Friday, December 19, 2008

Man sleeping on tracks hit, killed

The following brief online article caught my eye, and then my heart while I ate lunch. And so I wrote in response...

An unidentified man was struck and killed by a train about 6:30 Thursday night near South Washington Street, according to Kylie Strange, a Greenville County deputy coroner. Strange said the train engineer saw a man sleeping on the tracks and tried to stop. However, the train ran over the man, she said. Strange said there is no reason at this point to suspect foul play. An autopsy will be performed today, she said. By Nan Lundeen, Greenville News Staff Writer, 19 December 2008

Those Who Sleep on Tracks

Christmas will still be the same without you.
But that’s something you probably knew all along.
It didn’t really matter where you were,
Or if you were, for us to sing our Silent Night.

But someone will remember, the conductor perhaps:
A sleeping body, the sighting, and particularly the impotence,
To stop the rolling steel of heedless freight cars -
Much less the growing egomania of heedless hearts.

Oblivious to the warning of the train’s blasting horn,
We’ll stumble in a stupor along the tracks of ease
Celebrating the Christ-child’s coming as always we’ve done;
Never realizing he was lying there beside you, to keep you warm.


Aldersgate Ribbon Cutting

Been meaning to put this post up all week - but here it is finally. This past Monday was a milestone in the development of our ministry for adults with developmental disabilities. We formally received the home in Columbia from the Home Builder's Association of Greater Columbia. There was a nice ceremony with the Home Builder's Assoc President, the Mayor and about 150 guests. Five of the six young women who will be living in the home were able to be present, and they definitely were excited. For the "ribbon cutting" each of the residents were given a present and the ribbons on the presents were "cut." Inside each was a monogramed pillow.It was a nice celebration, but the work continues. We are launching this home in the worst of times with all the budget cuts in the state medicaid funding and the challenging economic conditions everyone is facing. But that's when we most often are able to see God at work - in the worse of times. This home exists today because of many instances of grace making a way where none seemed possible. Hopefully by the end of January all the regulations will have been fulfilled for licensing and the residents can move in.

If you want ot know more about Aldersgate Special Needs Minsitry, then visit the web page by clicking here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Family Heirloom

This past weekend we were delighted to have my parents and sister come to stay with us. During the visit Dad said he had brought a gift to me from my cousin David. I took it out of the box and it obviously was an old Bible (1892) with the binding a bit worn, but the interior in very good condition.
My grandfather, the Rev. O.E. Taylor, had given the Bible to David and David had decided to pass it along to me. Opening the Bible to the center I realized it was an heirloom Bible, with my grandparents certificate of marriage, along with other pages of family records.
Items like this are meaningful only if it's your family, but when it is a family heirloom, it is priceless. They connect us to our past, rooting us and reminding us of who we are. This was a wonderful surprise and I am grateful to my cousin for entrusting me with it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Living Christmas Story

Once again the Trinity congregation has come together to present the Living Christmas Story. It is truly amazing all the different areas that have to be prepared - sets, costumes, casting, animals, meals, traffic and city coordination, advertising, CD production, and who knows what else - and then it all seems to come together on the day the TLC begins.

It wasn't really cold last night until the wind got up, but if we have similar weather for the next couple of nights, that will be just fine. Last night I played Herod, one of the few speaking parts. The scene is the wise men coming before Herod asking where they will find the newborn king. Their backs are to the traffic, but Herod can see when there's a gap in the line. The last half hour of the second shift the traffic was light, so it was a great time to leave the script and stump the wise men by asking things like, "Did your star tell you that Herod is the only king in Judea, and all pretenders will be killed?" or "What gift is that you have brought to King Herod?" Yea, it may be juvenile, but at the end of a cold couple of hours, it was fun.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Misquoting Jesus

I’ve always heard that if you’re going to write, then you have to read. Reading, I guess keeps the mind engaged in story, ideas and communication. Maybe one reason I didn’t make a blog post in November was that I wasn’t reading (outside of sermon preparation).

Anyway, since Thanksgiving I’ve wedged in three books, a couple of “religious” books and a novel. And one of them I’d like to recommend, especially if you’re a Bible history nerd like me.

Bart Ehrman, in his 2005 book, Misquoting Jesus, does a scholarly, yet easily readable job, of explaining why it’s beyond our ability to determine what the “original text” actually said. He doesn’t do it to undermine the faith, but as part of a scholarly discipline to search for the truth, even if the truth is disconcerting. In the process he shows that faith is sustained not by a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, but by a relationship with the living Christ.

Ehrman grew up in Biblical literalism. A “born-again” convert of Campus Life Youth for Christ, he graduated from Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College –bastions of fundamentalism. His interest in textual criticism however took him to Princeton to study under one of the best in that area, Bruce Metzger. He understands both the desire for “the literal Word of God,” and the inconsistencies that show the Word is a human record of God’s revelations.

I especially liked the way he explains how the “written story” was passed along, first by untrained devoted followers making copies, and then by “professional” copiests. The number of textual variants resulting from unintentional, and intentional changes is overwhelming (estimated to be in the tens of thousands), but many of these are insignificant. Ehrman selects several major ones to cover in detail. It left me with a desire to know even more about the text, and a renewed appreciation of the work of the Spirit to make the text alive (inspired) in each generation.

Ehrman's book has been challenged by a host of conservative scholars who believe the Bible is the actual, literal Word of God. And I can see how his work can be used by those outside the faith to heap criticism on the Bible. But those of us who think of the Bible as a divinely inspired human record that contains or reveals the Word of God, his work helps us continue to search for the truth.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Playing with Your Food

Yesterday I was visiting a dear lady in the hospital. She’s been there awhile getting rehab after surgery, and told me she was feeling down. “I know God’s things for me to do,” she said, “I guess I’m just playing with my food and not eating.”

Leaving the hospital a friend called and said he hadn’t seen a blog post in awhile and was just checking in on me. I told him, “Just been busy. There have been a couple of things I’ve thought of writing. I guess I’m just playing with my food and not eating.”