Friday, July 29, 2011


Today is the day we take out the trash.  We collect it from all the wastebaskets, dump it in a big blue rollaway container and because I am still dealing with swollen, painful feet, Martha will roll it out to the street.  Soon a bigger blue rolling truck will pull up, scoop up our trash, drive off to a place out of our sight but not out of existence. Three days later it's the same routine to get rid of the recyclable trash.  Next comes the clearing out the clutter of usable stuff.  This reminds me that every day is a good day to empty my collected mind trash. It seems to be a never ending job since I have a habit of tuning into the daily news where my mind scoops up a little good news mixed in with but a whole lot of contaminated information. No, that is not right. The news, like Shakespeare said in another context, "Is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so." The thinking I need to do is to discern the difference  between fact and the many media interpretations of it. The truth that I need about the world gets confused with the slants, multiple prejudices and spins on reality. The media seems to need to dramatize the facts so we will buy whatever they are selling. I, in turn, create my own dramatic fiction to suit my biases.

We throw away the trash at our house so we can more fully enjoy the treasure that is our home and our very lives. Sometimes I can do much the same with the daily news. It is worth digging. There is so much to treasure in our country and world.  The Creator God still says, "It is good." Almost time for the evening World News. Good night.

Monday, July 25, 2011


At 81 I'm living the good life. CHARLIE WONDERS if it is good because I have outlived many of my dependencies on short-lived externals. Temporary and superficial contributions to my happiness, successes, self-actualiztaion, etc. turned out to be just that--temporary, if not just illusionary.  What I thought was so important for well-being were all part of the cycle of life that includes winning and losing, living and dying, ups and downs, sickness and health. Nothing stays nailed down.

So what in our life situation is permanent, solid, and without change? Not very much. When Jesus said, "Don't hoard your treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or--worse!" he wasn't just talking about money. All earthly externals we depend on to make us feel good about ourselves will meet the same fate--decay. Any externals we use this way will end or change in unpredictable ways. The Old Testament teacher in Ecclesiastes wrote,"I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under the sun and saw all the deeds that are done under heaven . . . I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun and see, all is vanity and a chasing after the wind."  Is this bad news?  No! It is fact. It was has been called "the law of impermanence of all things."

This awareness is one of many gifts of old age. With everything I depended on gone or going, my fear of loss diminishes. In retrospect I see how everything passes away except one thing--my true self, my essence, my being which belongs to a loving God.  Ultimately, the only thing left is our soul, living forever in eternal life.

Monday, July 18, 2011


It's a bird.  It's a plane. No! It's SUPERHEART.  It heads for Metropolis D. C. gliding over the Mall. Now it does appear to be a bird, a dove. It sails over all the memorials, slowly circling the Washington Monument.  Superheart now picks up speed and with renewed energy dips slightly over the White House then heads for the congressional commotion. Wading into the gangs and with supernatural discernment Superheart separates the wheat from the chaff. Many leaders need only to be separated from each other to break up the mob mentality and so each can use his or her God-given intelligence. Some may need rehab to help with their addictions. Superheart believes all are redeemable and usable and will reward those courageous souls who are already trying to use their intellect and power for the common good. When peace settles over the city people can function effectively and Superheart's work is complete. As the Superheart/dove flies away The only sad feelings are those who wanted to vote for Superheart in the next election.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Merciful God, we confess we've done it to ourselves again and need help. For lack of vision, we took your generous gifts of wealth, mismanaged them and painted ourselves into a corner.  You gave us clear enough instructions.  Take just three--all from the teachings of Jesus: (1) Misuse of wealth can be hazardous to your health, (2) Use your resources to care for those less fortunate than you, and (3) Co-create with You a heaven on earth.

 As a bottom line, you warned that we cannot serve God and mammon. We operate from the illusion that we are to use our riches to make more riches. That bucket has a hole in it. Surely we can learn more helpful,  compassionate ways to use the resources you have provided. The key is to not despise our wealth, but to use it wisely. That is where we as a nation seem to bog down.

Even though we continually ignore your directions, for the next few weeks we especially pray for your forgiveness and grace in these national and global concerns. Save us again from ourselves, our lust for power, our addictions to money, our disregard for the needy.

Trusting in your forgiveness and grace, Amen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


One of our daughters and a good friend had a lively discussion on the politics of Stephen Colbert.  The question seems to be whether he is really liberal satirizing the conservatives or is he a Republican in Democrat clothes. I do not know what kind of card he carries or how he votes and I don't care. For my money he doesn't have to be on either side. In fact, I think his genius is in his ability to see the ridiculous in the political antics on both sides, With the depressing news coming from our media everyday, a humor break is most refreshing.  Except for his dependency on junior high locker room talk to get laughs and giggles, I find him very funny and enjoyable.  

Meanwhile, back in my bed, I am quite content to do without the labels when I can.  Labeling myself is just as distracting as labeling other people. I consciously pray regularly to control both.  Labels seem to contract when I need to expand my respect and love for God's creations. When I am successful it is very satisfying to settle for a simple, "I am". It is reported that that is all God needed to describe himself and Paul said of himself, "By the grace of God I am what I am."

The key I guess is not to take our human predicament too seriously and trust in God to help us through even when it does not make sense to our limited minds.  Might as well laugh when we can.

Monday, July 11, 2011


My friend asks if after a month in house with my feet up, do I have cabin fever. I stammer something like, "I have plenty to keep me busy and entertained (like writing down stuff like this). I admit it was refreshing to get out for two doctor's visits and one brief time on the front porch soaking in some sun and swatting mosquitos.

Basically, however, I have not bored myself.  I am learning through this that I do better LIVING than I do WAITING.  When I live I simply accept what is happening and go with that as thoroughly as I can--often enjoying it.  When I just wait for something different to happen I discover I am in fantasy land.  It is a nice place to visit but no place to live--too fleeting and undependable.

So I'm not "Waiting for Godot" and that meaningless dead end.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Occasionally I breakout of jail if only for a few minutes. In these rare instances I am drawn out of the prison of my own mind. I do not know when I will be provided a tool for escape (like a file in my birthday cake). Often it is a chance conversation in which I see someone I care about who is even more deeply existing in a dungeon of mere thought than I am.  They take great pride in their thinking ability as if there is not a universe of possibilities beyond their small world. They treasure their mere thoughts as if they were an expression of the ultimate truth and the highest achievement of life.  May God bless their efforts and keep them focussed on "whatever is true,  noble,  right, pure, lovely, admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  And the God of peace be with you." (Ph. 4:8-9)

But Charlie Wonders if there isn't in me a level of consciousness far deeper than even my highest thoughts That is when I am motivated to examine the cracks in my prison wall hoping to escape the prison of my narrow, custom-made thought patterns.  There, to my amazement, I discover my most genuine self, my very essence,  the Image of God, the Christ in me.  Here I see an expanded awareness of what is real.  It feels like home.  All around I see wonderful open space away from my noisy thoughts. I sing, "Free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last."

Saturday, July 2, 2011


It doesn't take long being even partially crippled to realize the marvelous value in being whole.  Becoming a whole person is the goal of my life no matter what my age. It is still the command of Jesus "Be ye whole as I am whole."

Therefore, when I am painfully reminded of my incompletion at basic levels, it is a call to specific "acts of kindness."  For generations Christians have prayed a mantra, "Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy." It is a prayer I can pray easily because I think Christ is mercy. My challenge is to have mercy on myself--on my poor swollen feet, to intentionally direct loving kindness toward these faithful 81 year old foot soldiers. The  attitude of gratitude facilitates feelings of mercy and felt healing.  It is a softness spreading through my body replacing hardness of resisting pain. Even breathing is more natural, less breath holding, more Spirit-filled.

Gratefully, I do not have to provide the loving attitude all by myself. My wife has been constantly here (too constantly for her own good), children check in regularly , the church community is on the spot with Christlike compassion and  healing.  Those, further removed, call and send cards and e-mails of support.  God has raised up and prepared a dozen doctors and medical professionals who provided technical skills and care. Neighbors and friends built a ramp on the front parch to help me scoot to the medical facility where I finally turned a corner toward even faster treatment and the hope of recovery. Life is good as God surely intends.