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Rev. Dr. Bill Peterson is editor of still faith-full.com. His professional experience includes Presbyterian (USA) pastor, college administrator and private practice counselor. He has served churches in Indiana, Washington, and Idaho.

This is the final entry in Still Faith-FULL

A Special Report

Still Faith-FULL’s ‘Final Day’

 

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything, and a
season for every activity under the heavens.

 

Kathy and I have discerned that it is ‘time’ to discontinue the Still Faith-FULL ‘family’ of e-releases. This has not been the easiest of the many decisions we have made as a couple, but it is one that we both feel is truly ‘timely.’
 
Although we finalized our planning a couple of weeks ago, unanticipated though welcomed conversations have transpired since that time which have confirmed the wisdom of such a decision. Said conversations include an invitation to serve as the transitional pastor for Mount Vernon First Presbyterian Church. Given that Mt. Vernon is relatively close to Mansfield, the good news is that there is no need for us to move to cover the responsibilities of such an appointment.
 
At this time we anticipate that as of the first of the year we will close the Constant Contact distribution link, but we will continue to keep the www.stillfaith-full.com  website open for access to Kathy’s e-book One Woman’s Journey: From Abuse to Empowerment. I may also post copies of the sermons I’ll be giving at Mt. Vernon First.
 
A hearty and sincere ‘Thank You!’ to all who have followed this blog through the years, as well as to those who are just discovering it.
 
Bill 

This is the final entry in Still Faith-FULL

A Special Report

Still Faith-FULL’s ‘Final Day’

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything, and a

season for every activity under the heavens.

 

Kathy and I have discerned that it is ‘time’ to discontinue the Still Faith-FULL ‘family’ of e-releases. This has not been the easiest of the many decisions we have made as a couple, but it is one that we both feel is truly ‘timely.’
 
Although we finalized our planning a couple of weeks ago, unanticipated though welcomed conversations have transpired since that time which have confirmed the wisdom of such a decision. Said conversations include an invitation to serve as the transitional pastor for Mount Vernon First Presbyterian Church. Given that Mt. Vernon is relatively close to Mansfield, the good news is that there is no need for us to move to cover the responsibilities of such an appointment.
 
At this time we anticipate that as of the first of the year we will close the Constant Contact distribution link, but we will continue to keep the www.stillfaith-full.com  website open for access to Kathy’s e-book One Woman’s Journey: From Abuse to Empowerment. I may also post copies of the sermons I’ll be giving at Mt. Vernon First.
 
A hearty and sincere ‘Thank You!’ to all who have followed this blog through the years, as well as to those who are just discovering it.
 
Bill  

 

Enveloped, Sheltered, and Embraced

Enveloped in Your Light, may I be
a beacon to those in search of light.
Sheltered in Your Peace, may I offer
shelter to those in need of peace.
Embraced by Your Presence, so
may I be present to others.

 

RABBI RAMI SHAPIRO

Rami M. Shapiro, commonly called “Rabbi Rami”, is an award-winning author,
teacher, and speaker on the subjects of liberal Judaism and contemporary
spirituality. He served for ten years as Adjunct Professor of Religion at
Middle Tennessee State University.

Today’s Riddle for Seniors – The ‘Just for Fun Entry’ for Friday 12/29/17

My Final Opportunity to
Poke Fun at Senior Citizens
as the 
Friday Just for Fun

for 12/29/17



 

A little silver-haired lady calls her neighbor and says,”Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to get started.”Her neighbor asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”

The lady says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”

Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table. He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, “First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.” He takes her hand and says, “Secondly, I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of tea, and then…” he said with a deep sigh

 
…………
 
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

“Let’s put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.”
Once again, I have Paul Graves to thank for
sharing this bit of humor with me
.

Editor’s Choice – December 28, 2017

As each New Year approaches, Kathy and I receive a
wonderful gift from our long-time friends Larry and
Maridel Engles. The gift is a calendar for the upcoming
year which features twelve of Larry’s beautiful photos
that he’s taken during the prior year. The photo above
is illustrative of his keen eye for capturing a view of
a volcanic peak whose appearance leads those within
sight range to typically say to themselves silently, or
to others verbally “The Mountain is Out.”

Sallie McFague – Where Faith Is Practiced

Sallie McFague on
Where Faith is Practiced

 
How can my life be a reflection of divine love
in this time and place? The classic Christian
phrase for discipleship – the image of Christ –
means that we were made by God to become
like God, loving all others, loving universally.
 
 
– Sallie McFague
Blessed Are the Consumers:
Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint
Fortress Press: 2013 

Sallie McFague

 

Sallie McFague is an American feminist Christian theologian, best known for her analysis of how metaphor lies at the heart of how we may speak about God.
She has applied this approach in particular to ecological issues, writing
extensively on care for the earth as if it were God’s ‘body’.

The WOW! for December 27, 2017 – Seeking to Save Beached Whales

WOW entries are compiled and distributed by the
Rev. Dr. William D. Peterson, a retired Presbyterian Church (USA) 
Teaching Elder/Minister of the Word and Sacrament.
Today’s entry marks the ‘final’ such entry, as the ending of the
calendar year of 2017, also marks the ending of the production
and distribution of this weekly entry in Still Faith-FULL.
 
Thanks to all who have let me know your appreciation through
the years of what originally, as the word ‘WOW’ was meant to
mean ‘Whacked Out Wednesday.’ <g>
 
Bill 

See the struggle to save
10 Beached Whales

 

 

If you ever need an affirmation of the goodness of humanity, watch this video showing a group of people banding together to save a pod of beached whales. When ten 45-ton sperm whales stranded on a shore in Indonesia, locals and animal welfare groups  quickly helped them back to sea,  even using boats to pull them.

It’s unclear why whales beach themselves, but this heartbreaking theory stands out: if one member of the pod becomes stranded, the rest of the group follows as an act of solidarity.

Kent Ira Groff – Mindfulness

What Makes for Mindfulness?

 
Rabbis have said the miracle was not the burning bush — but
rather that Moses turned aside to look!  (Exodus 3:1-3).
In other words,

 Mindfulness.

 

In the poem below, for us “plucking blackberries”
might mean checking our electronic devices or
Smart Phones instead of paying attention to a
sunset or another person’s countenance!
* * * * *
Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush aflame with God.
Only those who see take off their shoes.
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
 Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an English poet of the Victorian era,
popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime. Born in
County Durham, the eldest of 12 children, Elizabeth Barrett wrote poetry
from about the age of six. Her mother’s collection of her poems forms one of the largest extant collections of juvenilia by any English writer.
At 15 she became ill, suffering intense head and spinal pain for the rest of her life. Later in life she also developed lung problems, possibly tuberculosis. She took laudanum for the pain from an early age, which
is likely to have contributed to her frail health.

Editor’s Choice #945 – National Geographic’s Animal Photo of the Year

FACE TO FACE IN A RIVER IN BORNEO
 
A male oragutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a
river in Borneo, Indonesia. Rampant palm oil cultivation
threatens this critically endangered ape, forcing the normally
arboreal species to resort to unusual behavior – such as wading
through crocodile infested rivers – in order to survive.

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/nature-photographer-of-the-year-2017/gallery/winners-all/1


Bill Writes:
The photo above haunts me every time I look at it, and I’ve looked at it
periodically over the past several days. I don’t know that it will impact you in the ways that it has me, but I’m attaching the link so you can view it full size on your computer screen. When I do so, what I see is a remarkably humanoid creature whose facial expression ‘says so much.’

I initially keystroked a comment for today’s Editor’s Choice on Weds, the 13th,  which is nine days prior to the date of the final entries in Still Faith-FULL It is time to make different choices as to how time will be spent that Kathy and I currently invest in seeking to insure that what I, or she, enter in one or another part of the ‘family’ of offerings that go out via Constant Contact and the website www.stillfaith-full.com.

I am editing my comments on the morning of the 26th, and in reviewing the paragraph above, I realize how much has changed between the 13th and now the morning of the 26th. I wrote the following message on that date:

I will stop blogging, at least through the vehicle of Still Faith-FULL.   A check of the Constant Contact stats, indicates that an astounding-seeming 3,421 separate communications of differing types have been circulated since I first used their services on March 2, 2013. It has (hopefully obviously) been a labor of love on our parts, so I don’t wish in any way to imply that I am whining or regretting the time invested, but I do know that it is now time to use my and our time differently.

A few days later I received an e-mail from a gentleman in Mt. Vernon, OH, which is about 25 or so miles from Mansfield. He asked if I would consider being the ‘pulpit supply’ or ‘transitional’ pastor for Mt. Vernon First Presbyterian Church. Since that time, he and another elder from the congregation have visited us in our home, and this past Sunday a.m., Kathy and I were present for the Christmas Eve Sunday morning worship service.

The elder with whom I’d been in e-mail contact, and who along with another elder had visited Kathy and me in our home earlier in the week, was the individual who led worship and preached. We had a wonderful conversation in our home, and this layperson whose background is in a scientific field, was the worship leader and gave the sermon, doing a masterful job in both roles. But the attendance was sparse, which was made even more apparent in that the sanctuary is a beautiful and large facility.

So, once again, in ways that remain a ‘mystery’ to me no matter how many times I’ve experienced them in my life, there truly is a Spirit of God that moves in remarkable ways to let me know that while I may think or even believe ‘I’m in charge of my destiny,’ there are spiritual realities and forces far beyond my comprehension (even though stories of such appear again and again in Scripture), which remind me to avoid getting smug and content in my self-driven false sense of reality.

Bill

 

America’s Party of God doubles down on Trump

America’s Party of God doubles down on Trump

By Mary Sanchez, Tribune Content Agency
Dec 17, 2017

 

Mary Sanchez
 

Is God a Democrat or a Republican?

To the adherents to the American Renewal Project, there is no doubt that the Creator is on board with the party of Trump, and that in return that party must do more to live up to its godly mandate. That’s why it is encouraging more conservative preachers to stretch beyond the pulpit and campaign for GOP seats.

The evangelical Christian group has organized a road show traveling across the country to encourage and train clergy for public office — a big push that began in 2015, aimed at the 2016 races.

In my hometown, Kansas City, an upcoming event will feature Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley as a special guest. He is running in 2018 to unseat Missouri’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Claire McCaskill.

To get an idea of what the American Renewal Project (and, presumably, Hawley) stands for, consider the road show participants. One is the British expat social critic Os Guinness. In August, Guinness told CBN News that the American church has lost its “saltiness” and professed to be scandalized that Christians, though “a huge majority of Americans,” have “less cultural influence than tiny minorities” such as the LGBTQ population.

American Renewal Project sends a siren call to Republicans who view modernism as an apocalyptic peril. It appeals to religious conservatives who cannot reconcile themselves to marriage equality and are convinced that political correctness has struck down their rights of free speech. Central to the group’s doctrine is the belief that Christianity is under siege in the U.S.

Sen. Ted Cruz, former presidential contender Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are also adherents of the group’s programs, called “Issachar Training,” which takes its inspiration from scripture, 1 Chronicles 12:32: “Men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”

Among the American Renewal Project’s fellow travelers is the highly debunked evangelical author and activist David Barton of the Texas-based WallBuilders. Barton pushes the theory that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious Christian men and that Congress initially intended for the Bible to be used in public schools, along with other quaint notions meant to displace the ideals of a secular society.

American Renewal’s founder, David Lane, has been called out for years by the Southern Poverty Law Center, mainly for his anti-LGBTQ stances and goal of “restoring a Judeo-Christian culture to the country.”

It seems like evangelical conservatives have been saying this for years, but it continues to work. In 2016, evangelicals played a key role in delivering the nation Donald Trump as president. He’s their guy. More than 80 percent of white evangelicals cast their ballots supporting Trump, according to exit polling.

That very fact raises interesting questions about the status of their so-called godliness. Evangelicals (white ones, anyway) apparently felt permitted to ignore Trump’s history as an admitted groper of women, along with other patent indications of personal corruption. They rationalized Trump’s race-baiting birther attacks on Barack Obama’s legitimacy as a U.S.-born citizen. And they’ve managed to convince themselves that fears of terrorism legitimize unconstitutional restraints on Muslim travelers and hordes of Mexicans and other undesirables that supposedly are swarming the border to cause mayhem.

But now Trump is descending into meltdown mode, huffing and puffing in most un-Christian terms on the world stage.

Will evangelicals continue to stand by him?

Even Chad Connelly, the head of faith outreach for the Republican National Committee, threw in the towel. He quit recently, citing an atmosphere that was “disrespectful, antagonistic and unacceptable.”

Certainly, faith and has guided many fine elected officials. But a great many scoundrels have shrouded their iniquity with the cloak of faith. That may fool their coreligionists, but it doesn’t fool others.

It is difficult for many Americans to understand how evangelicals can possibly believe that Trump is standing up for Christian morality and principles. It appears, rather, that he has used them just as he has used and abused so many suckers before in his reckless career.

If people of faith insist that their political favorites uphold their values and interests, that is fine. But they should not be surprised by the reaction of those whose rights and interests their faith would trample.

Nor should they be surprised when, after their candidates are found morally reprobate, the rest of us hold them accountable.

Evangelicals own Trump. Now, knowing what we all know, will they disown him?


Mary Sanchez is a reporter who examines the cultural changes sweeping across America. The daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Sanchez believes that “true culture is so much deeper” than language or location. Sanchez is more than the Latina voice you’ve been seeking for your readers; she’s the compelling columnist who will shine a new light on a whole range of issues, from gender equity and education to church and state, which continue to shape the nation’s politics.

Reflections by a Now-Deceased Mentor from Christmas Day 2016

A Reflection from Christmas Day 2016,
by Dr. Edward K. DeJean, an Individual I
considered to be a Friend, an ‘Elder of the
Tribe’, and One of the “Most Unforgettable
People” I’ve had the privilege of meeting.

Ed DeJean portraying Mark Twain

Each Saturday when his health and life circumstances permitted, Ed would circulate to his beloved extended family and a wide circle of friends what he labeled as ‘The Report.’ While his spouse Elinor was still living he would refer to her as the ELitor, and to himself as the Editor. Following Elinor’s death, and when his own health permitted him to send out a Saturday Report, he came to refer to himself as ‘Dr. Droll.’

Ed and Elinor had six children – the oldest being a male, and the other five being female. Although none of the six remained in their small Southern Indiana home town once they reached adult status, their ‘home town’ and their distinctive and beloved parents, stayed with them no matter how far they traveled or ultimately resided. The youngest DeJean child, Stacy, also lived the furthest away geographically, namely having married an Australian of Greek origin. Tragically, she was not only the first sibling to die (of cancer), but also predeceased both parents.

Ed was what is called a ‘layman’ in Presbyterian lingo. but he wrote more books about his own evolving faith than all but a few ordained ministers, and there was no doubt that he was the ‘patriarch’, and Elinor the ‘matriarch’ of Salem Presbyterian Church. In terms of his family status and role, Ed referred to himself as the “Paytriach”, and Elinor as the “Maytriarch.”

Ed died on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.


This Saturday Report from
one year ago, represents quite
possibly his final attempt to put
into words his conclusions
about faith and religion.


Bill


“Saturday” Report 12-25-16

 

Dear Readers:

 

Today the Christmas Season comes to a resting point interval. The years of 2015 and 2016 have not been the best years of my life. They have not been the worst. They have been the two in which I thus far have learned more about my mortality. Life is not structured of “better” and “worse” years. It is composed of “less” and “more” awareness years. The next two? or fraction thereof, will give me an even greater awareness of mortality.

My claim is not uniquely Christian, although I subscribe to those sound principles put forth by that religion. My Spirit is “Universal Possibilitist” that existing within All humans (not the specific characters contained in the narratives of an ancient religious book).

I am loyal to a certain nation when it practices justice but my citizenship is a speck in The Just Universe that the Arc bends toward!

This Arc does not bend through religions (creeds, dogmas, or books) it bends through existential human Spirits and Practices.

In looking for a succinct quote more easily understood than the stuffy rhetoric above, I would offer the following –

“The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one’s religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one’s religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life–hence it is a valuable possession to him.”


– Quote from  Mark Twain, a Biography
Newsletter contents by
Edgar K DeJean, aka Dr. Droll