Ken’s e-Pistle – February 1, 2023

Ken’s e-Pistle

February 1, 2023

I used to drive my sainted mother to distraction when I was a student at UGA.   I would often come home for the weekends to work at an Atlanta church.  Inevitably, she would want to know what time to expect me.  “It depends,” I would reply.

“Depends on what?” came the query.

“Oh, you know, the traffic, the weather, road construction, pretty girls broken down on the side of the road and, of course, whether Jesus comes again in the clouds.”

That response was usually followed by one of those long, hard silences which told me that, once again, I was in trouble. The old word, “Wisenheimer” would usually ensue.

The phrase, “It Depends” is one of the most difficult yet telling phrases in the English language.  It admits to shades of grey where we would like to have black or white. When my mood is too joyous for my own good I tend to temper it by watching congressional hearings.  A member of the Committee will demand of the subject, “Now, I need you to answer yes or no…”  Anybody can see that it is a trap!

In Rev-type circles we tend to rely upon the phrase, “Providential Hinderance” to cover our bases when missing a meeting or even a poor golf score.  In Arabic, the phrase, “Inshallah” is frequently used, loosely translated, “If God wills it.”  There you have it.  “It Depends” is pretty well installed in human culture.

As children of God we live somewhere between the Already and the Not Yet.  The middle ground betwixt the Resurrection and the Consummation. There are always a lot of “depends” on our landscape.  Navigating them requires a pretty high quality of faith; the kind that is comfortable with a degree of uncertainty and foggy horizons.

Jesus doesn’t promise us certainty on this side of Jordan.  But He does promise His presence as we journey through it together.

I bid you peace!

Ken’s e-Pistle – February 1, 20232023-01-30T10:36:53-05:00

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 25, 2023

Ken’s e-Pistle

January 25, 2023

I have been told from time to time that my sense of humor makes folk think that I am not serious enough.  I suppose that may be true to some extent; perhaps it is my lot in life to be a moderating influence on those who are overly serious. With that in mind, I offer the following for your consideration:

  1. To my way of knowing, no one ever died as a result of too much laughter and joy in life.

 

  1. A wiser person than me (almost all of humanity by definition) once said that God gave us tears to help us come to terms with what we are not and laughter to console us for what we are. I have forgotten who said that, probably due to my recent encounter with gravity and the resultant bump on my noggin.

 

  1. Laughter releases endorphins into our blood stream to make us joyful and content. I am told that running does the same, but a good joke does not require that I spend a fortune on running shoes and exercise attire. I’m a great fan of physical fitness; just not a participant.

 

  1. It is said that laughter is the hand of God on the shoulder of a troubled world. I particularly like this one.  If I was going to have a tombstone I would ask that it be thus engraved.  Perhaps I’ll just ask that it be printed on my funeral bulletin, biodegradable ones, of course.

 

  1. A lesser light without the Law once commented to me that there is no record in Scripture that Jesus ever laughed. Without thinking, I replied, “Probably because He did it so often the Gospel writers didn’t feel a need to include it.  It was a given!”

 

To my way of thinking it still is!

I bid you peace!

 

 

 

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 25, 20232023-01-24T09:03:22-05:00

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 18, 2023

Ken’s e-Pistle

January 18, 2023

We celebrated the life of Mac Thomas this past Monday.  After hearing many of the stories about her as shared among the family, I am sure that I am the poorer for never having met her. Still, I believe that the day will come when I shall.  We call that the Communion of the Saints.

Life after death is a common discussion point among many of the faithful.  Often, folk will ask me about it as if I am some kind of resident expert.  While I know a steadily increasing number who have made that transition, I readily confess that, as far as I know, my itinerary to eternity has not yet been printed out.  Nonetheless, I do have some thoughts on the matter which bring me more than a modicum of comfort.

One such is the story of a Scottish physician who lived in the late 1800s.  As was the custom in those days, he traveled to the homes of those who were ill and shared the healing arts with the family as well as the patient.

One day he arrived at the manor of a wealthy man who was dying.  The faith had never been of much importance in his life but now that Jordan’s chilly stream was within sight, he became concerned.  When the physician came into his room he said, “Tell me, Angus, you are a believer of sorts; what do you think it will be like on the other side?”

The good doctor paused to think for a moment and presently heard a scratching at the sickroom door. He then replied, “Do ye hear that scratchin’ at the door, William?  That’s my wee collie dog.  She’s never been in this room; she’s na seen the draperies nor the walls. She knows not whether ‘tis light nor dark.  But she does know one thing: she knows that I am in here and that is enough. Such ‘tis for ye and I, William.  We donna ken what lies beyond, but we do ken that our Father is there.  And it is enough.”

Yes, it is, indeed, enough.

I bid you peace!

 

 

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 18, 20232023-01-17T11:43:34-05:00

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 11, 2023

Ken’s e-Pistle

January 11, 2023

Years ago, Mark Twain observed, “You can’t depend upon your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”  I would add to that comment, “or absent altogether.”  I like that because I have seen it so often!

When I was young I was accused of having too active an imagination.  It seemed to be an unfair and intemperate arraignment of my life.  I still think so.  As I age I find that my imagination has broadened and strengthened, especially after an extended session with my rocking chair or recliner.

To my way of thinking, our imaginations are one of the greatest gifts of God in our lives.  I suspect that it came to be in force when God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.  After all, without imagination they would have had short survival, indeed, among the perils and possibilities of the created order.  Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Unimaginative people are the necessary cogs which keep society turning.  They are content to do as they are told and don’t mind repetitive jobs.  They also fail to see the beauty in a sunset and are unable to build castles in the sky. I pity them.

In years past, Theology was called the Queen of the Sciences.  I like to think that the moniker came about due to the willingness of theologians to pause and consider the wonder of creation and the magnificence of the Creator.  It takes a great imagination to be a theologian; the possibilities are endless!

Take some time this week and indulge in some daydreaming.  I often find that when I am doing so the Holy Spirit of God tends to pull up a chair next to  me and speak in soft tones as we watch the sunset together.

I bid you peace!

 

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 11, 20232023-01-09T11:58:06-05:00

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 4, 2023

Ken’s e-Pistle

January 4, 2023

I hope that this writing finds everyone happy and still experiencing the festival fullness of the season. My family was blessed with a quiet Christmas Eve and Day due to the gentle ministrations of Mother Nature who first nearly froze us to death and then graced us with a light covering of snow.  Thankfully, I have learned to keep a fairly full larder.

One of the novel sights in all of this was the complete freezing over of our ponds.  When the temperatures hovered around zero we noticed our Canada geese coming in for a landing and then skidding very un-graciously for a good twenty yards or so.  Miss Vicki (hereinafter referred to as “Vicki the Good”) was very concerned for them and wanted at first to go outside and make sure that they weren’t hurt.  I advised her not to get too close; geese are not known for welcoming intruders into their domain, particularly when they have been recently embarrassed by a troublesome landing.  She then suggested that we put out some food for them.  Again, I was the party-pooper when I reminded her that the same food which would feed the geese would also attract the bears.  I told her that the sight of a goose becoming the Christmas dinner for a bear would be unseemly at best and traumatizing at worst. She agreed.

I used to be a great fan of winter.  I loved the wonderful ice storms which would paralyze Atlanta.  I took great joy in “snow days” in which the whole school system would shut down when ice formed on some remote bridge, posing a danger to busses and cars.  The grass would need no cutting and the walkways no sweeping (Blowers had not been invented then, I’m sure.) I could stay inside and watch the three channels of television, read my books and play with my toys.

Now I am more of a fan of summer.  I like working in the yard and fishing in the ponds.  I like the endless parade of cookouts which do little for my waistline but bring good fellowship and joy to my soul.  Beyond this, my arthritis doesn’t hurt as much and I can be a bit more active.  I make sure to schedule my annual physicals during the summer when I am in much better shape and have not yet put on what I call my winter tonnage.

I have become aware that I appreciate all of the seasons and am trying to reach the point where the anticipation of the next one doesn’t spoil the joy of the present.  I look forward to spring and cleaning out the garden to plant new things and watch the world come alive.  In summer, I’ll look forward to the beautiful foliage of fall and that first crackling fire in the fireplace. Come late fall and early winter I will eagerly anticipate the decorations of Advent and Christmas.  Then the cycle will start all over again.

The panoply of God’s creation is celebrated in the fact that each season of the year and, indeed, of life, itself, have blessings to enjoy and share.  We must learn to be patient and perceptive in all of them.  And grateful.

Of course, my gratitude for the joys of winter won’t keep me from buying a few bulbs and bushes against the coming of spring.  And then there is the joy of opening the pool…

I bid you peace!

Ken’s e-Pistle – January 4, 20232023-01-03T09:34:13-05:00
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