Sunday, April 18, 2010

My New Boots

Well, they're not for me - they're for some little kid someday.  But I think they look cool next to mine!  He's gonna be a Texan, for sure.
I figure we'll go to the rodeo together in the Spring.  We'll go to the Fair in the Fall.  We'll go camping all year round.  Go dirt bik'in in the summer.
Maybe we'll just kick some rocks, look for girls to pester.  I'm always digin holes, he can help with that.
Whatever - they'll look good and clean up nice.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Grasshoppers & Spring

  I needed a break, so I walked out into the hallway area at work, to sit next to a big glass window that looks out over a beautiful garden area.  I had a piping hot cup of coffee, fresh.  The sun was filtering beautifully through the tree tops and onto a area blanketed with new springtime growth of plants and flowers.
It's awesome here in Plano right now.  The perfect 75 degree weather, drops to 55 at night - topdown, windows open weather.

Just fantastic.  Spring is in the air.  All things new and fresh.  The possibilities are endless
I spotted a little grasshopper feeding on the new vegetation - sitting on top of a green leaf.  I marvelled at its strange beauty - its prehistoric posture.  I envied it being out there while I was in here.  I wanted to be the grasshopper.  Nature at it's best.
Just as I was processing all these thoughts, a large black bird swooped down directly in front of the window, and without even touching the ground, picked up the grasshopper and disappeared into the trees above.  It all happened in the time it takes to blink an eye.
Ain't spring great?  :)  I'm just saying ......

 (picture taken of artwork at the Ft. Worth Arts Festival last weekend)   

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Madman in Jerusalem ?

Once, I went to Israel and made it to Jerusalem for a 6 hour tour.  I was alone except for 5 other strangers who sat in a minivan while the english speaking tour guide whipped out of Tel-Aviv, and drove 60 klics east to Jerusalem.  When we got to town, he sped around corners, pointed and shouted things like "that's where .....", and "over there to the left is .....",  "on the right at the top of the hill you can see .......".  He did this hundreds of times and I was only catching every third phrase that he spoke.  I had a map and was trying to follow it as he turned right, left, right, left.  I was sea-sick and hot and sticky and thirsty.

Then, very casually, he pointed up a hill to the left and shouted "that's where they crucified Jesus".  Never slowed down, never acknowledged much of anything, just raced on to the next site.  I turned in my seat, now just barely able to make out the hill through the rear window.  This picture is the hill he was pointing at.  (whether it really was the hill, I don't know).
It was a big Nothing.  A waste land of dirt and weeds, chain link fencing, electrical wires dangling, an old gas station below, trash everywhere.

I thought to myself - "no, it's impossible - surely there's more to it than that!.  Golgotha is a joke.  Don't they know I'm a tourist looking for the most sacred spot on the planet.  Can't he slow down long enough to let me focus the camera on something worth taking a picture of ...... is there anything worth taking a picture of?"

I became irate.  I'm thinking:  "The Promised Land?  This place sucks!"   And I felt guilty for thinking it.  But I can tell you, if you're looking for the land of Milk and Honey - go to Texas, or California - not Israel.  Even the beaches in Tel-Aviv are nasty - but maybe for people who don't know any better, they'll do.  What is everyone fighting for over here?  And by the way:  someone clean-up my hill!
Preachers use stuff like this to make a point in sermons on Sunday morning.  Like:  'it was the worst of places where Jesus came, in the worst of circumstances, for the worst of people - like you ......'  Ever heard that one before?
I think way back when Moses and Joshua were alive - it was an incredible place of beauty.  Then, a couple thousand years later when Jesus showed up in person - it wasn't so nice, but not too bad.  Then, a couple thousand years later when I showed up - the devil had done a lot of damage, because that's what the devil does.  He destroys beauty.  He belittles what really matters.  He takes our focus off 'The Hill' - and onto the pavement.
Golgotha wasn't a joke.  Jesus wasn't just some cool guy in flip-flops,  and he sure wasn't just a great teacher or philosopher.

I like how CS Lewis puts it:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God."  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us."   
We should all be 'Madmen in Jerusalem' - crazy for Jesus.  He died on a sorry little nothing of a dirty hill - for us.