Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Category Archives: Whimsy

Seasons of Gold LIVES!

Congratulations to my dear wife.!

Christine's Collection

Hear ye! Hear ye! New e-book published!AnnouncementSeasons of Gold selected haiku & senryu, is now live on Amazon and I’m “over the moon.” Inserting the images has given me grief galore, but I’ve just viewed a copy on our tablet — and it looks great. Now to tell the world, “My e-book is ready for you!” A great way to celebrate National Poetry Month.
Check it out here: Link to Amazon.com

Seasons of Gold: selected haiku & senryu by [Goodnough, Christine]

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Misinforming the mind

Movies are one of the bad habits that have corrupted our century. They have slipped into the American mind more misinformation in one evening than the dark ages could muster in a decade.
-Ben Hechtperson-695654_640

 

Hmmm. Wasn’t Ben Hecht one of the most prolific American screenwriters of the 20th century?

Why am I still here?

It amazed us when Aggie greeted us by name. This was only the second time we had visited her and at our first meeting she had already passed her 100th birthday.

Aggie was an amazing lady all round. She did not need hearing aids; she had glasses, but still read a regular print Bible. She walked with a cane, but that was more for insurance than for need of support. Every Sunday someone picked her up to take her to church.

It had piqued our interest when we read in the newspaper about the 100th birthday of this lady whose last name was the same as my wife’s maiden name. Since she lived in a nursing home in a town not too far away, we looked her up. We never found out if there was any family connection, but that didn’t seem all that important when we got to know her.

She posed the question I have used as a title for this post. What purpose did God have in preserving her life? Her children lived far away. But a grandson had moved back to teach at the school right beside the nursing home. Aggie loved to watch the children. Why aren’t all nursing homes built beside schools?

We thought it was enough that Aggie was a little candle in a place full of shadows. She loved God, loved her neighbours, was thankful and cheerful. I want to be like that if I live so long.

Years later, we met a man over 100, a distant relative of mine this time. He lived in an apartment beside the nursing home where my mother spent the last year of her life.

Jacob still had a driver’s license and drove to his country church every Sunday. Except in winter, for, he said, “If I were to have an accident on the snow and ice, they would take my license away.”

This 100-year-old man loved to take nursing home residents for walks around the beautifully landscaped grounds, pushing their wheelchairs. He had outlived his wife and two of his children, but wasted no time feeling sorry for himself. He still had something left to give.

Perhaps I am thinking this way because I had another injection in my eye yesterday, to counteract the effects of macular degeneration. The eye specialist is often a little surprised that I can detect the effects so soon, when the scans of my retina show only the beginning of a slight swelling.

I suppose it might take me longer to notice if I spent most of my time watching TV. But I don’t have a TV; to pass my life being entertained doesn’t sound like much of a life. I am a reader, writer and bookkeeper; when a line of type, or a column of numbers, develops waves I call my eye doctor.

It is ten and a half years since I first noticed this happening and the doctor first stuck a needle in my eye to inject a couple drops of a special medication. It has worked for me so I can still drive and work with words and numbers.

But, if the macular degeneration had begun a few years earlier no medicine would have been available. The timing was right; I am blessed and so are so many others. The question that comes to me is not so much why, as, what am I supposed to be doing with the extra time that the injections have given me to use my vision? The answer seems to be that now is the time to write.

I have thought of myself as a would-be writer since my school days and have always written in free moments. There has been more time in the last few years and I have applied myself to learning and honing my writing skills. Perhaps it is time to stop thinking of myself as a would-be writer and get with it.

The half-converted farmer

There was a farmer in our neighbourhood who lived a simple life. He had no need of electricity, running water or a lawn mower. He didn’t need a wife either though we heard that there had once been a lady of the house. Perhaps the rustic simplicity of the homestead soon lost its charm.

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Image by noahherrera from Pixabay

This rustic farmer had a simple approach to farming. In the spring he seeded his wheat and in the fall he harvested his wheat — as much as his equipment could capture. For the fields produced a much greater crop of weeds than of wheat, in such a manner that the wheat that grew was short in stature. Then too, he needed to manoeuvre around the many prominent rocks throughout the fields when seeding and harvesting. As we passed by his fields after harvest we saw much wheat still standing, waiting for the birds, mice and gophers to glean. The proximity of these heads of wheat to the rocks or to the surface of the ground made them inaccessible to the harvesting machinery.

Then came a day when the farmer announced that he had seen the light, from henceforth things would be different. He purchased top quality seed and fertilizer, enough for all his fields. He chose not to remove the rocks and the weeds. The good seed, he said, with the help of the fertilizer, would produce vigorous plants that would choke the weeds and grow so high the rocks would not be a problem.

Unfortunately, the bad seeds in the ground outnumbered the good seeds he planted. With the help of the fertilizer, they grew taller that year than ever before. The wild mustard plants resembled small trees. I did not see if the birds of the air built their nests in these great shrubs, but I observed them flitting joyfully from branch to branch.

Harvest that year was neither better nor worse than in previous years. Whereupon the farmer declared that scientific farming was a fraud designed to separate gullible farmers from their money. He would never again believe a word of it. And the latter end of that farmer was worse than the beginning.

Some people approach Christian life in like manner. They realize the futility of their old ways and resolve to follow the way of Jesus. They read the Bible and attend church, and verily their countenances change. They have hope.

Still, there are the hurtful things they have said and done in the past, and perhaps dishonest things. These are great rocks in their life and removing them seems too great a task. The cost and effort of confession and restitution is higher than they wish to pay. Thus the rocks remain, ever a hindrance to the trust they desire from others.

Worse yet, the tendency to hurt feelings and flare-ups of temper remains and impedes the good they try to do. An apology would be too humiliating, better to wait and hope people forget. These thorns in their personalities choke out their good intentions. After a time, they conclude that Christianity was only an illusion and return to their old ways.

It need not be that way. But many evangelists who mean well neglect to explain that one cannot live a fruitful Christian life without removing the rocks and the thorns.

Mr. Average Canadian 

This was first published four years ago.

In 1926 Stephen Leacock tried to describe the average Canadian man of his day. Eighty-nine years have passed and Mister Average Canadian of that day is long dead and buried. Therefore, I will take it upon myself to describe his modern counterpart, according to census statistics.

In 2015 Mr. Average Canadian is 42 years old and lives in Sudbury, Ontario, but was not born there. His mother tongue is English, but one of his grandparents was French and he speaks 1,000 words of that language. He also speaks 100 words of Mandarin and 100 words of Hindi, Urdu or Arabic, and knows a few words of Cree or Ojibwe.

He has lived with three women, is halfway divorced from one and halfway married to another. Two children live with him and his halfway wife, they each have one other child who lives with the partner from whom they are halfway divorced. Mr. Average Canadian and his halfway wife each have one half of a university degree, but this does not add up to one full degree between them.

Mr. Average Canadian drives a Ford pickup and his halfway wife drives a Toyota Corolla. They also own a riding lawnmower and either a Skidoo or a Kawasaki ATV. Mr. Average Canadian shops once a week at Canadian Tire for parts for their vehicles and equipment, parts to fix the tap in the bathroom, new tools with which to do the repairs, or clothes to wear on his upcoming hunting trip. He also meets with friends for coffee at Tim Horton’s two times in the week. He has an Android phone which he uses to keep up with family and friends, the weather, sports, news and various other things.
Mr. Average Canadian and his halfway wife attend a church five times a year. They may also go to a synagogue or a mosque occasionally. They have one quarter of a Bible in their home and each will pick it up three times a year and try to read something in it, but they still don’t have a clue what it’s all about.

This I believe is a reasonably accurate portrait of Mr. Average Canadian. Here is the big question: where does one begin when he wishes to share the gospel with such a person?

The answer should be obvious — you need to be one of those friends he meets with at Tim Horton’s, show him the nifty Bible app on your Android phone and encourage him to download it too. That is the beginning.

Feeling a bit groggy this morning?

Maybe you should move to Saskatchewan. We ditched Daylight Saving Time more than 50 years ago.

More and more studies are  demonstrating just how useless is this business of turning the clocks ahead one hour. It does nothing to reduce energy costs, which has been its stated purpose from the beginning.

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What it does do is cause more heart attacks, strokes, accidents and depression due to sleep deprivation. Numerous studies show that tomorrow and throughout the coming week there will be a statistically significant uptick in all the unfortunate phenomena just mentioned.

Don’t listen to those who say it must be right because everybody is doing it. India, China, the Philippines and South  Africa have stopped doing it, leaving Europe and most of North America as thee main practitioners of this bizarre practice. Isn’t it time they saw the light and dropped it, too?

Yes, I’m Mennonite, and Why That’s Not the Point

I wish I had written this. Like the young lady who wrote this article, I wish to portray to people that Mennonites are “quite dreadfully ordinary.” I am a more or less normal Canadian guy who became a Mennonite 40 years ago because I believed the Mennonite faith to be the most authentic expression of genuine Christianity. I was not raised in a Mennonite church and have never been enamoured of the “Mennonite culture”. Though by now I have grandchildren who are pretty much part of that culture.

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This post comes out of a commitment I made to myself shortly after I started this blog. But to understand why, I need to tell you the beginning.

I had sought to publish some short articles through Mennonite publications, but the lists of prerequisites of what is and is not okay to put in said articles was discouraging. In addition, in telling true stories about ourselves, we run the risk of threatening someone else’s privacy. Blogging looked attractive in that no one had to know me or the people I was writing about to appreciate my writing. I wondered if people who didn’t know me could actually find me interesting to read.

I also wondered if someone of my sub-culture (Conservative Mennonite) had anything to offer the world at large. There’s all kinds of hype about the Amish and Mennonites, and I wanted people to read what I wrote for…

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Going paperless

In school we learned poems about log drives in Quebec. Loggers worked all winter in the forests and in the spring the logs were floated down the rivers to the paper mills.

That is history, nothing but folklore anymore. There are still lumber mills; there are mills producing tissue paper, computer paper, glossy magazine paper, but the logs are all hauled by truck. And the last newsprint mill in Quebec is closing.

I suppose I am part of the problem. I’m still pretty much a news junkie, but I don’t buy newspapers anymore. I read them on my cell phone.

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Now I can read the daily newspaper from our nearest city, a national English language newspaper, a national French language newspaper, a newsmagazine from France, a provincial French language weekly newspaper, pretty much anything I want to read is available to me on that little device in my pocket.

Paper newspapers are getting thinner, some have died, more will die. Montreal’s La Presse, the largest French language newspaper in North America, does not use paper anymore. It is all available on the internet, and only on the internet.

Think of the money that is saved in the cost of paper, ink and distribution. Not only that, but its reach has greatly expanded. Paper copies of la Presse were never available here in Saskatchewan, unless you wanted to pay for a mail subscription. But then the news would always be stale. And don’t let me get started about the reliability. or lack thereof, of our postal system. Now the news is constantly updated and available to anyone with a cell phone.

The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix will not longer deliver paper copies to rural areas. That’s fine, it’s right here in my pocket on my phone. The National Post ceased distribution of paper copies in Saskatchewan a few years ago. No problem. I can’t find l’Eau Vive , a weekly newspaper printed in Regina, anywhere in Saskatoon. I don’t care if they never print another copy, it’s so much handier to read it online.

Moose Jaw is the old home base for our family and I am still interested in what goes on there. The Moose Jaw Times-Herald ceased publication last year after 112 years of daily publication. There is still a bi-weekly newspaper, but something even better has appeared – the Daily Jaw, an online newspaper.

I’m an old guy, old-fashioned and resistant to change. But paperless news is change that I like.

Our cats in winter

It is cold here, many mornings the wind chill has been -40° or worse. School has been cancelled numerous times as school buses do not go out when it gets that cold. Monday the temperature got up to -18° (that’s 0° Fahrenheit) and it felt positively mild!

Our two cats don’t like this weather any more than we do. They want to go outside, but even when they do gather up enough courage to do so, they don’t stay out long.

Each has chosen his favourite nesting spot in the house. Angus gets up on the washing machine. It’s located in the hallway in the centre of our house and he expects some attention every time one of us passes by.

Pookie likes it under our bed. The floor is carpeted and there is floor heat. He finds it nice and snug there, protected from drafts and warmth seeping up from below.

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Sunday we were invited to friends from our church for dinner. It was sunny and I noticed a couple of cats outside. I think they spend nights in the barn. I should have counted the cats when we left, because when we got home there was a piteous wail coming from under the hood of our car.

By the time I got a dish of cat food and went back outside the wailing had stopped. I lifted the hood and there was an orange tabby comfortably ensconced on top of the air cleaner.

He jumped out as soon as he was exposed, but didn’t go far.  He looked around this strange yard, trying to figure out where he was then ate some of the cat food. His owners showed up shortly thereafter to take him home.

Morning Coffee 2/8/19 “Even Till The End Of The Age!” (Poem)

Morning Coffee Devotions

Even when government rises against government. He is with you.

Even when there are wars and rumors of wars, He is with you.

Even when the elect are fooled and turn away in there blindness.

Even then God will not abandon those who truly seek is guidance.

Even as heaven and earth pass away and the mountains turn to dust. He is with you.

Even when they put you on trial because of His name, He is with you.

His thoughts of you existed before the foundations of the world.

He is faithful and will complete the work He started in you.

Be still and know that He alone is God, And He will not abandon you.

He will present you faultless in the presence of His Glory.

He will wipe away every tear and all sorrows will fade.

Your steps are ordered of the Lord. He guide you.

Do…

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