Saturday, April 14, 2018

Friends for the Long Journey


The video above is the full version of a Ted Talk excerpt that was posted on my facebook page. The piece below was something I wrote this morning as a comment on that post.

*Whether* I live a long time isn't the most important thing. Doing what I can do to *prolong* my life on this earth in this body isn't what I think about, for example, when I posted, last month, about "planning" to live until 105. My mom and dad are 90ish and the plain fact is that I enjoy doing things that keep me relatively strong and healthy... so I think it's just a _fact_ that I will probably live a long time on this earth in this body. Of course I'm aware that things might change, and, as someone who believes that Jesus has my life in his hands, I know I'm not in control. But, the fact is that all of us can do things to make our later lives better...

As I look at Susan Pinker's list, many of the things she lists as predictors of long life are actually things that will increase the quality of our lives, and will allow us to be strong enough to bless others as we move up through the years. Some of those things we can do on our own or with professional help. Social integration, as she describes it, having lots of everyday interactions with other people -- that's something we can make happen by choosing to live or work in the hubbub of human society. _Close_ relationships, however, are different. That's something we need one another to maintain.

The challenge, as we move along in years, is to not allow past difficulties in relationships to isolate us. Staying in touch, working through challenges, continuing to value people who we find out are different than ourselves, and being able to live with some ambiguity in how we "are" together is key, I believe, to keeping having long term "close relationships" with family and old friends.

Jesus can help us with that. One of the sweetest scenes of the Bible is the reunion of Jesus with his failed disciples after his resurrection. He didn't toss his friends out because they failed. He kept them, both women and men, valuing them and blessing them. I want to do everything I can to do the same with you
, and I hope you'll do the same with me. I have failed and need forgiveness just like you.

It's hard when we live all over the world. Some of our relationships will always be at a distance, sad to say. Even living on the other side of cities or counties can mean we're not going to see each other often, even for years at a time. Still, we can open our hearts and our doors to one another, and do what we can to not shrink back from relationships because they are not as comfortable as they used to be. I think that's part of what we can do together to be as strong and as full of blessing as we can do as long as we live.

Just how this will work out for each of us isn't something any of us can know for anyone else, but I know one thing I believe is good for me is to reach out to others, even at a distance, especially to those who have been significant to us at various times. We never know how the others will react, of course, and there's always the possibility that you or I have hopes for the friendship that won't be attained. That's unavoidable, IMO, if we are going to avoid being isolated as the years go by.


Peace to you in Jesus' name.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Work and Time

I've been back home from work for about a half hour now (9:40 AM). Earlier, as I was working, I was thinking about how much I enjoy my work. I'd probably do it as a volunteer if I could be guaranteed enough money to live. The only major thing that's a negative is the amount of time my work takes out of any given day. At least that's what it seems like to me.

As I take time to really look at my schedule, it's not really that bad. I have almost five hours during each day, Monday through Friday, to do anything I want to. True, a couple hours of that are taken up in things I think I need to do almost every day -- exercising and napping. Both of those get cut some on some days, but, generally, that leaves 3 hours a day, plus the (short) evening, to do all the things the Lord has given me to do besides working for a living.

Honestly, it's a great life. I'm so thankful! This morning when I got home I put up a little wire fence to keep the rabbits from eating the tulips that are coming up even through it's 16F, and I put this little blog post together. Now I'll take a nap.

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Here's a little visual about how my schedule has been for last couple years or so... I don't have a record of how it was for the summer and fall of 2015. Every three months or so the schedule changes as we "pick" the "duties" we'll be assigned for winter, spring, summer and fall. Right now my "duty" includes morning routes near the U of M, and afternoon routes through Northeast Minneapolis.
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Brief Layover

Right now I'm in a bus that's sitting on Como Ave. near the MN state fairgrounds. When I have a few minutes like this I usually check my Facebook. I'm involved in significant conversation there.

How do you engage with others about important topics?

Time to leave westbound on route 3.

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Cold!

It's cold outside. Two days ago a friend said it was January 94th. I said it would get better by the 101st. Ha!
from https://www.weather.gov/mpx/mspclimate

This chart is from the National Weather Service website. I found it as I was looking through their "climate data," trying to see if this winter has been as unusually cold as it seems to be.

Nope. It's been about normal, until recent days. It's just that we've been spoiled during recent years. The last 3 have been warmer than usual.

More later. Time for me to get to work!

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Forward Forty


Earlier this week I saw this video (above) of women and men over 100 years old. They were running! Setting records for their age group!

And short track running wasn't their only accomplishment! This was a full USATF event, with world records set in longer races, the high jump and shot put. "USATF" is short for "USA Track and Field," the group that organized this indoor masters championship meet and released this statement on Saturday March 17:
"Centenarians proved reaching your athletic goals is possible at any age Saturday at the 2018 USATF Masters Indoor Championships, with four world records set by athletes 100 years or older, for a total of eight world records combined..."
That was inspiring! Not that I'm wanting to go out and run races, but I'm inspired to think about all the things I can do in the next 40 years! Heck, that's almost another adult lifetime. So much has happened since 1978. What could happen in the next 40?

I'm not much for advance planning, though, at this point, I have decided, pretty much, that I'll keep working for Metro Transit until I'm 70. I'll turn that age in 2026. If I decide to stop working then, and if I'm still in good mental and physical shape, maybe it'll be time to leap back into the pastoral saddle. Or perhaps I'll pursue that advanced degree so I can regain credibility as a Christian teacher. If I did, there's no reason, beyond health concerns, that I couldn't teach or write until I'm in my 90s or beyond. Who knows? 40 years ago I had no idea I'd be doing what I've done since then.

So the inspiration I gain from watching those elders run isn't about wanting to run races, though I'm not excluding the possibility. But it's inspiring in the sense that I can see I'm not alone in wanting to keep myself strong and flexible, as long as we can, and not give in to the idea that age means becoming less active.

In about 40 years I'll be almost 102, unless the Lord has other plans. But because I don't know what God's plan is, I'm deciding to do what I can to stay strong and healthy. I'm planning to live as if someday I'll be that age.

Will you join me? It'll be nice to have company along the way.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Giving

It's time to get a start on taxes. Toni and I have hired Tim Robinson to prepare the forms ever since Toni began her massage therapy business out in Cokato. All I do is gather the info. Then we send it on to Tim. It's probably been about 12 years now. Tim does good work.

I just now tallied our charitable contributions. Only some of them are deductible. We give some funds directly to people who are in mission work. I'm thankful we can do that. As I've been tallying, I see there's one or two missionary types that we've gotten behind on supporting.

The Lord has taken such good care of us. Now, these days, our income exceeds our expenses. That's different than it was when we first moved to Roseville. But even when our income was low, and we needed to spend savings for month to month expenses, we've always given money away, mostly to people in ministry and churches. God is so good!

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Get Moving!

Sometimes I just need to get moving. Today I've spent way too much time thinking about the past... this time it was triggered by some posts on facebook that got me looking at a old high school annual book. I was quite immature and awkward during those years, and, as I look back, I think about all the opportunities I missed. I was doing some other things at the same time, recording and balancing financial accounts, but I kept going back to the past and all the people I'd love to talk with again -- and not all of them were girls.

In any case, as I spent that time, I wasn't getting exercise, I wasn't picking up the house or cleaning the kitchen, and the financial work I meant to do is still half done. So, now, I just need to get moving for awhile. I've taken care of the organics recycling and now I'll tackle the kitchen cleanup. Then maybe I can get back to this desk work with more focus on the tasks at hand.

I'm sure there's some sort of Bible verse that connects with this... we aren't people of the past. The Lord always pushes us on to whatever is next, with full assurance of forgiveness for previous missed opportunities.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Limits of Christian Morality

In my last post I mentioned that the arms (or gun) control debate has become the (main) topic of conversation online these days. I said "I like to say I'm learning through the conversations, and I am."

One thing I'm learning, that I woke up thinking about before 4 AM today, leads to this post about "The Limits of Christian Morality." Personally I don't believe there should be limits on which areas or arenas of life where Christ reigns supreme. But I'm learning that some people do, or, at least, they haven't looked carefully at certain issues through Christ's eyes. Some people seem to leave Christ centered teaching behind as they venture, for example, into areas such as their personal finances. Some don't consider Jesus' teachings as applying to their personal sexual relationships. Others seem to do it in regard to the right to bear arms. This last point is what I've been learning about in recent days.

The American second amendment right to bear arms isn't really about self-defense. It's actually, as two of my friends have written, more about having arms at the ready in case it would be necessary to rise up against a despotic or tyrannical government as the early Americans did in the Revolutionary War, or, I'd add, as the southern states did in what we now call the Civil War.

But I wonder whether Christian morality can stretch far enough to justify violence in defense of freedom, or whether such justification needs to come from other sources, from teachings that don't harmonize with the ways and words of Jesus. I'm hoping that someone from the Christian community can show me how this is done. If not, I believe such rationale would point out that this is one more area where Christians leave Christianity behind.

I'm hoping to say more about this later.

God's peace to you all.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February has 28

The last day of the month, thank God. I'm not completely negative on February, and we had some great times during the last 4 weeks. I am, though, looking forward to the warming and lightening of March. Bring it on!

When I have time these days, when I'm not driving/working, when I'm not doing what needs to be done here at home or enjoying time with family and friends, and when I'm not sleeping or napping, my big occupation has been conversation, mostly online, with friends and acquaintances -- continued conversations like I've written about here before, except that the topic has shifted, now, to the whole "arms control" debate. I like to say I'm learning through the conversations, and I am.

Time to rest a couple minutes before going back to work.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jesus Holds Me

Jesus holds me. Jesus. Not an unknown God in my heart or in my brain. Jesus, the one who died and is risen from the dead. Jesus the one who holds me now and will hold me forever. Jesus, the Word of God, the Way, the Truth, the Life. Jesus. The one seen and known by witnesses who were filled by God in the Holy Spirit and who spread the news of Jesus love that goes on forever and never gives up on me or on you. Jesus. What a treasure it is to know him and trust him and allow him to guide me. Not in a way that can only be explained by analogies or mythological language, but the One True God who took on flesh and lives now forever. He holds me. And He holds you too, because besides being the one you can know, he's the One who holds all things together, even molecules. Plants, animals and all people depend upon Him for every breath. He is the source of all life and all existence. He was, He is, and He is to come. All Grace. All Love. All Mercy. No one is excluded. Read the stories of Jesus as they are recorded in the Bible. Read about all the wounded and sick and rejected who found a Home in Him. Read how he stood up for the poor and the poor in spirit. Read how he stood against the self-sufficient ones and the religious ones who were threatened by his all-encompassing grace and love. O Jesus. How I long that everyone would know who you are.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

"There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

"(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)

"Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known."

John chapter 1, New International Version Translation

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Imitate Me (?)

Going through our credit card statement, entering receipts, balancing accounts: it shows me how much money I spend on things that I probably wouldn't spend on if I wasn't trying to please others.  

Is that true? In some ways, yes. Thinking back on my life I realize how many times I've avoided spending money until I'm "pushed" by others.

Is that God's work in my life? Is the contentment I often have with how things are, my desire to be frugal... is that a "God thing" or just a part of my (inborn?) temperment?

I know, in many ways (not all!) I live in ways that are driven by my relationship with the Lord, not just doing what others do. Is that pride? Judgmental? Or do I dare give credit to the Lord?

It's good to not judge others, but I often think that it would be better if more people lived like I do.

Did I really say that? Uff da.

And yet, the Apostle Paul was bold to say "Imitate me... as I imitate Christ." Do I dare say the same?

Praying for wisdom.

See this link: https://www.challies.com/personal-reflections/be-imitators-of-me/

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Yesterday's Ride

Yesterday I had the chance to make a bike trek to our church small group gathering in Oakdale. It took me maybe close to an hour and a half in the 10-15 degree weather. I'm glad I did it, even though it was cold and even though my bike's tires were low and I couldn't get the front derailleur into high gear.

I believe it's good to challenge myself. I believe it's good for others to do also, but I can't tell anyone else what to do. 

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