Bulletin Quote January 8th

For 2017 I’m making graphics of the quotes from the front of each weeks bulletin at Tapestry’s gathering. This week’s comes from a C.S. Lewis letter found in the compilation “Letters to Malcolm”. It’s a great reminder that the God Who is the Comforter doesn’t necessarily bring the comforts that we often pine away over.

If any “threads” would like to do some of these please shout and let me know.

Sabbath as Ressitance

Just finished Sabbath as Ressitance by Walter Brueggemann and it is so good. Was reading it with the small group that Pam and I belong to. BTW we are officially the most awesome small group in the world because the Oberstadts made coffee cups for everyone saying so.

Anyhow here’s a quote from Brueggemann’s book that I believe summarizes pretty well what he is saying throughout the book.

Sabbath is the practical ground for breaking the power of acquisitiveness and for creating a public will for an accent on restraint. Sabbath is the cessation of widely shared practices of acquisitiveness. It provides time, space, energy, and imagination for coming to the ultimate recognition that more commodities, which may be acquired in the rough and ready of daily economics, finally do not satisfy. Sabbath is variously restraint, withdrawal, or divestment from the concrete practices of society that specialize in anxiety. Sabbath is an antidote to anxiety that both derives from our craving and in turn feeds those cravings for more. Sabbath is an arena in which to recognize that we live by gift and not by possession, that we are satisfied by relationships of attentive fidelity and not by amassing commodities. We know in the gospel tradition that we may indeed “gain the whole world” and lose our souls (Mark 8:34–37). Thus Sabbath is soul-receiving when we are in a posture of receptivity before our Father who knows we need them (Luke 12:30). p. 84.

Bass Fishing Via A Drone

I may have a reason for owning a drone now. This is awesome. It is even better because he catches the bass on a Arbogast Jitterbug, the greatest of all lures. Now sure that even Andy Lickel has done this.

In addition I have mad respect for the guy for having wits enough about him to tell the person taking his photo to do so horizontally, rather than vertically. Folks, there are very few occasions when it is okay to take portrait style photos.

Chicken & Dumplings Isn’t Soup

I love living in Wisconsin and being from the South. Ninety-five percent of everything is super cool because of the contrasts that I experience during my days because of the differences between the two cultures. However, five percent of the time the conflict is too great and I become frustrated. Yesterday Conor was the sources of one of those 5% moments.

I ran into Conor yesterday at Emy J’s1 . It is incredibly typical for me to run into a “thread” at Emy J’s. It is one of the multitude of reasons that I love going to Emy J’s. We spent around an hour solving all the world’s problems (you’re welcome) and I introduced Conor to the Firecracker rolls at the Main Grain. If you have not had one of these then you need to go to the Main Grain early (because they run out) on a Wednesday and get one. They are amazing. Anyhow after an hour I decided to go home and eat leftover homemade chicken and dumplings for lunch. I invited Conor to join me because Pam’s chicken and dumplings are amazing. I mean seriously. I literally moan when I eat these things. They are that good.

Anyhow it didn’t work out for Conor to be able to join me because I couldn’t verify with Pam that there was enough left over for two, and while I am willing to share my leftover chicken and dumplings with people I care for, I am most definitely not willing to give up my leftover homemade chicken and dumplings. As I wrote earlier, they are VERY good. So we decided it was best for the friendship for him not to come over.

As I was leaving Conor said “Enjoy your chicken and dumplings soup.” That’s right he called it “chicken and dumplings soup.” Now chicken and dumplings can be liquid enough to look like a soup (which is the way I like it because then you add in cornbread to sop up the juice) but it isn’t a soup. Therefore, it is incorrect and just sounds plain wrong to call it “chicken and dumplings soup”.

I ran this past the weekly small group that Pam and I are a part of and they were pretty much split down the middle on soup or no soup. It is chicken and dumplings folks. That is all. Just chicken and dumplings!

Get it straight you darn Yankees. :)

  1. Mom you’ll love that Conor’s first words to me were “Hey I see that you too came to Emy J’s so people could see you read. 

Dear TV Sound Effects Person

I am sure you have a true job title like “sound engineer” or “audio artistic developer” or something else like that, but right now I am irritated at you and therefore I don’t care about searching out your true title. I usually appreciate what you do. You add wonderful audio elements to the TV shows and films that I watch which help to immerse me in the world of the video I am watching. It wouldn’t be the same without you adding both small and big sound effects. Doors should sound a little squeaky when they are opened and you make sure they do, and how else will I know that someone drove by rather fast without that little tire squeal that you add to the scene.

Yet every now and then you add a sound effect that sounds more like something going wrong in my house than it does anything that would be happening in the movie. For example, last night when Pam and I were watching the 2016 Call the Midwife Christmas Special.

Now don’t judge me. Call the Midwife is excellent. It is a really compelling show and as a member of a care giving profession and the spouse of another member of said profession I will add that the care fictionalized on Call the Midwife is usually a wonderful example of how to listen to someone in need. The fact that I get bonus points with Pam for watching the show … well that’s just gravy.

Anyhow last night the cast of Call the Midwife cast was in South Africa. It was a very good episode, as usual. You however, Mr or Ms Sound Effect person, decided to randomly add the small tweet of a song bird in the background of many scenes. I’ve never been to South Africa so I wouldn’t know if there should be song bird tweets or not. I do know there weren’t random lion roars sprinkled throughout the episode. Anyhow the tweet was never very obvious so I never thought “Hey there’s a song bird tweet”. The sound effect was consistently there, sprinkled throughout the episode, and it sounded almost exactly like something going bad in our furnace or some creature deciding our warm house is a better place to winter than the very cold outdoors of Central Wisconsin.

Furnaces going out and unwanted furry visitors are a real fears up here in the cold North. If your furnace goes out when it is -3 degrees outside really bad things can happen and the battle never ends with small creatures that think “mi casa es su casa” during the yearly reign of Jack Frost. Therefore, your ears are alert for these sounds during the chilly time of the year.

Tweet, tweet, tweet. Is that a pulley going bad? Squeak, squeak, squeak. Is that a mouse figuring out if it is safe to come out and not see the cat?

It only took us a few times of stopping the DVR and listening to finally figure out the sound effect stopped every time we paused the video replay.

Darn you. Darn you all to heck sound effect people.

The Heroes of Our Own Stories

“We all live in suspense, from day to day, from hour to hour; in other words, we are the hero of our own story.”

Mary McCarthy, “Characters in Fiction” Partisan Review, March/April 1961

Yeah I like to view myself as Iron Man

I don’t know the context of Mary McCarthy’s words1 . I’ve tried finding McCarthy’s article from the Partisan Review and I’ve had no luck. I’ve also tried to find someone talking about the context and meaning of McCarthy’s words but I haven’t had any luck with that either. I have had a ton of luck finding posts discussing the post’s author’s view of the quote, which doesn’t help me a ton.

The vast majority of the posts I see the quote in use it basically telling their readers to go out and live as heroes since they are the heroes of their own stories. Not bad advice. Still I believe there is another side to the quote.

I feel like part of the truth found in the quote is that we tend to see ourselves unrealistically within our own lives. We often think the best of ourselves and our actions even when we would think the exact opposite if we saw others commit those same actions.

If there was a non-“nigh invulnerable” version of The Tick that is probably what I am. BTW a non-“nigh invulnerable” version of The Tick is basically useless.

For example, I have a friend from years ago who would tell stories of things he had done and said. He was sure these were great stories in which he had acted in great ways, but in reality most people around thought his stories showed he had been a jerk. It was ok though because he was our jerk and therefore we knew who he was and loved him no matter what.

As a minister and chaplain I talk with people regularly that think their actions are heroic, yet when I hear them I think the exact opposite. The person who is convinced everyone is against her, when in reality she has just been mean to everyone she knows. The guy who thinks that he is a great listener, and yet you spend 10 minutes with him and he never stops talking. I have an acquaintance who brags about reading over a hundred books every year, yet when I asked him how he did it he says he reads the first and last chapter of books and is able to figure out the rest from that. These people aren’t purposefully lying. They really believe what they say about themselves.

This isn’t just someone else’s problem. It is mine too. I too often view myself as the hero of my own story also. I look at my actions and I am convinced of their inherent rightness. I lie to myself and I believe those lies to actually be true. We look at ourselves through very smeared glasses, and far too often believe we have perfect vision.

I believe this is partially why the Psalmist says “Search me, God, and know my heart” (Psalm 139:23). The Psalmist recognized that we aren’t very good judges of our own lives because we think we usually think we are the heroes.

  1. I know Jospeh Campbell also wrote a phrase very similar. 

Need To Blog Something

It’s a new year and I don’t have anything of any depth to write about so I’ll just post a couple of things just to get back into the habit blogging more often.

1st, Eric G made my day today because during setup he asked if I had a black sharpie. I know this doesn’t sound like much but it gave me a great chance to prove Eric wrong and proving him wrong is a wonderful thing. You see he regularly mocks my possible, the bag I carry with me pretty much everywhere I go to help me cope with whatever I may possibly face. He calls it my “man purse” because he doesn’t recognize the genius of a possible. That’s just wrong. it isn’t a “man purse”, it’s a possible. So when he asked if I had a black sharpie I was able to “why yes I do” with a smile and reach into my possible to pull out a black sharpie for him to use. It was a glorious moment.

This was the cover of the bulletin from today, January 1st.

2nd, each week I try to put a quote on the front of the of the bulletin (the piece of paper we put out each week that has info about who we are, the scripture for the week, and various announcements). My goal with the quote is to try and summarizes what the message is about. Sometimes I do a better job of finding quotes that do this than other times. Anyhow I try to find something that conveys this message because I figure that way if someone remembers nothing else from the message but the quote then they have a basic summary of the message. So this year I have decided to do a graphic from the quote each week and post it on the Tapestry Facebook page. If any “thread” would like to do some of these I would be more than happy for the help. Just let me know.

Possibly The Best Gift Ever

Pam and the boys gave me quite possibly the best gift ever. Last year Pam and I wee walking through a Barnes & Noble when I saw a display of soft leather cover classic books. I mentioned to her that I wish I could find such a copy of any of several C.S. Lewis books that I could carry around with me to read when I had a spare moment. I specifically mentioned finding “Till We Have Faces”. There are many books that I love and have read many times, but the two books that I reread the most are the Bible and Till We Have Faces. I don’t know how many times I have reread TWHF but I believe it is around 10 times.

Pam listened, remembered, and the boys joined in our her conspiracy.

They ordered a 1st English edition (I already have a 1st American edition) and then snuck it to a professional binder who converted it from original hardcover into a soft, supple leather cover. It is pure perfection. I absolutely love it. It will be in my possible the vast majority of time.

In The Year …

One of the things that I love about Tapestry, the community of Christ that I am a part of, is the diversity of political thought that is a part of us. One of the members of the Leadership Team will summarize this thought with a statement that I love. He says:

If you are going to be a part of Tapestry you need to be okay being ticked off every now and then by something someone has said.

What this means today is that quite possibly half of my friends in Tapestry are very excited about the results of last night’s elections and the other near half might be in mourning and worried for the future of our country.

For those that are excited about last night’s elections, I hope that your thoughts and dreams that led you to vote the way you did turn out to be correct. I hope the next four years actually do increase the greatness of America. I would be very pleased to look back and end up believing this was a great choice.

For my friends who are mourning the results of last night I hurt for and with you. I always hesitate to say “well God is still on His throne” (even though it is true) because I feel like it can seem to dismiss someone’s pain and worse can lead to a mindset of doing nothing. I do however love the passage of scripture that I believe the saying comes from. In fact, I mentioned this past Sunday at the Tapestry Sunday morning gathering.

I believe the saying comes from Isaiah 6:1-9 which is written during a time of great mourning for God’s people. The popular king Uzziah had died and God’s people were disheartened. It led to some feeling a loss of control and uncertainty about the future. The passage’s context fits for me right now. Let me quote it with a little change of my own.

In the year that [Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America], I saw the Lord, high and exalted,seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips,and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

One of the things I love about this passage is that while it brings comfort, it also brings discomfort. God’s comfort to Isaiah during a troubling time also brought trouble to who Isaiah recognized himself to be and that led to Isaiah going to do the work of God because of the comfort he received from God being on His throne. God being on His throne is a call to action as well as a source of comfort.

May all of us, both those who are glad and those who mourn, see examples of God on His throne this week and respond by being challenged and sent to do the work of His kingdom. May we hear the voices shout “Holy, Holy, Holy” and so vividly recognize that the whole earth is full of His glory that we can’t help but desire and act to be a part of extending that glory. May God being on His throne cause His people to fight for the weak and marginalized.

God is on His throne so be comforted … and let’s get our butts in gear and start doing the works of His kingdom.