Thursday, December 15, 2011

Little Known Bassoon Facts

     My annual Christmas cantata has ended to thunderous applause and requests for us to return in the spring. Before I, personally perform, I want to clarify some little known facts about the most wonderful instrument in the band.
     Did you know?

English: Range of a bassoon.

1.  The bassoon is indeed the prototype of a bazooka. If you wet tissues, roll them into the size of a golf ball and shove it down the bell joint, when the bassoonist hits a high C, it will easily shoot one thousand feet. I have heard that the designers of the game "Angry Birds" use a bassoon at its highest level.

2.  The bassoon also is the forerunner of an IED. Watch a bassoonist roaming around before a concert and see how many innocent attendees she bops with the horn. Few survive.

Two bassoons made of black maple, with silver-...
Bassoon
3.  The bocal is not a hookah.

4.  The bocal is a good substitute for a water balloon. Innocently look ahead as you blow the condensation out of it at the end of the concert. Your neighbor will be saturated.

5. It does not make the same noise as a dying cow or a moose in heat.

6. When someone points at a bassoonist and says, "das faggott," they are NOT insulting her. That's the German name for it and it means those sticks.

7. No ships are ever lost at sea when a bassoon yields its low notes.

8.  The bassoon is not an oboe.







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Friday, December 9, 2011

A Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart


Simeon Jesus Christ Baby Mormon

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too" (Luke 2:34-35)

  Have you ever wondered at some of the hard Scriptures concerning a time we epitomize as pure joy?

  Picture Mary waiting forty-one days of her purification (Lev. 12:4) before bringing her son to the temple. Here Simeon greets her and tells her wonderful news: a sword would pierce her spirit.

  His words proved true. Mary knew sorrow as she watched the life of her son unfold, culminating in his crucifixion. 

  For Jesus, his birth came at a great cost—not just in his brutal death, but He was equal to God and owned the world. Yet he came as a defenseless child dependent on sinful man for His survival.

  Today we sing happy songs and focus on the joyful season. And it is joyful solely because Jesus came to earth to reconcile us with the Father. For that reunion, the heavens rejoiced.

  But as we go about our lives, also realize this is a season of sorrow for many.

  My son-in-law works in a psych ward in Salem Hospital. Christmas time brings a plethora of patients overwhelmed by the emphasis on family when they have none and giving when they have nothing. They worry about debt to buy the elaborate gifts our culture demands and feel guilty because happiness eludes them even though the world rejoices. 

  On top of this loved ones die, siblings become ill, babies are miscarried, children are abused and addictions abound.

  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t feel the joy the world tells us we must feel. Realize that our faith and faithfulness are not pain free. We will be challenged in all things human, even as Christ our Savior was. Like Mary, great blessings will come, but swords will, too.

  Rest in Him through the hard times, and He will give you peace that passes understanding.
 
 

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Roots of Thanksgiving: Keep Christ in Thanksgiving

prayer..
Image by aronki via Flickr
     Sarah and David argued. "Lincoln invented Thanksgiving," my grandson said.

     "No he didn't, the Pilgrims did," said Sarah.

     They debated and my grandson ended in tears. "You don't understand what I'm saying."

     This argument continued in the manner that only my dogged grandson could maintain, so Sarah emailed his teacher and asked for the facts. She discovered, Lincoln did "invent" Thanksgiving. In 1863 he made a proclamation declaring the third Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving. However, because of our new interpretations of the First Amendment, David couldn't hear the complete story. (And his mother wasn't entirely wrong).

     Lincoln unified the disparate celebrations into one national holiday to honor "the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies." He didn't end there. He said, "(these) are the gracious gifts of the Most High God...(who is) dealing with us in anger for our sins."

     And the school didn't talk about Washington's comments about Thanksgiving. In 1789 George Washington assigned November 26 "to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be."
     The recognition of God's favor in our lives is still politically stated probably because of our hubris--God of course favors US. However, Washington, like Lincoln, went a step further. He said we should ask that, "the great Lord and ruler of Nations... (would) pardon our national and other transgressions."

     Can you imagine our leaders today acknowledging the fact that we've transgressed? I think we need to remember 2 Chron 7:14. "(I)f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

     And David, your mother wasn't entirely wrong. Our first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims to thank the Creator for His blessings. I think we need to keep, Christ not only in Christmas, but Thanksgiving as well.

(The quotes were taken from Mark Galli. "The Enemy Within." Christianity Today 18 November 2002. (76).

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Lose Weight--Eat Dessert


Mousse de TurrĂ³nImage by escuelahosteleriabenahavis via Flickr     I set out on my annual pilgrimage with my daughter. Over Veterans day we hunker down in Burlington, Vermont, scrapbook and eat at the Olive Garden. Ah, the Olive Garden--home of the Tour of Italy and breadsticks and Tiramisu. Except the food police hit. Now in Vermont, restaurants carry three--make that four--little digits at the bottom of each selection. Calories!
    
     1450 was the huge digit at the bottom of the Tour. That was one thousand four hundred and fifty calories. As my daily budget is 1290 calories (which I thought was what the poor, starving people in Africa ate per day), this meal, minus breadsticks (150 per stick) and Tiramisu (510) would have me porking on the pounds.
     
     To work off the calories from the Tour alone, I'd have to run MORE than a half-marathon (that's 13.2 miles) or ride my bike for eight hours or walk for ten. That's HOURS! And I still hadn't extras to eat.

     So instead of taking the Tour, I opted for strawberry mousse with white chocolate cream cake--210 calories complete.

     Life should be sweet!
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Border Conundrum: Bootlegging in Malone

Main Street, Malone, Ny 1907     Wending my way to Ellenburg, I run into an old friend, Sgt. Martin (or whatever you call the border guys). He sports Elvis-styled sideburns and a gun. Yikes. You know I stop, not because I'm an Elvis fan. We meet on a regular basis--either on Rt. 11 of 190.
    Fortunately, Sgt. Elvis isn't interested in me or what I'm toting in my suitcase. He's looking for drugs or aliens (of the earthling persuasion),
and he knows this old granny doesn't fit the profile of a drug runner.
     And speaking of profiles, Sgt. Elvis fits that of North Country law enforcement fighting the opportunism of a rural border which allows good to happen--like the runaway slaves and the Underground Railroad--as well as bad.
     But my tale deals with Prohibition which became law on November 18, 1918, and according to Del Forkey in the Sesqui-centennial of Malone: 1802-1952, "...a complete history of this region's part in the 'dry era' would contain some rather stirring, blood-flecked pages, including everything in the rum-toting category from bootlegging and high-jacking to running gun fights through the streets of peaceful villages" (87).
     Ouch. And Sgt. Elvis thinks we have it bad.
      The bootleggers means of hiding booze aren't different from drug hiding today--in the woman's bloomers (which is why they grope us in airports), baby diapers, false doors in their cars. And they loved BIG cars (carried more Mountain Dew aka hootch). Some bootleggers became such good drivers they could spin the car around and then aim for the law officers. Or they'd use decoy cars--autos that would speed off in an opposite direction allowing the one loaded with white lightening to flee.
      I love this stunt the best. A bootlegger would get through the road blocks and then be hijacked by another bootlegger who now didn't have to face the 1920's Sgt. Elvis.
     These booze runners were depraved. One even went so far as to dodge rabbits skittering across the roads, but he'd aim his car at law enforcement officials.
     Forkey claimed most of the villains were outsiders like the infamous Mobster Dutch Shultz and Legs Diamond. I'm not so sure. Many arrested for drug dealing aren't native, but many are. And we must remember:
    
     What has been will be again,
   what has been done will be done again;
   there is nothing new under the sun. Eccl. 1:9


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Do We Have Any Volunteers in the Audience?

Picture stolen from Kimberly Connel
     I peeled my eyes opened. Eight a.m. on a Saturday. Forget the fact that my weeks have six Saturdays and one Sunday, my brain had been trained and  Saturday is sleep-in, lazy sacrosanct. However every Saturday we members of North Country Habitat for Humanity banded together to work on the restoration of a house for a needy and deserving family..
      I didn't want to go. Jimminy Crickets, it was Saturday. But James 2:14-17 might as well be engraved on my forehead. "Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? ... Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?"(from THE MESSAGE)
     So I rose and within the hour I shined. Once again I discovered joy in giving. I hammered nails, chatted with friends, learned skills, watched our family work for the home they'd soon inhabit and ate a fabulous lunch prepared by Joanna, a dear friend on our local board. I couldn't imagine any greater way to spend a Saturday.
     And I learned some valuable lessons to boot:
  1. toenailing has nothing to do with a pedicure
  2. a shank isn't something prisoners use nor something you braise in an oven
  3. a stud is not a virile man
  4. strapping is not used in S & M
  5. a dike is not a gay woman nor something that holds back water
     So tell me what you think these mean?



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Friday, November 4, 2011

Tyranny of the Quick Fix

Welcome to MaloneImage by jimmywayne via Flickr
     Malone, NY, I do love thee...but have you learned the tyranny of the quick fix? We look for easy ways out of problems and so we bring in prisons. Oh the economy will revive.
     Nope. Just brought in prison families and lots of convicts who clog the judicial system.
     We hope the casino will have a trickle down effect and build more hotels.
     Nope. Didn't work either.
     But we're not to blame--it's in our DNA. From the town's inception we've looked for the get rich quick schemes. Last week we explored the wolf head scandal...oh those dastardly dogs look so much like wolves. However, that scandal had a forerunner--espionage and fraudulent land claims.
Malone, New YorkImage by dougtone via Flickr
  1. During the War of 1812 many county residents favored the British. And they discovered a benefit to that favoritism. They traded military secrets for the filthy lucre. Being a border town wasn't much different than as it is now--only today our barter is with the drug and alien trade.
  2. During this time period, we had fraudulent land claims. People would state that property had been confiscated or destroyed or goods consumed. Then they received payments. Oddly, once the investigation proved the fraud, the claimants claimed they didn't know the claims were made. Oh, my bad.
  3. Hops didn't do it either.
    So, you ask, this is an itty-bitty, inconsequential village in the frozen tundra, what does it have to do with me especially as it happed over 200 years ago?
     There is nothing new under the sun. How else do we try to skim the cream?
     


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

P is for Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius right before 1906 eruption                           Image via Wikipedia     Pompeii existed over two thousand years ago as a prosperous town. People loved and fought, bought and bartered, reared their families and planned for the future. Until Mount Vesuvius had other things to say. Within twenty-four hours the angry volcano annihilated their world.
     Ash preserved the torment of the humans who had lived there. The ash shells were filled with plaster, and the exhibit made me cry as though this disaster just happened.
     The image to the left haunts me the most. The man looks as though he's crying and well he could be. In reality he's covering his face trying to protect it from the choking ash and noxious fumes.
     A world of sermons and lessons and contemplations exist in the exhibit I saw. However, one stands out the most:
     To get their clothes clean, these people used pee! Having no clorox or bubbling suds or whatever, they resorted to ammonia. Ammonia is a primary component of urine. Not only did people pee on their clothes, they collected it from total strangers.
     Large urns (old-fashioned urinals) lined the street. When the urge hit, the populace used it. These urns were brought to the laundromat and launderers stomped on the laundry in their bare feet!
     In case I haven't mentioned it: YUCK.
     Since then I've learned, from my pastor no less, that this is an age-old remedy for many things.
  1. Rome believed urine to be theraputic. Thus these troughs could be accessed by anyone to imbibe. Giant urine fountains for their health!
  2. Gypsies used cow urine to cure Bright's disease. Maybe that's why the Romanians aren't found of this ethnic group.
  3. Yogis and Lamas from Tibet extended their lives by drinking their own pee.
  4. A book titled One Thousand Notable Things describes the use of urine to cure scurvy, relieve skin itching, cleanse wounds, and many other treatments. 
  5. An 18th century French dentist praised urine as a valuable mouthwash.
  6. In England during the 1860-70s, the drinking of one's own urine was a common cure for jaundice.
  7. In more modern times, the Alaskan Eskimos have used urine as an antiseptic to treat wounds
     Say what you will about the lessons from Pompeii. This is one I don't want learned in the modern world.   
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Wolf Head Scandal

grey wolfImage via Wikipedia     Everyone loves a good scandal, so how do we create one? We are all familiar with Dutch Shultz, but gangsters like him are either in short supply or unwanted in our communities--unless we stuff them in the prisons that decorate our outskirts of our lovely villages.

     In 1815 we discovered a great scheme that perhaps we could turn to good use today--after all, our politicians believe the ends justify the means.

     Way back in Malone/Bangor/Chateaugay's beginnings, we turned quite a profit off the "noxious" wolves and this scandal made Franklin County notorious in New York State.
  
     Prior to 1815 the state paid us approximately $1,000 per year in bounty for wolves, all we had to supply were the heads. (What government office wants the whole carcass rotting in the file cabinets?) From 1815-1820 that sum jumped to $55,269. This solved our financial problems back then--perhaps we can resurrect one in the same spirit.

     How did our forefathers alchemize wolf heads?

     1. When out of wolves--they'd been known to substitute dog heads. Okay, I know this appalls many of my readers as we do not condone chopping up Fido. A deer head had been documented as a good substitute. Who knew: deer/dog/wolf--what's the difference?

     2. If they only have one wolf head, they passed it out the window to their buddy. While the clerk still filled in the document for that head, a buddy would carry it back in and voila, more cash for the coffers.

     3. Everyone kept quiet because no one had been prosecuted for the crimes.

Maybe this is a way to lower our taxes--after all: 1. we learn from experience  2. our legislatures aren't shamed by wrong doing.


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Pear Butter is Equal to My Singing

A pear     Blessed with more pears than anyone has the right to own, I decided to make pear butter. Never having done something before has never been a deterrent to me. So I began:
  1. I ran off a recipe. Of course when googling information, the first item the search turns up is the most reliable, right? This one ran 36 pages. Unfortunately, I walked away from my computer after I hit print.
  2. It took me three hours to chop and seed all those pears, mash them down and food mill them into puree. I added spices and let it cook. My house smelled like heaven. Page thirteen had the details on about this portion--I should have taken the hint from the number of the page.
  3. I plopped the glop into my slow cooker. Page 24 said this process would take a long time and a slow cooker would guarantee my results. (They didn't tell me what the results would be--it might have been page 33 where my printer ran out of ink and I thought I'd wing it.)
  4. Two days later, the butter was burnt--inedible. It glued the removable pot of my slow cooker to the base. I attempted to pry it off and the base separated from the guts, all the wires fell out and my house didn't smell so hot.
     Hint: If a recipe is more than ten lines long, go to the store and buy it or go to search result # 2 on google. If you persevered to the end of this article, you know exactly how well I sing.


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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Underground Railroad: Malone

    Can you imagine living peacefully, running a successful business and having all of that ripped away simply because of your race?  The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, nicknamed the Bloodhound Law, did just that. This law deemed that even if people of color had escaped or had been born free, they could be sent South based solely on the claimant's word, whipped and enslaved. To force people to comply, stiff penalties and prison time were given to those who refused to turn in the so called runaways.
Luther Bradish
     Coupled with this, New York State said being in the state didn't mean you were free. Therefore, Southerners could vacation or work here for six months and their "property" could not be released.
     Franklin County and Malone played a part in fighting this law. First, Luther Bradish, our Lieutenant Governor--who lived in Moira and helped establish St. Mark's Episcopal Church, spoke out against this atrocity. (for more information see: http://franklinhistorian.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-07-03T16%3A24%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=7  ).
     And of course, our own Congregational Church as a part of the Underground Railroad created a tunnel in its basement to hide fleeing slaves.


Note the bend at the far left
     I always pictured this tunnel as a subway tunnel traveling under the streets. However, it's a tiny little reinforced hole traveling from the west side of the church to the north. It turns, underground at a sharp sixty degree bend, and to hide in it, you'd have to be desperate.
Neil slipping into the tunnel








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Sunday, October 16, 2011

God’s Abundance: e.g. Mud baths


Callie's Corner

            We often miss God’s abundance, even if it’s as clear as mud between our toes. Take Carol, for example. The other day I was taking her for a walk when she stepped into a mud puddle. I could understand her revulsion had she been wearing shoes, but she wore her Tevas. She screamed, changed direction and made me take her back to the cabin. She missed God’s abundance in a free mud bath. Think about it:
           
  1. People pay a lot of money for this beauty treatment, and God gave it away.
  2. True to His nature He gave the best. The mud had been aged. Formed by tropical storms Irene and Lee, He added leaf and other plant matter and allowed it to age to a divine consistency.
  3. Carol pays money for perfume. This ripened debris was given with a profligate hand. To get an idea of its pleasant aroma, imagine the dozen roses your hubby gave you. Allow it to sit in a vase on the table for a week. Now empty it. The scent wafting from your sink? Heaven!
  4. She’s always pestering Neil for silky clothes—loves the sliding, slick texture against her skin. Yet with mud slathered liberally between her toes in the slickest of textures, all she did was squeal. (And not in delight I might add).Mud bath yogaImage by Rev Stan via Flickr

Next time you complain—think about it. It’s probably a blessing in disguise.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Pumpkin Muffin Diet


Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese FillingImage by kmevans via Flickr            I discovered this fantastic diet quite by accident. Once more relying on my Garmin while visiting Paul’s Paradise near Albany, I got lost. A twenty minute drive took an hour and the grocery store I searched for had been washed away by Hurricane Irene. I ended up twenty minutes later in Cobleskill. My hunger threatened to kill me until I made an emergency stop at a Dunkin Donuts.
            I got a latte. Staring at me from the shelves of delicacies, white sugar glaze topped a burnt-orange offering and said, “You’re hungry, Carol, and look at me.”
(You should have heard the voice—you would have succumbed as well.)
            I bought it, and the pumpkin flavor of the moist cake exploded in my mouth. Each crumb satisfied in a way that a celery stalk could never. I nibbled. I licked my fingers and sucked every crumb from my finger and the napkin strewn across my lap as the lady inside my Garmin directed me home.
            Before I even finished my latte, my appetite vanished as though I left it in Cobleskill. No need to devour the half of sub sitting in the fridge once I got home. I didn’t even desire apples or cheese or veggies. My belly swelled in delight in a manner that no salad slathered with non-fat dressing on the side could do. One little muffin satisfied.
            So my advice to you—stock up at Dunkin Donuts (these muffins are seasonal after all), and eat one muffin for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner. You’ll be satisfied until your stash vanishes.
            Share your diet results here. I’d love to learn new techniques.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mark Twain: Writing Tips

All Things Literary
(sorry NPR--If the paraphrase works--use it)

Want to be a great writer? Follow these tips. Mark Twain is back by popular demand.

  • Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
  • Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
  • Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.
  • It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.
  • Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
    Signatures of Mark TwainImage via Wikipedia
  • The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
  • What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Mark Twain--Water

Funday-Monday
Mark TwainCover of Mark Twain

I'd like to introduce my guest blogger, Mark Twain. As we know over the last week, we've been inundated with Hurricane Irene news. Well, Twain is an expert meterologist and here are some of his insights about water.

  • The solution to our water problems is more rain.

  • Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.
  • My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.
  • Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.
  • In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
  • Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.
Can you share your water experiences?
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Monday, August 22, 2011

What's Your Memoir?

It's--Funday-Monday
In six words, can you write your memoir?
I heard in this Sunday's Sermon that Ernest Hemingway was asked to prove his writing skills by creating a short story in six words. He wrote: "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn." The congregation as a whole gasped with the power of the "story." Other examples:
  • I still make coffee for two. (From an 88 year-old man who lost his wife two years previously)
  • Revenge is living well without you. (Joyce Carol Oates)
  • Not quite what I was planning. (unknown)
  • If it looks good, eat it. (Andrew Zimmern, Bizarre Foods)
  • Living is Christ, dying is gain. (St. Paul)
So I wondered, what would my memoir be? I decided:  
Dreams come true through due diligence.
Or--God answers prayer--Neil is proof. (But then, that's could be considered 12 words because I gave two examples!)
Or-- Shoot it, scrap it, share it.

Can you share with me, in six words, your memoir?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time and Hour?

Cookie, AnyoneImage by scubadive67 via Flickr    Tuesday night NBC told a human interest story about a police officer Jeremy Henwood who was shot while sitting in his patrol car outside a McDonald's in San Diego. Henwood survived tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no one expected him to die while eating lunch. Minutes before he died, a young boy entered the McDonald's and asked to borrow ten cents because he didn't have quite enough for cookies. Henwood bought them for him. Minutes later, he died.
     His last act, his last words were of kindness. What will ours be like?
     Will we be playing solitaire on the computer? Watching questionable TV shows? Dreaming about what we're going to do in the future? Will we die after maligning a neighbor or cursing our politicians or sleeping too late and ignoring our homes?
     We need to be cognizant that we are guaranteed nothing but the moment we are living. We must make our character count. How will people remember us?
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wacked-Out Words

Where'd we get these words?

So many words to keep track of!.Image via Wikipedia
  1. pulchritude--means great beauty. Sounds like me after food poisoning.
  2. flummoxed--confused? Again, sounds like the after effects of food poisoning.
  3. bung hole--sounds obscene to me. It's just a hole drilled into a barrel with a cork in it.
  4. concupiscence--sounds like problems with the urinary track--but it means sensual desire, lust
  5. synecdoche--I could never say this even though I had to teach it. It's a metaphor--like arm of the law for cop. The arm's a part of the cop. The ABCs represent the alphabet.
Can you give me some of your favorites? Maybe they'll show up here!
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are You Really a Disciple?


Just Annoying!Image via WikipediaIn our chaotic lives, we delight in church. We sing and Jesus meets us. Suddenly the cares of the world drift away.
Then we hear a good message. We cry because it convicts us. We rejoice, because we are justified.
Of course, when someone brings in the special homemade treats, we really love church. We grab a sticky bun or a cookie (we avoid the fruit and healthy food) and head for our cars.
Life is good as a Christian.
However, are we truly disciples? For me, the litmus test is John 13:35. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“Okay,” you say. “I love my pastor— I love my spouse. Of course my kids, too.”
We know we are easy to love. But how about them?
Periodically I get called by someone who annoys me. We never have anything to say, but the person wants to talk.
I can look at my caller ID and avoid the call—quickly turn off the answering machine, and for the ten minutes demanded of my time, avoid the displeasure.
How often have we crossed the street to avoid someone? Talked about the aggravating co-worker? Sneered at someone?
Worse yet, do we shun the members of our church because they irritate us?
Church does exist for us. We must be fed. We must identify God’s Spirit and grow as Christians. But we can’t forget the unlovely. We need to show we are Christ’s
The true measure of discipleship is loving people in the manner that Jesus loved.



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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Christian Tossed Salad


VegetablesImage by Professor Bop via Flickr  After a late start, my garden’s producing. And what it produces doesn’t totally delight me: radishes, cabbage and yellow squash. But then my husband Neil is stuck with tomatoes, peppers and green beans.
  Two of us share this garden, and the two of us have different tastes. Neil loves the pungent taste of Brassicaceae family (that’s the biological term for the cabbage kind of things). I will eat fresh tomatoes (Solanaceae) until my mouth breaks out in sores from the acid.
  I’m sure those of you who relish your gardens are the same. The kids won’t eat anything except the “trees” (broccoli), and you have to take up too many rows with three types of lettuce in order to make everyone smile at the dinner table.
  Even so, when company comes, how many of us take them out to the garden and show off the wonders? How many hours do we toil to gain our produce? Whether we love every plant we grow, we love our gardens.
  Our church is a fabulous garden as well—unlike our backyard variety—it’s always is season. However, to please all people, we are a varied group.
  Some are outgoing, gregarious-(perhaps we’d call them annoying). Some are artistic (weird). Some aren’t very pretty, some aren’t very fit, some complain, some are just too happy all the time and finally, some are just too active and keen on fitness.
  Just like our veggies, each comes with its unique pests, yet each displays its own flavor. We are unique and that distinctiveness is essential. A tossed salad without tomatoes is boring, and if you don’t like the little red glob plopped on your plate—your dining partner will snatch it up for you.
  In our churches we all have a role to play, and our church could not perform as God intended without each of us.
  “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Rom 12:4-5


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Side to Disdain

     I know this will come as a shock to those who know me in real time--but sometimes people drive me bonkers. Having read Scripture once or twice, I know this isn't a trait I should brag about on a public blog visible to all the world--but you've never met "Sophia."
     Sophia quotes Scripture all the time--you make a statement, she gives a relevant chapter and verse. You do something not up to her standard--along comes chapter and verse. Someone doesn't see things the way she does--perhaps you like Corvettes when she prefers Mustangs, disdain curdles her voice, it becomes whiny, then supercilious (of course--I, the erstwhile English teacher, would have to define that word for Sophia). No one would dare dispute her assertions because she'd have the chapter and verse to prove how much better Mustangs are--the Bible does talk about horses--never autos.
     How are we to love someone like that?
     This morning I discovered a key. Romans 12:17b says, "Have regard for good things in the sight of all men." My footnote from the Nelson Study Bible says, "A Christian should not concentrate on the evil in others, but instead should focus on what is good. By doing so, we encourage others around us to aspire to the good" (1903).
     If I applied this to Sophia I would discover a woman who has raised wonderful children whom she loves dearly--her love is evident in her words and her actions and her children's sweetness. She's been married only once and still loves and respects her husband. She volunteers in church, is reliable and dedicated to both her job and her ministry. As a faithful, loving woman she demonstrates her Christian character.
     How can I not like her?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Blood and the Water

JesusImage via Wikipedia
Hypovolemic Shock

Blood and water poured from Jesus’ side. How can this be? Water doesn’t flow separately from blood? Biologically, Jesus probably suffered  from hypovolemic shock.

The thirty-nine lashes He received would have exposed bone, muscles, sinews, bowel. His blood pressure would drop. He’d lose blood

 Prior to death, the decreased blood flow causes fluid to gather around the heart sack. When the soldier pierced Jesus’ right side, he probably pierced His lung and heart., releasing the fluid. Thus blood and water flowed.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Give Jesus the Dregs

This image shows a red wine glass.
     Dregs contain the least value of anything. Originally it described the left over sediment in wine. Undoubtedly, you’ve drunk coffee or cider or pulpy orange juice, What happens when you get to the end?
     Wine from Bible times was not as refined as today's vintages. So think of Jesus as He drank the Passover wine. When He got to the bottom, and what did He do? He drank every last drop. He gulped the sediment of pride and gossip. He swallowed murder and abuse. He digested self-righteousness and arrogance.
All our sins settled in the waste of wine. In His act, He gave us two choices. We could allow Him to drink it. Or we could allow it to be flung out at us in judgment.
Crucifixion PradoImage via Wikipedia
     Within twenty-four hours, the wine he drank became his blood. The soldier pierced his side and from it flowed blood and water (John 19:34).
     The disciples had to have recalled Jesus’ prophecy from the Last Supper.“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt 26:28). If we don’t allow Jesus to drink our sins, we must drink them ourselves.
     In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs (Ps 75:8).

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