Thursday, May 26, 2016

Change is inevitable

Was driving down So. Valley Mills Dr. just a day or two ago and it’s the first time I’d driven down it since they imploded the West Sideline, Press Box and Sky Box remnants of old Baylor Stadium. It left a void in my sight line.

You see, it was built in 1950, three years after I was born and has been one of the constants in my life. Within my entire memory every time I ventured down Franklin Ave or So. Valley Mills I saw it. The stadium had changed over time, grown larger as would befit a Division I NCAA Football Program; but, it was still the same old Stadium where I ushered as a Boy Scout, watched games coached by John Bridgers as an undergrad; and later as an Alum, “paint it green” Bill Beall & Grant Teaff who led us to our first SWC Championship. That led to the lean years of Chuck Reedy, Dave Roberts, Kevin Steele, Guy Morris; with Art Brile ultimately taking us from the wilderness into the Promised Land. Saw a lot of good ball players too; including John Westbrook who broke the color barrier as the first black SWC football player - EVER. I saw and remember Don Trull, Larry Isbell, Bill Glass, Lawrence Elkins, Mike Singletary and up to and including RG III.

But; all in – all done, yet another familiar landmark has gone away. The new McLane Stadium is magnificent, not a bad seat in the house, however, I choose to mourn the old one’s passing.

This temporal life doesn’t guarantee us constancy. It rather insures us that time indeed marches on and we are helpless to stand before it in an effort to halt it. Was discussing just today how much of the landmarks of my youth have disappeared. A business location lost to Urban Renewal, a Lake property to the Corps of Engineers, two generations of homes from my childhood and all the schools I attended until College. Gone or changed.

Can’t really say whether this is personally for the best or not. For the greater good, though, yes. I guess my melancholy is towards what I perceived as: “A kinder, gentler time.” And at this age, I miss those days.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Humble Pie, ongoing

Had a bit of a storm come through early last week (70 mph winds) and "lost" quite a bit of fence around the front of our house. In truth, while a very nice design, it's rather old. Over the years I've patched it about as much as can be done without a major reworking. 

As the homeless person referred to earlier was a carpenter by trade at one time, I asked him if he wanted the job of repairing it properly. He said he did. So, I purchased materials to get him started and left him without supervision. The job isn't rocket science, I could do it myself given time, but I thought it a good way to get him some cash and save me the work.

First day, he started late, self admittedly took too many breaks, complained about his sciatic nerve "bothering" him, but did accomplish some repair (which was very good). Was paid out of pocket for the time he worked.  I also provided tools and advanced him a pack of cigarettes and a large beer at his request. (I know... let's just not go there).

Second day was "same song, second verse", except for his admission of an hour and a half that he did nothing. Was fed lunch and paid out of pocket once more.

Third day (Friday) was much worse, admittedly accomplished nothing but did have a good nap under the Red Oak Tree. Wife had to bring him back and he told her he hoped he hadn't lost the job. No work, no pay.

I spent Saturday temporarily putting most of the fence back up and worked in the yard. More rain coming. Sunday afternoon stopped by the office, had a visit with him, told him I wasn't "mad" about what happened and the job was still his. I did; however, stress that if he wasn't up to working any given day he owed me the respect to say "I can't work today".

Monday was a rainy day so we didn't contact each other. Tuesday I arrived at the office and there was a note on the door saying he was declining to work any further. Seems like his excuse was he wasn't going to work for free... blah, blah blah.  Said note did not sit well with me. So… am at the point that when the rain stops I’ve got another chore on my plate; AND, am at a time to make a decision whether he stays or moves on. Thus I’m very conflicted as to my faith position and how to deal with the entire issue. I keep thinking about the parable of the “Workers in the Vineyard”, yet wonder where my responsibility ends.

Suggestions?   Comments?  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Humble Pie, part deux

So, I told the wife my story and she posed the question, my knowing he was a Christian, "Why didn't I invite him to Church one Sunday?"

Ouch!!!

We attend "THEE" Episcopal Church in town, it's downtown and our Chancel and Nave were built in 1878, operating continuously since then. It's not that we're particularly "stuffy;" but, we are Episcopal and proud of our heritage and history, yet our Diocesan Bp. has challenged and called us, as a Diocese, to become more missional.

I wish I could say that I've already offered that invitation, but I've not gotten the courage to do so. This circumstance lays heavy on my heart and I know what the right action is, but still, am I strong enough in my conviction to do what I'm called to?

Sometimes simple solutions are not so easy to accept, especially when our call to minister becomes so personal.

More to follow...  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Eating humble pie

For some time now (probably around two years) there has been a “homeless” person living under a storage trailer on our on our business’s property. I know him, he knows me, and occasionally he does “odd jobs” around the place for pocket money. There are other “homeless” folks in the neighborhood but they sleep and stay elsewhere. Did I mention my place of business is not in the best part of town?

Anyway, today he came in for a cup of ice from our ice machine and while here humbled me by a question he posed. He asked simply: “Why didn’t I judge him?” My reply was I didn’t feel called to judge.

BUT… it got me to thinking about whether that reply was really honest or not; because in truth, I do hold very strong opinions about a lot of things. But not about him or his choice of lifestyle.


I suppose I’ll do quite a bit of reflection on his question in the next few days. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A First Lady's Funeral

So, it's probably no surprise that I'm more than somewhat critical of our President. IMHO he makes Jimmy Carter look good. Anyway I posted the following on my FB page a couple of days ago:
"Have kept my mouth shut regarding this issue (HRH BHO not attending the Reagan Funeral) until it was verified. Congratulations Mr. Despot in Chief, you again live DOWN to my expectations."
It generated comments from two FB "friends" both ordained Episcopal Priests. The first I consider OK if not trying to justify one's behavior by the behavior of another.
A P (ordained Clergy) - C -- please do some research. The only two funerals of former first ladies that were attended by the then sitting president were for Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy. 
C S - It could be my partisanship, it could be my distaste for his prior failure to attend Justice Scalia's Service, and it could be my belief that one should "Always Attend the Funeral". (Google it on NPR) Not sure which but I still consider it "Poor Form." 
A P - As was Justice Scalia's in refusing to attend the last three State of the Union addresses.
The other was a bit more contentious; to the extent that this was the second dialogue we've had and our first (after privately addressing one of OUR priests) was equally less than satisfactory. This time it goes like this:
S R - President Clinton did not attend the funeral mass for Jacqueline Kennedy. Mrs. Clinton did. President Clinton met the plane in D.C., when it arrived with her body to be buried at Arlington, beside the late president. He then eulogized her at graveside. I have read the eulogy. Michele Obama was at the funeral. I can think of no reasons why the sitting president should have greater expectations from the American public, except that he is black, and we have a lot of angry old white men who are racist. If you contact the Secret Service, you will learn that one of the reasons for the sitting president not attending is that it creates mass chaos, every person who attended the funeral would have to be cleared by the SS and it would be a logistical and traffic nightmare. It would also have great impact on air traffic, with other dignitaries trying to get to the funeral. This post makes me want to throw up. Instead, I will pray for all the bigots out there. Kyrie Eleison. (Lord, Have Mercy) 
C S - If you believe I'm an angry old white man who is racist, I feel sorry for you and will keep you in MY prayers for openess and respect for points of view which are not in agreement with yours. My personal politic is NOT based on skin color, but rather a personal belief in the role of government. BTW, I'm NOT a Republican; but consider myself a Constitutionalist, a Federalist, a Libertarian, and a Populist with (in certain cases) leanings towards SOME Tea Party positions. I believe this Nation was created in recognition of man's FREE WILL (witness the words of the Declaration of Independence - "...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights", " Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"); and further believe that in the ensuing 240 years (as predicted by our founders) we have lost sight of most of those foundational principles and look to "government" as our new god, and are a lesser peoples for that shift. I've been frequently told, by Episcopalians as well as folks of other denominations, that the ONLY path to God is thru Christ, - " that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" i.e. the only way to earn the "cookie." I choose to believe rather "That God so loved the (His) world, He GAVE His only begotten Son." One either believes that our God is one who requires justice or that He is one who only asks us to love Him and His creation. Obviously my position is the latter and as such I see politics as a necessary EVIL rather than a way to cure that evil in this world. That can only be accomplished by love. Peace & grace, C 
S R - C, you are way off your original subject. That is an easy way out. Many are insulted by the fact that president is held to a different standard than all others, and you do it often. I will not be replying, anymore. May you have the approval of your conscience. 
C S - Thank you, and you likewise of yours.
Which resulted in my removing that person from my friend list.

A lesson that seems hard for me to learn is that sometimes folks are so convinced of their perfection they refuse to accept anyone else's right to a different interpretation or understanding. AND, I am saddened by folks of that perception. I'm just sayin'. 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Gay Dads claim Church agreed to Baptize their baby and then backed out.

So one of the blogs I read posted this without comment. Not sure why but my reaction was visceral. Spent some time reading the many comments and seemed in the minority in my position. My considered response is:
What is the greatest sin you have ever committed? 
What was the greatest sin you committed yesterday? 
And don’t try and say you were sinless yesterday, you weren’t. 
In God's eyes are those actions any less sinful than that those you accuse others of? 
As Christians we find salvation in the grace of God’s atonement upon the cross of Christ, and not by our good works alone. If He is willing to offer that to us, as folllowers should we not be willing to offer it to our brothers and sisters, likewise?
NIV - MT 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
MT 7:1-6 We must judge ourselves, and judge of our own acts, but not make our word a law to everybody. We must not judge rashly, nor pass judgment upon our brother without any ground. We must not make the worst of people. Here is a just reproof to those who quarrel with their brethren for small faults, while they allow themselves in greater ones. Some sins are as motes, while others are as beams; some as a gnat, others as a camel. Not that there is any sin little; if it be a mote, or splinter, it is in the eye; if a gnat, it is in the throat; both are painful and dangerous, and we cannot be easy or well till they are got out. That which charity teaches us to call but a splinter in our brother's eye, true repentance and godly sorrow will teach us to call a beam in our own. It is as strange that a man can be in a sinful, miserable condition, and not be aware of it, as that a man should have a beam in his eye, and not consider it; but the god of this world blinds their minds. Here is a good rule for reprovers; first reform thyself.


NIV - John 8:7 "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

8:1-11 Christ neither found fault with the law, nor excused the prisoner's guilt; nor did he countenance the pretended zeal of the Pharisees. Those are self-condemned who judge others, and yet do the same thing. All who are any way called to blame the faults of others, are especially concerned to look to themselves, and keep themselves pure. In this matter Christ attended to the great work about which he came into the world, that was, to bring sinners to repentance; not to destroy, but to save. He aimed to bring, not only the accused to repentance, by showing her his mercy, but the prosecutors also, by showing them their sins; they thought to insnare him, he sought to convince and convert them. He declined to meddle with the magistrate's office. Many crimes merit far more severe punishment than they meet with; but we should not leave our own work, to take that upon ourselves to which we are not called. When Christ sent her away, it was with this caution, Go, and sin no more. Those who help to save the life of a criminal, should help to save the soul with the same caution. Those are truly happy, whom Christ does not condemn. Christ's favour to us in the forgiveness of past sins should prevail with us, Go then, and sin no more.

Monday, February 23, 2015

When quit just isn't good enough.


Got another email from my friend today. It follows. 
Excerpted from an op-ed piece in a local newspaper:
" The total of human knowledge is increasing at an astonishing rate. It is estimated that it took 300 years for knowledge to double after 1450, but only 150 years for it to double again. From 1900 to 1950, it doubled once more. It is now believed to double every 900 days, and after 2020, it is expected to double every 72 days. 
" Regarding God, we debate our axioms and truths as if we have complete and comprehensive knowledge about God. We must always be reminded by the words of the prophet ( Isaiah ) when God says, " My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts. As the heavens are above the earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts. "
What say ye?
I was tempted to respond with a reasoned reply asking him if he did not understand this as an indictment of his attitude to having a hard and fast knowledge of God, but chose not to. I was reminded of the quote about: "dragging you down to their level and then beating you with experience." Pax y'all and have a Holy Lent.