Monday, March 29, 2010


Thank you, Father Creator, for the daffodils, the Bradford Pear trees, the tulip poplars, the forsythia bushes, and the almost bursting forth redbuds.  You really know how to create a feast for the eyes and heart.  Your finite creatures praise your eye for color, design, and fragrance.

No words can adequately describe the beauty of the earth and the beauty of your last creations praising your Son.  Blessings on this Holy Week and on those who will find Jesus through the story of His resurrection.  This week makes up for all the rancor, violence, abuse, and sorrow of the past few months.  We take a breath and ponder your loving kindness.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wimpy Kid

We went to see Wimpy Kid, and Sheryl and I were wondering--what makes a certain book a phenomenom
while others languish on the shelf?  I know the cartoons attract the kids and the slightly naughty words perhaps, but it is truly junior high speak (maybe that's the draw).  Who knows?  Wish I could write one!

And junior high/middle school--never want to revisit it either as a teacher or a student!  Bless all those long-suffering teachers who love it.

Some good kid's movies coming up, at least the previews were interesting:  A new take on The Karate Kid and Ramona and Beezus.  I had read that Beverly Cleary said she would NEVER allow her books to be made into movies.  Guess the money got too good. 

I think it is a bummer that some of the recent movies are going 3D.  I have not been that impressed with the technology this time around.  Guess I have been around too long.  I think it is just a ploy to make more money, as if....

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Feast

My book club recently shared lunch and discussion with Josh Graves, the author of our book for the month THE FEAST, HOW TO SERVE JESUS IN A FAMISHED WORLD.  Here Josh writes about risk, service, community and the spiritual disciplines.  He states in the preface, "I've become passionate about the project of connecting the world of Scripture with today's world.  This book is written out of my struggle to live in the world of Scripture."

THE FEAST is both an uplifting and challenging read.  Josh told us that one reason he wrote the book was to bring the 18-19-years olds he was teaching out of their spiritual malaise and doubt.  However, the book fits all those who need a fresh view of what it really means to follow Jesus.

Early in the book, Josh quotes Eugene Peterson's take on God's command to John in Rev. 10:9-10 to "Eat this book!"  Indeed, Josh writes, "Digesting the teachings of Scripture is one way Christians can actually embody the good news of God in our chaotic world."

My favorite chapter is "Food and Water" in which he says that the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism are central to the Christian life because they remind us of who we already are, and they are moments when the spiritual and the physical mesh in unusual and holy ways.

Josh Ross ends the THE FEAST  with a thought-provoking study guide.

We enjoyed the book and our time with Josh G.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quotes I enjoy

I am a quote collector--I have about 8 journals full of them.  Some of them relate to writing; some to reading; others are inspirational.  I use them mostly as pick-me-ups for me and in making speeches.  It's a good faith-building hobby too.  Here are some I was reading this week:

"You only live once--but it you work it right, once is enough."  Joe E. Lewis

"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."  Helen Keller

"At the heart of God's will is a mystery, and by the art we create to express that mystery, we stir the spirit of worship from age to age, generation to generation in sound and image for his glory."  Chuck Fromm

"I will open my mouth in stories."  Ps. 78:2  The Message

"Why do you tell stories?  He create readiness, to nudge people toward receptive insight... Matt.13:10-17

"...taking time and going slow nourishes."  Mr. Rogers

"The potential for the sacred is everywhere."  Darryl Tippens

"Start where you are and deepen what you already have."  Thomas Merton

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. "  Elizabeth Stone

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Odds and Ends

I am really missing the Olympics.  When else can one turn on the TV and find inspiring quality programming?  I miss the stories, the beautiful scenery, the tense races, the ice skating, Bob Costas' commentary and the vision of America's athletes striving to do their best.

It is finally getting warm here, although I have been told by the natives not to get my hopes up.

Some of us at Otter are being saturated with Luke these days.  We hear him from the pulpit in outstanding sermons, in class on Sunday mornings after we have done our own digging through the week, and in a Wed. afternoon class as we look at the ideas of the Sunday sermon. I must say he is sticking with me.

American Idol, what can I say?  The judges chose the contestants, yet they constantly upbraid them and say they are not living up to their potential???? I am getting a little tired of Randy's sighs and Simon's caustic forecasts of doom.  I really don't believe the girls chosen are as good as former years' selections.  It is fun to watch, however.

Another show I am liking this year is The Good Wife with Julianne Margulis.  After growing weary of Law and Order, this is a pleasant change with a woman lawyer as the main character--the story is as they say
"stripped from the headlines" as she struggles with going back to work after her husband is jailed for wrongdoing in the district attorney's office (and shown to be playing around with various prostitutes).  Does sound all too familiar, doesn't it?  There seems to be more of that lately.

After hearing that Rick Perry will be on the ballot for Texas governor again, I just had to sit and think that we need to be training noble and intelligent public servants in our colleges and high schools.  Randy Lowry said recently in a meeting at Lipscomb that the president of a very prestigious Ivy League university told him that his  Ivy League university was  doing well at training students academically, but the thing lacking in their curriculum was character.  Character--what an old fashioned term!

Then to see the Christian Chronicle report that for the first time, our Christian universities now have more  students who do not attend the Church of Christ than those who do, hummm.  Conjecture is that the Church of Christ base is dwindling because some of our churches are dwindling or dying and because parents do not see the need for Christian education.  I am pleased that those outside our fellowship are finding the universities challenging and ready for today's world.  However, we can't forget the importance of character and moral living.

Next year I will celebrate my 50th year graduation anniversary from Abilene Christian University.  Attending that school has been a total blessing in my life,and I believe in the life of my son.  More about this later.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

March madness

I am living in a state where today one can buy houses for $100,000 less than they cost to build.  And where one sees a beautiful Jaguar parked in the lawn by a major road with a for sale sign in the window.  Where respected members of the community ( a preacher, musician and another brother) were recently indicted for swindling friends and families in a ponzi scheme and then delaring themselves not citizens of Tennessee, but of an independent nation which they have formed.  Where the state government is struggling to balance a failing budget and proposing to cut in places like schools, mental health, aid to the elderly and indigent, etc.

And where it snowed on March 1st!

Perhaps one day we will get back to the days when we didn't feel we had to have all the money in the world or live in the biggest houses in the world, and getting to know the difference in glut and happiness.