28 May 2009

Can't Keep From Singing

I'm in my church choir and I can't keep from singing.

One of my natural gifts is musical. I'm blessed with pitch discrimination and tonal memory. I'm also blessed with rhythm memory but this isn't so strong. My pitch and tonal gifts are in the 90th percentiles.

This natural gift was measured by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation http://www.jocrf.org/. This foundation is the place to test what your natural gifts are. Johnson O'Connor calls them aptitudes. Yes there are series of exercises that measure aptitudes.

This test demonstrates I like to sing. In fact I'm a happier person because I sing. If I don't sing I'm probably not using my God given gifts. If I don't sing I'm incomplete. It's not that I'm unhappy it's just I'm incomplete, less than whole. In the Biblical sense, I'm keeping my light under a basket. So I'm reminded of a UU hymn "How Can I Keep From Singing." It's a great melody and the original lyrics, below, are attributed to the nineteenth century Baptist preacher Robert Lowry.

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation.

Refrain:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that Rock I'm clinging.
Since love is Lord of Heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?
(Refrain)

What though my joys and comforts die?
I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
(Refrain)

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
a fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am his!
How can I keep from singing?
(Refrain)

25 May 2009

348

348 was my Selective Service lottery number. It was pulled on December 1, 1969. Buttons were fashioned soon after and sold in shops in Greenwich Village; have something to proclaim, say it & wear it on a button, like a campaign button. I picked up a yellow one with black 348 Gil Sans numbers on it. I wore it on my calf length winter army-surplus brass buttoned wool coat. It felt authentic and it was warm.

I was immensely relieved and felt liberated by my lottery number. I knew it was highly unlikely I'd be called to serve. As a result I didn't have to really contemplate my brother's lead and proclamation some years earlier that, "I'll go to Canada." in protest and to avoid service. He got a college deferment. He was afraid too. I was proud and self centered. I was ignorant. I was inexperienced.
I'd been reared in a cultural and educational ghetto. My ghetto didn't include an active birth-family military tradition of service to a cause or belief greater than one's self. In my birth family my parent's couldn't successfully convey the notion there was a belief or ideal greater than one's self. As a result I didn't understand the personal sacrifice of body and soul in military service. I think that was true of many in my cultural ghetto.

I live in a different culture now. I'm woven into that culture and it into me. It's a culture in which a person's military service may be their only experience beyond their birth culture. It's a culture in which many people and families find honor and pride. It's a culture in which many people and families are permanently shaped. It's a culture that is different from my birth culture.

08 May 2009

Wealth





Print Ridder says,
"Never measure wealth by money."

Wealth is an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources.
Capital is an abundance of money. It is a resource.
Wealth is not money.
Stewardship is not money.
Stewardship is what we do with resources.

01 May 2009

Stewardship & Fresh

Stewardship is helping us see our abundance.
Stewardship is connecting us to what is authentic and healthful.
Stewardship is facilitating, creating, and therefore revealing authenticity in every person.
Stewardship is connecting us to our human nature.
Stewardship is connecting us in a faith community that we sense is helping us to see abundance.
Stewardship is connecting us to the I AM of the natural world.
Stewardship encourages us to spend time in natural world, in our human nature, and in our community of faith.