Monday, July 14, 2014


I'm suffering from mild hypothermia at the moment. I dozed off on the balcony (north facing) this afternoon, wearing only shorts and a short sleeved shirt. Slept a couple of hours. In the meantime, it got breezy and cooler. Viola!

Did you know that you can die from hypothermia in 60 degree weather with no clothing or shelter?

I have a bit of a history. Worst case was in July of 1979. I was still living in Lubbock, TX although my 1-year commitment to help with the start-up of Texas Instruments' adventure with high-tech manufacturing in CEO/Prez J. Fred Bucy's hometown had expired. Transfers were frozen. So I spent the plant-maintenance-shutdown period back in Dallas. I drove back out west on the last weekend, taking Doug, who was 15 at the time, with me for a visit. I don't remember for sure, but I think the girls stayed in Dallas. I do remember that I got popped on the face that morning when I was taking down a yellow-jacket nest in the back yard.

This was during the 1979 fuel crisis, and since the 302 in my Maverick Grabber din't get very good mileage, I decided not to run the A/C on the trip, despite the broiling temps. We actually had a very good trip. I decided to show Doug Ft. Belknap ( where public schools from Olney and other area cities had grade-level outings every year. Then we drove up to Olney (, where my family lived from 1952 until 1956, and we visited with Fred Rowe, our old neighbor. Fred ran the Perkin-Timberlake Department Store, and he had four kids that I had been friends with, most notably Cecil, who was one year younger that I. Then we ran into Cecil's brother Calvin when we stopped at a convenience store. Fortunately, Fred had told him about our being headed there, because neither of us would have recognized the other. I had grown up from being a 75 pound runty 13-year-old, and Calvin had developed from a rail-thin 7-year-old to a bearded bear of a man at about 5'10'.

Being a little refreshed, Westward-ho through the heat with the A/C off. No relief until dark, and only a little then. We got to Lubbock about 10:30, as I recall. We climbed up to my apartment, flipped the t.v. and A/C on and flopped in the living room floor. I was clad about like today, except I may have shed my shirt.

I woke up about 3:00 am, shivering and needing to go to the bathroom. So, I went and sat down on the toilet, and, very shortly - I passed out cold! I fell off the pot, giving my right forehead the mother of all rug burns on the indoor/outdoor carpet. When I started coming to, I was totally paralyzed and blind as a bat. I finally got to where I could move my left hand a little and started tapping on the wall. As I gained strength, the taps got strong enough to rouse Doug, who came to check on me. He totally freaked out and responded in true Doug fashion - he called his Mom in Dallas! "Dad's dying! What do I do?" By the time he came back to check on me, I could mumble a little, and then I gradually started getting my facilities back. Doug got me a blanket and wrapped me up. I think I made some coffee and started pouring it down. Wow! Scary stuff!

A couple of years later, I had the anaphalactic shock to the bee stings, which I think most of you are aware of. I can tell you that the symptoms were exactly the same, except with the bee stings, the reaction lasted a little longer and led on to systemic hives during the night.

Moral of the story: Be aware of the dangers and symptoms of hypothermia, even - perhaps especially - in the summer.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Biblical Inerrancy and the Test of Love

In reading an article by Barbara Brown Taylor, author of The Bible and the Seeds of Imagination, I came to the realization that she was touching on some points that have been troubling me for a long time.

Rev.Taylor is a professor of World Religions at Piedmont College, a small Congregational Church school in Georgia. She is an ordained minister and a member of the progressive Christian community.

I guess that description strikes some as oxymoronic, especially since the Republican party has had so much success in radicalizing and co-opting religion in order to augment the 1% of the population actually standing to benefit from their core values into a viable political force. But, in spite of that Taliban-like malice, there actually do exist caring, compassionate, intelligent – progressive – Christians still holding to the teachings of Christ.

 “Remember this book (the Bible) was written by human beings with agendas,” Rev. Taylor tells her New Testament students. Like her, I’ve questioned the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy every since the Civil Rights Movement brought out the worst behavior among Bible thumping hate groups, all backing up their bigotry by quoting very carefully selected snippets of Scripture. I still see a lot of that today, with different targets.

There were a lot of books considered for Canonization in the early Catholic version of the New Testament. The Old Testament had already undergone an evolutionary process among various Jewish sects, and it was also revised by the early Catholics.

There was always debate about a group of books known as the Apocrypha, as to whether they should be canonized. They ended up being put into a sort of Supplemental Reading status by being included in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments in the late 4th Century Bibles. And of course, of the books that made it into the New Testament, Revelations was the most divisive, followed by Philemon, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 3 John and Jude.

We are familiar with the Anglican split with Catholicism over the issue of serial annulments for Henry VIII as he made his treacherous, murderous way from wife to wife to . . . This, of course, eventually led to the King James Version of the Bible of 1611 (James gave the translators instructions intended to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy.), which was reedited in 1769, and upon which all of our subsequent Protestant versions, at least in the English speaking world, are based. Less familiar are the attendant and subsequent statements of creed in the Council of Trent (the Catholic Church demonizing the Protestant Reformation); the 10 Articles of 1536 and the Bishop’s – later the King’s -  Book of 1537 (legitimizing Henry VIII and declaring the opinions of Anabaptists and Pelagians to be heretical); The 6 Articles of 1540 (repealed by Edward VI after Henry’s death); the 42 Articles of 1552 (never enforced due to the coronation of Mary I, a Catholic); the 39 Articles of 1563 (the 42 were revived following Mary’s death, but only 39 passed Convocation, and Elizabeth took out one to avoid offending Catholics, until she was ex-communicated, at which time she reinserted it – navigating a middle road between Catholicism and Puritanism), and the Westminster Confession of Faith, which knocked in and out of use for decades, depending on who was on the throne, until 1690, when it was finally adopted for good (declaring the Pope to be the “Antichrist” and eliminating the Apocrypha from the Bible).

Similar machinations were at play throughout the canonization processes in the Fourth Century and before.

Rev. Taylor points out a number of inconsistencies in the finished product, including a comment that “ . . .  I don’t recognize the Jesus in the Book of Revelation.”

The conservative Biblical Inerrancy believers hold that the end product of all this politically influenced skirmishing is the perfect, divinely inspired Word of God.

So, as I often do, I approach this question with the only perspective that matters, “What does Jesus think?”  I do pray for an answer to that question a lot. Not just about this issue, but about everything that comes up in life. And He always gives me the same answer. The one that is stated and restated throughout the New Testament:

Galatians 5:14
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

So simple. So pure. The Golden Rule that we all learned as children.

I believe that Jesus gave us that command, because he knew it would be useless to codify human behavior for all time to come. He kept it simple. Love. That’s what He did. And it’s what He commands us to do. Love is what makes us Christian, and it is what makes us Christ-like.

So, what about Biblical Inerrancy and all the other minutiae of our liturgies and other doctrines? Put them to the Test of Love. Do they make us more Christlike? Pray about it.