Becoming a Total Drunk Lately!

Yes, I’m on the way to decline. In the past several weeks, I have almost doubled my entire lifetime consumption of alcohol. It’s sadly true. (Of course, you probably used more water to brush your teeth this morning than all I’ve ever swallowed of the stuff!)

Incident #1 – While in Texas I visited a church that had communion. Before I realized what was going down around me, down went a cup of real wine instead of the evangelically-approved Welch’s Grape Juice. Dreadful stuff! Oh my!

Incident #2 – I was with my dear friend Jim Warner at a dinner on the evening of his 40th-year celebration of being released from 5.5 years of incarceration in a North Vietnamese prisoner camp. He bought a bottle of champagne for a toast “to freedom.” Without doubt, the occasion was bigger than my scruples, so, I lifted the glass and participated in the worthy honor of the moment. Oh my! Is that what is meant by something being very “dry?”

Incident #3 – I won a six-pack of beer in a bet with a friend. I was at a political convention where a person was making a floor speech. The guy next to me remarked that this young man was the same who had spoken at the previous convention and made a terrible fool of himself. Knowing for a fact that he was not, I said that “no” it was a different person. My friend, being convinced that he was correct said, “I’ll bet you a case of beer on it!”  I knew I would not lose, so I took the bet!  At a break, we verified with the speaker that indeed I was correct and that he was not the foolish fellow of some months before. I had forgotten about the bet until my friend brought me a six-pack of “ginger beer.”  More dreadful stuff.

Explanation #1 – Lots of people presume that my anti-alcohol stance is due to some experience of trauma from a drunken family – not at all … I cannot name a relative that I know who ever drank anything. If my distaste is from childhood, it is actually from a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. While descending the stairs at the old Connie Mack stadium to get a hot dog when I was about maybe 8-9 years old, a Philadelphia drunk turned the corner and threw a whole cup of beer onto me. I was wearing a wool sweater, and oh my, did it ever stink for hours! I was nearly literally nauseated to the point of barfing from the smell. Ever since then, I can smell the slightest whiff of alcohol at a great distance in the same way that sharks are able to smell blood in water. I’m not proud of this talent. But that experience totally sickened me to any curiosity about imbibing.

Explanation #2 – I hate the predominance of alcohol in our culture. The ill effects are daily in the news as roots of multiple tragedies. Though I know this is nothing new – dating back to Noah’s family at least – it seems to me so very unnecessary. So, my summary line remains, “Though I grant the freedom of conscience for the Christian to consume, I completely dispute the wisdom, and I submit the highest virtue is abstinence” …. Well, at least relatively so. If you disagree with me … oh well, we probably agree together on a greater number of issues.

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Curiosities about Writing and Blogging

Most of my blog writing energies have lately gone into my other sites for which I contribute quite a lot of material. There are few people who write more than I do, and even my mega-writing associate pastor – who can throw words on a page faster than anyone I’ve ever known – has found that his many writing demands have doomed his own personal blog in recent months.

I like writing so much that I could almost enjoy doing it simply for my own enjoyment – a sort of journaling that likely no other person will ever read. There is some measure of this that I do in the realms of spiritual disciplines and in the act of the organization of personal thoughts and even frustrations and anger (dare I confide?). Yet when one puts something out there for the world to see, one hopes there are some people who indeed read it and find it either enjoyable or informative.

For those who have never done this sort of thing, there are ways of seeing how many people actually look at what you post. I am almost always surprised by some of what I observe in blog statistics – either high or low numbers … as well as people who sign up to regularly get blog posts. Particularly with this blog that often features theologically evangelical themes, many of those who register when I have a post that is simply something humorous in my world, must really wonder what in the world they are reading when I go gospel on them.

My Civil War blog (EnfiladingLines.com) actually has grown to have a fairly large following and is picked up and repeated in a variety of other places. My Orioles network blog is probably read by several hundred people whenever I write something.

But the biggest chunk of writing currently is going toward supplemental resources for our Sunday teaching series – daily posts that go along with the weekly theme and a Scripture reading program. There were 40 of them with a recently ended series (ReviveTSF.org) and there are going to be a total of 30 with the newly-initiated series (CrossWordsTSF.org). On the one hand, I am very blessed and encouraged by people near and far who read them and have made comment to me that it has enriched them – like hearing this week from a guy who is a pitching coach in the Orioles organization and is reading them from Florida. But on the other hand, though many more people in the church are involved this time than previously, still it would appear that a significant percentage of folks simply have no interest in giving time to such a supplemental resource. I am truly baffled by that. I think this has some illustration about horses and water and what they will or won’t drink – if you know what I’m getting at.

Though not the biggest thing, one thought that encourages me to write on is that perhaps grandkids (or beyond), who I will likely never really know, may someday in curiosity read what this old guy had to say, and maybe they’ll be helped by something. I would certainly love to read what ancestors wrote about anything … but maybe as with liking to write, this too is an area where I am entirely out of step with the rest of the world.

OK… that’s enough introspection for a while.

Living and Dying Things

Sometimes I just have to brag about my family. Our clothes washer just plain stopped working last week – like, nothing! It would not turn on. So, this is intolerable, since Caleb does more laundry than … well … ah … we never got to have a girl, as you know. But, his clothing has to not only be clean, it has to smell a certain way – like it does when he has gotten laundry back from Scott’s house, where Mrs. Long has chosen the world’s best fabric softener (which for the record is Downey). Anyhow … back to the broken machine. As you all also know, I have no patience with broken devices, machines, tractors, autos, etc. So, my wife researches it online, finds the components to fix it, has them expedited to the house, tears apart the electronics and replaces the circuitry to fix the dumb thing! I admit that I thought it was quite impressive.IMG_0244[1]

Since I’m naming guilty people in this post, I’ll name my fellow marathon-running buddy of the past – Bill Seiple – with whom I ran about 10,000 miles. You get to really know someone when you do that, especially when you are oxygen-depleted and you begin to talk about stuff you’d likely not say if you were in your right mind. We were both pretty amazed that we married well. He always said it was a man’s duty to marry up and improve his genetics. Well, he sure did that with Didi (as you New Jersey people can testify). And the truth is that I’ve done the same with Diana. She is pretty amazing with what she can do – like fix computers and washing machines, run businesses and deal with the IRS.

IMG_0246[1]OK, I’ve had the same clock for decades. It is the one that was sitting on the nightstand when I was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. In those days, I worked evenings at United Parcel Service and would get home very late at night. Dallas Seminary was not a place for the faint-hearted when it came to academics, and the assignments had piled up on me. One evening, I knew I had hours of work ahead of me to finish a paper for the next morning. I also knew I’d be depressed if I was aware what time it really was, so, I set the alarm for the necessary time to get up, and I turned the clock around so that I could not see what time I would actually go to bed. After a number of hours of finishing the paper (on a typewriter!) I took a shower, got in bed, pulled up the covers, and at that instant the alarm rang. Well, that was quite an insult, and in that instant I smashed the snooze with a full-fisted ka-bamb! Somehow the clock survived… until yesterday. I guess the thought of facing another change to daylight savings time was more than it could endure in its dotage.

<Hold the presses!>  Late breaking story – I went to get a picture of it, and it is working again! This proves MY view of broken things – that may well have worked for the washer. If you give it enough time, it will fix itself! So, for example, with the car – just turn up the radio, and eventually the screechy noise will go away.DSC_0135 (1024x665)

And finally, there is Lucifer. I wrote about this on Facebook yesterday. He is my one surviving rooster. I’m not sure what happened to the other one; he just kinda disappeared recently. But my guess now is that he and Lucifer – who is a Black Jersey Giant breed – had a big fight. And though the other one was dominant all along, Lucifer had his day. NOW, Lucifer has decided that I am the next one who needs to be eliminated. He has decided to attack me whenever I’m not looking. Well, this really irritates me to be quite honest. I’m there bringing he and his 25 girls food and water, and HE is going to attack ME while I’m doing it!?!  So, we had quite a fight yesterday. I had a plastic milk jug in my hand when he made a rush at me – winging through the air with claws and spurs flying. He hit me pretty good a couple of times, but on most attacks I whacked him across the face with the jug – like 20-25 times before he finally gave up. I think I won the fight, but I was exhausted from it. If this keeps up, he is going to get to meet his father the Devil.

So, nothing lasts forever; but at our house, things are given a shot to last as long as they can.