Monday, July 30, 2007

I’m back into the lineage thing remembering that the descendants of Roy Ankeny got together this last weekend. If I had crashed their retreat, I would have known the majority of the people and felt quite at home. The relationships over the last forty plus years include employer, landlord, employee, best man, and valued friends. My life is enriched by Ankenys both older and younger than me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. The sanctuary at Hometown Friends Church has a semicircle shape so it’s easy to see the Thornburg family across on the other side. Hubert and Vivian have two daughters and two sons. A son, a daughter, some grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are here this morning. These are well above average people. I’m thinking this family must have at least a half dozen pastors. I’ve been impressed as I’ve seen glimpses of the third generation at work in the church. I’m a little cautious about making much of lineage, but it’s hard to ignore as I look across at three rows of pews.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I’m develo0ping a fear that I might receive an e-mail like this:

I’ve really appreciated our friendship and it makes me sad to have to send this note. But the recent reports on the contagious nature of obesity have me doing some serious thinking about my friendships with overweight people. I’m not saying you are obese, but I’ve noticed you have gained weight. I’m not willing to take risks with my health. I can’t afford to subject myself to the 57 percent increase in the chance of becoming obese by having friends who become obese. Dan, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but if you continue to gain weight I think you will need to limit your friendships to fat people rather than putting people like me at risk.
[signed] Your former friend who doesn’t want to shorten his life due to obesity.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Last night was the final service of the sessions of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends. We’re in interesting mix of rural and suburban. We don’t have much that qualifies as urban by its true definition. We worship on Sunday in churches dotted around Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. A couple of places where we have excelled are Christian camping and Christian higher education. More than 100 years ago we founded what is now George Fox University and we had people who saw the value of Christian camping and bought land on the Oregon coast and at Payette Lakes in Idaho. The best thing about our church is not our buildings, meetings, or even our structure. It’s our vision, dreams, passion, and commitment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I think it was the first song yesterday at church that didn’t sound right to my ears. I don’t have a music knowledge or aptitude, but I know different notes at the same time can create harmony. What I was hearing made me wonder if the vocalists with the microphones were singing parts without the melody line and the congregation was doing enough “follow the leader” that the melody was nearly absent.

The message later in the service was about conflict within the church. The point I came away was simply: it happens and deal with it.

We don’t have to all sing the same note, but it sounds best when the notes fit together and are balanced.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In two days Quakers from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho will begin gathering in Newberg for our annual regional meeting. Good things happen in the scheduled meetings—corporate decision making, worship, instruction. I tend to think some of the best things at any conference are the interactions between the organized sessions.

The most noteworthy thing about this gathering is the under 20 crowd. The importance and potential of the people currently attending elementary school, junior high, and high school is recognized with programs that helps prepare them to create a better church. I’d do well to think more about how I can help prepare the way for them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

John Edwards is on the road to one America. Yesterday this road took him to Marks, Mississippi. It must have been 27 years ago that early one morning I drove from Jackson up to Marks. I had an appointment to interview Rev. Brown—a black pastor who was actively caring for more than just people’s souls. Visiting Marks is a reality check. Poverty and racism seem unabated. Despite the good work of Rev. Brown and others, I expect progress in the last 27 years is dismal.

The road to one America has me thinking about the relationship between hope and poverty. Poverty is measured in dollars, but I’m wondering if hope would be a better measurement. The trap of poverty includes the ways our society sucks the hope out of people on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder.

I’m thinking money and hope are a lot like the chicken and egg.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. This is the day for the outdoor service at Hometown Friends Church. A pancake breakfast on the lawn wasn’t enough incentive to get us here at what would have been our usual time.

The weather has cooperated—overcast but no rain. From where we’re sitting on the lawn I can see through the doors and windows into the front entry. On the back wall of the entry area I can see where the original entry door had been. Other reminders of long ago are the Christian Endeavor stained glass window, the big Ponderosa pine, and the grand old cedar tree.

Clyde Thomas is participating in the service, but before he comments about the bits of God’s creation that people have found and placed on a table he’s talking about the opportunity he and other will have this week in the natural setting of Twin Rocks boys camp. This makes the third time that boys camp has come to mind. The first was when I saw the Staples family minus Don and realized that as boys camp director he was at the coast doing orientation. The second was overhearing excited talk about going to camp from a group of boys behind me—young trees sending roots down and branches up.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A photo from Poseidon Undersea Resorts took up a large part of the front page of my newspaper this morning. Staying a week at the undersea resort in Fiji planned to open in 2009 will cost $15,000. I don’t get to decide how the ultrarich spend their money, but I can think about why they spend $15,000 for a place to stay for a week. We all like to hang out with people who are either as good, or better, than we are. Last weekend we spent a night at a beach front motel. We spent $150. The room and the view were great, but the drinking, smoking, and noise of other guests made me wonder how much a person has to spend to escape the “riff raff.” I tried to avoid the more substantive issue of attitude and motives.

When a person gets a room for $15,000 a week, they don’t have to worry about seeing people like me in the parking lot.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Between my sophomore and junior year in high school I worked for the Ontario Flight Service loading agricultural spray planes and flagging fields for the pilots. It was that summer that I applied for an after-school job at the Argus-Observer. This bit of “when I was your age” is irrelevant to my 16-year-old. (1) We are two different people. (2) There is a 45 year gap between then and now. (3) Social/cultural changes mean he lives in a different world than I did back then. “When I was your age” provides no help for me or for him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The event formerly known as the Christian Bookseller Association Convention has been going on in Atlanta, Georgia, since Sunday. Now it’s the ICRS (International Christian Retailers Show). It’s a more honest name because it’s a better description of a tragic reality. Jewelry, witness apparel, candles, Holy Land imports, cheesy art, cards, toys, games, crosses, angels, scripture candy, pens, pencils, and lots of plastic and ceramic—these are not things that change a mind or heart.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

In the Barclay Press Conversation Café we have an article about the 4/14 Window written by a guy who lives in Texas because a guy in Oregon knows the guy in Texas and then the guy in Texas read an article by a guy in Ohio and discovered that being adoptive parents was something they had in common, so the guy in Texas posted a comment to the article by the guy in Ohio and in other states both guys and gals who don’t know the guys in Ohio, Texas, or Oregon are also connected to each other and to ideas, insights, and experiences.

Monday, July 09, 2007

One of the things on my list for today is sending the monthly Barclay Press newsletter. I look at this as a privilege—the opportunity to make a connection with hundreds of people who have varying levels of interest in Barclay Press. A lot of communication attempts seem to be just more “noise.” The chance to communicate with others (regardless of the form that takes) is something to take seriously. And I want it to do more than just increase the volume.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Earlier today I was standing outside of Pacific Woods Lodge at Twin Rocks Friends Camp when a group of college-age women came up the path. “Are you Abbie’s dad?” someone asked. All of a sudden I was like a long lost friend.

Summer staff is like a family.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Our street is a rectangular loop—twenty-three houses around the outside and eight in the middle. Tonight is the neighborhood barbeque in the corner of the street in front of our house. It’s great to live in a community where this kind of thing happens. About a third of the neighborhood will show up. We bring our own meat to barbeque. Families on the outside of the loop bring salad, veggies, or fruit; those on the inside bring dessert. (It’s a good thing I don’t plan this because I would want to improve the ratio between salads and desserts.) Fireworks will begin at dark. The announcement says, “Please bring only legal fireworks.” I’ll be surprised if we don’t see some of the big stuff going up down the street.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Across the street from the espresso shop a couple is walking up the sidewalk with their little dog on a leash. They move slowly, stopping to look in windows. He is a tender caregiver and the walk is an act of love that gives his spouse an opportunity for her mind to interact with a new set of stimuli. It must be painful—at the same time being so close to each other and yet having lost a portion of the ability to communicate with the logic and wit that was there for so many years. But with a smile on his face and with open arms he embraces what is.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. At Hometown Friends Church we have been going through the book of Hebrews and chapter 13, verse 4 has us talking about marriage, singleness, and sexuality. Statistics on the number of adults who are single give good reason to listen to what the never married, divorced, and widowed have to say about this verse. The message today is really from these people with the pastor keeping their anonymity and delivering their wisdom.

Now it’s open worship time and I doubt if anyone will break the silence. Sex is one of those good words that has been corrupted. It’s hard to glorify the God-blessed physical relationship between a married woman and man when the same word is used for selfish lust.