Wednesday, September 29, 2004

171 Food Pantry Shopping

Under $28--and you should see the bounty. The pastor announced Sunday the Food Pantry of Lutheran Social Services needed everything. Usually, they announce what they need, peanut butter or diapers or mac and cheese. This week, anything and everything was welcome. But I by-passed my usual stores in Columbus and went to Bassett's near Port Clinton, OH where I shop on vacation.

Bassett's is pretty high end, lots of gourmet and specialty items and a fabulous bakery, deli, and coffee bar, but in preparation for the expansion of the Wal-Mart to a super store, they are starting to stock lower priced, lesser known brands, a number at $1.00. During the summer I tried a number of items and found most to be quite satisfactory. I make a lot of pudding, sugar-free pies, and use graham cracker prepared crusts. Purity brand has that at $1.00, rather than the $1.59 or $1.79 of name brands. I also bought "Our Family" brand, not for a dollar a piece, but certainly much reduced and good quality compared to well known brands with a hefty advertising budget. I looked at and compared prices on soups, selecting Campbell's because they were on special and a better deal than house brands.

So I purchased boxes of crackers for $1.00, cheese and mac 3/$1.00, "cherrios" clone and raisin bran clone boxes of cereal, instant oatmeal packets, peanuts, potato mixes, casserole mixes for stroganoff, lasanga and chili, flavored coffee packets, and soups. I don't use a lot of prepared foods myself, but I know they are essential for the users of the food pantry, many of whom are very young and don't have equipped kitchens for "home-made," or who don't know the basics of food preparation.

Purity has a web site where you can shop on-line. If One Dollar grocery stores aren't near you, you can buy terrific bargains here, like 12 8-packs of oatmeal cereal for $12.00, or 12 6.5 oz packets of beef pasta dinners for $12.00, or 24 4 oz. jars of instant coffee for $24.00. Again, I remind you I don't purchase prepackaged, single items like oatmeal, but I have a nice kitchen. I find the sizes reasonable, which often is not the case in the stores where I shop, which seem to reason that bigger is cheaper which isn't really so.

NashFinch produces a lot of low cost and special label foods, although I haven't found a way to order on-line. Look for them at your store. On-line they have a very good recipe page.

Monday, September 27, 2004

170 The adopted Grandfather

CNN carried a real tear jerker today--even warned the viewers ahead of time. An 80 year old widower in Italy put himself up for adoption as a grandfather!

"Giorgio Angelozzi, 80, has lived alone outside Rome with seven cats since his wife died in 1992, but he took the unprecedented step of putting himself up for adoption last month via the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Not satisfied with just running the advertisement, Italy's main daily ran a front-page story about Angelozzi's plight.

Inundated with offers from families across Italy and as far away as New Zealand, Brazil and the United States, the retired schoolteacher has decided to go to live with Elio and Marlena Riva and their two teenage children in Bergamo, northern Italy." CNN story here.

The reporter said Mr. Angelozzi had one child who lived in another country. Marlena is Polish and her husband Italian. She was already calling Giorgio, Papa and the children were calling him Grandpa, as the video panned his home as he packed to go live with them. He is giving the cats away. It really was a beautiful story--and did indeed cause a few tears.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

169 The Plot to Kill Evolution

That's the cover story on the October 2004 issue of Wired, one of my favorite journals. You can read Wired on-line, but the paper copy is much more satisfying. But in either medium, this "story" will be a hoot (I haven't opened it yet). You can't kill what doesn't exist.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

168 The Practical Gospel

This congregation offers free oil changes for single Moms, The South Sound Vineyard Church. There are many practical ways to invite people into your congregation. Just be sure they hear the Gospel in the exchange.

To tell people about the wonderful conference you attended, is not the Gospel.
To crank the music even louder and swing and wave your arms, is not the Gospel.
To announce how Jesus has changed your life, is not the Gospel.
To invite people to join a small group, is not the Gospel.
To ask people to repent, is not the Gospel.
To pray for healing, is not the Gospel.
To tell the latest miracle in your life, is not the Gospel.

The Gospel does not tell us to do something, it proclaims what God has done. The Gospel doesn't tell us how to get to God, but tells how God gets to us.

Friday, September 24, 2004

167 Fill a Bucket for the Methodists

United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) urges United Methodists and anyone else willing to help replenish supplies of flood buckets that have been sent to Florida. The buckets include such items as sponges, brushes, trash bags and various types of cleaning materials. Specifications can be found online at Completed flood buckets--and $1.50 per bucket to cover reshipping-- should be sent to UMCOR Sager Brown, 101 Sager Brown Rd., Baldwin, LA 70514.

UMCOR is also requesting donations for its Material Resource Ministry, Advance #901440 for cleaning supplies that the staff and volunteers at the Sager Brown Depot will use to assemble flood buckets. Contents include:

Flood Bucket
(Updated: 9/3/2004)
These supplies enable people to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up after a flood or hurricane.
5-gallon bucket with resealable lid
Bleach (two 1-quart or one 82 oz. bottle. Do not include bleach of you are shipping the bucket through the US Postal Service, UPS or FedEx)
5 scouring pads
7 Sponges
1 scrub brush
18 cleaning towels (reusable wipes)
Liquid laundry detergent (two 25 oz. or one 50 oz. bottle)
1 household cleaner, 12-16 oz. bottle
Disinfectant dish soap, 16-28 oz. bottle
50 clothes pins
Clothes line (two 50 ft. or one 100 ft.)
5 dust masks
2 pair latex gloves
1 pair work gloves
24-bag roll of heavy-duty trash bags, 33-45 gallon (remove roll from box before placing in bucket)
1 Insect repellant spray, 6-14 oz. can (If aerosol, cans must have protective caps. See special requirements below.*)
1 Air freshener, 8 or 9 oz. can (If aerosol, cans must have protective caps. See special requirements below.*)
*Special requirements: Put all items in the plastic bucket and seal lid. Please ensure that all cleansing agents are liquids (not powder) and in plastic bottles. All aerosols or flammables: If aerosols are included, do not send the bucket by US mail or DHL/Airborne freight. Ship by UPS ground, FedEx ground, or truck. Pack inside the bucket or strong outer boxes. Put the ORM-D mark on the outside of any buckets or boxes containing these items. Get it at Copy and tape on each bucket or box. Boxes cannot exceed 66 lbs. each.
Value: $45 per bucket.In a separate envelope, please send a check for at least $1.50 for each flood bucket to help UMCOR Sager Brown with the costs of processing and shipping.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

166 The Exit Ramp of Puberty

Joe Carter, who is 36, has great suggestions for the teen-ager who whines that his parents don’t understand that things are different than they were in the 70s or 80s--that today’s 15 year olds know much more than the 18 year olds of an earlier era. So Joe plays it forward to the exit ramp of puberty. Read this humorous post at The Evangelical Outpost.

"You’ll learn to appreciate country music -- Kids who grow up listening to rock or rap often believe that country musicians only sing about how the dog died, the truck broke down, and their woman ran off. That is, of course, a fairly accurate assessment of country music. But by the time you hit forty you’ll have had your share of dead dogs, dead batteries, and dead-end relationships. You’ll find that you can relate to this music better than you can songs about drinking champagne while driving in your Rolls and getting shot at by rival East Coast rappers."

Note from a woman old enough to be Joe's mother: at the coffee shop the other day I thought I was listening to the latest rock/pop tune until I looked up and saw a group of 40-something, mother-joggers dancing to it and realized that it was from their era, not the current one.

Friday, September 17, 2004

165 The Slaughter of Innocents

Honora Howell Chapman writes at Victor Davis Hanson’s website:

“When I was flying home from Dublin on the third anniversary of 9/11, at the airport there I saw a Time magazine cover with the shocking photo of a boy who had escaped the Beslan massacre, nose bloodied, crying out in anguish, with clenched fists and only underwear on; the title screamed “Slaughter of the Innocents.” After we landed in Atlanta, I discovered, however, that Time magazine for the U.S. has a different cover showing a placid Muslim boy with his right hand over his heart, accompanied by the innocuous title: “Special Report: The Struggle Within Islam.” So, is the message here that American readers should be less interested in what happened at Beslan than in the general state of Islam?”

She calls the cover switch “bizarre” and continues on with thoughts and statistics about children and war.

164 The Problems of Growth

“Brad” would get credit for this analysis of how church growth affects the pastor and the pew, but it is excerpted from a forum discussion of the “40 days of Purpose” by Rick Warren at the web magazine for the PCA, By Faith. Go to “Forums,” look at the topics, and read.

“Church growth has consequences that must be dealt with before a church goes down any road which entails a change in philosophy and focus. Having attended churches which have adopted the tenets of Saddleback Church and also experienced rapid growth these are some of the problems I witnessed. The pastor rapidly loses touch with the flock as the size of the church increases. This means increased small group leaders each with their own theological view, some with training that is minimal at best. Often these small groups are highlighted as the "real" soul of the church. The pastor must devote more and more time away from preaching sermons (or putting the effort and dedicated prayer into them) into working with the community political leaders and wooing large donors to finance the increase in building projects which come with this influx of people. While I'm sure others have seen different, the results I've seen have been 20-25 minute sermons which resemble the Franklin Covey 7 Habits of Highly Successful people instead of sermons which direct focus towards God and encourage disciplined spiritual growth.”

Thursday, September 16, 2004

163 Foxholes and Hurricanes

"I'm going to say a little prayer and hope for the best," said Steve Turner, 43, of Port Sulfer in south Louisiana as Hurricane Ivan approached. His prayer was recorded in this morning's paper.

There are no atheists in foxholes is an expression I first heard in the 1970s. Apparently, there aren't too many in hurricanes either.

Friday, September 10, 2004

162 Politicians preaching to the choir--in church

Ambra has some hard things to say about pastors who invite politicians to take over in the pulpit.

"When it comes to earning the "black vote", everytime an election rolls around, all of a sudden, everyone remembers how "religious" and "deep" and "spiritual" they are, and church appearances abound. If I were a pastor, I'd charge their shady behinds to come speak to the congregation." Her blog here.

Even so, there are times when my former humanist/mainline values come to the fore and I wish occasionally my pastors would say something, anything, to indicate they read the newspaper or watch the news! Perhaps they could run through the list on the ELCA's homepage for advocacy (which sounds not unlike the ALA's) and take a conservative view? I'm sure this Sunday we'll pray for the children of Beslan, but a sermon on evil? Probably not. We don't even get abortion or gun control, in case you think that is a given in a conservative congregation. Divorce? Pornography? Gambling? Adultery? Never. Maybe the Sudan Darfurs will creep into a morning prayer, but probably not a sermon. But then, I've been gone most of the summer. . . maybe. . .

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

161 Matthew 25:42-45

It’s First Tuesday, the holiday is over, the summer at the lake is a memory and it is time to visit my ladies in the area nursing homes. One is 50 and had an aneurysm at 18; one is 75 and had a devastating stroke about 3 years ago; another is probably mid-80s and needs assisted care. This is not an easy task--even my parents slipped quietly into the arms of Jesus without a nursing home stay. I have to read Matthew 25:42-45 to gird my loins, as we say.

“. . .for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirst or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ ” RSV

“. . . for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me. Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ " NASB

So I keep that in mind as I visit--I’m ministering to Jesus. What a privilege!

Monday, September 06, 2004

160 Teaching Creationism to restore morality in schools

This post at Social Affairs Unit argues for restoring the seven day creation to schools in Britain (in addition to, not instead of, Darwinism) in order to give the schools a moral base.

“Schools in which creationism is cherished are the kinds of faith schools that succeed in instilling decent moral principles in their pupils. Creationist schools are able to generate the kind of moral authority that will combat crime, teenage pregnancy and drug addiction in amoral inner city areas and they can do this without creating political or communal animosities. Parents who want their children to be protected from the problems associated with inner city seek out schools that condemn sin. They want schools that are judgmental and moralistic. Those schools which believe in the literal truth of the Book of Genesis are likely to provide this.

Parents do not care about the waxing and waning of trilobites or moths that turn black in Lancashire or the species of bottom feeding sea-urchin that became extinct when its anus slowly migrated round its perimeter until it coincided with its mouth. Such esoteric knowledge does not appeal to the parents of Govan or Splott, Bon-y-Maen or Chapeltown. They know that the wages of Darwin is sin and they dislike sin.

Democracy as well as reason demands that we go back to the seven days of creation and the quelling of confusion to create order. The story of the flood and Noah's Ark has a moral dimension that Darwinism lacks, for it links changes in the natural world to the need to restore moral order at a time of social confusion.”

Sunday, September 05, 2004

159 Chuckle for the Day

"Hearing nuns' confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn." Bishop Fulton Sheen

I noticed this quote over at Thinklings, which I've recently added to my blogroll. It is a group Christian blog, but some of the individual bloggers also are free lance writers, so their links are are also available.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

158 Beer and Updating the Blogroll

This morning I spent some time updating my blogroll for this site, and specifically added some Lutherans. I've been a Lutheran since 1976--almost 30 years--and attended a Lutheran church when I was in elementary school because our town didn't have a Church of the Brethren. I'm a member of one of the largest Lutheran churches in the United States, with 3 campuses.

Even so, I'm still a bit surprised at how "worldly" Lutherans are compared to the Anabaptist tradition in which I was raised. I rejected some sites for inclusion because of "trash talking," and I'm puzzled at their fascination with beer. OK, so maybe you want to glory in our German roots, but in the 21st century, alcohol is still destroying a lot of lives and costing us billions in social and personal damage. Drink beer if you wish, but what does it have to do with a witness for Jesus Christ? (Please, no wineskin stories here--I've heard them all. I'm talking about "glorifying" beer drinking, not proverbs about the Kingdom.)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

157 When Plan B is a Deception

Emergency contraception which causes a developing embryo to not implant, is not contraception at all--it is an early abortion. Switching the controversial emergency contraceptive known as Plan B to over-the-counter (OTC) status is bad medicine according to a leading medication therapy journal. "Avoiding Pregnancy: 'A Plan' versus Plan B," by Gene Rudd, MD appears in the September issue of The Annals of Pharmacotherapy and can be viewed at The Annals Online's Articles Ahead of Print. Abstract.

Story tip from Vox Lauri, a librarian on my blogroll at Collecting My Thoughts.