Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Starry night

Beyond the shadows
of a thousand blackened trees
one billion stars shine

for Paris

Monday, November 9, 2015

...and now, for something a bit different...

This is, I believe, a 1920s era Stromberg Voisinet tenor guitar. It has no markings identifying it as such, but this shape (called "Venetian") was unique to them, so far as I've been able to figure out. If you're familiar with Kay Kraft guitars, Kay is the more well known company that bought out Stromberg Voisinet about 1930).

I got this at a junk store for a few bucks, had it restored for several more bucks and found out may be worth several hundred dollars, were I interested in selling, which I'm not.

The tenor guitar is similar to the octave mandolin, but with only four strings (whereas the octave mando has four courses of two strings, or eight strings all together). It's a very fun instrument to play. Unfortunately, I'm quite the amateur.

Here, I'm playing "Cluck Ol' Hen," a traditional tune. A third of the way in, I add in a guitar layer to round out the sound some.

Visit more junk stores. Enjoy.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Some questions for Marshall

Frequent commenter here, "Marshall Art" said recently, at another blog, that people like me are mistaken in how we portray Marshall (et al). He said....

I am "speaking for God" by restating the exact words that appear in Scripture, as if I made it up myself and merely claimed it is what God says, means or thinks. There's simply no need to do so when Scripture states things so clearly.

Nor is it "opinion" when having re-typed the words of Scripture, or even copy/pasted it from an on-line site that presents multiple Biblical version (KJV, NIV, ESV, etc.)

Now I'm told I am "assigning meaning" to words whose meanings are well known and easily verified by a look at any dictionary.

Just a few very simple clarifying questions, Marshall.

I. First of all, in spite of our disagreements, I am assuming the best of you, that you are a good and decent man, trying to do the right thing. I am assuming that  you would not intentionally misrepresent those who disagree with you.

Am I correct in my assumptions about your good will and honorable intent?

II. Proceeding on, then, I would posit that you do not believe what you just said. I would posit that you, like me, would agree that we need to and do interpret Scripture all the time. It's what reading is, for rational adults.

So, for instance, no one is disputing that Genesis 1 says "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." and all the rest of the text that sits in the book of Genesis in its various translations. The text says literally what it says. That's just a fact.

Do you recognize that we all agree with that fact?

III. From that point, then, we all use our reason - taking into consideration the source, the text and context, the apparent writing style, the time period, etc - to sort out, for instance, the genre involved. You (or others, if not you) look at the text and reason out that "this literal text that sits there waiting to be read is written in a style that is a literal history.

Others, also using their reason and taking into consideration all the same things, reach the conclusion, "this is NOT a literal history... it reads more like a mythic or figurative genre, given what we know of the text and given the data at hand..."

That is simply another observable fact: That both/all "sides" look at the text and use our reason to decide on the figurative or literal nature of the text, on the genre, on the meaning - if any - of the text involved.

Do you recognize that we all use our reason to sort out those sorts of conclusions?

IV. When you say, "I am "speaking for God" by restating the exact words that appear in Scripture, as if I made it up myself " do you recognize that we are, as a point of fact, NOT saying that when you quote Genesis 1 or any other passage, that we are claiming by that quote in and of itself, that you are speaking for God?

No, we do not say that when you say, "Genesis 1 says.. X" That is a demonstrable fact. Why would we? Clearly the text says what it says. No, we say that when you go from what the text literally says to what the text means. Thus, when you say Gen 1 says what it says and then proceed to say, "Therefore, it is a literal history..." THAT is when we say you are presuming to speak for God?

I know you've been busy lately, but hopefully, you'll find the time to answer these questions so that we can clarify your mistaken impression.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teachings of Jesus

I was reading a conservative brother encouraging us to take Jesus at his word. To that, I can only shout, Amen!

Let us, please, take Jesus ExACTLY at his word, not adding to it things like "virgin birth," "sola Scriptura," "penal substitutionary atonement," "sometimes, it's okay for governments to bomb cities and kill innocents," "inerrancy," "you must take Genesis to be a literal history," "you must be opposed to gay folk getting married" and other nonsense that Jesus NEVER one time even mentioned, much less made an "essential"  component of his teachings (something that is never discussed by a teacher can not reasonably be called "essential...").

But let us please take Jesus at his word and take THAT word seriously, IF we are going to be followers of Jesus.

To that end, Jesus' words (some of them), as reminder:

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 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.

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

[D]o not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  ...Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Do not store up treasures here on earth.

You cannot serve God and money.

Sell your belongings, give to the poor.

When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.
Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
No one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Neither do I condemn you.

Sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath.

Come to me ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it. For what is the use of a man gaining the whole world if he loses or forfeits his own soul?

Anyone who accepts a little child in my name is really accepting me, and the man who accepts me is really accepting the one who sent me. It is the humblest among you all who is really the greatest.

You must not stop him. The man who is not against you is on your side.

Yes, and I do blame you experts in the Law! For you pile up back-breaking burdens for men to bear, but you yourselves will not raise a finger to lift them. Alas for you, for you build memorial tombs for the prophets - the very men whom your fathers murdered. You show clearly enough how you approve your father's actions. They did the actual killing and you put up a memorial to it...

Alas for you experts in the Law, for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You have never gone in yourselves and you have hindered everyone else who was at the door!

Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?!

If your brother offends you, take him to task about it, and if he is sorry, forgive him.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. You must go on living in my love. If you keep my commandments you will live in my love just as I have kept my Father's commandments and live in his love.

There is no greater love than this - that a man should lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do. I shall not call you servants any longer, for a servant does not share his master's confidence. No, I call you friends, now...

May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread we need, Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil...

Don't criticise people, and you will not be criticised. For you will be judged by the way you criticise others.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; ...He will do even greater things than these...

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,

For I deserve mercy, not sacrifice.

Follow me.

...for starters.