Labor Day, baseball, & relationship

I spent the majority of this Labor Day, laboring. Had a killer work out, then went into the office during theBean’s 1st shift of the day. Don’t cry for me, Argentina – I am comfortable knowing that I have enough time in the day & week to do what I have to… & no more. And working on a ‘holiday’ isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. It was so quiet in the office; not a creature was stirring.

For the last several weeks, throughout our series “GOD – the Holy Spirit,” I’ve been ruminating on something that my friend Morris Chapman said. Long ago in a place far, far away, Morris was playing the piano & ‘freelancing’ lyrics… & he sang something like, “LORD, I don’t wanna just seek Your hand, I wanna seek Your face…”

That line has stuck with me for years… & reminds me that what I need, what changes me, my life, my heart, & mind is relationship & fellowship with God. And that God would dwell with me… ala Revelation 3:20…

It’s easier to seek His hand… to come to God with a wish-list or a ‘Christmas list’. With the “I wants” & “I needs” clearly marked. in hand…

Baseball to me is like good poetry. And I love the SF Giants… not because they’ve won a World Series in my lifetime, but just because. I fell in love in 1973, & have been smitten ever since. For better or for worse…

My Giants started the day 1 game out of the lead in the NL West… which leaves me hoping beyond hope that maybe This could be The Year that my Giants win it all. If they make the playoffs, we’ll see how it goes. I like their pitching, & am pleasantly surprised at the recent binge of clutch hitting.


I’ve been alive long enough to see the world change, & baseball with it. There was a time that the following quote by Jacque Barzun may have been true:

Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball

I don’t think so anymore.

The pace of the game, subtle nuances that escape all but Vin Scully, the unwritten rules, & a 162 game season so rudely interrupted by the start of America’s real national pastime, football, have all combined to relegate baseball to a 2nd tier sport that slips year after year towards the brink of obscurity.

I’m on a study binge; kind of fun, as my study binges usually happen on the verge of something big for me & mine. Currently reading through When The Spirit Comes in Power.

Reading, studying, & thinking…

I’ve been re-reading (which with books that one has read before is more like visiting or revisiting an old friend,) “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” by Eugene Peterson. I love the familiarity of the Songs of Ascent, & Peterson’s thoughts on discipleship, faithfulness, & perseverance in the face of the times of life that are seemingly mundane, humdrum, boring, uneventful, & lonely.

And it gives me great joy to learn & keep learning from those that have gone before me, walking a similar path to the one I’m on… & those that are a few steps ahead of me in life.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been pondering a blog post I read from a guy I look up to… in it he mentions some identifiers, “measuring sticks” really, of spiritual maturity…

1. Our spiritual maturity is measured by the degree which we communicate the love of God to & with others.
2. Our spiritual maturity is also measured by how we encourage others in their spiritual growth & development.

Both of these indicators aren’t fantastic, spectacular, or even… spiritual, in the way that many see spirituality. One thing that stands out to me is that they aren’t focused on the individual, but rather look to others, their lives, & how they can be encouraged, helped, & blessed.

Currently in a series at church called, “GOD – the Holy Spirit”… which came out of an increasing awareness that the Holy Spirit, the 3rd part of the Trinity, seems to be largely misunderstood, ignored, or feared by large segments of the Church at large… & that many (myself included) weren’t really aware of the work, let alone the person of the Spirit. My studies & prep have taken me from the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan to perusing Scripture, with eyes especially looking for where the Spirit is at work & is revealed…

Something I read the other day still rings in my head… it was in Ezekiel 3:24 where Ezekiel has fallen on his face due to the glory of the LORD being revealed. Here it says that the ‘Spirit entered me & made me stand on my feet…”

The Spirit gave Ezekiel strength to stand, & then gave him direction at what to do next. Wow.

Its very encouraging to me to see the Spirit, God’s indwelling representative in me today, actively participating in the “what to do” & the “how to get there.”

Bread, signs, baseball, & family time…

This morning I was reading in the Gospel of John as a part of the SOAP devotional reading plan

I was in John 6 (NOTE: for those of you also on the SOAP plan, I do realize that John 6 wasn’t scheduled to be read until Wednesday, but I couldn’t help myself & read ahead.) The context: Jesus has just had a lengthy interchange with the Jews of Judea over His healing of a man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath day; an action that they believed to be in violation of the 4th commandment (Chapter 5.) Chapter 6 tells of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5000… & the subsequent response by the people who heard what He’d done. Crowds began to follow Him everywhere… but it wasn’t because of what He was saying, teaching, & testifying about. Here’s what jumped out at me:

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves & were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, ‘Then what sign do you do, that we may see & believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus then said to them, Truly, truly I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven & gives life to the world.” They said to Him, Sir, give us this bread always.”

Several things stand out:
• People will go a long way for free bread
• They want to know what the ‘works of God’ are
• Jesus challenges them to believe in Him – & that this is the work that God wants from them.
• They ask for a sign to prove Jesus is the Christ – & this is after He’s healed the guy at Bethesda, & after He’s turned 2 fish & 5 loaves of bread into a meal for a multitude.

What are they really looking for? Another sign? Something sensational?

Takes me back to the Yancey Book I’m currently reading, & the discussions with Chum about signs & wonders. Signs (which point to something, someone, or somewhere) aren’t the point – they’re just signs, they’re not the destination. Those that didn’t believe, wouldn’t believe even when confronted, repeatedly, with the miraculous. They just asked for more signs.

Signs don’t bring about belief. Devotion. Love. They point.

Chewing on this.

Sat with the family last night for a Family meeting, our 1st one since we got the band back together last Friday. Pasty’s been in Tennessee visiting theGirl, & iDoey & theWeez have been at High-School camp. It was a ‘meaning of life’ discussion, with lots of laughter, tears, & soul-baring. Makes me want to be a better man. Husband. Father.

Watched The Village last night with the fam… a couple members of the fam have shied away from this one in the belief that it was a scary movie… to me, this is 1st & foremost a love story (just like the X-Files is a love story… but I digress.)

After watching it, all members of the fam agreed (albeit reluctantly,) that the movie really is a love story, (though theBean threw in the caveat, “Its is a really great love story, but it sucks because they use fear & lies to keep the people in a world of farce.) Booyah!

And iDoey watched The Natural. I was able to catch the last 40 minutes with him. Man. Every time I watch the ending, I’m reminded of the beauty & perfection of the game of baseball.

Makes me want to watch the whole thing a couple of times, followed by Field of Dreams. And maybe The Sandlot.


thoughts on TiVo, signs & wonders, love, & other musings…

I’ve been waiting for 3 years, & now DirecTV has figured out a way to make their DVR technology compatible with the wiring in my house. In the interim, I had TiVo – & wasn’t incredibly overjoyed at having to subscribe to a dish service, & a separate service so I could record the shows I wanted to watch at my convenience.

So, today, a joyous occasion. After 4 false starts & missteps, the DVR is being installed as I type this. Which means that I needed to call & cancel the TiVo service. Which is a lot easier than it sounds. Should be simple, right? Call in (because you can’t cancel on line, don’t you know? For my protection. Right. I think that it just might be that they make you call in so they can hit you with the Full-Scale Guerrilla Blitzkrieg (FSGB,) which employs intimidation, cajoling, ridicule, name calling, & other fun Techniques of Manipulation to try & keep you as a customer.

I’d prefer not to recount the entire 20 minute interchange with Andrew, which I endured in order to obtain the elusive Confirmation of Cancellation code, hanging like the proverbial carrot at the end of a stick. And yes, it really was that bad. Bad enough that I’d like to call in to talk to a supervisor to discuss my experience. Bad enough that at one point I asked Andrew, (in my best Steven Seagal ‘I’m totally under control but I’m so incredibly fearsome you really don’t want to continue in this vein because of my knowledge of Kah-razy’ voice):

“Is it your job to attempt to antagonize me to the point that I just hang up the phone before getting the elusive Confirmation of Cancellation code, thereby maintaining my TiVo subscription? Do you realize that I had my mind made up to cancel this service when I called in this morning, & all of your Techniques of Manipulation, attempted twisting of my words, & unwillingness to Cut to the part where we CANCEL the service have only served to harden me to the idea of EVER using, let alone recommending the TiVO service to ANYONE?”

To which Andrew replied, “I just can’t see why you won’t keep this great service at the great price with the great deal I’m offering you.”

Oh goodness. Breathe. And I realize I’m upset. Frustrated. On-the-verge of snap-age. Over TiVo. But its not about the TiVo. Its more about the discomfort of conflict. The feelings of being manipulated & not having my “No!” heeded. Anger at the part of me that wants to give in, to make Mr. Andrew happy, pay more money for a service I no longer need. Just to make the conversation stop.

Asking God to examine my heart.

And in other news, I’ve been reading a book by Philip Yancey called
Disappointment with God. Only about 1/4 of the way into it & already I’m hooked. What has stood out to me the most so far is Yancey’s observation about the correlation (or lack thereof) between displays of God’s power (the ‘mighty hand & outstretched arm’) & the devotion, love, faithfulness, & obedience of His people, Israel.

You’d think that the result of God’s miraculous provision, protection, deliverance, & presence would have been the undying, unwavering love & devotion of the people that He provided for, protected, delivered, & dwelled with. Surprisingly, what actually happened was that Israel complained & grumbled. Chased idols. Mistrusted. Wished for a return to the good old days of slavery in Egypt. Rebelled against their God-appointed leader. And God.

Makes me think about Jesus in the Gospels, & how He would heal, & then tell those that had been healed not to say anything about it. For the longest time, I never really understood why He would do that. In my mind, it seemed that these signs, wonders, & miracles would serve to point to Christ as the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Promised Saviour… & that people would have had even more reason to believe in Him because there was evidence of His power & might backing up His words.

But when I read through the gospels, there were many, many miracles that Jesus did. Turned water into wine. Raised the dead. Fed 5000 people with 2 fish & 5 loaves of bread. Healed every kind of disease. Was transfigured & transformed, revealed in all His glory. Was crucified & buried, then was resurrected from the dead. Was taken into heaven in the full view of hundreds of people.

And the result? Lots of crowds, not many disciples. Lots of people, the multitudes, the religious leaders , & even a king, continually asked Him to perform more signs.

Maybe what we’re looking for, what we think we need from God, isn’t really what we actually need in order to be faithful. To love God. To obey. To persevere. And the signs we hope for (pray for? wish for?) wouldn’t really be the ‘thing’ to put us over the edge, the short-cut to being able to live it.

Sigh. Gonna ponder & meditate on it.

And for the 1st time in more than a month, my whole family is home, together, at the same time. Pizza Plus for all! Booyah.

Life is beautiful.

20 years ago… an anniversary…

I woke up this morning a few minutes before my alarm… not surprising… except for the fact that the alarm was set for 4:50 so I could have enough time to get to to the church office to make coffee & read a little in advance of the guys showing up for Thursday morning prayer. The blurred numbers on the clock came into focus as I clumsily fixed my glasses onto my face… 4:34. It would be 4:34 today. Sigh.

My mind raced, mentally flipping through the calendar that exists in my head (isn’t there one in yours too?) finally coming to rest on today. Yesterday was June 16th, so that would make today… June 17. Hmm. It’s the 20th anniversary of the day my little brother, John Leavy Locke, went to be with Jesus early on a Sunday morning, Father’s Day, at 4:34 a.m.

I wrote a little bit about my brother not too long ago HERE. And as I sit here pondering the fact that its been 20 whole years since his death & ‘home-going,’ I take the time to revisit & rehearse the memories I hold most dear of my brother. They flicker through my brain like the rapidly turning pages of a picture book.

Folding newspapers together in the early morning as we prepared to go do our paper routes. Football. Soccer. Baseball. Hoops. What an athlete. He was the best of the 4 of us, by far. Rocking the mullet that shook Carson City on Day 1 of his tenure at Carson Middle School. I don’t know if it was the surf shorts, Jetson’s T-shirt, vintage Air Jordan’s or the infamous mullet that got him called to the office as a “distraction.” They hadn’t seen anyone like him before. His mix tapes. The rosy cheeks I see every time I look at thePasty Gangster. The smile. The temper. The baseball being thrown at me simply because I went in to wake him up. The grumpy comments because I was on the phone (again) too late with theBean. And a million others…

The picture at the left was his last school picture before he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. And yes, he was wearing MY red bow tie, the same one I’d used to complete my Pee-Wee Herman outfit… It’s not like this day is a dark, morbid day that I dress up in black & mope around. Not at all. Rather, its a day of remembrance. Prayer for my parents & brothers. Thanking God that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. But a day where I still grieve. Laugh. Play his favorite songs on my mp3 player (he’d have loved the iPod & iTunes, & the ease at which mixes could be created. He was a Master mix-master.)

Father’s Day has been forever linked with Johnny since 6/17/1990. Can’t seem to think of one without the other; not that I want to think about death an inordinate amount, but hey, its inevitable, barring the preemptive Return of the King. Came across a great book about death, heaven, & processing the loss of loved ones called Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die. Great book, which I’d heartily recommend.

But I digress.

It’s a celebration, a day of remembrance. So join me:

Here’s to Johnny – & the profound influence he has had & continues to have on me & the man I hope to be.

a book response, & the start of a great week… or Deutschland Travels, Spring 2010 Day 2, part 2

On the plane over, I started reading Donald Miller’s latest, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” It’s written in classic “Miller-style” as a series of seemingly unrelated essays, thoughts, & musings, that are all somehow, someway connected to each other in such a way as to cause a deep & probing introspection & evaluation of self, life, & priorities.

What’s it about, you ask? It’s about Story.

Using the context of a movie being made based upon his life, Miller explores the elements of a good story… which ultimately is really about the elements of living a good story, one worth reading. A story of life means deep & meaningful relationships, hope & loss, joy & pain, risk & stretching for the difficult, unique, & hard to obtain.

Makes me examine the story I’m writing with my own life; where I’ve settled for the comfortable instead of pushing through difficulties, hardship, pain, & inadequacy.

Reminds me that most of my life’s most rewarding & blessed moments are directly tied in to relationships – people who know me & are known in return; who’ve seen me up close & personal, in my strengths, weaknesses & frailties… & who love me anyway.

I ponder life looking through the wrong end of the binoculars… a glimpse, a backwards view, from the end towards the beginning, through the years, wanting, hoping, praying that the Most Important things in life would actually have been the main elements of my story. That I didn’t get lost on a rabbit trail, a selfish pursuit that had no lasting value or contribution to the Story.

Faces swim in front of my eyes. People, each valuable & precious, representing the interconnected & intertwined lives that touch my Story. Now it’s my eyes that are swimming.

I’d recommend the book. And even more, to re-evaluate the Story we’re living with the only life we have.

Headed to Mainz in about 2 hours to spend time with Jan & the enChristo Foursquare church. We’re having a BBQ & then talking about what it means to be Foursquare…

The Foursquare churches here in Germany have been going by the name FreiEvangelischeGemeindeWerk (FEGW, which, loosely translated means Free Evangelical Fellowship) – just last week, they have officially decided to change their name to Foursquare Deutschland… & part of what I’m here to do over the next week in a few churches is help bring a deeper connection to the Foursquare US church, but also to the heart & values of Foursquare.

Engine lights, playoff football, & other musings on a Tuesday…

Last Monday, I climbed into the Outback & was greeted with a yellow “Check Engine” light – bummer. Yellow. Which is probably better than red. And it wasn’t blinking, so it had to be better news than if it was both RED & BLINKING. (Right?)

Took the car to Earl’s because he has a Cool Diagnostic Tool, which told me (digitally, of course,) that the car had a P0121 Error – meaning that the Throttle Position Sensor was figuratively saying, “Hey now.”

I checked with my resident Subaru experts, Mr. H & Brother, (experts because they both either own or have owned a Subaru in the past,) & neither of them had ever dealt with a P0121. But what they HAD dealt with was the Yellow Check Engine Light Syndrome (YCELS), where an otherwise healthy Subaru would inexplicably display the CHECK ENGINE light. Which would hang around for a day or 4, & then disappear. Brother had even taken his Sube in 2 times, only to be told by the tech, “Um. Not a problem. I’ll reset the code, & you’ll be good to go. $115 please.”

Hmm. Didn’t want that to happen. Also didn’t want to ignore my engine, even if it was only YCELS. So I called my local mechanic & made an appointment to get it checked. On my way to the appointment, the Murphy’s Law of “Check Engine” lights happened – it went off. As in DISAPPEARED.

Took the car in anyway. Mechanic said, “Um. Not a problem. I’ll reset the code, & you’ll be good to go. $115 please.”


I am very thankful for the ‘weather change’ we’ve experienced – it’s still a little cold, still a bit windy (we do live in Nevada, so wind shouldn’t be a surprise.) But the thing about the change I’m most thankful for is that we have left our record low temperatures in our rear-view. This thankfulness has been reinforced by 2 things:

  • -the continuing freezing cold spell happening all over
  • -the arrival of the December 2009 NV Energy combo Gas/Electric bill. Goodness. Our November bill was a 30% increase over October. December was 45% more than November. Ouch.

  • Tom introduced me to my new favorite place to eat – Uncle Vinny’s Pizza – breakfast, lunch, & dinner menus. Flat-screens galore. All the better to watch playoff football on. I’d recommend it.

    Speaking of playoff football – I loved the Cardinals/Packers game from last week in which the Cardinals won 51-45. I had no vested rooting interest in the game, so watching both teams offenses going off was amazing. Had me glued to the set like no other game of the year so far. (I am a 49er fan. Nuff said.)

    Woke up from a great sleep with the memory of a dream… I had dreamed that there was a new episode of Stargate SG-1 airing that evening. Silly me. Might be time for a marathon. Or at least a re-viewing.

    A few weeks ago, I was praying & had an impression… kind of a picture & an idea which is one of the ways I hear from God… anyway what I heard was an encouragement, “Read your Bible more.”

    No reason, no explanation attached. No condemnation or feelings of guilt, as though I’d neglected it. Just “Read your Bible more.”

    So I aimed to amp up my reading schedule – which for a long time has been my ‘own’ schedule, in that I haven’t followed any particular reading plan in a long, long time, almost since I started out with the “Bible Pathways” plan when I was 4. I followed that one for about 6 years, & it took me through the entire Bible in a year.

    At some point, probably my early 20’s, I realized that at times, due to familiarity with a passage, I would go on ‘auto-pilot’ & not really pay attention to what I was ‘reading.’ I was physically present, but my mind was miles away. Didn’t want to do that anymore, so I Changed it up. Bought a few “Gift & Award Bibles,” different versions (NASB, NLT, NIV, NRSV, The Message, & most recently the ESV.) Each one cost about $5-6. I’d read through one, then pick up another. But no real ‘plan’ to follow & go through the whole Bible, systematically & intentionally.

    The nudge I’d gotten to Read More made me wonder. To ask myself why I wasn’t reading on a plan. And the answer I got back, after lots of questioning & soul-searching, was that I didn’t NEED a plan. Plans were for “other people.” People not like Me.

    That sounded a lot like pride. Vanity. With a hint of un-teachable-ness. I didn’t like what was bubbling up. Too good for a plan? So mature in Jesus that I can do this on my own? Um. No.

    So I’m on a plan – I’m not following it religiously (meaning if I don’t read the whole amount on the day, I don’t consider the day a failure. Or that I’m behind.) And I need God’s Word in me more than ever, so that I will reflect Him, His priorities, values, & actions, & not those of a negative, bigoted, zealot that overlays God’s hopes, dreams, wants, & practices with his own.

    Love Is A Choice – may be the best interpersonal relationship book I have in my library. I recommend it at least 5 times a week. If you haven’t read it, do it!

    my current reading list…

    I don’t exactly know why I do this, but I don’t just read one book at a time; I do several. The method for this madness is usually the same – read a chapter or 2, then put the book down & digest it… some of the digesting takes place when I pick up another (aka ‘transitional’) book. Usually, there’s about 5 in the queue that I’m working through. (NOTE: I reserve the right to change my mind & binge read at any given point.)

    The list of books on my desk right now:

  • A Grief Observed – Lewis
  • Why Churches Die – Brunson & Caner
  • The Mishnah – Neusner
  • The Colossian Syncreticism – Arnold
  • Safe People – Cloud & Townsend

    A couple conversations have led me to revisit the last book – & I’m especially interested in Cloud & Townsend’s personal traits or identifiers of “unsafe” people. Here are a few that stood out to me:

    Unsafe people:

  • don’t admit their weaknesses, but act/live as though they have it all together.
  • are religious, not spiritual.
  • are defensive, instead of open to feedback
  • are self-righteous, not humble
  • apologize, but don’t change their behavior
  • demand trust, instead of earning it
  • blame others, instead of taking responsibility
  • lie instead of telling the truth
  • avoid closeness & intimacy with others
  • are more concerned with the “I” than the “we”
  • flatter instead of confront
  • condemn instead of forgive
  • are unstable over time, not consistent
  • gossip, & don’t keep secrets

    Interesting. And please note: what I put down in a list that takes up a couple inches of virtual blog space is written on in detail over 60 pages. Still, I think that we could have a conversation or 2 on any one of these. You?

  • …October Friday

    I’m reveling in the joy that is Friday morning. A little extra sleep. Morning coffee with theBean. Catching up on some blog-rolling. Making sure my 8 fantasy football rosters are complete (its the 1st week of the NFL season with BYE weeks, don’t you know…?) Enjoying the coolness of autumn mornings.

    I like how October feels in the morning. Its distinctly different in its feel & smell. The pleasant crispness of the day, which is not the BITING cold that November brings, but is perfect for wearing my new Snuggie™. Theoretically.

    We’re off to beautiful downtown Stockton today – Pasty has a game against Franklin, & we’re making a family voyage of it. I’m already foreseeing a good time being had by all. Road trips mean stops at Local Mini-markets & the rubbing of shoulders with Said Locals. Which = Fun. And I know IDoey will be getting chili-dogs, theBean will load up on sunflower seeds, & theWeez will aim for anything Sour Patch. And maybe I’ll have some McDonald’s Double-Cheeseburgers. The possibilities are endless.

    Re-reading some Sherlock Holmes. I almost forgot how much I enjoy the familiarity of the stories coupled with the keen observation & wit of Holmes.

    Softball season has ended none too soon. 1x/week since March, & the ball left a few indelible marks on me. Left hand got hit during BP in March. Still bruised. Right shin off of a bad hop in May. Still feeling that. Top of left foot from yet another bad hop last Monday. Achy & tender to the touch, which makes tying my shoes dis-comfortable. And un-agreeable.

    Pasty just came home – & theBean made him Second Breakfast. Funny. At least to me.

    memory & smell

    For the last semester, one of our Sunday p.m. small groups has been studying the Book of Enoch in conjunction with Genesis & Revelation- we’ve gotten through Enoch’s 1st vision (Chapters 1-36.)

    One of the things that has stood out the most to me is the mention of how things smell – specifically of incense & other rich, deep, good smells, esp. associated with the presence & throne-room of God. We had quite the discussion about how smell is very closely tied to memory… & Michael O passed on the tidbit that the sense of smell is the only sense that bypasses the normal ‘central processing relay-stuff’ & goes straight to the brain. Which, in turn, makes for some very vivid & clear memory making… & at the next ‘smell’ of that scent, a person can be ‘taken back’ in memory to when they’ve smelled it before.

    This drove me to the Scriptures & their mention of incense & fragrance in the context of the Tabernacle, the presence of God, & of royalty (more on that later.) What I found really blew me away – in the instructions that the LORD Adonai gave to Moses for worship were included an altar from which incense was to be burned all the time – (Exodus 30). And the incense burned on the holy altar was to be made of a special blend that was not for private use – only for the presence of God.

    Another sweet smelling perfume was mixed in with the anointing oil applied to kings…

    If you’re interested in finding out more, click HERE to be taken to Bible Gateway…

    At the same time as I’ve been studying incense & fragrance in the Scriptures, I’ve been reading a book called Sitting At the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. Its a book that brings understanding to what living as a disciple (talmid) of Jesus would have been like within the culture of 1st century Judaism – with the nuances of Hebrew culture, language, belief, & practice. Good book.

    One of the chapters talks about fragrance as well – referring to the John 12 account of Mary from Bethany anointing Jesus’ feet with “an expensive perfume” made of “pure nard” (which I’d recommend you reading about HERE )

    The authors mentioned that this anointing event, using this potent & sweet smelling perfume, would have caused the sweet smell to linger around Jesus for a long time – & would have been very apparent even during His betrayal, trial, scourging & crucifixion.

    This has made me even more curious – & I am in the process of doing some ‘experiments’ with smell, fragrance, & incense… theBean is not nearly as excited about this as I am…

    In my attempts to experiment with incense & the like, I have found through my searching locally that that the only places that I’ve been able to find incense (cone or sticks) or oil for burning have been in the ‘head’ shops, &/or shops that are catering to a pagan, wiccan, or new age clientele… Hmmm. Interesting.

    So, resourceful me went to eBay & purchased some incense cones & a little tiny censer to burn the incense in. My package arrived & I wasted no time lighting my first cone of incense… in the kitchen. Ooops.

    My experiment was quickly relegated to the garage… turns out that a reason that theBean wasn’t as excited as me about the incense is that she had a negative experience with it – where as a youngster, she & her family went to dinner at someone’s house – & the house was filled with an ‘incense’ smell (you know the smell – no matter what flavor or scent of incense you get, its a smell common to burning the cones…) I asked her about it & she described in minute detail what the house looked like inside, the people, & even what they ate for dinner. How’s that for a 30 year old memory?

    I got excited about that… & told theBean that she just proved what I was trying to discover & describe about smells, incense, & fragrance. I must say, though, that theBean remains not amused.

    But I am. :)