Rehashing Rehash

My theological stance will lead some to think I have low regard for the local church. Not so! I was a parish pastor for many years, serving small churches. I loved my people and most of them loved me—I was Baptist. But I refused to get tied in a knot over which brand of church was closest to the truth.

Church life is vital to spiritual health, but it represents a small fraction of what Jesus is doing in our big world. When I say it’s just as important how we play as how we pray, I mean it with all my heart. Evidence shows up in my life day by day.

Look no farther than the New Testament to observe the guts of church life. All religion is of human origin. God doesn’t give a hoot how we worship, nor does he pick favorites among worship approaches, whether high liturgy or pep rally. Not a line of scripture tells us to being people to church to find God.

But all this is old hat. Those who know me know about my mosaic of providence. I can’t change the big world, though human schemes to do so seek my help (mostly money). But I can change my tiny world simply by putting to work the gifts God gave me. Our words—written, spoken, or sung–may fly around the world–or across the street, touching a life here and there. Mass evangelism! Doesn’t exist. If only people would only listen to me!

Am I dead sure my take on the ways of faith is right?  Of course not. But it works for me.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Obit Short, Obit Sweet

Been thinking as year 96 creeps on:  What would I like my obit to say?  I’ve had an exceptional life filled with memories and friends. While I don’t plan to die any time soon, DNR is writ large on my papers. One by one, qualities essentials to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness grow more distant. Life is still good and I love it, but my bag is packed and I’m ready to go.

The girl from 313 suggested I write my obit. Here it is: Been there, done that. So be it.

If you must have a text: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Really Old Grandpa Lloyd

So There

Last post for a while

This quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. US jurist (1841 – 1935) identifies the force behind tribal bigotry: We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.

All religions in history are of human origin. A leader organizes the Bible into defined doctrines (teachings) Roman Catholic fathers, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Arminius, Joseph Smith, John Wesley, etc. Then they gather a tribe (flock) loyal to tribal teaching. Bingo: a denomination.

Tribal members spend their lives fiercely defending what they have been taught. I recall from my youth a pamphlet called The Trail of Blood that proved beyond a doubt that Baptist teachings went straight back to Jesus. But Jesus came not to found a religion but a guide to everyday life, a life that fulfills Creator God’s purpose for the individual and humanity. Of that I am sure.

Aha! You’re sure: right and all others’ viewpoints are wrong! Well, I lean on Jesus’ claim: I am the way, the truth, and the life. And on the divine assertion: All authority has been granted unto me.

Sure I could be wrong; but we’ll see how it works out.

Old Grandpa Lloyd, long-time religious professional

Jesus First

Put God first! I hear that often. But how?  Religious exercises? They consume ten percent of our time, at best. Does nothing else count?

Bob Snyder offers insights in his July 11 Lessons Learned on the Journey. He discusses what Jesus says about multi-tasking—life’s ordinary essentials: A debate is in progress in academic circles about the dangers of multi-tasking—is it harmful to my well-being, to my productivity and to my tranquility? As an emergency physician, my ability to perform my duties required multi-tasking. However, there were times in the ER when focusing on just one task was crucial.

I do not think mono-tasking or multi-tasking can be looked at from the perspective of either/or. Although a great multi-tasker himself, Jesus knew that at times only one thing mattered. In Luke 10:42 (NLT) He said to Martha: “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken from her.” Dinner, hospitality, and hard work, of course, matter, but in that moment, time with Jesus mattered more.

Life is full of activities, pressures, and distractions. Yet, there are times when my focus should be on one thing only—Jesus. So we come full circle: Christian mystics great and small talk about focusing on God but never tell us how. Should I hide away, grunt, and repeat Jesus, Jesus, Jesus over and over? Maybe read the Bible. Devotional times are vital, but are they spiritual in contrast with action/duty times? I go with what works, now that I’m old and feedback comes from friends encountered over the years.

My play times touched more lives than pray times!  I don’t think one Woodland Garden resident sees me as a retired religious professional. I lead no Bible studies, hold no prayer meetings yet I often spend soul-searching moments with individuals in times of personal need. I conclude putting Jesus first has nothing to do with religion. Some of the meanest people I know sit in church every Sunday.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Anniversary Sunday

Today is anniversary Sunday. I began life at Woodland Garden on July 7, 2013. For the story, read Epilogue at www.lloydsstorytree.com.

I closed out year six by recruiting son-in-law Dale to drive Norma (girl from 313) to Port Wing, Wisconsin for her 60th high school anniversary celebration. Daughter Sally and I explored while Norma partied. It was a sweet/sad day. Sally slips slowly into dementia.

I love my life at Woodland Garden–and the girl from 313.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

 

Anniversary Sunday

Today is anniversary Sunday. I began life at Woodland Garden on July 7, 2013. For the story, read Epilogue at www.lloydsstorytree.com.

I closed out year six by recruiting son-in-law Dale to drive Norma (girl from 313) to Port Wing, Wisconsin for her 60th high school anniversary celebration. Daughter Sally and I explored while Norma partied. It was a sweet/sad day. Sally slips slowly into dementia.

I love my life at Woodland Garden–and the girl from 313.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

 

Neighboring: the Pure Gospel

For a long time I have yammered away on one theme–Christ following is not religion but living; serving folks around us. You don’t need a building or program to do that. Here’s a prime example:

From: Joel Mattson <joelmatt458@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 2, 2019 at 4:23 PM
Subject: Curse of neighboring
To: David Casson <david@northcreekpres.org>

Hi again. First, I volunteered to help Steve across the street load a sofa into a rental truck, and ended up emptying his house. Then yesterday, a neighbor lady failed to show up for pinochle. I usually would not have followed up, but because of your emphasis on neighboring, I phoned and got no answer. Uncharacteristically, I  went to her house and knocked on the door, only to hear a faint, desperate cry: help, help! All doors and windows were locked so I called 911. EMTs arrived, broke in, and found Val on the floor. She lives alone. It could have ended badly.

She’s elderly and not doing well, but at least she now has a chance. You do more good than you may know, Pastor.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Bigfoot Doesn’t Give a Hoot

 

About 85 years ago, I had a good notion to punch out my friend Bob. He said the Bible was a book of stories and myths. I knew the Bible was the word of God, verbally inspired and inerrant. How could Bob be so stupid?

Why was I so certain Bob was wrong? Wendell Holmes Jr., US jurist from 1841 to 1935, gives the answer: We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.

I repeat those words to myself often. I grew up in an old-fashioned Swedish Baptist church. Bob’s family was Christian Science.  We wore different tattoos.  I dare not attack the views of others. Truth needs no defense. I earnestly contend for my faith; should not others have the same privilege? What I—or they—think means nothing. If Bigfoot exists, he doesn’t give a hoot.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Fist-pounding Mad in 313

Just watched the news with the girl from 313 and I’m fury-filled, fist-pounding mad. They are babies! They didn’t choose to come. And we sleep them on cold concrete in filthy rags wracked by hunger. Make America great again? Let him lay aside his fun and games and hop aboard his blue-bellied airplane and fly to those pens of shame. Let him warm a child in his arms and cry.

Hey, you say, you’re really mad!  You damn right.  And if you’re not, shame on you.

Old Grumpy Lloyd

Book Feast

Two books lie on the table by my lounge chair. Son Joel sent the one with a fading jacket for Father’s Day. The other book is brand spanking new. It came from Uncle Amazon Prime

Joel’s gift is Alaska Sourdough by Richard Morenus. It’s the story of Slim Williams (copyright 1956). The Amazon book, The Tale Teller, is by Anne Hillerman, daughter of Tony Hillerman, who died a while back. Anne has picked up her father’ stories about Sergeant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police.

I’ll feast on these books awhile, along with Crazy White Man, also by Morenus. It is also set in the Arctic bush.  I read Crazy White Man when it came out it in the 50s.

I have been in love with books since grade three, when a circus elephant gave me glasses and I discovered Lester Park Public Library. I recall lying on the Davenport in our small Duluth home writing stories for boys in my head. During travelling years, I always carried an adventure novel to read at idle moments.

Expect to hear more about story books. Enough with theology and philosophy.

Old Grandpa Lloyd