The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for August 2008

The Senator’s “Get out of gaffe free” card

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Can’t have too many, I guess!
clipped from www.politico.com
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Written by Monte

August 28, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Posted in humor, Politics

From the center of who you are (Readings for Sunday, August 31)

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ove from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.  – Paul, in Romans 12:9-21 (The Message)

Man!  When I scroll through that list I think two things:
What a world these would make! And …
Oh yes, thanks for the reminder! I want to tune this up in my own life.

Soak in it with me this week, if you like.  I might print those verses for the fridge door.

And here are the rest of the readings for this Sunday.

Cheers!

Proper 17 (22) A: August 31, 2008 Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

August 28, 2008 at 1:27 pm

A very sweet thing!

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Jimmie and Hannah

Jimmie and Hannah

Ah, life is good!

I’m delighted to tell you of the engagement of our daughter Hannah to Jimmie Horton. The wedding is tentatively scheduled for January 24. They are both thrilled, and Jimmie is the best choice for a son-in-law I ever met.

We celebrated over dinner tonight at our local hotspot, café dodici.

Much gladness here!


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Written by Monte

August 23, 2008 at 12:29 am

Changed from the inside out (readings for Aug 24, 2008)

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will my wife think it's hot?

The look: will my wife think it hot?

I’ve started shaving again.  Regrets.

Found out I had sleep apnea a few weeks ago, and have began using a CPAP at night.  It’s like sleeping with  a cool breeze (up your nostrils, anyway).  And my, sleep is delicious!  I’m awake!

I had to shave because the mask sits atop the whiskers under my nose, and that made that whisker-skin sore by morning.  Which woke me up, defeating the purpose.  So I shave.  And they grow back.  And I shave.

Friends of mine have had laser hair removal.  Something about the laser so zaps the whisker that, in many cases, it never comes back.  Something happens down in the follicle, inside your skin.  And there you are, smooth as a baby’s bottom.  No more stinky after-shave.

Shaving works outside-inIt’s never over.  Laser hair removal, I suppose you could say, works inside-out.  When it works, that one hair is gone for good.

The religious conservatives of Jesus’ day thought that God worked outside in.  You conform to the rules, God likes you better, good things happen.  But Jesus – and later, Paul – said “Uh, no!” about that.  Grace works – as an old fellow I knew used to say – “slow but fine:” inside out.  Watch how Paul says it in this Sunday’s Bible readings, just below.

I’ve got to go shave.

Proper 16 (21) August 24, 2008
Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

Romans 12:1-8

Place Your Life Before God

1So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

August 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Politics

Sneak becomes hero (sermon of August 18, 2008)

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Birth of Jacob and Esau [www.ratnermuseum.com]Remember Jacob and Esau? How Jacob was born holding-on to Esau’s heel?  How Jacob was given the name “Jacob” because it meant “heel-grabber” or “supplanter” or “schemer”?  How Jacob later extorted the family birthright out of his brother?  How he ran for his life—Esau threatening murder—under cover of going to Mama’s folks to find a bride?

And how, when he got there, he awakened the day after his marriage to discover that the bride of last night’s passion wasn’t the girl he’d intended to marry?  Oops.  Now he’d gotten bamboozled (let alone her, but that’s another story).

Jacob stays there at Haran for 20 years: 7 years for Leah, 7 years for Rachel, 6 more tending flocks, raising his own. He gets astonishingly rich.  And then one day, God said “Jacob, it’s time to go home.”

But Jacob’s afraid of Laban (Pa-in-law).  Laban’s been a shrewd dealer.  Kept him there for 20 years, after all.  Who knows if Laban will really let him go?  So Jacob and Rachel and Leah lay a secret plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Shinichi’s Tricycle

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We like to think wars are fought by nations. But what a tidy fiction that is! Nations lose no arms or legs or blood or sanity.
Kurt Vonnegut, I believe, said that we allow war because of “a failure of the imagination.” We simply don’t consider what we do when we yield to those pleas of our governments.

The story below might sub for some of that imagination. I’ve clipped just a bit, but I encourage you to read the rest from Doug at the link.  It is excellent.

And I hope you and I can be people who cling fiercely to reality when passions run high and facts seem clear and resistance looks like treason.  For in the end, a share of war’s price will be paid by little Shinichis who find themselves in the way of things others thought more important.

clipped from unitedcats.wordpress.com

Shinichi’s Tricycle

Shinichi Tetsutani was a three year old boy who loved to ride his new red tricycle. 63 years ago this day he was riding his trike in his front yard. He was playing with his friend Kimiko. It was 8:15 in the morning. A quarter mile away there was a bright flash in the sky. Shin was badly burned and buried in the debris of his house. He was still alive when his parents dug him out, his hands still gripping the handlebars of his trike. They were unable to get to his two sisters in time as the wreckage of their home burned. Shin died that night. The next day his parents buried their children in their front yard, they thought they were too young to be buried in a lonely grave far from home. Shin’s friend Kimiko had also been killed in the blast, so they were buried together, holding hands. Shin’s beloved trike was buried with him.
Killing children is a crime, not an act of war

God rest their little souls. God grant us the wisdom to never do this again. God help us all through the dark days ahead.
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Hat tip to Homeyra. Thanks, friend – you help me remember!


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Written by Monte

August 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Small is what big is made of (a sermon)

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Birth of Jacob and Esau [www.ratnermuseum.com]In one artist’s sculpture, Jacob and Esau burst upon the world.

Remember the story?  They’re born as twins, Esau first.  When Jacob follows, his hand on his brother’s heel.  It’s predicted that “the older will serve the younger,” which was odd in an order-of-birth culture.  Esau should get the privileges.  And the hand on the heel, we said, was representative of something like sneakiness.

Years later, they’re young men, Esau-the-hunter comes in starving, and Jacob-the-chef extorts the family birthright out of him in exchange for food.

Then Jacob gave him some of the soup (Valloton)

Then Jacob gave him some of the soup (Valloton)

Later, Esau is furious, and threatens murder – and remember, he’s a tough guy. So, scheming Jacob’s scheming mother Rebecca told his father Isaac that it was time for Jacob to go find a wife, and that back in Haran, where they came from, her brother’s place would be a good place to start. Isaac says “Sure,” and Jacob runs for his life.

On the way, he sacks out on the bare ground, meets God in a dream, and is terrified. Esau was a threat – but God, uh-oh! To Jacob’s astonishment, God comes not with judgment, but with a promise – a renewing of the promise that he’d made to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. In the morning, Jacob is amazed at his good fortune, and worships there.

As he approaches Haran, he meets and promptly falls in love with Rachel, his cousin. He moves into Uncle Laban’s home – yes, he’d like to have a wife, but of course, he can’t really go home anyway, thanks to the trick he pulled on his brother. But now, Jacob’s inherited sneakiness is going to come back on him through his mother’s family – and on some others, too. Read the rest of this entry »