Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2009 Jeff Street Retreat Slideshow

With music provided by the adult choir singing Truly, I Believe, a South African song that Andy introduced to us and which was a big hit.

I believe in Jesus, the Savior of the people, I believe in God, the almighty Lord Creator, I believe, I do believe, truly I believe!


Monday, November 23, 2009

2009 Jeff Street Retreat

We had our annual church retreat this weekend, some more photos, videos and cetera to follow. Here is the youth band leading the church in the traditional hymn, I'll Fly Away. Good times were had by all...

More can be seen and heard at the Jeff Street blog.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Bible and Economics...

Tent Girls
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Part of an ongoing series looking at all the many passages in the Bible that deal with wealth and poverty issues. You can see the links to the other passages in the series under the heading "The Bible and Economics" below.

I began looking at the "wealth" of material (ha!) found in Psalms on this topic back in September, offering findings from the first ten Psalms. Today, I offer some passages from Psalm 11 to Psalm 22...

"Because they rob the weak, and the needy groan, I will now arise," says the LORD; "I will grant safety to whoever longs for it."

~Psalm 12:6

Will these evildoers never learn? They devour my people as they devour bread; they do not call upon the LORD.

They have good reason, then, to fear; God is with the company of the just.

They would crush the hopes of the poor, but the poor have the LORD as their refuge.

~Psalm 14:4-6

LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy mountain?

Whoever walks without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart; Who does not slander a neighbor, does no harm to another, never defames a friend; Who disdains the wicked, but honors those who fear the LORD; Who keeps an oath despite the cost, lends no money at interest, accepts no bribe against the innocent.

Whoever acts like this shall never be shaken.

~Psalm 15:1-5

Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat; they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.

Deliver me from the sword, my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.

Save me from the lion's mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.

Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you:

"You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!"

~Psalm 22:17-27

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Can You Tell Me About Healthcare?

Georgia Basham
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Reading in the Rageosphere (ie, the nutty wing of the Paranoia Party), I have read some stuff about the Health Care Package that is being worked on. Things like...

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is prepared to jail any American who does not buy a qualifying health insurance plan if the healthcare bill she sponsored (H.R. 3962, as amended) is passed into law.

On November 6, Congressman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a letter he received from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) in response to his inquiry as to potential penalties for failing to comply with mandates set forth in the so-called “Affordable Health Care for America Act.”

The information set out in the response should be shocking, but such unconstitutional abuses of power are becoming de rigueur and have almost lost their ability to stupefy. Still, the details are sinister. As the old saying goes, the devil is definitely in them.

In a letter dated November 5, the Joint Committee on Taxation informed Congressman Camp that there is a broad range of civil and criminal penalties applicable to any American who fails to purchase a health insurance policy that passes legislative muster, or as euphemistically styled in the bill itself: “acceptable health insurance coverage.”

As reported by the Congressional Budget Office, the lowest annual cost of an approved family non-group policy would be approximately $15,000. That is to say, currently written in the bill under consideration, if a family’s health insurance plan doesn’t cost at least $15,000 a year, then you are breaking the law and will be held accountable.

Naturally, I assume that they may well not have their details correct. On the other hand, our government IS a fallible entity (being human and all) and a plan to enforce compliance may well be part of the plan. I would find that hard to believe, at least as how it's being described.

I'm not learned enough on this health care package. Can anyone out there provide some actual intel on the topic? While of course believing in the notion that adequate health care is a vital part of society, I am not one who has been convinced that the current plan is a good one. My main argument in favor of it is all the demonization it has received by the Wacky Wing of the Palin Party.

However, the fact that Palin et al are opposed to it is not, in my mind, adequate reason to support it. Anyone care to make their case to me - one way or the other - in small words so I can understand?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christian Pacifism, etc

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
My friend and fellow church member, Michael, has a VERY interesting, well-written and powerful series going on Christian Pacifism. His latest entry is about the Sermon on the Mount, which can be found here, in two parts...

Part 1

Part 2

There are several more in this series and more to come. It is extremely thoughtful, informative, concise and well worth consideration. Check them out.

Also, sadly, our church lost one of our homeless friends in death last week. Richard, a gentleman who has lived on the streets for years - and who has been undergoing dialysis for the last thirteen years while homeless - passed into our Savior's arms at the early age of 58.

Our church friend, Adam, has written about his time being there during the last days of Richard's life at our church blog, here. It's a very strong and tender testimony and I thank God for Adam and his ministry with us, as well as for the life of Richard and the impact of his life upon ours.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Birthdays: Mark Twain

Statue of Liberty
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Mark Twain

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good -- and less trouble.

His ignorance covered the whole earth like a blanket, and there was hardly a hole in it anywhere.

Who are the oppressors? The few: the king, the capitalist and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread that the soft-handed and idle eat.

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Everything has its limit - iron ore cannot be educated into gold.

[on learning to ride a bicycle...]
The bicycle had what is called the "wabbles," and had them very badly. In order to keep my position, a good many things were required of me, and in every instance the thing required was against nature.

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people's liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.

Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

And now, I'll link to perhaps my two favorite Mark Twain short stories...

The Carnival of Crime in Connecticut , which include these delightful insults...

My good slave, you are curiously witless--no, I mean characteristically so. In truth, you are always consistent, always yourself, always an ass... I can almost respect a mere ordinary sort of fool; but you pah!


Grandfather's Ram (which I posted here at my blog earlier in the year...) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November Birthdays: Sojourner Truth

Fall Fun Night
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Continuing to honor our November-born heroes, today I offer a snippet from Sojourner Truth's famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech...

Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place!

And ain't I a woman?

Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!

And ain't I a woman?

I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me!

And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Birthdays: Dorothy Day

As mentioned yesterday, in November, we remember the birth dates of some of my heroes and folks who I find especially quotable. Today, I'm remembering Dorothy Day...

Dorothy Day

I believe that we must reach our brother, never toning down our fundamental oppositions, but meeting him when he asks to be met, with a reason for the faith that is in us, as well as with a loving sympathy for them as brothers.

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.

I felt that the Church was the Church of the poor,... but at the same time, I felt that it did not set its face against a social order which made so much charity in the present sense of the word necessary. I felt that charity was a word to choke over. Who wanted charity? And it was not just human pride but a strong sense of man's dignity and worth, and what was due to him in justice, that made me resent, rather than feel proud of so mighty a sum total of Catholic institutions.

Love casts out fear, but we have to get over the fear in order to get close enough to love them.

People say, "What is the sense of our small effort?" They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.

Don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed so easily.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Birthday quotes

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Oh, my, what a rich month November is! At least for those of us who love words. At least FOUR of my most quotable people celebrate their birthdays in November. November 4th is the birth date of Will Rogers (1879-1935), American humorist and populist, November 8th is the birth date of Dorothy Day (1897-1980), who started the Catholic Worker Movement, November 26th is the birth date of Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), famed civil rights leader for both women and blacks during our slavery years and November 30th is Mark Twain's (1835-1910) birth date.

As someone who loves quotable people, these people are at the top of my list and I thought I'd honor them with some excerpts.


Ten men in the country could buy the world and ten million can’t buy enough to eat.

We don’t have to worry about anything. No nation in the history of the world was ever sitting as pretty. If we want anything, all we have to do is go and buy it on credit.

This would be a great time in the world for some man to come along that knew something.

We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.

Mothers are the only race of people that speak the same tongue. A mother in Manchuria could converse with a mother in Nebraska and never miss a word.

I maintain that it should cost as much to get married as it does to get divorced. Make it look like marriage is worth as much as divorce, even if it ain’t. That would also make the preachers financially independent like it has the lawyers.

Why don’t they pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as Prohibition did, in five years we will have the smartest people on earth.

The difference between our rich and poor grows greater every year. Our distribution of wealth is getting more uneven all the time. A man can make a million and he is on every page in the morning. But it never tells you who gave up that million he got. You can’t get money without taking it from somebody.

Democrats take the whole thing as a joke. Republicans take it serious but run it like a joke.

A fool and his money are soon elected.

If they are going to argue religion in the church instead of teaching it, no wonder you see more people at a circus that at a church.

Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.