Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chris's pumpkin-picking field trip was rescheduled to next Thursday. But I was tempted to still use the excuse as cover and rather just stay home this morning. That would buy me little, though, as I knew I'd actually miss next Thursday for his trip: I'm one of the volunteer parent drivers.

I just wasn't in the mood to go this morning. That's very unusual for me. I guess I'm a little run down. But my conviction trumps my moods often, so I forced myself to go. Still, I was five or so minutes late. They were singing something by Wesley that was new to me but I heard only the final verse. Never mind, I liked only the refrain.

The pastor addressed us about not neglecting the fellowship of gathering together. Our numbers were down today. Typical, especially with Nicole.

I had done the entire week's work yesterday afternoon in 90 minutes. The amount of time is right but it's supposed to be spread out over the whole week. But I found my answers were fresh in my mind so I had more confidence in offering them to the group. If too much time has passed, I can't be so sure of my state of mind. So, in other words, I spoke too much.

We are in 1 Thess. 4 and 5. One question took us to Amos 9:9-15. I can't turn to the Minor Prophets without thinking of Fr. Boadt, but that's a good thing. :-) Fond memories. In answering the question, someone quoted verse 10, "All the sinners will die by the sword," but she left out a key clause, in my opinion - "among my people". Now, if they are into dispensationalism, maybe that phrase doesn't matter. Or it speaks only of physical death, not spiritual death. Another question took us to Amos 5:18-27 and, in answering, one lady said the people were caught up in "religion" and "tradition."1

There was no lecture so we got out early. Arriving late and leaving early was just what I needed today. It felt right.

1 and music? Verse 23.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not being late today made me realize how much I missed last week.1 A tamed version of "Shout to the Lord" is still in my head. I was the only one with my eyes open, who needed them open. During the announcements, I continued to read a pamphlet I'd picked up from the back table answering "Which Bible?" It's a pitch for the ESV, and a pretty lame one because I recognized immediately the cut & paste job from - this page with HCSB omitted and this page of endorsements, reordered with "favorites" near the top (R.C. Sproul heads it up).

My attention returned to the address when the director of the children's program got up. She explained the "process" of meaningful crafts and coloring sheets:
"The coloring hangs on the fridge using the magnet your child made that first week ..."
"Then it goes into the folder."
She said that the children's program is different this year because they need two adults in the child care rooms at all times. So CBS participants, like me, will be volunteered up to twice a term. Somehow they have it worked out so I won't miss any of my program but I think that involves me arriving early and leaving late. I just might not.

I keep forgetting how little I have in common with these ladies theologically. I was reminded with a jolt when one of the questions asked why Paul refers to Timothy as "God's fellow worker" but to his other companions as "my fellow worker" (e.g., Romans 16:3, Philippians 2:25, Philemon 1,24). The answer was that Paul's companions truly followed Paul, not God - these latter weren't (yet?) genuine believers.2 Appeal was made to 1 Cor. 1:12! But Timothy was a believer, even before he met Paul.

Then again, it could just be an insignificant difference that's been blown out of proportion by a verbal plenary mindset.

The talk after our bookwork mentioned the devil alot. Alot. The lecturer's delivery had the cadence of a sermon. That was fine. I took a better look at the sanctuary, spending more time in it this week. I expected the architecture to imitate or show dependence upon Presbyterian forms but not in this case anyway. There's a raised platform or stage with chairs for the choir. But there's space behind that and a curtain ... which hides the baptistry? It just seems a throwback to "mystery" that I supposed all Protestants were leery of. Maybe they're just leery of "the other guy's," and theirs is alright because they know it/understand it.

Eh, I'm getting tired. Just one more thing: the director of the children's program came up again and told us that the children created paper arks and learned about Noah.
"But their arks don't have any animals because they ate them for snack, animal crackers."
And I thought to myself, "That's in the Bible, too!"

When I walked in to pick Ella up, they were all gathered around a laptop looking at this Elfred Lee drawing. And when we got to the car, Ella told me that she held "the Bible" above her head. Sounds like they had a book parade or something. She mentioned alot of water flowing all around.

Maybe volunteering in the child care program once or twice wouldn't be a bad idea.

1 When I went the opposite direction first to pay for the book for a study I'm not going to do.

2 I think Philippians 4:3 blows that idea out of the water because "my fellow workers' ... names are in the book of life." Not to mention Romans 16:21 in which Timothy is merely called "my fellow worker" by Paul.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Precepts facilitator is taking a sabbatical this fall and, instead, the Thursday morning group plans to work through this book until Thanksgiving. The regular leader may be back by then.

I'm in the mood for a change of pace so I searched on Community Bible Study and found one in Allenwood. I registered a few weeks ago. The core leader called last week to remind me of the first class. Turns out the kids were off school (and we went to the Philadelphia Zoo) so I was unable to make the first class. I'm surprised they held it. Maybe not many participants have school-aged kids. I was invited to pick up my workbook this weekend from someone's front porch.

Allenwood isn't near my home but it's near where the kids take tennis lessons on Saturday mornings. So, this morning I dropped them off at their lesson in Manasquan and went over to Brielle to the house. I'm only vaguely familiar with the area from having taken my car to the service place on St. Rt. 35 several times years ago. And passing through to Pt. Pleasant. My GPS showed a circle for the intersections of 34, 35 and 70 but it's been upgraded to a cloverleaf several years ago. So I tried my best to follow the "directions." Thank goodness TomTom doesn't yell at me for driving on what it thinks is grass!

It just so happened that today was Brielle Day or something and there was a 10k foot race along the roads I traveled. I had to go real slow and watch for runners passing. Then, pulling into the driveway, I wondered how I would back out without hitting anyone, as runners were on both sides of the road. Fortunately, by the time I retrieved my workbook from a bag on the front porch and programmed my GPS to take me back to the kids' tennis place, a race official was at the end of the driveway ready to assist me in backing out. I appreciated that very much.

Really beautiful area down there in Brielle. The golf course was super-packed with work hard, play hard types.

The workbook contains six lessons on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. The commentary material was written by a man with degrees from Princeton, Dallas, SMU and Fuller. The materials profess to be "mainstream Christian" and with that background, there's a good chance of that. At least the author didn't spend all his time at WTS. Of course, I'd feel really great if the commentator didn't think Paul wrote 2nd Thess. (cf. Support for Authenticity - Wiki, Jerome Murphy-O'Connor). Or make a big deal about Paul being "in the lead" despite co-authoring with Silas and Timothy. Why insist on Paul's leadership?

I finished lesson 1 in short order today. I probably have to do lesson 2 before Thursday. I absentmindedly requested a copy of the Prophets & Kings book (above) so I'll pay for/pick that up before excusing myself and heading over to Allenwood later this week.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

With the boys back to school and Ella's preschool program not yet started, she's been coming to church with me in the mornings this week. She's been good and quiet and still. Except this morning, she inadvertently bumped me in the nose and immediately sang out "Sorry" before she could check herself.

I usually favor the "long reading" when given a choice, but this morning I was struggling to hold Ella along with her Build-A-Bear bunny and Thomas the Tank Engine blanket. But the lead-in to his sermon depended on the long reading and, besides, the length of the Gospel reading off-set the brief, three verses from Romans.

On Sunday, the lector had bobbled pronouncing "Philemon" so much that she didn't recover in time to pronounce "Onesimus" correctly either. So it was very pleasant to hear the priest properly pronounce ten or so "tricky" names. And what I was really grateful for was that, of those listed before the Exile, I knew pretty much something about them and was pretty sure I could find their "stories" in the Scripture. It takes time but, with repetition, some stuff sticks.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sunday Snippets - a Catholic carnival hosted by Rann at "This That and the Other Thing."

My submission this week:

Saturday, September 04, 2010

It's a man's world.

The first time we went seining, the fuse in my cigarette lighter blew. The battery in my (nearly) four year old GPS no longer holds a charge, so I lost that device immediately. Plugging into the secondary cigarette lighter offered no alternative as both outlets are on the same fuse. I navigated home "blind" but it was alright because I remembered the area - eastern Monmouth county - from my professional days.

In asking to borrow Jeff's GPS for our second seining trip that week, I was indirectly informing him that my car needed a fuse. He had changed this particular fuse for me once before and maybe he remembered that there were no longer any spares of this type.1 His got me there but I ran into the same trouble as before on the way home. It seems his (two-year younger) GPS doesn't hold a charge either. On the third and final trip seining, I had no option but to navigate unassisted and missed only one turn which I quickly recognized and corrected.

I might be taking the kids to the Philadelphia Zoo for their days off school this week and, so, would really need my GPS. How to find an auto supply store without a working GPS? I knew of one down 130 in Robbinsville but when I drove by there on Monday, it was closed up rather permanent-looking. I had bought floor mats for my new car there about five years ago. The floor mats are long gone but I still have the car.

So the online Yellow Pages turned up Paris's near H&H Gas in Windsor. We had toured H&H's showroom more than three years ago looking at ranges and dishwashers. But since Jeff had driven us there on a blustery winter day with little visibility, I needed to click the directory listing's map to find the place on my own. So the Robbinsville store had moved to Windsor, a bit closer.

I went over there first thing this morning before I was really awake. Jeff asked me to pick up a case of 10W30 motor oil for his lawn tractor. It's a small store so I wasn't as overwhelmed as usual and I spotted the fuse kiosk immediately. I pick out the right amperage and purchased it.
That was quick.
A little too quick for, as soon as I stepped out of the shop, I recalled the motor oil. Actually, cases of motor oil caught my eye as I walked out. So, I turned 'round and bought a case, after admitting somewhat casually that I'd forgotten something.

When I got home, Jeff was eager to insert the new fuse ... and just as eager to tell me I'd bought the wrong size.
Is the oil OK, as I'm going back anyway?
I walked back in with the receipt and the unopened package and told the checker that I wanted to exchange it for the right one.
Oh, did you buy the wrong one?
Such a patronizing tone. But I fully expected it. I just left the receipt and small package at the counter and walked to the kiosk for the correct size.
Oh, you needed a mini. That's actually 81¢ more.
And whether or not that included the mandatory restocking fee, I don't know. Then and there, then, I opened the fuse panel and inserted one of the new ones, plugged in the GPS and selected "HOME."

1 I noticed that none of the fuses in use had the needed amperage, so I couldn't "borrow."