Monthly Archives: February 2016

Issue 326 – Music: Language of the Universe

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 326  —  February 28, 2016 

Stan Paregien, Editor

Music: Language of the Universe

We had another “Music and Poetry Show” on Friday night, Feb. 19, 2016 at our clubhouse at the Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida. Back in December, we had 42 present. Then we had 62 folks here in January. And last night we rocked the house with 72 people gathered for a good time. They were not disappointed.

Our new Canadian friends–Tom White (percussion), Neil Blair (guitar and singing) and Roger A. St. Jules (lead guitar) –made a delightful night even better. Our regulars, too, were right on top of their game with Virginia Corbin reading her original poem and playing several songs on the piano, plus Paul Cox and Clay Landes and Rod Myers each playing their guitars and singing. Very nice, indeed. Our final show “of the season” will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, March 18th. 

Below are some thoughts about music and quite a number of photos of people in various parts of the world enjoying “the language of the universe.” I have scattered among these items a few photos from last night’s event. 

Pete Seeger quote -- music and mistakes

Live music and poetry are all about making mistakes and adjusting to the circumstances. When I was really heavy into performing my original stories and poetry at cowboy festivals around the western United States, we repeatedly saw even the best poets and musicians flub up right in front of God and everybody. We called it “gettin’ bucked off,” and part of the fun was watching how the person recovered and got back on track. Life is like that, too. Don’t let your mistakes get you down or cause you to quit. Suck it in, cowboy up, and get right back into this thing we call “life.”

1949--culture--music--forgiveness--family--Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey--Reminisce mag - Aug-Sept 2011, page 30

1958--culture--teenage girls--music--45 records--REMINISCE mag - Aug-Sept, 2011 - Page 31

Music -- traditional instruments in India --  about 1900

2016--0182   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Paul Cox

Aging -- music -- Denis the Menace cartoon - your frisbees play music

Church -- music -- contemporary worship -- church organist cartoon

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.  — Martin Luther, would-be reformer of the Catholic Church and founder of the Lutheran Church.

Music -- gospel music -- I write modern worship choruses

1940--OK--McIntosh County--musicians at a square dance - by Russell Lee - Library of Congress

This was the entire “orchestra” at a square dance in somebody’s house in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, in about 1939.Photo by Russell Lee.

Cowboys--and-dance-party---01

Aging--041--Hi and Lois cartoon - records were groovy - 2012

Aging--Music---Dennis the Menace cartoon - 2012-09-01

2016--0183   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Roger A St Jules

Karl Alex Smyser Banjoy Band in about 1931

Aging--teenagers--radio--music---Zits cartoon--2012--07--12

Band---BromideOK--about1920

Band-getFamousBeforeQuitting

Band--novelty act

Music -- traditional instruments in Africa -- band - The African Children's Choir

Music -- a musician is ---

Musicians  -- Marriage and musicians -- Hagar the Horrible cartoon

Music - I don't always talk with musicians, but

Music - how to make a small fortune, start with a big one

Music -- traditional instruments in China  - 1878 painting by Settei Hasegawa shows woman playing the koto

2016--0184   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Tom White, Neil Blair, Roger A St Jules

Cartoon--Blondie--Mandolin Lessons--2012--02--29

musician-makingaliving

Music -- traditional instruments in Scotland -- band - Ceilidh Trail

Fiddler  --  a song in the heart cannot be denied  --  HOLY MOLE  cartoon for 2016--02--17

Music - entertainment - our band was old from the start

“Out of the mouths of babes”

Music - it's not that I'm old, your music really does suck

Music--challenges--courage---disabled violinist and broken string--2013--01--07

Music -- traditional instruments in Rwanda -- about 1973

2016--0185   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Clay Landes, Rod Meyers

Music--NormanRockwell--painting--barbershop

Music--turn down the volumn--Hi and Lois Cartoon- 2012-10-22

Poster -- sometimes music is the only thing that gets your mind off of everything else

2016--0188   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show --  Virginia Corbin

2016--0188--B   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show --  Virginia Corbin

Singing--child singing at a piano

Singing---quote--MayaAngelou

Working--singing--happy--cooking---Hagar cartoon--2012--11--22

Music -- cartoon - we removed the tune stuck in your head

Those who wish to sing always find a song.  ~Proverb

I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.  ~William James

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.  — Billy Joel

2016--0186   Feb 19  Bradenton, FL  --  PG MHP Music and Poetry Show -- Clay Landes, Rod Meyers

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me–like food or water.  — Ray Charles, blind singer and piano player

Andres Segovia, the great performer and teacher of the flamingo guitar style, said: “Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.”
Okay, my friends, that is it for this time. 
Those of you in our area, please remember that our next and last “Music & Poetry Show” of “the season” will start at 6:45 pm on Friday, March 18, 2016. We hope you’ll come and join the fun.
2016--04--18   Flyer 1 - Music and Poetry Show - March 18 -- 03
 
AA  Fair Use Disclaimer - 01 -- designed on by Stan Paregien Sr on 2016-02-01
END.

Issue 325 – A Pet’s Death

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 325   —  Feb. 16, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

A Pet’s Death

Many years ago, in the dawn of the television era, I went through my regular nightly ritual. I watched the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. That night one of his guests was one of my favorite actors, cowboy or other wise, the tall and lanky stammerer, James (“Jimmy”) Stewart. They spend a few minutes chatting Hollywood style. Then Johnny turned serious and said, “Jimmy, we know you’re a pretty darned good poet because you’ve shared your poems with us before. But I understand you’re going to read a new one for us that has special meaning for you.” And Mr. Stewart said, “That’s right. My wife and I had the companionship of our dog for many years before it recently died. So this poem is about that old friend.” By the time Mr. Stewart finished reading his poem, he was in tears and so was Johnny Carson and the whole audience, and no doubt thousand of viewers in their homes.  

[NOTE:  I have included that full poem at the end of this blog entry.]

1981  -- actor Jimmy Stewart reading a poem to Johnny Carson

Such is the bond between a good person and a wonderful dog.

Peggy and I certainly have had our share of wonderful dogs over the years of our married life. We bought Penny, a registered Rat Terrier puppy, early in 2000 when she was just a few weeks old. That was just outside of Edmond, Oklahoma. Over the 16 years of her life (103 years in comparative human life), she became a loved and cherished companion to Peggy and to me. Let’s be clear, though, Penny was unabashedly partial to Peggy. 

That spunky, playful Rat Terrier won a place in our hearts right from the beginning when she was about the size of my hand. She was a natural hunter, often catching slow birds and small rabbits in our back yard. And she was a skilled “personal warning system,” alerting us to anyone or anything which invaded her space. She never met another dog, no matter how large, that she didn’t think she could beat in a dog fight. 

For example, one fine day Peggy and I were strolling down Broadway Avenue in Edmond. We had Penny on a leash. As we started by a high-dollar antique store, Penny went into an aggressive attack mode to defend us against a perceived aggressor. She went into a barking frenzy as she strained at the leash to get at the offender. The “aggressor” in this case was . . . a 3-foot high stone statue of a lion. We got quite a laugh out of that.

Penny was very much a “lap dog.” She loved snuggling up in our laps and beside us on our recliner, and she was never in a hurry to get down. Sometimes Penny would sleep on our bed with us and she always wanted under the covers. That was because, being a short-haired dog, she was easily chilled.

In 2012, when we decided to investigate possibly moving to Florida, we made several trips down there. Mark and Joy Lombardi kindly allowed us to stay in his mom’s “seasonal home” in a mobile home community in Largo while we looked for a home. We searched from Largo all the way down to Venice for places which would allow us to bring our two dogs with us. 

At one place there in Largo, we found a nice home in a 55+ mobile home community. We were looking around one day and stopped to ask a man, who was walking his dog, how he liked living there. He said he really liked it but also mentioned they had a one-dog per household policy. So we went to see the sales manager and told him our situation, that we had two dogs. He smiled and said, “Well, if they look alike, you could just walk them outside one at a time.” Obviously, the guy really wanted to make a sale. But we didn’t want to start off bending any rules, so we kept looking.

Then we found a very nice 55+ manufactured home community in Bradenton. We were assured by the sales person that there would be no problem for us to have two dogs there. “Lots of people have two dogs here,” she smiled. So we moved forward with plans to live there. About half-way through the deal, we were told in firm, no-bending-of-the-rules language that some people had two dogs because they were “grandfathered in” before the rule change. Now each new household could have only one dog, weighing no more than 20 pounds.

Yikes. That put us in a real dilemma. After weighing all options, including re-starting a search for a home, I made the case for starting our new life–with lots of travel in our plans–without the concern for a dog. So we finally decided to bite the bullet. We asked our daughter in Snook, Texas if she would be willing to take both Penny and Laddie (our stunningly beautiful miniature Sheltie). And she kindly agreed to do so, even though they already had three dogs of their own. But they do have a large house with a very large back yard. The deed was done a few weeks before we moved to Florida in June of 2013. 

Penny had several more good years with the Magness family. But the last couple of years were struggles for her. Her vision was starting to fail and her hearing was going, too. And she had arthritis in her joints. She moved like an old lady in just getting around, but she moved like a whirlwind when she chased after a squirrel or after one of the other dogs.

Stacy told us about how loving and caring and protective that Laddie was regarding the senior citizen Penny. When all the dogs were fed and went out the door to play, Laddie would linger behind and escort Penny out to the yard. And he seemed to sympathize with her when she found it hard to walk.

Then Penny–at the relatively old age of 16–developed a reoccuring cancer. She began to stumle and fall,  and lost her bladder control. We certainly agreed with Stacy’s reluctant assessment that the time had come to give dear Penny a deserved release from her great pain and suffering. Stacy took her to a local veternarian at 4:00 pm this afternon (Texas time). Penny is gone but will never be forgotten by those of our family and friends who were loved by her and who loved her so very much.

She was a blessing to us beyond any words we can say.

2000-060---Peggy-napping-Penny

 

2002-092--Hinton, OK -  group - Red Rock Canyon Cowboy Poetry Gathering - copyrighted by S Paregien

That is Stan in front, with the red tie. Peggy is just behind Penny. 2002 in Red Rock Canyon near Hinton, Oklahoma.

2002-095-- Edmond, OK - Christmas Stan Paregien, Sr - Peggy - Stacy P Magness - StanJr

2002-098--Paregien Family at Christmas in Edmond, OK

 

2003--104   Edmond, OK  -  Penny and the puppie, Pepper

2003--230   Edmond, OK -- Evelyn P Spradling with Penny in our 'Okie Storm Shelter,' the closet

2003-247--B  Edmond, OK - Penny, Peg, Christal, Daniel, Dylan

2003-266--Peg-with-Penny-Pepper--xmas

2003--312   Edmond, OK  -- Peggy and Daniel Paregien with Penny

2006

2006-203   Edmond, OK - Penny with Dominic Barrow

2006-1104 OKC  Penny 8-5-06

2007

2007-0382-Peg-Penny

Peggy with Penny at Edmond, Okla., in 2007 [by Stan Paregien]

2007-0398 Jodi-Penny-Dom

Our granddaughter, Jodi Paregien Barrow, and her son Dominic with Penny at Edmond, Okla., in 2007. [by Stan Paregien]

2008

2008-0196 dog - Penny

 

2008-0631 PennyOnPeggy

2008-0877-Peg-Penny

Peggy Paregien with our little reindeer, Penny, at Christmas in 2008. Edmond, Okla.

2009

2009-0194--Jodi--Penny--Apr13

Our granddaughter, Jodi Paregien Barrow, gently stroked Penny into a completely relaxed position. 2009.  Edmond, Okla.

2009-1205--Stan-Penny-napping--byPP

2010

2010--0066--Snow-Peggy-Stan-Jan30

2010--0069--Snow-Stan-Penny-Jan30-byPP

2010--0042--Ice-SnowStorm--Jan29--bySP

2010--1332--EvelynSpradling--Penny

2010--0096--Peg-Gabby-Penny

“Gabby” was a beautiful little cowdog given to us by friends. However, she turned out to be much too energetic for us to handle. So after our friends took her back, Peggy discovered our next love–a rescued dog up for adoption at our Petsmart store in Edmond. Laddie was definitely a “keeper,” too.

2010--2358--Penny-iand-Laddie--n-Halloween-costumes

2010--2490--EdmondOK--Nov29--PeggyParegien--Penny--bySP

2010--2556--EdmondOK--Dec13--Stan-with-dogs--byPP

2010--2592---EvelynSpradling--Penny---EdmondOK

2011

2011--0218--OK--Edmond--snow--Feb9--Peg-Penny-Laddie

2011--1670--OK--PegParegien-Penny

A female pirate (Penny).  Edmond, Ok.  Halloween, 2011 – by Stan Paregien Sr

Sitting: Rindiro & Stella Chrysostome. Standing: Stan Paregien Sr and Peggy
Sitting: Rindiro & Stella Chrysostome. Standing: Stan Paregien Sr and Peggy

2001-094--  Wagoner, OK --- Western Hills Lodge ---Thanksgiving

Christmas – 2012

2012--3373--OK--Edmond--Nov 10--Francios Birori and our dog Penny

 

2013

Gone to the Dogs

2013--0684  Snook, TX - May 12 - Stacy Magness and her mom Peggy Paregien

Peggy Paregien with Penny and Laddie
Peggy Paregien with Penny and Laddie

2013--0814--X17  Snook, Texas  - giving Penny and Laddie to daughter Stacy Magness

 

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2014

2014--09--12   05    Snook, TX  --  Peggy Paregien with Penny   -- by Stan Paregien

2015

2015--04--28   A01B  Snook, TX  -- Stacy P Magness - by Stan Paregien

Like her mother, our daughter Stacy Evelyn Paregien Magness has always had a kind and gentle heart, both for animals and for people having hard times. So she loved on and fed and cared for Penny, as well as Laddie, for nearly three years. We are so glad that, though we could not be there at the end of Penny’s life, Stacy could be. And so the last face Penny saw was the face of one who loved her as much as we did.

Well, as promised, I have inserted below a copy of Jimmy Stewart’s simple but emotionally charged poem about his dog, Beau.

Beau - by Jimmy Stewart --  Page 1 of 3Beau - by Jimmy Stewart --  Page 2 of 3Beau - by Jimmy Stewart --  Page 3 of 3

Flash on Feb. 17:   Hey, I just found a video/movie clip of Jimmy Stewart reading his poem (above) in 1981. Stop whatever your plans are . . . and take about three minutes to listen to dear ol’ Jimmy read that poem in his unmistakable style. You’ll be glad you did.

Here it is:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/72109/watch-jimmy-stewart-read-sweet-poem-about-his-dog

 

Pawprints Left By You  --  a poem

End.

Issue 324 – Life In Florida, Part 2

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 324  –  February 15, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

Life In Florida, Part 2

Ah, yes, life is very good here in Paradise. Our few days of mild winter provide plenty of ammunition with which to gig our snow-bound friends and relatives in the northern two-thirds of the U.S.A.

Florida  --  we salt Margaritas, not driveways

Florida  -- we love winters in Florida

The Gulf of Mexico, seven miles west of our house here, is normally a pretty tame body of water with “waves” more like ripples seen on large lakes elsewhere. The shore on this, the west-central side of Florida, stretches into long vistas of sparkling white sand (i.e., ground-up coquina shells) spiked with azure blue waters, palm trees and masses of sea grapes. The beautifully landscaped estates of the Big Boys who live on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key provide we commoners with views of exotic plants and a rainbow of colors as we drive by their gated palaces. The pervasive eye candy is inspiring.

Then there are the friendships quickly forged in our 55+ communities because, for the most part, we are a people detached from our roots and friends and relatives back in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachussetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. Oklahoma? Yes, a few of us from Oklahoma chose Florida rather than south Texas, New Mexico or Arizona. Anyhow, we are all pretty much in the same boat: we came here with hopes of making new friends. And it happens pretty quickly as we start out with, “And where did you live before moving here?” 

Oh, hey, did I mention the weather here in west-central Florida? Mercy sakes, friends, that is why we moved here. We may on a rare winter morning need an ice-scraper for our windshields, but we sold our snow blowers and snow shovels and snow mobiles before we left home. And we gave our thermal underwear, heavy wool shirts and down-filled jackets to others. 

Florida  --  winter-clothes-in-florida

Now our standard apparel amounts to flip flops (our old hippies among us instantly feel right at home), T-shirts and bermuda shorts or cut-off jeans. If we are going to go to a formal occasion, like  church or a wedding or out to a fancy restaurant, we wear flowery shirts with colars (to look like the other tourists and newcomers) and leather sandals with no socks. You may buy clothing like this at very expensive stores, or do what most of us down here do — roam the many thrift stores for bargains. Hey, “we are on limited incomes, down here” we’d have you know. And Florida state officials would say, “But you have no state income tax down here.” Right. But that is not the end of that story, as states without state income taxes always find “fees” and such to pick our pockets to achieve the same result.

‘Nuff of that.

This time I want to share some photos of the Dark Side of Florida. Oops, I mean the far side of Florida. You know, the east-central part. Peggy and I recently got a nice taste of it, while visiting friends in Jupiter and relatives in West Palm Beach. So hang on, here we go.

2016--0050      Map -- Jan 25  --  Trip from Bradenton to Jupiter, FL

2016--0051--B      Jan 25  --  Lighthouse at Jupiter, FL

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In the photo above, you’ll see a cluster of the beautiful sea grape bushes that abound here.

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We have been friends with Darrell and Martha Russell since 1996. That’s when Martha and Peggy started to work for Southwest Airlines in their national reservations call center just north of the airport in Oklahoma City. Those two ladies carpooled for nearly 14 years, so they got to know each other pretty darned well.

The four of us have leaned on each other as we have gone through illnesses, unemployment, retirement, moving away from Oklahoma (Darrell kindly drove our overloaded U-Haul truck most of the way),  and the daily bumps and bruises of life. They’re solid citizens, good Christan folk and we love ’em. Well, except maybe for their choice of sports wear. I did graduate work toward a Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma and, try though I might, I can’t seem to convince them that OU’s maroon and cream is a lot prettier than OSU orange and white.

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Then the next day, Darrell and Martha Russell drove us around to see the sights. Lots of tall office buildings and fabulously expensive estates mostly hidden behind gated walls.

However, we did get to tour the little “cracker house” of the late Henry Flagler. This was a guy who, as a young man, had the good sense to go to Ohio and get into a new venture with another young businessman. Their adventure involved something that was not even known about by many other folks, but the two had a vision of the necessity it would become. We’re talking here about oil. You see, ol’ Henry hooked up with a young dreamer named . . . John D. Rockefeller. Their company became the Standard Oil Company, with Henry owning 25 %. Each man earned a reputation as an infamous “Robber Baron.” 

Of course, when your personal wealth exceeds the assets of many state governments that allows you to be creative and even generous. Flagler had the strange idea that he could turn a little mosquito-infested village in northeast Florida into a tourist mecca. No, he did not build a “field of dreams” baseball diamond (like Kevin Coster did in the movie) to see if they would come. He did build two luxurious hotels in Saint Augustine, and then of all things, he built his own railroad from Jacksonville to there so his large number of rich friends from back east and the midwest could vacation in the fashion to which they were accustomed. And it work very well, thank you. 

Then he invested in developments in the Miami area, far south of Saint Augustine. And then he connected his railroad on down to that soon-to-be tourist mecca. Eventually, he was daring enough to build the Florida East Coast Railroad Line all the way down across the various keys and the long stretches of open water all the way to Key West, Florida. That was in 1912. Wow, what an achievement.

Flagler died in 1913 from a fall onto the marble steps at his mansion.  Maybe it was just as well, because only 22 years later his railroad empire died. That was the year a terrible hurricane destroyed most of it and the lives of hundreds of his workers. 

You understand, now, how this man could afford to build such a palatial house for his wife. He called it, “Whitehall.” It is magnificently appointed inside as well.

 

2016--0062      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0063      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0064      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0065      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0066      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0067      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0068      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0069      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0070      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0072      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0071      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0073      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

 

2016--0075      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

2016--0084      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

 

2016--0077      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

 

2016--0081      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

2016--0082      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

 

2016--0083      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

 

2016--0098     modern map of the Florida Keys

2016--0080      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

2016--0095     painting of train running at night

2016--0094     book cover

Then came the horrible hurrican of Labor Day, 1935

2016--0087      Jan 26  --  Palm Beach, FL --  The Flagler Museum   -- Stan Paregien

2016--0088      1935 -- hurrican damage at Islamorado - body

2016--0089      1935 -- hurrican damage

2016--0090      1935 -- hurrican damage -- evacuation train derailed

 

2016--0092     1935 -- hurrican damage -- decomposing bodies found

2016--0093     1935 -- hurrican damage -- mass burials were necessary

2016--0091     1935 -- hurrican damage --

 

2016--0098     modern map of the Florida Keys

florida-keys_jpg

2016--0097     1935 -- railroad logo

2016--0100     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien2016--0101     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0102     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0103     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

Flagler hired a full-time organist to be available at a moment’s notice to play for the family and/or their guests.

2016--0105     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

“Boys will be boys, especially around girls.”

2016--0106     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

 

2016--0107     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

 

2016--0108     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0109     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0110     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0111     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0112     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0116     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0118     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0117     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

 

2016--0121     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0129     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0115     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0128     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0127     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0130     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0126     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0123     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0132     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0122     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0124     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0131     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

 

2016--0132     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0133     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0136     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0137     Jan 26  Flagler Museum -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0140     Jan 26  The Breakers Hotel, started by Henry Flagler

2016--0141     Jan 26  Palm Beach, FL  --  The Breakers Hotel  --   copyrighted by Stan Paregien

2016--0142     Jan 26  Palm Beach, FL  --  The Breakers Hotel  --   copyrighted by Stan Paregien

We left West Palm Beach about 9 a.m. in the middle of a pouring  down rain, with the report of a tornado not far away. We had to get off of the highway in Coral Springs and wait for the storm to let up a bit.

Then we continued over to Naples and spent the night there. We paid “seasonal price” for our room, meaning much higher than normal. 

2016--0145  --  Florida map  -- central area  --  03   West Palm Beach to Naples

Anywho, . . . it was an interesting trip. Our thanks to our friends in Jupiter, Darrell and Martha Russell, for giving us the grand tour. And our thanks to Peggy’s neice, Joy Gardner Lombardi and husband Mark, for their hospitality.

END.

 

 

 

Issue 323 – Life in Florida, Part 1

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 323  –  Friday, Feb. 12, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

Life in Florida, Part 1

This issue is devoted to showing  a number of photos taken at some of our recent music events. Since moving to Bradenton, Florida in June of 2013, we have hosted maybe 5 or 6 music jams in our home. We maxed out with 19 folks the last time. So we thought about hosting a music jame at our clubhouse in Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida.That would allow us to invite a lot more folks and several more musicians. 

As we were exploring that idea, I also decided to add poetry to the mix. You see, there is a long-standing tradition at cowboy festivals across the country of including music, poetry, storytelling and the reading of formal papers on various cowboy subjects. So Peggy and I decided to give it and try here. 

The first time we hosted a “Music & Poetry Show” at our clubhouse we had some 42 folks show up. And several people were prepared to read some poetry for us. It seems to be a welcomed combination, though unusual in this area. So please come enjoy the fun. If you plan an instrument and/or sing, we’d be happy to have you perform. We would particularly like to add a fiddle player, a harmonica player, a dulcimer player, a mandolin play and even a drummer or a steel guitar player. They just seem to be scarce in these parts. And if you want to read poems, each being no more than 4 minutes in length, we’d be happy for you to share with us.

 

2015--11--20   2672    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2674    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2675    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2676    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2678    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2679    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--12--11   2705--A    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam

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2016--0006--A   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0006--B   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0008   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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2016--0009   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin2016--0010   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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Those who share some poems with us last time included Evelyn Sklair, Virginia Corbin, Joyce Sparks, Don Betts, Judy Teeuwen, Mike Teeuwen, Eunice Iacovacci and Tom White.

So, there you have it. Our “Music & Poetry Shows” are just a lot of casual, home-grown fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Each person who reads a poem, plays an instrument and/or sings a song is doing it just out of the pure joy of sharing with our friends and neighbors and other guests. Please note that no one involved with this event receives a payment for services rendered, other than the applause of the audience.

Below you’ll find the flyer for the next show. Won’t you please consider joining us??

Flyer 1 - for 2016--02--19  Music and Poetry Show -- by Stan Paregien

NOTE: Sometimes we have new folks say, “What the heck is finger food?” That just means we’d like to only have things that can be eaten with one’s fingers as we do not sit out knives or forks. We’re looking for non-messy cookies, carrots, crackers, chips, celery sticks, peanuts, and such. Coffee (both regular and decalf) and water are free.

Invite a friend and come on down.

End.

 

Issue 322 – Football, American Style

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 322  –  February 5, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

Football, American Style

 

Football  --  Cartoon  --  06

Football  --  Cartoon  --  14

 

Football  --  Cartoon  --  11

What It Was, Was Football

by Andy Griffith

[ Andy Griffith, a 1949 graduate of the University of North Carolina, became a struggling entertainer, actor and musician. Late in 1949 he sat down and wrote a folksy story about a church deacon’s very first time to attend a football game. He called his humorous story, “What It Was, Was Football.” He performed his story in coffee shops, churches and private parties and always got a great response from his audiences. Finally, Colonial Records in Chapel Hill, NC recorded the story and released it on November 14, 1953. It became very popular and they sold it to Capitol Records. It remained popular for decades, finally selling over  a million copies. The first time I heard the story was when I visited my cousin, Bruce Young, in Duncan, Oklahoma in the summer of 1954. He played his 45 rpm record of Griffith’s football story and I laughed myself silly. And so did my cousin, even though he had played that record for others dozens of times. Heck, it is still funny there some 62 years later. – Stan Paregien Sr.]

Griffith, Andy -- What It Was, Was Football -- 1953

It was back last October, I believe it was. We was agonna hold a tent service off at this college town. And we got thar about dinnertime on Saturday. And different ones of us thought that we ought to get us a mouthful to eat before that we set up the tent. And so we got offa the truck and followed this little bunch of people through this small little bitty patch of woods thar, and we come up on a big sign it says, “Get somethin’ t’ Eat chyere!” I went up and got me two hot dogs and a big orange drink. 

But before that I could take a-ry mouthful . . . this whole raft of people come up around me and got me to where I couldn’t eat nothing. And I dropped my big orange drink. I did.

Well, friends, they commenced to move, and there wasn’t so much that I could do but move with ’em. We commenced to go through all kinds of doors and gates and I don’t know what- all. And I looked up over one of ’em and it says, “North Gate.”

We kept on a-going through thar, and pretty soon we come up on a young boy and he says, “Ticket, please.” And I says, “Friend, I don’t have a ticket;

I don’t even know where it is that I’m a-going!” I did. Well, he says, “Come on out as quick as you can.” And I says, “I’ll do ‘er; I’ll turn right around the first chanct I get.”

Well, we kept on a-moving through there, and pretty soon everybody got where it was that they was a-going, because they parted and I could see pretty good. I could. And what I seen was this whole raft of people a-sittin’ on these two banks and a-lookin at one another across this pretty little green cow pasture.

Well, they was.

And somebody had took and drawed white lines all over it and drove postys in it, and I don’t know what all. And I looked down there and I seen five or six convicts a running up and down and a-blowing whistles. They was!

And then I looked down there and I seen these pretty girls a-wearin’ these little bitty short dresses and a-dancing around. So I sit down and thought I’d see what it was that was a-gonna to happen. I did.

About the time I got set down good I looked down there and I seen thirty or forty men come runnin’ out of one end of a great big outhouse down there. They did!

And everybody where I was a-settin’ got up and hollered!

And about that time thirty or forty come runnin’ out of the other end of that outhouse, and the other bankful, they got up and hollered. And I asked this fella that was a besittin’ beside of me, “Friend, what is it that they’re a-hollerin’ for?”

Well, he whopped me on the back and he says, “Buddy, have a drink!” Well, I says, “Well, I believe I will have another big orange.” And I got it and set back down.

When I got down there, again, I seen that the men had got in two little bitty bunches down there real close together. And they voted. They did. They voted.

They elected one man apiece, and them two men come out in the middle of that cow pasture and shook hands like they hadn’t seen one another in a long time.

Then a convict come over to where they was a-standin’, and he took out a quarter and they commenced to odd-man right there! They did! Well, After a while I seen what it was they was odd-manning for. It was that both bunches full of them wanted this funny lookin little pumpkin to play with. They did. And I know, friends, that they couldn’t eat it because they kicked it the whole evenin’ and it never busted.

Uh, anyhow, what I was a-tellin’ was that both bunches wanted that thing. One bunch got it and it made the other bunch just as mad as they could be! And Friends, I seen that evenin’ the awfulest fight that I ever have seen in all my life!

They would run at one -another and kick one- another and throw one another down and stomp on one another. And grind their feet in one another and I don’t know what-all. And just as fast as one of ’em would get hurt, they’d tote him off and run another one on.

Well, they done that as long as I sat there, but pretty soon this boy that had said “Ticket, please,” he come up to me and says, “Friend, you’re gonna have to leave because it is that you don’t have a ticket.” And I says, “Well, all right.” And I got up and left.

And I don’t know friends, to this day, what it was that they was a doin’ down there. But I have studied about it. I think it was that it’s some kindly of a contest where they see which bunchful of them men can take that pumpkin and run from one end of that cow pasture to the other without either gettin’ knocked down or steppin’ in somethin’.

___________

Football  --  Cartoon  --  09

'Good news. We've decided to give you the game ball.'

Football Philosophy

 by Stan Paregien Sr.

Copyright 1990

 

Our old high school football coach was a

strange kind of guy,

One who was mentally pumped up

and always flying high.

 

He always told the fans,

“This will be the year

That we vanquish our rivals

 and fill them with fear.”

 

Our coach turned into a madman

when the starting whistle blew.

“Get out there, boys, and

kill a   mother’s son or two!

 

“Mangle their bodies like your

momma’s mash sauerkraut

Gouge ’em hard, bite ’em

and bash their brains out!”

 

“Make dead meat of that low-life,

rotten scum-bag team.

“Don’t let ’em up off the ground

until they start to scream.”

 

“And above all,” the coach said,

when the principal came around,

“Remember, gentleman, it’s just a game.

“So let sportsmanship abound.”

__________

Now, . . . my personal choice of some of the

best coaches ever.

 

 

Camp, Walter -- Yale U coach credit with created modern football

Walter Camp, a coach at Yale University, is considered the father of modern football.

Football  --  coaches  --  Rockne, Knute -- Notre Dame --  04

Football  --  coaches  --  Bryant, Paul 'Bear'  --  01

Football  --  coaches  --  Bryant, Paul 'Bear'  --  02

Football  --  coaches  --  Bryant, Paul 'Bear'  --  03Football  --  coaches  --  Bryant, Paul 'Bear'  --  04

Football  --  coaches  --  Landry, Tom  --  01

Football  --  Coaches  --  Landry, Tom  --  03

Football  --  coaches  --  Landry, Tom with Bum Phillips  --  01

Bum Phillips stands on the sideline
1984: Head coach Bum Phillips of the New Orleans Saints stands on the sideline during a 1984 NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Football  --  coaches  --  Phillips, Bum  --  02

Football  --  coaches  --  Phillips, Bum  --  03  --  with son, Wade

Football  --  coaches  --  Phillips, Bum  --  01

Football  --  coaches  --  Phillips, Bum  --  06  --  Bumisms

Football  --  coaches  --  Phillips, Bum  --  07

 

Football  --  coaches  --  Phillips, Bum  --  05  --  tribute

 

Football  --  coaches  --  Wilkinson, Bud  --  01

Coach Wilkinson led the University of Oklahoma Sooners to an amazing string of 47 straight wins. He was a man of great personal integrity as well.

Bob Stoops

Coach Bob Stoops in 2016 will begin his 18th year as the head football coach of the Sooners. He won one National Championship soon after he started and has come awfully close two or three other times, including this last season. He is a pretty doggone solid citizen.

Football  --  coaches  --  Saban, Nick  --  01

You’re never gonna hear Nick Saban say, “Hey, brother, could you loan me a dime?” He makes multi-millions each year, thank you.  In January of 2016 he won his fifth–count ’em, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5–national football championship. The astounding thing is that all those were not with Alabama, his current time. No, siree. His first national championship was in 2003 with the LSU Tigers. The man is simply a mastermind at getting the best from both his players and his assistant coaches.

Now, . . . The Football Players

Football  -- old-time football with no protective helmets

Thorp, Jim -- great athlete from Oklahoma -- 01

Jim Thorp, above, was outfitted as most players were in the 1920s and 1930s with a few lumpy pads and a simple leather helmet with no face mask at all. The rate of injuries per game was very high. Then along came plastic helmets with more protection. And then the addition of face masks, although mine in 1958 was just a rod about the size of my index finger. I personally found out that a football, thrown really hard at an end who just turned around, will jam through the helmet and the top of the facemask rod and knock off a lot of bark. Today many of the linemen look as though they’re wearing baseball catcher’s masks. 

Football  --  players  --  Unitas, Johnny  --  01  -- Baltimore Colts

Football  --  players  --  Gifford, Frank  --  01  -- All-Pro with the NY Giants

Football  --  players  --  Meredith, Don  --  06  --  quote

Football  --  players  --  Meredith, Don  --  02  --  tribute

Football  --  players  --  Meredith, Don  --  03  --  tribute

Football  --  players  --  Meredith, Don  --  04  --  quote

Football  --  players  --  Meredith, Don  --  05  --  quote

Football  --  players  --  Meredith, Don with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford  --  01  --  ABC football announcers

Football  --  players  --  Staubach, Roger  --  01  -- Dallas CowboysFootball  --  players  --  Staubach, Roger  --  02  -- Dallas Cowboys

Football  --  players  --  Staubach, Roger  --  03  -- Dallas Cowboys

Football  --  players  --  Bradshaw, Terry  --  02

Football  --  players  --  Bradshaw, Terry  --  04Football  --  players  --  Bradshaw, Terry  --  06

Football  --  players  --  Bradshaw, Terry  --  05

Football  --  players  --  Campbell, Earl  --  01

Football  --  players  --  Campbell, Earl  --  02  -- quote

 

 

Football  --  players  --  Owens, Steve  --  01

Football  --  players  --  Owens, Steve  --  02 - Jason White, Sam Bradford, Billy Sims

Football  --  players  --  Owens, Steve  --  03 - Detroit Lions

Football  --  players  --  Sanders, Barry  --  01  -- winning Heisman Trophy at OSUFootball  --  players  --  Sanders, Barry  --  02  -- 1989 rookie running back at Detroit Lions

Football  --  players  --  Sanders, Barry  --  03  -- Detroit Lions

Football  --  players  --  Tillman, Spencer  --  01

Spencer Tillman was another outstanding running back at the University of Oklahoma. He went on to a broadcast career in which he announces football games and/or is a half-time commentor. He is also in great demand as a speaker by corporations and Christian churches.

Football  --  players  --  Tillman, Spencer  --  02

And . . . here are a few more cartoons for your enjoyment.

 

Cartoon-Dennis-MomIsSmart
Football  --  Cartoon  --  05

Football  --  Cartoon  --  10

Football  --  Cartoon  --  12

Football  --  Cartoon  --  13

 

Football  --  Cartoon  --  15

Football  --  Cartoon  --  16Football  --  Cartoon  --  quote from ERma Bombeck  --  01

humor_football_text

Oh, to give you something else to laugh about, here are photos of me during my “lustrous” high school and college football career. I fought for the “Flashes” of dear ol’ Fillmore, California high school. 

1957-001--C StanParegien---football

1957-063--Coaches-EdSimmons-LarrySullivan-FUHS

1958-045--H--1984 article about '58 Football Team by Charles Mozley

1958-132-FUHS-FootballCoaches

1958-134---StanParegien--FUHS-Football--fall57

And I played football one year at a very small religious school, Columbia Christian College, in Portland, Oregon. I played quarterback, but only because the coach decided we were in dire need of the best athlete at the running back position. The best thing one could say about our team is that we still had enough guys to finish the season . . . and we were nothing if not consistent. We lost every game.

1961-036 football-StanParegien

1961-037--B Stan Paregien, right, at Portland, OR - Columbia Ch Col

I’m #15, the one with the ball and headed for a bad wreck. About the third game of the year my right foot was fractured and that was the end of my football days.

 

And now, . . . a word from our sponsor.

Oh, hey, that’s me.

 

I want to draw your attention to the fact that I have more than a dozen eBooks available for purchase online (Amazon.com ; BarnesandNoble.com; etc.). Here are just two of them.

1400w x 200dpi -- AA-- Book Cover - Woody Guthrie - By Stan Paregien Sr -2012----1400w

and . . .

0000--Cover--JimShoulders--StanParegienSr (4)

Go to:  www.smashwords.com and then enter “Stan Paregien, Sr.” in the search box. That will bring up my biography and, below that, every one of the eBooks that I have published through them and a profile of each. You may order online right there in seven different formats, including the popular PDF format.

That’s about it for this time, friends. Soon I will resume my extended profile of presidential candidate Marco Rubio. 

— Stan

AA  Fair Use Disclaimer - 01 -- designed on by Stan Paregien Sr on 2016-02-01

END.

Issue 321, The Spiritual Life

The Paregien Journal   –  Issue 321  –  February 2, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

 

The Spiritual Life

Welcome, friends, to another issue of The Paregien Journal. This blog falls into the “eclectic” category I suppose, reflecting my personal interest in a whole range of topics. And on this occasion I have gathered a collection of diverse essays under the heading of “The Spiritual Life.”

Spiritual life

These materials are worthy of your consideration no matter what the status of your personal spiritual life. You may be an agnostic, an atheist, a Buddist, a Muslem, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian or a Hindu. The thoughtful person is always aware of his intellectual short-comings and holds firmly onto what he knows now, pending further information or investigation. That is an honest and commendable way to live.

I would simply ask you to take off your critic’s hat as you read these materials. Read as a open-minded searcher for the kind of truths which can make each of us a wiser, happier and better person. Afterward, you may want to meditate for a while on what applications this material has to your own life. And then decide what ethical, moral and theological concepts go beyond probable and good to that which is clearly best for your spiritual life. 

 

No One-Dimensional People

by Edward Fudge

When I was a child, there was a man at the other end of the block whom we kids named “Grouchy Grubbs.” Whether he disliked boys and girls in general or only those who were his neighbors we did not know, but he certainly did not like little Fudges, Dunnavants, Chandlers, Kuykendalls, Chumleys, Rollingses, Curtises or Williamses–the families with children growing up on Chandler Drive. He was a one-dimensional man with a single attribute. He was grouchy. His grouchiness contrasted sharply with the sparkling wit of a young widower named Clinton, to whom we bestowed the nickname “Mr. Candy-man.”

Most of our families attended the same church, where for many years Clinton was the primary song leader and also served as church treasurer. He loved children, whom he also loved to tease. Every Sunday when the final “Amen” had been said, Clinton distributed hard candies to all the little tykes found assembled in our midst. This would certainly be a better world, we concluded, if there were no Grouchy Grubbses and if there were many more Clintons.

I do not know what became of Grouchy Grubbs, except in general — as we children grew up, he grew old. One day he retired. Eventually he died, as did his wife. Turns out he had a normal family with normal blessings and normal problems. In fact, he probably was no more grouchy than normal. Mr Candy-man continued passing out the sweets and teasing the children, leading the singing, and counting the offering–a one-man job since our church was so small.

Then one day he was gone, leaving to his motherless only child the pretty new house he had been building for several years, as he got the money. There was only one problem with this picture: the more money Clinton got, the less money the church seemed to have. The elders discovered this problem and confronted Clinton. He agreed to meet with them after the weekend and explain everything. But before the day arrived for that meeting, he used his gun to end it all.

There are no one-dimensional people, just one-dimensional thinking. I am neither all good or all bad, and neither are you, nor is anyone either of us will ever meet. We all have specks of gold mixed with our earthly clay, and problems and weaknesses and sins. We all struggle with burdens, carry loads that weigh us down, cherish aspirations and ambitions and goals.

As we enter the new year 2016, let us resolve to be merciful, to show compassion, to think the best of others, and to be quick to share a word of encouragement or a helping hand. Life is too short to do otherwise. We have God’s forgiveness, his Spirit, his promises, and his Presence. Let us remember who we are and whose we are — and live accordingly. Be blessed–and be a blessing!

[Found in Edward Fudge’s GracEmail newsletter dated Dec. 27, 2015.]

____________________

Two Essays on Mormonism

by Dr. Leroy Garrett

Written in his Soldier On! newsletter in 2006.

 Essay 1: “A Mormon Funeral”

When it comes to Mormons it seems that “I’ve been there and done that.” I have attended the services of all four wards (congregations) that meet in the two chapels in my home town, as they call their churches. I even went through the Mormon temple in Dallas when it first opened, which a “Gentile” could do before it was dedicated. I have studied their history and doctrine, talked to their missionaries, and enjoyed their friendship, including the only two doctors, beloved physicians indeed, that I have had during my 44 years in Denton. Both Mormons!

But I had never been to a Mormon funeral. When the son/grandson of a prominent Denton business family drowned in a river accident in Idaho, I decided to attend his funeral, not only out of respect for the family, but for a new Mormon experience.You might call it an ecumenical urge.

The deceased, a handsome chap who died a few days short of turning 21, was in his second year at Brigham Young University. Already an elder in the church, he was scheduled to begin his two-year mission-ary assignment in December.

There was the usual viewing at the chapel the evening before the funeral, which I did not attend. I was one of the first to arrive for the service, but the chapel, now with extra chairs, was soon filled, upwards of 600. A ward usually has around 300 members. For this funeral there must have been many non-Mormons present. Organ music began some 20 minutes before the service.

Since it was a funeral and not a memorial service, I supposed there would be the casket at front center. There was no casket, and but a select number of standing floral pieces. The casket was still in a side room with the family gathered around it. As in other churches, we stood as the large family filed in to the central area reserved for them. It was then that the casket was rolled in, but it was placed not at front center, but to the right side, rather unobtrusive and of course unopened. The deceased, if he has advanced to priesthood, will usually be buried in white, with a priestly sash around a shoulder.

The president of the stake (a group of wards) presided, while the bishop of the ward (equal to the pastor in a Protestant church) was the conductor. The prayers were led by family members, the eulogy was given by a family friend, a woman; and the message was given by an uncle of the deceased. Another woman, also a family member, sang “O That I Were An Angel,” with piano accompaniment.

The Order of Service had a picture of Jesus on the first page, along with a quotation from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon – a scripture that is also in the Bible. A substantial part of the Book of Mormon is taken from the Bible. The oddity is that while the Book of Mormon was supposedly written hundreds of years before Christ, there are quotations from the King James Version, which was not produced until 1611!

Book of Morman -- Another Testament of Jesus

On the inside cover were two of the deceased’s favorite scriptures, one from the Book of Mormon and one from Doctrine and Covenants. But the Bible was used in other parts of the service. On the back side was a colorful picture of the deceased – a smiling, charming young man.

 Even though both hymns that were sung were uniquely Mormon, the church’s hymnal, published in Salt Lake City, does have many of the great hymns of the church universal, sung by all Christians.

The first hymn could have been sung only by Mormons, and I noticed that those seated near me seemed to know it by heart. The first line reads We have been born, as Nephi of old/ To godly parents who love the Lord. A line from the chorus has We are the army of Helaman/ We have been taught in our youth. Nephi and Helaman are heroes in the Book of Mormon.

The bishop’s presentation was consistent with my understanding of Mormonism with its emphasis on good works. He quoted with emphasis from James – “Show me your faith without your works, and I will by my works show you my faith.” He emphasized obeying the commandments, and the Mormons have thousands. No reference to Paul in Romans, and no reference to grace.

Some Mormon-watchers refer to this as “the Mormon dilemma” – prodded to keep commandments they cannot keep, to be “worthy” when by nature, like all of us, they are unworthy. As Jesus himself tells us: “When you have done all things commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants’” (Lk. 17:10). Our Lord never promised that our good works would sustain us, but he did say “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9).

The Mormons pay a high price for their works-oriented religion. Some insist – with statistics in hand — that this explains why Utah, predominately Mormon, has far more than its share of mental illness, depression, child (sexual) abuse, teenage pregnancy, divorces, suicide (especially teen suicide).

The “Mormon woman” is named as particularly oppressed, with ongoing depression common. She is to be subservient to her husband, both for time and eternity. She is destined to be “eternally pregnant,” bearing children – along with other of his wives – for her god-husband, who will have his own planet to populate. She must also depend on him for her resurrection from the dead. He is to call her from the grave – using the secret name known only to them, given to them when they married for eternity in the temple. If he doesn’t call, she is without hope. Mormon women might find John 5:25 liberating: “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”

But the message given by the deceased’s uncle was as Christian as one would hear in any evangelical church. He lifted up Christ as the only Savior and our only hope, and as sufficient for all our needs. No reference to The Prophet, to the Book of Mormon, or to “the restored gospel.” Jesus is the only gospel we need!

I found myself wanting to ask him how he could believe what he said and yet believe that one has to be a Mormon to be a true Christian and belong to the true church. How can one believe in the sufficiency of Christ and yet believe in the essentiality of the unique claims of Mormonism? The Mormons do not believe that The Prophet is Savior, but they do believe that he has to deem them worthy before they can go to heaven. Is that faith in Christ as the only Savior?

Christ-centeredness! It was a good way to end the funeral. But I was left with a question that evangelical Christians are asking, Are Mormons Christians?

In response to a cover story about Mormons in Newsweek, a Protestant minister wrote: “The Mormons are not Christians, they are Mormons.” And a Newsweek editor raised the problem faced by Mit Romney, governor of Massachusetts, who might be a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2008. But Romney is a Mormon.

The editor reminded his readers that it was evangelical Christians who put the last three Republican Presidents in the White House, and that no Republican can be elected without the evangelical vote. He ventured that the evangelicals would vote for Hillary Clinton before they would vote for a Mormon.

What is the basis of the evangelical complaint against Mormons? It must be serious if they would vote for Hillary, whom they can’t abide, before they would vote for a Mormon, any Mormon, however attractive he might be otherwise. While in this essay I may have already hinted as some of those reasons, in my next I will spell out some of those reasons in detail. And I will let you decide for yourself. I do not propose to be a judge on this issue,  Are Mormons Christians?  but that is the subject of the next essay.

[Published in Dr. Leroy Garrett’s emailed newsletter, Soldier On!, Essay 133 dated July 27, 2006 ]

 

 Essay 2:  “Are Mormons Christians?”

by Dr. Leroy Garrett

I have an uneasiness about this subject. Who am I to say who is or who is not a Christian? The Lord knows those who are his, as Scripture says, not I. But in my last essay I referred to a Newsweek article in which evangelical Christians were described as not believing that Mormons are Christians – a view that may well be held by Christians generally. I promised that in this essay I would explain why they feel this way.

The Mormons certainly see themselves as Christians, and they are understandably offended when accused of not being. But it is such a commonly held view that on Larry King Live,  Larry — who is married to a Mormon — asked the current president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whom he was interviewing, if Mormons were Christians. The authoritative voice of the Mormon church replied – a bit impatiently I detected – “Certainly we are Christians!”

This suspicion of Mormons takes different forms. Years ago when I was back at Princeton Seminary (Presbyterian) I happened to sit at the alumni banquet with a renowned professor, with whom I had studied decades earlier. He told me he had recently been to Brigham Young University to lecture for the Mormons, and he expressed surprise that they invited him. Thinking it appropriate to say something positive, I mentioned that the Mormons make good neighbors and upstanding citizens. To which he replied, “Yes, if they didn’t have to believe so many crazy things.”

That is the way many Christians see them – they believe and practice a lot of crazy things. But some translate that into They are not Christians, insisting that what is wrong is not just “crazy” but grossly anti-biblical and anti-Christian.

Most Mormons – perhaps the president and prophet himself – might be surprised to learn that no less an authority than Brigham Young insisted that Mormons were not Christians, for they were more than Christians. “We are a special people of God,” he said. That appears to be how they see themselves – their prophet Joseph Smith is the greatest of all prophets; their Scriptures are superior and more reliable than the Bible; and while all other churches are apostate, their church is the only true church.

When critics – some of them ex-elite “Temple Mormons” — accuse Mormons of not being Christians what charges do they make? After considerable reading on this subject, I list here the most significant accusations – which are always documented from Mormon sources.

  1. The Mormon God is not the Christian God.

 This is the severest test for any religion. If it is wrong about God, little else matters. C. S. Lewis observed that there are only two kinds of religions – those which believe in the one, eternal God of the universe, such as the Judeo-Christian faith, and those that believe in many gods, such as Hinduism and paganism.

Mormonism is in the second category in that it teaches that every male Mormon can become a god. Women may become goddesses, but not gods. The essence of Mormonism is to make an infinite number of gods for an infinite universe. Their critics have thus called them “the God Makers.” Already they have made millions of gods, as they see it.

God himself was once a man like the rest of us who proved himself so “worthy” – a key word in Mormonism – that over aeons of self-exaltation he at last became Yahweh God. When the Bible describes God as infinite, eternal, immortal, and immutable it is not describing the Mormon God.

  1. The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of Christians.

The Mormon Jesus is not “the Word became flesh.” – or God who became man — but, like God, a man who by being “worthy” became Christ. God, who is polygamous with his many wives, had intercourse with Mary, one of his wives, and Jesus was born. God had other children, one being Lucifer – so Lucifer, who became the prince of devils, and Jesus were brothers. This was in their pre-mortal state.

Moreover, the Mormon Jesus was polygamous while on earth, and he lived to see several of his children. They have Jesus getting married one more time at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.

One will notice that manhood is the doorway to godhood – first a man, then perhaps a god. So with God, so with Jesus. So with all who become gods. This is the rationale for polygamy – all the yet unborn spirits must become human, so they in turn can through good works become gods. And god-making goes on eternally, with the goddesses eternally pregnant. Mormonism potentially has more gods even than Hinduism, whose gods are innumerable.

This is why Mormonism rejects “the fall of man” or original sin. Brigham Young said man fell upwards. The so-called “fall” was a blessing in disguise, Young said, for in it man began to learn how to become a god. Man is basically good, an “embryonic god” in fact.

This is also why Mormonism has little or no doctrine of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit has apparently never become a man – and so is not God. You can now understand the Mormon adage “As man now is God once was, as God is man may become.” But is it Christian?

 3.  Mormonism is a cult, and so cannot be truly Christian.

If this charge is true and comes to be generally understood, it could have a devastating effect on Mormonism. For the general public – not just the religious — abhors cults. It even fears them.

A cult may be defined as:

(1)  Formed around a charismatic leader who is esteemed as a spokesman for God, who has unquestioned authority over them, demands absolute obedience, and has a hyper ego;

(2)  Having its own ongoing revelations from God, which may take the form of extra-biblical scriptures;

(3)  Having weird and bizarre doctrines and practices, often expressed in secret rituals,

(4)  Seeing itself as a special, superior people of God, it judges others as inferior, apostate, abominable.

 

Mormonism appears to qualify as a cult

 on every point listed above, such as

(numbers below correspond to numbers above):

(1)  Joseph Smith is the unique, charismatic figure of Mormonism, who was no ordinary prophet. He restored the true church of Jesus Christ, apart from which there is no salvation. Even the most devout Christian, biblically baptized, must accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and be baptized into the Mormon church to be saved. The Prophet and The Brethren who are his successors have absolute authority and are not to be questioned. As they themselves put it, “When The Brethren speak, the thinking has already been done.”

(2) The Mormons have at least three “Bibles” of their own — the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Since they see the Bible as corrupted through the centuries, the Mormon scriptures are superior. Besides, they have twelve apostles, one of whom is president and prophet – successor to Joseph Smith – who receives revelations and speaks for God.

In 1870 – after the Supreme Court ruled against polygamy – the sitting prophet received a revelation that was to end polygamy, though it did not actually condemn the practice, for that would have contradicted their scriptures, which make polygamy “a divine law.” And in 1978 – after 150 years of being racist – the church through its prophet received a revelation that gave equal rights to blacks, even though the Book of Mormon still makes dark skin a curse of God.

(3)  What is more weird and bizarre than what goes on in the scores of Mormon temples around the world? There are secret rituals and oaths (revealed only at pain of death), a secret handshake, and secret under garments with markings like those of the Masons (the Prophet was a Mason).

Couples are “sealed” in marriage to each other for eternity; each receives a secret name, which the man uses to call his wife from the grave. When a wife dies a veil is placed over her face in the coffin, where it is to stay until her husband calls. But he is to have other wives in heaven, all of whom will be eternally bearing children so as to populate their god-husband’s own universe.

But the temples are more for the dead than for the living. They are awesome to the average Mormon. Yet 70% never enter one due to being unworthy, which makes “Temple Mormons” the elite. The dead of all human history may still be saved – multiplied billions of them. Their spirits gather in the temples, begging to be saved. They can still believe “the restored gospel” of Joseph Smith and be baptized, except a living Mormon is actually baptized for each of them.

 But the dead must first be identified and authenticated as having lived, with appropriate data recorded. And so the Mormons are also genealogists with a depository of millions, if not billions, of names in a mountain vault near Salt Lake City. The point is to be baptized for them. Some Mormons have been baptized for hundreds, even  thousands, who may have lived centuries in the past. “A church for the dead,” they are called. They see themselves as the saviors of all humankind, the dead of ages past as well as the living.

 (4)  Salvation is only in the Mormon church, which has all the truth of God, a claim common to all cults.

 While Christians in general base their salvation not on their own worthiness or good works but upon the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Mormon church offers salvation only in “the one true church” and by being “worthy” through good works.

That contradicts the great truth of the Christian faith. If one can be saved by his own worthiness, then the sacrifice of Christ was unnecessary. As the Bible puts it –- “Not by any works of righteousness which we have done ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). Man is a sinner before God, not an embryonic god. We were not created to be gods, but to be human beings conformed to the image of Christ, both in this world and in the world to come (Philippians 3:20-21).

In the light of all this it is understandable that many Mormon watchers do not see them as Christians. The fact remains, however, that they often act like Christians, and impressively so.They will point out to you that theirs is virtually the only church with “Jesus Christ” in its name. If you attend their services you will never hear them pray except in the name of Christ. They glorify Christ in praise and song. They acknowledge him as the risen Lord, and do good works in his name.

The issue before us raises a question that I don’t know the answer to – How wrong might one be and still be a Christian?

The church in Corinth had many things amiss, but Paul still saw them as the body of Christ. Admittedly, the line has to be drawn somewhere. We can probably agree that to be a Christian one’s heart has to be right – a heart for Christ. And only God knows the heart.

The answer we seek might be different if we asked about Mormonism itself rather than the individual Mormon – Is Mormonism Christian?

It would be like asking if Calvinism is Christian (Thomas Jefferson said Calvin’s God is a demon) rather than asking if Presbyterians are Christians.

Many Mormons – perhaps most – do not know about the “crazy,” cultish things revealed above. The missionaries do not reveal them in conversion, and The Brethren reveal them to the initiated only gradually. Mormon history is one of lying and deceit. Even Joseph Smith with his plurality of wives (27 according to a Mormon historian’s count; 46 by ex-Mormon Faun Brody’s listing, with some as young as 13) denied he was a polygamist up to his dying day!

You have to give him credit – it is not every man who can keep 46 wives under cover. No pun intended! But it was generally known, and it was one more reason why a mob stormed the jail in Carthage, Mo. in 1844 – where he was held for treason – and murdered him. He was earlier jailed for fraud in reference to deals related to digging for money. And yet he placed himself a close second to Christ himself!

But typical Mormons do not know these stories. The Mormon church is a good family church with high moral values, as they see it. They go to church – well, half do, half don’t (“Jack Mormons” are what they call their folks who don’t go to church). They work hard to be good Christians. Some of them know what Mormonism teaches, and do not believe it. But where do they go since all other churches are also false? They accept the good and try to ignore the bad.

Sound familiar?

When we ask whether others are Christians, it is just as well to turn the question on ourselves, Are we Christians?

Some of us are probably more Christian than some of our dogmas. That may be where at least some Mormons are.

[Published in Dr. Leroy Garrett’s emailed newsletter, Soldier On!, Essay 134 dated August 4, 2006 ]

Dr. Garrett died in 2015. He was a prolific writer up until a few weeks before his death. You will find many, if not most, of his writings posted at:

http://www.leroygarrett.org/

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Psalm 23 For the Work Place

Author Unknown

Workers

The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want.
He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.
He gently reminds me to pray and do all things
without murmuring and complaining.

He reminds me that he is my source and not my job.
He restores my sanity everyday and guides my decisions
that I might honor him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system
crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping
co-workers, discriminating supervisors and an aging
body that doesn’t cooperate every morning, I still will not
stop—for He is with me! His presence, His peace,
and His power will see me through.

He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me.
He claims me as His own, even when the company
threatens to let me go.
His Faithfulness and love is better than any
bonus check.

His retirement plan beats every 401k there is.
When it’s all said and done, I’ll be working for Him
a whole lot longer and for that, I bless his name.

Spiritual life  --  02

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The Paradox of Dying to Live:

Considering the Intent of Romans 6:7

by Al Maxey*

In his epistle to the Roman brethren, Paul makes a statement that has caused some degree of speculation, the understanding (or misunderstanding) of which has also led to doctrines and dogmas boldly proclaimed and perpetuated by a number of disciples of Christ. That statement is found in Romans 6:7, which reads, “For he that is dead is freed from sin” (KJV).

The question that has arisen in the minds of many is: What is meant by the term “dead” in this passage? We will come back to that, but first we discover from the text that the result of this death is the blessing of being “freed from sin.” The Greek word here translated as “freed” is “dikaioo,” which means “to be acquitted, cleared, freed, vindicated; to be declared just and righteous; to stand approved and accepted.”

The point Paul makes to his brothers and sisters in Christ is that they have been cleared of sin and freed from its power over them. They are now regarded by the Father as just and righteous, and thereby accepted by Him into an intimate relationship with Him. This Greek word in Romans 6:7 is a perfect passive indicative, which means the person stands having been set free, based on a past act, from the power, guilt and consequence of sin.

Dr. A.T. Robertson, in his Word Pictures in the New Testament, makes note of this Greek construction and says this term means “to stand justified; set free from.” That past act, that secures our freedom, is stated in the text to be DEATH. Because one has died, that one is now free. This, in fact, is one of the primary teachings of Paul in this chapter (as well as throughout this epistle).

Notice the following two paragraphs from Reflections #617 (“Reenacting Our Redemptive Reality”):

Look at the context of Romans 6. Read it carefully. What is Paul talking about in this passage? Is he building a theology around baptism in water? Is he declaring this rite to be THE precise point of contact with the blood of Jesus Christ? Is this passage from the pen of Paul, as some claim, about baptism?! Far from it.

Baptism  --  07  baptism by immersion -  beliver's baptism

Indeed, the rite of baptism in water is entirely incidental to his primary message; it is only mentioned in passing. Paul’s point is: “you have been set free from sin” (vs. 18, 22); “we died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (vs. 2). “Our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (vs. 6-7). “Count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin…” (vs. 11-13). “Sin shall not be your master” (vs. 14).

As those who have been set free in Christ Jesus; as those who are washed in His blood; as those who are cleansed — we are now called to reflect that reality in our daily lives. As recipients of His grace we are to be reflectors of His holiness. Returning to a life of sin should be unthinkable to those who are now set free from it. Thus, in this chapter, Paul twice asks: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” (vs. 1-2). “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (vs. 15).

By virtue of His grace and through our faith, we have received the blessing of being united with Him in the likeness of His death and resurrection (vs. 5). “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (vs. 3). What is the significance of this death? Paul gives us the answer: “The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God” (vs. 10). In our spiritual union with our Savior, we also have died to sin that we might live “in newness of life” — i.e., lives of purity and holiness, reflecting His nature rather than our own.

Paul is reminding the disciples in Rome that their baptism symbolizes this great reality, and they need to be conducting themselves according to the Great Reality they reflected in that rite. In their immersion they validated their faith in our Lord’s death, burial (entombment) and resurrection, and all that His act signifies; now, in their daily lives, they need to continually reflect this reality in a visible manner to the world about them. They are ambassadors of grace, children of God, and they need to behave as such. “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (vs. 4).

Paul is nowhere in this chapter saying that baptism in water SAVES us; nor does he even suggest that we “contact the blood” of the Savior in the baptistery. In our baptism we have publicly committed ourselves, in a visible profession of faith, to living lives “dead to sin” and devoted to righteousness and holiness. Baptism is an act of faith, but it is also, in some ways, a vow. In this act of faith in what He has done for us, we vow, in a very public, visible manner, to die to self and live for Him.

Baptism  --  a covenant -- 01

Don’t we also do the same in the wedding ceremony? A man and woman, in a very public manner, vow to die to self and live for the other! Is that ceremony (or some precise point within it) what unites this man and women in a covenant with one another before their God? Covenant takes place IN THE HEART, and that covenant was entered into before they “walked down the aisle.” Yes, this public profession is important and has a place as a “point of public remembrance,” but it reflects and represents a reality already present within the hearts of this man and woman prior to this ceremony. It is the same with baptism (although this statement will not sit well with the sacramentalists).

Romans 6:7 teaches us that if we are to experience the blessing of being freed from sin and regarded by the Lord as justified, if we are to be accepted by Him into a life affirming relationship, a death must occur. This is not a reference to the death of Jesus (at least not directly, although His death is certainly in the mind of the one dying), nor is it a reference to our physical death. Rather, it is a spiritual death of the old nature so that we might live in newness of life (a life in which we are Spirit filled and led). But, again, we come to the question: What is this death we are to experience, and when does it take place?

Many within my own faith-heritage believe this “death” that frees us from sin occurs at the point of baptism in water. They teach that baptism itself is the precise point of our cleansing and freeing from sin, thus investing it with a sacramental power.

Notice the comments of Dr. Paul E. Kretzmann on this passage from the pen of Paul: “We Christians, by virtue of our Baptism, are dead unto sin and live unto God, because the new life of God is planted into our hearts in Baptism” [Popular Commentary of the Bible: The NT, vol. 2, p. 32]. He goes on: “In Baptism the believer dies with Christ. . . . The new spiritual life which he has received in Baptism. . . . Crucified with Christ in Baptism. . .. By virtue of our Baptism, sin is removed. … Salvation: this our Baptism has worked, effected, in us. Because the old Adam, in Baptism, has been killed. … That is the wonderful blessing and benefit of Baptism” [ibid, p. 31]. The author always uses the upper case “B” in writing this word, for he regards this act as a holy sacrament: i.e., by this act itself one receives salvation, justification, and release from sin. Baptism itself, therefore, according to Dr. Kretzmann’s view, is HOLY, for IT is what effects our union with the Lord.

The apostle Paul, however, is not elevating baptism in water, or any other human act, to the status of a salvific sacrament. Baptism is not the “death” of which Paul speaks, but merely a visible and symbolic representation of that death. If we are to benefit from the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, then we too must die. Although baptism in water is a reenactment of HIS death, burial and resurrection, it is not the death of which Paul speaks in Romans 6:7. Thus, the question remains: What is that death, and when does it take place?

Ephesians 2 v8  --  Salvation by faith  --  01

The teaching of Paul, and of all Scripture, is that we embrace grace by faith! When I finally come to perceive the spiritual significance of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and when I put my complete trust in HIS act on my behalf, by that faith I die to self and lift Him up as Lord and Savior. I do indeed reflect that faith by repentance and confession, and even by a reenactment of HIS act (by being immersed in water), but it was BY FAITH that I died to self so as to live in/for Him. All else merely reflects that inner reality.

Thus, by faith I die with Him, and by faith I receive the benefit of HIS death, burial and resurrection, which is a freeing from the effects of sin. I am free; I am liberated; I am accepted, I am justified. And yes, I will SHOW this reality of salvation by grace through faith every day in countless ways, one of which is the visible reenactment in baptism of HIS redeeming act.

Adam Clarke rightly observed, “Does not this simply mean: the man who has received Christ Jesus by faith, and has been, through believing, made a partaker of the Holy Spirit, has had his old man, all his evil propensities, destroyed; so that he is not only justified freely from all sin, but wholly sanctified unto God? The context shows that this is the meaning” [Clarke’s Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 77].

The Greek scholar Dr. Kenneth Wuest concurs, pointing out that the word “dead” in our text “is aorist tense in the Greek text, namely, ‘he who died,’ referring to the historical fact of a believing sinner being identified with Christ in His death on the cross” [Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek NT, Vol. 1, p. 102].

David Lipscomb wrote, “The old man that followed sin was crucified through faith in Jesus” [A Commentary on the NT Epistles, Vol. 1, p. 117]. He then quotes the apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). Earlier in that same chapter, Paul wrote, “We have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ” (Galatians 2:16). In our text (Romans 6:7), Paul indicated that we are freed/justified as a result of a “death.” We died to the old man BY FAITH, and we received His declaration of freedom from sin by our faith in His redemptive act. We evidence that faith in a number of ways, one of which is baptism.

“This annulling of the power of sin is based on a recognized principle: death settles all claims. Our union with Christ in His death, which was designed to deal with sin once for all, means that we are free from the hold of sin. Its mastery is broken” [The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 10, p. 70].

“Death annuls all obligations, breaks all ties, cancels all old scores” [Dr. W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. 2, p. 633].

The ancient Jewish rabbis stated in their writings, “When one is dead he is free from commands.”

We are dead to law; we are dead to legislation; we are dead to command-keeping; we are dead to sin. We are liberated; we are free. By faith we have cast off the old man of our sinful nature, and we are made alive with Christ Jesus. Paul, following his statement in Romans 6:7, spends much of the remainder of the chapter discussing the practical aspects (as seen in daily living) of this death to our old nature resulting in freedom from sin. “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Does this mean we are now perfect, and that we never sin? Of course not. In the latter part of the very next chapter (Romans 7:14f), Paul details his continuing struggle with sin. We daily stumble in our walk, but we are no longer slaves to sin, but merely victims of sin, with the good news being that we are sinners saved by grace, and in our inner man we have died to sin, even though in our flesh there is still weakness which far too often evidences itself in sinful ways. Yet, thanks be to God, for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:1-2). By faith we die; by faith we live! Thank God for His grace!

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 Maxey, Al -- Church of Christ -- date unknown 2

 Al Maxey is the author of several books on religious topics and he has defended his theological views in a number of debates. His “Reflections” newsletter, widely read  . . . and often criticized, is free for the asking. This essay was posted in Issue 676, for Sept. 25, 2015. Al preaches for the Cuba Avenue Church of Christ in Alamogordo, New Mexico and is one of the congregation’s shepherds as well. See his web site for back issues of his writings and for listings of his books and CDs and/or to sign up to receive his free newsletter:    http://www.zianet.com/maxey/

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Bible -- CS Lewis on not using Scriptures as weapons

Knowing So Much
But So Little

by Edward Fudge
Copyrighted Jan. 3, 2016

The second year of high school found me enrolled in a vocational class in commercial printing. A loud, smelly machine called a Linotype made a “line o’ type” from melted lead. The printing “press” inked the type with hard rubber rollers and “pressed” paper sheets against the type like a giant rubber stamp. My first assignment was to clean the rollers with gasoline and a large cloth. I saw what looked like six or eight large ink rollers, scrubbed them with a vengeance, then asked the boss to check my work. A quick look later he turned the big flywheel that moved the rollers, bringing up from somewhere in the depths a second set of rollers badly in need of a good cleaning. I thought I knew what to do and how to do it. Instead, to my embarrassment, I discovered how very, very little I knew.

That is much the way I feel these days, as I seek to retain and regain control over a damaged body and mind that play havoc with moods and emotions, randomly ignore or distort operating orders from the brain, create a variety of pains in both legs and feet, and make up new rules as we go along. Two culprits have joined forces to cause this mischief. First is Parkinson’s Disease (PD), with whom many of you are all too familiar as either caregiver or patient. My diagnosis was 13 years ago but the disease remained largely invisible for another decade until repeated back surgeries stirred it into action. The second culprit is a disease process known as “severe sensory-motor polyneuropathy,” recognizable by physical weakness and disability and by chronic pain.

As stated above, I am rapidly learning how little I know about things I thought I knew. After all, I have been a preacher/teacher for 50+ years and a lawyer for nearly 30. In both professions others looked to me as an “answer-man” concerning things in heaven and on earth respectively. But regardless of the number or the nature of the questions we have answered, I suspect that none of us, when assaulted by misfortune and called to suffer, will ever fully understand the answers to the big questions we all find ourselves asking–questions such as “Why?” and “Why me?”

Yet in this frustrated world groaning for redemption we can improve our perspective and learn to ask instead, “Why not me?” And we can always work on learning how better to wait (Romans 8:18-22). Meanwhile, the best knowledge we can gain is not “book-knowledge” as such, but relational knowledge born of experience in applying biblical principles to life as we encounter it together day by day (Colossians 1:9- 11).

On this subject, the simplest truths are often the most profound, and we can sum them up as faith, hope and love. The most important truth is that God loves us in spite of ourselves, which means we can trust him whatever the present appearances. The final chapter to our story is not yet written, making hope possible, necessary, and very relevant. And when all is said and done, and there is nothing more we can say or do to help, we again confess to God that he is all we have and that we are in his hands to stay. It just might be that the little we do know turns out to be very much indeed.

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* Edward Fudge is a lawyer, a preacher, and an author of several popular religious books. This copyrighted essay was published online on Jan. 3, 2016. You may contact him at his web site and sign up to receive his free GracEmail newsletter: http://edwardfudge.com/

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