I was a member of the Southern Illinois University community for over 32 years. During those years…I was a member of the civil service staff.
I began as a Building Service Worker I…that is a janitor.
I attended a meeting of the Range Committee, this morning, and when the chair of the committee asked my opinion…I spoke at length, and probably much to long, regarding my feelings for our University and the value of my civil service colleagues!
I recall my, former co-worker, Joan and how hard she worked to make the Agriculture building immaculate! Joan did not see herself in some type of diminished role of, a housekeeper, she preceived that she was instrumental in the success of the School of Agriculture and the recruitment and retention of our most precious citizens…our students! And you know what…she was!
The Dean of Agriculture and the Associate Deans and all of the Ag professors…loved her and considered her their, cherished, colleague!
When I was the Superintendent of Building Services, my assistant, Elizabeth, was dedicated, beyond her years, to not only the success of Building Service…but to the success of SIUC! I marvel at how hard she works and her 24/7 commitment to the University! This fine lady, who has three sons and commutes back and forth from Pickneyville, Illinois…and she wears her concern for SIU’s, comeback, like the Jews wear the Tefillin, ‘which is a cubic black box with leather straps that Orthodox Jewish men wear on their head and their arm during weekday morning prayer.’ Wikipedia
I admired, Jim, the chair of the committee at this morning’s meeting. His careful and considerate conducting of the meeting as well as conversation that I enjoyed, with him, prior to the event,…was demonstrative of the professionalism within the civil service ranks!
I thought of my friend and former colleague, Gerald Davis, and his beginning a Thanksgiving Dinner for the, over 200 students, and 150 full time staff of Building Services. For over ten years we enjoyed a, seminal annual event, that was loved by our students…who came from all over the world!
I reflect about, Cyndy, and her unparalleled connections with our student body! Cyndy worked with me for the last several years of my career and she was a gem! This intelligent and unassuming professional mentored students and befriended them and encouraged staff and generally took the burden of all, ‘who were weak and heavy laden’, and did so without fanfare and without recognition!
Our current Chancellor, John Dunn, told me, years ago when he was, also the Interim Chancellor, that the civil service staff were the first to volunteer to to call students to aid in the recruitment of them!
Former Chancellor Argersinger asked civil service staff to aid her in, public events, to recruit students. I am referring to talking with the students and engaging them…not emptying their trash or clerical duties!
I have known several chancellors and a president. They are just people with big jobs and a lot of responsibility. They need friends and confidants and someone who has no hidden agenda!
So often we look to the administrator or the vice chancellor or the director…to solve the problems of the University. In reality the civil service staff have been the un-sung heroes of SIUC! They have worried with our students and fed our students and mentored our students and became surrogate parents to our students and have represented Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to our students!
The key to the success of SIUC is not another administrator….or another multi-degreed leader…or the success of the sports program…it is the support of the backbone of our campus…our civil service staff!
I was privileged to work my entire 32 + year career with Building Services! During those years I found that many of the staff were either bringing food, each evening, for their student colleagues, or taking them to their homes to feed them on the weekends and holidays!
The Housekeeping staff held a plethora of Bachelor’s degrees and master degrees and many of them were graduates of SIUC!
My colleagues could not only speak intelligently on any subject but they had a burning passion for their alma matter…and they worked tirelessly to ensure the University’s success!
We can say…all day long…that we love our civil service staff….and that they are the salt of the earth…and that we could not function without their dedicated efforts…but at the end of the day….support equals financial support….or chancellors and vice chancellors…would work for free?
Indeed, racism and bias and prejudice of all manner can be found in our country.
Preconceived opinions about another that are based on race, or ethnicity, or religion, or sexual orientation…are horrible and their increase, in the past few years, is frightening!
The Chabad synagogue in Poway, California where a woman was killed and the rabbi was shot in the hand and two others people received shrapnel wounds.
Antisemitism is on a hideous rise in our country!
‘The Charleston church shooting was a mass shooting in which Dylan Roof, a 21 year old white supremacist, murdered nine African Americans during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on the evening of June 17, 2015. Wikipedia
‘A mass shooting occurred at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs Texas, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of the city of San Antonio, on November 5, 2017. The gunman, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of nearby New Braunfels, killed 26 and injured 20 others.’ Wikipedia
‘The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas and the fifth-deadliest mass shooting in the United States.’ Wikipedia
There were many caucasian congregants murdered at First Baptist in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Recently, I heard a person state that a predominately caucasian church was, virtually safe, from terrorist activity….
No one is safe from the mindless evil of terrorism!
Often we form an opinion of others, who look different than us, or who worship in another manner, or for who they love…when we have not taken the time to know the person!
No race should be judged…good or bad…caring or not-caring…enlightened or seated in prejudice…by the color of their skin!
Many years ago I was a leader of a housekeeping crew. Ruth, a wonderful, older, member of the staff cleaned the auditorium in the Engineering and Technology building. One night I entered the auditorium, prior to it being maintained, and I read, on the chalkboard, a note to the janitor to bring the umbrella that they had stolen from, the person writing the note, back!
Ruth was one of the most honest and upright people that I had ever known!
The vice chancellor for diversity at SIUC…lectured me, many years ago, on how I should treat the crew leader that I had assigned to Anthony Hall. He informed me of her intelligence and her volunteer work and her value to me and the Building Services organization. The vice chancellor as well as the crew leader were African American. I told the vc that I was the one who had placed, Marva, in Anthony Hall…due to my extreme confidence in her and that I had a great appreciation for all of her abilities!
We must strive to not paint any group with a broad and all encompassing brush!
We have a fellowship time, in the Fellowship Hall, of our church, each Sunday after the morning service.
Being a bit shy and a, closet, introvert…I had fallen into the, bad, habit of skipping the fellowship and proceeding home after the worship.
When I first began skipping the, time of friendship and bonding, I told myself that it was just temporary. But, it is easy for an introvert to make temporarily being alone…a permanent condition!
Mary Jane and Jonathon are not of the, loner, mindset that I am! They enjoy fellowship…as I did before I started taking the easy route of skipping it…for what I told myself was expediency.
So, when I look into the Fellowship Hall…I see Mary Jane and Jonathon enjoying the company of, Rick and Dori, and I think…this could be fun!
Our church is full of wonderful friendly people and one old curmudgeon!
I took a little plate and placed a mini muffin and a brownie with chocolate icing on top on it…and I filled my cup with, wonderful, regular coffee…and I sat down.
What a lovely exchange of ideas and life experiences that was shared by the group around the table! I noticed, quickly, that we humans are so much more alike…than we are different!
I have always admired Rick and Dori as I did Rick’s parents…who were so kind to us when we began attending First Presbyterian over twenty years ago.
Soon, John Hooker came and sat down with us, and he and his wife Carolyn…are a delight! John is such an open and friendly person that he makes everyone whom he encounters…welcome.
Soon, Ro came by our table and I considered that every time that I talk with her…I feel edified and uplifted!
I have been missing half of the joy of attending First Presbyterian and I do not intend on making that mistake again!
I have attempted to follow the teachings of Jesus…for most of my life. I have also been a member of a church for the same amount of time. I have often had the statements said to me, ‘that I believe in God and am a christian but I serve God at home, or I am a spiritual person, or I feel the closeness of the creator in the woods!’
I would agree with all of those statements but would add that the coming together of believers is a strength to all who participate!
‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’ Hebrews 10: 24-25 ESV
‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’ Matthew 18:20 ESV
‘When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.’ Acts 2:1
I was listening to a magician being interviewed on BBC Radio this afternoon. He was speaking, not only of his love of magic, but also his disdain for; clairvoyants, mediums, and divination, and all types of magic that is portrayed to people as being a spiritual manifestation.
The program went on to discuss the bias that we all have to believe things that we, desperately, want to be true.
It is easy for us to ignore facts when they do not comport with our core belief system.
Our world view is, often, constructed though the lens of our surroundings and experiences. We tend to understand the world, much, as our friends and family view it.
If we have been hurt and abused and shunned and shamed…we see our surroundings and our life as, ‘brutish and short!’
If we have enjoyed a peaceful and happy and easy existence…we perceive that the world is good…as least for the special people!
We live in a galaxy that is part of a universe that is one of billions of universes. We admire the stars as they shine down on a clear night, and think little of the fact that they are so far away that it takes years for their light to reach us and that many of them have burned out before we see their glow!
We, white anglo Americans, see the United States as our country and, many of us do not want immigrants to enter our, legal, space. While native Americans look at us as invaders and robbers and usurper of their, native, land.
Some political leaders have characterized Mexicans and Latin Americans as; rapist and murders and thieves…while the Latin culture is a rich and vibrant and an ancient culture…that is much older than the United States.
We are a nation that was built by slave labor. We, forcibly, took Africans from their homes and families and bought them to the United States in chains…in the hold of sailing vessels…and we, knew, that we were doing God’s work! The African culture is rich and vibrant and is the home of the human beginnings… and life!
Politicians have lied to us…for so long…we desire someone to shake up the moribund establishment! Even a president who lies on a daily basis, for a time, is accepted simply due to the, extreme, dissatisfaction of a percentage of the electorate! But, there is a tipping point where thousands of lies…finally tip the scales of acceptance…to dissatisfaction.
When I took the position of Assistant Superintendent of Building Services at SIUC, I quickly found out that my supervisor was going to keep me out of any understanding of what was happening above him or in the university at-large. I knew that if I was ever going to be able to assist my department that I was going to have to reach out…beyond my fish bowl….and see things from a wider point of view!
I first was named to the Employee Assistance Program and later elected to the Civil Service Council and…did I ever receive an education!
We do not like facts that bump up against our beliefs!
‘The best way to know God is to love many things.’ Vincent Van Gough
Note: Van Gough photos are courtesy of Google.
Earlier this week I had the company that did my basement waterproofing, come to my house to check on the system that they had installed.
Two years ago, when we purchased the system, the salesperson assured Mary Jane and I that not only would our basement be completely covered from further leaks but that if an an additional trench needed to be dug and a pipe laid, in the middle of our floor, that the company would do so for no charge! He went on to state that he was so confident of the system plan that he had drawn for our floor leaks that he was sure that we did not need the additional pipe.
This past Tuesday, another representative of the company informed me that I was not covered against leaks…because I did not place a pipe along the, walk out basement wall, 36 inches from it…which would have been approximately where I had inquired… on numerous occasions rather or not we would need one…and had been assured that we did not.
In fact we were informed, when we purchased the waterproofing system that not only was it warrantied against leaks but that the warranty was good for the life of the house and could be used as a selling point…should we choose to sell.
Our, Tuesday Technician agreed that we would have been covered…if we had purchased the additional pipe…that the former company representative had assured us that we would not need!
Now, we do not have a leak…yet!
When the gentleman informed me of this contrary news…I replied that I would have to report his company to the State’s Attorney…if they did not stand behind the word of their, first, representative. Also that I would have purchased the, wayward, pipe if I had been told that I needed it!
When I told him this…he looked like that I had slapped him with a wet mackerel! He said that he was going to document everything that I told him and that someone from the company would call me. No call as of yet…
Two years ago I was so pleased with the hard and professional work that the water proofing system installers performed that I wrote a letter of commendation regarding them to their boss. Sadly…I do not feel that way any longer!
Oh, by the way…a basement waterproofing system costs thousands of dollars!
Lest you think that I have grown curmudgeonly…and you are probably right…I also have been working with a roofing company who did a partial roof repair, above our loft, to ameliorate some water leakage from ice dams, in the winter, pushing under shingles.
Although, there was no guarantee with the work…the company representative, who I dealt with, assured me that if there was a problem with their work that he would fix it. I was informed, today, that they will re-roof the area that they did this past October.
I was shocked…and pleased!
It has been said that repetition is the best teacher! I believe that this is the case…as I, on a regular basis have to explain my simple service needs to contractors…numerous times before they absorb the minimal information.
I was visiting a cigar store a few months ago. When I grabbed a couple of, choice, smokes, I proceeded to the checkout. When the lady rang up my tab…the cigars were several dollars more than advertised on their price stickers attached to them. When I asked why the discrepancy she informed me that the stickers did not agree with the computer and that she would have to charge me the, more expensive, computer price! I replied that if her store would not honor the price affixed to their product…I did not want the cigars…and I have never been back!
Are Romeo and Juliet real?
‘The feuding Montague’s and Capulets are based on the real life Guelphs and Ghibellines of twelfth-fourteenth-century Verona. There is a legend originated by Vicenza Luigi da Porto, of two star-crossed lovers from these families during the reign of Bartolomeo della Scala, but Romeo and Juliet, themselves, are not real.’ e notes
This was a question asked, in a meeting that I attended last evening, by a person who is preparing to visit Italy and during the visit, Juliet’s balcony, in Verona.
In 2014 we had the pleasure of visiting Verona and Juliet’s balcony. We also were cautioned to be aware that horse is a delicacy in Verona, by our hotel concierge, and that she had made the observation that horse was not readily received by Americans!
As we traversed the beautiful streets of the city, we noticed an upscale restaurant that had al fresco dining, and so we stopped by to have a closer look. At the top of the dinner menu was, in bold type, DONKEY! When I inquired of the water…he responded that, indeed it was not a typo but a speciality of the establishment.
The hotels in Europe are much smaller than in the United States. Many have a small Bar, that the person who is working the front desk, also, serves the drinks.
On our first trip to Italy and our first morning in Rome, a young woman asked me if I wanted water, con-gas, with my breakfast. After I asked her to repeat her question, a couple of times, I replied that I would take my water in a glass or a cup or whatever was convenient for her. Her perplexed look was priceless…as she was asking me if I wanted carbonated water?
While we were in Verona, our friend Margo, told us to order the hot chocolate, and that it was a special recipe! We proceeded to order some hot chocolate and the lady waiting on us asked us if we understood that our drink would not be like what we were used to in the United States? We replied that we understood and that we were looking forward to it!
When our chocolate arrived…it was as thick as pudding…and twice as good!
Nutella is a staple in Rome! At our first breakfast there, I noticed that Nutella was plentiful thought the luxurious buffet. There were many croissants and pastries and, all you could ever want, of Italian meats and cheeses!
In Venice we found a waiter who looked just like, Mr. Bean, of United Kingdom fame! This was fascinating to me…as my friend Jeff and I had been watching Mr. Bean on his I Pad…late into the evening as he had been to ill to leave the flat that we were staying at. Jeff would laugh so hard that tears came to his eyes and he got chocked up…but he did have bronchitis!
If you have never been to Florence…you must go! Be prepared for sensory overload! The majestic beauty of the art and buildings of the Medici’s is dizzying!
Mary Jane and I found a ristorante in Florence that totally suited us…we felt at home. We must have eaten there, three or four times, during the week that we were in Firenze. One thing that we noticed…they did not get in a hurry. It seemed that each time that we were there…our wait for the check…was a little longer. On our final visit we were on a bit of a schedule and I had to ask our waiter, twice, if we could have our check as we had an appointment. He apologized and assured me that he would get it to us soon….and another hour passed…
Our stay in Tuscany was splendid. Our Bed and Breakfast was in an old farm house, some of which was built during the 12th century and the new part during the 16th century. The couple who lived there were colorful! The woman and her son, ministered to the chickens and collected eggs, at about midnight.
We went to a local fair in the adjoining town of Montecatini Terme. The gentleman of the farm house gestured to me as we ate the delicious food and although neither of us understood the other’s language…we communicated!
I am sitting on my screened in porch and watching an especially hard rain!
For the past few months, and years, we have been blessed with more than our share of rain.
I have, hurriedly, been snapping photos of the beautiful spring buds on our trees as Southern Illinois University in Carbondale…as I know that a hard rain like today…will cause them to fall to the ground!
While the rain is is falling, I am also watching my friend, David Gorman, in a live art show from Park West Gallery in Michigan. Park West is a great company and David is one of our favorite people affiliated with it!
As I was, quickly, photographing the campus this afternoon, before the rain and storms began, I ran into Monica Mason Raines, who I know from our civil service council days. She is always such a bright and cheerful person and she consistently seems glad to see me! Monica told me that she enjoys all of the photos that I post of the campus!
So…hard rains come to us in nature and in our lives. We seek to be good human beings…and help our neighbor…and put others before ourselves…and yet…difficulties and trials and tribulations still happen to us.
I think of our beloved SIU and the difficulties that have buffeted her over the past twenty years.
The dedicated civil service staff has been working with and suffering with their school, ‘cheek to jowl,’ as the English say… and neither asking for recognition or praise!
The university is, truly, the life of the staff!
I have often said…and continue to do so…that if university administration would seek the input of their dedicated civil service staff on the, paramount, problems of student recruitment and retention…we would not be in the shape that we are!
No university employee is closer to our students…than our civil service staff. They are the ones that counsel the students when they are sad and lonely….they are the ones who remind the students to study for their exams…they are the ones who function as surrogate mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers for our, precious, students, who are lonely and sad and who miss home and family!
In the university community the professor is praised and lauded and we are often reminded how essential that they are. This is all appropriate and good and I have know, countless professors who were dedicated, night and day, to SIUC! But, the people that go unsung and unheralded and unheard…are the civil service staff…who worry and and care and struggle and give, all that they have, to our most valuable university citizens…our students!
Most of our students do not come from academic families! Most of our students parents are not PhD’s! They seek someone to identify with and someone to bond with…and someone that represents SIUC…to them!
I was a member of the university community for over 32 years! I have been affiliated with SIUC for over 40 years! I, throughly, understand the university culture. I completely understand where the emphasis of importance is placed in the hierarchal structure of academia!
I have worked with several chancellors in my career. I worked, closely, with one who told me, plainly and unvarnished, that the faculty came first and then the administrative professional staff and finally…if there was anything left…the civil service staff!
I told this chancellor that if he said this, insult, to me again…that I would walk out of his office!
SIUC chancellors and presidents have called on me for help…numerous times! Now, please understand, I do not mean in a condescending attempt to make me feel valued…I mean…because they were in trouble!
I told a chancellor, once, that if he insulted my intelligence again…that our meeting was over!
Please do not misjudge us…we may have been raised in the country…but we are not fools!
Southern Illinois University needs it’s civil service staff…desperately!
The university does not need it’s staff because they are the ‘salt of the earth’ or they perform the, distasteful duties, that faculty do not have the time for…or that are beneath them!
SIUC needs it’s civil service staff…because they are the primary reason that the university has continued to be a viable institution of higher education in the state of Illinois! And the civil service staff will be the, glue and the propellant, that projects the university forward into the 21st century!
‘Each year, Earth Day-April 22-marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.’
‘The height of counterculture in the United State, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album , and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’ War raged in Vietnam and students nationwide overwhelmingly opposed it.’
‘At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. ‘Environment’ was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.’ earthday.org
Earth Day was founded by bipartisan support from both republicans and democrats.
‘Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.’ earthday.org
I have always had an appreciation for Terra Firma…but I have experienced and increasing love for nature and the environment, since I have retired at the end of 2010.
I heard on NPR, today, that 2018 was the forth warmest year on record.
Now, I was raised in coal country….Southern Illinois! When I graduated from Eldorado High School…I attempted to obtain a job from one of the many coal companies in our region.
As a young man…all I had to do was to look around and see that my friends who were coal miners had new homes and a new automobile and a new truck that had a fishing boat…attached!
In my, childhood, homes we had coal furnaces or coal stoves. The Coal Man…delivered coal to our home…on a monthly basis.
When we moved from Chicago to Eldorado, Illinois…when I was five years old, we took up residence in a large and ghostly house that was, directly across from the High School. The first morning that I awoke in the, cavernous, house I was, struck, with how, bitterly, cold that it was! When I asked my mom why it was so cold she told me that my dad had not yet, ‘shaken down the clinkers and stoked the coal furnace for the day!’
Years later, my step-father gave me the chore of getting in three buckets of coal, each afternoon after school, for the coal stove the he had installed adjacent to our kitchen. He admonished me to, not bring in clinkers, but to, sift through the coal to ensure that I was, only retrieving, the good coal that would burn well!
The coal bin was not well lit! As I searched for what appeared to be good coal…I would bring in, clinkers and…at times…dog poop…as the dogs liked to relieve themselves in the coal pile!
It was not a pleasant experience!
Many evenings I would read my Bible in the kitchen of my mom and stepfather’s home and the pages would curl up…from the heat of the coal stove!
I can, vividly, recall the mandate from our government to stop using aerosols that contained fluorocarbons…as they had created a hold in the O-Zone!
I was a foreman in the Building Services department and I thought, ‘how silly!’
But, I do not thing that any longer!
Our climate is changing more rapidly than any one believed possible. I have observed the glaciers calving and, although it is a majestic sight, it is frightening!
We are on the verge of a climate change…Armageddon!
Many impoverished nations that are close to an ocean are doomed for a sea rise that will obliterate much of their land mass!
I recall when tornadoes had a narrow base, that touched ground, and that you could actually flee an oncoming twister…and survive! Now, many of them are over a mile wide and create, unparalleled devastation!
The fires in California…are unstoppable and we live an uncertainty of…where is the safe place to live?
The majesty and mystery of nature is awe inspiring….and it is governed by a delicate balance!
Earth Day is important for all of humanity. The mechanism of climate change is already in motion and none of us can stop it…but we can lessen it…if we care about our children and our grandchildren!
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ Genesis 1:1-2 KJV
A wonderful Easter 🐣 Blog from Jonathon Brooks!
Easter is more to me than one church service and one fancy meal out. The story of the resurrection of Christ Jesus is so remarkable. One must believe in miracles to believe this story. I am 35 years of age and I have yet to see anybody rise from the dead! Although a world without miracles is too dark for me.
Jesus taught that he was the light of the world and that whoever would follow him would no longer walk in darkness but would have the light of life. I’ve suffered with darkness throughout my life story. I’ve experienced depression, despair and melancholy. Manic depression undiagnosed as a boy was the greatest beast I have ever had to battle. The darkness of sin and mental illness caused me to go on a quest in search of light. This quest began at age 17. I’ve been following Jesus since this…
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‘As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull).’ There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.’
‘Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’ In the same way the chief priests the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.’ Matthew 22: 32-44 NIV
‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: thy King cometh unto thee: he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’ Zechariah 9:9 KJV
And, so, we await the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.
‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.’ Isaiah 7:14 KJV
‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come fourth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2 KJV
‘Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and on his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.’ Isaiah 9: 5-7 KJV
‘Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. The divide my clothes and cast lots for my garment.’ Psalm 22:16 – 18 KJV
‘Were you There,’ was likely composed by enslaved African-Americans in the 19th century. It was first published in Willam Eleazar Barton’s 1899 Old Plantation Hymns. In 1940, it was encoded in the Episcopal Church hymnal, making it the first spiritual to be included in any major American hymnal.
”Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble!
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’
‘Were you there when they nail’d him to the cross? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?
O sometimes is causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?’
‘Were you there when they pierced him in the side? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
O sometime is causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when they pierced him the side?’
‘Were you there when the sun refused to shine? (Were you there?)
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
O sometime is causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?’
We had a lovely, breakfast and lunch with Ron and Ira Kaye today! It was so enjoyable it has made Easter weekend…complete!
As we were enjoying each other’s company I reflected on the blessings of family and the close bond that we share with them. We have traveled together, many times, and I am looking forward to many more, enjoyable, sojourns in the future!
I, as many of you, have pondered why our our country…with all of it’s resources…yet…suffers from an, endemic, depression of spirit?
Why are school and public shootings…becoming so common place in America…that they are no longer major news stories and we seem to be paralyzed in a spirit of complacency as to what can we do to stop the carnage!
President Trump, in his inaugural address spoke of American Carnage…yet there is no greater than our horrible fascination with violence and destruction.
When I was a child and a young man…on Sunday there were several half-hour programs put on by the Methodist and Catholic and numerous churches that depicted christian morales and teachings, in a dramatic content…and this was on network television.
The majority of American in the 1960’s were members of a church.
If you tour the many historic and beautiful buildings on the campus of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale…and take time to read the bronze plagues in the foyers…you will see that academic leaders, in the 19th and 20th centuries were proud of their religious affiliation and that the notation of that affiliation was high on their resume!
When we realize that our, individual, lives have meaning that is far beyond or insular experience…we have hope and faith and reason to present our best selves!
We truly do not realize how many people are watching us. Often, in today’s society, we feel like we are living in a vacuum. Between the screens that we set in front of all day…and the television screen…or the I Pad screen or the laptop screen or the desk top computer screen…we, are told, that we are having social interactions, when in reality….we are, desperately, lonely and hungry for real human contact.
Someone to compare notes with!
Someone to run our thoughts by…both light…and dark!
Someone who, personally, understands our human value…and that we are not a cliche!
A dedication to a faith system…brings peace and confidence and a road map for living.
Rather, Christian, or Jewish or Muslim, or any faith….it represents the desire to live in the will of our creator and friend…and it is a good thing!
Note: Crucifixion photos are courtesy of Google.