Monday, February 28, 2005

Tres Dias Weekend

Tres Dias Weekend

It has been a busy, exhausting few days. I do not sleep well duringthese weekends. It is such a full schedule, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. eachday, with only minor 10 to 15 minute breaks.

Given a choice between three days here or 3 days at a monastery, I would take the Abbey, mainly because one is not so rushed or overloaded with spiritual things. At the Abbey there is more time for reflection, time to read a book from the library, and most importantly --the silence.

But from a changing lives perspective, Tres Dias takes honors in that category. Something happens that is "miracle" in its nature and people's lives are forever changed. So I am getting back in the swing of things.

Here is another view of the peach seed monkey I spoke of at the retreat.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Peach Seed monkey

Peach seed monkey

To those at the Tres Dias retreat who had never seen a peach seed monkey here it is.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Friday-Camp Hillmont-Tres Dias

Friday-Camp Hillmont-Tres Dias

I was thankful for a good night's rest. I spent a sleepless previous night, mostly at a hospital with a sick family member. It is amazing how often we attempt something for God, that satan gives his best shot to stop us.

For me the key words for last night were SURRENDER and LISTEN FOR GOD. Key thought for the day: "Read the Bible as if you are an artist looking for something to paint."

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Dr. Gene Scott Dies

I became familiar with Dr. Scott during the early 80s. He was on an adjacent satellite from the one my company was using. 24 hours a day he talked on the Westar satellite on transponder 2 with the University Network.

As a preacher, he often dressed like the character he was preaching about, while smoking a cigar at the same time.

At times I thought he was a lunatic, at other times a prophet. He could be on target one moment and in another world the next.

During these later years I would listen to him on WWCR on shortwave and go to sleep with him talking in my ears.

This J Man obituary about Scott is a classic. Worth reading.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Tres Dias and do I miss Michigan?

Tres Dias and do I miss Michigan?

I will be involved from Thursday through Sunday in a Tres Dias meeting
in Middle Tennessee. Pray that God will use me as he sees fit.

The trees bloomed two days ago. They are a month ahead of schedule.

No, I do not miss Michigan.

New Merton Site

Merton Artifacts is a new Merton Site on the web. What do you think of this site?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What A Church Should Be

Arlen Hansom has some great thoughts about What A Church Should Be!!! And Paul Freedland has some great thoughts about Enjoying A Sandwich as a Way to Live Life to the Fullest.

Christian Dating Tips for Young Men


If you have grown up in a Christian home that believes in the Holy Bible, then most certainly, you have limited yourself to chaperoned dating until the age of 21. If you are truly saved, it is not until your 21st birthday, that the thought of dating someone without adult supervision would even enter your mind.

These tips are for Christian men, age 21 or older. If you are truly saved, you are looking for a woman who will serve you and who loves the Lord as much as you do. You are looking for a woman who has kept herself pure for her future husband and for the Lord Jesus Christ. You are looking for a woman who knows how to cook and sew, a woman who can keep house. You are looking for a woman who will not squander your income or lean toward gossip. You are looking for a woman who will submit and obey, for there is no other way for a marriage to honor God without following the strict Biblical principles that God has laid out for us in the Bible.

If you have found such a creature and she is not bobbed of hair, nor wont for excess in make-up or lewd attire, then you must prepare yourself for a first date. Here are a few tips to get you prepared for your first date.



Head lice are very common among Christian men, especially Pentecostals. Although it is a normal and natural blessing from God to have head lice, you should certainly wash your hair before your date if only for the reason to avoid the temptation of putting your arm around the young lady while lifting to scratch your head.


Spend the day before your date with at least 6 hours of solitary prayer in a prayer-closet or a confined area. Ask the Lord to guide your words and actions. Ask Jesus to help you control your lust, thus making it easier for your carnal mind to operate on a level that is strictly spiritual.


Visit a jewelry store and purchase a diamond ring. For the Christian man, every date is a potential mate. If she is the right gal, you will want to pop the question as soon as possible. It is always handy to have the engagement ring available.


When you are on the date, use awkward moments of silence to quote scripture, or sing a favorite hymn. All women are impressed with such things. If she is not woo’d by this, it is a sign that she might be possessed by a demon. Take her to your church and drop her off by the back gate with a note to the pastor taped to her forehead. Be sure to secure her to a tree or post using chains or rope so that she won’t get away during the night.


Wear Christian cologne. The only Christian cologne available is “Betty Bowers, The Essence Of Christian Men.” If you do not have any Christian cologne, rub your face in a Bible until you smell like the pages.


The best place for a first date is church. Oh, how impressed your sweetheart will be when she finds out you are taking her to Sunday evening services. Then, a romantic dinner at Denny’s!


Use the time at the restaurant to find out if your sweetheart is really saved. Question her salvation at least 15 times. Make sure she knows the exact day and hour (preferably the exact minute) she met Jesus.


Some Christian phrases that will help you “woo” the lesser sex are, “I’m almost as crazy about you as I am about Jesus.” “Your long hair is the glory of your humility (1 Corinthinans 11:11-15),” and “God broke the mold when he made your sweet face.”


Make certain that there is no personal contact (PC) on this first date. Even if she said “yes” to marriage, it is highly recommended that you refrain from even holding hands for at least two years until the courtship is over and you are whisked away on your honeymoon.


Edited liberally from Landover Baptist.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Best and the Brightest

Paul Proctor can wake you up with his essay The Best and the Brightest. Guess the Apostle Paul would have not been successful enough for our modern Christian Culture. This is worth a read.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sunday Afternoon

It is raining again. Very hard. An interesting weekend. Saw a couple of movies. Rented RAY and loved it. What a great movie. Then yesterday went to see HITCH which was excellent and entertaining.

Ate last night with Mike, Melinda, and Janet, at the Omikoschi Japanese Steak House after HITCH. Really good meal. Had Terriyaki Steak and seafood tempura appetizer.

Mood somber this morning. Crowds at church at smiling, clapping, in their upmost attire, spiffy, and ME. Sorta half way there. Preacher Brett did a great job on "Finding a Quiet Place." He even mentioned my blog in the sermon. Not sure that is good or not.

Just the week, with Angel's death, and a few other tidbits have taken the starch out a bit. Am preparing for next weekend. I will be a spiritual director at a Tres Dias Meeting for three days. That should be interesting.

Have been cleaning up "the shack." Antenna broke on XM radio. Had to solder it. Trying to get desk free enough of clutter so I can see what I am to do next.

Had an enquiry about being a Special Interest Speaker on a Cruise to Alaska. They pay most of the way. Might be interesting. ENUFF !!!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Memories of Clinton High School

Dear Jay Hamburg

Thanks for the article, "A Southern First Kept it Low-Key; he made history as back 57 graduate," about Bobby Cain graduating from Clinton High School in 1957 in today's Tennessean local section.

I especially appreciate the article since earlier in the week there was a story about Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, being the first school to integrate in the United States, which of course wasn't true, it was Clinton High School in Clinton, Tennessee.

I entered Clinton High School the year Bobby Cain graduated. It is interesting the memories I have of that period. I lived next door to Rev. Paul Turner, pastor of First Baptist Church, in Clinton, Tennessee.

A hero in his own right, Brother Turner had walked with the black students from their homes to school that first day so that they would not get beaten up. In return he was beaten himself on the way back to the church. I can remember seeing the scars later that day he incurred, as well as the cherry bombs that on occasion went off next door in his yard.

Later, he pastored Brook Hollow Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and ordained me as a minister. He always bore the scars of that trip that day to help black students, but I remember him as an unheralded hero called to Christian duty during a difficult time.

But the main memory I have of the times is not just the cross burnings, the ku klux klan, the speeches on the town square, the crowds, the policed troops and the curfews, but something else just as important and often forgotten.

The night was a little over 2 years later, on October 5, 1958. Saturday, the 4th of October, our band had been in a band contest in East Tennessee. We got back late that night, around midnight if I remember correctly. We put up our instruments and went home.

The next morning, early -- maybe 5 a.m. -- the entire Clinton High School was bombed and blown off the face of the earth, except for the band room and the gym. I have often thought that many of us have lived on grace since that day because no doubt the bombers were planting explosives in the building that night while we were there.

I remember the aftermath of that day. We had no school to attend and we were fearful we would not get an education. I remember that the citizens of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, allowed Clinton High School to use a little grammar school 13 miles away. I can never forget that first day riding that bus to Oak Ridge. When we passed the Oak Ridge radio station, WOKE, I remember tears coming to my eyes and being thankful that someone cared enough to provide a place for us to go to school.

For three years each day the students at Clinton High loaded up on buses and went to Oak Ridge and used the minature bathrooms and practiced band on a hill using crept paper to line the fields. Thankfully Drew Pearson, the columnist, took 1 dollar donations from his readers and in 1960 a new high school had been built and we were the first class to graduate from there.

Yes, Clinton High School, was FIRST to integrate in the south, not Central High in Little Rock. And the Bobby Cain's of this world deserve a lot more credit than they have received for the dignity they showed, and no doubt the fear they faced, as they made a mark on our High School that is written in permanent ink in our lives. Thanks for their story.

Dan Phillips

Monday, February 14, 2005

Kitty Heaven

I came home tonight and put on old clothes, got some digging tools, went to the back fence and dug a grave for Angel. Angel would have been 20 in June. She was a callico cat, a member of the family.

In her younger days she was a reknown mouser. In her later years she suffered from arthiritus. She use to stay outside for many days at a time. Once she was gone for an entire month, then showed up skin and bones on a rainy night. We thought she was gone for good.

Many people never knew we had a cat. She was afraid of people. When anyone came to the house she would hide. A lady once lived with us for several weeks and years later was surprised to know we had a cat while she was here.

During recent days Angel's meow had grown dim. She had stopped eating. Every movement was an effort. But she loved us. She liked to be petted, to have someone stroke her hair, to let us know she was there. It was a sad day.

I said a prayer by her grave. I thanked the Lord for her 19 years with us and asked Him to take care of her in "kitty heaven."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Dismal in Tennessee

Dismal in Tennessee

Do you see any difference in the weather? The trees are barren. It is
raining and 50 degrees with wind at 10 plus miles an hour. The airplane
ride was really bumpy coming back. Oh to dream of Florida.

Marilyn Mantee

Marilyn Mantee

I was never quite sure what I was getting into at times with these
ladies. Jacksonville is full of sea bass dressed like astronaunts or
many other interesting things or people.. This is Pam and Lynne's
favorite and they thought it would be great if my picture was taken by a
sea whatever" dressed like Marilyn Monroe.

Cigars Ten Dollars

Cigars Ten Dollars

Lynne and Pam showed me some of the places they advertised in the San
Marco area. This cigar shop had a huge Developng Your Spiritual Life
advertisement by their cash register.



Pam Atkins, on the left, and Lynne Kirk were the chief planners of this
retreat. They did yeoman's duties in their planning, did all of the
advertising, and guided me to all the places I was supposed to be.
They were terrific hosts.

Sleeping quarters

Sleeping quarters

This is the lovely home of Molly and Richard Smith. Molly is the interim
rector and Richard is retired and making incredible photographs as he
and Molly travel around the world.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Day is Ended and Retreat is over

Day is Ended and Retreat is over

It was a wonderful retreat. People were very attentive and, I felt, came
away with a greater appreciation for Thomas Merton. St. Mark's Bookstore
sold numerous books to the retreatants. The evening was topped with a
delicious Outback steak and a tour of beautiful downtown Jacksonville,
including passing Alltel Stadium, home of the Jaguars, great rivals of
our Titans. The picture is of the cell tower on church property. I was
pretty worn out but I enjoyed every minute.

Children's Chapel

Children's Chapel

One of the beautiful things about this church is their appreciation for
children. This is a picture of the Children's Chapel where children
learn to pray and worship.

Day of retreat

Day of retreat

Day is going well. This is a picture of a small meditation garden I
prayed in.

Restful night

Restful night

This is the meditation scene for my morning devotions.

Friday, February 11, 2005



We have a nice crowd. 29 people. Some drove from below Saint Augustine.
We studied why to have a retreat and steppingstones in merton's life.
Lynne Kirk and Pam Atkins are responsible for me being here. Rhat is
them beside the sign.

The Inner Sanctuary

The Inner Sanctuary

The church is beautiful inside. Three of us went and knelt at the altar,
prayed for the retreat, and said the Our Father together. It was a
moving experience. The picture is of the inside of the sanctuary.

All Saints - A Beautiful Church

All Saints - A Beautiful Church

I was overwhelmed with the fantastic beauty of the church surrounded by
beautiful oak trees

Welcoming Sign

Welcoming Sign

What a beautiful welcome sign in front of the church.



Nice day. High 50s. Still a lot of super bowl signs up. A good flight.

Failure at Security Checkpoint

Failure at Security Checkpoint

I have always had a problem getting through the security guard. Once I
was stopped in fort lauderdale because they thought I had a homemade
bomb. This time I lost my 99 cent Walmart knife. I never even thought of
that. And I really liked the knife !! Have any of you ever had problems
getting past security?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Koinonia Farms

Thanks Alan Creech for your blog about Koinonia Farms. I watched it and taped it tonight on our Nashville TV station. I would have missed it without your blog. Now if I can find my copy of The Copy Patch Gospels.

Thomas Merton Retreat Jacksonville Fl.

Thomas Merton Retreat Jacksonville Fl.

There is still room to attend the retreat. It begins Friday Night at 7
at All SAints Episcopal Church. No cost, just show up. I will be
blogging frequently this weekend giving full details of the retreat and
people I meet on the journey. Be praying for us.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Fighting the Devil

Today I had to "sorta fire" a friend. Thats a tough thing to do. But he lied to me. A really BIG lie, one pretty unforgetable and unforgiveable. Did he think I was that stupid?

What is the toughest thing you ever had to do?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Ugh !!!

Rained again most of the day. Very hard !! I am completing readiness for Friday Night's Merton Conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

Weather is depressing. It was so nice to see the sun yesterday and last night our Sunday School class came to our house and we watched the Super Bowl. 14 of us. We ate for hours it seems.

I have been tempted to get a new IPOD Shuffle, but then I began fooling with my Sony Mini-Disc and think I have finally got it where I can record the CD's on it as fast as an IPOD could. So why do I need an IPOD? The only problem is I do not know how to record voice on the mini-disc, although I have tried a couple of different microphones. Surely I am missing something. You can't do that on an IPOD anyway. Oh the joy of new gadgets.

I do like that you can change the battery in the mini-disc without having to charge the thing. At least it has been a challenge. Am listening to Fred Astaire and "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Lots of Sinatra, Steve Tyrell, and movie themes like Mirror With Two Faces.

One of the Sunday School class members who came last night had formerly played minor league baseball and his dad had been a major leaguer. Now, if baseball season would just open. "Life always gets better when baseball season opens," I say. This year I will be able to get all the games on XM Radio. Can you tell I am excited?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Sunny Saturday

The sun is out. We were sunless for 6-8 days. Temperature will allow walking today. Am studying Habbakuk for a Bible Study tonight and reviewing all the Merton material for next weekend.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Merton Retreat- All Saints Episcopal CHurch-Jacksonville, Fla.

Time is running out! Only one week and two days !! I am really excited about this. I will be leading a two day Merton Spiritual Retreat at All Saints Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida, on February 11 and 12th. It begins at 7 pm Friday night and goes through most of Saturday. We will explore Merton's writings, life, and spiritual directions in our own lives. For Futher details check out MERTON RETREATS. Hope to see you there, especially if you live near by. IT WILL BE WORTH IT !!!!