Saturday, February 14, 2009

Well Planned Saturday

This will be a busy day.

Last night I stayed up after the party until 10:00 and worked on my paper for the Restoration Studies Symposium. It was pretty much finished and I had listed my sources for it at the end of the paper when I learned that the editor of the book where these papers will be published wanted foot notes at the bottom of each page instead of end notes and he wants page numbers with the foot notes. So Yesterday afternoon, I began going through my source material to find my source page numbers. I worked on this for several hours and found all but one of my sources. I will look some more at a later time. The paper is either right at 30 minutes long or slightly long. I may have to edit it yet. The name of the paper is "The Historical Paul and the Beginning of Christianity".

Today, I am going out to my daughter's new house and help paint. She has the master bedroom done and is putting another coat on the great room. I hope to have new pictures when I come back.

I still have the last two weeks pictures to get into the scrapbook. I will set aside a day next week to get that done...possibly Tuesday after I get home from my sister's.

Over night our 70 degree weather disappeared. It's much colder now and will be all weekend. This is Kansas and the weather is always very uncertain which is one of the reasons why we have so many tornadoes. It was 26 degrees when we got home last night and the animals were ready to come inside. It's 31 degrees right now.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Quiet friday

This has been a quiet Friday so far. I worked half a day on the organization work of the Restoration Studies Symposium and sent out rejection letters to those whose papers we cannot use and acceptance letters to those we accepted. I also attached a proposed schedule of activities for each one accepted.

That took up a lot of the morning.

This afternoon Bob and I went to the market. We bought a few groceries and I put them away. Tonight is the Valentine Dinner. I am looking forward to it.

Slinky had me up at 4:45 this morning. He whimpered and cried and finally barked and barked and finally came under my bedroom window and barked. He was hungry and wanted his cinnamon toast. I gave up and got up. So I may play out this evening. He has been good today though. It is nearly 70 degrees out there. It's amazing! It's the middle of February and it's nearly 70 degrees.

Happy Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day...just another day around here. Bob doesn't do Valentine's Day and I have long given up on it myself. The church is having a dinner tonight at a good restaurant and we will attend. That's the extent of it.

Tomorrow, on the actual Valentine Day, I will paint with Leslie. She has been painting all week and I did not know. She will paint in daylight tomorrow so I will help.

I cleaned house yesterday while he was at his Red Cross class in Tulsa. In the afternoon I worked on a sermon for March 15 and a editorial for the Reporter for the same week. I finished both.

Last night I tried to stay up to watch "This Old House" with Bob but only got half way through and had to go to bed. Slinky gets me up at 5:00 and 5:00 comes pretty early every morning. Once he's had his breakfast he is content to lie on his rugs and doze.

So Happy Valentine's Day to any who read here!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sacred Community

Our age is characterized by problems that are a matter of life and death. When I was a child and a young adult, the biggest fear we had was the fear of the atomic bomb. Although that fear still exists, especially since many other unstable nations have the bombs but there are other fears just as valid. Among them are the diminishing of our natural resources, the population explosion, climate change, disappearing and polluted food supplies, and the over all pollution of our planet. Any one of these problems by itself would be enough of a threat but taken together, they spell probable disaster.

There is no need to overemphasize these problems. They could be solved. The problem is getting the private sector and the government to even acknowledge and begin to work on them. Solutions require radical changes in the way many of us live, as well as radical changes in our values and thought patterns. Unfortunately, humans do not accept change easily.

We have built an exclusive political system and a counterproductive economic system based on selfishness. The system produces overwhelming wealth and poverty at the same time. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Our system is competitive and not everyone has an equal chance. Education, the road out of poverty, is expensive and seemingly unreachable by many of the poor. In this world, the more you have the more you can make and the less there is for those who do not have enough to even compete with you. Organized religion does little to help in this crisis. In fact, it sometimes makes things worse.

But this is not the first time the world has found itself in this dilemma. Jesus faced almost the same problem but on a smaller scale. He lived in a time when it seemed to many that the world might come to an end at any time. This belief caused him to set out on his life’s mission. He had an unparalleled leap of imagination for his time. He saw a way to total liberation for his culture. He turned his attention to the poor, the blind, the lame, the crippled, the hungry, sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, demoniacs, and the downtrodden. These people had lost all hope and human dignity and were dependent upon the mercy of others.

Rome had hoped to keep the poor and desperate from revolution by feeding them daily bread. It did not make Jesus and his disciples popular with the government when they began to encourage those who had food and resources to care for those who had none. Jesus, in his great compassion, not only fed them and healed them but he gave them back their feeling of self worth by including them in what he referred to as God’s Kingdom or Empire on earth. God’s Empire and Jesus would eventually appear to Rome to be a threat.

In today’s world, compassion would seem to be a pretty rare commodity. But it has been noted that there are 50,000,000 people in the world today that are working to alleviate the plight of those in poverty. That’s a lot of compassion. So there is hope. There is hope that more people are becoming aware of the physical and emotional needs of those who feel hopeless in today’s world. If we can just re-capture the message and mission of Jesus and find the compassion to minister to the needs of the poor in such a way so as to restore them as productive members of society, there is hope of sacred community once again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Busy Wednesday

Today was busy. I went to Independence early this morning and had my hair done then went to have breakfast with Juanita. Then I went to Wal Mart and later to Sayers Ace Hardware where I bought some new sun glasses.

After that, I met Bob to go to Ministerial Association. There were 15 there today. We began six years ago with six. Now we are up to 15.

Marilyn Gregory presided since Terry had a funeral and couldn't be there.

When Bob came home he went up to Red Cross.

Later I came on home and read this afternoon before getting dinner ready. This evening we will just watch TV. Tomorrow Bob will go to Tulsa to take a class at Red Cross there. I will stay home and clean house. Maybe I will scrapbook afterward.

We'll wait and see.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Sister

Even though my sister is home from the nursing home now and has been for a week and a day, she is still siting in a chair most of the time. I went over there this morning and visited with her while her husband went to his friends' breakfast at a local cafe.

We had a good visit. I noticed two things though. She still asks me the same questions...over and over again and she still sits in a chair most of the time with her feet up and makes no attempt to get up and walk. I say nothing about either of these two things but just take note. She is also giving up her driver's license, which comes due this month to be renewed.

After my brother-in-law returned, I went on up to Independence to my board meeting at Montgomery County Health Clinic. This clinic is managed by a PHD nurse. When our meeting was over I told her about my sister's experience with her broken hip, surgery, stint in the hospital and stint in the nursing home. Then I told her how my sister just chooses to sit and not try to get up and walk at all.

Susie, the nurse, said, "My dear, that's how it goes most of the time. Whenever they go to the nursing home from the hospital, they get out of the habit of doing for themselves and just sit. With her problems with memory too, they usually only last a year after the broken hip."

I can only hope she is wrong. But one of the other nurses there told me the same thing.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saving Christianity

We read quite a lot in the gospels about Jesus’ teaching of God’s Kingdom on earth. We even often repeat his famed prayer. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. I sometimes wonder if we actually think about what we are praying when we repeat that prayer.

I like to think of that kingdom as God’s Paradise rather then “kingdom” since we no longer find many kingdoms on the earth. And Paradise on earth was the original goal of very early Christians. They hoped to establish a place on earth where peace and justice prevailed and people lived together as family and in community.

Early Christians remembered the teachings of Jesus. They cared for the poor, fed, ministered to the needs of the imprisoned and even shared a common meal in their worship services. All that changed over time. Salvation began to be thought of as occurring in the afterlife but Jesus had taught that the kingdom was already on the earth.

For nearly a thousand years, that vision prevailed. Then something truly terrible happened. The vision of paradise was overcome by the vision of salvation by violence. The Crusades commenced and Jews, Muslims and infidels of all stripes were put to the sword. It was another thousand years before that new and terrible vision began to be seen for what it really was. Salvation by violence as reward in the afterlife is not the gospel Jesus taught.

These earlier followers of Jesus embraced a theology of hope, life, and living in community as opposed to the emphasis on torture, suffering, and death that came later.

This was an earlier understanding when Jesus teaching was understood and depicted as opening the possibility again of human life together in an earthly paradise, before that vision was replaced by one of Christian imperialism and salvation by violence.

From where does the violence of our society come? It comes from a thousand years of emphasis on acceptable violence. It was a thousand years before it became acceptable to take human life for any reason. But when that teaching was instigated, it birthed violence of all kinds.

How do we return to the proper vision of Jesus?

I think we begin by teaching the principles Jesus taught. The principles taught in the stories of Jesus’ wonderful acceptance of women, the outcasts of society, untouchables, those who were mentally and physically ill, and those who were hated as pawns of the Romans, are principles we all need to be embracing.

We need to be feeding and caring for the poor, instituting principles of justice in our courts, and pursuing peace with the same vengence we have pursued war. Principles such as “just war”, vengeance and revenge have no place among those teachings of Jesus.

Tired Sunday

Scott left this morning before church and then I got around and went to the market. The woman who was going to have the early breakfast at church called at 9:50 last night to say she was not going to be able to do it after all. They had unexpected company.

So I made a run to the deli/bakery department and picked up cinnamon rolls, frosted rolls, juice and chocolate milk for the early breakfast. It isn't anything I would usually serve but it was better then nothing at all.

We went to lunch with Cyndi and Jeff and John and Leslie. Jeff bought all our lunches...unexpectedly. That was very nice of him but then Jeff is a very nice young man.

We came on home and I did my letters and also printed off the new pictures Leslie sent me of the progress on the house. I will not scrapbook them right away. This will be a very busy week.

Tonight we have "Living the Questions" over at Bredesen's house. Tomorrow, I will clean. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so that will be a good thing to do.

Tuesday, I will go over to my sister's to have a visit with her and her husband will get to go to breakfast with his friends. Later, at 11:00 I have a Montgomery County Health Clinic meeting in Independence.

Wednesday, I have my hair appointment at 8:15, will have breakfast with Juanita afterward and also have the Independence Ministerial Association meeting at Mercy Hospital at noon.

Thursday, Bob is supposed to go to Tulsa for a 9:00 class for Red Cross. I will possibly scrapbook that day.

Friday evening is our Valentine Dinner at the Railroad Inn in Independence.

It should be a busy week. I may paint for our daughter one or two evenings that week too. They finally started with the bricking, as you can see in the picture above.