Sinatra’s Paradox

   Philosophers will call it in future fits of cogitation, Sinatra’s Paradox, in honor of one of the most celebrated songs of the greatest of crooner’s, New York, New York:

I never thought it was one of his best songs, certainly not in terms of his vocal quality, but his stylizing proclivities remained in vigor, making it one of his most popular, even his last true hit song. 

   “Start spreading the news
   I’m leaving today
   I want to be a part of it
   New York, New York

   “These vagabond shoes
   They are longing to stay
   Right through the very heart of it
   New York, New York

Asgard or Bust!

     I went to see Thor with friends at the movies.  It is a must-see for any self-respecting comic-book fan from the Lee-Kirby era of Marvel Comics.  We were a privileged lot, no doubt about it. 

My friend John and I would never have dreamed that the super-hero comics that we avariciously read in our youth would ever have received such fabulous treatment.  It was beyond the pale.

But here we are.  And there you have them - Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and (soon!) Captain America.  It is great fun and, beneath fun’s veneer, a large measure of truth.

My friend is gone, having suddenly passed a couple of years ago, so I watch the films with John in my heart, if not by my side.  He would have loved them! 

What Does He Want of Us?

    I had come through a brutal run of dissension within our church.  A faction had sought for my ouster and treated my wife badly.  It was a grumbling and a rumbling that had slowly festered and then erupted.  These things are never pretty.

I wasn’t at my best, notwithstanding that the broader fellowship gave my wife and I its full support.  The threat faded away as the faction left.  But menace loomed on the horizon.

Would we be enabled to remain open, let alone viable, as a congregation?  We were reduced to a very small group, mostly if not exhaustively elderly with fixed incomes.  And I was reduced to a sense of having failed God, His people and my own ministry.

Dearest Mother

     We were watching Mommie Dearest, starring Faye Dunaway portraying film legend Joan Crawford.  It was disturbing, to say the least.

Crawford was one of the acting divas of MGM during the 1930s.  Her career surged afresh in the later 1940s and she even found herself on a television soap opera in the 1960s.

She was also the subject of a book by her adopted daughter, casting her in a role by which she would not have wished to be remembered.  Christina Crawford narrated a childhood that was marred and marked by alleged abuse at the hands of her mother. 

Film legend Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. challenged the charges, as he couldn’t recognize his former wife by the daughter’s descriptions.  Myrna Loy vehemently denied it also.

Resurrection Rumblings

    It is said that if a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon rain forest the reverberations are felt on the Arctic plain.  The delicacies of nature abound with consequence.

The delicacies of human life abound also, though not necessarily to our advantage.  Adam and Eve ate an apple that was forbidden them and all of human history has been marred, right to the present day, because human nature in its totality has been adversely affected.

History has been rippling, reverberating and rumbling ever since our ancestors “got it wrong,” so to speak.  Sin has rippled, reverberated and rumbled through ages of human activity and aspirations.  And ripples, reverberations and rumblings roar like lions in their effects.

Fit for a King

I arose early to watch the wedding of Prince William and his fiancée, Kate Middleton.  I readily concede that I was fixated, my American republicanism notwithstanding.  I know we broke ranks over two hundred years ago; no matter, I wasn’t going to miss this.

The Anglican ceremony was a far cry from the “no-frills” mode of worship we apply in our Baptist fellowship, though I know of nothing in the Scriptures that would prohibit differing aesthetical forms from being used for God’s purpose.  It was certainly grand, as is God!

Those Pedestrian Blues

     I used to walk.  I still do, but I used to do some mighty serious walking in my earlier days.  I would walk for ten-to-fifteen miles when I lived in Boston.  I would walk for eight-to-ten miles during the first several years of my tenure in the Philadelphia area. 

Those were halcyon days.  Long strolls, sometimes feverish, sometimes leisurely, as I worked through personal demons, conversed and communed with a close but now departed friend, and absorbed the elegance of Memorial Drive in Boston or Kelly Drive in Philadelphia.

A heart condition has severely inhibited my walking pleasures.  I must now be more circumspect as to when and for how long I walk, and even where, avoiding uphill trajectories being a near-necessity. 

A Faithful Rendering

     I hate pictures of myself.   Some people film divinely, with radiant smiles and easy deportment.  My countenance always looks twisted and contorted.  I prefer the disembodied vocal tones of radio.

I suppose those photos capture my inner tensions, thereby offering a less-than-flattering, yet faithful rendering; still, I would rather be heard or read – Yes, faithful renderings too … or so I trust!

What I want, though, is for something else to be manifest to those who encounter me.  I want my life to make known Jesus Christ.  I want people, when they encounter me, to see Jesus.  But do they?

A Gathering for the Ages

    God is good.  He gave us the privilege of enjoying Himself.  He determined that it was not good that man be alone, so He provided the companionship of woman.  And, the need and pleasure being pronounced, He made us social creatures, knowing the reward of family and friends.

He did a fine job!  It simply isn’t His fault that we made a muck of things.  Sin’s greatest casualty is the fracture of relationship.  We found ourselves severed from our fellowship with God.  That was the first and fundamental disservice we did to ourselves (and to God!).

Praise Him!

    I sat for almost five hours waiting for someone to arrive.  I was prepared.  I had brought my book bag so that I could do work and catch up on some reading.  It was a pleasant enough day and music, both classical and jazz, was a finger-tip away.

I was still waiting at twilight.  It was a beautiful spring night, and two things occurred to me.  The first was a poem by William Wordsworth, the great Romantic poet of the early 19th Century.  I quote:

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