Tom with kids in Kuwait

Tom with kids in Kuwait
Tom with kids in Kuwait

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Dangerous Dichotomy


Maybe you need to wear a mask.  Maybe you don’t.  Maybe you should stay at home and maybe not.  Maybe the government has usurped power from the people and maybe not.

We face a lot of dichotomies these days.  It’s either this or it’s that, and there are arguments on both sides.  Some chose one over another.  Some straddle the fence.  Some bounce from one side of the fence to the other and back again.

There is a dichotomy that concerns me above many others.  It is this.  Are we being defined as people or as carriers of contagion?

Are you a person, a human being?  I would say a person made in God’s image, but even among the godless, are you defined as human or simply as a carrier of contagion?

This is a lens, a paradigm, that defines so much more.  As we decide so many other things, are those decisions made for the good of people or just rules for the control of carriers of contagions?

Doing things for the health and welfare of others is a noble endeavor.  Rules and regulations to control carriers of contagion may or may not be effective but they suck the humanness out of humans.

Let us beware of the subtlety of how we are defined by the world.  It’s more than it appears at first glance.


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Best of Out of the Box - Challenge 1




Out of the Box 1
Only the Beginning

            Try these alphanumeric brain teasers.  They range from movies to television programs to daily knowledge.  You will even have to look in the box for one answer. Some will be very easy, but don't rush to look at the answers for the others.  They will come to you at the strangest times.  Enjoy this first of several exercises.

Here's a sample:

10        A in the B of R

And here's the answer:         10        Amendments in the Bill of Rights
           




Now try these prepared in similar genre:

2          M for SS

2          RD in a YW

12        AM

52        W in a Y

300      P in a PG

366      D in a LY

2          DD in DJ

4          S in a Y

2          S of R in a B of KRB


Ready for the answers.  Don't check until you have given your mind some time.  Many may come to you when you are thinking about something else or when you think your mind is at rest.




Friday, November 23, 2018

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I want you to know how much I enjoy going to church.  Really, I don’t go to church.  I am a part of the church.  The church is that group of people who follow Jesus.  I learned that and like it.

I wanted to say thank you for letting me go.  I will probably go a few more years before I stop.  It’s not a thing that older people do.  It can’t be for real or you would go too, but it’s fun for now.

I believe in God and in Jesus and that he died to take away my sins, but that can’t mean too much or you would lead me to worship him.  It can’t be that important.

We make it to most of the ball games and town events and never miss a day of hunting season.  We go to the lake and never miss a game on the big screen.  If this worshiping God was important, we would do that too.  I trust you that it can’t be that important.  I trust you!

I know that your life is tough, and you are tired most of the time.  I guess that is what I will be soon, once I stop this Jesus stuff.  Really, what’s the point.  You have your reasons not to go.  I will just use your reasons in a few years.  I will be just like you.

I really enjoy the Christmas presents and other cool stuff that you get me, but all of that stuff just wears out over time.  They tell me that Jesus wants us to live forever with him.  I wish that were true, but I’m sticking with you and not buying this God loves me stuff.

I will keep going to worship and classes for now so you can have a break, but don’t worry.  One day I will be just like you and skip all of this God is love nonsense.  I know it can’t be true.  You tell me that you love me and these church folks tell me that God loves me.  I want to believe but I won’t betray you.  I will be just like you and start making my list of reasons not to give up my Sunday mornings to worship God.

If you don’t mind, I would like to keep going for a little while longer.  These people who are the church are always kind and loving to me.  The smile when they see me.  Most give me a hug.  They know what God says about just about everything.  They actually believe what God says.  It’s really cool stuff, but don’t worry, I won’t let you down.  I will stay away and be content in my reasons for not going soon enough.

I want to be just like you.


Love…

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I want you to know how much I enjoy going to church.  Really, I don’t go to church.  I am a part of the church.  The church is that group of people who follow Jesus.  I learned that and like it.

I wanted to say thank you for letting me go.  I will probably go a few more years before I stop.  It’s not a thing that older people do.  It can’t be for real or you would go too, but it’s fun for now.

I believe in God and in Jesus and that he died to take away my sins, but that can’t mean too much or you would lead me to worship him.  It can’t be that important.

We make it to most of the ball games and town events and some of the school stuff.  We go to the store and never miss a birthday party.  If this worshiping God was important, we would do that too.  I trust you that it can’t be that important.  I trust you!

I know that your life is tough, and you are tired most of the time.  I guess that is what I will be soon, once I stop this Jesus stuff.  Really, what’s the point.  You have your reasons not to go.  I will just use your reasons in a few years.  I will be just like you.

I really enjoy the Christmas presents and other cool stuff that you get me, but all of that stuff just wears out over time.  They tell me that Jesus wants us to live forever with him.  I wish that were true, but I’m sticking with you and not buying this God loves me stuff.

I will keep going to worship and classes for now so you can have a break, but don’t worry.  One day I will be just like you and skip all of this God is love nonsense.  I know it can’t be true.  You tell me that you love me and these church folks tell me that God loves me.  I want to believe but I won’t betray you.  I will be just like you and start making my list of reasons not to give up my Sunday mornings to worship God.

If you don’t mind, I would like to keep going for a little while longer.  These people who are the church are always kind and loving to me.  The smile when they see me.  Most give me a hug.  They know what God says about just about everything.  They actually believe what God says.  It’s really cool stuff, but don’t worry, I won’t let you down.  I will stay away and be content in my reasons for not going soon enough.

I want to be just like you.


Love…

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ballots not Bullets--Going Forward

Let’s see what the future holds for this Grand Experiment called the USA.  If the main objective of the Democratic majority in the newly elected house is to overturn a legal presidential election by impeachment or to focus all of their efforts on yet more investigations into the most investigated president ever, expect that we will have a fruitless two years.

However, if these newly elected representatives come with attitudes of making America better, addressing issues that the legislatures of decades past have ignored, and a sense of statesmanship over just staying in the office which they have been elected; good things could happen.

A Democratic House, a Republican Senate, and a president more businessman than politician have a chance at synergy.  Does anyone have the backbone to make this work for the good of the nation?
I suggest that now, even more than before the election, we communicate with all of our representatives and tell them to seek the common good.  Tell them to work together and make this nation better.

To move forward, we must put cynicism aside and look forward, preserving that which has sustained us for two- and one-half centuries and embracing that which is needed to solve today’s problems.  It’s tough work for sure and has no room for continued divisiveness.  I would sure like to see my grandchildren have the chance to preserve the blessings of liberty for the next few generations.

We can become entrenched or engaged.  Only the latter will offer anything of value to the American people. Keep this Grand Experiment alive by choosing to work for the people.  To all who have been elected, get to work for us.

I offer this prayer for all who will serve us in the years to come.

Lord,

We thank you for the blessings of liberty that we in this nation know.
We thank you that ballots not bullets change the face of government in this blessed land.
We thank you than many have been called to serve and pray that it was you who called them.
We confess that for too long, we have been complacent as an electorate.
We confess that for too long we have left you out of the affairs of our nation.
We confess that for too long we have chosen discord over cooperation.
We petition you for a season of civility among our elected officials.
We petition you for wisdom in the halls of our Congress and with our Chief Executive.
We petition you that all in this land will seek you and your kingdom and righteousness above all worldly goals.

In the name of our Lord, Christ Jesus,


Amen.

Happy Veterans Day



Memorial Day is for those who have fallen,
Today is for all who have stood in the ranks.
Some may have given the last measure of devotion,
And some came home without any thanks.

Some have ribbons, and medals and badges,
Others just glad to have all of their limbs.
Some have commanded and been commanded,
Of those who have served, most would do it again.

A century ago today came an end to the war to end all wars,
It was a hopeful time short-lived and seen so seldom since.
We stand tall before our flag and pray for peace in a troubled world,
But today is for those who served while we lived at their expense.


Happy Veterans Day!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What are we teaching our kids?

What are we teaching our kids?

Humpty Dumpty falls to his death and even before the advent of Obamacare, there is no helping him.

Jack and Jill go up a hill, yet disaster awaits them.  Tumbles and a broken skull and who knows how many unreported injuries—that’s the storyline of this classic.

The other Jack, aka Jack Be Nimble, fairs well in this short rhyme except he suffers a burned toe in the end.  Again, our nursery rhymes are filled with death or injury, though I think a little Silvadene would do the trick here.  I’ve had some bad burns.  This is good stuff.

Little Miss Muffet isn’t injured but flees the scene of her story in fear of a spider.  I guess if you can’t mix in some death and broken bones, fear will suffice.

Three mice who were already handicapped by blindness end up losing their tails.  Their main appendage is not only severed but cut off with a carving knife.  Was that the same knife used to carve the Thanksgiving turkey or ham?  Be careful where you go eat if you are ever invited over for a nursery rhyme meal.

I don’t know what to think of the rhyme about the piper’s kid.  He stole a pig, ate it, and got beaten for it.  The tale ends with Tom crying.  I guess this teaches justice, but today somebody would have called child services when the kid was beaten for stealing a pig. 

OK, the pig might have been slang for a pastry so it’s not like he ate a whole hog.  There is more to this story in some cases.  Tom becomes a musician, plays so well that pigs and cows even dance, but in the end,  milk is spilled and equipment was broken.

Maybe the only sensible rhyme is about the little piggies.  One goes shopping, one stays home (I don’t know if that includes on Black Friday or not), one has roast beef, and yet another goes without.

And yes, one has a bladder control problem.  What?  Wee, wee, wee all the way home. Must we make this an issue to sing about?

I am not sure what we are teaching our kids as they memorize these rhymes.  Only in my grandfather days have I begun to review the words more closely, and there is one rhyme that struck a nerve with me.

It comes from the Farmer in the Dell, a seemingly harmless rhyme, that is until you examine the social impacts of the words.

We should ask, no, we must ask:  Why must the cheese stand alone?

Why must the cheese stand alone?  Why must it be ostracized?  It’s no wonder that the default setting on most online conversations these days is vitriol when we even demean the cheese.

I am amazed that we have survived as a society this long passing these nursery rhymes along to each successive generation.

That’s just nursery rhymes.  What about this lullaby?

Rock-a-Bye Baby

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all

How did this one get past Child Protective Services?  Who puts their cradle in the tree?  Why do we still sing this song?

Is it just for the rhyme?  Then give me some Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them Sam-I-Am.

Is it for the simple yet catchy tune?  What are we inadvertently teaching our children?