One of Yvonne and my hobbies is to take pictures of barns. Like many other things barns, at least the non-metal type are disappearing from our landscape every day. We are determined that we will help preserve them at least digitally on the internet. We currently have close to five hundred in our archive. Here are a few of them.
Don’t continually put off things you want to do until later.
You never know how many days you still have on this earth especially when you are in your retirement years and the back door seems to be getting closer and closer. One of the things I think each of us should do is to make up a list of things you want to do before you die. I have made it known that one of my favorite travel books is entitled 1,000 Places To See in the USA Before You Die. Since traveling is one of those things I enjoy doing in my retirement years I am continuously leafing through that book to add to my life’s “To Do” list.
Yvonne and I try to do at least four trips a year now. Of course health issue sometimes prevents us from accomplishing that many but at least we try. We are definitely believers in taking road trips rather than flying. To us getting there is half the fun. As I mentioned we just returned from a week vacation in upper Michigan and Mackinac Island and in about three weeks we will be heading to upper Wisconsin for our annual trip to Door County. That is cherry country. I mean that literally not figuratively (ha).
But I am getting off my topic here. One of the reasons I say don’t continue to put off things till later is that I just got back from getting an MRI. It seems I have a potentially serious problem that was found in a recent series of x-rays. The radiologist said it is probably nothing but we should check it out to be sure. While lying perfectly still inside the MRI tunnel for one half hour I got to thinking what if this is something serious and I end up in the hospital for a long period of time or maybe worse. Will I be getting anything else off my list?
Life is just too uncertain to keep putting things off. The Bible constantly gives stories of people who are totally unprepared for the end of their life. They think they will live forever I guess. I think I am pretty tuned to my mortality but like everyone else the end will probably sneak up on me sooner than I want. Everyone wants to get to heaven but no one want to die to get there. Don’t leave this life with a full blown list of things on your To Do list. Keep on a track to accomplish some of them on a regular basis.
And the journey goes on.
Let’s do another post on my high school days or maybe I should say where I lived during my high school days. As I mentioned before I went to a Catholic school from the first through the seventh grade. So, I was primarily taught by nuns and priests. I have mentioned before that my mom deserted my dad, brother, and me when I was in the sixth grade. Soon after that dad could no longer afford the mortgage payments on our house. He did manage to sell it for a small profit and then we moved to a rented farmhouse southwest of Indianapolis. This, even without the cultural shock of a different school took a lot of getting used to.
We moved from a modern tract house of the 1950’s to a farmhouse probably built in the very early 1900s. The house was heated from a monster coal furnace in the basement and I mean it was a monster! So starting then it was a daily practice in the winter months to stoke up the furnace each night with just the right amount of coal so it would last over night. Since dad worked as a milk delivery man and my brother and I went to school there was no one there during the day so we let the fire go out. Since I was the oldest it was my job to get a new fire re-started when I got home from school. During the coldest months it was about forty degrees in the house when the school bus dropped us off. We did have a shower and sink on the unheated enclosed porch next to the kitchen but the toilet was outside the back door in an outhouse. I never got used to going outside to use the bathroom. Fortunately since I was young I could usually hold it until morning so I didn’t have too many late night trips.
We lived in that house about 3 years and then moved into a small bungalow in town. The total house measured about twenty feet by twenty feet. There were four rooms in the house which were all of equal size. There was a kitchen (with plumbing), a bedroom for my brother and me, a living room with an old fuel oiler burner and a bedroom for dad. I guess it was a step up since we no longer had to load up the furnace with coal each day. But I think the reason we moved there was because it was just cheaper than the farmhouse. This little house still had no toilet. Instead we had a key to the ladies restroom in the adjacent service station. The owner of the gas station of course also owned our house. After high school I said goodbye to our little rented house and moved to the Purdue Lafayette campus. Dad soon remarried after that and moved along with my brother back to Indianapolis. I went back a few years ago and found that the house had been torn down. It is now a parking area for junk cars. I managed to get through those years just fine. I became somewhat of an expert on “bird baths” in the kitchen sink.
And the journey goes on…
Gregory A. Boyd – Author and pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota,
Jesus reveals that, where God reigns, national walls will be torn down and national distinctions rendered insignificant. “In Christ,” Paul says, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.” In Christ “the dividing wall of hostility” has been abolished between groups of people and a “new humanity” has been created. A central aspect of the Kingdom revolution, therefore, is manifesting the beauty of what it looks like for a people to be freed from the idol of nationalism and to be reunited under the God who is Lord of all nations.
I always shiver somewhat when people seem to indicate that the United States has some sort of favored nation status in God’s kingdom. Jesus told us otherwise. He often warned us to have allegiance only to the kingdom of God. I guess there is no harm in us having illusions of grandeur unless we start thinking that the little boy who just died of starvation in Africa is somehow less important to God then our own children. That is where the trouble comes in. We cannot think of ourselves as some highly than others. Even the least of us. When we do we are trumpeting a worldly kingdom, not God’s kingdom.
Jesus told us to only have allegiance to God’s kingdom. In that regard I often think about that when we are asked to pledge allegiance to the flag of the U.S. When I do that am I going against Jesus’ words? Another thing that makes me somewhat uncomfortable is seeing the U.S. flag proudly displayed behind Christ’s alter in my, and many other, churches. We must always remember that we are to be members of God’s kingdom and no worldly kingdom can come close to measuring up to that standard.
I know from my studies of the first two hundred years of Christianity that the early Christians very much avoided pledging allegiance to worldly powers. Many of them went to their deaths with their refusals. Were they wrong or are we?
And the journey goes on.