Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Topics - Richard Johnson

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 35
1
Your Turn / Important announcement
« on: December 23, 2020, 07:36:20 PM »
I'm cross-posting this for those of you who only read "Your Turn."

Your moderators have been in conversation with the ALPB board about the nature and future of this Forum. We, and they, are concerned about the toxicity of much of the recent conversation. We have discussed various options for improving the quality of interactions. There may be more changes in the future, but for now the following changes will be made effective January 1:
(1) We will no longer permit anonymous posters. You may include your real name (first and last names, please) as your user name, or, if you prefer, you may include your real name as a signature. If the moderators suspect that the name you provide is a pseudonym, we will be contacting you directly to assure that you are who you say you are. If you are currently posting anonymously, please see that you correct that prior to January 1.
(2) We will ask that you restrict your posts to matters related in some way to the purpose and ministry of the church or the challenges of the Christian life. There are plenty of other places to discuss the world of politics. We will allow some latitude here; there are obviously areas where politics and faith intersect, and that intersection is not always entirely clear. But we will not allow political sniping.
(3) As a matter of fact, we will not allow sniping at all. We will be moderating more aggressively. Any post that makes personal attacks on others will be removed, or at least heavily edited; any post that is removed will also lead to the removal of all responses to that post. Persistent violations of this rule will lead to removal from the conversation. Robust discussion is good. Personal attacks are not.
That’s how things are going to go in the new year. With your help, we hope to get this train back on track.

And while I've said the effective date is January 1, in fact some of these things will be happening sooner. We need to practice a little before we go full bore into it.

2
Forum Blogs / Important announcement
« on: December 23, 2020, 07:34:29 PM »
Your moderators have been in conversation with the ALPB board about the nature and future of this Forum. We, and they, are concerned about the toxicity of much of the recent conversation. We have discussed various options for improving the quality of interactions. There may be more changes in the future, but for now the following changes will be made effective January 1:
(1) We will no longer permit anonymous posters. You may include your real name (first and last names, please) as your user name, or, if you prefer, you may include your real name as a signature. If the moderators suspect that the name you provide is a pseudonym, we will be contacting you directly to assure that you are who you say you are. If you are currently posting anonymously, please see that you correct that prior to January 1.
(2) We will ask that you restrict your posts to matters related in some way to the purpose and ministry of the church or the challenges of the Christian life. There are plenty of other places to discuss the world of politics. We will allow some latitude here; there are obviously areas where politics and faith intersect, and that intersection is not always entirely clear. But we will not allow political sniping.
(3) As a matter of fact, we will not allow sniping at all. We will be moderating more aggressively. Any post that makes personal attacks on others will be removed, or at least heavily edited; any post that is removed will also lead to the removal of all responses to that post. Persistent violations of this rule will lead to removal from the conversation. Robust discussion is good. Personal attacks are not.
That’s how things are going to go in the new year. With your help, we hope to get this train back on track.

And while I've said the effective date is January 1, in fact some of these things will be happening sooner. We need to practice a little before we go full bore into it.

3
Forum Blogs / Parishioner's care for clergy
« on: December 16, 2020, 10:02:06 PM »
Pastors know how very generous and kind parishioners can be. It is something I miss in retirement. But there are still moments. Today we had a call from the church secretary. Alyce, a 90-something lady who was normally a regular at our 7:30 a.m. service, had backed a loaf of persimmon bread for each of the clergy, including us retired folks (that would be five or six of us). She isn't leaving home (though she was there almost every week when we were back to in-person services in June through November), so she asked Debbie if she could come pick up the loaves and see that the clergy got them. It came with a Christmas card and a personal hand-written note. You gotta love her.

4
Forum Blogs / Children's prayers
« on: December 07, 2020, 11:53:17 AM »
My wife has been filling in as primary leader for our (Zoom) Sunday School the last couple of weeks. It's very small--if every kid is there, it might be ten. One of the things they do is to share prayer concerns, usually pretty much restricted to very close to home matters, but yesterday my wife invited the kids to think a little more broadly. One little boy was concerned about his great uncle, who has COVID and they were about to make a decision about putting him on a ventilator. Another was concerned because we had a "PSPS" (public service power shutoff) scheduled for Monday morning for 48 hours, and she was thinking of the people who don't have generators for whom that's a difficult reality. So they all prayed.

During the course of the 45 minute class, the mom of the first boy got a phone call reporting that the uncle and improved and the ventilator was no longer being discussed. And then a teacher (who is married to one of our county officials) reported that the PSPS had been rescinded because conditions had changed.

The children got quite a lesson in intercessory prayer, wouldn't you say?

5
Your Turn / Planning for life's end
« on: November 10, 2020, 11:49:30 AM »
Charles suggested this topic, and it would be interesting. No political references permitted. Here's his post:

Since some of us are approaching or experiencing our senior years, and since for some of us the end might be hastened due to the coronavirus, maybe there ought to be a thread on handling those ending of life matters. I won’t start it.
We used to have workshops in churches in New Jersey about things like wills and bequests and medical directives. We thought it was part of pastoral care.
As I said upstream, Beloved Spouse and I have established a trust - rather than a will, for a trust requires no probate - and made the other arrangements that will make things easier for those who survive us. If one survives the other, and should the survivor be in poor health, all major decisions have been made. If we both get trampled by a moose into eternity on the same day, there need be no questions, or argument about “what did mom and dad want.”


6
Your Turn / Prayer requests
« on: October 18, 2020, 04:48:42 PM »
The previous "Prayer Requests" thread had to be shut down because of people posting inappropriate matters; we'll hope this one fares better.

Bishop Paull Spring, one of the founders of the NALC and its first bishop, has suffered a stroke and has other health complications, and is reportedly near death. Previously a bishop in the ELCA and the LCA, Bp. Spring has played a significant role in North American Lutheranism for many years. Prayers for peace for him and his family are requested.

7
Forum Blogs / California Dreamin'
« on: September 09, 2020, 09:22:07 PM »
We've just survived our first PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff) of the season--and actually, we had the good fortune to be out of town during the two or three last year, so this was our very first. 20 hours without electricity--and also without internet, a problem apparently caused by the power outage since they both came back at the same time. A few months back we joined an increasing number of neighbors in buying a portable generator, so we actually did have power, at least partial power (most of the essentials, but no air conditioning, laundry, and dishwasher; oh, and hot tub) for the hours that we ran the generator (about 8 a.m. through 9 p.m., with a pause for refueling midday). We were kind of dreading the no air conditioning, with a forecast of triple digit heat, but fortunately that didn't turn out to be the case. i think yesterday it may have hit 90, but today was cooler.

The cooler temps, though, in part because of the thick smoke cover from the various fires burning round about. The closest significant one to us is perhaps 100 miles away, and the smoke has been massive. Fortunately it is mostly high in the sky, so there isn't much of a smell of smoke, and the air quality has generally been rated "unhealthy for sensitive groups"; I'm still willing to take our morning walk at that level, though for a couple of days last week it was into the stronger "unhealthy" category and my wife wouldn't let me walk ("you're older than I and you have asthma," she scolded).

We were mostly able to stay "connected" by using the personal hot spot on our phones (being sure to keep them charged when the power was on), but it was pretty spotty. Tuesday is the day we record our church service, and I went into church (where the power and internet were both on) and sat in the fellowship hall to record; my colleague was in the sanctuary, and our other colleague was at home (where he also had both power and internet). So we made it work.

My wife observes that these are all very much first world and white privilege problems, and of course she's right. We were suffering minor inconveniences for two days. Many others have lost their homes, or are stuck in shelters in the midst of a pandemic.

I've also been reading through voluminous files of correspondence of my late in-laws, a good bit of which is between them while my father-in-law was living away from home either on business or at school. I am astonished at how often he advises his wife which bills to pay and which to let ride for a month. (This would be the late 1940s/early 1950s.) She was managing the household alone with three or four small children. We are so very fortunate.

Even as I write, a plane goes overhead. This time of year, you immediately perk up, wait to see if there's another, and if so, go out and see if you see new smoke. But as my wife says, "At least its something other than Covid to worry about."

Feeling grateful, though, in spite of it all.


8
Welcome! / MOVED: Prayer Requests (New)
« on: July 20, 2020, 10:12:07 PM »

9
Your Turn / MOVED: Prayer Requests (New)
« on: July 20, 2020, 10:09:26 PM »
This topic has been moved to [Forum Blogs].

http://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=7548.0

10
Forum Blogs / Eileen Smith RIP
« on: July 20, 2020, 06:03:57 PM »
So sorry to share this news:

Eileen Smith
07/18/2020
 

Eileen Smith, age 69 of Wayne, dies on July 18, 2020.

It is with great sadness that I inform you that Eileen Smith of Wayne died at home with her sister Racquel by her side on July 18, 2020.  She was born in the Bronx to Eva and Henry Bentz and remained close with some of her best childhood friends. She attended Grace Lutheran parochial school, where she was a classmate of former Kiss guitarist, Paul “Ace” Frehley.  Eileen worked many years in New York City for ING Group, in Banking and Finance.  She earned an Associates in Applied Science degree from New York University, a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Pace University.
 
In July 1972 she married Joseph Smith and moved to Woodside Queens.  Joe and Eileen honeymooned in Mexico, starting in Mexico City exploring the country on their way to Alcapulco. Joe’s jobs required him to travel frequently and Eileen traveled with him whenever possible living for a short period in Redondo Beach, California, Seattle, Washington and Galveston. After 31 years in Woodside they moved to Wayne to be close to her family in Wayne and closer to Joe’s family in Albany.  Eileen made many wonderful friends in Wayne and loved going out to some of the local eateries like the “OD” (Oakland Diner), Bensi and Little Food Café.
 
It was always a priority for Eileen to stay in close touch friends and to get together with family whenever possible, especially during the holidays.  If you were part of her church communities, pool group, oatmeal club, neighbor, friend or friend of a friend you would most certainly get a plate of homemade Christmas cookies every year. She was an accomplished cook and loved cooking for her family and friends.  Her holiday dinners which she prepared for her family in Wayne were always delicious, creatively presented with name tags and holiday nik-naks and included some unique dishes like worm soup (Passatelli Dei Nonni).  She also prepared and coordinated an immensely popular holiday party for Joe’s family and relatives in Albany.  A considerable undertaking which she loved to do for Joe and his family.
 
Eileen was very close to her nephews Eric and Scott and was with them throughout their lives.  Whether it was cheering Eric on in baseball or Scott’s band recital she enjoyed watching them grow up.  She conducted a beautiful wedding ceremony for Eric and Nicole just a couple of years ago which had us all in joyful tears.  She was always there to provide them support and instill in them the valuable life lessons which they will remember forever.
 
Eileen was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer nearly ten years ago.  She immediately researched and learned everything she could about her disease and treatment.  She soon learned there was only limited treatment and few doctors with experience treating the disease.  She actively advocated for more research, funding and greater awareness to help in the fight against this disease and was even awarded by then NJ Governor Chris Christie for her efforts.
 
Eileen remained active in the church throughout her life.  As an adult she entered the Lutheran diaconate and was set apart as a deacon by the Metro New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on June 17, 1998.  She served faithfully in the Metro Synod, often planning synod-wide educational and administrative events.  She was a gifted preacher and often substituted for vacationing pastors.
 
When She moved to New Jersey, Eileen joined St. Timothy Lutheran Church and quickly became a faithful worker and congregational leader.  She served on the Mutual Ministry Committee, chaired the Worship and Outreach Committees, and was a faithful sacristan and liturgical assistant.  Eileen founded St. Timothy’s very successful seniors’ program, Prime Timers, planning monthly luncheons and securing speakers for each gathering.  She preached and led worship several times a year when the senior pastor vacationed.  She served as a mentor for several generations of catechism students and coordinated the mentoring program.  Eileen introduced St. Timothy to “Stew Sunday,” which operates in conjunction with Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, providing nourishing meals for the clients of Eva’s Kitchen in Paterson several times a year.
 
Eileen was a prolific writer, contributing articles to synodical and parish newsletters, as well as several nationally circulated publications, including The Lutheran Magazine and the Lutheran Forum.  She was the editor of the Metro New York Synod’s monthly newsletter.  She was conversant in Lutheran theology and was an avid reader of theological tomes.
 
Eileen was a wonderful person, who did so much to make our lives and the world a better place.  It is impossible to mention everyone whose life she touched and how much each person in her life meant to her. Her loss will be felt by many.
 
She is survived by her sister Racquel White, brother in law Arthur White, her nephews and nieces: Eric (Nicole) White, Scott White, Michael (Mary Jean) Jackson, Thomas (Janice) Jackson, Daniel Jackson, Marybeth (Thomas) Huyck, and great nephews and nieces: Stephanie (Jason) Cosco, Renee Jackson, Marissa (Trey and Chase) Jasenski and Thomas Huyck. She was predeceased by her parents Eva and Henry Bentz, her husband Joseph Smith who passed away in 2020 and her great nephew Christopher Jackson.
 
Due to the pandemic the family will be holding a private graveside service.  Everyone will be with us in spirit to celebrate Eileen’s life and the many lives she touched in some special way.
 
Donations can be made to:
NET Research Foundation
31 St. James Avenue, Suite 365
Boston, MA 02116

11
Forum Blogs / Take a break . . .
« on: July 20, 2020, 04:25:15 PM »
Take a break from arguing about the Trinity, Trump, and Coronavirus and have a giggle at this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7xPrf9f7mg

12
Forum Blogs / Some people are just a little thick
« on: July 06, 2020, 06:01:16 PM »
Yesterday afternoon we got a text from a friend: "We just heard there's a grass fire on your street, are you OK?" This time of year we rush outside anytime we hear an airplane, just to be sure we don't see any smoke nearby. So out we went. No sign of smoke, no smell of smoke, no airplanes or sirens. But just to be sure, we jumped in the car and drive up the street (our street is a loop of perhaps half a mile). Sure enough, up the street a ways (though really quite close to our house as the crow flies), fire trucks and a collection of neighbors on the street. By that time the fire was out, and the homeowner was still out there with a hose. Turns out he had been smoking some meat over the weekend. He let the coals sit overnight, then, thinking they were cool, dumped them on the ground. Several hours later some wind came up (as it does in this spot, oh, virtually every single day), and the wind fanned the coals and the fire started. By some miracle, a bicyclist happened to ride by and saw the flames, and pounded on the door; the man grabbed his hose and his wife called 911. The fire was stopped a few feet short of a large pile of wood chips and a tree that is pretty close to dead. It could easily have been a disaster.

Whatever made this guy think this was an acceptable thing to do? We live in an extremely high fire risk area, and it's the middle of summer. The signs all read "Fire danger: high." It doesn't take much for one person's carelessness or cavalier "well, I'm not worried, doesn't apply to me" to risk the health and safety of an entire community.

Consider it a parable.

13
Forum Blogs / Easter 3
« on: April 26, 2020, 06:21:02 PM »
I'm sure it is quite a challenge for preachers during this time, both to manage new technology and to bring the gospel of hope to a discouraged and fearful world. I had the joy of preaching this morning (well, for this morning; we actually recorded it a few days ago) on the road to Emmaus text. Here's what I said:
https://www.facebook.com/580584503/videos/vb.580584503/10157790575554504/?type=2&theater&notif_t=video_processed&notif_id=1587937977127116

14
Forum Blogs / This year's Good Friday
« on: April 10, 2020, 07:36:27 PM »
For most of the last 33 years, I've participated in a noon service at my present church, and an evening service at my previous church--both ecumenical services with Lutheran, Episcopal and Methodist participants. (Actually since I retired, I've not attended the service at Peace Lutheran . . . social distancing, you know.)

This year we watched what was a combined service--at Peace Lutheran, but sort of a hybrid of the usual noon and evening services (which have always been rather different, though both centered on the St. John gospel). It was not very satisfying; the music was mediocre, the service generally not too inspiring.

But then we watched a YouTube video of a performance of the St. John Passion by the Netherlands Bach Society, and it was stunning. I am deeply moved. If you have a couple of hours, let the 5th Evangelist bless you:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMf9XDQBAaI

15
Forum Blogs / How should one understand this?
« on: April 07, 2020, 10:21:36 PM »
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. It is from our bishop, and he offers it "to use as a part of your Easter Sunday online worship." What do you think? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ggWMPN7i8  He's also planning to offer a sermon for Easter 2, to give pastors "a well deserved break in the days following Easter Sunday." I appreciate the thought, but um . . .

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 35