Monday, October 2, 2023
Some years ago, a seldom used trail in the Amargosa Desert in California, there stood a rundown hut. Nearby was a well, the only source of water for miles around. Attached to the pump was a thin baking powder can with a message inside, written in pencil on a sheet of brown wrapping paper. This was the message...
This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But, the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and the cork end up. There‘s enough water in it to prime this pump, but not if you drink some water first. Pour in about 1/4, and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast, and begin to pump. You‘ll get water. The well never has run dry. Have faith. When you get watered up, fill the bottle, and put it back like you found it for the next feller. Signed, Desert Pete
Ps. don’t go drinking up all the water first! Prime the pump and you can get all the water you want. Don’t be selfish. Deny yourself. Seek God’s kingdom first, and God will care for you.
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Note: This is a work in progress; it may be amended and/or emended from time to time.
Here we have an episode involving seven of the disciples and the resurrected Christ. It is so chockablock with amazing things it has probably yet to be fully grasped by most followers of Christ. These men know at this point that Jesus has risen from the grave. They know that He has told them they have a date to meet him at a certain place, but they do not know the time. "Let's just sit around and wait until Jesus tells us what to do next." This is definitely not what they were thinking. "I'm going fishing," Peter says, and he headed to his boat.
I have read some commentators who say that when Jesus called these people to follow Him, they dropped their tools of livelihood and did as bid, and now we see that with Jesus no longer among them they return to their old ways. The implication that there is something amiss here is wrong. Yes, Jesus left them temporarily to their own devices, but they know who He is, and they know He is alive. But rather than sit around waiting for marching orders, they take advantage of the time, they redeem the time, by engaging in useful activity. This, I think is what Christ expects of us, absent a mission assignment, that we engage in useful activity.
It's daybreak now. The fishermen have toiled all night. They spot someone standing near a low burning fire on the shore. "Hey, fellas," the man hollers, "catch anything?" "No," they reply. "Then cast your nets on the other side of the boat. You'll catch something!" cheerily spoke the figure on the beach. "Why the heck not?" the men said to one another. "The hold is empty, and night is gone. What do we have to lose?" so they shifted their nets and behold! the catch was so great they could not draw the net in, yet it did not hreak. The disciples in the other boat came alongside and helped them drag the catch ashore.
John is the first to recognize Jesus. "It's the Master!" he exclaims. And what does Peter do? He grabbed his fisherman's cloak and put it on, belting it, for he had been working without his outerwear. naked, the scripture says, and I leave it to you to discern the meaning of that in this context. At any rate, the man did not want to appear before the Master less than properly clothed. (Hint, hint.) Then he stepped into the water and rushed to shore to greet Jesus. Can you picutre this without recalling another instance in which Peter stepped out of a boat onto the water?
What a catch! And big fish, too! 153 great fish! Now that is interesting; they count the catch. And why would they not? They are businessmen. Theologians and writers have puzzled over this and much has been written about the significance of the number 153, some of it quite convoluted. I lean to the position that they were doing that which was normal and logical in the plying of their vocation.
Now Jesus has this fine bed of coals, just right for broiling fish! "Come and dine!" He says, if we read the King James, or any one of several others. Many translations have Jesus saying, "Come, have some breakfast." I am not a scholar of the Greek, but I really wish I knew how John originally wrote this line. As nearly as I can tell, much as I would like it to be the former, the oldest manuscripts seem to be better translated to the latter. "Dine," to me, suggests a celebratory occasion, whereas an invitation to breakfast by a friend suggests a casual time of open fellowship. Oh, perhaps the latter is the better; no need to rent a tuxedo here. At any rate, Jesus shares his fire and his bread, Peter, John, and the others share their catch, and for a time it seems a good time was had by all.
After they had eaten and wiped their hands, the conversation took a serious turn when Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" And it turned out that Jesus asked him thrice, to the point that Peter was offended. (How many times did Peter deny knowing Jesus on that fateful night of the Master's arrest?) The upshot of the interchange was that Jesus finally told Peter, "Feed my sheep." (Reinstatement and commission.) Then Jesus foretold Peter's cruel death as a follower of Christ. So, then Peter, jerking his thumb at John, said, "What about him?" and Jesus's rejoinder was basically, "Not your concern; his fate is in my hands."
And so it is with us. It is our task to chasten, to encourage, to work alongside our fellow Christians, but how God determines He wishes to use them is none of our business.
Cf. Luke 5 in which a similar yet different fishing event is recounted, an episode in which Jesus commandeers Peter's ship and calls his first followers to discipleship.
Friday, April 21, 2023
Some things are improved by aging. Cheddar cheese comes to mind. I can attest to that. Whisky, it is said. No personal experience with that. Nor with wine, which is supposedly also one of those things that improves with age. Leather boots, and that is a fact. Here is a pair of mine which are now two decades old and getting better and better.
Monday, February 27, 2023
Saturday, February 18, 2023
or, Foreseeable Future is an Oxymoron.
People do not, as a rule, set out to make bad decisions. But poor choices are often made, and by intelligent people employing the latest methodologies. This is directly attributable to the fact that we cannot see into the future, nor can we picture the outcome of the decisions we make in spite of the hiring of "experts" to do an in-depth study to determine the "impact" of our plans. We may pay these experts thousands of dollars, particularly if we are a government entity and the thousands of dollars belong to the public coffers, which, I emphasize are filled from the pockets of the public at large, and yes, that means from you as an individual taxpayer as well. Spending other people's money (OPM) seems to be quite easy to do.
The problem with most decisions is this. The original impetus for the proposed plan is to improve the circumstances of a given situation, to implement progress, one might say. The problem is that once the person or group of persons (read congress, committee, council, board, what-have-you) latches onto an idea that appeals to the person or to the majority of the group that body immediately is seized of tunnel vision. They can see the entrance to the tunnel, they imagine they see the light at the end of the tunnel, and perhaps they do. but what they cannot see is what inhabits the tunnel, lines its walls and lives within them, so to speak. They cannot see the bumps in the road, the fissures in the ceiling, and above all else, they cannot see what is on the other side of the mountain awaiting them when they get to the other side.
There will be unintended consequences. These call for more decisions, and in all likelihood more of OPM. This is the way the world works. And whether the issue is a hurricane of national or international import, or simply a tempest in a teapot, people will take sides, second-guess, point fingers and generally fail to improve the situation or the circumstances. It's the way we are.
A. There will always be unintended consequences to every decision.
B. There will be good decisions, even some made by committee, believe it or not.
C. The ultimate impact of even the best decisions cannot be foreseen.
D. Bad decisions will always require more decisions to deal with the unintended consequences. Some of those decisions are likely to be unfortunate as well, requiring more decisions and more of OPM.
Sip your tea, pay your taxes, respect your neighbor, be kind, and hope for the best. It's the best we have.
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Axie Wells come over ta see if I was okay, meanin' he come over lookin' for the borry some money. Axie is not the village idiot; I mean he is smart enough to know he is not very smart, but he is not smart enough to keep his mouth shut. You know what I mean; he expresses an opiinion on ever'thing, even if he actual knows nothin' about whatever is the topic of conversation, or especially if he know nothin' about it.
Ever'one don't know him think Axie is a nickname for Axel, but that hain't hit. J'ever notice thet all four his fingers on his left hand are ''zackly the same length? Waal, he was once't splittin' sticks for the farr, and waal, you know. So Axie come over and say, "Heidy, Jephtha! How's tricks?" Now Axie always pronounce my name real careful-like, makin' the 'eff' sound where the 'ph' is. Most folk don't do that, but he's not wrong!
"Slicker'n goose grease on a grain grinder," I says. "Jest about got this single-tree refitted to like new."
"Kin I he'p you any way?"
"Oh, no; no. I'ma hammer this last rivet and it is done." I complete the task whilst Axie stands there agawpin', the timothy stem he's achewin' on twistin' and bouncin' whilst he think on how to get at his purpose. When I lay the hammer on the anvil and hang the contraption on a peg, he says, "Jeptha, you reckon I could get the loan of two dollars? Now, Axie get some gummint dole for his inability to provide for himself, but it never quite reach from one check to the next. Partly his own fault, and partly it hain't none too big, anyway
"Axie," says I, "I don't have two dollars in my pocket. I don't mean to be unkind, but my ends don't always come together with enough string left to tie a knot." Now, I know thet Grace have a stash in her cookie jar, and we'll be fine. But I'm not askin' her on behalf a Axie. She's the kindest woman on earth, but she know the man's habits. Waal, so do I, so I say to him, I say,
"If you're runnin' short on groceries, please to help yourself to some a them turnips in the third row yonder. It's the best I can do right now." The man's eyes light up, and he says, "Oh, thank you ever so much! You are a gentleman. I do need something' to eat, and if'n you were to give me the two dollars, I'd like as not drink it rather than eat it, knowin' me.
So Axie go over to the garden and pull him up eight or nine nice, plump turnips, happy as any man you ever see.
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. --Alexander Pope
David W. Lacy word count 776