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Monday: One Thing

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  The sunrise was red and black and clear, but I was hesitant to go outside on 7H porch this morning because last evening Red Tide was evident in dead fish floating along the Bay edge, and also in the air and in my nose and throat. Red tide at higher concentration is toxic for humans, extremely offensive, causes stinging, choking breathing. Some years ago I officiated a wedding planned for the beach, at the Gulf shore, that had to be moved to an indoor chapel because red tide made the air impossible to breathe within about a quarter mile of the shoreline. Below (scroll down) is the latest FWC red tide report, which arrives frequently by email. The report is free by online subscription, and if I were planning a vacation trip to PCB I would want to keep up with whether red tide was going to be a problem - - for anyone, but potentially critically for anyone with respiratory issues. Other activities this morning, reading an article about the moon  (Genesis: the lesser light),  its origin a

Job discussion

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  Our topic this morning is the Bible story of Job. Let me start with an introduction and maybe sort of a proposition to set the stage for discussion. As a handout, class members present and online have this copy of about what I mean to ramble on about.  About the land of Uz and the story itself: consider that the story begins like you’re reading a bedtime story to your children, “Once upon a time, long ago in a faraway land, there was a righteous man whose name was Job”. The storyteller opens in a Time when one’s desirable place in life (immense wealth, large, happy, loving family, everyone in good health) were considered evidence of God’s favor. And in this story, it is not as if God loved and favored a scoundrel and a cheat like Jacob proved himself to be, the storyteller establishes that Job really is sinless and devoted to God. So we do not need to look, like Job’s friends did, for Job’s sins: the fact is set that Job is innocent, without sin, beyond reproach. And Job is much admi

for Sunday School class tomorrow, Oct 17

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  Good morning, friends and neighbors! There is no homework; membership and participation in our Sunday School class never requires advance preparation or any other sort of work. I will tell you what I have in mind for tomorrow, though, and if you would like to familiarize yourself with the material, it might enhance your enjoyment, participation, and benefit from our session tomorrow. Currently, our Sunday lectionary has us reading bits and snippets from Job as our Old Testament lesson. In my view, Job is the most powerfully challenging theology text in the Bible, Old Testament or New, as much so as Paul’s letter to the Romans. The fact with Job, though, is that it’s like the “case studies” that used to be given to students in Harvard Business School, that were copied and used in other business schools including my alma maters, the school of business at the University of Florida and the school of business at the University of Michigan: the case, which might be a paragraph or many page

Loss and Gain

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The Reverend John Claypool, late priest of the Episcopal Church and earlier in his life a Southern Baptist pastor, taught, among many other helpful and positive things, that "for every loss there is a gain". It was not Father John's idea, but was gifted to him by a clergy friend, a rabbi as I recall, after the loss of John's young daughter. At first, Fr John was deeply offended and resisted the suggestion; but needing something other than self-destruction to see himself through after such an unbearable loss, Fr John took it aboard, began taking notice of himself and his life, and found that it was true; and, beyond true for him, life saving. For every Loss, there is a Gain. That is not to say that the Gain will fill the void, or erase the grief, or in any way compensate for the Loss - - a notion that only the most pious naive would get, for example, out of the Job drama, which concludes rather simplistically with God giving Job better and more handsome sons and more b

SISTER

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  Time, reckoning with myself. Too many memories, and thoughts, contemplation and self-reflection are not always helpful, can be too much to take on, especially when you always thought you had plenty of time to do that and suddenly you don't. Maybe I was the last person to talk, have conversation of sorts, with Gina, in the Bay Med ER before they ran me out so they could prep her for the helicopter flight to Pensacola, sedated, then at the hospital put in a medically induced coma. But in the ER she was conscious and responsive, both with squeezing fingers and with complaining about pain, saying "it hurts to breathe", and she said "I'm so cold" and the nurse brought a blanket.  She was my sister for 83 years and counting, With DD, our aunt Mildred, our mother's sister, I knew Gina not at all best, but first and longer than anyone. Gina died today, and one of the strangest things I've ever faced is having to think, type, say, "Gina was ...".