Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wheels, wheels and more wheels

Ekekiel 10: 9-14
I looked, and I saw beside the cherubim four wheels, one beside each of the cherubim; the wheels sparkled like chrysolite. As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went. The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced, without turning as they went. Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of eyes, as were their four wheels. I heard the wheels being called "the whirling wheels."

The account of Ezekiel’s “whirling wheels” has always fascinated me. It is a poetic, prophetic vision that stirs the imagination. Now I’ll be the first to admit that it also seems fanciful and, if told today, would likely be dismissed by most as the ravings of a lunatic or a drug induced hallucination. It also might be latched onto by by UFO’ enthusiasts as an example of a visit by space ships and extra-terrestrial beings similar to the wild claims made in by Erich von Daniken's 1970’s book "Chariots of the Gods?".

Personally ,as an exercise in fiction, I enjoy reading authors like von Daniken as long as I remember that it is the product of a wild (or mercenary) imagination.

The theory that Ekekiel is reporting an encounter with a spaceship has been a persistent theme especially among those who are convinced that the earth continues to be visited by extra-terrestrials. One of the more recent proponents of this theory has been Josef F. Blumrich in his writings about the “Spaceships of Ekekiel”.

I haven’t researched his analysis in detail but he does appear to be genuinely convinced of this possibility. He uses his background with rocket design (and association with NASA) to show that the Ekekiel’s descriptions are consistent with the space vehicle designs. Now some who believe in the Bible might feel threathened by a “scientific” explanation of these visions that “proves” they were spaceships. But the reality is that this is an unprovable theory and it ultimately requires faith (believing in something as true that can’t be proved to be true) to accept this as the explanation rather than accepting that it was a vision from God.

After all those who promote this spaceship theory, are (tacitly) admitting that the Ezekiel account is accurate. If the record of what he saw is accurate , why should one doubt the record of what he heard – and if he was told it was from God and believed it then that provides support for it being what he claimed it to be.

My point –I choose to believe the Bible is a record of God’s interactions with humans and see no reason to ”explain away” these events.

So what got me thinking about Ekekiel and spaceships? Well it is the theme of “wheels” that has preoccupied my life for the past 2 weeks that lead me to thinking about Ezekiel’s ”whirling wheels” –which when you read the “rest of the story” may give you cause towonder about how weird I really am. :) :)

Wheel story # 1: We have a 1996 Bonneville with almost 250 thousand Kms (150 thousand miles) on the odometer. When we traveled to Chris’ at Christmas time, we drove in rain. We had presents piled in the back seat and when we got there the box holding the presents and theback seat was soaking wet. I hadn’t done anything about this discovery until last week when we were planning to go visit Melissa. I tore out the seat and discovered a fist sized hole in the wheel well that allowed road spray to come in behind the seat. I managed to patch it up and that problem was (at least temporarily) solved.

Wheel story# 2: Same vehicle. After we had returned homeat Christmas the car had developed a rattle when we were driving. While I had the seat out I thought I would try to pinpoint where it was so I had Linda drive while I was bouncing around in the back trying to see where the sound came from. I concluded it was outside under the floor so I crawled under and discovered that the sway bar mount had rusted free from the frame and was clattering away. It is a long story that I won’t bore you with but what I thought would be a simple welding repair job wasn’t and my temporary solution was to use a piece of wood to dampen the rattle.

Wheel story # 3; I also have 2000 F-150 half ton. It has low km and hasn’t been used much since I retired. I had tried to sell it last summer and fall but was unsuccessful (I guess I wanted to get a fair price and people who were interested wanted a bargain). Anyhow, it had developed a “miss” in the engine and I decided I should get it working better since the car was not to suitable for long trips. I was able to get that fixed at the garage but it has still experienced an intermittent “computer problem that hasn’t affected its performance but is annoying. I also have had a longstanding electrical problem that means I don’t have cruise control, driver side airbags or a horn.

Wheel Story # 4: We are planning a trip west in the spring and we need local transportation when we get there. So we have been planning to acquire a new vehicle (and get rid of the other 2) that we could use as a tow vehicle behind our motor home. (dinghy or toad as they are referred to by RV’ers) . This week we embarked on that “fun” process of looking for a suitable vehicle – and trying to sort out what would work and what we could afford.

Wheel Story # 5: Meanwhile we are planning to go to Kingston this weekend and have been trying to decide if we could use the car (with its sway bar problem which I’ve been assured is not a danger to drive) or the truck with its irritating little problems –especially with no cruise.
Monday Melissa called and said IF we werebringing the truck she had a bed to be moved and would wait until we got there. I choose to take that as a sign in favorof the truck and that’s what we are using

Well I need to post and get ready to get on the road. The weather doesn’t look that great so we may not make it as far as we planned today.

Pray for us
God Bless

p.s A couple of items from my blog browsing over the past couple of weeks

Bobby Cohoon talks about “Playing our song” and does a quick survey of songs that he likes the best. (see

Mike Cope cautions young parents that the years fly by – concentrate on your kids while you can. Good advice too often ignored today because we think we can catch up tomorrow – sadly tomorrow never comes. (see

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Rag “Tag” collection.

Sub titled: The game of Life (Tag – Part 2) because at the bottom of this post is a report on the results (so far) of my “tag you’re it” game I initiated in my last post.

But as it turns out (incredibly -- at least to me) it has been almost 2 weeks since I last posted, so this post is a bit of a rag tag collection of things that have occurred (or occurred to me) in the past 12 days.

I actually had intended to post last weekend but life intervened.

One of the main interventions has been the weather—yea I know everyone likes to talk about the weather and how it affects their life and it is more often that not just a convenient topic to avoid dealing with “real life”. But there is at least some “substance” to my comment.

We have been blessed with 100 cm. (40”) of snowfall over the past 2 weeks and it came in regular daily bursts of 5 to 15 cm ( 2 to 6 inches) which meant the driveway had to be cleaned out everyday—and that took about an hour when all was said & done. The picture shows how it looked on our street as I was finishing up Friday morning.

Yesterday morning was the first day in 2 weeks that there wasn’t a bank of snow at the end of the driveway left by the snowplow doing its nightly run. And we were able to go out for services without first having to clear away the snow.

Related to the snow was the fact that, during this period, we were trapped in a frigid mass of artic air that got stuck over our area. I took this shot this morning out our living room window showing the patio and the "garden" area out back.

The rest of this paragraph is for the benefit of any who don’t know about the concept of “lake effect” snow. The usually warm December and early January meant that Lake Superior hadn’t frozen over. The winds from the west picked up moisture from the “warm” lake and then dumped it as snow flurries as it came over the colder land mass. Actually, we were fortunate to have “only” 100 cm because the geography of Whitefish bay means that “lake effect” snow falls in a very narrow band precisely determined by the wind direction and the wind was shifting by a few degrees every so often causing the flurries to move around.

John Dobbs writing about the GodThirst project in Pascagoula week before last made a remark that there was always room for a retired couple to come and spend a week following up with those that had received help from Central –there were still many needs both physical and spiritual where someone could be of service. It seemed to me that he might have had Linda & I in his mind when he wrote that – probably not but it certainly tugged at my heart. I was ready to fire up the BBB and hit the road.

As I was blowing snow the next day, I was pondering this and concluded the “tugging” was a temptation not a “Macedonian” call from God --tempting for 2 reasons –1) there was no snow on the Gulf coast and 2) it is easy to go somewhere to do things and ”run away” from the realities and challenges you are facing where you are. As I pondered the thought that came was the old cliché of “blooming where you areplanted” and that seems to be God’s message for our life this winter.

Speaking of blooming – our daughter-in-law Tammye gave Linda an Amaryllis bulb for Christmas. When Linda opened the box it appeared that it had already bloomed and died. Since they are only supposed to bloom once a year she thought it was too late. But she left it on the kitchen counter where it caught ( what little) after noon sun that came in. Lo and behold it bloomed and what a beautiful thing in the middle of winter. As the picture with the reflection in the mirror shows, it now has four flowers with a fifth on the way.

The other thing that has delayed my posting is the commitment to working on the “Honey Dew” list (as Bobby Cohoon recently called it) . The last 2 weeks we have been working through the house cleaning carpets. We have done the bedroom/study and the master bedroom. This week we tackle the living room – dining room.

I have also put a push on catching up with the Berean list and finally did that yesterday afternoon – first time since mid-December that I reading “to-day’s” posts without having a backlog of unread items that I wanted to at least scan over.

I helped my Dad prepare Thank you notes for his 90th celebration – the following was placed in the Sault Star on Saturday

I want to thank my friends, neighbors and family who helped me celebrate my 90th birthday. I especially thank Bob Woolley, Marg Beilhartz and the bowlers at the Churchill Lanes for the cake and celebration on Friday and those who visited at the Little Rapids Heritage Centre on Saturday January 13th. I also received many cards and calls. It was marvelous to have my family present and to have so many people wishing me a Happy Birthday. The coverage by the Sault Star, MCTV and was overwhelming. Again a BIG THANK YOU to everyone involved in this wonderful celebration. Mervyn Whitfield

Last Thursday I was pallbearer at a funeral. It was one where I could genuinely say that I felt nothing but relief and happiness from the family and friends. Len Dupuis was 66 years old. He was my first boss when I joined Algoma Steel in 1974. After a few years I was promoted to the same level and we worked for the same boss in different functions for several years. He was a friend and mentor – and at times a real pain. In 1992, we had offices close to each other and I remember seeing him one day just after lunch .He was complaining that he had forgotten his password again and had to have one of the techs come and reset it. He told me that it had been happening frequently and he had a Dr’s appointment that afternoon to get it checked. That was the last time he was at work. They found a brain tumor—began treatment but concluded that it was inoperable and untreatable—he was going to die. Then, just as he had deteriorated to the point that he couldn’t function independently—and really wasn’t aware enough to carry on a conversation -- at the point where the Dr’s said it was only a matter of days or weeks at most – the tumor went benign and he was left very much in the state of an infant totally dependent on others for care and incapable of communicating with others.

One of our co-workers organized a visitor’s brigade and for several years a number of us visited daily and then weekly to give him encouragement and to provide some relief to Cathy (his wife)and other family members who were by his side. However, eventually he did slip deeper into unawareness and our ability to continue the visiting dropped off. I saw him infrequently through to 1999 when my mother was hospitalized and Len was in the long-term care unit at the hospital. Unfortunately, and perhaps inexcusably, I never saw him after that.

He was moved to a long term care facility—and he no longer recognized anyone or had any awareness of what was happening—he was locked in a prison were no one could come. Last Sunday he was released—I pray into the arms of our Lord. Len was a faithful and committed Christian who expressed his faith in the Catholic tradition. It was inspiring that at the funeral the priest had a personal relationship with Len and spoke oftimes they had spent together. Cathy was a musician and was the pianist for several parishes prior to Len’ s illness.

Because of the work based relationship and the time we had spent visiting Len, several of his Algoma steelco-workers were asked to be pallbearers’ and I was honored to be included in that request.

I think Len’s son Jim expressed it best when he said “I lost my father 15 years ago – Today he has been released and I am happy for him and in many ways I feel like we can now resume our relationship through faith.”

I was saddened to learn that Cathy who had selflessly and faithfully ministered to her husband for over 10 years had succumbed to a form of dementia and she was now confined to a nursing home and unable to be present (and comprehend) that Len was free at last. May God grant that her time in this "prison" is shortened and she can soon be freed to be with Len again.

On a lighter note one of the side effects of being asked to be a pallbeareris that I now have a suit again. My last suit had worn out (too much sitting and the seat was threadbare) a couple of years ago and I had kept saying – one of these days I need to get a new suit but had been getting by with dress pants and a sports jacket. Tuesday we went and picked out the suit so I would have it for Thursday’s funeral. God works in mysterious ways…??

A couple of “family” things. I just found out that my sister Goldie has a minor “female” procedure scheduled for next week. Morris’ hip replacement has gone well and they are back at their home on the lake but they are in the Sault to-day for Dr’s appointments and are coming over for supper.

Marion Long who is a part of our Pinehill family fell yesterday morning (in the aisle inside the building) on her way out after services yesterday. She was talking to someone (anyone who knows Marion will know that this is a “natural” state for herand had her head turned and tripped over one of the kid’s feet. She was in emerg all afternoon but after extensive X-rays there apparently was nothing more than a bruise. She is in pain but in good spirits when we talked to her this morning.

Well that’s enough about me somethings from the blogging world

Dee Andrews posts a “rare” Saturday blog and muses on long winding preachers and long worded bloggers.

Wade Tannehill has an interesting series on Prayer, which sparked quite a debate on the issue of whether an unchangeable God can be persuaded to change his mind.

Neva in her “Dancing in the light” post for Sunday February 11 says “Arrrrgh!!! because she has just discovered that Shirley Maclaine has a book with the same title. (BTW – you should read Neva’s first blog in October 2006 to understand how her title is connected to one of my favorite scriptures - 1 John 1:7 . I doubt that Shirley has a Biblical inspiration for her title) Anyhow – Neva was concerned ( and rightly so based on my experiment with Google) that people looking for this title would find Shirley’s book and not her blog. However, it appears that even without Shirley, Neva has a lot of competition – I had to use “Dancing in the light blog Neva” (or search for an exact Match on “Dancing in the light” plus blog ) to get a hit on her site come up on the first page of a Google search. But not to worry Neva – I couldn’t even get one hit on my blog using the same techniques

Someone posted a link to this marvelous microscopic art by Willard Wigan – - see and - it’s awesome. I checked on the and it is legit.

Larry James in his Urban Daily has a quote about Love, courage & wisdom and what it means to have 2 of the 3 -- and ends with “But the one who has love, courage and wisdom moves the world."

I think I fit one of the "2 out of 3" categories. If you know me and wish to, send me an email telling me which of love, courage and wisdom you think I might be missing. I'm always am interested in seeing how well my perception of myself matches others perceptions.

The rest of this post is about playing “INTERNET tag” in the game of life

Jim MacKenzie is tagged by Danny Sims and shares about his experience at Great Lakes Christian College. Well he doesn’t actually say it was GLCC but I believe it was because I know Jim’s family.

Steven Goad Clark who I’ve met on the Berean list tagged back to my BEREAN post even though I spared him and hadn’t tagged him. He wrote

“ Nobody tagged me. Nobody cares. So I will tag myself.
Things you may not have known about me.....and may not care!
Four jobs I've had: Masseur - Engineering office at Generous Motors -Restaurant Manager - Parson
Five favorite movies: Spartacus - The Quiet Man - Shannandoah - Brave Heart- The Patriot
Four places I've lived: Indianapolis - Mobile - Mesa - Blythe (Having spentover one fourth of my life in beautiful blissful Blythe)
Four favorite TV shows: Rockford Files - Hill Street Blues - In the Heat of the Night - Barnaby Jones
Four vacation spots: Niagara Falls - Tampa Florida - Aruba - Out West
Four web sites I look at: Spending Time With Jim McGuiggan - ChristianChronicle - Google Search - Rubel
Four favorite foods: Potroast with rice and gravy - Salad - Garlic noodles or pasta - Gospel Bird
Four places I'd like to be right now: Visiting my aged pappy in Indy -Heaven - Feasting with my elders - In my baby's arms
Four friends I think will respond: Jerry Fox - Jackie Snow - Marshall Henson- Joe Barnett
Four colors: Blue - Black - Brown - Burgandy (and all the other B colors)
Favorite cars: 53 Mercury V8 flathead engine, 2 door hardtop (my first) -1964 Ford Falcon 260 V8 black hardtop (my first brand new car) - 1971 Impala(my first with air) - 2003 PT Cruise Turbo (my present wheels)
Favorite Scriptures: 1 John 5:13 - Romans 8 - Stephen's Sermon before beingstoned - Jesus' sermon on the mount
Favorite Holiday: thanksgiving
Four actors: Ed Begley, Sr. - Mickey Rooney - Anthony Hopkins - Meryl Streep
Four singers: Reba - Pavoratti - Elvis - AlabamaFour trees: Dogwood - Maple - Purple Plum - Oak
Four seasons: Fall - Spring - Summer - Winter (in that order, grin)
Four classical music offerings: New World Symphony - Sheherezad - BarteredBride Overture - Mephisto Waltz
Four stooges: Abbot & Costello - Lewis &Martin - Curly, Moe & Larry -Laurel & Hardy
Four desserts: Angel Food Cake - Mississippi Mud Pie - Millionaire Pie -Dad's Raisin Pie
Four books: Bible - Voyage of Discovery (Lewis & Clark) - John Adams - 1776
Four presidents: Adams - Lincoln - Jackson – Truman”

My brother-in law Art Ford responded to my tag with this

“I remember playing tag when I was a kid. Now that I'm only young at heart, I appear to have been invited to a game of internet tag. While I've begun to read a few blogs, I'm not much into comments and have never tried to figure out how to do a blog, but it appears I have been tagged so hear goes as to the answers.
I'm returning this to Charlie Whitfield who tagged me, and am copying it to three who might send me back you reply and tag three more.

Pg. 123 4th sentence. Any time the church needs reliable data, it can easily do the survey, process the data, and present the results much like in the graph above. This provides a dependable basis for planning further steps. I sincerely hope that in the future surveys like these will no longer cause fear and trembling-as is still the case in many places-but might become a normal "behind the scenes" support activity of the church. Church quality control should become as routine as keeping track of worship attendance or giving. Christian A. Schwarz in Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches.
Art Ford”

And his son Craig responded to Art’s tag with this

“Subject: RE: Tag, you're it
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007
Sorry All, I never read books over a hundred pages :)
Actually here goes
Yet when he speaks of seeing the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ he uses language which practically amounts to seeing in Christ the image of God.
F.F. Bruce Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free

My cousin Myra demurred – accepting my word that a response was optional. Shame on you Myra—people really do want to find out more about you!!! (but that’s OK and I love you anyhow :) :)

God Bless