New Life Episcopal Church

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Deacon’s Dismissal

Revelation

My Dad called him “contumacious,” a three dollar word for stubborn. The man felt ill-used by everyone. He quit every filling station and grocer in town and drove to the neighboring county for gas or a bag of groceries. He treated his family the same way and there wasn’t one family member that he hadn’t…

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Baseball

I watched a kids’ baseball game. The players, umpires and managers all wore uniforms. There was a concession stand, electric scoreboard, pristine grass. Then laughter from a nearby field where a ragtag collection of kids played baseball without uniforms or umpires. Everyone batted until they got a hit. Everyone cheered for the batter, even the…

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Saved

I asked the prisoner, “Anyone else visit you?” He replied, “Well, there’s some preachers come to talk Bible with me. I hear ‘em out and they might bring me coffee and a donut but I won’t let ‘em save me.” I asked, “You’re just set against being saved?” Billy drank coffee and ate donut. “Oh,…

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Groceries

She showed me an old check made out to her for $12.88. “Can you cash this for me? I need groceries.” I looked at the ragged check and handed her a twenty. “Pay me back when you cash that check.” I was darn sure I’d never see that twenty again, more the fool I, but…

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Dancing

“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” Is this saying Confucian, ancient Irish or maybe African? Google doesn’t know for sure but many have offered their own interpretation. Sampling: “If someone is uncoordinated and can’t dance, they have no business handling a weapon.” … “I’m sure you know what an angry person…

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Ishmael

I am again reading Moby Dick. Ishmael went to the whaler Pequod to hire on as crew. The Pequod’s owner asked Ishmael why he wanted to go whaling. Ishmael replied, “To see the world.” The owner sent Ishmael forward to peer into the offing and then asked for a report of what he had seen….

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The Pleasant Lounge

Satan says, “Are ye not hungry? Thirsty? Are ye not weary? Would ye not rather lie about in the pleasant lounge?” I had to Google that one. Satan quotes Swiss theologian Ulrich Luz: “In the pleasant lounge, the hope of the Kingdom cannot be understood.” Satan does not want any Kingdom building on his watch….

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Anger

An adage I recall from when I was a boy: “If you put a single teaspoon of sewage into a barrel of wine, you have only a barrel of sewage.” Today, a friend shared with me a finer rendering of this ancient principle, spoken by Śāntideva, a Buddhist monk who flourished between 685 and 763…

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Angry

At the men’s homeless shelter, an angry man stands before us. Crouching, fists raised like a boxer, the man shouts, “I’ve had enough! No more! You hear me?” He is big. No one moves. Two security men enter. They walk slowly, greeting others as they move in an arc toward the shouting man. They speak…

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Font

A pretty church, newer building, Sunday morning. I sat an empty pew and admired the clerestory, the natural wood and stone. Center-church, an old, marble baptismal font, dark and stained. If I’d had some soap and water with me, I’d have given that thing a good scrubbing. After the service, I visited with the altar-guild. I asked…

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