What we’re reading

As you know, my Joyce and I spend much of our time together reading what interests us. I read faster privately and am reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I must have read it  in my youth because I recognized “Barkus is willin” and remembered Uriah Heep. Dicken’s writing is not what I think Joyce and I would enjoy reading out loud to each other. The language is difficult and the times are so  different that I am being stretched by what I read.  Like other authors, Charles Dickens reveals a lot about himself as he writes his novels.

The same is true of Sarah Quesada.  Joyce and I have read her book: “Love undocumented: Risking Trust in a fearful World.”  She fell in love with an undocumented person, and the book is about the long process and the struggle they had to correct his status to get married with standing.  You may go to her website by clicking here.  I encourage you to go there and to follow her blog.  You will learn much about relating to  your neighbours who are undocumented, fearful, and feeling unwanted.     She writes, “I would love to include you in my weekly email, which I call The Road Map. It’s a quick list to keep you informed and inspired as we navigate faith, justice, and culture in our world today.”   She makes it easy for anyone to sign up on her blog.

Joyce and I are also reading books by Ron Hall and Denver Moore about their friendship and the influence on them of Ron’s wife, Deborah.  Ron is  white and rich, and Denver is black and homeless. The books are “The same different as me” and “What difference do it make.”  You may link to the work of these authors by clicking  here.

In these books we learned of the potential of becoming friends with those who have failed in life and have no hope.  We recommend the books to the readers of this blog. When I followiedthe link my self I found  youtubes of Ron and Denver telling their story.  Click here for a Youtube of Denver telling his story.

As I write I am remembering that Pastor Phil Waite advised the congregation that reading novels would help us to empathize with others. I believe that to be true.

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I haven’t written much recently because  among other things I’ve had a bout with the flu.  One night I began to feel unwell and I pushed my “help” button.   The Greencroft attendant that responded saw that I was in distress.  She asked if I wanted her to call my daughter, and I said yes.  Rachel came and asked if I wanted the ambulance to take me to the hospital.   Again I answered with a yes.

The hospital ran a series of tests.  When I told the doctor that the large muscles in my legs and thighs were hurting he said that that’s the flu.  I was kept in the hospital for several days and then I was transferred to the therapy rehab at Greencroft. The physical and occupational therapists brought me back to near normal.

So, now I am at home in Apt 83.  The therapists instructed me to never be far from my “wheels”.  I use a walker to move about the Apt., go to the dining room and get my mail.  Being slowed by the flu I am also moving along in the aging process.  On March 14 of this year I became 92 years old.   By then I was able to accept Rachel’s invitation to spend the next Sunday afternoon at her home for a small open house to receive family members.

The residents of Evergreen have been introduced to Stephenie Maupin, a new and licensed director of Assisted Living.  I was fascinated when I learned that she milked six goats each morning before coming to work.  That is a part of her part in the family business.  Go the her family website by clicking here.

Weeks have gone by since I wrote the above paragraphs.  It is now mid-April but the forecasts seem to indicate that our  hope spring to come will soon be fulfilled.

Today in the Elkhart Truth there is an obituary of an Anna  Martin  who died at 95.  She had 6 sons and 5 daughters and is survived by 82 grandchilren, 316 great grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren.  She was an Old Order  Mennonite  who was born in Pennsylvania and died in Indiana. What a life that must have been.

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Genius revisited

Now that I’ve shared the insights of my contrarian friend on the word “genius” and whether it can be applied to me, or to God, I wish to add some thoughts of my own.  But cautiously, for Paul  warned Timothy  against quarreling about words which in his opinion is valueless.  (2. Timothy 2:14)

First: I agree that a dictionary is a good first place to study a word. However, there are differences among dictionaries. Some are collegiate, others are on a high school level with simpler definitions.  Dictionaries like translations of the Bible should be compared and contrasted.

The compilers of  dictionaries are aware that the context shapes the meaning to a word. That is true of all words; no final meaning without a context. So my anonimos friend had his dictionary, but he did ask me what I meant by genius, and it did not occur to me to ask the man who called me an old genius what he meant by the term.

I accept the verdict that I am a follower. I don’t think it is a bad thing to be a follower especially if it means that I am able to adopt and adapt to those to whom I am accountable.  I was somewhat submissive to and honored my father and the Lancaster Conference bishop board.  I was more attentive to the wishes of the local congregations in my district than to a Bishop Board a thousand miles away.  A conservative bishop traveled to the Southeast and reported to another that the farther south you go the worse it gets.

More than any other motivation, I have wanted to be a follower of Jesus.  My text for my first florida sermon centered on what is found in 2. Corinthians 2:2   Paul was determined to know nothing in Corinth except Jesus Christ.  In this I have followed Paul as he followed Jesus.  This is the theme of my life and like Paul, I am counted a fool by the world for doing so.

Now as for the God of the Bible, no idol image was allowed, yet many anthropomorphisms were needed  to make an Unknowable One more understandable. An anthropomorphism is the attribution of a human form, human characteristics, or human behavior to nonhuman things as  to a deity or an animal.   To say that God has a better than genius-like brain is not more blasphemous than to speak of the face of God is blasphemy.

I send this out on MLK day after attending the Goshen College Convocation on this morning.  The speaker was Leonard dow from eastern Pennsylvania.  You may hear his Sunday morning sermon at College Mennonite Church by clicking here.  Scroll forward for 38 minutes to enter at the beginning of the sermon.

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