Monday, September 29, 2008

Movements of Grace

A teaching chart for the movements of grace, using the "hourglass figure" ... a summary presentation of the Scripture themes for the past three Sundays. Next week a new series from the book of Exodus! (Image copyright (c) JP Bohanan)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Members

Joining this Sunday, September 28, in the 9:00 am worship service: Robin, introduced by Beth; Jesse & Joyce, introduced by Dee; Diana, introduced by Sylvia; and Christian, introduced by Crist. Each new member chose their introducer/partner not simply to introduce them but also to journey with them in the coming year, getting together regularly, sharing in ministry, learning the stories of the church.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Baptism pics from Sunday September 21 (9:00 and 11:15 services) and Sunday August 24 (11:15).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Debt Disaster

I'm not weighing in on the Paulson-Bernanke bailout proposal, or the counter-proposals, or the politicking. I want to share two things: First, the biblical allusion that comes to mind as I read about the bailout. (But note that there is no perfect correlation ... there was no equity market in the ancient world, never mind collateralized debt!) Second, thoughts on debt in today's captalism. The first is on the macro, social level. The second is on the micro, personal level.

The biblical allusion: Joseph managing the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine for Egypt and the surrounding region ... No comment beyond that, but feel free to look it up in Genesis 41 and Genesis 47:13-26. Check out the intervening text for a remarkable story of reconciliation. But rememember: I AM NOT SUGGESTING A PARTICULAR IMPLICATION. It is just the only biblical story with any connection on the macro, social level, at least the only one that comes to my mind. Feel free to suggest others in the "comments".

Thoughts on debt in today's captalistic society: We have become convinced that debt is a SAFE way to get NOW what we cannot afford. The value of thrift, patience, and saving has been forgotten. But debt can be construed as "safe" only when the item retains value (even, at least to a degree that protects some equity, in economic downturns), when the payments do not dominate the household budget (having margin for the unexpected), and when you actually have equity. Admittedly, options are limited for many of us and debt cannot be avoided in all cases. Nevertheless, we need to begin to practice thrift, patience, and saving -- along with holy generosity -- as necessary aspects of financial as well as spiritual health. Debt is far from safe, and our economic ideal of a good citizen as a good "consumer" leads us to the insistent conclusion that good citizens get NOW what they cannot afford. Paul, on the other hand, wrote, "Owe no one anything, except to love one another" (Romans 13:8).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Slam Dunk

The Block Party was loads of fun, a wonderful way to make our neighbors welcome, and effectively organized (thanks to Bob and the team). Around 78 kids were there with their parents for free games and food, not counting folks who came for the crafts and food. This year, we debuted a dunk tank!

Hurricane Relief

Our bishop makes an appeal for hurricane relief and recovery.

Play Ball!

Last Sunday night, Sept 14, we had a pick-up softball game and covered dish picnic at Dale Holtzapple's place. Thanks to Dale and Crist for the hospitality, to Shirley, Jerry, and others for the arrangements, to Palmer for bringing his guitar .... Great fun connecting "in real time".

Friday, September 12, 2008

Unconventional Thinking

The political conventions are over and we're coming into the homestretch (at last) of the presidential campaigns. And, yesterday, a day off for political attacks as we honored the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. It is certainly time to focus on the fact that we are all patriotic Americans, whatever the party and policy distinctions. I love following politics, complete with the "games" that are played in campaigns, but I love our country more.

So, I find the unconventional words of Jesus to be troubling, disturbing, and difficult: "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?" and "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27-35). It is Jesus' challenge to patriots, one unresolved but one that should call us to prayer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Final total

License plates counted on our Gatlinburg vacation . . .
36 states, including Maine, Oregon, New Hampshire
3 Canadian provinces
District of Columbia
US Govt
The car story has plenty of updates, but too much to list here. Hopefully, we'll be in our own cars soon enough!