Friday, July 31, 2009


Thanks to Asbo Jesus for the cartoon as it illustrated my point exactly!

The foundation of gratitude is joy! If you are aware of the good things in your life and take the time to name them to yourself, the gray clouds of doubt and despair cannot hang around for long. While I know this might sound insolent to those with deep seated depression, for the majority of us, taking time to count your blessings naturally progresses to being thankful.

Unfortunately, in our human nature, most times it is too easy to overlook the good and concentrate on the negative. It's all wrapped up in the wanting...we're too busy desiring what we don't or can't have to remain joyful...think back to Adam and Eve, they had everything a human could desire up to and including face time with God and yet, they wanted something be equal to God.

So once again it boils down to trusting God. Knowing deep in the marrow of your bones that He loves and provides for His own. Perhaps not in the way we envision, but in the way that is best for us. If we can get past our own nature and hold fast to this truth, gratitude and joy follow close behind. And if by chance you 1 Corinthians 13: 4

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Although I write this blog mainly for "my" youth and members of our congregation and although I have said more than once I won't discuss politics here and although none of my youth are old enough to vote...I still teach them about the process. We are called to be "in" the world, we cannot NOT participate.

It is crucial that we understand history and we discuss it often. Not just Biblical history but world history. American history includes the discussion on their responsibility to participate in the process. Voting is a biggie in my book. If you don't vote, you don't have the right to speak out against what you see as wrong. It is also our responsibility to stay informed about the issues. This doesn't mean checking just one source and taking their word for it, it means research. We can't be experts in every issue but we can find out enough to form and defend our position.

At the same time, we don't just have a voice during the election season. We have a voice at all times. My family has often laughed and called me a closet radical. Radical, maybe, but definitely not in the closet. Why? Because I write letters and make telephone calls. I wouldn't be surprised if my Senator's and Representative don't have me on some kind of list! I'm afraid they're not the only ones who receive mail from me, I've been known to write elected officials who don't represent me. I am proud to say I have received a response from the office of everyone I have ever written...except one ex-President. Not sure why they didn't respond...I simply and respectfully stated a position...that was it. And while we're at it, I do believe that owe respect to the Office of President and our other elected officials. That doesn't mean I like or agree with them all, it does mean that our forefathers created this government and paid for it with their lives. That sacrifice is worth respect.

Before you get excited, I know that they do not personally read the mail. They have staff for that. I do believe the staff will report an overview of how those who contact them are feeling. And on a rare occasion, may show them correspondence. It is important to let them know what we think. Otherwise we leave them to their own devices and shouldn't be surprised if they act accordingly.

Being a citizen gives you certain rights, being a Christian gives you the responsibility to stand firm on your beliefs. We are not called to hide behind our God but to be His representative. So, get busy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This a performance by an A Capella Jazz Choir from Slovenia...great song and a thunderstorm to boot! Turn up the speakers and close your eyes....Africa

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The world of Us...

We humans are such an arrogant creation. We suffer from the illusion that we can "control" the world we live in and that WE are the most creative of beings. Just look at our buildings that can withstand hurricane and earthquake! What have we to fear from the natural world? We live in such controlled environments we are suddenly finding ourselves allergic to the outdoors...pollen, bugs, dust, dairy, nuts to name a few. We wash ourselves and everything in our homes in antiseptic soaps to the point that we cannot tolerate being outside. Oh, and our advances in science and medicine have extended our lifetimes and continue to do so...most are expected to live 70 or 80 years, easy!

I am not trying to put down our advances in architecture, science, medicine or any number of other disciplines. I just hate that we forget the fact that God created the universe and called it "Good". I hate that we keep trying to distance ourselves from Him and this wonderful planet He spoke into being.

Just for a little perspective of our powers vs. God's, the picture shown above is called the Soap Bubble Nebula. Nebula's are formed by a dying star and only last a "short" period of time...a few tens of thousands of years. Now before you get excited about that number, the average life span of a star is several Billion years! Now if He takes the time to form such lovely images that will never be seen by human eyes, how can we ever claim to match Him? As I said, we're just arrogant!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Light, heat and love...

In the absence of light comes dark, but darkness has no life of it's own. Light is something, but dark is simply the nothing that fills the space when light is gone.

In the absence of heat, cold is ushered in, but cold has no presence; it is simply nothing waiting for heat's return.

When love is gone it leaves a terrible replacement. It is not hate, because hatred is a targeted, active passion that can co-exist with love in the same life. Love's vacuum is filled with indifference. Indifference will not share the room with love. Love wants to act; indifference wants to lie down. Love wants to rescue; indifference turns the channel. Love demands selflessness; indifference cares for no one enough to call the "self" away from it's own pursuits. Indifference, not hatred, would destroy humanity in a short season if love were completely removed from the earth.
"Enter the Worship Circle" Ben Pasley

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Going unnoticed...

At some point in our lives we are all called to do some type of work that goes unnoticed and unheralded. Perhaps you have to care for a sick relative or friend or take over someone else's' duties while they deal with other issues. It is hard to keep up our enthusiasm because we all, as humans, thrive in an atmosphere of praise!

Thomas a Kempis wrote, "Enjoy being unknown and regarded as nothing." Lofty sentiments even though it goes completely against the grain! But wait, isn't that what Jesus was saying in Matthew 6:6..."Your Father who sees in secret will reward you"? So, our tasks are not going completely unnoticed! He who knows everything sees us. The Creator of the universe stands ready to reward. What could be better than that?

Would an ad in the newspaper proclaiming your virtues be better than knowing that someday you'll stand face to face with God and He will state "Well done thou good and faithful servant..." (Matthew 15)? I think not.

Next time you feel the need to throw a pity party because no one appreciates you, remember, Someone does!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

God's memory...

Have you ever tried to recall a conversation a few days or weeks after it happened? How about a few years after? Can you quote what was said verbatim or do you just summarize what was said?

Many new Christians question how the writers of the New Testament were able to put down Jesus' teachings so many years after they happened. Now you have to remember, pencils and paper weren't available to the common man and tape recorders were thousands of years in the future. How is it that they can tell us exactly what He did, what He said and the reaction of those around Him with such confidence?

John 14:26 tells us:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." We can trust what the Bible tells us because God Himself dictated and brought it into "remembrance" to those who were commissioned to write it down for us. Now, who can question God's memory?

Monday, July 20, 2009

God Is Love...

Carl Jung once said "Bidden or not bidden, God is present."

Whether we acknowledge it, recognize it, remember it or believe it God is always present. It doesn't require any effort on our part, He chooses to be an active player in each of our lives.

We can argue with Him, deny Him, question Him or even try to abuse Him and still He carries the love of us within His very own heart. There is NO human comparison to God's love because we are not capable of this type of love on our own.

Humans arrogantly believe they know all there is to know about love and yet we try to live without the Author of it. We talk of it through poetry and music and yet through the testing of the world there is always a point when we will walk away. God never walks away. We have so much to learn...

Friday, July 17, 2009

We are the church...

Archbishop Timothy Dolan writes:

Maybe the greatest threat to the church is not heresy, not dissent, not secularism, not even moral relativism but this sanitized, feel good boutique of therapeutic spirituality that makes no demands, calls for no sacrifices, asks for no conversion, entails no battle against sin but only soothes and affirms.

God does offer us comfort. He does lift us up and affirm us as His children. But not without a cost. Like a parent who is loving but firm, He has expectations for us. Our relationship is not one sided. We are the church and unless we show the cost of being members, the world will never know the richness of our lives. The church must step out boldly and speak our loudly against the "ways" of the world. We cannot be fearful of rocking the boat for if we hold our tongue we are sinning. Sitting silently by while our society marches steadily away from God is as bad as joining them. By our silence we are approving their actions. How else can the world interpret it? They will see us as a shallow, empty shell.

Although there is NOTHING we can do to earn our place as His children, we are expected to at least ACT like His sons and daughters. You will know in your heart if you are following His lead. Take time to listen...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bread and Wine

I was reading Bosco Peters blog today and discovered this gem:

On Sunday July 20, 1969 the first people landed on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were in the lunar lander which touched down at 3:17 Eastern Standard Time.

Buzz Aldrin had with him the Reserved Sacrament. He radioed: “Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.”

Later he wrote: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’ I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute Deke Slayton had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly…Eagle’s metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

NASA kept this secret for two decades. The memoirs of Buzz Aldrin and the Tom Hanks’s Emmy- winning HBO mini-series, From the Earth to the Moon (1998), made people aware of this act of Christian worship 235,000 miles from Earth.

Now, how cool is that!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I was reading an article on the Internet the other day and happened to glance at the advertisements in the side bar. It listed some "articles"..."The biggest first date turnoffs", "Translating what men say into what men really mean", "Tell tale signs he's lying to you" and "Six ways to train your boyfriend".

If I read this correctly, you're dating someone but you're not to trust them and can't believe a word they say...What? I guess I married too young to run into these kinds of relationships and all I can say is...Boy, am I glad! This sounds like nothing short of "game playing" and being something or someone you're not.

The biggest first date turn offs? In whose opinion? So am I to pretend to be someone I'm not...don't let them get to know me, let them think I'm someone they may like better? How do you know what that is?

Translating what they say into what they mean? So, they're not saying what they mean? Making small talk to avoid letting you see who they really are? Sounds to me that you could carry on a relationship for quite some time and not really know anything worthwhile about the person you're dating.

Tell tale signs he's lying to you? One of the clues is "he sticks his whole hands in his pockets" even though that may be a habit, it must mean he's lying!

6 ways to train your boyfriend? Train him to do what? Tricks? So you liked him enough to go out with him and now you have to mold him into someone else? Why go out in the first place? I am old enough to know, this doesn't work but my main question is...why?

Whatever happened to just being yourself and getting to know the other person? Continuing or ending the relationship based on truth and honesty rather than perceptions? My advice? Don't play games. Trust your heart and let God lead you...make Him part of the relationship and He will bless it.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Up close and personal...Can you imagine being the person on the balcony as this F-18 went flying past? Evidently it was part of an air show in Detroit this weekend. All I can say is WOW!

BTW, the person shown in the picture said the pilot waved as he went by...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Make a difference...

"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams; your young me will see visions." Joel 2:28

Joel wrote these words to encourage the people of Israel. In the midst of war, it seemed that nothing had been accomplished because everyone had been too preoccupied with the crisis. Everyone had been so caught up in the "now" that they had given no thought to the future.

Joel's message for us today is to always keep our eyes on the future. Most everyone has dreams of what needs to be done in the world. As we become more aware of these dreams and aspirations, each of us is contributing and shaping our ideas about a better world. It is up to all of us to begin making them a reality. All people of all ages help create the future and each generation takes over where the other left off. You can make a difference so, Keep Dreaming!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Humility... a hard word to swallow at times. To be humble means "to be modest, not arrogant or proud, to be courteously respectful". Wonderful attributes to be sure but they seem to go against our human nature. Who doesn't love to toot their own horn when they do something well? When you master a task, who doesn't feel somewhat arrogant or superior? Left on our own, humility is not a term that would describe many of us.

But it is upon this foundation that our spiritual life is built. This doesn't mean we underestimate our worth or allow ourselves to be defined by others. Humility simply asks us NOT to be the center of our own little universe. We must recognize that we are part of God's creation and as such are called to give ourselves to others. Freely, willingly, hopefully, happily, quickly, and without reservation. Being humble allows us to be grounded in God's truth and to show this truth as a beacon to the world.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Too Serious, sometimes!

I love the liturgy of the church. It is affirming to repeat the songs and creeds during morning worship. To say the prayers and follow the ritual of Communion adds depth to my experience, but...sometimes I think we get too regimented and take it too seriously.

Leo Tolstoy writes:
"Three Russian monks lived on a distant island. Nobody ever went there, but one day their bishop decided to visit them. When he arrived, he discovered that the monks didn't even know The Lord's Prayer. He spent all of his time teaching them the prayer and then left pleased that he had done his pastoral work. But when his ship had left the island and was back on open sea, he suddenly noticed the three hermits walking on water. In fact, they were running after the ship! When they reached it they cried "Bishop, we have forgotten the prayer you taught us!""

Like I said, it is all wonderful and uplifting but it's not all there is to following Christ.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vacation / Life

Having a few days off from your normal routine is exciting! Making lists of things to do and places to go just increases the anticipation. And then you get the time off and even though you may not get everything done you had planned, hopefully you do relax and enjoy! But there's something to be said about getting back to your "real" life with renewed energy.

I recently had several days off and although I didn't accomplish everything on my "to do" list, I got enough of it done to feel good about it. Add to the mix a short trip to visit my children and celebrate the 4th with them and I've started this week with a new sense of purpose. It just confirms my opinion that everyone needs to take a few steps back from time to time, take a few deep breaths and then get on with it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Once a millennium...

Tomorrow we will mark something that only happens once every thousand years. At 12 hours, 34 minutes and 56 seconds on July 8, 2009 we will have 12:34:56 7/8/9. That's
123456789 to me and isn't that special!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 5th

As today is Sunday, I thought this (Hymn for the Fallen)would be appropriate. In memory of those who bought our freedom.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2nd

In honor of the celebration of Independence Day, I will be posting songs for the next few days that I feel capture the American Spirit. Today's piece is from the New World Symphony by Dvorak...we are the "new world" he was writing about!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Turning Around...

Shakespeare's character Macbeth (you may have read this in school) commits several terrible and vicious murders. When he finally thinks of repenting, he feels that there is no hope. As he recalls the number of bad (really bad!) things he has done he cannot believe that he can turn his life around. So what does he do...keeps on killing and hurting people until he himself is killed.

Macbeth could not have been more wrong. We Christians know there is always hope, always a new chance. In many ways God does not even care what you did ten minutes ago...He cares about what you are doing right this very moment.

Think back to those times (maybe 5 minutes ago) when you were grumpy, irritable, disrespectful or just down right mean...ask for forgiveness, ask for a new heart that desires to help and be good to others and BELIEVE that God will change you. You can start again because thankfully God never turns away from you. Never! He's standing there now with open arms...all you have to do is walk into His loving embrace and be ready for a dynamic change.