31 Aug
Calvin S. Metcalf on church      In spite of adversaries and critics the church of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to have a redemptive role in contemporary society.  In no way has modern technology diminished the need for this fellowship of faith.  Although our procedures and programs may change, the gospel of grace has an unchanging appeal for all who need love and forgiveness.  While church, by no stretch of the imagination, is a majority effort, it does have a healing effect upon the total community.  Withdraw the church from society and there is a lost dimension of righteousness that is necessary for stability, productivity and progress.
     Church at its best gives the Word of God priority and keeps the Lordship of Christ as a goal for its fellowship.  In no way is there a perfect church.  No one church can claim spiritual superiority over any other church.  Hopefully, each church is a growing, repenting, struggling family of believers who have become church for the glory of God and the service of humankind.
     As church we face the future keenly aware we have no future without Christ.  “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”  The only way we can venture a dream about tomorrow is because we know who holds that tomorrow.  We are secure in His promises and certain in His ability to be with us even to the end of the age.  We move forward in faith not because we are so great, but because we serve a great God.  Our future is in the hands of Him who said, “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
     Therefore, we celebrate the church today as a people who are enjoying the spiritual benefits of our predecessors.  Our real challenge is that we pass on this high and holy calling to all those who shall come after us.  From the hands of our spiritual parents we reach forth a hand of hope to our spiritual children. 



Absent Internet and Tepid Coffee

26 Aug

I spent the afternoon Thursday packaging up a set of tray tables I’d built to fill an order. It had taken me a long time to build the tables and my client had been very patient with me. It was time to request his payment and process a shipping label. I went to my computer.

No internetI went to PayPal to send my client: Phil, a request for payment. Unable to connect. I checked my network status: connected to LAN, no internet gateway. That usually means the modem has gone wonky and I need to reboot it. I was on my way over to do that when my cellphone rang.

I carry a cellphone as emergency communication between my wife, Marie, and I. No other reason. This had to be Marie – unless it was a wrong number or robo-caller, which does happen from time to time. It was Marie.

She had been trying to call me on our home phone but was getting a “Not available” message. She wanted to let me know that their internet was down at work. That is a big deal since much of the data processing work they do is done over the internet on remote servers. She had heard that a wreck on Highway 25/70 took out some necessary infrastructure and a large area was blacked out and without phone or cable.

By this time I was in the office and could see that the modem was not receiving any signal from Comcast. My problem was external; rebooting won’t help. Cable TV was out too. I am electronically MAROONED!  Read the rest of this entry »

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24 Aug
Calvin S. Metcalf on prayer     Prayer is an awesome aspect of divine fellowship.  In fact, it is the heart and soul of our relationship with God.  Although we communicate with our heavenly Father through Bible study, meditation, songs and worship, it is prayer that defines and undergirds each of these.  Perhaps the greatest privilege of our Christian pilgrimage is prayer.  How blessed we are to be invited by God Himself to sup with Him and He with us.  The availability of God to our sometimes awkward and inconsistent faith staggers the imagination.  Prayer is our access to the heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ.  Without it, God becomes a distant deity with no invited input into our daily circumstances.
     Prayer is the most personal and private part of our interchange with God.  For this reason, no one can ever keep us from praying.  It cannot be legislated either in or out of our lives.  We can offer our private prayers anywhere and anytime we wish.  It is a matter of desire and need to talk to God.  Our personal conversation with God need not interfere with anyone else’s religious freedom.  God deals with each of us as though we were the only one with whom He converses.
     Jesus made quite a case for private prayer as He elevated the prayer closet over the street corner as a better place to pray.  Of course Jesus did not eliminate public prayer as a part of our conversation with God.  On several occasions He offered beautiful prayers that He apparently wanted others to hear.  Jesus did know, however, that public prayer could get twisted and distorted because of improper motives.  Praying done to impress others with either words or piety did not receive high marks from our Lord. 
     Prayer requests that are made primarily to spread malicious gossip do not serve a compassionate purpose.  Matters that would embarrass and discredit are better left for the privacy of the prayer closet.  Prayer chains are not designed to be hot lines to the latest rumors.  They are sources of intercession for the latest needs which can be discreetly announced.  Prayers that intimidate and subtly boast of our own goodness fit our Lord’s definition of hypocrisy.  Care must be taken that the public aspect of our praying is not weakened by ulterior motives.  
     Prayer, when used for its intended purpose, is nothing short of a miracle.  To think we can talk to God about anything, anywhere, and anytime is super…no, it is supernatural.  This does not mean our petitions will always be granted as we desire, but we are heard, loved and given what God deems best.  Prayer does not always change reality, but it changes us to adjust to reality.  Therefore, pray lovingly without ceasing.



The Green Thing

19 Aug
green world


The following tale has made the rounds of the internet in various iterations for quite a while now.  It serves well as a starting point for this discussion:

We Didn’t Have the Green Thing

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
The older lady said that she was right — our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain:  Read the rest of this entry »



17 Aug
Calvin S. Metcalf on being alive     It is a wonderful thing: being alive.  To be able to breathe, to see, to smell, and to touch.  These things which we take for granted are vital to our health and well being.  God in His creative grace has chosen to share a bit of His existence with us and we call it life.  He has given the energy of existence to all living things and we are blessed by it.  The sights and sounds of life explode before us and we are often unaware of their presence.  The laughter of children, the buzz of bees, chirping birds, trees, flowers, friendship and worship are just some of the things that give us a sense of awe and celebration to being alive.  Sometimes the crises of life pungently bring to our attention those simple aspects of our daily routine which have a marvelous capacity for our nurture.
   Often in our search for the profound we miss the profundity of the simple.  In our haste to show up at the important events of life we miss a thousand opportunities to allow little things to prepare us for big things.   In our search for the significant we miss some of life’s most pertinent pictures.  Life has its own candid camera as well as its serious productions.  It is a video victory when we have eyes to see and can really see.  It is an audio miracle to have ears to hear and really hear.
     Being alive is an event worth celebrating.  The more we call attention to our aliveness the more grateful we are for being a part of God’s existence.  Every day we receive multiple blessings for being alive.  Let us count them.

Evening Breeze

12 Aug

senset from the porchAs the orange orb of the sun slid down behind English mountain, splashing the sky with rose, vermillion and mauve, the day’s heat began to wane.  The air began to move; caressing their cheeks to further cool them as they sat in their rockers on the porch before it drifted off to play among the trees.  The rustling leaves were like music.

The breeze wafted first from the south, then paused, and resumed again from the northeast, paused and swung back again as though it were playing a game.  “I wonder what makes it change like that.” She sighed.

His mind filled with images of weather charts and thermal differential flows; warm air rising, pulling cooler air in from all around, mobile low pressure cells.  He turned to her to deliver the dialogue that was forming.  She sat there, eyes closed, head against the tall chair back, as she lolled gently to and fro.  His nose wrinkled in thought, then he leaned back in his chair and resumed a slow rocking.  “Oh, it’s just playful I reckon.”

The sky deepened through the shades of purple into black as the Chuck-will’s Widow added his melody to the concert of nature.

* * * * *



10 Aug


If I were to say to you, “I don’t believe in molecules” how would you go about convincing me that you and your certainty that molecules exist are correct?

I have never seen a molecule with my own eyes.  Neither have you.  No one has.  Even those who claim to study such things have not seen them except through the filter of high technology; technology that could be flawed, or a grand conspiracy.  I have seen representations of molecules and even atoms, drawn by those who claim intimate knowledge and experience, but no molecule has ever forced itself into my awareness so as to induce in me a belief in its existence.

Yes, situations can be set up where under certain conditions actions result in a predicted and repeatable outcome, but does that prove their theories of why it happens?  These priests of molecular physics and chemistry have agendas of their own; perhaps nefarious agendas.  They promote science as the ultimate authority.   Read the rest of this entry »


Recycling Water

06 Aug

recycling waterThe historic draught of 2007-2008 opened many people’s eyes to the very real prospect of a fresh water shortage. Until then, most modern-day Americans took it for granted that clean, fresh water was always just a twist of the faucet away; forever available in any quantity we desire. During that time period, many residents, especially in the Southeast, learned the reality that fresh water is not an inexhaustible resource. Since then, more people are looking at fresh water in a new way.

Some people, while not in drought areas, want to decrease their dependence upon a water utility. In both cases collecting and using rain water and some waste water can help them achieve their goals. By recycling the water they have access to they can maximize their use of that water. But this must be done carefully to prevent health and legal problems.

Two types of water can be collected for use: rain water and grey water.

Legal Ramifications of Recycling Water

In some areas, especially in drought plagued areas, it has actually been made illegal to collect grey water and even rain water. Doing so will label you as a hoarder and you can face stiff fines for theft of a public utility. The government can’t claim ownership of the rain, but they can claim rights to ground water. By preventing rain from becoming ground water – even temporarily – they can claim to have been stolen from and will sue.

If you are on a public water utility, the utility claims ownership of the water they sold you. By diverting the grey water (non-sewage waste water) for additional use you are (according to them) receiving additional value for which you have not paid.

These are issues only in areas where drought has become a way of life and water rights are particularly precious. Most areas of our country are not so over-possessive of water rights. If your home has a private water well, the issue becomes even less of a problem. Still, before investing time and money into an elaborate system for recycling water, check your local ordinances to be sure you won’t bring the law down on you for what you see as a perfectly reasonable use of rain or grey water. Read the Rest


Mullein: Alien Plant that Heals

05 Aug

Do you remember the movie Day of the Triffids?  It is a schlocky sci-fi adventure from 1962 involving plants from outer space trying to take over the world after blinding most of the population.  In case you’d like to see it, I’ll embed it below.

common mulleinLately I’ve been seeing these strange plants popping up along our roadways and wondered what they are.  They are big.  They look alien.  They remind me of the Triffids in the movie.  So I asked my super searcher web sleuth (Marie) to see what she could find on them.  She found an excerpt from a book written by Tom Remaley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN.  It identifies the strange plant, which grows to be as much as 10 feet tall, to be a Common Mullein.  It is a member of the figwort family of plants which is native to Europe and Asia and is identified by the Alien Plant Working Group (I KNEW it was alien!) as one of their Least Wanted Plants here in America.

Mullein may not have the ability to pull their roots out of the ground and walk around like Triffids (although they do have very shallow root systems, so; maybe!)  Nor do they spray poisonous gas at passersby, but they seem to be almost as invasive and dangerous as Triffids: at least to meadows and forest edges.  Here they spread rapidly and choke out native vegetation.

On the flip side herbalists collect mullein – a few actually cultivate them.   Read the rest of this entry »


Our Former Foster Becomes TV Star

04 Aug

Kingsley Profile PicOne of our recent foster dogs: Kingsley, wrote “home” to tell us of his latest adventure: as a TV Star!

HI all … It’s me Kingsley and I had such an exciting day … About a week ago NBC called FOWA Rescue to ask if I wanted to have a part in an episode of their new series “Unraveled” … so of course they said yes. So my foster mom Diane and my friend Shirley were there to watch me perform … Everyone said I was a natural … and everyone on the set was so nice to me …. Watch for when it premieres in the fall on the Investigation Discovery channel … I am not going to give the story away but this is me and the actors who played my family …It was a great day … lots of treats and attention … Not to shabby for a heartworm positive black dog from the south … Don’t worry Jen , Brandy and Doug I am still the same sweet dog you knew when you saved me… and I am forever grateful you fought so hard to keep me alive …
Love and Licks – Kingsley


We knew him when

Kingsley came to us as a heartworm positive rescue dog from the Dr. Carol Hood Memorial Animal Shelter in Newport Tennessee for treatment of his condition and some behavioral training: he was kind of excitable and unruly. He quickly became a favorite here because of his abundance of personality.  Read More…