Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom -- well, maybe not

 Sorry, no clever meme for today's Wednesday Wisdom post. In fact, I can't even guarantee you'll find any wisdom here today ... but it is Wednesday!

I'm up fairly early today. It's still full on dark at 5:30 in these last summer days. I'm enjoying my morning coffee from the front porch today and the neighborhood still appears to be sleeping. Only the bugs, frogs and other night sounds are still stirring. Even the birds are still asleep in their nests.

It's an ideal time for contemplation.

We continue to stay pretty isolated as the corona virus pandemic continues. Southwest MO seems to be full of non-believers, anti-maskers, and people that just don't care about potentially spreading the virus to their at risk neighbors. I saw a recent Facebook plea from the daughter of a man that died from COVID-19. He was one that didn't believe in the seriousness of the pandemic and finally hoped to spread the message that people should take it seriously.

In my head I said, "Dumb ass! Nearly 200,000 Americans have died and you thought it was a hoax. Now that you're dying you want everyone else to take it seriously!"

I doubt that one more death will convince any science denying adherents to wear their masks and practice social distancing.

While most of the world is following the advice of medical experts, reopening businesses with certain restrictions in place, and successfully managing the spread of COVID-19, the USA death count continues to climb and more and more people find themselves knowing or having loved somebody that has died from this disease. If you still think that managing the disease is political or that your Facebook education gives you more credibility than the medical experts you are an ass and a part of the reason that the pandemic is still spreading.

Managing a deadly disease isn't about attacking your rights. It's about -- well, it's about managing a deadly disease. Following the advice of good science isn't difficult. I am constantly amazed at the bullshit that people will believe, follow, and spread. It seems that we have become so fearful of being controlled, that we will believe the stupidest of conspiracy theories as our act of rebellion. We are a nation of toddlers throwing temper tantrums and it's time to grow up.

Educate yourself by reading from experts. And while experts may not always agree, follow the science.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." --Mark Twain


John

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Thursday Night Thoughts

 It's late on Thursday evening (after 10pm) and I'm contemplating this evening's barchurch message and my own evolving theology. It's humbling (and a little frightening) to realize that much of my adult life has been spent believing and teaching things about God and the bible that may have been wrong.

It's strange that we can read The Sermon on the Mount and hear Jesus repeatedly say, "You've heard it said ... , but I'm telling you ... ," and then continue to use the history of the Jews and the stories from the Old Testament from the same perspective of the people that had it wrong. As I go through the Old Testament stories with the lens of Jesus, I'm seeing both God and the characters of the stories in a much different light. Both retirement and the current health crisis have allowed me the time to be more contemplative about God, man, and my place in it all. 

I am no longer feeling the calling nor compulsion to preach. Social media is teaching me that few people really want to hear from someone that challenges the way they think or what they see from a limited perspective. (I was blocked today by a "Jesus follower" that called my thoughts on more training for law enforcement bullshit. I wasn't even responding to her post or comment.)

I digress.

Anyway, I think that simple conversations with reasonable people is more my style. Given today's environment, maybe simple posts sharing my thoughts are better for me. Reinterpreting old stories through the lens of The Christ is pretty interesting and somewhat challenging. Unlearning what we once believed to be truth is quite difficult.

Here's a set of questions to challenge you (or to challenge me):

What are your favorite stories from the Old Testament? What did you learn from them? And are you willing to take another look at the stories and the lessons through the eyes of God?

Feel free to answer the first two questions here. We can look for answers to the last one together.

John <><

Sunday, August 23, 2020

It's Been A While ...

 It has been a while since I've posted on either of my blogs. This fine Sunday morning seems like a good day to address that. 

As far as not posting goes -- it's mostly because I've just been spending less time on the internet. This is the first time I've turned this tablet on in several days. I haven't even been keeping up with my reading. I do need to get back to reading.

Here are a few things that have been happening in the "It's been a while ..." category:

*The other night I set the telescope out and took a look at Saturn and its rings, as well as Jupiter and its four visible moons. I had forgotten how frustrating a small, cheap telescope can be and yet still be fun to look through. Maybe I'll upgrade at some point -- maybe not. I've had this old refractor for about 30 years.

*I've been writing a few letters. Maybe I'll continue. It's a little weird writing an actual letter, addressing an envelope, and sending it out via snail mail. We've certainly advanced far beyond that when it comes to timely communication.

*Yesterday I managed to fit into my old shorts -- some from my much thinner days. Honestly, they are still pretty snug, but I'm happy that I'm making that progress. I'm getting to the point that my current shorts are harder to keep up, even with a belt. It's weird that I only have shorts that fit me at the extremes -- fat and thin -- but none that fit well in the middle.

*I put some air into the bicycle tires this week and went out for a short ride. Sacrebleu! It takes a lot of energy to move this fat ass around on even the slightest of hills! I realize that I have a cheap bicycle, but I also know that I am poorly conditioned for riding right now. I'll have to work on that. Ugh!

*I had the privilege of delivering the message at barchurch at the end of July and will be back up for the beginning of September. I'm a bit surprised at how difficult it's been to find a rhythm for sermon preparation. I haven't really figured out why, but it's a little frustrating. Maybe it just isn't my role anymore, or it could just be that -- it's been a while.

Right now my stomach is telling me that it's been a while since I've eaten, so I'm going to see what we have for a healthy breakfast. Have a grand week!

John



Friday, August 14, 2020

Fun Facts for Friday

 Did you know ...

The Rosetta Stone was discovered near Alexandria, Egypt in 1799 by French Soldiers in Napoleon's army? The black rock was inscribed in three ancient languages. The first was Greek and helped date the stone to around 196 BC (during the rule of Alexander the Great). It also served as the basis for interpreting the two different versions of hieroglyphics that were also inscribed in the stone.

Now you know.

John

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Just Thinking

 I've been thinking -- contemplating much more these days. Sometimes I think thoughts that might be worth sharing. Most of the time I doubt they would mean much to others as my thoughts are filtered through my experiences and would just be confusing without that same filter. However, more and more, I am trying to use the filter of the Holy Spirit -- The Christ living in me -- as I work through whatever thoughts are running through my mind. 

I think I'm really going to need to expand that filter to include my words and actions in the coming months as we (the United States) get closer to our elections. There is just so much nonsense and my first tendency is always to call out the bullshit when I see it. The drawback to that approach is that people will rarely listen to your reason after you've told them that they're full of shit. 

There's also the consideration that some relationships (most all relationships) are worth more than being right in a political argument, and so we put on our boots and dance through the manure like walking through the cattle barns at a county fair. Since my thoughts are filtered through my experiences, it's safe to assume that other's thoughts are filtered through their experiences. Rather than argue over the subject, perhaps a better approach would be to change the filter or perspective being used.

Not gonna lie -- this is going to take some practice.

I am becoming less likely to just scroll past inflammatory posts on social media. I somehow feel the need to call out false or misleading posts. How do I do that in a way that doesn't destroy relationships? Many posts have an element of truth along with elements of division and hate. Here's an example that I saw yesterday. I scrolled past it, but wonder if I should have said something.



While I certainly agree with some of what is written here, I am forced to see this as a hate centered post that bristles with nationalism and xenophobia rather than one of simple national pride.

Why? Because I've lived here for 60 years. I've lived in five different states, large cities and rural towns, traveled to the majority of states, have relatives from coast to coast and don't know a single case of someone actually being faced with having to set aside customs, beliefs, foods, flags, religion, etc. I don't think of Christianity as America's religion, but I've never believed that I've been in any danger for my beliefs in it nor from a freedom not to believe in it.

I understand that this is a relatively small sampling of our society, but I would be interested to know if I'm wrong about this. Has anyone experienced being forced not to celebrate, worship, etc., as described in this meme? Don't bother with "I know a guy..." stories. I'm asking about you, personally.

Somehow a threatening "...you are FREE TO LEAVE!!!!!" doesn't sound very unapologetically American to me.

Maybe I should just stay away from social media. It's going to be a long election season. 

John