The header is a sign of my wish for Spring to come.  

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Exploring and Subscribing to the OLD FOOL’S website

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The Old Fool welcomes you

Recent posts and comments, archives of past posts, and categories of the posts are listed on the right of the opening page. If you ever wonder how my posts are written, click here.

Bookmark www.oldmennonfools.com or   Click here to subscribe to receive email notice of new posts. Email addresses are not sold or shared.   

To better know me, go to my life and the longer articles named on the black ribbon above. Browse, comment and question as you wish. We journey on together in the pilgrimage of life and faith.

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God’s View of Time

A friend at my request sent me a complimentary copy of the November issue of Free Thought Today.  I found this definition in the Free Thought Today paper:  a freethinker is a person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Highlighted in this paper are legal victories under the protections of the first amendment to the US Constitution.

A Christian will turn to the Bible as the basis for his belief.  The Free Thinker on the other hand turns to the first amendment of the US Constitution and goes no further than the “First Amendment” in the bill of rights which reads as follows:

  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petitition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A Bumper Sticker

A  Free Thinker understands the first amendment to protect every citizen from the vagaries of other citizens.  The Old Fool reminds readers that the amendment that protects we who believe protects the free thinker also.

Rachel, Conrad and I recently went to a viewing of a deceased person.  He and his family had been our neighbors in Tampa, Florida. Our children had happily played together.    The mother cared for foster children referred to her by Tampa child care authorities.  The father was a carpenter and he willingly served others with his tools. They lived like Jesus.The family moved to Indiana to be with more conservative Mennonites.

This past month his wife and a daughter had been with him when he breathed his last.  Another daughter wrote in memory of her father: We are glad Dad could go. What is it like for him now?  Somehow he is in the presence of the Lord, though we do not understand all the details.  Does he have his new body already?  If he does, I feel sure the spring is back in his step!  We have a different faith but we do not really know more than a free thinker knows.

Luke Gascho wrote in a Goshen College meditation for today that patience is a calm extension of mercy.  God’s view of time is not like our view of time  Rather, God’s time is long, enduring and ecological. It is like the tiny sequoia seed that sprouts in the right conditions, grows steadily, and forms a tree that lives for millennia.

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Don Blosser’s Response

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Don Blosser tried to post a “remark” to the “New Moniker” post. Failing, he wrote a response to me by email.  (If you are observing changes in my style, the webmaster is migrating my website to a  larger and faster server.)  Don wrote:

For years when I was a young pastor, I read things written by this bishop from Florida who made a lot of sense, and gave me the courage to also say some things that I felt needed to be said. Thus the “Old Fool” proved he was certainly anything but an old fool, by showing wisdom, insight and courage to say things that need to be said. I will miss that moniker.

I interject here that I will continue to know myself as the  Old Fool despite knowing that some of you dislike it and welcome a possible change.  However, it was a conference minister from another conference who advised me “not to be a fool” but to retire quietly.  Retiring from official duties in the conference, I cleaned out my desk. It is my opinion that any one who follows Jesus becomes a fool in the eyes of the world.  I want to be that kind of a fool, always.  Don continued:

On the other side, I need to be persuaded that “Genius” is a good label. It is one of those words like “prophet” that needs to be used by others to describe you rather than you using it on yourself. . .  Being a self-proclaimed genius seems (to me) to be a false self-evaluation that loses its own integrity.

The Last Word

I need to remind Don and others that I was not the first to identify the Old Fool as an Old Genius.  It was a friend of mine who first said I was a genius. I was inclined not to accept it.  But then I read Genesis 1 and was reminded that the God of the Bible created all things in only 6 days.  Any God who can do in six days what god is said to have done must be a Genius.  Then God of the Bible created Adam in His own image.  Any one in God’s image must be a genius, also. That includes you, Don; everyone else and me too.  So Don must remember that we are all geniuses.  That seems to me to be the Bible truth!

A QUOTE FROM THE ODE:

The FOOL stooped to shape some dust
and kneelled to breathe the Breath of Life.
And of the dust made male and female
molded in the image of God
and free to be fools.

(Every one knows it is best to control one’s creation, retaining the right of manipulation, denying the freedom to do wrong.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to breathe life in fools,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

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I’m Given a New Moniker

I believe the Bible to be a progressive revelation that should be read like a novel. A novel is a love story that is best understood if read in sequence from beginning to end.   Some readers believe the Bible’s words and their syllables should be taken literally.

I doubt that any readers of this blog hold the Bible in such high regard.  Most of us tend to be like Joyce. If confronted with the story that God told Joshua to commit genocide she declares flatly that she doesn’t believe it. 

The Bible starts with the simple assertion that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. So some readers  accept the notion that God created everything in only six days.  They are inclined to believe that the God of the Bible knows everything, can do anything, is everywhere and is filled with grace as the final judge.  Thus, if all this be true, the Bible’s God may be considered the Greatest Genius of all geniuses.

Let me confess that  I do not have the benefit of formal theological training so I may have developed some unusual theological concepts.

At the last Men’s Fellowship at CMC,  a brother who has the training that I lack said to me with a smile that he prefers to call me an Old Genius, not an Old Fool. I laughed with him.

 As I read the Bible I understand that its Genius-like God is filled with an indescribable grace and sometimes does what appears to me to be foolish mistakes.

The Genius of the Bible created a man and woman in his/her image. They, and we, being in the image of a Genius who does foolish things, do likewise.  So, I will continue to joyously claim Old Fool as a moniker and unashamedly add the moniker of Old Genius as my friend suggests.        

I began the Ode to The Fool by assuming myself to be a king in whose court there is a FOOL.  I describe him in the words that follow:

In my court is one
better than I,
braver than I,
more affectionate than I,
more humorous than I,
and in wisdom, wiser than I.

If you know someone who might benefit from and
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