Hawaii 2010

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Reframing the story of Christian higher education

Any openings for an old guy to serve in Hawaii? I am interested.

It was in many ways a deja vu experience to hang out on a smallish Christian campus for a couple of hours yesterday. I attended the same type of school and it was for me a wonderful experience.

The former Southwestern College of the Bible is now Arizona Christian University, the Firestorm. They have recruited athletes for their first football team as my alma mater did a decade ago when it became a University.

The campus chaplain however, in welcoming us older pastors retold our story and thiers in unique way.

Your generation trained chaplains for Christendom, and we are training leaders for a church in exile, cast out from it dominant role in shaping culture.

I buy that, but I am not sure those fresh faced preacher and missionary kids have fully understood what that means.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Wright Stuff

A neglected oriental cemetary on the Kauai coastline.

After a career of scholarship and ministry Dr. N.T Wright is on a two week speaking tour in the U.S. Over many decades with patience and scholarship he has shifted the western church from a dualistic view of the afterlife to the truer and more victorious restoration of creation in a resurrection body.

I enjoy being on the huge ASU campus in the law lecture room for an evening and at a local Christian University this morning listening to his powerful messages on the resurrection of Jesus as the key issue of all history.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Soon You'll Know

Our neighbors in upstate New York, the Schlenkermans, our families were very close, their twin boys my best friends. He was a german POW who stayed here and was a baker. Many memories of playing in their house and yard.

Been getting lots of amusement at Korean Seung Yu Noh's name. Another first time winner in a PGA event. Soon you'll know the winner....when will I know? Soon you'll know. Get it?

Woke up on a crisp late April day with a committment to enjoy and be grateful for life.

Laura has four more teaching weeks.

I watch and pray for the world situation with hope and trust, and some sense of inevitablity.

I am glad Catholics know how to throw an enthronment, glad it means very little to me, and no offense meant by that statement.

Sad for those suffering from natural disasters.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Can two walk together unless they agree?

Me and my sisters and mom, on vacation in the 50s.

Sometimes belief brings tension instead of resolving tension. The human condition has a hard time tolerating differing views. I am pretty sure that is why denominations flourished after the reformation. Once we got to be our own interpreters of scripture we just kept narrowing our doctrines to exclude those whose views differ.

For a long time I was convinced that if we could decide on a way of interpretation, a hermeneutic, then I was sure we could reach unanimity and unity in our convictions.

This last great search in my life has been the most rewarding and frustrating of my life, because the changes wrought deep in my heart have been so wonderful, and the opposition to some of the core ideas has been so damaging to the peace it has wrought in the confindence I have in God's plan of the ages.

You want the sheeple to graze in your pasture, and as you try to lead them there, they bite.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mid afternoon slump

Summer batchelor trip a number of years ago. Bucket list moment.

As I age I have developed this crazy thing that happens when my energy slumps. It happened yesterday in a waiting room at the Kia repair store when I was dealing with a recall notice.

I am sitting, and slowly my head slumps, and I am almost asleep. I jerk back up, rededicate my self to being concious, and...down goes the head. As I write today at 3pm, before coffee, I have been doing it again. Old man, Old man.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Day to reflect

Some chores to perform and thoughts to entertain today.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Back yard living

Played the golf course in my community yesterday. Ironwood is a par 64 course that is enjoyable. You get to hit all the shots but it takes less time to get around. I noticed how many of our retirees were enjoying their backyards, and how many had friends over for conversation. Very pleasant morning. It is getting warmer everyday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

After Easter reflection

An Easter in the late 70s, sweet to have our first child in worship.

Hope is so real and such a blessing in this life full of risk, loss, and danger. I believe the whole gospel radiates hope for all humanity.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I knew you when

There are some people in your life and memories that were bigger than life, and you knew instinctively that the crowd they ran with could not be your crowd, so you watched them shine and never tried to be a part of their life. At least that's how I handled those people.

There are some people who let you know that you do not matter to them and the crowd they run with, but that's another story. I met a few of the shining, stinking stars along my journey.

So I saw one of the former type make a FB comment to an old friend and visited his page and discovered that whatever happened in his career, he recently retired to the big Island of Hawaii. So, even though we only share an alma mater, I am going to ask to be apart of his FB world, and that makes me feel good. Just hope he remembers me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Desert Spring

Well, with all the turbulent and extra cold weather around our country, the desert southwest has had a mild dry winter and a delightful spring. It is always short and already the temps are climbing. Twice a year we engage in our home and marriage in a season of holding out against "store bought air". We see how long we can allow our home to remain without A/C running.

The challenge is the inversion that takes place in late afternoon. This early am it is 67 degrees outside and 70 inside as a result of fans and an open screen door in the bedroom. When it gets above 90 our home gets towards an uncomfortable 85 or so. I am sure one of us will break soon, but it adds a touch of spice to life, a conversation to be had, and some appreciation to those early settlers out here who relied on shade and various forms of water spray to cool their environments.

On a sadder note we had a sweet man collapse at the end of the service and be transported by ambulance to an emergency room. He has not kin and it was quite a job to deal with hipa laws to find out where he was taken. Pray for Micheal.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter is Hope

Have a hopeful Resurrection Day. Preaching on Christmas and Easter has not been the easiest thing for me, not because I havenothing to say, but because nothing I say can do any kind of advancement in understanding than that which was declared. God's son visited us, submitted to our evil, transformed it into good, and indicated through defeat of death a hope beyond the grave, and invited us to believe it and live it out.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter marks the completion of my 11th year in Sun Lakes

Sharing an apple in an unposed moment many years ago.

Time moves in chairos and chronos moments and as we age it seems to past so quickly. Coming here was an answer to prayer that contained some great opportunities and natural limitations. Most of the limitations have been pleasant....no more youth ministry, no more nursery duty. Some have been challenging....seniors are set in their ways, by our own admission, and so we move slowly, and in some ways I am not there yet. Nevertheless....thankful in all ways for these past years, and for another Easter celebration.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pay It Forward

She seems quite happy to be surrounded by her animal friends and blankie at nap time.

Books gifted to me in the 80s and now in the possession of a young pastor who is a student of theology and the word. And some of my own that I felt he would use and enjoy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Time to Lighten Up

Matt and Ben are playing Wii. Ben has a birthday this weekend.

It is a beautiful day. God is on the throne. I am alive, and in (some degree) of good health. Easter is Sunday. He is alive. He has a plan of the ages. I am blessed. I care about others. The deep problems of the world that are unsolvable are thankfully...not mine to solve.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Abuse of Authority

My minister friend Darrell and I discuss faith and practice as we practiced photography on our day off. Me a Presbyterian and he a Pentecostal. Darrell is still preaching in that same town and church 34 years after I moved on.

If we have an authoritative collection of historic books, attested as authentic, and we have an enormous tradition of dogma and doctrine. What happened when a rogue dogma, a genuine misunderstanding, a translation error either accidental or deliberate
mistranslation creates abuse instead of freedom?

As we have been studying the assembling and testing of the texts of scripture and the preservation and accuracy of scripture, and the trustworthiness of scripture, I continue to believe that we are in a hermeneutical revolution, a move toward a greater appreciation of the nuaces of hebrew and greek thought, and a deeper appreciation of the danger of a bible centered biblicism instead of a Christ and new covenant centered biblicism.

It is unfortunately dividing many sincere believers and confusing others, but for me its part of the refiners fire that always struggles against man using and abusing the truth for personal power, gain, or profit. My fear is that I would take part in such wrongdoing from tradition or ignorance or prejudice.

The Bible Museam

The choir from the first church I served in the late 70s, in Crystal Springs, Mississippi.

Who knew that Pheonix had a rare bible collection in the west part of town housed in a Hampton Inn? There were five scholars there yesterday who had come to use the library, and the curator shared a 2 hour lecture with us on the history of language and the canonization of the book we call the Bible.

As he hosts many of Jewish, Mormon, and sometimes agnostic backgrounds the talk was free from religious persuasion, funny, sometimes flippant, and throughly entertaining and enlightening. Our folks learned a good bit from this son of scholars who buys and sells ancient theology books often discarded by disinterested grandchildren who inherit librarys from estates of their family.

I held a five hundred year old greek new testament that fit into the palm of my hand yet was so solidly bound as to still exist.

We learned of the connection of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the perfecting of DNA testing to help them put the fragments back together again.

Worth the drive. Pictures will follow.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Everyman Bubba wins Masters

These two men were part of my life when I pick up golf after seminary. We would meet for nine holes between his lunch and dinner shifts at the cate he ran in Crystal Springs, Jim on the right had a terrible swing, loved the game and I heard he died on the golf course, as he would want to. Golf is really about friends and fun and competion with yourself.

It's very heartwarming to see those gentile giants of a couple hugging after Bubba's win. The pros are changing swings and swing coaches, and Bubba takes his self taught swing and pink driver and gets the job done.

I am so happy for he has become a crowd favorite, and speakes of his accomplishments as blessings, the key to Christian living in my mind. We work hard and try to achieve but then God gets the praise as our creator and redeemer and the one who accepts our dingy clay as we are, flaws and all.

Now back to taxes and my own real life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bubba, the Kid, the Frat Boy and the Aussie

I am going to invite Bubba to visit my church next week so I can get more butts in the seats. The mega church up the street is inviting a pro quarterback so why can't I invite Bubba.

For the last many years the winner of the Masters has come from the last two gAroups of players, so Bubba is a great pick. Of course there is the young phenom, Spieth, who Bubba wants to win if he can't. They are friends. Bubba is a professing Christian who lives it out, and yes he is self taught and struggles with some sort of attention deficit syndrome that makes him feel awkward in public and makes the concentration it takes to win at golf quite a more amazing accomplishment.

Of course, by tonight he could be a loser, and then people would not want to come see him because we only love winners in America.
But, win or lose, Bubba is my man, and he will probably not be able to come to my church, so I am inviting an even bigger loser than Bubba to speak here, The Apostle Paul, who suffered the loss of all things that he might gain Christ.

Now thats my kind of loser.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Waffles on Grand Kids weekend

We have rituals in our life. When Shannon and Ben stay we have waffles, with real premium Vermont Syrup supplied by some dear Vermont friends.

And this morning we have strawberries and whip cream on top. A simple pleasure that bonds us with recurring memories of our connection and our love.

Easter is a yearly remembrance of an act of supreme sacrificial love which binds me to the One whose dying love and rising power reach into the world around me every moment, speaking louder than the programs and policies of government and the relentless call of consumerism. God calls me to know Him and to enjoy Him and see the outworking of a plan of the ages one day at a time, even a day that begins with waffles, and continues with swimming pools and laughter.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Well, the Mohs went well, two processes and a one inch scar and a sore head, but I am OK and thankful.

The ailments of the human experience are not missed by anyone.

Praying for a dear friend in ICU who had a cardiac arrest in his gym and was deprived of oxygen for a long time. Touch and Go, praying for the family as they arrive to be with him.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Mohs Procedure

Kitty is concerned and wants me to be OK.

Reporting to English Dermatology to remove some cancer cells from my forehead. There was a spot that just kept bleeding off and on and I finally decided to have it checked. Mohs is supposed to get every last bit of it by going slow, and test the area before they finish.

Procrastination and Taxes

In Hawaii you depreciate unused property by driving it off a cliff and letting the ocean return in to its natural state.

Every year I bang my head against the deadline for tax filing and swear I will never do it again. I tried and failed to use a tax preparer service, cuz no one knows my business like I do, and frankly clergy people are really currently different than almost everyone in how it works.

Anyhow, Tax season sure know how to ruin a beautiful springtime for me. My heart calls me outside and my head says get the thing done you doe doe head. And the fight goes on.

I have some amazing stories of the drives to the mail zones to line up with all the other loser procrastinators out there, and the last year when I drove to downtown Mesa only to find that in Pheonix you now have to drive to downtown Tempe near the Zoo to get in the box before midnight.

Is there a 12 step program for late tax filers? Should I move to Switzerland? Really, over the years I have made progress on most things but taxes, oh, the burden, oh the bain, oh the worrisomeness, oh the *^$T^# of it all.

Father forgive me for I have sinned. Give to Ceasar that which belongs to Ceasar, and live on the rest.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bluetooth is a silly name

I am currently enjoying a stereo bluetooth headset when I workout in the gym. This technology allows you to hear great music and not be tethered to the source. I can put my phone on a ledge during the weight lifting and enjoy the freedom of sound with a neat necklace type object with ear pods around my neck.

So the phone pulls a list of songs from the cloud, (wow, Ive looked at clouds a new way now), and loads into my phone, and then it sends them wirelessly to my device.

Music, is one of the constants in my life for the connection to beauty and message and the God who tells a very good news message of his creative love, and hope for the future.

When life gets a bit strained, the little things tide us over to more settled waters.

Currently enjoying the sound track to The Lucky One, and Sarah Barellies, The Blessed Unrest, and Katherine Jenkins Collection of Hits.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sunshine Acres

There is a group home in north Mesa that has taken in troubled children for 60 years without receiving any federal funds so they could be independent and Christ centered. The widowed matriarch who founded the school with her pastor husband found a way to capture the hearts of many of our cities professional atheletes and many private donations have fueled the building of the campus and its thriving ministy.

We enjoyed seeing their young choir singing and praising the Lord last evening. We have been supporting them for many years.

As I was drifting off to sleep with thoughts of the day, of the things I had said and the people I had interacted with, I found myself in this constant private dialogue that often goes on in my head over the way I view things in the scripture and the body of Christ, and all the strange things that are happening around us and the divisive spirit that has settled into our public square....and it robbed me of sleep.

I try to silence the conversation and just concentrate on thanking the Lord that I am here and enjoying life, but sometimes I wish I had an off button in my brain. I need the sleep, and my inner discussion is changing no ones mind, not even my own. Sheesh.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

70th Anniversary, part 2

Congrats to Ken and Rose and their family. Time is flying past so quickly that these are marriages toward the end of the war. When I began here 11 years ago we had a number of brides who got hitched as their loves were heading off to war and they just did not want to wait, and I don't blame them.

Saul to Paul

An eye level water drop spotted picture of the Royal Kona lagoon where we enjoyed wave free water and little fishies swimming around us on the Big Island.

Without Paul we would never understand the gospel that was entrusted to him.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Strange things are happening!

I often am drawn to driftwood in my photo walks by the ocean.

We had an old turntable when I was growing up with very few records, but one that burned into my memories was a song by Red Buttons,
Strange things are happening.

It is strange to me that Christians are incensed when the CEO of a software company is fired for being too conservative in his traditional values, and we scream, They can't do that!

Then a Christian Organization states in principle that they were not oppossed to employing a same sex person in a state sanctioned marriage and in two days 7000+ Christians exercise economic sanctions, angry judjmental words at the phone employees, and instant withdrawal of funds that were feeding poor children around the world, to "punish" World Vision for its stand to uphold the laws of their home state and keep doing that which they do, which is helping poor people and children. Strange things are happening.

I know we should try to get our country to uphold traditional values, but this is not the most important issue. We should model what
Christ told us to do, which is preach the gospel, serve each other and the world and model the world to come in our fellowships.

People in our country can use the freedom of their pocket books however they want, but the movement against the mission of World Vision was reactionary and a poor witness, in my opinion. Nothing in your boycott with change the struggle with marriage identity, but everything will affect those families and communities being helped by this and other organizations who minister in the survival of children in struggling nations and cultures.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Can we pick and choose?

This bloom can burn your skin and blind you if handled improperly, as can some verses of scripture.

We were discussing Pauls views of women in ministry and most thought we had grown beyond or misinterpreted his zeal to get women to shut up in church.

Makes me wonder in light of the wonderful positive influence of Pauls writing in my life as he got a special revelation from God whether we can question some of his odder statements?

Does 'come out from among them and be ye seperate' really a teaching of withdrawal from non believers and a segragated life among the faithful? I think not.

Part of the dynamics behind our current reformation has to the do how we interpret our translations. Is every word and phrase easily understood with basic literal reading?

I understand how difficult it can be to question a reading of scripture looking for a more nuanced understanding, but in so many passages of our continuing revelation we do it all the time.

So, lets let go of some cherished conclusions that have always produced strange fruit and take another look with the help of theology, history, and tradition, and the new voices of truth around us who have had the courage to step outside the box.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hate the sin, love the sinner?

I have always loved this shot of an abandoned sunken boat in the waters of Lahaina, Maui.

This phrase came up in our men's study yesterday. I have heard it often, may have used it before, and sometimes it strikes me as an odd idea. Seperately they both seem true. God really hates it when we live in disobedience. But is that hatred or wrath really driven by a God who loves so fiercely that he knows our wrong choice will truly hurt us in a world He created. His hatred of sin led Him to cooperate in the sending of the Son to redeem the world, and the plan involved allowing the Son to be sucked into the vortex of man's hatred of man, man's love of power and love of violence, in order to break the pattern of sin and death. He clearly loves the sinner more than he hates the sin, for He became sin, to set us free.

And, in churchianity, we have a certain amount of time to rid ourselves of said sin or He will punish sinner with eternal hatred and seperation and torment. Sounds to me like God hates the sin and the sinner to carry out such a threat.

Some of our theologies would agree with the last statement.

Some would suggest that God loves the sinner but His own sense of justice insists he hate the sinner and punish him.

Some would suggest that the man's love of sin was totally in his power to stop, and thus God just let the thing play out.

What if God hates sin enough to deal with it, once for all, in principle, in Christ, through the cross?

Wht if God loves the sinner enough to exert all his power and love toward awakening the sinner to the burden that is bound to his back and the high cost of carrying it through his or her life.

What if God loves the sinner enough to love the sinner while the sinner is still enamored with the burden on his back, which he is convinced is adding something of value to his or her life.

What if God is able to save the man even through the fire that cuts the cords that bind the man to his burden of sin.

Just pondering Gospel questions in these days before Easter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Siesmic Activity?

Disneyland where you can experience in 10 story free fall in safety and comfort.

A couple of years ago I felt a tremor in AZ while sitting on my couch, pretty sure I blogged about it. A momentary funny feeling of dissorientation that was so strange crept over me.

Whenever we are in LA I think about the possibility, and this past weekend several of my FB friends on a choir tour felt the earthquake and probably will keep the memory through their lives.

Now Chile.....

And I am hearing the Buffalo and Antelope are roaming away from Yellowstone???

More after I investigate.

Meanwhile, grateful for a long nights rest after a restless night before.