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.