- Published on Monday, 17 January 2011 00:00
45s. LPs. 8--‐Tracks. Cassettes. CDs. MP3s. I’ve heard it all.
But my favorite way to listen to music will always be those first albums that captured my imagination with beautiful artwork, creative design, and of course—the incredible music, heard for the first time.
One of my favorite albums is an old Joan Baez LP that I have owned and loved since 1972. Released near the end of the Vietnam war—when the country was in anguish over the thousands whose young lives has been taken in Southeast Asia—the cover shows an elderly couple, surrounded by police and young demonstrators. Looking closely at their faces, they seem out of place—and just a bit fearful. Are the police escorting them to the bus, whose door stands open? Have they been arrested?
Click on the attached PDF to read the rest.
- Published on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 09:13
“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.’”-Matthew 11:2-6
When John baptized his cousin Jesus in the Jordan River, he recognized that there was something different about the man. In fact, John confesses his inadequacy for the task, stating it would be better if Jesus baptized him. It seems as if John knows that this was the One that he prepared the way for.
A length of time passes, Jesus' ministry is now in full swing, and John has been arrested. His disciples get word to Jesus of a question that John has for him, which seems odd in light of the baptism experience. " Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?"
- Published on Monday, 27 September 2010 13:27
[The following joke is taken from http://www.thecuttygroup.com/mortgage-humor-loan-officer-heaven-or-hell/2009/02]
A loan officer died and went up to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates to present himself for admittance to Heaven.
Peter said, “You did a lot of good helping people get into homes and you donated lot to charity and worked on that Habitat house. But you told too many fibs to the underwriters and were unkind to your processor. We aren’t sure where you are going to fit. So we’ve decided to show you around both Heaven and Hell and see where you feel more comfortable.”
- Published on Monday, 29 November 2010 06:34
- Published on Monday, 19 July 2010 22:31
Today, as we reflect on the well-known drama recorded in 2 Kings 5, can we identify with one or more of the six very different characters? Each is confronted with potentially life changing choices when on the set? Most make just one or two appearances (the king of Syria, the young girl from Israel, Naaman's wife who is a silent witness, (and I use an anglicized pronunciation of the name Naaman) the king of Israel, a messenger of Elisha, and Naaman's servants). Or might we be an Elisha, who keeps cropping up in the plot? Or do we recognize ourselves as the main human character (Naaman) who begins with tragedy, finds a glimmer of hope, moves to thwarted rescue, and ends in deliverance and restoration.
As the curtain rises on Act 1, we, the audience are presented with the dilemma. Despite respect and status, wealth and even success attributed to the God of Israel or the God of his enemy, actor Naaman, is a chronically ill male. He is so desperate that he acts on the advice of an inferior female in the service of his wife. The young servant or attendant declares that her prophet in her land will heal him. I would venture to guess this is the result of her experience as well as an ongoing relationship and a deep trust in her God. With permission from his superior, the king, Naaman travels to enemy territory with an excessively large reward for services (748 pounds of silver, 200 pounds of gold and ten sets of garments). He also has a letter of recommendation from his king (unnamed in this drama, but thought to be Ben Haddad I) to the now subservient king in Israel (also unnamed, but possibly Jehoram). The curtain for this act falls on Jehoram in despair and anger, claiming ruin, because he chooses to rely on his own strength that has limits, though he implies a head knowledge of the God of Israel who is creative, life giving and all powerful. While we are not told how Naaman felt, I wonder if he wasn't walking off the stage shaking his head and saying, “It was too good to be true! Can't trust the claims of these Israelites! Is there really a god of life?”
As the curtain rises on Act II, the prophet or spiritual leader, Elisha rescues the suspicious and frightened Jehoram by reiterating what the young maid said, “Let him come to me and let him know there is a prophet in Israel.” (2 Kings 5: 8) Then this man of God, disregarding diplomacy, social norms, even the obvious gift to be gained, merely sends instructions for Naaman to perform an action with the promise of restoration – an action that really makes no sense to the patient and is blatantly unexpected.