The header is a picture of El Sistima students waiting to perform.  

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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.

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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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Life Fades Brilliantly

Soon after arriving in Tama, Florida

Royal Bauer as Bethany teacher from Google images

The first week of February is full of family memories.  On February 1, 1950 Rhoda, Rachel and I left for Florida which we became our home for the next 56 years.  We arrived on Feb. 4, and on February 10 we celebrated Rachel’s second birthday. This Sunday we will celebrate another birthday for Rachel and her son, Phil

The Last Sunday of January was likely the last time I will be in charge of a Sunday School class.  During class time we  honored a past teacher: Royal Bauer. In March, 1949 Royal and  his wife Evelyn were sent by the Mennonite Board of Missions (now MMN) as missionaries to India. Unfortunately, Royal’s wife became ill with polio so after only three years in India they needed to return to the US. Her exceptional recovery allowed her to review books, do art work and type on an electric typewriter with the aid of an arm-sling.   Until his retirement, Royal was a member of the faculty of Bethany Christian Schools, Goshen. Indiana.

Bauer at celebration

At the beginning of Greencroft fifty years ago, the College Mennonite Church was responsible for the appointment of Sunday School teachers at Greencroft.  Royal Bauer accepted an invitation to teach a SS class in the Gathering Room  of Evergreen’s Central Manor. He continued teaching forty-eight years.  The class had the privilege of celebrating his faithfulness.  For four Sundays we had been immersed in the Psalms so we did a short review and I wrote a psalm-like litany as a part of the celebrative service:

 

Praise the Lord from India
          Praise him for sending missionary couples
          Let the churches of India give thanks.

Praise the Lord from Bethany Christian Schools
          Praise him for faculty and staff
          Let the students give thanks

Praise the Lord from Greencroft Evergreen
          Praise him for faithful Sunday School teachers 
          Let the Residents of Evergreen give thanks

As was his custom, Royal played the organ for the class, and we closed with refreshments and a social time.  Since this was my last Sunday as teacher at Evergreen Place I am back to my usual routines at College Mennonite Church.  This includes attending the Borderlands Sunday Morning group and trying to resolve the  tension over how to behave when welcoming LGBTQ persons of faith.  For me, the tension melts away when I define “all” unconditionally.

All wonderfully 
gives graceful welcome to all
as we all received

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Being Ninety and Disabled with Advantages

Speaking at College Hill Mennonite Church, Tampa, Florida

It occurs to me that I am old and disabled with advantages. I have a woman friend with whom I share, and we confidently made the decision not to marry. We agree that our friendship and our singleness is an advantage. She went with me to have my eyes examined expecting to help me choose new glasses. She wants the shape and color of the glasses to enhance my appearance.  I am primarily concerned that I see. But appearances are important.  Having such a friend is to my advantage.

My Friend and I enjoy reading the novels on my kindle. The climatic two chapters of a fictional story of love and faith which we just finished reading had us laughing and crying. Our pastor told his congregation that reading fiction makes us more empathetic to others.  Having a kindle to download books for our enjoyment and growth is an advantage.

My New Sister

A woman who eats at a table near me in the dining room overheard me say that I only had one brother and no sisters, and that I had been looking for a sister all my life. She said, “I will be your sister!” Her name is Ramona. We found that a few people  she knew in Michigan I had learned to know in Florida. Having gained a sister in my ninetieth year is an advantage.  She has a tender heart and a sensitive conscience.

An Elkhart County music teacher was invited to bring 15 fourth grader students to our men’s fellowship to demonstrate their skills.  In the El Sistema system of teaching she uses ukuleles and recorders as instruments to enhance social skills.  Get a “ted talk” by clicking  here  that shows how the brain lights up when a student plays an instrument.  Perhaps previous generations of Mennonites would have developed better social skills if they had promoted more use of instruments in their congregations.

Today’s email brought Goshen College Bulletin Points. The college is offering a new  minor on teaching the El Sistema system to future music teachers.  The release also offers an encounter with Sarah Thompson, director of Peacemaker Teams.  Her MLK day speech was interrupted by a heckler, and Sarah gave a live demonstration of a non-violent response.  That alone makes her speech worth listening to.  Click here and learn from this powerful human speech.

Life lived is living
peace with friends and enemies
by returning good

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Forgive us our sins

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