Wednesday, May 12, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/12/21

“My masculinity isn’t hinged on whether or not I knit.”  (Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess)  When I attend church conventions I often see female pastors knitting during the proceedings, but I’ve never seen a male with knitting needles.  It doesn’t seem to be a macho thing like, belching, driving a muscle car, smoking cigars and having a 2-day beard.  I think it’s time to put away stereotypes.  It’s OK for Russell Crowe to knit, for a woman to ride a Harley.  I’m glad to have lived during a time of gender equality…same opportunities for all.  Who needs to care whether or not I knit?  ;-)  Jack

FROM WILLMAR REV:  Maybe shoot marbles over in some corner next year?! 0;-) ===JACK:  I still have my marbles, but the ability to get down on my knees and get up has been lost.  Maybe I should take up knitting. 

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Well said, my friend!!===JACK:  Are you one of those knitters?

FROM THE SHARK:    Hilda and I both smoke cigars :)  Are we both macho? ===JACK:  How about belching?  Who does it louder?  You or her?

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  I learned some neat knitting techniques from a neighbor man at least 50 years ago – when it really wasn’t fashionable for a man to knit. Bill was very good at it!  There are now some very creative and talented men quilters that I’m learning from – think it is their engineering skills being put to good use.===JACK:  How about male quilters?  I haven't know any?  When I was first ordained there were no female pastors.  Now, the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA is named, Elizabeth.



Tuesday, May 11, 2021


Jack’s Winning Words 5/11/21

“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of the mind…your next stop, the Twilight Zone.”  (Rod Serling)  A favorite book of mine gives a synopsis of every episode of The Twilight Zone, filling me in on “the few” episodes that I missed.  Lately I’ve re-discovered “the Zone” on Netflix.  One of Serling’s strengths is that he is able to connect past, present and future.  An example of this is, “He Is Alive,” having to do with a Neo-Nazi who seeks to emulate Adolf Hitler, after being visited by him in a dream.  Do you think that dreams can be another dimension that we can experience?  ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Was that guy Trump?===JACK:  Serling wrote that story before Trump was on the front page.  "Hitler" lives in anyone who believes in ethnic (racial) cleansing.  IMO< we were heading in that direction as we approached the 2020 election.

FROM WILLMAR REV:  They certainly can wake us up and get our attention to some thought-provoking challenges.  0;-)===JACK:  ...just like some of our sermons are supposed to do.

FROM NORM'S BLOG:   I remember watching the Twilight Zone. Each week it would be something new, different, and often bizarre. Serling took us out of the dimension of the physical that we all lived in and into the dimension of the mind where anything was possible. This was TV before all of today’s special effects were invented, so it looks quite tame by modern standards.===JACK: the old saying, "Some things are best left to  the imagination.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Always insightful Jack.  I think the early Star Trek episodes worked in a similar way to TZ.  The writers took concerns and issues that were current and placed them in a different context so that viewers could see them differently.===JACK:  I think that sermons should be presented in the same way...making them relevant...but not "pushing" it.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  there are a lot of dreams in the Bible so i would answer,  yes. ===JACK:  Was Jacob wrestling with an angel...a dream?===SP:  no,  that was a nightmare!    he had a rock for pillow.  ouch!     

FROM OPTIART:  Hello Jack. I tried to transport myself to the Twilight Zone to see if it would help me as I strive to recover from my latest hip replacement surgery. So far no luck, but it was an intriguing exercise. So I am back to relying on Mother Nature and physical therapy to get me back to an acceptable level of Mobility during the next three or four weeks. I continue to enjoy and benefit from your winning words. Please keep up your good work.===JACK:  I'm recovering from a cracked hip.  There's a song, "One day at a time, sweet Jesus."  In these days when we've become accustomed to instantaneous, we need to relearn patience.  There's an old proverb..."Patience is a virtue."

Monday, May 10, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/10/21

“Love is the big booming beat which covers up the noise of hate.”  (Margaret Cho)  Margaret knows the pain of Asian-American racism and has been successful in making jokes about it…but it’s no laughing matter.  “Racism (of all kinds) is skyrocketing.  A 91-yr-old Asian man died after being pushed to the ground, because he was being blamed for Covid-19.  An Asian woman was slashed in face, because of her looks.”  Cho cracks: “Just because you’re blind and can’t see my beauty doesn’t mean it’s not there.”  Do you think Jesus was joking when He said, “Love your neighbor!”?   ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  the violence is largely black crime against asians... but no one has the guts to say it. it has been ongoing for decades. the media and politicians want you to think it is something new bc of cooooovid.===JACK:  Simply stating an "opinion" and blaming "the media" only adds to the problem.  Hatred is a problem, no matter who causes it.  It is ungoodly..===L:  but if we gloss over the real issue - all colors can be racist - and unquestioningly perpetuate the current narrative trends, we are doing the devil’s work.===JACK:  Racism is not necessarily about color or's about loving and caring for all people, even those who might be considered to be "enemies."  The "devil" is simply defined as that which is non-Godly. ===LIZ:  not finding the “new” definition of racism anywhere... pls send link.  is it “anything negative that happens to a ‘person of color’ is necessarily racism”?  While we are on the subject, POC is not racist, but “colored person” is racist. except for the NAACP.... or something like that. ===JACK:  (After reading your response, I just deleted my comments.  To see eye to eye on this issue seems to be a fruitless quest.)

FROM NORM'S BLOG:  Posted on my side lawn is a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. – “I chose love because hate is too big a burden to bear.”  Jesus said that we should love one another as he loved us and he didn’t specify race, ethnicity or any other criteria for sharing that love.  Ignorance and gullibility provide the fertile ground in which hate grows. No intelligent person could listen to the messages of hate and accept them as reasonable.===JACK:  I'm proud to have a similar sign at the end of my driveway.  To put it in the ground is easy...To get people to follow the advice is a harder problem.

FROM WILLMAR REV:  As He first loved us, may we do the same for others! 0;-) ===JACK:  Most preachers know..."Easier said than done."===REV:  Even His disciples had their challenges . . . mixing Jewish Christians and Gentiles Christians with meeting the bar for righteousness in God’s eyes took up a lot of Scriptures dealing with the challenge. 0;-)===JACK:  Even the Scriptures need some be able to go to a trusted pastor and ask, "What does this mean?"  God has blessed you to be an interpreter during your ministry.

FROM HOMELESS:  Today's WW made me cry. Such powerful words, both quotes from M. Cho, spoken so openly and so raw. Even under the guise of humor the words hit their mark. How can the human race be so mean and hateful to their own kind?  My heart breaks for those accosted defenseless people. ===JACK:  I like poignant.  I like the word, poignant, too.===H:  Poignant is the perfect word choice. Nicely said.===JACK:  Not easy to spell, either.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  my sister in law is from China and this has been no laffing matter for her.===JACK:  Calling Covid-19, the "China Flu" only fans the flame. 


Friday, May 07, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/7/21

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden from you.  Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”   (Rabindranath Tagore)  National Space Day began in 1967 as a way to get young people interested in space exploration.  The moon landing came 2 years later.  A Mars landing is still to come.  Indian philosopher Tagore seemed to anticipate all of this when he wrote about the dream of reaching for the stars.  First, you have to have the dream.  Are there any dreams floating around in your mind?  An old song begins, “Dreams really can come true for the young at heart.”  ;-)  Jack

FROM PROUD MARY:  i have so many dreams in my sleeping hours and waking hours. thank you friend for my song of the day.===JACK:  There are many "dream" songs.  I like, "Dream, when you're feeling blue."  You can Google others.===M:  love that one and i sing  'california dreamin" often in honor of my children living there far from their mama and papa!wish i could sit with you and talk about so many of your wise winning words. the body-soul relationship is one i am intimately close to and curious of. life/after life is so interesting. just attended a zoom conference on life to death transition headed by a hospice nurse and a death doula. really cool stuff. i may have time for another life calling? one day at a time.===JACK:  I have no regrets with regard to being a pastor.  In fact, while I never dreamed of being a pastor, (the) Father knows best.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I remember the popular song DREAM when we were dancing at The Rec in  Moline in H,S.  We all loved that "dreamy" song....!I guess my dream of becoming a teacher spurred me on to get my teaching degree in Music and Language arts, when I was raising four kids, and was a busy Pastor's wife!! :-)===JACK:  I remember the Rec as being converted from being  a bakery.  I often have unusual dream.  Some are so strange that I record them in a journal called, My Dreams.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i once had a dream about Dolly Parton.   does that count for anything?===JACK:  I wonder if Dolly ever had a dream about you?  

FROM WILLMAR REV:  I've been contemplating (dreaming, if you will, in hopes I and my family of faith will not be here), this portion of Scripture lately . . . we don't, or at least I don't, hear it spoken of much in recent times in press releases nor pulpit prophecies:  2 Peter 3:8-14 ESV   "But DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS ONE FACT beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.(a definite climate change forthcoming) Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, WHAT SORT OF PEOPLE OUGHT [WE] TO BE IN LIVES OF HOLINESS AND GODLINESS, WAITING FOR AND HASTENING THE COMING OF THE DAY OF GOD, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, BE DILIGENT TO BE FOUND BY HIM WITHOUT SPOT OR BLEMISH, AND AT PEACE."  It sure has my attention!   0:-)===JACK:  The Bible says that God often appeared to his people in a dream. 

F4ROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Atin had a brother named Rabindranath and  Sunil and Naren have that ending to their first names.  Sunilendranath and Narendranath.  It's  a family thing to have that ending!===JACK:  I remember those names well, but can't recall hearing the background.


Thursday, May 06, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/6/21

“In that nanosecond of enlightenment I knew that the human spirit survives the death of the physical body and I understood that my wandering soul needed to get back into the earthly habitat.”  (Janet Bettag)  I once talked to a church member who had a “death” experience and found herself looking down on the operating room doctors who were trying to revive her.  In seminary we discussed whether soul and body can exist separate from each other.  What do you think?  Is there such a thing as a wandering soul?  Recently, I almost discovered the answer.  ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  you should say more about that last line in today's WWs===JACK:  That's how I tried to present sermons...leaving the audience wanting more.===P:  good idea!    too little is better than too much when it comes to preaching.    Paul Youngdahl preached for 11 or 12 minutes.  he said when you go to the gas station you don't have to fill the tank up every time.   often half a tank is all you need for that day or that week.===JACK:  Reuben Youngdahl was one of the first to do "short" sermons.  He has an assistant who'd look up good human interest illustrations to include in the sermons.  I think that the service had to end in less than an hour, so that the parking lot could be emptied fore the next service.  I think that there were five or six, each on the hour.  Big crowds.  

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  you almost discovered the answer? what happened?===JACK:  The answer is in your imagination.===L:  I hope you are  ok.===JACK:  Yep!

FROM SOOGEE:  Thanks for these wonderful messages!  But what happened that you experienced a near death situation?  Were you hospitalized?  Are you okay now?  I’m praying for you! ===JACK:  I was in the ER.  It was fascinating  and, as you can see, Winning Words are still being sent.

FROM LUCIE:  Are you ok? How do you feel now?===JACK:  You KNOW about thje presence of God during "strange" times.  I feel even more strogly about it now.

FROM MY LAWYER:  I'll never forget the time that (Police Chief) Al McGhee "died" on the operating table where he was for back surgery.  The doctors flipped him over and brought him "back to life".  He told me that it was like looking up through a can with a pin prick in the top, and it got lighter and lighter until, finally, he woke up.  I joked to him about the fact that he was looking "up", not down!!!===JACK:  My experience was a space filled with a bright, soft, yellow light...very calming.  I turned my head to the right, and Joan and the ER appeared.===ML:  It wasn't your time!!===JACK:  "No one knows the day nor the hour."...It will come like a thief in the night.

FROM KHPC:  Glad to hear that you didn’t actually discover the answer yet and that you are still here to ponder this issue with the rest of us……but we will all find out at some time.===JACK:  I shall not be afraid.

FROM WILLMAR REV:  I've looked at the account of "the rich man and Lazarus" as an illustration of what that might entail. The parables Jesus gave and taught from never used actual names that I am aware of, except for this story of Abraham, Lazarus, the rich man. Man's understanding and senses were present in the account (at least, sight, smell, hearing, feeling and perhaps touching). A pretty powerful message for us to comprehend?! 0;-)===JACK:  Jesus knew how to preach and keep the interest of listeners.  That's why people crowded around him. 

FROM DR JUDEE:  Wow!! You had a near death experience (NDE), I take it. i’m glad you chose to return. If you have any other insights, I’d love to hear about it. ===JACK:  I think that our "talk" could lead to further conversation.

FROM YOGA LADY:  Hey Jack, As of late i 've been absorbed in work but saw these words for today - needed to check in. Are you ok?  Please know how much I look forward to hearing your wisdom every day.===JACK:  I'm feeling great.  I think that soul and body can exist separately.  Take good care friend!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I'd guess they have to survive apart, when the human body dies! Other than "near-death experience" I don't believe I've heard of a sold leaving one's body.  When Bill "died" on the handball court, and was not revived for 45 minutes (miracle!) He  didn't recall anything from his dying and recovery!  Would have been interesting if he'd had some vision of eternity to tell us! ===JACK:  Sometimes we wish we could go back and hear the rest of the story.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  How did you discover that?  Everything OK?===JACK:  I'm OK and feel fortunate to have experienced something that I had onlr read about and speculated about.  

FROM LBP:  Well you can’t end a WW with a comment about almost seeing the other side without something! I was just getting in from my first time out on roller blades in ages and didn’t know how to (or if I should) prod. But I wanted you to know I saw and care.  I try to be pragmatic about death and loss. My moms parents lived full lives and died well. My 8+ yr mentee at work needs a change of career to balance her other life responsibilities and I understand. It doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t ache sometimes for relationships that I had but are now ended or changed. But I’m trying to learn to be grateful for the time I had with the person and not on the what if’s and wishes.  Anyhow, whatever you were facing, I send all my love ... and hugs.  ===JACK:  I'm doing quite well, thank you.  I find life to be interesting and worth living. 

FROM AA:  DID YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGY?  YOU MUST BE OK, YOU'RE STILL WRITING. ===JACK:  No ambulance, but I guess you'd say that "it was unusual."


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/5/21

“Don’t tell your friends about your indigestion.  How are you? Is a greeting, not a question.”  (Arthur Guiterman)  I woke up recently with this question in mind:  “Why do horses whinney?”  Joan, who grew up on a ranch said, “It’s simply their way of saying, HELLO, in horse language.”  Today, when we greet people, let’s try to let them know that we’re glad to see them. You can use a fist bump, or you could even try a WHINNEY, but one of the best ways to do greet someone is with a smile. I’ll betcha that they’ll even smile back. ;-)  Jack 

FROM QUILTIMG CAROL:  A missionary pastor we met up here shared that when he and his wife were serving in Africa the greeting was – “I see you.”  Another words you acknowledged that saw this person as you looked them in the eye.  Another nice greeting – with a smile.  Greetings from Rice Lake!===JACK:  Whatever the words, I miss the times we had together.

FDROM BLAZING OAKS:  Smiles beget smiles, almost always! We've been using an elbow bump, but now that we've all had shots, an occasional hug!  Things are looking brighter, but we're not out of the woods ;yet!  In Japan you'd clasp your own hands in front of you, and give a  slight bow as you greeted them. Very polite, very respectful!===JACK:  As Yogi said, "It ain't over til it's over."  That can apply to Covid-19 as well as baseball games.

FRO HY YO SILVER:  It is actually a Jewish law to “greet all with a pleasant disposition/nice face”. Commentators note the importance of smiling, particularly in the public domain.  Google the following  Pirkei Avos or Pirkei Avot or Ethics of our Fathers  Chapter (Perek) 1  Section (Mishnah) 15  Rabbi Shammai said...

===JACK:  To be sure...You follow the law...and it seems to come naturally!

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good one, Jack.  thanks.     does this have anything to do with Whinney the Poo?   different spelling i do believe:):):)  ===JACK:  Whinney the Poo?  Neigh!

FROM SALON SUZY:  So true! Love this one!===JACK:  I suppose customers sometimes tell you what's bothering them.===SS:  Some are too personal for me

FROM HOMELESS IN FLORIDA:  This is such a sweet message, and it speaks volumes in its simplicity.  Tell mom that she's right!===JACK:  She should know.  She is a "ranch girl," and her father was a real cowboy with his own horse.


Tuesday, May 04, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/4/21

“The Force will be with you.  Always.”  (Obi-Wan Kenobi)  What do you think George Lucas had in mind with “The Force” in Star Wars?  Is it a mysterious something that binds the universe together…or could it be like a religious concept of God?  God has a number of nicknames: Great Spirit, Jehovah, Jesus, Bog, Jainko, Allah, Brahman and many, many others.  One that I like, and one that seems to encompass all is, King of Kings.  I really don’t know what Lucas had in mind, but I interpret The Force to mean God (as I know him/her).  What God term is most comfortable for you?  ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  him/her? god may be one of the other genders... or none at all.  you have guts, my friend, you have guts.===JACK:  "You can't put God in a box!"  But, in order for "us" to understand God (the Force), a human form was created (Jesus) to communicate in a way that humans could understand.  He/she is immaterial.  What is "material" is the message...."Love God, and love your neighbor, as you love yourself!"  (Theology 101)  "May the Force be with you!"===L:  we all grow and learn... at least that is the goal, right? i like to entertain all sides of a discussion bc you never know what might spark a great new idea in someone.  btw, i was a double minor... econ and psych, altho i loathed every minute of organized education.===JACK:  You must have been a "handful" for those trying to teach you.

FROM WILLMAR REV:  I had a friend who has retired, moved on to Minneapolis some years ago and attended the local Unitarian church. He was an agnostic and would say, (lounge in cheek) often, "May the Force be with you!" 0;-)===JACK:  God is beyond names.  He is Jesus, but He is more than Jesus.  He is Father Creator, but He is more than that.  He is Spirit, but He is more than that.  Say, "i am who I am," but He is more than that.  If someone wants to call God, Force, I'm OK with that, but He is more than Force.  Do you recall singing, "Take the name of Jesus with you?" 

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i always loved to preach on Christ the King Sunday.  a monarchy is a somewhat foreign idea to most Americans tho we do seem fascinated by the Royals of England.  but the theme of Christ as King had lots of "meat" on it for the preacher to chew on:):):)  ===JACK:  Could there be a Christ, the President Sunday?  ...but no, Christ, the Dictator Sunday?

FROM SHARIN'  SHARON:  Thought-provoking WW this morning.  I kind of like wanting to believe that I am on the side of The Force and that as we go through this life of trials and adversities, that The Force will always be with us.  But truly the name of God I am most comfortable with is a more personal name, Father.   ===JACK:  In reality, God is beyond names...just as Sharon is beyond just a name.  There's more to each of us than our name.

FROM BUGMAN:  FRIEND===JACK:  I like the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  I am smiling.  There’s a lovely book by Joseph Campbell called, “The Power of Myth” that Lucas cited on several occasions as inspiration for his Star Wars films.  They always inspire me and, though they have those overtones of Nazi occupation  and heartless slaughter, I also recall in the first couple of films that you never saw a person killed.  In any case, I’m a fan of the “Divine” and the “Spirit” but realize not everyone has affinity toward that spirit….===JACK:  I think that many of our "God images" are a carryover from the time when most of the Bible reading with a "literal" mind.  God is beyond words.
FROM HOMELESS IN FLORIDA:  "God". I think it covers quite aptly. Nothing else need be said or lost in the translation. Simple.===JACK:  Quite simple, YES...until the philosopher asks, "What do you mean by God?"

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  When I talk to him I usually say "Father. or Father-God, I'm wondering...,Or "I need help with...." or Thank you for....Or please bless so and so" and so on. But sometimes Lord;, and for sickness, or healing,  in the name  of you Son, Jesus.  Fascinating to consider Him/Her or no gender when pondering  the great God Force!!  I love the way THE SHACK portrayed God , as sometimes a friend, sometimes a loving Mammy, or sometimes the quizzing judge, etc. He's all that, isn't "He"??!===JACK:  Our Bible came out of a male-dominated society, hence God was portrayed as a "HE."  Women pastors are relatively new.  The Catholic and Missouri Lutherans have yet to move in this direction.  When did American Baptists begin having women preachers?  While many people, like you, enjoyed The Shack, I was not tuned on by it.  One of my quirks.===OAKS:  Hmmm...I would say about 25-30 yrs. ago it became somewhat common; Now it is very first women were Directors o Christian Ed, or youth workers, at best, associate pastors. Now they have their own churches, and do a good job, tho many men still have a little trouble identifying with a female head pastor.

Monday, May 03, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/3/21

“Who has seen the wind?  Neither I nor you:  But when the leaves hang trembling, The wind is passing through.  Who has seen the wind?  Neither you nor I:  But when the trees bow down their heads, The wind is passing by.”  (Christina Rossetti)  Rosetti is best known to me for writing, In the Bleak Midwinter, sometimes called the best Christmas carol ever written.  Poets have “a way with words”.  I, too, marvel at the wind, but Christina gives it life, causing trees to bow their head, or causing leaves to tremble.  Is there a particular poet that you appreciate?  ;-)  Jack

FROM GBMIDCO:  Jack. Thank you. I’m reminded of a wonderful word , psithurism. The name of the sound that the wind makes blowing gently through the trees and tall grasses. Blessings always 🙏===JACK:  Thanks for introducing me to a new word (psithurism).  I always thought that the sound of the wind was Woosh.  ===G:  Jack. I was introduced to it by one of my pagan friends from the high desert in south east Arizona. I think it’s a real word and if not it should be. Blessings ===JACK:  That word has a Greek language origin and means: whispering.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  there was a time we thought socialism was not possible here, too... but look where we are in a few short years. bernie sanders is head of senate budget committee. it’s all fantasy land, isn’t it? believing that one of the two major parties will suddenly solve every problrm they created... but some folks lap it up anyway, still believe that a seasoned con man w/a crackhead son is going to fix stuff... like flint’s water.===JACK:  Some people are most comfortable talking about the thoughts of John Keynes.  My preference is for the thoughts of John Muir and John Loche.  "To each is own!"

FROM ALBION JLF:  I like Khalil Gibran.  Dr J would appreciate he’s from Lebanon.  Also I remember when growing up we read Carl Sandburg poetry.  I believe you had a poster of him downstairs.===JACK:  I learned some thing new....I thought that Gibran was from India or Pakistan.  No I know differently.  Your right.  Carl Sandburg would often write poetry about nature.--for example:

GRASS (Look it up).

FROM HOMELESS IN FLORIDA:  Emily Dickenson has always caught my attention and given me pause.===JACK:  "Emily used images from nature, religion, law, music, commerce, medicine, fashion, and domestic activities to probe universal themes: the wonders of nature, the identity of the self, death and immortality, and love. In this poem she probes nature’s mysteries through the lens of the rising and setting sun."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We've had a LOT of strong winds the past two weeks! I love this little poem about wind, and In The Bleak Midwinter is indeed a great Christmas carol. My Sr. Choir used to love to sing arrangements of that song! I taught one quarter a year on poetry, and had my 8th grade students make a poetry notebook with a bio of one. Carl Sandburg was popular, and Edgar Allen Poe (The Bells)!, Maya Angelou,  Love Shel Silverstien's Where The Sidewalk Ends, Robert Frost, a great Favorite, and so many more!! They had to memorize a poem to say before the class....some very short ones were popular with many of the boys (!) but  they did amazingly well, overall!  I, or course, read some with great drama, and had recordings of others, Like The Bells, and The Raven by Poe.  Long after, some kid would send me a card with :(usually) a satirical take off on one of our poems, saying, "Mrs.Oaks, since you love poetry I thought you'd enjoy this card..." HA!===JACK:  I think that you'd enjoy reading about the word,  psithurism.===OAKS:  psithurism?? What a bodacious word for "winds rustling through the trees" or "wind rustling leaves  through the trees' wonder it's an obsolete noun !! I'll bet you had fun putting me through my traces to track that down!  HA! :-)===JACK:  Bodacious?  Are you trying to trip me up?

FROM LBP:  Been enjoying the poetry of my 13 yo. She was reflecting on her writing lessons in middle school and found that she liked the poetry assignments best. It was never my thing, but she's got a bit of a knack.===JACK:  Poetry isn't my thing, nor is bio-stats.===L:  Well, can’t say sermons are my thing. Glad we each found our calling ===JACK:  You'd be better doing a sermon than I would at B-S.

Friday, April 30, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 4/30/21

“You’ll never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks at you.”  (Winston Churchill)  There’s lots of “barking” going on these days.  It sort of reminds me of the carnival pitchmen (barkers) who’d try to get our attention.  A friend of mine would say, “Jack, remember to make the main thing the main thing.”  In other words, “Keep your focus on the main event, not the sideshow.  I try to keep that in mind as I watch the news and read the ads.  Churchill was a great leader, because he was able to focus.  It makes for a more peaceful life, too.  ;-)  Jack 

FROM A POLICE OFFICER:  Love it===JACK:  Do you remember the saying, "Sticks and stones...etc?"  We appreciate the job you are doing.

FROM THE SHARK:  I 2nd the motion.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

 ack’s Winning Words 4/29/21 

“If the rich could hire the poor to die for them, the poor would make a very nice living.”  Yiddish Proverb)  I could do a whole year of Yiddish proverbs.  They are funny, true and poignant…all at once.  When Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you,” He was saying that there will be a continuing need for the “haves” to be concerned for the “have nots.”  It’s not what God had in mind, but it’s economic reality  Even the racism of today can, in large part, have poverty attached to it.  It’s my feeling that God wanted people to share with each other, willingly, as there was need.  Have you ever known poverty?  ;-) Jack

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  When two Jews go into a room they come out with three opinions  The only thing you can get two Jews to agree on is how much a third should give to charity===JACK:  If I repeat that story, am I a racist?===H.H.:  There is a fine line between sarcasm, irony and easy banter. If you put this out there would be  blowback for sure.  The two I sent plays into stereotypes yours does not it plays into class relations ===JACK:  Is "classism" just "racism dressed in different clothing?===H.H.:  Yes it is. good point

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  oh, no, not you, too... it’s all raaaacism.  sorry, lebron, you are not addressing the real issue, which is gang violence, baby mamas, absent fathers (many dead or incarcerated), zero education.  we all have to live within the confines of society to succeed. it is not a race thing.===JACK:  We had this conversation at breakfast today.  America is a divided nation.  We tend to think that it's political, but peel to back (like a banana.  It comes down to racism.  It was like that when I was growing up; it may not be as severe as today, but it's still racism.===LIZ:  sorry, you live in the past. most people today are not racist, but they are sick of giving passes to people who continue to push the limits of civilized behavior... demanding, threatening, and rioting do not accomplish anything, except maybe to grow racism.  when the community starts building itself up instead of blaming others, there will be progress.===JACK:  What color are the people who push the limits of civilized behavior?  ...and (I just deleted the rest of my response considering it to be more divisive than constructive)===LIZ:  .i think you know what i mean... why do we have to tiptoe around discussing the obvious POOR CHOICES that much of the black community makes for themselves... and call it “racism” if anyone dares to talk about it?  herein lies the problem.  i would like to hear your response. we are thinking adults... and should be able to discuss this subject as such.  do you think biden’s banning menthol cigarettes is racist? i do.===JACK:  You're "pushing it" with the menthol thing.  Ciggies cause cancer...whatever flavor, and they cost money.  It's a health issue.  With regard to choices...what we choose to do today and in our tomorrows is what's important.  Yesterday was simply a learning experience.===LIZ:  not i... bought sig sauer 365 w/stimulus $. never dreamed i’d own a gun, tho my grandfather was a sharpshooter/collector. the defunding of police, support of riots last summer changed my mind. now i go to the range for sport. i’m pretty good. grandpa would be proud.  you have lived thru so much history... how can you not see where this is leading? i recall my german legal immigrant grandfather’s saying his german brother thought the nazis would do great things for germany. we know how that turned out.===JACK:  I do not try to change your Libertarian views, but personally I'm please that there are speed limits, that there are laws to protect me from contaminated food and water etc, etc.  Laws, generally, are for my protection.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good one, Jack.  i just forwarded it to 7 friends and family members.===JACK:  Another one...."When you have coins in your pocket, you are smart, you are handsome, and you can sing well." ===SP:  Haha, thanks!     here is one more:  we should always try to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.    that way,  we will be a mile away and we will also have their shoes!😀===JACK:  Don't get me started.

FROM THE FISH IN NOVA SCOTIA:  I once saw a small collection of rabbinical stories and enjoyed them. My favorite (the only one I remember) was that a grandmother was standing on the dock with her grandson. A big wave came and swept him away. She pleaded with God for his safe return. Another wave swept over and deposited him dripping but healthy next to her. She looked him over, looked up at God, and said "He did have a hat!"===JACK:  The funniest jokes are the ones we tell on ourselves.  My Jewish friends tell "proverbs" that are especially funny to those who have experienced the situation.  

FROM WILLMAR REV:  God sure gave us a nice gift of His sharing with us.   

It’s been interesting driving the two-hours to Minneapolis in recent times seeing all the “help wanted” signs posted in the variety of work places along the way...seemingly the unemployment and pandemic supply of dollars is finding it more profitable in staying home. I could suppose too that business’s are booming so well that they can’t keep up with the demand and are in need of hiring more labor?!?! 0;-)===JACK:  Some job offers are limiting because of skill needed....others because wage does not pay for living expenses.  BTW, did you cash your stimulus check?  I did...although I didn't need to.  For others, it was a life saver.===REV:  Put in savings, but blessed a single mother of three with several hundred $$$ who’s husband is incarcerated for 20 years on rape and drug charges. She described a beautiful marriage until he became hooked on drugs that had not previously been apart of their marriage.  I feel tremendously blessed in recent years with house and cars paid, social security being received, along with a partial but very adequate salary from the church and community chaplain incomes. It’s now an opportunity to be a blessing in benevolent ways that I wasn’t able to be in those earlier years. As you and I say often, “To God be the glory!” 0;-)===JACK:  Let's sing it out loud...."Count your blessings, name them one by one.

FROM MD IN BSF:  My family was poor in my childhood.   Helping hands qto poverty were handled by the church and local community. The federal  or state governments do not do a good job of spending our money to help or  elevate these poor people. Obstacles in our life were fuel for achievement.===JACK:  There are different kinds of poverty.  Financial is one.  Poverty of a loving and caring family.  It was not easy during the Great Depression.  We were forced to move from our home and live for a time with some neighbors.  Depressing!  But we had a caring family.  Poverty in one sense, but not in another.  I cashed my (uneeded) stimulus check.  I shoulda done what a friend did...tuurn it over to the local Food Bank.===MD:  Perfect. The stimulus money goes from you (taxes)  to the government back to you (stimulus)  to charity. More efficient  and effective if the bureaucratic  thievery could be eliminated. You saw the depression devil and saw a way to a self determined successful life and career. Why do certain political factions of our society choose to keep the slaves on the  government dependent plantation? Is it money or power or both?===JACK:  During the Great Depression (in my formative years) I became an FDR Democrat, because they seemed to care for the poor.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Jack’s Winning Words 4/28/21

“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.”  (Earl Niightengale)  There was a time when my favorite Christmas gift was a road atlas.  I’d study it and plan imaginary trips.  At that time I did not have a plan for my life-trip.  A call, offering a college scholarship changed that, and my plan now was to become a pastor.  My focus never changed…even when I learned that it would take 8 years of college and seminary…and that the scholarship was $100.  I’m wondering how your life-plan is working out?  ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  mine has worked out well and partly because it also included a fellow named Jack Freed.   i may seen you the first chapter of a book i am helping to write about how i sensed my "call" to Christian ministry.===JACK:  I'm honored to be part of someone's life story.  Usually it means that that person has been a part of mine. ===SP:   I can’t wait to tell you when it’s completed?! I say that often when asked, How’s your day going?” I’ll tell how it went tomorrow. It’s not over yet today! 0;-)

   FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  it didn’t work out at all..===JACK:  Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over til it's over.".  Hang in there.===LIZ:  you know it... i am an eternal optimist!===JACK:  After reading "The Optimist Creed" let me know if you're still on optimist, eternal or other.===LIZ:  eternal, that’s me... tho i have to work hard to rein in my criticism of others.===JACK:  The Greek teacher/philosopher, Socrates,  advised: "Know thyself!"  Congratulations.

 FROM SF IN FL:  My life plan, thank God, has been very gratifying. Some blips and surprises here and there, but all leading to good. No complaints here. My life got a rocky start with a ‘crazy’ family, but I suppose it made me the resilient person that I am today. Have you heard the expression, “Man plans and God laughs”? It’s really more effective in Yiddish.) God has a plan. ===JACK:  What is the Yiddish saying?  BTW, I had blips, too, but in retrospect they made me what I am today...for better or worse.===SF:  In Yiddish, let me see...Menchen truchs und Got lachs. The ‘ch’ is that sound in the back of your throat!! Lol!

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  The draft planned most of my decisions in 20’s and it worked out just fine.  After that it all pretty much just happened and I certainly have no regrets.===JACK:  I was drafted, too, at the end of WW 2, but my previous bout with polio changed that, and I was classified 4F.===ME:  I never thought about there being a draft during WWII.  Also I always presumed that my father volunteered for service, but maybe not?===JACK:  In the beginning there were many volunteers.."It was a cause."===ME:  While I was very young and was born close to the euphoria of WW2’s end, I do not remember hearing much resentment.  I also realize Hitler and the 3rd Reich was a very coalescing flashpoint.  Did you and other younger men feel conflicted about the Draft back then?===JACK:  It was nothing like the Viet Nam draft.  Leaders were trusted, and WW 2 was a war for a cause.  The vdraft was not a problem, as I recall.


 FROM CR:  Sprinkle in a hefty dose of flexibility, perseverance, and faith to navigate the detours and curveballs that life inevitably gives us.===JACK:  Written one who knows the subject.  

GROM COOPER COUNTRY PASTOR:  My plan was to become a labor negotiator for the migrant Mexican workers on Dad's sugar beet farm.  Took Spanish in college. Got poor grades because I'm not a literalist.  Prof. advised me not to continue.   Followed Grandma's prayers and enrolled in seminary.  Bob  Now I have 5 years of Greek and two of Hebrew !!!!!!!   God's plan has been a boatload of such surprises and it has been much better than mine.   Alleluia ===JACK:  Grandmas (and profs) usually know best.  I see "the hand of God" in your life choice...and I'll bet you're still in the corner of the migrants.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  A few detours along the way.....but very happy with and thankful for my current destination.  Still like taking trips, though.   Yellowstone this Summer, then the Reunion and Northern California to see redwoods and sequoias end of September.  Always a sjoy to see as much of God's creation as possible.===JACK:  I'll bet you'll be using GPS instead of a Road Atlas on those trips.===RS: GPS and Google Maps.  I still like "seeing" the roads in relationship to each other and a picture in my head of what direction we are going and where turns the paper map.....just on the screen.  As Gloria says....totally left brained.===JACK  I can generally "sense" with my mind the correct turn to make (but not always).  Joan has OnStar.  That works well if she listens to the "voice."

FROM PM:  Oh my goodness, this made me laugh! That $100 itself didn't get you far but the idea of a scholarship sure did! That's great!!===JACK:   I am where I am today because of "that phone call," more so than the scholarship.  The call got me THINKING.  What can I do with my life?



Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Jack’s Winning words 4/27/21

“I’m going home.  I’m going home”  (Karen Garner)  Karen, a 73-yr-old with dementia, gave this response to the officer who handcuffed her and took her to jail for shoplifting.  It is not unusual for people with memory loss issues to forget to pay for things.  We still have a long way to go before we understand people and “situations.”  It takes a special talent to be able “to put yourself in the other person’s situation.” And, it’s not just the police officer.  It’s all of us.  Many of today’s “issues” can be simply traced to not “understanding.”  It’s poignant that this dementia incident happened in a city called, Loveland.  ;-/  Jack

FROM WILLMAR REV:  "It’s poignant that this dementia incident happened in a city called, Loveland." 0;-)  A question I have been pondering for a while- "Does God still 'harden' the hearts of those in national leadership roles as he did Pharoah's?!"  It sure seems like that of some of those and their decisions coming out of Washington in recent times?! 0:-/===JACK:  There are some very caring people out there in the world, and, as pastors, we've met many of them.  There are also caring people in leadership roles, too.  Publicity generally goes to the situations that are unusual.  I think that there are many more people treating "dementia" with care and concern than "uncaring" people...and I DON'T think that it is God who is causing "hardness of heart."

JACK:  Yahoo News reports that video (and enhanced audio) show Loveland police watching and laughing at the arrest of dementia patient.  Disgusting!

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Good lesson for all of us.  Especially in our age/time zone.===JACK:  I'll never be younger than I am right now.   Time marches on.


Monday, April 26, 2021


Jack’s Winning Words 4/26/21

“Want what you have, and you’ll always have what you want.”  (On the Oaks’ refrigerator)  Who can argue with this thought?  We might call it, a truism…something obviously true.  Just for fun, I looked up synonyms for, a truism…and came up with…saw, chestnut, shibboleth and  trope…which caused me to do some more looking up.  Sydney J Harris wrote a book, “Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things.”  While researching, Truism, I learned the meaning of words I thought I knew the meaning of.  Previously, I’d thought “bromide” referred to something advertised during the evening news.  ;-) Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Oh my, that looks familiar. I've lived with that a long time, and it has helped my "wont to spend", tho I'll never be as frugal as my husband was! He knew what was really important!  I'll bet that book by Sydney Harris is good! Bill had his books, and loved his writing!! I just have one, and it's very old now!  thanks for sharing our truism!===JACK:  A magnet with those words on it...attributed to Bill Oaks would be a nice Christmas gift for your family members would make a nice Christmas gift...maybe even an heirloom.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  like Alka Seltzer??===JACK:  "Pop, Pop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh, what a relied it is,,,NOT!"...I never liked the salty taste of Speedy. ===SP:  i have never had an Alka Seltzer in my life.   i just never get an upset stomach for some reason.  nor any heart burn.===JACK:  No heart burn?  Even when you decided that Margaret was the one for you?

Friday, April 23, 2021


Jack’s Winning Words 4/23/21

“You speak an infinite deal of no-thing.”  (William Shakespeare, from The Merchant of Venice) Today, April 23, is “Talk like Shakespeare Day,” so go ahead and change “you” to either “thou” or “thee” when you communicate today.  Or just add “eth” to your verbs. When thou doest so, it doesn’t matter if thou speaketh of no-thing, since Shakespeare’s style can maketh thee appear wise.  I thought that it would be easy to pick out my favorite Shakespeare quote, but there are many, such as “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come”  I could go on, but I might be accused of speaking “an infinite deal of no-thing.” Whether you speak like Shakespeare or not, contribute quality instead of quantity to the conversations you’re part of.  ;-)  Jack

FROM MK IN WL:  Jimmy Stewart goes into the the local library where he finds Hepburn reading his book he wrote. The librarian in that scene speaks ‘Shakespeare’ it’s a really cute scene!  Love that movie with all the humorous wit. ===JACK:  When I was of "school-age" I wish that I would not have turned up my nose at Shakespeare.

FROM WILLMAR REV:  I was wondering “wherest thou was going with this,” this morning?! Enjoyed the read!! 0;-)===JACK:  Before a movement to translate the Bible into modern language, there was "Bible-type-talk," like the King James  Version (1610, I think).

Thursday, April 22, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 4/22/21

"There is a great need, and growing support, for the introduction of new values in our society—where bigger is not necessarily better—where slower can be faster—and where less can be more." (Gaylord Nelson, First Earth Day 1970)  After the recent rollback of “climate-change rules,”  the world is waiting to see what will happen when an attempt is made to re-instate interest in Earth Day goals.  Concern for Earth improvement  was controversial when introduced 51 years ago (and still is).  Some still “don’t get it,” that ours is a fragile planet.  I once sat in the front row as Peter, Paul and Mary sang:: “Where have all the flowers gone,” with the haunting question, “When will they ever learn?”  A billion people, worldwide, now support Earth Day.  Are you one in a billion?  ;-)  Jack

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Absolutely!===JACK:  What are some of the ways in which you are helping to preserve the planet?

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  the planet, like the human body, is designed to heal and refresh. don’t be duped by charletons who reap financial reward from the new regulations, eg stock market. there’s a reason the big-name politicians are all wealthy. whatever happened w/those goofy mercury-containing lightbulbs obama mandated?  we would be wise to give up sucking down water from plastic bottles if we are serious about wanting to make a difference.===JACK:  We place a large red recycling bin at the end of our driveway each week.  I still think that I could be doing more.  My son and his family are very much into composting.

FROM JU IN NC:  Man is beginning to polute outer space.  Earth is not enough? Let's all do a little (trash walk).===JACK:  Trash Walk?  I like it.  Last weekend our Optimist Club members walked several miles of a local highway picking up trash.  Even with the vastness of outer space we are polluting it with orbiting objects that have outlived their usefulness.

FROM NORM'S BLOG:  As I thought about Earth Day and how it has been marginalized over time, it came to my mind that, as a nation, we have lost sight of the concept of “The Common Good”. In fact, some politicians have demonized the common good by positioning things that are for the common good as socialism. Their political philosophies are more in tune with anarchy than with anything that is for “the common good”.===JACK:  It's a shame that "the Common Good" is so rare, and yet we have a hard time selling it.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yep -  One in a billion.   It's a shame so many people either don't care or don't want to hear the truth about climate change and how we contribute to it.  It's like can't see a lot of what's happening...or don't believe that rising sea levels, stronger storms, et al are all a result of climate change.... but that doesn't mean you shouldn't believe the experts.  Unfortunately, for many companies this quarter's profits are more important that saving the planet.  Glad we have a prez who is making it a major priority.===JACK:  We need a reincarnation of Peter, Paul and Mary to remind us...or a reprint of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring."

FROM WILLMAR REV:  It is as confusing to me as man's attempt to control the current pandemic with well over a year's effort!?!? It reminds too of those "prophetical teachers" in my circle of influence on God's timetable for the world's preparation, destruction and the second coming of Christ. They do well with their followers until the teachers are placed on a platform with their charts side by side. An interesting mix of emotional responses, to say the least.  "Even though, come quickly, Lord Jesus, Maranatha!" 0;-)===JACK:  Do you think that Jesus and His followers cared about saving the planet, ecologically...not knowing Earth as we do?

FROM J & S:  We love earth day!===JACK:  Two in a billion!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Like you, I recycle paper, tin, glass and plastic...It is some help, I'm sure, but not huge! One reads about the truckloads of trash and plastic that is dumped into our Oceans, and Seas, and it is horrifying!  Hard to imagine what life will be like on Earth a few generations from now! Or in Space, for that matter!!===JACK:  Too much "strife-news" these days.  How can anyone be AGAINST a clean Earth?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

 Jack’s Winning Words 4/21/21

“Today is Longest Word Day which challenges us to use a long word in an ordinary sentence.  The longest word that I know of is: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  Yes, it’s a “wonderful” day today.”  (From Mary Poppins)  One of the longest unhyphenated words in the Bible is “lovingkindnesses,” (Ps 25:6)    It’s a 14-letter word describing a 5-letter one, grace, God’s love for us…given, although not deserved.  Love is usually thought of as: quid pro quo.  1 John 4:19 explains it:  “We love, because He first loved us.”  God’s love is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!   ;-)  Jack

FROM SF IN FL:  Good morning!  One of my favorite words is ‘grace’. The women that I look up to as role models have grace...RBG, Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, certain friends, etc. I suppose some males too, of course!! Like you!!!!!!!😉  ===JACK:  for me, it's hard to accept something that I think is undeserved.  That's "grace"...theologically, or just in day to day conversation.  Do you remember the song, "It's hard to be humble?"

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  That is a delightful long word! And so is the Biblical one!  I tried to think of the longest word in the dictionary, but can't bring it up right now! Used to know that!!  Simply put, "God is Good...All the time!" ===JACK:  Theologically, I can accept that God is ultimately good...but I can also understand (because of circumstances) that there are those who think otherwise.

FROM SB:  Thank you for your winning words. As a child, one of the longest words I learned was antidisestablishmentarianism.===JACK:  I remember that word, too, but I can't recall the context.  I guess that's why God invented Google.