"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Whale Evolution 1

Whale Evolution 2

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tablescapes - January Brunch

Christian Women's Club - Shelby County, Jan. 8th, 2009.
Wonderful brunch and tables!
Aslan says, "Now get back to selling books!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

I re-read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" this morning and was
struck by how much of the letter applies to the church of the 21st century. (The first part of
the letter was very slow reading for me as my mind kept wandering back to my childhood
days in Birmingham and vague memories of the days of "Bull" Connor and the times of
segregation. Times have changed in Birmingham. There is still healing to be done though.
We have far to go but it is not like it was..)

From the Letter: (google the Letter and read the whole letter)

"But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus and extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like am ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvery's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."

"Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson, and the great-grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful -- in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey Gad rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent -- and often even vocal -- sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion to inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. "

I will let the words of Dr. King speak for themself but think on these things for today.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

"For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ,

which is far better."

Paul knew that it was better - far better, to be with Christ. I was reading a novel (one of

many) as we spent the last few months beside and with my daddy as he struggled with

cancer. I read this line just a few days before he died -

"I've thought about death a lot during the years I've walked the earth in disquiet.

I've thought about what it will be like to transcent space and time. And I've come to the

conclusion that the apostle Paul was right when he says it's far better to be with Christ.

If only we didn't have to die to get there."

And how right she (the author) is. While the death was an ugly thing, the passing is over

and peace has begun. His memory will live in our hearts and minds forever. And his stories

will be handed down for generations to come (should the Lord tarry).

Jessie Eugene (Gene) Hill
HILL, JESSIE EUGENE (GENE) passed away on January 3rd, 2009 at his home in Pelham, AL. Gene Hill was born to the late Ruth Gilliland and Jessie Hill on February 14, 1927 in Trenton, GA and grew up in Stevenson and Scottsboro, AL, His stepfather, Grady Steadmon, also played an important role in his life. His brothers are all deceased. He is survived by his beloved wife of forty-nine years, Annette Hill; two sons, Robert Eugene Hill, and Stephen Bruce Hill; two daughters, Christina Lynn Brock (Duane), and Patricia Annette Price (Stephen); ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Gene Hill served proudly in both the United States Navy and Army in WWII and Korea and participated in the Bikini Atoll Atomic Bomb tests. He worked for Genuine Parts Co. (NAPA) before going into business for himself as a Chevron station owner and operator. He will be greatly missed as a dedicated member of the First Baptist Church of Hoover. The extraordinary life he led and elaborate stories he told will keep his memory alive in our hearts forever. Funeral will be held on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 11:00 am in the Chapel of Ridout's Elmwood Chapel. Dr. Randy Adkinson and Dr. Earl Tew officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior. Burial will take place at Elmwood Cemetery with Ridout's Elmwood Chapel directing.

(Amy wrote. She wanted to add "Gene Hill went to different schools

together with Davy Crockett and tragically lost his finger

to a bear in an accident later in life" (because that is what

he told all his kids and grandkids - plus many more such nonsense

stories.) (He actually shot his finger at the Japanese in WWII when he didn't get

it out of the way in time while loading a big shell in one of the huge guns on a ship to

fire. Hurts to think about doesn't it? He didn't get a purple heart for it either!)

We would, as children, often go to mother and ask her, "Did daddy really....???" and she'd

laugh and we'd know it was another story. He later repeated all the stories to OUR

children and we'd smile. And they would come to us and ask.

Amy was nearly grown though before she figured out our cars WOULD run on

something besides Chevron gasoline LOL. (Okay, I kept that one alive. I still try

to use Chevron most of time. Habits are hard to break.).
(quotes from "The Church Ladies" by Lisa E. Samson, Multnomah publishing, page 117)