Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another Beautiful Day in the Ozarks!

For today's Thursdays are for thanksgiving post I am thankful for a close to 2015!
It was a good year to be John Hill!

Aaron and Jenny arrived last night and tomorrow Hannah and Daniel will be back from their holiday travels to visit his family. Some time on January 1st, all my babies will be here, with us.
All-in-all, a fine way to begin 2016.

Last year I managed a couple of trips to Chicago and took in the UFC Chicago Fights with Aaron and a Cubs game with Jenny. Chris and I returned to Zihautanejo/Ixtapa in September and had a great week doing nothing but relaxing on the beach. I managed several nights at the local ballpark watching the Cardinals' double A team and went to a game in St. Louis as well. It's been nice having Hannah in Springfield and we've had a couple of dinners with her and Daniel at their place and a few at our house as well.

Today is a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures more like one would expect for December 31st -- upper 20s this morning with an expected high of around 40. Sounds like good weather to check out my new motorcycling gloves!

As of today, I have been retired for eleven months. Next month, I will spend the last week of my first year of retirement on a beach in Mexico. That's a pretty good plan!

When we return, I'll get serious about shopping for a bigger motorcycle to take on a few road trips during 2016. I'm thinking St. Louis for a ballgame or two (with a side trip to Ted Drewe's to meet up with Mike), central Illinois to see my parents, OKC to visit my sister and her family and maybe as far as Chicago to see Aaron and Jenny. One brother and his family also live in the Chicago area and I may make it to Indianapolis to visit my other sister and her family. I'm just thinking out loud about traveling on the road via motorcycle right now. I don't even know if I'm really going to like the long rides, yet. As well as needing to find time for the travel, the trips will all be solo as Chris says she's not up for that at all.

We have June wedding plans for Hannah and Daniel and are hoping that many of our family members will be able to celebrate with us. Although we don't expect everyone to be able to make it, we are looking forward to celebrating with the ones that can.

This is my 173rd post of the year and sets a personal record for the most posts in a year since I started blogging. I don't know if my writing will be more or less consistent in 2016, but it seems to have taken a different tone than in the beginning. As John has evolved and gotten a bit more mellow, so has Out of My Hat. I've noticed that posts are more about what is going on in the life of John and less about relevant topics in the current news cycle. Somewhere along the way I realized that since I really don't care what most people think about any given subject, most people probably don't care what I think, either.

Now, I pretty much just tell my story. I share my opinions less and listen to the opinions of others less. I still like to learn and will listen to those that are able to articulate their thoughts and present a reasonable case for their opinions. Although I still strive to be a decent human being, I care less about what most people might think of me. I think the saying, "What other people think of you is none of your business," is a good one to follow.

Of course, there are people that I respect a great deal and their opinions matter to me. There are people that I wouldn't want to disappoint and I do care what they think of me. But in the end, we have to be true to ourselves.

I wish all of you well in the coming year. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your day at Out of My Hat. Please visit often in the coming year and leave a comment on occasion.

John <><

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Dumbing Down of ... well, of Me!

I'm not talking about dumbing down as in the stupid kind of dumbing down (at least I hope I'm not getting more stupid). I'm talking about the lack of knowledge of current news events and political campaigns.

Since there seems to be very little real news and most of what I see on TV and read on the internet are just pieces of regurgitated sound bytes and somebody's convoluted spin on what they might mean, I've pretty much given up on paying any attention to most of it. I view my lack of keeping up on all of the garbage being floated in the media and cyberspace not as being less informed, but rather as being less misinformed.

Sifting through all of the hype and crap of the coming election is going to be a real chore. Finding the truth about the plans and character of each candidate and finding reliable sources of information is going to be a difficult task. I'm pretty certain that truth is not going to be found on Facebook in the countless memes and rumor spreading posts that populate my news feed. Something tells me that the more difficult the truth is to find, the less I'm going to like it when I finally do figure it out.

I know that I'll be sharing some of my political opinions here at Out of My Hat between now and the election in November, but it is my blog and I am free to do that. You are free to read it -- or not, and if you choose to read it, you are free to agree -- or not. In any case, as my blogger friend Bilbo says, "Don't let anyone do your thinking for you!"

Perhaps that's where the real dumbing down of America is happening -- we have abdicated our right to think for ourselves and allowed the extremes of the two political parties and their media outlets to do our thinking for us. We are all too happy to easily regurgitate what they tell us instead of taking the time to assess the information and evidence and draw our own conclusions. We have believed the lies that we have to be far to the right or far to the left or we are wishy washy and weak. Moderates in either party are left without a real voice in government because we have let the extremes hijack both of our parties.

Think for yourself.
Speak up! --for yourself.

Your political party doesn't need you to speak for them. The parties have their candidates and their media outlets to speak for them. They have a great wealth of political contributions to buy ads and airtime to speak for them. They can hire great minds and creative programs to speak for them and to convince the ignorant masses that they have all the answers.

If the literal meaning of the word dumb is to be unable to speak, then the dumbing down of America summarizes our political process well because we have lost our political voice. I want to find a candidate that agrees with me rather than one that I agree with. I want a representative that speaks for me rather than one that is bought and paid for by someone else.
Good luck with that, eh?

It is pretty difficult to keep up with the campaigns and keep the negative garbage out of your day. I've been keeping most politics at a comfortable distance for the time being. I have a feeling that will end soon.

Be informed -- not misinformed.
Stay positive.
Be well,

John <><

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Looking back / Looking forward

It is hard to believe that it is the final week of 2015. My retired self has nearly eleven months of retirement experience and I have to say that it was a good decision. I can't say that it has been an especially productive eleven months, but it has been pretty enjoyable!
One personal record that I've surpassed is in blogging. This is my 171st post at Out of My Hat this year. My previous high was 165 posts in 2008. Although my readership has dropped considerably and I rarely post anything controversial or meaningful, I'll continue to write as it is more of an exercise for my sanity than anything else.

I started out taking great care not to get too lazy or sloppy in retirement and kept up with daily exercise and even managed to shave nearly every day. (I know that shouldn't be a big deal, but daily shaving serves as a symbol of neatness and adulting in my mind.)
That daily shaving thing started to slack off about the same time the daily walking thing did somewhere around mid-year. After a relatively short time of not logging my daily food intake and not walking as often nor as much, the weight started coming back. Over the past 18 months, I've managed to slowly put back a third of the weight I lost in the previous year.
I really don't want to go back to logging everything I eat, but may have to if I cannot start to be a bit more disciplined about the what and when of eating. I am doing better about getting some exercise every day and I am trying to add more variety to my activity. I've decided to use a simple principle learned in this article. It has made getting daily exercise easier and also allows me to get some variety into my workouts. I've considered signing up for a run to have an end goal for a period of time, but haven't convinced myself (nor has anybody else convinced me) that I really need that just yet.

I'm also starting to apply that "minimum workout" principle to several other areas of discipline like mental exercise, magic, reading and writing. So far I've been practicing or watching more magic, reading for education a little each day and I have just started solving puzzles or problems of some kind. I haven't come up with a routine of any kind yet, but I do think that both the exercise and problem solving are activities best suited for the earlier part of the day. Reading and magic can easily be put off until later in the day (at least before baseball season starts!).

One older and wiser cousin shared that finding a rhythm in retirement might prove challenging. As a rule, I'm okay without a rhythm of any kind (and many would agree that I have no rhythm), but I am finding that not having a routine of any kind has its downside. Scheduling is good for getting things accomplished. After all -- if you're doing nothing, how do you know when you're finished?

So maybe a little more planning in 2016 -- especially when it comes to planning baseball games, motorcycle rides and travel!

For 2015, finish well!
For 2016, let's make it a grand year!

John <><

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Power of Christmas -- repost

These are two of my favorite Christmas posts.
The first tells the story;
The second is a song that commemorates the story.

The power and peace of Christmas are still in great need today.
It could happen again!
Merry Christmas!

John <><

Christmas Eve & Thanksgiving

Christmas Eve falling on Thursday is perfect for another Thursdays are for thanksgiving post.
I am truly thankful for the birth of my Lord and Savior. I'm glad that we celebrate it but I honestly have to say that it is way overdone. If we (Christians) are honest with ourselves and each other, most of the holiday celebrations have nothing to do with God at all.
We can best show our thanksgiving for His coming by living as He lived and sharing God's love on the other 364 days in the year.

Although I have another week before 2016 turns the calendar page, I am already looking at things I'd like to do in the coming year. The time that retirement affords me has been great in 2015 (and I am very thankful, indeed), but my hopes are to make it a little more productive in 2016. One of the things that I want to do is a little old school -- writing at least one long-hand letter per week! I already have a few people in mind and I have a few addresses.
However, if you would like to receive a long-hand letter from me during 2016, send me your name and mailing address. My email address is or you can PM me on Facebook or Twitter. If you want to leave a comment with your address, that's fine -- just be sure to remind me not to post it (you know how habits are).

I'll get to a few of my other 2016 goals next week, but figured to get a head start on gathering addresses. (Bilbo, I have yours and your name is on the list!)

I hope that all of my readers (both of you) have a joyous holiday season and a Merry Christmas. If you do celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus, may His blessings and peace be upon you and your family. If your holiday is about celebrating with family and friends, I pray that His blessings and peace will be upon you, as well.

Merry Christmas,

John <><

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice 2015

It is a little past sunrise on the 21st of December in the Ozarks of Southwest Missouri. Sometime before the day ends the sun will reach its southern most point (23.5 degrees, the Tropic of Capricorn) in its annual cycle. The official time of the Winter Solstice is 4:49AM UTC on the 22nd (which is 10:49PM on the 21st in Springfield MO).

As a kid, I never really understood why the first day of winter marked the beginning of the returning sunlight hours and the beginning of the sun's journey northward, but also meant the beginning of the coldest season. I mean, shouldn't it be getting warmer? Shouldn't this day mark the beginning of spring instead of the beginning of winter?

There are many cultural traditions that we have adopted into our seasonal celebrations. Simple things like the Christmas ham at dinner, the giving of gifts, the lighting of the Yule log -- all have origins in winter solstice celebrations.
Not being a big fan of winter, I am excited to see the sun begin its journey back to the north so that we can get look forward to the coming spring and summer of 2016.

Chris and I will be making a winter trip to the tropics in January and I hope to make regular winter trips to warmer climates a part of the retirement routine (unless I can convince her that a home in the tropics is a much better idea). Some year we'll have to skip the tropics and journey a little farther south to visit my cousins Down Under. We can skip the early part of our winter and enjoy the beginning of their summer. One of them posted this picture yesterday saying this is where they'll be anchored for the next ten days.

I could deal with that for the holidays!

For now, a still working wife and a meager travel budget will keep us a little closer to home with the occasional trip to one of the many beaches of our southern neighbor.

Even though we are heading toward the colder months, the days will be getting longer and spring is on its way. It's only 104 days until the Cardinals open the 2016 baseball season!

John <><

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

There are many ways to tell the Christmas story.
Over the past few days and weeks there have been music programs, Christmas plays, Christmas poems and news stories of the love of God and the meaning of Christmas.

Here's a fun take on the old, old story of Christmas!

John <><

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Magic fun!

How about a little magic for this December morning?

I love this video!
The effect is a new take on an old trick.
When Penn says he knew from the beginning what was going to happen, he wasn't the only one. Probably every magician watching knew what to expect as the final outcome. Of course, that's what makes it even better -- knowing what is happening without knowing how it's happening makes it crazy awesome!


John <><

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cleaning up my smart phone...and other stuff.

I've decided to clean up my phone -- delete unused apps, delete pics or move them to Picasa and to better organize the remaining data. I'm going to continue to scale back on my social media time and spend more time reading -- both books and internet news articles.

No more check-ins via Swarm or Foursquare (two of the apps I deleted).
Less time on Facebook (I do spend more time on Twitter, but most of my feed is linked to articles in areas of interest to me rather than status updates).

Really, if it weren't for family and extended family, I'd probably drop Facebook altogether. As it is, I'm getting ready to do another Facebook friend purge.
If you get dropped, please do not take offense nor read anything malicious into it. I'm just going to re-tool my Facebook use and use it to primarily keep up with family and relatives, as well as some friends that I don't have any personal contact with.
If I see you regularly (like at church or something), we can converse rather than read each other's updates. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @magicianary or like my Facebook account at The Message in Magic.

It's a little weird to think that disconnecting from people is a good thing, but I think that this is a case where that is true.

In keeping with my Thursdays are for thanksgiving theme, I should say that I am thankful for my family and friends. I just want to be more intentional about relationships where I can be -- personal contact, real conversations, shared experiences. I would like to think that I can be a positive influence and hope to be encouraged by my relationships with others.

I may take a page from my blogger friend Bilbo's book and actually write a few longhand letters in the coming year. I would much rather have a personal discussion with you about politics, religion, life in general or pretty much anything at all, than to post memes or argue positions via comments on yours, mine or a third parties post.

And I guess that means I'll have to get out of my house and actually interact with people -- ugh!
So be it.

John <><

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Music

I'm still working on that Christmas spirit thing.
I'm listening to some Christmas music today. Maybe that will help. I'm getting there...

Here's a favorite from a relatively new group. I ordered several of their CDs last year.

John <><

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's Magic!

Tonight is a pretty quiet night in the Ozark Hill home. I've been struggling with allergies and congestion for several days now. I think much of it can be attributed to warm December weather, hours of raking and burning leaves and gusting winds that have stirred up junk in the atmosphere.

Enough about my woes. No one wants to hear about that anyways.

One of the things that I have been doing lately is watching some magic videos. I have quite a library of instructional videos that teach many types of close up and stand up magic effects. Although I have always been fond of close up magic, I have rarely practiced it much because I haven't had a venue to perform this particularly challenging type of magic.

Now that I have the time to practice, perhaps I will develop a close up program and begin to look for a venue in which I might perform. I don't see myself hustling tips as a street magician, but perhaps I can find some suitable place to play and take on a new persona.

When I first started using magic as ministry, I went to work part-time at the magic shop at Silver Dollar City in Branson MO. I knew that they had a little 15-20 minute magic show every hour or so and I wanted to practice performing before an audience. Later, I worked (part-time, again) at a different magic shop in Branson. Working in a magic shop is fun. It is too bad that there is no longer a shop in Springfield. Can you think of a better place to have access to the newest effects and have the opportunity to practice and demonstrate effects for fun and sales?

I kind of wish I had a magic coach; a teacher that is more skilled in the art than I am that could serve as a mentor. Perhaps, in time.
For now, I'll get busy with the library of videos and books and see what I can develop.

It takes A LOT of practice.

I think it was Houdini that said --
You must practice until what is hard becomes easy; until what is easy becomes second nature and until what has become natural becomes magical.

It's a good thing I have a lot of time!

John <><

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Writing; Christmas Reading

Today was our December meeting of the Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers (OCACW). Our December meeting takes on a different format than our other monthly meetings and we set aside time to read different writings about Christmas, winter or the holiday season.

Some members shared from things they had written in the past, most wrote something just for this meeting. As our group has grown, it is interesting to hear the different styles of writing of our many members. I decided not to write for today's meeting so that others would have the chance to share their stories.

All of those that shared did a very good job!

I did notice that more of the readings this year stayed pretty focused on the story of Christmas. In previous years, there has been more variations for winter stories, family Christmases and holiday celebrations. Today there were more readings that dealt with some aspect of the biblical Christmas story. It was a good meeting.

I'll get around to writing more about Christmas in the coming days. It is less than two weeks away!
I haven't really done much to get into the spirit of the season just yet, but I'm getting there. We'll be going to Chris' work Christmas party later today and decorating the house for Christmas tomorrow.

Maybe that will help.
Maybe not.

I never thought I'd be a bah-humbug kind of guy so I'd better snap out of it and start spreading the Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas!

(how was that?)
John <><

Friday, December 11, 2015

My Declaration of Positivity!

Today feels more like a mid-March day at the end of winter than a mid-December day at the end of fall.  It is 70 degrees in the Ozarks of Southwest Missouri, unseasonably warm, indeed!

I celebrated the day by taking another December ride on the motorcycle and am currently adulting on the deck with chicken on the grill and a Dominican cigar to calm the soul.

The sun is slowly setting behind a bank of clouds and rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. It's too bad that it is supposed to rain tomorrow. I need to make the trip into Springfield tomorrow for our December writers' club meeting and the Honda would be nice since we are temporarily short a car.
No worries, though. Life is good and only having one car and a motorcycle definitely falls into the category of first world problems.

Speaking of first world problems --
I'm going to say that I'm probably not the only one that currently zips through the social media news feeds, overlooking all of the garbage posts. I have tried not to be one of the people that determines to unfriend anybody with opposing points of view. I do tend to unfollow a number of connections if they constantly seem to post negative crap about others. I think we can get our point across of what we support or oppose without resorting to calling names and re-posting others negative and often untrue posts.

Yes, I realize that I have been guilty of that, as well.

I'm going to try to continue to curtail that kind of thing on my posts and would encourage others to that. too. There is more than enough negative stuff floating around cyber space without my adding to it.
I am going to begin a 30 day quest to flood the internet with good, positive thoughts and posts. Don't worry, you'll still get to see my food and sports posts (some of which may be quite negative: Can you believe the Cardinal's let J Heyward go to the Cubs!), but I'll also be adding notes of thanksgiving and encouragement.

I'll also be looking for just good news kinds of posts and I will be happy to share yours if they end up on one of my social media feeds.

Since posting news stories that deal with politics, religion and social issues rarely change anybody's mind, I'll try to refrain from those on my feed. If I mess up and let something slip by, feel free to call me out on it.
I do realize that life happens and not everything is sweet and pretty. Some of life is just plain ugly and those things (realist that I am) may find their way to my blog or news feed. I'll try to keep it to a minimum. I'll also give you the freedom to post what you like without the apparently required judgment and offense on my part. I'll just move along as I have been trying to do.

Let me end this Declaration of Positivity (Is that even a real word?) by telling you that...

God loves you.
And Jesus died for you!

Be well.
Be encouraged.
Be positive!

John <><

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursdays are for Thanksgiving

It's late on Thursday evening and I am typing while watching the UFC Fight Night.
I started to write my Thursday post early this morning but set it aside because it is not something that is easy to write about.

Monday afternoon, Chris and I spent a few hours visiting with a man and his wife in their home. He has terminal cancer and knows that the coming days will bring the very last Christmas that he will spend with his kids and grand kids.
We had a very nice visit. Other than the medical talk, you wouldn't know this couple is facing death in the coming months. I know that their hope is in Jesus and they are trusting God for the strength to face the coming days, but praying for them at the end of our visit was hard.

I know that I have taken life for granted. I go to bed each night with the full expectation that tomorrow will come -- for me, for Chris and for our kids.
But the truth is -- tomorrow is not guaranteed.
The coming Christmas could be our last Christmas to celebrate with our loved ones.
There is no promise of tomorrow, or next week or next year.

So I am thankful for today.
I am thankful for life and (oddly enough) I am thankful for death. I think that without knowing there is an end to life, it is too easy to miss cherishing the simple moments -- the sunrises and sunsets, the gentle breezes and the raging storms...and the rainbows, too. If there will always be tomorrow we will wait too long to say our I love yous and make our apologies.

I know that my friend would love to hang around a while longer.
I also know that he is ready to stand before God.
Are you?

What will tomorrow look like for you if you wake up dead?
If your life after death begins tomorrow, what will it be?
Are you trusting in your good deeds to gain access to heaven?
What if it isn't enough?

Because -- it isn't.

We are all sinners and unworthy of entrance to heaven.
Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except by him. He took on our punishment and gives eternal life to those that would believe and receive it.

I am thankful for today. It was a beautiful day -- mid 60s in mid December! I put around 100 miles on the motorcycle today and had dinner out with Chris. If I get a tomorrow, well ... I'll be thankful for that too!

And I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus.
If you need to know get to know him, drop me a note in the comments or send me an email, tweet or text. It would be my honor to introduce you to each other (of course, He already knows who you are!).

John <><

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Slowly Moving into the Tech World

About a year ago I added a Samsung Chromebook to my limited arsenal of technology. I also have a Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. I have now linked them together so that I can text message from my Chromebook and as I am typing on my Chromebook, I just received a pop-up message that my phone battery is low and down to 14%.

I've added a few other features to my Chromebook and I am trying to make more use of my phone's capabilities.

As it is, both of my Samsung products are way more technology than I really need. I am happy to be able to make a phone call, send and receive text messages and access the internet. Yeah, I take some pictures and post on social networks, but I suppose I could get by just fine without that. I also get score updates for the Cardinals and the Blues, but again -- I could live without that.

I still read actual books and using the ancient method of e-mail to communicate.
And I still try to actually talk to people on occasion.
I do not have a Netflix account, nor do I use Hulu, Amazon TV, not even a DVR to watch shows that I miss. If I can't watch them during the broadcast time, I just don't watch them.

I think about things like a Fitbit or other wearable devices, but then I think -- nah, it's not worth it to me. All-in-all, I'm still a technological moron, but I am slowly learning to adapt. I suppose that I will continue to learn more things that I can do with my limited devices and knowledge. It is still fun to learn new things and find out how to do things that many people are already doing.

Little things still make me happy.

John <><

Friday, December 04, 2015

Prayer and Platitudes

There has recently been many memes on Facebook and Twitter that have mocked the prayers of those that have called for prayer for the victims of the most recent mass shooting in the US.

I have a problem with that -- sort of.

The problem I have is that I don't think that prayer is something to be mocked. I do believe that it is our way of communicating with God and I do believe that he hears our prayers. Often, when we are helpless to do anything else, prayer serves as our only means of doing something to offer comfort or aid to those in need.

And that's where the "sort of" comes in.

The "thoughts and prayers" comments that are quoted and shared are often by people that are in the position of being able to do something -- but don't. The frustration of those that are angry and hurting (and afraid of the continuing trend) is what is being shared in those memes.

Growing up, I remember one of the nuns at my Catholic school saying that we should pray like it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on us.
While I do often expect God to intervene in ways that only God can, it is unfair of us to expect God to do the things that He has clearly placed in our power and ability. We should pray for the comfort of the victims of any tragedy, especially when we are unable to lend comfort ourselves. But if we have the means to prevent (or at least reduce) further acts of gun violence (in this case), shouldn't we be taking steps in that direction?

I don't have the answers.
I do know that I don't want my home to be a country where gun violence is considered normal.
There are people that are way smarter than me that are tasked with coming up with solutions. Many of them spend millions of other people's dollars to be in the position of doing something -- and they do nothing, but offer platitudes.

When it comes to what I can do -- I vote.
You should, too.

When I am lost and don't know what to do -- I pray.
You should, too.

John <><

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Thursdays are for Thanksgiving

This Thursdays are for Thanksgiving post has not yet become a habit.
Consequently, this will be my second post for the day. Maybe I'll skip tomorrow.
Maybe not.

As I type, we (Chris and I) are waiting on Hannah and Daniel coming over to join us for dinner. It isn't anything fancy. In fact, it is pretty informal and down to earth man food. (That's what you're likely to get when John's in charge of fixing dinner!)

Venison nachos!
A neighbor shared some of his ground venison and beef with me and it is in the skillet with onions, black beans, pinto beans, green peppers, Serrano peppers & Rotel tomatoes. It has been well seasoned with cumin, cayenne, garlic, chili powder and cilantro. It will be served on tortilla chips with shredded cheese and green onions topping it.

And a pie is in the oven for dessert!

So the thankful part is that we have a kind neighbor and that Hannah and Daniel are close enough (and hungry enough) to join us for dinner once in a while. There is enough for Aaron and Jenny but they are too far away to join us tonight.

Dinner time!

John <><

The Non-reverent Non-Reverend

Before you get started -- I know that irreverent is the correct word usage. It's just that non-reverent fits better in this case.

I serve on a couple of teams in our local Southern Baptist Association that are made up of mostly pastors and professional clergy. I have never pastored a church, nor have I been to seminary. In truth, I probably bring more of a lay person perspective than preacher perspective even though I am a preaching evangelist and have (on rare occasion) been referred to as Rev. Hill.

I never really thought about it in these terms until the other night when my place on a newly formed advisory board (made up of pastors and church staff) was described as -- he brings a non-Reverend point of view.

I asked if that was non-Reverend or non-reverent and was told it could be either one.

I know that it was meant to be a positive thing since it was said by the person that put me on the board, but it did get me thinking ...

In a lot of ways I'm kind of an anti-church, anti-American Christianity kind of preacher.
Even while I say that, I need people to know that I am most definitely a pro-Jesus kind of preacher.
And while I certainly hear a lot of Jesus talk from conservative Christians in the media and conservative politicians that would have you believe that conservative politics and Christianity go hand in hand, I don't see a lot of Jesus action from those people and I am afraid that their constant message is changing the face of Christianity in America.

I'll be the first to admit that I am a poor representative of my Lord and Savior, Jesus. The good thing about that is that nobody is really looking to me for an example of how to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, there are many more visible clergy and politicians that wear the Christian label that people are following as some kind of spiritual role models.

If you are a follower of Jesus, then I suggest you ... well, follow Jesus. You don't have to do what other people tell you Jesus would do; you can read for yourself what Jesus would do. If you don't have a Bible your own to read, you can always read online. Here is a good place to begin -- the Gospel of John in an easy to read English translation. Go from John's gospel back to Matthew and then continue with Mark and Luke. If you have questions along the way, I'd be happy to help you out. Send me an email or text (info in About Me) and we'll work through it together.

Whether I am an irreverent Reverend or a non-reverent non-Reverend I will be happy to share the Biblical Jesus as best as I can.

John <><