Then I had a wonderful time at a birthday gathering (not MY birthday, but a friend's). Due to my hearing aids being better than they were before, I can hear more conversation than I could previously, and I discover that, after years of hearing almost nothing in restaurant environments, I had given up trying and now I relearn the habit of listening, since now it works. I enjoy the human interaction with regular people, whom I find a refreshing change, and I think this follows the example of Jesus—He appreciated interaction with regular people more than he did with the Sadducees and Pharisees. And a birthday gathering is by definition an appreciation of a person.
Someone asked about which hearing aids are better, or which surgery. I’m no specialist, but as far as I know:
First, if you are 65 or older and you hear 20% or less, get an audiologist to recommend you to Medicare for a cochlear implant surgery--they'll do one ear and my dad's hearing improved from 20% to 80% this way.
Second, I recommend an audiologist in Burley, Idaho, and a hearing aid specialist in Eau Claire, WI to whom I can refer you. Since you don't live there, please consult an audiologist near you. I've not had the Costco hearing aids, but another audiologist of my acquaintance recommended those, and they're less expensive than some others.
I had a wonderful Sunday: a) teaching a Bible study where the pastor has the whiteboard and markers, so I could write down the texts and have the people join me in the Scripture reading; b) music service with a really outstanding musician leading at piano; c) sermonette by his honor the pastor; d) message by yours truly on salvation; e) great altar service; f) 25th anniversary celebration dinner for pastoral couple, while their daughter helped me get on Skype and a young man in church helped me resurrect my Twitter and another account (which I must now update); g) getting back to another church to make it in time for altar service, and meeting good friends there--a church with a high percentage of redheads and other people also with freckles—makes me want to break out singing 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling' and other Irish folksongs. Seeing good friends whether I'd seen them recently or not—I love all of these people.
Years ago, people who wanted to simply gain followers used Twitter; people who wanted friends used Facebook. The crucial difference in purpose was that on Facebook, communication supposedly moved both ways—people took interest in each other, didn't just promote themselves. And, no wonder, Facebook thrived much more than Twitter did—2.2 billion v 300 million, according to last count I heard. Now, people who say they don't like Facebook start using it, because it is the far bigger platform, AS IF it were Twitter—just to have followers, to make announcements. There's a place for that: pages, since they are public and for that purpose. But if people use friendship pages for that purpose only, one solution is simple: unfollow. A friend says, ‘I've always thought of Facebook as a social gathering, and Twitter more as a selfish "this is my opinion" or "hey look at me" medium.’ She has that right.
I've been in two Communion services recently in which the elements were served in those little packets that you peel the top twice—first for the wafer, second for the liquid. I have two questions: 1) has anyone experienced the wafer having cracked up in advance into little pieces so that you can't pick it up (that happened once to me)?; 2) do these come in different flavors or varieties, perhaps some of them being wine, others being grape juice? I drink grape juice and eat grapes, and in neither Communion service did I recognize the flavor, so I wondered if it's just another brand or is wine, but both places I've been recently, they used grape juice, just a different brand than I'm used to. A friend remarks, ‘Thank goodness that the communion services where we would likely attend don't have that priest guy putting the wafer on your tongue. If they broke up, as you described, he'd have to be throwing it in there. "Here, open wide and catch this!"’
Another friend says, ‘My best communion story goes like this...
The grape juice we use for communion somehow fermented. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could smell it. Being rushed for time and we decided to use it anyway, hoping no one would notice. So we used it to fill the little cups. In a church of 140, we only had 2 member who noticed it. They did not complain, but were curious. The best part is I don't think we ever informed the pastor about it. But as deacons, we thought the entire situation was rather funny.’
Jerry Clower, 'Mouth of the Mississippi', told this story: Marcel Ledbetter once sneaked into the church-house on a Saturday night and replaced all the grape juice in the little cups with green persimmon wine. Next morning, everyone partook, after which the pastor said, 'As is our custom, we will now sing the doxology'. Everyone stood and whistled the closing anthem.
While discussing drink, perhaps it’s good to also mention food: I'm glad to say that, in the last year, I've lost an inch or so around the waist (still need to lose plenty more) even in spite of being sedentary due to knee replacement surgery much of that time. Eating less—it's amazing how much QUANTITY Americans eat, and the result is all around us: 1/3 of the population is obese (i.e., 30 lbs or more overweight), another 1/3 is overweight but not obese. Being heavy is the norm—that's what makes it harder to notice when you live among it all the time. But when you've been overseas and return to the USA, you see all the immensity in the airport. Gluttony is as great a sin as drunkenness. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.
a. Harvey having hit Texas and Louisiana hard;
b. Irma having damages in the Caribbean and to Florida;
c. wildfires having endangering people in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California
d. the threat of nuclear-tipped missiles hanging over Guam, Japan and South Korea, retaliatory strikes on North Korea, possible action by China to defend North Korea
e. huge floods this year in South Asia, with over 1200 dead,
There's already a lot of suffering and maybe much more ahead.
We need to:
a. pray for people's safety and for God's guidance for political and emergency relief leaders.
b. do all we can to help suffering people.
I recommend Light and Life Ministries, which:
- provides education tuition and materials for disadvantaged gifted students;
- publishes textbooks to expand education
- provides medical help for people whose health has been damaged while they helped others.