Monday, November 30, 2015
I am addicted to Facebook. I love keeping up with my friends. I have no idea how all these funny pictures and videos find there way to FB to give me a moments laugh, but increasingly over the last year the open forum for expressing your political and religious and anti religious ideas and hopes and fears has made my visits feel more like toxic exposure.
I do not want to quit but just the catching up process exposes me to great things I want to read and ugly angry things I wish had never been posted.
I am addicted though, just gotta see who said what, and that's my frustration.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Something about a four day weekend is special. Advent arrives, the year end approaches, the ideas that have swirled in my head for years keep moving to the center, bringing peace and joy again, deeper and more integrated than ever.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
It happens every year, right at the same moment, when I am enjoying the Macy's parade a year older, but still amazed by this near timeless tradition of music, and bands, and floats, and balloons. This moment I am thankful for the carefree part of America, not the part fighting over how to tax and spend our money, not the part where families worry about rent and bills, not the part where policemen watch for lawless people trying to steal, hurt and destroy to take the easy way to making money from other peoples work.
This part of the American Dream, a parade, New York city, TV, musicians, stars, Broadway musicals, this, this this thing, is the freedom and the diversity and the talent and the voluteerism, and the fun of being American. Not racism, not hatred, not class warfare, not welfare, not prisons and jails, just this amazing time out of Thanksgiving. I love it every year in the now that comes once a year.
Monday, November 23, 2015
I am approaching 40 years of ordained ministry, June 27, 1976-June 27, 2016, and have set the course for a course change. mixture of healthy concern and anticipation of choosing where my ministry will focus in my next stage of life no matter how long or short, and of course having more time for travel, recreation, writing, living.
Will turn 66 Lord willing this July 13, not young, not old, plenty of energy left for other directions should my life be extended.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Number of visits to the Hawaian Islands. eight.
I used to enjoy counting the number of states I lived during my growing up years. Six. and the number of houses we lived in before I left for college. Six, and the number of schools I attended in my education. ten, and other numbers, like the number of churches I served, seven, and the number of homes we lived in during our marriage, twelve, and the number of cars I have owned, 17.
In recent years the collage had blended into a litany of general thankfulness for the joys and struggles and the sheer grace of God in allowing me to be born in this great country. This week I am taking a time out to enjoy a week of lightness of being, of the presence of Abba, and the years ahead no matter what comes.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
When Paul told the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances he already knew they were suffering persecution at or above the level of the Jerusalem church. Paul was so angry with the Jews who limited the gentiles from hearing the gospel that he cursed them to an ionian judgment from God. (read the letter, it was the Jews he sent to everlasting separation).
I asked Sunday if there is a quid pro quo to periods of thanksgiving, yes, I think. Our hearts can be lifted, our spirits lightened, our outlook on life can shift from anxiety and fear to joy and fullness of heart.
One week time out, if at all possible, from the never ending political tag and blame shifting. One week of concentration of the past and future of trust and strength and grace and beauty and love and peace and kindness and reconciliation. Leaving the WWIII and rapture talk behind.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Found a neat mennonite pastor in Canada who did a youtube on Jesus, Isis and Islam. We had an interview with a committed Canadian educated but devout muslim. Very interesting that they have such a high view of Jesus and Ethics along with a very militaristic use of violence to extend the caliphate.
As I read earlier, prophecies or not, the arithmetic adds up to more violence and innocent death ahead.
Monday, November 16, 2015
In a six minute introduction to the service the mega church pastor spoke of the evil of Friday's attack, the core issues of ISIS commitment to attack western civilization, and governments role to punish evildoer, and then quoted Trump that it is therefore God's and Trumps will to bomb the $^^&% out of Isis in Syria.
This is the American way.
I heard many other ideas presented during the first wave of reactions to the Friday attacks. Some say WWIII has begun, but I heard that after 9/11/01. It is surely true that Islamic fundamentalism and terror are growing, and I feel really sorry for the worldview that has trapped so many in this mode of hatred and violence.
I am so new to the conversation about the church and non violence that as per usual I am listening to different viewpoints. I tend to favor allowing the arab countries figure out their own governance and building strong borders and a strong defense ready to protect democracies and allies around the world from terrorism.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
What if one of the Syrian immigrants actually enters a sanctuary city and within months is armed and carries out a terrorist act in the United State or Canada? I would think the 15 year wound that 9/11 will be torn open and all restraints about vetting immigrant will be gone and serious border control will be the new law of the land. Hoping this does not occur, not hold my breath if history teaches us.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
There are so many ways to react to the violence on the streets of Paris last night. I saw people doing the same thing that people do in every free nation of the world. They attend sporting events, they go out to eat, they go to nightclubs to dance. They go hang out and walk at the Mall.
Those free places became killing fields for Islamic terror, for murder, and from their twisted point of view, revenge for all the crimes of the west against Allah and the muslem people.
I have empathy with the Parisians today. I have wept real tears at the sadness that parents and families are experiencing thinking of the murder of their loved ones.
I am outraged that these acts are done without warning and to innocent people enjoying a night out. I want justice, and I agree that something must be done to stop radical islam in all forms, organized as armies and infiltrated as terrorists, or homegrown as new converts.
They lost me when they burned the Syrian refugee camp in the spirit of revenge. I could understand it, but I cannot agree with the world systems way of handling such injury. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth and always been our default reaction, but it only perpetuated the hatred.
Friday, November 13, 2015
The Isis actions in Paris will rally the west and all civilized nations against the violence that tore the city apart earlier this evening. I pray and hope for an end to this hatred in the name of Allah against the nations of the world.
Monday, November 9, 2015
I must not therefore obsess about politics and elections. I must not worry about shopping, and eating, plenty of both with occur. Need to lift the doom and gloom from the churched people, too much to be thankful for in our country.
Need to abstain from the Thanksgiving and Christmas Culture Wars, no worth the ink and anger spent on them.
Need to train for our family Christmas gift to ourselves and our grand children. A pre Christmas Disneyland vacation. Yes folks, the decorations, the music, the fake soapy snow, the crowds, all to be endured and enjoyed this year. Counting the days because my greatest joy is watching those I love have a delightful time, and me trying to find places to rest and endlessly people watch.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Dinner with a "Wounded Warrior" last evening at the Marine Ball. He had a head injury and is being helped along with his wife to deal with a decade of difficulties since the accident. Great Couple and a really great reminder of the dedication of the Marines for 240 years.
Each song contributed to the whole, the subject was encouraging, the day beautiful, a day when leading a gathered group was a joy.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Walked into my present work space in March of 2003 and Genevieve greeted me and all who enter our strange neighborhood office. For my family out of town and other readers my congregation owns a manufactured home that was converted into our office several years before I came, we have access from the Country Club parking lot, but still have street access and regular neighbors. Its odd but nice.
The great room is our reception room, kitchen and library, the old den is our board room/teaching room which can seat 30 comfortably.
My office is the old master bedroom, closet an extra book room, and yes, I can shower here if I need to.
Genevieve came with the former pastor and so will complete 17 years as secretary/office manager. She is training her replacement and like all change I am dealing with it.
Wondering when my time comes were my 36 shelves of books will go when I leave? They have been friends and helpers just like Genevieve.
I already gave away 40 boxes of old books that were given to me that lost their usefulness last year. I hope some of my Bible Study library can find its way to a younger pastor/scholar.
Other than that, life is good this week and people here are wearing sweaters in our first chill, which means below 85 degrees!!
Seniors just naturally resist change, in general all humans do. We like our routines and the comfort of our mental furniture we place in our lives to give us security and hope. The future always holds unknown outcomes and thus it is easy to dread it or fear it or to be apprehensive at least.
Hope, trust, and life experience help us to take each day as it comes. When those we trust and hope in begin to join in fear based predictions then sickish feelings of dread enter our life about the future. Wars and rumors of wars, stories of violence and barbaric actions from around the world create dread and cause us to exhibit anxiety in our present life.
The church is in the midst of a reformation, this being almost five hundred years since the Protestant reformation. People are observing the powers that be in Christianity and the teachings that have developed in the diversity that exits in non catholic organizations and they are asking questions that need thought and answers. When leaders refuse to engage these questions but continue to shout louder for the way things have always been it will create pressures that overflow into splits, people checking out, and the death of various forms of the visible church. This is good, and those who are the most resistant to the questions and respond poorly to those who mean the best in capturing the ways in which true faith will be a strength for the future will face dwindling influence and eventual irrelevance.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Just finished a history read on the Arabs and the muslim faith. Sobering. I have been taking a strong stand on Biblical prophecy being mostly fulfilled in the first century. Hoping that somehow we find the courage to stop the growth of a violent and misguided hate group. Innocents are dying, children are suffering, people are starving and homeless.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
I can no more speak and act the way I did when I was beginning my teaching career than I could turn back timee. Yet many things I say would sound the same or similar. With experience and the freedom to play outside the established boxes so many wonderful truths become like new, fresh every morning. This is the secret of my present passion. I am adding new ideas that are making my understandings more joyful, more hopeful, more energized.