2016OlympicsAll in all, it was a pretty good year for The Christian Chatter.

For my event of the year, I selected the Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5 to 21.

Probably more significant was the election of Donald Trump to be the 45th President of the United States. I was for him and hope his presidency leads to a more tolerant population and one where America is more important than the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. So far it is not happening although America and its people seem to be getting better off.  

January

From a Congregant; I was handed this last month.  It contains much good advice.

“The Gospel is written a-chapter-a-day
By the deeds you do and the words you say.
Men hear what you say whether faithless or true.
What is the Gospel according to you?

The Christian Chatter History; I think I have written some of this before. It is probably not worth repeating, but I will do so anyhow.

The Christian Chatter was first published in late 2000 by Alan Harmon. It was followed by a second issue the next month. It was resurrected in 2003 and prospered under until mid-2007. The current publisher began issuing it at that time monthly with several gaps during some trying times. To keep track of the origins, the volume number on the title page has been changed to ‘16’ to align it with those first two issues. This is not written for you readers so much as for the editor so he can keep track of the publication’s past.

The Christian Chatter Future; Readership has fallen recently, due in part to declining membership, but due more, I think, to a lack of interest because of the author, his manner, and his editorial content.

It is hard to put the newsletter together month after month, make copies of it, and put them out for distribution only to collect more and more of them the following month and consign them to the recycle bin.

I think it is time to turn over the reins to another person more in tune with the congregation or to cease publication. I will be happy to turn it over to anyone who wants it. The price is right.

As someone once told me about people wanting someone’s job, “Open the door and look at all the folks standing in line for your job.” There won’t be many.

For the foreseeable future, you are stuck with my ramblings.

 

February

Bake Sale; Cold weather put a damper on the St. Valentine’s Day Bake Sale. The low temperature caused cancellation of the outdoor Friday event. The planned after service sale of leftovers was all that remained of the weekend.

The Christian Chatter staff took home some very good cookies that did not last out the day. I am sure the other shoppers had equal results.

The result was almost $100 to add to the Mission Fund coffers.

10 Luscious New Cakes; I was hunting something in my recipes folder and came across a pamphlet with that title. Aunt Jenny of the Lever Corporation “wrote” it to sell Spry, a long ago discontinued shortening product. The pamphlet is in bad shape, held together with tape that hides some of the words. I think it is OK to use to make the cakes.

The cakes were named Gloria Chocolate Layer Cake, Gala Party cake, Marbled Spice Cake, Peerless Coconut White Cake, Filigree Devil’s Food Cake, Victorian Applesauce Cake, Fudge Bar Cake, Cherry dream Cake, Golden Jubilee Cake, and Orange Upside-down cake. They were mixed in one bowl, something new for the time (late 1940s) I gather.

My first experience with it was to make the Victorian Applesauce Cake while Mom and Dad were away from home. I followed the recipe exactly. The cake looked great. Mom was thrilled that I had made it. Then we tasted it, yecch. It was so salty you could not eat it. Mom checked the recipe and found Aunt Jenny called for 1 teaspoon of salt, far too much for normal folks. We did the cake again with a pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) of salt and it was great.

If anyone feels like trying one of these cakes for one of the upcoming bake sales, I will be happy to help make a copy. I am not sure a copy machine will produce a usable copy and. I do not remember us making any of the others but we probably did.

 

March

Life Expectancy; The Social Security Administration web site has a life expectancy calculator for United States residents. The calculation is based solely on birthday (day, month, and year) and sex (male or female). It completely ignores health issues.

That calculation predicts I may be able to continue writing the newsletter until May 2023. Brace yourselves; that’s over 84 issues.

Failed Cereals ; I recently ran across a listing of cereals that didn’t make it to the breakfast table for any length of time. Here they are in no particular order. Ralston seemed to be the company with the most failures.
Ralston Urkelos from 1989 to 1998.
Ralston Freakies in the 70s.
General Mills Sir Grapefellow in 1972.
Kellogs Oks in 1959.
Ralston Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs in the 70s.
Post Sugar Rice Krinkles in the 50s and 60s.
Ralston Moonstones in 1976.
General Mills Mr. Wonderful’s Surprize in 1972.
General Mills Wackies in 1965.
Kellogs OJs in 1985 and 1986.

Do any of you have memories of any of these forgettable cereals?

Presidential Candidates; I probably should not discuss politics in The Christian Chatter, but I felt a need to say this. Shakespeare put these words in Macbeth’s mouth in Act 5 Scene 5 of Macbeth. His words seem to describe our presidential campaign process exactly.

“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Perhaps ‘idiot’ should be replaced by ‘idiots’J

 

April

Words of Wisdom; "Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.” Louis D. Brandeis

“A newspaper should be the maximum of information, and the minimum, of comment.” Richard Cobden

Both the above are from the April 2016 issue of Kentucky Explorer magazine.

Oxymoron's;  I posted an oxymoron each month for many months. This is the complete list;  Acute Dullness, Intense Apathy, Freezer Burn, Clearly Confused, Genuine Imitation, Blameless Culprit, Nondairy Creamer, Jumbo Shrimp. Exact Estimate, Definite Maybe, Unbiased Opinion, Liquid Gas, Working Vacation, Original Copy, Instant Classic, Good Grief, Silent Scream, Extensive Briefing, Old News, Rolling Stop, Randomly Organized, Larger Half, Constant Variable, Linear Curve, Even Odds, Home Office, Uncrowned King, Least Favorite, Taped Live, Tragic Comedy.

I would identify the source of the list, but I have misplaced it.

That said and done, I have a more valuable list, beginning next month. I have enough entries to get us well into 1917. Be sure to pick up a copy next month. The price is still the same AMAZING low price of $0.00. 

But wait! If you take one when it is offered the shipping charge will be included in the price. We cannot guarantee it to be free of side effects.

Author's Current Comment; I had forgotten, until now, that the list appeared first in the January 2009 issue.

Encouragement; The April 23 The Upper Room reading is about encouraging children to do their best. Encouragement is a good thing. It has other names, praise, thanks, a compliment, a pat on the back, applause, and lots more.

Encouragement causes us to try harder, to keep doing what we are doing, makes us realize we are not wasting our time.

Giving encouragement has its benefits, too. Speaking for myself, I really feel good when I tell someone what a good job they have done and am rewarded by a smile or a simple ‘Thank you’ or even a blank stare suggesting they can’t believe what they just heard. Try it sometime.

 

May

 

Empty Pews; A most striking memory for me was on the Sunday morning I started coming to Church after I moved back from New Jersey. When I looked at the empty Choir pews, the front row was not empty. My mother was sitting in her usual spot and smiling the smile I remember. I also know those empty pews are not as empty as they seem.

A Worthwhile Error;Accidentally, I ordered an Abingdon Press book about divisions among members of groups; e.g. husband versus wife, Christianity versus Islam; nations versus North Korea.

It came. It was a pleasant surprise. Physically it was tiny; 4 ½ wide, 6 ½ inches high and only 69 pages. It had the look of a book from long, long ago.

“The Causes, Evils, and Cures Of Heart and Church Divisions” was the Title. Francis Asbury was the author. It first appeared in 1792. Asbury borrowed freely from two earlier works; “Irenicum” published in 1653 by Jeremiah Burroughes and “The Cure of Church Divisions” published in 1670 by Richard Baxter.

Asbury’s book was reprinted in 1849, a few years after the 1844 Methodist Church division over slavery. It has been referenced in “The Book of Discipline” but until 2016 never reprinted so it was very hard to find and read. Then a copy of the 1849 edition was found, modernized, and published early this year.

Substantial editing was done to modernize from the original Elizabethan English and to use modern words where the older words could be a problem. There are examples and a much better explanation in the book.

June

A Poem From Long Ago; Courtesy of one of us;

A t‘baccer chewin gal and a cud chewin cow
They look alike but there’s a difference somehow
Oh I know
I understand now
It’s the look of intelligence on the face of the cow.

                                      Written by Alice Queen Cox

 

July

The Lord’s Prayer; It reads in part, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Does this phrase sometimes bother you? It did me sometimes. I wondered why I had to ask God not to lead me into temptation. I knew God would never lead me astray whether I asked him or not.

Then, while reading “Half Truths” by Adam Hamilton, I found my answer. I had learned that phrase with the wrong emphasis and possibly a missing comma.

Think about it. What I really want to ask is that God ‘lead us, not into temptation but deliver us from evil.’ I am asking Him to help me/us not to be sucked in by all the tempting evil things around us. I am asking Him to help me/us stay free from all the evil surrounding us. I am asking Him to help me/us get out of the messes we so often get ourselves into. That is far different from asking Him to avoid leading me astray, my old understanding.

This new understanding has made it difficult for me to pass lightly over the phrase when I say my prayers.

Most likely you never had this problem. If you did read it my old way, I hope this has helped you. It certainly has helped me.

I looked at two or three more modern versions and find them even more on the side of me asking God to stop leading us astray. Is it the scholars or me?

 

Author's Current Comment; Sometime in 2018, I read that the Pope thinks this phrase needs to be more carefully translated and interpreted.

2017 Calendars; Have you started receiving 2017 calendars from the greedy charities out there? I have; three so far.

I called the charities greedy, and I believe many are; yet even those may be marginally worthwhile. I also believe many of them are in it only for the money used as salaries, overhead, and fund raising. Those expenses often exceed charitable expenditures. Very few charities actually benefit their avowed purpose by more than they spend on themselves and advertising for more money. Several charity bosses pay themselves over a million dollars a year and have family members on the payroll, also at high salaries. I have stopped sending anything to almost all of them.

August

2017 Calendars (continued); I got four more since the last issue.

Evans Chapel Cemetery entry; Long ago (before the 1940s) there was at least an iron arch over the entryway to Evans Chapel Cemetery. I’m not certain if there was an iron gate or not. It was removed in the 1940s probably for one of the WW II scrap iron drives. I would dearly love to borrow a black/white or color picture, negative or slide of that arch from the Town Branch Road side into the cemetery. I need it to copy/scan it. A digital version works, too. If you have one or know someone who has one, please let me know. Thank you.

Teeth – I am in the midst of replacing my OEM teeth with aftermarket ones. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is the auto industry name for parts of a car that come with the car. Aftermarket is the term for repair, replacement or add-on parts that do not come from the car-maker.

The aftermarket teeth (dentures) I am getting cannot compare to the God (OEM) given originals.

If you still have your OEM teeth, do everything you can to keep them. The aftermarket versions aren’t even close. Implants might be closer than ordinary dentures but they cost more and have their own set of problems.

Spelling Names; I try very hard to spell names correctly. I think I owe that to the person owning the name. Here’s why.

Back when I was working I sometimes had to write letters that went to maybe 30 or 40 co-workers from the Division Vice President to us bottom level engineers and all levels in between. Such letters commonly listed all the addresses in a “Distribution List” attached to the letter.

Following one such letter I received a letter from a mid-level manager pointing out and berating me for spelling his name wrong. He faulted me in no uncertain terms and even suggested consequences should I do it again.

Unfortunately for him and fortunately for me he spelled the Division VP’s name wrong.

In response to his letter I acknowledge my error, thanked him for the help he provided me, and then gently informed him of his misspelling of the VP’s name. I mailed it to him along with the “Distribution List.”

I only sent it to him though, he never picked on me again, and I learned to be careful spelling names.

 

September

2017 Calendars (continued); I got three more since the last issue. That makes eleven. One more and I will be able to use a different calendar each month.

 

October

2017 Calendars (continued) – I got three more since the last issue. That makes sixteen.

Choice of Words – Is it a coincidence that Election Day next month is also Dunce Day? When I mentioned this to a New Jersey Methodist friend, he said, “I don’t believe in coincidence.”

Here is some information about the origin of Dunce Day and the Dunce Cap.

“Duns Scotus of Duns, Scotland was a medieval scholar. Perceptions of his views ranged from brilliant to less than complimentary. Duns Scotus believed that cone shaped hats increased learning potential. He believed knowledge would flow from the point of the cap, down and into the head of the wearer, making that person smarter. About all this accomplished over time, was the perception of a person wearing a dunce cap to be a dunce. There was a positive side to his use of dunce caps. It motivated the wearer to learn more, so he could be rid of the cap. Scholar critics of his work derived the term "dunce" from his name and place of birth.”

The quote is from the website where I find the special day entries for the calendar page; http://www.holidayinsights.com/

A Ladies Prayer - Lord, you said I could talk to you about anything, just anything. Lord, I have an urgent request. Will you please help me find my glasses soon enough to remember why I needed them in the first place!

Lot’s Wife – A Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt when little Jason interrupted, “My mother looked back once while she was driving and she turned into a telephone pole.”

From an anonymous source, A Hillbilly’s Ten Commandments

  1. Just one God
  2. Honor yer Ma and Pa.
  3. No tellin’ tales or gossipin’
  4. Git yerself to Sunday meetin’
  5. Put nuthin’ before God
  6. No foolin around with another fellow’s gal
  7. No killin’
  8. Watch yer mouth
  9. Don’t take what ain’t yers
  10. Don’t be hankerin’ fer yer buddy’s stuff

 

 November

2017 Calendars (continued); I got many more since the last issue. I have lost countJ

New Jerusalem;  We have been studying The Revelation for several Sundays now. The following is what I believe about New Jerusalem, keeping in mind that Jerusalem can be translated as The City of Peace.

I believe God gave John the vision of New Jerusalem in a way that could be believed by the folks of John’s time. Thus, New Jerusalem would cover the entire civilized world as known in John’s day. I do not believe New Jerusalem will be a physical city. I believe the decent of New Jerusalem really means the descent of a sublime peace descending over John’s civilized world with gates to keep out the unknown.

I believe that in the world we know, the descent of New Jerusalem means the descent of a sublime indescribable peace descending over the entire world. The twelve gates will keep out whatever evil remains in the surrounding universe.

It is a fact that the twelve apostles were and are the foundation of Christianity and thus the foundation of New Jerusalem.

As to the river of the water of life, what better way to describe paradise than a city with fresh water without drought to a people living by the Dead Sea and known for drought? As to the trees of life what better way to describe utopia than a city with trees bearing crops every month and a city with trees whose leaves brought peace to a land of famine and constant wars between nations?

How would such a city house all the good people of all time? I think we will exist only as spirits or souls needing no food, water, or sleep. I think we will ‘see’ each other in physical form in the likeness of what we remember best of those we know changed to be only the ‘good’ of them. We will ‘talk’ to each other in a way unknown to me. It will be a form of telepathy or mind-to-mind link much like when God came and healed me of my addiction and I “knew’ it wordlessly.

Our homes will be the best of where we have been and liked most. I expect to live on the hilltop I have known most of my life, a serene and peaceful place, communing with nature and the creatures sharing the hill. I also expect my Mom and Dad to be there along with my Grandmother Libby, and my pets over the years.

I also expect I will have things to do, to keep me busy and content. Whom else will I ‘see?’ That will be up to Christ and God.

Thanksgiving at Plymouth; In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

This came from The History Channel Web Site

 

December

A Heart-felt Thank You – I want to thank all of you for being kind to and accepting my young friend into our small group. Some of you may wonder how I came to know her and why she was here.

I met her (then 19) late on a rainy day when she called from a payphone in a nearby train station. She was trying to reach a young man living with me. He was not home. I listened to her crying her need for a place to spend the night. Her step father had refused to let her into their house as he deemed her a bad influence on her younger step-sisters.

I picked her up and took her in. She stayed with me (off and on) until I left New Jersey cutting all my ties there, or so I thought.

Then around a year ago (nine years divorced from all New Jersey links) I had an urge to locate her. I found her through Facebook and we chatted some. She was then several months clean from her addiction. From there we stayed in contact through her short snowed-in visit early this year, a relapse, a hospital stay, other bad events, and a new recovery start, She came here this time just before Halloween to help us and herself. She left Wednesday morning so she could spend Christmas with her family. Our plan is for her to visit again in the spring.

She is fighting a demon most of us cannot comprehend. She needs our prayers and support every day.

Taxpayer, a non-Webster Definition;  A person who doesn’t have to pass a civil-service exam to work for the Government. From Volume 31, Number 7 of Kentucky Explorer

The Lost Sheep; From time to time some additional guidance comes to mind. That was true on a recent morning when I thought of the shepherd going out to hunt the lost sheep. I reread the story in “The Illustrated Bible Story Book” of my childhood. The story made clear the the shepherd first made sure the ninety nine sheep were safe before he began the search for the lost one.

My conclusion; it is better to make sure the 99 sheep are safe before hunting the lost sheep than it is to find and save the lost sheep only to return to the flock and find several of them have been slaughtered.

My house guest wrote this a few days ago. It is this year’s Christmas Story. I think you will like it. I have edited it just a little.

Santa Claus

By: Corinne Riley

I was lying in bed and some thoughts crossed my mind, this being the  Christmas season. My eyes started to water a bit as these thoughts passed through my mind; not of sadness though…

We are all told the story of Santa Claus as children. Most believe it so we are not naughty, but nice; a parent’s way to get us to behave, so to speak, during the season.

The actual meaning behind this holiday - the birth of Christ, conceived by the Holy Ghost, child of Joseph and the Virgin Mary; a celebration of the Lord’s only begotten son - this fades in the raising of children, the true meaning of Christmas as the years pass by it seems. Religion, stories even, it is all like a whisper down the lane, the further down the lane the message gets, the more distorted it is at the end of the line.

Back to Santa Claus though! This man, this Santa Claus is one man who comes on Christmas Eve; he delivers toys to all the good girls and boys all around the world in a 24-hour period none the less! Being a child, I can recall the joy, the excitement, not being able to sleep the night of Christmas Eve. Waking at the crack of dawn to open gifts. This is something I had seemed to lost. Not the believing in Santa, that’s a given. There comes a time where you catch ‘Santa’ eating his cookies!

I thought of a man, a very good friend of mine. He is a Haddonfield, NJ native, A 93-year old young man, by the name of John Crain. He lives for Christmas! He even has a seasonal job in his new residence, the local shops there, the parade there, as Santa Claus. I asked myself, “How does this man, with no grandchildren at the age of believing, hold on to this joy?” I also thought, “If I have children, how can I keep the spirit of Christmas alive after a certain age?”

This is when I thought of Santa as a metaphor, rather than one man. People have become so focused on Christmas being about gifts, receiving, the material side of it, not the actual meaning, nor purpose, not even to mention the religious factors! To try to keep religion in it, but get this point across to those who may not be the same faith as myself, or have it at all, I broke Santa and Christmas into words that I feel, the way the world is and needs to be reminded of:

  • • Love, to show love unto all with no judgement passed.
  • • Selflessness, to think of others first.
  • • Appreciation, for those around you and looking at what you already have, instead of what you do not.
  • • Friendship, to reconnect or invite, spend time with those dear to your heart.
  • • Acceptance, to forgive who you can and welcome them with open arms.
  • • Joy, to smile and spread love and happiness, rather than hate.
  • • Celebration, of life, thankfulness to be here, of whom ever your God is or Higher Power.
  • • Faith, to have hope and believe in others, as well as yourself.
  • • Family, to show love to those, your flesh, your blood, however you define them, show them your love.
  • • Compassion, hate is so prevalent, show a random act of kindness during this time, if not as much as you can.
  • • Spirit, find your soul, connect with something higher than yourself; reasons to be. Do not just exist.
  • • Birth, the birth of Christ of course, but for those with different beliefs, gratefulness to be here, there are those less fortunate.

I can probably list more. Put all this into one man and what do you get? I get Santa Claus! If you have lost your Christmas spirit, I hope this may help you to find it. Try not to focus on the man, but the metaphor and the meanings. Apply this to whatever you feel as once real to you and has seemed to become a myth. It only becomes a story, out of reach, if you allow yourself to stop believing!

To all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, love, prayers, and blessings!

Author's Current Comment; Corinne Riley is now Corinne Anne Medina, the mother of a 10 month old boy, George Allen Medina, and moving permanently to Kentucky later this month, March 2019..

A New Year, The Start of the Rest of My Life; Well, I was faced with a blank page or dream up something to fill it, I dreamed up something, A blank page is an anathema.

I decided to add more to my retirement announcement. I do not expect to be around much longer although I know of nothing wrong with me. I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy in 2019. The doctor who did my mouth cancer operation predicted I’d live to be 100. Frankly, I’d like to go sooner.

 I do not intend to vegetate. I have some Church tasks to finish this coming year, namely finishing the Membership Record Book I began several years ago, finishing the Pictorial Directory Alisha and I began last spring, doing some file cabinet rearrangement, and turning over my current tasks to my eager brothers and sisters.

I have many personal tasks to complete as well. They seem to be innumerable and growing. The tasks range from finishing a crochet afghan I began in 1978, to updating my departure papers, to finishing a book I began long ago, to adding substantially to my web site.

A New Year, The Start of the Rest of Your Life; The recent passing of our beloved brother Poke Queen and our beloved sister Fern Henderson should remind us that our time will come, for some sooner than for others.

Corinne wrote me in a note I found after she was on her train home. It read in part, “I have known for years I had a greater purpose as if God put me in situations in and through my life to have the tools needed to do His bidding. I feel like I am to make a big mark in this world, to fulfill my dreams, and to save who I can from what was once my life.”

If Corinne can save one person from what she went through, she will have “made a big mark in this world.”

I watched her spend nearly a day on Facebook and the phone trying to find someone near Camden who would venture into Camden, New Jersey (a drug user’s haven) to bring out a single-parent mother living only for her next fix. I watched as it happened and that mother is now reunited with her baby girl and her mother who flew in from Arizona.

I have no thought of making that kind of mark, most of us will not. I do hope to do what good things I can and to do nothing harmful.

And so should us all.     As Tiny Tim said, God bless us every one.”

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and may all your years be good ones.