Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Helping the Victims

We are receiving refugees here in Miami. If you have no home, home is found in a friend's house, or a relative's apartment. And so they come here. My wife is a teacher, and she has a new student -- a refugee from Mississippi. I talked with a friend in Atlanta who used to serve a church here in Miami, he says, there are no vacant rooms in the hotels there. One of his church members has taken in 29 guests! And Atlanta is not exactly next door to where Katrina hit!

I've already plugged on charity for the Katrina Victims. Here is a great idea from Dawn's blog, Thoughts Along The Broken Road

She challenges bloggers to unite for Katrina Victims. She says, "Your mission should you choose to accept it:"

1) Select a charity you'd like to support from this list here, or add your own. (I listed the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance).

2) Register your blog here.

3) Post at least once on your blog about the charity of your choice. Make sure to include a link to Instapundit's roundup page and the TTLB Katrina Relief page, and e-mail Instapundit the URL of your post.

4) Encourage your readers to donate to your recommended charity, and send them to the contribution logging page at TTLB to record their donations.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina - The Worst Is Yet To Be Known

I am glad I am part of a connectional church.

Being a connectional church means that I am connected with people in Louisiana and Mississippi who need help -- and they are connected to us and others who can give it.

The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is actively involved in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

What happens in a situation like this is that money from the One Great Hour of Sharing is being released right now. We took that offering at Easter, and it prepares a storehouse of funds for disasters like Katrina. I understand $500,000 from that fund is being used today.

A special fund is also being set up to help provide food, medical care, shelter -- whatever is needed. Presbyterians will work with other churches in an ecumenical effort, as well as with secular relief agencies. You can give to this special account, DR000169 the Presbyterian Church, USA, has established for those wishing to respond financially.

Pastor John Reighney of First Presbyterian in Jennings, LA, said their might be a dozen or more churches which may be declared a total loss, based on reports of the flooding in New Orleans. Jennings, in the western half of the state, was untouched by Hurricane Katrina. His congregation is helping feed more than 300 evacuees.

Nearly half of the 66 churches in South Louisiana Presbytery may be damaged, said Mike Mann, interim general presbyter. The presbytery office will open as soon as feasible - possibly at 10am Wednesday or 10am Thursday.

Presbyteries in Mississippi and Alabama have not yet been able to verify the extent of damage suffered by churches and members.

I fear the worst is yet to be known.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sudden Moment Of Grief

The feeling came so unexpectedly.

It started when I picked up a baseball.

I'd found the baseball outside my front door several days ago. I'd left it there for a while, thinking some kid who'd lost it would find it. It moved a bit during the hurricane, but it was still unclaimed in my front yard. Yesterday I brought it inside and placed it on the table near the door. It remained there untouched until I began cleaning the house today.

The feeling didn't come right away.

I held it and thought back to days of playing baseball as a kid in the neighborhood. Images came to my mind. The day I hit a grand-slam. The time we all scattered when one kid hit a ball right into this lady's car as she drove by. The way the ball came straight into my glove for a beautiful third out.

I tossed the ball up into the air and watched it fall into my hand.

That's when the feeling came flooding into my heart.

Every afternoon, I would wait for my father to come home and we would go out and play catch. My son and I did the same thing for years.

I'll never play catch with my Dad again.

He's been dead for weeks. I like to think that I am moving through the grief process successfully. I'm sure these moments will come again.

Some losses in our lives are so deep that the healing should take time.

Friday, August 26, 2005



You watch them forming in the distance.

Then it dawns on you that your home is in the "cone of possibilities" for the route of the hurricane. You begin to plan everything around, "if the hurricane hits in a few days."

Then the day comes when work stops.

Grocery stores are full of people gathering water and food.

You go through the checklist of things to do and to check.

Neighbors help one another put up the metal shutters over windows.

You go inside to a dark house, wishing the hurricane panels were transparent.

You watch the news.

You wait.

It comes and you hope the power doesn't go out because everyone is passing the time watching television.

The power goes out -- for hours.

Sometimes the wind picks up. You listen to the rain. Occasionally you look outside to see how bad the water is rising.

Mostly you wait.

I've been through so many, of these things.

Then the earth gets quite. The sun comes out. The rain stops. And the inventory begins.

A neighbor's tree is down.

A few shingles are missing next door.

My yard is full of palm branches.

I drive to the church -- it is part of the routine for these storms, and it is also part of the routine for my wife to ask, "don't you think it is a little too early to go out?"

The church is fine -- just a soggy classroom or two.

Pity -- the organ is high and dry. A little insurance money to replace that monstrosity would have been a gift from heaven :)

Well, time to clean up before the next one comes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Praying for Osama Bin Ladin -- AND Pat Robertson

A few posts ago I suggested that Christ commanded us to pray for our enemies. This includes the mandate to pray for Osama.

Now I find an even more difficult prayer to lift up -- one for Pat Robertson.

By now you probably know this Christian television minister has called for the assassination of the Venezuelan head of state. Imagine what would happen if a Muslim religious leader called for the assassination of our head of state, George W. Bush?

Actually, I think that has happened.

Which brings me to ask a question -- what is the difference between the extremist, right-wing fundamentalist Christian and the extremist, right-wing, fundamentalist Muslim?

Whatever differences they have, I think there is one thing they share in common -- they've lost touch with the God they seek.

As the real Apostle John said: "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." I John 4:7-8

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday School -- Am I a Child of God?

I sometimes get this strange feeling that the Holy Spirit might just be in control of the stuff around my life.

I had the feeling as I sat in Sunday School.

I don't often go to Sunday School unless I am teaching, but today I sat as a student in one of our classes that is studying Matthew's Gospel.

Do I need to tell you what today's lesson was about?

Matthew 5:43-48: Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It was during this reading that I picked up on something I'd not noticed before.

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven."

One of the readers of an earlier post criticized me for the prayer for Osama. I had referred to Osama as a "child of God." I said that, thinking that all of God's human creations are his children. The reader said Osama was not a child of God. "You stop being a child of God when you attack God's other children."

I'm not going to debate that -- whether or not another person is a child of God is not a question I feel called to answer.

However, in the Sunday School class, I realized there is another question I am called to answer. Am I a child of God?

Jesus related loving our enemies and praying for them is something you do "that you may be children of your Father in heaven."

So what I need to ask is, "am I becoming a child of God?"

I feel the Holy Spirit leading me to pray for Osama. Obviously many of you also feel that call, and many more do not.

So I will pray.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Still Wrestling -- but closer to home

I ran into Elder Headache today. I was going into the pancake house and he was just leaving.

Spoiled my whole breakfast.

Elder Headache, as chair person of the budget committee, had pushed an idea he had for the new budget -- a 1% pay raise for the young Associate Pastor. "He's fresh out of seminary, we gave him a job -- what's he going to do? Jump ship? He'll take it and he should be glad for it."

"He has done a good job. Everyone else is getting at least a 5% increase. He and his wife deserve better."

"His wife is just a Jap."

Gee -- World War II has been over for decades. It's time for him to get over it.
I see Elder Headache, and I know that he has carefully nurtured and cared for his hatred. He has fed his bitterness at the enemy he fought 60 years ago in a noble war. His anger has roots that run deep into his soul.

It made my blood boil.

I was still mad at lunchtime.

That's when it occurred to me -- Elder Headache's plan for the 1% insult happened in 1999.

Just seeing the elder resurrected my six-year old anger.

There is an interesting verse in Matthew's Gospel. In chapter 18, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."

Every sermon I have ever heard on this text talks about how we have to patiently forgive people who do us wrongly -- over and over, no matter how many times they do bad things to us.
That's not what this text says to me.

For me, this text tells me that when someone does something that calls for forgiveness -- I need to forgive.

Then the next day when I remember the event, even though the person has not done anything NEW -- I need to forgive.

And 6 years later when I run into him at the Pancake House and my blood boils as I remember his comments -- I need to forgive.

Sometimes forgiveness comes slowly. It has to be nurtured and cared for. It has to be fed. It needs time for its roots to deepen into the soil of our soul. You feed this forgiveness not once, not seven times, but so often you lose count.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hanging On Until The Blessing

It is a strange passage of Scripture... Genesis 32 tells the story of Jacob wrestling with a man throughout the night. Is this a man? Is it an angel? Is it God himself? The text dangles all sorts of interpretations before us.

What I like best in this text is what Jacob says as the battle ends. He is defeated and he has his face in the sand, but he refuses to let go.

The stranger says, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."

But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

I was going to let go of this business of praying for our enemies. I raised the issue and figured it was time to move on. What better way to leave it behind than to tell you the story of the time my brother, wife and I went to a nude beach on a cold winter's day?

But I can't let go.

It haunts me.

I realized this as I was reading Rev. Bill. Thanks Bill, for continuing the conversation about Praying for Osama. It made me realize I still haven't come to the blessing. I need to hang on and wrestle a little longer.

And I won't let go until I can get some sort of blessing out of this.

This year, September 11th is on a Sunday. Perhaps I can preach a sermon with the title, "Praying for Osama."

Yep, I'll let you know how that turns out.

But it is not just this issue of praying for our enemies.

Christianity calls us to do a lot of difficult things.

Love your enemies.

Be at peace with one another.

Feed those who are hungry.

Visit the sick.

Turn the other cheek.

The problem is that we don't wrestle with any of these issues. We just let go as the battles begin.

Behind the Pulpit has an interesting post on Parents -- especially as it relates to youth ministry. Something on the post caught my attention. He says, I keep hearing this, "I'm just not getting anything out of youth group." "I'm not being fed and if I brought a friend, how are they going to be hooked?"

When did being a Christian become measured based on how we feel fed, rather than how we are feeding others?

When did coming to worship become a place to be blessed by God, rather than to be a blessing to God?

When did we forget that being Christian was about taking up a cross and carrying daily?

Christianity has become a "what's in it for us" lifestyle.

I think we have a lot to wrestle with as Christians.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Remembering A Day At The Beach -- Clothing Optional?

OK, I'm ready for a break from these discussions on theology, politics, peace and whether or not to pray for our enemy Osama.

"I want to go see the beach," my brother told me.

"But it is freezing," I told him. And it was. It hardly ever gets cold in Miami, but it was in the middle of January and I didn't remember a colder day. My wife and I were bundled in coats we'd had in storage since moving from South Carolina. My brother, visiting us from Detroit, was wearing a light-weight windbreaker and was mocking us as we shivered.

So off to the beach we went.

"Let's take him to Haulover," my wife suggested.

Haulover? The beach where people get an all-over. Yep, Haulover is the clothing optional beach in Miami.

Thank the Lord for small favors! As we had expected, the beach was deserted. After all, it was a freezing 45 degree day in Miami.

My wife graciously turned her back on us while my brother and I ripped our clothes off and stood with our backs to her and the camera. Brother is giving me a thumbs up sign as I am pointing to the sign, "beyond this point you may encounter nude sunbathers."

As soon as my wife took the photograph, she politely turned around and Brother and I scrambled back into our clothes.

I don't know about Brother, but I could have done without my wife's comment, "I bet that gives new meaning to the phrase, 'all men are created equal'."

Hey! It was cold. Hasn't she ever seen Seinfeld?

I live in Miami, which is a very diverse part of the world. I love that about Miami. Some Sundays, my church is more white than black, and the next week it will be more black than white. There are over 30 nationalities represented in the congregation.

We are all so different, and I love living in that kind of community.

If you live in a diverse community one of two things will happen to you. You either get fed up with it and move to a community where there are folks more like you. Or you settle in and learn to be at peace surrounded by people who are nothing like you.

I took the second choice.

Nude beaches? Not for me. We had fun with the picture we took -- especially when we emailed it to Brother's wife and kids. But by and large, on a clothing optional beach, I'll opt for some clothing.

But it's OK with me if others want to go to the beach and enjoy the sun au naturale. I've never thought that nudity was much an issue with God. He's the one who made us this way, and it was Adam and Eve who figured out the clothing thing.

Or, if you want a minimum amount of clothing, head for South Beach. Many of the women go "top free" on the beach, wearing nothing but a bit of dental floss. Actually, there is not much about a nude beach that is erotic -- but watch a woman wear a piece of cloth the size of an eyepatch and nothing else, and that will get your blood pumping! Oh, the sin of lust in one's heart!

Or for more traditional dress codes, there's Hollywood Beach to the north -- nicer boardwalk anyway. That's where you'll find me and my wife.

If I want Hollywood Beach, fine. You want Haulover or South Beach, fine.

I get the feeling when I read some blogs and their comments that people become angry at the world because the world has not become like them. The world is different, and that really pisses them off.

That's sad.

First, there will always be others who are different -- so why get all worked up about it. We're never going to agree on all things, so relax! I share my views, and you either accept them or not. You share your views, and I also either buy into them or not. Let's not get so bent out of shape with our differences.

Second, I think the world is a richer place when we can celebrate a little diversity. It may be the Star Trek fan in me. Remember, when Star Trek first aired the only non-white was Bill Cosby on I Spy -- and as I recall that was not aired in Atlanta. Star Trek appeared and suddenly viewers could see an international, multicultural community. I remember thinking, "I like that."

Well, I was going to go for a change of pace and get off of the political stuff. Hmmm, not so sure I did that...

Anyway, if any of you go to Haulover, do me a favor. There was no one there that day, so I couldn't do what I really wanted to do, which is to walk up to some naked person and say, "Excuse me, but isn't the nude beach two miles in that direction?"

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pray for PEACH?

Gee, all I did was say we should do what Jesus told us to do -- pray for our enemies.

Wow, did the comments pour in!!!!!!

If you are not a Christian, don't worry about it.

If you are a Christian, like it or not, you need to struggle with this mandate from Christ. I know it's tough -- it's taken me 4 years, 10 months and 26 days to even start to think about praying for Osama.


I would have thought that my post about sex would have had more comments -- but I really touched a nerve here with praying for Osama.

Before the war began in Iraq, I participated in a peaceful demonstration. I decided I needed a sign to carry. Hmmm, what to put on it?

"Pray for Peace." Simple, direct, and who could take offense at that. No burning the flag. No insults about the President. Just "pray for peace."

I bought a brand new poster board and slowly and carefully wrote each letter -- large and bold for all to see.

P - E -A -C -H


Pray for Peach?

Must have been close to lunch time.

I've always thought that the dictionary is just "one person's opinion of correct spelling," but this definitely had to be corrected. I sure couldn't use the other side, because people behind me would see the error of my ways.

So I marched without a sign.

We sang as we walked, "God Bless America." We occasionally chanted, "All we are saying is give peace a chance." (Yes, I sang correctly -- I wasn't about to chant, "Give peach a chance.")

We didn't change anything -- the war still started a few weeks later. But what amazed me is that we seemed to give people permission to speak out against the war at a time when doing so opened you to attacks of being unpatriotic.

I never feel more patriotic than when I can enjoy my first amendment rights -- free speech, freedom of religion, freedom to peacefully assemble. It is a great country. I haven't protested many things -- the unfair firing of my high school principal, segregation, and this war.

Thanks to all those who enjoyed your first amendment rights in my blog's comment section.

It does not bother me that so many comments are in favor of this war.

What stunned me is there is so much opposition to peace.

Is peace really such a terrible thing?

I'm not going to say that all war is wrong, because I really don't feel that way. Perhaps I should.

I rejoiced the night we invaded Afghanistan. We were after Osama.

I rejoiced when Bush, Sr., invated Iraq. We were in a noble fight in a broad coalition to defend Kuwait.

I often interview Veterans of World War II in an oral history project for the Library of Congress and the National Archives. I'm proud of what our nation did then.

As a child -- or very young teenager -- I marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. OK, I admit, he was in the street, I was in the street, I was several blocks behind him and may have gotten a glimpse of the back of his head sometime during the day -- but hey, there I was marching with Dr. King :)

Was it King who said, "The road to peace is peace"?

If you have comments on this post, make them peaceful. If you behave, perhaps in my next post I'll share the story of the time my brother, wife and I went to visit Haulover Beach. For those who aren't from Miami, that's the beach that's... well, I'll tell you later.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Praying for Osama Bin Ladin

I've never prayed for Osama Bin Ladin.

Well, at least not outside of praying for his capture, death, impotence, humiliation and stuff like that.

RG left a comment on my blog. He was responding to the introductory material on my blog, in which I said, "I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I believe our greatest calling as Christians is to love. I am opposed to the War in Iraq, and protested the war from the beginning."

RG asked, "Why do you put your love and protection of dark and evil forces above the love of America's people?"

RG also said in another comment, "God does not consider those who chose to kill his followers, his children. "

I appreciate RG taking the time to comment on my posts. Thanks! I've been considering your comments.

I mean it when I say I am proud of this country. God has poured out many blessings upon our land and our people. I am very proud to be an American.

But I do not believe God loves America more than any other nation.

I believe God loves America, and He also loves England, Scotland (who wouldn't), Haiti, Niger, Iraq, Iran, North Korea as well as South Korea, and dare I say it?

God even loves -- yes, I'm sure it's true whether they know it or not -- France.

My protest against the war was actually more political than theological. I questioned the authenticity of what was being said by the Bush administration, as many are now questioning those things.

But forget the politics -- there are some good theological reasons to question this war. Paul said in Romans 12:17, "Do not return evil for evil," reflecting Christ's teachings regarding "turning the other cheek" in Matthew 5.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?"

Have you prayed for Osama lately?

I haven't.

But I should.

And I should pray also for the insurgents.

I haven't done that either.

I pray for our military, in part because I have a son in the military.

I pray for the President, that he would have wisdom.

But I have not been praying for my enemy, as Christ commanded.

St. Paul said in Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If we judge our success as Christians based on these verses, we have a long way to go.

Or at least I do.

Perhaps we should pray for Osama bin Ladin:

Gracioius Father,
Who created a universe filled with beauty and wonder,
and who made humanity in your image --
We give you thanks that when we have turned our back on you
you did not turn your back on us.
You love us still, and you are always calling call us to turn from wickness and to embrace your ways.

We ask especially at this time that you would bless Osama bin Ladin.

Your child, Osama, harbors anger against our nation and people. Grant him a love for all people.

Your child, Osama, fosters a bitterness at the injustice he sees in the actions of others. Grant him the humility to see that all of us are guilty of injustice. Lead Osama and each of to love mercy and to seek justice.

Your child, Osama, has seen evil and returned this evil with more evil. We pray that you would quiet the violence in his soul so as to follow the way of peace.

Your child, Osama, has led others into the ways of violence, distruction, hatred and terror. We pray that he would lead his followers into a way of peace, love and harmony.

Bring us into the day, dear Lord, when wars will cease.

Bring us into the day, dear Lord, when we will beat our "swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks."

Bring us into the day, dear Lord, when "nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."

Do I hear an Amen?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Why The Space Program Is So Important

My son and I went to Butterfly World. It is a wonderful place just north of Miami. You walk from one garden to another with butterflies all around. It is a peaceful and beautiful place.

While I was there, I suddenly understood why the space program is so important.

I grew up with the space program. I remember seeing Sputnik streak across the sky. I remember Shepherd's first flight and months later had my picture taken next to his Mercury capsule. I was nine years old at the time. My son later had his picture made next to that same capsule. He was nine years old at the time. Those two photos sit on my desk.

John Glenn was my hero.

I knew -- and still can recite -- the names of all seven Mercury astronauts.

I stood near the Vehicle Assembly Building when Apollo 11 lifted off to send men to the first lunar landing. I was three miles away from the Saturn V -- as close as anyone was allowed to be. The ground shook. I could feel the heat on my face. The noise was so loud I thought I was going to go deaf, and I distinctly remember thinking that at the age of 15 I would never need to hear anything again -- not after hearing that wonderful sound.

When Glenn returned to space a few years ago, my wife and son and I drove up to the Cape to see the launch up close.

I was thrilled that the shuttle returned to space, relieved that the crew returned safely to earth the other day, and saddened that the fleet is grounded.

I love the space program.

So why do we go to space?

We have computers in every home as a spin off from the Apollo program.

We have pens that write upside down.

A recently designed golf ball, which has 500 dimples arranged in a pattern of 60 spherical triangles, employs NASA aerodynamics technology to create a more symmetrical ball surface, sustaining initial velocity longer and producing a more stable ball flight for better accuracy and distance.

What marvels indeed. And all thanks to the space program.

But the real reason for our space program is beauty.

Everyone loves the Hubble Space Telescope. Do they understand any of the science? No. Not many of them do. But we all love those photos. Why? Beauty.

Space travel has nothing to do with colonizing space, understanding science, or producing economically marketable products.

It has to do with the search for beauty.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Few More Thoughts On Sex

"Kitty Titty" left a nice comment on my last post.

"Kitty Titty" was talking about sex -- is it just me or is that name... well, never mind.

Thanks to all who leave comments. I do enjoy them. I wanted to comment on one thing that Kitty raised. As long as people practice safe sex, what's the harm in having sex outside of marriage?

Great question. What is the harm?

In Old Testament times, shrimp was unclean. (Shrimp and sex? Stay with me for a moment).

Who cares about spiritually unclean food? I sure didn't last night as I feasted on shrimp, fish and clams. Hmmm, are clams unclean also? Whatever. I ate up and plan to eat the leftovers at lunch.

But I know why shrimp was considered unclean. Years ago I lived on the coast of Georgia and a couple of times each year a friend and I would take a drag net and go shrimping along the beaches and in the marshes. My share would be about 50 pounds of shrimp. I learned quickly that if you didn't put these critters on ice immediately, they would die and begin to go bad within minutes.

In Old Testament times, there would be no way to safely eat shrimp more than a 100 yards from the beach. Hence, unclean!

Some Old Testament laws make sense only after we understand the historical context.

So back to sex.

Are the reasons for sexual rules no longer valid?

I think there were three reasons why the Scripture lifts up sex in marriage, and only in marriage, as the ideal.

First, safety. Sex produces lots of pleasure, babies and -- yes -- diseases. AIDS may be new, but there have always been health issues related to sex with multiple partners. So use a condom, and you're safe. For the sake of avoiding a debate, let's say a condom is 100% effective. That's one down, what about the other two reasons?

Second reason, children. Sex produces diseases, pleasure and -- yes -- babies. Children should be raised in a family. Junior should know who Daddy is. Again, use a condom, add a pill -- and for the sake of avoiding a debate, let's say those methods are 100% effective. That's two down, what about the other issue.

There is a third reason. Sex produces babies, diseases and --yes -- lot's of pleasure for our horny world. So, why not just enjoy the pleasure.

I believe the pleasure is not only physical, but spiritual as well. We can debate this all day, and I'm sure there will be comments disagreeing and others that agree. But the reality is that if you have little or no spirituality you won't have the ability to understand this part of sexuality. For those who enjoy only the physical side of sexuality, I don't know how to express the spiritual nature of it.

It's like people who use poor grammar and say "between you and I" rather than "between you and me." They don't have a clue why "I" can't be an object of a preposition.

Or it's like people who eat hot apple pie without taking the time to top it off with ice cream.

How do I explain the spirituality of sex?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Sex -- It's one of my favorite hobbies

Whenever I'm asked to list my hobbies, I think about listing sex.

Of course, I don't.

Ministers aren't supposed to have sex.

Well guess what -- we do! Ministers having sex have produced a world full of those holy terrors called "preacher's kids." And sex is not just for procreation -- it's for recreation.

I like Song of Solomon. Some people say it is a story of Christ's relationship and the church. Bull. It's sex! I love the part in chapter 7:

Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses.
How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, "I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit." (NIV)

Occasionally I see my wife standing there. Maybe she is getting ready for bed. Maybe she's getting out of the shower. Suddenly I think like Solomon, "I'm climbing that tree and grabbing those tits."

I've heard people say one of the reasons for divorce is that people tire of sex with the same person after so many years.

I don't buy it.

I have been married for 30 years. Man, where did the time go? I feel like I just got married. Whenever young people come to my office looking to get married, I show them my wedding picture.

Lately they've started laughing.

I know the lapels on my tux are a bit wide, and I suppose the bow tie looks like it could turn into wings and fly me away -- but thank goodness it's Confederate Gray and not that red or purple that was so popular back in 1975.

I've never had sex with anyone but my wife. I never really wanted to. Of all the temptations I face, adultery has never been one of them. My wife and I know all the sweet spots, and all the favorite moves. We feel comfortable trying something new from time to time.

When I look at her, I think of Shakespeare. He has a sonnet -- number 130 -- that describes my wife perfectly.

"I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;"

I understand that Will was writing a parody about one of his lovers referred to as the "Dark Lady." I'm not sure this is a parody. I think it is real love.

At age 51 my wife's breasts are not the firm and perky wonders they were when we were in our 20's. Actually, they aim more and more to the floor with each passing year.

So what. At my age I have parts that are also pointing more down than up.

My wife has a bit of a pot belly. There are scars from a cesarean delivery of our son. Her hips are a bit wider than they ought to be.

But hey, you should see me when I'm naked -- on second thought, it's best not to be frightened. Take my word for it. I looked a lot better at age 18.

Heck, I looked better at age 48.

I remember when I was with my Dad in the hospital a few weeks ago. A nurse came by to bathe him. Dad was always very modest about his body, and had a strict moral code -- but when she left this 84 year old man said, "Ah, to be 70 again." Well, that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about, it's just a good story.

Back to sex.

I think that is why a lot of people have affairs. They are trying to get something of their youth back. Pity -- they put their future at such risk.

"Young people today" is a phrase every generation uses when they become old farts. Well, at age 51 I'm now an old fart. So let me say, "Young people today are too sexually promiscuous."

And they are!

There is another wonderful verse in the Bible. It comes from Proverbs 5:15-19:

"Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love."

It is a poetic way of saying "Keep your pants zipped and be happy with your wife."

Not a bad thought centuries ago.

Not a bad thought for these young people today.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bellsouth -- another word for....

The best part of having a blog is the ability to announce to the world how pissed you are about something!

I read online last night that Bellsouth had an offer for Direct TV. It was $5 cheaper than my current cable service. Plus, I would get a FREE digital television recorder. Plus, for 4 months I would have an additional discount.

Hot dog.

So I call.

Right as we are going through the financial info, they give me the final price.

WHAT? Where did that figure come from?

Apparently the number of television sets I have increases the charges considerably. Plus, I have to buy an additional telephone service, including long distance -- all my long distance calls are on my cell phone. It's all right there in the fine print: "In certain markets, programming and pricing may vary. "

In the end, this deal for $45 turns out to cost a total of $107.

When I worked in the prison system as a chaplain, we called that a "bait and switch scam."

Now, one last thing. Before posting this, I performed a spell check. Those of you with Blogger can try this on your on blog -- this is true, I'm not making this up. The blogger spell check comes to the word bellsouth, and suggests a different spelling -- "bullshit."

I hate that word -- but in this case, you gotta love that computers have a sense of humor!