Monthly Archives: March 2010

Small Town Cafe

Bookmarking my day (where I examined a book library of a friend and culled files), Jill and I headed to a small town to have lunch. 

The town of Hoosier has about 11 people in town.  The “Hoosier Lunch and Munch” is a small addition on the front of one of the homes.  The town has a small COOP store.  Otherwise, not much there!

At the “Lunch and Munch” there were four tables – one covered with newly painted Easter eggs and sundry items.  Local farmers and oil workers drifted in.  we arrived and the proprietor cleaned off a table for us.  With four chairs at the table, we positioned ourselves to take in the sun.  Single sheet menus were handed to us and the special pointed out on a small whiteboard fastened on the wall.

Then Roger and Walter arrived.  They were local farmers.  The other tables were occupied.  We were asked if we minded if they sat with us.

Not at all.  We chatted and ate together.  They had soups and their usual fare.  We had a Denver and Clubhouse with fries (a little too much fat and fries for our health, but sure tasted good).  We found out local lore, a way home by way of gravel and oiled grid roads, and how much fun small town can be.

Here’s a picture of the Hoosier Lunch and Munch – just for you!

Hoosier lunch and munch small


My sermon today hit on tough times.  And groaning before God.  Without words.  As Romans 8:26-27 says:

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

No more words!

Krystaal in concert

By 7:30 we were off to our local Lutheran church to hear an amazing group called Krystaal.  From the Congo, through the fire of persecution and serving as refugees, they bring a message of forgiveness and hope.

They are back next week.  Sunday night at 7:00 at our local Brethren  in Christ church.  Well worth a free will offering.

What are friends for?

Another four weeks!

That’s what my friend informed me.  My cold has gone on for two weeks as of tonight.  My friend figures, with much the same symptoms, she is currently into her sixth week and still just getting away from the symptoms.

So, now, I’m bracing for such marvelous things as bronchitis, hacking cough and lack of energy.

On the bright side.  She hasn’t died – yet!!

Death and dying

I was talking to my sister today.

Over the years she has cared for both my brother and my father as they were dying. 

I told her about a friend who was “almost dead”.  She laughed.  Not very often we are willing to say that someone is “almost dead” – “failing”, maybe, “deteriorating”, perhaps, “almost dead”, too blunt!  We then compared where that person’s life expectancy would be  on a scale of 1-10.   Nothing nice about a “1” which is way too close to being a zero!

We talked about how the hard part of dying for a patient is that visitors never want to talk about the dying.  We discuss other events, and even skirt around the issue of death with euphemisms (a great word for words that are supposed to soften the blow of hard issues).

Wouldn’t it be nice to cry with those who want to cry?  To hear about the worst part of the day when there are only days left?  To even fly away into a fantasy world when reality sucks?

So, if you are visiting someone who is close to the edge (a nice euphemism for being “almost dead”), talk about it.  They will appreciate you for it!

Eye Doctor Details

A variety of details combined to make this day memorable.

I was given the opportunity to accompany my wife to the eye doctor.  In our case, that means driving an hour down the road, over the border and into Oyen, Alberta. 

In the best of all worlds this was to have been a short trip – 3 1/2 hours at the most.  The reason for my being there was to drive her home – drops used in the testing of her eyes meant she was sensitive to light.

I must admit, I was a bit grumpy.  I had been tired on the way and even weaved a bit on the road.  Not good!

Then, the eye wear sales pitch was a bit strong.  While neither my wife or I wanted bold glasses, the fashion of the day (and the inclination of the salesclerk) were towards that end.  We held our ground and left 3/4 of a thousand dollars cheaper (for eye wear and examination).

The road home went well until we heard a beep.  And another.  And the heat gauge plummeted to the top.  After four or five attempts, turning off the car, driving slowly, watching the gauge, turning off the car and repeating once again, the Flaxcombe hill arrived.  We coasted down to the bottom and glided in to the only gas station for miles around.

After putting in some antifreeze, we sat down for a cinnamon bun (great – baked that morning!).  After a few minutes, and another examination of the engine, we headed up the other side of the Flaxcombe hill.  At the top the gauge started to rise.

I turned the car off and coasted until we were slowly crawling along.  By popping the clutch we started once again and the temperature gauge remained steady at a reasonable heat. 

O, I forgot to mention that we removed the cardboard in front of the radiator when we got down the Flaxcombe hill.  My guess is that this solved our overheating problem. 

As we drove into town, I asked to be dropped off at our local heritage manor where a friend is fighting cancer.  His pain patches have been increased, his sibling is trying to be brave but his composure belied his concern.  I weep as I walk home.

As I returned home, I realized that life is seldom what we expect.  But it is what God plans.

The fun of the internet

Many of you are discovering (have discovered, will discover) those ubiquitous internet sites that people talk about in passing.

“Did you see that on Youtube?”

“Facebook me when you get home.”

And on the conversations go.  The age of electronica has even changed exercises.  Yesterday our youth played crokinole with some seniors (check out Wikipedia for a definition of crokinole – another one of those ubiquitous sites!).  The seniors prepared with wrist exercises.  The youth prepared by sending text messages!

So, on Facebook my nephew writes my sister-in-law about a Youtube experience.  Having been a Pastor of Worship and Music, my funny bone was wiggling and jiggling!

Creating the verbose

Sitting in a meeting today, I was helping to create a missions statement. 

The first attempt was quite simple.  Three straight forward words surrounded by a slight bit of elaboration.  Probably less than twenty words.

Then we tried to add some goals and objectives.  As we did so, I got rather verbose, creating adjectives piled on top of nouns needing active verbs.  After two or three of these objectives, we began to spin our wheels, going in circles and all those other cliches. 

One of the committee was asked what he thought of the latest objective.  His statement?  “No comment.” 

Which was  a good comment. 

So we went back to the original statement.  Eradicated the other thoughts.  And left it at that.

Thankfully, it all made sense and someone will easily read and understand what we are about.   That’s the joy of clarity!

Reliving the past

I heard a testimony of a residential school survivor today. 

Residential schools were put in place by the Canadian government and administered by various agencies.  The scandals in these schools were, unfortunately, multitudinous.  Although some things that happened were probably unintentional or misguided, there is little doubt that deception, assault, greed, lust and other such non-virtues entered in.

Thus, the memories of survivors are often horrendous, or in some cases clouded for sake of sanity.

One survivor mentioned that for 28 years he survived by being a “born again Christian”.  Then, to receive his compensation as a victim of the residential school, he had to relive these memories.  And in so doing, he went to drink and despair.

I wonder how he had interpreted his version of God.  I wonder if His God was able to take him through despair as well as covering over the past sins.  Sometimes I wonder if suppressing an offense can be done.  When is real healing actually fully completed?   When the sin is confronted, can God take us through this?  What does it mean that God is there?  Can an offense from another person be truly forgiven?

These are precisely the thoughts that this series on the CBC radio will be heading into tomorrow.  I’ll  have to listen and see what comes next!

The conscience

Every once in a while a short thought just summarizes something that’s been niggling the back of your mind for years.  All the times you’ve tried to put it into words, the words don’t turn out right.

Well, here is a thought from Larry Osborne (as quoted in Men of Integrity devotional from his book, “Ten dumb things smart Christians believe”)

A lot of us imagine our conscience to be a spiritual thermometer.  We place it into any situation and it tells us the moral temperature – too hot, too cold, or just right.  That’s not how our conscience works.  It isn’t a spiritual thermometer.  It’s a spiritual thermostat  The difference is important.  Thermostats don’t define hot or cold.  They reflect our definitions of hot and cold.

. . . That’s how the conscience works.  It’s a spiritual thermostat.  We set it to the standards we choose.  It doesn’t tell us if we’re violating God’s standards.  It tells us when we’re violating our standards.

. . . And since our conscience is no more trustworthy than the standard it’s calibrated to, we can end up feeling very good about some very bad things.

. . . When rightly understood and functioning properly, our conscience is a valuable early warning device.  Like a yellow and red light, it tells us to slow down, be cautious, or slam the brakes.  And when it does so, it’s time to check Scriptures before proceeding.