The Importance of a Face

There was a photo on the cover of a DVD that Gator picked up from the local library. The photo showed all the characters in the movie and it was the first one made of a comedy series with those actors. Startlingly, one of the actors face had intelligence, warmness and composure. The actor’s role was just the opposite, and in other comedy movies and series’, was portrayed as a low IQ goofball. A comedic shortstop that set the tone in various scenes. It was Bob Denver that played Gilligan on the island and Maynard J. Krebs in Dobie Gillies series.

With the recent public persona of wearing masks, Gator resented the lack of personality seen. A lack of smiles given and even compassion and knowledge shown forth. Akin to the actor’s photo, hidden in portrayal of the real person. The folks that have totally bought into the extreme danger of public life, not being told by authority that germs and aerosol microbes are fought with our immune systems. But with the mask, you can see the fear and isolation. Condemnation perhaps on other shoppers for not masking up. Jack smiles a lot and seeks faces that smile. Jack has a good immune system. Comorbidity play a big role in death from the vaccine and infections.

Jack and his family have all had ‘the disease’ and Jack’s short term memory has gotten worse. Is that one of the byproducts of the bad virus? Of course not. Jack is aging and the memory issue is his past duel with seizures that wiped out a portion of his Rolodex for a few things. Some names, some old events that usually allow the family to tell the stories. Not bad actually, Jack can then pull the memories up from a different approach in his mind. He calls it his goggle search engine and works in the background when Jack surrenders for a short while. what he wanted to remember. “Ahah! His name was Edwin! Maybe this is common with aging. Memory has always been depicted in the elderly as clearly remembering the distant past and not the more recent ones. “ Excuse me: what was your name again?” He knows this is more common with everyone. Still, it is irritating.

Jack creates mnemonics to remember names. A story that triggers the name for good. ‘He looks like an Englishman, Mike, a pilot in the big war and his wife, Vickie is a derivative of Vickers, an engine is some of those fighter planes. Things akin to that. Try it sometime! It works to places, names and other memories. Some folks really like it when explained to them. Everyone has trouble with names that are given for the first time. Faces are triggers for all of us and when you can only see the eyes, the mouth and smile are gone and makes it harder to recollect them at all. Some memories such as Quadratic equations or solid geometry are pretty faded but Jack remembers his phone number and city address from seventy years ago. Jackson 9-6604 and 4208 Russell avenue North. His ham radio call sign and the ones of his friends that he tested for novice licensing. That too is in a different location inside and a lot of aged people have that ability too. If Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses could be resurrected, most likely he would remember his adopted son, Moses. Of course, the Smithsonian would really rally around that miracle. “What do you recollect about the Red Sea?”

Jack wonders about what it must have been like for family around Lazarus when at the dinner table he remembered dying and wondered about those three days of inactivity. One of histories stories that has not been clarified. Since it was Jesus that resurrected Lazarus, there is no doubt it was complete. “Lazarus, come forth” was necessary for if Jesus had said “Come forth” there would have been a lot of formerly dead showing up. Maybe all of them. Jack has heard that voice. seen his best friend when that man had been dead for a few minutes or hours perhaps. Jesus giving Jack a small glimpse of eternity and for Jack’s witness. and delight. “ It’s better than you said!” Jack always wonders about that. What did he say to him and what was Jesus doing, revealing eternity to him? As is written in Ephesians, “it’s through faith..the very gift of God” Jack likes gifts from God. As Jack always says, “it’s pretty good” Jack Gator.

The photo of myself that I used at the top was my official Census Badge face. Serious with the hint of who I really am.

WORTH

Jack was up early and attempting to still his mind and just look at what he could see. It was dark in the living room as it was around 6 am in winter. Looking up to the library windows on the second floor, Jack saw the moon. It was a clear day unfolding and there was good light from that close orbiting flashlight that reflected on the snow.

‘What’s it worth?’ It’s too far away to be any good to anyone and besides, when a man finally walked on it anyone could see it was a dump. No atmosphere, lots of sand and rocks with craters that came from meteorites slamming into a small planet that had no protection from friction of an atmosphere. Great. Nice view of earth anyway. Dangerous trip and extremely expensive as well. NASA was so ecstatic about success of the ‘mission’ and it was a bit dicey getting back as well. Was it worth it? Scientists were pleased and evolutionist thinkers were waiting for fossils and evidence of water. A later trip to Mars was of the same ilk. Prove evidence of life billions of years ago to show the random worthlessness of life itself. Including themselves of course. No astronauts that time, too far. They used robots that NASA controllers fell in love with. Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosty and Perseverance. They eventually ran out of power and died. No two dollar stores there to get spare batteries either. No fossils but some evidence of water. “You need water for life to evolve!” And so the charade went on. It takes approximately 26 minutes to communicate with the robots for commands and then get information. Long phone calls.“We are sorry, due to the high volume of calls…etc. Please leave a number where we can contact you”

The rovers resembled the robot R2D2 somewhat. Very expensive and they are still there. Not working and dusty.

The moon looked good from Jack’s chair but there is enough dust under his desk. It inspired him to focus his mind on a simple word. Worth. What do we have that is actually worthy? Good question and at the time, rather significant. The moon is only handy for tides and that flashlight when it is full. The lonely man in the moon.

No subjects were coming to becoming a ‘worthy’ column and that is why Jack left his desk to just sit in the dark and not think. Just look and listen.

What are we pleased with as having worth? Casual scanning on his computer of on-line auctions reveals life stories. Collections of soda bottles and fancy tables to put them on. Old tools and machinery to fix. Jackets and shoes and all the things we fill our homes with.

Worth a tenth or less of what the previous owners paid (estate auctions for folks no longer able to gaze upon these things) What are they worth now? Bid on them! You may win and then have to go and pick your treasures up 100 miles away. Is it ‘worth it’? Our spouse may have a different opinion. “What on earth is an old wooden turnip twaddler good for?”

As morning went on, Jack’s view of their small farm hove into view and as Jack was now close to 80, perhaps everything he was looking at would be in one of those auctions too. The land is beautiful and the American flag hanging off the porch beam reminds Jack of the flags fluttering from the fantail of warships he served in. That seemed a worthy memory . Thoughts cannot be sold unless written about. Is there anything within view really worthy? The sounds of the family awakening are rising like the dawn and Jack finds that leading to worthiness. His wife and his children. What is it about them that is worthy indeed? Even the dog and cat’s that live with them. They all are worthy and why so? There is love intertwined in the family of life.

Those things cannot be sold. Love cannot be sold, it is priceless and worthy indeed. Most likely as Jack awakens, the whole focus of life itself. Love one another, love your neighbor as you love yourself. Love the creator of all these things seen. The creator of love and a man with fire in His eyes that loves Jack and all people for eternity. This is worth. Jesus is worth it all. He told us this and is always among us to speak life and worthy things to us. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator.

I Was Made Alive when I was Dead

Photo by Julie P.Peterson

It was the aftermath of below zero nights but with sunny days. For a week it had snowed, steady and it began to pile up a bit. Mounds not seen for a decade and the blinding glisten was welcome. Visions of sledding and skiing were replaced with roof raking and blowing snow with two machines. Cleaning up at the mailbox far down the driveway after the plow truck came through..again. Shoveling to the wood shed for wheelbarrows filled with wood for the porch to be fed into the parlor stove. Shoveling the dog kennel and clearing a long path to the chicken coop for the daily harvest of brown and green eggs. Cars disappeared along with other objects of worth and need. The good alcohol free fuel began to disappear as well. It never seemed to end, Waving our son off to work with his all wheel drive station wagon and then do it all over again after the night’s snowfall.

This must be what Sigurd Olsen was writing about. Our quest for being in a place that the desert fathers wrote about was given free reign. Another quote to augment those thoughts from Vincent Van Gogh: “ There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passerby only see a wisp of smoke coming through the chimney, and go along their way”

Jack find’s it difficult to silence his voice within. So many things ‘come to mind’ The latest disappointment or betrayal by those who have power over him. Frustrations, failures, puzzles and a perceived loss of some sort.

Pastors and ministers know this well. They have pursued passion and found some, but cannot express it to inspire with yet another sermon. The inner voices of the parishioners demand attention. The loss of listening occurs quickly when the minds voice flows out of our mouth. The only feature of our head that puts forth rather than takes in.

An amusing but accurate situation is when a speaker of wisdom asks for the hearer(s) be silent and contemplative. “How long is this going to go on?” “I wonder what’s for lunch” “is scratching my head a break of silence?” We cannot do this for long, we need to talk or at least think about how much gas for our truck is going to cost just down the street. Often we think what is needed is for our thoughts to come forth.

Rare but remembered with longing is a room filled with silence and dazed countenances that hint at eternity.

When I find myself, at last before my creator, what can I say or even think? A word that falls way short of that would just be ‘thank you’ Is it even possible to ask, “Great! What’s next on your agenda?”

Silence is golden it is said. Why do I have so much trouble with that? It is not silence of speech, it is silence of thought. There is something someone said about taking every thought captive. Try it sometime. Just look out of your favorite window, wrapped in a nice quilt. Perhaps in ‘your chair’ Everyone knows which one it is.

Don’t even think about what you see, just look and perhaps listen to the silence overwhelming.

Jack loves to talk. He is what is known as a raconteur. One who loves to tell stories, mostly about himself. A much better way that he is discovering is to write about them. Listening well to the quiet voice of God is so much more fulfilling that seeing how his stories fall upon listeners who hardly believe them. Fascinated by our own excuses of life, success and failure. All of it meaningless says the Psalmist. We wax and wane in and out of season, but the intensity of silence and solitude generate stunning reality that transcends our ego.

Again, Jack knows the wisdom of his track laying days. STOP LOOK LISTEN. Perhaps we didn’t know that early railroad builders knew a few things about silence leading to wisdom. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

Laughable News

It was in the evening, Jack was preparing to retire. The room was cozy with a very nice fire.

Jack had just seen an important official that wore strange attire. .

He was a high government official and a man to be respected.

But he dressed as a woman, his identity Jack quickly rejected.

He appeared with long tresses, and claimed an impossible way

that before what he was a he, he had changed DNA.

Professor McFarkle was presented with his incredible machine

That could change anyone’s sex to the opposite one seen.

The social implications were strongly attested

by government laws he officially invested.

McFarkles invention was loudly applauded, with the greatest success,

to create bearded women that could be wearing a dress.

Young children were shown by men changing to women and opposite when,

it was as taught quite natural they could change pencils to pens.

Quite a few parents got angry and did not comprehend, why their children had to listen to a perverted cause,

but then found themselves opposed by new government laws.

Insanity is rampant in society today, and no one seems to know how it happened this way,

but all scriptures will show that it will be happening, and many people will say,

Jesus shows us His way, the way we must go,

for the Bible tells me so. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

Christmas Feast

There it was, indeed a table set for family and a few friends as well. The exquisite food, paid for by a relative in advance. A wise and generous relative, gone on a Christmas day past. Loved and missed at the table now.

The family, gathered in Jack and Julie’s home, every Christmas Eve to eat well and satisfy the gathering with exotic things. Brie, Lingonberry jam, Home baked bread out of the farm’s wheat. Tasty nuggets of chocolate treats and cookies made once a year. Treats, some pulled from the larder that are saved for this time.

There is a Christmas ham in the crock pot that simmered all day and filled the house with it’s savory smells. Appetites were honed and sharpened as the winter of winters was preparing another snow storm. Already the new sidewalk was drifted half over from the bitter sleething of fine snow. The wind had not abated much from the night and the drive home from a delightful worship service was fraught with drifts on the rural highway. Narrow triangles of show, now created by the dry snow the county plows had just cleared that day.

It is perhaps the only time that snow is seen as beautiful and appropriate. The old images of sleighs to visit. Pulled by a team of Percheron horses. The blankets and even a few hot bricks tucked in to be heated up again for the ride home. Wood cook stoves and wood or coal parlor stoves that worked pretty well at heating a home. No worry about the pipes freezing because there were none. The Gator’s have a painting of a sleigh heading for a church but the horse looks fake somehow in mid stride. Tough to convey motion in a painting. Jack thinks maybe a slight brush stroke of snow behind an upraised hoof would have done the job. Art critic.

Candle light services with luminaries out in the snow to entice and welcome. Classic songs to be sung, you know the ones. Everyone has them memorized. The big round wood stove in the corner (should be in the middle of the aisle thinks the same art critic) We all have these memories of times past before we were born. Stories passed down by past generations that had to walk miles uphill in heavy snow. To school as well as church.

Another image that Jack has is the short peace in the midst trench warfare in France. Soldiers apprehensive and then hearing the opposing army singing Silent Night in the enemies language. Slowly rising up from the trenches and walking towards one another, perhaps with a bit of whiskey or brandy to share. Impossible to contemplate with the guns and cannons silent the enemies meeting on no man’s land. Men’s vision to be truthful. The Man full of grace and truth who someday will come for you. This is the reason the fear was pushed aside. We have all been afraid a long long time, but Papa is here and He will take the fear away.

There is impossible joy in the midst of the world’s battle for many things. Power, possessions, and dominance.

We all know the story, even those of us who think the story of Christmas is only about being rewarded because we have not been naughty. We all think we are on the ‘better be good’ part of the perceived equation. It’s not any of those things. The reason that Christ’s Mass has the impact year after year is because the story is true and the good news is impossible to explain with only words. It is indeed a feast. It is felt and it is known by all men. It is joy and the present of good news that cannot be earned. It is indeed a Christmas present that must be opened by everyone that sees it and know what it is. The only present that still surprises with astonishment. Every time. It’s pretty good. The feast of life with Jesus Jack Gator

Open Doors

there is an excess of words in Jack’s life. Reminded by a slightly older wise man of that situation. A rabbit trap is meant to snare the rabbit and once it is caught the trap is forgotten. There are fish traps that once filled with fish are forgotten. There are words that lead to the vision of the Lord’s heart and once we touch that real world, the words are forgotten. The wise man wishes to meet the man who has forgotten words. “He is the one I would like to talk to”. a.

We are surrounded by words in this loud world. It is worth our thoughts to put ourselves back a hundred and a half years or so. Travel on ‘roads’ with horse and buggy or wagon headed into a town a short fifty miles away. How many words would it take? Possibly a dozen or so would be seen, perhaps none. Silence of vision with the steady horse sounds and the creaking of wood spokes tuning on metal spindles. Sitting on the bench with reigns held loosely and the large brimmed hat to stave off sunlight. Silence with thoughts abounding with the oneness of life and it’s wonders and work. Talking to God.

Not Buy this, eat this, gamble here, listen to this or come hither and enjoy. Jack’s favorite is a company that buys ugly houses. That one has moved on and replaced the cave man image with a man ready for crucifixion. His arms wide out stating they too, buy houses. Smiling lawyers who are hungry for an injury lawsuit. Next exit Vanity Fair.

We use words to fill in the potholes of our empty thoughts that do not need filling. We talk, learn and teach with so many words that after a bit we wonder about the whole thing. “It’s not important, it’s just words” A lecture in a school of any grade, a presentation at the local library featuring a ‘well known author’ who has many words on their credit account. Just waiting for those words to be redeemed. Jack has had many an internal chuckle as he is asked; “how many books have you written?” A wordsmith indeed. Fresh words, created new words hammered out on the old Smith Corona and dipped with steam into the cooling trough to give them a patina or strength of quenched steel. Hopefully words that turn into visions of the real world that usually is painted, sonnets and concertos performed and sculpture created. Jack had no words when he looked up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo’s sculpture of David was seen and Jack was glad there were places to sit and gaze upon what was before for him just words in a textbook.

Education in monasteries or seminaries for ministers or pastors used to be the way it was done. Quite a bit of silence and contemplating one’s heart movement being exposed to the palpable presence of the Great I Am. Words can lead a hungry student of faith only so far with the highest ones. The Word itself which is beyond awesome has lost it’s meanings in our world of words. Many discussions, many languages and interpretations of words can lead to …more words. After all, Jesus was called The Word in scripture. Jesus creator of everything that was created was the ultimate Word which needed no additional words.

The best words Jack has found that lead him into silence in the presence of God. ‘Help me’ or ‘heal my heart’ ‘I love you’ nothing fancy or made up complex and awesome sounding words. Jesus’ sermons were mostly short and usually filled with action instructions. Go and do the same. Many times in Jack’s life with five words: “Life or death, choose now” or “Walk, keep your eyes open” “It’s better than you said” Not wordy is the Lord Jesus in Jack’s life so far.

Jack gives the stories behind those words if asked. Those short sentences were all the words Jack has needed to seek the Kingdom of God. They weren’t needing translation or long wordy discussions. Sermons from those words somehow have more impact then a half an hour of pleading with pleasurable and comforting words.

We are weak and overwhelmed with words in our times. We don’t get it when the spoken word leads us to silence. If a minister of the Word asks for a moment of silence we get antsy and cannot wait to talk and think ‘ how long is this going to go on!’ Solitude spoken of as we are pilgrims. One of the desert fathers, Abba Tithoes once said, “to be on a pilgrimage is to be silent” The apostle James stated “Every one of us does something wrong, over and over again; the only man who could reach perfection would be someone who never said anything wrong—he would be able to control every part of himself” Solitude and silence is a gentle and sure path and the safest way to stay away from sin. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator a. Chuang Tzu

Three Years ago on Christmas Day

The cold Christmas clouds, chasing us down the big 4 lane expressway. We are slowly closing in on the big city hospital where sadness is dispensed in hallways upon hallways. Knowing nods of heads as civilians pass by one another with palpable misery and fear.

Finding the room in the maze with a beloved one, wounded on the battlefields of suburban America. Laughter turned to stunned silence as the soldier of God gets hit with a stray round of arterial death. Not quick enough to the medics, and valuable thoughts and memories die in her mind and the watch begins for her loves, standing stunned as the irreversible wreckage lies before them.

Eyes that seem to see and scripture and spontaneous love sonnets are spoken to those soft eyes. Jack reaches out from the foot of the bed and slowly strokes Grandma’s forehead down to her nose. She briefly closes her eyes and Jack knows she is there still. Jack says the words he must. ” You’ve been afraid a long long time, but Papa’s here and it’s ok. He will take the fear away my little one. This day the man of truth and light, He will make all things right, my little one”

Hearts break at the crushed beauty and tears as they turn away, never to see those soft eyes again.

Today the day she leaves our time and enters into an astonishing new life. Sitting in a very nice chair in front of a just right fireplace fire. The gentle host across from her, completely understanding everything. Children,playing outside, seen through the floor to ceiling windows. “Not yet. We have to wait a bit till you are relieved of your last residence, home and tent. Then we can go outside and join the other children.”

The most comfortable chair, room and host ever. No clocks visible nor none needed, it is clear. Soon the best mocha will be gone and it will be time to rise up and explore outside. Through the door to meet the children playing and eager to embrace one another and finally, be home.

These words found in Jack’s journal of three years ago. So many changes, so many challenges and loss with gain too. The family keeps moving along and the Christmas candles and the lights on the railing above. Wound around the railing, lighting the many book shelves under the majestic window on the south wall.

There are all the seasonal treasures, brought out from storage in the new building and wood shop. A Manger scene on the table next to Jack’s rocking chair. The almost invisible string of tiny lights in the story and a half rubber three, now lit for the season of light.

A beautiful small quilt that has stars sewn into it that light up with a couple of triple A batteries put into the holder and switch. Made for us by Grandma. It greets you as you walk into the entryway. The candles in almost every window on timers for nighttime. Jack’s favorite candles high up on the big half circle window, above the library. They flicker as real candles do. The real candles being readied as more get made in the kitchen. Bubbling bees wax and the wicks all cut with weights tied on their bottom. Dipping them one at a time and hanging them on the rack. Clamped to the kitchen counter with newspapers spread beneath. Teamwork of delight for Jack and Julie.

Memories of the boys beloved Grandma on Christmas day as she passes into the presence of our beautiful saviors home where it is always Christmas and love fills the room from the light of our Lord.

It’s pretty good. Jack Gator.

Hey Preacher Man

Right out of the gate we start with a startling quote from Henri J.M. Nouwen: “It is becoming increasingly obvious that those who avoid the painful encounter with the unseen are doomed to live a supercilious, boring, and superficial life…Pastors who see this feel more like circus directors than leaders to a new life”. b.

In other words perhaps, a lot of people that attend meetings about spiritual matters about God (out there or up there) instead of God within us, become part and parcel of that superficial life. As Jack has written before, the casual and totally insipid greeting of “how are you doing” countered with “better than I deserve!” is also boring and superficial. ‘You have no idea of what you deserve,’is Jack’s immediate thought. Either the greeting is met with confusion or a laugh. Jack tries with “I recognize your voice and your face but the name section of my mind was wiped out by the seizures I had years ago”I’m Larry!” is followed by a little laugh and glance elsewhere in the lobby and the encounter ends.

Sigh. Another encounter light,much like most of them at church. Jack is another one of ‘those’ people perhaps? Always looking for something, hand extended with a curious look. What’s your name? Who are you? eventually.

Close encounters of the non kind. (another column with Jack observing most of us are trapped in our own little existential world ) It’s easier not to go there. It’s easier to look for that Lazy Boy chair out in the sanctuary and watch the Bible on the cell phone (lighter in many ways and easier to carry) Nothing gets in or out is the lock down. It usually begins and ends with our mind focused on what to say as someone is speaking. Jack does not listen well, at least he knows that weakness of his.

I so want to get to know them. I like his/her face and I can see curiosity and perhaps an open depth that is obedient to the spiritual lock down a lot of us have. It’s safe and in some ways, reassuring that the odd ones, (like Jack) don’t get past the door. So close! Maybe this time I will find a soul that is curiously seeking as am I. Eager to explore. To hear someone else besides ourselves pontificating in some way. After all, aren’t we all more brilliant than most? It stuns Jack to realize that lie is about himself.

We are told to rise for the intro of the excellent music production and Jack dutifully gets up and instead of singing, opens his Bible and reads in a Sotto voce voice. Jack is a musician and also doesn’t like being told what to do. He can be irritating. Usually, the scripture Jack is reading is interestingly in harmony with what is being sung. Just Jack, he used to lead worship in other places and never said ‘ please rise’ Another rebel, nothing important to you reader, really.

Eventually, the sermon is presented to the room. No one rises. It is much easier to follow along with Bible in hand and for some, much easier to journal. The pastor/minister/priest gives a dissertation on the scripture at hand, in a few cases with interpretation in original languages. Greek, Hebrew and Latin. Jack likes that, illumination and thought provoking for certain. Exegesis of The Word and the scholarship of seminary shows forth. Brilliant really. Sort of like reading an excellent book about his wife. Or her reading one about Jack. Intimacy is not brought forth by words. Love letters are in the Bible and that’s better. Still, talking to the one you love and hearing back leads to an intimate relation.

Not enough though. Most ministers are told to concentrate on “large scale church attendances, getting people together in churches, schools and hospitals” b. Quite a few times Jack has heard what he came to hear. Passion, exhortation to go deep, deeper than we think we can go. Dive into our heart and meet Jesus there. Listen to Himallow Him to speak and guide us. The ministering gives us the opportunity to move in the waters of life. How deep under the water with Jesus do we want to go? Let that sink in. The minister is not a social organizer, he wants us to awaken to life itself. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

a. Eddie the laundry worker in the movie ‘Time changer’ b. Henri A.W. Nouwen

Song of Solomon

It is a book that is either devoured or skipped. Misunderstood on the surface and dismissed with all those images of sheep teeth and couches and dark tents.

It is another book, written by the wise one, Solomon. He wasn’t just writing about worldly romance and the flesh longings. Why is it in the Bible anyway? It is there to show us who we should be, how we can see our time here as a great battle for our hearts. A battle against the world and it’s blindness’. A battle against our own weak love.

Solomon 8: 6-7 as a starting illumination. “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave, it’s flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised”

How about this line: “I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me” There are many such allegories in this book and a lot of them have been dismissed as even pornographic or lusty. My oh my, again why would this be in scripture? In my limited study and instructions I have found Jesus in every book, every prophet, every word from Genesis to His revelation. Indeed He is mine and I am His. I have searched for him without even knowing who I was searching for. The ‘watchmen’ have beaten me as they did Him. I have indeed heard His voice right outside my door but I opened the door and there was no one there. I was blind and could not see but I could hear alright.

Think about these things in every book of scripture where Jesus is revealed time after time. Could this be yet another book of revelation? Of course. Jesus shows up and is given a tithe. The name given is Melchizedek. He shows up under that name a few times. Just to ‘prime the pump’ of man’s astonishment and wonder. The questions, the queries and the exegesis begins when ‘Mel’ shows up.

Another name of the reason for living, the creator of living and the totally righteous one. Jack’s favorite name. Moses asked who shall I tell sent me? “I am” Tell them that.

Actually, a beautiful song written by Misty Edwards uses the exact words of the song mentioned above that starts in Song of Solomon 8:6 Perhaps not comprehended by congregations but Jack has learned it and it indeed, is a powerful image of truth. Since Misty is part and parcel of iHOP it may be discouraged from being sung on some platforms. Some like to judge the sheep because they don’t Baa the way they do. It is another move towards the heart of Jesus to me. I am His and He is mine. Talk to Him without thinking of the next thing to say or proclaim. Yes, He is creator of anything that was made. Ask Him why he made you. He will tell you if you listen. I try to ask him questions, not “lift up” someone he made. He knows these things. Ask Him for faith an truth.

Regards, Jack Gator

Photographs of Religion

Many discussions and serious ones as well. What indeed is the sticking point of religion that so many people point out as pompous or even offensive? Gator included. Perhaps a reason for not attending any services anywhere?

Incidentally, Jack could not obtain photos of the Sistine chapel or the Vatican with out paying a royalty. Why? Jack was in there when he lived on the street in Rome. The Swiss guard just let him in the Vatican. An urchin seeking Jesus maybe? But it was art with pompous robes, sashes and headgear. The Pope with a good laundry for all that fantastic white clothing. A far cry from the cement scrub tables at Camp Nimitz. Boot camp in San Diego.

Starting with names of church buildings. Jack does not have anything but good to say about the body of Christ. The word ‘church’ was formed and used a few thousand of years ago to be specifically referencing believers in the risen Christ, Lord, Adoni, Messiah. Choose at least one of many descriptions of the word church. It’s the people gathering to honor their King of kings.

Several years ago, when Jack realized what the word church meant, he approached one of the village elders and asked if they could delete two letters to the large billboard on the edge of town that says: “The churches of Frederic welcome you” to, ‘The church of Frederic welcomes you.’ The suggestion was shrugged off as coming from a fool or a fundamentalist with an agenda.

The most irritating language is the inclusive word ‘First’ used before the particular flavor of the gathering one prefers. Never seen ‘Second church of Anything’. Why is this so? If it indeed is the second or third established in the area of the ‘First’, then an alternate word must be voted upon.

Something that sounds holy or such. Using perhaps the gifts of the Spirit in scripture! However several of those gifts remain unused. ‘Patience, Long suffering or Self Control’ to name a few. Not even self control. Can one even imagine the conversation with a prospective board of directors to suggest one of those scriptural names of our behavior to seek among the brethren?

No wonder that the world scoffs at our stiff necked (another scriptural description) society insisting on proper protocol and high language. Then there is the business structure of our gathering places. Hierarchy and a path to the top of the ladder, or at least close by. Most of us are referred to as the laity. The peons, or the initiated strikers to use a navy term of promotion and intent. It’s control, it’s PR, it’s been that way for…well..a long time! “we are Paul’s church or we are Aquilla’s church” was written for us to discourage those sorts of things. Do you think we would survive Gator’s thoughts? Probably not, but they are at the least, amusing.

It’s pretty good. Jack Gator