Meet you at the Dung Gate (bring your own shovel)

tap-2978478_1920We have what’s called “Third Stage” water treatment in our small town. (I don’t know what stages one and two represent, and possibly would prefer not to.)  Suffice it to say that living next to the water treatment plant isn’t a choice area due to the sulfur-like fragrance that wafts in once in a while.  (Who likes eating their morning Wheaties when everything smells like rotten eggs?)

Evidently, the water was A LOT worse before we moved here, before the water treatment plant started doing its thing.  I’m sure the natives who remembered the old water were grateful.

I tend to shy away from nasty things, except that being a nurse has probably strengthened my olfactory resolve a bit.  Nevertheless, given a choice… Continue reading “Meet you at the Dung Gate (bring your own shovel)”


The Mighty Wonder Buck rides again! And again! And…

picmonkey dogThe Mighty Wonder Buck (A.K.A. The MWB, or Buckley) loves it when I have the car keys in my hand and head out the door; hopes springs eternal in that big black hairy chest of my dog-pound mutt.  A car ride could mean a number of things: to our small town community compost (with all kinds of smells to explore!), to the local farm and home store, or even splashing and swimming at the nearby lake (him, not me, but invariably yours truly gets wet.)

No matter what I’m doing, he’s just good company, and depending on the activity, sometimes he comes home exhausted but tongue-hanging-out-the-mouth happy.  If you’re a dog-lover like Bob and I both are, you know the look.


And you would also know that there is nothing unusual about talking to your canine buddy.  Even singing to him.  I mean, he doesn’t know or care if you can sing or not.  So when I came out of Walmart one day to pack my groceries into the car, there was the MWB, cute as ever with his big black head looking at me.

I had parked in isolation in the back lot with all the windows down so Buck had plenty of air and shade, which also meant the car was right up next to the outdoor garden center, enclosed only by a big fence. 

A fact which had slipped my mind.

And as I merrily talked and sang to my furry friend (an original composition, mind you, just for the dog,), I happened to turn and catch a glimpse of a man looking at me as he perused the various and sundry greenery. 

There are times it is unfortunate that so many people know me in this town…

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…”

Okay, I know that’s not the kind of “peculiar” God is talking about here.  Unfortunately, I have plenty of unholy peculiarities for Him to work on, (that have nothing to do with singing to my dog in public.)

I am convinced, however, that part of this “so great a salvation” that we are given is powerfully intended to make us nonetheless strange in the eyes of our contemporaries, for the very reason of getting their attention and putting that focus on God.  There are so many practical examples of this, in the way we interact, entertain, spend money and time, even (most of all)—how we think.

boneHere’s one bone to chew one:

WordPress has all these great tips and courses on improving your blog site and increasing your readership—that is terrific and and who doesn’t want to do that, right?! I know I do.  Logically, it makes sense that the more people read your stuff, the more people can be helped by what you write. 

But here’s the real meat.  As a Christian, my goal isn’t just to reach a whole bunch of people, but to reach the people God wants me to reach.  That doesn’t preclude my due diligence, but it also doesn’t mean I mark my success by my stats either.  (I mean, Hitler also reached lots of people, just sayin’.)

Which is a “peculiar” way to regard success in our culture, even in our church culture.  Big flashy sound stages with matching budgets; not that those are bad at all, but they aren’t the goal, nor are they a sign of success…at all.  In God’s culture, where the peculiar people “live and move and have their being”, success is measured by obedience, not outcomes.

gentleman-148407_1280And that will definitely turn heads, more than singing to your dog!

I Peter 2:9 King James Version (KJV)  Public Domain

Gettin’ a little crowded in there

babyrobins 4Don’t you think it’s about time for these guys to start finding their own food??  I don’t think mom and dad are going to be able to keep sustaining them (and themselves) much longer, and they’re outgrowing the nest by more than a bit.  Dependence is a comfortable thing, however, and self-sufficiency is hard work, and somewhat dangerous at times.  Just look at what happened to the Israelites during the prophet Samuel’s time—

Backstory: because of the enemy occupation, there were no blacksmiths allowed in Israel.  To sharpen anything, God’s (wayward) people had to go the non-Israelite smithies to simply file an axe or other daily implements.  (As if my kitchen knives weren’t dull enough…)  This was a really smart ploy of the enemy—they were basically in control of the weaponry, which decidedly put the people of Yahweh at an uncomfortable disadvantage.

“So on the day of the battle none of the people of Israel had a sword or spear, except for Saul and Jonathan.”

Unfortunately, our Enemy employs the same tactic today when I allow myself to become dependent on church leadership and the pastoral staff/worship team/Sunday school teachers for my personal spiritual sustenance and the responsibility I have for the effect of the Gospel in my family and community.

Okay, that was a run-on sentence, and back in high school my comp teacher, Mrs. Rose, used to give my red ink for that.  So I’ll break it down.

Point #1:  Any church philosophy that encourages the people to become solely dependent on the leadership team is from the enemy camp.

When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?  After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News.

Point #2: Church leadership is not to keep us in the nest, but to prepare us to fly on our own.  That doesn’t preclude church affiliation (mustn’t take the analogy too far) as it is obvious God expects us to keep up our teamwork and fellowship.  There is, however, a specific call for the church to BE the church, not merely GO to church.

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” 

Even “dumb animals” like robins know when it’s time to grow up and feed themselves.

Or maybe they’re not so dumb after all…?


Samuel 13:22; I Corinthians 3: 4,5; Ephesian 4:11,12  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.