Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 1/31/13
“All you take with you is that which you’ve given away.”  (Inscription under Peter Bailey’s picture)  Peppermint Mary noticed these words while watching the classic film, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  Recently my daughters saw that movie and got to meet ZuZu afterward.  George Bailey must have taken after his father, because he was always trying to help people.  The world is a better place, because of people like George.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM TARMART REV:  Had the privilege of being a bearer of good tidings again this Christmas season...two separate sources contributed, one $650.00 and the other, $2000.00...unfortunately to some extend, because of the busyness of the church activities in the two weeks before Christmas, I didn't come across the $2000.00 Christmas card until Christmas Day when I finally took time to open our cards and reflect upon them...I had thought the gentleman in Minneapolis perhaps didn't send his card this year...I was looking for it, but had not seen it come through and surprisingly found he had doubled the amount this year...so--- started late, but half way through now distributing his gifts to surprised, but very appreciative folk this Christmas season...... . . here was the distribution for the $650.00.
Good afternoon to my special friends of the Barney Family . . . Please find below a report indicating the gifts of money distributed to some very surprised and grateful folk this Christmas season. Thank you once again for allowing me the privilege of being the bearer of good tidings to some less fortunate people and families this Christmas season. HPMc
$150 Single mother fighting eating disorder, in clinic and needing housing for a week...placed in motel for a week...(Sara)
$50 Mother/Daughter Christmas meal while visiting invalid father in Olivia Nursing Home (Denise)
$50 Recent needy widow...first Christmas without husband (Rita)
$50 Special needs' gentleman living in downtown (Frieda's Cafe)
$100 Single mother of two grade school girls...father not paying child support as he should (Armanda)
$50 Single mother walking through a broken relationship at Christmastime (Leah)
$50 Down and outer with gas money (Keith)
$50 Widow with two boys at home (Lucina)
$50 Homeless man sleeping in his car needing money to help pay for motel for a month. (Brian)
$50 Man walking the streets...gave him money for a Christmas meal. (Mike)
====JACK:  It's a wonderful life, isn't it, when you are able to give help to people in need?

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  This is so true. It seems that the seeds of righteousness bear fruits that return in multiples, and when given away, foster a fuller, richer inner vineyard. ...Just that much more to give away! So I suppose maybe you do take it with you!====JACK:  I've commented before about the saying  attached to my computer..."Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed."

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i feel a little bit wise and honored.  happy new year to you all! ====JACK:  It just proves that I read and appreciate your responses.  HNY backatcha.

 FROM MW IN ILLINOIS:  This is one of my favorite movies, always watch at least once during the
season.====JACK:  You're not the only one who likes it.  It's considered to be one the 100 best movies ever made.

 FROM RS IN TEXAS:  You are so right, Jack.  Being from Michigan you probably have seen this, but just in case............http://www.youtube.com/v/0Ejh_hb15Fc?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0...====JACK:  No, I had not see that TV clip, but I do know of Olivet, Michigan, and I was moved by the action of their football team...and the tear on the cheek of one of their players.

 FROM TRIHARDER:  "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Lennon/McCartney (from Abbey Road)

 FROM BM IN MICHIGAN:  Thanks for giving me something to think about almost every day.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Sadder than leaving it all are folks that allow their possessions to "own" them while they are here.  Happy New Year to all.  We are preparing for the best year ever, I hope I can live up to the opportunities in front of me.

 FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Just about my favorite movie - we usually watch it every year.


 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  "Life of the Beloved" by Henri Nouwen, page 124 "You and I would dance for joy were we to know truly that we, little people, are chosen, blessed, and broken to become the bread that will multiply itself in the giving. You and I would no longer fear death, but live toward it as the culmination of our desire to make all of ourselves a gift for others. The fact that we are so far from that state of mind and heart shows only that we are mere beginners in the spiritual life and have not yet fully claimed the full truth of our call. But let us be thankful for every little glimpse of the truth that we can recognize and trust that there is always more to see--always."

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Neither Gary or I have ever seen the movie but I hear it's good.  The inscription is wonderful though and we all know it's true.  Have a blessed New Year.  We are spending it with our little granddaughters and tomorrow will be another big family day!  That's the best way to start off the new year!  ====JACK: You've never seen that movie?  There's even an angel in it.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/30/13
“Something good eventually emerges from something bad.  As a consequence, weaknesses often become strengths.”  (Australian Wisdom)  At age 6, Pete Gray lost his arm in a accident.  Despite his adversity, and with determination, he became a major league baseball player.  In one of his letters, St. Paul wrote: “By the grace of God, when I am weak, then I am strong.”  Have you experienced good coming from bad?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Many, many times.====JACK:  Every athlete knows the truth of this quote..."You win some, you lose some.  But you live to fight another day."====GEORGE:  I'd also include small business owners, too.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  A farmer's perspective of manure brings to light its potential value: a useful metaphor for that which we non-farmers might first perceive as something "bad" and something to be avoided. After we get past the initial discomfort, we can often experience its value. Don't you think?  ====JACK:   What a great example!  "Milorganite" is the result of the City of Milwaukee turning a waste product into a money-maker.

 FROM TARMART REV:  When I experience "the bad" earlier on w/o much embarrassment and consequence . . . it becomes a "good thing" later when tempted to do it all over again . . . I just smile within and think to myself . . . "been there, done that and not falling again for it!!" I'm not going to tell you what they were, Jack . . . I'll keep you guessing!! ====JACK:  You prove the truth of the quote..."Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future."

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Worry is my something bad. I know Jesus says not to worry that God gives us everything we need and people constantly advise me not to worry and to have faith and that makes me worry about my worrying and lacking faith. The worry doesn't seem to become good but the fact that it drives me to seek God, over and over and over again, and low-and-behold God always seems to come-by-here and provide for me and others so actually experiencing that so consistently--what an awesome God we have!!!!!!!!even worry becomes more and more like a little puppy nipping at my heels. I keep getting stronger and stronger and I think actually being able to "reframe" difficulties so pretty much all the time the bad morphs into good seemingly inevitably--the arc bends towards justice in the world--God's Kingdom.====JACK:  Keep on paying attention to Jesus.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I believe my 2006 heart attack, or myocardial infarction if you prefer, set me on a path to eventually lose 60 pounds and seek healthy eating habits. Though I waited about five years to get serious about it.  The event caused a bit of hopelessness, apathy, procrastination, and then eventually the correct response.  I am as Winston Churchill once said of Americans, "After exhausting every other possibility, they eventually do the right thing."====JACK:  If some had said to you, "Do you want to have a heart attack?" you probably would have emphatically responded, "NO!"   Sometimes the good is wrapped up in the bad.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As John Steinbeck wrote,"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?"  The good is twice as appreciated after something bad has happened. I've read many, many stories which pointed out how something "bad" turned out to be a blessing, and have experienced this myself, as when I was "let go" from difficult middle school teaching position in a downsize, when I didn't yet have tenure, only to be hired to teach in a great school system, where I was much happier, and stayed over 20 years!  What seemed  a catastrophe, became a real blessing! And I met my BFF at that school..====JACK:  The movie, "It's A Wonderful Life," is another example..

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Most of my bads have been turned into blessings.  In fact, I can't really name one that hasn't.====JACK:  You and St. Paul seem to be in the same boat.

 FROM HS IN ILLINOIS:  Jack, on this subject, Romans 8:28 is a good word.====JACK::  Romans 8:28....'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him ."  Ahh, One of my favorites! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/27/13
“When there’s snow on the ground I like to pretend that I’m walking on clouds.”  (Ikkaku, Hosaka & Kawabata)  Pretending is lots of fun.  Sometimes it’s a child’s game.  At other times it can make the adult world tolerable.  One of the favorite Beatles’ songs is, “Imagine.”  What are some of your imaginations?  The Fiddler sang, “If I were a rich man…”  Pretend that you’d won the lottery.  How would that affect you?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  I did win the lottery, in 1966—I went to church and found Hannelore====JACK:  I agree!  What were the odds of finding someone like her?====HT:  one in several billion, providing only one can meet all of them====JACK:  Once you find the "pearl of great price," you stop digging.

 FROM  MICHIZONA RAY:  The good thing about having what one needs, is that one might take advantage of the opportunity to cease from seeking more. Once one has everything, (s)he has the opportunity to understand its vanity first-hand. If one already has one winter coat, would winning two more make that person any warmer? Those of us who have been blessed with much, can do much through that with which we have been blessed. We have already won the lottery of sorts, and now we get to share the blessings in a variety of ways! By the way, I don't look to our government for charity by legislation; nor for its involvement that corrupts what it touches. I think it better to "look to the hills" for the Spirit of Charity and the guidance of its fruitful direction. But, that's just my opinion. ====JACK:  When "common" charity does not reach the needy, the government (all of us) steps in to help...Social Security, Medicare, FEMA, food stamps, etc.  Most of us give to charity, but few give "until it hurts."  There was a Japanese Christian, Kagawa, who was known for never having a shirt on his back.  Whenever he was given a shirt for himself, he'd give it away to someone who was needier than he was.  Even if I won the lottery, I doubt that I would use it in the way that Kagawa would.====RAY:  As much as it was originally intended, the government is not "us" by any stretch of a wish that it were. If the government has to "step in" to provide what has not otherwise been provided, it is because of a lack of Charity; it is in no way an extension of it. It is by the cunning of deceit that the charitable people rely on the government for what has been conveyed to be charity. Just like the Pharisees, whose works were corrupted by their own spirit that served its own purpose, so does our government parallel the same. I suppose if I were to believe that Justice comes from the Law or the Courts, I might also believe that charity comes from the government. I don't think it is even close to being possible; but that's just my opinion.====JACK:  Like it, or not...perfect, or imperfect...the government is us.  That's what democracy is all about.  The Representatives are called representatives, because they represent us.  As an aside, do you think elected officials should vote "their knowledge of an issue," or should they vote according to the polling of their constituency?====RAY:  They haven't represented me for many years, I have written many times about how I preferred to be represented by them, and without exception, their responses have been with regard to what they think. I have clearly been in the minority. Nonetheless, I have never been able to understand how so many are so easily and repeatedly led astray by these who deceive for their election to office and for their sense of power.  We are a democratic republic, and as such, the imperfections of the system might be held at bay a little longer than a simple democracy. But in time, and without correction, the damage takes hold. I only wish my "representatives" did indeed represent me. They don't. Frankly, they cannot whilst they believe that God can be separated from them, us, and me.  To the issue of today's WW though: Charity is the work of the Church, by its members, who are members of the Body of Christ. We are His "representatives"; and to my mind, expecting "someone else" (like a government) to be and do charitable service is an abomination to what Charity truly is. Caesar confiscates the first fruits of our work through our taxed wages. Can you imagine if the religious organizations did the same with what is otherwise our tithe? Would either "contribution" be considered "free-will" offerings? I would say not. Charity cannot be forced upon us; nor can it be deferred to a government. I will not stand before God when He asks what I have done with my talents and claim governmental programs as my service. If so, I expect I will be cast away just like the servant who buried his talent in the same way. ====JACK:  The voters elect their representative.  That's how democracy works. Each representative has a designated constituency.  It is impossible to think that the one elected can vote, pleasing everyone who has voted...and not voted..


 FROM TARMART REV:  "I can only imagine!!"====JACK:  Do you mean that you've never bought a lottery ticket?====REV:  True story . . . Stopped for gas on a Sunday afternoon here in Willmar several years ago now . . . after I filled up, the cashier gave me a lottery ticket as they were giving one per fill-up or over so many gallons of gas . . . I asked him if he would explain how it works . . . he scratched it of for me and it said I got a free one . . . he thus gave me another, scratched it off again for me and behold I won $50.00 . . . I was so greedy I forgot to give him a tip . . . so officially I'm way ahead of the game . . . to the best of knowledge, I did buy one in West Bloomfield, thinking maybe God had given me the numbers in my sleep, finding out later it was the winning numbers from the time before. That's it. I heard a message on it one day explaining one could only win at the loss of countless others. I believe he called it coveting?!?! I'm now waiting for the next dream!!

 FROM TRIHARDER:  Actually, it was John Lennon without the Beatles.====JACK:  Picky, picky!  But, I guess that goes with being a lawyer.

 FROM PASTY PAT:  I'd have to be really careful to save a little for my travel fund because otherwise I'd give it all away.====JACK:  Would you splurge and travel first-class?

 FROM MOLINER JT:  Interesting thought. I don't believe anyone "knows" how they would be affected by a big winning. It wouldn't affect me at all, because I don't play any lotteries. However, it's fun to dream. ====JACK:  You never win, if you never play.  Of course, you never lose, either.  The odds of winning the recent mega-lottery were about 1 in 259 million.

 FROM CALUMET BOB:  Keweenaw County reports 141 inches have fallen thus far.  The clouds are thick up here.====JACK:  With that much snow, you're walking in the clouds.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Little children are so easily satisfied...the simplest sort of "let's pretend" becomes exciting for them.  They get a lot of enjoyment from being "frightened" when they know the so-called monster scaring them is granddad.  To comment on winning the lottery, that good luck becomes double jeopardy...after you have the money, to find a safe way to hold on to it, or if you're giving it away, to distribute it prudently to some really deserving recipients.  In my situation now I'm satisfied with the status quo.====JACK:  Before a building can be designed, it has to be imagined.  Even God has to be imagined.  Winning the lottery is wishful thinking.  Actually winning it can turn out to be a nightmare.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/26/13
“Peace is the first thing the angels sang.”  (John Keble)  What do you think the angels were singing about when they used the words, “Peace on earth, good will to all?”  What does peace mean to you?  No war?  No fighting?  Stillness?  Harmony?  Contentment?  Reconciliation?  Calm?  No arguing?  No bullying?  Or is it a peace that passes all understanding?  Think about that as you sing, “Hark! The herald angels…”     ;-)  Jack

 FROM TARMART REV:  "Peace" in the midst of war, fighting, stillness, harmony, contentment, reconciliation, calm, argument and bullying...a certain peace that passeth all understanding! Oh! to be gifted with a greater amount this coming year would be my New Year resolution.====JACK:  "Let there be be peace on earth, and let it begin with me," is a good resolution.

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  "wholeness"====JACK:  Would you explain what you mean by, wholeness?  My holiday brain is a bit slow today.====JOHN:  No longer half a person because of the alienation from God====JACK:  I like the song, "We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord"....which makes us whole.====JOHN:  The wholeness with God promotes whole ness with All.====JACK:  Does it help that I buy some groceries at Whole Foods occasionally?

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Knowing that I belong to God. I always did want to belong somewhere and have grown into understanding that I belong to God and He accepts me as I am.====JACK:  Everyone belongs to the Creator, but not everyone knows where they come from.  Peace can bring closure...Now, I know!  In Sunday School we used to sing a song that had this chorus..."Now I belong to Jesus,  Jesus belongs to me,  Not for the years of time alone,  But for eternity."

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  It seems to me that Jesus' commandment to love one another as we are loved by Him, sets a standard for what Love truly is - rather than what I might otherwise believe it to be. Within this state of love, which is by its nature absent a focus of oneself, a peace within (in an experiential way) accompanies the love that is provided for another. For when the concern for oneself becomes absent in the love for another, how could there be any experience of oneself? ====JACK:  So...if there's love for one another, there will peace?====RAY:  I think this would be so. For does it not also follow that where there is no Love, there can be also no Peace? And, further, the world knows of turmoil, anxieties, lust for power, the desirable avoidance of Freedom, the idolatry of things, etc., all of which bring an absence of Peace. This we, as mankind, can claim as something we have experienced first-hand. So, if we know the fruit of the aforementioned brings no peace, would it not then be a wiser venture to pursue peace through its polarity, Love? In the biblical sense, Jesus brings Light to the darkness, and the same Light dwells within those who believe in Him and who follow Him, which is the Light, the Way, and the Life. When the Light (Love) comes to the world otherwise blinded in darkness, the angels sing a song of Peace on earth.====JACK:  It's sorta like in The Blues Brothers movie, when Jake shouts, "YES! YES! JESUS... I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!"

 FROM MKH IN MICHIGAN:  True Peace...must mean all of those things... A peace that surpasses all understanding!====JACK:  True peace is like trying to explain true love.  Words don't do it justice.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/24/13
“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all year.”  (Charles Dickens)  What does it mean, to keep Christmas?  Dickens’, A Christmas Carol, seems to indicate that “Christmas” is having sympathy for the poor.  Early critics saw the story as an indictment of the rich taking advantage of the poor.  Perhaps the way to honor Christmas is by being an advocate for the poor.  Pope Francis appears to like the idea.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  For myself, Christmas is the Light that has been brought to the darkness. For me, the Light in this sense applies to all who are poor-in-spirit. Whether they are rich or poor in the world is a different matter -- a fruit of Grace not of spirit. For one can be poor in the world but not poor in one's spirit; just as one can be rich in the world and still poor-in-spirit (as we note in Scrooge). Scrooge's redemption was first in his spirit, the fruit of which brought generosity. We need to feed with food for the body and even more by the spirit....This is what the reminder of Christmas brings to the mind of my soul. ====JACK:  Thanks for the reminder that even the rich can be poor.  The word poverty has more than one application.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  The year-end holidays are always a time when charities inflict our mailbox with overload.  Some are genuinely hard-working organizations, with programs devoted to giving food and shelter to the poor, the down-and-out, the destitute, so I support several of them throughout the year.  The Christmas season seems to provide more exposure than usual to the plight of so many indigent people, and during the holidays when I'm sharing so much cheer, I'm unable to hold back giving more, hoping to lift the spirit of those in need, even a little bit.  There's an aphorism that comes to mind:  "There but for the grace of God go I."   A "hearty" Christmas to you Pastor Freed, and to all who share your WW.====JACK:  The mail requests to "help the needy" are many at this time of the year, but the plight of the poor continues throughout the year.

 FRO TARMART REV:  "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." . . . Always bringing out "the preacher" in me, Jack!====JACK:  You're the second one to remind me that there is a "poorness" beyond the economic kind.

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  I love A Christmas Carol.    My sister Jean read it ti me when I was a little boy.   Still watch it almost every year.    God bless us everyone.====JACK:  We can appreciate the fact that there were stories about Christmas before "Rudolph" and "The Grinch."

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  For me, more and more, Christmas is a time for empathy for everyone experiencing changes in their families. Talked to my mother-in-law yesterday in assisted living in another state and she seemed a bit down--other residents have their families right there and can go out somewhere. Talked to a friend here whose son divorced his wife this year and she was trying to arrange a happy Christmas celebration time together with the grandson. Guess these are the poor-in-spirit. My prayers are for those in our society who have never had money for Christmas as well as those who have had joy in Christmases past and now, due to job loss, etc. are also coping with a no-money Christmas but the wonderful thing, in spite of the problems, is that all of these people know deep down that Christmas is somehow a different kind of day, I believe that many of them know that Christmas holds our sorrow, as well as our joy, our sorrow that the world does not yet know Christmas and that we live in the midst of all that and can only turn to God who I think and believe is coming into each of our lives every day with some little miracle of His Love and Encouragement, some little Birth of New Faith in the Baby Jesus, that is my hope anyway.====JACK:  We sing in one of our carols..."The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee...."  That is THE hope!

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  I am asking Santa for a good economy & jobs galore for everyone..... ====JACK:  I think that Santa's in the toy business.  But, who knows?  Maybe he's branched out.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/23/13
“Another belief of mine is that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”
  (Margaret Atwood)  A young mom, who enjoys playing with her children, wrote, “I keep trying to fit in with the grown-up crowd.”  Do you fit in with the crowd that’s your age?  When I was younger and being silly, I was told, “Act your age!”  Is it silly to want to hop and skip and to stand in line to talk with Santa?”    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Be yourself.   Do, within reason, what you like.  Don't pretend you are young just to impress others.====JACK:  You were (are) a good children's story teller, because you know when and how to be a child.

 FROM TARMART REV:  I played Santa while there in West Bloomfield and working with Parks & Rec . . . Enjoyed bringing a smile to those elderly ladies' faces (they could no longer "hop and skip", but they were eager to sit on Santa's lap!!====JACK:  I wonder what would happen if you sat in your usual place at Target and Walmart wearing a Santa suit?

 ====REV:  I could most likely get away with, but if a former Lutheran pastor sat on my lap...we'd both make the front page of the paper.====JACK:  I'm staying in Michigan.

 FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i like to sit at the kids table.====JACK:  I do, too.  But, I've never thought to ask for their permission.  Or, can they see through my disguise and see me as one of them? ====MARY:  i don't ask permission either.  maybe they do know where we belong.  it's nice to think so!

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I suppose "acting" one's age is just an act anyway; so it seems best to be your "developed" age, or honest, or just as you are. If one "acts" like someone long enough, (s)he might start to believe (s)he is who (s)he pretends to be. What a tragedy! It seems that as we "act our age" we lose that something in ourselves that is willing to run through the sprinkler with or without clothes on. I think I like the "kids table" too. They are more likely to be honest and just themselves.====JACK:  I remember once when we were at a church member's house.  Our kids were playing with their kids.  Our son (about 10) took a bread stick pretzel and pretended that he was Groucho Marx.  The other father reprimanded him for playing with his food.  I thought that what David did was pretty funny.  We still laugh at the event of kids being kids.

 FROM WATERFORD JAN:  Sometimes it is amusing to see someone "act" like a kid to entertain others, or even make a serious point in a memorable way.  To watch an adult try to "be" younger than their age is sometimes uncomfortable.  I'm wonder if our Winning Words author is asking for our permission for him to "hop and skip and to stand in line to talk with Santa?"  I think that would be a charming sight to see! ====JACK:  One of my favorite comedians was Jonathan Winters.  He always seemed to have fun doing silly stuff.  BTW, have you ever seen the Monty Python skit about the Silly Walk?  It's on Youtube.

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  For me, today's WW tags into Eric Berne's theory that the facets of personalities are basically Parent, Adult, Child...PAC..and our responses to life's situations reflect one or the other or a combination of these facets. (An over-simplification, of course.) And..Yes! My "child" is reflected in "silly" situations or pranks or self-indulgence wistful memories....I think that it is good to allow my "child" to pop up every once in a while. It makes me smile at me.====JACK:  Winning Words allows me to reveal several facets...friend, pastor, philosopher and nostalgiaist.

  FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  "It takes a long time to grow young"  (Picasso) ====JACK:  Now...that one, I like.  Some of P's paintings seem almost child-like.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/20/13
“It’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going the wrong direction.”  (Diane Grant)  Raising a child is risky business.  So many “what if-s…”  Dr. Spock, well known for his advice to parents, said, “You know more than you think you do.”  Think back to when you were the age of your child.  You remember “the red flags.”  Among the reddest was hanging out with the wrong crowd.  Even as adults, choose friends wisely.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  i also like this one: stand for something or you will fall for anything.. ====JACK:  Some think that in the Lutheran liturgy people stand and sit and stand and sit in order to keep from falling asleep.====PH:  he reminds me of Gene Robinson in the Presbyterian (?) tradition.  by the way,  have you seen the video The Bible Tells Me So.  it is quite good.  i think  you can even view it online.  Daniel Karslake is the producer/director.  it won a bunch of awards when it first came out in 2007. its all about the gay/lesbian debate.====JACK:  The Church seems to be a debating society as each generation comes of age.  From the very beginning...life is a matter of choices, and those choices, so often, depend on how God's "Word" is interpreted in a changing society.====PH  you are so right.  look at the following issues over which the church ended up doing an about-face.  the Salem Witch trials, Spanish Inquisition, human slavery in the UK and the USA, segregation in the south, inter-racial marriage, women being ordained, divorced clergy serving again in the pulpit, Galileo and Copernicus, limbo, mandatory celibacy, purgatory, suicide, etc.  the church has often changed its mind radically over these and many other issues.

 FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH:  Hm... I like your point. Somehow I needed that :)====JACK:  "Birds of a feather flock together."  There are many saying like that.  Teaching children how to choose wisely is a very important responsibility.====LP  Actually needed reminding for myself. I keep trying to 'fit in' with the grown-up 'in' crowd and just don't. Maybe it's time to let that be OK.====JACK:  One of my favorite poems is by Douglas Malloch.  I especially like the last line.
 If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley--but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass--
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail--
Be the best of whatever you are!

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  A lot of people are choosing not to hang out with the ELCA right now.   Are we the "wrong crowd?"====JACK:  We are choosing every day.  That's why G-d created us to have free-will. ====JOHN:  Some of us consistently choose to avoid the issue.....I did ask a question.   Do you have a response?====JACK:  I happen to think that I'm going in the right direction with the right crowd.  As with all choices, I could be right and I could be wrong, but the choice is mine to make, and I've made it.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  this is so true. Among adults I know who have gotten into trouble and then gone to prison, it seems like the hardest thing for them to do is to learn not to go back to their habitual ways of making friends, i.e., stay away from the bars and so forth. I know Jesus always hung out in such places but we vulnerable people probably need most of all to hang out with people who go to church. Probably too simplistic, but I've known a few people who've gotten into trouble with the law and shed a few tears over it, worrying about how to be of help to them.====JACK:  One of my first Winning Words was this one.  "Virtue is learned at mother's knee.  Vice is learned at other joints."  That's simplistic, too, but the truth is that good and bad friends are everywhere.  Discernment is the key.

 FROM TARMART REV:  Interesting thought . . . fully agree . . . however, it was our Savior who felt it not necessary to remain equal with God, but gave up His privilege and came to earth to walk along side us who walking the wrong direction (Phil 2:5-7) . . . I'm sure you have joined Him and myself as well in walking along side some of these traveling the wrong direction during your lifetime, for a distance anyway? 0;-) ====JACK:  Life is such that we walk among all kinds of people.  I remember my children saying to me, when they were in high school..."We know who the druggies are."  Life is the choices we make.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I have been reading Habakkuk, and his reference to the twisted stick seems to apply here. A twisted stick can be twisted in many various directions; but a straight stick is straight in only one way. Just as today, there are many ways to be misled, and many who will mislead. I think it is Faith in its fullest sense to which Habakkuk refers. And, we can't be the "best" parents, we only need to be "good enough" parents. ====JACK:  I think that most of us are twisted sticks.  Eventually, by the grace of God, we can "straighten out."   BTW, that's a good Habakkuk reference.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  there is usually someone else to walk with you...====JACK:  I went back to examine the lyrics to "You'll never walk alone."  I thought to ask the question..."Who will you walk with?"

 FROM HR IN MICHIGAN:  It’s tough to walk alone. There needs to be a sense of real confidence in the direction to head for someone to not go with the crowd.  The level of self doubt is always amplified when you consider going it alone especially against conventional wisdom. Your thinking is considered suspect, your actions mocked or dismissed out of hand. Your called names or worse.  It ain’t easy, that’s why most people take the easy road.====JACK:  I think that Robert Frost understood that point when he wrote, "The Road Not Taken."
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,   
And sorry I could not travel both   
And be one traveler, long I stood   
And looked down one as far as I could   
To where it bent in the undergrowth;           
Then took the other, as just as fair,   
And having perhaps the better claim,   
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;   
Though as for that the passing there   
Had worn them really about the same,            
And both that morning equally lay   
In leaves no step had trodden black.   
Oh, I kept the first for another day!   
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,   
I doubted if I should ever come back.            
I shall be telling this with a sigh   
Somewhere ages and ages hence:   
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—   
I took the one less traveled by,   
And that has made all the difference.

 FROM HCC CHUCK:  AMEN to  that.  we inherited from Lois parents a stone carving (very heavy) carved by Lois's father's uncle who lived in the coal mining area of central Penna  on it is engraved  "WATCH YOUR FRIENDS"  I wish I knew the story behind the message.====JACK:  Some messages are left for us to interpret...just like with the Scriptures.  By responding to today's Winning Words you've given your own interpretation...and it seems to fit..

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/19/13
“To me, life is about helping people.”  (Ernie Banks)  Do you have an all-time baseball hero?  Mine is Mr. Sunshine, called that because of his upbeat disposition.  Today’s quote came as he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  At this time of the year much emphasis is placed on helping people.  For Ernie, it was a year-round passion.  The Bible says that the “needy” are always around us.  Look for opportunities to help.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  We share Ernie as our baseball hero.   I still have a plastic statue of him that I got at Wrigley as a kid.   Met Gene Baker at an EM ball game that he was scouting.====JACK:  Thinking back to the time when I was growing up with the Cubs....It didn't seem like there was so much emphasis on winning as there is today.  We still wanted our team to win, but the "intensity" seemed less.  I wonder if had something to do with the fact that players stayed with the club for longer periods of time (no free agency).  It was baseball, not money-ball.  "Our" generation can relate to the Field of Dreams.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Amen.====JACK:  Your Amen must relate to "helping the needy," since someone from Ohio might not be familiar with a Chicago Cubs' player.====JON:  You are correct.  I agree heartily with  Ernie's sentiment.====JACK::Some ballplayers are more than ballplayers.

 FROM TARMART REV:  Will do, Jack . . . maybe I can share a bag of popcorn with an unexpected recipient this afternoon . . . I'll tell them my friend, Jack, suggested I do so!!   I do have, as last year, $1000.00 donated by three of us to pass out to un-expecting folk to brighten their Christmas spirit. So far, we've blessed three or four single mothers with temporary housing, car repair and Christmas money to purchase gifts for them and their children.  Our church has a yearly anonymous donor (known only to the staff) who has given $10,000 the past several Christmases . . .the church matches that as well . . . and we choose deserving individuals and families to bless this Christmas season. It is very enjoyable to be part of such a giving church in this manner.====JACK:  From a bag of popcorn to $10,000...every little bit helps.  There is so much need.  Every little bit helps.  In Sunday School we used to sing:  "Jesus bids us shine with a clear pure light, like a little candle burning in the night.  In this world of darkness, we must shine.  You, in your small corner, and I in mine."  Your candle is shining at Target and Walmart.

 FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  I grew up with the Cubs of old! Earnie Banks, Glen Beckert, Don Kessinger and Ron Santo! Around the horn for the Cubs infield ! I am still a Cubby fan to this day! Thanks for the memory you gave me today of a simpler time and and a great message for every day! Enjoy Jack! ;-) ====JACK:  I've been a Tigers fan for longer than I was a Cubs fan, but you never seem to forget the team you cheered for when you were a kid.  I used to cut the pictures of the Cubs' players out of the newspaper and put them in a scrapbook.  Whatever happened to that scrapbook with pictures of Ernie and the rest?  We once stayed in a condo in Florida that belonged to Don Kessinger.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  If all mankind would commit to those simple WW we probably wouldn't have those "needy" people anymore.====jJACK  If!!!!!  I'm reminded of the Kipling poem, IF.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

 ====RI  Kipling's poem calls out so many of the hardships or injustices with which we are confronted in life.  It challenges the dignity that is often dormant within us.====JACK:  Kipling saw the "need" through his eyes.  You see it through yours, and I see it through mine.  The question is....What do we do about it?

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Enjoyed the WW and the poem IF. Our prayer group was praying up at the church on Wednesday morning and especially praying for the concerns of the people who use our food pantry. They write them on little pieces of paper. Was praying for each of them to receive blessings of health, peace and prosperity and it came to mind that, even though it seems daunting to believe that people at the margins financially can feel prosperous yet nevertheless being blessed by God is in the eyes of the beholder and praying for each person to have that window opened where a blessing is poured on them of some sort of wealth that is "exactly what they want and feel they need at THAT TIME" so that they can go on, like in the poem IF. I appreciate your blogging the poem. Thanks and God bless you.====JACK:  Sometimes, just mentioned the name of someone in need is enough of a prayer.  God knows and understands. ====SHARON:  I appreciated your comment to my comment. Sometimes, when I'm praying through the little pieces of paper, I get discouraged because they are all people who I never meet and actually relate conversationally with, but I still doggedly insist to myself that--even though there is only a little piece of paper between us--they must never remain anonymous people and have names--your comment was so comforting. At Emmanuel, we care in a personal way for the people who use our pantry. ====JACK:  The hymn, There's A Wideness in God's Mercy, has this verse...
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.

Sometimes we make our prayers more complex than they need to be.

 FROM TRIHARDER:  Never won a world series.  He might have been perceived to be a "much greater" player had he played on either coast and received the coverage of a Willie Mays. A shortstop with 500+ home runs!====JACK:  Maybe his greatest days were when he played for the Kansas City Monarchs. ====TH:  In terms of records, there should be two eras for baseball (and other sports, but particularly baseball because it is so record oriented).  To have excluded an entire class of people from a sport and to include records that were set without participation of those people is basically using records from an inferior league.====JACK:  During the "Before Jackie Robinson Era," I wonder which league was the "major" league?====TH:  Great question.  It's too bad that no real records were kept.  I do love the legends. Cool Papa Bell was so fast he once hit a line drive through the pitcher's legs and it hit him in the ass as he was sliding into second base.====Now, that's fast.  Satchel Paige, in the major leagues, was an anachronism.  His "prime" was before he sat in the bullpen in a rocking chair.====TH  I wanted to write a book about the Negro Leagues.  I started to do research. A very paltry library; very few references.====JACK:  Everybody knows of Jackie Robinson, but have you heard of Lou Carinio and Lon Cherban?

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  Met him with my son a year ago in a skybox; Ernie's still a gracious gentleman.  Thanks for sharing his quote.====JACK:  I've only had the chance to admire him from a far, not from a skybox  .

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  It's easy to find someone to help lately.====JACK:  It's surprising how, so many in need will help one another.  That's a major untold story.

 FROM SB IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you for helping people daily with your “Winning Words.”====JACK:  We each do our thing.  God has a way of making your thing and mine work out.

 FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  He is one of my favorites.    Good quote. Thanks.====JACK:  When he's introduced, the announcer will often say,  "Here he is, everybody's favorite, Mr. Cub."  He's truly someone who needs no more introduction than that====AW:  .Seems the coach came to Ron and Said...Pack up, we are going to play an exhibition game in Virgina.  Santo said: No Way. I don't have to go and I won't.
Coach  said ..yes you will. It is in your contract. Santo said, we shall see, and he refered to his attorney.   After a day, the Attourney called and said:  "Yes, Santo, there is a Virginia clause!".     (get the pun?)

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Thanks for the word today – I too always liked Ernie, and will attempt to heed your thoughts about looking for opportunities to help, not only in the approaching season of Christmas, but year around.====JACK:  Jesus, indeed, is new every day, so, in truth, every day is Christmas.

 FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  I agree.  He and Cal Ripken rank up there in my book.  I was at the game when Cal R broke Lou Gehrig's iron man record and later met him serendipitously in a hotel in Seattle where he was preparing to do a night ball game.  From my perspective, a very humble man, as, it appears is Ernie Banks.====JACK:  Sparky Anderson, when he was manger of the Detroit Tigers, used to attend a Catholic Church where the priest was a friend of mine.  He encouraged worshippers to let Sparky worship as an ordinary person.  He was truly a humble person and a regular church attender.

 FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  This is so absolutely perfect for today. Today, a group of colleagues and I gave wrapped gifts and gift cards to a family with five children. Husband lost his job; they are now paying insurance for family of seven, plus house payment, gas, etc… She called me in desperation two weeks ago. I did our usual checks and balances and then called her back to ask her to send us the kids’ “wish” lists. We got everything. She was completely overwhelmed. I had Christmas ahead of time today as the mother came to pick up gifts and hugged each of us.====JACK:  One of the Christmas carols goes...."Love came down at Christmas."  You and your friends made that song come true for a family.

 FROM ML IN MICHIGAN:  My husband said you probably know the Ernie banks famous quote, "Let's play two!"====JACK:  Anybody who knows Ernie knows that quote.  He loved baseball so much that he didn't mind playing doubleheaders.  When you love your work, it's not work.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Ah, memories! My mother's all time favorite player, and she was a die-hard Cub fan!  Christmas is certainly the time we help people. My Angel tree person was  a  3 yr. old. just delivered clothes and toys on her list today, including  "Princess Shoes"...:-) And our Neighborhood House, and the school across from  our church (a mitten, scarf and hat  tree in the Narthex) etcl. etc. Ernie is so right. "In the air  there's a feeling of Christmas"!====JACK:  Some people keep their good habits for a lifetime.  I wonder who it was that set the example for Ernie?

  FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Life IS about helping people! It requires taking care of yourself so that you can continue to be of help ....in many ways to others.  Baseball! My Dad and I used to go to "night" games at Browning Field...local teams. And we'd listen to the games on the radio....better than TV. Just a couple names come up at this point and I,m not certain...White Sox or Cubs....Gabby Hartnett, Bob Feller, Enos Slaughter???  I like "If"....hadn't thought about it for a long time. I'm wondering why I could find only one reference to Kipling,s "If" in Bartlett,s....and it was negative! ====JACK:  I posted "If" on the blog, so you don't have to rely on Bartlett for a judgment.  And, then...you have to know something about the context of the poem and why it was written.  Theb same goes for passages from the Bible.  BTW, "Gabby" was a nickname, because he talked so much.  Feller was called, Rapid Robert, because of his fastball.  Slaughter had the nickname of "Country" for a somewhat obvious reason.  Did you have a nickname?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/18/13
“You’ve got to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer.”  (Cornel West)  I don’t know about your house, but at ours the thermostat gets quite a workout…up and down. That gadget is used to make the house comfortable.  Cornel’s words say that we can be a kind of thermostat in the world around us, cooling down situations, or adding warmth when there’s a chilliness among people.  A smile and kind words might do it.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM MK IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you for touching my life every morning with your winning words. ====JACK:  Your response is a good day-starter.

 FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  Right on - I was just talking about this subject !  Sweet your quote was right on And I practice this ====JACK:  There's a button on the thermostat marked, HOLD.  Hold that smile and those kind words.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  At our house we are a thermocouple...two dissimilar components that are joined together for sensing heat between them.====JACK"  The first time I heard about a thermocouple was when our furnace had a problem.  The repairman explained it to me, and it made sense.  Some "explanations" could help with family problems, too.

 AFROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  a day in a life...====JACK:  A life is made up of single days.  It's usually the people who appear in those days that make them significant.

FROM TARMART REV:  You've got my vote and attention, Jack . . . ready for a lunch at Wal-Mart and popcorn later in the afternoon at Target thermosetting!====JACK:  Fresh popcorn is a great snack, but it's even better when shared with  someone else.

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  Love Dr. West.  Used to listen to him often on the Tavis Smiley show in the afternoon on the radio; now they’ve gone on television I think so I miss the provocative conversations. ====JACK:  Provocative conversation doesn't seem to sell products, so we're left with Honey Boo Boo.

 FROM INDY GENIE:  Wow...good one. (My home thermostat gets a work out too:)====JACK:  Before thermostats, my parents would say to me, "Go down and put some more coal in the furnace, it feels cold in here."

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As Geo. Sanders expressed at his Syracuse U. Commencement Address :"What I  regret most in my life are failures of kindness."  In a Spouse, Friend, profession associate, etc. kindness is such an asset!! Or as Bennet Cerf  once opined: "A pat on the back, though only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, is miles  ahead in its results". Enuff said! :-)====JACK:  A pat on the back side these days can sometimes get you into a lot of trouble.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We have to be like a Michigander...our weather flexs up and down...from warm to cold to cool to heat.  If we could adjust our weather would our thermostat be at 70, 80 perhaps 65?  A thermometer does come in handy for making sure our temperature doesn't get too high.====JACK:  Goldilocks had the right idea.  She found the porridge that was just right.

 FROM DMF IN MINNESOTA:  I like this one.====JACK:  Ahhhhh!  Just right!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/17/13
“Oh, that I had wings like a dove, for then I would fly away and be at rest.”  (Psalm 55:6)  The dove is one of 34 different birds mentioned in the Bible.  The Lord’s care for  creation is illustrated in the passage…”not even a sparrow falls to the ground, but that God is aware and cares.”  He’s aware of your situation, too, and cares.  110 years ago, today, Orville Wright emulated the birds by “flying” 120 feet for 12 seconds.   ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  We're going out to the Wright's shop on Friday evening...Greenfield Village Christmas Walk.====JACK:  The life of Henry Ford has received mixed reviews.  In that respect, he's like many of us.  One of the good things that Ford did was to make sure that some of important Americana was preserved at Greenfield Village.  Preserving the actual Wright Brother's bike shop is just one example.  Thanks Henry!

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Birds on the wing are such a spectacle.  This morning at the breakfast table, out the window we saw a flock of geese in V-formation heading south.  They were elegant and precisely spaced.  It must have been the sudden change to bitter weather here that nudged them to finally get moving southward.  The Wright brothers headed south too, determined to give themselves wings.  They put in all the work to make it into the air and stay there, while today we essentially take these huge airliners for granted.  Regarding that historic first flight in 1903, that was just 110 years ago today.====JACK:  I know why you boldly typed 110.  You wanted to correct my 113, without being too obvious..

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  I love birds... cockatiel is squawking at this very moment.====JACK;  Daughter Beth wants a Great Dane as her next pet...a difference between that and a cockatiel.====LIZ:  they are wonderful dogs! i especially like the harlequin.  we have a yellow lab, orange tabby, too. all are friends.====JACK:  So, if they can get along in the same house, why can't a variety of people get along in the same world?  A puzzle.

 FROM JAN IN CALIFORNIA:  I'm adding today's  "Jacks winning words"  to my " special treasures file".  It's a big heavy file now but there is always room for more.  Your  "words" really touch my heart, Jack. ====JACK:  Longfellow wrote:  "I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where..."  I feel something like that when I send out Winning Words each day.  Because of your response, I know where one of today's arrows landed.

 FROM TARMART REV:  More like a turkey with the distance in mind...but definitely the start of something to behold then on!====JACK:  I don't think turkeys are mentioned in the Bible, unless  it's Judas.

 FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Your message was especially meaningful today.  Tomorrow I am moving David to the Veterans Home.  I think it will be a good move.  At least it is my hope that it will be a good move.  But always the unknown is of concern.  Your message insprires hope and faith.  Thanks again. ====JACK:  Each step that you have taken has been taken with "care."  It'll work out, because God knows and cares about you and David.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know, He cares for me!"  I had an experience Sunday morning that I termed "divine intervention, or a quiet miracle" ...I  turned a corner on our Lake road, and smashed into a snowdrift right in the middle of my lane! (our roads were snowy, blowy and icy, but the highways had been cleared....). I was stuck solid, a half mile from home in dress clothes and shoes, and no car or truck in sight.  I needed to make coffee, and juice for our social hour, get to 8:15 Bell choir rehearsal, as we played the prelude, and to choir, as we performed our cantata during the service! Not to mention teach adult S.S. class....I tried rocking the car back and forth for 15 minutes, and gained maybe 6 inches. What I needed for the the car to slide SIDEWAYS  off of the drift on my lane, and into the opposite lane which was snow packed, but looked "doable". NO luck. Finally I turned off the ignition and just prayed, telling my Heavenly father that I needed to get to church RIGHT NOW, and I needed His help, as I was unable to move, Please move my car!  I turned the ignition back on, put it in low gear, and gunned it, and the car slowly moved SIDEWAYS (!) over into the passable lane. HOW, I'll never know, except that His eye IS on me (us)!!  I had quite a story to tell when I walked into church!  And  it all got done, even tho I was a half hour later  than I planned to be!====JACK:  If I had been in your situation and had gotten free as you did, I would have sung loudly as I drove off...."I sing because I'm happy.  I sing because I'm free...."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/16/13
“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”  (A.A. Milne)  I cleaned my messy desk yesterday and found some ideas for making Christmas happy and holy.  One was to keep a candle on the table and light it before dinner and spend a moment thinking about “the reason for the season.”  I also found a spike, saved from the track when the railroad ran though our town.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  My Dad's Feed Store was right next to the RR tracks.   He had a side track that left RR cars with stuff in them.    I loved it out there.   Used to walk along the tracks and find Stuff.".   Built some neat things out of that stuff.====JACK:  Kids that I know don't play around railroad tracks anymore.  I used to walk to work with a friend, and we'd use the RR tracks as a short cut.  We'd see who could walk the furthest on the rails without falling off.  BTW, he went on to become a noted economics professor at Michigan State Univ.

 FROM TARMART REV:  I remember now, that you have mentioned cleaning out your desk . . . Some years ago I did that to a large drawer in my church office, and discovered a large bundle of mail I was to go through and had forgotten that I placed there after retuning from a vacation . . . a few overdue bills were awaiting my attention . . . 0;-/====JACK:  Don't you just hate it when you have to pay a late fee for an overdue bill?  Which reminds me that there's a bill in the "pile" for $1.88.  The postage and a late fee would be more than the bill.

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I found some writing I had begun years ago, related to my current interests.  Maybe I'll dig a little deeper today. I like to think I am actually not messy; but just a temporarily overwhelmed neat and orderly person. The truth is, I have been temporarily overwhelmed for about 30 years.====JACK:  Sheryl Crow has a song for you..."God Bless This Mess."

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Every so often there's an item in the newspaper or TV programming under the title, "Where are they now?"  That can include stuff we save.  Your mention of the railroad spike you saved reminded me that I once had a railroad spike as a keepsake too.  I found it while walking the tracks not far from home, and I thought such an odd-size "nail" was unusual enough to save.  Now that you brought up your find, I'm thinking about mine, and wondering "where is it now?"  Having brought it up, I don't know what it has to do with today's WW, so I think I'll switch to some ideas for making Christmas happy and holy. ====JACK:  You and your wife probably have a spike similar to mine. Mel and Barb Rycus gave a plated and etched spike, recovered from the West Bloomfield railroad right-of-way, as a "Thank You" to all who worked on the ARTRAIN project in 1976.

FROM TRIHARDER:  or, buy that third pair of olive pants.====JACK:  Counsellor....I'm having trouble following your line of thought.====TH:  Disorganization (messiness) sometimes causes me to buy something more than once.====JACK:  so, you've done that, too?====TH:  Funny if you did it on purpose. Add "Ironic" if you didn't -- You sent me the message x 2.  ====JACK:  Ironic!  I liked reading O. Henry stories. ====TH:  There are a couple that stand out in my mind:  Ransom of Red Chief, and another from which I learned the word "surreptitious" about a man who was "surreptitiously listening to the conversation of two others on a bus -- the conversation between the two was about someone who got away with a serious crime -- but, NO! at the last minute, there was a reversal, as the two men got off the bus and continued their conversation outside of the hearing of the transfixed listener.  I don't remember the name.====JACK:  One that is popular at this time of the year is The Gift of the Magi.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  That sounds like a mini version of an advent wreath.  You have kept things for a long time.  The garage is my challenge for messiness.====JACK:  No wreath this year, but we do have an Advent calendar.  Long ago, the church gave out dime folders, and members were encouraged to put a dime into a slot for each day of Advent and turn them in on Christmas Eve.  Yes, the garage is another messy project for most people.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Oh, boy,do I hear you on this!  In getting out extra bedding in my lower level closet at Thanksgiving, I discovered a box of  Christmas vests and sweaters that I couldn't find last year, and KNEW they were  SOMEWHERE!! Any drawer, closet, or even my car trunk, not to mention garage shelves, I'm sure would  offer up countless "treasures", if given a thorough clean-up!  Maybe in 2014...! Hmmmm!====JACK:  Now, there's an idea for a New Year's resolution.

 FROM BM IN MICHIGAN:  Margie would hope that this a good reason for my messy desk at home. ====JACK:  Don't you encourage clients to be organized, so that when they come to you, all of the receipts and other data are neatly in order?

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Every once in awhile I will decide to clean out a drawer.  The house is always squeaky clean (except when the grandkids are here) but the drawers?  I am sure bad about the drawers.  I would like to think the kitchen drawers were messy because there are too many "needed utensils".  However, we all know we have those utensils we never use but don't get rid of.  The bedroom drawers are the same way....well, not all of them but in my night stand I have some sorting to do. ====JACK:  Since you're an expert on privies....Did any of them have drawers or shelves?  How about kerosene heaters?  I know that they had basements.====JUDY:  Some of the Alaskan privies have shelves, lights, heater and even bear bars....that is bars to bar the bear from entering.  I am on different medicine now and I can use my fingers and hands again!  I have read the emails but have been unable to "type" back to anyone.  It's nice to be able to be in touch again!

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Neat idea for the candle, but what about the spike – maybe you could stick it in a drawer and get it out for Holy Week!====JACK:  You don't come across people named, Spike, anymore.  The only one I remember is Spike Jones.

 FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH:  > keep a candle on the table and light it before dinner and spend a moment thinking about “the reason for the season.”  nice idea. :)  also nice to see the positive side of my 'lack of order'... I'm hoping to spend some of my break time to make some 'discoveries.' Ha!====JACK:  Don't be surprised if you find something during your search.  God has a way of playing "games" sometimes. ====LP:  My daughter is Hoping to find my old Girl Scout vest :)

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  I like finding money in my coat pockets from the previous season , or finding money in the washing machine...money laundering!====JACK:  Now, that's funny....and clever, too.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Two of the trunks that my Swedish grandparents brought to this country in the early 1800's are still in one of my rooms here. One of my daughters went through one of them the other day and found many treasures including a manger scene that I had bought for my parents when I was in the fifth grade.  It is still in great shape.  She took it home with her.   I remember buying it at Woolworths in Moline with my money from The Daily Blah which was about the news of our neighborhood and which I delivered at the end of the week. Mother had kept copies of the handwritten newspaper, too.  By the way, are you going to have lute fisk and potato sausage Christmas Eve?====JACK:  My mother threw my stuff out.  But that was after she had warned me, "If you don't clean up your mess, I'm ditching it."  Woolworths in Moline...I remember it so well.  No lute fisk for me, but I'd like to have some potatis korv.

 FROM CP IN WISCONSIN:  I like your idea of lighting a candle to think about "the reasons for the season".====JACK:  I like the candle idea, too, but unless you find a candle, put it on the table and light it, it's just an idea.  An idea is only good when it's put to use.

 FROM BC IN MICHIGAN:  I like this one!====JACK:  I think that almost everyone has a messy place somewhere...which means that almost everyone has undiscovered treasures.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/13/13
“I am not a person who gives up.”  (Jen Arnold)  I wonder if Jen saw yesterday’s quote by Camus, or Ecclesiastes 3.  Dr Jen is one of the stars of “The Little Couple” who just received a cancer diagnosis.  This comes at a difficult time, since she and her husband have just adopted a 2nd child.  Jen’s attitude can help any of us when life “happens” unexpectedly.  “I won’t give up!”  When winter happens, I remember summer.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  Me too!====JACK:  It's always happened for me....that summer follows winter, in more ways than one.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i admire that lady so much... sad for her & her family...   :(====JACK:  She will approach the situation, first from a physician's point of view, but, ultimately, she's just like you and me.  She will face the situation, personally.  I have the feeling that she's going to do well.

FROM  CWR IN MICHIGAN:  Giving up is not an option. Having survived quintuple By-pass Heart surgery, a cancerous Kidney removed and an "undefined" lump in the other one and a Stroke...I can neither complain nor surrender. Neither a "Hayride" nor bellyaching is my lot.....but a beer now and then helps. ====JACK:  It sounds as though you could give the doctor (Jen's a doctor) some advice.  It might work for her as it has worked for you.

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I was just reading today about  this Jen Arnold; apparently her daughter from China has had quite a rough adjustment to their family, as she had never seen "little people" in her orphanage (or wherever she was) even tho she herself had dwarfism, and she was afraid of these small people and cried continually. (Until a "big" person picked her up, or took her!)  And Jen felt lousy on top of it!  Their little boy Will  immediately bonded with them, when they got him, so this has been a challenge. She will give it everything she's got, !and we all hope she can live to raise her children.  Drs. day a positive attitude is a great healing help!  I think it also helps to keep you healthy!====JACK:  Everyone's life is a reality show.  It's just that only a few of them are put on TV.  Most of us would just as soon keep our ups and downs a private matter.  Of course your car problem on the bridge would entertained a lot of folks.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/12/13
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”  (Albert Camus)  Camus must have loved reading from Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season, to live and to die, etc.”  In his writings he links the absurd…winter and summer.  Life is like that, isn’t it?  We take the good and the bad, knowing the certainty of change!  Don’t give up.  It’s going to get better.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  I like the Winter...need, however, only three months of it...then ready for a change.====JACK:  Too much of one thing can be tooooo much, except for the grace of God.

 FROM TARMART REV:  "Baby! It's gold outside here in Minnesota!" . . . but finally we are getting above zero degrees into the teens . . . not giving up, Jack- "But, Baby! It's gold outside!"====JACK:  You know the old saying....Cold hands, warm heart.  It got down to 8 degrees in WB last night.  That's cold! ====REV:  This past week we have been experiencing wind-chills of 20-30 degrees below zero...a heavy coat, hat, gloves and earmuffs were the order of the day.====JACK:  You're in trouble when you look out and see people wearing earmuffs while you're preaching.

 FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  The new phrase about life that I've adopted, "If your life is not horrific, then it's TERRIFIC!"====JACK:  Could you be more specific?====IKE:  If I could I'd be fantastic!

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  That's an eloquent quote from Camus, reminding us hope and faith remain within us.  It's like the ashes in a fireplace that appear dead, but within a spark glows that can ignite new fire.  When hardship hits hard, we have reason to struggle on.====JACK:  That reminds me of a quote that I've heard older men say..."Just because there's snow on the roof doesn't mean that there's no fire in the furnace."  I wonder if Camus had gray hair when he wrote those words?====RI:  It's unlikely that Camus had gray hair at that writing.  As you may know, Camus died in an auto crash at the age of 46.====JACK:  Thanks for the clarification.  Now, I recall that he dies at a relatively young age.

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  One of my favorite quotes and I didn’t know it was Camus!  He is one of my son's favorite authors.  Thanks for your thoughts.====JACK:  I'm impressed that a teenager would know about Camus.

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Seasonal changes what makes it interesting. How dull without it. Yer right. Hang in there!====JACK:  I'm looking forward to Feb 2nd.  For me, Groundhog Day is a sign that spring is just around the corner.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I know a delightful woman here who was a part of the French Resistence and after the war would sit with Camus and Sartre talking about their (the French) part in the whole mess that was that war. They would discuss things while drinking coffee at some cafe. I wish I could have been there to hear it...she had such nice things to say about Camus. Maybe this is where the existentialists are so often confused with having such despair and negativity. Quite to the contrary, as we read in Camus' quote...it's truly an honest perspective of both sides of the coin...something like your intention for making the comfortable uncomfortably and the uncomfortable bringing comfort. ====JACK:  I can't recall that I ever eavesdropped on some important people talking.  But, I have been part of some interesting conversations.  Does that count?

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Jack, we have had enough winter this year to take care of all of the first three months of 2014 . . . from your choice today you must be having a tough winter too!====JACK:  I wear my shoe-spikes when I walk down the driveway to get the mail.  No slip-sliding for me during this winter weather

 FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  I do hope so------it can be quite difficult at times to see the light at the end of the tunnel!====JACK:  In the movie, The Blues Brothers, I like the scene where John Belushi dances and yells, "I've seen the light."  I guess that was a different kind of light.

 FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  Jack wasn't it the Byrds that said in the sixties a time to laugh a time to cry turn turn turn - to everything there is a season!! So true I find! Maybe they were readers of the bible as we'll! Be good!====JACK:  You're right.  It was the Byrds, and it's one of my favorite songs.  Can you sing it?
To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!
 ====CK:  We'll done Jack! That song sure says a lot and offers a lot to think about! I know you get that! ====JACK:  I appreciate the abilities of song writers (and hymn writers) who are able to tell a story and set it to music.I think of Stephen Sondheim's, "Send in the Clowns."  I remember the first time I heard it.  Our church organist was playing it as a prelude.  I asked him, "What was that song you were playing as I walked up to the altar?"  I laughed when he told me.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  LAL====JACK:  I think that means, Like A Lot.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/11/13
“Just move your house!”  (Arnold Lobel)  Mary, who has a pre-school, introduced me recently to the childrens book, “Ming Lo Moves the Mountain.”  I checked it out on the net.  If you haven’t read it, the gist of the story is this.  If you’re facing a mountain in this life that can’t be moved, then look for another way to get rid of the problem.  Through the years people have given me personal examples.  I’m ready to hear some more.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  so glad to have introduced you to ming lo and co.  when we read the book at school, we mimic the closing of eyes and walking backwards.  it's quite a sight to see!====JACK:  Adults trying to do that might lose their balance and create for themselves a bigger mountain.

 FROM TARMART REV:  "The Little Red Train Engine"?!  "I think I can...I think I can...I think I can..." ====JACK:  Not only "I think," but "I know I can."  And he did!

 FROM MY LAWYER:  When mountains can't be moved through a reasonable and respectful process, there's always the judicial system in the United States.  Only here can the 'little guy', or David, slay Goliath and be treated on an equal footing in a Court of Law.  Due process of law and Equal Protection under the law are the hallmarks of our system of justice.  Thank God (and the Constitution) for our system of justice. ====JACK:  There may be a mountain of evidence, but with the right attorney, that mountain can become an ant hill.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, the mountain in this life has often been the church. I've found that whenever I'm confused about what's going on in my own particular congregation, somehow (and I believe this is God's doing) other people come along outside and, both help me to be patient and wait further on God and many times validate my own hunch/instinct/guidance from the Holy Spirit that my own thinking isn't exactly that far off the wall and I'm not all wrong about things or something. Actually, Martin Luther is a good example to me of a Christian who had to do that too as he looked outside the church for support and nurturing for theological wrestling he was doing too. I identify myself as Lutheran and in the Church and now not willing to give up on my local lutheran church when we disagree with positions/stands on various things. It's a much better place to be in than 20 something years ago when I was busy church shopping.  That's the personal example that has always been closest to my heart.====JACK:  Jesus said, " If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Be moved from this place to that; and it will be moved; and nothing will be impossible to you."  Can that be possible?  "All things are possible to the one who believes."

 FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  If you can't move it! Walk around! Too simple?====JACK:  Many tough problems have relatively simple solutions, if you give them some thought.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/10/13
“I’m sad that it’s uncool or offensive to talk about environmental or human rights issues.”  (Grimes)  Did you know that Grimes is Clair Bucher, a Canadian musician?  Did you know that 20 years ago the U.N. established Dec 10 as Human Rights Day, to encourage nations to improve living conditions for all people?  Be uncool and Google: Human Rights Day.  See what’s being done and how you might give support.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM DR J IN OHIO:  I think the world is changing and it is getting much COOLER to care about the rights of others ;-)====JACK:  The deniers are running out of excuses, and their numbers are increasingly smaller.

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I googled. This is sort of uncool in certain groups of people but I regularly contribute to and am a member of the ACLU which is an organization that, in my opinion, works to give people human rights.  Thanks for calling this special day to our attention.====JACK:  As is the case with many issues, we tend to be more comfortable with "preaching to the choir."  I'm happy for the diversity that is happening in our congregations.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  There is so much about the environment and human rights reported in the media these days, I had no perception that it's offensive or uncool to talk about it.  There are plenty of times when people say things about others, or do things to the environment that are offensive, and those are moments when we should speak out against such behavior.====JACK:  Yes, there seems to be more in the media on the subject of the environment and human rights, but it's like people listening to preaching in the church.  Do they "buy into" what's being said?

 FROM TRIHARDER:  Gee, we must be very uncool.  Very uncool.====JACK:  From what I see on your Facebook page, you're not shy about expressing your views on social issues.  Cool!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/9/13
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”  (Carl Sagan)  I read this week that commercial space flight is expected to begin in a year.  Eventually a trip from LA to London will take an hour.  Robotic surgery will be commonplace.  Stem cell use will help cure incurable diseases.  Amazon will use drones to deliver orders to your door. “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”  What incredible thing would you like to see?   ;-)  Jack

 FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Do we have to see drones delivering amazon.com orders to our door? That's a bit too much for me.====JACK:  People used to think that it was "too much"  when those noisy Model Ts would frighten the horses.  But, you're right, a sky filled with drones would not be a beautiful sight, like birds on the wing.

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  Peace,  Justice,  and Charity.====JACK:  Incredible, but not impossible.  As I heard Isaiah's prophecy yesterday in church..."In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all."

 FROM TARMART REV:  " . . .a "kinder, gentler nation."  -George H. W. Bush====JACK:  It's too bad that "We ain't seen it yet!"  That doesn't that it's not a good idea.====REV:  “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” -- The best is yet to come!!====JACK:  As they say in Willmar, "Ya betcha!"

 FROM YOOPER BOB:  I’d like to see   “Peace on Earth.”   That would truly be the incredible! ====JACK:   One of my favorite Christmas songs is, "I Heard the Bells," written during the Civil War by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
 I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

 FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Best Winning Word this week. ...Love it....====JACK:  Sagan was a great teacher of science who looked "positively" at the future.  People loved it when he translated science into everyday language.  Pastors ought to be able to do that with theology, too.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  This world has become a Pandora's Box, and the rapid progression of "incredible" things coming forth every day, deemed to be improving our lives, will eventually drive us to despair.  Like the builders of the Tower of Babel, men believe they are creating heaven on earth, but it may turn out to be hell.====JACK:  That's one way of looking at it, but I think that Sagan was more optimistic than that.  However, I see that you did quality your answer with a "may."  That's always good to do.
====RI:  My negativity is due to my belief that most of what is sought in science and industry these days is an effort by someone to make more money, rather than being beneficial to the common good.  A lot of that generation of money ends up being detrimental to an enlightened society.====JACK:  I wonder if Edison, Bell and Ford has profits in mind while they were inventing?  I'd like to think that George Washington Carver did not.====RI:  Your point is well taken, but they were of a different era, and their ideas became the means to create more job opportunities.  The inventors of television and computers probably didn't have profits in mind either, but the people who "hijacked" those media did recognize the "cuh-ching, cuh-ching" potential and have delivered so much mediocrity that deserves to be stifled, along with the explosion of commercials that smother the media.  I know there will always be those who say, "All you have to do is hit the off switch!" however, Sagan's "something incredible" I want to see is the public rising up and shouting "I'm mad as hell and not going to take that anymore."====JACK:  Ooooh!  You're mad (at something).

 FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  WISDOM! or how we  could all live together in peace..====JACK:  I like the song where there's a line..."Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

 FROM WATERFORD JAN:  I look eagerly to the future for inventions that improve the health of humanity and the environment.  Regarding some predicted inventions--"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."  Right now there are errors being made with robotic-type surgery procedures that a skillful human surgeon could avoid.  Air traffic could become a nightmare with delivery drones when there are air traffic near-misses and even collisions happening now.  "Think it through before you do!"====JACK  Yes, the "what if-s" tend to discourage, but, to me, the major decision is an ethical one...If you can , should you?  The what-if-s tend to be worked out in time.

 FROM HCC CHUCK:  People of the world living in peace,  children playing with lions and snakes,  God's creations living in a loving relationship..I say Amen to that.====JACK:  ...and, then, there is that "peace" that passes understanding...peace, perfect peace.  God's peace is beyond what we can image.  I long for that kind of peace.

  FROM RS IN TEXAS:    All those accomplishments and yet man still hasn't figured out how to live with his bother without war and hate.  My wish - world peace and an end to hunger in the world.====JACK:   As long as we are who we are, imperfect individuals, peace will have to remain a goal.  My next door neighbor and I are at peace with each other.  I guess that's where it begins.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The most incredible thing for me would be to see peace in the world.  I am enjoying the texting and pictures of my grandchildren snowboarding in Fort Worth and of the Confirmation in Ashburn, VA. What an amazing world in which we live.====JACK:  The incredible peace that you and so many others long for is the ultimate peace that is found in heaven...which passes understanding.  There is relative calm today, compared to the wars we've lived through.  But even in our own country, people are at odds with one another over political (and other) issues.  Even at that, I like what Yakov Smirnoff says, "What a great country!"

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I,too, would like to see and experience world /and local peace.....Which we've been working towards for ....? In the meantime....look what's been discovered, developed, devised , dispersed....and it's all going to advance. Soooo, I would like to see the realization that we can and do travel and expedite life on Mars and the Moon! Think of all the brain power, pioneer spirit, inventiveness, jobs(?)..that would promote!!!! And, unfortunately....conflict! ====JACK:  Another vote for peace.  Does that simply mean, the absence of conflict...world, national, local, personal?  If so, that's why I believe in God's heaven.  Meanwhile, my children and grandchildren have had many incredible experiences...but they've never lived the ones that I've had.  No regrets!  Maybe, a few (as the song goes).

 FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  This reminds me of a man I knew who was convinced that the windshield wiper was not the best solution to seeing in the rain.   He puzzled for years but never came up with an alternative.  He is long gone, but the windshield wiper lives on.====JACK:  Do you remember the popular song about the windshield wipe?  The beat is to the timing ,of the wiper in the rain.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Jack’s Winning Words 12/6/13
“We must realize that the time is always ripe to do the right.”  (Nelson Mandela)  It was said of Mandela when his death was announced yesterday…”He was influential, courageous and profoundly good.”  He was South Africa’s MLK Jr.  His birth name, translated, means, “troublemaker.”  The “trouble” Mandela caused won for him the Nobel Peace Prize.  His biography is truly amazing.  I liked his smile, too.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM CL IN MICHIGAN:  Truly one of the giants of our time!!!!!!!====JACK:  I like one of his quotes..."I'm not a messiah.  I'm just an ordinary man."

 FROM ANONYMOUS:  I heard one man on the "News Hour" PBS say last night that Mandela always had profound "respect for the law." What's so impressive about him and MLK is how these two gentlemen seemed to be able to do what was right and most beneficial to the community, in the face of laws that were not fair and needed to be changed. Truly, a man to be inspired and encouraged by!!!!!!!!

 FROM CP IN WISCONSIN:  I am watching all the news about Nelson Mandela.  What wonderful tributes!====JACK:  "Tribute" is an interesting word, originally meaning, "to pay."  Now, I see where the word, "contribute" comes from.  Many news stories are paying homage to Mandela.  Homage is another interesting word.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Isn't it interesting how people like that are hated so much while they live?  It seems so difficult to accept goodness in our midst.====JACK:  I once had a funeral for an older lady.  I did not know her and, so, relied on what her son told me.  After the funeral, the son's wife said that her mother-in-law was the opposite of how I had described her.  Whose view was the right one?  I'll go with the son's.  Mandela's words and actions speak for themselves.

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Did you put that second "the" in the quote to see if anyone would catch it? ====JACK:  Far be it for me to words into Nelson's mouth, but you're right, the second "the" is mine.  It probably goes back to an English writing class.  Something is implied. like..."the time is always right to do the right (thing)." You have an eagle's eye.

 FROM TARMART REV: He definitely made a name and difference in his world while living!====JACK:  Sometimes in death (with the passage of time) people become "larger" than in life.

 FROM HY YO SILVER:  May God bless this righteous soul in Heaven and protect and grow his achievements on Earth.====JACK:  Would that the same could be said about each of us.

 ====RI:  And far be it for me to question your usually astute writing.  Have you seen the eye teaser that's a triangle with Paris In The The Spring printed in the triangular space?  Typically people don't read that extra "the".  Your quote reminded me of that.  Regarding Mandela, the real focus of today's WW, he was a global role model.====JACK:  I was one of the strange ones who liked English writing classes.  I was also interested in diagramming sentences.

 FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS:  Loved his character and his words.  He will be missed, but remain a light in the darkness for all of the lives he touched.====JACK:  No one has yet commented on his birth name, which I thought really interesting.  It used to be that people named children with descriptive names.

 FROM MY LAWYER:  After 27 years of tough incarceration, it is amazing that he was able to turn the other cheek.  His ability to place his punishment behind him and move forward is one of the great marvels of my lifetime.  And, his smile was infectious.====JACK:  One of my favorite parts in the New Testament is where St. Paul gives some advice to the Christians in Rome.  " Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  I would like to think that Mandela was following that advice.  In the Old Testament there's this passage..."Vengeance is mine, says, the Lord.  I will repay."  . Deuteronomy 32:35   God has ways of working out his will.  27 years would give you ample time to study the Bible and to ponder your relationship to God.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Yes, and it was amazing that he invited some of his guards to his inauguration and that he emphasized that resentment is no excuse for holding a grudge.  He and DeClerq  together both received the Nobel Peace Prize.====JACK:  I hadn't heard that about the guards.  I've heard that when people are in captivity for a long period of time, they often become close friends with some who are guarding them.

 FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  try to see the new movie,  A Long Walk to Freedom...  i believe it was premiering in a theater at the exact time of his death...