Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Lord I was Born a Ramblin Man"

This is a Sneak Peak at my communion meditation for this morning.

Today we are going to talk about travelling.
In the 70's the Allman Brothers had a song about a Ramblin' man. It told the story of a young man who's entire life was spent on the road because that's all he ever knew. I spent a good amount of time growing up moving around because my Dad was in the Navy. I'm not so much a rambler these days, married life and a job at Publix has me pretty well established, but I still make time to stretch my legs on a trail every now and again, just so that I remember that life still goes on outside of Polk county. I've faced a mild amount of danger on my trips, voodoo witch doctors in Haiti, Palestinian ne'er do wells dressed in designer jeans, my own sleepiness behind the wheel of a pickup truck, and this one crazy bedouin who seemed bent on making the ruins of an ancient glass factory fall on my head. You don't have to travel far to experience danger though. Jesus, in his recorded travels, stayed in an area roughly the size the Florida peninsula, and 3 years into his ministry his enemies killed him. It was up to his followers to spread the word that His death was not in vain, and they did spread! Look at the record of Paul in today's scripture reading. He's coming from Asian Minor going to Jerusalem, and plans on going from Jerusalem to Tarshish. That would be like going from North Carolina to Lakeland, and from Lakeland to Los Angeles! Paul did that because the message of Christ is good news for everybody. Because Paul and the other disciples took that message with them where ever he went, we are gathered celebrating the redemption God has paid for man. Let us remember to obey Jesus' command in the book of Matthew:
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.  18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

and to also remember to teach everyone to remember the covenant purchased with Christ's broken body, and sealed in his blood, as we do at communion every week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There's Strange and There's Providence

...and there's business as usual.
This is a little of all of the above.
Recently a Friend (see previous post for discussion on friendship) made a blog post about meeting a murderer. He's all the time doing crazy things.
Part of my Theology begins with the following assumptions:
There's Strange
There's Providence
There's Business as Usual.

I'd say that for Matt, his post illustrates all three. It's strange because these folks were just standing around talking, it's providence because Matt was right there, at the right time, with the right word, and it's business as usual because this isn't the first time Matt's had this conversation about Gospel presentation style, I have proof!
Here he is, circa 1999 (Maybe early 2000) talking to a member of "The Bible Baptist Church of Deland":
That's Matt on the left, with the backpack. Matt was feeding the homeless in downtown Orlando, sharing with them the Gospel, and some sack lunches. Often we would be able to have conversations with folks in Downtown. On Friday nights, these guys would be out there with a similar message to Brother Jed and Brother Micah in Matt's blog post.

"And a Friend's a Friend forever..."

I dislike that song.
A lot.
Recently I ran across this quoted statement on Facebook:

I am slowly and painfully learning that more people we come across in life will bear the title of "acquaintance" rather than "friend". Thank you to the few I hold so very dear.
I will be perfectly frank, the first thing I thought after reading that first sentence was:
"Thank God!"
Let me explain. I have lived a many different places in my youth. When you move around a lot you have to make friends quickly or be alone. I don't always like being alone with myself, I can drive myself crazy pretty quick. I'm probably driving some people crazy even as they read this. Usually, within a week of moving to a new place, I'm asking someone if I can be their friend. In this manner, I've had a lot of friends, most of whom are acquaintances and not friends, but that's a good thing. Concurrent with learning that true friends are hard to find, I learned that friendship is something intimate, and shouldn't be entered into lightly, nor should it be shared often. When I make a friend, I am very loyal to that person. I will not allow that person to suffer harm if I can help it. I will stand with them, stand up for them, follow them, lead them, counsel them, ask them questions, annoy them, and even suffer myself to be annoyed by them. This is different from being open with someone. To have community you need openess. Being open means you can say to someone "Hey, me too!" Openess begins with basic you're-alive-and-I'm-alive-and-we-are-both-people love, and ends in conversation. From there, you will need to decide on whether to make that person a friend. I'd say that I am ready to start becoming friends with someone when they've seen everything in my closet, and respond "Cool!", and I believe that I've seen everything in their closet, and can respond "Cool!" even if we both are a little uncomfortable with what we see.

I've been doing some thinkings about relationship formation, community, cohesion, society, individuality, and how it all orchestrates to enrich the kingdom of God.
  • I've had to think about what happens when someone I've trusted betrays the work we've done together.
  • I've had to accept myself when I've betrayed the work I've done with other people.
  • I've had to think about 'my neighbor'.
  • I've had to accept being alone.
  • I've had to follow the rational, logical train of implication of Marriage: "The two shall become one flesh" (if 2 =1 then when you get married, you are still alone)
  • I'm pretty sure I can't be a friend to myself because I'm my own worst enemy. I'll have to think about that some more.
In conclusion: Dear facebook poster: All is well! It's a good thing to have few friends.

Here's something that ROCKS! Consider it an apology for that atrocious song at the top:

We place ourselves down in a position we think is safe,
the marks of the people that walk on us leave a trace,
of where we should act then they should react.
Brought up, and beat down, and then the luster lacks,
and stacks up on the minds of the ill-content.
Not every angel sent before you is even heaven sent.
We look into the eyes of the people that follow.
Time to follow the sheep the battle`s not won.

You`re just a snail, but you will never see
Surrounded by the circle of salt, that`s your destiny
You`re just a snail, but now you`ll never
Praying to God don`t let the wind blow

You lay your cards down and it`s a hundred and ten percent,
but then the thirty- five percent of the people who haven`t spent.
The time to get to know you as a person,
they just stand behind you backstabbing and straight up cursing.
Playing you down to be something that your not.
The forked tongue of the wicked rambles off piping hot killing you softly
but you will feel the sting for ever.
when was the last time your heart had been severed.

You`ve fallen twenty steps back to see what`s two steps ahead,
and then they kick you to the side of the road left for dead
because ther concern would be to not deal with ya.
To the rest of the open ears you know you have to paint a picture.
To open wounds and emirs them into salt,
there as stupid as chicken`s, but still it`s not there fault.
They just don`t know what it means to take it face to face, be long after.
Yes they leave a bad taste

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heirloom Tomatoes part 2

Ok, here's part two of my quest for awesome heirloom tomatoes, Rutgers variety.
You've already met the players, let's get a closer look at what's in those hippie egg trays:
Not every seed sprouted, but every little cup in the tray had at least one sprouted seed. The new leaves were out on several of the seeds. You could tell the seed were having some problems staying oriented because of the water they were in. Sometimes down is up when you have no root. Surely there is a spiritual lesson in that as well.
Here's a photographic account of how the seedlings were planted:

It's amazing to observe when a child will and will not sit still.
Planting time is a perfect example.

My two year old is normally miss Messy Raccoon, climbing into everything, dumping it out, etc. After we drop off Sisters at their respective schools, it's just she and I for about 3 hours. Usually we go outside, do puzzles, go on walks, exercise, watch movies, whatever to keep busy. If I am doing anything she has to be right on top of it, all up my my business so to speak.  When I planted these plants she was right under me the whole time, and sat still watching everything I did. She didn't grab anything, spill anything, try to pick anything up (at least not while I was busy planting things), or be anything but strictly attentive. She sat in one spot, and watched me plant 24 tomato seedlings.
If you ask her to eat her breakfast though, she can't sit still for more than a bite.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ambrosia Part 2

Stroke and hook and stroke and hook, the rhythm of water moving from one man. Pounding his heart and mind and arms concern themselves with but the movement of the canoe, the furrow in the water that tore his heart with every beat.
you can see the fishes if you know where to look.
the lover says to his beloved. The heart breaker looks to him for warmth
A lover loves best when he can love what he's loved first, and his first love was water, he saw the water when he was two, holding a rough hand with a callous on a palm. Another man was the who's greatest gift was Time, and time was spelled F-I-S-H, and F-I-S-H spelled love even now is the rain and heart and soul of the lover.

Can the beloved accept the love he would give her. he begins to love her.
The fish are easy to see in the spring
he's calm, love makes you calm. Love makes you bright and sharp, as a knife he tells her
The fish here are in the knees of the cypress stumps.
Ahead of them rise the Trees.
they are gone, now they spread fragrant bush branches where once a cypress giant towers and glowers over a water wasteland of mud fish and mosquitoes buzzing their drum as if to say melt into the waters and feed us.
The beloved peers into the water black as night, but then, there's an orange spot, the closer to the trees.
The bottom is sandy here.
The lover tells her
The fishes make their nests in the sand, and the sand hides eggs.
He's calm
love makes you calm when you've loved long enough.
He love the water first, and for a long time. He loves her now, almost long enough to be calm, but now his love is a pit of hard gravel on knees without a bicycle.
Soon his love will make him calm.

Heirloom Tomatoes Part 1

It's planting time in Central FL!
Time to get the ol' garden growing, here's what I've done so far:
1. Plant some tomatoes, Rutgers. They're from some 2010 seed stock, and they all pretty much sprouted, take that expiration date!
2. Tried to sprout some pole beans, peppers, and eggplant. Didn't do so hot with that, the end result was...disgusting...
I have lots of pics from planting!
First let's meet the players:

 These are the seeds, my Rutgers Tomatoes from 2010. Later on down the line I'll give a close up of what's in the tray. First let me tell you what the tray is. For the last 6 months or so, my family has been intentionally trying to eat better. One of the changes we have made is to use better eggs, namely 4 Grain brand. They don't pay me to say this, but these are great eggs. Pricey yes, worth it? I think so. They remind me of the eggs we got when I was a kid from a friend of the family. Anyway, I'm recycling the cartons to plant seeds. The eggs are packed in a "clamshell", with a lid over top of the clamshell. I cut the lid off (more on what I did with that later), and put water and seeds in the little cups that once held the eggs. The seeds were prepared on January 19th, and I did this planting on February 1st. There were 2-3 seeds in each cup, and every cup had sprouted seeds in it on the first. There was no sign of bad mold.

In the picture on the right we see the peat pots that will take our sprouts and turn them into plantable tomato bushes. There was 32 in the package, we only need 24 for the tomatoes. the extra pot will get eggplant and pepper (cayenne) plants.
This is my dirt. I buy it from a local co-op farm. When I asked him what he was using to grow his great looking produce he told me he was using stuff so good he called it 'soil' and not dirt. I asked him the difference between soil and dirt, and he told me price. When he told me the price for a bag of this stuff I about fell out! I ponied up though, and paid the piper, mainly because I could see the results right in front of me. I have a hard time growing good size produce in my yard because of a lack of good dirt and sunshine. Fortunately, this soil takes care of it's part. I'd probably clear some trees out, but they make great free antenna supports, so I don't complain. I think instead I will be focusing my growing efforts on raising blackberries, if my current vine makes good this year.

Finally we have my makeshift greenhouse. This is a box we had in storage that wasn't holding anything but dust and spider webs. I cleaned it out and made it so that when I potted up my sprouts, they would have a place with high heat and humidity so the could grow fast.

In my next post I'll show you all the steps I went through to get a mini-greenhouse with some tomatoes in it!
Here's a close up of my high dollar dirt: