Thursday, September 30, 2010


I was reading a blog post by the General Secretary of United Methodist Communications -- 19 Ways I Used my iPad while traveling in Africa.

If he could list the ways he uses technology in his work (which is ministry) then so could I (although 19 might be a stretch for my tired mind.)

  1. Obviously, I use my computer all the time at work, for so many different things that to list then all would be more than anybody would want to read. Suffice it to say I use my computer, a lot.
  2. I blog.
  3. I email a devotional from our church that I'm convinced flies on the wings of angels to its readers.
  4. I can read the Bible on my iPhone with an app.
  5. When we travel for work, and need a phone number, I have an app for that.
  6. A new thing -- I send out a prayer concerns list to our church email list each week.
  7. Like the General Secretary, I like Dropbox.
  8. I connect with people across our Annual Conference through Facebook.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


My oldest son is a senior at Huntington High. He’s taking a class called Herpetology – a class about reptiles. We have a new rule at our house – he is not allowed to bring his homework home.

He tells me stories about his work in the class – it involves hands-on care of snakes, lizards and turtles. Snakes, I have been told, have an eye cap – a scale, sometimes called spectacles – over their eyes. When they shed their skin, these eye caps are shed, too. As shedding approaches, the eyes turn a milky blue, indicating that the cap is releasing and is ready to be shed. During this time, the snake can’t see very well, and it gets nervous and jumpy.

All it takes to make me nervous and jumpy is Grant’s stories about snakes, but anyway….

One of his snakes was just about ready to shed, and Grant had it out on the table to do whatever it was he needed to do that day to take care of it. The snake felt something bump up against its body, and it was jumpy – it couldn’t see what it was bumping into it – so the snake struck at it. When the snake bit down, it realized it was biting its own tail. It dropped its tail, and hung its head; Grant decided the snake was embarrassed by what it had done.

I believe that like the snake, there are parts of me that I need to shed in order to be able to see – in order to be able to react to the person on my doorstep. There are parts of me that I need to shed in order to see through the eyes of Christ.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vision on a Horse

Follow me through these thoughts, even though they are random*.

I was reading the Bishop's post this evening about his four hobbies -- reading, gardening, historical research and ham radio operation. He advises us all to find a hobby. Do you have a hobby?

I have several, but the one that comes to mind is knitting -- I'm sure I've mentioned that before.
Hold that thought.

I then surfed over to Tuesday's Lectionary Leanings. Many of the ministers who posted there for the week are considering the use of Habakkuk for their sermons. A verse from the passage (Habakkuk 2:2)
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
Hold that thought.

In knitting there is a rule. If you make a mistake and wonder if you should "rip" out your knitting to correct it, ask yourself this question -- If someone were wearing this garment, riding a horse that went by, would someone watching notice the mistake? If not, then leave it in.

Would someone running by our churches see our vision? Is it plainly written on tablets so that a runner may read it? I mean that metaphorically. Is our vision so plain in what we do that someone who didn't know us, who just came in for worship, or for help, or to a community meeting in the building, or to drop his child off for preschool -- running through our faith community -- see our vision in what we do, in how we treat people?

Is our vision noticeable in our actions?

* I kind of cringe at the word random. Each year, in my old job, we would have Research Day. Students would present their research to those gathered. Inevitably, one of them would say, "Patients were randomly assigned to two groups." Mistake. This phrase was a red flag to one particular physician -- a physician who was usually serving as a judge. Whenever he heard this phrase, he would ask a challenging question. "How did you randomly assign them?" Usually, the answer was that patients went by turns into different groups. Eini-mene-mini-mo is not random. True random assignment requires a random number generator. My thoughts in this post are not random -- they are just oddly strung together!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Lazarus and Dives

I preached on Sunday using Luke 16:19-31 as the gospel reading. This is the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Here is part of the sermon:

I read a commentary by William Barkley in which he describes the two main characters. The first one has no name. He is traditionally called Dives, which is Latin for rich, but really, he is unnamed. Dives lives the life of luxury. He wears purple robes and fine linen – these are priests’ robes, and they cost many times more than a daily wage. He feasts everyday – and the word used for feasts is one that means to eat exotic and gourmet foods – and he does this every day. There is no mention of the work he did, or his life at all, except the luxury in which he lived. The picture the parable paints of Dives is one of self-indulgence.

Compare him to Lazarus. Lazarus is named – in fact, he is one of the only named characters in any of the parables. He name means “God is my help.” He is a beggar, living on Dives doorstep. He is covered in sores, so weak that he can’t even stop the dogs from licking his wounds. He is waiting for the crumbs from Dives’ table. In those days, there weren’t forks and spoons or napkins. When rich people needed to clean their hands as they were eating, they wiped them on bread and then dropped the bread on the floor. That’s what Lazarus is hoping for -- bread used to clean Dives’ hands.

What is it that Dives has done wrong? He doesn’t stop Lazarus from living on his doorstep -- he doesn’t have anyone chase him away. He doesn’t refuse him the crumbs from his table. He doesn’t seek to have him punished for being a beggar. He doesn’t complain about him or react to him in any way.

The problem is that Dives doesn’t see Lazarus. Lazarus might as well be invisible to the rich man. According to Barkley, the sin of Dives is that he could look upon the pain, the need, the grief and sickness of Lazarus and not feel anything – not feel compassion – not act in love to help Lazarus. In fact, at the end of the parable, when Dives is asking Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers, Abraham’s answer almost leads us to believe that if Dives and his brothers aren’t moved by the person on their doorstep, then even someone rising from the dead wouldn’t convince them.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


In Sunday school today, we discussed a passage from Exodus 34:6-7

The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed,
‘The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
yet by no means clearing the guilty,
but visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
and the children’s children,
to the third and the fourth generation.’
Marv began his lesson by asking how we rectify the image of a God that requires adherence to law in the Old Testament and a God of grace in the New Testament?

What about the contradiction of a God who forgives iniquity and transgression and sin and yet does not clear the guilty, visiting iniquity to the third and fourth generations?

Betsy had an excellent explanation. Consider littering. Consider a person who tosses a plastic water bottle out the window of a car. You will be forgiven for the sin, but the consequence of the sin remains for generations.

God forgives our sins and yet he does not promise to remove the consequences of the sin.

I also think we can be reassured by the description of a God who will love us for 1000 generations. I think that might just be another way to say forever.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Backyard Deer


Friday, September 24, 2010


Music -- questions from Friday Five:

  1. Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?) I like to sing; I like to listen to other people sing. Singing is not my talent (I may have mentioned that before), but it is a way God speaks to me. I love to sing in worship and alone in the car -- I'm probably louder in the car when I'm alone!
  2. Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience. I started attending the church where I am now a member when I was in high school. Almost every hymn was new to me; I've had to learn them all. Because of that, I love to explore new (to me) hymns and songs. I love that they are new (to me). I make it a game to figure out the tune before the end of the singing. Our youth group went on "tour" each summer, and singing was a big part of that, so music played a large role in my association with the United Methodist Church.
  3. Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall? I love music in worship. What I don't love is music during prayer -- I find my mind distracted by the words. I can't put my own words together in prayer if I am listening to someone else's words. Other than that, music is an important part of worship for me.
  4. Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things! I like words. I like to hear the message of the music through the words. Because of that, instrumental music is less appealing to me than vocal music, and vocal music with words I cannot understand (like Latin words or words sung in such as way as to be hard to understand) are less worshipful to me.
  5. What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points! My go to music for worship is probably contemporary music -- music I can sing to is best.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bachelor Button


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Radical Purchase

One of the lectionary readings this week is from Jeremiah. As the Chaldeans are approaching Jerusalem, Jeremiah is approached by his uncle and asked to buy his land.

Thank about that for a moment. Jeremiah knows, because God has told him, that the people of Judah will go into exile, and that he will be forced to leave the country. The worst is coming, in the form an invading army, and someone is asking him to buy land? How crazy is that?

Jeremiah comes to understand that God is leading him to make this purchase, so he does.

How often are we willing to follow God down a road that leads around such strange corners that we doubt the wisdom of our actions? Do we follow God anyway? Or do we stop, and convince ourselves that God wouldn't ask this of us?

How brave was Jeremiah to follow through on his radical, crazy action?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Intellectual Pursuits

I attended a lecture at our church this evening as part of Convocation Week. Dr. Steven Kopp, president of Marshall University (and member of the church) presented a seminar concerning the role of Higher Education in the formation of ethics and in spiritual development.

It was very interesting, and I thought I would share a few tidbits of his talk:
  • Education is not just about intellectual pursuit, but should be holistic, involved in the development of the person -- mind, body and spirit.
  • Education is the pursuit of truth, harmony and enlightenment -- fulling our potential as humans.
  • Humans are meaning-seeking creatures. If we don't find meaning in religion, we will look for it where we think we might find it instead.
  • What matters most is not what you believe but how you conduct your life.
  • Questions to ask yourself -- What is your spiritual quest? What is your calling?
  • Limitations of who we are and what we can be are self-imposed.
  • The way we act on Sunday is either a reflection of our authentic selves or .....
  • No one can give you an education.
  • We tend to favor things that are easy, but our success is assured. The challenge is to take on the "hard thing." We need to take intellectual risks.
  • Life is not about being perfect, but instead about the pursuit of perfection -- growth.
  • The same hand that fashioned us -- created us -- will open our eyes so that we can see.
  • That which is fossilized cannot adapt.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Three Links

Links you may want to explore:

  • Go read this sermon on Reflectionary -- "...and he eats with them.".
  • Go read this children's moment, also on Reflectionary -- Lost and Found.
  • "Jesus did not establish any denominations" on Bishop Lyght's blog. This post explores our work regardless of denomination affliation.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Renewal of our Minds

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

This was the scriptural basis of the sermon today.

It's a great scripture. Offer everything you are -- yourself as a living sacrifice to God.

What does it mean to be transformed by the renewing of your mind?

There are times -- most of the time, actually -- when I yearn for Bible study. I crave it, and when I am able to participate in it, I bask in it. I soak it in, like a sponge does water. It changes how I view the world; it changes my faith and my formation in it. It's important.

I don't believe, though, that transformation of the mind is solely an intellectual pursuit. I wonder if transformation of the mind involves allowing God to change how we see the world, how we interpret what is happening around us. I wonder if perhaps renewal of our minds means that we set aside our preconceptions and allow God to reorder our view -- how our mind works.

God transforms. I think it is necessary for us to place ourselves in an accepting attitude, but we can't do the transformation. Study will help -- it will open our minds to God's work, but the change itself is God's work in us.

We offer our bodies -- and our minds -- to God, as a living sacrifice.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hallelujah Capturing the Moon

Image: Albert Palley's Hallalujah at the Clay Center in Charleston. Can you see the moon?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Communion of Saints

I attended a funeral yesterday. I've never been to a funeral that included communion.

I immediately liked the idea of it. We call it the communion of saints. The minister who was officiating called it an appetizer for what was to come. we partake of communion, and we share it with those around us and with the whole church -- even those who have gone before us. What better way to celebrate the life of the person who has died than to share this meal?

Monty said that in communion we remember (the past), experience (the present) and anticipate (the future).


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Too tired to write.

We went to Charleston this evening for the Unity Dinner -- a fundraising dinner for the Council of Churches. Kathy Matea was the vocalist for the evening. She told us about growing up in Cross Lanes,and attending church in Nitro. She said the church in Nitro was where she set her compass for life.

I like that.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Struck by Grace

I've started reading Bishop Robert Shnase's new book Five Practices of Fruitful Living. In the first chapter he talks about being struck by grace. He quotes Paul Tillach:
We don't have to promise anything at that time, for in that moment we are fundamentally the recipients of a promise. We don't have to give anything; only to receive what is given. Our only and singular task is to accept that we are accepted.
When we accept that we are loved, we are struck by grace.

We often marvel at a love so profound that God would send his only son to demonstrate that love. We strive to understand the depth of that love.

But what if, even if we could understand that profound of a love, we would only be grasping the edge of it? What if God's love is than that? We can't imagine that God's love could be that deep, because we care barely grasp that kind of love.

I think the truth is that God's love is deeper than we can even imagine. Stronger. Bigger. Even more than the edge of what we can dream of.

Accept that, and be struck by grace.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I was at lunch the other day when I noticed a sign on the wall with a saying on it. Sometime I think that sayings hung on the wall or sent out in email might sound wise, but at heart are not truth. We just say them because they are witty in construction or sound as if they should be true, but when one digs deeper, no truth is found.

That's kind of what I thought when I first read this sign the other day:

Kindness is Powerful

At first I thought it might be one of those things you say to a Second Grader in order to convince him to take turns.

But is kindness powerful?

I think that maybe it is. It's not powerful in the way that money can be powerful in society. It's not powerful the way that success can be. It's powerful in the way that Jesus speaks in the Beatitudes.

  • When one person sends a card to another person in the hospital, and lifts his spirits, kindness has power.
  • When someone takes a cake to a neighbor who is in grief, and shows her that she is not alone, kindness has power.
  • When a compliment and a smile are shared, and the recipient's self-confidence is lifted, kindness has power.
  • When criticism is delivered in a way that includes respect and consideration, kindness has power.
  • When empathy is substituted for judgment, kindness has power.
Love has power, and kindness is often its vehicle.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Contract or Covenant

In Sunday school this past Sunday, we talked about the difference between a contract and a covenant. The example JtM gave of a contract is one we might make with a kid to cut the grass -- a lawn-b0y. In exchange for grass mowing, the owner of the yard will pay $20 - maybe extra if he throws in trimming, but not at all if there is no work done. No real relationship needs to exist between the two parties of the contract.

God's covenant with his people (and with us) is very different that a contract.

It got me thinking. What would a covenant between a yard owner and a lawn-boy be like if it compared to God's Covenant with his people?

It would be like making a covenant with a teenager to cut your grass. He will be your lawnboy. Even if he never cuts the grass, or does any trimming, or shows up at all, he is still your lawnboy. You pay him the $20, and then you add to it, for no reason. You hope he will cut the grass because he is your lawnboy, and you are trying to love him into relationship with you. You want to show him the right way to be a lawnboy and in fact you will show up at his house, and cut his grass, just so he'll see how great the yard looks when it is properly taken care of. Sometimes he even comes over and dumps grass clippings and trash in your yard, but you forgive him, because he is your lawnboy, and you really love him. When he runs over your neighbor's petunias with his lawn mower (that you bought him), you pay for the mistake yourself. Everyone else says you are radically out of sync with what is supposed to be happening, but you ignore them. Grace upon grace you lavish on this young person, hoping that he will respond to your kindness and love. In fact, what he does is to judge the shoddy work of the neighbor's lawn service because they miss a few weeds when they are caring for the yard.

God's love is not a contract. It's a radically different covenant that we would say is unfair -- and it is, that God.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010



Saturday, September 11, 2010


On September 11, 2001, I was working in the lab. Steve called me to tell me to tune in to a particular radio station -- an airplane of some kind had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

I spent much of that day in our Conference Room, where the TV was located, along with most of my building and several people from the Medical School next door. I didn't actually see the plane hit the second building -- I think I had gone back upstairs, not realizing what was happening.

When the first tower fell, I was in the hallway, talking to Steve. We knew his brother had plans to fly somewhere, but we couldn't remember when his was scheduled to be in the air.

We were glued to the television, watching the confusion and fear as people tried to escape the area of the towers in New York and as the news people tried to determine what actually was happening.

At that time in my life, I was keeping a journal -- a blank book I filled with thoughts (instead of a computer screen). That day I wrote:
As we watched, event after event occurred, building on the horror. Thousands of people must be dead; no one really knows. All air traffic was stopped. The images of people in New York City were like those in a war zone. The people were covered in gray soot. Debris is everywhere -- smoke bellowing.

It's shocking and horrible.

Colin Powell, Secretary of State, said, "A terrible terrible tragedy has befallen my nation."

The Capitol Building, the White House, and all federal buildings in DC and NY have been evacuated. Disney world, Major League baseball and the Sears Tower in Chicago have all been closed or halted.

The President was in Florida and has now flown on Air Force One to Nebraska. it is not yet safe for him to go to DC.


Friday, September 10, 2010


The Friday Five today at RevGalBlogPals is about insomnia. Do you have times when you just can't sleep? Do you have habits you use to help solve it?

First, a story. I was having problems sleeping. I would go to sleep and then wake up and not be able to return to sleep for hours. I was complaining about this during our carpool ride when JtM said, "Are you drinking caffeine?"
Well, yes, but it's never bothered me. Just to give the idea a try, I stopped caffeine at 8pm or so. I slept great, that very night. So my question is this -- why did it take me so long to realize what the problem was?
Anyway, the Friday Five:

  1. Are you prone to sleep challenges? Insomnia, snoring, allergies? Other sleep challenges? Even though I've stopped the caffeine in the evenings, I still have times of insomnia. Sometimes I wake up with worries and problems on my mind that keep me awake. Sometimes it seems to be for no reason at all. Either way, I'm awake with no hope of sleep.
  2. When you can't sleep what do you do? Toss and turn? Get up and read? Play computer games? Sometimes I toss and turn, trying to get back to sleep. Other times, I just get up and go to the family room. I'll turn on the TV and knit. Or I'll just watch TV. The television will take my mind off whatever is gnawing at me. I often drift to sleep in Steve's chair. I don't know why I gravitate to the easy chair in the middle of the night, but I do.
  3. When you do sleep do you remember your dreams? Or just snipets of them? I do sometimes remember my dreams. It seems that my normal sleep pattern is to drift off to sleep for about a 1/2 an hour, then to wake up and go back to sleep (hopefully) again. that 1/2 hour of sleep is usually dream rich, and I'll often remember the dreams when I wake up. I even remember other dreams, especially right when I wake up.
  4. Can you share a funny or confusing dream you've had? Or a dream you have over and over? The two weeks between when I gave notice at my old job and was preparing to start my present job, I worked very hard in the lab (This isn't dream; this is real life). It was a very hectic two weeks, trying to get done the "finishing up" I wanted to do to leave the lab in good shape along with the not as necessary items other people wanted me to get done. I put off packing my personal belongings until about the last day. I was sure that wouldn't take very long. It took forever. I even had to go back on Saturday to finish. So, with that in mind, my dream...A few weeks ago I dreamed I was back in the lab after two years of not being there. I was packing! And watching TV, I think. Who put a TV in there? In addition to packing, I was walking around as if I was back to working in the lab. Confusing. Glad it was a dream.
  5. When you don't sleep how do you get through the day? Lots of coffee? or a nap later in the day? Oh, I just manage. I don't have a real coping technique.

Image: Sunset this evening.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Glacier Bay National Park

On the sixth day of the cruise (Remember the cruise? I still am working on the travelog for it) we cruised through Glacier Bay National Park. For me, this is Alaska! It was absolutely beautiful. This is a very picture heavy post, and believe me, there are SO MANY that I'm not including here; it was hard to choose just a few.

Glacier Bay, in 1740, was a glacier, not a bay. A native American tribe even lived at the mouth of the "not-a-bay." When Vancouver came to the area in 1794, the entire bay was frozen over. Since that time, which was at the end of a "Little Ice Age," the glaciers have been retreating, leaving behind this gorgeous body of water, full of ice bergs and surrounded by mountains and tidewater glaciers.

Tidewater glaciers have their face in water, so one of the actions of the glacier is to calve -- drop parts of itself into the water as the integrity of the glacier is broken down at its face. Remember, glaciers are actually not stationary, but move -- either advancing or retreating. That movement forms the geological structures left behind. In fact, glaciers are noisy -- they pop and crack all the time.

The glaciers of Glacier Bay National Park actually have their beginnings in the Fairweather Mountains. As snow piles up, never melting, it is compacted. Glaciers, flowing down the mountains, are a wonderful blue color, as is the ice they "calve."

We saw several of them in the Park, and became good at spotting them later. Glaciers have a distinctive look. The first glacier in these images, near the top of the post, is Lamplugh Glacier. The next one is Muir Glacier (named after the naturalist, who visited the area). This glacier has retreated so much that it is no longer actually a tidewater glacier; it's face in on land. The glaciers dig into the rock so much that it can pile up at the face.

The third glacier you see in the images Margarie Glacier. It calves very frequently. We spent 1/2 an hour or so "parked" at its foot, watching for it to calve. It did while we were there. Unfortunately, I was changing camera lenses at the time, and missed taking its picture. Steve got a little video of it. It is a magnificent sight!

We were in the bay on a beautiful day! The weather was perfect. Blue skies, no clouds. In fact, as we left the bay later in the day, the naturalist pointed out Mount Fairweather (the world's highest coastal mountain) telling us that he had never actually seen it before -- it is always clouded over. We spent the entire morning on the deck rail, watching the scenery go by, as the Park Naturalist (who we picked up at the mouth of the bay) tell us about what we were seeing. It was COLD and windy -- I wore a t-shirt under a sweatshirt under a jacket under a blanket. If you know me, you know it was COLD. It was totally worth it, though. It was some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.

Next time, I'll talk about the wildlife we saw that day, but for now, the last image is of a bald eagle, hanging out on an iceberg.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The God we Worship

Today is the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the beginning of the High Holy days, ending on Yom Kippur, 10 days later.

From the United Methodist Reporter Blog:

You won't find this one on our liturgical calendar, but the themes of Rosh Hashanah will resonate with many United Methodists. As President Obama says in his taped Rosh Hashanah remarks, "Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the spiritual calendar and the birth of the world. It serves as a reminder of the special relationship between God and his children, now and always. And it calls us to look within ourselves – to repent for our sins; recommit ourselves to prayer; and remember the blessings that come from helping those in need."

Reading that paragraph reminds me of how much we have in common in our faith. We can all learn from the purpose of the practice of Rosh Hashanah -- we are God's children, and we need to commit ourselves to prayer, to look within ourselves and to remember to help those in need. Relationship with God and with others.

I think we need to remember these similarities -- to remember the God we worship.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Window to Light


Monday, September 06, 2010


The Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals is posted on Fridays. This past Friday's questions were written in the light of the approaching Hurricane, Earl.

Herewith, a Friday Five about the storms of life:

  1. What's the most common kind of storm in your neck of the woods? Thunderstorms. We are geographically in an area that isn't in the path of tornadoes or hurricanes very often. Blizzards are rare, but thunderstorms are relatively common (compared to all of the other kinds of storms). They are especially disconcerting when the are accompanied by a very strange green sky or high winds.
  2. When was the last time you dealt with a significant power outage? I can't really remember. The major problem associated with storms in our city is that our viaducts and a couple of main roads flood in storms. We sometimes have power outages -- usually when a tree falls on a line or a transformer blows. We've even had one power outage only on our side of the street.
  3. Are you prepared for the next one? I suppose. I know where the flashlight, batteries and candles are.
  4. hat's the weather forecast where you are this weekend? Since it's Sunday, instead of the forecast, I'll say that the weather this weekend was terrific. Cooler, clear. I even wore a jacket last night to walk the dog. My kind of weather.
  5. How do you calm your personal storms? Ha. I don't know.


Sunday, September 05, 2010


I taught Sunday school today based on the story of the burning bush in Exodus 3.

Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Exodus 3:16-17

One of the items the teacher's book pointed out (and that I didn't use today) was that God doesn't only say that he is going to bring them out of Egypt. He is also going to lead them to the land ... flowing with milk and honey.

He is going to free them from slavery, but he is also freeing them for something. He has a new land for them -- a new purpose for them (or at least a rejuvenated purpose for them.).

We, too, are freed from our sin for something. Today was communion during worship. In the liturgy we say that we are "freed for joyful obedience."

We are freed for joyful obedience, as were the Israelites.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Crepe Myrtle


Friday, September 03, 2010


Semi-quote from a movie I haven't seen..... We all make mistakes. It's part of being human. What matters...what's what we do about them.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Holy Ground

Go to Bishop Lyght's blog, The Lyght House, and read his post entitled Where is Holy Ground?

If we were each asked the question, "Where is your Holy Ground?" our answers would all be different. For me, the answer would change with time and perspective. I like his phrase, "Holy ground is where God is." Kind of makes it all holy, doesn't it?

What is sacred? What is secular? It all belongs to God and can be used for his purposes, so it is all sacred.

God makes it holy. Not the geography. Not the history. Not the purposes for which we use it. God makes it -- whatever it is -- holy.

Perhaps more than worrying about where holy ground is, we should be focused more on our own attitudes. Our own behavior. Do the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts reflect God? Are we allowing fear and prejudice to lead us? Do we, through the living of our lives, reflect God's holiness?


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Turn Back

One of the lectionary readings for the week is from Jeremiah 18:1-11.

The book of Jeremiah is not a the story of a joyful, happy prophet telling a message of great news to the people. God is not pleased, and Jeremiah shares that with the people of Judah.

There are moments of hope, though. Even in the midst of a description of possible destruction, there is hope.

God talks about the potter forming a pot that is spoiled. What does the potter do? He doesn't give up and throw the pot away. He continues to work, forming the piece into something pleasing.

Repent, and be shaped by the potter, for he has not given up on you or on me.

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