23 April 2012

A walk...

Every once in a great while Jesus walks into your workplace, family room, or committee meeting and says, "Lay down your nets and follow..." Of course we would follow. Who wouldn't?

But then he says very calmly to lay down the very thing that your livelihood depends on and then invites you to begin a new experience with him. Leave this proven good thing and come with him to an uncertain destination. I am now asking myself is this right? I just made it to the place where I have some voice and health insurance.

He can walk into a shop that for generations and generations the signs on the wall says, "We have been doing it this way since 1536" and he says to them, "Starting today, we start over." A tradition stops and a new one begins. Many don't know the story of what was happening when this old way started and replaced another old thing that replaced another old way...

"Are you kidding? This is what we do!" can be our reply if we don't know for sure who is making the offer. Our criteria of leadership and expectations of improvement sometimes has us limited in recognizing the messiah who will come and lead us to the next promise land. Some young punk, with a pierced eyebrow, who hasn't attained the credentials in knowing how to do what we have been doing for eons, is now telling us there is a way to go before we get there. We have a Ph. freaking D, studied at an institution with ivy growing on its walls, wrote papers and been published in some of the oldest journals in this why and he, who has been a blue collar, shade-tree, paid by the job worker, has the audacity of telling us to continue on to the next station. "Who the hell does he think he is?"


The next step has us leaving the safety and confidence of this present charted terra-firma and put our weight on ground that hasn't been investigated using the proven empirical data taken over the entire time we occupied the present footprint. We may step into something we will have to wipe off if we are not careful. But Jesus bids us to come, take the next step.

Isn't it hard for us who have invested our lives in the old way, hoping that the pay off will come soon and we will soon be on easy street. We are so invested that there is not any distinction between our identity and the branding of the old existing product. Everything we have has the old logo sewn into it. New ways do not have expiration dates on it, yet we seem to know when it is starts to lose it potency and flavor. Instead of getting a new one we double the dosage. It changes from wonder to routine and from relationship to obligation.

Those of us who are older have seen these rebel-rousers come before, turned over the tables changing the name, or the color of the walls, who are just trying to do it their way. And in 3 years that way was painted over with newest ideas from those who want to keep us entrenched. "There is nothing new," we opine from our seat in the corner donut shop, and this new fang-dangled way of thinking will go out with the next load from the cat box. We think we have seen it all.

But then, we hear our name spoken from one we don't recognize the face but the calling is like we have known it our entire life. "Come." Tenderly calling us to trust and respond. This voice is different from the others in the past who's promotions had an underlying motive that came from an investment that would only pay off if others who will buy into the pyramid scheme. But this one seemed to have already paid the price and gave everything inviting us to "Come and see." We leave the good thing of yesterday for the promise of today.

Great people came "for such a time as this" who really had a message for a given time and to a generation. Then another message comes in its own due time. Same Voice, different message to bring us back to the story. Calling us to hold to the entire story rather than staying at a favorite chapter or verse.

Could we be in such a time as this?

22 May 2011

The carnival just left town...

For the second time, a few months back, some radio preacher decided to raise his spot on Warhol's 15 minutes of fame by declaring yesterday the day the second coming would take place, the beginning of the end times. It wasn't a miscalculation, he calculated that he would make a lot of money from his advertisers because of the increase of people tuning in to hear what he was going to say. The Howard Stern of christian radio, if you will. He succeeded even if it didn't come to pass.

Jesus said, no one knows the date. No one. No harm, we go on living, right? But, the good message was again aligned with a snake oil salesman, and the message of Jesus lost credibility. Because of these liars, when we try to tell those who don't know about the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus, they are skeptical. I don't blame them. When these carnies minimize the truth by exploiting the titillation of fringe doctrine, the central message of love and reconciliation gets lost and questioned.

It seems the mainstream churches have been focused and arguing over the fringe for years as well. Trying to keep pure, they spent their time sweeping out the corners of the room, while neglecting the center... Love God, Love your neighbor.

Yesterday WAS the end of the world for many. 100,000 lost their lives because of malnutrition, poor drinking water, malaria, suicide, domestic violence...

08 March 2011

Getting to the root of it...

After much thought and a lot of accusations, I am changing my mind... again.

No, I am not going back to the Dodgers.

In my previous post's comments on FaceBook one of my dear friends said, "
You're abandoning the team (Dodgers) of Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Kirk Gibson for the team of Juan Marichal and Barry Bonds?" (Did you know that Marichal played for the Dodgers his final year and that he and Johnny Roseboro were good friends after the incident?) He forgot people like Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen, Ron Fairly, Jim Gilliam, Johnny Roseboro, Tommy and Willie Davis, Frank Howard, PeeWee Reese, Jim Lefebvre...

These were my heroes. I wasn't into Superman comics (maybe a little Batman, then Archie) I was into baseball. These men and others such as Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Hank and Tommy Aaron, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Brooks Robinson, Norm Cash, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, and many, many more, were my Saints. I loved baseball because these and others played it. They didn't make much money and it was at great expense to them and their families to play the game they loved. People honored them because they could identify with them. Prima donnas hardly existed. No pharmaceutical enhancements, except liquor.

I played it in the street in front of my house, in the playground at school and later at the little league stadium. It was simple: a glove, ball, bat, t-shirts for the bases. Game on. Today the game is not the same as it was back then. I had a shirt that I painted the Los Angeles Dodger's LA on it. Today I could get sued for copyright infringement.

Today it is not about the game, it is about Prima donnas. Tim, I did not abandon the team of these great men, the MLB abandon the game for commercialized racketeering. I decided I am not leaving the LA Dodgers for the SF Giants, I really am leaving Major League Baseball and want to hang out at the local field, whether 3A, women's softball at CSUFresno, or little league, with my sons and daughters and their children and watch baseball, not a team. I am rooting again for baseball not a team.

"It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again..."

06 March 2011

I need to announce to all my friends and those who have supported me for many years...

I believe there comes a time in everyone's life when they need to stop and assess what is it that they believe, what they stand for, and what do they feel matters. I realized that I have been angry for many years and not sure what was the root of my frustration and bitterness.

I know that I have alienated many of my dear friends over the years with my view on the church and christian institutional hierarchy. I know many have questioned my faith and wondered if I truly believe in Jesus Christ. Some think I have become too liberal in my politics and backslid into being a radical left winger and heathen.

I need to be honest and not live the lie I feel I have been living for the past few years

I have decided I can no longer sit around and be a follower of an organization that turns its back on the common logic and reason of this world. I can no longer be a hypocrite by reading from the word and wearing the colors but in my heart no longer believe.

I have been praying, meditating, and seeking council from close friends and family, some were very surprised and disappointed in me and some figured it out last summer when I quit attending the fellowship. I never want to be a fraud nor have people think that I am a liar and a pretender. I believe in loyalty and commitment, but can no longer continue in this relationship.

Christel decided she would not leave me over this but is a little concerned if I am just going through a mid-life crisis. I have assured her this would not affect our relationship.

I want to make it official with just those of you to whom I am close.

I have decided to no longer call myself a Los Angeles Dodger fan and will begin following the local Fresno Grizzlies and San Francisco Giants.

25 September 2010

A granddaughter...


Last night, my son, Simon and his wife, Natasha, gave birth to an 8 pound, 22 inch, healthy baby girl, Paloma Michael. We were very excited to greet her.

11 September 2010

Evil...

I am not sure which is more evil, people who plan to kill people in the name of God or those who plan to burn the Koran in the name of Jesus Christ.

05 September 2010

Labor Day...

Enjoy this Labor Day, remembering that many people pick our fruits and vegetables, pack our beef and chicken, drive our food to market, bake our bread, and care for our children who have no voice, make minimum wages, are without health care, and live below the poverty line.

04 May 2010

"Four dead in Ohio...

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of The Kent State shootings – also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre – occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.
Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.
There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students, and the event further affected the public opinion – at an already socially contentious time – over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.
Taken directly from Wikipedia, for those who never heard of Kent State Shooting. For more information check it out under Kent State Shootings.

Our friend Cosby asked if I would make a comment on it this year. All I can do is give my little perspective from 2500 miles away.

I was 16, been interested in the Viet Nam War since I was a fan of Bobby Kennedy, 3 years earlier. It was a nightly news event with Walter Cronkite, with video and war correspondents giving death tolls and nearly live broadcast. This was different for the country who in the past wars they saw newsreels that gave some news but it was "over there" and not necessarily right in our living rooms. Then my friend, Charlie Petty was Killed in Action. I began to protest, ditch school to participate in marches.

This was a "conflict" in southeast Asia who no one heard of and few really understood why we were there. WW2 seemed to be understandable in two theaters, Europe and the Pacific, aggressors bombing us or our Allies. They were in our neighborhood. Viet Nam was not. We were told that it was a domino affect that it starts with this little country and next thing you know they will be in New York City. There was not a clear objective except to win and even that didn't seem clear.

The My Lai massacre was being uncovered and throwing people into an outrage into the veracity, from the government, about this war. News of the massacre began to turn some of the hearts of the country away from our young men fighting there. We did not do those things as Americans! There was no romance to this war. The country was starting to not support it. Nixon talked about deescalating the battles. The government was beginning to tell us it was time to end this thing. Then just a few days before Kent State, Nixon gets on TV and announces that we are invading Cambodia. Young people were pissed and began another round of demonstrations and protest. Into the streets and campus, people protested with anger.

The protests became vandalistic and destructive. An ROTC building was torched on campus, and other destruction was happening around the Kent campus and downtown, it was a bit scary for everyone. Everyone was on edge. This was not a peaceful rally, the national guard and police fired tear gas and the protesters started throwing it back along with rocks and bricks. It got out of hand. And then the shots began. The National Guard started shooting. Four dead, nine wounded. Wait a minute, this wasn't just a protest, this was beginning to be a revolution and the government began to fight back. The news began to report this and many campuses erupted. Protest were now not just about the war but the government of the United States.

The distrust against Nixon grew. The distrust against Corporations, who were making a profit off of the war, grew. If you were over 30 you weren't trusted. If you were in charge, you were not trusted. This was now about revolution. Democracy was not working, and the youth, who couldn't vote, started to speak with violence. Great music came out of that time. There were still many peaceful demonstrations. But banks and corporations started getting bombed, such as the B of A in Isla Vista, CA. This was not flower power, it was about power.


My thoughts are... War is wrong. It begets violence. It creates an atmosphere where good people do bad things. I do believe that most of the soldiers who fought in the VNW were heroes and did what they were told to do. Many saved lives and gave their lives for the country who called them there. When the leaders of the country decide to go into battle and lay down the lives of young men and women, it is important that good men and women vote and select the right people to make those terrible decisions for us.

I think protest is a good way of letting the leaders know that we are against something, but it needs to be peaceful. Civil disobedience is more disruptive and has a deep affect as we have seen in India and in Birmingham.

Protesting is not safe but it is right. We should always be peaceful and humble and should not be surprise that if we start throwing stones, they will start shooting. Even if we don't throw stones, when we tie up commerce by blocking roadways, we are going to get clubbed on the head and hauled off to jail. Commerce doesn't stop for anyone. It is not safe to stand up to injustice. When someone who has power and wants more will use force to get it and keep it.

The sixties and seventies ended and many of those same protesters have become consumers who are now making money on injustice. We are no longer protesting the things that need to be stopped. We are raising our children to be consumers and not adding anything to the soul and conscience of this nation. We have sold off the farms that our grandfathers broke their backs trying to create and to build more boxes that look like the one right next to it. We have created fruit that look good and last on the shelf but taste like cardboard. We talk about living green so the earth will survive, but only if it doesn't inconvenience ourselves too much. We are concerned if our children are safe but haven't taught them how to survive and live. We have created worship which entertains and is environmentally comfortable.

We sold our homes for three times what we paid for it just a few years before. It wasn't about the value of a home, greed changes that to the amount we can get. We became those we were protesting against. We were morally bankrupt even when the economy was at it strongest.

Today, Kent State is a top University in Ohio and we don't protest enough!

29 April 2010

Growing old...

I have male pattern baldness, my back goes out, my beard is gray, I need my tri-focals to see. I am growing old.

But wait... I am not feeling bad, because I am growing. I know things today that I didn't know I knew. New things I know which are really old things. Things that have been around but I was too young to notice. Now I notice. Now I know.

I had a conversation today, which a few years ago, I would have said things like "thats not fair, that's not right... we did the right thing, they did the wrong thing, why are we having to pay..." Today I didn't say that, I realize I have seen this before and the outcome will not be about what is right or fair, but this is one of those times to settle and move on. This isn't worth the fight. I am not NOT fighting because I am chicken, but I have been around the block and know that this particular issue isn't where I want to spend my time.

The point of this isn't that I don't fight anymore, I hold my ground a lot, but I know when to fight and when not to. I appreciate the story out of John 8, the woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus. When confronted with Jesus' words, "'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' ...At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first..."

I want to be the kind of old guy who is not only the first to drop my stones, (I am not talking kidney stones here) but to not be so quick to pick them up in the first place. I do want to be first to protect the vulnerable, last to be an accuser of the innocents.

I would continue but I forgot what I was going to say...

20 March 2010

No child left behind...

At first I thought they were telling children "pull up your pants." You know, No child's left behind. Maybe people were tired of seeing children and youth's left cheek. Oh the Department of Formulation, I mean, Education.

I wonder a lot. I wonder more now that I am out of school than I did when I was in school.

I was a terrible student. I spent a lot of time in the principal's office, vice principal's office, after school detention, writing on the blackboard, which was green, I will not daydream in class... I will not daydream in class... I will not daydream in class... I will not daydream in class... I will not daydream in class... (Which, by-the-way, is when I became enamored with the ellipsis...)

I asked a lot of questions but rarely found the answers satisfying my curiosity. Most of my teachers told me that I wasn't very smart and there was always the possibility of being HELD BACK. I would have dreams where my school chums were running forward to play baseball or foursquare and I was being HELD BACK by big hands that smelled of coffee, cigarettes and chalk. I wasn't very good at reading my text books because I found myself reading the same sentence over and over again or realize I wasn't paying attention during the last two paragraphs or didn't remember where I put my text books.

Once I raised my hand and asked my math teacher why we needed to know this math stuff and his reply was, "...because next year the math will be harder and you will need to know this then." After a minute of trying to understand his response I raised my hand and asked the same question... I was then sent to the nurse's office to have my hearing tested. After school was out, then I was sent back into my classroom to write on the blackboard, which was green, I will not ask stupid questions...

It seemed that the classes where questions were asked were not the "remedial" classrooms but the "advanced" classrooms. My friends, most of whom were in those classrooms, told me about what they learned that day and how interesting it was and then I told them what I was being taught and even though we were the same age, we weren't be taught the same thing. I thought maybe I will learn what they were being taught and given permission to ask questions next year. No, and when I asked why, I learned how to spell "contumacious" by writing it on the blackboard, which was green, 100 times.

Once my friend, who is in the government in Washington DC, and I broke into the counseling office at my high school (I can tell you now because the statute of limitations are up) and all we did was look at our own file folders. I remember sitting in the corner, with a little light which shown from the security alarm, reading what teachers have said about me throughout my 11+ years of education. It took me a while but I read through my life from Kindergarten to Junior Year. In my early years, my teachers said they were fond of me but had concerns about my concentration and distracting the students around me. They recommended summer school. Then in the later elementary grades, there was a diagnosis that I needed speech therapy and I was beginning to fall behind. My music teacher wrote that I was a delightful lad and was learning well on my trombone, recommended that I travel to the other grade school to play with that band.

Sixth grade and through Junior High, my teachers had grave concerns that I was on the border of flunking and should be held back. There was even a note from my bus driver stating that I used a nasty word in the Japanese language and that I should not be allowed to ever ride his bus again, which I never rode it again. 申し訳ありません, Mr. Doi

High School, there was a lot of comments which said, "Tony is a delight to have in class when he is not being a distraction to me or the other students."

There were a couple of teachers who I loved because they were teaching me through other methods which used my modalities of strength instead of just through reading. I would stay after to ask my questions which were usually answered which led to another question which led to another...

After reading about me through the words of these teacher, I understood some things. One, there are many ways to learn, not just through reading. I needed to use my strong modalities to learn, primarily kinestetic, as well as ask questions so that I understood the concept, not just memorized the answer. Two, many teachers only know how to teach one way. Good teachers understand the child so that they can "train up a child in THE WAY they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it."

Blessings to those who read all the way to the end and didn't get distracted...