"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Monday, March 28, 2011

Closing Windows and Cleaning House

I know I am, or can be, the most impatient person in the world. There is nothing I hate more than waiting at a red light, waiting in lines, or waiting in a doctor or dentist office.  I have always felt, I just don’t have that kind of time to waste. "We’re burning daylight here and there is still much to be done", has always been my mantra. Poor Matthew! Seems like I am always making him hurry, and that just isn’t his personality.

Anyway, due to my impatience, I, more than anyone am pretty surprised by the fact that I enjoy blogging. Well, no it probably wouldn’t "waste my time" if I wasn’t on dial-up…but OH MY, is dial-up ever a big waste of time! If one allows it.  It was pretty difficult to go back to dial-up after enjoying the freedom of “high-speed” while I had my book store. But I had no other choice…soooo, if I am going to use the internet, I have to put up with dial-up.

I decided the only way I could do this was to simply use our land-line for the internet and go to strictly using our cell phones for all phone calls. So, two years ago, I shut my ringers off and I mostly just use the land-line in order to leave the internet on throughout the day. That at least saves a little time, rather than waiting for a connection each time someone needs the internet.

This week-end I decided I wanted to check up on the blogs that I follow. I haven’t been able to do this for awhile, and it is something I enjoy. Both my men were working, so I had the house to myself and it was the perfect time to sit back and enjoy reading. It wasn’t long before I realized: hmmm, well ok; if I had peaceful reading in mind, with my crummy dial-up this certainly wasn’t going to be the case.

It went kind of like this: Type in address of desired blog…wait for page to load….wait for page to load…wait for page load….oh yeah; I can’t do this….go put a load of laundry in the washer. Sit down, to read the blog…enjoy what few photos actually loaded…wonder what photos are behind the red X’s. Click on new link to something that might be fun to read…wait for page to load…wait for page….go unload the dishwasher…..come back to computer, see that the page for some reason didn’t load. Rats!…oh well….at least I got to see some of what this friend was thinking…Type in next blog….while I wait for page to load, I will begin to vacuum….come back check to see if blog has loaded….laugh a little at this friend’s wit…click to see more photos….finish vacumming.

Come back to computer; type in next address…while I wait for it to load, I will open another Window to go to my bookstore and enter in some more books to my data base…enter two or three books…begin to price…Windows freezes…too impatient…I usually just get out…but this time I will click restart and see if that even works….Nope! Windows closes anyway!....Ok…next blog…loading, loading, loading….looks like it will be a pretty new design….It’s time to dust.

That done, I will try to enjoy some more blog reading…but Bullet is running in and out….this is one dog one can’t ignore…when he wants out…he gets let out…when he wants in, he gets let in…Sit down again…I want to comment on this blog to tell my friend how much I enjoyed it….sign in….woops wrong password….re-type password, get a snack while I wait for page to reload….wouldn’t post….hmmm…there’s always the windows - as in house windows - that need cleaning. I should probably do that instead.
And I blog because? It’s teaching me patience....oh, and a chance to clean house.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Sergeant and the Gentleman

Every once in a while, one hears something, that one just shouldn't forget. Ever! Thank God, for blogs! What a great way to share stories that really should be enjoyed by all.

When I got home from work, today, my son, Matt, and I sat down to catch up on things that have been taking place in our lives the last couple of days. He had been off to Emergency Services Training, and we really hadn’t had much time to talk.

He had a story to share about a friend of his, that I got such a kick out of, I simply had to share it with you. Let me preface things just a bit, first, though.

This friend is a member of Civil Air Patrol along with Matt. For those that might not know, Civil Air Patrol is the civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force. It includes a great program for youth that allows for some great experiences in community service, aerospace education, moral leadership and physical training. CAP teaches military bearing and a presence of mind that is very important for any cadet that would want to enter the military, but it is also great training with wonderful experiences for every aspect of life.

CAP also has a senior member program for adults. Both men and women participate. Every once in a while in life, we find women that simply resent being treated like a lady. It doesn’t only occur with military minded women; one might find it in any profession. An example that comes to mind - which happened recently - was when the lady Senator reprimanded the 5 Star General for calling her "ma'am".

"I worked hard for this title", she told the General. "I expect you to use it! Call me Senator," she demanded. 

I’m still shaking my head over that one.

But anyway, you get the idea. Well, this week-end, a similar experience happened to this friend of Matthew's; TB I will call him. TB is a wonderful young man, whom our family has grown to love. He is just a flat-out, all-around, good kid...and I admire the way he has been raised.

While at a CAP activity recently and while in uniform, TB held the door for a female staff sergeant. As his flight sergeant, she of course had authority over TB. Rather than thank the cadet for his thoughtfulness, she lit into TB with both barrels. "Don't you ever hold that door for me and treat me like some lady when I am in this uniform!" she scolded.

Without so much as missing a beat, TB responded, "I'm not holding the door for you because you're a lady! I'm holding the door for you because I'm a gentleman!"

Yep, "presence of mind", right from the heart.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In Loving Memory of Mama.

It was dark. It was cold and she walked with a cane, but we were going cat fishin’. She was 68 years old; which at the time to me seemed – well, old! I was amazed as I saw her son help her down the bank to the edge of the lake. He put down a camp chair for her to sit in and she proceeded to get her pole and hook ready. The expression in her voice told me she loved fishing, but what she loved even more, was just being with her son.

It was the first time I had ever met Myrtle, my future mother-in-law, but it was only the beginning of all the times that I would see the courage, strength and faithfulness in the way this woman lived life.

She passed away today, though we were really hopeful that she would stay around a couple more months, so she could be there for Matt’s high school graduation. “You will be there,” I had promised her. “We will make sure of it!” And she warned me with a smile, “Well, I had better be!”

Myrtle, “Mama”- as my husband always called her – loved her kids and her grandkids. Of course I noticed this most by the love and affection she displayed for Matthew. She loved her grandson and could not have been more proud. Matt came to all of us late in our lives and for her, that made him even a bit more special, it seemed. Though, I know for a fact each one of her grandkids was as special as the other. There were no favorites, she just loved them all and she loved them deep. She was a proud grandma and she would do anything for all of them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

6-Shooters; New Toy Balloons; and Teen-Age Farm Boys

With the weather getting nicer, Matthew will soon be able to spend more and more time with his horse, Skeeter. Skeeter is an eight year old Appaloosa, but we've always said he reminds us of an old fashioned, teen-age, farm boy.  A couple of weeks ago, we received a nice break from the snow and rain and enjoyed some clear, sunny days.  Matt took the opportunity to get out and work with Skeeter.  He wants him to be ready for Mounted Shooting this season.  Only problem is, Skeeter needs work in a lot of things; not just the things neccessary to be a good horse for mounted shooting.  But Matthew is very patient, and I don't have a doubt in my mind that if we get the breaks we need in weather and also with schedules, Matthew will be successful in his desire to have Skeeter ready. 

In case there are readers that are unfamiliar with the sport of Mounted Shooting, I will try to give a brief explanation.  The horses run a track in a series of patterns striving for the fastest time.  As the horse runs, the rider is to shoot the pattern of colored balloons with either a 6 shooter, a rifle, or in some events the shooter uses both.  Needless to say the horse must not fear the sound or fire from the guns; nor can the horse be afraid of the motion, or sound of the balloon breaking.

When Matthew trained Lady, he first began by training her to become familiar with the sight of the balloon, the sound of the gun's hammer being cocked and the sound of the balloon breaking. Matt wisely saved the blast from the black powder until last. Lady took to all of it like she had been doing it her whole life; and even more, like she was born for the race. I know deep in my heart it is solely because Lady would do anything for Matthew. She trusted him in a way, I have never seen before. Even our neighbor whose entire life has been all about horses, commented on the bond she saw between Matt and Lady. It was awesome.

But anyway, because of the success Matt had with Lady, Matt is beginning to train Skeeter in the same manner. He started with showing the balloon to Skeeter and letting him sniff it. Matt tied it to the fence and let Skeeter see how it would blow in the wind. I don't remember this being so comical with Lady. She just looked and accepted, but Skeeter is a different story. Skeeter is inquisitive. He had to sniff, check, and sniff again. He first showed curiosity, and then next, he displayed what seemed to be joy at having a new toy. He eventually would not leave the spot where the balloon was tied. Matthew walked away and Skeeter-Bug stayed right next to that balloon like he had a new friend. When Matt came momentarily into the house, to tell me about it, (he didn't know I was watching from the window) I warned him that he had better not leave Skeeter alone, because if that balloon accidentally popped while Skeeter was admiring it, it might get Skeeter off to a bad start in becoming accustomed to the noise by unnecessarily scaring him.

Next Matthew thought he would try getting Skeeter familiar with his ear plugs. Yes, Skeeter has ear plugs. With the guns being shot so close to the horses’ ears, these plugs are absolutely necessary. They are soft and furry like brushed yarn, and they are about the size of a golf ball. They have strings attached to them so that the rider might tie them to the bridle. This allows the plugs to be removed from the horse’s ear and dangle on the bridle so the rider can easily and quickly put them back into the horse’s ears whenever necessary.

Skeeter accepted the plugs into his ears fairly easily. It was another story, however, when Matthew pulled them from Skeeters ears in order to allow him get used to the dangling location when not in use. You can see in the series of photos below, the steps it took to get our Bug used to what those little balls dangling from his bridle were doing there. Once again, this goofy horse had us howling in laughter.

Later will come learning the track and eventually the improvement of speed. But for now, it is just one simple step at a time. With Skeeter - big, brawny teen-age boy that he seems to be - I think we will find humor every step of the way.
A Pair to Draw To ;-)

I took the opportunity to shoot some photos while Matt and Skeeter worked. Don't let the beautiful sunshine fool you! I was not able to stay out too long before my hands were soon feeling like ice cubes. But inside, I couldn't help but be warmed by a goofy, inquisitive horse and my dedicated son.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meet Ben

Meet Ben. He is an extremely important part of our family. He came to us at Easter one year when Matt was just a toddler. We all love Ben. It seems like we have never been without him. He always brings a smile to my face.

Ben was tucked into bed at the same time Matthew was each evening. Ben was there at the dinner table when we said Grace, and he was there for evening prayers. He came with us on our trips to town, and he came with us on our trips on the truck as Matt’s dad drove 48 states. If we went roller skating, Ben had his own skates. If we went swimming, Ben had his own swimming trunks. Ben also had his own cowboy hat and even his own cowboy boots. Ben was a great friend and rarely was Matt and his side-kick separated.

When Matt got a little older, Ben eventually spent more and more time on Matt’s top bunk. A bit later, a younger friend of Matthew’s asked if Ben could play every time he came for a visit. He, too, loved Ben.

Sometimes some of Matt’s younger cousins’ played with Ben when they came to visit. Everyone had fun making sure Ben was dressed in the appropriate outfit for every occasion. Ben has never been far from our sight, but it was just this year that I designated Ben to a more prominent place in the house. I have been thinking more about him these days, and wanting to spend more time with him. The years between the time he went everywhere with us and the time that I have just recently sought his company again, seem without space or time.

Matt is taking lots of new steps these days. There is much going on in his life during his last year in high school. Tonight, Matt is on his way to a very important occasion; something that he has looked forward to for a long, long time. I am very happy for him.

It is all as it should be. It is all good, I know; but for tonight, I am going to grab Ben and see if he is up for some snuggle time and a story.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Standing Whole ~ EC6

I guess in light of my past five posts it is pretty easy to see that The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns was really quite disturbing for me…on a number of fronts. I have outlined some (but not all) of my concerns in these past posts. I do not wish to discredit anyone, or anyone’s ministry. I believe it is wrong to do so. One never knows if someone is only temporarily deceived or misled by something that could be harmful. We all need a chance to learn and grow with patience as we seek the truth. That being said, however, I believe there are times that error absolutely must be exposed. Richard Stearns’ book is a number one best seller, and it is said to have had a great impact on the Christian church, today. That fact is extremely bothersome in light of all I found while reading this book. I decided if Stearns can write what he believes is wrong with today’s church, I guess I can counter with what I believe is wrong with his book. Much of what is frightening about his world view may be hard to recognize as it is very much cloaked in a richness of truth. But the fact can not be ignored that a lot of his teaching is distorted, a bit condescending, and it appears he has a motive that is a whole lot deeper than a desire to bring believers into a stronger relationship with our Lord which he claims can only be achieved by offering our lives in service to the poor.

I have already written about most of my concerns. I simply want to summarize in this final post that we as believers need to be aware of what is taking place within our churches through the emergent church movement. For myself, I am concerned that what the emergent church* is espousing is not just a simple mistake; it is not simply doctrinal differences, or a misunderstanding of words and interpretation. Is it much more than that? I have found myself wondering if what is taking place in churches across America is intentional to weaken, divide and attack. Yeah, I’m a conspiracy theorist. It is common knowledge that in order to bring about change in any venue, what is standard or the norm in people’s lives must be proven wrong or inadequate before any change can be brought forth. I’m not saying Richard Stearns intentionally seeks to divide the church. I don’t believe that. But I do believe he seeks to bring the church into a liberal political view that he believes is necessary to orchestrate work in the foreign mission field. It appears it is his belief that this work must be done through the United Nations. And I believe that is dangerous.

I also found what I believe to be error in doctrine and in his interpretation of certain Scripture. Most troubling is his interpretation of Matthew 25: 31-46. But I chose not to write about that. I chose rather to focus my concerns on the political side of his writings and what is happening in the emerging church, because politics is exactly what emergent leaders are using to bring about the change they hope to effect. There is a common mantra coming from any and all emergent leaders one may seek to study. That study will reveal a belief that:

• We need a social gospel (through liberal politics) that must spread throughout the world.
• Americans are puffed up and greedy and to blame for the world’s ills.
• The American Dream needs to be destroyed.
• We need the work of the UN through the UN Millennium Development Goals and the World Health Organization
• God is in every person and in all things.
• All faiths are of the same God and we should strive for an ecumenical belief system.

Also noticeable among emergents is a failure to speak of the need of repentance from a sinful heart. America is blamed as those who have neglected a duty for taking care of the poor of the world. Most emergent leaders fail to mention it is America that provides this aid more than any other nation.

As I said in my previous posts, Stearns chooses to quote and highlight some troubling figures. Some of whom are fellow Christians that are having a tremendous impact on today’s church. For example: Rick Warren. Why is Warren a problem for me?

Warren showed his ecumenical side at President Obama’s inauguration when he prayed these words:
“I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, Esa, Jesus, Jesus—who taught us to pray…”

Esa, to those of the Islamic religion, is a “prophet” of God worshipped by Muslims and spoken of repeatedly in the Quran. The Quran teaches that though Esa was born of immaculate conception, he is believed to be human and not at all considered to be Divine.

The Bible, however, is very clear that there is no other God and “no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” - Acts 4:12. That a Christian would choose to pray in the name of a false “prophet” is deeply troubling. Yet Stearns and other emergent leaders continue to quote Warren and use him as an example in their work.

Stearns also quotes Jimmy Carter with a fact that simply isn’t true. Carter says:

“The greatest problem of our time is the growing gap between the richest and poorest people on earth.”

Oh really. And all this time I thought the greatest problem of our time might be lives lived without Jesus; wars and rumor of wars; earthquakes and other natural disasters, and of course famines; just to name a few. The poor? Heartbreaking, yes; but the gap between rich and poor the greatest problem? I don’t think so. Carter’s quote and Stearns exposition on it sounds like a socialistic agenda to me! I guess it’s time to "spread the wealth around". Only thing is, Jesus said that would never work. He said the poor will always be among us. No, I am not saying that we shouldn’t bother with the poor in that case. Of course we are to care for any and all those in need that God places in our path. Hey! I even believe that includes unborn babies who will lose their lives before they have a chance to breathe that first breath of life….oh but wait, Stearns said if I care about that I am just “trying to grab a piece of the media spotlight.” Sounds like politics to me. And woops! I promised myself I wouldn’t get sarcastic or flippant.

I have never understood why those that claim not to be political want to find fault with those that do. I believe America has been blessed by God to be the nation most able to spread His Gospel and in fact we have been the ones that have consistently done just that. But if we do not strive politically to keep those freedoms, we will not be able to continue to reach that goal. I believe God has gifted each of us for a reason. If we didn’t have the “Jerry Falwell’s” and “Pat Robertson’s” who have fought diligently to preserve our freedoms, we wouldn’t be able to have the “Billy Graham’s” that seek to only share the Gospel….and by the way, where have the “Billy Graham’s” gone?

Stearns explanation of how this hole came to be in our Gospel, is nothing more than his opinion. He takes great strides to inform us this hole is a result of the liberal concern for the poor that came into odds with the conservative “who believed the world was beyond fixing”. That’s political! But more than that, it is only his personal belief. The problem is, he presents it as fact and diligently tries to convince us that this divide is the major cause of bringing about a "partial gospel" on both sides. The truth of the matter is, the gospel Stearns presents, barely resembles the Gospel of old.

Most distressing of all; Stearns, in this book, has changed the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a gospel of people of works and action with Stearns himself being the one that has determined what believers should be doing if they are truly saved. I don’t believe I read anything like that anywhere in Scripture. In order for him to convince us and bring us into his world view, he needs to have us believe “Two thousand years ago the world was changed forever by just twelve men…it can happen again.” My reason for these posts is simply to say, I’m afraid that just isn’t so.

Ok, I’m done. Thanks for reading.

"Be it known unto you all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.....Neither is there salvation in any other..."              Acts 4: 10-12

*Throughout my posts, I have made no distinction between the "emergent church" and the "emerging church".  I am referring to each term as one and the same.