So There

Last post for a while

This quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. US jurist (1841 – 1935) identifies the force behind tribal bigotry: We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.

All religions in history are of human origin. A leader organizes the Bible into defined doctrines (teachings) Roman Catholic fathers, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Arminius, Joseph Smith, John Wesley, etc. Then they gather a tribe (flock) loyal to tribal teaching. Bingo: a denomination.

Tribal members spend their lives fiercely defending what they have been taught. I recall from my youth a pamphlet called The Trail of Blood that proved beyond a doubt that Baptist teachings went straight back to Jesus. But Jesus came not to found a religion but a guide to everyday life, a life that fulfills Creator God’s purpose for the individual and humanity. Of that I am sure.

Aha! You’re sure: right and all others’ viewpoints are wrong! Well, I lean on Jesus’ claim: I am the way, the truth, and the life. And on the divine assertion: All authority has been granted unto me.

Sure I could be wrong; but we’ll see how it works out.

Old Grandpa Lloyd, long-time religious professional

Jesus First

Put God first! I hear that often. But how?  Religious exercises? They consume ten percent of our time, at best. Does nothing else count?

Bob Snyder offers insights in his July 11 Lessons Learned on the Journey. He discusses what Jesus says about multi-tasking—life’s ordinary essentials: A debate is in progress in academic circles about the dangers of multi-tasking—is it harmful to my well-being, to my productivity and to my tranquility? As an emergency physician, my ability to perform my duties required multi-tasking. However, there were times in the ER when focusing on just one task was crucial.

I do not think mono-tasking or multi-tasking can be looked at from the perspective of either/or. Although a great multi-tasker himself, Jesus knew that at times only one thing mattered. In Luke 10:42 (NLT) He said to Martha: “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken from her.” Dinner, hospitality, and hard work, of course, matter, but in that moment, time with Jesus mattered more.

Life is full of activities, pressures, and distractions. Yet, there are times when my focus should be on one thing only—Jesus. So we come full circle: Christian mystics great and small talk about focusing on God but never tell us how. Should I hide away, grunt, and repeat Jesus, Jesus, Jesus over and over? Maybe read the Bible. Devotional times are vital, but are they spiritual in contrast with action/duty times? I go with what works, now that I’m old and feedback comes from friends encountered over the years.

My play times touched more lives than pray times!  I don’t think one Woodland Garden resident sees me as a retired religious professional. I lead no Bible studies, hold no prayer meetings yet I often spend soul-searching moments with individuals in times of personal need. I conclude putting Jesus first has nothing to do with religion. Some of the meanest people I know sit in church every Sunday.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Anniversary Sunday

Today is anniversary Sunday. I began life at Woodland Garden on July 7, 2013. For the story, read Epilogue at www.lloydsstorytree.com.

I closed out year six by recruiting son-in-law Dale to drive Norma (girl from 313) to Port Wing, Wisconsin for her 60th high school anniversary celebration. Daughter Sally and I explored while Norma partied. It was a sweet/sad day. Sally slips slowly into dementia.

I love my life at Woodland Garden–and the girl from 313.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

 

Anniversary Sunday

Today is anniversary Sunday. I began life at Woodland Garden on July 7, 2013. For the story, read Epilogue at www.lloydsstorytree.com.

I closed out year six by recruiting son-in-law Dale to drive Norma (girl from 313) to Port Wing, Wisconsin for her 60th high school anniversary celebration. Daughter Sally and I explored while Norma partied. It was a sweet/sad day. Sally slips slowly into dementia.

I love my life at Woodland Garden–and the girl from 313.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

 

Neighboring: the Pure Gospel

For a long time I have yammered away on one theme–Christ following is not religion but living; serving folks around us. You don’t need a building or program to do that. Here’s a prime example:

From: Joel Mattson <joelmatt458@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 2, 2019 at 4:23 PM
Subject: Curse of neighboring
To: David Casson <david@northcreekpres.org>

Hi again. First, I volunteered to help Steve across the street load a sofa into a rental truck, and ended up emptying his house. Then yesterday, a neighbor lady failed to show up for pinochle. I usually would not have followed up, but because of your emphasis on neighboring, I phoned and got no answer. Uncharacteristically, I  went to her house and knocked on the door, only to hear a faint, desperate cry: help, help! All doors and windows were locked so I called 911. EMTs arrived, broke in, and found Val on the floor. She lives alone. It could have ended badly.

She’s elderly and not doing well, but at least she now has a chance. You do more good than you may know, Pastor.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Bigfoot Doesn’t Give a Hoot

 

About 85 years ago, I had a good notion to punch out my friend Bob. He said the Bible was a book of stories and myths. I knew the Bible was the word of God, verbally inspired and inerrant. How could Bob be so stupid?

Why was I so certain Bob was wrong? Wendell Holmes Jr., US jurist from 1841 to 1935, gives the answer: We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.

I repeat those words to myself often. I grew up in an old-fashioned Swedish Baptist church. Bob’s family was Christian Science.  We wore different tattoos.  I dare not attack the views of others. Truth needs no defense. I earnestly contend for my faith; should not others have the same privilege? What I—or they—think means nothing. If Bigfoot exists, he doesn’t give a hoot.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Fist-pounding Mad in 313

Just watched the news with the girl from 313 and I’m fury-filled, fist-pounding mad. They are babies! They didn’t choose to come. And we sleep them on cold concrete in filthy rags wracked by hunger. Make America great again? Let him lay aside his fun and games and hop aboard his blue-bellied airplane and fly to those pens of shame. Let him warm a child in his arms and cry.

Hey, you say, you’re really mad!  You damn right.  And if you’re not, shame on you.

Old Grumpy Lloyd

Book Feast

Two books lie on the table by my lounge chair. Son Joel sent the one with a fading jacket for Father’s Day. The other book is brand spanking new. It came from Uncle Amazon Prime

Joel’s gift is Alaska Sourdough by Richard Morenus. It’s the story of Slim Williams (copyright 1956). The Amazon book, The Tale Teller, is by Anne Hillerman, daughter of Tony Hillerman, who died a while back. Anne has picked up her father’ stories about Sergeant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police.

I’ll feast on these books awhile, along with Crazy White Man, also by Morenus. It is also set in the Arctic bush.  I read Crazy White Man when it came out it in the 50s.

I have been in love with books since grade three, when a circus elephant gave me glasses and I discovered Lester Park Public Library. I recall lying on the Davenport in our small Duluth home writing stories for boys in my head. During travelling years, I always carried an adventure novel to read at idle moments.

Expect to hear more about story books. Enough with theology and philosophy.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

 

 

Dear Dad

 

 

Last Tuesday, Norma and I rode STRIDE (Senior Transport) to St. Mary’s for my annual pacemaker check.   The middle-aged driver recognized my name and asked if I knew Officer Dave Mattson, longtime director of Duluth’s school-crossing guards, a post he held from 1935 to his retirement in 1960. I confessed he was my father. At age 12 I was among his first school cops, badge and all. Turned out, the driver had also been a crossing guard! Officer Mattson stories flowed, many about the lavish thank-you picnics Dad held for the kids at each school year’s close.

Another STIDE driver took us home in a small rig with one seat across the rear. We crowded in next to an oldish woman. Chitchat led to another blast from the past. The woman remembered my father from his school visits to give safety talks. Kids loved his stories and magic tricks–he could pluck a quarter from behind a kid’s ear. Furthermore, the woman grew up in Baptist churches and with people I knew well.

During my nightly awake time, I reflected on the heritage my policeman father left me and on adventures we shared. My memory treasury grew.

Dad was no Bible thumper; he was a Bible practicer. When it comes to spreading the gospel, one kind deed beats ten thousand thumps.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Lloyd and the Midnight Callers

They knocked on my door close to midnight. They wore dark suits and carried ominous-looking bags. But his was no holdup; it was a help-up. One sturdy gloved hand got me up off the couch where I had flopped when I fell.

I was watching the NBA playoff game, sitting on Old Red my walker, and the transition from sit to walk went badly. Fortunately, the couch was behind me. I sweat a half hour trying to find leverage to get up, but the sofa was too low. Blessedly, I was wearing my in-apartment fall call button. A lady in Cleveland inquired about my well-being. I told her I was just sitting around and couldn’t get up. She summoned the Fire Department. Flashing red lights at midnight stirs curiosity among the hoi polloi, so at mail time I had to confess my guilt.

The Good Book says pride goeth before destruction and a hasty spirit before a fall. I got hasty. That other good verse kicked in: in all things God is working good. The night’s adventure goes hand in hand with my recent decision to quit chasing every interest that comes down the pike, particularly in my reading. I have stashed philosophy, theology, and ancient history books my first love: poetry and a good story. If that troubles you young guys, remember this: I haven’t been young for quite a while. I am reading Mary Oliver’s Devotions—a big book—page by page—and friend Gary Magnuson’s poems, pungent and rich.

Should you come upon me drifting back to my old stodgy ways, please whack me upside the head.

Old Grandpa Lloyd