Hawaii 2010

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

As We Age

Our digs in Mexico, 65 a night, pretty nice.

Change becomes challenging.

Last night we ate at Pei Wei and were kind of confused by the new menu. What used to have a selection of entrees that were clearly described we found a sort of four step process that was quite confusing.

Then we noticed that the napkins were cheaper, the drink machine was creating a huge road block, and the place seemed noisier than most times. We realized that old folks like us can't handle change as quickly. They may have lost us.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Star Trek Kid

Downtown Rocky Point from my hotel room.
I have always enjoyed Science Fiction and Star Trek was a favorite in all its different eras and forms. The newest remakes with a younger crew and amazing special effects have been outstanding.

Farewell Leonard Nimoy.

Am awaiting the release of Interstellar at the end of the month to own it. I often speculate that time travel and space travel will be a part of the next life. But that's because I enjoy Science Fiction.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stacks of Books and messy desks

One of our Mexican sweet children on the Amor build.

Lots of people recommend I read this or that book, some people lend them to me or buy them for me, and I never accept a book without the intention of reading it. Therefore, between my own rabbit trails and my friends I am always by choice and necessity reading several books at once.

If you have never tried this its tricky. The way it works best for me is to keep the paper and hard backs at the office, or only handle one physical book at a time. The true and amazing multitasking takes place on my Kindle, which is why I have no maudlin praise for the look and feel of real paper.

I am reading six different books, and so far my brain is tracking on all of them. My methodology is to read the one that pops us as the most interesting when I am reading, but to keep making progress on the others, giving them some reading time each week till I get them read.

Will I read at this pace and in this matter when I retire? Probably not because many of my readings are project or subject related.

It is one of the pleasures of my life and I hope my brain keeps running as long as my heart keeps beating. The Kindle also turns times when I am forced to wait like doctors offices into productive moments. All good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Learning about the Universe

Central Kauai from the road where the doors to Jerassic Park were placed.

I have half a dozen books on my shelf that helped me embrace an old universe over the last twenty years. If that makes me a heathen to you and the tribe you belong to so be it. We enjoyed a video series by Pastor Louie Giglio on his appreciation of astronomy and the discoveries from the Hubble telescope. Amazing and beautiful.

I was blown away by the movie Interstellar and decided to read Kip Thornes book on the science behind the making of the film. He was an associate of Stephen Hawking during his career. I am convinced there is alot more to the universe than we presently know, and I also have embraced by faith that the one we call God created it. I am not threatened by any scientist who struggles with that, I am not their opponent or their enemy. I see science and theology on the same task using different fields of study.

The secrets of the universe and the beauty of our planet reflect the glory of God the creator and it felt good writing about it today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Frustrations and Serenity

Buddhists focus a lot on the state of serenity.

Had a discussion with a friend about serenity yesterday. It's an interesting concept, and I am sure some might think it a rather new age idea to be rejected in favor of a word like peace. ie. the peace that passes all understanding.

A state of being calm peaceful and untroubled, is the google definition. We have in the tradition of our faith what has been called the serenity prayer which I love and think is very cool.

If you asked me to be honest would I describe myself as being serene? Well, its a tough question. My answer is...sometimes. I know what it is and am often surprised by it, and it often dissappears for portions of time.

We had a church board meeting last night, which at times went well and at times was frustrating as points of view and issues rose and were dealt with or tabled. If it is true that wherever two are three are gathered in His name he is there, it is equally true that wherever two or three are gathered together these days there are tensions, frustrations, and pressures. It seems to be the nature of modern life.

Earlier in the day I had lunch with a team of volunteers from my church who give a day to help feed and cloth the poor. We have done this enough to make it relaxed and fun. We kid each other and laugh and tell funny stories and reflect on the strangeness of life and circumstances, and it was and is completely enjoyable and not at all frustrating. In that setting where two are three are gathered together for lunch there is serenity.

I like being serene, but sometimes real progress toward serenity lies on the other side of frustration.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Some movies to see and other random thoughts

My cat also prowls outside during the day.

We enjoyed Imitation Game, love historical drama. Now we have some more to see.

One day last month we turned on the heat and wondered if it was not functioning well, as it went cool after half an hour. We have not used the heat since. A whole winter without turning on the heat. Wow. Will have it checked out before spring because we cannot and will not survive the desert without A/C.

Somedays I get tired of thinking about Islam. They only exist for me on the news and have no effect on my life now. Its the looming doom I struggle with.

I grew up with RC Sproul's teaching and I admire him, I have loved the teaching of Rob Bell and I admire him. Do not make me choose whom to admire when theology wars are incited.

Our old cat prowls all nite and sleeps all day, nothing new, but interesting because nothing is going on at night.

I never know what to do when faithful attenders at church suddenly stop coming, I hate acting like a truent officer and the We miss you contact seems like thats what I am doing.

Now that I have Amazon Prime and Netflix I am discovering the beauty of small films. Everyone gets excited about the big five, But so many films are so well down. Watched one about fly fishing in Oregon in a coming of age, parental conflict and finding first love type movie and it was so enchanting. Think it was called Why Not? but can't remember.

Facebook connected with a Jr. High Friend, now retired. It's surreal to have that opportunity.

That's enough random thoughts for now.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jim Jobe Fun Day

This is the kitchen of a single mother in Mexico who makes less that 60 a week. They make do with very little and have no real space to store and keep the place clean.

I have a loose connection to a group of golfers that have played together for many retirement years. I am kind of like their chaplain. They all retired well and travel and enjoy the life that many in a generation just older than mine expected to enjoy. Corporate jobs, regular promotions, large pensions.

Jim Jobe was one of those kind of men who attracted these kinds of friends. A successful fun loving, game playing midwest retiree who loved Arizona. We played golf and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the home of a good friend, Ross. Almost 40 sweet folks. The golf game featured a different game on each hole. A fun way to score and work together. Prizes were awared from 3M corporation, the company that provided well for Ross and his wife. This was the first golf day to honor Jim who passed during a surgery unexpectedly several months ago. We all miss him.

I am thankful that my love for golf has given me such friends outside my regular church folks. I am thankful that Sun Lakes has neighborhoods and homes that will knock your socks off with ameneties, I mean really fine homes, and then homes more modest like ours, and then downright affordable manufactured homes in our oldest community.

The east coast is locked into a winter blast and we are shirt sleeving our way through an 80 degree gorgeous Friday.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Prophetic Teachers?

A Sandy Beach sunset in Rocky Point Mexico.

There is a small movement within the larger Charismatic movement that focuses of spiritual gifts of dream interpretation, words of knowledge, and prophetic worship. Its kind of like the wild child of the Vineyard Movement. Yesterday they lost a leader to cancer and the movement has been mentioned by several of my facebook friends.

They all mention that this guy had the ability to tell things about them and conversations they had with startling accuracy and then give them concrete direction. Thankfully this man had a major emphasis on character development, but I am still burned by too many memories of the Peter Popoffs and scam artists in past decades.

Why do I have to pay to hear a guy tell me about God's will for my future? If God has a will for my future no one should be listening for it closer than me. Why hear it from a man whose website has a "support me" button the first in the list of buttons.

It's the skeptic in me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Did you know words can hurt you?

The youngest beneficiary of our home building work doing her own thing helping to sweep the van.

The writers at Geico are genius's. Year after year they make penetrating memories to direct you to their message. The Loner who has to be alone runs into The End sign at the end of the movie is hilarious. "Jessie?" She says, wondering why he is flat out on the ground and knocked off his horse.

We had a discussion today about the word miraculous. Are answers to prayer miracles? I was arguing for the smaller definition. A miracle is an observable and temporary suspension of a law of nature or creation. An instantaneous healing, walking on water, multiplying food particles. An unexpected check in the mail is not a miracle even if the timing is amazing and needed. It still was caused by normal rules. The check did not print itself and mail itself and the bank account was not from the bank of God.

On the other had I am arguing for a larger meaning of the word redemption. Larger than our view that when we repent God redeems. I believe He redeemed everyone at the cross both ways in history, weather they repent or not. This larger meaning of redemption is the very ground upon with undeserved grace and unconditional love operate.

Words can hurt and words can help, but lets work real hard to understand the roots and meanings of the words.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Two Days in Rocky Point Mexico

Two three folks to join the large two church crowd finish the Amor Ministry build. There is something very special about these weekends, the young and old folks appreciating each other and working side by side, the bridge between language and culture, and the loving are caring going on all over the place while we change the lives of three people forever.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

No kissing allowed

Laura has a sore throat and a cough and I cannot afford to catch it. Them's the facts Jack, germ swap postponed. But she is still the one and only.

Our new toilet has an impossible method of removing or repairing the toilet seat, we had a frustrating and inventing hour trying to fix it.

Thats the way we spend a Valentines day, no smooching and crouched behind a toilet????

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Weekend for Special Times

Yeah Valentine's Day, Presidents Day, Mardi Gras Weekend. Lot's of celebratin going on. We enjoy Dixieland music on Sunday, and just sent a group to Rocky Point Mexico for the weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The School of Heart Knocks

Cruising around Kauai years ago, I retreat to the cabin after too many snacks and Mai Tais, feeling the rumblings of sea sickness.

Yesterday I had some breakthrough thoughts as I interact with people who are convinced that my version of the story of the Good News is way too good. They sincerely believe I am leaving out the revenge part of God's character, the wrath O God.

I was with a new friend and he espoused a love for a set of books that I think are unworthy of such regard. He was so at peace and so comfortable with the theological worldview they represent that I suddenly saw no need to try to offer a word of caution and correction.

The conflicts of the earlier part of the day when I tried to make a point about how Jesus statements need to be filtered through his dual role as Israel's judge, messiah, and Paul's vision of Jesus as the Savior of the World. Good stuff they all thought was me being a trouble maker.

Anyhow, the Heart Knocks these attempts at bringing what I see as a maturing of the mind, are becoming problematic as I approach retirement and thinking of how I will enjoy what time I have left, be true to my own beliefs, and yes.....become a kinder, gentler, and less dogmatic kind of teacher.

I am journaling and asking my own heart questions looking for answers and shifts in my practice. BTW, the phrase school of Heart Knocks came from the writings of Jeff Turner, none of which I have read, but whose website I perused when someone quoted him. I thought it was cute.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


WWII Memorial in Oahu.

We have veterans of foreign wars in our fellowship. To most of us in America the death of Americans, just like the death of a Jordanian Muslim demands more than sanctions but armed response.

When justice and revenge get mixed you have a formula for unending bloodshed, an assured mutual destruction of civilization forever. There is no telios of peace.

Modern Christian culture has pretty much accepted the fact that Jesus command to love your enemy has no place in international relationships. I personally listen to all sides of the movements for peace and civilization. I have hope.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sometimes I need to be part of something small

Take the quiet small path and walk slowly, observe it and appreciate it.

I have all my life tended to be drawn to big questions and life changing issues that affect all humanity. I ruminate constantly about good and evil, about injustice and hatred, and love and compassion. I question everything all this time and sometimes I cannot shut down the thoughts. They spin and grow and leave and return and simmer and explode with every book I read, piece of news I hear, or thought I think. My brain seems on constant overload.

It's why I multitask so much, to keep from obsessing. I switch from one little task to the other to keep my self in mental movement.

That is why sometimes I need to stop thinking about the big questions and just concentrate on the small world immediately around me. The beauty, the quiet, the insignificant but pleasant diversions of a normal day. It takes a purposeful effort to leave the big questions and live in the smallness of today, here, now.

On my office wall I stare at some scripture verses done artfully, a few favorite sayings in needle point and my 12 inch digital picture frame with over 2000 special vacation moments that also can take my mind off the big thought to some special memories captured. And there next to is is Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night. Ahh, relax, live in the moment for a moment.

Monday, February 9, 2015

An Evening in Holland

We celebrated the Dutch Heritage at our church fellowship dinner last night. Enjoyed the youth ensemble from Valley tChristian High School.
Seeing young people perform and remembering you were once in high school fills you with hope and memories. Loved their songs from Beauty and the Beast and Sound of Music.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Simply Good News

N T Wright has followed Simply Jesus with Simply Good News and they are brilliant and insightful and they point out where western Christianity has gone wrong in believing and sharing the Gospel.

My old brothers from the fisrt half of my life do not care for him because he diminishes the wrathful God punishing Jesus on our behalf concept and actually restores mankinds hope. He is one of the thinkers who will contribute to our current reformation. Thank God. The good news is news, not advice. It is news, not a message about what we have to do to get on God's good side.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday Fun

Had a fun church golf outing at the historic San Marcos course that recently had a major upgrade. The fairways and greens were nice and the weather this week is what everyone hoped it would be last week. 80 degrees and sunny.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Burned Alive?

A destroyed fire fighting engine, a symbol of terrorism at the World Trade Center.

Our outrage internationally of this cruel execution of a fighter pilot of Muslim faith, by radical Muslim terrorists has us understandably shaken. What ever happened to the Geneva Rules of captured enemies.

Our history has a sad string of this painful method of execution by divided people. Catholics against Protestants, Orthodox against supposed heretics. It is barbaric, and evil.

I must state the obvious and say that is why my understanding of the language of scripture makes such references to fire, ie Lake of Fire is that these are figures of speech and not literal. Fire is an element of combustion that has kept us warm, cooked our food, and even runs our combustion engines. Jesus use of Gehenna, (hell is a very bad translation of the word btw.) described a valley, the valley of Hinnom, Ge Henna, outside the south gate of the city of Jerusalem, where the unclaimed bodies of executed criminals were burned along with the rubbish from town, and after war the bodies of enemies killed were burned there, cremated as it were. He warned Israel that there rebellion may cause their enemies to throw their defeated bodies on that heap some day.

The rains washed the ashes towards the Dead Sea, the salty sea where nothing lives. The Jews told stories of fiery pits near the Dead Sea like the ones that rained fire and brimstone upon the residents of Sodom and Gommorah. They called the Dead Sea the Lake of Fire.

The Gospel heralds better things, a newer announcement, good news, that God is actually kind and not cruel, that mercy triumphs over justice, and burning forever in fire that is not quenched is not what literally happens. God help us to find that better story.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mr. Moon, Moon, shiny silver moon

June 2014, our first view of Central Park, NYC

Got up to get gas for Laura before sunrise and the most beautiful moon was setting in the west. Crisp morning air and silence greeted me as I did the chore, and thought about life and health and freedom.

Had someone pay me a compliment yesterday, or perhaps it was a jab. Discussing my Sunday message on redemption being an agreement between God the Father and the Son, before creation, accomplished on the cross, independent of human response.

Are you the only one saying these things? Does anyone else agree with you? It is a truth that we have lost touch with the Good News that a loving God made the first and permanent move toward humanity in bondage and restored humanities hope with Good News. Somehow we have turned the redemption applied method into a human achievement. Did you know words can hurt you? says the funny Geico commercial, yes they can, but really understanding them can set you free from fear and enable you to love those who have not yet realized Gospel truth.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Post 2401

I was joking about American consumerism and the unique experience of Golf and Superbowl week in our state. The weather was bad, someone won the golf tourney on that last nine holes like always, and someone lost the superbowl which allowed someone to win. The half time was gaudy and loud, the snacks and beer consumed and fun had was immense, and the commercials were costly and cute.

It was essential American life and culture....and I love it. The people hauling consumables out of Costco were not buying guns and ammo to protect or kill. We were allowing ourselves to enjoy life without trying to rule the thoughts, hopes, and actions of others.....as long as they respected laws and rights It was all good fun.

Our freedom is precious, and some serious foundations protect it. We began the game singing about our spacious skys and amber waves of grain, which became Doritos, and we heard the rockets red glare of a war to end a divisive time so that huge black college educated men can defend the line and protect talented black and white quarterbacks.

This is America, where I practice my faith and live my life. Let freedom ring, in culture and in gospel. Glad to be back, feeling better on the inside of my spirit.