose a dozen red roses to demontrate my love instead of a four foot teddy bear!!!

Laura is taking an evening class on Tuesdays, had parent conferences on Wednesday and Thursday, three twelve hour days, and arrived home on Friday exhausted. So, instead of trying to find a seat in a restaurant I made kung pao Chicken Weight Watchers style. Real ginger root, real garlic, real red pepper and green onions, fresh diced chicken. It was yummy with sticky type rice. and we just chilled the night away. I love my wife. She works hard.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Trying to escape a cloudy mood

Just not feeling as alive and positive as I should this week. Working on it as best as possible. Head cold not helping.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A beautiful life with a beautiful wife

She was the one, and we still share a special bond. Counting down the days till we take our kids to DisneyLand next month for fun and fantasy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The cost of groceries....

This was lunch on our Swimming with Dolphin day in Hawaii.

is going up. When I started my working life as a bagboy long ago we had several women who would spend over 50 dollars and it took more than one bag to carry them out.

I barely filled the bottom half of my cart and spent close to $100.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The ring on my finger....

has been stuck there for many years. It not extra weight but swollen knuckles. It came off seven years ago when we were vacationing in Kauai but not once since then, till last week in the shower. I am taking the opportunity to have it resized for just a bit more comfort and a lot more safety. I watched a short video of an emergency room doctor who had a system for removing rings from damaged hands before the circulation was cut off. I did not get to try it before it just came off last week. I have been proudly wearing it for over 39 years and plan to continue, but in the early years I took it off to play golf because it gave me a firmer grip.

Anyhow, Laura is my valentine, and this week I share the vast good fortune of being married to my friend and someone who puts up with me on too many occasions when I am inconsiderate.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The grand old men of Rock and Roll

Since its Valentines week I will feature my own special woman this week in photos, for she kisses me goodbye every morning and drinks coffee with me every afternoon.

Enjoyed the last part of the Beatles celebration, 50 years of musical memories. They really pumped out some memorable hits and changed the direction of rock and roll. Amazing that half have survivied and thrived in the music business.

I own the 1 album of their greatest hits, but find myself gravitating more to my other favorite albums of the sixties. Especially the Associations greatest hits. "Cherish is the Word"

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Farewell, Dan R

Our friends the Browns are enjoying Honolulu and Oahu this week, with the Norlings, where we got to spend a week in 2006.

Dan tried so hard to recover his mobility with a surgical procedure, but the weakness in his body caused him to slip away this afternoon, surrounded by loving children and grandchildren.

Russian Immigrants who raised their children in the Russian Church in Chicago, hard workers, simple faith and simple life. I so enjoyed this couple and their stories and love of God. Zoia escaped from Russia as a teen with great danger and hardship.

They were close to 57 years together. Rest in peace my brother.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blessed 10 PM

Tallest pulpit I every spoke from, in the Chapel of Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson Mississipp, taken in the early 70s when I was a student there. I burned a lot of midnight oil and lost a lot of sleep during my days of higher learning. Needed lots of coffee.

I like Jay Leno, I am sad to hear he is leaving. The feeding frenzy for people who enjoy late night TV led to his early retirement, which is really an opportunity for new things.

It has for the last number of years conflicted with a settled and joyful decision in our empty nesting early senior sleep loving years. It's simple. We turn out the lights at 10 pm and go to sleep, and though we are both early risers. ie. 5:15, we get plenty of healthy healing restoring sleep and we do not miss anyone's latest Jokes. Most of the funny ones end up at the end of a news show.

I recommend everyone get 7 plus hours of sleep a night, you will feel better, experience more energy, heal more, and have some lovely dreams that you will remember when you wake up....mostly.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


This is a picture of the elaborate Tsunami warning system on the islands This is a story about a man who was supposed to give a warning about me and to find an enemy who ended up becoming a friend.

John is my oldest friend who is still a friend in AZ. Although he moved last year he was back for a visit. The minus 15 degrees in Iowa was a good reason, and business, and...friendship.

John and I met through a relative over 18 years ago, a fellow Christian who asked John to come hear me preach and try to figure out what was wrong with me and my teaching. John told his cousin he was listening to a Calvinist, and he was right, and most of those who were in that church thought something was wrong as well.

The church tolerated me for seven years, and John and I became friends and we each taught things to each other about our faith and our belief systems.

We both reached places that have brought us closer to each other but farther from the classic belief systems of the organized church.

John has never been a regular church attender since we met, I have never missed a Sunday in decades. Yet we have great fellowship and friendship.

Mike is also a friend and we all met for breakfast and conversation today. Iron sharpened iron, and it was a good time together.

I like it when Jesus told the disciples that he would now call them friends, friends can be honest, friends can complain and not be rejected, friends can encourage when you are downhearted.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Old Earth vs. Young Earth

The age of volcanic islands gives me pause to reconsider a 4004 year old creation....forgive me for saying it. I was not there.

Well, I am kind of glad the big debate between Nye and Hamm is over. I understand it was not really a debate but a presentation of opposing views, and that most progressive Christians think just showing up at the museum was a losing bet for Nye.

One of the areas I allowed myself to research in the freedom of independency is this issue. I enjoyed Hugh Ross and several others who respectfully allowed that Genesis is a religious narrative and not a statement of scientific fact. It is always about how we think God's word is to be read and interpreted, and the Answers in Genesis folks are not interested in any kind of scienctific data, measuring, testing, etc.

Troubling to me is the fact that in the past certain biblical assumptions have really and truly proven false, as in the Copernican revolution. We got egg on our face for that one.

There needs to be dialogue over methodology and theology on this. Hamm was not there either when he posits that people road dinosaurs and had them for dinner, causing their extinction.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What are the odds of this?

Grandma Kennedy in our side yard by the big tree, Oneonta NY, 1958, really red kodachrome.

Sweet lady my fathers age joins our church. We discover that we lived in the same finger lake upstate New York town, Oneonta, during the same years and went to the same church. Her youngest is four years older that me, my mom's youngest because they married out of high school and this couple out of college.

So we all sat in the same pews decades ago, what are the odds that we would share similar space? I got a Bible in that fourth grade Sunday School, RSV with the year of my attendance there. It was the Bible I would read years later when I sensed a hunger to know the story of Jesus. Still have that Bible in my office today, what are the odds that I would keep my fourth grade Bible as a momento of that period in my life?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Congrats to Seahawks

Wow, what a total team domination of a very good Bronco team. Reminded me of a flashback to the days when Saints fans went to the game with bags over their heads. Very humbling for the Manning dynasty.

In truth, being humbled is quite a great thing to happen to someone used to winning. Its a reminder not to get too big a head over what is a sporting contest, and like my friend at church says, the team with the most points wins at the end of every game.

Happy for my Seattle friends, hope to see that great part of the country some day.

A desert bloom stands alone, reminding us of God's touch of beauty in the most barren of lands.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sports are fun!

Desert Golf is super fun in the winter.

Worship with Communion this morning. Breakfast for Lunch, at the Cottonwood Grill. Safely ensconsed in my easy chair to enjoy the back nine of the Phoenix Open which showcases my adopted home city. I actually played that course once in addition to hiking around it a good bit in my early years here. It is quite thrilling to crown another winner.

Then the big game. So glad its moderate in Jersey.

Saddened to see another actor take the tragic short cut to the grave. I always had a feeling he was a bit out of control...as were many of the characters he played. Phillip Seymore Hoffman died early of self inflicted pleasure. Are you listening Hollywood? Teenagers?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Performance Trap

A classic Missionary Church building in Maui.

Football, a sport with a field full of men who desperately need rest after a long stressful season, and millions of fans who desperately need exercise after sitting on the sofa for three months watching the atheletes perform.

Faith, the idea that the perfomance of the saving of mankind has been done by the only One qualified to justify us through his faithful performance who then offers us rest and effortless power to walk by faith.

Religion is the performance trap where people believe they earned faith, must keep faith, must perform good works, and must never stop to rest.

A gym friend told me that Costco was packed to the gills with folks stocking up on snack food for the weekend....snackfood is another weekend winner, and beer, and New Jersey....and anyone smart enough to stay home and watch it on TV.

P.S. relatives and people from cold climates....just watch the Phoenix Open to see how our winter is going.