musings on a Friday…

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Philippians, especially chapter 4. It starts with verse 10 – Paul’s thankfulness that the Philippian church is financially & materially contributing to his care & well-being while he is in prison. What really catches my attention are verses 11 & 12 – where he says that he has ‘learned’ to be content in ‘any & every situation.’ Having everything & nothing. In times of feasting & famine, support & opposition. Learned contentment.

Which gets me thinking about some ‘opponents’ of contentment… ungratefulness. Complaining. Negativity. Critical-ness. A bad case of the “if only’s,” which signify that the only thing between me & contentment is a change in circumstances, environment, etc. (BTW: What are the “if only’s” that mess with you?)

Being content is a choice I make to be thankful for God’s provision, protection, & care. It’s recognizing that I’m responsible for me, my choices, attitudes, & responses. To not look to stuff, other people, places to ‘make’ me content. To not place blame for the unrest, storm, & dryness in my own heart, soul, & relationships on someone or something else. To really live out verse 13 – “I can do all things through Him Who gives me the strength;” meaning that there’s nothing, no one, no circumstance that can take my contentment… because my contentment is resting on the person & provision of Christ.

Wednesday night was Man Night @ Dr. G’s. We had a BBQ & 3 guys, brew-meisters if you will, gave us a lesson in the home-brewing process, from the boiling & mixing of the ingredients, to the filtration of the brew, to bottling. Truly inspiring.

My favorite part was the ‘art’ of the brewing of beer, which emerged as all 3 of the brew-meisters gave a list of their “beer making absolutes” – most of which they disagreed on. Meaning that someone like me could perhaps one day make beer. I’m thinking September-ish.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been attempting to get a DVR through DirecTV, which shouldn’t be that difficult. Except we need a 2nd line run from our dish to a place on the other side of our house (long story.) And the said 2nd line can’t be run. Can’t. Which we established with DirecTV 3 years ago. Which meant that in order to DVR, we had to get a side contract with TiVo. Which strangely only needs 1 line to use. But I digress.

The word in customer service, however, was that they could get around this need for the 2nd line with Advanced Technology. So last week, I confirmed with said customer service that I could, for free, get a DVR through DirecTV. Made the appointment for today, Friday, & waited for the tech.

Tim the Tech arrived within the convenient 4 hour window that he’d promised. I met him at the door & gave him a run-down of our history with DirecTV & told him I wanted to get all the info out there before he got started working. Annnnddd…

It turns out that in order to get a DVR through DirecTV, the dreaded 2nd line is still necessary. Drat. So the appointment had to be canceled.

Except… I got the ‘cancellation call’ from DirecTV customer service… & the person I talked to confirmed the cancellation, & then informed me that there actually WAS some Advanced Technology that would allow us to upgrade for free & to have a DVR. Better than that, the monthly cost would increase by only $7. Nice.

Sounded promising, so he connected me with the Scheduling Wing of DirecTV Customer Service. Who told me that one of the required units was free, but the other required equipment came to a total of $200. Which is more than free. Didn’t do it. Exploring other options, like U-verse. We shall see.

But I’m still content.

Came across an poll/article that discovered that 40% of American evangelical leaders “socially drink alcohol.” (The National Association of Evangelicals defines an evangelical as ‘one who takes the Bible seriously and believes in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.’

Nothing really surprising in the poll/article – though one quote jumped out at me:

“While we understand one cannot defend abstinence from alcohol biblically, we have chosen to raise the standard for leadership in our movement,” said Jeff Farmer of Open Bible Churches.

Which begged the question: Raise the standard for leadership above WHAT?
ANSWER: The Bible.

And just when you thought every iPhone app you could think of was already in the App Store, there is now a free vuvuzela application. Which I have downloaded. And while I’m watching the World Cup, I’m playing the vuvuzela to my hearts content. Ahh.

An epic trifecta: God, Guinness, & historical-ness…

I’m a ‘fan’ (fully devoted believer & follower) of God. A fan of Guinness. And a fan of history. So when I heard about a book that combined all 3 of those, I was intrigued, especially because it is often assumed that it is impossible for the first 2 (God & Guinness) to be associated at all, a development that seems to have originated with the Temperance Movement of the late 19th century, a subject I’ve written about in some detail HERE.

The book is called, The Search For God & Guinness – a Biography of a Beer That Changed The World,” by Stephen Mansfield. It begins with a series of anecdotes relating specifically to Arthur Guinness, the man that started the Guinness brewery in 1759, & also about the beer he created. It reveals a man (& a company,) committed to God & people. As I go through the book, I may blog some of the stuff that jumps out at me. So far, I’m really impressed at the values & priorities lived out by Arthur Guinness. He vividly illustrated by the way that he lived, worked, & cared for people that ‘the Church’ is not a building; it is a way of life – the Jesus way – loving God & people. He left behind a legacy & a lifetime of evidence that testified of that fact.

I’ve found it a fascinating read from the get-go. My favorite thing so far is from Mansfield’s exploration of the history of beer, & especially how it is tied to a familiar & significant part of the beginning of the United States of America. He cites a couple of primary sources, (meaning that the sources were written by actual Pilgrims who were eyewitnesses to the events recorded. If you’re interested, the sources are: Mourt’s Relation & Of Plymouth Plantation.)

The sources record the first interaction between the occupants of the Mayflower & the Native Americans, a couple of guys that we’ve learned about since Kindergarten, Samoset & Squanto. What I’d never heard about was the details of their first interchange.

In March of 1621 – the Pilgrims, worried about a lack of shelter from the brutal New England weather, as well as waning foodstuffs & a rapidly depleting beer supply, made their way ashore & began the process of establishing their colony. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

On March 16…a tall muscular native strode out from the trees & began to approach. The Pilgrims quickly took their muskets in hand. They were startled, for the man coming toward them was an unsettling sight. He was nearly naked – “Stark naked,” they later said – with only a strand of leather about his waist & fringe about as wide as a man’s hand covering his private parts. he carried a bow & 2 arrows & the Pilgrims noticed that his hair was long in the back but shaved at the front of his head. They had seen nothing like that in England.

As starling as this Indian was to the Pilgrims, it was what happened next that shocked them most of all. The man neared, paused, & then shouted “Welcome!” in clear, perfect English. And then, more astonishing still, he asked – again, flawlessly in the Pilgrims’ own tongue- if they had some beer.

Yes. Beer.

As much as I love historical-ness, I believe I would have paid even better attention if that information had been included in the educational process.