Tag Archives: Bible

Dad and The Pastor: Knowing The Man – Part 17

(Continued from yesterday.)

“Ellsworth Bowden and I were respectful combatants on the battle field of theological differences. But he was a phony.”

There was a gasp from the audience. I looked at Mrs. Bowden. She didn’t blink an eye. In fact, she even gave a slight smile of approval.”

“Ellsworth Bowden strutted about like some intellectual snob, but at heart he was a farmer. Until this day I thought it was the discussions he enjoyed with me. It wasn’t, he liked being on the farm. I think all along he wanted me to ask him to plow a field or hoist some hay, or even shovel manure.”

“Ellsworth Bowden could walk the campus and hallways of Princeton and speak the language of the elite, but at heart he was a farm boy.”

“I don’t know how Ellsworth wanted to be remembered. I think he would leave that to each of us to figure for ourselves, but the only one in this room that it matters to is

Mrs. Bowden; it’s how she remembers him. And I look at her today, right now, she smiles. That is all we need to know about Ellsworth Bowden; he left his wife with a smile.”

“That’s what I’m going to do from now on when I think about him; I’m going to smile.”

Dad smiled at Mrs. Bowden than looked at everyone. Dad nodded to the funeral director and he began to show everyone out.

Dad politely grasp Mrs. Bowden’s hand. “Will you be having supper with us this evening?”

“Sure,” Mrs. Bowden said. “Do you have the apple cider that Ellie went on about?”

“We have some fresh squeezed,” Mom said.

Mom went with Mrs. Bowden and Dad and I headed to the car alone. Everyone who attended the funeral remained in the parking lot. Dad received handshakes from everyone.

He was about to get into our car when a short man in a blue suit called out, “Tenny!”

Dad turned around.

“Jim Turner,” the man said. “We used to run around together in our wayward youth.”

“Shhh,” Dad said and smiled. “My wife and son.”

“Nice of you to honor Pastor Bowden in that way,” Turner said.

“Thanks,” Dad said. “He was a good man.”

“We were advised not to come by the church board,” Turner said.

“I figured as much,” Dad said.

“But everyone got a letter from Pastor Bowden,” Turner said. “It appears he wrote, addressed, and stamped letters to everyone and left them with his lawyer to mail at his death.”

“That’s interesting,” Dad said. “Thanks for passing that on.” Dad shook his hand. “We’ll talk some other time, Jim. I got some things to do on the farm.”

Dad and I pulled from the parking lot and turned toward home.

“An old friend,” Dad said. “Good man.”

“You did a good job today, Dad,” I said. “Bowden knew you wouldn’t speak in the church. He wrote everyone to come to the funeral home.”

“Seems like he knew me better than I knew him,” Dad said. “All this time he was sizing me up. That’s amazing and I thought I knew him.”

“You really liked him, didn’t you?” I said.

“Oh yeah!” Dad said. “Just because we raised our voices a bit and he stormed away without a goodbye only means our convictions are tested beyond our restraint for civility.”

“But you always managed to remain cool,” I said.

“Well,” Dad smiled, “Bowden left in time.”

We drove for a while and were nearly home. “What have you learned?” Dad said.

“You said something a little while back,” I said. “You seemed disappointed that Bowden knew you better than you knew him.”

“It seems like I missed all the clues,” Dad said.

“But didn’t you tell me once that a man of principle is predictable, because he always does the right thing?” I said.

Dad paused. We turned in the driveway to our home. He turned off the car and just as I was about to open the car door Dad rested his hand on my arm. “Thanks, son.”

The End

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Dad and The Pastor; Dad Reads The Pastor’s Letter – Part 16

(Continued from yesterday.)

There was a commotion from the back of the room. A cool breeze rushed in. Dad looked up. Mrs. Bowden, Mom, and I turned around. People were streaming in and the room eventually became cramped.

“Mr. Tennyson,” the funeral director said. “May I have a moment with you.”

A half hour later Bowden’s coffin was moved to the largest room. The funeral home was packed. People were standing in the lobby and in the parking lot.

I was nervous for Dad, but there was this calm over him that came only after a hard rain when the crops were in.

“Mrs. Bowden wishes to thank all of you for coming today,” Dad said. He smiled once again at Mrs. Bowden.

“My name is Martin Tennyson. Some of you know me, some of you don’t. Not until this day did I know Ellsworth Bowden.”

“There were two sides to Ellsworth. Two men struggling inside his conscience. One man was humble, kind, compassionate, and true. The other man doubted.”

Dad pulled an envelope from his suit’s inside lapel pocket. “Bowden gave me this a month ago and told me to read it at his funeral.”

Dad tore open the envelope. He opened the letter. “It is not often, if ever, a man has the opportunity to preach at his own funeral.”

“I met Tennyson many years ago. He may not know it now nor knew it then, but I liked him.”

“In the past three years we have had many informal discussions about, life, death, the Bible, theology, farming, and what ever the wind blew our way, but it focused mainly on the Bible, theology, and the church.”

“Many years ago I made a decision to serve the needs of the people in the church although my reason and logic dictated, in strong terms, the church as an organization was built for the sole purpose of providing a comfortable living for itself only.”

“Doctrines, teaching, and liturgy was out of touch with the Bible’s clear and simple truths. The church had created a labyrinth of policies, edicts, and epistles that confused and confounded even the best of minds. For many here today this will make little difference in how you view the church or your lives.”

“Over the past three years Tennyson and I argued strenuously about church doctrine. At first it angered me. He was a farmer and had managed to pull himself from the quicksand of teachings that in themselves made sense to only the ill-informed.”

“At this point, Tennyson, tell everybody not according to church doctrine, but according to the Bible where I am.”

Dad looked up from the letter. “In the book of Ecclesiastes it states the dead are not anywhere. They are not conscience. Jesus likened death to sleep. This thinking and this thinking only makes the resurrection logical. If one goes to heaven immediately why does the Bible speak of the resurrection in the last day?”

Dad looked down at the letter, smiled, and read. “It says, ‘Thank you, Tennyson.’” Dad continued. “Next, Tennyson, tell them about the trinity.”

“Bowden argued for the trinity and I argued against it,” Dad spoke. “The scriptures plainly and simply point out and illustrate the relationship between the father and the son is like a father and a son. The father is the progenitor of a son; one is creator the other is created. Jesus never claimed to be equal or the same. In fact, he said there were things the father knew that he did not.”

Dad looked back at the letter. “It reads, ‘Thank you, Tennyson, now tell them about hell.’” Dad looked up at the attendees. “Hell is not a place or concept found in the Bible. Jesus at times referred to a garbage dump outside the city of Jerusalem to illustrate complete destruction. How can one possibly fathom a loving God torturing people forever and ever? In many cases in the Bible the word hell is better translated grave or pit.”

Dad looked down at the letter again and read, “Thanks you, Tennyson, now tell them about the soul.”

“The soul in most instances in the Bible is a breather,” Dad said. “Once it stops breathing it is no longer exists. The Bible does not indicate that something survives death, yet it assures us of life again. How this is done is likely just as miraculous as the creation of life itself. If we believe God can create man from the dust of the ground, what little effort is needed to recreate a life that had lived and died from the same dust?”

Dad looked down at the letter again and read, “Thank you, Tennyson, you are nearly done; now you may say some words about me and don’t preach me into heaven!”

Dad smiled. “Well you heard what the man said.” Dad breathed deep. He closed his eyes for a moment. I knew he was saying a quick prayer. He smiled and began to speak.

(Continued tomorrow.)

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A Fight To Detroit

thM9AP45P5Middle Seat

It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?

A little better than a week ago I was on a plane to Detroit.

The day before a call was received from hospice care; it was likely my mother would not live beyond three or four days. Tickets were purchased for the next day.

Early the next day a niece called; she said it was not likely I could make it home before Mom died. She handed Mom the phone. I told her I would see her later and she should just relax. I told her I loved her and that was the end of the conversation. Ten minutes later my niece called back, Mom died three minutes after saying goodbye.

The flight would be somber, filled with memories, tears, and grief.

The plane flew from Boise to Denver where a connection was made for a flight from there to Detroit.

On the flight to Detroit a woman sat next to me. Before the plane was airborne she asked my final destination.

“Detroit,” I said sensing a chatty flight.

She forced a smile. “Me too. Visiting family?”

“Sort of,” I said. “My mother passed this morning.”

Her face lost expression.

“Is something wrong?” I said.

“I’m going to Detroit for my son’s funeral,” she said. “I’m so sorry about your mother.”

“She was 100,” I said. “She had a good life. How old was your son?”

“29,” she said.

My mourning could not possibly be as much as hers.

“Tell me about him,” I said.

And she did.

Towards the end of the flight I shared a couple of comforting scriptures from the Bible. The reality is that by listening to her and the scriptures read, I was the one comforted. (Job 14; Acts 24:15; Revelation 21:3, 4)

 

 

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The Greatest Teacher

Dream Teacher

You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?

These prompts are framed in such a way as to let the imagination run wild. This one I can’t claim to have such an imagination. It is too obvious; it is clearly Jesus. I don’t want that to sound like a Bible thumping fundamentalist (please, I don’t wish to offend, but sometimes they come off as being self-righteous and arrogant). My reasons are measured and reasoned.

He spoke and taught simply and direct. He ask questions to be sure you understood. He never used himself as the all wise and knowing authority but attributed everything to his Father and what was written. ( Matt. 13:34; Matt 18:18:2-4; Marks 12: 14-17; John 7:16) He maximized every word and thought to have the greatest impact and most lasting results (last count around 1,981 years.)

Today I can read his teachings from the Bible and the lessons can have the same impact as they did then. Amazing!

 

 

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Duct Tape Is Silver

thXQMILUQNBreak the Silence

When was the last time you really wanted (or needed) to say something, but kept quiet? Write a post about what you should’ve said.

There’s an updated old expression, “Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.”

If something tells you to keep quiet there is a reason within that moment. If compelled to speak there must be something in that moment that tells you to do so. Most generally it is best to remain silent on something you struggle with. Just looking at things from a mathematical and chance standpoint there are likely more times we said nothing or wish we said nothing rather than said something we later regretted or wished we would have said something meaningful or profound when nothing was said.

There is a wise saying from Psalms 4:4 “Be agitated, but do not sin. Have your say in your heart, upon your bed, and keep silent.” Saying something often brings contention and strife. Are there times when things should be said? Certainly, but to the right person or authority.

Likely that’s who writers are; people who just wished they said something, but didn’t so they write about it as if it was said – cowards! (sarcasm)

 

I sleep with a role duct tape next to my bed.

Here is the link to my short story for the day,  Abe Takes the Elevator.

 

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Who Rules The World Now?

If I Ruled the World

You’ve been given the superpower to change one law of nature. How do you use it?

Any law of nature that is changed in the slightest would be catastrophic.

Since an opinion was asked for, I will give it; man cannot live independent from God. That is a law of nature. It seems a part of our being; man has always had a desire for spirituality and yet as one desire tugs us toward it another pulls us away. The last writer of the Bible expressed it simply this way, “the whole world is laying in the power of the wicked one.” (1st John 5:19) So the short answer is to remove the wicked one; the force that is against the most important law of nature; mankind’s search for God.

My short story for today continues with another tale about the legend, John Smith. Here is the link to No Camels, No Love. 

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Using A Bible’s Simple Proverb

Baggage Check

We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?

Don’t assume my history is complicated. Just because people laugh themselves into an insane asylum at the mere mention of my name and the decisions I’ve not made… (kidding).  My experiences inform me of nothing, on the other hand they do form the way I think and react today.

It is said that experience is the the best teacher, when in fact it is not. (or maybe we are just inattentive students) We seldom learn from it. Our process of thinking and problem solving raises its ugly head at nearly every opportunity presented. And we keep sticking our proverbial finger into the proverbial light socket, not giving thought to the fact the electricity is on time after time. Our only hope is that in our ineptitude we forgot to pay the electric bill and they shut us off. Then that gives us free rein to continue to do it from that time onward.

With great effort I have applied the principle at Proverbs 15:3; “An answer when mild turns away rage…” I have found that no matter what the situation if remaining calm I remain in control.  If the situation escalates it’s not because of me. And amazingly it works! Many situations in my life have been resolved amicably rather than regretfully by employing this one simple proverb. There is no reason to treat anyone rudely.

The Bible contains many other wise principles worthy of use.

My short story for the day is another one about John Smith – that guy that everyone wants to be. Here is the link to my very short story If Only To See What John Sees.

 

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