My view from the back pew by David L. Lewis http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/ en-us Sorry For Your Loss http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/62307 __Nathan Phillip Lewis, July 23, 1969, to April 15, 2015__ Maybe it's what we saw on some TV show. Maybe it is just what we've come to say because we don't really know what to say. For my part, I take a person at their word. I believe they really are sympathetic, even if they can't find other words. Overall "sorry" seems better than "I know how you feel"; unless, of course, the speaker really does know. The most strengthening words come from those who simply say: "I've been there. It will... Sun, 10 May 2015 19:40:02 -0400 Juror of Last Resort http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/61547 Being on a real live jury would have to be on my "bucket list". It's something I've always wanted to do; and have no personal, political, or philosophical reasons to not serve. I see myself as Henry Fonda in the 1957 movie "12 Angry Men" fighting my closed-minded fellow jurors. The truth would come out because I stood alone in its defense. Or, something like that. I did get called once for jury duty when we lived in St. Louis. The court building in St. Louis is a very large structure with... Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:03:32 -0500 50 Valentines http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/61297 My mother claimed for years that it was the same Friday when I had told her I wasn't interested in getting married for at least five years. She claimed she was sure it was right before Valentine's Day. I remember her saying that much clearer than I remember saying it. Anyhow, that was (according to mother) the Friday night I went roller skating at Hodges Rink in St. Louis, Missouri. And, yes, there was a time when I could roller skate long enough to finish a three-minute go-around. Other... Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:23:18 -0500 New Year, New World? http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/61026 The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café. (Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II, 1940) It has been reported, in The Brazil Times no less, that so-called "same-sex marriages" are now the law of the land -- at least for now and assuming that land is Indiana. As such things tend to go, by the end of 2015, it will be common enough to no longer be a story. I do not know how we right-wing conservative Christians are supposed to... Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:45:03 -0500 What keeps me blogging http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/60797 "Only a blockhead would write for anything but money" (quote attributed to 18th-century writer Samuel Johnson). Since about the fifth grade, teachers and others have said I write well. I've even made a few bucks over the years doing it (none from writing blogs). But, it is hard work and I am inherently lazy (just ask those same teachers and certain editors). As I like to paraphrase the late Larry Gelbart, creator of MASH, "I only write to find out what I'm thinking." About once a year I... Sun, 28 Dec 2014 20:27:03 -0500 Let Christmas begin! http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/60634 "Black Friday" with all its opening volley of chaos has come and gone. Let Christmas begin! Ever since I was a kid the combination of shopping chaos and the coming of Christmas has been something of an intellectual and philosophical dichotomy: When I was in the eighth grade we were assigned to write so many words on a topic of our own choice (or something like that, it has been a while). Given time and events and aging I don't know exactly what I wrote. Most clearly remembered as an... Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:58:46 -0500 To do God's work http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/60341 In between all the hoopla and hysteria about Ebola, one of TV's talking heads made a very interesting passing comment. She said that the doctors and nurses going to Africa were there "to do God's work" To quote the Vulcan bard, it is "fascinating" that we still think in terms of America sending out missions of mercy as doing God's work. We still speak of God's work as building up and not tearing down, of doing good and not evil. Fascinating also that doing God's work so often falls to... Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:58:44 -0500 We 49ers http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/60191 For those who follow sports at all a mention of the 49ers means the San Francisco NFL football team. Like all sports teams they've had their good years and bad, times of disappointment and drawbacks, victories and accomplishments. They even did good enough to get themselves an actual football place to play. The 49ers, coincidentally, began their transition into the NFL about 1949, 100 years after their namesakes, the 1849 gold seekers, flocked to California in response to the news of gold in... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:00:42 -0400 That Perfect Day http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/59996 He was, as now recalled, about 19 years old on that perfect day. It was just one of those days when the temperature and the humidity and the light fluffy white clouds floating wistfully across the bluest of skies made weathermen proud. He had a new, off-the-showroom-floor Buick convertible of an indescribably stunning green-blue color never to be seen again. He'd be using it later to pick up a pretty girl, whose name had long since been forgotten. There never would be a day after that perfect... Mon, 13 Oct 2014 12:56:21 -0400 Where is God in all this mess? http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/59779 If you have not been watching the news lately, don't. About once a week there is a report about a forest fire which has broken out and caused massive damage. Then, almost incidentally, it might be noted that this fire is just one of 30 or so burning across the nation. Turns out this fire phenomena is illustrative of what's going on from one end of the earth to the other. The whole world seems to be burning, with no limit to the number of fires demanding attention and no shortage of break-outs... Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:19:02 -0400 Prayer for Julia Pierson http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/59634 "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior..." (I Timothy 2.1-3, NIV) As this was being written the President of the United States of America was overseas doing whatever it is Presidents can do in the face of problems no man can resolve. Beyond my comprehension are the security... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:58:57 -0400 "Repent! The End is near!" http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/59274 The "Repent!" part is always useful ("He who is without sin" and all that). The "End is near!" part? Well, maybe. If you are one who braves TV news, chances are you're aware there is a lot of bad stuff going around -- wars and rumors of wars, plagues and pestilence, and yet another go-around involving the nation of Israel. One TV journalist old enough to remember said we live in the most dangerous times since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Only now with more out of control places where... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:08:41 -0400 Spanking Machine sign-ups http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/59030 Our two eldest granddaughters, bon bonny Britney and the original Hailee Lynn, will all too soon be starting their sophomore year at Northview High School. As the newest part of the back-to-school ritual they went with their father to get new laptop computers. As it is easy to tease granddaughters, I keep bugging them about getting fitted for a "teenage girl size spanking machine". I was first introduced to the spanking machine by Mr. Tish, long-time custodian at Walbridge grade school in St.... Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:42:01 -0400 The band, the fish, and the angels http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/58789 First granddaughter, the original Hailee Lynn, makes a vital contribution to the Northview Marching Band. At least that's how her proud grandparents see the thing. She marches while playing the clarinet. As I could not play even a Kazoo on pitch with or without marching, my admiration goes out to those who have the dedication to master any instrument. As proud, supportive grandparents we purchased from her two tickets to the great Rotary Fish Fry held to support the Northview and Clay City... Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:59:13 -0400 My father said http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/58539 No one keeps score. Okay, maybe one of our five children has, but I doubt it. Anyhow, best guess is that I cannot go through any full seven-day period without quoting something my father said or taught. It is interesting sitting here writing this that I can't come up with a list of things my father said; seems like it takes circumstance to bring something specific to mind. As I get old (and I am) it worries me that I've told the same thing to the same person too many times before. There is... Thu, 12 Jun 2014 16:28:18 -0400 Ordinary Pains Praying http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/58281 "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12.6,7, KJV) As a regular part of the morning services at Christ Community Church there is an open invitation for those who wish prayer. Petitioners are invited to come to the front of the sanctuary and prayers are offered by a team of individuals whom the Spirit of God has called... Wed, 21 May 2014 11:31:43 -0400 The Art of Hermeneutics http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/58164 One of the Bible verses my mother made me learn as a child, and which she herself repeated often, was II Timothy 2.15: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." This was one of many things which came back to me Sunday morning as Pastor Rich Laskowski of Christ Community Church continued the study on actually studying the Bible. As usual his was a good, solid teaching suitable for those willing to digest the "meat"... Mon, 12 May 2014 12:52:50 -0400 Assignment #1 http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/57998 Sunday morning something occurred to me at church and it seemed like there'd be a Scripture related to it. Of course, I knew about where to look. This is a way I feel-out whether the Spirit is trying to hammer something into my dull mind -- if I can more-or-less remember where it is in the Bible. A little more assured if I can remember the book and chapter, alerted if the exact verse comes to mind (or my Bible "coincidentally" opens thereto). Of course in all of this I cheat a little bit.... Mon, 28 Apr 2014 15:26:43 -0400 Demise of XP is killing me http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/57823 Those few and brave souls who read these meandering blogs with any regularity may be familiar with the fact that most of my "retirement" days are spent helping #2 son, Nathan, run Computer Central. If it weren't for this I'd have nothing to do but sit home and watch endless reruns of Law & Order. To paraphrase a famous phrase, "I don't know nothing about fixing computers." Mostly what I do is triage. I try to answer the phone if nobody else will, and talk to the people who just want somebody... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:05:45 -0400 BREAKING NEWS! http://www.thebraziltimes.com/blogs/1174/entry/57711 Taking the risk that one will be forgiven for paraphrasing Rachel, Queen of the Nightline: "Here is the latest news about the missing airplane.. "There is no new news about the missing airplane... "There has been no new news about the missing airplane for four days... "When there is new news about the missing airplane we'll let you know... "In the meantime we are not going to fill the airway with noise and call it news." It is amazing how often some "news" item happens to happen on a slow... Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:08:53 -0400