Dr. John's Fortress
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Today the Liturgical Churches that use the Common Lectionary are celebrating the Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost. The Gospel text is Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23.
For the last few weeks the textual spotlight has been on God. It let us see his grace poured out over us. I love those texts but today the spotlight shifts from God to man.; That is one horrible shift.
It is even worse because today the spotlight is on the active Christian. The one who works really hard at being good.
I want to scream Lord shift the light. Go look at the sinners of this world. Look at greedy politicians who lie, look at drug dealers, look at people who don’t go to church, look at the immoral fornicators all around us. Put the spotlight on their sins.
We are the good guys. We keep the rules. We work hard at being Christian. We are so much better than them. Go look at them.
Oh! And keep them out of our churches. We don’t need any more members who don’t try and seldom come.
We are the good guys.
You gotta love us.
But the spotlight doesn’t move and we see ourselves reflected in some other “ good guys” .
They kept the rules. They weren’t loving and they weren’t kind but they kept the rules.
They were the Pharisees and they kept rules you and I have never heard of.
They judged Jesus and his disciples and in today’s text found them guilty of breaking God’s law.
Hey! They had a point. They didn’t wash their hands before eating.
Well they didn’t. Blasted law breakers.
But Jesus says they and we are looking in the wrong place . It’s not the outside law keeping that everybody sees that shows who we are but what comes from our heart.
We don’t want to hear that Lord.
It makes us guilty.
It ruins our good guy image.
How can we be better if all the judging has to be left to You?
How will we know we are good?
But we aren’t good we are forgiven.
We aren’t better than others we have just felt the Father’s love.
Our task is not perfect law keeping but loving people as they are.
Letting God’s love shine through us.
When we fail and become today’s Pharisees we drive people away.
We hurt them. We reject them. They learn to hate the Church.
We are the bad guys.
But we can repent.
We are forgiven.
We can try again the route of the cross and love the unlovable or those we think are unlovable.
God picks us up. God renews us. God sends us out again.
We need that spotlight.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Six Words Life
When I got this card I was using a walker now I am using my scooter but still need the card as the scooter puts me too low for backing out cars to see me.
Today the DMV called. They got my application, they said, but I must have copied the number wrong on the card I have now. So Betty went to the car and got the handicapped card and I read her the number.
Then she told me that card belonged to a lady in Sun Prairie ,Wisconsin.
So it would seem the handicapped Dr. John doesn't exist either.
This is the card they gave me when I applied but they are sure it couldn't be their fault.
It has never been out of the car but its not their fault.
I don't know anybody in Sun Prairie.
But it's not their fault.
But they will fix the problem and I will get a new card.
It will be in the mail.
In the meantime I shouldn't use the other card.
Possibly it and my identity card will get here at the same time.
I guess until then I should stay home.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Pasties have been made in my family for generations. The one's we are making here we call " picnic pasties". They are small hand held pasties. That are usually eaten cold. The more traditional pasty has half inch cubes of beef and pork, and cubes of potatoes and is served hot as a full meal. My grandmother made the big pasties and they were out of this world. The recipe for picnic pasties comes from my mother and my Aunt Doris. But the crust recipe comes from my Aunt Bessie who made the very best crust. Please note that this is not intended to show you how to make pasties but simply to show us making them.
We started with some good rib eye
steak. Seen here.
Then ground it up in this.
You need a little onion shown here in the grinder.
And some potatoes seen before grinding
Mix it all up in a big bowl
Roll out the dough made the night before and refrigerated over night. For some reason that's important.
Cut into pasty shape. For picnic pasties Betty uses this bowl as a cutter. Some people use plates.
Add the Pasty filling ( the mixed ground steak, potatoes, onion, and a bit of carrot )
Turn the dough over the filling and crimp the edge.
Pasties ready to be cooked
And ready to eat.
They were well received
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It is time to share with you another of my favorite blogs.
This nice lady lives the dreams of many of us.
Her name is Gatina and she sort of lives in Waterloo, Belgium .
She travels, a lot. She vacations often. Then she shares all this with us on her blog with pictures and great narrative.
But even when she isn’t traveling she is busy turning everyday life into an adventure and sharing that with us as well.
She is a wonderful example of how growing old doesn’t have to make you act old.
The only problem with visiting her blog is it leads one to the sin of envy. I can not imagine anyone not enjoying her blog.
In addition to this blog she keeps a photo-blog and a cat blog.
My son Peter is having surgery today. They are removing his gall bladder. Please keep him in your prayers.
Peter is now out of surgery and doing fine. He will be in the hospital at least until tomorrow.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Over the Fence Chatter
No rant today. No screaming. Just a little chit chat among friends.
Of course since this is a blog and my blog at that I will do most of the chatting but you can join in on the comments.
I will be away from the computer most of the day because this is the last Wednesday summer pot luck at the church and we are making little pasties. That’s a two person job , you know. We are taking a bit of a risk because most of the people at the pot luck have never tasted a pasty. They might not like them and then we will feel bad.
I wonder why that is. They shouldn’t have to like pasties to make us feel good. If they bought one in an Upper Michigan restaurant and didn’t like it it wouldn’t bother us. Ah! But these will be our pasties. We created them.
Of course our church friends will probably say they like them even if they don’t. Part of the games people play. I think this one is called “ Don’t step there you’ll hurt their toes.”
But enough about pasties.
I got a long e-mail from my friend Al telling me how upset he is with me over the last two rants. Al is one of my liberal friends I think he sent me the original e-mail that touched off the verbal explosion. He is threatening never to send me another e-mail. He tried to explain how you can believe in free speech but still punish those who use it. He said as a Pastor I should understand that this was a moral issue. People can not be allowed to say things that get in the way of caring for the poor and the sick. I sent him back an e-mail that said I would be sorry if he stopped E-mailing me.
I started a new meme today you can see it here in the Fortress Hall of Stories. I didn’t know where else to put it. It does look like fun.
Maggie knows she isn’t supposed to be on the new couch but sneaks up and lies on it when she thinks we aren’t looking. As soon as she sees us she gets off. It’s man against dog and dog is winning. She is still doing the door thing. She cries to go out and then stands in the sliding door half out and half in. She knows we can’t shut the door while she stands there. I have never kicked a dog but if she does that when the temperature is below zero I will be tempted to move her out with a good kick to her rump. But then given my unstable condition I would probably fall and break something.
This week we have been cleaning. So far we have the big round table in the living/dining room area cleared off. You can’t believe the junk that table had accumulated.
I have to go and double check the pasty recipe .
Have a good day.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I get e-mail from my conservative and liberal friends.
They all want me to know the truth.
Before E-mail I got snail mail from the same friends and sometimes I even talked to them in person.
Over the years my liberal friends have invited me to join a number of boycotts.
Liberals really seem to like boycotts.
I was asked to boycott pants, orange juice, frozen chicken, various companies using bad pesticide, products from farms that treated animals badly, and of course the one everyone loves to boycott WalMart.
Each one could be justified in terms of making this a better world by changing the behavior of a company.
I didn’t like them. I didn’t join them. But I understood them.
But this weekend my liberal friends requested I boycott Whole Foods.
I don’t shop at Whole Foods. I’m not into organic foods. But they gave me this website and this to get information.
What I found scared me.
This boycott was not to change behavior but to punish free speech.
The man being boycotted had committed an unpardonable sin.
He was a dyed in the wool liberal with great liberal credentials and he had dared on the op-ed page of the Wall Street journal to suggest an alternative eight point plan to the omnibus health bill that liberals love.
Such defiance had to be punished.
So they set out to smear him and to hurt him economically.
He would pay for being a bad liberal.
But the President and the Democrats had called for people to openly and publicly share their proposals . They were sure that people were sneaking around on the internet spreading lies that they couldn’t see and couldn’t refute.
But John Mackey couldn’t have done it much more publicly then the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal.
You would have expected the President or a leading Democrat to enter into dialogue.
You know take the points one by one and show how they would fail or how they were less effective than the omnibus bill. Come on in 16000 pages you should be able to find something better than eight suggestions.
But we have gotten, so far, from the President and the Democrats is silence.
Nobody has stepped forward to discuss the eight points.
The attack is not on the ideas but on the man who gave them.
That’s not dialogue, Mr. President.
It really isn’t.
So I wait for my President to commend Mr. Mackey for taking part in an open discussion of the issues.
I wait for him to decry the boycott of a person for having different solutions than his.
In the meantime I wanted to know what Mr. Mackey said. My liberal friends didn’t include that.
I guess it didn’t matter because it was wrong.
So I Goggled Boycott Whole Foods and found this where the eight points are published.( Believe me it was hard to find, Nobody right or left seems to care about the ideas they just want to attack or defend the man.
If my conservative friends had told me this was happening in America. I would have chalked it up to the usual conservative paranoia but it came from my liberal friends.
So I sit here in fear of a country where you can be punished for bad ideas.
I wait for my President to save me.
Monday, August 24, 2009
We have a health care crisis.
I know because my President said so and he wouldn’t lie.
To solve that crisis my brave Democratic House has put forth a 16000 page Omnibus bill.
I have never read the bill.
Many congressmen who voted for it never read it.
But their staff did and the staff says its wonderful.
I trust the staff.
The problem is that many Americans aren’t trusty souls like me.
They don’t trust the government.
It seems they have been lied to in the past by both Republican and Democratic Presidents.
They have been told by congress that legislation wouldn’t do something only to find out later it did.
Or they were told the cost of a government action only to discover the cost was much , much higher.
So they don’t trust the government.
Haven’t they read the bill?
It says exactly what it says.
It would play out exactly as it would play out.
The price , at the moment, is a mere couple of trillion dollars.
So why do they keep going to those open meetings and asking stupid questions.
Of course there are no death squads in the bill. That’s that crazy Palin saying that. Ignore her.
Just because something could lead to something doesn’t mean it will.
Come on folks trust your government.
They have only your best interests at heart.
Besides when you ask those stupid questions you tick off my sister.
She thinks your really dumb and have been mislead by the crazy right.
This is the time for us to pull together.
There is a crisis here.
Either come up with a solution of your own or shut up.
Got that Republicans.
However don’t be a CEO of a company and propose other solutions.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods did that on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal. Believing that the President really wanted to hear alternative solutions.
He proposed eight actions that would cost the federal government very little to implement but that would have made a real impact on the system.
His reward for doing what a good citizen was called on to do.
Some Democratic leaders have called for a boycott of Whole Foods, his company.
But I know they had a good reason for that.
They are probably upset because he didn’t read the 16000 pages.
If he had he would know that his were not on the approved list of other ideas.
We just have to learn to trust our leaders.
Don't propose things they don't want to hear.
Got that Republicans.
There are poor people who need health care.
The President and the Democrats are ready to save them.
Get out of the way.
Trust your government.
My sister does.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Twelfth Sunday After
In the Liturgical Churches that use the Common Lectionary this is the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel text is John 6:56-69.
This ends a group of texts that spoke of Jesus as the Bread of life, and of eating and drinking his body and blood.
Week by week we have seen people who wwere ready to follow Jesus put off by these statements. We have watched multitudes leave.
By the time we reach today’s text only a core of one hundred or so followers are left.
They have walked with Him for some time. They want to believe. They try to hold on.
But now Jesus tells them that not only is He the Bread of life but he has come down from Heaven.
This upsets them enough that they begin to talk among themselves about what kind of man are they following.
Jesus hearing them tells them that if this offends them how will they feel when they see Him ascending back to Heaven.
That statement seems to be the straw that breaks the camels back and one by one they leave for good.
Eventually only the twelve are left.
Jesus says to them “ Do you also wish to go away?”
This is a rough time for Jesus. He loved the people who left. He cared about each one of them. For some time He had been their teacher. But now they were gone.
It had to hurt. Jesus was , after all, fully human.
I just love Peter’s answer.
“ Lord where will we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
This was it. Their commitment was absolute. They would go with Him because they knew that he was the One.
Over the centuries Jesus has asked that question of his followers.
He asked it of St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis.
He asked it of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer .
He asked it of Saint Gregory and John Calvin.
He asks it of me and all modern Christians.
The world says all that stuff you believe is nonsense.
Look at what science has discovered.
Soon we will know where the solar system came from.
The world says .
Look at the poor. Look at wars. Look at babies that die.
How can you believe in a loving God?
Look at the terrible things people have done in the name of Jesus over the years.
You don’t want to be part of such a group.
Jesus says “ Will you also go away?”
I find myself standing with Peter and saying.
“Lord where can I go? You have the words of eternal life”.
The Good News is He does.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Six Word Saturday
To recoup I went to open a bank account and discovered I didn't exist. The Patriot Act required that the bank certify I had a valid Driver's License , Passport, or State ID. Well my passport has expired and so has my Driver's license. So I did not exist. They said go to the DMV and get a State ID.
But the DMV wouldn't give me a state ID because I didn't have a valid Driver's License or Passport. Exciting huh. Makes sense huh!
The fact that I had an expired License and Passport which would say to any logical person I was a citizen just didn't count. Instead of an ID the DMV gave us an identity scavenger hunt sheet. You had to get one thing from each of three columns.
I did not leave the buildiung, get a cream pie and come back and hit the evil laughing lady in the face. I wanted to but I didn't.
Instead I came home and contacted the Marquette County , Michigan Clerk's Office on the internet. For $50 they were willing to send me a certified copy of my birth certificate. The only thing in column one.
It arrived the next day and yesterday we took the scavenger list and what we had accumulated to the DMV. With great reluctance they accepted it. I had my picture taken and in ten to fifteen days I'll get my ID card.
Then I will exist again. I will no longer have expired.
Wow! Look at all the words it took to explain three words.
But soon I will be me.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Another Featured Link
Today I offer you a blog I have just recently discovered.
I can’t really call her a friend yet because I don’t think she knows what to make of me.
She calls herself Rinkly Rimes and the blog used to be called that as well but then she changed it to BryAntics.
Whatever she calls it if you go there you will get a treat.
She writes poetry.
Not that elusive, high falutin stuff with its head in the clouds that nobody really understands but down to earth poetry. Poems that are sometimes funny ( very funny) and some times profound.
Here is the end of a recent one:
Anthony frowned a little; he wasn't satisfied.
'You and Mummy tell different stories'. (That couldn't be denied!)
'You say that God has made us; she says we're from the trees.
Surely one of you is wrong! Daddy! Explain it please!'
'Ah, that is very easy' said Daddy, 'We combine.
She's talking about her family;
I'm talking about mine!'
But you really need to read the whole poem.
I absolutely love visiting her blog.
Give it a try. Click HERE
Just a quick reminder . If you are planning on doing a Portrait of Words they are due Tuesday August 25. You can see the pictures here.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I have some good news for you
Some bad news.
2. My super woman Betty got the old couch out to the road at 5:30 yesterday morning with no help. The garbage men took. The really good news is we can move in the garage again.
3. My computer behaved most of the time yesterday. Now that is good news.
4. I had Rice Krispies and a banana for breakfast which means my immune system has been improved. It says so right on the box cover.
5. I got the address for the new DMV office and we went there. I knew we could do it. They couldn’t hide forever.
I still do not exist. If you remember I went to open a bank account and found that under the Patriot Act I needed proof of citizenship. They would take a valid driver’s license or a valid Passport.
Both of mine had expired. They told me to go to the DMV and get an identity card. But the DMV had moved their office and we didn’t know how to get there. Yesterday we found them.
But my experience there was like being in Alice’s Wonderland.
I kept waiting for the Queen to come out and scream off with his head.
You see to get an ID you need a valid Driver’s license or a valid Passport . But mine had expired. The fact that I used to exist and used to be a citizen an used to be born in the United States didn’t count.
But they had an alternate method. They had three columns and you needed something from each column . Sort of like an identity scavenger hunt.
Well from column two I had my original social security card and from column three I had bills addressed to me at my Wisconsin address. That left only column one. It had only one thing in it, a certified birth certificate. Which, of course I didn’t have.
So I am still expired. That means I can’t vote or enter into certain kinds of contracts. Expired people have no rights.
Somewhere in this house I have a birth certificate but we have no idea where. It is a box with our marriage license and other important papers. So important that we have hidden them where we can’t find them.
So I went on the internet and contacted the Marquette County Clerk’s office and ordered a certified birth certificate. It only cost $ 50 with the shipping. Now all I have to do is wait.
Until then I am still expired.
I guess I’m lucky I don’t have to exist to blog.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Yesterday was a much better day, no spaghetti. After a bit of trouble on start up even the computer behaved.
I have noticed a dramatic change in cereal adds on TV.
They used to emphasize how good they tasted and that they were fun to eat.
Cereals aimed at children had all those delightful creations. You know like Snap, Crackle, and Pop or that wacky bird that went coocoo for Cocoa Puffs. Then there was Tony the Tiger, Captain Jack, and Frankenberry.
Cereals were a treat to eat and fun for the kids.
Times have changed now cereals are for your health. According to the adds they have an entire days supply of vitamins, can lower your cholesterol, are good for your heart, and will give your children added resistance to disease. In other words now they are a treatment not a treat.
Keep in mind these are not new magic cereals. These are the same old cereals we have always had but now they will make you healthier and even make your kids smarter.
Why the change?
Because today health sells, and cute jumping Tigers don’t.
Everybody is health conscious . So you sell your product as healthy.
As a good parent don’t you want your kid to be smarter and healthier?
Of course you do.
So you buy the cereal that will give them better health and more brain power.
Don’t you want to lower your cholesterol .
Of course you do so you eat Cheerios. Better than taking pills.
Well I have to quit this entry and go eat my Rice Krispies . I need to boost my immune system and they do.
It says so right on the box.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Bad Day it Twas
Was Obama born in the US ? See today's Pigeon Falls and get the answer.
Yesterday was one of those days one could easily do without.
I got up early so I could enter Quilly’s contest but before I could enter it we had crisis number one.
The wireless printer was down and my daughter who was going back to work needed some medical forms printed out.
So I worked on that until I got the printer back on line.
At that point my computer fell off line and I had to reboot.
Pennie still couldn’t print so she e-mailed me the documents so I could print them for her but she mailed them as *.doc files and I don’t have Microsoft Word.
I could get the words but not the formatting with wordpad.
So while she tried to find some other form to send them in I went looking for a program that would print *.doc documents.
Twice in that process I lost my internet connection.
Then I found one as time was running out. It was free.
I downloaded it and printed two of the three documents.
The last one refused to print. So I tried a Microsoft solution. I turned off the computer. When I brought it back on line the document printed as it started up.
So we got them to Pennie and sent her off with Betty to get blood drawn and then to go to work.
My internet connection was gone again. Reboot.
By then I forgot all about Quilly and started finishing up the changes to the Church website that I didn’t have time to finish Sunday.
Three more reboots and I was finishing that when I heard the door slam and Betty was back.
It seems Peenie needed a letter from the Doctor and it got left here.
But in the chaos left by five grandkids she couldn’t find it and went back to the hospital without it.
She got the blood taken anyway.
But as Betty was taking her to her office her Doctor called and need to talk to her about changing the medication based on today’s blood test.
I called her cell phone and left a message.
Betty called both the cell phone and the office, with no answer. So we didn’t know if she was calling the Doctor or not.
That’s when Betty started screaming because Maggie peed on our brand new couch. She had never done anything like that before.
I called a lady who indicated an interest in the old couch but, of course , she was not home.
Back to the internet.
Went finally to Quilly’s blog. Might as well have skipped that. I got the answer wrong and I spelled my wrong answer wrong so I looked even dumber.
Lunch time and we had leftovers from Sunday. I had a rubber hamburger and what Betty had didn’t look much better.
Back to the internet. Reboot.
Decided to visit all of friends links.
Got five visits in and suddenly blogger said my computer was sending out some kind of bad signal so they were protecting their customers from me. Then they wouldn’t even let me go to my blog.
Tried a reboot and that didn’t help at all.
So now I could get to the internet but not to my blog.’So I turned off the computer and pounded on the desk top. ( not really but I wanted too)
When I started it up fifteen minutes later it was back to normal so I went back to visiting blogs.
The only problem now was that about every six blogs the internet vanished and I had to reboot. It was weird.
At 4 o’clock I compared notes with Betty and we decided this was a spaghetti day.
We could feel the spaghetti running down our head.
But once named its power was gone and instead of crying we sat and laughed.
Through it all it was still God’s Day.