Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books

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Posted 10/22/14 at 1:15 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

The Ray Rice & Janay Palmer Rice Story: Are We Addicted to Abuse?

Photo: Flickr/Keith Allison/cropped - Creative Commons

Clearly I’m not the only one sickened by the story of Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens’ now former running back, and Janay Palmer (now Janay Rice). On Monday, September 8, TMZ released a video of Rice punching Palmer in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino.1 Not only did her knock her unconscious, he dragged her body out of the elevator. No tears, no “what did I do?” Instead, he seemed unconcerned…after just beating his fiancée.

Was it callous payback because, as surveillance videos at Atlantic City showed, the two were arguing and striking each other in the casino before they entered the elevator? Was Rice merely getting the upper hand by finishing what they each started? The two were charged with domestic violence-simple assault.2 Before the video went global, though, Rice had already been under investigation for the beating. To sidestep a trial, he’d undergone an intervention program for first-time offenders. The NFL suspended him from two games this past summer. A handslap for a violent crime. FULL POST

Posted 10/19/14 at 9:27 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

For the Love of Football, Goldenrods, and Jesus

Fall of the year has arrived and everybody knows what that means in the south – football season. It’s that time of year in Alabama when we either get out the crimson and white or the blue and orange. It’s that time of year when families and friends are divided in the allegiances and we pray that no one gets hurt (on the field or in the family television room). It is that time of year when we may spend about twelve hours on Saturdays watching the SEC. It’s a good thing that grass isn’t growing as much or we might not be able to find our houses. After all, who has time to cut grass and weed eat during football season?

There is another season that happens during the fall too. It’s called hay fever season. I participate in this season each year too but I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as football. About the time of the Kickoff Classic my nose begins running like a tailback and it usually doesn’t slow down until bowl season. I’m not sure exactly what all I am allergic to but I do know it includes goldenrod, hay, and Easter lilies. While you might normally see these outside I have experienced all three inside the church. FULL POST

Posted 10/15/14 at 12:50 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Early and Late Bloomers

In the play 1776 (later made into a movie), John Adams and Ben Franklin visit Thomas Jefferson, who is struggling to compose a declaration of independence from Britain. Adams and Franklin inspect the writing.

“This is awful, Tom,” one of them says. He reads a part of it. It sounds like something a grade school child might compose. Eventually, after Jefferson spends time with his wife, whom he has missed terribly in Philadelphia, he writes the Declaration of Independence that we know today.

Sometimes my writing reads like Jefferson’s first efforts with the Declaration. Really awful. About as able to move the reader as a nursery rhyme. No, a nursery rhyme is better.

I hate the first writing of a novel. It’s forced, and I don’t know what I’m doing.

I love editing and rewriting. It’s then that I experience the high of writing that moves me. I begin to know what it’s about. FULL POST

Posted 10/12/14 at 11:47 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

It All Depends on How We Look At Others

My friend, Jean, graduated from Manchester High School, in Georgia, in the spring of 1964. She and her husband, Wayne, recently attended her fifty year class reunion. The reunion coincided with the high school’s homecoming. The school paraded through the streets of downtown Manchester prior to the homecoming game with the class of ’64 as their special guest. The class actually had their own section in the parade. Class members wore matching tee shirts in the school colors of blue and white. The front of their shirts had the school name above a picture of their blue devil mascot, and beneath that was written “Class of 1964.” Each class member’s name was listed on the back of the shirts. They wore Mardi Gras type beads around their necks and threw them to the crowd as they passed. About half a dozen class members drove their vehicles in the parade. Some rode motorcycles, Jean rode in the parade with Wayne in his beautifully restored turquoise 1957 Chevrolet, another class member drove his Porsche, and another his brand new Corvette. The rest of the class members rode on a float. The float consisted of a rubber tired wagon pulled by a pickup truck. The wagon had large banners on the side that read, “Welcoming and Celebrating Manchester Blue Devils Class of ’64 Reunion.” Although many of the classmates had white hair and some of the men had little or no hair, parading together no doubt reminded them of those long ago days of their youth. They may have felt a little young again, at least until someone heard a little girl watching the parade say to her mother, “Look Mama, the float with the nursing home folks!” FULL POST

Posted 10/8/14 at 1:48 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Echoing and Coloring

While reading a recently popular novel on a flight, I came across a solution to a character’s conflict that seemed very familiar to me. Wasn’t the very same solution in another novel I’d read? No, wait. With obvious detail variances, the situation was in a book...that I had written! Horrors. A jumble of reactions whipped through my mind—how embarrassing, coincidental, and apparently, un-original of me to write those words. Readers might assume that I had copied another author’s idea. I truly had not read his book until that flight.

I returned the book to my carry-on bag and pondered my dilemma by considering the clouds below. Then a Bible quote came to mind: There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Clearly, there is a much nobler and more spiritual meaning to the verse, but it made me feel better. Upon arrival at our home, I checked my favorite writer’s opinions on originality. Again, I found solace. FULL POST

Posted 10/6/14 at 12:47 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Ginger the Weather Forecaster

I’m hoping Ginger can land a job as a weather forecaster. I’m trying to help her put together a resume but she doesn’t have many credentials. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this but none of us, Ginger included, even know her date of birth. We remember the year but not the exact month or day. I guess that, along with other reasons, is why we’ve never given the poor girl a birthday party. She doesn’t even have a social security number. She has no work experience. She has never done a hard day’s work in her life. She never pitches in to help with any of the household chores. I hate to say that she is lazy but she spends most of her days lying around sleeping.

She hasn’t been to college. To tell the truth she has no education. She can’t even read or write but she is an expert in one area. Her field of expertise is weather forecasting. She is good at it too. I may be a bit partial but I think she has the looks for television. She has a pretty face, beautiful eyes, and blond hair. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Ginger is a dog? She is our sixty five pound yellow Labrador. We used to watch Willard the weather man. Now we could have Ginger the weather dog. She is more accurate than any weather radio or radar I’ve ever seen, not to mention a few forecasters. FULL POST

Posted 10/1/14 at 11:13 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Do You Know Jesus?

One generation will commend your works to another; They will tell of your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4

One generation will commend your works to another; They will tell of your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4 Granddaughter Rebekah pulled a German doll from my old trunk. “Tell me the story behind this doll, Grandma.”

I gladly obliged.

You see the doll had been sent to me by my Uncle Charles, a chaplain who served in the Army for twenty years. He and his family traveled the world but spent most of their military career in Germany. Wherever they went, they always gifted their nieces with meaningful mementos.

On that sunny summer day, I shared with Rebekah that my Uncle Charles was a man who loved Jesus with all his heart. One question freely left his lips, no matter who he met: Do you know Jesus?

One day as a young husband, Uncle Charles walked outside and noticed a teenager standing at a street corner. Sure enough, he strolled over and asked the boy if he knew Jesus. The teen said he’d tried some churches, but didn’t really understand the question. Uncle Charles shared how a holy God left heaven in the form of a baby, grew up, and died on the cross to pay for our sin. He then rose from the grave to give us eternal life. The teen had never heard such news. Convicted by the Holy Spirit of his need for Jesus, the boy accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord right then and there. FULL POST

Posted 9/28/14 at 8:11 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Things Aren’t Always as They Seem

I grew up in an old house that did not have closets. We had chifferobes but not in my bedroom. My closet was a nail. Our door facings were made from one by six boards. Mine had a couple of sixteen penny nails, one on each side of the door, where I hung my clothes. Occasionally, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I saw a tall man standing in my room. I imagined he had come to do me bodily harm so I covered my head. Hey, that may not have been such a bad idea. In winter I slept with so many homemade quilts on the bed that most weapons couldn’t have penetrated them all. Of course, I could have smothered to death under there. In the light of morning my visitor turned out to be nothing more than my lifeless empty shirt hanging on one of those nails. Don’t laugh; it might have been the headless horseman - minus the horse!

Recently, as I cut my backyard, I saw my grandson’s red and blue Spiderman rod and reel lying in the grass. You may remember that he fishes in the pool. He fishes without hooks so he never catches anything except imaginary big ones (like many fishermen). As I approached his rod and reel with the mower I kept my eyes on it thinking I would stop before I reached it and move it out of the way. Much to my disbelief, shock, and fright, as I drew near, his rod and reel began to move – on its own – towards me! Now I have been attacked by a Doberman Pincher, an oversized tomcat, and stinging varmints, but never by a rod and reel. My first impulse was to scream like a girl but I held back. Can you imagine a fully grown man running across his back yard fleeing from a Spiderman rod and reel? Too bad someone didn’t capture it on video or we might have won something on America’s Funniest. I seem to recall a story in the Bible about Moses having a rod that turned into a serpent. Could my grandson’s rod have done the same? I don’t recall that Moses’ serpent chased him. FULL POST

Posted 9/24/14 at 2:20 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

There’s No Need to Cry Over Spilt Milk

When I was a kid we drank milk; lots of milk. At one time we even owned our own milk cow. Her name was Betty. After Betty left the family for greener pastures we bought our milk from a local dairy farm. I think we went through several gallons a week. Mom gave us a choice at supper. We could either drink milk or swallow our meal dry. I chose milk. All that milk I drank is probably why I never broke my arm, or my neck, when I fell out of all those trees I climbed.

The milk we drank was raw and untreated. It hadn’t been skimmed, homogenized, or pasteurized. It almost tasted like a milkshake but if you shook it too much it turned to butter! We usually bought homemade butter from the dairy and occasionally a gallon of buttermilk. I’ve never been a fan of buttermilk myself. It tastes like milk that should have been thrown out a couple of days earlier! I didn’t care much for wild onion flavored milk either. I usually treated mine with a little PDQ, Bosco, or Nestles Quik. FULL POST

Posted 9/22/14 at 12:18 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

What’s the Secret of a Literary Masterpiece?

We sat mesmerized while the actors spoke in Elizabethan English and dashed around on a small square stage in the middle of four groupings of folding chairs. How could a three-hour play, William Shakespeare’s Richard III, written five hundred years ago, so capture our twenty-first century audience? An audience accustomed to movie masterpieces with all sorts of special effects?

The play spoke to us, first of all, because of the superb actors. They created emotions that spoke through the often unfamiliar and flowery language. They pulled us into a world of treachery and betrayal and ambition. They acted so well that the sniping, arguing, and name calling in the first act recalled twenty-first century political sparring followed on our mobiles.

Secondly, Shakespeare’s stories remind us of unbridled ambition, as prevalent today as in the bard’s England. He portrayed the universal type who sees others as no more than tokens on a chess board to be swept aside in the winning of goals. The story and the characters were real in a basic sense, despite their sixteenth century trappings and practices. FULL POST

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