Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2018

Archive for the category “Religion”

Throwback Thursday from August 2015

Throwback Thursday from August 2015

Take My Sermon, Please

PulpitJUST ABOUT EVERY SATURDAY my wife, the lovely and officially Reverend, Dawn, sits down and writes her sermon for Sunday’s services. She starts planning each sermon days or even weeks ahead of time, but does the actual typing on Saturday. It is a lot of work. She doesn’t get up there and wing it on Sunday morning. It takes her a lot of preparation time and it shows in her sermons. Just ask anybody who hears her.

This past Saturday she was busy working on her sermon when I announced that I was heading out to St. Arbucks to work on this blog.

“I’m going to attempt to be somewhat creative,” I said.

“Me too,” she answered. “I’ll tell you what – how about it if I do your blog and you do my sermon?”

In the past I have volunteered to write a sermon for her, but her better judgment stepped in and said, “No way, Bucko.” I guess she was afraid that I would hand her a sermon that was a cross between St. Paul and Daffy Duck.

“Jesus and the twelve apostles walk into a bar. The bartender asks, ‘What’ll you have?’ Jesus says, ‘Water for everybody,’ and St. Peter moans and says, ‘Here we go again.’”

I must admit that my writing style is a bit different from Dawn’s. Her sermons rely on Scripture and Theological Philosophy while my sermons would tend more toward what I saw at Kroger’s and “Knock-Knock jokes.”

“Knock, knock”

“Who’s there?”

“God”

“God who?”

“God, the Father, who gave his only begotten son…”

Most people know that verse from looking in the endzone at any NFL football game.

I’m still in the market for some inexpensive Biblical bobblehead dolls to use as visual aids. I think that if I could just illustrate the Christmas story with bobbleheads or some sort of Action Figures it would reach out to people in a whole new way. I mean, really, if they can market Jimi Hendrix and Travis Bickle Action Figures at Toys-R-Us I don’t see why they can’t carry the Holy Family or the Three Wise Men (Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh accessories sold separately).

I think that my wife is afraid that I might step over any number of lines of propriety and say or do something offensive. I would never do that. Just because I have a background of working in saloons, comedy clubs and assorted dives it doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to behave in polite society. I’ve even made presentations in front of Kiwanis Clubs and if you can do that and get out alive you can do anything.

If I were the guest sermonizer one Sunday I would get the audience’s, er…congregation’s, attention by being interesting, making my words relevant to their everyday lives, and by requiring a two think minimum.

There is no doubt that Jesus had a sense of humor – just look at the people He chose to pal around with – a bunch of misfits, some “outdoorsmen” worthy of their own show on the Weather Channel, and a tax collector. And one of that crew turned on him.

It was so hard to get good help in those days.

I’ll be the first to admit it – Dawn does better sermons than I could ever do. She has “the calling” for that work. The only “calling” I ever got was trying to get me to refill a nonexistent prescription with a Canadian pharmacy.

If Dawn ever decides that she would like a Sunday off I would be more than happy to step up and knock one out of the park.

I think there is room enough for both of us in the pulpit.

Well, maybe not.

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What Are You Gonna Do? 

DURING OUR STAY IN DEMOREST, GEORGIA, on the campus of Piedmont College I must laud high praise on the facilities and the very helpful staff – but I do have one minor, teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy complaint. I say this knowing that I may be the only person here who cares about it. Excuse my reiteration.

In all of the literature from the college, bent on luring us all to come here, they gleefully state that there is a “Starbucks right on the campus,” in the “Commons” building by the bookstore.

Technically they have told the truth.

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Look Out! She Has A Clipboard.

I THINK I LIKE IT HERE. I have made a friend in the cafeteria. For two days now when I have gone to have lunch with my wife, the lovely and officially present, Dawn, I have selected what I wanted for lunch and I have dutifully marched up to the cashier. That is where the magic happens.

Dawn, as an official part of this Gathering, has her meals included. I, as a mere spectator, do not. That’s understandable.

However…

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We’re Having Such Funnel

WE HAVE ARRIVED. We are now in the Megalopolis of Demorest, Georgia. It is a town that is bigger than a breadbox, but smaller than Tokyo.

Our accommodations are in the dorms of Piedmont College and I’ll tell you – these dorms are nicer than some apartments I’ve had. The furnishings are a bit “IKEA,” but better than stuff rescued from a curbside or dumpster that I have had in my younger days. This dorm has a recreation room with a big screen TV and a Pool Table/Ping Pong Table. There are laundry facilities that are FREE! And each dorm room has a private bath. None of this trotting down the hall to take a shower business. And, may I add, a very nice kitchen. If it had a stove I would consider moving in.

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Rechargeable Batteries


IN JUST A FEW DAYS WE WILL BE HEADING SOUTH to attend the NACCC Annual Church Meeting. It is always a good and refreshing time. The delight of seeing old friends – I think that the best word is “Fellowship.” That means more than sitting around with a cool drink and shooting the breeze with everyone.

It is a time to exchange ideas, joys, sorrows, and hopes and plans for the future. It is also a time to recharge the batteries of faith – faith in God, Humanity, ourselves and each other. Time and tribulation can drain our batteries, but this Annual Meeting works to plug us in and reenergize us all for the year ahead.

The chores of daily life draw from our batteries much like accidentally leaving on your car headlights. You may be casting out a light to illuminate the way, but it won’t be long before you find yourself in the dark. The Annual Meeting acts like jumper cables to restart our engines and get us back on the road. Perhaps the old Willie Nelson song, “On The Road Again,” should be added to the Hymnal?

“On the road again

Just can’t wait to get on the road again.

The life I love is making music with my friends.

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

 

When I hear that it makes me think of the message of “Amazing Grace.”

“How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.’

Maybe it’s just me and my life experience, but I see so much in both those songs. Both carry a message of life renewed, rescued from days without joy and bearing the power of the music shared with friends.

Both songs sing of recharging our batteries and seeing our life with renewed energy. Whether you are singing “Amazing Grace” or “On the Road Again,” you are leaving behind the time when life was hard and are entering a time of happiness and energy.

Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia – brace yourself. We are on our way and we can get a little loud at times. There will be a fair amount of singing and laughter. There will be looking back at our past and a lot of looking to the future. There will be joy.

Do You Believe In Miracles?

A SATURDAY MORNING IN THE RAIN. While you are reading this on a Tuesday I wrote it a couple of weeks ago. And it’s raining again. We could seriously use a miracle.

The past two weeks have been very wet here along the Banks of the Wabash – and those banks are a lot closer than they were before all of this rain. We have had over 7” of rain in the last week or so. Everyone and everything are waterlogged. All I can say in a positive sense is – At least it’s not snow.

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In This Sign You Shall Fluff Dry

I POPPED INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD LAUNDROMAT the other day to take care of a few of my “nice and frilly” things when I saw a handwritten sign taped to the wall,

“Free Wi-Fi! Enjoy your time with us.”

Well, I thought that was the most sociable thing I’d ever seen in a laundromat. Most of their signs are of the “Do this” or “Don’t do that,” variety. I remember seeing a sign in a laundromat years ago that said,

“Do not put children in the dryers!”

Always sound advice I would say.

While I was waiting for my things to finish drying I overheard a woman speaking with the young lady behind the service counter. The woman had also seen the sign on the wall and had a question.

“What is this free ‘Wee-Fee’ and how do I get some?”

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Not Just Another Day

val1IN CASE YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING IN A CAVE for the last six weeks or so let me be the one to tell you – Today is Valentine’s Day. And you time is running out if you wish to live.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to Love, Candy, and Greeting Cards. There is nothing else like it. Christmas may dominate when it comes to the cards and Halloween has a lock on the candy thing, but no other day – not even Opening Day of Baseball Season – can do Love like Valentine’s Day.

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Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday –  Continued

Chapter Twenty

 

pull-church“Happy Communion to you.  Happy Communion, Dear Beverly.  Happy Communion to you.”

She had loved the party celebrating her First Holy Communion.  She loved the white dress that looked so much like a small wedding dress as she walked down the aisle at St. Rocco’s Church.  She felt like she was getting married to Jesus.  It was a little Catholic girl’s dream.  It was a holy day for the family.

In the family room, the kids gathered about the table that was piled high with gifts. Wrapping paper with pictures of horses and bright ribbon were everywhere.  Twelve little girls and boys were dressed in their best.  The boys wore suits and several of the other girls wore their First Communion dresses.  The mothers in the room were beaming.

Twelve boys and girls, all of whom were the children of her father’s friends.  Family was Family.  Outsiders were never allowed inside, even if that outsider was a seven-year-old classmate and lived across the street.

On a side table sat a twelve-hundred dollar crystal punch bowl filled with a bright red lake of Hawaiian Punch.

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Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday –  Continued

Chapter Nineteen

 

pull-newspaperWhen she ran from Dominic she was hoping that, in time, her life would become less complicated.

“Well that didn’t happen, did it?” she said out loud as she popped a bagel in the toaster.  She wanted a life that was simpler, not filled with so many dangerous possibilities. “Didn’t get that either, did you?” she said as she picked up the morning paper from outside her door.

 Your timing sucks, girl.  Why did this have to happen now?  Twelve years ago I would have jumped for joy.  Now I’m sick about it, just sick.

“This man…this fine, wonderful, funny, and tender man says that he loves me, and I believe him.  I think that I love him, too.  Oh, hell, I know that I do.  I know that I love the way he smells and the way he tastes.  I love his voice in my ear and his breath on my neck.  He makes me gasp.

“It’s like I’m reading a book for the first time.  One I should have read a dozen years ago.  One that everybody else has already read, and now I want to memorize every word.

“He says that he wants to be with me.  He doesn’t know what that really means.  If I tell him, I’m afraid he’ll run, and I’m afraid for him if he doesn’t run.

“I didn’t know that my skin could ever be so… so in love with someone else’s skin.  He kissed my little scars.  He kissed my moles.  I didn’t know that love could be fun.  I didn’t know that love could be my choice.  I didn’t know love, period.

“I would never hurt him and I’d kill anyone who tried to.  I hope he’d be able to do the same for me.  Hopefully it will never come to that.

“Maybe I can stay here.  Maybe I can be safe.  It’s been only a couple of months, at most.  Oh, why can’t…?  Why can’t…too many things?”

The pungent aroma of the coffee brought her back into her kitchen.  She poured herself a mug and picked up the newspaper.  Quickly scanning past the local news she got to page four.

“Oh, Christ.”
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Go Long For Jesus.

isu3The Time: 6:43 AM

The Place: St. Arbucks Main Chapel.

As I pulled into the parking lot, headed toward my usual Gimp Spot to leave the Toyota I noticed something unusual – the lot was almost full.

Normally at this time of dayscratch that – this time of night, the lot is all but deserted except for the cars belonging to the Early Shift Geezers who must sleep over. No matter when I arrive they are already there swilling coffee and comparing hip replacement stories.

When I stepped inside there were about fifteen additional humans in there. The extras were all young, male, and large – College students.

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Dalai Lama – Yes. Pauly Shore – No.

coffee1IT’S AN UNUSUAL DAY AT ST. ARBUCKS. It is a little before 8 AM and I am the only worshipper present. The Drive-Thru chapel is doing a booming business, but inside – I’m it.

On most mornings this place is hopping and quite noisy. This morning it is a good place for contemplative thought. Maybe they should put up a new sign out renaming this place as: “The Dalai Lama Coffee House.” Ommmmmmm.

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Baseball, Cotton Candy, With The Occasional Fruit Bat

next1EVERY YEAR IT IS IN A DIFFERENT CITY. This year’s Annual National Church Conference is in Detroit (Dearborn, between you and me), but next year it will be held on the campus of Piedmont College in Georgia. That is going to be quite a change.

This year in Detroit (whatever), last year in Salt Lake City, before that in Omaha, Orlando, Phoenix, etc. – All big cities with top notch accommodations and facilities. Next year on a small college campus, sleeping in dorm rooms and sharing bathrooms. Hmmmmm?

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New Shooter Comin’ Out!

Today’s blog was inspired by a posting about Albert Einstein that was put on Facebook by an old college friend who is still alive. Thanks, Glen.

Dice 1

ACCORDING TO ALBERT EINSTEIN the most important question that we, as a species, can ask might be, “Is the universe a friendly place?”

If the universe is “friendly” as Al says (to mildly paraphrase), then we should be ready to be inundated with interstellar welcome wagons, coupons for free ‘this and that’ from a mall in Alpha Centauri, and Motherships full of door-to-door Alien contractors offering free estimates on roof repair.

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Whatever Happened To Sidekicks?

side 1THE OTHER DAY I MENTIONED THE ACTOR Jay Silverheels who played “Tonto” in the old TV Western, “The Lone Ranger.” It got me to thinking, a sometimes dangerous condition, and I began to cogitate about “Sidekicks.”

I’ve seen one definition of the word as follows: “A sidekick is a slang expression for a close companion or colleague (not necessarily in fiction) who is actually, or generally regarded as, subordinate to the one he accompanies.”

The origin of the word comes from the less than honorable profession of the Pickpocket.

I would think that Tonto might dispute that part about being “subordinate.” How many times did Tonto save The Lone Ranger’s bacon?

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Am I Religious?

God 1

WHAT KIND OF A QUESTION IS THAT TO ASK? Before I’ve had my coffee even? After all, what makes a person “religious?”

If there was to be a survey taken I couldn’t accurately predict the outcome. Yeah, well, maybe I could, but it wouldn’t really matter.

You see – God and I have this arrangement. Actually, it’s the same arrangement He’s made with all of us. All that God asks of me is that I give Him a respectful nod for who He is and what He has accomplished and that I try to get along with the guy who lives next door. I mean, is that too much to ask? I think not. It is simply worded without any “whereases,” “wherefores,” and “party of the first part” stuff to gum up the works. Neat. Clean. To the point. No trap doors. I think it all boils down to, “Don’t be a jackass.”God 2

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Report Card Time

HERE WE ARE AT THE END OF THE YEAR. In many ways it has been a good year, but in other ways it has been, to quote Queen Elizabeth – an “Annus Horribilis.” That’s what she said.Report-Card

I take it to mean a horrible year. Of course, my skills in Latin are limited to what I recall from my eight years at St. Marys Catholic Grade School – and that translates to, “Sit up straight, be quiet, and get a good education.”

In homage to the Little Sisters of the Right Cross I will give this year, 2015, its very own Report card.

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Take My Sermon, Please

PulpitJUST ABOUT EVERY SATURDAY my wife, the lovely and officially Reverend, Dawn, sits down and writes her sermon for Sunday’s services. She starts planning each sermon days or even weeks ahead of time, but does the actual typing on Saturday. It is a lot of work. She doesn’t get up there and wing it on Sunday morning. It takes her a lot of preparation time and it shows in her sermons. Just ask anybody who hears her.

This past Saturday she was busy working on her sermon when I announced that I was heading out to St. Arbucks to work on this blog.

“I’m going to attempt to be somewhat creative,” I said.

“Me too,” she answered. “I’ll tell you what – how about it if I do your blog and you do my sermon?”

Read more…

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