20 April 2016

Jordon Spieth ... (not my reporting)

I thought that anyone who ventured by my site should read this. Impressed me!!

Jordan Spieth believes in God. And if you meet him in person, you’ll quickly realize that despite his great success — he remains very humble.
But Spieth doesn’t claim to be a perfect Christian. In a recent interview, the second-youngest man to ever win the Masters shared that he desperately needs Christ, and thanks his family for keeping him grounded.
Last year, Americans fell in love with the 22-year-old golfer hailing from the good ole’ state of Texas. In 2015, Spieth placed first in the Official World Golf Ranking, tied the 72-hole record set by Tiger Woods in 1997, and became the second youngest to win the Masters, behind Woods. He then won the U.S. Open with a final score of 5 under par.
To say that Jordan Spieth’s career is something quite remarkable, would be the understatement of the century. His winnings last year alone totaled $23 million – not bad for a 22-year-old. But there’s no obnoxious athlete ego here, Spieth is as humble as they come.
Jordan Spieth was born on July 27, 1993, and raised in Dallas, TX, alongside his two younger siblings, Steven and Ellie.
Little Jordan Spieth got into golf when his mom bought him plastic clubs as a toddler so he could occupy himself, while his younger brother could be looked after without distraction.
Growing up, baseball was Spieth’s first love. A left-handed pitcher, he gave it up at age 12 to focus on golf, and he quickly became one of the most impressive junior players.
It didn’t take long for the world to recognize Spieth’s God-given talent. Even as a young player, Spieth’s laser-like focus enabled him to cancel out all other distractions and perfect his skill.
But Spieth doesn’t pretend it came easily. He recently joked, “There’s a reason I have a hairline like this right now, and that’s because it’s stressful what we do on a daily basis.”
At only 14-years-old, Spieth dreamed of winning the Masters. Little did he know, what an incredible ride it would be — and just how that “dream” would happen 7 years later.
According to the pro-golfer‘s website, at age 16 while a high school junior at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, he was invited to play in the Hewlett-Packard Byron Nelson Championship, and gained national attention when he tied for 16th place. Among other accomplishments as a junior, Jordan was selected to the victorious 2011 Walker Cup team, where as a 17-year old, he held an undefeated record.
Upon graduating from Jesuit, Spieth enrolled at the University of Texas, where he helped the Texas Longhorns win the 2012 NCAA Team Championship in his freshman year and was named First-Team All-American. His sophomore year, Spieth decided to pause college and go professional, and the rest is history.
But despite his world-renowned accomplishments, Spieth doesn’t worry himself with showing off or blowing his money. Instead — and unlike many other golfers of his day — Spieth makes time for Bible study, his longtime high school sweetheart, and his family.
Spieth is a humble man, and his actions reflect it. With every sincere and gracious post-win speech, Spieth’s first thank-you’s always go to the volunteers and staff. Spieth is so down to earth, in fact, that he still drives the same car he did in high school.
The pro golfer explained, “No, I’m driving the same car I drove when I was heading into college after senior year. It’s just a Yukon. Honestly, my dad’s very good at keeping me grounded with that, putting it away, growing it. I don’t have a desire to go out and just buy stuff.”
The young golfer isn’t concerned with putting on a show or impressing anyone. After winning the Masters, Jordan Spieth set himself apart (yet again) when he politely declined to have a celebratory reception in one of Augusta’s swanky restaraunts. Instead, the young man requested a private dinner with his family and closest kin — at the local Chick-fil-A.
Spieth often shares that his 14-year-old sister, Ellie, who has autism, is one of his biggest inspirations. Ellie’s life is what keeps him grounded and her fearless example is what keeps him going.
Spieth told CBS This Morning, “She is our motivation. She’s my biggest fan. It puts things in perspective when you look at the big picture and the struggles that she goes through each day just to do simple tasks that we take for granted.”
While other famous golfers pose for pictures with supermodels in skimpy swimsuits, Spieth takes photos with his little sister.
“She’s my inspiration,” Spieth told the UK’s Telegraph. “She’s the funniest member of our family. I really love spending time with her. It is humbling to see her and her friends and the struggles they go through each day, which we take for granted. They are the happiest people in the world.”
After every trip, Spieth brings home a keychain, souvenir, or small trinket for his little sister. Spieth is so proud of Ellie, he often invites her on stage with him.
To Spieth, people are far more important than golf. Inspired by his sister, Ellie, Jordan fulfilled a lifelong dream by launching the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation. Spieth has made it his personal endeavor to encourage and support underprivileged kids, military families, and children with special needs.
Additionally, Spieth is a loyal man. He doesn’t waste his time clubbing or getting drunk. And unlike most celebrity men, Spieth has remained by his lady — Annie Verret’s side since high school.
We’ve come to find out that Spieth’s girlfriend is much more than just a pretty face. Annie Verret works at The First Tee, a youth development organization that focuses on impacting the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
Perhaps the most inspiring thing about young Spieth, is his love and devotion to his Savior, Jesus Christ.
Spieth’s lifestyle shows that the young man is wise beyond his years. To guard himself against the temptations of fame and fortune, Spieth has surrounded himself with like-minded men who love God, like Bubba Watson.
Watson shared that young Spieth makes time to invest in his relationship with God and other believers, he said, “He goes to Bible study with us on the Tour here.”
Jordan’s former athletic director in high school shared, “Jordan is just very genuine. He says what he believes. He believes in supporting others, taking care of others before he takes care of himself.”
Spieth’s actions reflect his Faith. His very life is a testimony. He doesn’t brag. He loves God. He goes to Bible study. He honors his family. He lives humbly. He encourages and supports those around him.
Despite the thousands of adoring fans, Spieth knows who alone is worthy of adoration — his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While listening to Jordan Spieth’s inspiring story, I just couldn’t help but think of James 4:10, which reads,
“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
Thank you, Jordan Spieth, for allowing your life to be a living testimony and example! America needs more men of Faith like you! Please share if you agree!

12 April 2016

   Lovely walk this morning, overcast with a slight drizzle ... the desert is coming alive with our spring rains. Should be about 76 later in the day though, and mostly sunny. I have to take Ms. Hilda to her endocrinologist this morning at 1100, then lunch, and then looking at a new (firmer)mattress ... gathering prices at this point. Is there a day in the year when mattresses ARE NOT on sale?
  The Catalinas (the mountains that loom over Tucson) have been so well defined lately ... you can see where the canyons divide the various sections ... I never tire of gazing at those peaks. We, here in the city are at 2000 ft. above sea level and the mountains rise to over 9000 ft. above sea level.
      I am continuing my religious studies, when I have time here in my "Man Cave", and I read books on the subject for about an hour before I sleep. At the present time, I am studying how translation problems affected the message and the meanings of some Biblical texts and how some interpretations may be slightly altered. I only wish that I could read Greek and Aramaic ... but, alas, I must go with studying the confusing list of books available. One of the best that I am reading at the present is "The Bible in Translation" by Bruce M. Metzger. I have read it twice and am now studying it (which is totally different than the reading of it).
   On a more secular note ... got a fresh box of Black Abyss Banshees in yesterday ... shall have one (or two) at the Wednesday Poker Game!
I know, I know ... Cigars are bad for you! But I'm 70 1/2 and I enjoy the occasional one. Besides ... because of my elevated A1C levels and possible diabetes, I have reduced my consumption of beer to a level unseen since my teen years. Need to resume my trips to the gym though.

10 April 2016

An April Sunday

A young Palo Verde tree in our neighborhood

The beautiful Catalina Mountains that rise 7000 ft above our city

    I have been a busy little bee this AM. It is 0830 and I have washed and folded two loads of clothes, taken my morning walk ... which was great. The birds in the neighborhood were especially cheerful (and noisy) this morning, the skies were overcast, and the temperature was about 61. Doesn't get any better than that for a 0630 walk. I put bacon in the oven, sliced the cantaloupe for breakfast, took my shower and trimmed my beard. Now for some computer time before the ever fetching Ms. Hilda awakens.
  I have to take some business cards and flyers to a "Wedding Show" at the Radisson this morning, we have to pick up Hilda's mom and take her to Northwest hospital to see her latest Great-Grandchild ... Hilda's niece Amy Ramirez, had a 9 lb. girl last night.
   We here in the desert hope that all of you are enjoying your April as much as we (I) am enjoying our Tucson April.
This is not what easterners think of when they think of the
desert, but this is our neighborhood.

The Prickly Pear outside of our apartment is sporting new growth

08 April 2016

  I just returned from my morning walk through the neighborhood. I thoroughly enjoy these walks ... and at 70 years old, they help keep my legs in somewhat better shape. I really enjoyed this mornings walk, as we had a desert rain last night and the air was intoxicatingly fresh, the birds were simply giddy, the plants appeared so refreshed, and my beautiful Catalina Mountains were well defined and topped with clouds ... God is Great!
  However, the early AM trek was marred by one of my main peeves, a car ... didn't see the occupants, but judging by the car I suspect they were youngish ... dumped a bag containing their left over McDonalds breakfast (and the paper products that entails) out of their car window into the street. You should be able to shoot assholes like that ... without fear of recrimination!!!
  Other than that ... it was a great walk. Now, for a shower and some breakfast. And ... here are some of the things I enjoyed seeing this fabulous morning here in the desert! :-)
Yucca blooms on 8th Street

 My favorite tree here in Arizona,
the Palo Verde (Green Stick or limb),
all the limbs are green

I adore this half walk nest to the carport

The prickly pear are blooming nicely

05 April 2016

How Does/Did a 47 Year Catholic Become a Protestant Minister?

    As most of the people who know me know … I was a Catholic for 45+ years. I became a Catholic in Vietnam, the reasons are still hazy … as are most of my in-country (Vietnam) memories from that period. Anyway, having a predilection for women who are/were of Latin/Hispanic ancestry … I remained Catholic for many years. I began … seriously … studying the Bible, along with many other facets of Christianity … and of other religions … 10-12 years ago. I had been reading about those subjects for many years haphazardly as they had always piqued my interest. Anyway, over the last few years as I became wiser, … or more jaded - take your pick … I began to feel ill at ease. A lot like Martin Luther (more about him shortly) I began to feel the frustration at the utter fallacies of “my” religion. Although I still loved the pomp and circumstance as it were, I no longer felt at ease with the trappings and teachings.

    *** Martin Luther ~ was a German composer, theology professor, former monk, and a priest. He is (was) 462 years and 3 days older than ME … 10 November 1483. Anyway, he came to reject several teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He proposed an academic discussion of the power and usefulness of indulgences in his Ninety-Five Theses of 1517. His theology challenged the authority and office of the Pope, the Pope’s (and Priest’s) ability to forgive sins, by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God and he opposed sacerdotalism ~ the belief that propitiatory sacrifices for sin require the intervention of a priest. That is, it is the belief that a special, segregated order of men, called the priesthood, are the only ones who can commune directly with God ~ by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. ‘nuff said!!! 

   Anyway, as I was saying … reading Luther, John Calvin, the Kabbalah, the Midrashes and various other religious texts made me rethink my Catholicism and the more I studied the Anglican / Episcopal Church … the more I was fulfilled. And though I have chosen (freely) to remain non-sectarian at this juncture of my learning curve, I acknowledge my sources. I would also like to thank the folks at Hillsdale College, Christian University, Free Will Baptist Church and the National Association of Christian Ministers for their contributions.
    So, I guess that is how a 40+ year Catholic became … and is still becoming … a Protestant Minister.

03 April 2016

My Religious Beliefs ... sort of

   I have been (of late) trying to explain what my beliefs are ... being an ordained minister ... to some people who I converse with on-line.
   I am a Christian ... nominally Episcopal / Anglican, and believe in Christ, baptism, and the forgiveness of sins. I believe that we, as humans can have the occasional drink, cigar, et al and still be Christian. I believe that we are forbidden to "over-indulge" ... in anything
   As a younger man ... before my being called to do what I do ... I taught my kids my three rules for alcohol (which some never learned, although it was repeated) ...
1) Never spend money on alcohol that you need for other things
2) Never allow alcohol to cause you to miss school or work (or to alter your performance at either)
3) Never let alcohol change the way you treat family or friends (indeed, anyone)
   I also think this list applies to many things ... if they interfere with your life ... such as golf, work, hobbies of many types.
   I have never been, nor expect to be perfect (in any way or in any sense of the word). I have been ... in my lifetime ... Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Ba'Hai, Agnostic ... et al. I, like so many (MOST) of us, have done/said/been things that I am not proud of. I have been attempting to learn as much as possible about a lot of different religions, not just Christianity in it's many and varied forms, so as to be certain in my belief system ... as it exists now. If I am to perform religious rites such as weddings, Celebrations of Life (I cannot call them funerals) and baptisms, and if I am to teach others ... I must be confident in my thoughts and I cannot know what another religion preaches if I do not understand their religion as a student of same. 
   I do not have, nor want, a church ... in the modern sense of a building / edifice / et al. I believe that a church is a group of people, not a building. This holds true to the thoughts that Paul stated in his Epistles to the Ephesians and others.
   I am (still) studying and attempting to understand these things myself. I am an exegete ... one who indulges in exegesis/hermeneutics. I am especially interested, these days  ... especially since my religious inclination is Episcopal / Anglican ... in the study of the deuterocanical texts. I am making a study of the differences in thought between the Arianism (NOT TO be confused with Aryanism ... that racial oriented, pure race, doctrine of the Germans) of Arius and the conflicting thoughts of people like Athanasius of Alexandra. 
      I am also studying ... as my study of deuterocanical texts denotes ... the Apocrapha and other "discarded" religious texts.
       Now, if this doesn't make much sense to you ... you can disregard or you can Google or Wikipedia the terms.