Saturday, July 07, 2007

Why do Doctors have Doctors?

I have a friend who is a physician.  A Doc.  When he isn't feeling right he goes to the doctor.  When he feels like he needs a checkup, he goes in and has one.
I mean he's a doc right?  He lives in his own body.  He knows more about symptoms he is or isn't feeling than anyone.
But, he goes to a Doctor.
I submit he is wise.  We most often can't ask the right questions when we aren't as we should be.  We most often are blinded by the situations and the gradual decline in our health.  We are most often not able to hear or see what others can.
So, Doctors go see the Doc. 
I have a good friend who is part of an organization called the Church Doctor.  Churches who need corrective measures hire him to come ask hard questions and make hard recommendations.  Wise people those churches.
I have come to the conclusion that people who get stuck in life are those who never really ask, learn, hear or are open to what others say.  They can't imagine anyone other than them can understand the situation.  Even if they were dying of cancer (Like Colon Cancer) they believe the lack of any real symptoms are indicators that nothing is really wrong.  Then they die.
I am a fount of observation.  I have made a life of observing, commenting and making recommendations.  It has served me and others pretty well.  People have paid me big money to do so for them as a Sr Executive of major international firms.  I have honed this skill of observation and solution-finding pretty well.  I do consulting on an ad hoc basis now.  Have done so several times in the last year.  I charge $75 per hour travel time and $200 per hour active consulting.  It's not enough.  I'm going to raise my rates.
On the other hand, when I offer my services for free to people they don't value it.  I need to learn that lesson.  If they came to me thru my referral service TASA and they had to pay the going rate they might value what I say.
Oh, it's OK.  I offer my views anyway.  People will sometimes ignore them.  Then, they later appropriate them as their own.  I'm sort of amused, but sometimes irritated.
It's like the essay the little girl gave on Socrates.  "Socrates was a man who went around giving other people advice; They poisoned him". 
I will take heed. 
On the other hand when you see a person, a church, a state (North Dakota) and even a company you do business with speeding headlong toward a cliff don't I have a responsibility to say, "STOP".   Or am I better to keep peace, not ruffle any feathers, and let the whole thing fall off the edge of the earth.   Someone might later say, why didn't you say something?  I could have, but I didn't. 
They need to be like that Doctor and ask the Doctor what they think could be wrong.  Instead they refuse to listen.  Unteachable, without the ability to take direction.  So they suffer.  Doctors are smart according to the Caveman in the Geico commercial.   Isn't it stupid to ignore advice because you didn't come up with it?  I think it is.
I think I'll keep speaking up and not drink anything anyone give me.

Don't even have the Appearance of Evil

In 1 Thessalonians 5:22 there is a verse which legalistically speaking is troubling.  I once had a pastor friend who went into a liquor store to get some 7up for his son.  Coming out the verse troubled him, so he walked out with the 7up held high so no one would think he went in and bought liquor.  He was passionate about the idea that in his conduct he would avoid even the Appearance of Evil. 

He's still a pastor today in a Lutheran Church in Minnesota.  He's one of those Pentecostals who took a Lutheran Church because today's denominational seminaries can't or won't turn out the numbers needed to fill all the pulpits across the nation.  That church since he became pastor has swelled from 150 to nearly 300 in less than a year.  Funny what the anointing will do. 
In any case.  it's not because Pastor Curt is passionate about avoiding all appearances of evil.  He's just a good pastor who wanted to serve God.  The Lutheran congregation called him on the recommendation of a Lutheran Pastor from a neighboring town.  Now that the church is "Successful" and can support a denominational pastor they will probably displace him and the church will dwindle back to 100.  That's what happened in Ada MN to a Pentecostal Pastor Friend of mine.  The "New" guy came in after he made it work and now that Church is about to close.  DUMB!
The story below is disturbing.  It represents what is horrid about religion.  I don't know the credibility of the story, but if the Pastor mentioned in this story has any fear of God at all he must avoid the appearance of evil.  If there is another side to this story it must be told.  We have a bad enough reputation as a church as it is.  People don't trust us.  We don't play by the rules.  We cheat.  We are crooked. We have to stop this.  I wish I know someone who knew this Pastor and was in a position to call him to account.  He sullies the name of Jesus with his arrogance. 
Read this story and tell me if you think I am wrong:


School fails to pay up, teacher says

By Jon Yates
Published July 4, 2007

During Jennifer Garrison's final performance review in March, a St. Luke Academy administrator asked if she planned to return to the school this fall.

The schoolteacher thought a moment and decided it was best to be honest.

"No," she said.

It seemed innocent enough at the time, but that answer wound up costing her more than $5,300 -- money Garrison said she both earned and deserves.

The pay dispute began last year, when Garrison signed a contract with the private Lutheran school to teach 3rd- and 4th-graders. She was promised a salary of $32,000 a year.

She said she was told at the time that she would be paid in 12 monthly installments even though she would teach only 10 months. The July and August paychecks were designed to give her income during the summer break.

Garrison said the July and August paychecks are for work completed during the school year.

The school, part of St. Luke Church in Lakeview, has another interpretation.

St. Luke informed Garrison that it will not pay those two months because her contract has been terminated.

After arguing with school administrators and getting nowhere, Garrison gave up and e-mailed What's Your Problem?

Garrison, who lives in Chicago and was married at St. Luke Church, said the dispute boils down to trust. Some schools pay on a 12-month schedule so teachers get even paychecks throughout year, some pay the entire amount during the school year and others give teachers a choice. Garrison said she didn't challenge the 12-month schedule because she thought the summer paychecks were guaranteed.

"I didn't ask because I trusted them," she said. "It's a Lutheran school. I didn't think they would do this to me."

Garrison forwarded a copy of her one-page contract, which does not mention how many months she would be paid. The contract simply states she would be paid "$32,000 a year," and that the agreement was "subject to review in the month of May 2007." The contract could be terminated by St. Luke or Garrison no sooner than June 15, it said.

Garrison said she was asked by the school to return in the fall, but said she told the administrator in March of her plans to move on because she thought that would give the church more time to find a replacement.

"I didn't want to go the whole summer with them thinking I was coming back when I wasn't," she said. "But that's really what I should have done because I'd still be getting paid."

The Problem Solver called the church's pastor, Rev. David Abrahamson, who said he could not talk about Garrison's case.

"As you can well imagine, that's a personnel matter," Abrahamson said. He said school and church policy prohibited him from talking about such issues. "This is a matter between the school and Jennifer."

When asked if he could speak in general terms about the school's salary policies and contract, Abrahamson again declined.

"That's really none of your business," he said.

Spokesmen for both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ECLA declined comment, saying St. Luke operates independently of those institutions.

Garrison said St. Luke continues to tell her it is abiding by the terms of her contract and will not pay her the final two paychecks.

She remains hopeful the school will reconsider.

"It's important to me," Garrison said. "I don't know anyone who would sneeze at that kind of money. Two months pay is not something you give up on."
From the Chicago Tribune on July 4th, the Problem Solver

You're NOT getting better, you're getting older

As you know I just returned from North Dakota and a Class Reunion.  Meeting with people I knew way way back when.
A truth came out.  I didn't believe it in fact at first but it became apparent.
What you are as a young person (by the age of 30 or so) you will be more so when you are 60. 
Not dramatic in revelation?
If you are reading this and are in your 40's or 50's and you think as you age you will mellow out, forget it.  You will be even more like you were as a young adult.    This is not a curse unless it is.
Sure, you can change.  You should change.  You must change.  But the kind of person you are is pretty much chiseled in granite by the age of 30.  Habits after that are hard to break.
That means if you are bitter at 30, you will be really bitter at 60.
IF you are kind and gentle you will be more so.  If you are angry, you will be more angry.  If you are a cynic you will be even more so.  If you are a jokester and can't say hello with a straight face you will be even more so.  If you are cutting and critical you will be even more so.
I saw lots of people who I knew back when.  What they are today is an amplification of what they were.  People don't mellow out, they set up in concrete. 
It's kind of scary to be honest about it.  I wish it weren't.  I know what I am more like than I was.  Some good, some not so much.
So, my advice is become aware of who you are, who you are becoming and what that will mean to you in the long run.  It's a tough way to live.  If you are miserable now, you are going to be really really miserable later.  You aren't getting better, you're getting older.

This morning I taught the men of God Session the teachings of Jesus and regarding False religion. Unfortunately we have many many in the church today who are terminally religious and need to be delivered from Bondage. Take a Look at What Jesus Himself Said about False Religious Leadership:

Jesus recognized the positions of Honor the Religious leaders had:
Matthew 23:2 - Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

He said they demonstrated their real spirit by how much they LOVED to be honored
Mark 12:38 - And in his teaching he said to them, Beware of the scribes, who love to go about in long clothing, and love greetings in the marketplaces,
Mark 12:39 - And the chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honour at feasts:
Luke 20:46 - Beware of the scribes, who like to walk about in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces, and the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honour at feasts;
Matthew 23:5 - But all their works they do to be seen by men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Matthew 23:6 - And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Matthew 23:7 - And greetings in the markets, and to be called by men, Rabbi.
Luke 11:43 - Woe to you, Pharisees! for you love the best seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the marketplaces.

He identified them as a spirit, even a demon spirit condemned to hell, A snake spirit. WE don’t deal with flesh and blood but with spirits good and evil. A religious spirit is evil.
Matthew 12:34 - You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 23:33 - You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to hell?
Matthew 23:36 - Truly I say to you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

A Religious spirit is Greedy and crooked
Luke 20:47 - They devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers: they shall receive the greater condemnation.
Mark 12:40 - They devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater condemnation.
Matthew 23:14 - [Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: therefore you shall receive the greater condemnation.]

A Religious spirit is contagious like yeast. Avoid it.
Luke 12:1 - In the meantime, when a great crowd of people had gathered, so that they trod upon each other, he began to say first to his disciples, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Matthew 15:14 - Let them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Mark 8:15 - And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.
Matthew 16:6 - Then Jesus said to them, Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

If you feel MORE burdened after you come to a Men of God or to Church you have been in the presence of a religious spirit. RUN!
Matthew 23:4 - For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them upon men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Luke 11:46 - And he said, Woe to you also, lawyers! for you load men with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

A Religious Spirit is a case of the blind leading the blind. They don’t know the way and can’t show you.
Matthew 23:13 - But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you do not go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
Luke 11:52 - Woe to you, lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.
Matthew 15:`14 …They are blind leaders of the blind. If the blind leads the blind both will fall into the ditch.

A religious spirit makes a big show out of extraordinary evangelism. It’s not evangelism at all, it’s self aggrandizement. Be careful where you send your money.
Matthew 23:15 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cross sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

A Religious Spirit always looks good on the outside. Jesus cleans us up from the inside out, not from the outside in.
Matthew 23:25 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
Luke 11:39 - And the Lord said to him, Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
Matthew 23:26 - You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Luke 11:40 - You fools, did not he who made the outside also make the inside?
Luke 11:41 - But rather give what you have within as alms; and, behold, all things are clean for you.
Luke 11:42 - But woe to you, Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, but neglect justice and the love of God: these you ought to have done, and not left the others undone.
Matthew 23:27 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Luke 11:44 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over unaware.
Matthew 23:28 - Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

A religious spirit will teach church tradition as if it were equal with the word of God. If you hear tradition being taught, it’s a religious demon speaking.
Matthew 15:7 - You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
Matthew 15:8 - This people honors me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me.
Matthew 15:9 - But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The Religious Demon HATES the Apostolic and Prophetic. It will always try to crush the gift in the person who has it, or silence the person who carries it. They want to put to death the prophetic and apostolic.
Luke 11:49 - For this reason also the wisdom of God said, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall kill and persecute,
Matthew 23:34 - Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them you shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city:
Matthew 23:35 - That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berachiah, whom you killed between the temple and the altar.
Luke 11:50 - That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
Luke 11:51 - From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the temple: truly I say to you, It shall be required of this generation.
Matthew 23:29 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and adorn the sepulchers of the righteous,
Matthew 23:30 - And say, If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Matthew 23:31 - Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the sons of those who killed the prophets.
Luke 11:47 - Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
Luke 11:48 - Truly you bear witness that you approve of the deeds of your fathers: for they killed them, and you build their tombs.
Matthew 23:32 - Fill up, then, the measure of the sins of your fathers.

Religious Demons should not be argued with, they won’t change, they should be exorcised, kicked out and warned against. We just did!
Matthew 7:6 - Do not give that which is holy to dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Here in context is everything Jesus had to say to and about those who were possessed of the Religious Demon in Matthew 23:

THEN JESUS said to the multitudes and to His disciples,

The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat [of authority]. So observe and practice all they tell you; but do not do what they do, for they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to help bear them. They do all their works to be seen of men; for they make wide their phylacteries (small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead) and make long their fringes [worn by all male Israelites, according to the command] and they take pleasure in and [thus] love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with honor in the marketplaces and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven and you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces; for you neither enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are about to go in to do so.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you swallow up widows' houses and for a pretense to cover it up make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation and the heavier sentence.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes one [a proselyte], you make him doubly as much a child of hell (Gehenna) as you are.

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, If anyone swears by the sanctuary of the temple, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the sanctuary, he is a debtor [bound by his oath]. You blind fools! For which is greater: the gold, or the sanctuary of the temple that has made the gold sacred? You say too, Whoever swears by the altar is not duty bound; but whoever swears by the offering on the altar, his oath is binding. You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar which makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 1And he who swears by the sanctuary of the temple swears by it and by Him Who dwells in it. [I Kings 8:13; Ps. 26:8.] And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by Him Who sits upon it.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you give a tenth of your mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected and omitted the weightier (more important) matters of the Law--right and justice and mercy and fidelity. These you ought [particularly] to have done, without neglecting the others.
You blind guides, filtering out a gnat and gulping down a camel!

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but within they are full of extortion (prey, spoil, plunder) and grasping self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and of the plate, so that the outside may be clean also.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men's bones and everything impure. Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, Saying, If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have aided them in shedding the blood of the prophets. Thus you are testifying against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' sins to the brim [so that nothing may be wanting to a full measure]. You serpents! You spawn of vipers! How can you escape the penalty to be suffered in hell (Gehenna)? Because of this, take notice: I am sending you prophets and wise men (interpreters and teachers) and scribes (men learned in the Mosaic Law and the Prophets); some of them you will kill, even crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue and persecute from town to town, So that upon your heads may come all the blood of the righteous (those who correspond to the divine standard of right) shed on earth, from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar [of burnt offering].

Truly I declare to you, all these [evil, calamitous times] will come upon this generation. [II Chron. 36:15, 16.] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God's help). [I Kings 9:7; Jer. 22:5.]

For I declare to you, you will not see Me again until you say, Blessed (magnified in worship, adored, and exalted) is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!


Friday, July 06, 2007

Church Plant Update

I have been asked several times recently by various folks how the Berwyn Church Plant is going.  IT'S GOING VERY WELL. 
In the last few weeks we have had the largest services we have had till now, we had our church picnic (which I couldn't attend) with many first time visitors and now we are now about to land in a permanent place.  A Church in a Church Building.  What a concept.
Up till now we have been renting the YMCA.  Lots of Churches start out in rented facilities.  Schools, Park District buildings.  
So did we.  But a year ago after hearing Conrad Lowe talk of a syndrome happening around the country and in particular in Chicagoland I began to think it could happen for us too.  Here's why:
Churches of mainline and non charismatic bent are mostly empty on Sundays and declining.  Not all, but most.  They, in their heyday, were vital parts of aggressive revival movements.  But, the day past them by.  Now those buildings are like a Church in Berwyn we have been talking to.  They could seat 400 if people would come but now only "Worship" 40.  They were a prime candidate for what Dr. Lowe believes can and will happen more and more by an example that inspired our search.
Dr. Lowe told of a Presbyterian church, a historical edifice, on the Southside of Chicago that had at one time been a powerhouse.  The Sanctuary seated 700. 50 years ago.  Sunday's worship services had drifted down to 23.  It wasn't a matter of money.  There was several million in endowments in the bank given over the years.  They had a full time staff of 6 pastors including a full time organist.  Nice gig.
Finally the Sr Pastor made sense of it all.  He proposed a radical solution.  Let's give it all away.  The church building had long ago been dedicated to the work of God. Turning it into a 7-11 C Store or condos seemed wrong.  So here's what they did:
  • There was a growing African American Pentecostal church needing a place.  They just gave them the building gratis.
  • They took the several million in endowments and sent it to missions overseas.
  • The Sr Pastor and one other stayed on as staff with the new church.  The African American church welcomed the steady hand of the Presbyterian Pastor as they grow.
  • The people from the old congregation for the most part dispersed.  A few stuck around and were integrated into the new congregation.
Today that building is plumb full on Sundays.  The Joy of the Lord is back and at full volume. 
There were a few grumbles from a few people but it's just the sound of a religious spirit groaning in defeat.   A religious demon doesn't mind seeing churches empty as long as it means traditions of men are taught over God's word.  It's always been so.
The same wonderful thing is about to happen again.   In Berwyn.  After some negotiation and meeting with the Church leaders we are about to move in and begin to share a wonderful old church building in Berwyn.  Hundred plus years old.  Stained glass and all.  The pastor was enthusiastic about bringing life back to the house of God.  They will still have a traditional service led by the Pastor but we are coming to do the new thing.  There were a few grumbles but everyone had their say.  I think this is going to be very good.
This pattern should be happening all across the nation.  I drive thru small towns and see huge empty church buildings kept alive by a handful of enough monied people to scratch by.  God's plan for his church was not to just scratch by. His plan was for a glorious church in victory.  Particularly in Chicagoland.  Thousands of Churches in chicagoland are weak and weakening a little every Sunday.  Mostly empty and in decline. They have no real future.  Meanwhile vital small works are springing up all around in rental places.  They need a place to worship.  There is a marriage ready to happen.  Life can come back to the house of God.  It won't look like they thought it would when the mainline church was started.  There is no way you can put old cloth on new cloth to patch it up.  One will tear the other.  There is no halfway.  It's not both-and, it ultimately must be either-or.  There can be no compromise, stay the old way and die or move into the fullness of God and grow.
I was asked, why don't you just come in and join the service that the church is having already?  Merge.  The two could make one larger church.  I have learned the hard way that changing the spiritual climate in a mainline church is much more difficult than anyone imagines.  It takes a lot of heat to overcome the cold.
The church living in the building is failing to reach their changing community.  They are old cloth.  They are good people but introducing what needs to happen in ministry, music, manifestations and the miraculous is so far outside the denominational comfort zone they can never make the transition and, more important, it would be a huge suicidal step back from the vision God gave the Pastor of the new Church to try to integrate the denominational elements or do church with one spiritual hand tied behind their back.  A pulled punches church will have no impact. 
That's why you can't have both in one house at the same time.  That's why the Old church in Berwyn is doing a good thing.  If God has his way this will become one church.  A merger of the spirit will take place. It will look nothing like the Old Church services ever did.  Oh, one Sunday a month a bunch of the old folks can gather together to remember what it was like when they did it like they did in 1955.  God says in his word, "Behold I do a NEW THING".  IF it's new to God it's really new to you and me.  So, why do we think we have any chance at all doing what we always did and hoping to get better results than the last time we failed.  That's what's happening in Denominational mainline America.  Let's do what we always did and maybe things will get better.  A futile hope.
I will give you a report after the first official Sunday we meet in the new Church Building.
I hope this renewal will happen everywhere.  It's time to bring the sound of revival back to these empty holy buildings once dedicated with so much faith of their fathers to being a place of renewal once again. 
Evenso come Lord Jesus!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I Feel Sad for Him

Even though I have political opposite view from Al Gore particularly on Global Warming I am sad at the arrest of his 24 year old son.  Al Gore the 3rd.  Tipper and He have done the best they know how.  Sometimes it's not enough.  It might be later.  Who knows.
I have no joy or triumph over Al Gore's pain in all this.  It could have been me.  It wasn't but it could have been.  I hope and pray for the best for them.  I believe at their core Tipper and Al are decent people.
Lots of right wing types are gloating over all this.  I'm not. 
On the other hand, who knew that a Prius would go over 100 MPH.
Maybe I will look into one of those babies.  Zoom Zoom Zoom.
Heck the Buick won't go over 100.  It has a governor that stops it short of 100.  Don't ask me how I know that.  It's none of your business.  It's enough to say that when one visits ND there are broad expanses of real estate with empty highways inviting Old Speedsters to just let's see how fast this thing will really go.  Fast!

44 Years ago May 30

At the 125th of Ellendale we had a class reunion for the class of 1963. 
Here are some details that I think are worthwhile thinking about:
There were 33 of us that graduated from EHS.
25 showed up in Ellendale for the Reunion.
  • All 33 of us are still alive.
  • All of us are between 61-63 years old.
  • The longest married is 42 years.
  • Most of us are married to our first wives or husbands.
  • The average of those married to first spouse is 38 years.
  • Over half are retired.
  • 20% are cancer survivors.
  • 30% still live within 100 miles of Ellendale.
  • 60% went into education (teaching or administration)
  • None farm today although most of us grew up on farms.
  • Many have been high achievers in their chosen field.
  • Only two became business owners. Me and one other.
  • They for the most part became successful parents raising kids better than themselves. (It's true for me for sure)
A successful reunion.  We came from good stock but we went away.  I'm sure there are sociological meanings in all of the statistics above but I'm not sure what they are.  Too close to the forest to see trees.
By the way Karma, we went by the Grotluschen Farm on our way from Oakes to Aberdeen to attend Church at Rod Hall's Church (he's the associate pastor), Aberdeen Christian Fellowship.
The Grotluschen Farm looks very nice.  Well kept. Needs Prairie Plants.
Church was great.  That Church does a great job.  Nice folks.  Good worship. Excellent preaching. If I lived in Aberdeen it's where I would go to Church. Rich Keller who hales from Ellendale goes there.  Helen who leads worship is from Ellendale. At one time Rod was the Pastor at a Church in Oakes ND.  That's how I got to know him 28 years ago.  It's all tied together.
Just a side note.  Hillsong United seems to now be the single source for the canon of worship music in the Church.  That's a good thing.  If Hillsong never existed we'd have nothing to sing in most churches today.  It seems like a worthy thing that this isn't some American group.  We needed to get outside ourselves.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

North Dakota in a Rearview Mirror

Due to popular demand I am now going to offer my well founded opinions on what is going on in North Dakota:
Everything's fine.  In fact couldn't be better. 
Everyone is prospering and happy beyond belief.  Fulfilled, well appointed to challenging places in life.  Finding all the friends and relationships ample and satisfying.
Every person with any ambition is well rewarded for the fruit of their efforts.  The standard of living for everyone in North Dakota continues to get better and better.
     The future looks so bright everyone wears sunglasses. 
Who do you think I'm kidding?  I will only make tangent references to the blog I am keeping on North Dakota. I am also sending links to the entries to legislators who keep in touch with me as well as the economic development folks who still talk to me.  Of course there's good ol Rob Port who allows me to rant away.  My Gubenatorial contact is no longer there.
Julie, I only make my observations because they make a difference.  What makes you think I do any less for my Adopted home state of IL?  They hear from me too. 
If I thought no one cared, was irritated, gave a darn I wouldn't go to the effort.  Because they do I do. 
No one will be forced to read what I write.  I will make reference to the entries.  If it cause frustration and anger perhaps the net result will be to see if there are changes. 
Not all change will be improvement, but there can absolutely be no improvement without a change.  Allowing things to remain as they are without challenge means nothing changes for better or worse.
Stay tuned, or don't.  The choice is yours.

Snoozin 'n Loozin

Kevin is here.  He and I are bringing me into the 21'st century computerwise.  I'll miss windows 98 and 95 I hardly knew ye.  Being 62 which is 10,000 in computer years this is a huge upgrade to me.
I'm off to XP land.  High Speed Internet so I can blog faster. 
Kevin has Peggy's computer on the floor all torn apart.  It is a wonder to behold.
Today I saw exactly the computer I have been wanting to buy.  $988.
Usually it's on sale at $1400.  2 gig hard drive, 200 gig memory.  Dual Processors.  Right up my alley. 
I see it, I think about it.  I come back to buy it.  Snoozed and lost.
We have a whole month of this to find this deal again.
One amusing anecdote.  The guy waiting on us while we were looking at recording dvd units made the comment, "Yea, that one's been out a year, it's obsolete.  We're waiting for the new units to come in."
He was about my age.
Talk about obsolete. 

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pulling a Line

I never understood what the song meant, Pullin' a line.......
I expected it meant that one was doing tedious work.  I don't think it had to do with drug abuse. 
If it had to do with tedium, sitting behind the wheel of the Buick for a total of nearly 30 hours in the last 6 days is Pullin a Line.
We are back.  Back from the land of the Dakota.  I have much to say and many observations on what I saw.  I don't think I will do it here.  I am going to do it on another blog.  I will then reference it.  If you think:
I have no right to speak of ND because:
  • I don't live there
  • I can't understand ND because I only lived there 40 years
  • I have bias against ND because I live elsewhere and can't possibly know what I'm talking about.

I would say, you are really wrong.  You have been blinded by the night. It's much like the falderal that took place over the comments of a Mr. Kane in a commencement speech out east that called Fargo ND the Armpit of America. 
Wow, the armwaving taking place over that one. 
When you throw a stone into a flock of chickens the only one that squawks is the one that is hit.  Kane hit.
Now we have much irritation and yelling and screaming.  
I suspect that his pronouncements hit close to the truth and it caused the amount of denial you see now. 
Consider for a moment, what if Kane had said that Champaign IL was the armpit of America or Bloomington IN, or Kalamazoo MI.  All towns not much different from Fargo in size.  There would have been hardly a peep.  Mild sardonic amusement perhaps.  Certainly not the mob defensiveness demonstrated by Fargoites.  The other towns know who they are and are confident in it.  Fargo?
Fargo, thou protesteth too much. 
More on the poor self image of ND-ites soon.