Houston Harvey Relief

I’ve contact some of my friends who serve in various churches in the Houston area, first to make sure they were okay and second to find out what we as Tapestry can do to help. As I paraphrased Shakespeare to my friend J.T. (blessed be his name) “Tapestry may be small but we are fierce”. In other words, we may be a small church but we give wonderfully.

When you see the yellow hats yellow shirts you are seeing the SBDR

Thus far the pastors I have messaged have said they are in the rescue phase and what they really need are boats and places for people to stay after they were rescued. The rebuilding won’t begin till the waters recede. Therefore, my number one recommendation is still that you give through the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief agency. You can do that here (https://missionaries.namb.net/projects/full/hurricane-harvey-response). When you give to the SBDR you will be providing immediate help as well as resources later on. The SBDR will stay in the area for a long while and will feed a ton of people. In addition, they will help with mudout work, chainsaw crews, laundry facilities, shower trailers and more. If you are interested the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention (of which we are a part) is already planning on sending some SBDR groups down. Some of us have been trained by the SBDR and more of us can be for the future.

Next I am going to recommend that a list some local organizations. Giving local is a great avenue because the local groups will be there once the immediate emergency need recedes. The national groups will leave. The local groups won’t. These local groups are the ones who will be dealing with the long term repercussions of the flooding.

Here’s the list”

Galveston County Food Bank: http://www.galvestoncountyfoodbank.org/

Corpus Christi Food Bank: http://www.foodbankcc.com/

Houston Food Bank: http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/donate/

Texas Diaper Bank: http://www.texasdiaperbank.org/

Austin Pets Alive is a no-kill shelter taking in Harvey pets: https://www.austinpetsalive.org/hurricane-harvey-evacuatio…/

Portlight is a local grassroots organization that provides disaster aid to the disabled specifically: http://www.portlight.org/home.html

The Coalition for the Homeless is an umbrella organization coordinating shelters and orgs across the city: https://www.homelesshouston.org/take-action/donate/

https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood/flood-donation

HT to  Chad Schoonmaker via Megan Kelly for the list.

Some of these local groups will begin to put out wishlists of what they need. When I see them I will post them. If you see any please pass them on to me.

Let me end with a plea to not give to just anyone who calls you. It saddens me to acknowledge the fact that when some are in serious need there are others who just see the need as an opportunity for their scams. There are going to be people who use the misery of the people of the Houston area as an opportunity to scam those who like to help people in need. Don’t give money to groups you don’t know or ot that isn’t recommend to you by someone one you trust. There are phone calls and emails going out now pleading for money to help Houston, and some of phone calls and emails are just scammers taking advantage of the fact that we like to help our fellow human when we see genuine need. Don’t stop helping, but be wise. Never let the scammers keep you from giving because it is better to be scammed than to turn your back on a genuine need. Still I would rather our money and resources go to the right places so be smart. Gentle as doves and wise as serpents.

The Tapestry Leadership Team will be discussing what we can do as an organization, but there is no need for you to wait on us. Give and give well … my small but fierce friends. :)

Jurgen “Clive” Terrell

The Terrell family has had basset hounds around us for a long time. Pam, the boys, and I love the breed. We love that they are laid back, and yet manipulative. We love that they are clownish, and yet oddly noble at the same time. We love that they are a big dog that is also a medium size dog. They are seriously awesome.

In December we chose to finally put down our male, Roux, when it had become obvious to us and our vet that he was seriously hurting from the cancer that was riddling his body. We were sad but our girl, Montana, was still with us. That changed two months ago.

When Montana died we thought we would go without a dog for a little while and then start the search at the end of the Summer. I say “search” because we like rescue dogs and finding the right rescue dog isn’t the same as just finding a puppy somewhere. ((Rescue dogs are the best. When you get a rescue you save a dog from neglect and possible death. Please always consider adopting first.)) You have to search to find the right one.

Montana was a rescue through the Looziana Basset Rescue (a great organization) and Roux was a stray that we adopted after some friends/neighbors found him in their front yard (most likely just dropped off in our neighborhood by an owner who didn’t want or couldn’t afford to deal with the heart worms Roux had), and said we had to take him because he looked like he could be Montana’s brother. We loved both our rescues. So we started looking.

I say “we” but I really mean Pam. I may be the dog person, but she is the queen of research. Seriously, it is amazing how good she is at finding stuff. She scoured the basset hound rescue societies. We weren’t looking too hard, but a couple of times Pam found a dog that would spark our interest. Then thanks to a former youth (thanks Hannah) Pam got in touch with Leslie from Looziana Basset Rescue concerning whether there might be a dog with them that would be a good fit for us. She sent us a few low rez photos and a grainy video of a dog they had just received.

Below is the video.

This was the day after the soon to be Jurgen “Clive” (they were calling him “Quinn”, which is amazing because he is obviously a “Clive”) had been fixed. Still he walks happy. I think it says a ton about the temperament of a dog when he walks happy the day after he has been “snipped”. We all agreed on this and we decided we needed to see him when we went down to Alabama.

The soon to be Clive had been living on the streets in New Orleans. He had heartworms which would have to be treated, but they were willing to wave the normal adoption fee if we agreed to pay for the treatment. We thought we would take a look at him. Pretty much the second we saw him in the flesh we instantly agreed that we wanted him to be a Terrell. He is just such a happy dog.

So, please meet Jürgen “Clive” Terrell. The first dog that I have been allowed by the family to name (I’ve tried to name our other dogs but i have always been “name jacked” ((I had wonderful names for our three previous dogs and was convinced each time that it was best to go with a different name. Favorite “name jacking” story is our first family dog who I wanted to name “Nero” after a great quote at the beginning of FF Bruce’s book “Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free”. The quote was “One day men will name the sons Paul, and their dogs Nero”. So I was going to call our dog “Nero”. Then Adam (who was like 4 at the time asked if Nero was a bad man? I couldn’t lie to him and when I said yes Adam said “please don’t name my dog after a bad man, how about Hero instead”. ARGH KIDS!)) by the boys and Pam). He is, of course, named after Jürgen Moltmann and Clive Staples Lewis. He is primarily called Clive but J.C. works too. ((MCB for Most Chill Basset has also been adopted as a usable name for Clive, though MCB has to be said in the manner that JTP is said on the TV show “the Goldbergs”)) He is wonderful and you will see him tooling around Point with me. After three days with him I am pretty well convinced that he is the greatest dog alive in the world today. Please don’t hesitate to stop us and say “hi”. Clive will stop for anybody who wishes to pet him, particularly those who offer food for the privilege of doing so. Because of his namesakes he will also gladly stop to bark about theology.

The Power of Singing

Sunday at Tapestry I spoke about the songs of Mary and Zechariah (Luke 1:46-80) and considered what we could learn from them in light of the hatred that was shown in Charlottesville over the weekend.

Specifically I said that the beauty of the songs of the Christian faith is that they often do two things very well:

  1. Remind us of Who God is (i.e. the One who does great thing for and through His people)
  2. Remind us os who we are (i.e. the ones for whom God has done great things and through whom He wants to do more)

When we remember Who He is and who we are we do a great job of standing against evil. When we forget those two things we don’t do such a good job. So we sing and when we sing we remind each other and remember.

Tonight people at UVA are showing that the songs of true Christian faith are powerful in combating evil. Sing, remember, and act in love.

HT Pamela.

Don’t be a Sucker

The U.S. War Department thought it was pretty important in 1943 for U.S. Citizens to be able to spot fascism when they saw it. So they created this film to remind people not to be a sucker. Seems pertinent today.

We human beings are not born with prejudices. Always they are made for us. Made by someone who wants something. Remember that when you hear this kind of talk. Somebody is going to get something out of it. And it isn’t going to be you.

Don’t be a sucker.

Happy Birthday Dr. Barth

Today is the birthday of Dr. Karl Barth, the brilliant Swiss Theologian. He would have been 131 years old today. I would encourage you to to read or listen to something Barthian today. You can read the Barmen Confession here (statement from evangelical churches in German against the Nazi control church of the state in 1934), any of a number of his works can be found to read for free at Tyndale seminary’s Karl Barth reading room (a public domain version of The Humanity of God can be found there and it is wonderful), and you can listen to the 1962 Warfield Lectures at Princeton (I love the question and answer section primarily because it reminds me that seminarians have apparently always been kiss ups).

To quote Dr. Barth:

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.

I personally am joyful for how Dr. Barth has helped me to connected with the God Who desires to be known.

May I Recognize That God Is Here

This past Sunday I encouraged those that make up Tapestry to join me in a modified “liturgy of the hours“. The hours (or Divine Office, Divine Hours, or any number of other names) are prayers and scripture readings that are said every three hours in certain Christian traditions. They start at midnight and then happen every three hours after. Their purpose is to continually direct our attention toward God. For as Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones wrote:

Whatever we focus on determines what we become.

So the hours help us to focus on Christ and hopefully become more like Jesus. I encouraged everyone to pick some moments during their day to stop and recognize that God is near. For me those times are 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm. I have various alarms set to remind me of the time. When I feel the alarm (I have my phone set to vibrate for these alarms), I take a moment out of whatever I am doing, or whoever I am with, and simply pray “Father, help me to see and know that you are here. In my circumstances right now you are here. Help me to see where you are.” That’s it.

It has been great and difficult at the same time. It has definitely redirected my thoughts a few times. I wasn’t thinking the best at a few moments and I had to change that because I was reminded that God was there. I have also discovered that if I am not focused on the hours happening it becomes easy for me to float right on through them. I have become aware of the time and how close the next hour is.

I’m trying this for a couple of weeks to see what happens. I’ve encouraged “threads” to join me and we’ll talk about it one Sunday.

SIDE NOTE – I took Montana out for her first ride with the top down in Buddy the Mustang today. She was pretty thrilled. Here’s a picture of my old gal of a basset hound to brighten your day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t take this photo while driving. We had just stopped at Belt’s for Montana to get a pup cup with Pamela, who was already there.

240 Wagon

I can’t really say why but around 5 years ago I developed a fascination with Volvo 240 wagons, quite possibly the most stereotyped suburban vehicle ever. Take the stereotype of a minivan and turn it into a wagon and you will have a Volvo 240. They aren’t flashy. They aren’t fast ((I heard someone describe the take off speed of a 240 wagon as “zero to sixty eventually)) . They are just boringly awesome. I think they are spiffy as all get out.

I want one as my winter beater. I picture driving around with my fishing equipment and duck hunting gear in the back. My canoe on the top. Ah, that’s living.

One day I will have one of these fine automobiles and drive it during the Winter when I am scared of the salt on the roads hurting Buddy the Mustang. Pam will be by my side, Montana in the back seat, and a Diet Coke in my hand. We’ll leave the cat at home. It will be a wonderful day.

SIDE NOTE – Since the Point area is a small area there is a decent chance that someone i know actually knows the person that owns the 240. If you do please pass on to them my respect. Whoever it is has a wonderful vehicle.

A High-Flow Toilet

Though i will readily admit that my writing is often crappy I wouldn’t normally post a video of a toilet on my blog. I ran across this toilet today and was surprised by how long the flush takes. Whatever the opposite of a low-flow toilet is called (I assume a high-flow toilet) is what this toilet is. If you care to

Also this has got to be the first toilet I have ever seen where the inside of the basin is a gray color.