Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reflections

It has been some time since I have written anything meaningful here. I have been involved in some mental turmoil recently which has effected my frame of mind. I believe this is mostly the result of recent reports indicating that my health has declined faster than I would had hoped. I have undertaken a serious effort to delay the progress of this decline. Hopefully I will be around for many more years.

At any rate I have been doing a lot of reflecting recently. During my life there have been many ups and down in my walk with the lord. I have no doubt that I am currently attempting to live life as our Lord would have me to, or that I will be with Him in heaven someday. However, I wonder how many I have led astray by my actions. I fear that my many errors and indiscretions have led my children, and perhaps acquaintances, to doubt the truth of the Christian message.

Although I believe that my intentions were always to help them grow into good citizens I was often too stern in my discipline with my children as they were growing up. Indeed by today's standards my actions could often be considered abusive. I do not regret that I tried to hold them to high standards, but I do regret the methodology that I used to accomplish it. I can not go back and undo the past, but I wish that I could.

In addition during periods when it was not convenient to follow the truth I, perhaps like many if not most people, would find some rationalization as to why my actions were really OK. This in spite of knowing down deep inside that it was wrong. So I lied, drank excessively, smoked, swore, ranted, raged, and more.

My children knew that Dad was a hypocrite. They did not and in some cases still do not understand that my failures in living according to Christian principles and practices does not make the Christian teachings wrong or invalid, it simply illustrates that I am just another weak human being that needs Gods love and forgiveness.

I expect that when my life comes to it's inevitable end I will go to spend eternity with God in heaven. I hope to spend that time with my entire family. I want, very badly want, all of my family to end up there with me in spite of my failings. My greatest fear is that because of my poor example they, and perhaps others, will not be among the faithful found there with Him.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Commitment and Revelations


It's been some time since I have blogged here. I have mused about several things in the last few weeks and intended to commit them to writing, but always seem to get distracted. This morning I came here expressly to reveal some of my current thinking on the church, politics, christian service, etc. I find that I am still having trouble focusing on one specific idea, so instead I will direct you to some recent comments that I have been pondering.

I found this article posted this morning in the blog "Pulpit Magazine". I am not always in completed agreement with this source but I can find no argument with this specific article. Actually I think it Nails it pretty well.

I frequently read a blog named, "Pyromaniacs". It is authored by a team of extremely unbending, uncompromising Calvinistic Christians. For those who do not follow various doctrines the largest segment of Calvinistic adherents are the various groups identified as Baptists. The group of folks writing this blog live and breath this stuff in minuet detail.

Now I am personally of a Wesleyan/Armenian (As in Methodist) bent, so I often disagree with them, but they do raise some good points for thought and edification. I especially enjoy reading their ideas regarding some of the emerging/emergent movements, which they despise.

I found today's "Pyromaniacs" discussion of the types or sources of Gods revelations to be very interesting.

They do often have some wild graphics on their site. Today's photo of the mountains reminds me of the view from Sarah Palin's home town of Wasilla, Alaska which I passed through multiple times while working on a church project near there last fall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympics

It has been to long since I posted here. What is heavy on my mind right now is the Olympics and China. More specifically I have been reflecting on the diligence with which the worlds policy makers and the organized media are ignoring or covering up human rights violations there. While many would have us believe that it is no longer practiced or at most minimal, Chinese religious persecution in particular remains unabated, though perhaps somewhat camouflaged.

Western Church leaders have reported that it is minimal after being escorted through carefully orchestrated tours to convince them that this is the case. But this is just another example of the current trend in the West of looking only at what we want to see, while ignoring the obvious. This is the same syndrome that is encouraging many of the current dangerous FAD trends in our church's.

Those who really want to know the truth are invited to visit one or more of the following sites for current information about persecution in China.










Friday, August 8, 2008

Grandpa Time

I haven't forgotten where I left you, I have been enjoying the opportunity of being a full time Grandpa, or Papa Bear, for all of this week.

I am still developing my ideas and will be back to whining soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EC#1 - What is it?

It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep. My head keeps churning with thoughts about the Emerging and/or Emergent Church, What it is and What it isn't. So here is installment one of my emergent whining.

Imagine for a minute that your favorite hospitality host or hostess has prepared a large molded gelatin creation for a special occasion. It was concocted by combining over a gallon of Jello using many layers in a rainbow of different colors and flavors. It looks appealingly beautiful and delicious laying upon the platter on which it has been unmolded.

Now suppose that you attempted to pick it up (not the platter just the Jello) and examine it with your bare hands. If you are familiar with Jello you know that it would crack, splinter, and break apart into many pieces so that it's original form would no longer be discernible. Whatever portion you might be able to hold onto would then melt in your hands leaving behind a sticky goo.

Think of this as a simile of the Emerging/Emergent Church. It is not really a Church, nor does it posses any single or unifying characteristics. It is nearly impossible to define. Yet this amorphous concept has captured the hearts, minds and imaginations of many Christians who are dissatisfied with "Doing Church" in traditional ways.

Features common to most assemblies that are identified with this phenomena include a modern style of music combined with a multimedia delivery as well as mostly unstructured worship or gathering format. The trend is to reject legalistic doctrinal positions in favor of individual discernment. Instead of traditional preaching interactive conversations are frequently the accepted format. Most of these fellowships place a strong emphasis on social activism such as in caring for human needs, community outreach, and environmental responsibility while simultaneously distancing themselves from such issues as abortion rights, homosexuality, and similar long held "moral high ground" positions which they tend to view as more political than spiritual. There is much more but that is enough for the first day.

My overall impression is that like every human invention this one is as imperfect as what it attempts to replace.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The White Note

Wikipedia: "A white paper is a report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions".

Originally, the term white paper was used as shorthand to refer to an official government report, indicating that the document is authoritative and informative in nature. Typically, the purpose of a white paper is to advocate that a certain position is the best way to go or that a certain solution is best for a particular problem. Today, white papers have become popular marketing tools for corporations especially on the Internet since many potential customers search for information on the Web.

On the other hand there is a tendency in our society to write terse, abbreviated notes summarizing things that we perceive as problems. These often incorporate personal prejudice or bias, may be rushed or hurried, and are likely to be published informally. Most blogs are examples of this trend.

Today I have decided to launch a new term into the English language. In contrast to well developed and detailed "White Papers" it seems appropriate to refer to these "Shoot from the Hip" or "Off the Cuff" musings as "White Notes" and I will propose the use of "WHIN" pronounced whine as the acronym. Of course some will inevitably refer to these writings as whining and to their author as a whiner. That doesn't sound very complimentary, but such it is with our language.

To get the ball rolling with my whining I am composing a "White Note" on the emergent church movement or if you prefer "Conversation". I am still getting this summary together - my intend is to place it here within the next few days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Church Today

OK so I haven't been around for awhile. Actually I have been preparing for, going on, and recovering from a vacation (Thank you Lord) in North Carolina. During that time I attempted to let loose of as much mental clutter as possible. It almost succeed but two issues concerning God and his church have been on my mind recently. One revolves around what role the church should play in the political arena and the other concerns the spiritual state of the church and it's involvement with modern culture. So I am getting my thoughts together on these two items and you can expect to find me presenting them soon.

So bear with me for a few more days, I have not fallen asleep yet.

Monday, June 30, 2008

What did you say??

One of my biggest problems with Christianity continues to be with attempting to comprehend holy scriptures. I have a tendency to try to but things in familiar terms, yet much of the culture and events would be totally foreign to those of us living today. William Klein illustrated this nicely in his "Become what you Are" by pointing out that we think of the "Good Samaritan" as good. So much so that we name hospitals for this fictional hero. Klein states "If we had been among Jesus first Jewish hears of this tale, we would have been shocked when he made what to them was a hated half-breed, a Samaritan, the hero of the story - as shocked as a Jew would be today if an Israeli rabbi made a Muslim fundamentalist the sympathetic role model of a sermon."

This was brought out to me vividly yesterday when our pastor preached on the beatitudes. I had never really attempted to analyze them, but on scrutiny they appear to be total nonsense. As an example look at Mat 5:3 - "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." How can being spiritually bankrupt be a blessing?? The answer appears to require some convoluted reverse logic. Which is that when you are totally without hope and in dire dispare you are ready to look for the heavenly reward that can only be obtained by turning to God.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Enjoying Prayer?

I have often heard people speak of enjoying there prayer time, or something similar. It has always left me feeling guilty and a bit perplexed. The truth is that I don't enjoy prayer, I don't like to pray in public, I don't like to pray with a group. Perhaps the discomfort that I feel in such circumstances has even led me to avoid gatherings where I might be expected to pray or to contribute to a round of public prayer. Today the tendency is to conclude that someone who doesn't enjoy prayer, praise, or devotions is not a "GOOD" Christian - - - perhaps that they are not sufficiently "GRATEFUL" to God for his gifts. We are expected to express virtually constant and unbounded thankfulness and joy.

Now I have discovered a dirty little secret. Modern day Christians are in for a surprise. I am not alone! There are many others, primarily men, that feel the same way. In fact during the founding years of our republic the prevailing attitude was that by nature people would not want to pray , to have devotions, or to praise God. Many of the most respected Christians leaders of that time preached and wrote prayers the essence of which was to encourage Christian prayer for the supplicants themselves to receive the desire, wisdom, and understanding to worship God in these ways.

Wow I feel better now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers - Day


Here it is Father's day again. My computer became so difficult to work with last weekend that I took it to the shop early Monday morning and asked them to replace it with a bigger, better, and faster one. Without it here my life would come to a virtual halt so I tried everything I could to get it back ASAP. Although I tried to call in favors (2 of my Son's work there) I did not get it back until Friday. Of course I still need to get all of my "Stuff" back on it where I can find it and do my usual things.

The good news is that all of the kids (and my wife) pooled their resources to pay for it as a Fathers Day present. They couldn't have done better - It will really run circles around my old one.

The heat kept me bottled up inside most of the week. With the computer down I didn't get a whole lot done. I can use the laptop, but I don't like the small keyboard. So I accomplished some odd jobs around here and took the car in for an oil change and "Well Baby Checkup" prior to vacation.

Yesterday Donna cut out to visit our daughter and family in Michigan for a week or so. I know she was anxious to see Ellisa and her boys again and don't really mind, but I do feel somewhat disappointed that she is not here with me today.

Two of my sons were here to help out around the house a bit, and to fix me a "Guy" dinner consisting of Grilled Strip Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli, and a Salad.

I didn't sleep well last night, perhaps too much on my mind right now. I was up most of the night, then when I finally slept I was out until almost noon. I missed Church.

Sometimes when I am not sleeping well I have serial dreams. They are not repeated dreams but are instead continuing sagas or adventures that are loosely rooted in my real life experiences. They are something like "Groundhog Day" except they don't occur with any regularity and the endings change. The situations and locations change but the characters remain pretty much the same. One dream sequence in particular has me staying in the Army for forty years or more being stationed at various imaginary far off intelligence sites. I think that sometime (not always) my enemy during these dreams is some type of supernatural ghost like creatures. It doesn't make any sense and It isn't really a nightmare, but it seems so real that sometimes I have to make an effort to remember that "such and such" event never really happened.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Moving On

The early part of this week continued to be filled with thoughts of Vietnam. I spent many nighttime "Sleeping Hours" and days pondering how I might contribute something to these memories. I researched options at constructing a memorial page. I have not yet settled on anything specific, but feeling that it is closer to a reality has helped me to shake it off and get on with other things. Eventually it will be located here.

I finally spent several hours each of the last three days getting my plants planted. It doesn't look to shabby for as long as I procrastinated. I have a 4'x8' raised bed as my primary site and the rest goes in planters or pots. I learned several years ago that a raised bed with lots of compost and organic fertilizer will be very productive even when plants are crowded tightly together. I guess this my adaptation of the "French Intensive" method. In that one small plot I have 4 tomato and 4 sweet pepper plants, basil, thyme, parsley, sage, oregano,rosemary, and several varieties of lettuce. They continue to do well each year. Initially I had filled the bed with sand, topsoil, and compost. Now each year I add organic fertilizer, compost, and a bit of topsoil to replace that which was washed away or carried off in the roots of old crops.

I can only work out in the cool part of the day. My very poor circulation results in a low tolerance for heat. So I have been forced back into the air conditioned house when it warms up during the day.

Also I have a lot of upkeep to do on the Church web site as the calender suddenly turned up blank. So of course my primary computer is totally refusing to work. I am reduced to working on the laptop and I hate the "compact" keyboard layout.

Finally I have also been planing for our beach vacation in three weeks. For several years now we have been renting a full sized sedan to drive to North Carolina. With the price of the car and gas we have decided to take my compact (Read LITTLE) Saturn Ion this year. That means many cuts on "Things to Bring". We are considering renting the linen down there. I have nightmares when I think of Beach Chairs and Boggy Boards.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Those who didn't come home

I decided to go ahead and post "the accepted" list of those ASA soldiers who didn't make it back from Viet Nam. I know of some others who I believe should be included.

Note: Somewhere along the line it was decided by the Brass that there were to be no ASA units in RVN, so in a move that could only make sense to a politician, the unit names were changed from ASA to RR.

James Davis was considered to be the first member of the American Army killed on the ground in RVN. I was on orders to go with him - mine were canceled but he was left on - It really makes me think!!

SP4 James T. Davis, 3rd Radio Research Unit, 22 Dec 1961 (Panel 01E - Line 4)
PFC Donald R. Taylor, 3rd Radio Research Unit, 9 Feb 1964 (Panel 01E - Line 43)
SP4 Arthur Glover, 3rd Radio Research Unit, 9 Feb1964 (Panel 01E - Line 43)
SSG Robert F.Townsend, 10th Radio Research Unit, 4 Nov 1965 (Panel 03E - Line 20)
SSG Donald D. Daugherty, 3d Radio Research Unit, 13 Apr 1966 (Panel 06E - Line 109)
Lt William E. Leatherwood Jr., 8th Radio Research FS, 17 Feb 1966 (Panel 05E - Line 42)
CPT James D. Stallings, 337th Radio Research Co, 25 Sep 1966 (Panel 11E - Line 18)
1LT John F. Cochrane, 409th Radio Research Det, 24 Oct 1966 (Panel 11E - Line 102)
SFC John F. Stirling, 335th Radio Research Co, 8 Mar 1967 (Panel 16E - Line 42)
SP5 William L. Stewart Jr., 8th Radio Research FS, 8 Oct 1967 (Panel 27E - Line 77)
SP4 Richard G. Feruggia, 8th Radio Research FS, 8 Oct 1967 (Panel 27E - Line 70)
SP4 Terrance H. Larson, 8th Radio Research FS, 8 Oct 1967 (Panel 27E - Line 74)
SP4 Robert D. Nelson, 8th Radio Research FS, 8 Oct 1967 (Panel 27E - Line 74)
SP4 Joseph P. Rowly, 8th Radio Research FS, 8 Oct 1967 (Panel 27E - Line 78)
SP4 John D. Saville Jr., 8th Radio Research FS, 8 Oct 1967 (Panel 27E - Line 76)
SP4 Ronald A.Villardo, 8th Radio Research FS, 8 Oct 1967 Panel 27E - Line 69)
SFC Robert D. Taylor, 335th Radio Research Co, 26 Nov 1967 (Panel 30E - Line 95)
SGT Diego Ramirez Jr., 335th Radio Research Co, 26 Nov 1967 (Panel 30E - Line 93)
SP5 Michael P. Brown, 335th Radio Research Co, 26 Nov 1967 (Panel 30E - Line 88)
WO1 Milton Warren Smith, 138TH Avn Co (RR), 29 December 1967 (Panel 32E - Line 097)
WO1 Jonathan P. Shaffer, 138TH Avn Co (RR), 29 December 1967(Panel 32E - Line 097)
CPT John M. Casey, 371st Radio Research Co, 25 Mar 1968 (Panel 46E - Line 14)
SP4 Christopher Schramm, 371st Radio Research Co, 13 May 1968 (Panel 60E - Line 1)
SP4 Jeffrey W. Haerle, 372d Radio Research Co, 13 May 1968 (Panel 59E - Line 22)
SP5 Samuel C. Martin, 101st Radio Research Co, 17 May 1968 (Panel 62E - Line 8)
SGT Thomas J. Tomczak, 403d Special Opns Det, 23 Jul 1968 (Panel 51W - Line 46)
SP5 Harold Biller, 175th Radio Research Co, 25 Feb 1969 (Panel 31W - Line 43)
SP5 Harold J. Colon, 409th Radio Research Det, 21 Jun 1969 (Panel 22W - Line 103)
CW2 Jack K. Knepp, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969 (Panel 15W - Line 5)
WO1 Dennis D. Bogle, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969 (Panel 15W - Line 3)
SP4 James R. Smith, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969 (Panel 15W - Line 8)
PFC Henry N. Heide II, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969 (Panel 15W - Line 4)
SP4 Robert E. Dew, 330th Radio Research Co, 30 Aug 1970 (Panel 07W - Line 24)
SP5 Carl H. Caccia, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971 (Panel 05W - Line 127)
SP5 Robert J. Thelen, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971 (Panel 05W - Line 130)
SP5 Robert J. Potts, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971 (Panel 05W - Line 129)
SP5 Mitchell B. Smith, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971 (Panel 05W - Line 130)
WO1 Paul V. Black, 371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 13)
WO1 Robert D. Uhl, 371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 15)
SP5 Gary C. David, 371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 13)
SP4 Frank A. Sablan, 371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 15)
CPT Michael W. Marker, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 21)
WO1 Harold L. Algaard, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 20)
SP6 John T. Strawn, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 22)
SP5 Richard J. Hentz, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 21)
SP5 Rodney D. Osborne, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971 (Panel 04W - Line 21)
SP5 Larry P. Westcott, 8th Radio Research FS, 30 Mar 1972 (Panel 02W - Line 125)
SP5 Bruce A. Crosby Jr., 8th Radio Research FS, 30 May 1972(Panel 02W - Line 125)

Ghosts of the Past

I have been struggling for a week or so regarding Memorial Day and my feelings regarding it. It seems to get harder each year for me to reflect upon it. Several times I have driven to DC and visited the Wall on Memorial Day early in the morning before all of the hullabaloo starts. During my 20 plus years in the Army I belonged to the Army Security Agency which was staffed by a small group of individuals that were assigned to a very limited group of units throughout their entire carrier. As a result you often worked with the same folks over and over at different locations. Friendships developed that were sort of like a family.

During the Vietnam era I lost several of these friends. I have intended to put up a memorial page for some time now. Although there are other memorial sites for these hero's somehow I think it will be cathartic if I create one also. If I do I want it to be just right, so I just haven't gotten it done, and this leaves me feeling a bit guilty.

While I enjoy the opportunity to spend extra time with members of my biologically family I morn for those from this extended family, so it's a weekend of mixed feelings. But The Lord knows my needs and helps me to deal with these issues.

A colleague from my days working as an electronics instructor sent me this link to a "Battle Hymn of the Republic" presentation by public school children. I found it inspiring, perhaps all hope for our country is not yet gone!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Endings

The last few weeks have often found me tired, frustrated, and irritable. It seems that I have been running behind and operating at half power. I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday getting a radio put in my car for the trip to Dayton. Late last night I discovered that one of the cables needed to finish the job was too short. It was too late to change it so I left it with a temporary fix of laying the control-head and readout on the seat instead of mounted to the dash. Everything does seem to work though. It is nice to have the radio back.

I have not found time to think much, to get my garden in the ground, or to carve a new letterboxing stamp.

Today I received a reward though. Arriving in Dayton in the early afternoon with little to do except get settled in the motel, I decided to check out local letterboxes. I found a location nearby, drove there and located 3 boxes, plus a hitchhiker. I had a great time and received a needed attitude adjustment. Life has it's small rewards and this hectic week has had a Happy Ending. If you would like to learn more about the boxes check out my 1SG blog.

Thank you Lord - You knew that I needed that.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day

I Think Donna had a good Mothers Day today. I chose to post most of my thoughts on another of my blogs, so if you are interested go to my 1sg site.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Better and Better

Yes things are getting better an better, or should I say returning to normal. It looks like 2 more weeks before my regular routine will resume. Donna is getting around pretty well by herself now. She even drove some today in the 'hood running errands and getting her nails done. She has tickets for an Indians Game next Monday night and we think she will be up to going.

She found a Queen sized bed in the newspaper yesterday, we called, made a trip to check it out, and bought it. A friend from church agreed to haul it home for us on the roof of his van, but the only time he had available was at 8:00 this morning. It took four hours to haul it home and get the whole Kit'n Kaboodle setup. It came as a matching ensemble including: head board, frame, mattress, box springs, mattress pad, bed ruffle, 2 sets of sheets, 4 pillow cases, comforter, curtains, and throw pillows - plus a 3rd set of non-matching sheets and pillow cases. The whole thing is very nice.

Now both of our downstairs bedrooms are equipped with beds suitable for adult guests. Two of our children and their families will be visiting with us over the Memorial Day weekend. Our other 2 boys are local so we hope to celebrate Mother's day with the whole crew over the long weekend.

My garden is at least started and I have reviewed how the Ham radio for my car operates. I have a lot scheduled for next week. The task loaming at me now is the need to get the Ham rig in and operational by next Wednesday. Also I want to carve my letterboxing stamp to prepare for boxing with family while they are her.

I still miss having time to muse on the wonders of life, and my relationships with god and family, but expect that will return soon enough.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Becoming Normal?

It seems as though things around my household are beginning to return to normal, or at least what passes for normal around here. Donna is able to get around quite well now, Her medication schedule has diminished to only a few things that she hasn't normally taken, I am not needed for near as many fetch and carry choirs, and our schedule is not dictated by Ice.

She was sent home from the hospital with a sort of ice pack on steroids called an "Iceman". It is 12 pack size cooler with a circulating pump that squirts ice water in and out of an ice bag through hoses. The bag looks like a somewhat distorted head of Mickey Mouse, ears and all. It seems to do a great job of reducing the pain and swelling, but I am forever buying ice to feed it. The ice maker in the fridge doesn't have a prayer of keeping up with it's appetite.

We still have twice a week physical therapy sessions and doctors appointments. It was Her right knee that they replaced so we don't know when she will be able to drive herself around, I may be the chauffeur for several more weeks. She can't stand being cooped up in the house so I am frequently taking Her someplace.

Thankfully friends from our church, as well as a few of hers from work, have kept us well supplied with meals so that I have had to cook and clean up very little. In fact we have to worry that we don't waste food.

All together I am very pleased at the rate of her recovery and think she (therefor we) will be quite happy that she had the knee taken care of.

I do have much to do the next few weeks. The garden plants need to get in the ground, I have to get a ham radio into my car before the Dayton HamVention of the 15th. From Dayton I am off to Toledo for a family birthday celebration - my Grandson is five already. If Donna is still not up to Driving for an hour and a half to Toledo I will need to swing back by home to get her.

Last night, for the first time in weeks, I was not totally exhausted and actually found myself embracing and reflecting on a few philosophical thoughts. Perhaps soon I will return to my regular pattern of activity. Until then!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The first week home with a new knee

It's hard to believe it's been a week since my last post. Frankly I have not had time to think on much of anything during this period. Donna, my wife, had here knee replaced and is now home. She needs assistance with many activities at this point. Also there are many "extras" in her schedule such as a complex pill routine, ice-packs, shots, therapy, exercises, doctors, etc. I had already struggled with getting things done so this has been a challenge for us both. It looks as though it will be several more weeks before things resume some normalcy around here.

Pray for us both.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday and the Geese

Sunday: The Church had a 50th Anniversary bash starting at 10 and going till 5. I stayed for the whole thing, came home feeling beat up, then off to the hospital. I finally settled at home in time to catch the 10 pm news then crashed. I maintain the church Website, so I have much work to do catching up on it, plus kitchen cleanup, laundry, tending to my garden sprouts, running to the hospital, picking up things Donna will need when She comes home, & etc. The railing for the steps that lead upstairs from the house entrance were taken down to paint a few years ago, then she decided they needed replaced - it never got done. Now I need to get it back up before she comes home so she won't fall on the steps. Did I say that I have difficulty getting around myself, I feel a bit overwhelmed right now.

Back to Geese: My daughter Ellisa tells me she is not a Goose Fan, so whats the big deal with them! (The following is a digest of much material I have read on the subject - little is my original thought, and some might be termed outright plagiarism).

The term `Celtic Church’ is used to describe almost the earliest native form of Christianity in the islands of Britain and Ireland, it dates from around 400. The Celtic Church established itself as the most successful evangelistic movement Britain has ever seen. The Celtic Christians, led by St. Patrick, stood in stark contrast to their Roman Catholic counterparts (although Celtic Christianity was a part of Roman Catholicism, their ways were significantly different). The Celtic Christians were more a “Do as I do” tribe rather than a “Do as I teach” group. This meant that those outside of the Christian faith saw the Celtic Christians living the Christian life and were both amazed and interested in becoming a part of the faith. Conversely, when you think of Christians you know, which of their lives is so attractive that you just can’t stand to not be like them?

Which brings me to the wild goose. The Celts looked at nature and saw God revealed in all His glory and they understood God best when they took symbols from what they experienced. The Holy Spirit was symbolized by the wild goose. Doves were docile and delicate, but the wild goose was untamable, free, and unpredictable. Instead of a soft coo, the wild goose was noisy - it's raucous honk was strong, challenging, strident, unnerving and just a bit scary. And it seemed always to be on the move—on a pilgrimage ordained by the Lord Himself.

In much the same way the Spirit of God can be, demanding and unsettling. Think about the story of Pentecost, and the impression the disciples made on the crowd. During the Festival of Weeks each person was to bring to God a special gift in proportion to the blessing the Lord had given to him. All daily work was to be set aside. The people were to gather and worship and rejoice before the Lord. Who was invited? “You, your sons and daughters, your men servants and maid servants, the Levites in your towns, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you.” In other words, just about everyone was invited. Jerusalem was crowded on that first Pentecost. No wonder so many different languages were being spoken. On that day, the disciples were all gathered together in one room. Suddenly they heard the sound of the wind blowing fiercely. This mighty wind was not blowing outside the house, but inside.

Even more amazing, as the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks like wildfire they all began to speak in other languages. Suddenly those cosmopolitan Jews from various nations of the world were hearing the disciples of Jesus tell their story. And strangely, each of them was hearing the story in their own language. Without interpreters.

And they were both amazed and baffled. “Aren’t these all Galileans?” they asked. Galilee was Hicksville as far as they were concerned. Where did these simple followers of Jesus learn to speak in various languages? It was all a mystery.

Some people, of course, were turned off by all the raucous activity and accused the disciples of being drunk. But they were not drunk. The scripture says simply that the Spirit of God had come upon them. Its one thing for a gentle dove to descend peacefully on Jesus – it’s something all together different when the Spirit descends like a wild, noisy goose!

I can't think of a better description of what it's like to be led by the Holy Spirit than a wild goose chase. When you follow the Wild Goose you'll go places and meet people and do things you never dreamed of. Kids love chasing butterflies and other things, it's almost like we have a chasing gene. It's part of our DNA. We need something to chase. So we grow up and we stop chasing butterflies. But we still need something to chase. So guys chase girls and girls chase guys. We chase academic or athletic or artistic goals. We chase degrees. We chase dreams. Then we graduate and we chase positions.

And then something happens: we stop chasing and start settling. The problem with that is this. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Without a vision the people perish." In other words, when you stop chasing your God-given dream you start dying! We need something to chase. It's the way God has wired us. But too many of us stop chasing or we're chasing the wrong thing. You were created to chase the Wild Goose. Anything less than chasing God is settling for second best.

A life following in the tailwind of the wild goose. That’s the kind of life that calls to our innermost being and awakens the lethargic longings within. The problem is, I know few Christians who have discovered the flight path.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hospital and Park

Yesterday was filled with trips to the hospital to keep my wife company. The time between trips was filled with paying bills, eating, shopping for Her, a visit to a crafts store to get some letter-boxing ideas, and a visit to a local park to discover some letterboxes.

I am still thinking about the Geese and almost ready to publish some more on them, stay tuned.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Running, running, running

So just a quick update. My wife Donna now has a mechanical knee. Do to an error at the hospital she has not been able to receive the intended amount of pain medication. Therefor she is not sleeping well. They are pumping her with a lot of Morphine to make up for the missing meds. I have not seen her in this much of a stupor for years. It is funny to try to talk with her.

At any rate trying to do chores and make visits is taxing my own physical abilities right now.

My daughter Ellisa first got me interested in blogging a few months back and I find that I am enjoying it. Now she has introduced me to "Letterboxing" which really sounds fun and intriguing. I think I will try getting involved with it to get me out and about more. When I do I will probably blog about that too. I have another blog which I have set up, but haven't used where that will probably go.

I will try to talk more about where the wild goose goes soon.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dove or Goose

This has been an unusual week mostly because my wife has been off schedule. She is preparing to have her knee replaced next Tuesday which has resulted in many extra activities for us both. She did take me to see the Indians beat the White Socs Wednesday night. She is quick to remind me that the tickets are hers. She is a baseball nut so for her birthday last year I gave her 2008 partial season (20 game) tickets for two people along with garage parking passes. She will probably miss a couple of games now because of her knee replacement. I am also trying to prepare for planting my garden and getting a Ham Radio installed into the car I picked up last fall. So all-in-all I have been running is circles. To further complicate things I blew out a tire resulting in my car going to the shop twice. Once for a new tire and alignment. Then for replacement of my brake routers which they discovered were bad while replacing the tire.

The other day I discovered mention that in the early Celtic Christian church the accepted symbol of the Holy Spirit was not the dove, but the goose. As I am of Scottish/Irish decent, I became interested and researching I found quite a bit of material. Here are some preliminary thoughts on the nature of geese which I wanted to get down.

I tend to like this symbol, geese are a wonderful species. Together in flocks they accomplish more than they could individually. They will lead when called upon, but defer to others when that is appropriate. They care for each other when flying in formation even to the extent of staying behind in support of another which is sick or wounded. They give each other encouraging honks as they fly above us. If you have ever been around geese you are aware that they can be rather pushy and independent if you try to direct them the wrong way.

I have some thoughts on the spiritual aspects of this which I intend to digest a bit before posting.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sakura

The Cherry Trees in the Nations Capitol are now in bloom. It is when this occurs in the early spring that I most enjoy the beauty that God has given to us. The Japanese culture has taken admiration of natural beauty to a level that resembles religious devotion. Hanami, the viewing of Sakura or cherry blossoms is a vibrant example which many regard as a National holiday period know as "Sakura Matsuri" or Cheery Blossom Festival. I have been privileged to enjoy sharing it with them in Hirisaki. One of the best known songs of Japan, Sakura, relates to this tradition.

Nearly everyone has at sometime related "Communing with Nature" to a spiritual experience, which in many respects it is. However an often heard argument the gist of which is "I don't need church - this is how I keep in touch with God" reveals that even the most beautiful things can have a negative side.

In considering that argument two truths pop out at me. First contemplation and admiration of the peaceful, quiet and intricately beautiful aspects of our natural world does not make us good, peaceful, quite, fair, principled, virtious, or likable beings or societies. Many of the worlds most violent and despotic individuals and governments have espoused world views that Honored Nature and respected the environment. Merely having a spiritual experience or orientation or feeling good, does not equate to being Godly. Secondly Christianity is not about us being fulfilled individually, the purpose and vision of the Christian community should be to meet others, with God's love, at the place of their need.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back to Normal?

The Saturday Night Dinner at a local Italian restaurant went well. Easter Sunday was pretty typical, a very good and well attended Morning Service, Then a Family Dinner. It was nice to have all of our clan together. Monday the ladies went shopping, and on Tuesday we took the young ones to the Children's museum. They enjoyed the chance to run and play with others. Wednesday the last of them left for home.

Unfortunately I came down with a wicked intestinal bug which resulted in my spending all day yesterday and much of today alternating between sleeping and visiting the bathroom. Now I feel pretty normal. I wonder how many kids who were at the children's museum will get sick.

As the events of the resurrection were related during the Easter morning service I was reminded of a detail which I had heard recently regarding the cloth which had covered the face of Jesus in the tomb. John states that it was found folded up and laid aside. This is in contrast to the shroud which had simply been tossed aside. The symbolism of this relates to an ordinary practice in Hebrew households of that time wherein if the master were to rise from the table and toss his napkin aside it would indicate that he was finished. However if it is folded and laid to the side it indicates that he is not yet done, others are obliged to wait for him to return and finish. These are the details we often miss from our distant vantage point.

I am frequently amazed at the detail within detail of biblical accounts. I can read or hear the same story over and over, yet each time find something new in it for me. Also I notice that when a new point is brought to my attention it is often reinforced by receiving it from several sources withing a short period of time. God surely knows how to get my attention when dealing with me.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Saturday

Tomorrow we will celebrate Easter with most of the family. My eldest son and his wife drove into the area early yesterday afternoon. That was good timing as we were blessed with about four inches of snow last night. I am reminded of a line from a "Golf Trail" commercial, the gist of it is "Winter is something to be endured". Today my daughter and her family are driving down from near Detroit and are running into problems on the road. All are converging here for a family birthday dinner tonight. Our youngest son turned 27 recently.

Last night the wife and I attended a Tenebrae Good Friday Service. At one point the tale was told of the Garden at Gethsemane. Somehow I seemed to feel justified upon being reminded that even the disciples of Jesus had difficulty staying alert and attentive during long periods of prayer and meditation . Perhaps there is some hope for me yet.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Here it is Good Friday. It looks like all of my descendants (Four children, two spouses, and 2 grandchildren) will be in town for the Easter Weekend it I am really looking forward to visiting with them. I have been spending time contemplating the full meaning of Christ's death on the cross as a gift to us. Presently I am exploring the "Centering Prayer" concept. I have experimented a bit but with no conclusions. I would like to examine it more closely before committing to it. I have concerns about perhaps inappropriate similarity to TMD and ZEN practices.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First Blog

OK, so I finally have this setup so that I can perhaps stand to look at it for now.
I am posting this just to test and experiment.