Saturday, August 11, 2018

Public Pebbles (or just breadcrumbs?)

I mentioned, before I went to bed a few hours ago, that there's no more way for me to post to facebook via twitter. I've hoped for interaction, leaving myself open to correction and conversation, and most of that conversation has happened on facebook.

My point in sharing online (whether on this blog or via social media) has been to leave a trail of public clues that would be available, theoretically, to anyone who is curious about me or what it is that drives me to be who I am and do what I do. I have wanted to do that because of Jesus, who, I hope, will be the One that people will find if they follow these pebbles back to their Home. I've also hoped that anyone in the world could look at the clues themselves and wonder, perhaps, how someone who claims to follow Jesus could believe the things I do.

I've always hoped for conversation too, and have invited people to criticize me or correct me, especially when they write from a Jesus-focused perspective. I've learned a lot. I have come to understand that many people don't see things the same way I do, even when they also claim Jesus as their Lord. Most of that conversation and correction has happened on facebook, and I'm grateful for that.

Facebook posts, however, aren't open to the world--you have to sign up to see what's there. So, for my purposes, facebook isn't public enough. Plenty of people aren't on facebook.* Twitter, however, has this neat feature that allows people to see what's on there without signing up or participating in twitter. There's a twitter feed on this blog. I hope you've seen it there. I hope you can if you look.

But I don't get much interaction with others on twitter. There are far more people I know personally on facebook than on twitter, and on facebook I at least know people are seeing what's there as they "like" or comment. And many of my friends and acquaintances write and post comment-worthy posts on facebook, or just post pictures or other things that allow me to connect with them, if only by clicking "like." For me, facebook has been a virtual neighborhood where people are most likely to walk by and say "hi," or, even, to gather for meaningful conversation. Sometimes I wish more of my friends and acquaintances participated there.

So, because facebook isn't public, I've been glad that I could post to facebook via twitter. It was several years ago that I discovered I could build that one way link. My twitter posts, would also go on facebook, where they would get reactions and comments. It was both public and conversational. For me, that was good.

Now that functionality is gone. I feel like Hansel who has just been locked in the house. Before I was able to leave a trail of pebbles when I went out into the world, not, in my case, to find my way home, but so others could find me. Twitter and facebook together provided that. There was openness and honesty. What I tweeted went on facebook. Now, though, I'll need to decide what to do, because I don't want to take the time to log into facebook every time I share something. And I don't want to be tempted to just post on facebook, because there it's all about reactions. I want this to be about a trail of clues to the ultimate Source of my life and yours, Jesus Christ.

Thanks for listening. I'll try to clarify this if you care to comment or ask me. Thanks.

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*I know that many people in the world aren't online in any way (my mom, for example, has never used even email) but there are more people who are online sometimes than those who choose to participate in facebook.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

No More Twitter -> Facebook

Good evening! It's almost 9:30 PM as I write this. Not sure how much longer I'll stay up to write. I'm glad I don't have to set an alarm tomorrow, but I can't sleep in all day. I'll be going to our son Dan and Shatera's newly purchased home to help peel the former owner's wallpaper tomorrow afternoon. Not an exciting project but something I'll be glad to work on with Dan.

I just found out, a few minutes ago, that the reason my twitter "tweets" aren't posting to facebook, as they have for the past 5-10 years, is because of a policy change at facebook. I started using twitter originally because there's a way to show my twitter feed here, on this blog site, so that I can share with many who aren't on facebook. Now I'll need to re-think how I'm going to do that.

I don't want to be sharing only with people who have to sign up for particular "apps." This blog is open to all, and that's part of what "equal sharing" means.

Heading to bed soon.

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Not Much Written

7½ hours from now my alarm will be going off and I'll be up for a new work week. This weekend has been good but full; Toni's been gone, again, down in Northfield with her parents and sister. Her dad has moved into the nursing care unit of the Northfield Retirement Center, the same facility where he and Toni's mom have had an independent living apartment for the past year or more. I've kept busy with a whole lot of things, both here at home and elsewhere. I spent the last few hours cleaning and putting things "away" (or at least out of the main rooms). Tomorrow I'll clean up the bathroom and do a little work here in my office/guest room area. Toni will be back at some point tomorrow, probably later in the day.

I don't write much here these days. I tweet and post on facebook though. You can follow me there.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Humid Weekend

Friday evening: Toni and I are home after taking a walk around Lake Como. There were two plays going on in the park, one Shakespeare and one musical. We didn't see much, but it was nice to hear a little. There's something about being around public events that both of us like.

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Saturday: I wrote that last night. Now it's early afternoon. I'm finishing up a small project outside. It's warm out there. Toni and I will go take a dip in a lake later on, and tonight we're planning to go to a Minneapolis Pops Orchestra concert at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. My sister Karen and her husband may join us.

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Now it's Sunday evening, not long before I need to head to bed. Toni's outside finishing a project I started -- a small hedge died and I finally cut the stumps out of the ground today. The spot where the hedge was, on the north side of the house, right next to the back door -- that spot will be a good place for the outdoor love seat that we've had since we lived on Mooers Avenue in Cokato. It was Toni's idea to use the space for that purpose, at least for now. She's putting landscaping fabric down -- for now we'll put a piece of plywood on it and then put the love seat on that. Maybe someday we'll do a more permanent fix, though it might take awhile.

It'll be an early morning tomorrow. We'll be home, working and etc., until we head northeast for cabin time. I pray that we'll follow the Lord's leading in everything we do.

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Saturday

It's dark outside. I've been up, aside from three, yes three, naps, since sometime before 6 AM. In fact, I was out doing one of my slow runs by 5:45, running from home to Central Park here in Roseville, around Bennett Lake, and home again -- almost 6 miles. I probably wouldn't have been up that early if it hadn't been for some feelings I was trying to deal with. But it was a great time to be out. I love the early morning just as it's getting light.

Now it's after 10 PM. I'll be headed to bed before too long. It's been a full day, mostly around the house, doing this and that, including continuing a little work with the landscaping around the egress window. Toni and I went biking for awhile this morning, and tonight, for supper, we found a place for not too expensive Mexican style food. I also planted some more flowers on the west side of the house. Toni finally put the little computer on her bike that she got as a gift from one of our kids. She likes to know how far she's gone.

Right now I'm working on a few financial details, and also keeping an eye on what dear ones are saying and "liking" on social media. The mini explosion of likes and comments on pictures posted about one of the places I lived when I was in Brazil continues, and now I've had a little interest in a proposition I posted about gender and biology. I'm hoping to hear more.

I've listened, today, to two sermons too. Tomorrow we'll hear another at Roseville Covenant Church. Looking forward to that. Plus celebrating our son Dan's birthday. Then it'll be back to work early Monday morning.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Sharing Rio Pardinho -- and Jesus

Toni went down (to Northfield) to see her parents this morning so the house was empty when I got home, except, of course, for old Charlie the Dog. I saw my mom and dad last night after my PM shift. It's the second, and last, work day of this week. I was off work from Saturday through July 4 (Wednesday). I am glad to be back to the regular routine... even though the "regular routine" doesn't leave as much time as I would like for things like this -- writing.

The most interesting, and to me, exciting, thing that's happened in the last day or so is that suddenly one of my facebook posts -- an "album" of photos that were taken of people and places in Rio Pardinho Brazil -- one that I posted 4½ years ago -- was suddenly discovered by quite a few more people who have personal connections with that little locale. If you'd like to have a look at the photos, click here.
As always my hope and prayer is that the Lord Jesus would be known through everything I write, everything I share, and everything I do. As you, or others, look at these photos, I hope the love of Jesus for people everywhere will shine through -- not just for those who are well known, or those who are nearby.

Where is "Rio Pardinho"? It's located on the Pardinho River (hence its name) in the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. When I lived there most of the inhabitants were descendants of German immigrants, families that came to the area beginning in 1852. I lived there for about seven months in 1983 and 1984. It was a great experience. Toni and I have been back there to visit twice, once when our daughter Naomi was a baby, and then again when our kids were teenagers. I would love to go again.

So how can Jesus Christ be lifted up when people see these pictures on facebook? A few people who've seen, and liked :) them are folks who I knew when I lived there, and I hope they will remember my witness to Jesus when I was there. Others, I hope, will take a look at what else I post on facebook, or maybe even find their way to this blog. I don't intentionally "use" social media as a witnessing (or evangelistic) platform, but I do hope and pray that everything I share there will, directly or indirectly, shine with the love of the One who loves us more than anyone else ever could.

Time to go out and finish the last bit of mowing. Toni did most of the back yard yesterday, so here's a lot less to do than usual.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Where Peace is Found

Toni and I are at the Durphee Lake Cabin. Tim and Naomi and their little Jonas are here. David and Grandma Jo are too. I tried to write some yesterday, but pursuing solitary activities in this little cabin, with everyone around, isn't too sensible. It's easier now in the very early morning.

I started my first morning here with a (slow) 40+ minute run. I'm glad I did since the rest of the day has been pretty sedentary. It rained a lot, and that was quite pleasant. I'm sure I'll get some sort of a physical workout in today too. I might end up driving to town for that, or maybe I'll get myself to do more than just run again here.

Dick, Toni's dad, isn't here. We're hoping he can come up for the days later this month. He's continuing his rehab from a health issue that developed at the end of April.

A couple weeks ago, at a "Little Free Library," I picked up a Charles Dickens' book -- Hard Times. I've been reading it bit by bit ever since, and a little more yesterday and today. So far it's a sad, sad story with so many tragic characters and situations. I can't imagine how it can end well.

Yesterday morning the Lord led me to worship at a church in Hayward. When I got there I saw some family friends sitting near the front, so I went in and sat with them. There was some good praise time and then a message on a fairly well known section of the new testament. I'll say more about that below.

After the message we were invited to share communion together. I received the Lord's supper from the family friend I had been sitting with, and then enjoyed talking with him afterward. It was an unexpectedly good time, and an example of how the Lord continually blesses me in ways I don't plan in advance.

The message at the church service was nothing new, but good for me to hear. I've been thinking about it ever since. During the service I tweeted out one line that the pastor emphasized and had us repeat aloud... and a bit of the scripture his message was based on.
Peace is not found in a formula, it's found in a person. "...in every situation ...present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will GUARD your *hearts* and your *minds* . Praise you, Jesus, for peace in all circumstances
Here are some personal reflections on the scripture and message I wrote this morning. May the peace of God, which transcends understanding, be in our hearts and minds today.

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That's true when we think of peace as a personal feeling. In fact, that's what the verse before the one quoted above says: "'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). I have to be reminded of this all the time because I easily fall into worrying -- not, in my case, about money (which is what many worry about), because the Lord has provided so well and has taught me the "secret of being content." I worry more about what seems to be (1) bad choices that other people make and bad habits that other people have, (2) the long term consequences on their health and well being that those behavior patterns lead to, (3) and the well being of others that their negative example might cause, including the well being of future generations. I'll share more about that personally if you ask.

The Lord, however, tells me not to worry about anything. That would include the worry I mentioned above. He tells me that I should speak with Him about it and implies then that I should leave my worries there, in my prayers, trusting that He will deal with whatever I bring to His attention. As I remember the example of Jesus, whose followers were so often going the wrong way in their attitudes and actions, I recall how he needed to retreat and spend time alone with God the Father. Perhaps that's because he knew what it was like to be tempted to worry about them, worry that came out, in fact, as he sighed and said things like, "o you foolish people, how long do I need to put up with you." But Jesus seems to have refused the temptation to worry, and the twin temptation to try to control those who were (sometimes) following Him. I think I have had a taste of Jesus' struggle in prayer as I am continually led to "let go and let God."

But what about peace between people or nations? Is that peace also found "in Christ Jesus," as the verse quoted above says? The fuller context of the verse implies a "yes" answer. There seems to have been a conflict going on between two of the women in the Christian community that Paul is addressing in this letter. He pleads (notice that he doesn't command -- Paul exercises no male "headship" over the women) with these women to "be of the same mind," a phrase that is used elsewhere in the "letter to the Philippians" to specifically point to Jesus and Jesus' way of life. "Think like Jesus" we read in Philippians 2:5 and following, who was completely humble and didn't pursue any advantage or rights over others. I think the path to peace between people and nations is found in Jesus' example and presence. It doesn't come by saying "me first" or "US" first.

Is the self-sacrificing way of Jesus practical in the world of nations? No. But I think Christians often sacrifice Jesus' was for practical "common sense" political thinking and activity. Jesus' ways normally don't lead his followers to being "first." But, if the verses I quote above can be applied to "US" together just as they can be to each of us personally, that impractical way of humble service would be the way to peace among nations too.
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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday Chores

It's ten o'clock on a Saturday evening as I begin to write. Toni should be here soon. She's on her way back home from a quick trip to Northfield. She spent the afternoon and part of the evening there with her parents. Toni's dad, Dick, is staying in a "care center" attached to the "independent living" apartments that he and Jo moved to a couple years ago. It was a wise move and we're thankful that both Dick and Jo are being supported in ways that suit their needs, and that they aren't too far from one another. It's just a long walk for Jo (with her walker) through the hallways to and from Dick's room. We're hoping that Dick will get strong enough, soon, to move back "home," and that they both will be able to get back to where they want to be this summer: their cabin on Durphee Lake.

from October 2016
I spent almost all of this weekend day on a variety of small chores and projects that needed doing around the house, finally getting around to finishing the landscaping around the egress window that Dick helped me put in almost 2 years ago. Here's a pic I took while he was chiseling out the last bits of concrete. Dick did all the finish work on the inside, in addition to building the wooden frame that the window fit into. He has always been a great craftsman, and I'm sure he wishes he could be doing chores like this now. Instead, Toni and Jo and the staff at the care center are helping take care of him. Such big changes in a short time.

As I go through my life, I hope I can be a servant like Dick.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Stages and Routes

It's a quarter to eight in the evening. Toni is visiting her dad in the hospital. Her mom, Jo, is with her. Toni and Jo will be back here for the night later on. By the time they get back I might be in bed. I had a long day with my alarm waking me at 4 AM.

I started new routes today. The "3" in the morning, east toward downtown St. Paul and then west back to downtown Minneapolis, and the "22" in the evening, south to Veterans Hospital, and then north through Mpls and Brooklyn Park. I enjoyed both AM and PM duties.

Our parents are in a difficult stage of life. Toni and I are in a "sandwich" with elders to care for and young grandchildren too. I believe God gives us challenges in every stage so we'll keep growing and depending on him.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Big Thoughts, Little Time

I'm taking a couple minutes to write something, though I think I'd like to write more. Jon, Breanna and the girls are coming tonight and then we've got other family coming over tomorrow, so there will be little time for this. There's a long list of "to do"s that has nothing to do with guests, and that's not getting done as I write either.

Here are some things that's been rolling around in my head, and in my heart. When I can find time I'll write more:

Posted on twitter on May 6:
It seems that some old friends of mine don't want to talk about significant issues. It's sad how polarized we've become. How can we discern truth if various perspectives aren't listening, speaking with love and care, asking questions, sharing answers, exploring the grey areas?
Written on a facebook group page on June 1 -- the group page is for men and women who have some connection with the "evangelical renewal district" of church denomination that I'm officially "retired" from:
Hello all. I haven't connected with this group, or any LCMC group, for a long time. I'm driving now for Metro Transit, it's been 3 years. My wife Toni and I are participating in Roseville Covenant Church though we're not members there. On Sunday I happened to worship at an LCMC church when we were out of town. The message and worship were balm for my soul. I was in tears. Afterwards was sobbing even though I was okay. I think there is grief inside me, not about me personally, but about people in communities I served over the years who seem to have drifted from the faith. Some of it is due, I'm sure, to the post modern times we live in. I'd like to share more if anyone has interest, but it's time for me to head out the door for my second shift. I drive AM and PM rush hours. Peace in Jesus' precious name.
Added the next day after someone in the group invited me to say more:
I care a lot about truth. I remember this coming up in my certification interview. This was in 1985, back when "LNTS" was certifying MDiv seniors for ordination in the ALC. One of the two professors in the interview remarked that I care more about truth than love. I don't think that's true, but I certainly have accented truth and appreciate very much when others are willing to engage on the level of "truth" even when feelings get hurt. Here's an except from page 1 of the aforementioned essay.
I'm hoping to find time to write more about this, and, hopefully, to have some face to face conversations. We'll see. But, for now, I need to get to other tasks, and then get back to my Metro Transit job shortly after 2.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Weekend Again

The end of a busy work week. 
I wrote that before I remembered that it was a short work week. I always enjoy the chance to not set my alarm or have a schedule when the weekend comes. A blessing and a luxury. Thankful.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Weekend's Best

The highlight of the weekend, personally, for me, was Sunday morning 8:30 worship at Grace Lutheran Church of Hayward, WI. Here's a link to the message.

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