Thursday, November 27, 2008
I'm Thankful....simply because I'm able to be, that my heart is formed such that I can find something, someone, or some memory in this day of twenty thousand-some-odd breaths of air (of which every one I'm thankful for) to look upon with grateful eyes, a peace of mind, and say that- that right there is worthy of my thanks.
peace and thanks for you -
Monday, November 10, 2008
Bulletin boards, email, chat rooms, instant messenger, myspace, facebook, twitter, google calendar, etc. I am a social networking addict. I began in 1998 in chat rooms talking about competition coon hunting, daschunds, gardening, Y2K, etc. It was novel and it was fun and it seemed you could soon discover nuances in the personalities of people that brought a level of intimacy that merely meeting someone face-to-face at an organizational meeting never could and possibly never will. I tried to count tonight how many people that I've met first on the internet and then face to face. I believe it is somewhere around a dozen people that I have met in face to face meetings that I probably would have never met otherwise. When you chit chat with someone in a fairly open forum and then meet them face-to-face it seems there is a greater intimacy to the relationship from the start.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Five-year-old Michael was in the park with his dad. "Daddy why is all that money in that pond?" Daddy explained as he gave Michael a quarter, "you make a wish and throw your coin in the pond and don't tell anyone what you wished for and it might come true." So Michael hesitated for a moment, gave the quarter a good toss into the water and they went about their walk. A week or so later, next to a fountain, Michael asked for a coin to throw in. Reminded of the earlier wish, Daddy asked Michael if his wish had come true. Michael pushed up his sleeves, bent his wrists and mimicked Spiderman's web shooting and nothing happened. He dropped his arms pulled down his sleeves and simply answered "Nope", grabbed the coin that Daddy had produced from his pocket and through it in the fountain.
Friday, September 05, 2008
It must have been a little like that when Andrew went to his brother Simon and said he found the Messiah, or when Phillip found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus for him to see, or when John the Baptist first saw Jesus approaching and said, "Behold the Lamb of God". They saw something there, maybe because they were looking?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
So how do I resolve what Greg Boyd has said about letting the church change as the context changes? I agree with him, Frank Viola & George Barna, in Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices don't have the authority to say church should remain a group of 12 or less people meeting in each others homes, there is not anything in the Bible or tradition that says that it should.
However, how do you do it? I mean, how do you insulate an organization from the control-mongers that are doing it for their own glory? How do you paint a maggot to look like Jesus? You don't. You can't. So who will lead us?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I’m really stoked about what God might be doing. I don’t know how chickens play in that but I’ve been confronted with chicken messages 3 times in 10 hours so I know there has to be something to it. The first was at 1:00 a.m. this morning. I awoke (could have been dreaming of the Mayan blood-letting stuff I watched on “Digging for the Truth” on the History Channel) and wrote this poem down:
Into the Darkness
As a breath forces cool life
Into my chest
My hand clutches the hot scaly claws
Surrendered to my view
On the block staring up at me
As the axe falls through
Sinking deep into the sweet-sticky sacrifice
staring up at me
A call uncried
An October leaf carried in the light of autumn fresh
A body, yet to give in to death, as it flops through the world
A soup chicken to be soup
I know its morbid. So is the process of giving up myself. Sometimes we forget that the richness of a life in Christ isn’t as easy as opening a can of soup. Something has to die. Something has to be cleaned.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A cross? I get a friggin cross? Oh yeah, and those sunsets. Mmm Hmmm, there have been some lovely ones. I get a pulse? One more day to wake up to my beautiful wife? Okay, deal. I'm in. I'll clean the friggin chickens, all of them, and I know you, you'll probably bring me to tears while I do it and somehow, through the gore and the mess, you'll show me something beautiful and profound and I'll go about crying your name and dancing like a child in a sprinkler or some other totally uncool thing with chicken guts all over me. Somehow I'm really glad to have met him...and you.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Before the clock on my nightstand registers another ten minutes we are joined by two more imps, Coleman, who chews Calvin out for leaving him alone in bed and forces himself between me and my beloved, and Elizabeth who just has to be on Daddy's side, settles for what is left of the bed and ends up with no covers. I knew we weren't getting anymore sleep so I grabbed my mp3 player on the nightstand and played some of my wife's favorites as we lazily wrestled with the little ones and sent them to check on this or that while we resumed our snuggle. I'm thinking it doesn't get better than this until later in the day we picked our first 5 rows of sweet corn. Three and a half bushel! I picked up a fillet of wild-caught Alaskan Salmon ($7.32), a box of Leslie's favorite Taquitos($5.89), Leslie made some fresh salsa verde from the peppers, tomatillos, and herbs we picked out of our garden and along with just a big kettle full of sweet corn and we ate our fill. Sydney gave us the scrapbook she made with the three little ones and how rich, just how friggin rich does a man have to be? Maybe its the double shot of B-complex from the brewers yeast at the bottom of the beer I just drank or maybe its the omega-3 from that Salmon but it sure looks alot like heaven in the Clark household tonight. Now I just heard my beloved get out of the shower so I'm signing off. Sorry for the details but someday I pray my kids can read this and actually know that with a little passion and much joy - the Kingdom of God will come crashing into our midst.
You know what is ironic after I reread this post? I took John, a homeless guy that visits us one weekend a month, back to the shelter tonight and he chewed me out for not doing something more with my wife on our anniversary! He was married 2 1/2 yrs. of his whole 50 years and he was giving me advice! I'd really like to write a book about his life sometime. I might
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
The garden is an interesting way to get to know someone. We haven't known the Havens for very long and many people believe that we took on alot of risk by spending so much on seed and plants and chicken house material and chickens that is on someone else's land. You know, I don't look at it at all that way. The way I see it is by doing this together our kids get the opportunity to see a couple families come together in difficult economic times to create some synergy. If it doesn't work out it won't be a lesson in keeping your guard up, it will be a lesson in how to live life as if we are already within the Kingdom of God and if it turns out that life is not a fairy tale with a happy ending we at least feasted on the joy that we've had thus far in this endeavor. Our kids play well all day and well into the dark, catching lazy fireflies while we relax around a crackling bonfire (Mike is the bonfire king and takes the size, color, warmth, and ambiance of his bonfire very seriously). Many times the kids will crowd onto a blanket next to the fire and fall asleep while we talk late into the night. The harvest began when we broke ground for the garden and I pray it continues deep into the winter when we twist off brass rings and open sealed wide-mouth masons of spicy salsa, hearty vegetables, sweet bread and butter pickles, and sweat-beeding hot pickled peppers. These will be the jewels of our larder but the real treasure will never be contained in a jar or sealed in a freezer bag. The real treasure will be written on our hearts and in our memories for eternity.
shalom, grow something
Monday, July 14, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
There is nothing very romantic in the little machine itself. It sounds as if it is being held back all the time and wants to really whine. I smell a little like a lawnmower when I get to my destination and have really cool 80's fly-backs to go with the rest of the "dry look" hair. It isn't very comfortable to ride and the broken tailbone I have from the stupid cliff-jumping keeps me from ever relaxing. I get a knot in my shoulder from holding the throttle wide open for almost an hour. However, riding the moped allows me a little freedom that I otherwise don't feel. I tend to get a little caged-up feeling when I have to ride in an automobile now. I don't get the full effect of the new-mown hay, walls of lucious cattails, blossoming maples, ash, and willow, and the whole plethora of smells that pours out from a dairy farm - molasses, grain, silage, heady manure, and just a hint of the smell from a wet nose of a newborn calf. I also miss out on the effect the little machine has on the fauna along the road. Cows come running to the roadside fence as they hear me approach, deer spook but have to turn around and stop with curious ears spread wide, and both ring-necked pheasants and wild turkey alike run along side as I pass by not knowing whether they should take wing or hunker low until they just stand there looking at me as I continue down the edge of the road inches from the white line.
The weather adds adventure to the mix. I've only gotten wet twice and am pretty adept at checking the weather and taking off at just the right time to miss the showers. You are really much closer to weather on a moped. You are immersed in the air ionized by lightning, you feel the sting of the rain on your face, the sun shines warm on your body even if the air is cool, the wind slows you noticeably or gives you speed like you've never before had when its at your back. When you get wet on a moped, you are wet everywhere but the backs of your legs. It is cold in the morning and cool in the afternoon. I can't picture myself in riding leathers or a full face helmet so I would imagine that I'll have to come up with some humiliating-yet-warm getup this fall to lengthen my moped season.
The little bike responds to the weather also. It runs fast and smooth in the cool air, a little sluggish and soft when its very warm, sputters in the rain, and struggles against the wind. It seems to have a personality all its own, much like the junker cars I used to drive. I guess all in all this little bike helps me find that child-like joy that I sometimes lose track of. I get laughed at and laugh right back with a wave. I get the 'finger' and well, sometimes, have used it as well when someone speeds by dangerously close (not saying its right, just saying its me and I'm not always right). I hunker down behind the fairing in the front to cut down wind resistance to see how fast I can get to work. On a relaxing ride I can stop quick and just enjoy the sunrise, the sunset, a singing Redwinged Blackbird or watch a Bald Eagle sitting in a dead limb high over the Maple River. There is much that has come with the cheap little machine and I'm much the richer for it in many ways. So as I sit here and listen to the bubbles come off a fresh batch of homebrew beer and hammer out this entry for some day later when I have forgotten who I am, I'm thankful for the little bike, a good life, and a cool evening to take a ride around town.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Most of the time I give people the benefit of the doubt, you've got a judge and you don't need me to replicate that but I am CRYING OUT TO THE PEOPLE OF CARSON CITY MICHIGAN TO TELL THEM IF YOU DON'T LOVE THESE KIDS THEY ARE GOING TO BE THE ONE THAT STEALS YOUR CAR OR INVADES YOUR HOME OR DRIVES DRUNK THROUGH YOUR YARD AND INTO YOUR CHILD'S BEDROOM! YES, THEY ARE THE ONES THAT OUR SOCIETY WARNS US ABOUT!
With that said, I can't figure it out. I really enjoy being with these kids and it grows me and helps me be a better human being. Why the heck are not people knocking down the door to be volunteers?
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Gov. Jennifer Granholm is riding her bike to work a couple of times a week,
an example of a way she says Michigan consumers can save money.
The 49-year-old governor lives just southwest of the city center, about 3 miles from
her office near the state Capitol. She rode her bike to work Wednesday,
accompanied by her security detail.
I know she is trying to do her best to set a good example but I wonder how much extra her security detail spent by having to accompany her on that ride rather than if she'd have just drove in as normal. Hmmmm.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
We're waiting patiently for our chicks to arrive. Mike Havens and I are in the middle of building a coop from scrap lumber but the chicks will have to be brooded indoors for a few weeks before they need the coop. The kids ask us every day when the chicks will be here.
Tomorrow (today) we'll plant most of the garden. We're planting everything we eat and many things we don't. Some things sell so well at the produce auction that we're planting for an abundance with the hopes of putting some money into an account for maybe building a greenhouse or adding a few meat goats to the mix. Pickling cucumbers are the big money-maker, easy to grow and hardy - they will be the big money-maker. We're also transplanting some raspberry bushes and will put in a strawberry patch in early autumn.
I went to a wedding earlier today. Now I'm really getting a sense of my generation. Kevan's daughter got married. It seems only a few months ago that I was standing and watching Kevan and his brother kill ants with rubber bands while his mother and my mother chatted on Mrs. James' two-track drive. Hers was the only drive I knew that had violets growing down the middle, between the tire tracks. We met the Smiths in the shade of a huge White Pine and the ants were plentiful along that sand drive. "Kevan, you know Sam from school don't you?" and he replied "nope, don't know him" and he was lying through his teeth which was easy because he didn't have but one on top and that one only half way in. And now his daughter is married. The twins thoroughly enjoyed the festivities. They were running around hitting each other with balloons and grabbing watermelon chunks out of the fruit salad with dirty hands. Had I been at any other place I might have felt the need to curtail that but here, among the Smiths, it was not only accepted but expected and maybe even encouraged. Kevan's sister Brenda Kaye threw mints across the room for me to catch in my mouth and embarassed her 16 yr. old son completely by hammering on the table until the groom would lean over with a mouth full of food and kiss his new bride on the lips. The staunch Nazarenes got up and went outside after eating so they didn't have to sit through the PDA and the noise. God bless that people and that couple. I pray they worship you in freedom and in grace all the days of their life, no, all the days!
shalom, the cough is gone and my heart is full.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
The tab to the zipper was lacking so I had to rip the cloth from the zipper enough to free the spare from its cover. Good news, the white letters on the tire are still covered in blue indicating a brand-new tire! Bad news, it too is flat. How can the brand-new spare be flat?!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Blain Butler, if there is one regret that I will have of my life it is that I never stopped and told you I appreciated the deliberate exhuberance that you showed when you waved to me as I passed you on the street. I can't do that now. You fell victim of the destroyer, the self-loathing that many of us develop quietly, undetected, as we go through life with a smile on our face and seemingly without a worry in the world. Aww Blaine, if you'd have seen the crowds of tear-stained faces gathering to honor your life you may have valued it for one breath more. Blaine you were everyone's favorite person, knew no enemies, separated yourself from no one, and somehow the lie crept in and lived within you. I don't know how it happens - it is foreign to creation. I don't think it can be found anywhere but in humans.
Lord help me to seize every opportunity to value people as eternal beings created in your image for all time and help me find little ways and big ways to tell them. A grain of sand remains a grain of sand forever. It may be dashed upon a rock and wear against that rock once and forever more lie motionless trapped in a bed of sand for all eternity but it was that once, that single moment in time that brought significance to its existence. How much more for the very image of the creator God? Blaine will not father a nation, he won't save a person from a burning home, deliver a calf, offer a thirsty person a glass of water, pay taxes, write a love letter, or greet me with a firm handshake and a smile - not again in this present darkness. We mourn you Blaine and 17 years are to few for anyone.
See you later.
Friday, March 07, 2008
I don't know if I read this or if I heard it or if it just came to me so I'm not claiming it but if a person, most people, are looking for meaning in life then isn't that evidence that it is out there to find? You'd think that all of science and philosophy, the scientists and philosophers among the brightest and bravest, would just stop if we once found that meaning is not there yet we continue to explore the very idea that we explore.
Thank you dear God for this longing that I have in my heart for everything that is you.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
He lived with two of his brothers. In the past month he'd been withdrawn, coming home from work and retreating to his room to study the bible. Just in the past couple of days he started talking again but only surface stuff, nothing too deep. This morning he's gone, in the physical, reach-out-and-hug sense.
He had so much to offer a world of black and white. His life was every shade of gray.
Oh God hear me. Please do not let this tragic event be swept away without your sweet redemption. I pray you move in power among Jesse's brothers and his parents to move them to a new reality in you.
It got me thinking about sin. Yes it is wrong to take your own life but it is no more wrong than materialism, sloth, or unforgiveness. Oh Jesse my heart grieves for you and your family.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
"I jus' wanna go see God, I'm tired of being alive" I told my sister. "I'll cut my wrist first and you can do yours next and then we'll go to heaven together!" "No, God don't like us to bleed and I don't like it either so we can't" she scolded me. "It'll be okay, lets go swing" and we did.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
You know, we have no money, we have one car working right now and we're two months behind in our mortgage. The Michigan economy is slow and we are having to change our lifestyle drastically because of it. I would love to try and call that suffering but I can't. I have no friends with time to sit around and talk. I can't get the book written that is inside me and no goal that I have set seems even worth looking at right now but there are little things. Little things like last night with my daughter. Little things like the birds that come to the feeder. Little things like wondering at how so many people KNOW so much but really just have heard it from someone else and have these exponentially large number of tiers between really knowing and just believing, yet cannot accept that others DO exactly the same thing and cannot forgive them in their ignorance. I thought it ludicrous one time when a pastor friend told a troubled lady that she had to quit trying so hard and take some time to just "be". I believe he was right. I am thankful for being. I'm thankful for the loss and the gain and little Calvin sitting in the chair drifting off to sleep while I read. I'm thankful for the lit up faces of my little ones as they watch me scan a toy car into the computer. I'm thankful for the snowmen we built and the way that my heart has been ripped out every time I get the idea that I have a direction to head in. Its all worth it.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I know these guys are really trying but they are somehow getting it wrong. Putting a line between created and creator for the sake of mankind is like worshipping a painting of Jesus, no hands or feet. One of the reasons we are created in his image is because he uses us to get things done. If the world is to be saved we need to understand we are the ridiculous way that God will do it because any other way would not be like God. It would be like, put it on velvet with some blacklights.
Talking about 'blurring the lines' between Christian and pagan. Pagan means outsiders. I guess I'm one of them if to be inside means to only understand part of Christianity. The fruit of that remains to be seen. The fruit of name-calling like these guys are doing is called a witch hunt. It is ironic that that is what Peter Jones warns Gary Shavey about as they speak together. Check it out on itunes.