Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We had a great week end. For a couple who never does anything, we are always busy. We love o ur life together.

Friday after work, we went to Best Buy so I could spend some of my birthday money. I got a gift card for my birthday and I had already visited Best Buy to buy a CD. I went up to oneof the employees and asked where the CDs were. He asked me, "What is CD?" Well, it wasnt that bad, but they really dont sell CDs anymore. My choices were down to the ultimate Earth, Wind and Fire and Jimmy Eat World. I decided to wait to use my gift card. We ended up buying a disk scan for my Kodak camera. The camera my son-in-law laughs at everytime I show it to him.

Saturday we played Papa and Grammie to two of our grand boys. Dylan and Nathan spent some time with me and Jean. We took them to Home Depot and then we stopped by Frys. I didnt know until Dylan took me there that Frys had a large selection of Thomas toys. After purchashing a Thomas toy, the boys played in our new pool. Yes, they both fit in at the same time. Then, they started to get tired, so we took them home.

Saturday evening, we went to church and Perry spoke on being a people church, caring for others. It was a very good message. Then, we decided to go to My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. A good meal and always good company with Jean.

Sunday, we took our time getting up, meaning we we up, read the paper, had breakfast and worked on the yard by 830. We spent some time with Nathan, Ariel, and Ozzie, well thats what I call them while Mommy and Daddy went to church. They all love their Grammie and Papa.

Yesterday, we had Dylan and Abigal over with their parents. I watched an old war movie, Hell to Eternity, and had a good dinner.

Holidays whould be about family. But I wish we took a little more time to reflect on the reasons that make it a holiday. As I get older, I am ever so mindful of the sacrafices that others made so the rest of us can be free to spend time with family, take a day off from work and wake up every day to my wife.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birthdays: Rick and Jeremy and Baseball

The other day, a pastor at the church I attend, Jeremy, celebrated a birthday. I follow his blog, http://tomorrowsreflection.com, on a regular basis and I recommend you do as well. I dont always agree with him, but the blog includes quite a variety of subjects and there is something for every one.

Now that the plug is over, I was thinking about the greeting I sent to him on his birthday. One area we do not agree on is our choice of favorite baseball teams. His favorite baseball team is the New York Yankees. As for me, they are my second favorite team. The other 29 teams are tied for first. My birthday greeting to Jeremy included a dig on those same Yankees.

There is a major difference in how many people root for their teams these days and in another time. My best friend while in high school, Rick, was a big Giant fan. In fact, he liked all the Bay area teams. I liked all the LA teams. We had some really good teasing all through the years that lasted all these years since and it carried over into the next generation as his son went to Mountain View High School and my daughters went to Mesa High school. There was a time when Mesa beat Mountain "Pew" in football one Friday night. We went into the sunday school room on Saturday and decorated the room with purple and gold for Sunday morning.

As I reflected on my birthday greeting to Jeremy being a dig on the Yankees, it made me think about the tragic, senseless, all too easy to believe for LA beating of a Giant fan on opening day. Last week, suspects were arrested and, hopefully, justice will be served.

I wonder why we cant have our preferences without being mean. Ed Schultz disagrees with Laura Ingrahma and feels a need to call her a bad name. People disagree with her and she finds it in herself to degrade them.

I hope I never get to the point in my life that I am mean to someone who is different or thinks different than I do. I hope I can continue to banter about sports teams, TV shows, preference in music and other things that really do not mean anything in the over all scheme of God's Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Church Diversity: Look ma, I finished another book

I have made an effort to read more this year. I have read books by some of my favorite fiction authors. Robert Crais and Michael Connelly being the two I like most. I have also tried to read books with a little more lasting significance. They have included books by Christian authors. I try not to get too deep. Lord knows how many times I have tried to read books by CS Lewis.

I have visited a blog by Scott Williams. Up until recently, he was a campus pastor for that Juggernaut of a church sensation, Church.tv. He wrote a book about his passion. It is something he has lived with, been through, enjoyed and suffered through all his Christian life. Church diversity. In fact, that's the name of the book, Church Diversity. Following are some thoughts I had while reading the book and later digesting what I read.

Right off the bat, the premise is set. A quote that he attributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday morning at 11:00 AM is still the most segregated hour of the week. I am sure after reading that line, many people either said, right on brother or "hey, any one want to buy a slightly used book?" I read on.

First off, I love Mr. Williams' passion. I wish I felt so strongly about something that it would influence and obsess me throughout all the jobs I had in my life. From what he writes, he never relented in his thoughts that the church somehow needed continual injections of diversity.

Second, he knew how to present his views. He tells of the many people in leadership positions he presented his ideas to. He tells of how some of those leaders got on board and have encouraged and promoted his views within their churches and corporations.

Thirdly, I do not think he will stop fighting his fight. He believes strongly that God has given this mantra to him and he has got on the horse of diversity and will not stop riding it until every one in every church joins him in his quest. Again, I honor him for taking his passion and making it is life long witness.

I would recommend this book for anyone who has gone to church, any one who lives in a community that is a mixed racial population, any one who lives in an area that is more than 90% of one ethnic group or any one in leadership in a church or companiy.

My personal feelings on this book. I couldnt help but feel as if I was being lectured and chastised for choosing to attend a church that is predominatly attended by one particular ethnic group.

His decision to make Church Diversity a race issue and the way he lets the reader know they are wrong if they disagree did not set well with me. I think Church Diversity has to do with race, worship styles, preaching styles, financial status, location of the church and a lot more factors. Racial diversity is important. But it is not the biggest road block for churches who proudly claim Matthew 28:19 as their key verse.

I have a set way I think church should be done. But it would be foolish if I set it out there that everyone else was wrong if they didnt agree with me.

Church Diversity is one of the paddles in the canoe we call church. If all the paddles are a certain color in the canoe I am in, then that is church Preference, not segregation. I hope Scott Williams never stops preaching his message. I hope he will understand if I prefer to fight a different battle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Being Drafted with Billy Willis and Church Diversity Part 2

I only told that first story because I want to tell this story. I was 19 and I was working for the Postal Service. I think it was still being called the Post Office back then. In March, I was drafted into the US Army. As patriotic as I was, I figured by working in the Post Office they would leave me there and draft one of my friends. They were never as patriotic as me.

Any way, I got on the bus in LA with 35 other guys from the LA area and we were driven up to Ft. Ord. Lo and behold, guess who turned out to be my bunk mate? I mean, guess who turned out to be the guy who slept on the top bunk of my bunk bed? Billy Willis. My friend from San Fernando Junior High. By the way, did I mention that Billy Willis was black? I know, it did not have anything to do with that other story. But he was. We had a good mix in junior high school. I always tell people we had quite a racial mix at San Fernando Junior High School. It was half white, half mexican and half black.

Billy Willis and I renewed our friendship in basic training. He went to San Fernando High School, which was half mexican and half black. I went to Sylmar High School. We got along very well during our time at Ft. Ord.

This is where this story is about diversity. We laughed all the way through our diversity classes. There was no problem with racial relations in basic training. I am pretty sure Billy Willis did not make this saying up. He was a witty guy and had a great sense of humor. But I believe he did not originate this saying. But it was the first time I ever heard it, so I give him credit. "There is no difference in color in the Army. We are all green in the Army. Some of us are just a little darker green than the rest of you".

The awareness that they tried to convey in the classes was something Billy Willis and I had lived with for years. Seriously, I am sure that it was and is a problem for others. I just never saw the problem because I lived it. It seems the only people who have problems with diversity, in a out of the church today, are those who are not living it.

I later went to Viet Nam. Billy Willis went to Germany. We never saw each other again. I hope he continued to keep his sense of humor and served his country well. I am sure Mr. Asbury had forgotten about that part of the day Billy Willis laughed at the girls who were crying. I am sure he remembers other parts of it. I only remember it because some parts of certain days, you just never forget.

I finished the book, Church Diversity by Scott Williams over the week end. I am sure he, or you, will not care what my response is to the book. But I share my thoughts. And I will, soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Billy Willis and Church Diversity, Part 1

If you were alive on November 22, 1963, you remember where you were around noon, California time. I was in Mr. Asbury's history class. Mr. Asbury was one of those teachers who no one could dislike. He was one of the nicest men I had known up until that time. Probably even now, he is one of the nicest I ever met. During class that day, the principal of the school came on the PA. He started out by saying that President Kennedy had been in a car in Dallas, Texas. Seriously, and not as a joke, my first thought was, "Why was he driving a car in Texas?" He went n to say that while President Kennedy was riding in a car in Dallas, Texas, he was shot and killed. Wow, that was tough to hear, even for a 12 year old. We were told that the National Anthem would be played and the flag would be lowered to half staff.

We all stood at our seats and they played the song. Mr. Asbury stood solemnly at the front of the room. Billy Willis stood at his seat and saw two girls begin to cry. He sort of pointed their way and started giggling at them. For crying. During the playing of the National Anthem, he continued to laugh. No one else made a noice, except the two girls, who were crying. Until the song was over. After it was over, Mr. Asbury went up one side of Billy Willis and down the other. He told him how inconsiderate and disrespectful he was to do that. The mild mannered Mr. Asbury clearly showed his disappointment with Billy Willis.

All the while, Mr. Asbury never called Billy Willis a bad name, tossed a racial slur at him or degraded Billy Willis. He just let Billy Willis know he was disappointed withhim and let Billy Willis known that wha he did was disrespectful.

Did I mention that Billy Willis was a friend of mine? Did I mention that he black? I only tell that story because I have another story about Billy Willis and me. And that I am reading a book on Church Diversity. So far, I feel Billy Willis was treated much better by Mr. Asbury than I am by the author of this book.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rob Bell and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

I am sure every one has done this at one time...or many. Just like others, I have tried to add dialog into Bible stories. Like when Peter was walking on the water, I wonder if he was talking trash to the other disciples. Like maybe he said hey look at me, I am pretty cool, eh? Okay, perhaps he didnt talk with a Canadien accent.

I wonder what was said when Adam and God were walking in fellowship in the garden of eden. Did you know that the real words of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida were supposed to be In the garden of eden. Far out man.

Then Eve comes along. What was said as Adam and Eve walked around the garden? Did they hold hands? Were roses the flower of choice back then?

And did Eve ever tell Adam, "Oh that serpent. He does have a way with words. He writes, I mean says, so many things that sound so close to what God is saying. He sures makes me think".

He sure makes me think, right before he deceived her. Right before following what he said led her to lose everything she had enjoyed in fellowship with God.

He sure makes me think. I sure didnt think he would deceive me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's all This About Communion?

The other day during communion, I mistakenly took two little pieces of bread and dipped them into the cup. I wondered there for a second, "Did I just receive a double blessing?"

Then, I was brought back to reality and remembered this, as all things church, is not about me. I have always wondered why there are disagreements concerning the way we pause to remember the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

Some churches take pride in deciding to do communion once a year, on Good Friday because that is the day the disciples shared the first one with Jesus.

Then some churches believe that the cracker and wine is really the body of Jesus. They make the whole rigamarole a big rigamarole and protect every little crumb. Woe to those of us who do not believe that is so.

I went to a church that did communion on the first Sunday of every month, without fail. The deacons would sit up on the stage so we could see them drift off during the "communion meditation" which was code for a shorter sermon. I think it was because the pastor knew the deacons would drop off during a longer sermon. Then the deacons would pass the trays and collect the deacons offering.

I know of some churches who have communion as a part of their weekly services. Some take this as being extra spirtual because they do it so often.

No matter how it is observed, I wonder how many people actually, "Do This in Rememberance of Me". Jesus never said to do it on Sundays, Tuesdays or three times a week or year. He said to do it to remember Him. I like that alot more than debating on when to do it.