Library web site

Linkage begets linkage. Currently if you search “chester county tn library” or “Henderson tn library” the actual library web page does not make the first page. I didn’t venture past the second page because honestly, how often does any one go beyond the first?

Here’s the official web page for the Chester County Library, located in Henderson, TN, which is a great library and has great resources. Free wireless? Yes. DVDs? Yes. Oh, they also have lots of books and staff that will gladly help you find what you need.

Chester County TN Library

Did you get that site? What, you want a pic too?

I got that from the official web site, which is for the Chester County, TN library in Henderson, TN. Here’s the site. Did I already link that?

Chester County Library

Feel Good Friday video

Brief background, “Starfish and Coffee” used to get a lot of airplay on XM Kids when we listened to it back before my kids moved on to other music. It’s a great song, written by Prince. This video is of Matt Nathanson singing and having a great time with the song, and turning it in to a medley. It’s his version (minus the medley) that was popular on XM Kids.

Matt will be at Memphis in May next Friday and I’m jealous of anyone who gets to go. (though I might pick Elvis Costello on Saturday if I had to choose a day.)

Watch it now before Prince finds out and strips the audio. He’s mean like that.

Wesley is funny.

Photo by flickr user Serendigity.

On this day in Wesley’s journal, we have an entry from 1760 in which Wesley discusses the problems that Ireland has faced over the years. He bases his thoughts on a book written by Sir John Davis (which may be Sir John Davies, but I haven’t looked thoroughly) regarding the history of Ireland, and it’s interesting stuff, especially since it discusses issues which still resonate in Ireland. No, that’s not funny.

What’s funny is the entry above it, from January 16th:

One came to me, as she said, with a message from the Lord, to tell me that I was laying up treasures on earth, taking my ease, and minding only my eating and drinking. I told her God knew me better; and if He had sent her, He would have sent her with a more proper message.

I love that God worked through this man. It gives me hope that I can overcome my often sarcastic, petulant attitude.

Jesus and the folded cloth / napkin.

Last year someone asked me about an email they received regarding the resurrection. Here’s one version of it:

The Gospel of John (20: 7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin. Is that important? You’d better believe it! Is that significant? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now if the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, “I’m done”. But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the servant knew that the folded napkin meant, “I’m not finished yet.” The folded napkin meant, “I’m coming back!”

He is Coming Back!

For those of you with limited time, let me just say this. That’s bullshit. For those who want more info, keep reading.

Brett Royal posted this email recently on his blog, and the he agrees with me in questioning the authenticity of the story. I’m not a Hebrew scholar, and what I know about Jewish traditions at the time of Christ is roughly equivalent to zero, but what sense would this story make? Jesus knows and participates in master/servant relationships from the master perspective? He uses his burial clothes in the same way that people use napkins at a table?

The email explanation tells us nothing that the Bible isn’t already telling us. The clothes let us know one thing which is obvious. The body wasn’t stolen. He’s coming back has been assured to us in many passages of scripture. We don’t need a contrived, unsigned, unresearched email to tell Christians what they believe about the resurrection and the return of Christ.

There are a few sites that can back me up on this. is one of them. I also asked a professor who has well-known wisdom on the subject. This email tells us nothing that we didn’t already know from scripture. It tells us a lot about our culture though. More on that later.

Do you look like Jesus?

This is one of the many images you can find if you search online for “Jesus of Nazareth”. But of course, we don’t really know what Jesus looked like.

This is also not a picture of Jesus. It’s Andy Alexis-Baker, who runs a great web site called Jesus Radicals. In addition to not being Jesus, Andy Alexis-Baker is also not Jacques Ellul. This:
is Jacques Ellul. He really doesn’t look like either of the other pics, does he? However, because Andy was the first person I can remember speaking Ellul’s name, I associate Andy with Ellul.

Ellul was a theologian and philosopher, and if you go to Jesus Radicals, you can also tell that he has had a huge influence on Andy. Andy presented Ellul to me. He did it in a way that made me want to know more. Another friend of mine, who doesn’t seem to have a pic online (but he’s a good looking guy, trust me) later mentioned Ellul to me as well. I wanted to know more.

Most of us probably don’t look like Jesus, but we are charged with presenting him, with discussing him and explaining how he has influenced us. We have to demonstrate this, not just speak it. I’m grateful that Ellul and Andy have both taken this task seriously.

Pancake humor.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives keeps an online collection of 19th century newspapers. I believe the writers and readers of these newspapers were completely insane. Perhaps it was because they sprinkled lead on their eggs each morning, or their tendency to put opium in their puddings and Methodist sermons. To demonstrate this insanity, I offer you pancake stories from 19th century newspapers:

This one was in two different newspapers 10 years apart. It was just that good a joke, I suppose:

“John,” said a stingy old hunks to his hired man,”do you know how many pancakes you’ve eaten?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Well, you’ve eaten fourteen.”
“Yes? Well, you count and I’ll eat.”

I don’t even know if I can believe this one, but it was right next to scarlet fever news and other items:

One directly Pancake Tuesday related:

Shrove Tuesday and its Pancakes.

To-day is generally known as Shrove Tuesday, though the fact that it is so-called because in olden times people shrove themselves, that is confessed their sins to priests, is as generally ignored. The light-heared French have given it another name, Mardi Gras, signifying “flesh-meat Tuesday,” the day when the “farewell to flesh” is pronounced. The masquerading and other amusements indulged in are by the antiquarians traced back to the Bacchanalia of the Greeks and the Saturnalia of the Romans, and Christian clergy have violently denounced them. In “merry England” the day was celebrated by the burning of effigies, cock-fights, throwing at cocks, games of football, and the “barring-out” of the schoolmaster. One of the customs then in vogues has been preserved to this day, principally among the Irish, and consists in the cooking and eating of large quantities of pancakes. In one of these is placed a ring, and the lucky finder is assured that he or she will be married within the coming year.

Aunt Jemima pancake flour has been around since at least 1892, and according to an ad “A Chicago policeman became polite from eating pancakes made from Aunt Jemima’s Pancake Flour.”

Pancakes also killed people on at least two occasions, both due to arsenic accidentally being put in the pancakes.

Mmmm pancakes.

Pancakes, lectionary and being subject.

So it’s Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Pancake Day. I made pancakes and bacon for the kids. I ate some bacon, but I’m doing without the pancakes. They tend to make me sleepy, especially with the required glass of milk. Of course, I didn’t do anything with Fat Tuesday or Ash Wednesday when I was growing up, but my children are far more familiar with the traditions of Lent and Holy Week. This is partly because of a seeming increase of Mardi Gras observation (Jackson, TN has 2 Mardi Gras parades now) and also because of the attempts by Methodist churches to stick to the Lectionary.

I’m glad the Methodist church has returned to the Lectionary. It gives guidance. It allows for us to be subject to something. I was recently talking to an acquaintance who, though she never stated it directly, made it pretty clear that she was not interested in being subject to anything. She was guided by her own desires in her work and home. If she couldn’t do it her way, she wasn’t really interested in doing it at all.

Of course, we all get like that. But if we can agree to be subject about some things, then we can work harder at being subject to one another. If the church can look at the pulpit and say “on this day, this is the text we will read” then it allows us to agree on something, which is better than we might do without such things.

Tomorrow, I will go get ashes on my head. I will be told that I am going to be dust. I will be there with others who will be reminded of the same thing, and we will remember the saints who have gone before us and with whom we share the life of the Kingdom. Come Lord Jesus.

Random thoughts on Transfiguration

I’ve been looking at this text all week. I’ve read the other parts of the Lectionary. I’ve read the commentary on the Lectionary. All I have is an unformed ball of clay. Literally. I bought sculpey. Plain white sculpey. Of course Robby had to have his own pack too. I guess it’s a start. It fits with transfiguration any way.

Of course, part of my mission tomorrow will include a sort of “here comes Lent” reminder. Very few people in the class (including me) were raised on the Lectionary/Liturgical year. I remember a youth group pastor talking about Lent and he brought a Roman Catholic friend with him like show and tell.

How inadequate Peter, James and John must have felt. John’s gospel doesn’t include the story. Maybe he didn’t even feel he had the words for the event? It’s no wonder they offered to build tents, tabernacles, monuments to Elijah, Moses and Jesus. It was Jesus’ transfiguration, but the disciples were transformed too.

They were told to be silent, they were told John the Baptist was Elijah. They were told that Jesus would rise from the dead. They had more information than they could process and they still had to go on, go forward, move to the next moment. They couldn’t stop and build monuments.