Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lasting Change

The life of a Christian is never about sameness.  It's always about change.  We must learn to survive and once again thrive.  We're being conformed to the image of Christ.

Rise to a new life -- a more compassionate life, a wiser life, a more productive life.
Sound impossible?  It is without Christ.

The stone's been rolled away.  Resurrection life awaits you.
Will you walk into the Light?

thoughts taken from Breaking Free by Beth Moore  


Friday, November 9, 2012

Description of a Prophet

"nothing easygoing about them.  Prophets were not popular figures.  They never achieved celebrity status.  They were decidedly uncongenial to the temperaments and dispositions of the people with whom they lived.  And the centuries have not mellowed them.  It's understandable that we should have a difficult time coming to terms with them.
They aren't particularly sensitive to our feelings.  They have very modest, as we would say, "relationship skills."  We like leaders, especially religious leaders, who understand our problems ("come alongside us" is our idiom for it), leaders with a touch of glamour, leaders who look good on posters and on television.

The hard-rock reality is that prophets don't fit into our way of life.

For a people who are accustomed to "fitting God" into their lives, or, as we like to say, "making room for God," the prophets are hard to take and easy to dismiss.  The God of whom the prophets speak is far too large to fit into our lives.  If we want anything to do with God, we have to fit into him.

The prophets are not "reasonable,"  accommodating themselves to what makes sense to us.  They are not diplomatic, tactfully negotiating an agreement that allows us a "say" in the outcome.  What they do is haul us unceremoniously into a reality far too large to be accounted for by our explanations and expectations. They plunge us into mystery, immense and staggering.

Their words and visions penetrate the illusions with which we cocoon ourselves from reality.  We humans have an enormous capacity for denial and for self-deceit.  We incapacitate ourselves from dealing with the consequences of sin, for facing judgment, for embracing truth.  Then the prophets step in and help us to first recognize and then enter the new life God has for us, the life that hope in God opens up.

They don't explain God.  They shake us out of old conventional habits of small-mindedness, of trivializing god-gossip, and set us on our feet in wonder and obedience and worship.  If we insist on understanding them before we live into them,  we shall never get it.

Basically, the prophets did two things:  They worked to get people to accept the worst as God's judgment -- not a religious catastrophe or a political disaster, but judgment.  If what seems like the worst turns out to be God's judgment, it can be embraced, not denied or avoided, for God is good and intends our salvation.  So judgment, while certainly not what we human beings anticipate in our planned future, can never be the worst that can happen.  It is the best, for it is the work of God to set the world, and us, right.

And the prophets worked to get people who were beaten down to open themselves up to hope in God's future.  In the wreckage of exile and death and humiliation and sin, the prophet ignited hope, opening lives to the new work of salvation that God is about at all times and everywhere.

One of the bad habits that we pick up early in our lives is separating things and people into secular and sacred.  We assume that the secular is what we are more or less in charge of:  our jobs, our time, our entertainment, our government, our social relations.  The sacred is what God has charge of:  worship and the Bible, heaven and hell, church and prayers.  We then contrive to set aside a sacred place for God, designed, we say, to honor God but really intended to keep God in his place, leaving us free to have the final say about everything else that goes on.

Prophets will have none of this.  They contend that everything, absolutely everything, takes place on sacred ground.  God has something to say about every aspect of the way we make our money and the way we spend it, the politics we embrace, the wars we fight, the catastrophes we endure, the people we hurt and the people we help.  Nothing is hidden from the scrutiny of God, nothing is exempt from the rule of God, nothing escapes the purposes of God.  Holy, holy, holy.

Prophets make it impossible to evade God or make detours around God.  Prophets insist on receiving God in every nook and cranny of life.  For a prophet, God is more real than the next-door neighbor."

taken from The Message//Remix, The Bible in Contemporary Language, by Eugene Peterson, 2006, NavPress, pp.961-963

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Favorite Music of Mine

A few years ago we discovered this quartet and their CDs. Incredible bass singer and wonderful arrangements. Find them on YouTube. Acapella (from the 1990's).

Joy in the Morning

Friday, October 12, 2012

Breaking Free

"My times in Egypt are painful for me to remember. Embarrassing for me to admit. Leaving nothing for others to admire. Some days I think I just can't do it. But each morning the Holy Spirit woos me once again to the place where I meet with God. The God of grace bows low and meets with me. In the simplicity of my prayer time, I am suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer. The One who is responsible for any good in me. My past sins are forgiven and fresh mercies fall like manna from heaven. And once again, my heart is moved, and I surrender all. Morning after morning."
Breaking Free, by Beth Moore, p. 263, 2000, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hunger and Proverty Worldwide

Control, initiative, education.  What is the answer?  The G8 met this week at Camp David.  What is the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition?  See the following comments on this disturbing turn of events.  Exactly where are we headed with giant corporations taking control of our food choices?

Monsanto's Commitment

"Plans include improved access to financial services through a partnership with Opportunity International, continued work with Tanzanian scientists through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project to introduce new maize hybrids suitable for Tanzania and available royalty free to seed companies, support of a new depot in the agricultural corridor and strengthening of agro-dealer networks to provide more choice to farmers, support of a new initiative led by the Earth Institute of Columbia University focused on soil health to encourage best management practices, and creation of opportunities that provide farmers with improved access to markets.
"Monsanto will also partner with additional organizations on the ground in Tanzania, including Farm Input Promotion Services on farmer education programs and Muunganisho Ujasiriamali Vijijini (MUVI) on the formation of farmer cooperatives that enable farmers to collectively negotiate and market their harvest."[13]


Jill Richardson wrote that "The G8 scheme does nothing to address the problems that are at the core of hunger and malnutrition but will serve only to further poverty and inequality."[14] She went on to tell stories of African peasant farmers who made more money by switching to organic farming than by using synthetic fertilizer.
Eric Holt Gimenez of Food First also criticized the New Alliance in an article titled "Nothing New About Ignoring Africa's Farmers."[15] He wrote:
"There's a good reason why the 45 members of the New Alliance don't want to hear from the people actually growing the food in Africa... farmers would say that Africa is actually a rich continent and it is the continued extraction of wealth by foreign corporations that causes poverty and hunger -- that the first Green Revolution did not "bypass" Africa; it failed. A new one spearheaded by the same institutions presently spreading GMOs and land grabbing throughout the continent will do more harm than good."
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy was even more harsh, calling the New Alliance a "sad excuse of an aid program."[16] They wrote:
"How bad is this idea? Money is money, right? Wrong! The private sector is not just like government, only a little different. It is ENTIRELY different. Corporations are accountable to their shareholders, obliged to make a profit. They are not charities. They are bound by law, but not by the public interest... Corporations are not parties to the human rights covenants that oblige most governments to realize the universal human right to food."
Oxfam International was also critical the new effort with a release titled "G8 Food Security Alliance Answers Question Hungry People Have Not Asked."[17] They say that the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition "focuses too heavily on the role of the private sector to tackle the complex challenges of food insecurity in the developing world." Instead, they called on G8 leaders to "keep the promises they have already made to help developing countries invest in sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty." They add that "While there is a positive role for the private sector in the fight against global hunger, the plan's top down approach does not reflect what many people in poor countries say they want or need" and that this new effort is "passing the buck on global hunger."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Photos of Springtime

As the winter brown and burned black of the wild blueberry barrens change to spring green,  other welcome signs of spring pop up in downeast Maine.







A gift from a dear friend

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Black Cat Point

Black Cat Point is a property development in Princeton, Maine.  The aerial photos in the website linked here give a good look at the countryside in my community.

This property is about three miles from our home. The photos give you an idea of where we live. 

The photo of the sunset below was taken from my window earlier this spring 2012.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Preparing for a Great Grand

Long, long ago before the days of regular ultrasound for expectant mothers, only experienced older woman could predict the sex of an unborn child with greater than 50% accuracy.  Now couples choose to know or not to know as is the case with our eldest granddaughter and her husband.  In just a few days we will welcome our first great grandchild.  My preparation for this outstanding event involved knitting and weaving. 

Wool/Bambo blend Mukluks with suede soles and matching hat.

100% cotton Great Grand Activity Blanket.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

"Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has.  It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods.  It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.  It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner.  Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.  Costly grace is the Incarnation of God."

excerpt taken from chapter one, Costly Grace

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Exercise - Can I Do It?

Exercise to improve insulin function from Mercola.  "Move it or die" has to become my new motto or I may never get the motivation to try it.  What's your motivation?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Global Authority

One World government.  Can it be?  Should it be?  Who's in charge?  How to rule? Where are we all headed?  What is God's plan for us?
Authority according to papal encyclical, some quotes:

"However, this would require not only a reflection on the economic and financial level, but also and first of all on the political level, so as to create the set of public institutions that will guarantee the unity and consistency of the common decisions. These measures ought to be conceived of as some of the first steps in view of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction; as a first stage in a longer effort by the global community to steer its institutions towards achieving the common good."

"Today all of this seems anachronistic and surreal, and all the nations, great or small, together with their governments, are called to go beyond the “state of nature” which would keep States in a never-ending struggle with one another. Globalization, despite some of its negative aspects, is unifying peoples more and prompting them to move towards a new “rule of law” on the supranational level, supported by a more intense and fruitful collaboration. With dynamics similar to those that put an end in the past to the “anarchical” struggle between rival clans and kingdoms with regard to the creation of national states, today humanity needs to be committed to the transition from a situation of archaic struggles between national entities, to a new model of a more cohesive, polyarchic international society that respects every people's identity within the multifaceted riches of a single humanity. Such a passage, which is already timidly under way, would ensure the citizens of all countries – regardless of their size or power – peace and security, development, and free, stable and transparent markets."

"What is at stake is the common good of humanity and the future itself. In this context, for every Christian there is a special call of the Spirit to become committed decisively and generously so that the many dynamics under way will be channelled towards prospects of fraternity and the common good. An immense amount of work is to be done towards the integral development of peoples and of every person. As the Fathers said at the Second Vatican Council, this is a mission that is both social and spiritual, which “ to the extent that the former can contribute to the better ordering of human society, it is of vital concern to the Kingdom of God.”In a world on its way to rapid globalization, the reference to a world Authority becomes the only horizon compatible with the new realities of our time and the needs of humankind."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Discovering Curry

Red Lentil Curry Some recipes to experiment with my new red lentils.  I love red lentils!!!  And miss the Indian cooking of my old friend Saroj Patel.  Now where to find Basmati Rice in Princeton, Maine...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Spending Time in NH

Walked 2012 Mile 5 in Templeton, MA, with Delbert and Chris before heading to NH.  For the next two or three weeks I'll be a working guest at Grace and Violet's house. 

After Grace and I finished dishes this afternoon, we shared a few tunes on her new MP3 player.  Earlier we dug for buried treasure in the backyard sandbox, kicked a soccer ball for the dogs to chase, made G and V's beds, straightened up their bedroom, got ready clothes and back packs for school in the morning.  We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Looking Forward to Healthier and Stronger

Began what I hope to be a program of regular walking, 2 miles a day, several times a week.  Already quit coffee again for the last time.  Coming up are seriously addressing salt, sugar, and fat.  :)