Friday, January 31, 2014
All day long I have been trying to connect things. AM I connected to the square to square swing which had promising results and a not so sore back.
PM we tried to get into two restaurants and ended up at a third because of the wait in line. love Paradise Bakery, love
This evening it took over an hour to get our first free PPV movie on Dish. What a hassle, even talked to a tech person. Now we are enjoying Lost Vegas....I hope....felt more like comedy that drama tonight.
I started counting visits to my website after a year, and today passed 50,000 hits. Thanks for sharing my daily photos and bits and pieces of my daily life.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Looking on You Tube to find a golf swing that I can use that puts less stress on my aging hips and lower back. Lots of advice for the senior golfer to sift through. I really was a student of the golf swing and wanted to understand how to get my swing working the best for me. We will see.
Thinking about all the Super Bowl weekends in my past and how this hype about Americans love affair with football creates for me an almost surrealistic feeling of American unity, that really does not amount to much after the commercials are aired and the score is settled and the team goes to Disneyworld. We are united about little else.
I always try to sample a young artist after they reach Grammy success. This years 5 dollar Amazon download was Sarah Barielles latest CD. Includes her hit Brave, its a fine set of songs and her voice stands out.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Apparently he was declared a commie by refusing to answere questions at the McCarthy Trials. Hollywood is still smarting over the repercussions of the McCarthy era where it appeared to target artists and creative people as left wing commies.
Seeger saw himself as a social activist who really believed that brothers and sisters could and should love each other. "I wanna sing about love between my brothers and my sisters, all over the world."
Read an article about his wealth, which he was generous with, but unable to control because of the success of his musical career.
The McCarthy trials labeled him a communist, and I have no way of assessing that.
In the months following pentecost the haves in Jerusalem sold things to support the folks who were staying extended periods of time to be discipled in the way of the risen Jesus,...that was not socialism or communism, it was love.
Free enterprise has been proven to lift the standard of living of every nation that gives opportunity to all people.
The socialist dream of income equality or the communist dream of taking from those who have to support those who have not has produced the most violent, abusive and murderous eras of human history. Its crazy to believe we can go that way and prosper, but these are crazy times we live in.
P.S. Dear folks from Dixie, thinking about your cold freezing icy week....hang in there.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I must add the fact that my observations about the Grammy's only included the last half of the show. I missed Beyonce and her hubby and I did not see Katy Perry doing the Witchcraft thing. The whole evening may have had a darker vibe than I want to easily affirm.
I will not renounce all worldly music like the fundies did, it was a form of legalism that did more harm than good. When Martin Luther took a bar song to sing A Mighty Fortress it sort of blows the whole worldly tune thing out of the water. Sound and harmony and chord and dischord are all sounds and God created the vibrations that create the pleasure of sound, the effectiveness of vocal communication, and the enchantment of vocal singing. Amen, sing it again brother. All instruments, be they drum like, string like, flute like, horn like or bell like, are gifts of Gods granting men and women the creativity to create sounds that create music.
Psalms talks of a whole lot of instruments used by the people of God to sing and play praises to God.
Monday, January 27, 2014
50 years ago, I welcomed the British Invasion of the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five and to a lesser degree the Rolling Stones, added them to my love of the Beach Boys and the many musical voiced of the 60s and 70s. Last night was sort of like a long church service that paid homage to all the major forms of music that have influenced us, and sometimes they tried to blend those styles rather unsuccessfully.
My major problem is that all the songs sounded muddy and I could barely hear the lyrics. The weirdness of the night seemed more apparent than usual, and I am sure some really good music was honored.
The marriage ceremony was over the top....this is our world and we make the rules and we decide whats right and wrong.
Music is a very powerful and beautiful gift to all of us. I love all kinds of music styles, I would pray that none of my sons grow up to be cowboys, or country western singers, and oddly, lovers of hip, hop and/or rap music.
I love classical music but it keeps me awake demanding I listen carefully.
I love the instrumental music mostly called new age or ambient music and use it to mask my tinnitus....which may be why all the music sounded muddled last night.
God bless the two remaining Beatles, God bless Yoko Ono who as a widow has been well taken care of by her lovers estate.
Why does Christian Music not have a place in the evening? Why not World Music? Hawaiian, Celtic.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
I mean by that title, that January is almost over and time is flying again.
I bought a Stephen King Novel I had never heard of....Lesey's Story, and within a few pages I was interested in the characters and the story. That is his gift, and while I have stayed away from his super scary stuff I find his normal novels to be as hauntingly good as his short stories and the movies made from them that have entertained us for a long time.
Enjoyed out grandchildren all weekend, lots of movies and relaxing together.
Enjoyed taking a quick look at the churches in Revelation, still holding the book at arms length so I don't go nuts with it.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
I was here that I discovered my favorite camera lens was damaged early last year, so this was a time to see its performance after a costly repair that I did before our last Hawaiian vacastion.
It was fun. A highlight was taking pictures of geese who suddenly had a serious squabble and chased one fellow away from the group. No idea what he had done wrong, but that's life and nature I guess.
Walking in shorts and enjoying almost 80 degrees in late January made me thankful for our winter weather.
Friday, January 24, 2014
A precious reconnection with my friend Bill, and other than that it was largely symbolic. I am talking about spending a few hours at South-West Presbytery after a 20 year absence. It was interesting to me that the men being admitted to the fellowship were still registering their opposition to the "recreation clause" of the Westminster Confession of Faith that forbids Christians from doing anything that is selfish or pleasurable on the Sabbath.
From my long removed vantage point, this one admission of the weakness of the document that drives a creed based church is enough to call the whole document into question. Calvin clearly failed to see the significance of New Covenant Theology in the treatment of the Sabbath laws. This flat transition from old to new is what ultimately creates the issues that make conservative Calvinism the creature that it is. I love these guys but am so thankful to be out of that dreary box.
I have found some candidates for gifting a valuable part of the library I was gifted at the beginning of my ministry. I am thankful for my education, and for the ministry and grace I was given, and for the decisions that led me out of Dixie into the not so wild west of Arizona. The fifty plus miles from my home to Sun City west reminded me how large the metropolitan area of Phoenix has become in the last several decades.
The two men who were actually present during my four years in Presbytery and both preaching till they are 70 and it helped me to see that it is possible to be happy still working past the traditional retirement age. Thank you Bill for being the most gracious pastor I have ever met.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
My first five years in Arizona were challenging. Two difficult church situations did me in with the denomination that brought me to the growing East Valley of Pheonix.
I left that group, and have served Independent Churchs for the last two decades. Sometimes being in the pastoral ministry is like survival of the fittest, and being able to overcome some difficult situations, or to get back up after a defeat is I am pretty certain what it is all about.
Anyhow, today, I am going to sit in their business meeting for a few hours, and hopefully shake hands and bless a few men who observed those painful years, and a few who contributed to them a bit, and just let the water flow under the bridge of forgivenss and blessed spiritual growth. I will tell you how this goes tomorrow.
I also want to find a young pastor who really studies, to give him some sets of books that were given to me when I was a young pastor. It just does not seem right to sell these treasures, since they came from a pastor's library after his death. I want them to be opened and read, as they provided tremendous knowledge from older and more deeply anchored generations that came before us.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
First Invisilign check up. My Dentist molded 8 or ten dots on my teeth to begin serious moving left and right to begin to get my straying teeth to move back into alignment. Pressure plus time plus leverage all planned out on a computer program and turned into plastic inserts. Its a cool process.
Drove all over town for appointments, meetings and checking folks in the hospital. I enjoy these road trip days.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
In Seminary, there was an enormous amount of material and thought and doctrine the school desired to give its students. We resorted to attacking strawmen to build our theology. The prof would point to a teaching from some Catholic or some other denomination and tell us where they went wrong. The straw men were silent and went down like dummies.
Without a doubt the writer that has the most positive influence on me in the last three years is Richard Rohr, a Franciscan founder and director of a Study Center in New Mexico. Steeped in the magisterium of the Roman Catholic church yet deeply attuned to the intellectual life of students and the contemplative life of the great mystics, Rohr writes of the true spiritual life and of God's loving ability to reach as low as needed to transform us....sometimes I read half a page and have to stop because he has blown my thoughts toward His presence.
He has enough knowledge to protest the errors of his tradition and enough respect to see how it molded him. I could not become a Catholic big C although I am a catholic little c, but I feel no need to state areas where I may or may not agree because what he writes is changing me deeply as I take it into my journey. Try Everything Belongs, Immortal Diamond, or Falling Upward. (if you are over 35)
Monday, January 20, 2014
"It is largely a waste of time to tell people to love generously when the God they have been presented with is a taskmaster, loves quite conditionally, is easily offended, very needy and threatens people with eternal torture if they do not 'believe' in him. That is a totally unworkable [insane!] proposition, and it is largely what we are dealing with today. I don't think most people see this, for some reason, even the clergy who actually teach such a petty and violent God because they suffer under it themselves." Richard Rohr
Sunday, January 19, 2014
I am not a big fan of pro ball, except the little white golf ball. I enjoy watching the Manning boys, so go Denver. I enjoy rooting for my friends teams to go Seattle. I enjoy Super Bowl commercials, so bring it on.
Felt empowered with freedom and passion to speak this morning...its my weekly victory of grace.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
I scuffed a chip shot yesterday and in a moment of frustration jerked my body left to try and affect the shot, which is impossible. What was possible is that I pulled my hip joint and have been in pain for over a day now.
Spent Saturday assembling furniture from a kit, small chest of drawers that will serve as a bedside table in our guestroom. Took over three hours and the final adjustments were a bugger. Todays photo shows the results. This is where you will stay if you come visit us from out of town. Love to have you experience a desert winter.
We are enjoying a quiet anniversery, as all Saturdays tend to be on my final day of preperation for Sunday. Dinner at Brio was fabulous. Delicious seafood with an italian flaver. Laura had salmon on a bed of sweet potato cubes and veggies and I had the shrimp and lobster over linguini. A feast.
Pain or not, working on the message to the seven churches in asia minor for tomorrow.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
I was making a reservation for a restaurant that we had enjoyed several years ago, and there were some less than positive recent reviews. I changed my mind on eating there.
Almost every business you try to locate on line gives the opportunity to see what people have experienced.
I needed to go to my local verizon store, and sure enough there were negative comments on the service offered, which has never happened to me in that store before.
So, this visit, I had a long, long wait when it seemed that hardly anyone was in the store...and I wondered if the store had changed or that the comments were self fulfilling.
I personally would rather brag about a great place that complain about a problem, it could be they were having a bad day or I caught them on dinner break, which I in fact did.
Laura and I got married on a wet January afternoon in 1975. Thirty nine years ago this Saturday. That's 14,235 days together as a couple, give or take a leap day or two. That's lots of shared coffee times, good night and good morning conversations, and lots of living time, working time, playing time.
It still goes by too fast, and the memories of daily life fade too quickly as the needs and demands of today rise up to call us to duty.
I really cannot imagine a life without what we have shared.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
If heaven were a place on earth, you know where we would want it to be.
That oft quoted thought was repeated in our Bible study today. I counted the word usage by Jesus in the gospels of the words translated Hell and got 11, I counted the words tranlated by heaven and got over 100, the the KJV concordant computer.
Who started this quote? It is a myth.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
It is the besetting sin of my life.....inability to handle paper and file or throw away paper, magazines, brochures, etc.
I went through six boxes of paper last week and deep sixed a bunch of things I know I will not need, and the things I want to keep are spread over two surfaces.
A friend stopped by and commented on the over clutter, and I protested the above statement. I have to make a mess to clean up a mess.
Perhaps its the long delay between making the pile and hiding the pile that creates the appearance of disorganization, he said, defensively.
Monday, January 13, 2014
This week will mark the beginning of my fifth year at Tumbleweed Recreation Center. It is the place where I purchase at my own time and expense....healthcare. The three times or on a good week four times I drive, enter, exercise, and stretch are an investment in the tone and function of my body.
I am still in need of physicians and expensive treatments since I have plaque problems that block my arteries. There may not be a natural way to deal with my health issues. I am convinced already that the investment in moving, stretching and lifting heavy objects has paid off in dividends of looking and feeling younger and being active in hiking, golfing, walking, chores etc.
Somehow, this personal healthcare needs to continue catching on across all age and income sectors of our country. Preventative medicine is so important to begin to keep healthcare costs down.
Safety nets needed, gourmet plans for nothing or next to nothing, not so easy. This issue can break our economy even more if we are not careful...just sayin. We live in dangerous and confusing times with government takeovers of private sector healthcare.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
New officers for 2014 were elected today, Budget approved, forward we go one day at a time.
Had the opportunity to talk about the implications of Trinitarian theology on the way we see and preach the gospel. Jesus really did identify with sinful humanity and God really did accept humanity in the faith of Christ, and therefore we are to serve the world with the heart and compassion of the Lord, and to accept the tension between behavior and acceptance, declaration and offer, judgment and restoration.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
I went to seminary with Mike. He was one of many who came out of Southern univerities like Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama. We bible college guys thought they were party schools, and most of these men had experience in college ministries and in reality had a tougher time walking the walk than we bible college types did, although my college was full of regular folks as well.
Anyhow, Mike graduated and took a church and we lost touch. It was years later when I discovered that he had struggled in that first ministry, resigned under some depression, and descended into full fledged alcoholism that rendered him miserable, unemployable and incapable of much more that sitting on a couch feeling miserable.
Long story short, it took some time, and a reexamination of his theology to break the power of addiction, and led him to a late life ministry with two well known spiritual leaders in helping people overcome addictive behaviors.
I though about him because of the seven church messages in Revelation-the overcomers are the ones who deal with their challenges through the power of the indwelling Christ.
Friday, January 10, 2014
Thursday, January 9, 2014
When I moved to tiny Gilbert in 89, there were church plants everywhere as it was the fastest growing city in the nation for a while. One of the success stories in my neighborhood was Superstition Springs Community Church, a seeker sensitive church plant that grew to 600. The pastor got cancer and had to resign in 2004.
In 2005 a new pastor came, changed the name, and wanted to be a Christ Centered, Mission outreach, serving type of church. Instead of, what's in it for me, the emphasis was on how I can serve a needy world. It worked, and grew over the last 9 years to over 6000 members, more in attendance. All kinds of good things going on.
I went last year and told everyone that if I was free it would be my chosen place of worship.
The Pastor resigned recently after confessing multiple acts of sexual infidelity with members, and people are hurt, wondering how this sincere man could be so hypocritical, and the church is scrambling to go forward, his wife is hoping to save their marriage and it made the news locally.....and I am sad. What was he thinking?
No analysis to follow, I would not know how to pontificate on this story.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
In my yard one spring day in 2007 as I am raking leaves, those tiny microscopic droppings of a cursed desert tree, I was thinking about all I had been reading and studying since embarking on my personal quest to find a faith for the second half of life, and suddenly, it hit me, an idea about God and faith that exploded the boxes I had struggled to fit in for decades, and I was for the next hour caught up in a beautific vision of the God of the Cosmos.
I have never been the same since that day, but,me being who I am, I set out to test and retest and think and rethink my new idea. When I shared it most met the idea with fear and suspicion, for it sounded like nothing they were taught. I would lick my wounds form such encounters and tuck the idea away for fear that someone would snatch it away and stomp it to death. An unworthy idea.
What if someone who did not have to think their way out of boxes built over hundreds of years took this idea and what if they were not afraid to explore it and take it out for others to see....would they be able to build a new, an yet an older truth and recover a wider vision of the mercy and power and plan of God?
Yes, they can and they are. And I am enjoying watching it happen.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
That is what a well written autobiography is about. A person is describing experiences and then the feelings going on in their head and heart that those experiences create, and what was learned from those experiences. And when someone is naturally honest and self deprecating it can be a very valuable thing. A spiritual autobiography can be like living a life you never could have lived, and benifiting from the scars, wounds, and healings of another soul.
Most of us try too hard to clean up our stories even in the midst of living them. We place too high a value on the rightness of our actions and reactions since our ego and self worth are at stake.
Anne Lamott is a believer whose life was very different than mine. She kept her Jewish and Atheist friends, she stayed faithful to the feminism that birthed her personality. She stayed in the world of literature and academia. She faces life with enough honesty to say it is sometimes really full of s**t.
She has no glowing past of moral virtue to boast from, she was immoral, did drugs, became an alcoholic. And she is forgiven. Those of us who were raised in the morals and virtures of the faith have a much harder time admitting our failures and need.
I love it when people accept that life has really hard parts, people not healed, early death, suffering, bad relationships, without having to tip toe around spiritual platitudes that we evangelicals love to repeat. She is gritty and real.
I wish I still had atheist friends to hang around and experience life with, and to ask the questions together.
Monday, January 6, 2014
I am back from a few days of not being able to think clearly. I have been reading an autobiography of the faith journey of Anne Lamont and saw that she agrees that a really bad cold can be as debilitating as a serious illness at times.
I picked up this book, "Travelling Mercies" on super sale a while ago and am finding what a gifted writer she is, and how gracious God is to seek and save people with such backgrounds as her where faith and belief where held in such suspicion by her surroundings and family. She is able to take a memory from her life and fill it with word pictures that create absolute wonder in your mind.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Maybe the flu? First the first time in a long time i stayed in bed all day. Managed to lead services. My stomach and ribs are aching from the coughing fits.
Enjoy watching the first Golf Tournament of the year in Maui. Such a beautitul peace of land, and the Bay there is great for snorkeling and apparently with trade winds it becomes a surfers paradise.
Friday, January 3, 2014
I brought a bug into the new year. One of those colds that goes from head to throat to chest. Yesterday I just rested and allowed the TV to provide entertainment, along with a really good time travel novel I got on Kindle for free. Billed itself as a young adult, time travel, historical, crime and murder mystery and it really held up to the bargain.
There is no joy in Tuscaloosa this morning at the might Tide got rolled last night. Not a storied ending for the fine quarterback. But losing is good for you on occasion.
Today I will try not to infect my friends as I get some sunshine down at the Duke playing a round of golf.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
My My Time Flies, its 2014, and for half the year I am 63 and half the year 64. Began this blog half way through 2008 and this is post 2010, and I appreciate each of you who stop by when your browsing to see what I am experiencing and photographing and thinking about.
I have a small life, we all do. and our time here is brief.
I profess a love for humanity, but Laura is at this moment standing in a crowd of greed crazed purse seekers on super sale day and just told me that she is seeing what levels people competing for the same items can descend to advance there own needs in this world. This has always been true, but when you see it up close it can shock you. I warned her, but she says its still fun to be a part of it on handbag sale days.
Its been a year since I bought a man purse and I still love carrying my stuff when I need it. I get the women purse connection.
I am enjoy the 125th Rose Bowl only as a background to the first day of the year which provides a memory connection to the years I have enjoyed.
Hope all of you have a great day and a great year, for there really are no small people, and no small places, Happy New Year.