Monday, November 20, 2017

Ahitophel and Hushai

Tiny words make a difference.

Take the story of Ahitophel and Hushai.

Both were advisors to King David of Israel back in BC days (or BCE days if you are into that type of calendar). 

Here is the line from I Chronicles 27:33 in the Hebrew Scriptures. 

Ahithophel was the king’s counselor. Hushai the Archite was the king’s friend.

Sounds innocent enough.  But here’s the rest of the story.

Ahithophel was a vocation type of guy.  He was wise and strategic.  When he saw that David’s son, Absalom was planning a coup, he joined Absalom.  His calling was advising the rich and famous.  He followed the wave, served as an advisor to Absalom, and was called a “yaats” (Hebrew transliteration that leaves lots to be desired).

Hushai was a “rea” (another Hebrew transliteration that leaves lots to be desired).  He was a friend type of guy.  He was wise and strategic.  When he saw that David’s son, Absalom was planning a coup, he clung more tenaciously to David.  He volunteered to be a spy, serve as an advisor to Absalom, and give disinformation to Absalom.

Hushai won in winning over Absalom and saved David’s life (as well as leading to Absalom’s losing a battle with his father and losing his life as well).  Hushai is noted as a “rea” – a friendly counselor.

Ahithophel lost in winning over Absalom’s heart and he committed suicide.  In his usual way of doing things, “When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb.”  (II Samuel 17:23).  Ahithophel is merely mentioned as a “yaats” – a counselor/advisor.

Generational sayings

Last night I was with some of my favourite seniors (senior-seniors, as in 80 – 100 years old).  They always surprise me with new thoughts, that are really old thoughts.

When I grew a beard, they wanted to start a fundraiser to buy me razors.  As I delved into there aversion to my beard, I found that they were the young people in World War II.  You were clean shaven as a male – gas masks fit best on an unbearded skin.  These clean shaven men were the choice husbands that many of the women sought.  Good looking was clean shaven.

Last night this was the saying that came out – supposedly given to one of my 90 year olds by her grandmother (making the saying probably a century and a half old):

A whistling woman and a cackling hen

Is neither good to beast nor men

Help me with this one.  Where does this come from? 

And yes, some of the other 90 year olds thought this was sexist!!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The visit of changes

Yesterday was drop in day – at our local Peavey Mart store.

Things have changed.  The aisles are clear and non-claustrophobic.   Items are easily seen.  The atmosphere is exciting.

A new manager is in place.  Things are changing.

I have two types of store adventures I enjoy.  Peavey Mart has been able to provide both.

The CMS store style.  In my younger days, with preschool kids, I liked to visit CMS in Regina, Saskatchewan.  At that time, the store was crowded.  Things were just thrown in bins with “approximate” costs attached – or you suggested a price at the till. 

I call this the scrounger store – you come to see what you can find.

Then there is the upscale store.  The store is “designed”.  Colors are soothing, the merchandise is accessible and the staff are helpful.  The floors are waxed and the shelves are dusted.

I call this the open concept store – you come to see what they have.

Which store do you find attracts you?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Of Age

I grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s.  Even the 80’ got a bit of the splash over!  We were about free love and thumbing authority.   We might add tolerance and peace on earth. (OK, some of us . . . not all!)

I remember the songs of that age.  “Let there be peace on earth” was a great favourite.  Our community choir just sang a song called “Hand in Hand”.  From the early 80’s, this song could have as easily been written a decade earlier.

The idea of peace, of loving one another, of full acceptance are all there in the song.  As well as joining hands so that we won’t fall (or be overtaken by sinister forces).

And my mind went off on one of it’s weird tangents.  I remember singing the song, “Onward Christian Soldiers” as a kid.  We were all about being a group together, joining the “happy song”, and blending our voices.  Then the song went out of fashion because it was too “militaristic and violent.”  After all, we were all about peace and love!

“Hand in Hand” was the more politically correct way to approach life.  Be a group together, join in happy signing, blend our voices.

Although . . . somehow this seems like a militaristic theme as well.  Join the army of the peaceniks.  What was revealed in the next decades was a new type of non-violent violence and intolerance that mingled with the lofty words.

Perhaps we were just singing the words backwards? 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The words that pop out of our mouths

The other day I was in the grocery store.  The sales were as usual, the prices as usual, all was as usual.

Until a lady I know approached me.  The gist of the following conversation was along the lines of her great sense of oppression and of a world gone wrong.

I’m not great at being a counselor, but I assured her that God was with her.  She did not need to be chained by a swirling, whirling, out of control world.

As she left, I turned to her and gave her a blessing – a thing we learn as pastors (which is not a bad thing for anyone to do).  There was no preparation, nor liturgical formula, or even a written out sentence.

This just popped out.

“May you have a free spirit, that is only a slave to Jesus Christ.”

Not sure where that came from, but I think the idea is sound.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Addicts of the best king

Today was the seniors complex – off for a devotional at 9:30 in the morning.

Not everyone was wide awake until I used a little reverse word definition on them.  You know, the type where you say one thing, and we all go into a tizzy!  And then we redirect our understanding and we all agree!

I started off talking about working on a committee regarding addictions.  Why does the addict stay addicted?  How do they get unaddicted?  Some answer were fairly quickly forthcoming.

Then I told them that in 1755 (according to a few internet sources), “devotion” was related to addiction.  I asked why they come to meet together on a Wednesday morning for devotions?  What were they addicted to?

The Sunday School answer was right! 

“Jesus.”

And then I asked what would get them unaddicted to Jesus.  On a scale of one to ten, where did they stand in their addiction to Jesus. 

We don’t need a safe injection site to get us off of Jesus.  We don’t need an AA program. 

If anything, we need a full bore ahead opportunity to mine all that Jesus is and has for us. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween Statistics

Amazing how the small things of life become great talking points.

Where have all the trick-or-treaters gone?

Yesterday I was in a group of people after a choir practice.  We were all comparing those who came to the door.  For Halloween.

One related how a few years ago they had well over 100.  Another said they lived in an apartment and had no one.  We had 19.  Others not many more.  Another mentioned that they were on the other side of the street from a home where “full” chocolate bars were handed out – thus their home was missed.

Not to complain – but I bought lots of candy.

And I don’t need to be eating all of it (although I’m sure a little can’t hurt!).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Large and small

Administrators tend to think bigger. 

That’s vision.  That’s moving ahead.  That’s progress.

To think bigger is to plan for bigger.  To plan for bigger is to upset the apple cart, or perhaps more rightly, to put new tires on a larger box.

Then I ask myself how we got bigger, or at least why we have grown to this point. 

And the question arises, is the smaller what we build on to get bigger? 

The idea that understanding the great movement we have been a part of, that we would like to invite others into, that has been a great thing up until this point – is where we should start to figure out bigger.

Go back to go forward.

And perhaps in engaging in the excitement of the past, we will trust that the structure to hold the organism will be forthcoming.  If we merely borrow someone else’s infrastructure, we may eliminate the very thing that makes for growth.

Be sure you know where you came from to get where you want to go.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Censorship

Is there ever a time when we do not censor?

As a Master’s of Library Science grad, I remember the discussions on censorship.  All intellectual property should be available to all.  We harm people by not exposing them to the full orb of knowledge.  Knowledge is power.

The decades following brought variant views (not all of them worth listening to).  Here are some of the many thought lines you can follow.

Knowledge is not power, transformation is (thus we seek our inner self to gain an understanding that leads to who we truly are). 

A collections policy for a library is censorship (you can’t have it all, so choose the information that will socialize them to the current culture you want to see promoted).

Even the publishing of books is subject to censorship.  A publishing company designs what will be there theme.  The Canadian Government will no longer do Cataloguing in Publication for self published authors (oops, that should be authours).

Why do we fight censorship?  Most often because our point of view is assailed, assaulted or set aside by censors.  Oppression appears everywhere and we are not willing to be set aside or dismissed.

And the war goes on – all of us looking to promote our truths.

Who says truth is dead?  Censorship proves that the pursuit of truth is alive and well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Great Little Quote

So, I’m sitting in the midst of a group of us at our local seniors home.  The session is a devotional by one of our local clergy.

He holds his hands to his ears and says:

What do you get when you put your two ears together?  A heart.

What is in the middle of the word heart?  Ear.

What a great illustration of the need to listen to other people.

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