Monday morning meanderings. Vol.41
The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days. When the wind dies down it is really good weather here. It was 80 yesterday and more of the same for today. I guess the wind here is kind of like the rain in the Northwest. When it doesn’t rain there is no place better than the Pacific Northwest but it rains a lot. When the wind doesn’t blow here it is really a very nice place, but the wind blows a lot. There were a few people around the NW that, at least said they liked the rain, but nobody admits to liking the wind, except maybe the people who own power generating wind mills!
Item one. My last word on the primary season has been some time ago, when I posted a piece from another blog, about Senator Obama having peaked. Now as he and Senator Clinton fillet each other day after day, one has to wonder if the only person really gaining from their shooting each other is Senator McCain. Most of the readers of this blog are probably not going to vote for Mr. Obama, but I would guess that he has turned most of our heads once or twice, with his ability to speak with passion about the things we care about like hope and change. I found this very informative piece by William Kristol that I think you should read, especially if you are still flirting with an Obama presidency. Many of the readers of this blog live in small town America and here in the Southern Midwest there are thousands of small towns and Senator Obama does not get us. This article speaks quite clearly about how Obama feels about us who live in these small communities. Read the article. You can find it here.
Item two. Pastor Andy has been speaking on the subject of giving for several weeks. Yesterday he spoke passionately (yes it’s possible) on the subject of tithing. It is not easy these days, to get up in front of your congregation, many of whom are deeply in debt, and tell them that if they will honor the Father first, in their giving, He will bless them. The connection between the two (tithing and blessing) is argued both pro and con in the Christian community, but as Andy said, “you can’t talk someone who tithes with joy out of doing it”. No doubt it is hard to get folks who can’t pay off their credit cards to give 10% away every month, but we can attest to the truth that if you will “try Him in this” (Malachi 3), you will be blessed. The reality of our world is, that we don’t believe He will bless us back if we tithe, so what we say is that tithing is legalism. Is it really? George Barna found that while 84% of people in America donated some money to a church, only 5% of church attenders tithe. Of the group most heavily in debt to credit cards, those under 40, only 1% tithe. Is there a connection? Find the Barna stats here. (if you read the comments to this link you will see how divergent the opinion on tithing is. Another thing Andy said yesterday was sharp: “Why is it we are willing to pay 21% interest, or more on our credit cards and call the tithe legalism?”
Item three. Our friend Kaylee has some good pics of the memorial stone for her brother Willie that was dedicated April 13th. (why Linda went to Washington) You can find them on Kaylee’s blog here.
Item four. We sang the powerful, Beth and Matt Redmond song “Blessed be your name” yesterday in church, and there is this line in it that always catches me off guard, even though I have played it, sung it, listened to it, dozens of times: You give and take away, You give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name… After 13 years since we lost Paul, I still have a hard time choosing to say, blessed be your name and the 2.5 years since the loss of hundreds of relationships from the CLB, I still can’t say it, without making myself do it. I have really grown to love a blog sister named Sumi, who lost her daughter Jenna a few weeks back, because she is choosing to grieve authentically, remember well and to bless the name of the Lord. I know many of you are following Sumi’s journey so you can find the link to her latest offering here. Thank you Sumi for your wonderful, genuine, vulnerable willingness to Bless the Lord on the road marked with suffering…
Item five. Many of you have seen this Mensa test floating around the cyber world. My friend Jeanee sent it to me last night and I spent an hour or so taking it. It is not easy, but some of you will blast right through it. Take it here and let me know how you do. I got 13 of them the first time through. I had trouble finding the answers to the ones I couldn’t get, but you can type each phrase into your browser and find them that way. Have fun!
Enjoy your week and thank you so much for reading the Juniper Tree.
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