Saturday, June 29, 2013

"We can't fake out God."

"We can't fake out God. He knew the end of our ways before we began.  When we seek Him daily, in Spirit and in Truth, we are strongest in avoiding the disaster that comes from complacency and self satisfaction."

I love the directness of this quotation.  "Fake out" may not be a theological term, but it does remind us that God knows our ways, and we do ultimately stand before Him where nothing will be hidden.

Indian Rock, Grande Ronde Valley, NE Oregon

Indian Rock, Grande Ronde Valley, NE Oregon

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Scenic pictures along the Grande Ronde River with Troop 514

The Grande Ronde river starts high in the mountains west of La Grande.  It is a major tributary of the Snake River. The sixty or so miles we floated passes through deep forests and basalt layered canyons.  The symphony of the river soothes mind and soul, and the rapids and rocks keep the body alert.  We are blessed to have this river in our "backyard."  The put in is only forty five minutes from La Grande.

BSA Troop 514 rafting the Grande Ronde River

Thirteen Scouts and four adults from the La Grande Presbyterian Church Scout troop enjoyed an excellent three day, two night trip down the Wallowa/Grande Ronde River, June 21 through June 23. Each Scout had the opportunity to row and learn the intricacies of "reading" the water and the rapids. The showed great teamwork in hauling rafts upstream when we needed to move to a better campsite. The collaborated in three cooking groups to prepare two dutch oven dinners and two dutch oven breakfasts.

We started out in the rain, but by the time we set up camp Friday afternoon, the sun had come out and we were soon dry. The boys ages are between eleven and sixteen, yet still they enjoyed cross generation sharing and helping. Out pace was leisurely, and the lessons deep.

At the river put in point

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Doing love

I decided to continue with more from Henri Nouwen on this simple yet challenging subject.

"Often we speak about love as if it is a feeling.  But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well.  The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our loving cannot be based in that feeling.  To love is to think, speak, and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world.

"Mostly we know what the loving thing to do is.  When we 'do' love, even if others are not able to respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts."  Henri Nouwen

The Cats Back, NE Oregon

The Cats Back, NE Oregon

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Zumwalt Prairie and the Cat's Back

"The Zumwalt Prairie seemed a polycultural sea of greens--springtime mint greens, forest greens, shamrock greens.  They were every hue and shine--pale, bright, dull, and verdant--and always changing from the height of the sun in the sky or the volume and cover of the clouds. The wind changed the colors as did morning and evening dew.  Morning color was heightened, noontime was flat, and late afternoon shone gold-green and shadowy."  Marcy Houle, The Prairie Keepers

This book provides a wonderful background for visiting both the Zumwalt and the Cat's Back, two vast high grasslands the hold the silence and awe of Creation.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Small steps of love

"How can we choose love when we have experienced so little of it?  We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity.  A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit...all these are little steps toward love.

"Each step is like a candle burning in the night.  It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness.  When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey."  Henri Nouwen 

Wallowa Lake, NE Oregon

Trinidad, CA

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Invited back to fullness

Although I do not recall the specific incidents from my childhood, I do have memories of disobeying my parents, and my subsequent attempt to hide from them, physically and emotionally, because I had not done what they had asked me to do.  I remember the terrible "lostness" of my intimacy with them. Those memories help me better understand the story of Adam and Eve.  They walked intimately with God, until they chose to follow their own desires and disobeyed His command to not eat the fruit of the Tree of LIfe.

How often do we choose to follow our own pleasure/will, starting with parents, and then with God?  And yet, He never leaves us.  He abides with us, in us, still seeking intimacy with us. In the Revelation, the last Book of the New Testament, Christ is still there, seeking us. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends." We may have closed the door on Christ, but He still comes to that door and knocks, willing to share a meal, as a friend.  How amazing that God still reaches out to cross the barriers we erect!

Cat's Back, Wallowa Mts, NE Oregon

Imnaha River country, NE Oregon

Friday, June 7, 2013

BSA Troop 514 performs the flag ceremony to open the Oregon House session

On Tuesday, June 4, Troop 514 from La Grande opened the State Legislative session with a flag ceremony.  They presented the colors and led the House in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The boys were sharp, serious, and disciplined.  They enjoyed the opportunity to show young males at their best.  After the ceremony, I had arranged to meet with Chief Justice Balmer and Justice Linder of the Oregon Supreme Court.  Once again, the boys were respectful, and asked excellent questions.  They also listened to lawyers presenting oral arguments on a death penalty case in the afternoon. Eight Scouts participated in this excellent growth opportunity.

Justice Linder and Chief Justice Balmer

Rep. (and Eagle Scout) Greg Smith talks to Troop 514

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Knowing when to change

"When all our efforts have failed, we finally accept the gift of God's infinite mercy."  Fr Thomas Keating

Smith Rocks, Crooked River

Lake of the Woods, Mt McLoughlin