Friday, November 25, 2011


Early yesterday morning, Thanksgiving Day, I read in the paper an item that gave me an insight: gratitude and grumpiness cannot coexist. This will be a different day.  I will not turn on the world news. Thanksgiving does not fit with anger. I will be thankful all day. My frequent ego-driven upset with people, places and things can't hang out with an attitude of gratitude. Today I will surround myself with family for whom I am supremely thankful. Sure enough as I thought appreciation, I gave myself a full day of thanksgiving and joy.  I remembered Thanksgiving 1966.  After a year of separation from my family, I was ending my year of ministry in Viet Nam. I flew to Saigon, enjoyed a Thanksgiving celebration of turkey, dressing and sunshine on the roof of the Rex Hotel and prepared to fly home the next day. No matter what the calendar said it was indeed Thanksgiving Day. And so is everyday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Number one on my Thanksgiving list: God's gift of my breath. I received it on my day of birth and it will be with me until I die.  These go together: breath and life.  Both are sacred.  They are God-breathed. Breath and spirit.  Holy breath, holy spirit. Divine inspiration. I'll take a deep one and say, "Thanks be to God."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


CHARLIE WONDERS today if he has been looking for truth in all the wrong places.  Truth may be in the cartoons that I have passed over with only an occasional chuckle. In my reading today I was referred to the cartoons to look for the real that is never obvious.  Cartoons point to something that is very different from the "reality" that we normally see.  So do the so-called "reality shows." In the cartoons the victim (mouse) is chased by the evil cat, but always outsmarts him.  What we think we see with our eyes is really an illusion. There is far more that meets the eye. Most movies approximate reality according to the way things normally look to us, but this falls far short of how they really are. Colorful animated cartoons don't even try to copy "real reality".  They love to  break the world's rules. No one ever dies, the classical music plays on, and we all laugh and clap. When I try to see you and you try to see me, we might as well be watching a cartoon. What we see in each other approximates, but falls far short of who we really are.  Again, there is far more to each of us than meets the eye. Call it soul or whatever name we want.  As I age, I am increasingly aware of this truth. And it is beautiful!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


THANK YOU, friends and family for your thoughtful expressions of gratitude on Veterans' Day.
Whatever service I rendered to God and country came about rather naturally for this Oklahoma boy who grew up during World War II. In that war most kids made their contribution collecting things for the war effort. Supporting the troops then was a family affair.  While some of our extended family went off to military duty, the remaining family "fought the war" any way we could.  As kids we were challenged by our leaders to buy war stamps that eventually would be cashed into war bonds. We collected any scrap metal we could carry all to way to gum and candy wrappers.  We got medals for bundles of papers we turned in. As a family we were challenged to conserve on dish washing soap and were rationed on gas and tires. The women volunteered for Red Cross jobs such as wrapping bandages for the wounded and serving as hostesses for the USO.  Perhaps the conflicts we have had in our country since the Korean, and Vietnam wars and the more recent conflicts in the Middle East are in some measure related to a civilian lack of understanding of the wars and a personal investment in them. For a few days after 9-l1,  some of us thought we would have a sober, thoughtful,  prayerful response to that tragic attack. Instead, we turned it over to the politicians and the military. All we were asked to do was to cheerlead the troops and go shopping.  There came a time in my life when I  could cheerfully sing, "Ain't gonna study war no more." The message I get from the Bible is the time is still coming when we will live in a peaceful kingdom and beat our swords into plowshares.