Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Next month Laura and I will have owned our present home for eleven years. It is the third home we purchased in the last twenty five years and we have enjoyed it very much. Homes are expensive to upkeep and repairs on a twenty five year old home. When we came the house has bright green apple carpet, (seriously green) so the first thing we did was buy a new cream colors berber carpet. It took a decade for us to replace the slippery white and apple green tile, (seriously slippery), and over the years we have done a number on the carpet, including puke kitty, (seriously a puking cat), so today our yearly attempt to clean the carpet takes place during Laura's fall break.
Spent the early morning jamming furniture in the halls and bathrooms. Laura has announce that we are going Japanese with the shoe removal at the door after this. (seriously, whatever!!!!)
I love this woman who loves a clean and tidy house, it makes us look seriously good.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Something happened that caused me to lose a night of sleep on Friday. A little thing that brought a long sleepless night. I was thinking about my life and my past and my present and my future and waiting for it all to fade and sleep to come as it does most every night. I would finally enter that state of deep rest and restoration that allows us to wake and walk in the world. But not this night. Not one hour of sleep.
Needless to say, the next day I functioned a bit like a Zombie, not quite alive, fuzzy in thought, and though I rested in the late morning, nothing like sleep occurred till last evening, and after a night of dream state sleep I am back and recovering on this Sunday morning.
The experience reminded me of how fragile we all are and how dependent we are on the cycles of sleeping and eating. These bodies we live in are finely tuned and the daily and weekly maintenance of them requires habits and time and care.
Yet this body is the place in which our daily walk, our life in the world occurs. This morning, feeling rested, I am thankful for sleep and aware that its loss is the loss of vitality, functionality, and daily joy.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
As a pedestrian in NYC in June we quickly learned not to move when New Yorkers move at street corners but to watch the lights. They barge across early, take enormous risks. We also had to be wary of bikers who were often cutting it way too close to make the blocks. It was nerve wracking at times.
Brian posted some FB comments on how many bikers are hit by cars in NYC and that the insurance companies have added clauses for medical and damage to anyone hit by a car in NYC, and what to do when it happens to you.
The second article was a sad story of a women on life support after being hit by a speeding biker not in the bike lane in Central Park.
Here in Sun Lakes we have had a number of our senior biker group have serious injury this summer.
In my old home town on the gulf coast a female biker was killed last week, a triathlete who was known by my runner friends there.
Then my FB friend Prof. Beck at Experimental Theology wrote of the joys of slow biking to work on his blog, how he went from desiring speed to smelling the roses along the four mile way to his university job.
Bottom line, fall and winter are great biking seasons here, and I am going to to dust off my Schwinn road bike, check the air, and do some biking, but slowly and very carefully. Point taken for all the news.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Earlier in the week I asked an advisor to put some retirement funds back into the market to grow some interest. Two days later a guy bends a new iphone 6 and sends the market into a tailspin. Thats why I am a little bent out of shape today.
Played golf, breathed fresh air, our golf course is in pristine condition, which is why next week they will skin it to the ground and make us wait three weeks for the wispy thin but green rye grass grows in. At least the birds will be pleased.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
In an effort to save the Scriptures from what we have done to them with our wildly divergent interpretations I have personally undertaken in recent years an effort to understand how the beauty of the ancient texts have been co-opted into such a labyrinth of disjointed principles. I have read a number of newer books on how we read the scriptures from fine scholars from different perspectives like Scott Mcknight, Brian Mclaren, Christian Smith, and several by Peter Enns. Trust me, all of these writers love and honor and respect the scriptures for the inspiring and trustworthy nature of what they are. OK, don't trust me, because those who have been taught that every english word is literally inerrant have also been taught in most cases how those words fit into a system that explained everything.
Each author has provided helpful concepts to help us read and allow the story of the Bible reach us in its beauty and transformative power. The idea of a Jesus centered spiritually is appealing to me when reading old and new covenant contrasts. The idea of rejecting biblicism, which means that every sentence rises from the text with literal enforcability, no matter its context appeals to me. The idea of seeing the books of the Bible as a library rather than a constitution appeals to me.
The idea that God allows ancient authors to have ancient cosmologies and limitations but that this does not take away from the beauty of the story appeals to me.
If the people of Isreal were told by God to do something, it might be possible if we understand the nature of the revelation to not make that image of God fit with other ideas that are later revealed.
We might even allow Paul to blast the violent Jews and persecutors of the church in II Thessalonians to be trumped by Pauls calmer and more theological statements in Romans about Gods ultimate plan for them.
We might be able to see Isaiahs glorious picture of the future to trump Revelations dark picture of global destruction and mass annihilation.
These are the things of the new reformation that are being and will be discussed, non violently I hope. Like the strange sign help up at a recent pro islamic rally. Behead all those who say Islam is a violent religion. I hope Christians will stop defending the Bible so they can read it. A thought I own to Peter Enns most recent book. The Bible Tells me So.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
The Protestant Reformation hit the tipping point with 95 questions. It dethroned the Pope as ultimate authority for all those who left Rome. For us the Pope is no longer the final authority for all things about faith and practice.
We enthroned an infallible Bible as the authority for all things about faith and practice, and over the last five hundred years have split into what has been estimated at 24,000 different denominations.
Some would assert that we should never have asked the questions.
As I understand it, we are at the verge of a new reformation where new questions are being asked no longer of the Pope. (Is he still around)? The questions are being asked of the infallible Bible, which as we have not failed to notice, has been subject to the interpretation of thousands of little popes who figured out the true message of the bible and started a new church with their own set of by laws.
Example. The infallible Bible says women should stay at home, stay out of education, raise children and let the guys run things. Thoughtful people are discovering that women can think, and learn, and talk and be very influential. Just watch Fox News to be convinced. Those women can think and express and convince.
No, my infallible Bible has spoken, God said it, I believe it, that settles it.
And that, dear friends, is why we are asking questions of the 500 year old Protestant Reformation, and why no large or small pope can stop them.
And that is only one of 95 or so questions that are being asked, by some respectfully, by some defiantly, and by some by just walking away to enjoy their own life and family while it is still possible.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
My Cardiologist does not have a great bedside manner. He is professional and polite. Maybe it was my own guilt but when we spoke briefly while I was on the operating table last week his eyes seemed to be saying, "are you here again".
He sent the new female associate to speak to me upon checking out. What can I do about this yearly expensive date we have been having? With tenderness she said, lose 10 lbs. For every ten pounds you lose the diabetic and artery stress. Just figure out how to lose 10 lbs, and we will go from there.
So, this is not a food blog, but when I watched two people lose 40 plus pounds on a Food purchase, fasting and candy bar plan I just knew that it was not for me. So for the next three months we are giving Weight Watchers the college try. Today is my seventh day, and this is one of the breakfasts on the two week introductory plan, administered to me, a man, through my smartphone. This pizza breakfast was delicious and I made it myself.
Monday, September 22, 2014
The line from an old hymn just entered by mind on this Monday morning. One week ago my life was extended by a medical intervention. A potential life ending heart attack did not happen.
It makes you appreciate this mystery called time and life. I spent the week quietly with a bit more rest and time off than normal, and I read and thought and experienced things old and new.
September in AZ marks the gradual end of our stifling heat and the beginning of our long shirt sleeve time that draws so many to spend time and money here in the winter. Bring it on.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
I guess the court is still out as to whether the pulpit ministry with survive this generation of Ted Talks and Youtube. I am grateful that I was allowed to preach, teach and pastor several groups of folks through the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s and 2010s.
I have been and will be a lifelong student, and hopefully on who considers and reconsiders all things.
It was good to be back at it this morning.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
If there is one subject at the forefront of the news today it is violence. NFL spouse abuse, childhood spanking. ISIS beheadings. Ever since Cain killed Abel and went out and began to civilize the world violence has been the way to get what you want.
I just read Farewell to Mars by Brian Zhand last week which is about the tension between Jesus call for us to build a peaceable kingdom and the worlds tendency to conquer and kill. He argues from one who has changed his position that we should of all people be the ones advocating non violent answers to our pressing problems.
Then in the hospital someone on facebook suggested I listen to a long debate between he and another charismatic scholar on what he calls our theological defense of a "monster god" who is Himself the epitome of revenge and eternal torture of wrongdoers.
The debate was brilliant as each built his case for the character of God in the scripture. It was humbling to me for I do not have the debate skills or memory skills or verbal skills to do such a thing. Both men presented their case well, and I had to sleep on it before I began to see that it is indeed possible to use the Bible to create an image of God that is polar opposite, depending on the scriptures and ideas you link together.
At the heart of the debate is the issue of violent atonement. Did the cross represent a blood payment to an angry diety, or signify the end of sacrifice and purchased reconciliation. If Jesus paid for my sin, then forgiveness is not really the issue, for the offended God, the monster God has been paid off with the violent death of his own Son. Penal substitutionary Atonement.
In this age of protestant reformation II this is an issue that is not going away, and I am very interested in the conversation, ie. debate.
Friday, September 19, 2014
I enjoyed this movie for the message and the fine characters. A utopian society created chemically by stifling our freedom to choose, feel, react and struggle with our human nature.
There have been gifted writers explaining the beauty of what we face in this life in terms of contrast. Freedom requires the existence of both good and evil and it will always be part of our earthly experience.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
So someone was talking about how much they enjoyed the message of Jonah in a sermon they heard. It was all about how we all run from God....I hear that application all the time and it begs the real question of the book. Why was Jonah running from God, because God wanted sinners to repent and Jonah wanted sinners to die and be judged. I do not want you to reach the lost, God, I am out of here. The lost deserve to burn in hell, and the last thing I want to see is mercy for the wicked.
Reading a review of a book on Revelation stating that the purpose of the book is to picture a new and renewed creation, and yet most people read the book and say it is about the end of the world.
Watched a video about the analysis of the beheadings of the journalists by ISIS. These men said that the bodies of the dead were real, but they the killing did not take place where and when these films were produced. What? Why? Who? When?
Been watching with great interest the series on the Roosevelts and the history of the early part of last century. Fascinating. Ken Burns is a gift to the world, and this form of picture, movie, commentary and discussion is by far one of the most effective ways to learn. I am completely hooked on how fascinating it is took look back on the pains and hurts and blessing of these families and how the world lifted them up to lead. They were so flawed and the times were so incredibly bad in WWI and WWII that it shocks me.
This summer we spent a day walking through Central Park in NYC and its beauty and usefulness and joyfulness in such a huge city really impressed, then in the documentary I see a time not that long ago when it was a huge town of tiny shelters for the homeless, poor and hungry during the depression. Hooverville. The contrast amazes me.
Well, this was a rant of a post, designed to remind us that the world is a mess but God is working in ways beyond our understanding, so continue to pray, and trust, and not be fished off if God loves the bad guys too.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
So, Don, I am so happy to see you are expecting, how many months are you along?. Nope folks, that is my belly bump. Not very flattering picture. Hello, my name is Don and I am a chronic overeater.
You get shaved in all the right places, laid flat on a table, lightly sedated but not asleep. They inject a radioactive tracer that lights up all your heart arteries on a screen for the doctor to drive through. He inserts a very thin probe into your major artery in your groin area probably preloaded with a collapsed stent.
They examine the blockages in the heart and have choices of ballooning out the blockage or inserting the stent and expanding it to push back the plague. BTW when the blockage is in a place where arteries branch from one to two, you are in trouble, they can't fix those. It's bypass time.
My left anterior descending was 80 percent blocked, its a pretty big artery, the Doctor ballooned the end of one stent and added one just above it. Fixed.
They take you to a room, made sure the hole in your major leg artery through which they enter has clotted. I had problems with this bleeding and they had to send the team into the room to help stop the bleeding this time. You have a plastic patch you keep on the spot for two or more days. You have to stay flat on your back for four hours and have six hours of drips to let the nasty stuff in the tracer get out of your system.
My cardiologists have hired a women who has learned the newest way to do heart caths, through the arm....less problems healing and recuperating. Not this time for me.
Best change to beat this... diet and exercise, cholesterol control, stress management yada, yada, yada! So, here I go.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Don Hendricks here, back on line with another new lease of life. My cardiologist was able to repair the latest narrowing of my arterial walls.
An 80% blockage at the end of one stent and another one beyond it, a night in the hospital, and here I am again, recuperating and heading back to my life.
Yes, if I am smart, (a questionable statement?) there are things I can do to improve this latest renewal of my contract with life. As we have noticed in many places and among many people......actions are louder than words.
Sixteen metal stents scattered among the five arteries that supply blood to the heart. Three doctors who have helped me over the last fourteen years along with competent staff and the help of my caring general practitioners. I am grateful to be alive, hoping for joyful, productive, and blessed time ahead.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
I moved to a fast growing area 25 years ago, it was prime location for church planting, and over my 25 years here I have seen lots of churches start, fizzle, get stuck, merge, etc. There have been some very remarkable success stories. I blogged last year about a very impressive ministry and shortly after the pastor got canned for multiple acts of adultery among the members of the church. It was heartbreaking for me just watching from the periphery.
Today I visited another shining light church, great location, three packed services, true missionary emphasis and great mature teaching pastor, good staff, good music. I supported this pastors father who was a missionary for many years in the south. It was very refreshing to see a newer church function well, no enlarged egos, just solid, contemperary, relavant, but rooted in the historic faith.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I am a genetically fast plaquer with an inflammatory disease and a blood that contains small dense lipo-proteins.
High blood sugar scratches the arterial walls and cholesteral attempts to repair them, and the wall gradually narrows until blood flow is restricted.
Those are two ways I have been told that my arteriosclerosis does its damage. So my circulatory system is the perfect storm for life threatening heart attacks.
So, for the fifth time I have had stress tests in late August when indications that I was having issues appeared and for the fifth time I will undergo a heart cath procedure on Monday am, to be stented and relieve the blockage, or to be scheduled for heart bypass surgery if that is not successful.
Trust me Christians, I have been praying for healing and watching my diet and exercising for years. This is no easy fix, and God has left me with it to live or die dealing with it. And modern cardiology has already extended my life. So please pray, and join me in asking for more time to live and enjoy and learn. If its time to go, I will. Hoping its not.
Friday, September 12, 2014
The changes that are being forced on the church today are parts of a new reformation, a new rethinking of the nature of the church, and how it has used its authority. When the falsehoods are exposed, parts of the church dig in and hold fast to the old ways, and parts of the church listen and consider and change.
I read a statement by Anne Graham Lott, Billy Grahams daughter on enduring cruelty as she attempted to use her preaching gift. Being forced to speak from the floor and not behind the pulpit, having rows of men in the audience turn their backs on her as she began to speak. And these folks are convinced they speak for God and their view of how scripture allows them to do this.
Years ago I had a friend who was female, exeptionally gifted at planning and getting people organized and moving in unity. Her immature husband left her for a fling, and she continued to run her own business. She has remarried, worked in very responsible jobs, and I recently found out she was training for ministry in a denomination that encourages the gifts of women.
I am proud of her and kind of sad that her gifts were not allowed to blossom in the church with the older worldview. A Jesus molded and shaped spirituality would not have taken so long and hurt so many over truths set in place long ago in the radical message of Christ who broke down the walls of separation.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Thirteen has always been a special day for me, having been born on July 13. I was 13 when Kennedy was assassinated, and I realized the world had evil intentions on our freedom.
Seeing the site and the museum in NYC this summer was such a moving experience for Laura and Shannon and Brian and me. It has been so powerfully transformed from rubble to a memorial of powerful images and intent that brings that area back to life and still preserves the site for the families that mourn their loved ones there.
I shall quietly reflect and pray and trust that the ideology that creates revenge and scapegoating with end.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I would like to be the Chaplain of a wooded Cathedral high in the mountains where people come and worship during their hikes and vacations, and when it gets too cold there I will help run an oceanside retreat center for people in recovery.
I have a wonderful 12 inch screen just over my computer monitor that plays 3000 or so pictures from vacations in my life. During the day I can glance upward and be reminded of something beautiful and memorable.
I like to think that this is the way God allows us to be reminded of His good creation and the sheer joy of being alive in the midst of it. When the ugly days come, like tomorrows 9/11 anniversary, just thinking about the creative beauty of the world can lift my heavy spirit. This is my Father's world, in a long slow groaning upward pull.
The whole chaplain fantasy is simply acknowledging that the high places and the expanses of ocean are thin places where strength and healing take place, and to be living in those places would be very inviting for me.
The summer of my 19th year, living in the mountains of northeast Alabama, several counselor friends and I spent a day off in Desoto Canyon, drifting and climbing and jumping off rocks of a mountain river. I remember that day as if it were yesterday.
OK, Back to reality, enjoy your day.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
That my facebook contact would lead me to a disturbing video of the beheading or four women....in Mexico. It did...and vigilante executions are inhuman no matter what human from anywhere does them to anyone, anywhere.
Does pretty much assure me that my dream of cheap retirement in a South American country is probably not a sound as staying in the USA where we have not yet descended to this level of barbarism.
If your coming Lord, or taking people off the planet, do it today. OK! Yeah, I know you never answer that prayer, but after viewing that video for a minute too long I am despairing of the human race.
Monday, September 8, 2014
We heard begin to downpour at 2 am and at 8 am we are still raining. Streets are flooded everywhere as the flat parts of town receiving the run off from the mountains and hills and the washes and catch basins overflow. Its a sight to see and all you folks with dirt that is porous and ground able to absorb it find it hard to understand. Our dry soil cannot take all this at once, it evolved to exist on tiny bits of moisture.
For us it is a delight to watch as long as we can stay inside. Laura had to go to school, even though many kids will be staying home as neighborhoods all over the valley are under water. Fun Day.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Church is concluded, friendships renewed, covenants remembered, weekly cycle begun, as for me I try to think that Sunday is the first day of the week not the tag on at the end of the week. Points made, applications stated, people are on their own to work out their journey, or walk it out day by day.
These few hours of relaxation after performance, of rest after effort have become to me a great delight. I am not a strict Sabbath Keeper, so the finishing golf tournament of the week provides pleasure and excitement. I often nod off and on during the tournament and must be poked or prodded by Laura who threatens to turn in off, and just does not understand that though I am sleeping I am still listening to the play.
Then perhaps, a 20 minute nap, very therapeutic.
My granddaughter speaks of the frustration of the life she is living in highschool, the daily schedule, get up, dress, class, homework, sleep and then at it again. Yes dear one, life is routine sparked by special moments and occasional high spots.
There is nothing very exciting about my week to week life, but I am living with a sense of exhilaration, peace, grace and love.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Twenty years ago I left my faith tradition where I had been nurtured. My denomination, my theological framework, my network of mentors and friends all lay in the decision to quit trying to heal a bad church situation in Tucson. We moved back into the first home we had ever purchased and I began to seek ways to survive.
One hot afternoon I slipped alone into a theatre to watch "Forest Gump". It was a masterpiece that told the story of my own life growing up in the south and watching the drama of the sixties and seventies. I am amazed how quickly the time has passed since that movie made such an impact on me that summer. Every song, every political clash, every attitude that existed in those decades helped make the person I am.
I would experience a different faith tradition over the next seven years. One where I was able to function but one that lived in constant fear of the end times. That fear would mark their lives as the century changed, and become a sickening reality on 9/11/2001. Hard to believe thirteen more years have passed since that day, and how we continue to live in the dark shadow of terrorism and religious warfare.
I have managed to stay alive and keep the core faith that initially drew me into discipleship, but I am less captivated with the answers and approaches to the world that both faith traditions continue to practice. I am increasingly living in the evangelical wasteland, longing for a better way to see the future.
Friday, September 5, 2014
It looked like a legitimate request, like the ones that suggest updates on Windows. When I gave permission to supposedly update google video capabilities I ended up with five crappy programs loading on my computer that I had no interest in, advertising requests, and the replacement of my search engine with a trashy trovi.com search engine begging me to buy something or try something and hiding my email access. I resent the deception and the intrusion. Do these losers think we are going to buy this bait and switch.
Helpful internet nuts had videos on how to get rid of its hidden keys, but they were moving too fast for me to follow and I ended up buying a malware program for my laptops and found several hundred programs sitting on my hard drive passing all my browsing history to a myriad number of advertisers, and I resent the intrusion.
This with all the bold moves of facebook to take over your options on that program, and with this latest expensive intrusion into my convenient use of an internet gateway, I am feeling quite unnerved by the hidden uses and abuses of the internet.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
I have switched to Himalayan Sea Salt for my personal use, full of minerals, very tasty, very expensive.
I survived my annual nuclear stress test yesterday. The treadmill part, where your heart is monitored, your bp is checked and you get your heart rate uncomfortably high and then have to hold it there for two minutes while they inject your with nuclear tracer stuff.
It remains the best way to tell if your heart arteries are properly supplying the heart with blood or are beginning to clog up and create the potential for heart attack.
This is, believe me, a love hate affair for me and all who have heart conditions. I know it must be done, but I work myself into a state of dread for the days leading up to it, and a state of uneasy anxiety till the test is interpreted back to me several days later. Of course, if something had been really bad in the EKG they would not let me leave the office but would send me to the hospital. That did not happen, so now I wait. Grateful, and aware that life is tough for lots of folks.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Phil to a reporter, "Well those terrorists are like street thugs on steroids, we will either have to convert them or kill them."
Is'nt that what they plan to do to us? Are we then making the same offer as they are?
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
I have a plan for passing my library on to younger leaders. I grew that library with joy and with surprise gifts from others who were letting go of their libraries. Books have called to me from my shelves when I needed the input of others and scholarly advice.
Two large groups of boxes left during the year to bless others. I have shelf space for the first time in a long time.
My New Testament library goes last, if at all. For Lord willing I will use my teaching gift going forward.
I remember pouring over the Book offerings on Christian Book Distributors and planning my purchases. This morning I got one in my church mail and glanced through it and I was reminded how much things have changed in the publishing industry. The whole book was divided into sections by popular authors. Like most of our culture we have fallen into many camps following many ideas.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Well, this shows you that we did a complete redo, a tear out and create something new in our 25 year old bathroom. I feel like I am in a hotel somewhere getting ready for the day. We are grateful to get this done and to enjoy.