Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gabriel's Message



The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favored lady,” Gloria!
“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favored lady,” Gloria!
Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said.
“My soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name.”
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!
Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say:
“Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Christmas Eve



Life holds no sweeter thing than this:
To teach a little child the tale most loved on earth;
And watch the wonder deepen in his eyes; 
The while you tell of the Christ Child's birth;
The while you tell of shepherds and a song,
Of gentle drowsy beasts and fragrant hay;
On which that starlit night in Bethlehem,
God's tiny Son and His young mother lay....
                                          Adelaide Love

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Who would have thunk it?

A photographer was taking pictures of a dam in Italy when he noticed the "spots". On closer inspection he found they were goats!

They're not putting their life on the line to show off but actually grazing and licking the rocks for salts and minerals.



I'm impressed! God created some truly wondrous creatures!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

O Come, O Come...

Enya has such a hauntingly beautiful voice...and is singing one of my all time favorite Christmas hymns...



"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by Enya
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Southern Living...

I'm sure everyone is partial to the part of the world they grew up in (or currently live in). I, for one, couldn't imagine spending my life anywhere but the South. 

Having grown up with a father who thought himself half gypsy, I've lived in several areas of the Southeastern US. Each place had it's own traditions and customs but many are the same throughout the region. People can tell by your accent which state you're from (although I do get asked if I'm from Texas from time to time...but this is by those who haven't lived here and don't have a fine-tuned ear for accents), and although we may get a little upset if you support our number 1 rival college football team, as long as your accent has a southern twang, people will accept you.

Enjoyed an article this morning written by someone who had their first taste of Southern living...you might like it too:
 
Minutes after landing in the South, I realized I was somewhere very, very different from California or New York. The air indoors was perfumed with fried chicken. The air outdoors felt humid and rich. People were... smiling. For no reason that I could see.

For a few warm, smiley days, my eager (read: eager to party) hosts led me in the Southern way of life. The things they taught me (between beers) have made my real life all the better...

Although it wouldn't be hard to find more than the 8 things listed, it's a good start! Check here...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Little Drummer Boy...

One of my favorites...A Capella...definitely worth a watch, and a listen!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Let's start talking...

Good article that tries to open the door, just a little, and get us to discuss "5 Uncomfortable Issues the Church Needs to Start Talking About"...

It has been said that the Church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. Yet, most of us would much rather pretend to be a saint on display than call for an ambulance.

Week after week, many of us walk into a church, sit by people we have known for years and yet would never dream of sharing our innermost struggles with. While a large part of this is our pride, another factor is a Church that seems unwilling to talk about certain uncomfortable issues, choosing rather to ignore them, try to cover them up or simply reject people who bring them up.

There are many issues the Church as a whole needs to address, such as creationism, activism, environmental stewardship and many others. But there are many more issues that individuals in the Church are dealing with—issues that the Church Body should be talking about. In Galatians 6:2, Paul urged the Church to "Bear each other's burdens," so maybe with more grace and love we can turn on the light in the darkened rooms of each other’s hearts and let our churches become safe havens for the uncomfortable things we have to deal with....

Read the rest at Relevant

Monday, December 9, 2013

Beloved

From the moment we claim the truth of being the Beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are. Becoming the Beloved is the greatest spiritual journey we will ever make.

As long as "being the Beloved" is little more than a beautiful thought or a lofty idea..., nothing really changes. What is required is to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence and, bit by bit, to close the gap that exists between what I know myself to be and the countless specific realities of everyday life.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Advent

For those who don't have an Advent calendar on hand...or for those who don't know what an Advent calendar is...


"Advent is a precious time in the Christian calendar. The four weeks leading up to December 25 are meant to be a period of expectant waiting, as we prepare ourselves for the miraculous arrival of our Savior and his gifts of love, hope, joy, and peace.
The reality for most of us, though, is that these are anxious weeks of shopping and holiday planning leading up to a hectic Christmas Day. In the bustle of the holiday season, it’s hard to remember what we’re waiting for.
Completely avoiding the Christmas onslaught may be impossible, but we can make an effort to maintain some connection to the spiritual foundation of this season. Busted Halo’s 2013 Advent Surprise Calendar is here to help with that..."

This is just a picture...to access the calendar, go to this link...
 http://bustedhalo.com/features/advent-calendar-2013 

Just in case you're not familiar with Advent...Busted Halo will tell you in 2 minutes what it's all about!

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

JOY!

Happiness is a perception!

 

Piano Guys....

Must admit, this is the first time I've heard these guys...what an interesting way to make music!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12 days of Christmas...

Just in case you're interested in purchasing all the gifts in the song...in 2013 it will cost you about $114,000.00!



http://news.yahoo.com/12-days-christmas-items-top-114k-050236819.html

Thought it was interesting, because of minimum wage, the 8 maids a'milking are the cheapest of them all!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday....

Many of you don't know me personally...and that's cool. If you did, you would know that I'm not a shopper. I'm a buyer. I go to the store only when I need to purchase something. I also do the majority (which means all of it I can) of my Christmas shopping online. Given this information, you should not be surprised at the following quotes about Black Friday:


But, to each his own. For those of you who will be shopping, I dedicate the following clip from an old television series called "Hill Street Blues"...



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving...fact or fiction?




While you're waiting on lunch or dinner or supper or whatever you call your big meal on Thanksgiving, or waiting on everyone to arrive, or waiting on the ballgame to start...here's a way to entertain your guests...all are Fact or Fiction...

1. Thanksgiving is held on the final Thursday of November each year.

2. One of America's Founding Fathers thought the turkey should be the national bird of the United States.

3. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln became the first American president to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving.

4. Macy's was the first American department store to sponsor a parade in celebration of Thanksgiving.

 5. Turkeys are slow-moving birds that lack the ability to fly.

 6. Native Americans used cranberries, now a staple of many Thanksgiving dinners, for cooking as well as medicinal purposes.

 7. The movement of the turkey inspired a ballroom dance.

8. On Thanksgiving Day in 2007, two turkeys earned a trip to Disney World.

9. Turkey contains an amino acid that makes you sleepy.

10. The tradition of playing or watching football on Thanksgiving started with the first National Football League game on the holiday in 1934.

Compliments of The History Channel...all answers are here!

 Wishing you and yours a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dear Other Parents...

Excellent thoughts from a mom teaching her children to do things for themselves...

Dear Other Parents At The Park:
Please do not lift my daughters to the top of the ladder, especially after you've just heard me tell them I wasn't going to do it for them and encourage them to try it themselves.
I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up. I am sitting here because I didn't bring them to the park so they could learn how to manipulate others into doing the hard work for them. I brought them here so they could learn to do it themselves.
They're not here to be at the top of the ladder; they are here to learn to climb. If they can't do it on their own, they will survive the disappointment. What's more, they will have a goal and the incentive to work to achieve it.

In the meantime, they can use the stairs. I want them to tire of their own limitations and decide to push past them and put in the effort to make that happen without any help from me.
It is not my job — and it is certainly not yours — to prevent my children from feeling frustration, fear, or discomfort. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that those things are not the end of the world, and can be overcome or used to their advantage.

If they get stuck, it is not my job to save them immediately. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn to calm themselves, assess their situation, and try to problem solve their own way out of it.

It is not my job to keep them from falling. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that falling is possible but worth the risk, and that they can, in fact, get up again.
I don't want my daughters to learn that they can't overcome obstacles without help. I don't want them to learn that they can reach great heights without effort. I don't want them to learn that they are entitled to the reward without having to push through whatever it is that's holding them back and *earn* it.

Because — and this might come as a surprise to you — none of those things are true. And if I let them think for one moment that they are, I have failed them as a mother.
I want my girls to know the exhilaration of overcoming fear and doubt and achieving a hard-won success. 

I want them to believe in their own abilities and be confident and determined in their actions. 
I want them to accept their limitations until they can figure out a way past them on their own significant power.

I want them to feel capable of making their own decisions, developing their own skills, taking their own risks, and coping with their own feelings.

I want them to climb that ladder without any help, however well-intentioned, from you.
Because they can. I know it. And if I give them a little space, they will soon know it, too.
So I'll thank you to stand back and let me do my job, here, which consists mostly of resisting the very same impulses you are indulging, and biting my tongue when I want to yell, "BE CAREFUL," and choosing, deliberately, painfully, repeatedly, to stand back instead of rush forward.

Because, as they grow up, the ladders will only get taller, and scarier, and much more difficult to climb. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather help them learn the skills they'll need to navigate them now, while a misstep means a bumped head or scraped knee that can be healed with a kiss, while the most difficult of hills can be conquered by chanting, "I think I can, I think I can", and while those 15 whole feet between us still feels, to them, like I'm much too far away.


Copied from: Kate Bassford Baker's Blog

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just cool....

No, this image is not animated. Matter of fact, it's not moving at all.

This is a result of what's called "peripheral drift vision"...it's rapid eye movement that occurs constantly...even when you think your eyes are perfectly still...

Like I said, it's just cool...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hand me down Thanks...

In this week of Thanksgiving, I found this excellent article. 

In light of Thanksgiving, I’m sure we’ve all learned numerous ways to be thankful, especially in this season that outwardly reminds us to be. As in, “Just in case you forgot to express gratitude the rest of the year, here’s a seasonal reminder to say, ‘Thank you!’”
 
In a lot of ways, we shy away from our natural desire to show our gratitude. Sure, it’s great to be thankful in our own minds, but have we forgotten how to reach out, say it aloud, or write a thank you card?

Yes, prayerful thanksgiving is important. But it’s not the only way to show our thanks. Gratitude isn’t private; it’s lived out loud.

You can read the rest here...

Like the author, I have been blessed with beautiful friends who share their clothing with me. It is a wonderful experience...not only do I receive some excellent new additions to my wardrobe, I am prompted to think of them each time I wear one of their pieces. I find great fun in responding to someone who has just complimented something I'm wearing by saying, "Thank you! It's a hand me down from a lovely friend"...

See, what an easy way to be Thankful!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book of Discipline

A friend posted this on his Facebook account...


Top 25 ways I’ve observed United Methodist clergy and lay leaders not upholding the Book of Discipline in its entirety (2012-2014 edition)...

Check out the list, it's lengthy to say the least and the basis for arguments galore! I'm not trying to open a can of worms, but to stay informed. I know, for a fact, the majority of people in the UM Church today know little to nothing about the Book of Discipline. What they do know is how their Pastor shepherds his flock. The bottom line is, if there has to be a choice between ministering to the people and following the Discipline, ministry to the people should come first. Christ was a notorious rule breaker!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Male and Female

Because my 9 year old grandson lives with us, I find myself much more involved with children than I probably would be at this point in my life. I listen as he tells me of his day...so I can revel in the joy he has found...but I also listen, intently, for those small ways someone may have hurt him. Not physically, because in his school that rarely happens. But emotionally or psychologically. Perhaps someone made a comment about his size, or he was picked last for a team, or his friend yesterday didn't want to play with him today.

He has a heart the size of heaven, but that heart can be easily broken. And I know there are thousands of others just like him...happy, silly, warm, intelligent children who want only to be loved...and accepted.
But we, as a society, make it so very easy for our children to be hurt.

Because we designate behaviors as either male or female, we make it hard for children to freely experience life. Society indulgently smiles on the little girl who is a "tom-boy"...who gets dirty, or plays backyard football, or likes to hunt, or play with cars and airplanes. But not so the little boys, who may really enjoy helping bake a cake, or is interested in dance, or can draw or paint (unless it is something "male"). Boys such as these make society uncomfortable. They are not masculine enough...and so they are made to feel bad about the things they enjoy or even worse, feel they have to hide them.

One year, during the Christmas season, I took my children to watch a performance of the Nutcracker. It may not have been exactly what my son wanted to do, but he indulged a mother he loves. He truly is a unique individual and has always been strong enough to march to his own drummer. But ballet was not something he would have ever chosen to do. On the way home, I remember the awe in his voice as he spoke of the male dancers...their muscle control and more importantly their strength. He marveled at the ease with which they lifted the female dancers who, although they probably only weight 90 to 100 pounds, were lifted flawlessly. He wondered out loud how many men could dead lift that amount over their head without a struggle. Many believe male ballet dancers are "sissies", but that day, my son's estimation of their abilities changed that thought, if he'd ever had it. He was impressed!

Why can't we encourage our children to follow the path that intrigues them the most? Why can we not speak with same pride about our male child's dancing ability as we would if he could throw a football 80 yards? Why must we pigeon hole all people because of their chromosomes?

What do we accomplish when we break the hearts of our young because they don't fit the mold society has chosen for them? Have we done a service to our children when we teach them to "make fun of" or to "bully" those who are different from them? Children are what they learn to be. We can encourage them if we are willing to break the mold which our ancestors created...We can change, if we but have the courage to try...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's an illusion....


As you move your eyes around the image, dark dots quickly appear and disappear at the intersections. However, whenever you look directly on any intersection, the dark dots vanish.For years it was widely believed that the illusion worked because of 'lateral inhibition' - the term used to describe the complex way in which the cells on the back of the retina respond to areas of black and white. 

A few years ago this explanation was shown to be completely untrue, and so the explanation for the illusion remains a mystery.

To read about a couple of others...check here...

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Thanksgiving lament...

First and foremost, I will tell you I am NOT a "Black Friday" shopper. Have never understood why anyone would fight such crowds to shop for a holiday that's supposed to be all about peace and love. And what's with the name?

To me, this says it almost says it all:
 
The only reason it isn't totally spot on is that it doesn't mention those who pay the biggest price (pun intended) for all the Black Friday shoppers...the employees of all the stores.
It isn't enough that we can no longer allow the holiday's and the seasons to flow from one to another in their natural courses. Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter, Christmas...
Even before the shelves are cleared from Halloween, we see Christmas decorations...even before we've finished digesting our Thanksgiving dinners, the frantic shopping starts...advertisements, decorations and now store openings are destroying one of our oldest traditions as Americans. Thanksgiving itself. Once upon a time, the Christmas season officially started with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which EVERYONE watched. Especially us kids who wanted to get our first glimpse of Santa! In those days, the Christmas season was a magical time and in no little way was helped by the fact that it didn't have to compete with Thanksgiving.

How does it make you feel to know that because of this vicious cycle, the workers themselves have no choice but to leave their holiday festivities early or forego them entirely in order to stock, fold, check out, and sometimes even break up fights?

Some of the biggest offenders are:
Macy's, Best Buy, Toys-R-Us, Wal-Mart and K-Mart.
But, never fear, Wal-Mart assures us their employees want to work...all 1million of them...even though over 30,000 signed a petition asking the hierarchy NOT to open on Thanksgiving. And then there is K-Mart, not content to open at 5pm or 6pm on Thanksgiving...they're opening at 6AM...you read that right...and will stay open for 41 hours straight in order to better serve you.

I applaud those companies (and yes, there are a few of them) who refuse to decorate or advertise for Christmas until it's proper time...

In case you haven't guessed, you will not see me fighting the crowds at 6pm on Thanksgiving or at midnight or at 4:35am on 11/29/13 in order to get special pricing. You see, I like to take my time, enjoy the season and the lights and the music, and wander the stores waiting for that special gift for that special someone to jump out at me. Shopping is part of the fun of the season...and there is really plenty of time to get it done.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

St. Peter

For years, the Vatican has insisted that the bones of St. Peter were under the Basilica in a stone ossuary.

The relics of St. Peter, the first Pope, were found in a necropolis under St Peter's Basilica as it was excavated in the 1940s. Jesus' words in Matthew 16:18 state "And I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of Hades shall not overcome it." Whether they really are Peter or not (the bones are said to have been of a "sturdily built man in his 60's - 70's consistent with the martyred saint"), it would certainly fulfill the words spoken.The Catholic Herald said the bones had not been formally declared authentic by a pope. However in 1968, Pope Paul VI said they had been “identified in a way which we can hold to be convincing” after scientific tests were carried out.

History / legend says that the bones had been found in the fourth century and had been wrapped in rich cloth, remnants of which were found. They were placed in a marble-lined niche in a wall in a monument to St Peter that was erected at the same time and had lain undisturbed since then. The cloth of purple interwoven with gold-thread in which the bones were wrapped at that time confirms the highest dignity then attributed to the remains.

According to news sources, for the first time ever, the relics will be put on display later this month and that Pope Francis will celebrate Mass that day. 

Even though I'm not Catholic, I must say it would be exciting to be a part of this event...

There is an interesting and in-depth article about the tomb here...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Young people

I am fortunate in that I've been allowed to work with the young people of our congregation. They range in age from 6th grade to 12th grade (technically, we still have one or two who are now in college)...and if I've learned one thing over the years, we (the church) are trying to minister to the young people in the wrong ways... 

Any time I hear the phrases, "We've always done it this way" or "When I was young, we..." I tend to want to scream, rant, pull out my hair...you get the picture. Just because it used to work, doesn't mean it still will...today's young people are head and shoulders above where we were at the same time, for 2 reasons...technology and information!

This article gives some interesting (important!) information...it's worth the few minutes it takes to read...

"5 Churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials"

Monday, November 11, 2013

In Need!

This is a picture of Typhoon Hayian which has devestated thousands...and is continuing on into Vietnam this morning. Our hearts go out to all in it's path.



Most of us are too far away to effectively help with hands and feet and hearts...but we can
help with our prayers and our pocketbooks.



Donations can be made through UMCOR

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Myths

I know you'll be surprised to learn there was recently an article in the Washington Post Opinion Page titled
5 Myths about Jesus ...Like I said, Surprise!

A quick glance at the article shows that, once again, someone is trying to convince "believers" that they are being sold a "Bill of Goods" by the church. The sub-title of the article was "Challenging everything you think you know"...Oh NO! I suppose my point is that the author offers nothing new...nothing that hasn't been mentioned hundreds of times before, nothing that even we (who READ the Bible) haven't pondered and discussed. Myth's my foot!

His "myths" include...Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem", there weren't 12 disciples, Christ did not go on trial before Pontius Pilate and He wasn't buried in a tomb. Truly issues that would shake the foundations of a Believer's faith! 

If we study God's Word, we recognize that Luke is the only one who mentions Bethlehem. If we look at our Nativity Scenes with Bible in hand, we know that we're combining more than one of the Gospel accounts what with Luke telling of the stable and the shepherds and Matthew bringing up the kings/wise men. The Gospels were written by different people, with differing backgrounds, speaking to different audiences, they are not a carbon copy of one another. It's viewpoint!

Pilate was an important person, we all know this whether we like him or not. And while it's true he probably wouldn't have bothered with a trial for someone known to be a Zealot...UNLESS, there was something about Jesus that made Him stand out. Many of us believe He did have that special something...

Bottom line, as much as articles like these are a waste of paper (in my humble opinion), and they will never shake my faith with there repetitions of what they believe doesn't add up...they are proof that Jesus still has the power to challenge, fascinate and engage us beyond anything they may be able to prove historically or scientifically. Not too shabby for a myth!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wonders!


Although this is not the "normal" list of 7 wonders, they'll get no argument from me!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Check it out!



Unfortunately, unless you live on the East Coast, you won't see it...unless you check it out online! The Slooh Virtual Observatory will broadcast beginning at 6:45 am Eastern Time. If you miss this one, the next one will be in 2017!

Parameters

The internet is a wonderful way to hear the teachings of others we might not otherwise even know exist...

Nadia Bolz Weber is one of those people for me. A couple of times a week, I spend time catching up on her newest sermon, or reading (or re-reading) some of her older ones and I rarely come away without at least one..."she's talking about me!" moments...

For those who haven't read or heard her before, I will warn sometimes her language might seem coarse but it's real...don't get hung up on the word choice because she does have a way of putting thoughts together that will speak to you (or at lease she does to me)...

Today was one of those days. While reading "Sermon on the Parameters We Prefer For Jesus to Work Under" God once again used her words to smack me in the head. (Don't be offended by that term, I know we serve a gentle and loving God but sometimes He has to resort to extreme measures to get my attention, or slow me down, or pull me out of the pity hole I have dug and jumped in to). Anyway, these words jumped off the page at me...

"...Because I noticed that in the text, Jesus rebuked the religious leader for valuing parameters more than people – not for defending the practice of Sabbath-keeping.  Sabbath was still a valid way in which divine love, and healing and grace happened. The leader of the synagogue was not wrong in his love for keeping Sabbath. He was wrong in assuming that if God works within the parameters of Sabbath keeping that God cannot also work outside the parameters of Sabbath keeping.

...I think what we are so prone to do is to think that if there is an experience of the Gospel within a particular set of circumstances, that means that only under that particular set of circumstances can the Gospel be experienced.  As though God’s agency is limited to the ways in which we happen to experience God.

A couple weeks ago I got to hear Catholic theologian James Allison talk about how we think faith is about striving – keeping parameters, calling people out for not having it right, spiritual practices, doctrinal purity… whatever – but that really faith is about relaxing. Specifically, relaxing in the way we do when we are with a friend who we know for certain is fond of us.  We don’t have to strive around them and we somehow still become our best self – funny, spontaneous, free. Allison suggests that faith is trusting so much that God is fond of us that we just fricken relax.
I think that is what Jesus was saying to the religious leader, not that there is anything wrong with Sabbath keeping, but that Oh my gosh, just relax.
And if that’s true…if faith is akin to relaxing and if relaxing about stuff is hard for us, I wonder if on some level that’s because It’s hard to relax when we think that grace is limited, or there is only so much divine love to go around. Which is when we should remind each other that divine love, healing, grace….. these are not economic categories.
Divine love is simply not a limited resource and it is most certainly not something that happens only here or only in this way or only among us or and… I can’t wait to see the blog comments on this one…only among Christians."

Take a few moments and read the entire text above...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween

There are always questions this time of year as to whether Christians should celebrate Halloween. In my mind, the day only takes on evil connotations if we allow it to. I can say, with no embarrassment, that the Youth of our church always throw a Halloween Party for the children. We will have a special theme...i.e. a magician, a bounce house, an old fashioned carnival, a hay ride...along with food, fellowship and Trunk or Treat. The children are allowed a night of fun within the confines of our community of faith.

But, if we look at the history of the day, it isn't as evil as one might think. In the 8th century a chapel dedicated to the memory of all the holy martyrs in Rome was built. This feast, which happened to coincide with other pagan festivals such as the Gaelic samhain (pronounced “souwain”) which celebrated the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, became a Catholic celebration (remember! At that time all Christians were Catholic!). The evening before a holy day is typically referred to as the “eve” of that day and in church liturgy, solemnities or major feasts are considered to begin at sundown on the night before. The evening of October 31 would therefore be All Saints Evening or All Hallows Eve. Over the years this has been shortened to Hallow e’en or Halloween. So, the church took the day celebrating all the saints and martyrs and placed it near a pagan holiday. Since the liturgy extended the celebration to the night before it was not surprising that certain elements of that pagan day were bound to crossover to the religious day. After all, the common folk had few things to celebrate, why would the church want to take away one of their festivals when we could just change it instead?  

Our modern practice of sending the little ones begging for candy has a connection to the celebration of the saints. There was, in the Middle Ages, a custom of “souling” in which the poor would go through neighborhoods begging for food in exchange for prayers for the dead. This souling took place on November 1, and the prayers would be offered on the following day, All Souls Day, which is a day of remembrance and prayers for all the faithful departed. 

For other Halloween traditions, such as carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, the historical path is easier to trace. Once again, those crafty Celts found a way to turn turnips into lanterns by hollowing them out, In this country, the pumpkin was more plentiful than the turnip and so it proved a worthy replacement.

Any day can be good or bad, depending on how we choose to live it. Let's have fun today!

Everyday gifts...

This edition of Chuck Knows Church is about everyday gifts...great one to post this week!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's supposed to be about LOVE people!

A waiter in Kansas found this note written on the bottom of a check he picked up from one of his patrons...

Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. Queers do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your fag choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’S love, but none shall be spared for fags. May GOD have mercy on you. 

As the writer notes, this is just wrong on so many levels but I will let him tell you why...he said it much nicer than I would have. And Christians wonder why others will not listen to us.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What are you?

Now tell the truth, you've just been dying to find out what your "Animal Personality Type" is...so go here and find out. Answer the (4) questions at the top and then note the letters associated.



What's yours? Turns out I am an Owl...who knew?

Monday, October 28, 2013

A future king...

The future king of England, Prince George was baptized recently. 

In keeping with tradition he was brought to the altar to have the words spoken, the water poured and his name pronounced. These actions mean the child has been received into the Christian church, he has taken his place within the sacred tradition.

As far as the baptism goes, it matters not that he will one day sit upon the throne and actually be looked to as the head of the Anglican church. One doesn't have to be rich, famous or even successful to claim this heritage. The child needs only to be surrounded by family that knows the importance this act can / may have on his life. It can be a source of strength that is open and available for anyone. The act says that a child has been born and his/her parents choose to bring them up with faith traditions witnessed by friends and family who share the same values.

Every time this happens, it is awesomely significant. The child becomes part of a tradition spanning 2,000 years which makes them part of a whole, larger than themselves. No matter how cynical society has or will become, these great moments give our lifetime it's punctuation marks.






Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lest we forget


...there are others around us who are carrying heavier burdens than we are...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Painting and life...

As a child and teenager, in other words before the days of cable TV, I spent many hours watching Bob Ross paint on PBS. From the first episode I watched until the last, he never ceased to amaze. The uplifting commentary spoke not only to putting paint on canvas, but to life itself.

In honor of the joy and knowledge he brought to me, I'd like to share this...



The man was truly an artist!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Where do you belong...

Americas Mood Map

For a country that features the word United so prominently in its name, the U.S. is a pretty fractious place. We splinter along fault lines of income, education, religion, race, hyphenated origin, age and politics. Then too there’s temperament. We’re coarse or courtly, traditionalist or rebel, amped up or laid-back. And it’s no secret that a lot of that seems to be determined by — or at least associated with — where we live.

Now a multinational team of researchers led by psychologist and American expat Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has sought to draw the regional lines more clearly, literally mapping the American mood, with state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.

Go to the link above and see if you're living in the state that matches your mood!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Remakes....


I'm beginning to believe Hollywood has run out of ideas. 
They are starting a disturbing trend in "re-making" movies...some of which should never even be considered. How can you truly use the word "re-make" in a sentence with "Red Dawn",

 "The Bishop's Wife"


Remade under the name "The Preacher's Wife"...I mean, who could possibly play the angel Dudley better than Cary Grant? or 

"True Grit
(I'm sorry, no one but John Wayne can play Rooster!) or 

(and this is one of the most horrible of all...) "The Women". 
The 1939 classic starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell...do yourself a favor and spend a couple of hours with these wonderful, catty women!

I am not belittling the efforts of today's actors but please, are they going to start re-making Humphrey Bogart, Orson Wells and Steve McQueen movies now? Some things are better left alone.

  Imagine my heartbreak when I hear of the latest remake...The Sound of Music

Now I do know that this movie is a "love it" or "hate it" affair (there is no middle ground!), once again...Carrie Underwood (good as she is) playing Julie Andrew's role? It's depressing to say the least!



I realize I cannot stop the trend. All I can do is protest in my own way by NOT EVER watching the remakes...take that Hollywood! Too bad we cannot reason with the bosses at the studios and remind them that there are thousands of wonderful books and stories out there just dying to make it to the big screen...Keep on bringing us ever new works and we'll continue to watch and enjoy...but leave the classics alone!