March 22, 2017

bible study imageSubject: Refreshment

Golden text: Proverbs 3:7-8*

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

I Samuel 14:24-30

 And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food. 25 Now when all the people came to the forest, behold, there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath, so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”

From 21st Century Science and Health**

When the curse of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and Spirit’s idea.

Beliefs that engender a national theology or political religion are the antithesis of true Christianity. Narrow systems and theories concerning God, human beings, health, and a religious society, are restrictive.

A clergyman once adopted a diet of bread and water to increase his spirituality. Finding his health failing, he gave up his asceticism and advised others never to try dietetics for growth in grace.

The mistake of thinking that either fasting or feasting makes us better morally or physically is one of the fruits of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” concerning which God said, “you must not eat from.”[1] Human mind forms all conditions of the human body and controls the organs, bones, genes, cells, blood, etc., as directly as the determination or will moves the hand.

I Samuel 14: 38-45

 And Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” 44 And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, renewal, and consistency, rather than into decrepitude and loss.

I knew a person who when quite a child adopted a whole wheat and vegetarian diet to cure indigestion. For many years, he ate only bread and vegetables, and drank nothing but water. His dyspepsia increasing, he decided that his diet should be more rigid. So, he ate only one meal every twenty-four hours, a meal consisting of only a thin slice of bread. His physician recommended that he should not moisten his parched throat until three hours after eating. The person passed many weary years in hunger and weakness, almost in starvation. The skill of the doctors was exhausted and they kindly informed him that death was indeed his only alternative, so he finally made up his mind to die. Then divine Science saved him, and perfect health was restored without a reminder of the old complaint.

This person learned that suffering and disease were the self-imposed beliefs of mortals, and not the facts of being. He recognized that God never decreed dis-ease—never ordained a law that fasting should be a means of health. Hence semi-starvation is not acceptable to wisdom, and it is equally far from Science, in which being is sustained by God, Mind. These truths opened the sufferer’s eyes, relieved his stomach, and he ate without suffering, “giving God thanks.” But, disciplined by self-denial and divine Science, he never enjoyed his food as he imagined he would back in the day when he was constantly hungry.

This new-born understanding that neither food nor the stomach, without the consent of human mind, can make us suffer, brings with it another lesson, that self-indulgence, gluttony, or bulimia, are sensual illusions and can’t give you satisfaction. This phantasm disappears as we better understand our spiritual existence and walk the line of a balanced life.

I Samuel 21:1-6

Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The commitment of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible. Exceptions only confirm this rule, proving that failure is occasioned by a strong faith in failure.

If athletes believed it impossible to accomplish record-breaking feats, they could never do it. Their belief that they can achieve something spectacular gives their thought forces, called muscles, the flexibility and power which the unscientific might attribute to adrenaline or genes. Fear must disappear before the power of putting resolve into action can appear.

Mark 2:23-28

One Sabbath [Jesus] was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

From 21st Century Science and Health

If human mind is kept active, must it pay a penalty by having a headache or becoming exhausted? Who dares to say that actual Mind can be overworked? When we reach our limits of mental endurance, we conclude that intellectual labor has been carried sufficiently far. On the other hand, when we realize that immortal Mind is ever active, we are able to rest in Truth. When we understand that our God-given spiritual energies and resources can’t wear out, or be trespassed upon by mortal laws, we are refreshed by the assurances of immortality, opposed to mortality.

Evidence of progress and of spiritualization can definitely be seen in the world. People are realizing the power of mind. We are learning to question drug systems and surgical procedures. Less obtrusive drugs, alternative health care treatments, responsible eating, consistent exercise, and homeopathy are being pursued. The substance of medicine is being transferred from matter to mind.

Proverbs 15: 28-33

28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
29 The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the bones.
31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Human beings should renew their energies and endeavors, and see the folly of hypocrisy while also learning the necessity of working out their own salvation.

Love never loses sight of loveliness. Its halo rests on its object. Isn’t it amazing that a friend is always beautiful? Men and women of seasoned years and increased wisdom ought to advance in spirituality and health, instead of lapsing into gloom and doom. Spiritual Mind renews the body with nice features.

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 5th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

 

[1] Gen. 2:17

November 9, 2016

bible study imageSubject: Immortality

Cheating mortality seems to be a popular past-time for human beings these days. Death and aging are avoided as if physical immortality is possible.

But isn’t an “immortal mortal” an oxymoron?

Nonetheless, science keeps inventing ways to slow down the aging process and push death to outer limits. New hearts, livers, and kidneys replace old ones. Botox is injected into the body to make the flesh look younger.

But there is more to life and we know this intuitively.

In light of falling birth rates and rising life expectancies, a Pew Research Study gives a peek into what Americans think about extended mortal lives. Here are a few quotes from the study, titled, Living to 120 and beyond: American’s views on aging, medical advances and radical life extensions:

“The U.S. population is rapidly aging. By 2050, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, one-in-five Americans will be 65 or older, and at least 400,000 will be 100 or older.1

“At this early stage, public reaction to the idea of radical life extension is both ambivalent and skeptical. Asked about the consequences for society if new medical treatments could “slow the aging process and allow the average person to live decades longer, to at least 120 years old,” about half of U.S. adults (51%) say the treatments would be a bad thing for society, while 41% say they would be a good thing.

“Most Americans also foresee other negative implications. About two-thirds agree that ‘longer life expectancies would strain our natural resources’ and that ‘medical scientists would offer the treatment before they fully understood how it affects people’s health.’ And about six-in-ten (58%) say ‘these treatments would be fundamentally unnatural.’

“Opinion is more divided over whether ‘our economy would be more productive because people could work longer;’ 44% agree, while about half (53%) reject this idea.”

By reading the entire Pew report, one can see that people are indeed contemplating the idea of immortality. Either directly or indirectly. Moreover they know the value of infusing ethics and spirituality into the contemplation.

Most of us know that with more older people will come more social and economic problems. Elderly people will need to be sheltered, fed, and clothed.

Fairness is also an issue of concern. Probably only the rich people could afford anti-aging treatments.

Immortality is mentioned a few times in the Bible. Read, I Corinthians 15:53-54 and II Timothy 1:9-10.

The word, immortality, in the Corinthian verses, was assigned to the Greek word, athanasia, meaning deathlessness. In II Timothy, the word immortality was interpreted from the Greek word, aphtharsia, meaning incorruptible, unending existence, genuineness, and sincerity.

Using both Greek words, an expanded definition of immortality releases us from the seduction of physical immortality. We can rather see immortality as linked to spiritual qualities, rather than the constant need to pop pills or get another heart.

We want the death of outgrown and false beliefs and traditions.

Though scientific knowledge is useful, it runs up against its own limitations. It may provide new knees, but it can’t provide new inspirations, new talents, or new forgiveness.

It is our access to spirituality and its immortality that genuinely presents a sense of ongoing goodness, a sense of pure immortality, available to everyone.

American musician and author of award winning comic book series, The Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way, was quoted as saying, “Oh how wrong we were to think immortality meant never dying.”

We learn that resisting death doesn’t promote immortality. Just as death of the mortal body doesn’t affect immortality.

Read Proverbs 12:28

While watching the 2015 film, Age of Adaline, written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, the question of physical immortality versus spiritual immortality is staged.

The movie is about a young woman, Adaline Bowman, born early 1900s. She becomes a wife and mother, however, at the age of 29-years old, she’s in an accident, albeit weird and unrealistic, but the result keeps her at a constant 29-years old, and constantly running away from relationships.

After eight decades, Adaline’s daughter had out-aged her. But the storyline takes us to how Adaline finds out that love never dies.

Directed by Lee Toland Krieger, the starring actors, Blake Lively (portraying Adaline), Michiel Huisman, and Harrison Ford, show the setbacks, snags, and loneliness that comes with ageless human mortals. And the power of immortal love.

Fortunately, Adaline is involved in another accident, again weird and unrealistic, but she comes out of it as able to age. The gist of the story and the good acting, showed relief and an ability to accept mortal death while getting on with life.

The immortality of spiritual life and love was evidenced in this film.

From 21st Century Science and Health

We must be willing to surrender mortal thoughts in order to walk securely on the only practical road to immortality.

You may dream that you see a flower—that you touch and smell it. You learn that the flower is a product of the human mind, a formation of thought rather than of matter. With a greater imagination, you may see landscapes, auras, chakras, men, and women. The images even simulate mind, life, and intelligence. We learn that these are images which human mind embraces, evolves, and manipulates. These lessons of the imagination teach us that the human mind and material particles are not the image or likeness of God and that immortal Mind is not directly or indirectly in anything changeable.

Though the grass seems to wither and the flower to fade, they reappear. Erase the figures which express numbers, silence the tones of music, give the human being called person to the bacteria, and yet the producing, governing divine Principle lives on, in the case of people as truly as in the case of numbers and music. All this is true despite the laws of human mind which define people as mortal. Though the problems resulting from limited perspectives hide the harmony of Science, these problems can’t destroy the divine Principle of Science. In Science, our indestructibility depends on that of God, good, and follows as a necessary consequence of the immortality of good.

We have overwhelming proof that the human mind pretends to control every organ of the mortal body. But, this mind is a myth and must by its own consent yield to Truth. Although the human mind throws its weight around, it is powerless. The immortal divine Mind takes away all the human minds assumed expertise and saves human mind from itself.

I knew a person who when quite a child adopted a whole wheat and vegetarian diet to cure indigestion. For many years, he ate only bread and vegetables and drank nothing but water. His dyspepsia increasing, he decided that his diet should be more rigid. So, he ate only one meal every twenty-four hours, a meal consisting of only a thin slice of bread. His physician recommended that he should not moisten his parched throat until three hours after eating. The person passed many weary years in hunger and weakness, almost in starvation. The skill of the doctors was exhausted and they kindly informed him that death was indeed his only alternative, so he finally made up his mind to die. Then divine Science saved him and perfect health was restored without a reminder of the old complaint.

This person learned that suffering and disease were the self-imposed beliefs of mortals and not the facts of being. He recognized that God never decreed dis-ease—never ordained a law that fasting should be a means of health. Hence semi-starvation is not acceptable to wisdom and it is equally far from Science, in which being is sustained by God, Mind. These truths opened the sufferer’s eyes, relieved his stomach, and he ate without suffering, “giving God thanks.” Though disciplined by self-denial and divine Science, he never enjoyed his food as he imagined he would back in the day when he was constantly hungry.

This new-born understanding that neither food nor the stomach, without the consent of human mind, can make us suffer, brings with it another lesson, that self-indulgence, gluttony, or bulimia, are sensual illusions and can’t give satisfaction. These phantasms disappear as we better understand our spiritual existence and walk the line of a balanced life.

Expanded mindsets can see immortal goodness.

When understanding modifies the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis, we gain the reality of Life. Spirituality allows us to experience the control of Soul over temporal sense and perceive Truth in its divine Principle. This must be the climax before our harmony and immortality is felt and our capabilities revealed.

Progress comes from experience. Humanity is improved as the mortal is dropped for the immortal.

 

 

August 31, 2016

bible study image Subject: Spiritual beings

Golden text: I Corinthians 2: 15-16*

 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Judges 4: 1-16

And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, for he had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years.

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 When Sisera was told that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, 900 chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot.

From 21st Century Science and Health**

Human beings must break out of this mental cycle of thinking that material life is all-in-all. They must think outside of the box with divine Science, and look to the infinite cosmos. Be aware though, that thought which escapes the box and has not yet been instructed by the Science of Truth and Love, may become wild with freedom and so be self-contradictory.

It is a fight with the flesh, in which we must conquer sin, sickness, and death, either here or hereafter—certainly before we can reach the realm of Spirit or life in God.

Physical Sensation said that he knew man and woman, and that they were made in the image of God, but were criminals. This is foul slander on their Maker. It blots the fair insignia of omnipotence. It indicates malice aforethought, a determination to condemn man and woman in the interest of Physical Sensation. At the bar of Truth, in the presence of divine Justice, before the Judge of our higher tribunal, the Supreme Court of Spirit, and before its jurors, Spiritual Perceptions, I proclaim this witness, Nerve, to be destitute of intelligence and truth and to be assessed as a false witness.

We have no trials for sickness before the tribunal of divine Spirit. There, people are adjudged innocent of trespassing physical laws, because there are no such laws. Our statute is spiritual, our Government is divine. “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”[1]

Because Truth is infinite, error should be known as nothing. Because Truth is omnipotent in goodness; Truth’s opposite, error, has no power. Evil is only the counterbalance of nonexistence. The greatest wrong is supposing that there is an opposite of the highest right. The confidence inspired by Science lies in the fact that Truth is real and Truth’s opposite is unreal, is an error. Error is a coward before Truth. Divine Science insists that time will prove all this. Both truth and error have come nearer than ever before to the perception of human beings, and truth will continue to appear, as error is self-destroyed.

Mortal mind judges ever-changing evidence, false evidence, until Science wipes it out with spiritual evidence. A logic based on spirituality improves thought, takes a step out of error and encourages the next step in understanding the situation in divine Science.

Judges 4: 16-24

16 And Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.

17 But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.

23 So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel. 24 And the hand of the people of Israel pressed harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

From 21st Century Science and Health

When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, Spirit directs our thought and action. Imperfect human beings grasp the ultimate of spiritual perfection slowly; but to begin aright and to continue the strife of demonstrating the great problem of being is doing much.

During the sensualist age, absolute divine Science may not be achieved prior to the change called death, for we have not the power to demonstrate what we do not understand. The human self must be evangelized. This task God demands us to accept gracefully today, and to abandon so fast as practical the temporal, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual.

It is foolish to take a hesitant position or sit on the fence when it comes to our spirituality. Expecting to work equally with Spirit and matter, Truth and error, is not wise. There is but one way—namely, God and Truth’s idea—which leads to spiritual being. The scientific government of the body must be accomplished through the divine Mind. It is impossible to gain control over the body in any other way. On this fundamental point, cowardly conservatism is absolutely unacceptable. Only by advancing from the root of Truth can scientific healing power be realized.

Substituting good words for a good life, pretending to have a straightforward character, is a feeble change for the weak and worldly, who think the standard of divine Science too high.

As we triumph over erroneous views and allow Soul to hold the control, we shall detest and correct wrongdoing under all its disguises. Only in this way can we bless our enemies, though they won’t take it as a blessing.

Judges 5: 1-2, 15, 19-20, 31

Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:

“That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
that the people offered themselves willingly,
bless the Lord!

15 the princes of Issachar came with Deborah,
and Issachar faithful to Barak;
into the valley they rushed at his heels.
Among the clans of Reuben
there were great searchings of heart.

19 “The kings came, they fought;
then fought the kings of Canaan,
at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
they got no spoils of silver.
20 From heaven the stars fought,
from their courses they fought against Sisera.

31 “So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!
But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”

And the land had rest for forty years.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Theology and physics teach that both Spirit and matter are real and good, whereas the fact is that Spirit is good and real, and matter is Spirit’s opposite. The question, What is Truth, is answered by demonstration—by healing both disease and sin; and this demonstration shows that Christian healing confers the most health and makes the best men. On this basis Christian Science will have a fair fight.

Science reveals Spirit, Soul, as reflected by spiritual beings. God is not in a body, but God is reflected by spiritual beings. The belief that the eternal can be constrained in the temporal is an error that creates problems.

The universe of Spirit is peopled with spiritual beings, and its government is divine Science. Man and woman are the offspring of the highest qualities of Mind.

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 5th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

 

[1] Gen. 18:25

Spirituality strengthened and renewed

Generally, strength is juxtaposed with muscles, and renewal is considered to be the aftermath of a disaster or illness, however, in Delhi, NY, a group of thinkers came together last Sunday to strengthen and renew that which already is strong and new, our spirituality.

Everyone collaborated, not to fight against the mortal human identities, but to fight on the side of truth, the truth that our spirituality is manifest on earth, here and now.

We laughed at the common reactive habit of classifying people as human beings with job status and drama. And, we smiled as we claimed our right to reverse that process and know, and identify ourselves with, spiritual qualities, such as honesty, creativity, generosity, wisdom, and friendliness.

The Science and Health open book portion of the workshop brought to our attention that with all due respect to the humaneness on earth, spirituality and its expression of health and holiness are ours to understand and experience more each day.

There was a brief meditation, further familiarizing ourselves with the fact our lives and work can continue to come into sync with a spiritual God and a good work, an idea read in Science and Health.

I’d like to thank Anna, who provided the venue for this public gathering. Anna, and her family have done a terrific job of renewing the old building which will soon be the See-Saw Café.

God Strengthens and Renews

Summer Dinner

Summer Pudding

When Doug got home from work yesterday, he washed his face and we jumped in the car and drove to Oneonta to find Pam Strother’s house. Pam had invited us to dinner at 6 p.m. We found her quaint home easily enough and were welcomed in along with other guests from the Unitarian Universalist Church.
   Pam graded her guests and Doug and I received A’s while all the other guests received F’s….because Pam told everyone NOT to bring anything except ourselves. In other words, Doug and I were the only people who didn’t present a gift to the hostess. We may have received A’s, but we looked like heels.
   Pam had prepared a cold zucchini soup, salad, and egg plant scaloppini with pasta. Her table was set with china trimmed in gold. Fresh flowers were on the table, and a gentle breeze was flowing through the windows. The meal was fabulously tasteful and a fancy dessert topped it off.
   Conversation covered books, travel, children, God, and the highly prized tidbit of reaching Long Island via the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson ferry. We also concluded as church members, we have the right to re-claim “church” if it has been hijacked by hypocrisy, self-righteousness, or sloth. Church is a wonderful tool to use on a spiritual journey and belongs to humanity as a whole.
   Doug and I stayed up past our bed-time, the evening was so refreshing, pleasant, and mind-enlarging. Thanks for a great time Pam.

Sneaking fireworks behind the barn

I hope you all had a brilliant July 4th.

Doug and I had no plans for the evening until our neighbor, Francy, 4-wheeled over here to invite us to their place for fireworks that evening. We mentioned to Francy that back in Kennewick, Washington, it was illegal to shoot fireworks. Grass fires would get started and rush through the desert. Francy said, Oh, fireworks are illegal here too but we are careful and do it behind the barn.

Interesting.

So, as soon as twilight swooned overhead, we make a huge bowl of popcorn and walked behind Francy’s barn for fireworks.

A blazing bonfire was the hub of the audience. We were not the only neighbors present. Neighbors from miles around were there. It was glorious fun and the popcorn was munched down. Francy’s husband, Eddie, and Bob, had fireworks going for over an hour! They were safe, and they did do it right next to a pond full of water.

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” ~William Faulkner

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

P.S. Doug and I also watched the movie 180 degrees South. A mini-documentary by Jeff Johnson about what inspired him to trek to Patagonia to climb mountains. I recommend 280 degrees South. Informative, moving, and striking.
Watch some of last night’s show on this youtube clipping.

An Eclectic Party

Our daughter, Leah, and her boyfriend, Anthony, were visiting us last weekend, so we decided to have a party. I walked to our neighbors houses and invited them. I emailed a few friends who live in the nearby village, and I invited whoever happen to call me on the phone before our early Sunday dinner party.

Leah made scrumptious black-bean burgers. I made tasty black-pepper/ginger greenbeans and beef, cheesecake, and tiramisu. Friends brought fresh green salad, couscous, chili, and applesauce.  Simple, yet delightful.

The atmosphere was alive with diversity and interest. Our cat, Richard, was skulking around the house trying desperately to find a quiet hiding place. The young children had to resort to playing with Richard’s toys, because our house is toyless since our chidlren are grown and gone.

Fortunately, Liz carries drawing pens and paper with her to use as an outlet for her ever-flowing love and creativity. Liz shared her coloring pens and paper with three year old Maica. Leon came as a newbie to us all, via Liz. It was comforting to meet him, an astute thinker and calming influence.

After eating, the young mothers took their children outside to romp. The rooms loudness factor dropped significantly, as if 13 people left, instead of 3 children and 2 mothers. We all inside immediately began misisng them.

Not that we didn’t have good conversation during the quiet lull. Annie spoke with her eloquent and attractive vocabulary that makes me appreciate the beauty in language. Paul and Eliane, shared travel adventures they had experienced over the last seventy years. Leah and Anthony chimed in with enterprising enthusiasm while discussing their new domain Stunt Bums Venus, Leah and Anthony’s doggie, sat on Anthony’s lap the entire time!

Eventually, the dispersion began. I cleaned up and within an hour there was no evidence of such a fortunate inclusive event.

I hope no one was offended that it isn’t my habit to say grace before eating. However, if I did say anything it would be, Thank you all for coming. I know most of you and find you stunningly interesting, therefore it stands to reason that when you get to know one another you will love each other as much as I love you all.

Hebrews 13:2-4
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“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (NIV)

Venus and Richard