Since 1908

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Pastor's Blog

Anti-Semitism Was Born in Christian Souls

October 30, 2018

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Anti-Semitism Was Born in Christian Souls. 

Anti-Semitism was born in Christian souls.  European Christians blamed the death of Jesus on the Jewish People, despite the fact that both the Creeds and the Gospels make it clear that the Roman Empire was responsible for the death of Jesus.  In his later years Martin Luther himself provided some of the worst words used to justify the most despicable of all Anti-Semitic government programs: the Holocaust. 

The Starlings

October 23, 2018

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At sunset yesterday on the 80 Acre Flowage at the Navarino Wildlife Area a stream of starlings, chattering among themselves quietly, flew by me across the water toward the narrowing east end of the flowage, lavender with clouds.  In the distance, against those clouds, they looked like a swarm of black bees.  They gradually disappeared heading north over the trees. 

Starlings do these kinds of things.  I saw a flock of them once over the flat fields of Illinois.  It was a far bigger flock than the one I saw last night, the biggest I ever remember seeing, thousands and thousands of birds, filling half the horizon ahead.  At a distance they looked as if they were flying slowly, parts of the flock dipping  or turning suddenly, the whole flock following in unison.

The Sunset

October 16, 2018

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Near the time of sunset Saturday, a horizon-wide quilt of small, cotton puff clouds happened to be spreading from the west towards us when the sun’s last rays painted the clouds a rich pink, sending a beautiful symbol of the transforming power of the sun for all to see.  The color receded as the earth continued its turning away from the sun, so the clouds turned purple.  It also being the time of departure, these shadow-colored clouds were no longer inspiring enough to keep our attention.

Sometimes the Greek word kairos is used by New Testament writers to describe a special time that’s a collaboration of or the collision of various actors that make something special possible.  Like the way in which the formation of certain kind of clouds at a certain hour makes a beautiful sunset possible.  Sometimes the New Testament writers affirm that God is one of those actors, who, upon discerning a favorable moment in time, acts decisively in those times to make something possible that God had longed to make happen. 

The American Oil Beetle

October 9, 2018

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Yesterday I wrapped a forty pound concrete block in an old blanket, dropped it in Katie’s backpack, and took it out to the Navarino Wildlife Area.  I became quite familiar with the concept of gravity yesterday, though I think sitting under a tree and having an apple fall on your head is a way better way to figure that out.  It didn’t feel that bad when I first put it on to weigh the thing.  The first hour was the worst.  It was almost as bad as the third hour.  The fourth hour, I felt pretty good. 

This is how I got ready to hike the John Muir Trail (JMT) six years ago.  I thought I’d get an earlier start getting ready for next year’s sabbatical backpacking trip on the Washington State section of the Pacific Crest Trail.  I’m hoping I have at least one more long trip up to green pastures and still mountain waters in me.  I thought I would start getting ready earlier since I’m six years closer to worm fodder and since it’s a longer trip and since even after I was ready for the JMT I wasn’t ready.  The JMT starts in Yosemite National Park with a four thousand foot climb.  It was 90 plus degrees the day we did it.  After that, I was numb with exhaustion.  Wanted to quit.  No pain really, then or now.  It was just the carrying the weight thing.  I learned a lot and spent some money on lighter equipment.  I don’t think I’ll be carrying a 40 pound pack next summer.

The Dusky Gopher Frog

October 2, 2018

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Since last week’s trip to the Navarino Wildlife Area, whoever is in charge over there took the caterpillar track trail clearer machine out in the woods, flattening numerous saplings, some oaks even, along the trail’s edge.  I’ve seen the footprint of that Machine on the west side of Navarino.  This past week it was apparently slated to wreak its havoc on the east side.  Not sure why.  I noticed some flowage drain valves along the way that might demand regular maintenance; I wondered if they’re prepping some trails for cross-country skiing. 

A small trail heading west from the one that took me to Townline Road last week was one of those paths widened by the Machine this past week.  I didn’t notice that trail last week, but I know the “Improvements” were done recently because the leaves on the toppled saplings haven’t had time to wilt.  I was pretty sure I was somewhere between the railroad tracks and the Townline Trail, but I had left my map at home so Pastor Julie could direct the authorities to my whereabouts should I have failed to return home at the appointed time.