Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Greetings, blog fans. We declared a bye week due to travel and illness amongst the team, and now we’re baaaaaack.

And the name of a David Bowie song has been thrown down as the theme of the week.

Changes. Turn and face the strange. Today in central Ohio we are experiencing all four seasons in one twenty-four hour period. An hour ago the sky was black, the trees were bending to the point I thought I’d have to have the chainsaw gang out again, and I expected to see the words “Surrender Dorothy” written in the sky.

A few minutes ago this was the view from village central.

Bonus points to anyone who can name those structures.

Right now I’m wearing flip flips, but tonight we’re expecting rain changing to snow. 

Yesterday’s adventures started with errand running, as at one point the snow prediction for this week was four to eight inches. Ugh. Gross. It’s lovely and beautiful, yes, unless you’re in a rental car instead of your usual SUV trying to get into the driveway and then back out after picking up your luggage for a road trip.

Get stuck, back up, move forward, get stuck, back up, move forward ... 

Winter wonderland.

I arrived home from yesterday’s errand running adventures at the same time as my local pyrotechnic expert. You recall the limbs and branches and brush still awaiting incineration? We’re getting near the end, but we’re not there yet. Multiple attempts were made, but much like the burning bush … there were some seriously awesome flames but the wood was not being consumed!

Burning bush. I AM, is that you?

Time to wait for further drying out of the wood. And no, the brush pile did not magically go up in flames in the middle of the night. It may have been discussed that that would be kind of cool. The limbs did not start speaking at any point either.

Changes. I’ve been through so many changes in the last few years my head ought to be spinning. Vocationally I’ve done engineering / project management … direct sales … promotion / booking / etc. (quite a bit of etc.) for a faith-based film production company. Often more than one of those at the same time. I’m easily bored. J

And those who know me personally are aware I usually have a pro bono or volunteer effort going at any given time. Sometimes church related, sometimes secular nonprofit. I do try to be careful not to take on too much. It can be a quick transition from bored to burned out. I heard a missionary say once, when speaking about Satan tempting Jesus after his forty days in the wilderness, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

I’ve said no to more things in life than I can count. But the things I’ve said yes to … many times the ones I contemplated the least before deciding … the ones that just seemed right … or seemed obviously something I should do … have often led to crazy life experiences I never would have imagined. Listen to that still, small voice sometime.

Changes. Turn and face the strange.

I started working on a meme today using this quote from Brennan Manning …

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

I’ll post it in the next day or so, but the “deny Him by their lifestyle” phrase struck me. In the last few years there has been this change in the environment, in the arena of public discourse. Fueled I think by the internet, social media in particular, and twenty-four hour news stations leaning toward both ends of the political spectrum.

What do you think of when you hear “deny Him by their lifestyle”? Holier-than-thou Pharisaical types might think sins of the flesh … the fleshy flesh sins … and drunkenness … and gluttony.  Others might think those who don’t care enough (in their opinion) for the poor or the mentally ill or the addicted are denying Him. What if you are voting for presidential candidate X? Does someone think you’re denying Him based on your politics? What if you favor the death penalty? What if you wanted to make it to church Sunday morning but you were up half the night with the baby and you just couldn’t get it together? Does someone think you’re just lazy about your church attendance?

What if you think something is a sin because that’s what the bible says, but your neighbor says we’ve misinterpreted the original Greek? Are you not loving enough? A shrieky conservative? Is your neighbor deliberately justifying their own (or someone else’s) sin? Believing what they want to believe? Happy to find an explanation that doesn’t force them to figure out how to tell someone they’re wrong while being loving at the same time? It’s not easy.

It’s a giant gray can of worms.

So many have turned into Judgy McJudgertons. Without stopping to show some grace and check themselves first. Without stopping to consider facts even. Everyone is so sure they’re right.

Seriously, as one legit trained in the ways of science and engineering, words cannot describe the volume of social media posts and articles I see on a regular basis that make claims based on evidence that just isn’t there. Did anyone ever take a class where they learned about scientific method? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller? You know, maybe in elementary or middle school?

I typically just scroll on by. Sometimes I hide and scroll. Sometimes I walk away from the interwebs for a bit.

I feel like love and grace is a better choice than engaging those not really interested in real versus junk science. Who glaze over when you start talking about things like math, statistics, control groups, clinical trials ...

These are strange times we live in. Everybody’s right. And everybody’s wrong.

I think I’ll just go read my bible and walk the primrose path for a while.

Primroses. On sale at the big bird this week.

For more on “Changes” from my writing partners, see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

(Turn and face the strange)
Don't want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the strange)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through

(Turn and face the strange)
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
(Turn and face the strange)
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I'm going through

(Turn and face the strange)
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
(Turn and face the strange)
Pretty soon now you're gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time

~ David Bowie’s “Changes”

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