Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ABC Wednesday - J

J is for a Jeep ride in the Judean Desert. It doesn't take much for the terrain to drastically change in Israel. One day some friends invited me to join them on a jeep ride into the desert. We started at the King David Hotel where they were staying and within 30 minutes we were outside of Jerusalem on a wild adventure into the unknown. We stopped at one point and our crazy driver pulled out a mat for us to sit on as he told us stories of the desert.Pretty quiet and desolate although we could hear birds chirping. Odd eh? But Israel is a grand crossroad for migrating birds.
The driver was friends with a Bedouin family who lived in the desert. We stopped at their tin huts and they were very hospitable towards us. We received a cup of hot tea and a lot of cheer even though we couldn't understand one another.
Their home.
This shepherd was crossing the road with his donkey and furry little charges
The Judean desert is filled with all sorts of life Just waiting for discovery.
If you follow this link you'll find lots of other wonderful ABC Wednesday J entries.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like....

What?? It's beginning to look like Christmas on September 20. Wrong. Totally and undeniable WRONG.

Today at Kohl's I saw six fake Christmas trees adorned with shiny ornaments, at least 10 racks of all sorts of themed ornaments waiting for a happy Christian or at least Christmas celebrating home, Christmas stockings, wreaths and other stupid decorations. I was not a happy pastor!

This is the earliest that I've seen Christmas beginning to bud in the stores in the US. When I was a kid Thanksgiving heralded in the red and green glitz. When my kids were kids, you know what I mean, the merchandisers up'ped the kick off to Halloween. They had just about gotten rid of the leftover candy corn and Snickers on the Halloween sale table in the grocery stores before bringing out candy canes and ribbon candy.

But September 20 - BAH HUMBUG!!!

Last year, in Jerusalem I was starved for a little Christmas glitter. I mean STARVED. I would have been happy with some musak tunes like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" or better yet Trans-Siberian Orchestra's pulsating and ever so nauseating rendition of "Carol of the Bells". A little flocking on the mannequins would have been nice or some red and green somethings or other in the windows.

But not in Israel where Chanukiah's trump. I have to admit, it was nice not to get caught up in the Ho Ho Ho frenzy. Finally I could concentrate on the meaning of Advent and Christmas and the quiet beauty of the land at that time of year. Still, none the less, I missed my family and our traditions, my friends, the getting ready, the church greening and the scriptures of Advent.

My Christmas famine was filled though when I went to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. OK, so they overdo it in the West Bank in Manger Square with the party hats, the flashing star necklaces, cotton candy, the chintzy Christmas lights and a poster of Arafat posthumously wishing me a Peaceful Christmas. But at least it was something to mark the day. That's right DAY. Not the three month period of Christmas. It was never supposed to be like this I'm sure.

But I suppose that as long as the retail world is intertwined, no, overshadows Christ's birth we will welcome the Christmas season on September 20.

Does it have to be feast or famine?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The blueberry season is nearly finished in New Hampshire but we managed to pick over 5 pounds of absolutely delicious blueberries. The only thing better than fresh blueberries is a freshly baked blueberry pie. Stars are courtesy of my daughter Tina.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ABC Wednesday - I

The INNS of New Hampshire in the Lakes Region of Lake Winnepesaukee. New England is dotted with Inns of all shapes, sizes, and amenities. On a recent weekend in New Hampshire I shot these photos of just a few of some of the Inns. We were a little early for the splendid fail foiliage that New England is so well known for. Oh well, another trip! The Inn at Mill Falls in Meredith, New Hampshire.
The Inn at Smith Cove in Gilford, New Hampshire.
Ames Farm Inn in West Alton, New Hampshire. All three Inns are accessible by boat on Lake Winnepesaukee.
This is Little Mark ISLAND. It is one of over 200 islands in Lake Winnepesauke. Little Mark is only 50 yards or so as the crow flies (that's New Hampshire talk for not far) from the shore. There is one house, one boathouse, hopefully one outhouse, and only one family who inhabit Little Mark Island seasonally.
And for your ICE CREAM needs you must drive to Sawyer's Dairy Bar. Best ice cream in the Lake region since the 1940's.

For other entries to ABC Wednesday click here!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ho Hum

I keep scratching my head and trying very hard to find life interesting since I've been back in the States. How could such mundane things seem funny or interesting to me when I was in Jerusalem but now that I'm back the same, or closely related activities seem dull and lackluster.

Take for instance walking. Each day I would walk at least an hour in Jerusalem to somewhere and someplace. I'd walk to get groceries, walk to the Old City to see a friend, or hightail it to a museum or lecture. Walking was essential. Here a walk has to be intentional and at best I walk out of the house and walk around the block a few times.

I don't pass anyone, don't see anyone. I see the same houses with their lawn jockeys and impatiens blooming. If I had seen lawn jockeys in Jerusalem I would have taken photos from all angles and perhaps would have thought up some cutsey blog entry. But really, who thinks lawn jockey's are interesting?

My dog enjoys them. He barks at them a stares them down and when they don't move he figures he has done their job and moves on growling like he has saved the neighborhood from menacing miniature metal people holding large rings.
At least one of us enjoys the walk.
Here's a completely unrelated photograph - it's not an alien spaceship although you might think it is by the eery colors and shape. It's a photo of a hot tub that I frequent. The water toy is new and casts colored light inside of the tub. Quite nice, quite nice.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ABC Wednesday - H

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to HARBOR Yard HOME of the Bridgeport Bluefish, Connecticut's local baseball club. HUNDREDS of people come to watch the Bluefish in HEART throbbing action. Here's HOMEPLATE before the game was ready to start. The Bluefish are HEATING up on the field.
Of course what's a baseball game without HOTDOGS. Park City's finest. Here's HANDSOME Chuck HOISTING one down now. Whoa girls, a little HEAVY on the condiments. But so HEAVENLY.
The opposing players from York just HANGING out. They were losing but giving it their last HARRAH.
HALLELUJAH A HOMERUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go Bluefish
For more action on H go to ABC Wednesday and see what's HANGING around.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ABC Wednesday

I've joined a new blog group, ABC Wednesday. Each Wednesday photos, poetry, artwork, what have you is posted that features a letter in the alphabet. This week's letter...G. You can see lot's more g's if you follow the link here.

G is for...Girls, Gates and the Galilee
These three girls were in the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. All of the people throughout India loved to have their photographs taken.
This little sweetie was sitting on a street curb in Katmandu, Nepal. She was sitting alongside another little girl then, they were sitting on my lap!
These girls begged me to take their picture on the same street in Katmandu.
This beautiful girl was at a sidewalk school in Hyderbad, India. These schools were set up by Friends of Christ in India a mission outreach of Greenfield Hill Congregational Church in Fairfield, CT. The families are pavement dwellers and the parents are rag pickers. Often the children are sent out to work at a very young age. The school is designed to combat child labor and give the children an education.
This young girl lives in Darajat, a Bedouin village in the Negev. I spent a week with a friend living with a host family learning Arabic.
I found this girl in the town of Nuewiba in the Sinai.
And this girl was selling jewelry.
I've just moved back from a year in Jerusalem. Here are a few shots of the GATES surrounding the Old City. This one is New GATE.
Here's Jaffe GATE.
Damascus GATE.
And here we have Dung GATE which leads to the Kotel.

Finally, the sun rises over the Sea of Galilee.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


At sundown last night the Muslim observance of Ramadan began. It is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. While it is fixed on the lunar calendar it varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. Muslims are to fast from food, drink, and sex in great efforts to be pious. It is also the month in which Allah revealed the Holy Quran as a guide to the prophet Muhammad.

The above photo is of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif in Arabic was built in 691 CE and enlarged by Herod the Great. It is built on the site of the second Jewish Temple which was destroyed in 70 CE.

For my Muslim friends in Jerusalem, I'm not sure what the correct greeting is but, may Allah rain peace upon you during Ramadan.