Friday, October 27, 2006

More characters

Two Bible presentations I forgot yesterday that were really cute:

four children each dressed in one color of the rainbow. Green and red were not represented "because they were at the North Pole helping Santa."

David Rubio's children: two came dressed from chin to ankle in large towels. The baby girl's job was to touch their feet in syncopation. Some of the clues were: They are found on almost every page of the Bible. We seldom read them. Bible scholars always read them. As she touched the feet, David made a musical sound in the microphone. Guess? Footnotes! Funny!

Parade of Bible characters is one of those special times when the whole church community can feel bonded in something fun. I hope your church has such times.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Parade of animals and characters in the Bible

Teresa of Avila prayed, "From silly devotions and from sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us."

There were no sour-faced saints at Otter last night as our children dressed up like animals or characters from the Bible and paraded in front of us to guess who they were. They gave three clues to their costume.

Of course with children, one never knows what will happen--as the tiny ones alternately posed and then tried to crawl off the stage, we were chuckling at the efforts of their parents to corral them.

Maddie, Ella and Sam were Moses (Sam in a wicker basket), the Egyptian princess who was his second mother (Maddie) and Ella (his first mom) Sam[s white, white skin glowed (he was clad only in a diaper) as he waved to the audience. One group portrayed the creation with little boy (barely walking) who had fig leaves pasted to his diaper (he was hilarious). Two sisters portrayed Zaccheus and a tree. The taller older sister had a green paper wig which looked like long leaves and the younger sister was sitting on the older sister's shoulders. A large group was the 12 spies accompanied by James Bond music--10 of the spies had on black and 2 had on white. One of Lee Camp's sons came on carrying a saw with an "E" pasted on it. The prize for the most creative, I think, should go to the Crisman's--One daugher carried a large picture of Dan Quale (sp.?) and the other was wearing a cardboard poster with crackers pasted on--Quail and manner in the desert!

It was fun and informative and showed the creative side of Otter.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Gorgeous fall day

What a beautiful day today--bright and full of sun, around 58 degrees, so fallish. It brought to mind that poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

God's World

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
and all but cry with colour!
...Lord I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The joys of libraries

I visited the book sale of the Brentwood Library today. And got 15 books for $8.50--nwo that's a bargain.

This sale is how I feed my mystery at night habit--I will have enough now to last me until the next sale. And of course I donate the books I am finished with to Good Wiil, take them off my income tax and benefit others that way.

The Brentwood Library is a lovely little building set behind 10 red oaks just off Concord Road near me. The trees were a sight to see today--some all red, some yellow and red, and some red, yellow and red. I love red oaks and libraries!

One never sees people coming out of a library frowning (except children who wanted just one more book). As I browsed in my treasures today sitting outside the library door, I observed those who came out. All were carrying bags full of books and smiling.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More words

I have a little essay on words rolling around in my head...but it is not finished yet. Just some random thoughts about words:

Ecclesiastes 5 has two passages about words--One about religion vs. 2 and one about the meaningless of words v. 7. As for meaningless, our abject devotion to consumerism has fostered misuse of words. For example:

Brownies without consequences--not true ever

A full l% discount--now isn't that special?

I think the following quote by Fydor Dostoevsky can apply to both religion and advertising:

"Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Words, words, words

If you have been following Phil's and Brandon's blogs, you have seen words, words, words. Inflammatory words like liberal, conservative, progressive, political, etc.
As I was being trained for debate in high school, my coach told us never to use such words because they can never be successfully defined and because they are inflammatory. In using them, the debater loses the message he/she is wishing to push.

I would much rather have seen those bloggers who wrote debating the practice of sabbath (which was the majority of Winner's message on Saturday morn.) Commands to observe sabbath far outweigh commands to be baptized and to sing (not play). Our perfunctory observance of quietness and silence before God betrays our inmost being.
We would rather be discussing liberalism, etc. Zoe in its desire for renewal always offers alternative thinking and options to those who attend its conferences. Renewal can come in so many different ways. May the thrust for seeing the poor and for bringing those trapped in same-sex attraction out of the pit continue as we search for better ways to be Christ in this world.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Schermerhorn Heaven

God is in heaven and we are on earth as Ecclesiastes says, but heaven was very close to earth last night at the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall in Nashville.

A sold-out crowd of believers were lifted beyond the ceiling of that beautiful building as choirs, soloists, groups (including the Zoe Group!) and instrumentalists sang and played religious music.

Featuring every thing from handbells to harmonica, from an American Idol winner to the Nashville First Baptist Choir, the program was very diverse. Zoe sang three songs--two with accompaniment and one by themselves. I was so proud to see them up there with world-class singers in a room designed to best the most famous opera houses of Europe.

Even better, the largest choir was black--so the audience attending to see them and all the others was not segregated. I could not help but wonder as I drove home why we cannot drop all these relatively minor distinctions and really become one body.

One of my favorites of the evening was Buddy Green and his harmonica--he played a lovely, haunting entry to O Thou Fount of Every Blessing.

All in all, it was a rousing success. Thanks to Nan and Doug Smith, I got to sit in a loge box just a stone's throw away from the stage--they are wonderful, generous

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I have been a widow now for 15 yesrs--those years went so fast--none of them passed that I did not miss Sam and his influence in my life. In widowhood, I miss, of course, the warm body next to mine and the conversation in our daily lives. Also other things: the gap in Sam's front teeth, which little Sam seems to have inherited
(see current picture on Brandon's blog), Sundays with him at church, listening to his off-key singing and his Amen after prayer, his expertise at fixing anything broken--no handyman could have done better, Sam's wisdom in many things--education, religion, friendships, etc., his love of laughter and pranks, the famous "Sam Thomas stories" which still linger in Abilene, and his patience with his wife who was so different from him, and his loving fatherhood with our little red-haired son who was so dear to us.

I think Sam Thomas would have been the "worst" grandfather ever--spoiling, loving, playing with, telling stories to, and meeting every desire of his precious ones.

Thanks you God for the 33 years we had together in your service.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Zoe

I know those of you who couldn't come to Zoe may be tiring of hearing about it--but couldn't resis one more.

It was refreshing to hear Lauren Winner--a young articulate boomer of the emergent generation speak--she is educated, articulate, and winning. I loved hearing her speak about observing sabbath in this busy world. That has been one of my interests for some time. Her book Mudhouse Sabbath also spends time on the subject--I highly recommend it. She did not advocate total withdrawal each Saturday,but advocated it as a time of stepping aside when possible from consumerism, entertainment, and the other beckoning temptations of our day. A quote from Mudhouse: "For Christians, Sabbath has an added dimension--it commemorates not only God's resting from Creation, but also God's Resurrection." And what a celebration that should be!

In Mudhouse Sabbath Winner goes on the write about other Jewish traditions which would enrich the Christian life like hospitality, fasting, candle-lighting, eating kosher food, etc.

Father, help me to spend my time wisely for you.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Zoe Musings

Well, the Zoe Conference is over for another year. It was wonderful in so many ways.

It was good see fellow bloggers like Drew and Matt and meet several of you who say you spend time reading this. Thanks for your interest and your good wishes.

The best thing Sam and I ever did is our son. Permit me a moment to contemplate on this gift God gave us almost 37 years ago. To watch him at Zoe and at Otter is the most fulfilling thing of my life outside of being in Christ. Brandon has a charismatic persona that just reaches out to those who are wanting to worship with him. And he was in his element Friday and Saturday nights at Zoe. The Spirit helped him lift us up before the throne higher than ever. And he is also such a model to those who want to lead their churches in the ways he introduces the music, leads prayers, reads scripture, and shows his joyful spirit as he sings. I have seen too many "song leaders" lead singing with hang-dog faces in my life time--it is wonderful to see Brandon show those teeth that I helped pay for as he leads us.

Thank you God for your gift of my son who regularly leads me to your Son.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Tim said last Sunday morning that we are betting our lives on the fact that the story about Christ is true.

One of my favorite passages is Hebrews 11--especially from verse 32 to the end where all kinds of stories pop up. Stories of torture, chains and dungeons. Stories about those who were sawed in two, who wandered the earth in animal skins, etc. Peterson says they made their way "as best they could on the cruel edges of the world."

These stories are still happening today--we just don't hear many of them or choose not to hear them.

Father, give me the faith of these ancestors so that I may serve you on the cruel edges of the world.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Is Life Random?

We were in Ecclesiastes 3 yesterday which begins with that magnificent cyclical poem There is a time... and the question for the morning was Is Life Random? Was the author of Ecclisiastes Calvinist before there was a Calvin?

After much discussion and a look at Ps. 3l:15 "our times are in God's hands" and Jeremiah 29:11 "God knows the plans he has for us". most of the group agreed that every event is a part of God's plan--there is a purpose for our birth, our death, and everything in between. Where free will intervenes is anybody's guess and another topic for discussion, as is the place of predestintion. I am loving teaching Ecclesiastes--it is challenging!

As we approach the end of the chapter in vs. 18 and on, the writer scares Christians by seeming to negate the idea of an afterlife. We all die like the dogs and then we turn back to dust. My question with this will be, if Ecclesiastes is inspired and a part of the canon, why did not the "Inspirer" drop a hint to this wisest man in the world about Jesus and the resurrection? Earlier in the book, vs. 11 says he has "Put eternity in our hearts"--is that a reference to heaven?

Somebody help me, please.