Monday, February 23, 2015

"Zipadee Doodah................."

This morning’s visit to Veteran’s went well, providing the blood I surrendered doesn’t lead to some future phone-call revealing problems undetected thus far. The scales were kind, showing me five pounds lighter than my last weigh-in; and the doctor surprisingly agreed with me that no blood pressure medicine is needed. My over-all mood while driving out afterwards to the church school was a bit jubilant. Upon discovering that the kids that I tutor in the elementary level were about to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day party, I opted to use the time to make a few orbits around the gymnasium running track, wasting ninety minutes on a round trip, home and back, just didn’t seem wise. At three, the bell rang and my granddaughter met with me to spend a few days, plans already in the wind with Mamaw for a shopping spree. Basketball with the grandsons tonight. They asked me earlier, as part of that examination, if I ever struggle with depression. My answer, given with a smile was: “No; church keeps me on cloud nine!” Such attendance does not guarantee anything, of course; but witness shared without an anointing requires a bit of wisdom. Bull horns and loud, passionate Biblical rebukes, in my opinion, only sow seeds of offense. Enthusiastic and repetitive “gush” tends to signal one’s lack of depth, another fanatic following a temporary high, even though the heart might be well-intentioned. The years have taught me to be “open” with my faith, unashamed of who He is and what He has brought into my life, “instant in season” as Paul put it, looking to know the reality of His presence in the moment, a connection established, and then to relax in His flow as He ministers unto whosoever is “plugged in”. Every day is a new day. Every day is a different day. I am a vessel under construction, even after all these years. He is eternal and changes not……

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Busy, busy...................."

In my little corner of the world winter has finally conquered us, at least until my son-in-law is able to reach us with his tractor plow. Four to six inches of snow isn’t all that much, but the county, while willing to take our taxes, doesn’t extend help to this neighborhood; and, with a possible additional layer before the day is over, life beyond this house is out of reach for the moment. Henri Nouwen wrote that “When we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no television to watch, or no record to play, we are brought so close to seeing the revelation of our basic human aloneness and are made so afraid of experiencing an all-pervasive sense of loneliness that we will do anything to get busy again with the game that makes us believe everything is fine after all.” I don’t know that “loneliness” is what this old man seeks to escape, but I do admit to a continual craving to be occupied with “something”. This spirit wasn’t meant idle in some state of hibernation. Dreams, it seems to me, ought to tell us that, during slumber, something inside us is rebelling against suspended animation. An Adyashanti quote over at “Whiskey River” states that “Nobody told us that what we are is a point of awareness, or pure spirit. We’re taught rather to identify with our name, our birth date, the next thought that we have, and with all the memories our mind collects about the past.” I don’t tend to chase gurus and San Francisco Buddhists whose theology points to our “inner self” somehow being able to conquer its own problems, but do believe there is a nugget of truth within such thinking. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon declares that, within all of us, God has placed “eternity”. King James says “the world”; and the Greek roots of the word suggests its best definition is “time beyond our comprehension” or as the verse, itself, continues, “so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” We may well envision ourselves with a slice of existence, a past already determined and a future yet to be discovered, but all we really possess is this moment, this breath of air taken into our lungs, a reality around us to be filtered through our brain, and a chance to know Him in the mystery of it all. Rest is required. Physically, we cannot make it otherwise. The river, however, ceases not its flow; and life, real “life” is anchored in Him, not something else encountered along the way. He holds my hopes, my curiosity, my devotion, my next position be it in summer’s heat or February’s freeze……

Thursday, February 19, 2015


While northern Kentucky has not yet even come close to the depth of snow accumulation that others have known, we have experienced about six inches this week thus far and awoke this morning to a minus seventeen temperature holding us captive. To be reminded by the good chaplain at the helm of “Monk”, then, that we are entering into the Easter season was a dose of sunshine to an old man who is, at the moment, seated in his recliner, in front of an electric fireplace heater and under a warm woolen blanket. His definition of Lent, however, that it is not a matter of “getting better”, but about “dying until we’re dead” gave me pause. I was reminded of a Henri Nouwen quote that suggests: “Learning to weep, learning to keep vigil, learning to wait for the dawn: perhaps this is what it means to be human.” We visited the men at the rescue mission last night, speaking to faces both young and hold, some reflecting no thought at all for present circumstances, others with more of the journey behind them giving image to having covered enough distance to at least consider the trek, a few with witness of an inner warmth in the furnace providing promise for whatever lies ahead. Life is hard; it can be cruel; and the biggest mystery of all is not so much all that comes unto us in the transition, but “me, myself, in how I meet it in the next step. Theology can assist us if we realize that, in and of itself, it is no “set-in-cement” solution to the problem. Indeed, when I hear our President declare that “no religion is responsible for terrorism”, in my opinion he gives evidence of his own dogma falls short of “truth, and nothing but the truth”. “Religion”, in its various forms, has proven, along the way, to be a disease capable of massacring all those who disagree with its doctrinal demands. God, however, is medicine for a man’s soul, strength for a man’s spirit, resurrection for a man’s heart, and reins for a man’s inability to direct his own path. The question is only whether we, as individuals, recognize that it is not our lungs pumping in oxygen that brings meaning to our existence, but our surrender of our existence unto He who holds it in His hands. His breath melts a cold heart and speaks of Spring……

Monday, February 16, 2015


Rob, a friend of mine over at "Faith Meets World", was prompted to write a nice Valentine's Day post illuminating the apostle John's declaration that God "is" love. In Psalms, however, we are told to "extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name Jah", an appellation expanded unto Moses there at the burning bush as "Jehovah", or "I am that I am"; and it would seem that, while we can examine the Creator through individual filters, we can never capture Him completely with just one particular, individual word. He simple "is"; and, as such, sits beyond our understanding, our ability to approach by any means other than reverence on our part. We find communion with Him through Christ. We can step into His presence via merger with He whom Christ has returned unto us. God, through Christ, and Christ alone, is tangible and accessible! Why, then, is it that men shun the light, preferring darkness? Why is it that some, even in claiming to know Him, yet "neglect so great salvation"? Can it be that we are content with defining Him in our own terms, doctrinal totems an easier means of establishing our own righteousness without having to face His? We walk within such boundaries as have been taught us, by such beliefs that the journey has thus far instilled into our thinking; and this old man has become convinced that "enlightenment" was never ours to bestow upon others via linguistic means in and of themselves. The Holy Ghost, Christ "in" us, is the promise given; and either that resurrected renewed reality comes forth in our daily life, witnessing somehow unto whosoever shares whatever moment with us, or all there really is... is just "me" stumbling down the path.......

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Star Trek................"

"If you went to the ends of the universe, going long or going wide;

Would you hit a wall or only fall into what's on the other side?

What if but a thin membrane was there to penetrate;

and, passing through, all that you'd do was just reciprocate?

Or, better still, a rubbery gel that you bumped twice somewhere;

and answering your soft 'knock, knock', a deep voice asked 'Who's there?'

Laugh if you wish, as we sit and spin while soaring through outer space;

But reality demands to know 'What holds this all in place?'

And the answer's not beyond the moon. No; eternity's within.

The gulf was spanned at Calvary's Cross when He died and rose again.

For if a man listens with all his heart to what he's searching for,

he can know who's on the other side by just opening the door....."

Friday, February 13, 2015


Wednesday evening’s class was focused on the Book of Judges, it being the target point for those up to date with the schedule for absorbing the entire Bible in ninety days; but, with everyone scattered in accordance with their own pace, our discussion was not restricted to that particular portion of the Book. We were observing how the Israelites, God’s chosen people, lived a “yoyo” existence in their acknowledgment of Him, continually needing deliverance from problems of their own making. One man likened it unto the United States who, in its own short history, appears to be abandoning its own Christian roots; and when he brought up the subject of “holiness”, his words took me to a verse in 2nd Samuel where it speaks of Ahab and Jehoshaphat sitting “in a void” and listening to all the prophets prophesying unto them. Whether my friend had utilized such term in reference to a lifestyle we try to achieve in Christ or His actual identity within us, I know not, but America, in my own opinion, isn’t in this present state of apostasy because of its populace, in general, having rejected its roots. Rather, its condition reflects a Church that, in many ways, has lost its witness. When faith is grounded in a doctrine, in words rather than a Holy Ghost alive in our midst, when faith is represented by no more than humanity at the reins, thinking itself somehow appointed not just “keeper of the Flame”, but the Authority in charge of it as well, God’s people need to go back to the Cross and begin again. While in Florida the past two weeks, I became acquainted with a millionaire widow who had been courted by her married pastor with little doubt as to what was on his heart. My sister resolved that issue, but it seemed to me damage had been done. On the day of my departure, I sat with them in a small diner for breakfast and, after our meal, asked if I could pray for her. My initial entrance into petition was prefaced by an assurance that men remain men, even “in” Christ, and that it wasn’t my “words” nor any claim of me being an ordained preacher giving importance to what we were about to do. What we sought was “connection” with a Deity who as both accessible and tangible, One who knew both her hurt and her need. Tears began to run down her face and the two of us stepped into His well. For a moment, the three of us knew His presence in our midst, seed was sown, and this old man simply flew home leaving the Spirit to continue further in her life. Witness isn’t impressing others of my own form of “righteousness”, but sharing the reality of His promise, His holiness, His grace alive in me…