The full extent of my ignorance…

I do an awful lot of thinking, and probably do a lot of awful thinking.  Problem is that since nobody can hear my thinking it’s only subject to correction by chance.

That’s where you come in, and the reason for the tag line “Helping to build a better Dave.”  I am going to try to put a lot of my thoughts here as the spirit moves me, and your job will be to correct stink’n think’n, help give me a check up from the neck up, and direct me towards TRVTH.

My interests are too wide ranging to list and so you may expect almost anything from quantum computing to pipe organs.

As the son of a conservative Southern Baptist minister, I am acutely aware of the many “flavors” of Christian belief there are to be found in the areas where I grew up and have lived since.   Some may see a conflict between my thoughts on temporal matters of science and society and my professed faith.  I do not, as I divide theology and science with a hard line.  Theology deals with “by whose hand?” while science deals with “How did He do it?” in my own world view.  There can be no judgments by one of these that are not in perfect harmony with the other, and to the extent they appear to be is human error in all cases.

I love science and have kept abreast of the latest discoveries all my life, but unlike many, I am not dazzled by it as I consider our current knowledge level to be quite primitive.  In fact, I often describe my view of our level of understanding of the nature of our universe as being, as a species, about as far along as a baby is between birth and their first smile.  That statement may actually be generous since we have yet to even leave the womb, planet Earth.   Until we do, we have no way of knowing what we will be when we grow up.

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The Second Transcontinental Railroad

 

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Tesla Semi cab. It will be capable of full autonomy, but have a “driver” for the first few years.

And it will replace the current rail system completely and rapidly. This will happen within a decade, though it may not look like this but I will offer a model that is practical and will give you an idea of what the future may look like. Semi-autonomous trucks, that is, level 4 complete autonomy but driver required with hands on the wheel, are likely within the next couple of years. Level 5, full autonomy, will follow in a couple of years after that as the software will be so rapidly improved as to demonstrate far better safety and efficiency than human control. The trucking industry is betting all on this as they know it will be a paradigm shift in efficiency, capacity, and will allow them to virtually shut down the railroads. For consumers, it will mean trucks will stay in the right lane and always yield to automobiles overtaking them, lower costs as shipping costs plummet, and huge savings in unnecessary highway construction.

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Tesla Semi with trailer

Work on autonomous trucks is going on all over the world at a feverish pace. Tests have been announced for Houston to Dallas for 2019 and more is on the way. While Tesla has yet to build one, their Semi is close, so I’ve chosen it as the one for this vision. Here are its specifications.

Acceleration 0-60 mph with 80k lb:                                          20 sec
Speed up a 5% Grade:                                                                  60mph
Mile Range:                                                                                    300 or 500 miles
Powertrain:                                                                                    4 Independent Motors on Rear
Energy Consumption:                                                                   Less than 2 kWh per mile
Fuel Savings;                                                                                  $200,000+
Expected Base Price(300 mile range)                                        $150,000
Expected Base Price(500 mile range):                                       $180,000

Tesla claims a complete payoff in 2 years, pretty astonishing. As these vehicles service life is indefinite they’d be returning a massive Return on Investment compared to current trucks. Even more in that they can be on the road 24/7 and the cost of a driver would start off dramatically lower as well. Here is one way this might be brought into reality in a short period of time.

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New York City to Los Angeles Electric Autonomous Truck System

First, one needs a replaceable battery and a fully automated system to change out the battery and put the one removed on a charger. Stations so equipped would be spaced 200 miles or so apart. Each station would have a bunkhouse for drivers with food and entertainment and such. There would also be an autonomous computer technician there. That technician might take over or ride with the driver if some issue were suspected and get out at the next charging station to return on the next truck bound for his/her station. Tractors that can’t be fixed on location would transfer their trailer to another tractor at a station. Total time of battery change out would be a couple of minutes. The New York to LA route I have chosen for this projection is about 2800 miles and a reasonable transit time under current laws could be about 40 hours, MUCH faster than current trucks. Drivers would be fully trained to drive the vehicle in an emergency, but only as far as the next charging station. Therefore, their pay might be 35k. Not a lot but consider that the duty tour might be 2 weeks, 24/7 on location and in a truck, but with 2 weeks off. Actually, a pretty sweet deal for a single person or young married. The high paid jobs would be the computer technicians. While one might lament the loss the current high paying jobs, the overall benefit to the nation and all consumers is massive, and many jobs would be created as well. Besides, the US is short of 60,000 badly needed drivers in 2019. Drivers, given they will not be doing much, could serve 12 hours on, 12 off for their 2-week duty tour. At first, there would be a driver in every truck. As the systems prove reliable, this would be reduced to one driver trailing a convoy of 5 or so trucks and eventually only to service personnel at the charging stations as full autonomy comes to be trusted.

Tesla already has enough charging stations all over the country to allow its cars to go almost anywhere without range anxiety. Further, they are equipped to insist on heading for the nearest charger if there might be a range issue, and alert if one sets out on a route too far from a charger. The above pilot system could be expected to expand in the same way all over the nation in only a few years…a lot less time than building the national rail system took.

Speaking of the railroads, as much as they are icons of American history and development, it is very hard to see how they will compete in the near future. We may be  the last generations to see the massive freight trains rolling along or to ride a passenger train other than a tourist attraction. Rather sad but change is coming. They could  probably compete and stay alive if they tried, but they appear to be stuck in the past. Totally autonomous trains with automated container transfers to trucks for the “last mile” at strategic points would be very efficient, but I’ve detected no development in that area.

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Crossing the Bridge: The Backstory

4friendsThis is a backstory even though written only a couple days before “Crossing the Bridge” was delivered at Paul’s funeral. That post can be accessed via the link at end of this post. However, it contains a good overview of both the man as well as the attitudes of those who knew him over the years that will help to understand the funeral post for those who did not know him.

The following is copied from the Facebook page “Remember in Texarkana” and is dated the day I learned of his death which was 15 October, 2013. The image is, L-R, David A. Mallette, Paul Irwin Robins, Danny Lynn McDonald, and Conlee Bill Whitehurst. The puppies are “checked out” of the Texarkana Animal Shelter. The place is now the parking lot of the Stateline Albertson’s Grocery Store. A link to “Crossing the Bridge” itself will be found at the end of this post.

Here begins the edited post:

Most of the time, Remember in Texarkana is about things. This morning, I beg indulgence to talk about a person .

About an hour ago, I was informed that Paul Robins, known to many in this city as “Sharky,” passed away.

Paul was a Texarkana original, born here and a resident his entire life. He could have been anywhere else and been rich, but his core values were home and friends. I suspect there will be some reading this that may wonder at my unbounded love and respect for this man. I grew up with him, and he was my mentor. Later, I would find that, in many ways, I was his as well. I met Paul within hours of our moving in to 205 E. 38th street in the summer of 1956. Paul was two years older than I. He and his mother, Vivian, lived in an apartment at the Texarkana Animal Shelter that occupied the block that today is the Albertson’s at Stateline and Arkansas Boulevard.

It seemed that Paul always had money. In those early years of the hot, dry summers of the great drought of the 50s, he’d offer to buy me and the other boys in the neighborhood a Mr. Cola if we’d pick the blackberries that grew along what was then E. 39th street. That seemed like a very good deal to us, and we’d dutifully fill up a few lunch sacks and turn them over to him. He’d then put them in pint containers and sell them at three times the price to all the neighbors. I not only did not mind, it formed the basis of my understanding of sound business practices. Pay people an honest wage and use that labor to make more. Jesus told the same story in the parable of the talents.

When I was about 12 and he 14, my father would take us up to a place on the Cossatot River near the site of Paraclifta we referred to as the “Iron Bridge.” He’d leave us there for a week. Today, this would be child abuse. Then, it was the most wonderful gift a parent could give. We’d learned the skills of campfire cooking; we played in the fields and ponds and had learned about poisonous snakes and plants. We were expert swimmers and new enough first aid to handle most anything. As my father told a neighbor’s dad who questioned his judgment in the matter “Those boys are safer up there than they will ever be wandering the streets of Texarkana.” It was a different time, and our days there remain in my memory as the finest days of my youth.

As we became young teenagers, we’d occasionally go out to the old Texarkana Livestock Auction barn on King’s Highway. Paul had told me we could make 5 dollars by sweeping out the auction. I thought this a heckuva deal. Five dollars in hand, I was rich and ready to go. Not Paul. He’d found the auctioneers and a few cowboys engaged in a friendly game of poker in the office. They smiled as he politely asked if he could try a couple of hands. Paul laid his 5 dollars on the table, and in less than an hour we left with those 5 dollars and about 300 more, leaving a group of rather bewildered cowboys scratching their heads.

By high school, he’d put on his black suit, red vest, and bowler hat and be off to Shreveport and the casinos. He never would let me go. He did not want me exposed to some of the things that might happen there. He always came back with a lot more money than he left with, and I’ve no doubt he won it fair and square from those who richly deserved to lose it.

When I arrived at Arkansas High his senior year, I was exposed to some bullying the first few weeks and I told him about it. I was quite surprised when it all stopped. I found out later Paul had made it be known that I was his friend. Not once did I ever see Paul raise a hand in violence of any kind, yet a word from him seemed to have the force of law amongst those who listened to no one.

By that time, he’d become known as “Sharky.” He was one of the finest young clarinetists I have ever heard and would play along with Pete Fountain records endlessly. All is life he loved great jazz, something we shared.

Our lives parted when he headed off to the Navy in 1966. Years passed between meetings. He had his club in the old Frank’s Steak House, Sharky’s Pizza, and I don’t know what else over those years. He married Diane, the love of his life, and had a beautiful family. About 15 years ago we began to visit more on the phone, and when I was in Texarkana. He filled in many stories of the years I missed, and they were marvelous. He won and lost large sums of money in those years. He did not care. On the surface, one might have thought he was all about money.

“Dave,” he said, “It isn’t about the money. The money is just a way of keeping score.”

Over those years, friends and mere acquaintances would come to him with a story and a need for money. He would often tell me of such incidents, and make it clear he knew he’d never see a dime of it back, but he didn’t care. Paul was there for you, and always had your back.

A few years ago, his wife Diane developed cancer and gradually wasted away. For many months, Paul left her side only for an hour or two and ministered to her with a devotion that was demonstrative of a love comparable only to that of our Lord.

Diane was a person of great faith who sang hymns of praise in her final hours in that living room where only a few hours ago and a few feet away Paul joined her in glory.

This morning, my friend found himself crossing that old bridge and joining Diane at that campground on the banks of the crystal stream that flows by the throne of God.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Amen

Comments from Remember in Texarkana Facebook page:

William Wharton Nick Barba and I played guitars in Sharky’s Pizza place back in ’75-’76. He was a great guy.

Wayne Buse Nice.

Mule Burnett I never knew the man, but from your account of the friend that you described, he was surely a good man and friend. I am heartbroken for your loss.

Mule Burnett BTW…I learned to swim and spent many Sunday afternoons at the “Iron Bridge”, back in the first half of the ’50s.

Michael Boyd My father was good friends with Sharky and I can remember him taking me to Sharky’s pizza. Seems like I recall 2 different locations, the last one being in the parking lot of AR side Walmart.

Ashley Watson The site of the iron bridge is still accessible but there is a gate because the road was re-routed to a new bridge about 35 years ago.

Gary Cherry I always liked Paul and he was a one of a kind. A friend since we were raised up at North Heights. I will always remember the rubber gun fights and fun as a youngster in those hazy lazy days of summer.Prayers up for the family.

Debbi Maple Smith Thanks for sharing just a wonderful life.

Tommy Clark David, that’s a great tribute to Paul. He and I were great friends growing up and I well remember is entrepreneurial abilities. He had a great sense of humor and we had some great times together. I am very sorry he has left this world, but happy he is in a better place. Thanks for sharing.

Jody Barlow Rest in Peace Paul-you were a good man

Gloria Sangalli I enjoyed that story o very much!!!! He sounds like he was a real treasure!!!! Prayers~~~~

Mary Brown King I remember Sharky and Sharky’s…thanks for sharing.

Larry Tedder Beautifully written David, and a very loving tribute to your life long friend. May he Rest in Peace.

Dianna McAdams Emfinger Very rare to find a friend such as this, and a friendship that lasts as long. A beautiful tribute to a man who must have been a wonderful person. May he Rest In Peace.

Mike Tidwell A very nice tribute. A great friendship.

Carolyn Brown Bridges Beautiful memories of a wonderful friend…thanks for sharing with us. So sorry for your loss…

Annette Atkinson Mackey Paul strolled down the hall of Arkansas High…. What a great guy.

Robert Lavender When I found out Paul’s phone # not long ago I called him. We had a good talk, and I’m so glad we talked before he passed. I usually lost pitching pennies at the wall though. Paul was a friend.

David Mallette Gotta comment on that, Robert. Never could figure out how Paul won at “games of chance.” I asked him about why he risked so much at games of chance, and he said “Because, chances are I’ll win…”

Gary Cherry I can still know the smell going to see Sharky at the Animal Shelter his Mom managed. They had an apartment in the Shelter. One I can still know the smell going to see Sharky at the Animal Shelter his Mom managed. They had an apartment in the Shelter. One thing I remember is that Animal Shelter was real clean and the animals were treated right. Now that piece of land is now Albertsons’s on State Line. Sharky at Halloween always somehow got more candy than the rest of the neighbor kids. He would go all over town where we stayed within our neighborhood. I mean he would have a sack full. It’s good to reflect on our memories and it always brings a smile when you look back at those days of long ago.

David Mallette Gary, I suspect he was about the candy just as with money…Wasn’t about the candy, just a way of keeping score.

Once the score was tallied, he was just as happy giving it away.

Gary Cherry Hey Sharky was always giving with anything he had. He had a big heart and helped anyone in need. I was at his restaurant next to Walmart on State Line when a hobo came in and he feed the guy and Sharky had the him pick trash on the parking lot. He came over and told me he didn’t want the guy feel like it was charity so by picking up trash he would feel better about himself. That was our friend….

Tommy Clark What I remember most about him was being in the band with him and all the good times we had. I have also made more than a few trips with him to the Bossier strip when we were supposed to be at the “late movie”!

David Mallette Late indeed, Tommy. After Sak’s, the Carousel, and the Boom Boom Room…

Tommy Clark I’m convinced that the clubs in Bossier were the one that kept the “late movie” going in Texarkana because that’s how they got about half their business.

David Mallette I’ve a great memory of the piano bar at the Captain Shreve Hotel. Paul loved mellow jazz, and this place had no mikes or speakers, just a nice studio grand in a quiet bar. Very 40s. Mostly instrumentals, occasional vocal a la “As Time Goes By.”

JoAnn Garland Scarborough I am so sorry to hear about Paul. I remember him well. Rest in Peace Paul.

Annette Atkinson Mackey He was very good on the clarinet….. Loved his music!

David Mallette It seemed to come so easy to him, Annette. I’ve often wondered what that Selmer Paris his mom bought him would be worth now. It was about 900.00 then, and made of wood now endangered and illegal.

David Mallette Yikes. Just checked. 4k to 12k…

Jerry Creamer my condolences. it is truly a sad day to lose a close lifelong friend. very few people manage to reach that lofty perch for so long.

John Porter Sad to hear that, Paul was a friend of mine back in the 80’s, have not seen him in many years.

Joy Womack Griffin Great tribute to your friend…R.I.P. Paul

Lee Ann Adrian Duran Loved his pizza

Ron Hansche I love the picture of Danny McDonald. He married my cousin, Patsy McDonald

Gary Cherry You know Skarky’s pizza was the best in town. He used fresh ground beef and nothing could get close to it. He told me one time if he won’t eat it he dang sure wouldn’t sell it off to his customers. He and Ray Leavelle had a piece of land off I-30 close to where the convention center is now and they were planning to built a nice uptown restaurant. But, Ray died from cancer and that ended that. But the way he talked it would be the talk of the town. He knew the food service and what it would take to make it a great place to dine. Ray and Sharky were long time friends and band members at AHS and both excellent musicians.

David Mallette Ron, Paul and my last outing together was to Patsy’s funeral. She and Danny were an awesome couple. I had great love for Emmet and Charlene as well. Charlene was beautiful as ever. Danny was the image of his father. Paul and I went to TLC for burgers, then visited Howard at Ragland piano. It was a wonderful day, and seems like such a short time ago. I sort of knew it was our last, as he really struggled that day.

David Mallette Gary, not building that little supper club was a huge disappointment to Paul. He wanted to be a fine host and treat people right. The loss of Ray was a great wound.

Terri Murphy Chandler I remember Sharky’s Pizza, and the jukebox. My first memory of pepperoni pizza was at Sharky’s. Good memories! Thanks for giving me an image of a man to go with the name.

David Mallette In town at the old homestead. Hope to see some of you as your are able on Saturday.

Annette Atkinson Mackey Expensive horn even then David. He sure was good on it. My dad played the clarinet too and was very good. Time goes by so fast. My dad use to sit in his office and play all the time. I just think Paul was too young to die.

David Mallette Yessum, Annette. I remember being stunned when he told me what his mom paid. Of course, Ms. Vivian is still around and living unassisted at Dodderidge. Awesome lady, and the mother I have left.

David Mallette What a beautiful day for a funeral! The sound of taps played to perfection echoed across the woods surrounding Macedonia Cemetary as a grateful nation took a moment to salute a sailor. Godspeed, Paul, until we meet again.

Lantz Lurry It was always fun to be around Sharky we had many good times together growing up he and I had many of the same friends when my cousin Ray Leavelle passed away sharky was one of the first person that reached out to me he was a good friend and very good person

Ginger Porterfield Patterson Paul was the same great guy the last time I saw him as he was in elementary school at NHS. He introduced me to my boys’ daddy at Sharky’s Pizza. He came by my office over the years when he had something to sell that would go in a new home or business, such as a 10′ diameter chandelier. I said “where do you find these things?”. He would just chuckle softly and reply “oh, here and there,” he always had a twinkle in his eye and a kind word. Even when we were kids, he was an old soul. I thought it was because he grew up as the man of the house. His mom is a fine lady.

Sandy Pilgreen Williams David, that was a beautiful eulogy and a heartfelt…”until we meet again”

Cathy Barager Garner Had tears as I read the loving tribute to your dear friend. Through your words, I felt as if I knew him too.

Terri Murphy Chandler Thank you for sharing this. Beautifully done!

David Mallette Terry, your last two words with exclamation point describe Paul’s life.

Crossing the Bridge, the funeral of Paul Robins

 

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The Way

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Enlightenment comes in silently, like snow. It comes for some early, as with my daughter. For others, like me, only after a lifetime. It came to me this way.

To walk without footprints
To breath without breath
To die and leave without trace
To leave the world a better place

For many, those words may suggest one should make no effort to change things or help others. I do not see it that way. What I understand is that if we take care of the world, or worlds, we have been given by God or by chance, depending on what you believe, we do the right thing. I have practiced this for decades in the wilds, not only ensuring that I leave no trace but cleaning up the traces left by others.  But taking care of the wilds is not the end.

Taking care of others is implicit in that one cannot care for the planet without caring for its inhabitants, so the poor, the needy (whether poor or not), and in danger must be served to the best of one’s abilities. One cannot be a good practitioner of any religion without this as a fundamental. It is not religion, but philosophy which is, by nature, more fundamental than faith. The religion of my tribe is Christianity and nothing in His teachings suggests any of the above is not the foundation of His teachings and necessary to them. In fact, I see His teachings as implementation of these things.

I am not in sudden bliss from this understanding.  As I said, it came silently and with no fanfare.  But I am at peace, and in context of my tribal faith, it is the peace that passes all understanding.

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A Simple Faith

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Sudarium of Veronica

I have now studied the earliest Christian writers and the history of the Christian church long enough to realize one key thing:  It’s an inherently simple faith.  All that is asked is belief in Jesus Christ as son of God.  It’s clear the thief on the cross was not baptized or anything else…but Jesus said that “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise…”  So, what the hell happened to us?  How did we so complicate this great gift to the point of creating completely groundless human fine print?
I’ve written elsewhere in these pages of my choice of the Anglican catholic tradition as my denomination of choice, but it shares many flaws with the rest.  Yes, the communion rail is open to any who extend their hands, but you’ll get only a rather uncomfortable grunt at best if you mention to a priest that you share communion with friends and family when no priest is around.  They know it’s every bit is valid as any at which they officiate as the history of the early church…and the words of Christ Himself…make clear, but centuries of dogma mean they can’t speak the truth.  Sad.

 

There are so many denominations claiming to be the “one true church” and excluding all who do not accept their dogma.  Nothing could be farther from Christ’s message. He made it clear that only God can judge the human heart.  No human has the right to determine who shall or shall not receive communion.  If this is not the case, the whole concept is bullshit, to use a colorful and rather non academic word.

 

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Sudarium of Turin.  To date, completely inexplicable and beyond our ability to reproduce.

 

So, what of the images?  Well, I am not here to sell anything or convert anyone, but I do wish to point out that the images here are perhaps the greatest mysteries in human history.  If these are what they purport to be, it means nothing.  It means nothing because one’s attitude towards these…or any…object has nothing to do with Christ’s message.  Nor does one’s attitude towards whether or not Mary was a virgin, whether the Bible is the “inerrant Word of God,” or anything else besides Christ’s words to the thief on the cross.

 

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Sudarium of Olvieto superimposed on the Sidone of Turin.  They match perfectly and the blood type is AB on both.  

But they DO represent an anomaly.  The Sidone, or shroud, of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, and the Sudarium of Veronica, are objects that defy our best minds.  We cannot come even close to reproducing them.  The two shrouds share the same blood stains of the same AB type.  Veronica’s veil is of byssus, or sea silk which is an extremely fine, rare, and valuable fabric that is made from the long silky filaments or byssus secreted by a gland in the foot of pen shells (in particular Pinna nobilis). The byssus is used by the clam to attach itself to the sea bed.  Only a single person living today is considered a master of working this incredible fabric.  Its characteristics include being flame proof, and not accepting paint.  Yet, there we have a face not only clearly there but visible from either side and matching the faces of the other the other two.

 

As I said in the opening, I am not going to go into whether these relics are real or not…they certainly exist and defy modern science, but you may believe what you want about them.  Look them up if you want to know more.

To me, they mean that God has a sense of humor.  What you believe about these objects is irrelevant.  But their existence tells us just how little we know and causes great consternation to atheists.  As the great master Lao Tzu said “Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.  Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.”  There is either one true church, or no church of any kind, and it’s Head does not reside in Rome, Boston, Nashville, Antioch, or in any other city on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

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“But I was in Shock,” The Backstory

Doing a bit of looking at old archives I found the video of the only sermon I ever preached with a license. St. Andrews Church, Fort Worth, Ash Wednesday, 2000. I post it here for the several thousand who have viewed “But I was in Shock” since it was uploaded as it really encapsulates what happened before our daughter left us. I have left key elements of the service intact as I have a great love for the rites of the Anglican Catholic tradition that any Christian from a few decades after the crucifixion would be at home with, and have remained pretty stable for the past 1000 years. Feel free to skip to the message if you prefer.  The video really looks primitive even thought it’s only been 17 years.  But this day it represents one of my greatest moments in in life and I am pleased to both relive it and to share.

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On Communion

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Having spent a couple of decades reading the works of the contemporaries and immediate successors to the apostles, I find myself in direct contradiction to catholic tradition on the central act of Christian worship, the Eucharist.

All churches of the catholic tradition, Orthodox, Lutheran, Roman, Anglican, Presbyterian, and others, either strongly support or absolutely require the presence of a presbyter or bishop to celebrate a “valid” communion.  There is absolutely not a shred of theological support for that position.  To their credit, I must say that Anglican/Episcopal priests I’ve told of my own celebration of communion with my family and others on camping trips and other times when a priest was not present don’t scold me…they just sort of shut down. Pretty sure they are in something of a “do loop” of what they were taught in seminary and what they know of the early church.

The earliest Christian communities had no presbyters, priests, deacons, or bishops.  Yet it is clear they celebrated the Eucharist regularly abiding by Christ’s example usually with the head of the household or other community leader officiating.  If they were in error, they were in good company as Jesus himself made no suggestion whatsoever in the first communion that it was restricted in any way.  The earliest writings we have that reflect Christ’s and apostolic teaching and policy are in the Didache, which likely predates a few of the books of the bible itself.  The Didache is a compilation by a number of writers of teachings they heard directly from the apostles.  The Didache link is actually to a Roman Catholic denomination site…and the Didache is clearly in conflict with Roman dogma (also Orthodox and a number of other denominations) which not only restricts “valid” communion to priests but allows humans to judge others hearts and refuse the host to those they believe not in line with dogma. Recommended reading if you are not familiar with it and would like some insight into the Christian practices of those converted by the apostles within living memory of Christ.  Much as the church councils over the centuries have defined the earthly institution of the church, they have also crafted many theologically unsupportable tenets to further the aims of those in ecclesiastical authority.  Humans, donchaknow. Put your faith on a higher plane.

I’ve not made any attempt to prove the above, as that was not my intent.  Those who do not study the early church and apostolic era have only what their clergy tells them to go on.  If you are satisfied with that, fine.  I was not and am not.  My faith is not in an earthly institution or it’s representatives.  I wish all Christians would read the Didache, Clement of Rome, Eusebius of Palmyra, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and the others.  By the way, Paul was one of the earliest writers of the early Christian era as he never met Jesus in the flesh.

Think about it, and don’t limit yourself to the diet prescribed by your denomination.  Our God has endowed us with a mind created in His own image to reach our own conclusions.  Use it.

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

 

Coleman.pngSpecial day. Old friend of mine who I went to school with from the 4th grade through high school dropped by. He’s a Coleman lantern collector…though I only found that out recently. Clearly, you’ll get the gist of this post from the image. I’ll get there shortly.

You share a lot in life, and sometimes you work in the same place for decades and share your life, like it or not, with coworkers or business associates. For at least some of us, however, our most lasting memories and friendships come from what is, towards the twilight of life, an astonishingly short period, public school.

The total time ranges from all 12 to as little (in those days) as 3 years. But many become implanted even at the low end of the scale. I can’t possibly explain it. But I see it in others now. And it is priceless.

Eugene’s visit was more than just reminiscing with and old friend. It was a holy moment that can only be experienced by those who spent formative time together, but went on to a diaspora before swimming back up stream to where they were spawned. We chatted for maybe 30 minutes total in the AM before I brought out my grandmother’s Coleman lamp. He took it with him, and I said don’t worry over when you have time to mess with it. I know it’s in good hands. I figured it would be indefinite time before I hear from him, and was perfectly good with that.

About three hours later, knock at the door. Eugene is back, and he has the lantern I inherited from my grandmother in hand. He’s already completely restored it and you can see the result above. He’s also able to show me in a book he has the precise “Alligator” white globe I have (not shown) and the entire history of the lamp.

Of course, we had a deep technical discussion about how to use and maintain the lamp, but we soon transitioned under the  soft hiss of the 8 decade old family heirloom and then

The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

And for nearly two hours, we did just that. Then we hugged and parted.

 

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