Archive for June, 2010

4th of July

June 29, 2010

Our community does a great job celebrating the 4th of July.  The day begins with the Noon Lions sponsoring a pancake breakfast at the community center.  Hundreds of people will choose to participate in this event.  Then the town sponsors a parade, normally starting at ten o’clock.  The parade is well attended with crowds lining the streets.  The children are especially excited about the opportunity to gather candy, lots of candy.  Then there are a variety of food booths and activities in the main park.  Those activities normally run into the afternoon.  For the evening fireworks display we drive over to the next town where there is a huge party going on.  In the park and around town, thousands of people are grilling, playing games, buying still more food at more concession stands and generally having a great time.  The fireworks display is outstanding.  Even the huge traffic jam is peaceful and friendly, no honking, as everyone tries to find their way home .

The only problem is that it can be a really long day. 

This year, since the 4th is on a Sunday, the schedule is a little different.  The parade will be at six o’clock Saturday evening, not Sunday morning.  I think that everything else remains the same.  It should be a good time.

Wrongful Protest

June 28, 2010

I understand the desire to protest.  In fact, I would encourage people who feel strongly about an issue to protest actions that are in conflict with their beliefs.  I very much appreciate the freedom that we have in America to freely voice our opinions.  I do not, however, think that protests should be conducted in a way that is illegal, destructive, or violent.  When protests get out of control, they do more harm than good.  The energy that is wasted could be put to a more productive activity.  The individuals who organize protests should strongly encourage the participants to exercise self-control and to remain with the boundaries of the law.   After all, are they working for a change for the common good, or just the adrenaline rush of a fight?

Lesson From A Broken Fan

June 24, 2010

When we brought the fans out of storage this past spring one of the upright fans had become broken.  It had probably been knocked over at some point and the joint where the motor attached to the post was broken.  We made an attempt at a repair and it worked…sort of.

I purchased some new fans.  It looks like it is going to be a long summer, and we try to use the air conditioning as little as possible because we prefer fresh air.  When I replaced the broken one in the kitchen, I started to bring the broken fan to the basement.  Gloria stopped me and asked me what I was doing.  I replied that I was going to keep the fan for replacement parts.  The motor and switch were still good and one of our other fans might go out.  She informed me that I was not going to keep that broken fan around, waiting for a chance to use it.  We have enough clutter as it is.  She was right.  I threw it away…with a twinge of regret over the waste.

I think that sometimes our lives are over filled with things that might be useful, but are really only adding to the clutter and the mess.  I suspect that less clutter, less stuff, less activities, might just possibly mean more.

Reduced to Walking

June 23, 2010

Monday I went out for my ten-mile run.  I attempt a ten-mile run every other week.  I had thought that I might have to run inside because there had been a thunderstorm, put it passed, and I decided to run outdoors. Running outside is greatly preferable to running around a small track that takes fourteen laps to get a mile. 

The only problem is that the sun came out.

Then it got hot.

And muggy.

When I was young, I loved to run on hot, sunny days.

I am not so young anymore.

By the time I reached the turn-around point I realized that it wasn’t going to happen that day.  Only once before, while on a run,have I stopped running and walked.  The remaining five miles I alternated running and walking.  I did manage to complete the course. 

The reason that I had been reduced to walking is that I was concerned about heat issues. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke should be taken seriously.  I do know the symptoms and slowed to a walk when I started to become a little light-headed.   Apparently, I still have sense enough to know when to quit, or at least, to slow down.   I had also marked where there were bodies of water available to douse myself in, if the symptoms became more serious.   I also have the foresight to tell the person working at the gym counter when I should be back, and when to become concerned.   I was back before that time ran out.

Life is like a run.  Sometimes we attempt to do more than we are able to accomplish.  It is important, whether in running, or in life, to know when it is time to make adjustments.  When we can press through, when it is time to walk, and when we should just stop.

Leaking Oil

June 22, 2010

My first motorcycle was a 1979 KZ 750.  I had just been discharged from the Marine Corps and brought the bike back to Minnesota with me.  I was newly married and used the bike as a second means of transportation.  There was no garage where I lived, so it had to sit outside in all kinds of weather. 

I tarped it occasionally.

After a few years, I moved to Iowa.  The bike came with, but again, there was no garage, at first.

Finally we moved into a house that had a garage.

The roof leaked badly, and the garage itself did not warrant repair.  It was quite a few years before we were able to build a new one.

Through all the years, the bike would faithfully start-up each spring.  I did occasional necessary maintenance, but the poor bike was not treated well.

It looked bad, but still ran.

I purchased a different bike, and mentioned to my son that the kaw would go to the first person to give me a hundred dollars.

He gave me a hundred dollars.

That was not what I had in mind.

The bike went off to a friend of mine who did a lot of work on it to make it more dependable for my son who took it back to Minnesota when he went to college.

He rode it up there for two years, putting quite a few miles on it, as his girlfriend lived forty miles away.

Last fall it came back home to Iowa.  It is time for some more TLC.  It is leaking oil from a few places, some of the leaks are pretty bad.  I now have the parts that I need, and hope to get it repaired in time for the 4th of July. 

A friend of mine has often commented that the continuing life of this motorcycle is evidence of the power of prayer.

I could use your prayers the next week or so.

A Lie Often Repeated…

June 21, 2010

I remember twenty-five years ago in seminary reading an article that made the assertion that Jesus was gay.  The only support offered was that at the last supper, John was referred to as the “disciple Jesus loved” and that when they tried to apprehend John in the garden, they grabbed his garment and “he fled away naked”.

Hardly enough to support the conclusion that Jesus practiced a life-style that carried a death sentence under the Mosaic law.

Now in 2010, we have Elton John describing Jesus as a “compassionate, super-intelligent, gay man”.

In this case two out of three is very bad.

I wonder how many people will assume that since Elton John said Jesus was gay, it must be true?

How many people will believe that erroneous conclusion?

The Mosaic law was perfectly clear in its condemnation of homosexual activity.  (Leviticus 18:23 and 20:13)

It is true that Jesus never addressed the issue.  He was speaking to Jews who understood and accepted the Mosaic law.  There was no need for Jesus to address the matter.

Paul, who worked with the Greeks and Romans, (Both the Greek and Roman culture accepted homosexual activity.)  made it clear that in Christianity,  homosexual activity was still a sin.  (I Corinthians 6:9&10, I Timothy 1:8-11 and Romans 1:18-32)

Christians who accept the Bible as the Word of God must recognize that homosexual behaviour is a sin.  Jesus was without sin.  Jesus was not gay.

A lie that is often repeated may be accepted as the truth… but it is still a lie.

How Did You Sleep?

June 15, 2010

“How did you sleep?”  My father-in-law would ask.

“Lying down”  I would reply.

Early in my married life this exchange would take place each morning when we were visiting the in-laws.  I never really understood why my father-in law would ask the question.  It seemed odd to me at the time.  I didn’t always get as much sleep as I would like, but I always slept good.

Now that I am older I understand the question.  There are some nights that I don’t sleep well.  Either my mind is too active, or my body is too sore, or there may be no known reason, but sleep is sometimes elusive.  I now appreciate the value of a good nights sleep, and so I now understand the question.

How did you sleep?

(Oddly enough, my son asked me that very question, just this morning.)

Shopping…

June 14, 2010

My wife likes to shop.

Me…not so much.

There is the weekly chore of shopping for groceries and various household products that I really could live without, but that must be done.

Then there is the occasional shopping for clothes, gifts, and various special purchases.  This is a little better, but still not something that I truly enjoy.

Currently we are in the market for a number of more expensive items.  We gave our couch to our newly married son, thinking it would be nice to get a new couch. 

Our car needs repairs that cost more than the value of the car.

We would like to get a different camper.

We have a limited budget for all of the above, and yet very specific desires regarding what we would like to purchase.

Ugh…

The futility of looking at all the things on the market that are not what we want is starting to wear on me.  Stores, want ads, on-line shopping,… we are utilizing all kinds of resources, and I am sure that we will eventually find the desired stuff, but it is a time-consuming process, and I don’t have a lot of extra time.

Oh well…

I guess I will check for new listings.

Faith Factor

June 10, 2010

The world is filled with a variety of problems.  Pollution, wars, the economy, natural disasters, various assorted personal issues; there are lots of things to cause concern.  Some people are afraid of the future.

Faith eliminates fear.

I believe that God can give us wisdom to know what to do in any circumstance.  I further believe that God can give us the strength to do what we need to do.  Beyond that,  I believe that God is able, and willing, to intervene on our behalf.  Besides, there is the recognition that our true and greatest joy does not originate in the things of this world anyway, and that we have a hope that goes beyond the grave.

Christians have no reason to fear the future.

Stability and Depth

June 9, 2010

I’ve been too busy to have a mid-life crisis. 

Still, it is appropriate to reflect on what has been accomplished in my nearly twenty years of ministry.  From a purely statistical approach, the results would be disappointing.  We have remained roughly the same size for the vast majority of those twenty years.  However I believe that the effect of ministry is not reflected by so simple a means.

I believe that our church encourages people to have a faith that thinks, feels, and acts.  It is important to think about our faith, what we believe, and why we believe it.  We should not shy away from difficult questions that challenge our faith and our way of thinking.  It is also important to have a faith that impacts our emotions.  Our encounters with God, and with each other should provide emotional, as well as intellectual support.  Finally, our faith should propel us to act in a way that is christ-like.  After all, a faith without works is dead.

After twenty years of ministry, I cannot say that we are cutting edge, trendy, or particularly exciting, but we do offer stability and depth.  For some people, that is enough.