Hawaii 2010

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fifth Sunday

The Christian Faith is beginning to feel like the little red lighthouse under the great gray bridge. Life is speeding by overhead while we light a corner of the world against the rocky shoals of unbelief.

Here comes the crowning of the year, December. May our hearts be full of love and gentleness in a darkening world.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

No matter what happens, I will always like you better

The Ball Fields of Central Park

They say blogging is a dying art form. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are just working better. Friends with blogs that had a lot of traffic and response are losing it, yet a Facebook post brings the level right back. So, no matter what I do as I approach retirement, I will always love blogging better that Facebooking.

One of the main reasons is that you have to take a second of effort to visit here. If you don't care you don't come. You could have that same non caring attitude and pass my blog like comments on FB and I would never know. This makes me feel more free to be me, and not to try to impress people on FB, which is a lot like Junior High and High School, where we only present our best face.

We are in a serious process of looking at the coming changes in our life and finances, and perhaps our social networks in the coming years and we want to hang on the the things that are worthwhile. Blogging my not be the thing that keeps me connected with you. We will see.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Don't need nothin today

Contentment in a consumer society is a constant balancing act.

It's wonderful to not need to wade into the struggling masses yearning for bargains today. We are OK with what we have. We just went through two massive garage sales and saw nothing we want or need.

We have decided to buy an outdoor table to enjoy dinners in our oasis backporch. It will be our gift to each other this year. Other than that, today will be for exercising some of yesterdays calories off the bods and just being together.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

As American as Apple Pie

We Love NYC.

This Macy's Parade feels a tad different because we walked up and down Broadway last summer, marveling at the crowds, the buildings and the pulsing of life in the Big Apple.

Was blown away by Taylor Swifts performance of Welcome to New York, seriously catching tune and words. Is she charmed or what?

I am sixty four and nearing one half. Running the numbers of an eventual semi retirement. About to celebrate 25 years living in the Phoenix east Valley. I dreamt of planting churches, and I did, and dreamt of owning a home with our own name on the contract, and we have owned three and have somehow miraculously made near 300 straight house payments on those three homes. We really enjoy our current home of 11 years with our new kitchen, tile all over the house, and a new master bath.

Somehow we have saved money, somehow Laura is approaching a semi decent pension, and the most iffy of them all, perhaps we will collect some social security, though its been shoveled to lots of people for lots of reasons. We hope so.

Health is good, but the big question mark? How long do I have, is not far from my planning.

What I love about the corny American celebration of the Macy's parade is the fact that a new group of teens gets to march, sing and perform each year and we celebrate our memories, our myths, and our music.

I love my tiny family. I love my wife. I love all the stuff she is cooking. A whole turkey this year, the annual southern corn bread dressing, the broccoli salad, a fruity dessert, shoe peg corn cassarole.

Thank you Creator and Redeemer that my faith is still alive and has taken on such an earthy and real character since my days of theological purity and fussing have melted into the goodness of an undeserved and passionate acceptance by the Father.

Have a great day, you dear family, you few and faithful readers of my six plus year old Not Whistling Dixie.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Freedom to build up, not tear down

Lots of water under the bridge of the story of this countries journey of governance and freedom. I had a middle class upbringing, more relocations than most, and we worked, and played in our neighborhoods and towns. We had a yearly vacation to see more sights, we had libraries, TVs, bikes, and toys.

I choose a helping career and had years of learning. Friends, books, libraries, work to pay for school, cars, girls, movies. Freedom.

I practiced that career, had food and shelter, meetings, joys and sorrows, kids who had what I had growing up.

Free to live, work, enjoy, eat, drink, experience daily blessings.

I am thankful to God for all these years, people, places and life that allowed me to build up, not tear down.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lawlessness is sad

Violence, looting, and destruction. Still trying to figure out why they staged an evening drama in Ferguson last night, all primed for darkness to cover and inflame.

The blacks see the police as tyrants, and the courts as part of the system. So they attack the system. And somehow stealing vodka or electronics makes it better.

Civilization falling apart with hatred and lawlessness. Sad.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Musings

This year they aired a compelling older but newly revealed theory on the Kennedy Assasination. The kill shot was an accidental discharge of an AK47 by a secret service man in the follow car. Lots of evidence that was ignored but there all along. Good explanation of the Secrtet Service behavior which takes away evil motive and replaces it with embarassing cover up to cover the asses. I am still interested.

Listening to five part Christmas music by Pentatonix. They got style and talent.

Getting thankful this week, my life has been blessed.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Multi Media has finally arrived

Small town Christmas parade, late seventies, Crystal Springs, Mississippi.

We had a screen and projector installed in our church building this week and introduced it this morning. Screen raises and lowers remotely. I am pleased we finally streamlined the visual part of our ministry. Lugging the screen and projector and setting it up by hand was getting real old.

Had some glitches with the remote control. Training coming this week.

A great week of Thanksgiving ahead.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

99th and McDowell

Busy day with a 84 mile round trip to buy a used projector and stand. Now watching the 2014 Iron Man, loving our week their a year ago.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes

That song just popped into my head as I was thinking about freedom, fear, the future, the end of life. We see the near hallway but there are many turns ahead, and as we approach a new corner we are not quite sure what we will experience around the next corner.

Or take the metaphor of climbing a hill, unable to see what is over the horizon. Life is a series of hill climbing and reaching vistas, except for the huge reality that aging makes the climb slow and at some point we make the leap into the unknown beyond.

Yet the seeds for every discovery, the needs for every corner in life, have already germinated between my ears, and the transformation begun decades ago assures me that I need not fear the next turn, the next vista. Freedom, it is for freedom Christ has set us free.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Private beach, special day on the big island.

Lot's of visitors in church who left very cold air to enjoy our warmth. Almost weekly we welcome first timers who came here for grand kids or cold states. We are welcoming them to a new time in life. I enjoy this part of my ministry. They don't all stay because church hopes are so varied.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The incident at the National Cathedral

Young mind in an old body?

So this is a tough issue for Americans and Christians. We feel the worldwide onslaught of a violent aggressive Jihad, and at the same time we are trying to build respect and communication between American Muslims and the Christian culture that formed us.

Our constitution forbids naming one faith as the faith of our Country, but at the same time the Judeo/Christian history and valued pervades the halls of our Nations Capital.

A Muslim warrior beheads an American in a act of total barbarism and yet they want to force other nations to suspend their traditions that offend them and secretly would be willing to force their religious practices upon any culture they conquer of even invade.

Freedom from religion is important to me. Freedom to practice my faith is important to me. Respect for others who are different is important to me. Religious wars are repugnant to me.

As I said, this is a tough issue that is not going away soon, if ever.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two wires to the world wide web

So for a week our Dish Network modem went dead. Getting a repair man was a nightmare of miscommunication. Turns out Century Link was hired to install them, but cannot work on the connection issues. Each repairman has shared how stupid this is, and has helped me. So, one dropped wire outside he was allowed legally to fix, and one dropped wire on the inside he fixed illegally to his company guidelines. I don't care, but it makes me wonder about Dish Network and the people who messed with me for a whole week.

So, yesterday was a wasted day of waiting, in which I enjoyed two new Hallmark Christmas romances. Which I am told did real well in audience share. They are cute and lift up falling in love for marriage, not shacking up for sex. And they all share the values of family and Christmas memories from growing up. Fun.

Got a pic from my gym buddy and her husband in Kauai on day one of their visit. So happy for them.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I love Hallmark Christmas Romance Movies

There, I said it. I am a sappy romantic.

On another note, this week was a disaster of technology with the loss of a hard drive, and the absensce of WIFI due to some tech difficulty with my modem. Stuck today hoping and waiting for a repairman.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Always rebuilding and ramping up after the crash

World Trade Center One, rebuilt and ready for business.

This world of computing is fragile. My three year old Toshiba laptop had a hard drive crash and I am remembering passwords, reinstalling programs with long key codes, and finding little quearks in the system I though were gone. Sheesh.

Its kind of like life. Takes a lot of maintenance, memory, and repair.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An old friend finds me on facebook

This is the grocery store where I had my first job after moving to Mississippi at age 15, I was a bag boy when people could fill two carts with 50 dollars and would tip you a quarter or two for loading them in the truck. My first paycheck and first social security payment. It was a Sunflower Store in Maywood Mart in Jackson MS where my mom would work a couple of doors down at the Beemans drug store.

Charles B. friended me yesterday. We said goodbye the summer of 64 when my family moved from Alabama to Mississippi. Charles introduced me to the joys of motorcycles, and actually won a 64 red Mustang Hatchback in a contest run by Coca Cola, so this fifteen year old learned stick shift driving from my buddy as well. A Vietnam vet, school teacher and principal. now retired and living in Georgia. Wow, how cool was this reunion.

Also got a phone call from an African high school girl living in Iowa. She found our church website and wanted to talk to a minister. Her speech was difficult to understand, but she shared of isolation, shame and fear and a taunting memory that her mother died practicing witch craft. When I prayed for her she could not listen and asked me to stop. She called twice and it was difficult to help her, she did not own and had never read a Bible.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Farewell, Jim J

Canyon Lake is great for boating and fishing. Love the rock walls upcanyon.

Lost a golf buddy over the weekend. Infected heart valve led to heart failure. He had a great life, lots of travel, fine family. I will miss his endearing mid western way with people.

Happy for Julie and her husband Dennis heading to Kauai to explore and enjoy for a week.

Enjoyed our grand kids over the weekend.

All my colds go from throat, to chest, to head, to stomach making me feel rotten for four days straight. Mucus is a nasty thing.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Chest Cold Blues

Blast from the past.

First cold of the season. Chest racking with pain from coughing, feeling poorly. Resting.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall is so nice in AZ

I know its nice every where, but here its like a permanent visitor with just a few days of jacket weather and a very occasional freeze. Yesterday my personal trip to Tortilla Flats yesterday did not reflect anything fall colors because our desert is always scrubby and just a tad green. But the cool air and an abundance of cars with out of state tags and motorcycles galore, yep, our visitor season is here, and the cooler it gets up north the more people head to the desert. I am particulary excited to see the changes they have made after closing the PGA Tournament Course for a year to bring it up to date and make it some strokes more difficult so the pros won't shoot 24 under every year.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chandler Freedom Academy

The Bonneville salt flats had so much rain this summer they had to postpone some races. We waded in this super salty water for a while and it stung my skin and still stains my flip flops I wore that day.

Laura's school was interviewed on Channel 10 one morning this week. Saw Laura and Ben and lots of happy kids.

Fizzing like champaign after the cork is popped!

I had a group of men meet today to allow me to make suggestions about the future of our church. This is something I think about all the time and put some ideas on paper this summer about, but as I began to lay the dreams I have dreamed before them I felt like a man who had been set free from a long furlow. I felt like I was allowed to explain why I speak and teach the way I do. We barely got started, but it felt good.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Theological Precision in an age of secularization

"The long and winding road"

I was trying to discuss an historic controversy in the Protestant Church this morning and was met with what has become a common theme. Why does it matter if some think this and some think that?

I find myself bridging gaps between the theological part of me saying, this matters enormously, and if we think it does not then real people are going to be hurt because truth and ideas have consequences.

The part of me that is getting weary of much bickering says, You're right brother, as long as we center on the important things about Jesus and our faith we will all be OK.

I have some friends who believe that entering a post theological world will be OK. We will continue to hold the bill of rights and seek to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the freedom of a post christian world.

I still believe the truth will set you free, but am a bit more skeptical that we have been able to arrive at it with the unity that we may have hoped for since the reformation 500 years ago.

Still been thinking through the recent understanding of the reality of "pervasive interpretive pluralism", wow I love that term. What it means is that over the last 500 years sincere, intelligent, humble,scholarly students have sought to bring a united message from the ancient texts of the Old and New Testament and have come to radically different conclusions about some pretty essential doctrines. We can pretend that not so, but it is and now in this information age we are having to deal with it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

35th Anniversary Banquet

We are a relatively young,old church. By that I mean from day one we were old, as in reaching a retirement community. But 35 is relatively young for a church. They have had five pastors who stayed from four to seven years, and me who is going on 12 years. I was a young pastor to the old folks when I came here at 53, now I am an aging pastor to old people. Confused yet? I am.

The amazing thing is that we had some charter members who have been here the whole 35 years, meaning they were old when the church was young and now they are very old and have been here from the beginning 35 years ago, which means they have been retired for 35 plus years. Amazing.

It was a good time of remembrance and music.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Crowning of the Year

I enjoy November and December. Not going crazy with it, but just letting it be the crowning of the year with celebratio

My Aunts and Uncles in decades past. We always tried to have a big Thanksgiving get together when we were young, sometimes Christmas. Good memories.