Best Thanksgiving Post Quote

No Thanksgiving post here last week. I generally don’t do the obligatory holiday posts because, well, ’cause I don’t. And I know it’s a little late, but go read Jared’s Thanksgiving advice. Good stuff and buried in the middle is this awesome quote:

Vomit grace all over the table, horn-o’-plenty centerpiece and all. Be Jesus at that table and overturn it with kindness.

Don’t let the mental picture scare you away, the post is really good. Check it out.

I think I’m Ready

I think I’m ready to get back to blogging. Maybe. I know, technically I never stopped, but posts about suicidal squirrels isn’t exactly why I started this thing. Back when I started, there was a lot of stuff on my mind and I wanted a place to explore it and present it.
[OK, here’s the irony – I started writing this almost two weeks ago. Well, I did say maybe … 😛]
These past months, there’s been stuff on my mind, but I’ve been less interested in writing about it. Actually, I’ve started writing about it several times, but got no where. Too much buzzing in my brain. Too much circular logic. The weight of the world felt like it was on my shoulders. Everywhere I looked I saw issues, problems and sin.

  • First it was my sin. My criticalness, my anger, my impatience, my intolerance. The hardest part wasn’t just seeing it, it was knowing that it was so ingrained in me, so much a part of me as to be inseperable. I couldn’t see myself as separate form that sin. I couldn’t see how I could escape it.
  • Then it was the sin in others. My kids can be disobedient and mean at times, my wife fails (occasionally :-D), leaders falter, coworkers disspoint, I can be mistreated or misunderstood. I wanted to fix it, to make these things better, to help heal these situations. But then I realized that I can’t even deal with myself, how can I possible deal with them?
  • On top of that, the sin of others came in business after business treating me poorly. First it was our failed Weider exercise machine, fighting with the dealer over a second failed transmission (Honda was great, the dealer wasn’t), a relatively expensive and highly rated Hoover vacuum started falling apart once the 12 month warranty was up, the issues with my car and then our relatively new dining room table began deteriorating and the magical 5 year warranty we bought turned out to be a scam (beware of Stainsafe). Everywhere I turned, companies weren’t just out to sell me a product and take my money, it felt like they were out to get me, extracting as much money from me as possible while delivering as little as possible and refusing to stand behind their work. Is there no integrity among businesses anymore? Maybe there never was and I just never noticed.
  • Then it came back to me. Maybe it was my critical heart that only saw the worst in people. Perhaps my standards were too high. How can I possibly live like this, not knowing if I’m the problem or them? It became a vicious circle of failure.

It was too much, to hard to sort through. There’s no way I can sort through it and make sense of it. It seemed hopeless so I basically gave up.
I spent several weeks, a few months actually, without much prayer or Bible study. This has happened before in the ebb and flow of life. Business gets in the way. This was a bit different though. I didnt even care to pray or read. I’d sit and stare at my computer, reading about mundane things rather than pursue God. I simply didn’t want to, what was the point.
I hit a particularly low point and one day indesparation went for a walk to pray. I didn’t know what I would say but I knew that there was no peace coming in my head, only God could get me there. It was like fresh water to a man dying of thirst. I poured my heart out to Him and he answered. No voices, but answers none the less. I’ve had a few prayers like this since that have begun to heal my wounded soul and inspire me to start again. I don’t think I’m ready to take the training wheels off, but I’m at least getting back on the bike. My prayers and study aren’t yet what I want them to be, but my heart knows they are needed and I again feel the longing to commune with my father. That’s a start.
God has shown me at least 2 things in my talks with him.

  1. I need to know my place, and find peace in it. The echoes of many talks with my middle daughter came back to me. I am starting to think that she will be my salvation, as well as (hopefully) me hers. We are in surprisingly similar states. She presses constantly to be in control. She want to rule the world, well, at least her world. I tell her that she must learn her place, and be content in it.
    Those words echoed to me as I poured out my heart to God. I must learn my place. I will not be a world leader, influencing many to change. I cannot fix the sins of the world. It is not my role to turn the tide of the ICOC or even my own church. I cannot fix the world’s problems, and that the way God designed it. Most will not be changed by my existence, and that OK. But for those few that I do connect with, I must give my heart and use what God has given me for their good. I will not make a dent in the direction of the world bent on sin, but I can profound change the lives of the few that I meet. The world may not notice that I’m here, but these will and that’s all that matters. If I do that and nothing more, God will be well pleased.
  2. Jesus is enough. In one prayer, driving home from Thanksgiving, I asked God how he can possibly deal with all this sin. He answered instantly in one word.
    At once it seemed the obvious answer and at the same time inadequate. Yeah, OK, but I mean how do you handle it emotionally. I know he dealt with it, but …
    I thought some more and realized that I wasn’t willing to let Jesus to be enough. It was enough for God. It was how he dealt with the pain of watching our sin. I can never deal with my sin or the sin of others. It will always be there. Always. The only way to deal with it is Jesus. That’s how God did it, that’s His answer. Jesus is enough.

There’s a lot more, and I hope to write more about stuff that matters (and stuff that doesn’t).
Thanks for being here, listening.

Ezekiel – Chapters 45-48

OK, it’s been a long time and I’m having a hard time picking up where I left off. Sigh. 🙁
Ezekiel 45:13-15 – Interesting here, in the OT, God is demanding a offering that’s less than a tithe. Maybe I’m misunderstnading the bigger picture, or this is a special circumstance or I’m doing the math wrong. All possibilities, I guess, but take a look:

  • An ephah is essentially a ‘tithe’ of a homer (a tenth), yet God only demands 1/6 of an ephah of wheat and barley, in other words 1/6 of a tithe.
  • He’s even less demanding on oil, demanding a tithe of a tithe if you will – a tenth of a bath per cor (there are 10 baths in a cor).
  • Even less for sheep – one of 200, or half of a percent or half of a tithe of a tithe.

Don’t know that it means anything per se, I just find it interesting.
Ezekiel 45-46 – I’m not sure I get who the ‘prince’ is nor all the sacrifices. Again, like the description of the beasts or the temple, It’s hard for me to follow. It’s also hard to get why it’s important, but I suppose it meant a lot more to them then than it does to me now.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 – I don’t quite get the exact symbolism here in the water flowing from the temple, but it is certainly a symbol of hope. Good things are coming, I’m sure that was welcome news after all the judgement and condemnation of earlier chapters.
Ezekiel 47:13-48:35 – A rather anti-climactic ending, descriptions of dividing up the land between the tribes.

Flaming Kamikaze Squirrel Torches Car

That’s the actual headline from an article in The Register (via Jalopnik) that gives us this quote:

Tony Millar explained: “The squirrel chewed through the wire, was set on fire, fell down directly to where the car was. The squirrel, on fire, slid into the engine compartment and blew up the car.”

I’m not sure who was having a worse day, the owner of the torched Camry or the squirrel. The Camry was insured, so I guess the squirrel. And the Camry owner survived.

Weird Google Search term #2

Found in my Google Analytics report this week:
Three folks found their way here be searching for:

which two months did the romans add to make 12, and what impact did this have on february?

I am happy to report that, due to a dedicated search engine optimization program (not), is the top two results for that search! Neither has anything to do with the Romans or the calender, however, except that they are both monthly archive pages, and one is February!
Sorry to disappoint the three of you looking for answers to calender riddles, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I am kinda fond of February, though, as it’s the month of my anniversary and my oldest daughter’s birthday.

Issues, issues, issues

I had written this back in July but never posted it. I guess I thought it needed something, I don’t know what. Seems finished as I look at it here in November, so here it is. 🙂
Dan Edelen has a great post today back in July about divisions and finger pointers, appropriately entitled Throwing Stones in Glass Houses of Worship.
Prompted by a debate over the modern existence of the charismata (Dan’s a charismatic) on another blog, he rightfully points out that there are nut-jobs in every stripe of Christianity, including our own. We love to tear down those who are in another tribe by singling out the public crazies and then characterising the entire groups as just like them. It’s far too easy to do, and I find myself doing it too. You find out someone’s denomination and you immediately assume a lot about them, based on the infamous in their group. It’s sad and we need to battle this every day.
I once had a guy show up here from a comment I left on another blog. He came by, not because he thought I had said something interesting, but because he had heard I was from the ICOC. I mentioned that there were reforms happening and his comment, after many disparaging comments on my church (calling it a cult) and indirectly on me, was something along the lines of “Time will tell just what kind of reformer you are.” Part of me was offended, but mostly I didn’t care. I was seeking the truth and continue to do so, and will hopefully continue to grow and change. Hang around and see what I am, I thought. Unfortunately, he left no email address and he hasn’t bothered to come back. He had made his statement on my faith, and that was it.
Why do we do that? Certainly, there are plenty of crazies in the ICOC saying and doing crazy things. There are wacky, embarrassing mainliners too, and Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and on and on. They seem to get all the attention. Why? Because we like to look at them, point our fingers and say “Look at that nut job!”. If they’re nuttier than we are, then we can breathe a sigh of relief and take the focus off of ourselves.
The other night we had a little knock down drag out thing with the girls before bed. Jessica was wronged by her sister, reacted badly and then I reacted badly to her. She lamented that she had told them repeatedly that she didn’t want them in her room when she wasn’t around. Why do they keep doing it when she asked them not too? She was indignant.
I reminded her that she’s been doing that to me for 12 years. Why doesn’t she stop? I think it hit home. 😀
Near the end of our talk, I had to apologize for yelling at her. I told her that it’s just part of being a Schaefer man. I’m not sure what it is, but we slide right into shouting with the quickness. My Dad does it and his dad did it too. We hate it and we battle it, but it rears its ugly head all too often.
My point was that we all have issues, it’s part of being human. To keep harping on others’ issues is to pretend that we don’t have our own and only distances us from those who see their own issues all to clearly and are looking for help in dealing with them. When people do wacky things to us or act in wacky ways as Christians, we need to fight the natural reaction to judge and instead act in grace. Sure, we can teach, admonish and even rebuke where appropriate, but all in the spirit of grace.
What would Christianity look like if we all focused on these 2 things?

  1. Doing our absolute best to act according to God’s will (and always learning better what that means).
  2. Overlooking it as much as possible when others fail at 1.

Proving That I’m Old

We were talking about old school high tech stuff at work. You know, the stuff that was ‘the bomb’ back in the day:

  • Mom and Dad had one of the first ‘pocket’ calculators. Made by Texas Instruments, it was about an inch thick, 3″ wide and 5 ” long, took 4 AA batteries (rechargeable with a built in charger), had red LED numbers and buttons that clicked loudly when you pushed them. It could do all the advanced stuff, you know, add, subtract, multiply and divide. They might even still have it
  • In his ’77 Cutlass (Mandarin Orange with the tan ‘landau’ vinyl top, natch’), Dad had an under the dash cassette player. Now, these things were big targets for thieves, so it was mounted on a slide and you kept it under the seat when you weren’t using it.
  • Grandpa has a slightly lower tech solution for listening to cassettes in his ’80 Citation. He had the in dash AM radio, the under dash FM converter that played FM stations through the AM radio by tuning into a special AM station (like the things folks use now to listen to their iPods in the car). Next to that, under the dash, was an 8-track player that, I think, played the 8-tracks through an FM station (which then went through an AM station). He then played his cassettes through cassette adapter in the 8-track player. There may have been some loss of sound quality once the signal made it to the lone 6×9 speaker in the dash.
  • In my ’80 Chevy Monza I had an in-dash Pioneer AM/FM cassette player. Under that I had the 8 or 10 band EQ/amp with aux. input for my Sony Discman that I had mounted on the accessory flex arm and mount pad attached to the passenger seat. I of course had the obligatory 6×9 speakers in custom plywood boxes in the back.
  • Mom and Dad bought their first color TV in 1975. It was the best of it’s day – a big 23″ Zenith in the ‘wood’ cabinet. They were still using it up until a couple years ago. We didn’t have the Zenith ‘clicker’ remote, though, we had to get up and turn the knobs (yes, knobs – clack, clack, clack) ourselves.
  • Our school was fairly advanced. I remember using computers back in 6th or 7th grade. Commodore PETs. No disc drives, all programs and data was stored on cassette tape.
  • In High school I had friends with Commodore 64’s adn Timex Sinclair computers that you could hook up to your TV.
  • We, of course, had the Atari 2600. But the one we had wasn’t called the 2600 because there wasn’t any other model. It was just Atari. Yes, Mom and Dad still have it. My kids and my sister’s love to play it when we go to Toledo.
  • My first stereo was bought piece by piece. I had 60 watt Jensen speakers with 10″ woofers and a 40 watt per Chanel Akai receiver (with touch sensitive volume control, but no remote). The coolest thing was my JVC dual cassette deck that would shuffle play songs on tape (provided there was the appropriate 4 second gap in between songs). It would click and snap, fast forward and reverse through the tape to find the 4th song, then the 3rd, then the 8th. This was before CDs and digital recording made it easy to do random & shuffle.
  • Dad’s still got his high end stereo he bought in 1965. A Fisher FM tuner amp (with tubes and the ‘Stereo Beam‘), Electro-Voice speakers and a record changer. He’s since added a new single turntable, a 3M Wollensak cassette deck and a Pioneer magazine style CD changer. He has to switch between the cassette player and the CD changer because the Fisher doesn’t have enough inputs. It was a serious high end system in it’s day and still sounds pretty good now. It’s in a nice wood cabinet the size of a sofa.

Ah, memories …
I’m sure I could think of more. What sort of old school high tech stuff do you remember?

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