Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Questions on Baptism

There are days I don't know what to think about baptism. You would assume that since I'm into my 58th year of attending Church of Christ services, that my understanding of all aspects of baptism would be reinforced with rebar and encased in concrete. And some days it is.
To my simple mind, when the New Testament is examined as a whole, baptism is essential to salvation. You know the scriptures I could quote...they are as much a part of my upbringing as the belt my Mom used for frontier justice. You are also familiar with the urgency of baptism mentioned in the Acts conversions.
But there are days that the solid structure of my baptism beliefs show hairline cracks. Here's why:
1. What to do about all the "he that believes shall be saved" scriptures that omit mentioning baptism.
2. What to do about the thousands and thousands of extraordinary believers who live lives of incredible faith, devotion, and service...people with whom I don't want MY life compared...who haven't been baptized and obviously are comfortable with their decision.
3. What to do with grace and baptism: to wit, if God's grace is sufficient to forgive my sins of commission and omission, isn't it just as capable of forgiving someone's theological mistake, assuming neglecting baptism falls into that category?
I will say this. One thing that drives me nuts, that sometimes makes me think that I must be missing something, is why there are those thousands of believers who have somehow decided that baptism (for whatever reason) isn't for them. I mean, if there were a one in a million chance that baptism was essential for salvation, wouldn't you hightail it to the nearest baptistry? I have never understood the "hangup" so many folks have about something so easy to do.
I know we aren't the final arbitors of a person's eternal destiny. And I guess I can't make a final and sure ruling in this matter. I just wish it were as simple as it was to me when I, as a 9 year-old, stepped into the chilly waters one Sunday night and was born again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Green, Green Grass of Home...Ugh

I am whupped.

The recent rain has caused an explosion of green growth around our place. I wish I could tell you that it was all grass. Sadly, it's mostly weeds.

About five years ago, I bought into Howard Garrett's "natural way". I went sans chemicals on my property; instead of herbicides, insecticides, and Ferti-Lome, I scattered Texas green sand, lava granules, and cow manure. It may have been good for the environment, but it was sad mistake for my extensive yard.

Bermuda gave way to dallis grass and dandelions. All of the cure-alls ole Howard recommended didn't work a bit. Then the drought hit, water restrictions were enforced, and what had been a nice spread of green became a scruffy and eroded spread of brown.

I'm devoting my spring and fall to restoring things. It takes time and effort. And I'm not getting any younger, you know. But as for now, gimme them chemicals, baby. I intend to bury Mr. Garrett under lush expanses of thick, green sod.

Friday, March 16, 2007

This is killing me...

No, not my torn rotator cuff, although that has me pondering my will to live. I had always wondered what a gunshot felt like...now I know. But I want to discuss a torment of a different kind: the abuse of our language. What I am about to reveal is driving me nuts, tearing away at my mental equilibrium.

Yes, folks, it's corporate America and their fondness of deliberate misspellings in their business names. Example: Kwik-Kar. I ask you, why not Quick-Car? How about Kwik-Kopy? Did they think that this cutesy-wootsey substitution of letters would result in a deluge of customers? DID THEY?? Kudos to the companies that don't cave in to this dreadful pattern. How stupid would it look if it were Barnz & Nobull?

You know something's up when "In" becomes "Inn", "forever" becomes "4ever", "be" becomes "bee", "easy" becomes "EZ" and so on.

The most egregious sin I've seen was not a deliberate misspelling but sheer ignorance. A Dodge dealership opened on I-30 and called itself, "Chaperral Dodge". Their sign had the mistake, all their letterheads had it wrong, also all their advertising. When contacted, they said they found out too late about the misspelling and couldn't afford to redo everything.

As I wonder how all this got started, I'm tempted to think it began with The Beatles.

By the way, I'm ashamed of you for not knowing it was really supposed to be "Chaparral".

Monday, March 12, 2007


I had the rest of my life planned out when I was in my late 20's. At the time, I was heavily into fitness - running 50 miles a week and even a marathon. The mindset was that I would continue to run forever...forever being fit, forever being healthy.
But then one day while running around White Rock Lake twice, I felt a pain in my left knee. Little did I know that the spiral downward had started. The resulting discomfort ruined my marathoning career and limited me to occasional three-mile runs. But still, I was fit.
Then the left hip started acting up. Two exploratory surgeries later, the docs concluded that they were clueless. Nothing jumped out as a source of the pain.
Then the biggee happened. A herniated disk sent fragments into some nerves that ran to my left knee, pretty much permanently crippling me. It's impossible for me to run, and one-mile walks have to be followed by a week off. The great dreams of my 20's have disintegrated into so much shredded cartilege.
Now, even though I taught 7th graders for 36 years, my mental faculties seem to be intact. Note: some close relatives will dispute this. But I've spent so much time lately with my mom and my mother-in-law that I know the inevitable will happen. The memory will begin to fail, the normal things of life will start to be confusing, and I will repeat myself without ever knowing it.
My mom is about as sharp intellectually as they come. Now, in her 85th year, the easy things are becoming tedious and baffling to her. It's painful to watch this happening. And I'm sure she never thought that she would ever turn the wrong way down a one-way street in a familiar neighborhood (like she did last week).
To me, this is way scarier than losing my ability to run. I don't want my wife and kids to see me deteriorate mentally (even more than now). I'm begging for Jesus to arrive on the scene prior to this happening.
I'm so glad, however, that God has a plan for my future that's even better than the one I had in my twenties. I'm very anxious to check out the living arrangements in my mansion built on high. I feel for the non-believers who think we die and that's it. What a tragedy. What a motivation for me to spread the good news of Jesus and the heaven that awaits those who love Him!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Elusive Excellence

Sometimes, excellence is the product of preparation mixed with luck. Since my hobby is aviation photography, I strive constantly to get the perfect shot. It's an ongoing process. Just in the past few months, I've learned that an aircraft photographs better if the sun is directly at your back, not just behind you in any sort of angle.
Every time I pack the gear and head out to shoot, I desperately want the perfect shot. Of the thousands and thousands of times I've pressed the button on my camera, I think I've gotten maybe two or three pictures that I'm totally pleased with. It's the thrill of the hunt, I guess.
I bring all this up because of the above photograph. This amazing shot shows the northern lights and the Big Dipper. What a great confluence of wonderful stuff for the photographer!
I can only hope I'm ready when my own confluence occurs.