Archive for January, 2016

Summer in the city

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Or is that summer in January?

This has been one of those unusual year beginnings.

I’m not complaining or extolling the weather.  We are called to live content lives not matter what transpires.

But yesterday I stepped outside without fearing frostbite.

But yesterday I watched our furnace take a needed rest.

But yesterday I was bathed in sunshine.

OK, I can live with summer in the city in January.

So, is Christmas in July next??

Joy, glory and honour

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

This week, around a supper meal, I asked some teen agers what the word “glory” meant.  Jokingly they talked of finishing final exams and hopefully passing.  “GLORY!”

A more reflective teen said, “basking in your achievement.”  Not bad!

Afterwards, I was referred to a Bible passage containing the word “glory”.  The passage also talked about what kind of achievement a town could accomplish.  They would bask in prosperity and peace.

I love my town. 

I knew this blog would be a little longer than usual!!

Jeremiah was an outspoken critic of the Jewish nation about 600 BC.  He was an insider, watching the nation destruct from within.  Corruption, injustice, misplaced worship and other actions and intents indicated a bent towards selfishness and evil.

Jeremiah’s book in the Hebrew Scriptures contains the words of a lamenting prophet, with a few glimpses of glory.

So, I was stuck with the part of his book (Jeremiah 33:9) to which I was referred.   The verse gave a picture of the town of Jerusalem (yes, the one in Israel) that was far distant from the snapshot that Jeremiah would have seen as he awoke each morning.

“Joy, glory and honour.”

Those terms relate to a coming governor of the city. 

The citizens enthusiastically liked this mayor, they could see what the mayor had done, and they chose to give the credit and applause to the mayor.

And, the mayor was credited with bringing peace and prosperity.

Here is where I reveal the governor’s name.

God.

Not the athiest’s god – which is most logically themselves since they don’t recognize any other god.  Not the agnostic’s god – which god they hope is inactive.  Not the warring god – which god lacks compassion for the sake of power.

The God described by Jeremiah contains love, compassion, kindness, integrity and qualities that seem foreign to our world today.  The God of Jeremiah is the creator of the universe, understanding of how we were made and how we function.  The God of Jeremiah enforces justice and proclaims freedom.

According to Jeremiah, a town does not thrive on competing interests and gods.  A town thrives on an active bent towards following God’s justice and mercy, and seeking the favour of God.

If all I’m doing is tickling, soothing and entertaining . . .

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Concentrating on writing, I’m learning about readers.

Readers come in all sorts.

Voracious readers just like to have words in front of them.  Keep a good flow and off they go!  With a wide variety of reading material having brushed by their eyes, they prefer well written prose and poetry.

Issue readers don’t care about personal details.  Understand and outline the problem with integrity.  List the solutions and they are pleased. 

Story readers want character development.  A lady standing at the corner needs description.  What is she wearing?  What is she thinking?  How are her emotions?  Who is noticing her?  Where is she headed?

The list can go on.

Now, imagine the harried artist.  The question is not their ability.  Nor the resources needed to complete their art.  The question is how you approach the audience. 

Will you merely tickle their ears?  Or will your vibrations awaken their hearing?

Will you merely soothe their eyes?  Or will your colours light up their lives?

Will your words merely entertain?  Or will your vocabulary expand their horizons?

My heritage and roots

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

I’ve just written a column for one of our local media outlets – Kindersley Social.  The column talks of my roots – my grandparents and the heritage I have inherited from them.

You can check out the column by clicking here.

Or, if you don’t want to end up on a phishing trip, and actually like to see where you are headed, the website address is http://kindersleysocial.ca/ron-baker-roots/

Media delivery

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

How do you get heard?  How does news get known?  OK, all of us have our “aunt” who knows everything – back in the day they were graciously called the grapevine.

With the printing press, the past few centuries broke in upon a formerly visual/audio age with easily accessibly reading material.  The book in felt form was a pleasure to hold and behold.  The printed page sought to reign supreme in disseminating the “word”.

To pass on news, newspapers were enlisted by propagandists, community leaders, entrepreneurs and a myriad of others.  The advent of radio and television meant new audiences.  And now the internet adds to the mix.

With the increase in media outlets, information is even harder to obtain, while being more widely available. 

I can phone, text, Google, Facebook, email . . . to check on the status of the world.   The search can be exhausting.

Those who wish to reach me with their information must do more than just throw out the seeds of truth.  They must find out which field I inhabit, which row I most often use, and which hole I’m now in.   

The glory days of broad-casting media/information/news are in jeopardy.  Have been for awhile.  But the narrow-casting of media makes finding news difficult.  Search engines or trusted distributors have and will become our first go-to for media.   

And we’ll contact our aunts to see what’s really important!

When things go south–or not!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Travel has been restricted for some in our district.

A local travel agency has apparently been unable to fulfil their responsibilities.  A number has been floated – 150 or more affected.

On behalf of their clients, full travel costs were not forwarded to various airlines and resorts by the travel agency.  Whole trips, vacations, and destination weddings were compromised.

There is something about an intermediary that requires great trust. 

We seldom consider that we come as the weak ones to the relationship.  We have decided we cannot do this on our own.  We cannot care for the transaction, harbour the treasure, or even know the next step without another to guide us, protect us and resource us.

The word “entrust” is used.  On our behalf, someone takes care of the intricacies of a transaction.  On our behalf,  someone forwards money to complete a sale.  On our behalf, someone cares for our treasures.

We “bond” people who are entrusted with our welfare.  In a very real way, they are now attached to our lives.  Their ability, their resources, their very word are now ours. 

Our best efforts to appraise the one who will act on our behalf is only half the equation. 

The trusted one can change.  Their best intentions can be skewed by peer pressure, poor choices, market volatility, overreaching self-confidence, the vagaries of time that wear away at us.

In our mortal world our expectations must be realistic.  Only God never changes.  We do!

And with that in mind, consider your agent as part of yourself.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  From the moment you engage their services, be gracious to them, support them, find a way to help them.  In failure, find a way to restore their lives.  And where there is no repentance, pray for them.

We are not here to harm, but to help.

Who would have thought?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Yesterday, heading into Walmart, a friend and his son greeted me.

We conversed about the happenings in our lives.  I mentioned that I was writing a novel.

“What about?”

“A funeral director.”

“I’d read that,” my friend affirmed.

The teenage son then chimed in, with some enthusiasm, that he would also read the novel.

Now, in all my years, I’ve never read a novel with the funeral director as the main character.  Friends indicate the same.

And now a teenager wants to read a novel about a funeral director?

This could be a huge best seller!!

Who would have thought?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Yesterday, heading into Walmart, a friend and his son greeted me.

We conversed about the happenings in our lives.  I mentioned that I was writing a novel.

“What about?”

“A funeral director.”

“I’d read that,” my friend affirmed.

The teenage son then chimed in, with some enthusiasm, that he would also read the novel.

Now, in all my years, I’ve never read a novel with the funeral director as the main character.  Friends indicate the same.

And now a teenager wants to read a novel about a funeral director?

This could be a huge best seller!!

I AM

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Teaching ladies to put themselves first was a theme of a recent event held just outside Kindersley.  In an article in our local regional paper (XRoads), Sarah McMillan interviewed the organizer – Sara Wilkie.

Wilkie said the general idea behind this year’s event were the words “I am.”

“And how they are the most important words because whatever follows those words is what (a person) will be,” she said.

Something strange hit me on that first read.

I AM is the name for the God found in the Old Testament. 

When God was pushed by Moses to talk about his name, the reply was very simple.

“I AM THAT I AM.”

Whatever follows the words “I AM” is what a person will be.

God is making a big statement. 

  • God doesn’t have to qualify who he is. 
  • God doesn’t have to divide himself into priority characteristics. 
  • God doesn’t have to restrict himself to only certain virtues.

God is all there, all the time!

Life

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

I’m surrounded by life.

Each day, at an early hour, the remote control starter for the car next door works!  The neighbours have arisen to life. 

Our mail is delivered to a Post Box.  Not one of those abandoned ones that sit in lonely suburbs.  Rather, to a bustling rural post office, situated in the middle of town. 

There I exchange greetings, read the latest funeral postings and pay exorbitant prices for stamps.  The gracious cashier knows the whole town, and might even be able to tell you who inhabits which post box.

Internet interaction indicates that hundreds of people are doing thousands of things (we call that multitasking). 

My brother, in the far reaches of Canada’s west, is renovating a house.  My brother in the central region of Canada is teaching Koine Greek.  My sister in the south of the province is being an artist, another sister is training for nursing, and another sister is doing her calligraphy thing.

And another brother is dead.  Cancer stricken at 50 years of age a decade ago.  We mourn the loss.  We live the loss.

Life has a way of squeezing its way into our pores and capturing our breath.  We may forget our last breath taken.  Merely a step to the next breath.  And the next.  And the next.

I had nothing to do with making that breath.  So, I’m going to be thankful to the God who did give me breath today.

Rejoice, be glad, and take that next breath..